While you can’t say the Bears and Brian Urlacher are near resolving their differences regarding his contract, the biggest hurdle in reaching an agreement has been crossed. Urlacher is back and that puts the sides on course for a negotiation at some point.
So with that in mind—and a desire to focus on something else—we turn to some other issues worth watching at minicamp this weekend.
Six topics worth discussing:
1. What’s up with contracts for Tommie Harris and Devin Hester? Coming to an accord with Urlacher won’t put an end to the financial wheeling and dealings going on. Harris’ situation takes on the most significance because he is due to be an unrestricted free agent following the 2008 season.
2. How’s the quarterback derby shaping up now that we’re closing in on being a month-and-a-half away from training camp? We should be able to get Rex Grossman’s take on things. Grossman has not spoken since December, and he was supposed to be made available at the open OTA last week but that didn’t happen.
3. Will Mike Brown comment on his situation? The star-crossed free safety is running with the ones, healed from ACL surgery in September, and is back for one final chance here.
4. How’s Nathan Vasher doing? For all the publicity Brown and his injury situation received last year, Vasher missing 12 games with a serious groin injury. His absence was every bit as damaging to a defense that went from the top five in the league to the bottom five.
5. What does the defensive line look like? This is where it all starts for the defense and this is where things broke down at critical points last season. Harris was battling a bum left leg most of the year and there was a revolving door at nose tackle. Left end Adewale Ogunleye was probably as consistent as anyone on the defense. This unit bears watching.
6. Last but not least, how is the offense gelling? Ron Turner’s unit could have as many as six new starters this season. It’s easy for things to look smooth in minicamp but we’ll keep an eye on things here. This is about as dramatic an overhaul you can have on offense without changing the playbook. Don’t discount the real possibility this will be an issue when the season begins.
We’ll check in this weekend with as many updates as we can make before taking some time off.