Chicago Sun-Times

It all starts up front for Bears this offseason

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We're just past 21 1/2 hours into free agency and while the action hasn't been as fast as it was a year ago for the Bears when they were hoping to pry Bernard Berrian out of Minnesota and then plotting to get Lance Briggs back at their price, it's been an interesting start.

It's clear the club has out the trenches at the top of the list for this offseason. Rod Marinelli has been brought in to rework the defensive line, and the first move in free agency was signing versatile offensive lineman Frank Omiyale to a four-year contract. Next on general manager Jerry Angelo's wish list appears to be veteran John St. Clair, who can also play four positions on the line.

One of the first signs here is that the Bears want to get bigger on the offensive line. While the natural first reaction was that Omiyale would step in immediately as the right tackle--the Bears don't have one on their roster--Angelo said the club will first look at him at guard, most likely left guard. Angelo isn't pigeon holing him there, and said he'll likely get looks elsewhere, but that's the first idea. Clearly, that means work remains to be done at tackle. St. Clair and a high draft pick could accomplish that. Getting another lineman on board would also aid Angelo in is quest to not be need-driven with the 18th pick in the draft.

"The draft is an ever-moving target right now and what we are able to accomplish in free agency prior to the draft gives us more latitude with the draft and that's what we're trying to do here,'' he said. ``So we don't want to go into the draft like we were last year and we had to get fixated on a position. We don't want to do that. I think everybody would like to draft the best player available but that is easier said and done. What you normally do in the draft, particularly in those first three rounds, is draft your needs. And then you guys come back and say we overdrafted them and took them too high.''

Stay tuned on the St. Clair front.

*** No word on a landing spot for Rex Grossman. The ex-Bears quarterback said earlier this week in an appearance on Sirius NFL radio it might take a week or two for him to find a new home. There was a market for quarterbacks Friday, though. Patrick Ramsey visited the Houston Texans. Ryan Fitzpatrick visited the Buffalo Bills.

*** That $40 million, four-year extension Tommie Harris got last summer doesn't look so big now. Harris' deal, which included $10 million guaranteed, was something Albert Haynesworth kept a close eye on. Haynesworth's agent Chad Speck checked in with us from time to time as negotiations for Harris were on and off last offseason. They wanted to know where the market was for Harris with Haynesworth eyeing his own bite at the apple. He got a bite at the whole bushel Friday when he signed a $100 million, seven-year contract that contains a whopping $41 million in guarantees. He is the league's first $100 million man on defense.

"I can't answer that,'' Angelo said when asked if it was good or bad for the game. "[The Redskins] do what they feel they have to do and Haynesworth obviously was one of the more coveted players in free agency. You saw all the tags that went out this year, a record number of franchise tags, so the market was a lot smaller. I alluded to that when we spoke over the weekend and it's a supply and demand business. The guys that are out there, that benefits them. Record-breaking contracts, certain positions there is going to continue to be inflation. As we now know, that's one of them.''

Mike Sando over at ESPN.com takes a look at the top annual earners at defensive tackle here. It's an interesting look.

*** Touched base with Kennard McGuire, the agent for wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh, and he said if the Bears have interest in his client it's news to him. Doesn't sound like the Bears are going to be a player for a receiver, not now any way. They've shown no interest in Mike Furrey either, and the ex-Detroit Lion might land in a high-powered offense on the East Coast. The opportunity is going to be there for Earl Bennett, the third-round pick from last year. He's going to need to deliver quickly as he won't get the Mark Bradley Nine Lives treatment.

*** For what it's worth, another safety with free safety ability was taken out of play when Chris Crocker re-signed in Cincinnati. It will be interesting to see if the Bengals re-sign another of their own--Cedric Benson.

That's what we've got for now. Check back again soon and thanks for following us all day.

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43 Comments

I Like the new FA signing, good move JA>

If they sign St. Clair it means not necessarily will they go tackle at #18, they may go Linebacker which may be the best available athlete at that pick and pick up a top guard like Duke Robinson in round 2 or a quality WR candidate in round two, a few good ones will be available. Or maybe a good free safety candidate may drop to pick #49 in round 2 like the Alabama kid. But a Laurenaitis or Muaulaga at #18 would ensure the next great chicago Bear middle linebacker and free up Urlacher to be used in more effective ways in the defense or as trade bait for a stud WR like Boldin.

Bears, middle linebacker is the ticket for the first pick.

You say Omiyale will get a first look at LOG since the Bears want to get bigger on the O-line. McClure at the Trib says Omiyale will get a first look at ROG since the Bers are not happy with Garza. Which is it?

Starting up front is a very good sign for the Bears in my opinion. I believe they have gotten away from what I will call the "Finks Formula." That formula is very simple, 'in the NFL if you lose the line of scrimmage.....you lose.'

No, it doesn't end there. Good teams can play and fight to a draw at the line of scrimmage. That put's the game in the hands of the play makers. But to repeat, usually your play makers are not a factor if you lose the line of scrimmage.

I think the Bears have lost that fundemental notion in recent years. If they are getting back to it, it is a very good sign.

Comparing Haynesworth with Harris is absolutly rediculous. Albert draws the double or triple team AND hold's his ground at the point of attack, consistently dominates against the run, blows up the pocket versus the pass, and on top of all that he allows the linebackers around him to roam free AND allows the ends and other tackle to receive single blocks. And then their's Tommie who OCCASIONALLY get's a sack, PERIOD AND END OF STORY. That's why when you pay the best nose tackle in the league (Haynesworth) and then you pay the best three-technique in the league (Harris) their is NO comparison. And that's the way it should be, the more you dominate at ALL levels and make those around you better, than you should get paid like it. Remember it's not all about sacks!! Let's all not forget that any comparison with Harris and Haynesworth beyond the fact that their positions are both in the middle of the defensive line,is absolutly without merit and is totally a disservice to a guy of Haynesworth's ability.

Vic does it matter, both guards are undersized, Buenning is a good run blocker and will probably go to the right, although he may go to the left to ensure Williams has a guy with experience next to him, while Omiyale should go to the LG spot they may want to put him next to St. Clair if they sign him then you would have two experienced guys next to two inexperienced guys.

By the way some people thought this was a big money signing, just to give you a clue about how much good linemen get, Baltimore just paid there C 40 mil for 5 years. Heck this guy may not even be good enough to make the starting group he has only started 1 game after all. I don't think the Bears want to get bigger so much as they want to get taller, shorter guards can be very stout, but struggle with leverage and tend to get knocked off balance a lot more than taller guards. I would also say that putting Omiyale at guard is not going to add power to the line, Beekman is very strong, this seems to be a move to make the line more athletic and to help with Pass blocking. I asked a question a few months ago about the Bears changing there style of line play to become more like the Jets. This seems to be an indication of the direction there going which means they will continue to look for better more athletic pass blockers. A more athletic line is also better for dealing with the speed of a 3-4 defense. I think the Bears are continuing there move to become more of a passing team which is more to Turner's style of play than power running smashmouth.

Nope...I just to get it.

I just don't get the aquisition of the offensive lineman for 11 Million.
He's a 5th round draft pick. Started only 1 game in 4 years.
He wasn't good enough for atlanta to protect him in 2006 and sent him to the waivers. Carolina picks him up off the waivers and doesn't even play his first year with Carolina (3rd year in the NFL). He finally gets a shot last year to start because the normal starter is out.
He still doesn't show enough to Carolina for them to hold on to him.
So, of course, he finds his way to the bottom of the heap (namely the bears) and makes some bucks out of it...in other words....becomes a millionaire.
He is not a starter.
The bears could have drafted another lineman in the 5th round this year (same round as this millionaire that they are paying) and pay a lot less for that person....that will have the same function.
Or am I missing something?
When the Bears signed Frank Omiyale, there wasn't even a peep about this pickup on the nfl.com web site. He wasn't even good enough to write about.
So, you have to ask yourself why the bears signed this guy. Could it be insurance, just in case they can't sign St Clair for about the same kind of bucks? I think so. It surely wasn't done to replace Tate.
I'm still scratching my head.

As for other available players....the other teams seem to be quite active into filling holes with some very good players out there.
Apparently, the bears have no holes to fill...or...just maybe...the word is out...and not many want to come to play for angelo and lovie...at any cost. After all..it has been said that this is where wide receivers come to die.

I just don't understand you fans...that you can still have belief in lovie and angelo that they will do the right thing to get this team back to the big game. They can't even make it to the playoffs...and if they did, they would be wiped out in the first game. What kind of season is that? What kind of product is that?
Lovie couldn't coach himself out of a paper bag. Angelo is still having a hard time drafting the number 1 pick.
How many years does this have to go on until someone notices that they bozos aren't the people you need to be successful.


Good signing by JA. Now sign 2 of the 3 for CB: Bartell, Greer, or McFadden. Trade Urlacher and Hester to the Cards for Boldin(Leinart anyone?) and their #31st pick. At 18, draft Mualuga and at 31, take Britton. Get a decent receiver with the second round pick. I personally would try to get Pat White in the 3rd even if I had to trade up a little. Then select DE, OG and RB. And find a tougher FB to boot.

Isn't versatile, in regards to O-lineman, a euphemism for not very good at any one position. St Clair and Omiyale can play multiple positions, probably because they don't excel at any one. St Clair showed he can play LT, but not at anything beyond the level of mediocre. Since our need remains RT, and Angelo might consider using an early pick on one, why not skip signing St Clair and sign a true RT, like Stinchcomb or Khalif Barnes (whose strength in the run game would be better suited to the right side).

Second, Angelo says he doesn't want to go into the the draft fixated on positions the first three rounds like last year. Last years 1st and 3rd round picks were a LT and a WR. Both those guys are question marks, and we are looking to add someone who can play both positions again this year (part of the reason they want St Clair back is they don't know if Williams can play).

Why not sign a starting quality player at RT or WR, rather than a third-tier player, so you can fill one of our other many, many needs in the early rounds of the draft. You can't keep filling gaping holes with also-ran and has-been players and think everything will work out fine.


Every year it seems like Angelo has to apologize and say things didn't work out. His first round picks are almost always busts, he spends a half-decade trying to figure out if a qb is any good, he can't draft offense, for every star he finds in the later rounds on defense he reaches for 3 busts, the players he extends stop playing (or never should have been extended, like b-rob or q mitchell), he can't put an effective offense on the field, he forgets to check important boxes (ok, that was a long time ago), he killed Thomas Jones, etc, etc. How Does he keep his job? He is a pretty good defensive scout who is in miles over his head as a GM.

I like what's going on at Halas Hall right now, especially with the Bears making improvements to their offensive line, right now in free agency, and later on this april. I to figured the Bears were gonna play Omiyale at right tackle, and they still could. My guess is Angelo doesn't want to go into the draft absolutely 100% having to draft a tackle, I think he wants to keep his options open on day one of the draft so he doesn't have to reach for a player. For example Oklahoma tackle Phil Loadholt a player the Bears like, if the Bears didn't have Omiyale under contract, they would have to take Loadholt at #18 because he might not be there in the second, like I've been saying. Now if a player like Michael Oher slips to #18, the Bears can take him no problem, if not, big deal they got Omiyale to play tackle. Also, if Loadholt slips in the second [which would be awesome] the Bears could take him, and again, if not the Bears have Omiyale to play tackle. Basically Angelo is sitting himself up so he doesn't have to reach for a tackle like he would if he didn't have Omiyale.

I think Omiyale could play right tackle if needed, but I would love for a monster like Phil Loadholt to be there for the Bears in the 2nd or for Michael Oher to slip to the Bears at #18. This would allow the Bears to move Omiyale inside, and have a big right tackle like Loadholt [6-8 343lbs]. If Oher doesn't slip to #18, I can see the Bears going Peria Jerry the DT out of Mississippi or James Laurinaitis the linebacker out of Ohio.st at #18, and again, Jerry Angelo, like all good GM's, is keeping his options open on day one so he can take the best player available and not have to reach. I think Mississippi tackle Michael Oher is the player Angelo covets, but Angelo doesn't want to take the chance of Oher not slipping to #18. I don't know if I agree with the Bears wanting to get bigger. Putting Omiyale at left guard wouldn't necessarily be adding bulk, maybe 2 inches. The Bears current left guard Josh Beekman is 6-2 315lbs, Frank Omiyale is 6-4 310lbs, it wouldn't be much of a size difference. Now, if a player like Oher is brought in, yes, I can see the Bears moving Omiyale inside, probably at left or right guard. In the end, if no first day tackle is brought in, Omiyale will be the Bears right tackle, if Oher or maybe Loadholt is brought in, Omiyale will play guard for Chicago, either way the Bears just got better up front GO BEARS!!

Val: I agree that Lovie could not coach his way out of paperbag, and halftime adjustments on either side of the ball never happen, sometimes I wonder if they are playing cards in the lockerroom at halftime. Angelo has had some very bad picks in the early rounds, no question. And yes maybe it is time to start to look elsewhere for a new coach and GM? I think this year coming up will determine their fate, win the division and a playoff game or two they stay, no playoffs I vote for Gruden to come to Chicago. I think my dog Freckles could make better picks than Angelo has the last few years.

Val, the signing of Omiyale is good in that the Bears need depth and need to get younger. I do not think he is going to be the guy at either right or left tackle, but when you have a left tackle in Williams with a bad back you better have some backup help that can play the left side. If they sign St.Claire, then they have some tackles that can play either side if needed. I really do not think any of the line is anything but journeymen NFL quality, certainly not ProBowl with Kruetz still the best of the bunch and not at the Probowl level he used to be. The Bears need help in the draft on the line but at #18 they might not get the value, as the real good talent may be off the board. That is why I would prefer a middle linebacker pick at #18 because of the value, there are some really talented linebackers this year.

Creighton, you may be right about the style of play of the O line it is more in keeping with West Coast offense style.

IMHOtep: I agree it is time to think about trading Urlacher and getting some value while you can. I think Urlacher and Vasher to the cards for Boldin and 31st pick. And with the 31st pick maybe Free Safety William Moore from Missouri would fall to that spot or yes Britton would be a good pick.

Personally, I would try to sign a decent veteran safety out of the upcoming cuts and hold out for a safety next year. Who would mentor Moore? Is there a veteran FS on the team? I know everyone wants Taylor Mays next year but I like Major Wright.

Dahli- I don't think the Cards would go for Urlacher and Vasher for Boldin and their #1. I don't believe D. Manning can play any position except returner. That's why I think Hester is expendable. Bigger salary to keep than Manning. Boldin is a better receiver than Hester. I would love to see Oher at 18 but my girlfriend said "There was no way".

Creighton, short people are easier to tip over than tall people? You need to revisit your 9th grade science class and learn about center of gravity. That was the stupidest thing I've ever read.

People, the Bears have two tackles under contract. One is a rookie with a back injury, and the other is a rookie from the practice squad. So they went and got another tackle. No one said he's the last piece of the puzzle. Stop freaking out.

Thinking back a year ago, it's shocking to think how anyone could think about trading Devin Hester. How times change! NFL- Not For Long.

What is all the static from my fellow Bears fans. I agree with Kevin here that this signing is a very good step to solidifying the O line. This kid is 26 and definately adds depth. JA has set himself up to draft the best athlete available at 18 rather than stretching and taking a guy earlier than he needs to be drafted.

Can we all agree that Garza has got to hit the bench this season? He is terrible. The line could be Williams, Omiyale, Kreutz, Buenning, St. Clair or a rookie like Oher or Loadholt. Boy would our line look great, be a lot bigger and stronger and open up huge holes for Forte who did it this year with a sub par line. This signing adds depth, makes the line younger and with an addition of a rookie center to groom under Kreutz we could have a GREAT line here for years to come.

GO BEARS.

Everything will be fine, just replace Orton with Caleb Hanie in the starting QB spot and we're on our way!!!!!

Dear Mr. Phillips:

Thirty-five years ago my friend George Travnicek gave me his Dick Butkus football card to keep overnight. I remember watching the game in which Gale Sayers got injured with my dad. Moving out of Chicago didn’t stop me; before cable I would adjust the rabbit ears on my TV set trying to pick up the Bears on a Baltimore channel. Until a couple of years ago I was a subscriber to NFL Sunday Ticket for one reason: so I could watch every Bear game. When they lost, it used to really bother me.

But you should know things changed; I no longer care. It no longer bothers me when they lose. Sure, I watch them play when they are on nationally televised game—no longer out of loyalty or interest, other than of the type of interest people have rubbernecking as they drive by an accident, to see how bad it really is. And it is bad—comically bad. So bad that I feel sorry for the poor saps who still do care.

You should also know why I no longer care, and why other people like my father, who still lives in the Chicago area, has lost interest as well. It is simple—because I don’t think you care about winning. If you did, you would do whatever it took to change the situation. But any team that does nothing year after year (for just one example) to upgrade the quarterback position is just managing the expense side of the balance sheet, putting out a lousy product, and hoping people will buy it.

Mr. Phillips, I realize that only one team can win the Super Bowl every year. But look at what other teams can do if they really care about winning. Look at what the Miami Dolphins did in one year. I just noticed a report on ESPN that the Browns are interested in Scott Pioli and/or Bill Cowher. Incidentally, why is it that the Bears would never make a dramatic move like bringing in a Bill Parcells to turn things around? Because the fans still watch I guess, but not me. The pattern is obvious—bring in an inexperienced defensive coordinator, pay him step wages, then repeat the process.

Being a fan is simple. All you really want is hope—something tangible to justify your support. If your team doesn’t have hope—i.e. can’t complete the statement “well, at least we have (fill in the blank)”, you are the Lions, Bengals, Rams, and, I’m sorry to say, the Chicago Bears.

I thought you should know.

Regards,
exfan

I agree with most here, I like this signing alot. See Biggs? I'm not the only one here that thought Garza was a disappointment last year. You say he was solid, but I honestly can not think of one game he impressed me last season. Just my opinion. That being said, I do not think Garza will losed his starting job. Hopefully this siging does get him a little more motivated and we start seeing more of a push from that right side. Beekman backs up Omiyale/Kreutz, Buenning backs up Garza..i like that depth for the Bears interior O-line. Way to start it off the right way Jerry Angelo.

Housh is to meet in Minny, and with the way the Vikqueers are throwing money around like crunked sailors, they'll get him, and we'll continue to lag due to our GM. God help us if he joins the Queens.

At least the Queens didn't get Cassel who's been traded to the Chiefs.

BigBear have you ever played football? Taller Dlinemen get there hands on top of shorter oline players pads, when a guard pops you pull forward and step to the side, down he goes, common problem with short OG's, thats why you don't see a lot of short guards in the NFL, if it helped you would probably see a lot 5'10 300 pound chunks on the line, you can actually find video footage of this at NFL.com, when they were demonstrating Offensive line tech drill at the senior bowl. There very stout but taller guys can pull them off balance, do you understand that now? Shorter guards can also get engulfed and if you get under a shorter guard it's all over cause you can get them on there toes. Same concept apply's in wrestling were you can pull a shorter wrestler over or you try and make him play to your hieght if your taller. Also if your taller you tend to have a longer leg drive and can get a wider stance. Glad to see yet another Bear fan knows nothing about football.

If you don't know football, then maybe you should keep your mouth shut, read and learn, before trying to make a comment. You f###### moron. First it's not center of gravity, its called center of momentum frame and it's not about that, it's about leverage. Don't even waste your time reading anything I post because you are to stupid to understand it. Oh and the word you were looking for is not 9th grade science class. It's called Physics dip s###. Sense you like physics so much here is the formula for leverage, F1*L1=F2*L2 solve for F moron.F1 = F2*L2/L1 = 210lb*2ft/6ft = 70lb

The principle of leverage can be derived using Newton's laws of motion, and modern statics. It is important to note that the amount of work done is given by force times distance. Distance=length=height. BigBear=retard.

Nice, exfan. I should point out that you're addressing this to the wrong party, though. That should read, "Dear McCaskey family" instead of "Mr. Phillips." See, Teddy is nothing but a shill, a stooge for the folks who actually own the franchise. They're the ones who don't care. They're the ones who are really responsible for this mediocre mess. Owners who care don't always win championships, but they do put good teams in front of the paying fans consistently. They understand that the fans are responsible for their success in the sports business. The goal of putting together a good team is to win. The goal of winning, from a business standpoint is to draw fans. Smart owners get this dynamic. So do smart fans (hello, Chicago...are you listening?).

For some reason the phrase "fair-weather fan" has become a term of derision in the sports world. I don't get it. Why be a fan of a team whose owners don't care whether they win or lose? Just because the home stadium is in your city? Sure, tailgating is a fun experience, but if what follows the party is something akin to having one's teeth pulled, count me out.

I know this is supposed to be a thread about the signing of a journeyman offensive lineman. C'mon, really now? Last season's team was not good. Their defense was at times among the worst I've ever seen for a Bears squad. Their offense had a bright spot or two, but overall was plagued by mediocrity and glaring holes at important positions (and I'm not counting QB as "glaring" though a case could be made...). This team was not "close" to anything except the gutter, and any casual football observer knows it. Sorry, Jerry and Lovie. They only won nine games because their opposition was weak. A decent (not great, mind you, but reasonably good) team would have won twelve or thirteen games playing the Bears' schedule. The 2008 Bears were severely lacking in both skill and heart, and on top of that made heaps of stupid mistakes. So now, two months out from that debacle, we're supposed to be excited by Frank Omi-whatsit and Brett Basanez? And management is hoping a mediocre OT (who filled in for the pre-injured 2008 first-round draft pick) will accept their predictably lowball contract offer? This is what we're supposed to be "fans" of?

Dear McCaskey family,

Your team has not earned my support. Someone offered me a free ticket to a 2008 game at Soldier Field and I said, "no thanks." Please sell the Chicago Bears organization to someone who cares. You will not be hearing from me again.

Sincerely,

thoroughly disgusted

Wow Creighton,

Such an intelligent sounding lecture from a guy who doesn't know the difference between since and sense, their and there, and to and too. And you put numbers and formulas in there too (notice I spelled those words correctly). Very intimidating. Too bad you just copied it off of Wikipedia in a pathetic attempt to sound smart (here's the link for any fact checkers:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leverage).

Since (notice I spelled it correctly) you obviously don't know what that formula means let me enlighten you. It refers to the forces on either side of a fulcrum (that may be hard for you to understand so think teeter totter). If someone is standing, their (spelled correctly) fulcrum is their center of gravity. A force applied to the shoulders of a taller person will be farther from their center of gravity (distance) so it can be smaller. An equal force applied to a shorter person will be closer their center of gravity (shorter distance) so it will not produce as much leverage. If you still don't believe me, take a sharp turn in an SUV and then do it in a sports car. See which one gets off balance.

And to enlighten you some more, two linemen smashing into each other haven't done any work, no matter how much force they use. If one gets pushed back a yard (distance) then work has been done. And all of that doesn't mean d*ck in terms of your stupid statement about linemen. Guess what? If you get under any linemen you can get them on their toes (or heels). Who's going to have an easier time getting under somebody, the taller guy or the shorter guy?

Creighton, you were obviously impressed by what you saw on NFL.com while you were sitting around collecting unemployment, but next time why don't you spend the time studying for your GED. And yes, I did play some football, studied some physics, and even did a little wrestling.

I can see why Angelo sometimes go for average. When guys like Hayneworth sign for 100 million dollars with 41 gauranteed anything Angelo does after that is going to appear pedestrian. But ask yourself if Albert is going to ever live up to that contract. How many big money signings for any team ever does work out? We have several guys who were signed to big contract in the league who were let go a year later. Dangelo Hall just had his second big contract in as many years. Sometimes it just doesn't work out. Who thought when Thomas Jones signed it was a great signing? Now a lot of people see that it was. Even Moose's signing helped get the team to the Super Bowl. And as much as fans don't like the results of not winning the Super Bowl and Moose being just like most WRs who are prima donnas, we got something good out of that deal. We didn't break the bank and throw out pay structure out of whack to do it. When Urlacher was above and beyond paid better than anyone else on the team what kind of records were we living with? You can look at Tommie Harris' contract in a year and see that it's a bargain compared to who is free and elite at that time. Why compare Hayneworth and Harris when they are not equals to the teams that drafted them? The Titans knew what they were getting and didn't just jump in and throw all that money on one player. The Redskins can't practice restarint except for one year. They always throw big money at players. They were the ones who won the Arculeta sweepstakes the year the Bears didn't bite. The Bears also drafted Hester the year the refused to pay Randle el all that money that seems wasted now. Sure, we fail at drafting great players in the first round. But once you get past the top 6 or seven players it's all a crap shoot after that. Even drafting at the very top hasn't guaranteed the teams drafting that they got a great player. Detroit drafts top ten every single year and where is the light at the end of their tunnel? Fans just want to see teams go out and spend large sums of money on great big contracts on players who fail to play up to those bigger contracts. And if you live and die a football fan when players change teams every year then you are a super fan. Maybe anonymous's dad get tired of watching the roulette wheel change every other season on where players end up and where teams end up as the result. When teams like the 85 Bears lost players because they didn't want to spend that extra money or couldn't keep a guy because another team overpaid then that's where the loyalty for fans ended. With the seriousness of life being more important than almost any time ever maybe it's time to concentrate on something worth while. We didn't have a depression AND a war at the same time. Maybe it's a good thing that some things just aren't that important. Maybe casual fans will stop calling each other morons and the names I see in these blogs. I love football. I love the Bears. I just don't see the fuss some guys make to be condescending to each other and act like they are some football executives actually drafting and signing players. I like guys like Kevin Armstead who try to look on the bright side of everything.

Exfan and thoroughly disgusted, we don't need you as fans of our team. You are fair weather fans, and yes it is a negative term. I am a fan of the team. Mainly the players, past and present that play their hearts out for their fans and love of the game. I don't root for the owners. I could care less about the owners. I don't like every player the organization acquires, but I'm not going to turn my back on them if they have a bad season. Which brings me to my next point. They're so bad right now, you've lost hope??? I'm pretty sure they had a winning season last year, I'm pretty sure they won a couple division titles the last few years. And I'm pretty sure they were in the Super Bowl two years ago. This is a hopeless team?? I'm not happy with the direction the team has gone since the Super Bowl either, but I'm not knocking people over to jump off the bandwagon either. Am I missing something? It's not like they're the Cubs. Go root for the Packers!

Well said Mr. Donald. But fans seem like it is their money and they are the only ones, that is not reality. This isn't baseball you cannot just go spend happy and buy a championship. Most players on NFL rosters are professionals those on blogs are not. It's so easy to armchair GM,coach or QB but a lot goes into the product you see on Sundays and remember it is a product and the people who own it are trying to profit. Sometimes the debating is fun but when it gets to a point of name calling and IQ baiting it is no longer fun just plain stupid, and that don't take any smarts to do it.

They should sign Ray Lewis and put him and Urlacher on the outside and let Briggs handle the inside and they would cover the field like a swarm of friggin bees.

William R. Donald, thanks for the shout out. I am a very optimistic fan, always have been, always will be. I love Bear football, to me you can't beat a sunday afternoon sitting back and enjoying a Bears game. Good or bad, Im gonna support the Bears, lifes to short to sit around and hate on the things your suppose to support, like the Bears [your favorite team??]. And if your a fan, you should support your team, if not, get another team, they got something out now days called NFL sunday ticket, if you don't like your current team, follow another one its that simple. No one is forcing anyone to be a Bears fan, its your choice. Yes, I don't always like the things the Bears do, but as a fan, thats my team, and Im gonna stand by what the Bears do. I love how some fans try to justify bashing the Bears by saying, "were suppose to be in the Super Bowl every single season????" Are you kiddin me, no team is that perfect, never has been, never will be. I pointed out the other day how the Bears missed the play-offs by one game, and how the Bears lost to the Panther, Buccaneers, and Falcons to a combined 8 points. Some other blogger came at me with, "the Bears got away with the Packers game by 7 points???" Again, are you kiddin me, some fans hate on the Bears so much their actually making up excuses for the Packers....THE PACKERS!! Some of you guys need to calm down, we got other teams fans like Packerbacker coming on our blog and calling us out about our fan loyalty, and laughing at us all the way!!!! And to a point, he's right!!!! I read some of the comments on this board, and sometimes I think Im on another teams board???? Guys, the Bears don't want to lose, or get injured, but thats life, thats just the way it is. The Chicago Bears are the best team in the NFL, hands down!!!! Papa Bear one Mr. Halas built this team, and the league. I love the tradition with this team, from Halas to Sayers to Payton to Butkus, and heck, even the Fridge!!!! I think the current team has potential, and as always GO BEARS!!

Anonymous ex-fan and Thoroughly Disgusted echo my sentiments exactly, with the exception that I'll never stop rooting for the Bears and watching Bear games, and I'll always care, unfortunately for me. (I guess I'm loyal to a fault.) Ownership and management don't care about winning and/or don't know how to win. I always have hope until the Bears are mathematically eliminated, but I have no realistic expectation that they'll be any good in the foreseeable future unless we get new ownership and management. For example: Yes, Albert Haynesworth got an absolute fortune from Washington, probably far too much for one player. (And he is a real jerk judging by his cleats to the face action awhile back and some other things I've read about him.) But on the other hand, the Bear defensive line has sucked the last two seasons, and the addition of a player as good as Haynesworth -- probably the best tackle in the league -- would have helped immensely. To not even consider trying for such a good player at a position at which you are so weak is inexcusable, and is a perfect example of what's wrong with the Bears: they'd rather save money than win, they don't know a really good player when they see one, or both.

This team is so screwed up that it can't see that St. Clair not only would be an excellent guard but only a mediocre tackle, but also that he'd add some badly needed size to the interior of the line at guard, so they still want to play him at tackle. If I can clearly see this as a mere fan, the people who run the Bears are completely incompetent for not seeing it. And now they want to look at a guy who is a better pass protector than run blocker at guard instead of tackle? What exactly are these jerks getting paid for, anyway?

GSH, by continuing to support this franchise you are enabling mediocrity.

The McCaskeys will never commit to winning as long as there are saps out there that have blind faith.

Hey exfan, I'd rather be a sap than a crybaby band wagon rider, just a thought.

Actually, exfan, anonymous, and Thoroughly disgusted fan, why even come on the board and crybaby that the Bears aren't perfect. Fans like you make me sick, lets go all out for the team when their doing well, then when their bad, Im a crybaby exfan, give me a freakin break!!!!

Tyler, congratulations, you're not going to get the grammar award, but you have a shot at the loyalty award. The 25th anniversary of the 1985 Super Bowl is coming up; maybe the once proud Bears franchise can give you an honor at halftime of one of their losses.

Exfan - you're right. It seems the "enablers" are out in force. That's what die-hard fans are. Enablers. You all enable the extremely rich folks in this country (e.g. the McCaskey family) to continue making hordes of cash by offering a sub-par product. I wonder if some of these same folks were die-hard fans of other lousy products such as, say, AMC Matadors, or McDonald's McRib sandwiches.

The problem with pro sports is that so many consumers (remember, that's what you are when you call yourself a "fan" of sports team) are willing to blindly attach themselves to the product. This is what the ultra-wealthy owners are counting on. Die-hard fans, ask yourself this: how many times have the ticket prices increased since the 1985 Super Bowl victory? How many times has the product improved? Granted, the experience is better due to the new stadium, but is it *that* much better? I turned down a free ticket to a game last season because even parking, beer and food costs in this economy seemed gratuitous to me for what would amount to a poor example of entertainment. I could have much cheaper and better food and liquor at home, and when it inevitably became obvious that watching the game on TV was a waste of my time (I even felt that way about some of the games they won in 2008!), I could simply turn off the game and move onto something productive.

Tyler - you're welcome to continue being "a sap" if that's what you choose. I, on the other hand, will continue to be critical of the current Bears organization because I actually love football. Not "my team," but football itself. I enjoy watching a well-assembled, well-coached team with heart and skill go out and play like they intend to conquer the world. I'm optimistic that someday the wishy-washy McCaskeys will wander off and release their monopoly on Chicago football so that some owner who really cares about the sport can come in and overhaul the mess they will leave behind. I believe George Halas would be embarrassed and dismayed by what his family has done to his beloved franchise. I want to see a new tradition begin, and the only way I can envision that is with smarter ownership. I want an owner who will spend money wisely (unlike Dan Snyder, for example) and bring in experienced football people with winning backgrounds to run things. For instance, how about a head coach like two-time Super Bowl champ and Franklin Park native Mike Shanahan, who ought to be seeking work after Jerry, Lovie and the boys stink it up next season? He's a local hero who needs a fresh start. He's got a great "master plan" on offense ("West Coast" style, but with an emphasis on the kind of "get off the bus running" approach that the Bears always promise, but have not delivered since the days of number 34), and with all of his experience is still only in his 50s. He could have many years left to coach his hometown team. Think the McCaskeys would ever spring for someone with that kind of pedigree? They absolutely should, but definitely will not.

Wrigley Field Bear - I feel your pain. It's hard not to root for the team you grew up watching. I still watch games and hope the team does well, but at this point for me it's got to come down to a combination of psychology and capitalism. I can't keep rewarding bad behavior with my loyalty. That's enabling. In this case enabling involves giving away my hard-earned money. In this economy I simply refuse to spend my money and time on something that isn't rewarding. If that's being a "crybaby," well, at least I'm fretting about something that's truly painful (i.e. economic hardship), rather than taking my lumps and handing over money I barely have to the mega-rich with blind optimism. My hope is that enough other Bears fans will start to feel the same about the mediocrity that's being offered. If you want to cheer for something, root for the possibility that someday our team will be bought by someone who cares enough about us fans to consistently give us a team that *honors* the tradition of Papa Bear and the '85 Super Bowl squad.

Exfan and thoroughly disgusted, please stop commenting on a team you obviously don't care about. Go get on the Steelers websites. If you hadn't heard they just won a championship. That should make you happy. (I doubt it.) Mediocrity?!? A trip to the Super Bowl two years ago is mediocrity? Wow, I'd hate to have your outlook on life. They were one game away from reaching the playoffs this year. Mediocre again? It must stink breaking your ankle everytime you jump off the bandwagon. Are you guys still living in the 90s? I don't know if you've caught a game since Lovie took over, but they're a little better now. Wannstedt is no longer the coach. Seriously, you guys should just stop watching games, it's much better for your mental health. There is no way you will ever be satisfied with this team. Or any other in today's parody driven NFL.

GSH, I have to admit you're right. The Bears are a parody.

Pronunciation:
par·o·dy

Definition:
Something so bad as to be equivalent to intentional mockery; a travesty.

You know for people called disgusted,exfan, etc. you seem to fill up an awful lot of space on a Bear message board telling everyone how much you don't care.

Attention whore likes attention, who knew?

Da Coach,

Thoroughly disgusted and I are just trying to keep this board from becoming an incestuous collection of armchair general managers and/or blind-faith enablers still pining away for the good 'ole days. And since its obvious that the good 'ole days aren't going to happen under the current administration, maybe we're trying to facilitate change. For that you call us whores? Seems over-the-top to me.

Let me address the "we-went-to-the-Super-Bowl-two-years-ago" argument. Yes, the Bears did, but they lost, and lost badly. I think you might agree they have regressed since. They also dismissed the one coach and one RB who were, in my opinion, the main reasons they over-achieved and got there at all.

That's incompetence. Incompetence should not be rewarded with loyalty.

Regards,
Exfan

Thoroughly Disgusted,

I agree that Dan Snyder has not spent money wisely, however, would you agree that his willingness to make some bold moves would a) in and of itself be comforting to a Redskin fan that he at least appears to care about winning and b) something the Bears are apparently unwilling to do?

I argue that fans are just looking for a reason for hope. What's the reason for hope with the Bears?

I live in Washington and can tell you that Dan Snyder is HATED. He has ruined the Redskins and runs the team like a fantasy football owner.

There is a hard salary cap - in the end, every team pays about the same amount out to players. The Redskins pay a couple of guys monster money and then have a bunch of other starters who make the league minimum. They also are forced to pick up guys off the street in the middle of the year because they have no depth when injuries hit.

The Redskins will end up third in the NFC East, fire their coaching staff, and end up having to redo their roster yet again when things don't work out.

Here's a thought form the other side of this offseason. The Giants are stockpiling defensive line players, with the addition of Bernard and Canty. What about pursuing a player like Kiwanuka as a defensive end for our system? He is the odd man out of the rotation with Tuck, Osi coming back, and the additions on the defensive line they have made. Not sure what it would take, but a second rounder would be a decent investment in a very good DE for the right side or left side in the rotation.

Just a thought...

Yeah, exfan. I do agree that Snyder is bold, and that some boldness could go a long way toward changing embittered fans' feelings about the Bears. Like I said, I don't believe the current ownership would have any part of someone like Mike Shanahan. I'm not asking for a $100 million DT, or another over-the-hill WR who doesn't deserve a long-term contract, just a quality NFL coach who has a proven record of winning in big game situations. Quick, can anyone name the last time the Bears hired a coach with ANY NFL coaching experience? Over 50 years ago Papa Bear briefly turned over the reins to Paddy Driscoll, who served a short stint as the first coach of the Chicago Cardinals 35 years previously (in 1920, when football was a completely different game, so his "experience" is dubious). This is an organization that avoids coaches with proven records like the plague.

That said, I think Snyder is bad for the game. He overpays, which drives up the prices of all players. I understand why he's hated. I like bold moves as much as the next guy, but Snyder is not what I want for the Bears. I would prefer an owner who understands football, but also knows better than to meddle in the team's affairs much. For that to work out the owner has to have confidence that the people they've put in charge can do their jobs right. The McCaskeys put their boy Teddy in charge of the Bears. While I'm sure they have confidence in him, Teddy's a former contract negotiator, not a football guy. For a GM he hired a one-dimensional guy - a defensive scout, who proceeded to hire a coach with no previous head coaching experience at any level, who also happens to be a defensive specialist. In other words, in the Bears organization, you have to drill all the way down to Offensive Coordinator before you run across someone who knows anything at all about offense. That, my friends, is dysfunctional.

I like GSH's earlier comment: "I don't root for the owners. I could care less about the owners." They don't care about you either, GSH. That's my point. But you should know, the average NFLPA states that the average player's career length is 3.5 years. That probably includes at least one change of team in that short time as well. A good number of players from the Bears Super Bowl squad of a couple of seasons ago are already gone. Tough to really get behind anyone in this sort of transient milieu, isn't it? So when you say you're a "Bears Fan," what is it exactly that you root for? Can't be the coaches. Certainly not the stadium. The team logo? That's a copyrighted trademark, owned by the McCaskey family. Seems you might actually be rooting for them after all...

The McCaskeys S@U@C@K
But not the Bears!

Thoroughly,
I fully agree with you about ownership and enabling. When I lived in Chicago, I used to go to Bear games. I quit going in the early '70s when the team, under Abe Gibron, became a literal embarrassment. The failure of the Bears to sell out for the first time in decades convinced George Halas to hire Jim Finks and the team got better very quickly. It took about ten years to get to the Super Bowl, but at least under Finks they were competitive and no longer a laughingstock.

So yes, fans need to use their power by refusing to go to games or buy team merchandise when ownership does not consistently put good teams on the field. What I'd really like to see is pickets at the McKaskey house and following him around, making his life miserable until he sells the team.

As you implied, the capitalist system is the problem here. If we had public ownership of teams, like the Packers do, the people who live in the cities where the teams are located could actually have a say in how those teams are run. This certainly does not guarantee having a good team, but the fans would only have themselves to blame if one were not produced.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on February 27, 2009 8:31 PM.

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