Chicago Sun-Times

Four Down Territory, March 18: Exploring the interior of the O-line

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Day 2 of minicamp didn't have quite the suspense of the opener when negotiations in Cleveland for offensive tackle John St. Clair hung over the situation. It's a clean break for the Bears now as they can chart a path to the future by building a young line. Let's get right to the questions and remember we'll do one more Q&A in Four Down Territory this week on Friday.

Q: Chris Williams finally manned the left tackle position and Cody Balogh was at right tackle in practice Tuesday. What's happening at guard? I know the new guy Frank Omiyale is working at left guard but how are both the left and right guard spots going to work out?

Jay E., Michigan

A: You got the breakdown at tackle for the first day right but the action changed today as Omiyale was moved to right tackle.

Let me tell you what I have seen for two days at guard.

Josh Beekman has been working with the first team at left guard and Omiyale was been with the second team before his move.

At right guard, Roberto Garza is working with the first team and Dan Buenning has been behind him when he hasn't been serving as the backup center.

I talked to offensive coordinator Ron Turner about the arrangement and he said the plan was for Beekman and Omiyale to do battle at left guard and Garza and Buenning to work at right guard. That could still be the idea but until another tackle is added, pencil in Omiyale at right tackle. If Omiyale moves back to guard, it will be to start. He wasn't signed to add depth. Buenning is a challenger but the club remains happy with Garza. The great thing, Jay, is there are six months until the regular season begins. There's bound to be a few twists in the road before we get there.

Q: Do you think there's a possibility the Bears could swing a three-team trade? I was thinking something along the lines of the Bears send their first- and second-round picks to Arizona, the Cardinals send Anquan Boldin and a second-round pick to Denver and the Bears get Jay Cutler. It might take more picks, but do you think that could potentially work? Cleveland could be another trade partner with their two quarterbacks.

Nick, North Dakota

A: So the Broncos would trade their quarterback in Cutler to acquire Boldin and pair him with Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal? Someone has to throw them the ball, right? I don't think so. Plus, no one is going to need to send a first and second to acquire Boldin. There is more and more buzz that Boldin isn't valued by those in the league what some think he is. He's a successful possession receiver in a wide-open passing offense with a terrific quarterback. And his numbers have been dipping. To address the Cleveland portion of your question, the Browns would be more likely to deal with Denver directly for Cutler than funnel some deal through the Bears. I don't see the Bears being in play for Cutler if he reaches the market. Kyle Orton is 15-2 as a starter at Soldier Field. The Bears believe in him. I don't see Jerry Angelo wavering off of that. He might be wrong, but I don't see him wavering.

Q: Hey Brad, any insight into Lovie Smith's new role as the play caller for the defense? How does that change his work on the field during practice?

Sudeep B., Oregon

A: Considering we only get to see practice in a few offseason workouts and then during training camp, I can't base this on anything other than that. The Bears don't believe in providing much access and have in fact shielded media further this week forcing them to watch the team portions of practice--7-on-7 and 11-on-11--from a field away. You never know how much damage the media can do in mid-March. Smith has always spent time with the defense and now is no exception. He spent some time today doing individual work with the safeties and remember, he's coaching nickel back Danieal Manning again.

Q: I am glad the Bears got right to work this week to erase the bad memories I had about last season also. Bears news beats the worthless spring training news and whatever college basketball activity might be going on. What is the schedule for the Bears after this week and when is the next minicamp? They need the work.

Francisco Z., Chicago

A: You'll be disappointed to know the collective bargaining agreement allows teams to conduct only one full-squad minicamp during the course of the offseason. Teams that have coaching changes are allowed to have two to help them get up to speed. The Bears will hold a rookie minicamp the weekend after the draft, but that is the only remaining minicamp. Typically, they've always had the minicamp then and then had the mandatory full-squad one about a month or so later. That gave the rookies time to get acclimated a little and then allowed them to work with the veterans. Smith found it more beneficial to mix it up this year.

The Bears will be off following Thursday's practice. Players are not asked--the offseason program is voluntary--to return until April 6. That is when the offseason workout program starts up. There's no minicamp then. They'll work out in the weight room and do some very minor drills on the field. That runs for four weeks in April, four days a week, and then in the first three weeks of May.

OTA's start May 20. There is an OTA on May 21 and then players are off until June 1 when OTA's run for three weeks with four per week for a total of 14 OTA days. The offseason program concludes June 18 and then the players will have roughly five weeks off before training camp. Because the first Sunday of the regular season isn't until Sept. 10, camp might not open until about July 28. That date has not been fixed yet and will not become official until the preseason schedule is set. Training camp opens 15 days before the first preseason game.

Thank you for all of the participation and questions. As always, thanks for reading. We're going to do one more Q&A this week on Friday. Get your questions in.

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What are the chances of Brandon Rideau getting on the field and making an impact this season? Hes a big target and seems to have good hands but hes always burried on the practice squad or not given much playing time when he is put on the active roster.

So Brad how has the offensive line looked the first couple of days of mini camp? Do guys look in shape, does anyone look bad or good? Also sense your a reporter how about an Omiyale interview? It is the off season and your not that busy get a little in depth. Also ask Beekman how he feels about Omiyale.

Everyone seems to be looking at Boldin's numbers as a decline or a lack of skill set to be a #1 WR. Why don't they look at the emergence of Larry Fitzgerald as a contributing factor in the reduction in his numbers? They had 3 1,000 yard guys this year, and Fitz was obviously Warner's #1 target. Boldin also got laid out by Warner in the Jets game, and I wonder how much of that contributed to his reduction in targets down the stretch.

Anyway, I would take him over most receivers in the league, even with his "dipping" numbers.

I disagree that if Omiyale moves back to guard it will be to start. If that was the case, why wasn't Omiyale running with the first team when he was at guard? Don't you think if that was their plan for Omiyale, to be the starting left guard, putting him at guard right now might be the best thing for Omiyale, especially since he's got more experience at tackle. I would think if you were planning on Omiyale being the starter at left guard you would try and get him as many reps as possible at left guard. Also, if the Bears are so unhappy with how Beekman has played at left guard, why wasn't Omiyale with the first team at left guard, especially with it only being walk throughs, you would think this would be the best time to get Omiyale his reps at left guard, being non-contact, and to also build continuity with the other starters.

I think Chicago does see Beekman as their eventual starting center, this is probably why their looking at all the guard prospects right now. Josh Beekman will probably start this season at left guard however, and Omiyale will probably stay at tackle. Even if the Bears do go tackle in the first round, Omiyale will still have to stay at tackle to either start if the rookie isn't ready, or be the swing tackle [depth], you got to have a swing tackle. As far as the money Omiyale got, I don't think this necessarily guaranteed him a starting position. The fact Omiyale got the bulk of his money during the first year of his contract was to more or less lure him to come to Chicago, remember there were 10 other teams that had interest in Omiyale. Also, if you break down the rest of his contract it's full of playing time incentives, and again, if he's a guaranteed starter, why all of the incentives?

I think Omiyale can be a pretty good right tackle for the Bears, Chicago still has to address the position, but if they feel good with Omiyale at right tackle, Angelo could draft a play maker like Missouri's Jeremy Maclin if he slips to #18, if not they can still go with Eben Britton. I like where this team is headed, their getting younger up front on the o-line, and they have got some nice young players like Matt Forte, Greg Olsen, and Devin Hester to build around. Angelo is building a pretty good offense right now with young players like Chris Williams at left tackle, Josh Beekman at left guard and eventually center, Matt Forte at running back [a 1200yd 63 catch back], Greg Olsen at tight end [50 plus catches from his tight end position should only get better], Devin Hester at receiver who was really starting to come on late in the season. Throw in Earl Bennett who I think is gonna surprise some people this season, and a draft pick, [maybe Eben Britton or J-Mac] and Jerry Angelo has this team headed in the right direction. Oh yeah, my boy Kyle Orton, watch out for Orton this season GO BEARS!!

Brad: Is there really a competition between Buenning and Garza? Or are they just blowing smoke because this team loves a guy (Garza) who gets blasted off the line all day long and lives on his back? I would really hope Buenning has a shot unless he is less than advertised.

Joe F: You are the only other person on this blog to mention Jaron Gilbert. This kid is a monster and could really help out the pass rush with his 22 tackles for loss this season. If we trade down we could land a RT, WR and maybe Gilbert.


One of the biggest mysteries last season was the absence of rookie receiver Earl Bennett from the Bears' offensive package. The third-round draft pick from Vanderbilt offered a simple explanation.

"I struggled [learning] the plays last year," Bennett said Wednesday. "I was lethargic because of it. It probably took me until Week 6, Week 7 to pick them up.


Seriously? It took him that long to grasp the playbook? Wasn't he practicing? I hope for ours and the teams sake he gets a tutor and "learns" the book. Oy vey!

In normal cases like the one with Cutler, the longer it drags out, and the more "displeasure" is voiced publicly by the player, the lower the asking price goes. Steve McNair is an example of this a couple of years ago. McNair was an older player nearing the end of his career, and understandably, Cutler is a Pro Bowl QB who is still entering his prime years, but if they can't get something sorted out as we get closer to the draft, does the price go down to where the Broncos are willing to take a lesser package than the 2 first round picks, or the 1st and 3rd that we have been hearing? McNair ended up going for a 5th if I recall, and Favre ended up only costing New York a third rounder this past season. Just curious as to what you think in this particular case.

So Kevin your saying Angelo and Lovie lied about Omiyale for no reason at all. There just making up stories for fun. Simple answer to your question. He wasn't running with the first teams because he doesn't know the offense at all. You realize that right? They put him at RT to get him more work which should help him learn the offense a little quicker. They also have a major depth issue at OT so they needed him there.

Kevin answer a question why do you think Omiyale will be such a good RT? You have never seen him play, and he has only played in 1 1/2 games in the NFL over 4 years. You never even new who he was till a couple of weeks ago and now you are sure he is this awsome RT. Even though he has never played RT. Thats pretty strange logic. Angelo and Lovie both said he is a LG, even with the move Lovie said "he is there for right now." Does it matter if he plays LG and they go get a guy to play RT. Whats the difference man? It's just the line getting younger and better, why is it a bad thing if he plays LG? What do you have against him at LG? Dude Beekman was bad, why can't you except that, the Bears have admitted it, the brought a guy in to replace him, not to mention he isn't working at Center either, Buenning is.

As for Bennett the Bears and he throwing around some BS, he can't grasp the play book?? He went to Vandy, thats a really good school and he just got his degree or is about ot get it. I can't see him being like "Whats a post?"

A little Gilbert talk for his fans, he really doesn't fit the Bears needs, most think he will be a 5 tech in 3-4 at 6'5" 285 he does not really fit the 4-3 DT build. He is more of a tweener. Think Richard Seymour but less athletic.

This is for the Cutler fans and was not written by me.

Cutler has numbers that seem to command a big price tag. Take a look at what he did in 2008 and consider that the Broncos' defense was ranked 29th overall and last in creating turnovers with just 13 takeaways. They were 30th in points allowed. Overall, they had 44 starts from rookies -- the second-highest total in the NFL behind a Kansas City Chiefs team that was in a full-blown youth movement. In contrast, the Pittsburgh Steelers had only one start by a rookie all season on their way to winning the Super Bowl.

Other interesting facts about Cutler:

» He guided the second-ranked offense in the NFL.

» He was No. 1 in fewest percentage of sacks, with 11 in 627 pass plays. That equates to one sack every 57 pass attempts.

» He was No. 3 in the NFL in third-down efficiency, the "money" down. The average NFL team converted 39.5 percent of its third downs; Cutler converted 47.5 percent.

» He was No. 3 in the AFC in yards per pass play (7.3).

» He threw for more yards than Peyton Manning, Eli Manning, Donovan McNabb, Philip Rivers, Tony Romo and Ben Roethlisberger, to name a few.

» He had just two 100-yard rushing days from a running back all season: Peyton Hillis (129 against the Jets) and Michael Pittman (109 against the Jacksonville Jaguars).

» He had eight games of 300-plus passing yards (five of those at 350 or more), connecting for 15 touchdowns in those contests.

» Sure, he threw 18 interceptions, which is unacceptable, but his ratio of picks to attempts was 1:34, which tells a slightly different story. Last season, Brees had an interception every 37 pass attempts. Favre's ratio was 1:23, and Roethlisberger's was 1:31. Cutler's career ratio is 1:33.

» Only Jacksonville's David Garrard threw more passes in the fourth quarter of games than Cutler, who completed 100 of 167 passes for 1,212 yards and 11 touchdowns with just four interceptions.

Cutler is not a finished product, but when you consider his age, production (54 touchdown passes in 37 games) and contract, he has serious trade value. If Cutler is traded, the prorated signing bonus stays behind with Denver. Only his salary, workout bonus and likely-to-be-earned bonuses go to the new team.

Is Cutler worth 2 first rounders? Yes.

This notion was confirmed Monday night when a former NFL general manager said to me: "Cutler goes for two No. 1 picks and a player, or he doesn't go at all."

Just an article I thought the Cutler fans would like.

If Beekman is ready to play right now, then he should probably be the starting right guard with Buenning in the mix. The reps at guard will be fine this year before taking over the starting center job in 2012 (counting in the impending lock-out). I agree that Garza is a punching bag for any decent DT. They paid Omiyale like a starting right tackle, so he had better be one.

Earl Bennett was a project at best, out of a weak WR class last year. It does surprise me that a Vanderbilt guy needed 6 months to learn a playbook. It does not surprise me that we haven't seen him on the field, as he was a very marginal prospect that hasn't developed (yet). He was a guy they could have drafted 1 or 2 rounds later than they did.

Brad in a recent article you stated:

"Brown has yet to reach double digits, but when you combine his six sacks last year with 13 tackles for loss, he was in the top five in the league."

He was in the top 5 in the league in what? Then you listed this:

DE Jared Allen, Vikings 14.5

DE Julius Peppers, Panthers 14.5

DE Justin Tuck, Giants 12

DE Mario Williams, Texans 12

Note: The top two were linebackers: Cowboys' DeMarcus Ware (20) and Dolphins' Joey Porter (17.5).

So are you saying if combine Brown's TFL's and Sacks he is in the same company with these guys in terms of sacks?? By the way you also forgot Harrison, Mathis, Woodley, Freeney, Howard, the list goes on and on.

Ware had 20 Sacks and 9 TFL's but your not listing these guys TFL's you just listing there sacks. Are you trying to say he brings the same amount of pressure as these guys? Or that if his TFL's were sacks he would be in top 5?

I like Brown but he does not bring the pressure that these guys do. I notice you didn't list knock downs either. One thing you may want to consider is while sacks are over rated they do disrupt the passing game more than TFL's. Which is really the point of getting a sack. TFL's are usually made on the RB and don't really disrupt the QB's timing. That is were sacks and knock downs really do help to take a QB out of his rhythem. I don't think sacks are as much about yardage as they are about disruption of the passing game.

Hey think about it this way, with the amount of teams playing 3-4 defense this year Alex Brown has a good shot to be one of the top 10 DE's in terms of sacks this year. He doesn't even have to get more than six. Last year he was ranked 19th in terms of ends, Peppers looks to be headed to a 3-4 so thats one spot and Kampman is also going into a 3-4 so thats 2 spots, and there were a total of 6 guys ahead of him who only had 1/2 sack to 1 sack more than him, they could easily drop a sack and he could get up to 6.5 sacks he would be right there in the top 10 DE's. Sack wise he would still be in the 30's but hey this will give Angelo and Lovie something to spin. He's a top 10 DE in terms of sacks, I can hear it now.

Regarding Earl Bennett... I'd give the kid a break. WR's rarely do anything in year #1. Im sure it has nothing to do with his IQ.. come on. I saw a playbook while watching NFL Network.. not kidding it was like 8 inches thick. Thats alot of plays guys. Lets evaluate him after this year is over. As for this O-Line dilema, Lovie and JA do nothing but confuse me. You can hardly believe anything they say. Beekman did ok, but he seems a bit small for the guard spot. The problem as a whole was the line hardly every sustained a good forward surge on running downs. Forte did alot on his own. I also agree that for some reason, Lovie just loves Garza. I thought Garza was one of the worst guys on that line. I always saw him picking himself up 3 yards in the back field. I would take O-Line with 3 of the first 4 picks. A tackle and 2 big guards. This line problem has got to be fixed. I know its only March, but the draft is next month. If they ignore the line in the draft, we are doomed. Picking just 1 lineman will not cut it. You cannot go into camp hoping to scrape free agents together. GO BEARS!!!!

I'd give up 2 first round picks for Cutler. A bird in the hand...

Now for the latest on Cutler:

This from owner Pat Bowlen on if he would trade Cutler:

"To tell you the truth, I have no answer to that question," Denver owner Pat Bowlen told "I would like to keep him here, obviously. But if you are going to be an unhappy camper, there is no real reason to be here."

Agent Bus Cook said Bowlen's firing of head coach Mike Shanahan started an atmosphere of doubt that snowballed into mistrust once offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates was also dismissed.

I was never sure why Bates got fired, number 2 offense sounds pretty good to me. Thats why the Steelers are so good, they may change a head coach but they don't change there system because there system works. How well have Pats assitants done once they have left Bill? Not to great from what I have seen.

Either way Cutler is available, for Detroit, in fact I would not be surprised if Cutler and Scheffler are traded to Detroit for the number one overall and next years number 1. It will be Favre part 2. Another big armed gunslinger who kills us and loves Chicago, perfect. At least Orton will still be able to say he's better than the Vikings QB, third place in your division isn't so bad heck that puts him in the top 3 out 4.



coming out of college his reputation was a bit soft and pudgy. Has 6 months in an nfl weight room shown up in a visibly more chiseled body?

Check out Angelo's 1st round picks and then think about if you'd be unhappy giving 2 or three of them up for Cutler.

Quoted from NY Times:

"The guards, well, not many fans know what guards do. In the past, they were mostly run blockers, although football executives concede that if you have a guard who is a hindrance, you can still keep him in the lineup because the center can slide in to help him double team a defensive tackle. Guards are so unappreciated that Alex Gibbs, a longtime respected N.F.L. offensive line coach, used to tell Mark Schlereth, a former All-Pro guard and now an ESPN analyst, “ ‘I can get drunks off the highway to play center or guard, but I need a great offensive tackle,’ ” Schlereth said. “We just accepted it as fact.”
“If you’re a really good guard, you become a tackle,” said the ESPN analyst Floyd Reese, who was the general manager of the Tennessee Titans when they had one of the best guards ever, the Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews."
Kevin-maybe that's why Omiyale didn't have to get those "precious reps" at guard. Don't look for the smoking gun.

I say avoid drafting DE Johnson from GT and Jackson from LSU. If the underachieved in college don't expect them to suddenly overachieve when they become rich beyond their wildest dreams. To a certain extent the same goes for DHB even though some will disagree with that.
IMHO, I believe Harvin will be the best of the big name WRs including DHB, Maclin, Britt, and Nicks. Argue against it, but I think Percy was limited by the foot and achilles issues which hopefully have been resolved. He was running a 4.28 forty at one time, so speed isn't the issue and he is a smooth route runner with good hands. I think he has kind of been mislabled as fragile or not durable but he has shown that he can take big hits.
I get tired of all these workout warriors who show the numbers to get the paycheck and then call it a day. Last year, many were mentioning Gholston should be the #1 pick. Granted, I wouldn't want him to punch me in the face but I also wouldn't want him on the bears D. I believe for the D to be effective again they need a few players who have that head hunter attitude that Mike Brown had.

Creighton, thanks for the Cutler info...after reading that, he is better than I thought!..Which means we'll never get him. Angelo is a lieing tightwad who will be long gone before this franchise ever gets a top notch QB. With that in mind, Lets draft all defense to build this D to where it once was. Hell, if Rex can lead us to the Super Bowl because of the great D so can Neckbeard. I'm sick of wishing for a franchise QB. It will never happen with the losers we have running this team. GO ORTON!!!!!!....(He's all we have, I might as well get behind him!!!!)...he sucks no more!!!!!!!!!!

Final day of camp, Orton gets picked twice once by Bullocks, word is he is looking down his recivers. Bullocks is so talented I am sure no one else will notice, funny his only interception last year came off Orton. The biggest news is Tommie Harris had to sit out Camp because of his left knee. I thought there was nothing wrong with his knee, that I said was a problem all last year. I guess it's still a problem but only when he has to workout or you ask Lovie about it, other than that it's perfect. I told you guys there is something wrong with that knee all last year and it looks like there is still something wrong with it. I said it at the end of the season, "you can bring Rod but unless he can fix that knee there are problems" The Bears said it's hard for anyone to workout two days in a row. Well everyon else did. Boot is harder than these mini camps by a long shot and they go at it every day. Harris is 25 and a pro athlete who can't workout more than 2 days in a row, and those are light workouts. There not even in pads, there is no tackling and he can't make it through more than 2 days of this stuff. Whats he going to do in training camp?

That line is in trouble. I wouldn't be surprised if we see a DT at 18. Or do the Bears think his Knees will get better with more abuse in the NFL.

Creighton, a simple answer to my question of why Omiyale wasn't running with the first team offense at left guard was because he doesn't know the offense???? Auh....Creighton, then why is he all of the sudden running with the first team offense at right tackle, did he learn the entire offense in one day???? That answer makes no sense. If he doesn't know the playbook at left guard, then he probably doesn't at right tackle either, so I don't get your logic either I guess???

Creighton, I never said Omiyale would be an awesome RT, I simply said he could play the position if needed. And yes, Omiyale played right tackle with the Panthers during the pre-season, so your wrong about Omiyale never playing right tackle. Also, Omiyale might have only started 1 & 1/2 games, but thats a lot more experience than a rookie would have, so going with Omiyale at right tackle is taking just as much of a chance as going with a rookie, at least Omiyale has actual NFL playing time. And yes, I still say the Bears draft a tackle on the first day, probably Eben Britton. And I have nothing against Omiyale playing left guard [like you probably hope I do]. Creighton, again with the putting words in my mouth $hit????? I said, "I don't think he'll start this season at left guard, I think the Bears will leave him at tackle." Omiyale will either be the Bears starting right tackle, or their swing tackle, just my opinion. Omiyale still has to beat out Beekman, I just think thats gonna be kind of hard to do with Omiayle never playing guard before, and Beekman having a year as a starter under his belt, also, Beekman probably knows the playbook in and out. With no experience at guard, and not even knowing the playbook, I doubt he could come in and beat out Beekman. I have no problem with Omiyale at left guard, I just don't see it, even you yourself said the Bears don't have the depth at tackle. Even with a draft pick [Britton or Loadholt?] Chicago is still going to need Omiyale at tackle, unless they sign someone. I think the Bears are gonna go with Chris Williams, Frank Omiyale, and a draft pick at tackle this season.

I don't think Beekman is as bad as you think he is either, the fact he isn't getting reps at center proves it, and the fact he stayed with the first team at left guard when Omiyale was at guard. And again, don't come at me with that Omiyale doesn't know the playbook $hit, if that was the case, why is he all of the sudden running with the first team at right tackle? If he doesn't know the playbook at left guard, then he probably doesnt know it at right tackle either, I don't get your logic there guy???? If the Bears were so gun ho about Omiyale pushing Beekman, wouldn't it make more sense to leave Balogh at right tackle and let Omiyale continue to get reps at guard? This is why I doubt the Bears sign someone else, I could be wrong, but I doubt it, I think Omiyale stays at tackle. Now that St.Clair is gone Omiyale is a tackle, get use to it. Creighton, don't you think if the Bears wanted Beekman replaced that bad, they would have just benched him in favor of Omiyale, so Omiyale could get some much needed reps at left guard??? If Omiyale goes back to guard right now, the Bears are down to Chris Williams, even with a draft pick, thats only 2 tackles. If no free agent is signed, Omiyale will stay at tackle even with a draft pick.

As far a Earl Bennett, the fact he admitted he had a hard time learning the playbook early shows me he now has it down. Because if he was still having a hard time with the playbook, I highly doubt he would go public about having a hard time as a rookie. The fact he went public proves he has self confidence in himself, and that he probably knows the plays now, I still like him at receiver. One last thing Creighton, give the Jay Cutler stuff a rest, alright GO BEARS!!


We keep hearing Lovie Smith say he wants a Bears team that get's off the bus running. What I don't hear a lot about is what kind of running team? I can think of at least two kinds of successful running teams. One is Emmitt and the 'Boys, Riggins and the Hogs, Steelers and the Bus kind of power running. The other is TD and the Broncos style of finesse, trapping, to-daylight kind of running.

What style running team are the Bears shooting to be?

A running team needs a blocking TE.

I bet Orton takes a big step back this year.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME????? Harris can't do two mini-camp practices in a row in shorts, t-shirt, and helmet? That's an insult to every fan who has ever gone through high school football two-a-days. Where is the will to win? The Chicago Bears are a FOOTBALL team right? Walter Payton would run up and down dirt hills until he puked in the off-season. This makes me absolutely sick. Professional athletes can't do their job two days in a row? How are we supposed to get excited for a season when the front office is penny pinching and the spoiled rotten players are taking their precious days off in MARCH!!! Sure, the players want to win a championship, but apparently the fans want it more. And a good portion of us are in better shape too. Harris, let me remind you that the fans pay a hefty portion of your salary with our game tickets and merchandise purchases. So, thank you for giving your all. It's not the fact that the Bears are mediocre that bothers me, it's the fact that I don't really get the impression that they care all too much.

As physically gifted as Harvin is, I see Reggie Bush when I look at him. Madden-type agility and speed, but does he have what it takes to run the entire route tree? I think he will be a heck of a player if he can do that, but the track record is not great for guys like that as future stars. I think he can be a Santana Moss-type receiver, where he runs deep routes and comebacks early in his career, and learns the rest of the routes, and how to throttle down a notch to increase his separation in and out of breaks. It's easy to get open when you're that much faster than everyone else, and coverage schemes are limited because of defensive talent. In the NFL, you have 7 guys in the back end of the defense that could be in coverage, and all of them can run. Not going to be as many windows to get the ball.

Bush was supposed to be the next great thing at running back in the NFL. Faster than anyone else in the league, consistent gamebreaker inside and out, and a great receiver out of the backfield. They got one right. He is a dynamic receiver out of the backfield, but he can't even keep Pierre Thomas on the bench as a runner. He doesn't have the power to run inside, and his speed is not as big of an advantage in the pro game, so when he tries to bounce everything outside, guys can catch him. Houston was mocked for not taking Bush or Vince Young, and they ended up with the only one of the first three picks who plays at a Pro Bowl level at their position.

I see DHB the same way. He will have a limited route list that he can run well, much like Berrian was when he got here. Deep routes and comebacks to leverage his speed. It will take time to learn the NFL game and get used to option routes and sight adjustments.

At some point, both of them will start to get good at deep crossing routes, and selling the quick slants, but that will take some time in my opinion.

IMHOtep, yeah sure, anyone can just come right in and play guard, but that still doesn't answer my question of why Omiyale wasn't with the first team when he was at guard, but now he is with the first team at tackle?? Im not saying Omiyale couldn't play guard, I just think if Chicago was serious about Omiyale pushing Beekman, they would have kept him at guard and just use Cody Balogh at tackle, especially since its only mini camp. This shows me Omiyale will probably stay at tackle. And yes, Omiyale needs the reps at left guard, especially if he's expected to start. I refuse to believe he could go from playing right tackle to jumping right in at left guard, if that was the case, why wasn't he with the first team when he was at guard?????? That stuff you copied and wrote in your blog was right, a lot of the time a tackle can move inside to guard, and Omiyale could also. But if he's going to be the Bears starting left guard this season, why isn't he lined up there, and he does need the reps to understand the playbook better. And having him at left guard would be the best way to do this, if the Bears were gonna play him at left guard. Thats all I was trying to say, nothing about Omiyale not being able to play guard, again, he still needs the reps to understand the playbook, and even Mark Schlereth or Bruce Matthews would tell you that GO BEARS!!

So Brad, after watching the first mini camp, do you think it was as obvious to the coaching staff as it was to those reporting, that Wide Receiver and Offensive Tackle are clearly the top two needs on this team? It will be very upsetting on Day 1 of the Draft if these aren't the first two selections made.

A few suggestions for the Bears, since they haven't done much yet in free agency and things for next season look somewhat bleak. The only right guard the BEARs may need is the deodorant, because they way they look right now is they may stink it up next season.

One of the best moves the Bears could make for next year is to bring back the Honey Bears but not the ones from 24 years ago but a newer version, although the ones from 24 years ago would still be alright with me.

It would give BEARs fans something to watch when things on the field aren't looking so good.

Brad what are the chances of the BEARS getting the Honey Bears back?

Kevin I agree with what you have been discussing with Creighton. As I a few days ago commented on how I believe Angelo targeted Omiyale to be the starting tackle, and in the same comment I said Omiyale maybe a good pick as Garza was at the time Angelo picked him up (maybe not now but during the Super Bowl run and before yes). But Creighton did not feel my opinion had any beering either. By the way I also mentioned that by signing Omiyale gives the Bears a chance to draft a receiver or safety with the first round pick, and Creighton I never mentioned a free safety I was talking about one of the 2 stud Strong Safeties Chung (who plays like a Mike Brown) or Delmas. I also feel we should look at one of the centers, Unger or Mack, Kruetz has looked old for the last few years and no doubt Creighton the guard positions have also been week, but I really feel Kruetz is done. Then maybe Angelo can make an offer to a Torry Holt, one to give us experience and a player who could help us now, and two a player who can teach guys like Hester and Bennett how to play the position at a high level. I too feel Angelo is looking to trade down once again to pick up more picks in the second so can fill all the holes he's created, maybe he then can pick up a wr, tackle, safety, within the first two rounds. I still cannot believe Angelo traded Chris Harris, this was a pathetic move. Angelo shows us fans how he can evaluate D.B's and then he tosses him so once again we have to fill this position, when we were originally set for years. Well Kevin and Creighton I enjoy reading your takes on the Bears as I also enjoy reading Joe Felicelli's.

Kevin I'd imagine that the reason Omiyale was second team at guard and then first team at tackle is that there is an incumbent starter at guard, but not at tackle.

I wouldn't read much into it anyway. The depth chart in March is meaningless. He probably had to ask directions to the locker room.

So why are we moving Idonije to end again? If Tommie is already overworked as far as stress on his knees, then we are in trouble. Makes that big extension look like a smart investment, eh?

Tommie has been a huge disappointment since 2006. He has the ability to be one of the best DTs that has ever donned a Bears uniform, and he not only can't stay healthy, but doesn't seem to have the desire to be as good as he can. How many seasons has he been in the league? And how many times have we heard about how he was undecided on whether or not football was important enough to him? 2 times? We pay him a sh*tload of money to work his butt off. I don't see it in his conditioning, his longevity throughout the season, or his motor in the 3rd and 4th quarter. He is Mike Brown without the season ending injury. We can never count on seeing the Tommie Harris that we need on the field week in, week out...How else can you explain consistent nagging injuries, without catastrophic damage, like a torn ACL? He obviously is not working hard enough on his conditioning and strength. Urlacher went through a similar thing early in his career, and re-dedicated himself to his offseason conditioning, and came back and had the best season of his career. Tommie needs a similar career wake-up call, and hopefully Marinelli will call him on the lack of heart he appears to be showing.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on March 18, 2009 10:20 PM.

Omiyale to guard project ends (for now) after one day was the previous entry in this blog.

Naperville's Earl could be signed for depth today is the next entry in this blog.

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