- David Kaplan and Fred Mitchell at the Chicago Tribune talk to former Bears and Colts general manager Bill Tobin about how he went about drafting two members of this year’s Pro Football Hall of Fame class: Richard Dent and Marshall Faulk.
- Former NFL safety and current Chicago Tribune contributor Matt Bowen‘s needs for the Bears: offensive tackle, cornerback, wide receiver. The Bears surely do need all three but they probably see defensive tackle as a more critical need than both cornerback and wide receiver. Probably.
- Looks like Todd McShay agrees with me. Maybe I should reconsider my position. Via ESPN’s NFC North blogger Kevin Seifert.
- Having said that, Brad Biggs, also at the Tribune, continues his excellent positional review of the Bears, this time with the wide receivers:
“The Bears continue to value their receivers more than others do. They lack a difference-maker at the position and if they want to see Cutler flourish, it’s a position that will have to be addressed.”
- Don Banks at SI.com higlights the Bears search for a wide receiver as the Bears biggest, or at least the most interesting, off season issue.
- Rumor has it quarterback Jay Cutler is about to become engaged to Kristin Cavallari.
- The Tribune News Services asks four of their prominent football writers if a deal will get done before March 3. Not surprisingly, all answered “No” and all who cared to go that far said that nothing will get done before games are missed. Here an excerpt of the most interesting opinion.
Kevin Van Valkenburg, Baltimore Sun
Here is why there is no chance NFL owners and the NFL Players Association work out a new labor agreement by March 3: It takes only nine owners to shoot down whatever proposal both sides come up with.
This isn’t just a labor dispute in the eyes of some owners. It’s a battle for the future of the sport. Rich men do not like parting with their money, especially the richest and most eccentric of the bunch, and they can (and most likely will) block whatever proposal the two sides put together in the next three weeks until they get exactly the deal they want.
I get a kick out of it when people say that the people involved in this are “too smart” to let it go into the season next year. If the baseball strikes of the seventies, eighties and nineties taught us anything, its that this is definitely not true.
- Chris Mortenson at ESPN talks about the labor impasse. Note that he thinks that the current labor deal has to be allowed to expire to get it out of the jurisdiction of the federal courts in Minneapolis. Very interesting but not surprising. The owners are not happy with judge David Doty.
Mortenson comes through with more details in this article.
- Jason Wilde at ESPNMilwaukee.com talks to Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy about the problems with scheduling in an offseason of labor uncertainty:
“’Typically in the staff meeting after the season concludes, I pretty much a have the whole season laid out for our coaching staff,’ McCarthy said. ‘That’s not the case this year.’
“As a result, McCarthy said he and the staff have taken what he called a ‘prepare for the known’ approach to the offseason. Since the annual NFL Scouting Combine is being held as scheduled in Indianapolis in two weeks, and the 2011 NFL Draft is set for April 23-25, the staff is focusing on those set-in-stone events. McCarthy said the assistant coaches are off until Feb. 21, then will have some more time off after the scouting combine. They’ll then return to work to do their scheme evaluation work the first two weeks of March, another annual offseason ritual.”
- ESPN’s Trent Dilfer thinks more of quarterback Cam Newton than I do.
I’ll give Dilfer his due as a former NFL quarterback. But I think the guys at Scouts Inc., who have Newton as the 28th rated prospect and who have undoubtedly studied a lot of tape rather than simply judging him based upon a workout, probably have a better handle on him.
- McShay talks about his mock draft below.
- In what is becoming a bothersome trend John Clayton at ESPN reports that the New York Jets refused to give the Tennessee Titans permission to interview assistant head coach Bill Callahan for its offensive coordinator position. McCarthy pulled a similar move when the Bears wanted to interview quarterbacks coach Tom Clements. But at least McCarthy had the excuse of refusing to allow him to go to a division rival.
- The Minnesota Vikings will play the 2011 season at the Metrodome and will not fight a decision to replace the stadium’s damaged roof at a cost of about $18 million. Seifert points out that this could be bad news for those who wish to keep the Vikings in Minnesota. I would agree.
One Final Thought
The Sports Pickle reports that the NFL has made an interesting offer to those who were not allowed to sit in the seats they paid for at Super Bowl XLV.