Chicago Sun-Times

Bears would "like to have Tait back for another season"

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This will not come as a surprise.

The Bears announced on their Web site that they would like to have John Tait back for another season.

Tait informed the team he is was likely to retire and multiple sources have told the Sun-Times it's a done deal but nothing will be official until he files retirement papers.

"John informed us a few weeks ago that he was considering retirement," general manager Jerry Angelo said. "He has been a great player and representative of our team since joining us in 2004. We would like to have him back for another season, but certainly respect his decision if he chooses to retire."

Of course the Bears would like Tait to return. The only tackles they have under contract--besides Tait--are Chris Williams, the first-round pick from Vanderbilt, and Cody Balogh, an undrafted free agent from Montana. Combined, Williams and Balogh have 0 NFL starts. It might be tough to run veteran minicamp in 27 days without any tackles.

Our colleague Mike Mulligan dives into the issue of drafting an offensive tackle here in advance of the combine, which will begin Thursday in Indianapolis. The Bears are in a position where they need to get two tackles and that is going to be a top priority until the mission is accomplished. The belief at Halas Hall is that Williams will be an elite performer for years to come from a draft that was stocked with tackles and sent two rookies--Miami's Jake Long and Denver's Ryan Clady--to the Pro Bowl. But he's yet to prove anything other than he has been a dedicated worker in the weight room.

A change of mind by Tait, 34, would put the Bears in a much more comfortable position. That's not expected to happen.

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I disagree that "A change of mind by Tait...would put the Bears in a much more comfortable position".

In fact, the Bears would be in a better position if both he and Kreutz retired tomorrow. Immediately exposing the absence of talent and depth along the line would force Angelo to replace declining veterans with talented young prospects. If he stays for one more season, it is safe to assume that Angelo would use his top picks on positions other than offensive line.

The stuff is starting to hit the fan.

Angelo's neglect only serves to undermine the teams draft/free-agency strategy (for the second year) by telegraphing the positions and players that must be selected. Attempts to smoke-screen will be unsuccessful, and other draft players could maneuver in order to steal targeted players.

I give John Tait a lot of credit for really performing well during his time on the team. He certainly deserves recognition as one of the best OTs in recent team history.

Wheather Tait comes back for 1 more year or not I will say it again. Angelo needs 2 tackles and 1 center/guard out of this draft and free agency. Not good backups, players who can compete from day 1. I hope and pray Williams can come back and be a good tackle for years. I just don't know how his back will hold up to the pounding of the NFL. Please Jerry do the right thing.


guys its time as bears fans to face reality. what in angelo's history tells you he can evaluate talent and draft players who can start and contribute from day 1. his philosophy with the draft tells you he doesnt even believe in himself. he would rather trade down and not take a risk on a game changer wether it be a linemen, running back, or wr. dont even get me started on QB. its what he does, trades down and then takes whoever falls to him so he can spend less money and be held less responsible. Examples: trading down in the draft for Grossmen and that loser DE from penn state, sitting still and not trading up for Clady and taking chris (i hurt my back bending over) williams, not trading Briggs with the redskins for the 6th pick and taking Landry. Briggs is our best def player now but in a cover 2 def the weakside linebacker is not that important or a game changer. in that def its the middle linebacker, def tackle, and safety. Examples are warren sapp, lynch, and nickerson of the bucs, sanders from the colts. we have too many holes and he has proven he cant fill them through the draft and even if he does draft a player with potential (purely by accident) our coaching staff cant develop a player to save their lives. i'm tired of lovie smith and his excuses. i'm tired of him and angelo not taking responsiblity for the mess they have made of this team. it doesnt make sense to spend all that money keeping your own players when they arent that good.

I've read on other sites that Chris Williams has been a dedicated worker in the weight room also, that should put to rest some of the rumors that Williams is lazy. A lot of fans are very critical on the Chris Williams pick last april, a lot of fans feel Angelo should have took another tackle because it was a deep class, I say "who????" Both Jake Long & Ryan Clady were long gone by the time the Bears had their pick, who else was there in last aprils draft that could have made the Bears any better off at left tackle than they are now?? Maybe Sam Baker, who went down with an injury this season, and could Baker have been any better than St.Clair?? Maybe a little, but not that much, and again, Baker went down, at least St.Clair started 16 straight games for the Bears this year. So if the Bears would have took Baker they would not have been any better off than they are now, Baker or Williams, the Bears would have still ended the season with a rookie left tackle that got injured, is Baker going to be any more durable than Chris Williams?? Maybe Jeff Otah, who was a player I liked, and every fan on this board that didn't like him let me have it when I said "I liked him." A lot of them same fans on this board that didn't like Otah didn't like him because he was a right tackle prospect, and didn't have a lot of experience at the position. A lot of them same fans that got on me about Otah, are the same fans that are now screaming "WE SHOULD HAVE TOOK OTAH!!" Guy's, hindsight is 20/20. Yes, the Bears are in need of a right tackle, and if the Bears would have took Otah they would have at least had their right tackle problem solved, would they have been any better off than they are now, maybe?? Chicago would still need a left tackle, either way Chicago would have went last year they still would have needed another tackle right now. Is Chris Williams the answer, only time will tell, but at least Williams has a year in the NFL working in the Bears strength and conditioning program. Would a draft pick out of this year crop have been any better??? Again, either way, a draft pick or Williams is going to have zero NFL snaps under their belts. Yes, Otah would at least giving the Bears a young right tackle with a future, but again, we would have still needed a left tackle, at least getting a right tackle this year will be a lot easier than trying to get a left tackle. I say give Chris Williams a chance before running him out of town as a bust, you never know, in a few seasons Chris Williams could be a lot better than Otah or Baker, again, only time will tell?? GO BEARS!!

Tait needs to retire as does Garza/Olin - great players in their day but it's time to get some young great players in there. Hope JA is blowing smoke as that's just plain stupid to say that we want Tait back when all the fans/opposing teams know he should have retired last year, when it's over it's over but it could be smoke so as not to let the entire worl know he has to pursue Free Agent RT and drive up the price. (should have thought of that last year Jerry)doh!
I do like the the Williams draft like Kevin, I feel he will be a ProBowler and he sure would not have changed our W/L last year anyway, so IF we get a Free Agent RT this year, we will be fine. BUT Tait has to retire Jerry, give it up.
Oh and btw Angelo did take credit for his bad drafts he stated that QB was his achilles heel, yeop ONLY QB not the entire offense. lol

2 Rookie Tackles to the probowl!! Thats what I'm talkin bout!!!
when will the Bears do that? I will be happy for a FreeAgent RT to go to the ProBowl for Da.

Troy, do you have any idea what your talking about when you said "Briggs is our best def player now but in a cover 2 def the weakside linebacker is not that important or a game changer." Auh...Troy, anyone that knows anything about the Bears scheme knows the weakside linebacker is very important. In the Bears scheme, the weakside backer goes sideline to sideline playing the run, if you think are run defense sucks now, take Briggs out, that would really give you something to cry about. Troy, you name all of these players like Sapp & Lynch of the Bucs, Troy, did you ever hear of a guy named Derrick Brooks??? For years Derrick Brooks was to the Bucs what Lance Briggs is to the Bears defense, both the Bucs and Bears run the cover-2 scheme, both have had succes with it, both have had a very good weakside linebacker. Troy, you see some kind of trend here?? You named Bob Sandes of the Colts, who also run the same scheme as the Bears and Bucs. Troy, you do realize the Colts don't play the run any better than the Bears right?? Actually the Bears had one of the better run defenses this season. The Colts have had their problems stoping the run in the past...why??? No weakside linebacker!! So if Angelo would have traded for Landry for Briggs, the Bears would not have been any better off than they are now, they probably would have been worse off, that would have really given the crybabies something to cry about now wouldn't it have??????????????????????????

I see lots of speculation regarding the Bears need for a pass rusher, but I still think we have a great front four. They're only two years removed from being mentioned in the same breath as the NYG and Carolina DLs. Sure, we didn't get much of a pass rush this year, but was that a product of the scheme?
If Mark Anderson can get back to his rookie form as a situational rusher, I think he, A-Brown and Adawale O, along with Tommy Harris and a slew of potential at the other DT spot are enough to work with. I'd prefer to see the Bears address other needs in free agency/ the draft. Safety and OL have been discussed here, but I've read that this draft is deep in OLB talent. I don't mind Roach, but he seems to me like a middling type of player reminiscent of guys Wannestedt used to bring in.
Also, at WR, I think a strategy used by Arizona a few years back, when they went WR two out of their first three draft picks, might be advisable. They nabbed Bryant Johnson really high, but then went back to the well to get Boldin, who ended up being their keeper.

I'm not sure Tait's retiring would have much impact one way or the other. The Bears clearly need offensive linemen who can block and protect because ball control helps the defense more than anyhthing else. With ball control perhaps the offense can make the defense look good the way the reverse was true when the Bears went to the Super Bowl. A good running game would even make Orton look a bit more like a professional quarterback, especially if he would get rid of that silly beard.


my main point was that angelo never takes a chance or makes a move to improve the team. he sits on his hands and hopes things fall in his lap. Gee i hope a superbowl falls in his lap someday.

You must be in love with Briggs cause he is not that important to the def. why was the defense good when they went to the superbowl? because almost all of them had career years and the d-line were getting sacks and vasher and tillman actually covered people. Briggs played at a probowl level and has every year since then. we were a top 5 then and a bottom 10 now. he makes little to no game changing plays i.e. (sacks, fumbles, int's, def TD's). he runs sideline to sideline making tackles. so what, one of the main advantages of the cover 2 is you dont need studs at every postion just smaller faster athletes that can react fast to the ball. its easier to find players like that then players like Merriman and Ware. the bears were more than willing to let briggs walk because he only is a probowler in a cover 2 def. Case in point, how many other teams tried to sign him when he was a free agent. the league knows he is a system player. Any GM in the NFL would rather have a Stud Saftey than a Stud weakside linebacker and his lack of takers on the open market proved it.

Agree that the Bears might as well blow up the entire geriatric OL. Let Tait, Garza and Olin go. It will be painful for a year but it's time to clean house. My only worry is whether Angelo can pick the replacements. His track record says no. If he messes this up hopefully he and Lovie will be history. Angelo created this mess and he should take the fall if he can't fix it this year.

I wouldn't say blow the whole line up, but start making plans for it. We need a roster changeover on the offensive line to take place within the next 2-3 years. Olin is probably not going to be re-upped after his deal expires, and Garza is just not all that good. As far as the next generation of our offensive line, what do we have on the roster right now? Williams and Beekman, and possibly Buenning. You need 8-9 OL on your roster to handle injuries, depth, and special teams. We have 3 at best that are in the plans beyond next season.

If the plan is to continue to manage the OL through FA, then do it, and by god, do it aggressively. Get a RT in FA this year, and at least one other tackle or guard to join the roster, and then hammer the draft for your other needs, and get another tackle and guard on Day 2.

If you plan to build the team through the draft at all positions, then you still need a free agent or two, but you also need to focus at least one of your day 1 picks on the OL. Centers and guards are usually less valued on draft day, so we should be able to get one of the top centers AND guards if we look at our two third round picks. Maybe Luigs (sp.) from Arkansas at center, and a guy like Levitre (sounds like Ditka's accent in the ED commercial, doesn't it?) at G in the third? Then tackle is the big issue. We draft a WR and OT in 1 and 2 (depending on who is left when we draft). After that, we can look at DL depth, LB, S, and maybe another OL the rest of the way.

But knowing Jerry, he will outsmart himself and trade back for a guy like Nicks, and miss him, and be left with reaching for another guy late in 1, and have extra picks on day 2 to play with.

I don't think anyone is marking us for competing for the Super Bowl this season. We have to pass Minnesota, and hold off Green Bay just to get to the top of our division. Making dramatic roster changes is a conceivable option, and would position us for a playoff run in 2010. But if we really are as close as Lovie thinks, then a few adds, and maybe an upgrade or two, and we are back in the hunt. I don't share his optimism, but I'm not in Halas Hall every day seeing what he is seeing.

Tait in or out should no way affect how the team drafts and attacks free agency. I would love to see them draft a tackle inthe first round and get one in FA. St. Clair could be an option if his price is right and could start at RT unless the rookie is that good and he can then go back to being the reliable swing tackle he has been before this season.

Kevin- I like what you said about Williams and I am behind him and I hope he comes in and has a great season and really does some great things.

I just hope the tackle situation does not take any pressure off the fact that we have no FS on the roster and need a true #1 receiver.


Troy, your not getting my point, actually you are when you said, "why was the defense good when they went to the super bowl? Because almost all of them had career years and the d-line was getting sacks and Vasher and Tillman were actually covering people." Troy, basically what you said was it takes a TEAM to win a super bowl, not just one stud safety that puts up pretty stats. Saying Lance Briggs is not important is ridiculous. Again, football is a team sport. Also, part of the reason Lance Briggs doesn't get the pretty stats like, [sacks, fumbles, ints, defTD's], is the cover-2 scheme, Briggs doesn't get a lot of opportunities for sacks or ints because he doesn't rush a lot or drop back in coverage, so the opportunities aren't there for Briggs like they would if he was in another scheme. You can't argue with the fact Lance Briggs is a 4 time pro bowler, because its the NFL players that voted him to the pro bowl 4 times, and I think they know a thing or two about football. The players understand that Briggs doesn't get the pretty stats like ints or sacks because of the scheme he's in, but for some odd reason their still electing him to pro bowl after pro bowl....why is that???? Bottom line Troy, football is a team sport, saying a trade for a stud safety for Lance Briggs would make the Bears better is off-base, because like you said Troy, it takes more than one player, the Bears need Briggs and a safety.

Kevin A why are you making stuff up? Brad Biggs liked Otah and wrote a blog as how he would take him. I said I would Take Otah over Williams, but that I would start him at RT, hey look we need a RT. By the way he starts at RT for the Panthers. But you are forgetting one player a lot of people liked including me and that was Albert who started at LT for the chiefs last year and gave up 4-6 sacks thats 10 less than St. Clair and he ranked in the top 10 in terms of starting LT's. Why are you pretending that Albert was not in the draft?

Tyler, Troy didn't say Briggs wasn't important, he said he was the best defensive player on the team. But that the Weak side is not that important in the Tampa 2, and he is right. FS is more improtant in terms of scheme in the T2, because you ask them to do more. The weak side in the Tampa is the funnel side you try to drive plays side to side the LB does not have to have good range and his numbers will get bloated because of the way the defense plays.

While football is a team game, the best teams have top talent core players they build around. Take a look at every playoff team. Arizona: Fitz, Warner, Boldin, Dockett, Pitt: Harisson, Woodley, Big Ben, Parker, Troy Pol, Baltimore, Reed, Flacco, Lewis, Suggs, Grubbs,. You can put all the Angelo players you want on this team, but the Bears would not have made the playoffs in 05 and 06 if Urlacher had not been the core player on the defense. As he has declined so has the defense. Like him or don't like him he made teams game plan against him. Same can be said for Brown, every time he was out, the defense declined. Forte is the closest thing the Bears have to a core player. Look how much talent is on those other teams. The Bears do not have that type of talent and will never win a super bowl with a bunch of average players. You need stars, and playmakers and guys who make other teams game plan against them.

Almost forgot
By Mike Mulligan:
"The offense deteriorated last season into a three-step passing game that relied on play-action to buy time for deeper throws. The Bears never used a seven-step drop and rarely got away with five steps before being overwhelmed by pressure. Improving the line should make some of the players who developed last season -- Devin Hester and Greg Olsen -- even more effective. It's a good draft for receivers, and the Bears can get one in a later round."

I said this all last year, and all the idiots on the board claimed the offensive line was playing great. Well they sucked and St. Clair was still one of the worst LT's in football.

Kevin A read this article over and over, it is an indictment of the offensive line. Couldn't run block couldn't pass block, just a three step drop team. All i have heard from you and others is how well you though the line played. The Bears of course complained about other teams doing this, when in fact this is what they do. 3 steps because they can't protect. A three step drop passing team, that ranked 24th in rushing. Thank Angelo.

I know Peppers is not comming here but Angelo better find a way to bring him here, so he can go Oline with picks 1 and 2. Alex Mack and Phil Loadholt or Ebon Britton and Eric Wood or Lugis.

Creighton, calm down there guy, yes I read Mike Mulligan's article, and I agreed with it. Creighton, first of all, I never said the Bears offensive line was great, I said with the personnel we had, they didn't really play that bad, and they didn't. Again, 29 sacks allowed, and a 1200 yd rusher is good line play for a swing tackle on the left side, a right tackle that was playing hurt, and basically a rookie at left guard. Again, I never said they were great, I said with the personnel they had, they didn't do that bad. Why do you keep making $hit up to make me look dumb when all I'm trying to do is stick up for my favorite team, is your life so plain that you have to lash out at anyone who has a different opinion than yours?????????

Also Creighton, if you agree with Mulligans article, you can see why Kyle Orton can't put the ball down field 50 times a game like you would like, and is off on some, its hard to go down field when you have no time in the pocket. Anyone that knows anything about football knows its hard to put the ball downfield in a three step drop, think about it. I think with Chris Williams manning the left tackle position should help Orton with the long ball, watch Ortons ability to put the ball down field increase with some time in the pocket. But in all your hatred toward Angelo you can't seem to realize that. Again Creighton, I realize are offensive line is in need of an upgrade, but as a fan, all I can do is support the players that the Bears have. Yes, John St.Clair should not have been at left tackle, but he's all the Bears had. Chris Williams injury was bad, but like him or hate him, he's gonna be the Bears left tackle, and I think a pretty good one. Chris Williams will help Kyle Orton with the long ball by simply giving him more time in the pocket.

Lasty Creighton, don't try and make it look like Im lashing out at Brad Biggs, my favorite sports writer. If you read my blog a little slower you will see I said, "every fan on this board," Biggs is the owner of the blog, not just another blogger like you and me. I meant some of the other you. Creighton, you were all over me when I said I liked Otah, and any other offensive lineman for that matter, remember, you wanted Mendenhall a running back, Creighton you were against the Bears taking any linemen in the first, you wanted a runner that you thought had big play ability in Mendenhall. Don't try and make yourself look smart by saying A YEAR LATER you would have took a tackle, because you wouldn't have!!!!! Its funny, you get on Jerry Angelo's case all the time, but had you been calling the draft for the Bears, in all you wisdom [ha ha ha ha ] you would of took Mendenhall, and left Matt Forte for some other team????????????????? And Creighton, what tackle would you have took that could have done any better in the second or beyond???????????? At least with Jerry Angelo calling the draft we got a good runningback, and that pick was all Angelo, if you remember Angelo reached for Forte. Matt Forte was a projected 3rd rounder, good pick on Angelo's part, and thank god you weren't drafting for the Bears so GO BEARS!!

Thanks for the ammo Creighton. Our line was abysmal last year, despite the low sack numbers. People talked about how well they did, when Forte averaged about the same as Benson for a season, and our passing game was awful. Early in the season, Orton had time to throw, and his rating was 90, with only 4 INTs. Granted, a couple of those were really bad decisions on his part, but the fact is that if a guy is good enough to play in the NFL, he is good enough to find an open man given the time to look. Grossman started his struggles when teams overloaded the middle on blitzes, knowing he wasn't tall enough to see over the mass of bodies, so they could fool him with coverage and force bad throws. With Orton, they knew that if they came hard off the edges, they could beat Tait and St. Clair and force a short throw by Orton, which allowed the safeties to creep up near the box, which also hurt the running game. Our offensive skill players outside of Forte and Olsen are limited, but those problems are exascerbated by our complete lack of talent on the OL. Kreutz and Beekman are the only guys who played on the line in 2008 that have any business being there in 2009, and that is a pretty sad commentary. We are counting on a young player coming off back surgery, and whatever we manage to do in the draft and free agency....Scares me a lot. However, it might not be a bad idea to load up on offensive linemen in the draft early, such as Unger in the second, Britton in the first, and a guy like Robinson or Levitre with one of our third rounders. But we sacrifice our WR need by doing that. Robiskie may be available in the 3rd round, but then we have two similar guys in Bennett and Robiskie. Can't hurt to have multiple guys that run good routes and can catch, can it? But I think we need that gamebreaker opposite Hester to pull the strong safety out of the box. Jerry will probably trade back in round 1, hoping to still get Nicks or one of the other WRs while picking up an extra 2nd or 3rd rounder, and then go OL the rest of the first three rounds. Because of last year, teams are starting to think they should treat WRs like safeties, where only rare talents get drafted in round 1. Crabtree and Maclin may be the only ones to go in round 1, even though there are probably 4 guys that should go in round 1 when you add in Nicks, Heyward Bey, and Harvin to the discussion.

One other position we need to start thinking about....long snapper. We need to start thinking about making plans for life after Patrick Mannelly. He has been Mr. Automatic for more than a decade, and sooner or later, he is either going to get slowed down, or decide to go into coaching full time (he has a long snapping web site, and I am guessing he could be an excellent specialist position coach or ST coordinator down the line). We need to at least start recognizing the names on the list for long snappers out there, and maybe bring one in as a special teamer in place of Idonije, so he can focus on being a solid DL contributor.

I guess it is just one more part of our "offensive" line that will need to be overhauled within a couple of years from now. Maybe Mannelly will play til he's 40, but I wouldn't want to bank on that possibility....

Looks like Gross is officially off the market. 6 year deal, terms not released yet.

So Vernon Carey, Jon Stinchcomb, St. Clair, and Ray Willis are about all that is left.

Should make things interesting.


I hate to mention this, but no they are not "all that is left". A lot of veteran players hit the street in the final roster cut-downs of the preseason. Some can be good players caught playing behind younger/cheaper players. A team could easily find themselves picking up a pretty good swing tackle in that market.

The reason I hate to mention it is that it means we could be still having this conversation then.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on February 18, 2009 12:24 AM.

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