- Well, the Bears drew an interesting schedule. As everyone now knows they will be traveling to London to play Tampa Bay. I addition to that, they drew a Christmas night assignment at Green Bay.
- Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune says that the Bears won’t be playing in London if there’s no labor deal by Aug. 1.
- ESPN’s NFC North blogger Kevin Seifert wonders if the NFL didn’t purposely schedule the Bears to have more than the usual number of early home games because the turf would be better that time of year.
- For those who despise night games as much as I do the Bears currently have four on the schedule.
- Charles Tillman and his wife went on Oprah to meet the mother who donated her son’s heart so that Tillman’s daughter could live. Via Sean Jensen at the Chicago Sun-Times.
- Matt Williamson at ESPN’s Scouts Inc, ranked the NFC North offensive lines. The Bears were dead last.
“In 2010, the Bears’ run blocking was terrible. But the pass protection was horrendous. In fact, it was probably the worst in the NFL, as evidenced by the league-leading 56 sacks Chicago allowed. Even though the coaching staff did a great job masking these insufficiencies, there will be changes. It is amazing that the Bears got as far as they did in the postseason with that group of linemen.”
- After Williamson’s assault on the boys up front Seifert wrote a post which nicely bottom lines the Bears predicament:
“Fixing the Bears’ offensive line will be a two-part process. They’ll need to bring in better players, but more important, they’ll also have to coax improved play from a group that our resident scout sees little promise in.”
We all have to hope that there’s more promise that Williamson thinks in the Bears young offensive linemen or 2011 could be a long year.
- The Bears website did this nice little feature on Director of Player Personnel Tim Ruskell:
- Michael C. Wright at ESPNChicago.com reviews the quarterbacks in the draft. The Bears will probably be looking to draft a developmental prospect in the mid to late rounds.
- Wright also reviews the runningback position in the draft. He quotes head coach Lovie Smith as Smith (weakly) defends Chester Taylor’s subpar season last year:
“We brought in Chester to be a complement to Matt [Forte], which he was… I know the numbers weren’t there, but Matt’s numbers were up. You’re just looking for the running back position’s numbers to go up, which they did.”
- Dan Pompei at the Chicago Tribune addresses the middle linebacker spot. He thinks there’s a possibility they may draft a successor to Brian Urlacher this year.
- Bob LeGere at the Daily Herald takes issue with Pat Kirwan’s latest mock draft at NFL.com. Despite teams trading into the first round to pick five quarterbacks, Kirwan still has them reaching for wide receiver Torres Smith.
- Neil Hayes at the Chicago Sun-Times talks offensive tackles in the draft. He notes that, like me, NFL.com senior analyst Gil Brandt isn’t thrilled with this class:
“If Brandt is right, and neither [Anthony] Castonzo or [Gabe] Carimi can protect Jay Cutler‘s blind side, it may behoove the Bears to take an interior lineman or the best defensive player available.”
- John Mullin at CSNChicago.com talks about the possibility that the Bears might go cornerback in the first round, a distinct possibility if they really go with the best player available:
“Texas gave the Bears Nathan Vasher, and [Aaron] Williams is a 6-foot cornerback in the tradition of Charles Tillman. Because of the value of the position and the need to get a Tillman replacement in the pipeline, this pick solidifies a spot that has bedeviled the defense since Vasher’s precipitous decline from his one-time Pro Bowl level.”
- Nolan Nawrocki at Pro Football Weekly reviews the character issues (good and bad) surrounding some of the to talent in the draft. Amongst the players connected at some point to the Bears are Marvin Austin, Rodney Hudson, and Ryan Kerrigan.
- Jensen picks Derek Sherrod for the Bears in a mock draft for NFL.com.
- Regulars here know that I’m purposely avoiding most of the details of the labor negotiations that aren’t directly football related. In fact, I’m not even reading the articles. However for those who care, profootballtalk.com seems to be all over it. Mike Florio is a lawyer so there’s even a slight chance that you can believe some of it.
- Jeff Fisher says he wants to coach again in 2012. Florio continues to express his skepticism about Fisher’s history with the Titans.
- Tom Pelissero at 1500ESPN.com doesn’t think the Vikings should be looking defensive end in the first round. He points to fourth rounders Ray Edwards, Brian Robison and Everson Griffen as examples of good defensive linemen who can be found late. Yes, but how good would they be without Jared Allen? I think last season answered that question as Allen had a down year and so did everyone else. True Allen, was a fourth rounder, too. But the Vikings had to go outside the organization to get him and I don’t like the odds of finding another one of him.
- Evan Silva at profootballtalk.com might as well just say out right that there’s no way Redskins quarterback Donovan McNabb gets traded.
- Michael David Smith also at profootballtlk.com, indicates that, to no one’s surprise, the Patriots are willing to trade draft picks. Historically they’re pretty good at it:
“One of [Bill] Belichick’s favorite draft-day tactics is to trade a pick this year for a higher pick next year. This year the Patriots own the first pick of the second round (and thus the second day), and it’s quite likely that some team will call Belichick before the second round starts to offer the Patriots a first-round pick in 2012 for the right to choose first in the second round of 2011. So the Patriots won’t just use all those picks to bolster their 2011 roster; they also may look to build a stockpile of 2012 picks.”
- One season into his NFL career and Jimmy Clausen may already be done in Carolina. Former NFL safety Matt Bowen relates his experience at a similar point in his career for the National Football Post. If I’m Clausen and the Panthers draft a quarterback in the first round, I’m ignoring all other factors and doing my best to get onto a team with a history of developing quarterbacks.
- And finally, the last of the series, the Carolina Panthers are on the clock at ESPN:
One Final Thought