Is Brian Urlacher the Best #9 Pick? And Other Points of View


  • Bears guard Roberto Garza did a nice interview with George Vondracek at Corpus Christi Caller Times.  Interestingly, he thinks his job might be in jeopardy:

“‘Anytime you give up more than 55 sacks a year obviously there are some changes that are going to have to take place, and we’re ready for that,’ Garza said. ‘Obviously, my job’s going to be up for grabs. So I have to go out there and prove to them that I’m going to continue to be the starting right guard.'”

  • Neil Hayes at the Chicago Sun-Times says that the competition committee will not change the rule that resulted in an incomplete pass to Lions receiver Calvin Johnson in the first game against Detroit last season:

“If you read the rule, it’s not a catch,” [Giants president and competition committee member John] Mara said told the paper. “The reason it’s not a catch is you’ve got to control the ball when you hit the ground. It makes it easier to officiate. It’s a bright line that you can draw.”

Though its not a popular decision, I’ve made it clear that I’m with Mara on this one.  If Calvin Johnson or anyone else doesn’t like it, all I can say is get up and hand the referee the ball next time.  That’s what receivers on good teams are coached to do.

Orlando Franklin | OL | Miami (Fla.)

“Although GM Jerry Angelo might prefer to find a replacement for Tommie Harris with this pick, the board could be more favorably filled with OL talent. Franklin could be the most physical blocker in this year’s draft and perfectly fits the nasty disposition that OL coach Mike Tice seeks in the trenches.”


  • The Green Bay Packers are on the clock:

  • And so are the Pittsburgh Steelers:

One Final Thought

Is Brian Urlacher the best #9?  Pro Football Weekly provides an answer:

The Martz Offense Will Be Hit Hard by the Labor Stoppage

Steve Rosenbloom at the Chicago Tribune looks at the bright side of a labor stoppage.  In his own way:

“Most of their important players remain the same, as does the coaching staff, which means the Bears don’t lose as much as teams with new administrations (Ron Rivera in Carolina, hello) or teams without a starter at the most important positions (Vikings quarterback, hello).”

Truth.  The Bears franchise is reasonably stable overall personnel-wise right now, especially on defense.  For sure there are improvements that we all want to see (as below).  But it isn’t like they’ve hired a new defensive coordinator who is bringing in a new scheme like the Dallas Cowboys.

The Bears have a quarterback – a pretty good quarterback all things considered – and he knows the system within the limits of what was accomplished in one year.  Indeed, everyone important player knows the system on both sides of the ball and the worst thing that can happen is that you bring in a couple offensive linemen, one of whom will likely be a veteran, and they have to learn fast before a season starts.

That all makes the Bears better off than a pretty good percentage of the league.

But of course it wouldn’t be Rosenbloom without at least a little sarcasm:

“But the second benefit, especially if this goes into what used to be training camp, is that [offensive coordinator Mike] Martz will not be able to insist on running the Martz offense. There simply won’t be time or capable bodies. Martz tried to run his deal last year, and finally had to be sent to his room without dessert during the bye week. The longer this goes, the less chance Martz has of finding new ways to kill the quarterback by failing to recognize how limited the Bears are in other areas. The fact that this has to be pointed out to him is embarrassing enough, but the fact that he can’t call a play right now is wonderful salvation.”

Actually, though most fans would probably agree with him, I’m going to disagree with Rosenbloom’s underlying point here.  You don’t tell Martz not to try to run his scheme (within reason).  I think the goal for the Bear offense is to get the personnel and experience to run that scheme the way its supposed to run.

Everyone in Chicago wants a run-first oriented offense and that’s fine.  Martz has shown that he can do that.  But this team also needs to be able to pass and they need to be able to do it Matz’s way.  Those seven step drops that everyone hates are going to keep re-appearing.  That’s who he is and what he does.  That’s what he was hired to do.  Blaming him for trying to do it is like blaming the Chicago weather for being cold.

Martz’s offense can work, especially if a good running game continues to be a part of it.  The fact that he couldn’t run it the way he wants last year should be considered to be a failure on an organizational level.  Though they have a quarterback and everyone in key positions has a year of experience under their belt, the Bears still didn’t get enough of the right offensive personnel in place and they still didn’t do a good enough job of coaching up the personnel they have.  They need better offensive linemen and they need better play at wide receiver.  With the offseason headed in the direction it is, that isn’t going to change.  And that’s where the labor stoppage hits the Bears hard.