- Nolan Nawrocki at Pro Football Weekly gives his comments on the Bears selection of Stephen Paea in the second round:
“The Bears cut DT Tommie Harris this offseason and needed to find a three-technique tackle to replace him. They filled their two most pressing needs with their first two picks, improving both lines. Paea possesses both strength and quickness and could help at either interior position for the Bears. He’s capable of manning the nose or playing in gaps, where he is more comfortable. Rod Marinelli should be able to light a fire underneath him.”
The Bears picked a guy in the second round who needs a fire lit underneath him?
- ESPN‘s NFC North blogger Kevin Seifert talks about the misconception amongst at least some NFL experts that Stephen Paea will be a run stuffing nose tackle in the Bears 4-3
“Today, you might laugh at the thought of putting John Randle, Warren Sapp and Stephen Paea in the same sentence. But we do so more to describe a mentality than assess his skill level. I would be worried if a second-round draft pick was hoping to become, say, the next Ted Washington or Tony Siragusa. All I’m saying is the Bears are hoping for — and need — more than run defense from the No. 53 overall pick of the draft.
Seifert is under valuing the nose guard position but the Bears are running a 4-3 not a 3-4 so he’s got a point.
“With the high amount of collisions required at the safety position in Lovie Smith‘s preferred defense, GM Jerry Angelo seemingly must address the position every year. There’s a chance Danieal Manning could depart, as well. Conte was a late riser who really impressed secondary coaches in the evaluation process. He plays like a poor man’s John Lynch and elevated on draft boards in a weak safety class.”
“Enderle is a big, smart stationary passer who too often over thinks the game. He has the mental capacity to handle all the demands of Mike Martz‘s complex offense. The key to Enderle’s development will be how much Martz can hone his instincts and teach him to cut it loose and trust what he sees.”
- Michael C. Wright at ESPNChicago.com expects the Bears to start Gabe Carimi on the left side.
- Chad Reuter at CBSSports.com is thinking like the NFL scouts:
“If you think it’s too early to look into next year’s class, consider that NFL teams meet to share notes on 2012 senior prospects every year at this time. It’s the tipoff to the draft process starting anew, the initial gathering of information shared by scout services that aids in lining up travel schedules for scouts who return to college campuses beginning in August.”
Here’s what he said about the Bears 2012 “pick”:
“15. Chicago Bears: *Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
“Gilmore’s thin build belies a toughness and attitude that all cornerbacks need to succeed. Though no guarantee to be a first-round pick without a strong junior year, his upside warrants this projection.”
He doesn’t sound like a prototypical fit for the Bears defensive system but I’ll bag that pick when we come to it.
- Mike Tanier at ESPN‘s Football Outsiders thinks the Bears still need help on the interior offensive line. No shock there but what is a surprise is how much of it they lay at guard Roberto Garza‘s door:
“Chicago committed 27 blown blocks that led to sacks or penalties, according to Football Outsiders’ Game Charting Project, the third-highest total in the league, but blown blocks tell only part of the story. The Bears ranked 30th in the league in adjusted line yards on runs up the middle last season, where [Olin] Kreutz and Garza do most of their dirty work. The FO game charters noted many instances of missed blocks by Garza that led to stuffed running plays, and even Kreutz whiffed on his fair share of blocks against quicker defenders.”
“Frank Omiyale could move from left to right tackle, allowing J’Marcus Webb (7.5 blown blocks last year) to move inside to challenge Garza.”
- Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune seems to be speculating about Kreutz’s potential coaching career:
“‘There are very few people in the NFL who understand football techniques and schematically know the game as well as him,’ [former offensive line coach Harry] Hiestand said.
“A couple of years ago, Kreutz would have told you he had no desire to coach. Now, he says ‘we’ll see what happens.’ If the Bears can identify an heir apparent, he’d probably handle a mentoring role well.”
“Obviously, we gave up a lot of sacks but we were still able to get to the NFC Championship Game. We’re not too far off. We have to make improvements and get a couple more guys in there. We’ll see what happens.”
- Michael C. Wright at ESPNChicago.com makes a good point as he answers your questions:
“Q: Where does Herman Johnson fit into the offensive line plans?”
“– Mike (Valparaiso, Ind.) ”
“A: At 6 foot 7, 360 pounds, Johnson definitely fits the mold of the humungous players coveted by offensive line coach Mike Tice… Johnson’s best shot at competing for a chance to contribute in 2011 is to report to the team (whenever they’re allowed to) in tip-top shape. The Bears have told me they’re not concerned about players reporting out of shape. But with a guy as big as Johnson, you’ve got to be at least a little worried.”
- Dan Pompei at the Chicago Tribune answers your questions:
“Is there any way the Bears bring back Tommie Harris on a cheaper contract or incentives-laden contract? Tom C, Columbia, Mo.
“If you look at the history of the Jerry Angelo/Lovie Smith regime, when they turn the page on a player, they typically do not go back. They did it with Chris Harris, but he was a different case than most. I think we have seen the last of Tommie Harris in a Bears uniform.”
This is about the third time I’ve read a fan question revolving around this issue. I’m having a hard time understanding it. Tommie Harris had about as good a year as he’s going to have last year and it was very average. Its fairly well established that the three-technique tackle has to make that defense go. The Bears need an upgrade and Harris would just be taking up a roster spot without playing special teams.
- The Lions, Cowboys, Saints and Jets players are all working out on their own together. Will the Bears? To answer that question, I’ll just say this. The Saints have Drew Brees. The Bears have Jay Cutler.
Pompei basically answers the question the same way I did but in professional news publication language rather than the blogger language of hatred and vitriol:
“Some of these workouts are overrated. Unless they are done under the supervision of coaches, their value is limited. The primary benefits of these types of workouts are building camaraderie and working on timing between quarterbacks and receivers. These types of workouts are not going to decide who wins the Super Bowl. That being said, the Bears quarterbacks and receivers should have been working out together long ago. If they have not been (and I am not completely sure they have not been), it shows a void of leadership on the team.”
Having said that, ESPN NFC North blogger Kevin Seifert has an alternative thought:
“It’s possible that some players are awaiting a ruling from the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis, which is determining whether NFL owners will get a permanent stay to keep the lockout in place. If that’s the case, the earliest teams would re-open for business is the end of June. You could expect more players to start organizing themselves if that comes to bear. We’ll keep you updated.”
- From my favorite feature, Pro FootballWeekly‘s Audibles:
“What scared me about (Washington’s) Jake Locker is that won-lost record. It was ugly. Look at the personnel at Stanford. It’s not great outside of Andrew Luck. Look at Jim Everett at Purdue. Look at Mississippi since Eli Manning left. If you are a great quarterback, no matter what you have on the line, at receiver and running back, I think you go 8-4, 7-5 and play in bowl games. How do you start four years and go 15-25?”
I think this is something that you could generally apply to all quarterbacks, pro and college. I’ve heard the excuse made numerous times that Jay Cutler lost so many games because he played at Vanderbilt. But I look at his body language and his leadership skills and I wonder. Does that really hold water?
- Bad enough Casey is best known as the “Urlacher who wasn’t good enough”. Now he’s somehow in the middle of a New Orleans corruption trial. Via the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
- Another Audible gives us insight into Andy Dalton you won’t find expressed anywhere on the record:
“When we interviewed (TCU QB) Andy Dalton, he said the accomplishment he was most proud of was gathering 750 kids to listen to his ministry every week, not winning the Rose Bowl. When we asked him how he is going to handle guys on the field when the bullets start flying and his teammates are yelling at him, he said the first thing he is going to do is pray about it. I couldn’t help but think, this might be the next Danny Wuerffel. If you are talking about (Dalton) going to be your starter, I would be nervous.”
- Rainer Sabin at the Dallas Morning News says the Cowboys are worried that they the lockout will put them at a competitive disadvantage in an interesting way:
“But executive vice president Stephen Jones wondered last month how the labor issues would affect their pursuit of these hidden gems.
“‘It will be different,’ he said. ‘We’ll see if it is a disadvantage.'”
“There is obvious reason for concern. Because of the lockout, all 32 teams will have more time to research the strengths and weaknesses of the undrafted rookies. Not much else is going on, after all. There are no mini-camps being conducted, no organized team activities to plan and no roster moves to be made.”
- The Cowboys might be at a disadvantage in another way (along with almost everyone else). Eric Edholm at Pro Football Weekly says that six unnamed agents told him that they’d been contacted by teams about undrafted free agents (against the rules). In fact Missouri center Tim Barnes actually named the Bengals, Ravens, and Dolphins as having contacted him.
“‘It was almost like a normal year in terms of contact, a little less (phone contact) than normal maybe, only without the signed contracts at the end,’ one of the agents said.”
Edholm told WSCR last night that from the information he’s gathered it looks like as many as 10-12 teams may be involved.
- Pompei, this time writing for the National Football Post, addresses the Texans’ plan to move defensive end Mario Williams to outside linebacker in the 3-4:
“Williams told ace Texans reporter John McClain he played at 290 pounds last year. There is no prototype of an outside linebacker who weighed that much. The Texans have pointed to DeMarcus Ware as an outside linebacker Williams can be like. But Ware weighs about 30 pounds less.”
“Offenses will try to force Williams to drop. The Texans will counter by moving him to the other side of the formation. But that will mean another linebacker, likely [Brooks] Reed, will have to drop and cover a tight end or back. That’s not an appealing option for the Texans either.”
“The Vikings long have been connected with Redskins QB Donovan McNabb, who could be traded or released, and we hear there’s still a decent chance that the Vikings could get involved with him.”
- Jared Allen thinks he’s going to get 17 sacks in 2011 to put him over a hundred for his career. Allen is nothing if not entertaining.
- Judy Batista at the New York Times reports that the NFL is looking into having the World Anti-Doping Agency do their drug testing for them:
“’Our thought has been we have always been looking to make our program as effective as it can be,’ said the N.F.L. executive, who insisted that he not be named because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter. ‘There have been some things, H.G.H. is one of them, that the union has resisted,’ he added. ‘When we get to the point where there is not a party involved, maybe we should consider what we consider important to keep pace with science and trends.’
“’If we had some clarity of where this thing was going to end up,’ he said, the league ‘might have more clarity of what we would do.’
“George Atallah, the spokesman for the National Football League Players Association, said the group would have no comment.”
For those who aren’t reading between the lines, this is a negotiating tactic. The NFL knows full well the extent to which HGH is used in the league and how much it will impact the current players if they start to test for it. Careers based upon how well a person’s body responds to HGH would likely rapidly go down the tubes.
- Alan Schawz at the New York Times takes an in depth look at the brain trauma discovered in almost every pro football player who has so far been examined:
“The set of 15 players tested by B.U. researchers to this point is far from a random sample of NFL retirees that could represent the wider population. Many of the players died under conditions that could be related to CTE: [Charlie] Waters and [Dave] Duerson by suicide, John Grimsley from a gun accident, Tom McHale from a drug overdose. Their families then donated their brains largely to seek an explanation for the mens’ behavior.
“‘There’s a tremendous selection bias, so you can’t make any conclusions about the incidence or prevalence of disease,’ said Dr. Ann McKee, the B.U. group’s lead neuropathologist and director of neuropathology at New England Veterans Administration Medical Centers.”
- John Gonzalez at the Philadelphia Inquirer jokes that the Eagles are joking. Or something like that.
One Final Thought
For all that its universally acknowledged that the Bears had a good draft, thier free agency needs look an awful lot like the pre-draft ones. Via Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune.