Chicago Sun-Times

Happy Gilmore: Former tight end breaks down Griese, Bears' QB's

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Watching replays of fullback Jason McKie being stacked up in the backfield, you couldn't help but wonder if the play would have been a success with ex-Bears tight end John Gilmore on the field.

That's because rookie tight end Kellen Davis whiffed on his block of Carolina linebacker Thomas Davis on fourth-and-one from the 50-yard line Sunday. Thomas Davis came across his face and was in the backfield almost instantly as Kellen Davis was slow reacting out of his stance.

That's what the veteran Gilmore was best known for when he was here, blocking. It's what the Tampa Bay Buccaneers brought him on board for, too. The difference in Gilmore wearing a Bucs uniform Sunday at Soldier Field and a Bears uniform came down to a few hundred thousand dollars.

Gilmore, a seven-year veteran, was seeking some security and wasn't interested in giving a hometown discount. Tampa Bay offered him $1 million to sign in a $3 million, three-year contract. It wound up topping the Bears' offer by $235,000. The difference was the Bucs are paying him a base salary of $750,000 this season followed by $ 1million next year and $1.25 million in 2010. The Bears' offer also had a $1 million signing bonus but they only wanted to pay minimums when it came to his base salary and that's where the difference was.

Gilmore says things are a little more quiet living in Florida, but he says it's a high-character locker room like he was used to here and the transition has been as seamless as one can be for a vet.

"The guys are great," he said. "I got real lucky when it came to that. Everybody on the team is cool and it's a real similar locker room."

Gilmore had a career-long 36-yard catch on a seam route on Sunday against the Falcons and also hauled in a five-yard touchdown pass, the fourth of his career. He credits all the work he did on the scout team with the Bears the past two seasons in catching passes from Brian Griese to his sudden success in the passing game.

"I just don't want to John to get too confused in his role,'' Bucs coach Jon Gruden joked, insinuating Gilmore is there to block. "He's done a great job for us. He's a very good blocker, he's a good receiver and just a great team guy. He's helped us on special teams and he's been a real great addition to this football team."

A Q&A with Gilmore:


"I don't think Griese really ever got a shot. They wanted him to be the backup quarterback and that's how it went down. It's kind of hard to judge when you have a starter taking starter reps vs. a guy that comes in. Griese has always played well in my eyes. The only reason I say that is me and him got all the work against the No. 1's and serviced the defense. I've always been a Griese fan.''


"Brian is a good quarterback. Let's not forget about what he did in Denver. Even when he was down here before, he was the starter and he did well."


"My biggest thing with Griese is the way he maintains the huddle. He has great poise and there is a certain swagger about him. In the huddle, he makes sure you know what you're doing. If you don't he makes sure you do. That's what you want."


"I like Rex [Grossman] for his deep ball. Man, you've got to like the guy for that. I thought Kyle [Orton] had more of an upside to him. When he was young he won, what, 10 games for us? After that season the guy never got another shot. You've got to get in games. You can't tell in practice if a guy can do it. He never got that next shot, so from an upside standpoint Kyle definitely would have been my guy. Rex had his shot there and he's a good quarterback. I think they were finally like, `Let's give this kid (Orton) a shot and go in a different direction.'"

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We need a different and better offensive coordinator. Surely, if Gilmore can make a 36-yard catch, Clark and Olsen should be able to do it.

We don't take advantage of our tight ends. They create mismatches for any defense, but we are too stupid to realize it.

Ron Turner should be dumped now. Let Orton call his own freaking plays. It's got to be better than the "game strategy" we've seen the first couple games.

Watching the Eagles v. Cowboys and the end of the Chargers v. Broncos game, our offense looks like it is going in reverse compared to these teams. It's not the QBs, its how each team works to create mismatches and then takes advantage of them. We're not even working to create the mismatches.

We are wasting an outstanding group of tight ends who can catch, run, block and score. We won't realize it until they go to another team.

Hey Seedy, how is life on Mars? That's where you must be living to make a comment like that. About the only thing the Bears have been doing right in the passing game is using the tight ends. And then Olsen cost them a game by putting the ball on the ground twice after catches.

And let Orton call the plays? Sure, the Seedy one is wise!!! One of the problems Sunday was they gave Orton an option to change the call. He decided to throw a pass into the ground instead of running Forte to try getting a yard.

The Bears offense is actually playing a lot better than I expected. In order to compete with teams like Philly and Dallas they have quit making stupid mistakes, and throw the ball down field more often. That means Orton is going to have to hit the open man (Booker last week) and the wide receiver is going to have to catch it(Davis).

ps to Moose: If Chicago is where receivers go to die, how do you explain the reincarnation of Brandon Lloyd?

I have to agree with you Seedy. I think Turner has been awful at game planning the last 2 years. We have a great RB so where is the deep play action? We should be able to hit a few of those.

I'm sorry but I am not drinking the Kyle Orton kool aid. With him at QB we have half an offense. I'd rather take Rex and his mistakes than a QB who can't throw the ball downfield. Too bad you couldn't put Kyle's brain in Rex's body. We'd probably have a franchise QB then.

While watching the Philly/Dallas game was a joy. This was a showcase of good quarterbacks, good offensive play calling, smart match-ups, multiple game-time adjustments and great execution. It was everything the Bears offense isn’t. In a post yesterday I was going over the good Bears Offensive Coordinators starting with Ed Hughes who got them to the SuperBowl the first time, and Gary Crowton (1999) and his “Razzle-Dazzle” offense, throwing the ball and scoring points. But for some reason after that is pure garbage:

John Shoop Era late 2000-2003
Terry Shea Era 2004
Ron Turner II 2005-Present

The offense is bad because those in charge of the offense are bad, and the selection process to find personnel to be in charge of the offense is bad. Our offensive situation is so bad if we had Moss on one side and T.O. on the other the situation would be worse because if you dink and dunk Moss would lose it and if you keep missing T.O. deep he will be T.O. and neither Kyle nor Rex is strong enough to handle attitude, remember Lovie over the summer “please don’t boo the quarterbacks…” What a mess.

Aaron Jones:
Awesome look at our horrible O.C. over the last 8 seasons. It all starts with coaching and our O.C. is pathetic. Can we please get a coordinator that knows what he is doing?


So you quit going to the TEs, who create the most mismatches for you because of a couple fumbles? Okay, maybe you don't throw to Olsen, but you certainly continue throwing to Clark.

Your comment doesn't make any sense.

Also, Orton audibled to dumb plays. Hey, that happens. Those also were probably pre-approved audibles.

Sure, Orton has to execute better, but he needs a few plays that make it easier to succeed. A better offensive approach might help. That begins with Turner. And with RT, we got the short end of the stick.

I agree with Gilmore on Kyle Orton, the guy does have upside. Also, you have got to give Orton at least till around mid season to see how he developes with the deep ball, I think he needs more time to work with the receivers. I agree, Orton does need to bring up his completion percentage of passes over 20 yards, but he has connected on some in week one, I think the Panthers game was just a bad day for everybody. Orton didn't have the luxury of working with the first team all pre-season, or a certain set of receivers, Chicago didn't even know who was going to start at receiver. Right about now, Kyle Orton could use a stud receiver, much like a Sterling Sharpe who Brett Favre had early in his career as kind of a security blanket [not to compare Orton to Favre], but unfortunately, Chicago nor Orton have this luxury right now.
If Kyle Orton is still missing deep passes in week 8, yeah, there is a problem. But I say wait and give the guy time, I think Kyle Orton will step up his game, and if Matt Forte keeps up his great running, the passing game should only benefit, especially the deep ball GO BEARS!!

I'll say what John Gilmore wouldn't: Brian Griese should have been the Bears' starting quarterback in 2006 and 2007. Unfortunately for the Bears, they chose to hand Rex Grossman the job, then the coaches decided they couldn't get along with Griese. What that probably comes down to is that they can't tolerate the strong personality it takes to be a good quarterback, which explains why the Bears never have one. I hope they don't ruin Caleb Hanie, but their history with QBs is bleak.

Mom thinks Kevin has a good point about don't give up on Orton after a couple weeks. Sure his deep ball sucks right now and his late-game antics were very counter-productive, but Mom believes the potential for improvement during the season is very very high. The offense as a whole faltered more than once. Watching all those penalties were like being intimate with a bag of glass. In any case, I think a big test of Orton's arm will come this weekend against an aggressive Bucs defense GO BEARS!!!

Wow a former TE/reciever who didnt throw anybody under the bus. Very classy. I hope Golmore has a great season.


Kyle Orton call his own plays?


That's a good one man. I can't stop laughing. Did you watch the game last week? Playcalling was suspect at the very end, yes. But Ron Turner didn't miss Booker deep and (was it Bradley?) who got a nice five yard pass thrown at his shoes that would have helped move the chains.

Go back to bed and cuddle up to neckbeard. You're living in bizzaro world.

Does this blog have a D-league? OK Seedy I'm going to type slow and use small words.

I did not say to stop throwing to the tight ends. I said they were already doing that. What you suggested they start doing is one of the few things they are already doing right in the passing game. The Bears tight ends combined are in the top 3/4 in the league in receiving yards for tight ends. There are 8 teams with more. They are Seattle, Miami, Tenn, Carolina, San Diego, Cleveland, Dallas, and Denver. The Bears are pretty close to about half those teams who are above them in tight end yards. For example, Cleveland with K2, has one more tight end yard than Chicago. We have more tight end yardage than KC with Gonzo, and NO with Shockey.

Turner has been creating mis-matches by playing Olsen and Clark at the same time. It has worked well several times.

Suggesting Orton call the plays is idiotic. Not even Brady or Manning do that. When you hear the OC say things like "it was my fault for giving him a play with an option". The translation is "I don't want to throw him under the bus, but the kid ain't good at audibles yet".

And you want him to call the plays? Please feel free to enlighten us further.

Yeah Seedy, how exactly is the O.C. at fault when he does call pass plays downfield and the QB flat out misses the throws? Or a flag is thrown for holding, clipping whatever. Usually I have criticized Turner for his play-calling but this season he's doing pretty well. You can't fault him for missed throws or turnovers.

Also you want Orton calling his own plays? You must be thinking of Brian Griese. And Wrigley, I'm right with you on Griese.

Imagine what the outcome of SBXLI could have been with Griese at the helm...

The Bears' refusal to pay John Gilmore is a perfect example of why they never have a good offense. For a few bucks more, they could have kept their best blocking tight end. Instead they lavish fortunes on defensive players and a special teams player who might or might not become a receiver while the offense suffers from extreme lack of talent (and while fans who don't get it complain about the offensive coordinator who works miracles with zero talent). This is no way to build a championship team in any sport. The idea is not to have the best defense, it's to have the best TEAM. But apparently, the Bears don't get that, either. That's the fundamental reason the Bears never have a decent offense: the organization is obsessed with building a great defense, to the detriment of the team as a whole.

MSBearsFan, Mike, et al --

The Bears may throw to the tight ends, but they don't throw to them enough. Clark and Olsen should have 10-15 catches between them each and every game. They are getting more like 5 total right now.

Okay, Orton sometimes throws at his receivers' feet. Hey, so did McNabb on Monday night. He missed open receivers -- so does just about every QB in the NFL. Yes, I agree, it would be great if he hit open receivers at critical moments of the game, but it also would be great if the O-line blocked at critical junctures of the game or the "D" made stops at critical junctures of the game.

So Orton doesn't have a TD throw this season, neither does Carson Palmer and Palmer has way better talent at receiver than Orton. Oh, and Palmer is supposed to be way more talented than Orton.

That's why I say use the tight ends. In fact, if Orton only throws to his tight ends and occasionally fakes like he is throwing to his WRs, I would be happy.

The Bears passing game should run thru the TEs. In fact, the Bears offense should run thru the TEs. They have a good group. Use them.

Also, Turner's offense is pretty sedate. How is he moving Olsen around to take advantage of his size and speed (he isn't)? How is he playing off Forte's running success on the play action pass (he isn't)?

I think Orton will be fine. Just wait and see.

The Bears Had the Top Scoring Offence in the NFC in 2006 with Rex as QB and the same Staff Look it up and Open your Eyes .This fool W F Bear says that Grises should have been are Qb in 2006 and we were in the Super bowl for the first time in twenty years and Mike if Griese had been our Qb the whole year there would have been no super bowl for the Bears. What Proves that most of you guys dont watch the game or know noting about the NFL is the Fact that you Think because some rookie Free agent who is lucky to have even made the team is something special because you saw him play well in a game with thrid teamers and guys who didnt even make there teams. What a bunch of player hating fools


You overestimate the quality of the Bear tight ends. While they have some talent in that area, Desmond Clark is very good but not elite, and Greg Olsen is just better than average as a receiver. But Olsen can't block, which means he can't be on the field a lot, and when he is the defense can assume it's going to be a pass or a run away from Olsen's side. This is what I mean when I say Turner can only do so much with the garbage he has. What good is a tight end who can't block? When I played, the coaches wouldn't even tolerate a wide receiver who couldn't block.


The Bears went to the Super Bowl despite Rex Grossman, not because of him. Even after handing him the starting job without making him earn it, the Bears should at the very least have benched him after the New England game where he showed that he was not capable of handling pressure. He had a good game v. a Seattle team with no defense and a good second half v. a New Orleans team with the same problem, but he had more bad games than good in 2006. Once opposing teams knew that all they had to do was pressure, him, he totally imploded.

Furthermore, everyone who watched training camp in 2006 and 2007 said that Griese was the best QB in camp. I didn't need to hear that to know, I've seen him play and he's head and shoulders above Grossman or Kyle Orton. And Jeff Garcia, who the Bears refused to try to get a few years ago when he wanted to come to Chicago, is at least one level better than Griese.

As to Caleb Hanie, my comments about him have nothing to do with whether he had good or bad exhibition games. If you couldn't tell by watching him that he has the potential to be a winning QB in this league, you just don't know one when you see one.


I agree with you concerning needing a new offensive coordinator but the mismatch we should be trying to create is with Devin Hester against anybody. I am surprised to not see a four receiver set which may include Olsen being split out with Forte in the backfield to help St.Clair with back side rush. With Hester as part of a four receiver set it will be more difficult to double team him and with single coverage he can get deep behind anybody. There just does not seem to be enough of an effort to hit him deep.

I disagree that we don't use or create situations for our tight ends. The first touchdown against Eagles is one example. Although we have had some success with Forte I believe our running game would open more if we threw more often and threw deep more often to loosen up the defense. When you run in predictable situations it makes it more difficult for our offensive line which is not one of the best in the league. Forte's stats have gone down each week from game 1 to game 4 and can only hope he will break out again against Detroit much like Indianapolis.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on September 18, 2008 7:06 AM.

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