- ESPN NFC North blogger Kevin Seifert doesn’t think the Hall of Fame game is going to happen if an agreement isn’t reached until July 21 (as has been reported). It says here that its a nationally televised game with a lot of money at stake for both the players and the owners. I’m betting they’ll find a way to play it.
- Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune quotes offensive coordinator Mike Martz as saying that the team could be ready in one day to play the Hall of Fame game. Maybe the coaching staff could be ready but I doubt the players would be.
- Steve Rosenbloom at the Chicago Tribune gives his unique take on the NFL lockout:
“Me, I’m rooting for the lawyers in this one. If you are a Bears fan, a Bears player or a Bears wonk, I suggest you do the same, and here’s why:
- Biggs also interviews Corey Wootton. The Bears are depending upon Wooton to step up in the role of situational pass rusher this year. I didn’t seen much in his play his first year to indicate he’s likely to do that and I’ve been pretty down on him. However one thing guys like me tend to under-estimate is how much a year in an NFL training program can do to improve an athlete’s performance:
“’I’m a lot leaner now and I have more strength on me,’ Wootton said. ‘I went up in all my lifts significantly. I’m feeling really strong, really explosive. I really feel like I am at a point where I am past where I was in college. With coach (Rod) Marinelli, it’s all about speed and quickness.’”
“Wootton, meanwhile, is still very raw. One of the biggest knocks on Wootton is his tendency to play with his pad level too high. Well, that’s something preached at the earliest stages of football, and something Wootton still has to master before he can seriously challenge for the starting job. In addition to his speed and quickness, one thing Wootton has on his side is intensity. But he still has to harness the fundamentals before he can fully unleash it. A year in an official offseason program would have really helped Wootton.”
- Robert O’Neill at The Bleacher Report suggests 10 wide receivers that the Bears should be looking at in free agency. Though I don’t agree with some (e.g. Randy Moss), there are also some good possibilities on this list (e.g. Mike Sims-Walker).
- Plaxico Burress would love to be in Chicago but according to the Sun-Times the Bears aren’t likely to reciprocate. There was a time when the Bears were interested in Burress and rumor had it they were going to draft him. But I would agree that Burress doesn’t fit the current offense nor does his personality fit the organization.
- Vaughn McClure at the Chicago Tribune talks to Devin Hester. Hester thinks the Bears should sign Santana Moss. Since “Hester” and “think” should never appear in the same sentence, let’s go straight to Lovie Smith (from the same article):
“If Moss is available and the Bears pursue him, some might question why Jerry Angelo, Lovie Smith and crew would want to add a 5-foot-10-inch receiver to a mix that already includes the 5-11 Hester and 6-footers Johnny Knox and Earl Bennett.
“’That small stuff is overrated,’ Smith said this offseason. ‘You look for receivers who can catch the ball and move the chains.’”
To an extent, Smith has a point. Its not the size they need so much as someone who can get off the line of scrimmage against press coverage. They could also use another receiver around the goal line. Size helps with those things but if Moss can do them (especially the first), its not relevant.
- Seifert estimates the amount of money under or over the projected cap based upon the latest rumors ($120 million per team) that each NFC North team will be. The Bears are in good shape.
“Cap status: About $37 million under
“Comment: If anything, the Bears will have to spend significantly in order to exceed the cap “floor,” or the minimum expenditure required. Regardless, all indications have been that the Bears are prepared to be active in free agency. At least one starting-caliber offensive lineman should be on their shopping list.“
- The boys at Kissing Suzy Kolber have gotten a hold of the transcript from Jon Gruden’s latest interview with Terrelle Pryor. Here’s an excerpt:
“Jon Gruden: Terrelle Pryor! You kiddin’ me? This guy! This guy’s a football player! No way no how! Get out of here! I’m tellin’ ya!
Terrelle Pryor: Thank you for having me. That’ll be $85.”
- Great sports figures tell jokes for The Sports Pickle. Here’s a sample:
- Somehow they also got a hold of James Harrison’s letters of apology. This one to Rashard Mendenhall is interesting:
One Final Thought
Brandon at the ACME Packing Company (a Packers blog) disagrees with Ben Fawkes at ESPN (a grim assessment of the Bears chances to make the playoffs this year). He thinks the Bears will be just as good next season:
“Julius Peppers was a perfect fit for their defense last season, and they should return next season with a similar starting cast. Defense can be inconsistent from year-to-year, and last season their defense only allowed 286 points (4th best in the NFL), so they could have a problem if they allow 375 points (as they did in 2009). While I don’t see any reason why their defense should be notably worse next season, the only reason they fall out of playoff contention next season is if their defense takes a step back.”
A big part of the success of the Bears defense was thier amazing health last year. I can’t imagine it happening again. Though Brandon makes a good point, I find myself in the odd position of agreeing with Fawkes and disagreeing with a Packer fan who has nice things to say about the Bears. Hell freezing over in three… two… one…