- The Bears hired Jeremy Bates last week as the quarterbacks coach. Matt Bowen at the Chicago Tribune thinks that just having a guy he is comfortable with in the locker room as his position coach could make a big difference for Jay Cutler.
- Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune had this interesting nugget:
“Bates turned down an opportunity to interview with the Bears and sources indicated it was because of a communication issue with former general manager Jerry Angelo.”
You have to wonder if “communication issue” isn’t code for something else. I’m sure the odd situation at Halas Hall where Angelo interfered with the coaches wasn’t lost on Bates.
“If I’m a Bears fan, I wouldn’t get caught up in titles too much concerning why Bates wasn’t hired as passing-game coordinator. That is all it is, a title.”
Then why didn’t they give it to him? I think the answer can be found as John Mullin at CSNChicago.com opines that the hiring of Bates portends changes in the offense. I don’t agree and, in fact, Bates’ background in the West Coast Offense is probably the real reason he wasn’t given the title of passing game coordinator. He’s probably not familiar enough with the scheme Tice wants to run to be of much use in that capacity, at least for a while.
- Miller continues with this nice piece of inside informaiton:
“In terms of being one-and-done in Seattle, it relates more to Matt Hasselback than any failures by Bates. Hasellback had been in the west-coast Offense his entire career under Mike Holmgren. There were certain principles in the offense, I believe, Matt felt very strongly about over years of experience executing the system. Bates arrived in Seattle with his own set of beliefs in the system under [Jon] Gruden and Mike Shanahan’s tutelage as well.
“Yes, it is the same offense but areas of emphasis and how it is executed normally morph under whoever is calling the plays. Hence, the statement ‘philosophical differences’ when Bates was relieved of his offensive play-calling duties, despite making the playoffs while in Seattle.”
“Why was Jeremy Bates out of football last year? Did he get fired in Seattle and if he is so good why didn’t he have a job in the NFL this past season? — Chip, Wichita
“Bates was fired in Seattle for a couple of reasons, according to people I’ve spoken with who are familiar with the situation. The primary reason is the Seahawks offense wasn’t very good. The second reason is he didn’t mesh well with everyone in the building. He is known for being a bit prickly. He is, however, a football junkie who has a passion for the game and is good at what he does. A lot of head coaches are leery of adding a coach who is potentially combustible, which explains why Bates was out of football last year.”
“What do you think the chances are that the Bears go after Jermichael Finley in free agency? I’m assuming that new offensive coordinator Mike Tice will utilize the tight end much more than Mike Martz considering he actually played the position in the league… — Mike Clark; Hawley, Penn.”
“It might come down to whether or not the Bears want to invest in a big time wide receiver or a big time tight end, assuming Finley hits the open market. You can’t have everything you want because cash and cap space are limited. Finely would be an outstanding addition to the Bears because of the reasons you delineated. But adding him would not alleviate the need for a wide receiver. We have to be careful about making too many assumptions about how Tice wants to use the tight end. Just because he used to be a tight end doesn’t mean anything. Martz is a former tight end too. In Tice’s time in Minnesota, his tight ends were not big parts of the offense in his first two years. But in both of his last two years, tight end Jermaine Wiggins led the team in catches.
1) I don’t think investing in a tight end in free agency is a wise move. I’m not sure of the current statisitics but at one time it was the most injured position in football.
2) Actually Tice did try to use Jim Kleinsasser to create mismatches in his first years as Vikings head coach. The problem was that the Vikings weren’t too successful at it. Here’s hoping that he’s more successful with the Bears.
- And here’s another question:
“Who would you rather see in a Bears uniform next year: Vincent Jackson or Marques Colston? Both players seem to possess the talent and size of a number one wide receiver. Is there are possibility that the Bears sign one of these free agents? — Phil Keith, Milwaukee
“They are similar wide receivers. Both are very good players. Both have been very productive. Both players cause mismatches because of their size. Both have benefited from playing with outstanding quarterbacks and in ideal conditions. Their hands are decent, not great. Even though both players are about the same size (6-5, 230 for Jackson versus 6-4, 225 for Colston), Jackson is a more physical receiver. Colston might be a little faster and moreexplosive. From what I’m hearing, both could be available, probably at a price of about $9 million a year. Jackson might be a better fit for the NFC North, but either would look good in a Bears uniform. Jackson and Colston aren’t the only attractive potential free agent wide receiver for the Bears. Others who could be on the market include Dwayne Bowe, Josh Morgan, Robert Meachem, Wes Welker, Reggie Wayne, DeSean Jackson, Mario Manningham, Laurent Robinson and Plaxico Burress.
- Mullin reviews the flaws in the receivers who will likely be available in free agency. He seems to favor Marquis Colston.
- The mock drafts are starting to arrive. Here’s who ESPN’s Todd McShay has the Bears doing:
“Kendall Wright*, WR, Baylor
“The Bears have not spent a first-round pick on a wide receiver since David Terrell in 2001, and at some point they have to pull the trigger on a playmaker for QB Jay Cutler. A versatile speedster who can threaten defenses vertically and is dangerous after the catch, Wright is on the rise after catching 108 passes for 1,663 yards and hauling in 14 touchdowns in 2011.”
There are very few reasonable things the Bears could do in this draft that I would object to. But this pick would make me very unhappy. Wright is only 5’10” and its doubtful he would help a Bear receiving corp that can’t get off the line of scrimmage. They’re looking for a better version of Roy Williams.
“Assuming the Bears address their biggest need and finally get Jay Cutler a legit No.1 receiver this offseason, don’t you think they should trade Johnny Knox as well?… — Martin G., Philadelphia
“The trade market for wide receivers in body casts usually isn’t too inviting.”
- Steve Wyche and Jason Smith at NFL.com both think the Bears are the most likely team to be the Giants of 2012.
- Tony Dungy would seem to agree. Via ESPNChicago.com.
- Mullin says that Phil Emery won’t be meeting with the media at the combine. I don’t mind this too much. Jerry Angelo was a little to fond of the spot light. But I think the off season is when the general manager should be talking, not the head coach (who will still address the media at the combine). it will be interesting to see how often Emery talks to the media during the season when in my opinion it should really be left to head coach Lovie Smith.
- ESPN’s NFC North blogger Kevin Seifert reviews the division’s best and worst of the 2011 season.
I think its funny that had to actually create a category, “Biggest mistake II”, just to get Bear in there. The Roy Williams signing was nowhere the the magnitude of “Biggest mistake I” Donovan McNabb.
Let’s face it. The Bears were a pretty ‘blah” team.
- Khaled Elsayed at Pro Football Focus does a statistical analysis of the NFC North. Here was an interesting reference to the Bears:
“Corey Graham: +3.4 from 89 snaps
“Sure it’s a small sample size, but there was enough in watching Graham fill in for D.J. Moore covering the slot to wonder just how the special team’s ace would handle a role as part of the defense. The soon-to-be free agent did more in 89 snaps than some do in five times as many so maybe this will be the year a team gives him a shot to make his way into their sub-package D.”
- Terry Foster at The Detroit News thinks that Matthew Stafford has better shot at Super Bowl than Pro Bowl.
- Looks like Jerry Angelo wasn’t the only general manager who struggled with evaluating injury risks. Via Mike Florio at profootballtalk.com:
“Appearing with Ross Tucker on SiriusXM NFL Radio’s Opening Drive, [former Colts general manager Bill] Polian said that Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski failed a physical with the Colts prior to the 2010 draft.
“Though it looks like excuse-making, the reality is that there were many different opinions regarding Gronkowski two years ago. He had a serious back injury in college, which originally occurred while lifting weights. Some teams viewed the situation as a potential career-limiter. Other teams saw it as a non-issue.”
- NFL commissioner Roger Goodell says that the league might consider eliminating the Pro Bowl:
“We’re either going to have to improve the quality of what we’re doing in the Pro Bowl or consider other changes, or even (consider) eliminating the game, if that’s the kind of quality game we’re going to provide.”
“Any chance to up the intensity will also be met with a pragmatically cautious approach by players, New England Patriots lineman Logan Mankins said earlier this week.
“’You’re going to give a little effort, but you’re not going to get out of control,’ Mankins, a four-time Pro Bowl pick, said during a Super Bowl media session. ‘Some guys are free agents over there. You get hurt in a Pro Bowl and it’s going to affect that contract with another team. Who would want to get hurt in a Pro Bowl and not be able to play the next season?’”
I totally agree with Mankins. As a fan I’d be pretty upset to see someone on my team get hurt playing in a meaningless game like this. I’d rather see it eliminated.
- Sam Farmer at the Los Angeles Times has this interesting item:
“Trade deadline: The league is looking into moving the mid-October trade deadline later in the season to create more intrigue and strategy for buyers and sellers. For instance, the Broncos got nothing for Kyle Orton by unloading him in November, even though a lot of teams were angling for a quarterback. The Broncos could have used help at other positions and happily would have worked a trade.
“Also, the league will weigh the merits of compressing the free-agency window, just as it was forced to do last summer because of the lockout. That created a lot of excitement and interest because of the fast-moving bazaar of players switching teams. It saved teams money, too — something of keen interest to owners — because most players simply didn’t have the time to play one suitor off another.”
- I thought it was interesting that in his latest mock draft, McShay has wide receiver Justin Blackmon falling to the Redskins at 6 (past the Vikings who definitely need offensive weapons). This is probably going to be one of the most interesting drafts ever in terms of who goes where in the to ten picks. There are a lot of guys there past consensus number one pick Andrew Luck with not a lot separating them in terms of talent. Its also going to be interesting to see if anyone falls in love with Robert Griffin III and trades up for him.
- To my surprise, the Vikings quest to get a new stadium continues:
“The current site on the table is adjacent to the Vikings current home at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, and the plan would allow the Vikings to continue playing at the Metrodome for the majority of the construction process. The team would need to play for one season at the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium while the last 25 percent of construction is completed, and Vikings vice president of public affairs and stadium development Lester Bagley has been meeting with University officials to discuss those arrangements, according to Sid Hartman of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.”
I’ll say this. The Vikings really don’t want to move. With an empty stadium waiting in Los Angeles, I’m not so sure I’d still be in Minnesota right now if I owned the team.
- Though the Bears have plenty of cap room available, the other teams in the NFL North are going to find things pretty tight as they try to stay under. From Siefert.
- Seifert is also having a hard time understanding why Percy Harvin didn’t play more snaps in Minnesota. The answer is pretty simple. Like Devin Hester on the Bears, he’s not a number one receiver. He’s a role player.
- From Michael David Smith at profootballtalk.com, the Buccaneers interviewed both John Shoop and Ron Turner for their offensive coordinator position.
Personally, I think Turner is a reasonably option for anyone looking for a coordinator. But Shoop has had a lot more success in college at North Carolina. Some guys are just better coaching the college game and he might be one of them. Unless he’s learned a great deal in the time since he left the Bears, I’m going to say he’s much, much better off staying there in the future.
In the end, the Buccaneers finally ended up hiring Mike Sullivan, Eli Manning’s quarterbacks coach with the Giants (Via Florio).
- Jeff Fedotin at The National Football Post makes the case that Houston is the team to watch in the AFC next year. I agree.
- Rich Cimini at ESPNNewYork.com tells us that Bill Parcells wasn’t elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame this year because “dissenters on the committee were bothered by his itinerant career path” (i.e. he coached too many different teams).
You’ve got to be kidding me.
- Florio comments upon Bill Belichick’s Super Bowl strategy. Belichick worked all game to shut down receivers Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks. It resulted in Mario Manningham making a good catch near the end of the game to help spark the Giants to a win.
“Though Manningham didn’t have huge numbers, reliance on him in one of the game’s biggest moments meshed with something former Colts coach Tony Dungy had been saying last week. In the 2006 AFC title game, during which the Pats raced to a 21-3 lead, Belichick found a way to take away both Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne. The Colts then adjusted, targeting tight end Dallas Clark and taking advantage of opportunities in the running game.
“And so with Belichick so determined to take away what the opposing offense does best and with opposing offenses now figuring it out, the chess match needs to move to the next level, with Belichick making the enemy think he’ll be taking away the top weapons and then pouncing on the guy to whom the ball will actually go.”
- Florio (who is a lawyer) weighs in on MIA’s middle finger malfunction during the Super Bowl half time show:
“Safeguards in contracts against misconduct typically consist of the payment of money, often via something known under the law as ‘liquidated damages.’ Basically, the parties agree in advance that the actual harm resulting from a violation will be too difficult to tabulate, so they agree to a specific payment that will be due and owing if/when the party does that which the party agreed not to do.”
I hope she never makes another ungarnished dime again.
- Toni Monkovic at The New York Times brings up a good point that hasn’t gotten much attention:
“Late in the Super Bowl, on the Patriots’ final drive, the Giants were called for having 12 men on the field.
“But the penalty was only 5 yards, and the time that drained off the clock — eight seconds — was well worth the punishment. The infraction was almost certainly unintentional — Justin Tuck was trying to hustle off the field. But what’s to prevent other teams from copying this formula under similar circumstances?”
I agree with Monkovic that the chances are good that the competition committee will make a rule addressing this.
- From Farmer again:
“Now that’s odd: The Patriots did win something — the coin toss. That might not sound like a big deal, but it was the first time the AFC has won that 50/50 proposition in 15 consecutive Super Bowls.”
- Bill Belichick found a funny (and painful) way of motivating his players before the Super Bowl. From The Onion:
- The Sportress of Blogitude has pictures of Greg Jones as he proposes to his girlfreind after the Super Bowl. Note the look of joy on his mother’s face in the background in every picture.
- The Sports Pickle proposes a number of possible things that Gisele Bundchen whispered to Tom Brady after the Super Bowl loss. Here’s a good one:
One Final Thought
“The Bears also interviewed Alex Van Pelt and Greg Olson, but Smith insisted Bates was his man.
“‘I did a lot of research, and I think Jeremy is a perfect fit,’ Smith told the team website.
“‘Did we look at other guys? Yes, we did. Every time we have an opening, I look at everybody available.
“‘But in the end, it was Jeremy by a landslide.’”
Like me, Kip Lewis at CSNChicago.com remembers things a little differently:
“Recently published reports stated Jeremy Bates would not be considered for a position on the Bears’ coaching staff, but today Bates was named the team’s quarterbacks coach.”
“The Bears’ announcement of Bates’ hiring did not include the term “passing game coordinator,” a title that was offered to ex-Buccaneers offensive coordinator Greg Olson, who turned down the job last month. Olson chose to join the Jaguars, who gave him the title of assistant head coach along with quarterbacks coach.”
I understand that Lovie Smith has to put a positive spin on this. But that doesn’t mean he should feel free to treat us like an idiots. We know what happened here.