Current Bears Linemen Long-Term Answers? And Other News


  • While answering a fan’s question, Neil Hayes at the Chicago Sun-Times surprised me with this revelation:

“As for offensive line prospects, it’s too early in the process for me to give you an educated answer. I did think it was interesting that a veteran scout whose sole job is evaluating offensive linemen told me that he thinks Frank Omiyale, Chris Williams and J’Marcus Webb can be long-term answers.”

That’s not going to make some of the fans who think the line needs a major overhaul in the draft very happy.

“‘He has a lot more left,’ Toub said. ‘He probably didn’t have the kind of year he would love to have, that’s for sure, but you have to consider his value.'”

  • I’ve raved about how gutsy the Packers have been this year as they’ve fought through injuries.  But there is still some doubt about whether they know how to win.  Rob Reischel, writing for the Chicago Tribune, notes that the Packers are 2-6 in games decided by four points or less and 2-14 since 2008:

“‘When I look at the Packers in the fourth quarter, it is awful,’ ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer said earlier this season. ‘You can’t be a good team and choke in the biggest moments.'”


    • Jack Betcha at the National Football Post gives an inside look at how misleading agents can be when trying to recruit rookie clients.  I’m not sure there’s a dirtier legal business outside of politics.
    • We are led to believe that its best for Bears players to be held out of a “meaningless” game in order to stay healthy.  But the Patriots’ Wes Welker, injured in a similar situation, tells Ian Rapaport at the Boston Globe that he wouldn’t have had it any other way.
    • For those outside of St. Louis and Seattle who are looking for a reason to watch Sunday night, Matt Bowen at The National Football Post suggests you take a good look at Rams quarterback Sam Bradford and how he handles the situation.  I was on the record as saying that I thought Jimmy Clausen was the better pick.  Certainly for this year it looks like the scouts were right and I was wrong.
    • Judd Zulgad at the Minneapolis Star Tribune is reporting that the Vikings are in serious negotiations with Leslie Frazier which will result in the removal of the “interim” tag from his head coach title.  Stay tuned.
    • Am I the only one who still thinks that Jets ticket holders have a legal case against the Patriots for Spy-Gate?

      One Final Thought

        R.J. Bell at computes the chance that the Bears will obtain the number one seed in the NFC playoffs Sunday from the Vegas odds (via Joe Fortenbaugh at The National Football Post):  “Scenario: Bears win (21%) AND both Falcons and Saints lose (2%)”.  The bottom line?  There is a 98% chance the Bears will have nothing to play for against the Packers and there is a 0.5% chance that they will actually have home field throughout the playoffs.

        Don’t expect to see a lot of the Bears starters Sunday.

        Weis Likely to Leave Chiefs, Difficult Haley

        There have been persistent rumors, most often coming from ESPN’s Chris Mortenson, that Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator, Charlie Weis, will be moving on to become the offensive coordinator for the Florida Gators.

        There’s an open question as to why Weis would want to levee the playoff-bound Chiefs to go to a parallel position in college.  Gregg Rosenthal at speculates:

        “If there was an offensive coordinator of the year award, we’d vote for Charlie Weis of the Chiefs. Matt Cassel has played mistake-free football, Jamaal Charles might win the rushing title, and a long-struggling offensive line has turned things around.”

        “The only logical explanation of a Weis-Todd Haley break would be something personal.  (Weis wanting a lighter work schedule or to return to college?  Personality conflict?)”

        We’ll probably never know for sure.  But having said that, my guess would be the last.

        Its fairly obvious that Haley can be a difficult guy.  That was probably never so evident as when he was with the Bears.  When Haley took over as head coach of the Chiefs, Brad Biggs, then working for the Chicago Sun-Times, wrote an interesting article on Haley (which is no longer on the Sun-Times web site):

        “To think, in that last season with the Bears, offensive coordinator John Shoop tried to get Haley barred from offensive meetings, a power play that [former Bears head coach Dick] Jauron blocked.”

        Heaven knows no one is going to get criticism from me for giving Shoop a hard time.  He was in way over his head.  But nevertheless the quote demonstrates how tough Haley was to work with.  Given that Weis is apparently preparing to leave after such a wonderful season, I think the odds are good that Haley hasn’t changed.

        No Rush to Extend Lovie Smith’s Contract But Problems Don’t Begin With Him

        Mark Potash at the Chicago Sun-Times notes that despite their success, there are no cries for a contract extention for Lovie Smith.  He thinks there shouldn’t be for a variety of reasons but the major one is that he just isn’t convinced Smith is a good coach:

        “Would the Bears be playing for a playoff berth today if they had had the injuries the Packers’ have dealt with this season?”

        The answer is possibly not.  But the truth is that there aren’t many coaches outside of New England (and apparently Green Bay) that could.  So unless Bill Belichick is about to come available, I don’t see that as a legitimate criticism.  You don’t just keep firing coaches until Bill Parcells falls into your lap.  But here’s the real point:

        “Smith might be the coach of the year in the NFC. But as well-deserved as that honor would be, let’s not forget it’s for 2010 only.”

        Indeed.  But in my opinion, Smith hasn’t just done it this year.  The truth is that – given the talent they’ve had – the Bears are competitive every year.  Not great, of course, but all things considered, competitive.  The Chicago Tribune‘s Dan Pompei quotes the numbers:

        “In Smith’s seven years with the Bears, he has won 63 regular-season games. Only seven clubs have won more over that period of time, and only two NFC teams. All but three have done it with more than one coach.”

        I’ve never believed that Smith is a bad head coach.  Its obvious that he wants to win badly enough to make the tough decisions and do what’s right.  If a head coach’s job is to manage players and assistant coaches, well kudos to him.  Since he became the head coach in 2004, the players have generally seemed to be motivated to play for him, they’ve generally liked him and, generally, they’ve had the right frame of mind to make plays for the team.  If his coaching staff has had a high turnover rate, give him credit for not settling and for continuing to search to find the right combination of assistants.  He certainly deserves credit for putting together an excellent staff this year.

        Smith’s teams haven’t been hanging around 0.500 the last few years because he’s a bad coach.  Its because the Bears haven’t drafted enough talent.  When, in the end, they had to go out and buy it, he’s come through with a pretty good season.  Yes, they’ve enjoyed good health and good luck.  But teams make their own luck and even with an average number of injuries, the odds are good this team would have performed.

        Smith has some problems.  He ‘s lousy in front of a camera and relations with the media obviously aren’t great.  In terms of his personality, I can’t say I’d miss him much if he were to be fired tomorrow.

        But if you ask me, the biggest problem he has is his general manager.  The one huge reservation I have about Smith is that he’s partnered with a guy in Jerry Angelo who hasn’t shown that he can draft talent at the teams most important positions (defensive end, left tackle, quarterback).  The Bears playmakers either were drafted previous to Angelo’s temper or have been bought by ownership.  Even Potash acknowledges this:

        “If the heat is on anybody at Halas Hall, it’s on general manager Jerry Angelo. This season has been more about the importance of playmakers than about the wizardry of Smith. If the Bears don’t draft difference-makers in addition to the complementary pieces Angelo has a knack for finding, this won’t last long.”

        Bottom line, I’m not calling for an immediate extension of Smith’s contract anymore than Potash is.  But its not because I expect Smith to be a “wizard”.  That’s not realistic.  It’s because I’m worried about the direction the entire organization, starting at the top.

        Bears Will Stay Healthy Against the Packers But Fans Might Be Hurting

        Rob Reischel, writing for the Chicago Tribune, describes the mind set of the Green Bay Packers going into Sunday’s game:

        “The Green Bay Packers are roughly 48 hours away from their biggest game of the season when they host the Bears on Sunday. If the Packers had their druthers, though, they’d play the game this minute.

        “‘Our football team is very excited to play,’ Packers coach Mike McCarthy said after Friday’s practice. ‘Everybody fully understands what’s at stake here, and it’s important for us to clearly stay focused on winning and playing the best that we possibly can for the whole game. It’s as simple as that. That’s the message. That’s the chatter in the locker room. That’s the vibe, and 3:15 can’t get here soon enough.'”

        I can only imagine.

        Now let’s contrast this with Michael C. Wright‘s report for

        “The Chicago Bears maintain they plan to play their starters for the duration Sunday, when they face the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field, but multiple team sources revealed the staff has told some of the key backups to be ready.”

        “Throughout the week of preparation leading into Sunday’s contest, the Bears ramped up the repetitions of some of the key backups, such as tight end Kellen Davis and third-team running back Kahlil Bell, while telling others to be ready to contribute when called upon.”

        I’m not saying Smith is doing the wrong thing.  The Bears want to come out of this game healthy.  But the indications are that for the fans, this thing could be very painful.