Chicago Sun-Times

Three fit for a King: Sports Illustrated's list of top 50 players

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The Bears are well represented heading into the season, at least when it comes to Peter King's ranking of the NFL's top 50 players.

The 2008 Sports Illustrated preview issue hit newsstands today and three Bears land on his list. It's probably not too hard to guess which three:

22. Tommie Harris (25 last year)

27. Brian Urlacher
(7 last year)

34. Devin Hester
(69 last year)

Urlacher's drop 20 spots is the third-largest of any player still in the top 50. Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed dropped from No. 12 to No. 46 and Indianapolis Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney slipped from No. 13 to No. 37. San Diego tight end Antonio Gates also fell 20 spots from No. 15 to No. 35.

Harris is the second defensive tackle on the list, trailing only Minnesota's Kevin Williams (No. 13).

Urlacher is the third linebacker on the list after Dallas' DeMarcus Ware (No. 15) and San Diego's Shawne Merriman (No. 16). Guessing, the list was constructed before Merriman's knee injury hit. Other linebackers listed ahead of Lance Briggs (he's not in the top 50) are Seattle's Julian Peterson at No. 38, Baltimore's Terrell Suggs at No. 43 and San Francisco's Patrick Willis at No. 50.

No centers made the top 50. It will be interesting to see where King stacked up Olin Kreutz among the others at his position.

We're going to get to the Mailbag Q&A a little later on today.

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16 Comments

Brian Urlacher would be a lot higher if not for the injuries last season. I can give you two reasons why, name another defensive player that can run like a defensive back, and is as big as a defensive linemen? I think its the same for Tommie Harris, if not for the injuries, Harris would, & should be higher. Harris is most definitely better than Minnesota's Kevin Williams.
A lot has been made on this board about how the Bears get no love from the media, and I agree. I actually think its the opposite with the Vikings. It seems like every time you hear something about them on tv or in a magazine, someone is talking them up. Example: Just think if the Bears would of paid Bernard Berrian like the Vikings did, every one would of been cutting the Bears down about it, and saying "the Bears over paid for Berrian." The Minnesota Vikings pay him, and other than Bear fans, every one is saying "what a great move by the Vikings." Its like, give me a break, I would like the media to tell me when was the last time the Vikings actually won something? At least the Bears made the super bowl within the last few seasons. Even when the Vikings were clearly the best team in the NFC, back in 1998, they still couldn't make it to the big game. To me, the Vikings are like the team that always has potential, but it never materializes, can you say OVERRATED! GO BEARS!!

Since it was Peter King, the first 6 on the list were:

1. Brett Favre
2. Brett Favre's glistening, sweaty biceps
3. Brett Favre's ticklish, grey-speckled beard stubble
4. Tom Brady
5. Tom Brady's hunky dimpled chin
6. Tom Brady's glistening, sweaty biceps

I don't read Peter King because I could care less aout his man-crushes, his daughter, or coffee.

Don't know why you bother. Like Howard Cossell, ESPN, etc.,the next thing Sports Illustrated learns about football will be the first thing. No wonder the have to rely on T&A swimsuit issues to sell mags.

Peter King is a moron. Remember him calling Urlacher the most overrated player in the NFL? Sports Illustrated is behind in times again, big suprise. Two thirds of their magazine is filled with advertisements. Not much of a sports publication anymore. Im tired of these so-called experts. I could go on ESPN, or write a column for Sports Illustrated, and spit out drivel just as well as these guys can.

I find it interesting that two largely one-dimensional linebackers make the list ahead of Urlacher. I do not agree with the 3-4 linebackers being considered great when they behave like solid defensive ends. Patrick Willis, DeMeco Ryans, Keith Brooking, Derrick Brooks, Lofa Tatupu, Nick Barnett, and several others I would list ahead of Suggs, Ware, and Merriman. Put them in coverage, and you neutralize their effectiveness. Put the guys I listed in coverage, and you still have problems.

Just like in baseball, where chicks dig the long ball, media loves sacks...I guess Greg Blache was right where they never measure who wins or loses by how many sacks they got...

Today's NBC Sports Ranking of NFL Coaches (Lovie at 9? Huh?!):
1. Bill Belichick
2. Tony Dungy
3. Mike Holmgren
4. Tom Coughlin
5. Andy Reid
6. Jeff Fisher
7. Mike Shanahan
8. Jack Del Rio
9. Lovie Smith
10. Jon Gruden
11. Mike McCarthy
12. Sean Payton
13. John Fox
14. Mike Tomlin
15. Dick Jauron
16. Norv Turner
17. Romeo Crennel
18. Ken Whisenhunt
19. Wade Phillips
20. Marvin Lewis
21. Eric Mangini
22. Herm Edwards
23. Brad Childress
24. Gary Kubiak
25. Rod Marinelli
26. Lane Kiffin
27. Mike Nolan
28. Scott Linehan
29. Tony Sparano
30. Jim Zorn
31. Mike Smith
32. John Harbaugh

http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/26346208/?pg=25#spt_rankingNFL_coaches

hahaha so true Da Church. And I fully agree with Kevin. This isnt some kind of martyr-syndrome by bears fans, the media actually hates the bears. Even a jerk like Jay Mariotti got tired of critizing the team, hopefully ESPN is next. The first game of 2006, AGAINST THE EVENTUAL 8-8 PACKERS, Mark "Stink" Schlearth (sp?) said the bears would get killed. All ESPN looks at is teams on paper, they never consider potential or the human element.

If it were John Madden, the whole list would eventually just degenerate into a 45-page thesis about Brett Favre and Tony Romo

Joe 3-4 LB's don't belong on the linebacker list in any way shape or form. The are undersized tweener DE. Put them in the middle of a 4-3 or even a 3-4 and see how well they perform.

Dick Jauron made it all the way to 15????

Da Church Da Coach thats strange you say that about King and glistening biceps. Crap-ton told me his gaydar picked up that King is more of a butt man like Angelo. But if you want conformation about either's sexual oreintation you will probably need to ask Brando as he has first hand knowledge.

Sweet lord in heaven! Lovie is ranked at #9!? And who's #1 at defensive coordinator, Boob Babich? After all, Lovie hand picked him and we all know he would have made the Bears look like the '85 squad were it not for all the injuries.

It's obvious lists like these are done by those who do not comprehend/let alone watch football. They simply look at win-loss records and playoff runs which, sorry to say, do not tell the whole story. I mean, Lane Kiffin has to answer to Ancient Al Davis who has lost it in every sense of the word. He's blown the entire salary cap on what? Five players?

Belicheat should be kicked out of the league.

Dungy is obviously so great a coach that with Peyton Manning et co, they've continuously managed to choke hard in the playoffs. But my, they've accumulated impressive records during the season. And for supposedly being a defensive guru, like his good pal Lifesupport Lovie, Dungy and the Colts for years had a really bad defense.

As for Snooze-button Smith, my word, he really showed the nation his uncanny coaching talent in SB XLI. Cover-2, Cover-2, Cover-2... Oh that's not working? How about Cover-2, Cover-2, Cover-2...Then when the Bears lost, he looked as confused as a little lost child at J.C.Penny.

I swear, when I click on a broken link and I get that "Error 404 Not Found" message I learn just as much about the Bears as I have from any of Lovie's quotes or press conferences. "We didn't play good." "But I feel good about this..." "We're only in the first quarter of the season." "We get off the bus running."

Why wouldn't Lovie be in the top ten? Who in the group below him have a better coaching record? Maybe Gruden and Fox should be higher because out of that bunch they're the only ones who have taken their teams to a Superbowl. See this is the main reason why I say that fans don't see the whole picture. Look at the record of all those coaches and tell me who has a better overall record? Now how many of those coaches have had a better QB situation than we've had? The man's record should speak for him not whether or not he's an emotional guy or not. Throwing fits and showing emotions isn't something that too many of the guys do anyway. Ditka got you guys spoiled. You think that that is the only way a coach should act when guys like Landry and Walsh still won without all the theatrics.

Hey Mike maybe your forgetting the great Defense Lovie coached in St. Louis. Oh wait the offense was great, the Defense stank. Never mind.

Nobody has to ask me anything about anyones sexual oreintation. The only first hand knowledge I have on anyones sexual oreintation is mine and my wifes.

Now lets talk some football. As far as Peter King and his veiw on the Top 50 its all just wish wash. I can care less on one mans opinion who is #1-#50. I care about the 53 men comming together as a team.

I see Lovie as a top 10 coach and Angelo as a top 15 GM in the NFL.
Lovie took a group of guy to believe in his system and so far when healthy the defensive system has proven to be a top 5 in the NFL.

Will, a coaches record speaks almost nothing to how good of a coach he is. If a team has exceptional talent and a great staff below the head coach people will glorify the head coach for putting together such a great team when in fact a mediocre coach could have done the same. you cant tell me that an unproven coach, such as new orleans sean payton,couldnt have done almost as well if not just as well as belichick with the patriots this year. so my point is a great record does not speak to how well a coach is. ill give lovie credit for doing as well as he did with the poor qb's in chicago but when it all came down to it he didnt do quite well enough and the defense was stacked that year but still looked extremely poor against the colts in the SB.

You're right, my apologies.

Vince to a great degree that same argument goes to Ditka. With great defensive players and a great Defensive coach along with the Walter Payton doesn't sully Ditka's record. No. You won't do that. Would a mediocre coach in 85 translated into Super Bowl champions?Having great players don't always translate into great records. And it's not like the Defense got blown out in the SuperBowl. They had some bad plays all around and the only player who played with any heart during that game got dealt to New York before the next season started. Maybe if he still had that heart the record last year would've been on the other side of .500. It's not like all hope was lost at the half. Take away all those 3 and outs that the offense committed and maybe a INT or two that resulted in great field position for the Colts and maybe it wouldn't have been so bad. And maybe the record of those guys ahead of Lovie's should be looked at harder because of the great players they have. Everyone loves Bill Cowher but it took him 15 years with the Steelers to win a Super Bowl. Look at all those ups and downs that fans refuse to see. All they know is he won and that makes have qualified to come here and make us a better team utilizing the same restraits that Lovie has to live with. Not drafting a stud QB. He didn't do anything until he got his stud. You know he would never get one here.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on August 27, 2008 11:12 AM.

What to watch for Thursday--the secondary was the previous entry in this blog.

Mailbag Q&A: The responses is the next entry in this blog.

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