- Sean Jensen at the Chicago Sun-Times reports that the Bears won’t use the franchise tag. Not a big surprise, first because Angelo is known not to like ot use it and second because none of the Bears free agents warrants it.
- Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune ends his positional analysis with special teams. He points out that. the unit’s top six tacklers all will be unrestricted free agents: Corey Graham, Garrett Wolfe, Brian Iwuh, Rashied Davis, Rod Wilson, and Josh Bullocks.
- Biggs’ bottom line: “The faces change but the helmet doesn’t and the Bears remain among the best in the NFL on special teams.” When is someone going to wake up and offer special teams coach Dave Toub a head coaching position?
- Dan Pompei, also at the Tribune, answers your questions. He continues the wide receiver talk:
“Do you think we will make a play for free agents Sidney Rice or Vincent Jackson? Also, will the newly signed CFL WR Andy Fantuz make the team and make an impact? — Mike Ockhurtz, Frederick, Md.
“I don’t believe the Bears will go for a free-agent wide receiver with a big price tag. They have other positions that are more pressing. I am very intrigued by Fantuz, but it’s difficult to say how much of an impact he will have until we see him padded up and competing with NFL players. He looked great in Canada, but that’s a different game, and he was playing against inferior competition.
“What’s with Devin Aromashodu? Why didn’t the coaching staff let him play almost all year? Is he going to come back? — Mario, Eagle Pass, Texas
“I think Aromashodu is done with the Bears. He and offensive coordinator Mike Martz clearly were not on the same page. Aromashodu is a gifted player who never has been able to consistently realize his abilities, going back to his college days. His substandard blocking attempts did not endear him to the coaching staff.”
Yes, I had a feeling that this was the case. It wasn’t just the blocking. I don’t think Aromashodu liked contact much and Martz obviously felt he would be a liability when asked to go over the middle, something he was bound to be required to do.
- Caleb Hanie continues to get love from fans, as shown by this queston to Pompei:
“Any rumors how the Bears will respond to Caleb Hanie‘s RFA status? I imagine his agent’s phone has started ringing already. I don’t envision him being a career backup. — Mike, Forney, Texas
“I would expect the Bears to protect themselves with Hanie, assuming they can’t sign him to a contract prior to the start of free agency. But I don’t think they need to be concerned about another team offering him starter’s money. While Hanie has obvious potential, I don’t think he’s had enough opportunity to create that kind of market for himself.”
I expect that Pompei is completely right here but Hanie is never going to be a Martz favorite. Its obvious that he prefers a quarterback who will stand in the pocket, make a quick read and throw. That’s apparently not Hanie’s forte (though in fairness he hasn’t really had a chance to show that).
- According to Larry Mayer at chicagobears.com the Bears were voted the 2010 NFL team of the year in the United Kingdom in an inaugural online poll conducted by NFLUK.
- Pete Prisco at CBSSports.com ranks the NFL’s teams 1-32 based on how they stack up as a franchise — both now and in history. The Bears are fifth:
“Loads of history. Great players. Great coaches. Fantastic fans. But they have no Super Bowl victories since 1985. That hurts. Even so, this is a storied franchise that will always seem to be near the top of these rankings. Their pre-Super history is loaded with successes.”
“There are smart people still not convinced that Brett Favre, 41, will remain retired and that he could surface next season not with the Vikings but perhaps the Carolina Panthers. Favre’s ego might force him back after his ill-fated finish last season.”
- Of course, why get beat up as an NFL quarterback when you can compete on Dancing with the Stars? From Ann Oldenburg at USA Today.
- NFL agents don’t like the idea of a rookie wage scale. There’s a shock.
- According to Chris Russell of ESPN 980 (via Mike Florio at profootballtalk.com), Shaun Rogers will meet with the Redskins. There’s a another shock. Aaron Wilson at The National Football Post indicates that Rogers was released from the Browns because he had a bad attitude so he’ll fit right in.
- How weak is the NFC North at the tackle position? ESPN’s NFC North blogger Kevin Seifert ranks the Lions’ Jeff Backus as the best left tackle in the division. Having to put Green Bay’s Bryan Bulaga on the right isn’t a great statement either. On a side note the Bears rated only ONE offensive player on Seifert’s all-NFC North team.
- Omar Kelly at the Sun Sentinel thinks Dolphins General Manager Jeff Ireland is “playing a dangerous game of Russian Roulette” with nose tackle Paul Soliai. Solairi is set to become an unrestricted free agent and his representatives haven’t heard from Miami regarding a new deal in weeks, if not months. With the proliferation of 3-4 defenses, nose tackles are becoming hard to find.
- This report from Ian R. Rapoport at the Boston Herald is going to make free agent guard Logan Mankins a very unhappy man.
- Green Bay head coach Mike McCarthy talks offseason. He has a message for his team that Martz might want to listen to:
“We’ll just stay true to our mantra on offense and defense and special teams, and that’s less volume, more creativity.”
- Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says that Green Bay wide receivers coach Jimmy Robinson is now the assistant head coach for the Dallas Cowboys.
- Get ready to see a lot of Clay Matthews [head shake].
- Mel Kiper at ESPN talks draft. ESPN seems to have picked up on Cam Newton their “story” for the draft, thus setting some team up for major disappointment. Accuracy is still the name of the game and I just don’t see it. The Jake Locker comments are interesting, though.
- Mike Mayock at the NFL Network comments further on Newton (via Darin Gantt at the Charlotte Observer):
“To me, there are two issues with this kid. Issue number one is he came out of a shotgun [formation], and if you watch the tape it’s basically a very simple offense. One read and either the ball was out or he was out. Can he adapt to, can he process and assimilate a very structured and complex pro offense against a complex pro defense? And secondly, and most importantly, when you get to a certain skill level in the NFL, which this kid certainly has, at the quarterback position what kind of kid is he? Is he going to be the first guy in the building? Is he a gym rat? Is he football smart? Is he a leader of men? All of those things to me are way more important than any workout in shorts.”
One Final Thought
Tom Sorenson at the Charlotte Observer relates this story about how Walter Payton greeted former Bear and current Carolina head coach Ron Rivera:
“‘I’m Walter Payton. Welcome to the Bears,’ he said.
“Payton, 5-10, offered his hand and Rivera took it. Payton began to squeeze. Rivera, who towers above Payton in the picture, squeezed back.
“‘He wants to see your knees buckle,’ says Rivera. ‘I knew that.’
“They stood there, squeezing. Rivera’s knee didn’t buckle.
“They continued to squeeze. Rivera’s knee continued not to buckle.
“Payton was relentless but Rivera was a linebacker. You think a linebacker’s knee is going to give first?
“Well, yes. The pressure was such that Rivera’s knee buckled.
“This meant he officially was a Bear. Like Payton, he would play for no other NFL team.”