Chicago Sun-Times

Dramatic finish to Super Bowl XLIII shows Bears' need for wide receiver(s)

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TAMPA, Fla.--The entire NFL has officially entered the offseason.

Well, everyone not headed to Honolulu for the Pro Bowl any way.

We're going to fire up Four Down Territory again beginning Tuesday after we make our way home. We've already got a host of questions to pick through and we'll need more as the week moves along.

Our initial reaction coming out of Raymond James Stadium Sunday night is that the Bears really need to address the wide receiver position. Look at what the top teams in the league had, look at how they challenged one another in the closing minutes of a riveting fourth quarter. It comes down to playmakers. The Bears have one, they hope, in the making in Devin Hester. And nothing else.

General manager Jerry Angelo, who was in town for the weekend, says the club needs to maintain focus on the quarterback, and has admitted to shortcomings in that area as he approaches eight years on the job. But just as much as the Bears have lacked stability at quarterback, they've suffered a real lack of playmakers.

Between Larry Fitzgerald and Santonio Holmes you saw the kind of gamebreakers the Bears don't have and can't rely on when a game is on the line.

It was a terrific game, a better one than a lot of people, this writer included, expected.

There are plenty of issues and we're going to do our best to cover them as we move forward to the combine in a little more than two weeks. Stay tuned.

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One thing to remember is that it took Santonio Holmes 3 years to get good. He was a young WR who needed to learn the pro game. Fitzgerald was a beast from the get-go, but if you listened to Warner's interview yesterday, he talked about how it took him a while before he could get used to the idea that Larry was almost always open enough to get the ball. He could just trust him, but that trust takes time.

Michael Crabtree is that type of player, but outside of that, every one of the young WRs in the draft that are highly regarded will take time to develop. For that reason, we should focus on free agency for the position. Get a guy like Boldin, and then draft someone in the third round to develop behind him.

No sense in waiting another 3 years for a playmaker to work alongside Hester. Besides, our playmaker group is Forte, Hester, and Olsen. Not a bad starting point. If we could protect the QB, that group would be pretty decent.

Ah those honest God-fearing refs. Thank God we have such true honesty behind those honorable shirts. I mean, the perfect Steelers who cannot commit a foul while those stinking Cards eat the rules for breakfast and have no regards for the laws, well those terrific refs sure showed them who's boss. Especially the tremendous job of throwing that one fella from the Steelers off the field for punching that other guy from the Cards.

WOW. If I was Pinnochio I think my nose could reach from NY to CA.

The Bears need a lot of help to be legit Super Bowl contenders, BUT, fans should expect little to change in 2009. Remember, the Bears were SO close this year. Yeah right, give me a break.

The referees in the NFL are horrible!!! They continue to ruin a great sport week in and week out!! Something has got to be done. Thank God it's the offseason!! BEAR DOWN!!!!

Who wants Mike Gandy now???? He played terrible. I think his head is still spinning!!!!

Definitely need a playmaker at the WR position, but I think they need someone more like Hines Ward or Anquan Boldin who is a strong WR who can go over the middle. Hester can fill the Holmes role as the speedster, but the Bears lack a clutch possession guy. Also, the one thing the Bears have that neither of these teams have is Greg Olson who is a mismatch on most plays. You have a strong possession guy, a threat like Olson and Hester on the other side and you have a nice base set.

And, can the suntimes stop with the articles of Mike St. Clair Gandy being another one that got away? The guy is a journeyman LT like St. Clair and is nothing special. In fact, I think St. Clair is a better run blocker than Gandy. And the reason Gandy is playing LT for the Cardinals is because they thought that Leinart was going to be the starter and they needed a better pass blocker at the RT position and decent LT because he wasn't going to be blocking the blindside.

If Jerry Angelo is still going on about the quarterback situation, he must really have someone in the old cross hairs, my guess is still Patrick Ramsey. We'll just have to wait till free agency begins to find out.

As far as a receiver, I don't know if the answer is in free agency? Is Angelo going to be willing to part with a couple first round picks to bring in Anquan Boldin? Will Angelo pay 32 year old T.J. Houshmanzadeh after the Muhammad fiasco? I don't think Angelo will go after either Boldin or Houshmanzadeh. Maybe Angelo drafts one, but Angelo better be sure the receiver he brings in is ready to contribute as a rookie, and most rookies aren't. Maybe Missouri's Jeremy Maclin if he's even available at #18. Angelo should take a long look at North Carolina's Hakeem Nicks, Nicks doesn't have the impressive 40 time of other prospects, but with his great hands, and the strength Nicks possess, especially after the catch, he might be a good fit in Chicagos offense, just a thought GO BEARS!!

It's obvious out of all obviousnesses that the Bears NEED a big time WR.

If it's obvious to every single person on the planet, we isn't it obvious to Angelo?


I would love for the bears to draft Crabtree, however everything I've seen shows him going allot earlier than our pick. I believe Percy Harvin would be a great pick fo us though. With his speed and playmaking ability I think he would give us that explosive consistent offense that we've been seeking. With hester, harvin, benette along with olson and clark the defense would no longer be able to key on forte because there are to many playmakers on the outside. Don't worry about benette the kid can play and he has excellent hands as that was the rave coming out of training camp this past off season. I believe it had more to do with a preference not to who's playcalling really should be examined. You don't put up the numbers that he put up in the sec from a school like vanderbilt and not have exceptional ability. If I'm not mistaken only 1 of those years with cutler. You'll see the difference this upcoming season. Besides the focus was still on developing hester. -t wouldn't have been fair to orton or the team to have two inexperienced receivers on the field at once. Then the conversations would have been all about how terrible orton was because of interceptions which may not have been his fault but due to receivers not being where thy were supposed to be. Qb often get more credit/blame for success of offense. That also being said I would love for the bears to make an attempt at VY. I believe his time in ten. Is about done much like Rex in Chicago. I truly believe they both have talent and are going to be great players but just are not going to reach that potential in there present destinations due to scrutiny, expectations, impatience, and personel. Even the great Payton Manning wouldn't have been able to do anything without wr, rb, and ol. Rex is going to be the one that haunts us.

I highly doubt we'll see Housh or Boldin in a Bears uniform. Housh doesn't want to come here, so you'd have to overpay to get him. Plus, when he got here, he'd probably have Moose-like stats. The upside is he might not throw Orton under the bus like Moose did every 5 mins.

The reason I doubt a deal for Boldin will get done is that the Cards still have a TON of cap room (over 20 mil if my memory is correct) and Fitz offered to restructe his deal to keep Boldin if the team needed him to (which they don't). Given the fact that he kept his promise to play hard and not complain about his contract during the season, I think he'll get a new deal in the next few months. Even if the Cardinals decided that they don't want to spend the money on him, it might take 2 first round picks to get him. After all, Roy "we almost scored three more touchdowns" Williams went for a 1st, 3rd, and 5th.

Lastly, I'm really hoping that Earl Bennett develops into the posession receiver that the Bears so desperately need. He's got good size and had a good preseason last year.

Go Bears!

Trade our 1st round pick and round 6 or 7 for Ocho Cinco or Boldin. We cannot wait for another receiver to take 3 years to develop. Santonio Holmes is just getting his stride and this was his 3rd year. Hopefully Bennett can produce and that just leaves us with Hester and Rideau on the roster. I sure hope Rideau gets a shot this year.
Drop Booker, Davis and Lloyd.


Good point Joe,it did take Holmes a while to get going, but he did get on the field more than Bennett did as a first year player. Also, I like Hakeem Nicks too Kevin A. and another guy we might want to take a look at in round 2 or three Kenny Britt from Rutgers, he has size and speed, similiar to Rideau who we would all like to see get some run. I think the BEARS could have provided as good a game to the Steelers as the Cardinals did, but the difference is they got a chance to play in the playoffs and to win there way to the game and we did not. You have to take care of business first which is make the playoffs in order to win a Super Bowl. Maybe the chant in Training camp this year needs to be changed from Super Bowl to " Playoffs". everyone knows you need to make one to have a chance at the other.

I hope to god the bears don't draft Percy Harvin. Guy is injury prone and a jack of all trades like Hester. Meaning, he doesn't know how to play wide receiver. If they draft a receiver, please draft a player that actually knows how to run routes, has speed and isn't afraid to go over the middle. The team needs a legitimate WR, not another project like Harvin. And name the last Florida WR that every did anything in the NFL.

Adrian- what are you basing your love of Bennett on? He didn't do anything in the regular season and had a case of drops in the preseason and didn't show he could get regular separation from NFL cornerbacks. I don't disagree with letting him play more in his second year, but I wouldn't go gaga over him yet.

Regarding Mike Gandy, a funny piece from an article on ESPN:
9:37 -- Another holding penalty for Mike Gandy, his third. Win or lose, he has as good of a chance of being Arizona's left tackle next year as Michael Vick does of winning his Atlanta job back.

See ya!

I see your point on Holmes, but also the Steelers M.O. was to play young players and let them adjust to the pro game on the fly. They gradually integrate them into the rotation, which is what all good teams do with young players.....and something we do not do at all.

We wait until injuries happen, and continue to count on aging role players to hold us over until we find out what the youngsters can do in practice. The rub there is that you can make all sorts of mistakes in practice, which is where you want them to be made, but if you never get any game action, how do you learn to make adjustments and reads on the fly?

Until the Bears understand that it takes 40+ of your 53 man roster on game day, and not just to round out special teams units, we will continue to lag the field when it comes to evaluating and developing young talent.

I like the ideas of Nicks and Britt as 2nd or 3rd round guys, and that way we can work on solving the issues we have in the trenches. Kyle Orton may not be a Pro Bowler, but he can get the job done. If we can improve in protecting the passer, and getting to the QB on the other side of the ball, and we are going to be a lot better off. Maybe since Warren Sapp is coming in to work with Tommie Harris, we can convince Tim Brown or Cris Carter to come in and work with Hester, Bennett, and whoever the rookie is we bring in. Our WR coaches just aren't making the difference over the last 5-7 years. Todd Haley seems to be doing all right though....

Maybe Maclin drops to #18 but that is a big maybe. Crabtree will be gone by #10 at the latest. Other than those two I don't see real first round talent available at WR. Most of the WR talent will be available at around pick #50 where the Bears will be picking, does anyone know which pick the Bears have in round 2. Also lets not forget the Bears will be given some conditional picks for losing some players last year. Who knows maybe a round three or four will be one of the picks.

Free agency WR seems to be the ticket along with an OT, why not Housh, he is a damn good receiver and would compliment Hester, maybe show him a thing or two. Boldin is most likely a dream not to come true for the BEARS but Ocho Cinco is ripe to also leave Cincinnati and could return to top form in a new environment with a team that could qualify for the playoffs like the Bears should do this year. Maybe even get Ocho for a third round draft pick?

The draft picks

#18 Linebacker(USC or OSU) best available talent at #18 but not the most needed position by the BEARS. Take the Talent either of these two linebackers is too good to pass on.
Round 2 Offensive Guard Duke Robinson or WR, also need a slot WR.
Round 3 developmental help in the secondary, FS or CB
Round 4 and up need a good FB, OL and DT, DE, SS
QB what the BEars always need is a QB of course, but this is the BEARS and we know that is always the last priority. Next year will be the year of the QB with the BEARS maybe going early for a QB or most likely will choose another DE in the first round next year.

Lets just get a few things right around here.
Boldin is not comming to Chicago. I would love him too but he is not end of story.

Big name free agents that are comming to the Tampa Bears include nobody. Chris Simms as a back up and there is a good chance they go after Mike Furrey out of Detroit.

Angelo is not trading a first round pick for anyone.

As for the Super Bowl, I thought it was entertaining, either team could have won the game. Warner INT is what cost the Red Birds not the officials. Both sides had a lot of penalties and I thought the penalties had to much of an effect on the outcome of the game.

My guess is Gandy did not play as bad as people think, he was going against the best defensive player in the NFL. You will notice that Arizona was triple teaming him at times and he was still getting pressure. In one on one situations it was better to hold him than to let him get to Warner. Without those holds he would have gotten to Warner and I doubt Warner has the great game that he had if he is sent to the ground 3 or 4 more times. I would be willing to bet Gandy was told too do it if he thought he had too to protect Kurt who does not like to be sacked as it tends to effect his game.

Dahli, Robinson will not fall that far and Angelo probably will not look at the line till the 4th round. As for your comment about a slot reciever. The Bears should put Hester at the slot position, he looks like that would fit him best.

By Joe Felicelli on February 2, 2009 3:46 PM
"I see your point on Holmes, but also the Steelers M.O. was to play young players and let them adjust to the pro game on the fly. They gradually integrate them into the rotation, which is what all good teams do with young players.....and something we do not do at all."

Ward also took about 3 years to develop. Which is funny cause we have his college coach working with our recievers. Which is not really a good thing if you think about it. The Bears are trying to do this with Hester as he had spot starts in 07 and started a lot more in 08. However the Bears are playing him in the wrong position as a reciever, he belongs in the slot. Hester does not have great hands, or leaping ability, he will not fight for the ball or go up and get it in traffic, he lacks strength, he can't beat the Jam, does not handle contact well, cannot block, and is not an endzone threat, he is also not going to make the tip toe catch. He is fast, but does not have the tools to be an elite reciever. He could put up better numbers in the slot.

Bears need a playmaker for sure. But is there one in this draft, and will he be there for the Bears? People are also forgetting one little thing about recievers i nthe Super Bowl, Pitt has Big Ben and Arizona has Kurt Warner. We have the Scourge on the North, Kyle go deep Orton. Who I am affraid to say is not in there league.

C'mon Angelo. Dazzle us. Your feet aren't just wet, their flooded by now. We have multiple needs 2 years running, and yes, we need difference makers on both sides of the ball. We've got some cap room and potentially a decent crop of free agents (if a couple key defenders aren't tagged). I don't want to hear 'we're close', how our O-line played better than expected in 2008, how our D-line will improve in 2009 with better health (projections) and new coaching, or how the offense will improve with a solidified QB position. Enough! Sell mediocrity somewhere else. Either you have the goods (shopping $ and know how) or you don't. You've got 5 holes to fill. That's, we need 5 playmakers in plain speak. 4 at least: D-line, O-line, receiver, and the best obtainable safety/corner. QB solidfication would be nice too. Given your history I'd be stunned if you managed to get 3...playmakers that is. Sign 2 key free agents, explore a trade for a third playmaker, and hit on 2 more in the draft you love so much. Go Belicheck instead of belly-up in free agency. Step up and hit a rope like Pittsburgh in the draft. But do it now, this off season, because the cost pales in comparison to what it will be in future years. Do it, and you'll be rewarded for the next 3-4 years with an at-times dominant team you can tweak during subsequent off seasons. Fail again and the financial cost increases just like the number of key holes you have to fill just to say, 'we're close'. C'mon. This top market city is craving for reason to believe. Dazzle us, just one time.

Joe & Creighton: I think we are clear on the issue an upgrade at receiver is required for the offense to take another step next season. Realisticly, I think our 1st rounder must be on defense and the best value at 18 to me is LB, which we could use, plus if we shore up that area that would help agaisnt the run and allow us to bring in a value pick at safety in the 2nd round possibly Sean Smith, Utah who projects out much like Tillman did when he came into the league, only this time we can draft him and put him right into the free safety slot, put Payne back at Strong and see what we can do from there. I think the kid from alabama that Kevin A likes, Rashad Johnson might be a little too small to hold up, look at what's happened with Mike Brown lately,the Receiver we could get to help us should be there in the 3rd round that's why I like Britt, and Nicks both should be there with our first 3rd rounder, a sleeper could be Brandon LaFell-LSU good size and showed playmaking ability in a tough conference......Go BEARS....

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on February 2, 2009 12:33 AM.

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