Chicago Sun-Times

Bears on hand to watch safety run blazing time

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There wasn't much down time between the end of the scouting combine last week and the beginning of the pro day circuit at colleges across the country.

Miami is the first major school to have its event last Thursday, although the Hurricanes don't have much in the way of pro prospects for this draft. Ball State also conducted its pro day on Friday although quarterback Nate Davis did not work out after participating at the combine. You can pick up bits and pieces here and there when it comes to news from these pro day sessions.

The Bears were definitely at the Florida Atlantic workout, which was held Feb. 26. We've found visual proof here with Southeast scout Mark Sadowski armed with a stop watch and decked out in team apparel. Sixteen teams showed up for the workout and FAU linebacker Frantz Joseph might have been the headliner. He's been among the nation's leading tacklers the last two seasons but is a little slow and projects purely as a middle linebacker. The hope is, at least at FAU, that Joseph will be the first player from the school drafted.

But here's an interesting guy--safety Carldayle Brantley, who reportedly ran a 4.45 40-yard dash. To put that in perspective, that time would have put him among the fastest safeties at the combine. He also had a 38 1/2-inch vertical jump. The time alone in the 40 had to catch the attention of those in attendance. It's hard to say how much experience the guy has. He made 44 tackles and had three interceptions last season but had just 35 stops in his first three seasons.

There's no way of telling of Brantley could find himself on the Bears' radar. He might project as an undrafted free agent. The Bears will canvas the majority of the pro days so that Sadowski was present doesn't mean anything in itself. It could have been just another day at the office for him making sure he didn't miss anything in his territory. Stay tuned.

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28 Comments

I'll tell you what I'm all for patience, and I have given Angelo just about as much support as humanly possible, but he better start doing something. With Housh and Washington now gone at WR, the Bears possibilities are simply dwindling away. This doesn't look like a team that thinks their "close" or wants to address their weaknesses. We have to address free safety, wide receiver, another tackle and possibly a pass rusher. That can't ALL be accomplished through the draft. At the VERY LEAST we need to pick up Mike Furrey, aggressively sign St. Clair and put a nice deal together for Darren Sharper. Atleast this would allow us to have some sort of leaway to take the "best player available" idea and go with it in the draft, otherwise it's not looking good. The Bears appear to be letting the league pass them by while we take and extended nap!!
Let's get on the ball here Bears!!!

I agree I can no longer sit and watch the pairs be so optimistic about this mediocre roster, im tired of every year hearing lovies excuses and im tired of the bears making horrible draft picks its ridiculous

ARE U FANS FORGETTING THE BEARS ARE NOT A BAD TEAM???

There are teams like the redskins that pick up big free agents every year and never make the playoffs.I would rather be excited during the season than in the off season like the redskin fans.Yea Jerry doesn't do much to get you excited in the off season, but we been a pretty good team for last couple of years.Yea we could have sign T.J but his 32 and wanted a 5 year 40 mill contract.Thank god we have a smart GM and not one that goes out and wants to trade Cutler for cassel, sign a D.Tackle for 100 mill,Sign Nate Clements to a 80 mil contract,sign J.Walker for 30 mill,get rid of B.Dawkins or R.Lewis.

So yea he not exciting with a lot of off season signing,but we win games.P.S no im not like you winey fans who get mad if the bears dont make the Super Bowl every year

The Bears should go after safety Jim Leonhard from Baltimore. He is a proven winner in college going from walk, to scholarship and eventually captain. In the pros he has emerged as the starting safety for one of the best defensive units in the NFL.

He has a great work ethic, is smart, and loves football. He will bring a needed mental toughness and athletic ability to the secondary.

Dice I agree with you un terms of us not being a "bad" team and by no means am I saying the Bears should try and hit big with overpriced bug name free agents. But we need to address our weaknesses which are their and the options for them are dwindling away. Why not any move toward's atleast bringing in a guy like Washington, where is the visit Sharper should already have scheduled, and if we don't step up the offer for St. Clair a bit then all other options will already be gone and we'll be left with a huge hole. You can't go into next month's draft needing BOTH a starting free safety AND a right tackle and no one else at receiver than Hester and Bennett. I'm not looking for huge signings, but I just hope that Jerry know's what he's doing by letting good players go. I'm all for patience and often times Dice you're right it pays off and it let's the market come to you a bit so I realize this could all come out positive int the end. I'm just nervous that by the time we get going here we might have nothing left to look for, but I am hoping!!

u play to win to my knowledge. The Bears should play to win a superbowl and not to just have a winning record that is what small market teams do. This team is in the third largest market. That's why us "winey" fans are pissed

what the bears need to do is look into getting a safty like sean jones from cleveland or jarmaine phillips from tampa bay. we cant go into the season depending on a guy like daniel manning who at his best aint good enough to start anywhere {except detroit they suck} craig steltz isnt the answer either. they say they have a number 1 reciever but on this roster they dont. devin hester may turn into a good reciever one day but that day isnt here yet. earl bennett too may be good but again he isnt ready. we need a reciever that kyle can throw to with some confidence that it will be caught. i could be wrong on this but wasnt the bears one of the leaders in droped passes for the last three years. and dont get me started on frank omiyale. i dont know alot about this guy but i do know when im getting smoke blown up my butt. if this guy was on your radar since 05 why didnt they sign him when he was released a couple years ago or on a practice squad the year after that. enough is enough its time to help our offense and by doing so take some pressure off the defense.

Were you excited during the last 2 seasons? I was in a negative way.
A pretty good team the last 2 years, does not miss the playoffs, 2 years in a row 1 removed from the SB, They said it was injuries that first year, wtf was it last year?
Earth to Dice (Jerry)
Did you miss the 37-3 blowout non motivated loss to our Hated Rival?
Did you miss the 4 downs to goal no TD?
Did you miss the 6 second game time fiasco?
or ........the fact we did NOT make the playoffs, well guess what?
We did all this without big name Free Agents, so I guess what you are really saying is We can't do it no matter what.

If I hear once more the fr.... Redskins Im gonna....call em all out WE ARE NOT THE FR..... REDSKINS/PATRIOTS/COWBOYS guys.
Have you NOT been paying attention to all the Respected teams that are signing Free Agents?
Patriots
Cowboys
Chiefs
Broncos
Dolphins
Vikings
SeaHawks

ooh ooh The Redksins cant do it with Free Agents so nobody else can either! Mark all these teams down as losers next year!

Every year? We havent WON the Super Bowl since 1985, that is not every year! That is 20 years! We went to the Super Bowl once every 20 years - do the Math, thats a far cry from `every year'

So you think it was a stupid GM that got rid of Dawkins? Then what about the GM that signed him? Was he stupid too? he must have been using your logic. Double talk If I ever heard it. All those stupid GM's and the brilliant Jerry Angelo can't take advantage of a single one of them with a shrewd trade?
Angelo really needs to stop hiding behind false names on these blogs lol
signed
Mister Whiney Fan

If linebacker Frantz Joseph is considered slow at Florida Atlantic, he's definitely gonna be to slow to play middle linebacker for Chicago. In the Bears defensive scheme the middle linebacker has to be able to drop back in coverage, Joseph might not be a good fit in Chicago. Now Safety Carldayle Brantley sounds intriguing with the 4.5 40 time and the 38 1/2-inch vertical jump. The lack of experience might make him a canidate for the practice squad, but again, you gotta love his measurables. Sounds to me like scout Mark Sadowski was just making the rounds.

I do look for the Bears to address the linebacker position at some point during the draft, my bet would still be California's Zack Follett. I've read that Follett is on the Bears radar, and he could be the guy to come in and play strong side linebacker for the Bears. Follett has nice size at 6-1 231lbs, and can make plays behind the line of scrimmage having had 23 TFL to go along with 10.5 sacks, Chicago needs this type of backer to help put pressur on the QB. Scouts say he is a punishing tackler, another attribute you gotta love in a linebacker. It wouldn't surprise me if the Bears took him in the 3rd, I would, we'll see GO BEARS!!

One little thing about those Skins, if we are better than them, how come they beat us last time we played in 2007 and 2004, you gotta go back to 2003 to get the last time the Bears beat the skins. Not saying there great cause Snyder is a clown, but they still have been able to beat us. Also how many Super Bowl titles do they have? They also make more money than the Bears do even if they are average. Still Haynesworth is a real nice guy to have on roster, he is still in his 20's.

Also remember one thing, in 2006 our super bowl year, we had 8 free agent starters on offense and one Hatley guy(Olin), and on defense we had2 hatley guys starting and 2 FA's and 1 trade. So if the the Skins are stupid for doing it, so are the Bears by your logic. In fact the more Angelo draft picks that start, the worse this team gets.

I could be wrong, but randy it doesnt look like none of those teams you listed made the playoffs last year (besides vikes home field loss to the eagles).Im not saying im not disappointed, but im saying we have the same team we had when we made the super bowl run.Almost all the teams in the NFL now are well under their salary cap, which tells me that theres a reason why free agents are free agents.I mean we had an off year, but i dont think you can feel completely comfortable replacing any of our players with the free agents out there.Vaster,Manning,Urlacher,T.Harris and Hester had an off year, but would i feel comfortable with one of these free agents taking there place,NO.You got to give Stetlz achance to prove himself,you got give Bennett the chance to prove him self.Remember every play is unproven until they get a chance to prove them selves.You cant just pick up free agents for every unknown area.

Please start managing to win! We need atleast 1 safety, 1 o-lineman, atleast 1 wr, a quaterback, maybe a corner as well. Are you kidding me we are goin to get all of this in draft? We will be lucky to get one quality starter out of the draft. Greg I.

Randy,

I'm with you on your thoughts. Most of the fans here are living in la-la land. The bears are who we thought they were (famously said and is still true today).
Until angelo and lovie (and possible phillips for allowing this charade to go on this long) are fired, this team doesn't have a chance in hell.
Heck..we aren't even talking about going back to the superbowl anymore. All we talk about is having a respectable team, which is the best that those bozos can do at the top.
Garbage in equals garbage out. If you have a bunch of numskulls running the organization, don't expect a miracle.

I think most of the frustration is due to the fact that, as fans, we see a lot of holes in the roster, and very little effort to plug them. It's not that we necessarily want big name free agents, we just want to know that we can actually field a full roster next year. We are lacking players across the offensive line and at wide receiver, as well as quality at both those positions. Safety is also an issue.

In my opinion we can make do at safety this year. Next year's safety crop could be the best in years, with Taylor Mays, and more importantly Eric Berry (potentially) coming out. Berry's college play at Tenessee has been astounding, and he appears to have Ed Reed-like game changing potential. If he comes out, it would be one of the rare cases I would countenance trading up in the first round. We all know how that has worked out for the Steelers with Polamalu. Difference makers come in all shapes and sizes at all different positions, and the defence has really missed Mike Brown's playmaking abilities over the last few years. There is little value in this draft's safety class. In stark contrast to this, there appears to be great depth in the wide receiver class this year. Whether Angelo can pick a good one is debatable, since his only non bust at wide receiver has been Berian, who, of course we let go. We have yet to see anything from Earl Bennett. Can we afford to have essentially three rookie receivers on the roster if Angelo waits to address this position in the draft? Where will the leadership come from? Hester? Rashied Davis? Both of these players started life at corner. The offensive line is in slightly better shape, but if we fail to resign St. Clair there are still huge gaps in the depth chart, especially at tackle, even assuming Chris Williams back holds out. If we draft another rookie tackle, we would essentially have 2 rookie tackles this year, and Orton will inevitably be on his back a lot. How will we know what Orton is capable of if he has a cast of inexperienced recievers, and a line which still needs time to grow? I hope we resign St. Clair to get more of a veteran presence on the line.
We should also discuss depth at running back. Forte clearly has the ability to be a very good player, but we can't have him providing 30% (ish) of the offence again like last year or he won't last long in the league. There appears to be good value at Running back in the middle rounds of the draft to give him some help (since i'm not sold on Garrett wolfe, and Kevin Jones likely won't be back). We also need help with our pass rush. I think it may be a long shot to expect Marinelli to revitalise the pash rush with no new players, and everyone a year older.

My main point is, though the free agent pool was very weak this year, we have too many needs to fill with the draft if Angelo refuses to sign a few veteran players. The veteran leadership on offence would also be beneficial. It would not surprise me at all (unless one of the top 4 offensive tackles slips to us at 18) to see Angelo trade down from the number 18 pick to the second round, where a large proportion of the value would appear to be this year. A lot of the good wide receivers this year carry low first/first-second round grades, i.e Hakeem Nicks, Kenny Britt, Brian Robiskie etc, and the same applies to interior offensive linemen and running backs (Alex Mack, Max Unger, Duke Robinson etc, and Donald Brown, Lesean McCoy) we may also see some of the other 'top' running backs slip since last year's second round class performed so well. Trading down for more picks and depth would appear to be a good idea this year with all the holes we have to fill.

I suspect safety and pass rush aid will have to wait for next year.

Guys,

The economy is bad and Virginia's financial portfolio has taken a hit, probably around 45%, so the breaks are on and the Bears will do it on the cheap this year. The butts will be in the seats but the concessions will be down.

It doesn't matter if the rest of the league put fan satisfaction and winning first, Virginia has her priorities. It just ain't winning this year. Relax and start watching the Cards on TV, 'cause our Bears will not compete. Ten (10)points per game just won't get you into the playoffs.

another year of the audacity of hope !!!

With Jason Taylor the latest top player to say he does not want to play for the Bears, it takes little NFL knowlegde to understand that alot of top players don't want to play for the Bears, There must be a reason for this, it can't possibly be that they feel we are a good team, the other players out there know a bad franchise when they see one, usually it's the players at the ends of their carreers that have to come here, or we get lucky and draft someone good.

and those teams understand they have holes to fill as well and they are trying to fill those holes, as they know you can not do it with the draft alone, the difference with the Bears is they do not try. Someone wrote it's all about giving your teams fans hope, and the Bears do not give the majority of their fans hope.

I'd like the Bears to stop using Hester as a WR. The guy is not a WR and did more damage as a kick returner. He was basically the Bear's offense during the Super Bowl run a few years ago so why would anyone want to move him from there. If we don't have anyone to catch a pass, that should be addressed and let's not put a bandaid on the situation. And no, Marty Booker was not the answer. St. Clair needs to be signed and a free agent DB needs to be in the mix. With the WRs available, you're better off looking at the draft. That's a start. We weren't a bad team last year, but we weren't a playoff team. A few adjustments plus some key players stepping it up a bit (Urlacher, T. Harris) on defense. We have an average QB with above average TEs and RB available so a decent WR will be needed to take the pressure off the running game. I'm not looking for a complete overhaul, just a sign that management is doing everything possible to make adjustments that will actually make a difference.

I agree w/ Cory Shim... - I like Jim Leonhard also.

Creighton,

I saw your comments about the Skins vs. the Bears and I wanted to respond. In general your post is fine. Yes, we have lost to the Redskins so by that measure they are better than us. I know because outside of beating the Packers I want us to beat the Skins when we play. I have had to pay off bets to my Skin friends and it is not pleasant. So I feel those losses more than any other.

Another way to view who is better Skins or Bears? Is their overall record. For the past five years -- 2004 through 2008 (basically the Jerry & Lovie era vs the Daniel and his GM Vinny Cerrato). Bears' record is 45-35 and a playoff record of 2-2 w/ a SB appearance xxx vs. the Skins 38-42 and a playoff record of 1-2. Over the past two years, since most here are disappointed with the record of the Bears post-SB is Bears 16-16 and the Skins 17-15 and a 0-1 in the playoffs.

As for the signing of FAs: the question is not how many FAs one signs. It is the result of those signings. Did they improve the team?

A club can win via drafting, signing FAs or trading. All 32 teams do a combination of the three. But they tend to emphasize one over the other two. In the Bears case, it is the draft with a few select FAs. In the Redskins case, it is the opposite, a few large splashing FAs and fill in with draft picks. Neither side is always right.

What the question should be is did your method of acquiring players -- draft, FA or trading -- work? We can talk all day about the failed draft picks of Angelo and we probably wont agree. But when looking the FA signings by the Redskins vs the Bears that is a no brainer. They have overpayed for their players and they have underperformed on a remarkably consistent basis. The Bears had many key players who were acquired via FAs. In fact among the worst FA signings by the Bears under JA have been Archuleta and Lloyd. Both failed FA signings previously by the Redskins. That is one of the reasons I am so much against signing Jason Taylor.

But back to your main point about comparing the Skins vs the Bears. Your point is valid about head-to-head games but also look at the team records over a few seasons and the trend of the seasons. And by that measure I would rather be in JA's shoes than in Vinny's.

Which team would you rather have? If you could trade the entire Bears players and front office for the Skins players and front office would you do it? I wouldn't.

Brad,

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune: "Chargers plan to put Antonio Cromartie on the trading block if they can sign Drayton Florence as a free agent." And according to the Dallas Morning News
"Roy Williams wants to know what his future holds immediately, so his agent, Jordan Woy, has asked the Dallas Cowboys to either cut or trade the strong safety by today."

What do you believe the odds are of the Bears signing either of these two?

Its sad to say....but this entire organization is a complete joke. Lovie and JA are the worst combo of coach/GM ever. They are both way too proud (stupid?) to admit when they mistakes on players either drafted or coached. Im sorry, but an NFL head coach needs to show emotion on the side line. Make a great play..no response. Drop a ball for the 3rd time that game (Rashied Davis) no response. Lovie just needs to go. Good grief.. Gruden and Shannahan are free. Go hire them. Gruden would make an instant impact. But we wont. And then JA comes out and says the players are there, its the coaches job to get them playing!?!?!? WHAT!?!?!? That roster was far from complete. Less then average O-Line..No receivers and other then Mike Brown, Alex Brown and Lance Briggs, a defense with a bunch of over paid loafers. You can bash Orton all you want, but he kept that team winning before he got hurt. Never should have played in Green Bay or Minnesota after the injury. Could not plant and throw. The bottom line to look at is this.. after the defense blew another lead at Houston and we dont make the playoffs... Lovie has the gall to tell us that "the team is close". Close to what.. the first tee..the top 5 pick in the draft?? I am at the point that I will no longer watch this team. Nor pay the $250.00 for NFL sunday ticket for this nonsense. As fans we need to make a statement. A half-filled Soldier Field would be a warning sign to the idiots that run this team. Tell them.. we wont pay all this money to watch a half-arsed product on the field. I hate the vikings, but they make an effort every year to make themselves better. Enough of this already.....

To Randy:

It seams fairly obvious to me that Taylor IS at the end of his career. He is clearly not the player he was say 5 years ago. It has been reported one of the major reasons he wanted to leave the Redskins was to be close to his family in Florida in the offseason. He clearly wouldn't achieve that goal by signing with the Bears. He is also not a reliable upgrade, if any at all, since his general commitment to the game was questioned last year with all that 'Dancing with the Stars' rubbish. It's not like the Bears are short of defensive ends on the back ends of their careers. Young effective pass rushers at the DE position are almost always aquired through the draft, and the Bears recent attempts at this are either inconsistent (Mark Anderson) or colossal busts (Dan Bazuin - another GREAT choice by Angelo).

I'll give Hester 1 more season to prove he can be a top flight wide receiver. If he doesnt rank in the top 10-15 receivers next year he can take his ass back to kick returns. Losing the nfl's best ever kick returner is not worth an average deep threat at receiver.

What should really be questioned is Angelo's draft record: It can be described as 'inconsistent' at best. Busts include Mike Haynes, Cedrick Benson, Bazuin, to a lesser extent Daniel Manning and Rex Grossman, Airese Curry, Michael Okwo, Mark Clayton. Many of these were relatively high picks. Tank Johnson was an effective player till he drove himself out of town. Hits in the draft include Forte, Tommie Harris (though injury prone) and Lance Briggs. The jury is still out on Earl Bennett and Chris Williams. Williams was noted to be a risk because of his back before the Bears chose him, I guess we'll find out this year. Bennett better show me something. Greg Olsen was a decent choice late in the 1st round but is not exactly tearing up the nfc north, with desmond clark an all round more effective player. Vasher was a nice find, but spends to long on the training table.

The rest of the NFC north's draft record isn't better, but we can't really laugh too hard at the Lions can we? Ours isn't exactly stellar. When your 2nd rounder (Bazuin) is off the team without playing a down...well, thats NOT effective personnel decisions. As for Jerry Angelo's rant about how QB is so important, well, the Bears are ever at their best with a rock solid defence and a hard as nails running game. A game managing QB is all we need. Obviously Cutler would be nice, but if he was throwing to the garbage we have at receiver, well, he won't look anything like the player he was in Denver. Angelo is naive in the extreme to think you can have one without the other. Part of the reason Brady and Manning (and Roethlisberger) are so effective is that they are consistently surrounded with consistent weapons. Wayne, Harrison, Dallas Clark, Moss, Welker, Hines Ward, Santonio Holmes, Heath Miller. Enough said I think.

I agree that Jim Leonhard should be signed to this team. I don't care if he is short, the kid can play and had a great season last year with the Ravens.

It is also looking more an more like our receivers are going to be Hester, Bennett and Rideau. Yes I said Rideau. I just hope he gets a chance to play given he led all receivers last year during the preseason. He has size, hands and should suprise many this year. After that we have Drops Davis and the loser from the Colts. Yes I would love to see them bring in someone via the draft, but we should not expect to see them this year...look how long it took Bennett to see the field. I really would like to see how Rideau does through training camp. He reminds me of that kid at New Orleans who sat on the practice squad 2 years and had a great season this year. His name was Lance Moore. Maybe we have a gem that just needs to see the field.

GO BEARS.

What the bears need to do is look into getting a safty like Sean Jones from Cleveland or Jermaine Phillips from Tampa Bay. We cant go into the season depending on a guy like daniel manning who at his best aint good enough to start anywhere {except detroit} craig steltz isnt the answer either. they say they have a number 1 reciever but on this roster they dont. devin hester may turn into a good reciever one day but that day isnt here yet. earl bennett too may be good but again he isnt ready. we need a reciever that kyle can throw to with some confidence that it will be caught. i could be wrong on this but wasnt the bears one of the leaders in droped passes for the last three years. and dont get me started on frank omiyale. i dont know alot about this guy but i do know when im getting smoke blown up my butt. if this guy was on your radar since 05 why didnt they sign him when he was released a couple years ago or on a practice squad the year after that. enough is enough its time to help our offense and by doing so take some pressure off the defense.

Just to update, it is reported that Jim Leonard has signed with Rex Ryan and the Jets.

Can he put a helmet on somebody consistently?

I agree with your assesment of Taylor's commitment but I still feel he would be an upgrade, as I thought Og had a lousy year last year and I just feel more that Taylor will bounce back more so than OG, compare both their careers and Taylor wins hands down, they both had subpar years so who has the best career? and who will bounce back?
I vote Taylor
time will tell

Anon,

You say you want Taylor? Did you see him play last year? I did. And he is an over-the-hill one dimensional player that gives up the inside hole because he is going upfield for a possible sack.

I wish at least one person who wants Taylor for the Bears actually saw him play last year.

The reason for his drop off is not just injury it is age and declining skill and the latter two are a larger factor in his one season drop off.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on March 2, 2009 6:23 PM.

Who's your receiver? T.J. picks a new home was the previous entry in this blog.

Four Down Territory, March 3: The rush to rule out another player not in Bears' plans is the next entry in this blog.

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