Forte Not Doing Himself Any Favors and Other Points of View


  • Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune reports on the Bears acquisition of running back Michael Bush.  This was a good signing, I think.  You need two good running backs these days.  Bush has good size but moves well and is almost kind of a slasher.  At minimum, he’ll be a good replacement of Marion Barber and he’ll probably be better in short yardage situations than anyone on the roster.
  • Bush’s signing generated this somewhat petulant response from Bears free agent Matt Forte on Twitter:

“There’s only so many times a man that has done everything he’s been asked to do can be disrespected! Guess the GOOD GUYS do finish last….”

Dan Pompei at the Chicago Tribune has a potential explanation:

“Perhaps the reason Matt Forte is so sensitive to sharing the meeting room, shower area and backfield with Michael Bush is he knows Bush can be more than just his caddie.”

The problem that I have isn’t that Forte feels disrespected. Its just that when someone offers you more money than most people will make in a lifetime, I don’t want to hear you complain about it.

His situation is totally different from yours and mine and I do understand that. I just don’t want to hear him cry about how “good guys finish last” on Twitter as if we’re supposed to be sympathetic.

Forte has an agent who is in charge of negotiating his contract and making public statements when warranted by things like this.  He would be a lot better off dumping Twitter, concentrating on football and letting his agent do his job by catching the flak.

  • Pompei answers this good fan question:

“There were six other NFL teams that finished with the same record as the Chicago Bears. The Arizona Cardinals pick 13th in the upcoming draft and the Bears will select at 19. How was draft order determined, and how badly do you think this will impact the Bear’s ability to get the player they want?”
“— Norb Gecewicz, Deer Park

“The first tiebreaker in the draft for teams with identical records is strength of schedule. Because the Bears played a stronger schedule than the Cardinals, Cowboys, Eagles, Jets, Raiders (their pick now belongs to the Bengals) and Chargers, they pick last among all the 8-8 teams. And picking 19th as opposed to 13th definitely could cost the Bears dearly. If you say the Bears’ biggest need is an edge rusher, the Cardinals, Cowboys, Jets and Chargers all could use one as well (though each of those teams runs a 3-4). If you say the Bears really need an offensive tackle, the Cardinals, Jets and Chargers are threats to take one of them. And if you still want another receiver, the Cardinals, Jets and Bengals all could ruin the Bears’ plans.”

  • For those looking to see the Bears bolster the defensive line, Pompei gives some draft analysis:

“The four best defensive ends in the draft that fit the Bears’ scheme, in alphabetical order, are Melvin Ingram from South Carolina, Whitney Mercilus from Illinois, Nick Perry from Southern Cal and Courtney Upshaw from Alabama. There is a chance the Bears will have their pick of these four, but I really think there is a good chance Mercilus is off the board at 19. I also think there is a good chance Quinton Coples from North Carolina could be off the board, but I don’t see him as the kind of player the Bears will be looking for. Different players will rank these ends in different orders based on their schemes, so we can’t be completely sure how they will come off the board.”

“According to the West Virginian Times, Smith and Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin were both on hand Friday, probably to get a close look at defensive end/outside linebacker Bruce Irvin.”

Despite the fact that he was at the combine for interviews, Biggs says that the Bears will have him in for a visit before the draft.  He may require an extra hard look because of his checker past.  In fact,  after his pro day last week, he was arrested for allegedly damaging a sign outside a Jimmy John’s sandwich shop.  But given the Bears new focus on “on field character”, it probably won’t matter much.

Pompei reports on what scouts think of Irvin for The National Football Post:

“The fear is that at 245 pounds, Irvin isn’t big enough to put his hand in the dirt, and he doesn’t have the understanding of the game to play outside linebacker. Coaches will have a hard time trusting him as an outside linebacker, but it may be the only thing he can do.”

  • Pompei answers another very good fan question:

“With Mike Shanahan looking for weapons for Robert Griffin and the price for [Brandon] Marshall being so reasonable, why do you think the Redskins did not trade for him? Marshall had his most productive games playing for Shanahan. With the trade for RG3 and the signing of Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan, it’s obvious that draft picks and money are not the issue. Does Shanahan know something we Bears fans don’t? — Mazhar Paliwala, Buffalo Grove

“My sense is Shanahan had his fill of Brandon Marshall, but I could be wrong. In 2009, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported that had Shanahan stayed in Denver, he was preparing to cut Marshall because he believed Marshall hurt the Broncos more than he helped them. If Mortensen said it, I believe it. He’s as solid as they come. Then again, the Marshall that Shanahan knew might not be the Marshall that Lovie Smith is going to know, if Marshall is to be believed. Marshall says his treatment for borderline personality disorder has made him a new man. We’ll see. But there is another reason why the Redskins might not have been in the Marshall trade discussions. Even though the compensation requests from the Dolphins were reasonable, the Redskins don’t have much trade ammunition after the RG3 trade. They already are missing a second-round pick this year and first-round picks in 2013 and 2014. They really are not in position to be giving away two more picks.”

“You have to be careful with players who did not produce a lot in college, especially wide receivers. I think he would be a fine pick in the second round, where taking big risks makes more sense.”

  • Pompei also quotes former Redskins GM Vinny Cerato on new Bears QB Jason Campbell:

“He has a big arm, a very good arm.  He’s athletic. He can run. He can make first downs with his legs. He can make all the throws.

“The negatives are he holds the ball too long at times. He fumbled a lot from the pocket. And he has just average anticipation. He gets in trouble some from holding the ball.”

  • ESPN’s NFC North blogger Kevin Seifert delivers some bad news regarding Brian Urlacher:’s late season knee injury.
  • Mark Potash at the Chicago Sun-Times reports that Corey Graham has signed with the Baltimore Ravens, presumably because they promised him a chance to play in the defensive back field.  They promised Brandon Ayenbadajo the same thing.  How’s that working out?
  • Pompei, this time writing for The National Football Post, on former Bears running back Cedric Benson:

“The Bengals’ backfield makeover isn’t about dissatisfaction with Cedric Benson as much as it is about molding the offense to suit Jay Gruden’s offense… The Bengals are looking at backs with speed, receiving skills, and the ability to pass protect.”

So it’s about dissatisfaction with Benson.


  • Last week I wondered if the Bears might not pursue defensive end Andre Carter.   Ian Rappaport at the Boston Herald provides a pretty good clue as to why they haven’t.
  • Fans wondering why the Bears didn’t pop for Mike Wallace will find thier answer here.  From Matt Barrows at the Sacramento Bee.
  • Mike Florio at reports that Jeremy Shockey is seriously considering a law suit against the NFL Network’s Warren Sapp after Sapp reported that he was the snitch who gave information on the Saints bounty program.
  • It looks like the Redskins and Cowboys are also feeling litigious.  They might sue the league over the penalties they incurred for dumping salary in what was theoretically an uncapped year of the last labor contract.  It apparently wasn’t and the teams are now paying for violating a rule that wasn’t a rule even though it was.  If you get my meaning.  Via Mike Florio:

“It’s unknown whether the Redskins and Cowboys are bluffing in order to force a compromise, or whether they indeed truly intend to file suit.  Reducing the allegations to writing necessarily will expose that the league was engaged in collusion in 2010, which could have all sorts of unintended consequences for the entire NFL, including the Redskins and the Cowboys.

“And so the real question is whether the Redskins and Cowboys are angry/crazy enough to drop a grenade into a room they won’t be able to escape.

“The answer very well could be yes.”

  • Cowboys QB Tony Romo takes a lot of heat.  So this statement from a Brownsville Herald interview with Hall of Fame QB Troy Aikman is going to take some people by surprise:

“Herald: Who do you think is the better quarterback, you or Tony Romo?

“Aikman: ‘I think Tony already is a better quarterback than I was. I know how quarterbacks are judged but as far as his play-making ability and the things that he is capable of doing, he is a far more athletic quarterback, capable of making more plays than I ever was able to. He has a good team around him and hopefully, and I believe this will happen, I believe that he will win a Super Bowl before he is done playing.’”

“You know, you can’t … everyone has their opinion.  You go out there and try to help your football team win, and I just happen to play with an edge to me. I never want to hurt the football team, but also want to make big plays and help this football team win and lead this football team.”

Translation:  “Yes”.

“Quinn will now be reunited with coach Romeo Crennel and new offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, both of whom worked with Quinn in Cleveland.  It actually gives Quinn a bit of an edge over incumbent starter Matt Cassel.

“‘You can’t make every decision in life based on money,’ Quinn told the Kansas City Star, via  ‘For me, personally, I had to make the best decision I felt like for me.  And Kansas City was the right choice.’”

  • Former Bears Director of College Scouting Greg Gabriel, now at the National Football Post, doesn’t think much of writers (and bloggers) who think they know more than scouts and general managers about prospects.
  • The NFL is apparently considering making some changes to instant replay.  The proposals call for moving the entire operation to the replay booth without the involvement of officials on the field and expanding the automatic use of replay to all turnovers:  interceptions and fumbles.  The full list of proposed rule changes can be found here.  Via Florio.
  • To ESPN’s great joy, there’s some momentum building for Robert Griffin III as the number one overall pick instead of Andrew LuckMerril Hoge likes RG3 better (vai Florio) and there are certain aspects of his game that Greg Cosell at the NFL Films Blog likes better as well.  On the other hand, the scouts that Pompei trusts aren’t buying it.

Both Cosell and Pompei, who is writing for The National Football Post, agree that Luck is the most NFL ready in terms of his experience in a pro style offense and that Griffin has the stronger arm.  But the differences in opinion are notable:

1)  Cosell believes RG3 shows better ball placement, Pompei’s article disagrees.

2)  Pompei’s people believe that Luck avoids pressure in the pocket better.  But what Cosell says in this regard about RG3 is significant:

“[Griffin impressed me with] his patience and composure in the pocket. He did not move when the bodies started closing it down. He threw effectively out of what we call a “muddied” pocket”. He did not need much functional space to deliver the ball with velocity and distance. Surprisingly, in my 5 game breakdown of Luck, he exhibited a tendency to move too quickly, to leave the pocket too early. The result was often a positive because of his athleticism and ability to throw on the run, but I am very anxious to chart this element of his game in the NFL.”

What sticks out to me about Griffin is his unconventional throwing style.  But its not necessarily a bad thing.  He seems to throw over the top a lot which will keep the ball from being batted down and he his release is reasonably quick as he literally seems to flick the ball out.

I don’t know if I like him better than Luck but I definitely do like him.

“I understood why the Dolphins wanted Peyton Manning, possibly the greatest quarterback of all time. I even understood the pursuit of Matt Flynn as someone who has a potential upside worth exploring. But you have to draw the line somewhere and accept that you’re no longer seeking to upgrade the position, but rather just looking to replace Moore for the sake of it.”

“If you watched Matt Moore last year, you’ll know that the Miami Dolphins really don’t need to. Which begs the question; just what were they watching?”

“So why are the Dolphins having a hard time luring free agents to South Beach?  Steelers safety Ryan Clark has a theory.”

“Clark later says, ‘It’s my honest opinion. Not a good guy making decisions.’

“Here’s referring, presumably, to G.M. Jeff Ireland.”

“If it’s true, the Dolphins need to find a way to fix the situation.  If it’s not true, the Dolphins need to find a way to reverse a false perception.”

I’m not so sure its Ireland that Clark is referring to.  Stephen Ross, the owner of the Dolphins, doesn’t seem to have the sense of integrity that most of the other people around the try to NFL exhibit.  I think his attempt to secretly interview Jim Harbaugh for a position that Tony Sparano still held told us all we need to know about him.

I might add that he didn’t do his trading partner on the Brandon Marshall deal any favors either.  Via Izzy Gould at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel:

“[Miami fan Jason] Lawrence said he asked [Ross] about the decision to trade leading wide receiver Marshall to Chicago for two third-round draft picks. Twice, Lawrence said, Ross would not say if the Dolphins were rebuilding. He told Lawrence moving Marshall was not about money, but more about protecting team morale.

“’[Ross] said they had been shopping [Marshall] for a couple weeks,’ Lawrence said. ‘Nobody would return their phone calls about getting him. If Chicago didn’t take [Marshall] … they would have ended up cutting him very shortly after that, and got nothing.’”

So basically the Bears gave two third round picks for a wide receiver they could have gotten for a lot less because no one else wanted him.  Setting aside what this means for the Bears, the fact that Ross would embarrass the Bears by letting this out speaks volumes for his integrity or lack thereof.

Teams are likely to be very careful about dealing with the Dolphins in the future.

  • Looking at GM Jeff Ireland’s Wikipedia page, some Dolphins fans have apparently chosen to protest the teams recent moves in their own unique way.  Via The Sports Pickle:

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One Final Thought

For those wondering why the Saints got such a severe penalty for carrying on a bounty program, you might want to read the official statement from the NFL.  There was a lot of lying going on, here.

Its fairly evident that head coach Sean Payton was, to say the least, taken by surprise (even though he shouldn’t have been).  Via Florio:

“[Jay Glazer on NFL Network] said, ‘Are you OK?’ And he said, ‘No, I’m not OK.’ He is stunned. He’s going to lose about $8 million. He is beside himself here.’”

Steve Rosenbloom at the Chicago Tribune bottom lines the situation:

“Some people contend that every team has run something like the Saints’ pay-for-pain idea. Maybe, maybe not. But the Saints did it, continued doing it and got caught. So, consider this a tax on the stupid, as well.”

Bears Shifts Philosophy Under Emery. And Other Points of View.


Rasheedah Watley has known Brandon Marshall since he was 12 and laughed when I asked her Wednesday if the Bears can change Marshall in ways the Broncos or Dolphins couldn’t.

“’It’s very foolish to think that,’ said Watley, Marshall’s high school sweetheart. ‘I don’t know how many chances you can give somebody. I’m really fearful for someone’s daughter or sister. The guy needs some real help.’’

“Watley has a pending civil suit against Marshall based on a history of alleged domestic violence.”

‘‘I have only had positive experiences with Brandon.  He is misunderstood. Once you get to know him, he will give you the shirt off his back.”

‘‘My thing is this: Get to know him, the man, before you pass judgment.’’

“In due time, the truth will be out, and we’re excited about that.  Given my history, I definitely understand the concern and the questions.”

Ya think?

Personally, Im assuming it was just the story from Marshall’s lawyer.  According to Dan Pompei, also at the Tribune, general manager Phil Emerydeclined to say whether he called the New York police, talked to bouncers at the club, hired a private investigator to look into the matter or simply relied on the word of a colleague looking to move a player.”  He also “would not say whether language was included in the deal to protect one of the draft picks if the player winds up with a long suspension this year.”

That sounds good until you realize that the Bears really never have rehabilitated a player.  They’re really better known for cutting guys like this.  I respected that.  Until now.

“Yeah, I’ll take that responsibility,” Cutler said. “Brandon will take that on as well. He knows what he’s done wrong in the past.  Any support I can give him, I’m there for him.”

“Emery got into an uncomfortable exchange with a reporter at one point when asked if the trade, the first big move of his tenure, could be seen as symbolic of his philosophy or simply a matter of timing.

“‘In terms of bringing in big productive playmakers, yes,’ Emery said. ‘In terms of bringing in people we feel are going to fit … our goal of winning a championship and someone (who) is mature and (has) shown … courage to improve as a person, yes.’”

Biggs also pointed to the change:

“Time and time again, the Bears did their best to shift the conversation to Brandon Marshall the football player, not the man off the field.

“[Emery said,] ‘Also, the performance on the field reveals the person’s football character in terms of his passion, his toughness, his competitiveness. We know Brandon’s one of the top players in the NFL, and that speaks volumes about his football character.’

Head coach Lovie Smith also seems to be on board:

‘“Every employee you hire, there’s some risk,’ Smith said. ‘But you weigh that, which we did. I looked at what we had in place here. Having Jeremy Bates here, being his position coach in Denver, helps a lot. Having him work with Jay and knowing that relationship, a relationship between a quarterback and a receiver … is very important. That helped a lot also. And we’re trying to win games.”

Finally, Potash also emphasized the new bottom line :

“A question about the risk of acquiring oft-troubled wide receiver Brandon Marshall elicited a nearly five-minute soliloquy from Bears general manager Phil Emery on all the factors that convinced him it was worth it to trade two third-round draft picks for a three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver with a litany of personal-conduct issues.”

“That’s all well and good. But it took coach Lovie Smith about 45 seconds of his own babble to cut to the heart of the matter when asked a similar question.

‘‘’We’re trying to win games,’ Smith said.”

So if Marshall spends his offseason beating women, its only a reflection of his ‘football character’.  Under the new regime, that’s what counts.

  • In fairness to Emery, based upon the calls to sports talk radio I’ve heard, this seems to be OK with a surprising number of fans, many of whom can’t see past the uniform.  But even those fans become quiet when you ask them this:  “How often will Marshall show that character if he’s suspended and not on the field?”
  • Assuming that Marshall does eventually find his way onto the field, the good news for those fans is that the Bears seem to have gotten a wide receiver who was superior to anyone else out there.  Biggs compares him to top free agent Vincent Jackson:

“Marshall, Emery pointed out, has the second most catches of any receiver in the NFL over the last five seasons, behind only the Patriots’ Wes Welker. What he didn’t say is Marshall has almost twice as many catches (474 to 242) as Jackson over that period.

“‘We really like who he is as a route runner,’ Emery said. ‘We like who he is in terms of his flexibility of alignment. Brandon can be an X, or he can be a Z or he can be an inside slot because he has that great combination of size. He’s 230 pounds. Length, he’s taller than 6 feet 4. And he has great route feet, you know, body control, hips, and he has great strength to move defenders out of the way to get position and make the catch.’”

“One executive who has studied both players said Jackson is faster and a little better with the ball in his hands. But Marshall competes for the ball better, is a superior blocker and a significantly better route runner.”

“In 2010, Marshall had a drop percentage of 8.5, which ranked 60th in the NFL that season. That means 59 receivers caught a higher percentage of the catchable passes thrown their way.

“In 2011, Marshall’s drop percentage was 6.9, ranking him No. 52 in the league.

“In this case, the percentage confirms what the raw numbers suggest. Marshall’s drops weren’t only a function of his high involvement in the Miami Dolphins offense. He missed more catchable passes than dozens of other NFL receivers.”

“As we discussed Thursday, it would be difficult to reconcile any suggestion that Marshall has turned a personal corner if the allegation from Sunday’s incident — that he punched a woman in the eye — is true. It would make Friday’s news conference performance a high-quality con job.”

Seiferts comments highlights the difference between words and deeds.  And history indicates that even Marshall’s words aren’t trustworthy.

In terms of the current incident, here’s what Marshall said (emphasis is mine):

“Monday night, he was involved peripherally in an incident at a New York club in which his wife was hit with a bottle during an altercation neither of them was part of, according to a statement from Marshall’s attorney, Harvey Steinberg.”

And here’s what the police reportedly say:

“New York City Police received a report Monday about the alleged assault outside the tony club Marquee in Manhattan at about 3:30 a.m. An argument between a group of men and Marshall that had begun inside spilled outside when Marshall allegedly hit her.”

So, basically, we have yet another lie from a player who has had plenty of practice doing it.  The next thing you know, we’ll hear that she slipped on a McDonalds wrapper and his fist hit her on the way down.

  • Many fans have pointed out that the victim might be simply trying to take Marshall for some money.  But the woman’s motivation is irrelevant.  What’s important is that the Bears just bought a receiver who is likely headed towards a suspension before he ever sees the field as a Bear.
  • Seifert compares the Marshall acquisition to that of a sports car.

“You’ve read the reviews, which include a long history of high performance and extensive maintenance. You’re hemming and hawing. You figure you’re a great driver, never had an accident, and feel relatively immune toward the chances the car will break down on you. The dealer offers one final test drive. As you careen around the final corner into the lot, laughing the whole way, the transmission drops to the ground.

“What do you do? Write it off as a random and unpredictable incident? Or do you connect it with the documented history of this model and head to the minivan dealer?”

“It wasn’t clear if Marshall intentionally struck [Christine] Myles or if he meant to hit one of her friends, according to the [New York Daily News] report.

“Only buying that if the other friend was a woman.”

“A strong sales pitch for defensive end Jeremy Mincey fell short. He was minutes away from joining the Bears Tuesday night when the Jaguars lured him back with a four-year contract.”

  • Seifert comments on the re-signing of Israel Idoinije:

“The question is whether the Bears intend for Idonije to resume his full-time role, or if their pursuit of Mincey (and possibly others) indicate they will continue searching for another starting option. The Bears don’t have much depth at the position, which is why they were forced to play Idonije — a longtime reserve/swing lineman — on 84.4 percent of their defensive spans last season. “

The signing of Idonije, along with Jennings and Steltz, is simply insurance.  The Bears are now working in free agency to make sure they don’t take a step back at any position of need.  They’ll now look to draft the best players available to compete at these positions to make themselves better knowing that if no one falls to them, they are covered.

“It does not sound as if the team is intent on finding a new starter for the offensive line, however.

“Smith indicated he was excited about Gabe Carimi and Chris Williams returning from injuries. ‘I like the look of our offensive line with the guys with have signed up right now,’ he said.”

Though I most certainly do not like the idea of J’Marcus Webb at left tackle again, I do recognize the Bears’ problem.  Teams usually don’t let good ones get away and there’s not much out there.  For instance, Seifert comments on what was probably the best left tackle realistically available:

“Veteran Marcus McNeill visited earlier this week, and his situation is a perfect example of how left tackles who are available often are damaged goods in some way. McNeill is a two-time Pro Bowler but has had two neck surgeries and suffers from spinal stenosis. It would have been hard to count on him for more than a year-by-year basis.”

Emery seems to have the right idea:

“Asked about adding a lineman, Emery said the Bears will always be searching for depth.  He said they could look at other free agent linemen, and the team will look “very hard” at offensive linemen in the draft.”

“Outside of [Peyton] Manning there are no “marquee” players left. On a short term deal though I think once he is healthy, and as he showed last season in New England, Andre Carter can really provide a boost to a defense. He’s not a long term option but if you’re a contender, running a 4-3 defense, with a hole at defensive end you can do far worse than to sign Carter on a one year deal. If I was theJacksonville Jaguars I’d take a look at him.”

You could say the same for the Bears, I think.

  • Biggs quotes Emery on new backup quarterback Jason Campbell:

“Arm strength is very important because of our weather and the teams we play.  That to me was a prerequisite moving forward.”

“Cutler joined coach Lovie Smith in raving about tight end Kellen Davis, who signed a two-year contract. ‘He can be one of the premier tight ends in the league if we use him correctly and he stays healthy and all the stars align,’ Cutler said. ‘He’s such a talented guy, so big, so strong, fast, catches the ball well. So we’ve got to design a package that sets him up for success.’”

Davis is probably an adequate tight end but he’s never going to be a star in the league.  He’s good for short passes of 10 yards or less or the occasional pass down the seam but don’t count on him to do much with the ball after the catch.


  • Mike Florio at highlights the conflict of interest that results from players with competing interests are represented by the same agency, in this case Peyton Manning and Alex Smith:

“Both players are free agents, and the 49ers surely will want to keep Smith if the 49ers don’t land Manning.  In order to best represent Smith, his agent should be trying to persuade the 49ers to make a decision sooner rather than later.  In order to best represent Manning, his agent should be trying to persuade the 49ers to wait on Smith until Manning makes up his mind.”

“More specifically, the two teams are contemplating suing anyone and everyone connected to the sudden removal of $46 million in total cap space over the next two years, based on the contention that their treatment of the term ‘uncapped year’ too literally somehow created a competitive disadvantage.  Even though no rules or policies were violated.”

  • Sally Jenkins at the Washington Post explains:

“The word is that [Washington owner Dan] Snyder is beside himself, but he has only his uncontrollable self-interest to blame. What happened was this: Back in 2010, when the NFL entered hardball negotiations with the players union for a new labor contract, the owners warned each other not to use the situation to get a leg up. They were in an uncapped year, with no limit on player salaries, and entering a tense and emotionally fraught labor situation, and they asked each other not to abuse the circumstances.

“In essence they said, ‘Don’t try to set yourselves up to be in a better spot when this is over.’ Think of it like a yellow caution flag in a car race: The drivers agree to hold their places and not to accelerate until the track is clear.”

“Snyder is said to be lawyering up and alleging ‘collusion,’ but experts say a legal challenge will be tough. For one thing, colluding in this instance means improperly acting collectively to suppress salaries. But salaries weren’t suppressed. They were just moved around, manipulated by the Redskins for the purpose of evasion and gaining a future competitive advantage when the cap was reinstated. For another, the group that the NFL owners supposedly colluded against, the union, has signed off on the punishment.”

I’m sure the league got advise from their lawyers before they did this but I have to say that I’m not at all sure there’s no case here.  When owners “warn each other” it sure sounds like collusion and I’m not at all sure salaries weren’t suppressed.  Jenkins probably says that’s the case because the cap room the Redskins lost was distributed amongst the other teams in the league.  But had the owners not “spoken to each other,” who knows how many other franchises would have dumped cap the way the Redskins did.  And who knows how high the effective cap would have been this year had all of that extra cap been distributed amongst the other franchises.

In any case, to me “uncapped” means “uncapped” no matter what the owners whisper amongst themselves.  Anything less seems to be illegal to me.  Or at least it ought to be.

  • Seifert points out that the Packers need a center now that Scott Wells has left for the Rams.  Look for them to draft one early.  Wisconsin’s Peter Konz is a good possibility.
  • Pompei, this time writing for The National Football Post, digs out this interesting nugget:

“In fact, Bucs owner Joel Glazer was quoted as saying this in 2007. ‘Free agency can be almost like a drug. You look for that quick hit, that quick feel-good. I know teams that year in and year out are the Super Bowl champions of free agency, and amazingly enough it doesn’t seem to happen for them during the season. If you can resist the urge for about six weeks, you’re often better off.’”

The fact that the Bucs are eating up cap space by signing free agents like its going out of style this year doesn’t diminish the truth behind this quote.  The only proven way to consistently compete in the NFL is through the draft.

  • Free agent tackle Samson Satel’s timing rivals Brandon Marshall’s.  Via the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
  • Sam Monson at Pro Football Focus has a few observations from the first week of free agency that I thought were interesting:

“The schematic balance in the NFL continues to shift.”

“This offseason cornerbacks are raking in big money, but the shift in value seems to have come at the cost of linebackers, who are once again experiencing a slow market. Last offseason several high profile and talented players saw a complete lack of interest and ended up signing on for cheap, short contracts in the hope that they could try again down the road. At the time some of this was put down to the chaotic and truncated nature of post-lockout free agency, but now it looks more like the league has begun to value smaller defensive backs who can play the pass over linebackers, many of whom are now rendered two-down players by the ever expanding passing game.”

“Some teams evidently don’t watch tape

The Vikings signed John Carlson to a healthy contract worth around $5m a season. It’s a five-year contract that can be dumped after two seasons, but regardless, the only way you could decide that is good value is if the last bit of John Carlson tape you watched featured a golden dome and Touchdown Jesus.”

“This is a move that seems speculative at best, blindfolded dart-throwing at worst.”

“Quarterback Dominos”

“The Manning sweepstakes is now only down to a couple, but the market for Matt Flynn, another potential answer to a team’s QB issues, is being hampered by the shadow of the Kevin Kolb deal last season. Flynn has shown huge ability in flashes, and teams have thrown big money at those players before, but his current options seem reluctant to pay him for performance that they can’t guarantee he’ll hit. The Cardinals sunk a lot of money into Kevin Kolb on similar potential, and after a stinking first season in the desert, they just had to bite the bullet and pay him another $7m bonus because they have no viable alternative. Nobody wants to repeat that same mistake with Matt Flynn, while the evidence of what it means if you guess wrongly staring them so plainly in the face.”

“Mario Williams: Signed with the Bills after other teams were unable to clear enough cap room to sign both him and his pectoral muscles”

One Final Thought

WSCR’s Steve Rosenbloom did an interesting interview of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel’s  Omar Kelly.  On whether Marshall’s treatment for borderline personality disorder will affect his on field performance: “He’s trying to kill ‘The Beast.’”

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Brandon Marshall Acquisition. And Other Points of View.


  • Sean Jensen at the Chicago Sun-Times points out some of the many positives about the Bears trade of two third round draft picks for wide receiver Brandon Marshall:

“The Bears were linked to Vincent Jackson, a two-time Pro Bowl selection. But Jackson is nearly two years older than Marshall, who turns 28 on March 23, and his price tag was much higher. Jackson signed a five-year contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that averages $11.1 million a year, nearly $2??million more than Marshall.”

“Marshall joins the Arizona Cardinals’ Larry Fitzgerald and the Atlanta Falcons’ Roddy White as the only receivers to top 1,000 receiving yards in each of the last five seasons. He holds the NFL record with 21 catches in a single game.”

“What Marshall can do, with size and explosiveness, is make big plays. He had 16 receptions of 25 yards or more last year, which was fourth most in the NFL according to Stats.”

“He was the star of stars at the last Pro Bowl and was awarded the most valuable player award for catching six passes for 174 yards and four touchdowns. He owns the NFL single-game record for catches with 21 against the Colts in 2009.”

“Marshall should make Cutler better quickly, according to one pro scout, because he will give him more margin for error.

“’Brandon is bigger than Devin Hester or Johnny Knox, so Cutler can throw it to an area and Marshall can go get it,’ he said. ‘That makes Cutler more accurate.’”

“If history is an indicator, Marshall will be high maintenance in the locker room and away from Halas Hall.”

“Marshall better get the football.

“If he does not, he can be disruptive. Marshall has a history of complaining and pouting if things don’t go his way.”

  • And Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune also makes a good point:

“Marshall, 6-foot-4, 230 pounds, is also known as a rugged blocker in the running game, something that will make him an ideal fit for new coordinator Mike Tice.”

  • At least I think we’ve seen the last of this anyway:

“Symbolically and otherwise, striking with the Marshall trade so soon after free agency began illustrated [general manager Phil] Emery understood the urgency of fixing the Bears’ offense before anything else.”

No matter what you think of the moves Emery made yesterday, one thing is certain.  He did act decisively and with urgency to fill some needs.  A good sign.  A better one will be if he turns out to have gotten the right guys.

  • Jensen also points out one major disadvantage to the trade for Marshall:  the fact that he eats up a lot of their available cap space.  The Bears had roughly $24 million in space before the Marshall signing and he will account for almost $10 million of that.  $14 million probably won’t allow them to sign a Mario Williams and take care of their draft picks and other free agents at the same time.  So Williams is probably not a possibility any more.
  • Pompei agrees that the Bears are likely out of the running for Williams. He suggests alther options such as re-signing Israel Idonije and/or making a run at Kamerion Wimbley if the Raiders cut him.  The Raiders need to either guaranteed $17.5 million by Sunday or let him walk.   They don’t currently have the cap space to do that.
  • Jensen also reports on the signing of back up quarterback Jason Campbell.  Campbell played well for the Raiders last year before being injured, going 4-2 as a starter.
  • Pompei also had this to say after the Campbell signing:

“Although veteran Josh McCown did some good things toward the end of last season, some in the organization view him as a No. 3 quarterback.”

I think your number 3 had better be a developmental guy.  An interesting question that will need ot be answered in the coming months is whether Nathan Enderle will be that guy or will it be someone else?

“’I always respected what he did and how he worked at his craft — and he’s not the biggest guy, he’s not the strongest guy,’ [49ers special teams coach Brad] Seely told the Associated Press this last season. ‘But he’s one of those guys that his whole is much better than the parts. What he brings on Sunday is really a unique situation for us in special teams in the sense that he’s really good at his job.’”

“’I’m happy. I’m satisfied,’ Jennings said. ‘I got it over and done with. I just wanted the Bears to show me love. I feel like I’ve put in a good amount of the work the last few years. I didn’t really want to test free agency out. I just wanted to be wanted. Free agency wasn’t an option.’”

“The move means the team no longer has cornerback as a major need, though the Bears still could use a corner.  It is likely the team will either draft a cornerback or sign a free agent who is not in high demand.”

“The Bears coaching staff would like to see him make more plays on the football.”

Yes, the Bears still need a corner.  Jennings is good insurance but they’d rather have someone better, I think.  After all is said and done, fans will recall that the Bears did bench Jennings at one point last year for allowing too many big plays.  His resigning is probably more an indication that they didn’t see anyone in free agency that they thought they could sign at the right price and they didn’t want to gamble on finding the right guy in the draft.

“What are the chances of the Bears signing a left tackle and a wide receiver in free agency and going heavy on defense in the draft to add some much needed youth on that side of the ball? — Steve Larsen; Sebring, Fla.

“I like the way you are thinking Steve. I wouldn’t get too excited about landing a left tackle in free agency though. The left tackle free agent class will be very, very thin — possibly non-existent. And the last we heard, the Bears are confident that J’Marcus Webb can improve enough to handle the position. But the idea of going with defense in the draft is a good one. The Bears defense doesn’t just need to add good players, it needs to add good, young players.”

I really don’t understand why the Bears are stuck on J’Marcus Webb as the left tackle of the future.  Virtually everyone else who has eyes can see that Webb doesn’t have what it takes to handle the position.  In a division full of excellent defensive linemen, they need a left tackle badly.

  • On a related note, Khaled Elsayed at Pro Football Focus tells us how much they love free agent Eric Winston, who was just released from the Houston Texans.  Winston is a right tackle but the Bears could be in the market if they’re willing to move either him or Gabe Carimi to the left.  Probably the best free agent lineman is still Jared Gaither, who is a true left tackle.  He is still a possibility.
  • On the other hand, we have this question to Pompei:

“Given how hard it is to get good, starting offensive tackles in free agency, should the Bears draft an OLT in the first round and use free agency to upgrade at WR and DE? If not, who will be the Bears swing tackle in 2012? — Paul Taylor; Chandler, Ariz.

“If a left tackle who is an excellent value is available at 19, I’d have no problem if the Bears selected him. I don’t suspect that will be the case, however. There probably are three offensive tackles worth taking that high — Matt Kalil of Southern Cal, Riley Reiff of Iowa and Jonathan Martin of Stanford. My hunch is all three will be off the board by the time the Bears pick, and better values will be available at other positions. The Bears’ swing tackle in 2012 very well could be Chris Williams, or, if Williams wins a starting offensive tackle job, the swing tackle could be Webb. Either way, at this point it looks like Williams is moving back to tackle.”

I note that Mel Kiper at ESPN has both Bobby Massie and Mike Adams ranked above Jonathan Martin in his position rankings.  Adams, at least, projects as a left tackle.  In fact, Kiper has him going to the Bears in his latest mock draft.  Adams posted disappointing numbers in the bench press at the combine.  But I’m guessing that how Adams performed on tape is what’s going to count with Emery.

Adams was an inconsistent performer but when he was on, he showed immense talent on the field.  He might be a guy to watch.

“Will the Bears draft an outside linebacker and start him or sign a free agent? Nick Roach is an average linebacker at best. — Tawone Miller, Chicago

“I think there is a good chance the starting linebackers in 2012 will be Roach, Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs. I don’t believe the Bears will actively try to replace Roach, though there is a chance they could draft a linebacker in the high rounds with the thought that he will be an eventual replacement for Urlacher or Briggs. If that player can be an immediate upgrade from Roach, he could start out as the strong side linebacker this year. The only other complicating factor in the linebacker scenario is Briggs’ unhappiness with his contract. There remains a chance Briggs could play elsewhere this season, but I think it’s a slim chance.”

Its been easy to ignore the linebacker position with Urlacher and Briggs as steady performers.  But I think everyone agrees that its high time the Bears paid some attention to it.

  • Head coach Lovie Smith had lunch with wide receiver Stephen Hill, a potential draft pick.  Hill impressed at the combine with his size and speed but isn’t known for having very good hands.  He sounds to me like a Raider but safe to say the Bears are interested.  Via Biggs.
  • On a related note, ESPN NFC North blogger Kevin Seifert points out that Smith was on hand to watch wide receiver Justin Blackmon workout.  As the Bears have absolutely no shot at drafting Blackmon, I can only assume there’s another Okalahoma State player on their radar.


  • Probably the most disturbing aspect of the New Orleans Saints bounty program isn’t the involvement of defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.  Its the involvement of a somewhat shady character named Michael Ornstein, who is profiled by the web site Dead Spin here.   Ornstein is a close friend and confidant of Sean Payton.

“Ornstein on at least four occasions pledged his own money to the Saints’ defense’s bounty fund. In 2009, $10,000 toward knocking an opposing quarterback out of the game. In 2011, two separate contributions to targeting the quarterback. And on at least one other occasion, Ornstein pledged his money in an email to Payton, which spelled out the details of the bounty program.

“The NFL knows this because it has that email, a highly incriminating paper trail that makes it impossible for Payton to argue his innocence, or for the Saints to claim the bounty never left the locker room. It might be the single most damaging piece of evidence, based solely on Ornstein’s history.”

“As you assuredly know, the Vikings were on track to have the NFL’s second-worst record before they defeated the Redskins 33-26 in Week 16. (Tailback Adrian Peterson also suffered a major knee injury in that game, an unrelated but no less serious event.) After Friday night’s trade, we now know the difference between winning and losing that game was two future first-round picks and a second-rounder.”

“What were people saying at the beginning of last season? With no OTAs or much time for installation — the veteran teams that kept it simple and relied on one playbook instead of three would be the ones left standing. There were a lot of other reasons for it, too — don’t get me wrong. But I think there is a lot of truth to it for the last four coaches that were standing.”

“Yet according to sources, Tebow paid Broncos defensive players Von Miller, Brian Dawkins and Elvis Dumervil more than $50,000 each over the course of the season for helping opposing players back to their feet after tackling them.”

Where does it all end?!

  • And finally, The Onion scoops everyone with this headline:  “Wes Welker Signs 2-Foot Extension With Patriots”.

One Final Thought

Apparently Biggs had the same thought a lot of us did when he heard about the Brandon Marshall trade:

“But it’s more than curious the Dolphins would let go of the 27-year-old Marshall for so little, especially since the offense new coach Joe Philbin is installing relies on wide receivers more than any in the league. Also, the Redskins went all-out for wide receivers in free agency and Marshall’s former coach Mike Shanahan didn’t deal for him.”

Of course, there are the usual concerns that we all knew about, a list of transgressions, arrests and general troubles that is about a “mile high”.

“Marshall has had issues off the field. In school at Central Florida, he was charged with assault on a law enforcement officer. He pleaded a DUI arrest in Colorado down to driving while impaired.

“The Rocky Mountain News reported sheriff’s deputies were called to Marshall’s home 11 times in a 21/2-year span. In 2008, he put his arm through a television set, a story he originally explained by saying he slipped on a McDonald’s wrapper. In March 2009, he was charged with disorderly conduct following a disagreement with his fiancee, now wife, in Atlanta.”

And lets not forget this one:

“Last April, Marshall’s wife, Michi Nogami-Marshall, was arrested after allegedly stabbing Marshall.”

All of this was explained away as Marshall said after the April incident that he was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, a mental illness that leads those who suffer from it to struggle with relationships, mood control and emotions.

So he’s been troubled and he has a history of mental illness which he now has under control right?  So what’s with the low price tag?  Suddenly, late last night, the reason was revealed:

“Monday night, [Marshall] was involved peripherally in an incident at a New York club in which his wife was hit with a bottle during an altercation neither of them was part of, according to a statement from Marshall’s attorney, Harvey Steinberg. He said Marshall took his wife to a hospital where she was treated for ‘serious injuries’ and Marshall hopes to ‘assist authorities’ regarding the matter.”

Of course, given that he initially claimed that he “slipped on a McDonald’s wrapper” in the 2008 incident above, you knew this wasn’t going to be the end of the story:

“The New York Post, however, reported the episode took place around 4 a.m. Sunday and that Christin Myles filed a police report saying that during the fracas Marshall hit her in the left eye, blackening it.”

For those of you who think all of this is irrelevant and that all that counts is what he does on the field, think again.  Given the laundry list of troubles above, I think you can count on at least a four game suspension is any part of that New York Post story turns out to be true.  Indeed, Florio also makes this relevant point:

“The question then becomes, if the Dolphins knew, did the Bears?  And will the Bears care?  There could be some rule or bylaw somewhere allowing the Bears to bail on this one if the Dolphins were aware of pertinent information and failed to share it.”

I think a lot of Bear fans would also like to know if their new general manager hasn’t already blown his first major acquisition by not investigating the situation throughly enough.

Regardless, whether the Bears knew about the incident or not, I don’t think the Bears are going to bail on the trade.  Besides the fact that they are unlikely to admit that they didn’t do their due diligence, they need Marshall too badly.  And that highlights the real problem.

This is what happens when a franchise is mismanaged the way the Bears have been over the last five or six years.  It all comes down to the draft.  Without players in the system, you are left to try to make up the talent difference through other means.  That means picking through other teams trash in free agency or, as in this case, actually paying for it.   That was the case in 2009 when they traded for Jay Cutler because they couldn’t draft a quarterback and its the case now.

What’s worse, because the Bears have decided to compete now rather than playing for the future, they paid for Miami’s trash in draft picks.  And that’s really why this trade is disturbing.  Just like the situation three years ago with Cutler, the Bears now have fewer options in the draft to solve the real issue.  Which means they’ll probably have to dip into trades and free agency even more in the future to make up the difference.  Its a spiral of death that any Washington Redskin fan can appreciate.

The Brandon Marshall trade highlights how desperate the Bears long-term situation really is.  And it also highlights the short-sighted direction they have decided to take in order to solve the problem.  Given that they are trading draft picks to maintain competitiveness and that even the ones they have will take years to accumulate and develop, we won’t probably see things get better for a long time.

No One Seems to Knows How Much Cap Space the Bears Actually Have. And Other POints of View.


The problem appears to be in the league office where they are still trying to figure out how to handle the cap numbers under the new collective bargaining agreement.  Its one of those rare times when the league doesn’t seem to have its act together.  Here’s hoping they won’t be making a habit of it.

“Over time, Emery’s style and ­approach will become more clear.

“The only thing he’s delineated is his desire to continue to be on the road, getting an up-close look at college players during the season. He said he plans to watch college games on Thursdays and Saturdays and be around the Bears on Sunday through Wednesday.”

Jensen continues the characterization in another article:

“After his news conference last month, Emery provided insight on his philosophy for evaluating players. He said he’s careful about ‘pre-judging an athlete’ because he has seen so many ‘do amazing things that people didn’t think they could do.’

“‘We call it in the scouting business, ‘Instant evaluation,’ ‘ Emery said. ‘ ‘Boy, he’s not going to do this.’ Watch the whole picture. Make sure you’re right. Watch the extra tape. Watch two extra tapes.

“‘If you see something, try to find out if he can do it again. Sometimes, that was an anomaly. But if a guy shows you he can make a spectacular catch or a great run, hone in on why that happened. What are the traits that allowed that to happen?’”

  • Bears pro scout Dennard Wilson is expected to join the Rams as a defensive assistant coach.  Dan Pompei at the Chicago Tribune describes the problem:

“Wilson’s anticipated departure would leave the Bears thin in pro scouts leading up to free agency, as assistant director of pro personnel Kevin Turks and pro scout James Kirkland are the only men at Halas Hall who have been committed to studying NFL personnel.

“Former director of player personnel Tim Ruskell had spearheaded the pro scouting department, and he has not been replaced.  Former general manager Jerry Angelo also spent a good deal of time on the pro side.”

“It is likely Emery will lean on the Bears coaches, as well as Turks and Kirkland, to help him through his first free agent period.”

“Smith said while the Bears blocked secondary coach Jon Hoke from interviewing with the Minnesota Vikings for their defensive coordinator job, Hoke was allowed to talk to Greg Schiano about that position on his new staff with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.” 

  • Very few people would argue that Smith knows the defensive side of the ball.  But its evident that he’s reached a critical juncture in terms of his tenure as head coach primarily because of the decisions he’s made associated with the offense.  Biggs comments:

“It’s worth wondering if Smith is on his last offensive coordinator — if [Mike] Tice will be the final man he’s allowed to hire for the Bears. It’s easy to blame Angelo for failing to produce with offensive draft picks. Last season, [Matt] Forte became the first offensive player drafted by Angelo to make the Pro Bowl since 2002. But Smith shares some of the responsibility.

“Smith didn’t talk about any sweeping changes on offense, and Tice has said much will stay the same, including the verbiage and the running game. Smith fell back to an easy goal when talking about offense — scoring more points — and acknowledged the Bears have to be better in the passing game. That starts with improved protection, something Tice should deliver. Then it comes down to upgrading [Jay] Cutler‘s targets.”

  • Cutler appears to have some strong opinions about what the Bears should do at wide receiver.  Via ESPN:

“Appearing Monday morning on ESPN 1000 , Cutler sung the praises of his friend and former teammate Brandon Marshall, currently a member of the Miami Dolphins, but said: ‘Anyone really over 6-2 at this point is going to look good.’”

I can only agree.

“’Chemistry in the room often is a problem, and chemistry with the quarterback too,’ said an NFC general manager. ‘That position can mess with a team more than any other. They are the biggest chicks on the team. They often have a very high opinion of themselves. As a rule, they don’t approach their jobs with the same degree of professionalism players at other positions do.’” 

  • Phil Emery sounds like he had interest in Dwayne Bowe.  Biggs says that he met with Bowe’s agent Todd France at the combine.  France doesn’t represent any of the Bears’ free agents.  Unfortunately, Bowe was franchised by the Chiefsso he won’t be available.
  • Michael Floyd may have solidfied his position as the second best wide receiver in the draft after running an outstanding forty yard dash at the combine.  However, Pompei reads my mind as he comments further:

“Sober scouts will point out that even though Michael Floyd was fast on the track, he may not play as fast as he timed.”

Something tells me that Emery is unlikely to make the mistake of over looking this.  He seems like a guy who is going to rely heavily on game tape to evaluate prospects.

“A lot of pre-draft boards have the Bears taking Michael Floyd at No. 19. If Courtney Upshaw fell to that spot, would you take him? — David Comiskey, Chicago

“I would rather use that first-round pick on a defensive end than a wide receiver if all things were equal. The foundation of most great football teams usually is big men. And linemen tend to be safer picks than wide receivers. Upshaw might not be a bad pick, but I think Whitney Mercilus or Nick Perry would be better ones.”

“When he was asked which teams had shown interest in him, Mercilus listed the ‘‘Bears, Chargers, also the Bills’’ — in that order., a well-respected scouting website, projects the Bears to select Mercilus with the 19th pick in the first round.

‘‘’Mercilus is a speed rusher with excellent athletic ability,’ one NFL scout said. ‘The question [is], will he be a one-year wonder or an up-and-comer? He could be productive as a 3-4 outside linebacker or a 4-3 edge guy.’’’

“Whoever signs Williams probably is going to have to make him the highest paid defender in the NFL. For the Bears, that would likely mean having to forgo signing a No. 1 receiver. But if adding Williams were a possibility, some sacrifices elsewhere would be well worth it.”

“Cornerback is one of the needs on defense this off-season for the Bears. Wouldn’t Brandon Carr be a good fit with the Bears? He has good size and Phil Emery has to be familiar with him considering the KC Chiefs background. — Matt, Montreal

“Carr is a fine player and would be an upgrade for the Bears. But it’s going to take mucho dinero to sign him. The Bears have more pressing priorities, I believe. And if you look at their history with Lovie Smith‘s defense, they have never gone after big money cornerbacks, or even drafted one in the top two rounds. The belief is you can get by in the Tampa Two without a premium corner.”

I’ve a sneaking suspicion that this philosophy may no longer completely apply.  I agree that the Bears will never pay premium prices for cornerbacks but I think Lovie Smith is beginning to recognize that they need corners who can do more than play the cover two.  That means they’re going to have to invest more in the position.

“’[Special teams coordinator Dave] Toub re-signing with the Bears doesn’t really factor in much with my decision unless there are no teams out there interested in me on defense,’ Graham said. ‘If all the teams are only interested in me on special teams, then I would love to come back and play for Toub.

“’But if any teams are interested in what I can do on defense, then Toub re-signing means very little because even after three interceptions in very limited plays this year, the Bears coaching staff still doesn’t see me as a defensive player.’”

It doesn’t sound like he’s gong to be resigning.  Even the dumbest teams are going to tell Graham he will have a “chance to compete” on defense without making any promises.  Graham has a good idea of how he stands with the Bears so even that will be an improvement for him.


  • Another week, another NFL concussion law suit brought be former players.
  • On a peripherally related note, the NFL caused a storm of media coverage by stating that they were investigating allegations that former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams helped put bounties on the heads of opposing offensive players.  Players were paid for knocking opponents out of games.  From the full press release:

“‘The payments here are particularly troubling because they involved not just payments for ‘performance,’ but also for injuring opposing players,’ Commissioner [Roger] Goodell said. ‘The bounty rule promotes two key elements of NFL football: player safety and competitive integrity.’”

  • Of course, this generated the usual calls from fans to sports talk radio all over the country about putting skirts on players.  David Haugh at the Chicago Tribune explains why they’re wrong.

“The Saints bounty issue isn’t a referendum on violence in pro football. This is the NFL rightly reacting to one team’s formal plan encouraging dirty play as the league tried curbing it in the midst of the concussion-awareness era. This isn’t further emasculation of the NFL. This is necessary league intervention to remind teams where the line exists between the hard hitting that traditionally makes the game great and hired thuggery.”

There’s only one reason why Benson would continue to support Loomis despite the fact that he supposedly disobeyed his direct order to have the bounty system in New Orleans stopped.  Its because he didn’t.  Loomis is undoubted covering for Benson, who is one of the lowest class owners in the league and who is just the kind of guy who would allow a bounty system of this type to continue.

The Sports Pickle asks how the league should punish the teams who used a bounty system.  Here’s an interesting option:

“- fine the organization a large sum and send a message to other teams in the league by also fining James Harrison an even larger sum”

“#5 – Photo-Sharing

“There are several good photo-sharing services that work with Twitter: TwitPic, Lockerz and yfrog among many others. However, if you have photos that need to be enhanced in any way — such as for size — you may want to look into signing up for Instagram.”

One Final Thought

David Kamp at The New York Times puts things in perspective as he looks back on his life as a football fan:

“One of the few aphorisms I have committed to memory is a Nick Hornby line from ‘Fever Pitch’: ‘The natural state of the football fan is bitter disappointment, no matter what the score.’”