Chicago Sun-Times

Twelve musings past midnight from Minneapolis

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Things that pop into your mind during a postgame trip back to the hotel:

1. It’s fair to say that Kyle Orton was not put in the best position to succeed with a hapless running game to lean on against the league’s top-ranked run defense. Remember, he had a productive Thomas Jones with him the last time he played. But here’s a question to ponder—do the Bears win the game here if Brian Griese is the quarterback?

Needing to see what Orton can do made sense, but did he really provide the best opportunity to win? Would a veteran like Griese have been able to handle some of the situations a little better? The offense didn’t manage a first down until its sixth possession, and there were six three-and-punts. When you manage four takeaways and the opponent misses an extra point, you should win the game. Every time.

2. Another point to ponder—good thing Lance Briggs didn’t injure his groin muscle until the fourth quarter. The Pro Bowl linebacker left the field with an ice pack. He jumped the gun claiming to have hit the 75 percent threshold necessary to prevent the Bears from placing the franchise tag on him last week at Washington. Briggs missed 1 1/2 games earlier this season, and so he needed to play in a full 12 games to ensure he’ll be on the mark. He did so tonight. Briggs visited with agent Drew Rosenhaus as he walked off the field. Considering the injury, could it be the final time he wears a Bears uniform?

3. If the Bears are going to pull the plug on Terrence Metcalf after five starts, would it make more sense to see what they have in Anthony Oakley instead of playing John St. Clair? They’ve seen St. Clair in action and he’s a valuable man to have around because he can literally play everywhere on the line, even center in a pinch. Oakley hasn’t shown a thing in two years because he hasn’t been on the field. Ditto fourth-round pick Josh Beekman. But seeing Oakley should be a higher priority.

4. Powerful agent Tom Condon was at the game as well. His client Bob Sanders is going to be a free agent if the Colts don’t slap the franchise tag on him. Wouldn’t he look good in a Bears’ uniform? Strong safety Brandon McGowan was one of four Bears’ defenders who whiffed on Robert Ferguson’s 71-yard reception that set up the Vikings’ first touchdown. He also appeared to take a bad angle on Adrian Peterson’s go-ahead touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Condon is in the running to represent Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan. Dare to dream. By the way, keep dreaming on Sanders. He’ll get tagged just as Dwight Freeney did.

5. Mark Anderson looked awful dejected on the sideline with his left knee wrapped in ice. If he has to miss any time, Alex Brown will finally get a return to the starting lineup. Brown will have the opportunity to show the team and the 31 other teams how wrong the decision was to promote Anderson over him.

6. Brian Urlacher’s balky lower back sure looked a lot better. With two sacks, a pick and a fumble recovery, the one with short answers would have been hailed a hero had the offense done a little more. Whenever you talk to scouts from opposing teams and ask them about Urlacher’s play this season, inevitably they all say this: ``Well, I’d love to have him on my team.’’

7. Where’s Jerry? General manager Jerry Angelo has been keeping a low profile of late, much harder to locate than even during the 2003 season when it wound to an end and you knew Dick Jauron and his staff were getting the heave-ho. There are questions Angelo needs to provides answers to.

8. If the Bears were hoping to catch Green Bay this Sunday when the game meant little to the Packers, think again. While they have already clinched a playoff spot and a first-round bye, the Packers need to gain just one game on Dallas in the final two weeks to secure the No. 1 seed. Early lines had Green Bay as a seven-point favorite.

9. Rookie Nick Roach got the call on special teams for the first time since being claimed off San Diego’s practice squad last month. He delivered two tackles and could have a bright future.

10. Think tight end John Gilmore is headed elsewhere in free agency now after being inactive?

11. There will be plenty of questions about the play-action pass to fullback Jason McKie on the fourth-and-one play in the third quarter. They’re warranted. But how about this alignment in the fourth quarter—facing third-and-nine from the Vikings’ 39 Orton was in the shotgun with three wide receivers on the field. The three? Mark Bradley, Rashied Davis and Devin Hester. Trailing by seven with 7:39 to play, this was must convert. Pick up the first down and you’re at midfield. Where in the world were Muhsin Muhammad, your best possession target for a play like this, or Bernard Berrian? Is it just me or are we being force fed a look at Bradley?

12. All needs considered, what are the odds at this point that the Bears do not draft an offensive tackle in the first round? That’s provided Angelo doesn’t trade down into the second round. Just asking.

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1) Orton is not the long-term answer. The limited play book was noticeable. We could not take advantage of a defense previously ranked 32nd against the pass. Griese would have given the Bears a better chance at winning in Minnesota.

2) Maybe Briggs will stop copulating now that his groin is injured. I would rather see them spend money on other people they want to extend, new O lineman and some decent safeties.

3)We need to see more of Oakley and Beekman against Green Bay and NO. We know what St. Clair can do: a serviceable back-up who needs help against average to above average D linemen.

4)How much money does Indy have? Bob Sanders on the Bears would be awesome. Indy traded up to get him 3 picks before Tank in 2004. Sanders has not played a full season until this year, with two significant injuries already, though.

5) Bears should keep Brown. He seems like a leader on the field and in the locker room. He should have been starting all year, with Anderson's playing time increased incrementally other than passing downs. He has proven he is a situational pass rusher at this point in his career.

6)Eleven days in-between games is great for bad backs and other injuries. Let's see how he does in a short week. He gives his all and typically does not make excuses. I bet all will be well with the local media next year.

7) Personnel decisions have definitely contributed to where this team is at. Chris Harris for a 6th round pick? Getting nothing from the people drafted 2-5 in 2007, trading Thomas Jones, etc.

8) Expect that spread to climb. Lovie is 4-0 in GB and 1-2 in Chicago against the Packers. My mind says GB wins, my heart says Bears take out Favere and the Packers for a sweep despite GB winning the division like in 2004. But 0-4 against Minnesota and Detroit is unacceptable.

9)How did Archuleta do? I saw him helmet-less after Vasher's interception (see number 7).

10) Maybe we won't throw to him in the flat on third or fourth down in the red zone anymore (previous games), with a safety on him. Way to use Olsen...

11) I think Bradley can be a serviceable 3 or 4, but Moose and Berrian should have been in on that situation. Most Bear fans were calling the play action to McKie in the flat before the snap. Come on. This is Ron Turner. It is like playing your buddy in Madden. You know what is coming on certian downs and distances.

12) Columbo? Stan Thomas? Troy Auzenne? I think Big Cat could have played better than Fred Miller the last six weeks. Pathetic.

Some one explain to me why every offensive play that the bears ran last night started out 10 yards behind the line of scrimmage. Even on pass plays the receiver had to go 7-10 yards just to make the original line of scrimmage.

I don't see anyone else saying it so I will. We need a change at the top!!! Angelo must go!!! Does anyone really think he has what it takes to go and get the necessary pieces to turn this around? He's been here for what...6-7 years? 1 Super Bowl 2 playoff appearances...We need to expect more from our GM. We need to expect consistency in winning, not teams that are built for a two year run and then slip right back into atrociousness!!! Other teams around the league save the few perennial loser franchises, are able turn things around after a bad year...Look at the Bucs, yes the Bucs!!! They have a bad year and then boom they are winning the division again. It's opposite for the Bears two good years and then BOOM right back into the duldroms of the NFL for 5 years...The reason is right on the top of bears management chain!!!

1) Why is Muhammad in on 1st down? He is a 3rd down rec. at this point in his career. The fastest people should be on the field Hester, Peterson in the slot and Berrian with Olsen at T.E.
2) The offense must score first & often for Tampa 2 to be more effective. Their fastest people on offense must be on the field often. How about the shotgun?
3)Stop playing cards in training camp and practice. The QB position should have been open in camp. Get Mcnabb. Get 2nd rd QB & 3rd rd. running back.
4) Bottom line fire!!!! Ron Turner. See if Crowton would come back from LSU.

I've been saying all along that the offensive line is pathetic. I couldn't agree more that offensive line draft picks are in order, but once picked they ought to play, not watch veterans over the hill try to keep going. A back who can block would help too.Screen plays? What good are they if the blockers just get shoved back into the runner? Fred Miller was bad all year and the Bears would have been just as well off playing ten men when he was in.At least that way he wouldn't have been thrown into the quarterback.Even Kreutz was a nonentity this year. The center of the line were overmatched in virtually every game. No quarterback would have been successful with this line, and receivers pathetically failing to get quick separation als contributed to the overall pitiful offense.

I agree with You Orton had little or no chance given the terrible line in front of Him and the 2nd rate coaching that the Bears have. I guess the saying that I'd be lucky than good goes with Lovie, He had 1 lucky year. I'd like to see any Quaterback in th N.F.L work with that line and that coaching,how about putting the blame where it belongs for a change? The Bears hire on the cheap (Lovie, Turner) and expect results Turner couldn't even make it in the College ranks. it seems the times Reporters like to blame the Players rather then the Bears sorry bunch of coaches.

If I were Brian Urlacher I would be taking a hard look at why in the hell am I stuck playing in an organization that has no clue of what being a championship team is all about and that goes all the way top.
Can anyone imagine how much more of an effective player he could be being with a true winning team....say like Indy.

1. Vasher and Tillman need to be on the field at the same time for the defense to be successful....duh!

2. Bears O-Line is miserable...more like pathetic

3. Orton, Griese, Grossman etc..I don't care who is the starting QB. They're not going to do good when they have no blocking up front by our pathetic O-Line. Nice job on those screens last night guys letting the DB's get to Wolfe and Peterson each time.

4. Hester's great but he can't block.

5. Turner should be!

6. Urlacher played like he's old self. The defense played like they wanted to win the game but as usual our offense let them down, this is something I'm getting accustomed too.

7. Cut Orton and Griese, keep Grossman, sign McNabb, draft Colt Brenan. I know Brenan's from the WAC but that guy guns the ball like its a bullet....Brenan's stats this year 4,174 yards and 38 touchdowns. Brennan owns or shares 29 NCAA records, including career touchdown passes (131).

8. Go after Jamal Lewis or Chester Taylor in free agency in the off season. Cedric is going to need to split carries with someone else next year to be successful. Give me another bruiser and pound the heck out of every team they play then drop Brenan/McNabb/Grossman in play action to hit Berrian or Hester running down the sidelines. Won't happen though because it's the Chicago Bears I'm talking about.

9. The offensive line is terrible. Did I mention that already.

10. The defense played great but can they stay consistent?? I'd love to see the Bears do the same thing to Favre as they did to Jackson last night. Blitz Favre!

11. We're not going to go anywhere if we don't get a QB.

12. I know some of these contradict eachother but I just think the ENTIRE offense is terrible. What's the record for false starts by a Bears team for the year because we've had at least five each game this season.

The saddest thing about all of this is the Bears are at least 2 and maybe three drafts away from ever being ready to seriously challange for the Super Bowl. The aging lines on both sides, the need of a running back and QB plus replacing perhaps three plus players that will be lost in free agency. By the time you fill these gaps the recent signed players will be close to the end of their contracts, if not careers. The Bears allowed too many quality players to leave last year and lost a couple coaches that they really needed this year all because the head coach has buddies to hire and doesn't like someone who get more press time then he does.

First thing -- Tony Kornloser is an idiot who knows almost nothing about the Bears. Hubris?!?!? Why is this guy on MNF? Shouldn't he be at home, doing his nails?

1)That's what I would expect from a guy who hadn't started in two years. Not awful, but hampered by (who else) Ron Turner and the O-line. And Thomas Jones was NOT the answer for the Bears. (Just how much better are the Jets with him?) His numbers are equal to Benson's this year. And he's only scored 1 touchdown. Benson's grade is incomplete, because he's never had any blocking. But I will say this -- if the Vikings are cutting ties with Taylor, the Bears should scoop him up IMMEDIATELY.

2)Bears need Briggs. Period.

3)The O-line are mostly old, broken down horses. Do whatever has to be done.

4)My god -- Matt Ryan. All I want for Xmas is for the Bears to have a shot at this guy. He's everything Grossman isn't -- 6'5", smart, and fearless. If he couldn't fix the Bears QB problems, no one can. (McNabb is 32 and injury prone. How's that gonna help long-term?)

5)Brown should start. Anderson is more effective coming off the sideline to confound offensive tackles.

6)Urlacher is who he is, but without Briggs... -- hey, remember when the '85 Bears let Wilbur Marshall go?

7)Where IS Jerry Angelo?

8)Bears/Packers is never dependent on either team's records.
Why can't Favre get a nice beatdown?

9)Good for Roach. Maybe the Bears can trade Grossman and Archuletta to the Raiders and move up in the draft....

10)Gilmore could be nice trade bait to go after what they really need. Unless he wants to convert to an OT.

11)Orton had to make that pass. But when he gets nervous everything rockets on him. But since Turner almost refuses to throw in the middle of the field because he's afraid of interceptions (no matter WHO the QB is) and there is NO blocking between the tackles, what can they really do? We need an OC who
knows how to combine the personnel without being as predictable as a game of Madden.

12)Get an Offensive tackle AFTER a real QB. What's he going to protect if there's no one worthy back there?

We need to build the offense this off-season, for a quick fix and the future. On defensive side of the ball, a -hard hitting pipe busting safety will help to shore up that unit, plus a return to health of Divorcek, and Harris. A new Running back with speed priority number 1, offensive lineman with quick feet and hearing number 2, a developmental QB #3 for the next season, and best veteran available in free agency for next year. The current record shows this team is not far away from a return to playoffs, injured defense lost at least three of the games by not holding leads. Very disapointing season for sure, but some young guys got playing time on defense and should improve with a solid off-season next year.

All I want for Christmas is a new offensive coordinator. I don't believe the QB is our problem. Why did they ever okay the re-hire of a yutz and let Rivera go? If you can't coach to your players strengths, then you shouldn't be coaching.

Chicago Bear Fans:

I am reminded of the Fairy Tale: Lovielocks and the 3 QuarterBears.

Once upon a time there was an NFL team in search of a QuarterBear who was "just right". Unfortunately, one was too old, one was too young, and one (extremely unforunately) was a football nincompoop w/ hands of stone. Alas, none of them were: "just right". To mix the mataphore and fairy tale - the big bad football wolf is going to huff and puff and blow the Bears' house down unless the right Quarterbear, and other supporting characters, are found. Just like 1985, we again want to live Happily Ever After.


Can someone please tell me who Pep Hamilton is? How can a team so pathetic at QB afford to have a QB coach who is at best,learning on the job? Why is this never discussed by anyone???

Yes, trade the 1st rounder...stay in the 1st round...get an extra 2nd/3rd rounder

stay in the first round, though

Just leave yourself in position for Jeff Otah, Sam Baker, or Ryan Clady

I hate to disappoint all you bears fans, but Chester Taylor is not a free agent. Unless they trade him during the offseason, he will be back with the Vikings next season.

So many Bear fans, players, and leaders in denial. Your team choked because of key weaknesses obvious to anyone that doesn't have their head in the sand. Remember, you had everyone healthy the beginning of the season and before you knew it the grand team that was supposed to go back to the Super Bowl and "win it" was traveling on the road of false hope and over confidence making it's way to the bottom of the NFC as it damn well deserved. The Bears squeeked by in so many ways throughout last year barely getting by a banged up Seattle team in the playoffs getting it's but kicked in the Super Bowl.
Relatively the same team this year with additional improvements...What happened? Exposed by a much tougher schedule for starters...and hey, other teams especially in the same division have improved! Oh my, what a surprise!!
Stop living in fantasyland guys...time to rebuild
1. Your offensive line is done. Time to get a new one.
2. Your QB problem will continue as long as you believe your defense is your saviour.
3. Get some receivers that can catch the ball.
4. Teach Devin Hester to block and also hang on to the ball when he has it.
5. Get some new running backs.
6. Get some safeties that can stay healthy and also make tackles
7. Most important..keep the good players you already have.
8. Take a lesson from Bill Belichek.. be realistic play one game one team at a time instead of getting ahead of yourselves like you obviously demonstrated all throughout this and past seasons.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on December 18, 2007 1:42 AM.

No surprise at all, Vasher playing was the previous entry in this blog.

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