Plan for the Offseason May Be Different This Year

It may be a bit of a non-story but with the Bears spending so much in free agency last year, it was fair to wonder if they would avoid it this year.  That won’t be the case.  Jerry Angelo as related by Neil Hayes at the Chicago Sun-Times:

“We’ll have a plan for free agency, and I’m sure we’ll be able to get a few players in free agency.”

Angleo calls it “business as usual” but the its unlikely to be that.  The time table may stay the same but that’s unlikely with the collective bargaining agreement unsettled.

The draft will take place as usual but no free agents can be signed until the new collective bargaining agreement is in place.  That reverses the usual order for Angelo, who likes to strike fast in free agency to fill as many holes as possible.  That leaves him free to draft the best player available in most cases.

Angelo may just assume that he’ll be able to do that this year as well.  But it leaves him without leverage when it comes to negotiating with free agents who will see a clear need that wasn’t filled in the draft.

In any case drafting offensive linemen will undoubtedly be at the top of his list.  But it will be interesting to see if he changes his approach overall, drafting with a bit more of an eye towards the needs of the team than usual.

Chad Johnson’s Application for a Name Change and Other Points of View


“Every player has Lovie’s back. After last season we all got together and talked about how we are going to screw up a great thing if we don’t turn our team around. He treats us like men and he is the kind of coach you want to play for. We are very lucky to have him.”

“‘I just got off the phone with (coach Lovie Smith) and he made the comment, ‘Kevin, you’re not coming back, you’re coming home,’ ‘ O’Dea said. ‘Any time someone makes a comment like that to you, that’s pretty special.'”

  • Biggs also reviews the interesting story of wide receiver Devin Aromashodu as he heads towards restricted free agency.  I’ve talked to fans who are irrate that Aromashodu didn’t make it on to the field more this year.  We probably won’t find out for sure what the Bears problems with him have been unless or until he leaves but there surely is a problem.  It could be as simple as a lack of ability on special teams but I’ve a feeling there’s more to it than that.
  • Packers quarterback Aaron Rogers on people questioning the toughness of Bears quarterback Jay Cutler:

“I was real disappointed, to be honest with you.  I’ve known Jay for a few years now and know what kind of competitor he is. I thought it was disrespectful, some of the stuff said about him.”

Yes, I would say that total disrespect for Cutler as a person and a player sums it up well.

“Urlacher insists that the Julius Peppers hit on Aaron Rodgers was clean. What is your take? Will there be a fine? Jim Johnson, Skandia, Mich.

“Peppers hit Rodgers’ helmet with his helmet. You can’t do that. He might not have intended to do that, and he might not have even been able to avoid doing that, but he did it. I think he is going to be fined.”

  • Pity this little girl.  Not because the Bears lost.  Little girls need their daddy and how can she have any opportunity to grow up normal with so little respect for hers?  Via The Sports Pickle.


  • Carson Palmer might want out but to no one’s surprise, the Bengals have no intention of trading him.  Its idle speculation but I was stuck by the timing of Palmer’s statements.  He made them almost immediately after the Bengals decided to keep Lewis.  One wonders if Chad Johnson isn’t the only one who has a problem with the head coach.
  • Florio also reports that ground work is being laid at the Senior Bowl before assistant coaches meet at the NFL Scouting Combine to discuss forming a union.
  • Florio also correctly points out that not all players will begin missing pay checks in September if there is no collective bargaining agreement.  Those due roster bonuses or who would ordinarily be getting signing bonuses in March as part of free agency will be vocal about making a deal as soon as possible.
  • Michael David Smith, also at, takes us through the Steelers goal line stand as they played the Jets last Sunday with the NFL Network show Playbook.  The Jets tipped at least one play.
  • Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press Gazette reports that the Packers have decided to take their Super Bowl picture with everyone in it instead of leaving out those who are on injured reserve.  Good move which would have only been better had the correct decision been made in the first place.
  • Tim Twentyman at The Detroit News says that though the Lions biggest need is at cornerback they aren’t likely to get an elite one in the draft.
  • Twentyman also says out that the Lions are in a very stable position with the coaching staff and their core players intact heading into a period of labor uncertainty.

As Pompei pointed out today, the NFC North is shaping up to be one tough division next season.  Whether the Bears win or not, we’re going to see some good football.

“The Steelers’ usage of Troy Polamalu is very interesting — and perhaps very telling. In Pittsburgh’s two playoff games, Polamalu’s and Ryan Clark‘s roles have often flip-flopped, with Polamalu often in deep coverage in the middle of the field instead of tormenting the offense by attacking the line of scrimmage and being used in his usual variety of ways. That tells me that he just isn’t healthy and in a way, he can be hidden in the deep middle of the field, where there is far less contact. The extra rest before the Super Bowl could do him very well.”

One Final Thought

Rick Telander at the Chicago Sun-Times on Cutler:

    “Socially, Cutler has major issues, ones that have come home to roost.”

    “People say Cutler is arrogant, cocky, immature. I wonder.
    But whatever ails him now, it’s all in his head.”

Wondering if Jeremy Bates Has Regrets

Dan Pompei at the Chicago Tribune answers your questions:

“What do you think about the Bears trying to hire Jeremy Bates as [Bears quarterback Jay] Cutler‘s QB coach now that he was let go by Seattle? Mark, Chicago

“In theory, it sounds good. But I don’t think it would work. It’s more important that the quarterbacks coach matches up with the offensive coordinator than that he matches up with the quarterback. Bates comes from a different offensive background than Mike Martz, and they might not be a good fit together.”

It’s a shame that Bates finds himself out in the cold after deciding to follow Pete Carroll to Seattle instead of considering the offensive coordinator position in Chicago.  Carroll didn’t seem to hesitate to dump Bates when what he thought was a better guy in the form of Darrell Bevell appeared on the market.

It’s a tough business but, though Lovie Smith has been known to dump a lot more than an assistant or two over the years, its fair to wonder if he wouldn’t have been more loyal to Bates than Carroll was after only one year and a playoff appearance.  My guess is that he would have had to have done much worse with the Bears than he did with Seattle for that to have happened (see Terry Shea).