- Fred Mitchell at the Chicago Tribune talks about J’Marcus Webb‘s potential move to left tackle. I hope the coaching staff is right on this one. Not many people outside of Chicago think Webb can do this job and I frankly also have my doubts that he’s quick enough.
- David Haugh at the Chicago Tribune thinks the Bears need to concentrate on re-signing their own free agents before looking to fill holes elsewhere. For once I agreed whole heartedly with him right up to the point where he started to talk about which wide receivers he would sign on the open market. There aren’t many of the names out there that I like.
- New Bears quarterback Nathan Enderle had some nice things to say about Jay Cutler. Via Jeff Dickerson at ESPNChicago.com:
“‘[Jay Cutler] was one of the first guys who texted me and told me that they were throwing,’ Enderle said. ‘He was very helpful. He said I could stay with him if I didn’t have a place to stay. Everything he’s done has been very helpful to me.’”
- But the boys at the Sports Pickle didn’t share Enderle’s point of view as they went through a list of the top 25 most hated athletes:
- Dan Pompei, also at the Chicago Tribune, wrote an interesting column on the lasting impact of the 1987 NFL player’s strike. No surprise that Mike Ditka has no regrets about the way he handled the situation. But pretty much everyone else would say that he couldn’t have done it much worse.
- Skip Bayless, the only newspaper man in the business whose name tells you what to do with his column, picks Julius Peppers as his number one defensive player in the league in this ESPN video.
- Ben Fawkes at ESPN writes an entire column which gives a grim assessment of the Bears chances to make the playoffs this year:
“With a (possible) franchise quarterback in Jay Cutler and a perpetually strong defense, expectations are high in Chicago for this coming season. But should they be?
“In reality, the Bears are a deeply-flawed team and last season’s success — including five games won by five points or fewer — masked Chicago’s true deficiencies. This year they will be hard-pressed to duplicate last season, and make it back to the playoffs.
“There are several reasons. But they boil down to the Bears’ offensive line issues, a lack of offensive playmakers and several intangibles working against them.”
This article is spot on, pointing to most of the issues we’re aware of and adding the difficulty of the schedule which I hadn’t thought of. It’s worth a read if you have Insider access.
- Matt Bowen at the National Football Post gives this extremely useful (and too simple?) tip about watching NFL receivers:
“Before we get into the actual routes, we need to know when the WR is going to break. And outside of the 3-step game (Slant, Flat), every route breaks at a depth of 12-15 yards. Why is that important? Double moves. If you are playing defensive back and see the WR stutter his feet at a depth of 8-yards, expect him to get vertical up the field—because there isn’t a route that breaks at 8-yards. However, remember one very important detail: if the WR doesn’t break his route between a depth of 12-15 yards, you better open your hips and run. Because he is running straight down the field.”
- Mike Florio at ProFootballTalk.com correctly assesses the implication of Shannon Stone’s death upon all stadium sports.
- DeSean Jackson should know better than to react like this. Not good.
- Warren Sapp apparently doesn’t think much of former Raider teammate Michael Huff. Via Aaron Wilson at the National Football Post:
“Michael Huff leaves something to be desired,” Sapp said. “I watched Huff for two years, not pick a pass off in practice. I seen him make a couple plays, lately. I’d really be interested to see his tape and watch his last couple of years because his first two make you want to throw up watching him practice.”
Huff is a free agent and work ethic is an issue with him.
- Jason Reid at the Washington Post had this interesting comment about the Donovan McNabb situation:
“[Redskins Head coach Mike] Shanahan’s decision to trade for McNabb was the worst of his career. Then Shanahan and his son, Kyle, Washington’s offensive coordinator, compounded the error while clumsily all but removing the six-time Pro Bowler from a 6-10 team.”
“The Shanahans did so much to devalue McNabb that the Redskins should not expect to receive much in exchange for a player beginning his 13th season. Also, teams are expected to ask McNabb to rework his contract to facilitate a trade, so the Redskins will need his cooperation, limiting potential trading partners.”
There’s little doubt it was a huge mistake. In my opinion McNabb never fit the offense and Shanahan was far too stubborn to adjust it to make it fit. And I’ve always thought McNabb was overrated, anyway. But a conditional sixth round pick? He’s better than that. It says here they get a fourth rounder from someone desperate for a veteran quarterback.
- Many NFL rookies come with a little baggage in the form of an asault charge or a failed drug test here and there. But the case of New York Jets third round pick Kendrick Ellis may be a little extreme:
“Ellis was indicted a month before the April draft on the charge of malicious wounding, a Class 3 felony in Virginia. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison.
A potential complication is that Ellis is not a U.S. citizen, ESPNNewYork.com has learned. Ellis, a native of Jamaica who moved to Florida at the age of 11, has “permanent resident” status. A permanent resident convicted of an aggravated felony is deportable, according to immigration law.”
- At least one un-named league executive isn’t convinced that Jon Gruden’s glowing assessment of Terrelle Pryor is the end of that story. Via Evan Silva at ProFootballTalk.com:
“’He’s not a well-liked kid,’ the unnamed exec told John Keim of the Washington Examiner. ‘Very self-absorbed. He doesn’t have the leadership you want in a quarterback. I’ve got more issues with that than his arm.’
“The executive did acknowledge that Pryor has NFL-caliber physical tools.”
- Seems the Sports Pickle also has a thing for sexy mascots:
One Final Thought
Liquor, guns and football. Good luck with that, Wisconsin.