Chicago Sun-Times

Boston College G Poles to sign deal if Achilles tendon checks out

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Remember all the work general manager Jerry Angelo did with Boston College?

He attended at least two BC games in 2007 and the Bears have seen the Chestnut, Mass., school as much as any north of the Mason-DIxon line and along the East Coast over the last two years after drafting guard Josh Beekman out of there in 2007.

Angelo was in South Bend, Ind., last season when the Eagles were there. That’s the day guard Ryan Poles’ season ended with a torn left Achilles tendon. The Bears liked him then and like him now. A source told the Sun-Times they are bringing Poles in for a tryout this weekend during their rookie minicamp. Provided his injury is cleared by the team’s medical staff, he will sign a free-agent contract.

Joining Poles from BC will be defensive end Nick Larkin, who is also showing up for a tryout.

Poles spent the last several months rehabilitating with noted trainer Chip Smith in Duluth, Ga. Smith is the same trainer who has done extensive work with Brian Urlacher in the past. At 6-4, 290, Poles is an athletic guard who does well getting to the second level and pulling. It’s not known if he’s sturdy enough to handle the NFL.

Montana offensive tackle Cody Balogh, who has signed a free-agent deal, is listed as a tackle but some project him as a guard as well. Balogh, 6-6, 319 pounds, doesn’t have a lot of range and struggles with speed rushers. He’s trying to make the move from the I-AA school to Sundays like former New York Giant Scott Gragg, a standout for the Griz in the 1990’s.

Balgoh started nearly his entire four-year career at Montana. So between these two and seventh-round picks Chester Adams and Kirk Barton, the Bears are hopeful they’ll turn up one prospect with upside to develop on the interior of the line. Barton played tackle at Ohio State but some project him inside. Adams also played tackle in school at Georgia, but nearly everyone projects him inside.

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So is it the scheme that BC runs, a relationship with the athletic director, or just a general affection for the school? A few years back, it seemed like he was obsessed with Florida (Rex Grossman, Ian Scott, Tron LaFavor, Todd Johnson), so maybe he just gets on a kick with a school like we do on things like Buffalo Wild Wings?

As far as the OL goes, I don't like this "hope someone works out" strategy. I always go back to a line by Burgess Meredith in Grumpy Old Men. "You can hope in one hand, and you can takea crap in the other....see which one fills up first." (or something like that). If we get any of these late round guys to work out, and get more functional strength out of Williams, it will be a testament to Harry Hiestand and Rusty Jones. If they don't work out, then we are relegated to what we have been doing for the last 5-10 years: free agents to fill in what our draft picks can't.

So Balogh and Barton are both limited range guys. If they are not maulers, they need to go away. We can't have weaklings on the inside with the DT strength the Packers and Vikings have. Garza was abused all last year, and Ruben Brown was missing an arm to help handle the other side. I am tired of making Pat Williams and other guys who are decent look like Pro Bowlers. We need to be able to handle those guys. Not having Shaun Rogers in there will be nice (he kills us), but we still need better guard play. We know what Metcalf can do, or more importantly, what he cannot do, and that is be an effective starter. Garza cannot hold the point of attack. So to me, the question is pretty simple: Can Beekman, Adams, Barton, Balogh, Reed, Jones, or Poles play well enough to start? If they can, we will have 4 starters that were not in that position a year ago. But that may not be a bad thing. If they can't, then we need to start calling Ruben Brown and any other vet out there to get someone in that can do the job.

That is a good question Joe. It seems as if they are reaching for straws. My question will always be to Jerry Angelo; when he said that this was the deepest draft for o-lineman that he has seen in years. Then why did you wait till the seventh round to pick up your 2nd o-lineman? You did nothing in free agency and I assumed you were going to draft more than 1 o-lineman in the 1st 6 rounds?!? Please give Harry Hiestand something to work with!!!!!!!!!

They're not reaching for prospects, Angelo is gathering enough players to see who sticks. GMs have to play a numbers game at every position, creating competition in order to get the best out of each player. This gives the staff the ability to choose the best performer. "Light a fire under Garza, Beekman, and Metcalf!"

Joe: The o-line is a position that needs cohesion, size and strength are important but the ability to have good vision and communicate is what good o-lineman possess. Several teams use late round draft picks and free-agents to fill this position. The Big cheese(Adams) will prove to be an excellent run blocker, GA always has a solid run game, Barton also has something to prove, since he was an All-American at the collegiate level an almost did not get drafted, big guys from Montana have done well in the league also. I think we have a chance to find 2 or three of these guys on the roster playing well for us. Let's see what they can do first before we bag on them....Go BEARS

I really like the selection of Williams. With that pick the Bears upgraded two positions, left and right tackle. But there is still large questions at guard. I don't have a high degree of confidence in Garza. I can't say he's a weak player, I just can't say he's a strong player. He is also an injury concern with his knees. That would definitely leave a hole in the line if he went down. Metcalf should have been able to oust Ruben Brown from the lineup when Ruben was playing with only one good arm, but the Bears staff didn't replace the one-armed Brown. I guess that shows how much of a drop off there was in their minds to put Metcalf in. At the end of the season St. Claire was playing guard. I thought he did a decent job, but there again, where was Metcalf? I'm afraid he isn't in their plans. That puts the left guard position in question. Are the Bears going to have a rookie at left tackle and a rookie at left guard? That sounds like trouble.

Killer Kane I feel your fustation. I too have thought about that same problem. I cant see the Bears starting 2 rookies on the left side.That would spell danger if Grossman is the QB as he has NO pocket awareness. I could see it work if Orton was the QB for him being a dump off artis but the left side rookies would more than likely yeild a high number of sacks.
I could only imagine that the Bears will pick up a vet left gaurd off the waiver list. Probably a washed up one that has a couple of decent years left in the tank. One to mentor the young gaurds that will eventualy replace both Garza and the future left gaurd of the Chicago Bears.Jerry has a history of picking up older Vets for the O-Line that are good locker room leaders.If it works Im not complaining.

Ok lets get this straight once and for all. Angelo has been drafting for 20 years between the bears and Tampa, his oline picks have been some of the worst ever. He has always been bad at it. How many Oline guys has he drafted in his 7 years with the Bears that are starters. The answer is zero. End of debate, thats all there is to it. He always has been bad and he always will be bad at it. Guys like Williams tend to be no brainers but even he is not a sure thing. You have a 10 year vet in Olin on the downside of his career, his back up is Beekman, who didn't even dress last year and is still last on the depth chart at guard or center. Metcalf an Angelo third round pick, is a very bad career back up at center and Guard but is ahead of Beekman. Tait a 33 year old drafted buy KC to play RT was the highest rated OT in his class, what does Angelo do to him? Move him to the Left side and shorten his career by doing so, both ankles are shot. Who is his back up? St. Clair who stinks, but is also ahead of Beekman as a back up guard. Garza who stinks but is ahead of all the other people at guard. Yet here comes Williams and now the Oline is all better, because a Rookie who will struggle at LT his first year and will have no help from the inside is going to make it all better. That is insane he is a Rookie and not the greatest LT prospect ever. In fact he is only a decent prospect at the position. Everyone else Angelo is signing for the Oline is for training camp. You sub these guys in to help keep you oline fresh and healthy through the summer, every team does this. There just warm bodies. My god do people really think he will put in two Rookies on the oline in one year to start. That would be insane you would spend all game dealing with illegal motion on the line. The oline is Williams LT, St. Clair LG, Olin C, Garza RG, and Tait RT. That is it right there, those are your starters. Williams may not even start day one. Heck Ogden and Pace didn't start till early mid season there first years and even when they did start there lines still sucked because the other players were bad.

Angelo is behind the times. The ACC's storied yrs led by the Canes have long since passed. The SEC is where it's at now.

I am well aware that you have to play a numbers game, as I have pointed out numerous times. I believe you were criticizing me for suggested that we draft 3 guards in the draft instead of the players we picked. But those numbers don't need to come from the scrap heap, they need to come from the draft and established free agents. When we had chances to take 4 or 5 good OL prospects, and we draft one in round 1, and the next ones in the final round, we are ignoring a wealth of talent. Maybe one of the guys he brought in can light a fire under the existing trio of Garza, Metcalf, and Beekman, but that still leaves the other guard spot manned by a guy who shouldn't be starting.

If these guys were capable of starting as rookies, they would have been drafted somewhere in the earlier rounds. One or two may develop over time, but we don't have that amount of time to groom them. Barton was an All-American tackle, but is slow footed and stiff. They project him as a guard because they feel his shortcomings can be masked inside. But defensive tackles are bigger, stronger, and faster than they have ever been, and putting a slow-footed guy with limited mobility against Kevin Williams is asking for trouble. Our QBs will spend the entire game running for their lives. Or we will have to double to his side on every play, which leaves a gap for a blitzer, which is what teams did to us all last season.

The OL was an offensive strength 2 years ago, and is a pretty big liability right now. How quickly things change.

If the Bears can get a run blocking gaurd that can start then maybe the Bears can truley come off the bus running.Who know whats in the Bears plans from now untill training camp, I only hope it is to sure up the Gaurd possition.

Come on guys, we are not even in pre-season and your'e already ragging on the picks for the line. The fact of the matter is you can put two rookies on o-line and play the Pack(i hate I even said it) did so just two year ago, the Giants who had a solid run game last year used mostly late round picks and FA on the line. the best way to groom an o-line is to pound the football, that's what we want to do, the issue is can Forte run the football and pick out the holes that are available to run through, that's the question? I do agree with one poster I do see a veteran coming in like maybe Sims from the Raiders to play at one guard spot, but Adams I'm telling you is a steal from Georgia, he's got size, he played in the SEC, and GA always has good lineman in the league...Creighton ease up some on the caffine my friend you usually have good posts, but I think your'e wrong here......

I completely understand where you're coming from with the instability on the Bears' line. There will certainly be a learning curve with the influx of young players. Kreutz and Tate will be instrumental in their transition to the NFL. Also, the Bears will be looking to establish a good running game to enable Rex/Kyle some relief. It may be another struggle on offense this year, but the pieces are coming together on that side of the ball. The Bears will only be competitive if the defense regains its dominant self.

Creighton- First of all, Columbo had a devastating injury and is still starting with the best NFC team in the regular season. That's not too bad. I agree Metcalf hasn't done jack since drafted, but I think Angelo got it right with Williams. I can guarantee you one thing, he's going to be better than Clady. He scored a 14 in the wonderlich and Williams got a 28. LTs need to be intelligent and have a good head on their shoulders. Williams is going to be a mainstay LT, not flashy, but will get the job done. He gave up 2 sacks the past two seasons and is underrated as a run-blocking tackle. Some analysts had him rated as the 2nd best LT in a deep crop of linemen. I think Angelo and the Bears will prove people wrong about this draft class. FYI- St. Claire is not going to start. He's a versitile backup and nothing more.

I think and from what I have been reading it looks like to me the Bears offensive line going into the pre-season will look like this. LT Chris Williams, LG Terrance Metcalf, C Olin Kreutz, RG Roberto Garza, and RT John Tait. Don't get me wrong, this line could work out and I hope it will, if there is going to be a problem area I think it will come from LG Terrance Metcalf who has lost a starting job twice, I believe Metcalf will be the weak link. If so, I believe the Bears will then insert 2nd year player Josh Beekman into the starting lineup at either left or right guard. Yes this will be an extremely young lineup, but the Bears have got to start some where much like the Packers did a couple season back and in the long run it paid off for them also. This group will probably struggle at first, but will gell into a nice line for the Bears. Its easy for some fans to cut down Beekman because he did not see the field last season, I say lay off Beekman till you see him play. I have confidence in Beekman and believe he has great upside. Think about it, Angelo did not address the guard position early in the draft, so Angelo also must have faith in Beekman or he would have spent a 2nd to at least 4th rounder on the position and no free agent was added either at guard. This shows me that the Bears must have confidence in Beekman. Angelo and the Bears coaching staff unlike us, see him practice and workout first hand, like I was saying they must see something in Beekman to go into the season with Beekman and the same set of guards as last season. To me Beekman is the only untested player at the position and you can bet that Angelo wants to see him play. I think Beekman is going to be a good guard for the Bears when it is said and done. I have read on a couple of scouting reports that had Beekman been an inch or two bigger he would have been the highest rated guard coming out of last aprils draft. I say reserve judgement on Beekman till you at least see him play GO BEARS!!

I'm thinking the bears may have got a few diamonds in the rough. I know I know I might be sounding a little too optimistic but after checking these guys out they don't sound too bad. well I guess after what we had last year anything would be better.

chester adams

the big cheese could make a good interior right guard. his strength and massive gut are assets when drive blocking. he's got solid footwork and way too fat for anybody to bull rush. long arms and huge hands. the down side is he doesn't give consistent effort and if he plays outside he can't handle speed DEs. most of this negatives are at tackle which i doubt he'll be playing in chicago. I guess all and all he's a fat whale-like space eater. he doesn't do well getting to the second level either, but that's probably due to his sea mammal size.

after reading reports about kirk barton I think the bears will groom him to be john tait's replacement. he's a natural right tackle with good technique and lateral quickness, good feet, leadership ability and the ability to get to the second level with 4.96 40 speed. he's a solid tackle lacking any sort of wow factor. injuries hurt his stock more than anything else. he's a risk but not so much so if he's on the practice squad for a few years.

kody balogh might be the steal of the udfa. he has versatility and projects as either a right tackle are right guard he's pretty nimble on his feet and had a solid performance at his pro day in montana. I think his strengths are in the running game, he's kind of a dirty mauler, chop blocking and all. being the best in montana might be like being the smartest kid in a special-ed class, so who knows?
40: 5.12 / 5.15
Vertical-27.5 "
Broad Jump--8.0"
Bench--24 reps

mike martinez
i doubt this try out will make the squad but i did a little research on him anyway. martinez played every position at new mexico state. he's fundamentally sounds and has versatility, which might make up for his lack of athleticism. he started 48 consecutive games at new mexico state. at best he's a back up only because of this versatility
10: 2.03
20: 3.44
40: 5.57
Vertical- 25.5"
Broad Jump--7 ft 10"
Bench-- 21

lets assume ryan poles achilles tendon check out. he only allowed 1 sack during his sophomore and junior years and has more than 30 pancakes. his strengths are listed as "Amazing strength. Big, tough and very competitive. Very powerful and he will snap and roll his hips to create movement. Sees blitzes and stunts. Can recover and adjust well." as for his weakness "Does not have quick feet or great speed" hmmmm sounds like another developmental guy to me.

40. 5.50

creighton is probably right about the starters, it makes the most sense but i'm going to toss out an unlikely scenario. it'd had to be in a parallel universe to happen but here it is
lets say by some miracle all the rookies pan out in training camp and the bears trade roberto graze to the flacons for a 4th or 5th round pick. so the roster for the season might look like this
LT chris williams
LG kody balogh
C olin kreutz
RG chester adams
RT john tait
G/C josh beekman
G/T john st. clair
G/T kirk barton
G/C anthony oakley
practice squad
G/C ryan poles
G/T mike martinez

it isn't likely that any team will start 3 rookies but after the way the bears o-line played last year, i seriously think anything will be an improvement. I say f it why not because it isn't going to be the offense that's going to take us anywhere. all they need to do is to be able to run the ball and keep the ball for a while so the defense can rest. if those guys pan out they all seem to be able to run block and forte should be a vast improvement over benson. i doubt it will happen but ey!

3 rookies on the OL would be pretty adventurous, but what the heck? We would only be ruining Rex Grossman (I know what you are thinking...too late) and Kyle Orton. I think we have 4 new starters coming, or at least we should, and sadly, we don't have any experience to fill those spots. Metcalf was terrible, St. Clair was nothing special, and Beekman was a non-factor.

I am wondering where you read the reports on Barton that said he had good lateral quickness. Scouts Inc on ESPN says they think he will struggle with initial bursts off the line (what all defensive ends do in the Cover 2, and now Minnesota and Detroit play that scheme) and does not have the foot speed to deal with quick pass rushers. Sporting News is even less kind, saying he is slow-footed, stiff, and can't sustain blocks. But he could eventually be a solid backup. Problem is we need someone sooner than that.

If this is our starting line, we can expect another year of 3.5 yards per carry out of the running game:


And that is our best case scenario. Unless some of these rookies surprise, and Beekman takes the job from Garza, we are in trouble. We still need upgrades at both guards, assuming Williams is the left tackle. A rookie at LG will not be doing Williams any favors. And we still do not have a blocking TE to help our rookie left tackle. Kellen Davis looks the part, but hasn't become as solid a blocker as we need. If Chester Adams, Kirk Barton, and Cody Balogh see any time on the field, we will be looking for QBs off the street to replace the ones we put in the hospital.

We will never have a decent offense until we can find a quarterback who can complete 60% or more of his passes.Why do we keep Grossman and Orton,who will never complete 60%,and get rid of Griese,who has always been very accurate.I am amazed at how little a chance Griese received.

Barry Shea-Guttenberg,Iowa.

If they start 2 rookies, so what, it can`t be any worse than having Garza, and Miller like last year. Garza is a back-up at best, and needs to be replaced immediately, and Beekman is being groomed to replace Kreutz, which could be sooner than later if he keeps getting knocked on his a--. I agree that whoever starts needs to be a mauler, we need big strong bodies that can move people, no exceptions!

Barry I dont know if you get the Bears games in the fields of Iowa, but if you watched Orton both in college and the NFL he has the potential to be a very accuate QB. Being that its Ortons 3rd year in this offence I do believe that his sucess will come quite quick. The only thing Orton has done for the Bears is keeping the ball out of the defence hands. He has won13 games lost 6 so he hasnt blown games. One does come to mind when he threw 5 ints in his rookie season. Go Orton!

i might have read the report about barton on his ohio state profile ha! nah i don't remember but in retrospect i'm sure a family member wrote it. barton's knees will probably be his down fall.

Barry Shea, I agree to be a successful NFL passer you have got to get in the 60% area as far as passing percentage. Orton actually didn't do that bad considering, vs the Vikes Orton went 22 for 38 which is 57.8% and vs the Pack Orton went 8 of 14 for 57.1% not bad and close to that 60%. Orton ended up at 53.1% for the season, also don't forget about the million drops from the receivers that could have easily brought up this percentage. I believe with some time to work with the starting wideouts to get in sync with them and Orton will be a 60% passer.

Kevin Cregeen, I really don't see the Bears replaceing Olin Kreutz. Kreutz is our best o-lineman and his leadership and locker room presence is very valueable for this young Bears o-line right now. I think Olin not makeing the pro bowl for the first time in a ga zillion years and the bad play from his banged up line mates makes it easier for fans to unfairly get on Kreutz, thus makeing him the scapegoat for the bad line play. Also I don't remember seeing Olin Kreutzs on his a-- much like you say. I say give the guy one more season, Olin has been a team first guy and a good team leader to unfairly dump after a bad season for the line and everyone else for that matter. I think Olin Kreutz will be just fine GO BEARS!!

I would like to take back a comment I said on an earlier blog above on May,1 2008 09:09pm in regards to Terrence Metcalf. I talked about him getting benched twice, but what I didn't realize was that last season Metcalf was playing with a broken hand, I just read this in an article in the Sun Times. Knowing what I know now I feel that Metcalf might just be able to handle the left guard spot, which would allow Beekman to concentrate on the center position. Like I said I didn't realize that Metcalf was playing hurt, I now have more respect for Metcalf because the Sun Times also said that Metcalf never once complained, we need more players like Metcalf GO BEARS!!

Its nice to see that at least one person see's the same in Metcalf than what I do.

I don't want to down Orton but I have to. This guy is totally inaccurate.He can't even connect on short passes. And I can't say that Olin isn't still good because he didn't face too many defenses where they just brought 4 men. We were constantly facing 8 men lines and guys blitzing on so many plays because we were so unimaginative with the limited abilities in our back field. That O line got killed more than any other in the NFL. Nobody looked good because nobody could. How can every single guy look bad like that? I refuse to believe that the o line as a whole became so bad in just a year. Not having the skilled players playing up to par hurt us tremendously. Losing Jones and elevating Benson without any true competition made him complacent. Just like with Rex. You keep giving guys starting positions and they don't earn the respect of the other players who had to earn their spots. They didn't play hard for Rex until he came back from sitting on the bench and he actually had a little fire in him. Orton is a stiff who won't put up those 230 yard games like you guys say that a QB needs.Did he ever? This is his fourth year and he still is considered inferior to Rex for a reason.

The O line has declined in the last year but we do have to take into account a few things. Eight man fronts constantly, no play action ability, a running back Benson that can't make people miss and has very little speed to get to the hole before it closes. As for anyone that indicates that Olin is still not the best or still not one of the best centers in the league must simply be blind as to what else is occurring out on the field. The Bears offensive play calling is so predictable that the opponents defense lines up the eightman fronts. When there is no running game a play action pass does not work because no one is biting on the play action. Because Rex gets rattled and the runing back can't block Rex is faced with blitz after blitz, it is just not the line play that has killed the offense. A good running back that can block, catch an outlet pass and that can make the defense miss occassionally will make the O line look all that much better. Also don't forget that half the time the Wideouts were dropping more passes than they caught.

Hey William you sour grapes if Orton is inferior to Rex then why in the hell did the Bears sign him to a 2 year extention with just about the same pay as Grossman. Also why didnt they sign a 3 year deal with Rex????
I have a good idea of that William. The Bears seen what Orton is, a ball keeper at the QB possition. Orton will make the throw down field if he sees it. He will dump it off if he has to. Heck the guy has only been on the field for 18 games and he was a 4th round pick. The only other rookie to compile more than 11 wins in their Rookie season in the last 25 years has been Big Ben in Pittsburg. Dude lighten up and be possitive.

Dahlillama Thats why the Bears drafted Forte. A guy that can be on the field for 3 downs. I would have to say a quarter of the predictability in the 07 offence was because they had to bring in AP. Another predictable thing was on a passing down they sometime brought in AP. In years past the play action worked because of Thomas Jones. Benson is just not a ALL AROUND BACK. Hes more of a complimentory back. A back to wear down the middle of the Defence. He cant even do that so Dihlillma be patient and wait for us the fans to see if this stud Forte is the real deal.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on April 30, 2008 11:30 PM.

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