Brian Urlacher Needs to Take Dick Butkus’s Advice and Other Points of View

“If there is a question on him, it is blocking. Onobun acknowledges that has been “the least natural thing” for him.”

‘It’s a work in progress,” Onobun said. “I’m a willing blocker. It’s just that it hasn’t been one of my strong suits. But it’s definitely improving.'”\

“Onobun isn’t on the Bears to block any more than Nate Robinson was on the Bulls to rebound. Onobun is on the Bears to do with Gonzalez, Gates and Graham do for their teams — catch passes.”

That’s way too soft. He’ll never catch any passes with a cornerback covering him in a defense that isn’t afraid the Bears will run with Fendi as an extra blocker. That’s a fact.

So my take is that this guy better work like hell to make blocking his “natural thing” or he won’t be in the league.

  • Football Outsider‘s Rivers McCown absolutely nails it with this analysis of the Bears as he reviews the post-draft NFC North:

“But the unpopular weakness still remains. When we pointed to wide receiver as a major flaw for the current Bears early in the offseason, it was to the consternation of a lot of Bears fans who saw the offensive line as being the larger issue. The problem is that Jay Cutler is a see-it, throw-it passer. He’s still a solid quarterback, but he’s never thrown receivers open on a consistent basis. That amplifies the Bears receiving problems, and while scheming can create the occasional big play for Devin Hester, Eric Weems, or Earl Bennett, they can’t defeat man coverage often enough to benefit Cutler. While the jury is still out on Alshon Jeffery, he also wasn’t able to beat man coverage often enough last season to help out much. That means a lot of targets are going to be headed to Brandon Marshall and Bennett. Both of them performed competently in the face of that last season, but it’s certainly not the most efficient way to build an offense.”

  • Brian Urlacher‘s retirement couldn’t have been a great surprise to anyone. I think what fans really want to know, and what they’ll probably never find out, is if Urlacher made a mistake in turning down the $2 million guaranteed the Bears offered him.  If he just didn’t want to put his body through another season for that, then “No.”  If he really thought he was worth more than that, then “Yes”.

  • Think this TV station wishes they’d hired a sports fan to run their ticker? Via

  • Fred Mitchell at the Chicago Tribune interviews Dick Butkus. He buries some advice for Urlacher in this quote on his stormy relationship with the Bears as he neared retirement:

“‘I hadn’t been exposed to the business world that much,’ Butkus said. ‘Shortly thereafter I learned that (football) was a business. … I never would have been able to do radio if (the Bears) didn’t agree to it. … So it was a business decision. What are you going to do? Get over it. Grow up.'”

Points of View, May 14, 2013

“The Browns’ draft board was arranged alphabetically, which is very unorthodox and can make it difficult to make decisions on the fly. Front office men around the league were buzzing about the unusual board last week. Also noteworthy is that the Browns did not allow the majority of their scouts in the draft room. But they are not the only team that locks out scouts.”

I never heard of this board arrangement. I’ll be interested to see if the purpose behind it ever comes out.

“‘We feel protection starts from the inside out,’ said offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer, who came to the Bears in the offseason from the Saints, for whom he was the offensive line coach. ‘With the Saints we really felt we needed to keep the interior part of the defensive line at the line of scrimmage in protection, so we put a big emphasis on our guard position to do that. We feel that same way here.'”

“Interior protection probably was more important for the Saints than it will be for the Bears because of the quarterbacks involved. Drew Brees, at 6 feet, is a good 3 inches shorter than Jay Cutler. Shorter quarterbacks have more vision issues when defenders are pushing the pocket.”

Cutler is also considerably more mobile that Brees. By emphasizing the interior, the Bears are likely to let make it easier for teams to keep him in the pocket. This puts a big onus on the receivers to get open because Cutler won’t be scrambling as much to give them more time.

On the other hand, a clean pocket could help Cutler an awful lot. We could see a more systematic and reliable offense this year, if fewer improvisations on the fly from the quarterback.

  • Brad Biggs, also at the Chicago Tribune, list 5 players who need to make an impression this offseason. He may not fit into this category quite as Biggs wrote it but I’d say Shea McClellin needs to have the offseason of his life if he’s going to play to his potential next year.

  • Kyle Long will play right guard ]because it will match him up against Ndamukong Suh](,0,5177275.story?track=rss) when the Bears play the Lions.

“I am still trying to find the best five and where they fit best,” said offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer, who is also the line coach. “Suh plays over the right guard and we have to win the division first. Obviously, at Green Bay they flip their tackles, so they could have B.J. Raji on both sides. We want to make sure that we have good matchups in these games. We drafted these guys to win the division first.”

  • John Mullin at quotes Long on his move to right tackle for a set of reps over the weekend:

“We were just short on guys today a little bit so they needed some versatility. Jordan Mills went inside. That’s another guy that can move around a little bit. We’ve got a lot of those.”

Green Bay Has Worse Even Left Tackle Problems Than the Bears

The Bears are far from the only team with left tackle problems.  ESPN NFC North blogger Kevin Seifert considers the case of the Green Bay Packers, who are moving Brain Bulaga from the right side to the left this off season:

“He was available at No. 23 overall in 2009 in part because, yes, his arms measured shorter than the prototypical left tackle, potentially putting him at a reach and leverage disadvantage. And no matter how much good work Bulaga quietly did on the right side over the years, it’s difficult for any of us to forget how overmatched he looked in Week 3 last season against the Seattle Seahawks‘ speed and power pass-rushers.”

At least the Bears were able to address the position with Jermon Bushrod.  How that move will turn out is a matter of debate but its nearly certain that Bushrod will at least be an upgrade of J’Marcus Webb, the only left tackle in the NFL to give up more sacks that the Packer’s Marshall Newhouse.  But the Packers almost never go the free agency route and they typically draft at an even worse position in the first round than the Bears do.

Aaron Rogers has somehow managed to stay healthy through all of this.  Good luck with that.

Phil Emery Is a Hipster and Other Points of View

  • Bears quarterback Jay Cutler and his wife Kristin Cavallari only allow their kid to where “organic” clothes.  Via
  • Hipster Phil Emery shuns the conformist NFL.  From Dan Berstein at
  • Bill Belichick and Greg Schiano are bringing their staffs together to discuss “coaching topics”. This is despite the fact that tier teams play each other in Week 3 this year. Via Darin Gantt at
  • Belichick had this interesting observation via Michael David Smith, also at profootballtalk:

    “I would say that, just based on my experience as a coach through the years, that basketball players, most have good hands. They have to handle the ball a lot,” Belichick said, via the Providence Journal. “The ball is on them quick, tight passes and handling the ball in traffic and that kind of thing. Usually, when you get a good basketball player, those guys usually have pretty good ball skills in terms of handling the ball: strong hands in being able to keep it and quick hands, being able to snatch it and handle it cleanly and, hopefully, without losing it.”

  • Smith also passes along this advice for new Jets quarerback Gino Smith. Smith is taking a lot of criticism in the New York papers for firing his agents after the draft:

    “One of the problems Smith is having right now, as Mike Florio noted on PFT Live, is the very fact that he doesn’t have an agent. When players are taking heat in the media, it’s often the agent who gives him good public relations advice and helps him to beat back all the hits he’s taking. Smith could use someone whose job it is to look out for his interests, and he doesn’t have that right now.”

  • Joe Fortenbaugh at The National Football Post thinks Bears fans will demand that first round pick Kyle Long develop quickly:

    “With Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert and a host of other talented players still on the board, the Bears turned some heads when they opted to pull the trigger on former Oregon Duck Kyle Long. The coaching staff and front office are clearly comfortable with the decision, but Bears fans are not. Only the Arizona Cardinals (188) have surrendered more quarterback sacks over the last four years than the Chicago Bears (184). Long may be a raw prospect in need of some development, but that won’t stop Bear Nation from demanding quick results from new head coach Marc Trestman’s controversial first draft pick.”

  • If the Bears record is accurately predicted by the point sreads, the Bears will be 9-6 heading into the last week of the season. Via Fortenbaugh.