Chicago Sun-Times

Minicamp mayhem: A half-dozen storylines not related to Urlacher

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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.

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24 Comments

What is with all the secrecy in not allowing media access to OTA's, mini-camp even most practices and every player everyday.

I also heartily object to the media not having access to anyone other coaches, than Lovie. Hearing him talk is like having only dry toast for breakfast.

Sure they can have one practice for the trick play of the day but trying to make a football team the equivalent of the Pentagon is total bs.

The fans and the media (thru the fans) pay the bills for whatever goofy reason I know I need a life I want to see some video, read some stories have a few little jabs to read about. I don't want the exact same "press releases" related in 3 different media outlets I want stories, insights and truth.

OK Brad, I complained about the ET grade level coverage on Benson. If you can dig out anything on THOSE questions, give yourself a well deserved "ATTABOY". On #6 its still a mystery to me why Metcalf is with the ones? Was there some valid-but-fixable explanation on why he played so bad last year that keeps him in the mix?

some scientists say that the Bermuda Triangle is geographically misplaced..it should really appear at Hilarious Hall(fka Halas Hall) where all logic and reasoning vanish. And Alfred E. Nueman totally agrees.

Why are guys so fixated on Metcalf?? If he's running with the first unit, he must be the best they have. (I say bring back Ruben Brown but that's another issue.)

Metcalf had a broken hand, that they hid until after year was over for why play fell off, hard to block with a broken hand( but with brown on IR had no choice)

2 comments:

1) Where is Josh Beekman? He was supposed to be a guy with a nasty disposition and adept at blocking. Why has he not seen the field?

2) Trade Urlacher - milk the Raiders or the Redskins out of 2 #1s and a couple of #2s or #3s and let's be done with this guy. Even if he is healthy, how many top years does he have left?

You're high if you think anyone would give up two #1s for a 30-year-old linebacker. I doubt they could even get one first-round pick.

JPCZ Your pathetic.

One, NO TEAM will trade 2 #1s for Urlacher let alone 2 #2s. If he was 25 maybe but not at this point in his career.

1. Harris takes presidence over Hester. Hester's ability is amazing, but he is still only a true returner. Maybe the best returner EVER, but still only that. He has not proven himself as a receiver. He has had SOME impact plays (last drive GB, bomb from Greise to tie it against MINN, and 2 catches against Philly on winning drive), but not enough to merit a lot of money. Harris is a stalwort DT dominating and a leader by example. It is clear he makes the football team much bette with his prescence. Either they work out extension this year, or he's franchised for 09, and they give him monster contract in 2010 (the uncapped year). You might see the latter. He has had one major injury that,no doubt, led to many nuiscance injuries that did not allow him to practice. It did seem to affect his lateral quickness. The Bears may be leaning towardwaiting till half the season is over.

2. The QB is a toss up for sure. Orton won't lose it for ya, and makes less bad decisions. Grossman has proven to be jeckyl hide type of talent. He has the ability to throw on the run, but can't escape pocket because he has 2 blind sides. He can throw any ball you want, but not always to the right team. Bottom line is Grossman crumbles under pressure from a good defense. Much the way most QB's do in the NFL. Teams were blitzing and he couldn't get it to the open man. He is awesome with time. But I still say he has trouble seeing over the oncoming middle blitz. Orton, on the other hand, Has shown he won't lose a game for ya, but he sure hasn't won any games either. He has yet to prove his leadership metal, but he has the height, strength, tools ect. to do everything you ask him. I favor Orton for the simple fact the Bears always seem to do well (they did the last 3 games)with him at QB.

#6) Skipping to 6 to keep it all offense for now. Really depends on the health of the offensive line. Last year, Brown, Metcalf, and Miller missed significant time injured. Tait had a nagging calf injury for most of the year, and played subpar. If they stay healthy and Chris Williams turns out to have the talent, they will be the best O-line in the Lovie Smith regime. The rest will fall into place if that happens. Big IF's though.

3,4,&5) If the defense stays healthy, they will be dominant like they were in 05 till Brown got hurt, and 06 till brown got hurt. They are undefeated since 05/game 5 when the starters start and finish a game(8-0 in 05, and 5-0 in 06). If the entire defense stays healthy the whole year, they are unquestionably the best defense in the NFL (just look at the stats of the old games in 05 and 06...nuff said). If Brown (as expected) goes down, then they are still a top 5 defense if the rest of them remain healthy. Also factor in the questions about this Bears defense right now in the media (espn too). They are PO'd, and have a chip on their shoulder. I think that is a good sign. I assume they will be healthy and awesome till otherwise seen.

Great post Biggs. Giving us a few topics at once to hammer out.

Go BEARS!!

JPCZ, you want to trade Urlacher, a top 5 linebacker and the backbone of the Bears D, for unproven draft picks? You know, Angelo may not be pefect, but I know it could be worse...much, much, much worse.

Those of you who are disgusted with Terrence Metcalf, I totally agree. I don't care if both his hands were broken, there is a problem with that left gaurd spot. How couldn't this guy beat out a 36 yr. old? Metcalf's hand couldn't have been broken the entire year. He's hot garbage and is just holding a place. I expect to see Cheese Adams at some point this year. I believe the only reason he gets the job now is because he has more experience than the rest of the guys. Josh Beekman isn't going to see alot of time at guard because they are training him to replace Kruetz when he's done. The Bears have always liked nasty centers. Furthermore, I don't think Metcalf's hand had anything to do with the missed block that led to Grossman's injury last season. That guy blew past "El Matador" Metcalf before he even got out of his stance.

The one player on the Bears, I would most want to be 100% healthy, and playing at full streanth for the durration of the 16 game regular season is, Mike Brown.

Career stats:

2000-2007: 438 tackles: 365 solo tackles: 15 interceptions: 22 pass deflections: 4 sacks: 4 touchdowns: 85 games played out of 128 regular season games. Missed 2 of the 4 playoff games.

With Mike Brown missin a total of 43 regular season games I think some tidbits have been pushed to the side.

In 2000 he was 2nd on the team in tackles with 96. He received accolades from Pro Football Weekly, Football News, and Football Digest, but lost the 2000 Defensive Rookie of the Year honors to, who other than, teammate Brian Urlacher. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Brown_(American_footballer)

In 2005 the Bears had won 8 in a row before he sustained a calf injury.
In 2006 the Bears won 6 in a row before he went down with a foot injury.
In those 2 years, thats 14 games played and the Bears won all 14 games. Streak ended last year against the Chargers. One streak that is stll alive is the Bears have won 12 straight with Mike Brown starting and finishing games.

Mike Brown is just as importan to the Bears defense as anyother player on the team. Mike seems to know how to get it done. The defense runs smoother and stronger when Brown is in the line up. Lets say he plays 16 games, do the Bears still keep the 12 game winning streak alive with Mike Brown starting and finishing games?

Pat D. I don't know about that broken hand story the bears are throwing around about Metcalf, they hid it. Why?? If he was hurt why not bring up Beekman who never even dressed for a game. Also they never hid Miller or Browns injuries last year. In fact I don't recall anyone on the team having a secret injury. Metcalf has always sucked thats why the got Brown to begin with and benchen him. I do know one thing Lovie will and Angelo will lie to the media and public to cover up facts, like Benson being all fat and over weight last year. Last year Lovie said he asked Benson to put on the weight, this year he says Benson was out of shape and over weight. Well, which is it? Metcalf probably jammed his finger picking his nose on the bench.

Brad as for your questions, we all have to wait till training camp and preseason or later to get those answers.

But here is a shot in the dark.

1. This is probably the esaiest to guess at, the Bears want to see how Hester does at WR before they pay him Chad Johnson money and there is nothing wrong with that, personally I think Hester will be what he was laster year, maybe 200 more yards and 1 more TD as a WR. But teams will prep for him more this year and he will probably drop off in the Kick and Punt game because not a coach in there right mind will kick to him. As for Harris, I think he maybe taking a gamble, he has mentioned if he stays healthy he could be the defensive MVP and he may be right, it would also mean more money for him, either that or he wants to much.

2. How is the QB copitition shaping up? Bad they both still suck, think turnovers and fumbles because that is what they are both good at.

3. Leave Brown alone, I am the first to admit I think he will get hurt again, but the guy has been through hell and back and has always been a good guy and player. I hope he makes it. But for real if you have had the injuries he has had the las t 4 straight years would you want to talk about injuries during Mini's no less.

4. Vash, here is hoping he is ok, groins are funny things, they never really heal right or all the way. I think he will be ok.

5. Dline, how is it looking, well we still need an upgrade over Brown if we really want to use the front 4 to apply presure, Goon is getting long in the tooth, Tommy, Dusty and Williams all have injruy issues, so about the same as it did the begining of last year, except with Brown starting they should be better against the run. However he still doesn't fit the mold of speed rusher that you need in a Tampa 2.

6. I don't see 6 new starter on offense this year unless injuries come into play. Lets see Metcalf, Williams(maybe, around game 2 or 3 at the latest unless they use him like they did Olin back in the day), Booker, and who knows who else at WR. I doubt that Forte gets the start over Benson, they kept Benson around for a reason and it looks like they are giving him one last shot. At QB it will be Rex I don't by the compitition hype, I actually think they created the copitition to keep the media off Rex and I think the Bears will milk it as long as they can.

Almost forgot, Hurricane season start tommorow and it is supposed to be a bad season. So sense it's the weekend, everyone who can, should get down to there local Red Cross and give a little Blood, or make a donation, even a dollar helps. This even includes you Brandy.

I believe Beekman is quietly being groomed to take over for Kreutz someday and Metcalf is eing given a second chance to prove he is a NFL player. Remember those closed practices we don't know what is going on. And lastly Urlacher had a rough season last year he is when healthy a big part of the cover 2,

Creighton very nice Post ( 5:08 pm 5/30/08). I enjoyed reading your thoughts.

UTOH! i hope your not refuring to me as Brandy. As my name is posted as Brando. Replace the "O" with a "Y" and you have Brandy. Clever ohh sooo not Clever. Ive herd that one before.

I have type AB-. The very most rare blood type in the world. Yes i donate, as I am Pro- Choice and Pro-Life. Everyone deserves a 2nd chance to live. I am also a organ donor.

"I am Pro- Choice and Pro-Life." - Brando

What the hell does that mean!?

I think Metcalf will start out the season as the starter at left guard. The question with Metcalf is, for how long, and I mean durability wise. Fact is, the offensive line is unlike the d-line, in you do not switch players in and out, on the o-line the players have got to be able to last a few games. Metcalf just can't go the distance. I think Josh Beekman will eventually make his way into the lineup, and be a pleasant surprise. Beekman was at one time going into the 2007 draft, a projected 1st rounder. One mock draft that off-season had the Bears takeing Beekman in the first. The fact that he didn't play last season was probably because the Bears were working on his strength, and getting him acclimatized to the play book and his new team mates. And there is nothing unusual about this approach with a young lineman [see Olin Kreutz]. The fact that the Bears have Beekman in the running for the starting job, even though he didn't play, shows me he has obviously made great strides for the coaching staff to put him in this position, and at guard, I don't see Olin going anywhere and I don't see Beekman sitting the bench much longer either. I think Beekman will be a great guard for the Bears so GO BEARS!!

Beekman needs to play and get experience if he is eventually taking over for Olin.
I feel he may be in line for a starting job cause JA failed to draft a good O lineman recently the past few years. Not to say I wouldn't mind seeing what he is capable of.

re: Jays article on URL.... STFU
`Brian Urlacher needs all the positive vibes he can muster in his mid-career crisis.'
How much does he need to prove he's a Bear Jay - He took us to the Big Dance after 20 f!@# years away! He's fun to watch on the field - throw out last year as with all the Bears even though he played injured!
Maybe? not Butkus/Singletary yet but damn close!!!

Actually Brando that was for Brad not you and yes it was clever. You of course feel free to give what ever you want. Please give all the blood you can, I don't fight with people over good causes. It's just a reminder to people that this time of the year is a good time to give blood. I see of course you seem ready to argue over it, thats nice, have a good day.

Mike I think Brando is trying to say people have the right to make a choice when it comes to the other subject. Not sure why it's being brought up, or what it has to do with giving blood and Hurricane season, but hey not my buisness.

Hey Biggs in your article you said Hester was practicing with the #1 team at WR, at what spot was he practicing do you know? Also do you know were Williams and Beekman were practicing as well and with what teams? I am assuming second Team but may be wrong.

Hester with the First squad - now thats good news! A Speedster WR will demand a speedster on him which will free up Bradley/Booker a little...

For Brad Biggs;
The intransitive verb for "coming together" in item #6 in re: the offense, is jelling, NOT gelling. Gel a trade name.

I hate to be a pendant BBSC, but you have it backwards. The term is "gelled" from the root word "gelatinous". So indeed, "the offense is gelling". "Jello" is a brand name. You can look it up.

However, just so you don't feel too unappreciated, there is a word "jellied" that is very similar to "gelled".

Now what were we talking about again?

Listen up:I get so tired of the people outside of Chicago beating up the Bears.The thing that makes me most mad is when I see the same thing from what are supposed to be our fan base.You people should remove yourselfs from the archives of Bear fans!This sseason should be fun to watch.

The way I see it the O line should be improved with Chris williams
at LT, and moving Tait back to his natural position. Being back at right Tackle should help the aging Tait and our ball club.LG Terrence Metcalf is healty he tried playing with a broken hand last year and his play was not his best.He should be a really big upgrade being healthy.Olin Kruetz say what you want he is the man at Center, mean as can be.RG Roberto Garza is a steady player. All being said the Offensive line looks to be better then last year.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on May 30, 2008 6:12 AM.

Urlacher to show for minicamp was the previous entry in this blog.

Bears hammer out a contract with Rosenhaus is the next entry in this blog.

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