Chicago Sun-Times

Four Down Territory, March 6: Where do the Bears turn next? Try St. Clair

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Kevin Jones said all along he wanted to return to the Bears and, you know what, he wasn't blowing smoke in an attempt to grab a sweeter deal elsewhere. Let's jump into the last Q&A for the week.

Q: Finally Jerry Angelo has made a second move in free agency and brought back running back Kevin Jones. At this pace, he'll have the team's holes filled by the middle of summer. Tell me I don't have to wait another week for his next move. Please.

Trent H., Missouri

A: Sorry, I 'm not going to make any promises I can't deliver on. But I would imagine--no one from either side has discussed this with me--that the Bears desire to have offensive lineman John St. Clair signed by this time next week. Will it happen? Who knows. Oakland will reportedly sign Khalif Barnes, taking another tackle off the market. Marvel Smith has been in contract talks with Baltimore. Pretty soon St. Clair will be one of the few linemen remaining on the market with tangible experience, especially as a starting tackle. The market is beginning to settle and it ought to make it easier for St. Clair to get a gauge on his value.

The Bears want St. Clair back and most importantly, he wants to return as well. It's a matter of making the money fit for a player who will be 32 next season. If the club follows the stated goal of general manager Jerry Angelo to work newly signed lineman Frank Omiyale at guard first, then Cody Balogh figures to be the starting right tackle when minicamp cranks up March 16. That's the motivation to get a deal done. The Bears make sense for St. Clair too. Even if the team uses a first- or second-round pick on a tackle, he's got an excellent opportunity to start this season. I'm not sure that's a situation he can find anywhere else right now. It's believed one team is showing serious interest in him, but we haven't caught wind of any visits. There's too much here that makes it a fit to think it will not happen. It might just require a little more patience.

Q: People talk about Josh Beekman and Roberto Garza as being small at 6-2, 310 pounds, yet the Bears brought in a tackle that's 6-4, 310, Chris Williams is 6-6, 312. The top three tackles in the draft are under 310 pounds. So my question is why do people talk about Beekman and Garza being too small?

Duane, Parts Unknown

A: That's a good question. The Bears are looking to, if possible, add a little more size to their line. I think you hear more about Beekman being undersized than Garza, who has a powerful base. Beekman was listed at 6-1, 321 as a senior by Boston College. Did he grow an inch before turning professional? There's no question center Olin Kreutz is one of the smaller pivot men in the league. Putting a little more size around him would make sense. The 6-4, 310-pound lineman you refer to is Frank Omiyale, who the Bears are going to work at guard first, or that's the plan they say. I'd say Williams' frame is in line with what you see from a lot of left tackles.

Let's look at the listed sizes of the Pro Bowl guards from this past season, all according to

Steve Hutchinson, Minnesota, 6-5, 313
Leonard Davis, Dallas, 6-6, 353
Chris Snee, N.Y. Giants, 6-3, 317
Davin Joseph, Tampa Bay, 6-3, 313
Alan Faneca, N.Y. Jets, 6-5, 307
Kris Dielman, San Diego, 6-4, 310
Brian Waters, Kansas City, 6-3, 320

For reference, here are the listed sizes of some of the top offensive tackle prospects, all from

Andre Smith, Alabama, 6-4, 332
Jason Smith, Baylor, 6-5, 309
Eugene Monroe, Virginia, 6-5, 309
Michael Oher., Ole Miss, 6-5, 3-0
Eben Britton, Arizona, 6-6, 309

Do the Bears need a bigger line? That probably depends who you talk to about this. I don't think it's a bad idea to try to add some bulk up front. Beekman started 16 games in his second season in the league and by all accounts the coaching staff was pleased with his effort. Ultimately, it's possible he's groomed to be the replacement for Kreutz. Let's keep in mind for all the success Matt Forte enjoyed as a rookie, the team that gets off the bus running was 24th in the league running the ball. The backs are going to be the same this year after Jones was re-signed. There is certainly room for improvement somewhere.

Q: The Bears need help at safety. What about Roy Williams now that he has been a salary-cap casualty of the Dallas Cowboys. I see what is being written is that he could not help against the pass but is that true?

David H., Chicago

A: The Bears are in need of a free safety and the simple fact is there really hasn't been an attractive one on the market unless you wanted to roll with 35-year-old Brian Dawkins. Jermaine Phillips re-signed in Tampa. He's considered a strong safety. Sean Jones went to Philadelphia. He's a strong safety. There have been plenty of other examples. Nearly all of them were strong safeties. Eugene Wilson was one interesting option but he re-signed in Houston before the Bears could even consider him in free agency.

What you've read about Williams is true. He's a strong safety or maybe an outside linebacker. Let's just say Williams would have a hard time covering a twin bed with a king-sized sheet.

Q: Is there a chance Terrell Owens goes to the Vikings? He would seem to fit since they were after T.J. Houshmandzadeh in free agency. If he does land there can we start calling them the Drama Queens instead of the Vikings? This would also pretty much ensure the Bears of making the playoffs. I don't know about anyone else but I am all for Team Obliterator being made a Viking.

Creighton, Parts Unknown

A: I hate to burst your bubble or ruin your dream--and I've been accused of doing much worse on here--but that one isn't going to happen. Minnesota coach Brad Childress was the offensive coordinator in Philadelphia when Owens proved that there's no such thing as brotherly love in that town. Minnesota's personnel boss Rick Spielman was asked about Owens on Friday.

"You never say never but you can put the pieces together and [Owens'] history with coach Childress," Spielman said.

Owens' agent Drew Rosenhaus is confident he'll have a deal in place for his client by this time next week.

Thanks for all of the participation and thanks as always for reading. Get your questions in and we'll return to the mailbox on Monday.

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Question Brad. Would Creighton fit better as a Viking fan then a Bears fan, as he adds so much drama to this site/blog.

St.Claire should be a Bear as he has been a good insurence plan since he has been here in Chicago.

Several sites are reporting that Khalif Barnes will not sign with OAK or SF, but will look to sign with one of two other teams. I wonder if the Bears have him on the radar in the event that St. Clair decides to go elsewhere? I really like Barnes on the right side and he offers more upside than St. Clair, he is also significantly younger. Barnes, Omiyale, and C. Williams all being added to the line this year would make it a lot younger and stronger assuming those players panned out...a big if I suppose.

You don't need to spend your 18th pick for a Right Tackle. 3rd or 4th round should be good enough for a Run-blocking mamoth. Kwame Harris, 26 y/o, should be considered.

Larry Mayor:

General manager Jerry Angelo can scratch backup running back off his want list after veteran Kevin Jones agreed to a two-year contract with the Bears on Friday

What are the odds Angelo makes a move for Williams now that he's just been released from the Cowboys? He'd add some more intensity in our D.

(my bad, question got asked already)

He's one of my favorite players, but the Jones signing can't be good news for Adrian Peterson. AP's niche has always been that he is a veteran who can be relied on over the younger players to know the pass protection schemes and hot routes. The problem is that now all the younger players have at least a couple years experience too. Unless somebody gets hurt, I will be surprised if he makes the team this year.

Please Jerry, make the news before he does. FOR ONCE. I would love to see T.O. wearing our colors, I know he's high drama; Numbers though! Like the internet stories say,(i'll paraphrase) "he was the only cowboy who drew double coverage" I won't go into detail about him, ya'll know(duh). I hoped he would have landed here after Philly. and he's available again. On occasion, I have to fix things. Cars, home repairs, work. I mess around, and I find many times if I had spent a bit more on my TOOLS, the job would have become much easier. So now I charge the customer for the tools required, if i don't have them already. Or save for my own projects, to buy what I need now, or have needed before and most likely will need again. Why wouldn't we pay this guy, AND still draft a wideout in the 1st or 2nd round, let him teach our youngsters how to fake guys or whatever! Put Olin on him as a chaperone, with permision to rough him up even. lol he might chill with the constant somber mood in the huddle. We might even forget about, (who i had hopes for)Grossman too! Think about a play-action audible with T.O. and Olsen split, Hester and Forte in the back.... and Bennett goes for 60 with a T.D. Constant OUCH for opponents D! I think that combo in rotation, wow, mix it up even, might take turns making T.D.'s. Gee, someone has got to be open...not even thinking out of the box here. And I would really be happy if Devin Hester was approaching his the game like he was DETERMINDED to break T.O.'s records....just because ....

Hey Brad, in support of your assessment of Williams's marked decline in coverage skills (which were never that good to begin with), I recall reports last year that Dallas had begun taking him off the field in nickel packages and passing down-and-distance. If that's correct, then I think that tells everything needed for any Bears fans still unconvinced...

Also, Seifert over at ESPN re-reported the (possibly apocryphal) TO vs Childress story yesterday. Whatever the exact truth is, TO certainly clashed with Childress during his last year in Philly so the odds look very low for a reunion in Minnesota.

BTW, have you heard anything more about the Boldin situation in AZ (I haven't kept track)? Any idea if JA is looking into that at all? Thanks!


It seems that the Bears like Cody Bologh as a right tackle prospect.
Could you analyze Cody's strength's and weaknesses on the blog for us? At least, I am unfamiliar with what Cody's potential and how he is being evaluated by the BEARS. Is Cody really not going to fit into the Bears long term plans?

In addition, if the Bears get back St.Claire and decide not to pick a tackle at #18. In your opinion is there enough talent in this years tackle group to pick up a quality tackle at pick #49 or would the Bears have to trade down to get one earlier in round 2? Which Tackles do you think might be available with the 2nd round pick?

I would rather have Khalif Barnes, who is young and will be an ecellent RT, than St Clair who is old and is mediocre at every position. Why chase versatile, expensive, declining mediocrity? Why not sign someone who has a position and has upside. Come on Jerry.

PS I like the Torry Holt idea.

Roy Williams is to slow and gets beat in coverage, besides hes a strong safety not a free safety.If your going to pickup an old safety like Shaper or Williams i would rather just pick Mike Brown Back up before we do that.

I like the idea of getting Holt, but than at the same time i dont.If the bears pick up Holt he would come to the team wanting to start.What we dont know is if Holt still has good football left in him.We could be making the same mistake we did when out of respect for the vets the bear kept Muse starting over Bradley and lloyd and booker over Bennent.Basically if we pick up Holt hes going to have to play, so is he holding back younger player such as Bennent or the rookie WR we pick up growth in the process.

Kevin Jones should be healthy this year so thats a plus.I like Jones and i really think he would have been the starter if he wasnt still recovering from injury.Hes a physical freak of great speed, great size and he not scared to stick it in as much anymore.

Brad, you may have already addressed this, but where can the Bears realistically expect to receive a compensatory pick? Is there a formula or a precedent that can guide us to a reasonable hypothesis? Also, what potential impact could this (these?) compensatory pick(s) have on the Bears draft strategy? It seemed like last year we just wasted away all of our picks, although I realize that we weren't given a plethora of attractive choices at the end of the 7th round. I'd be interested in your insight.

I realize there is not much else out there, but does everyone already forget what a turnstyle St. Clair was last year? Maybe he will be better on the right side...

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on March 6, 2009 8:15 PM.

Bears make another move in free agency, bring back RB Jones was the previous entry in this blog.

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