Chicago Sun-Times

Looks like versatile lineman Idonije could be trading places

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It looks like Israel Idonije is on the move.

Back outside that is.

The Bears' defensive lineman is in the process of shedding weight, according to a report in the Winnipeg Sun, and it's believed he will be used more at end than tackle this coming year. That's the reverse of what happened last offseason for the versatile veteran. Idonije added between 25 and 30 pounds this time last year at the direction of the team for a move inside.

"If Idonije, well on his way from 306 to 270 pounds, keeps as busy all off-season as he is right now, he may resemble a wide receiver by Week 1."

Boy, could the Bears use some help at receiver, Idonije isn't it though. He made three starts at tackle in 2008 and played in all 16 games. He contributed 28 tackles with 3 1/2 sacks, five quarterback hits and six passes defended. But by the end of the season his playing time was trimmed significantly, however, after coach Lovie Smith made taken more control of the defense from coordinator Bob Babich. Idonije participated in 42 percent of the defensive snaps on the year but he was on the field closer to one-third of the time down the stretch.

What the move inside also did was make him less effective on special teams, where he had been a core player. Idonije was taken off the kickoff team, replaced by rookie tight end Kellen Davis. He was on the field for 50 percent of the special teams plays, down from 64 percent in 2007. Idonije made four special teams tackles in 2008, half as many as he made the year before and six less than the 10 he had in 2006.

Dropping weight will make him more mobile and allow him to contribute more on special teams. With the development of rookie Marcus Harrison, and the emergence of Anthony Adams (who took playing time from Idonije in the second half of the season), new line coach Rod Marinelli has options inside. Plus, Idonije was able to play inside in the past even if he was a little light.

Idonije, who will turn 29 during the season, is entering the final year of his contract and will earn $1.75 million this season.

``We'd love to work out an extension for him,'' agent Drew Rosenhaus said

If that's something the Bears pursue, they'll have to determine what kind of value you place on a part-time player who who is coming up on 30. Right now, it looks like Idonije will prove his worth at end back at the playing weight he is more accustomed to being at.

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Great move. He can rotate with Ogunleye at RE and should provide solid run support. The DE crop in the draft this year looks light.

They may also be freeing up room for a DT.

This is where I was hoping the Bears would play Israel Idonije, at left defensive end. I think he's a better fit at end rather than tackle anyways.

The Bears certainly have some questions to answer at left defensive end this season. First, if new defensive line coach Rod Marinelli can get starter Adewale Ogunleye back to being a double digit sack guy, do the Bears extend him? Also, what about Idonije, if he shows any promise back at left end do the Bears extend him? And what about second year player Ervin Baldwin, the Bears must see something in him to elevate him to the 53 man roster last season to stop the Chiefs from nabbing him. Baldwin is a player I'll have my eye on during the pre-season, if he comes out and plays well, it will be interesting to see if he makes the cut during the roster cut down before the season begins. Baldwin had 12.5 sacks as a senior at going against some pretty good tackles like Jake Long. Jerry Angelo was actually scouting Long when he discovered Baldwin. Baldwin also did a good job going against former Boston college tackle Gosder Cherilus. Baldwin has promise, it will be interesting to see if he can reach his potential GO BEARS!!

How about Bowman at FS? Wolfe in the slot? anyone?

This to me is the perfect illustration of why the coaching staff of the Bears will continue to let the team down. THey can't decide where to put anyone, and constantly feel they have to mess with something that works. Look at Alex Brown....Came into the league at 260, they made him bulk up to 280 for a year or two, and then when Lovie came in, they made him get back down to 260. Instead of adapting their system to fit the personnel they have, they make the personnel they have adapt to meet the system.

Idonije has been a very solid player for us, but it can't be a good thing to keep moving him back and forth, just like it can't be a good thing for Danieal Manning to keep switching positions. At least Manning doesn't have to gain and lose weight like this. He put on 35 lbs for last season to be part of the DT rotation. Then they decide they like Adams (and he did play well, so no argument there), and all of a sudden, a guy who does everything you ask gets demoted, not for performance, but for favoritism....

Now you ask him to drop 35 lbs again, so he can be a special teamer and maybe a 4th end in the rotation....If this was all we were going to do with him, we should have let him sign with Buffalo when his contract was up. The Bears have basically wasted the career of another player because they couldn't make up their minds on what they wanted him to do. He plays well on the left side, and in passing situations, he contributes nicely on the inside.

If you look at what the Giants did with Justin Tuck, they let him play all over the place, despite the fact that he was "too light" for the inside. They put their best players on the field when pressure was most needed. The Bears don't seem to think like that....We think we are smarter than that, and in the process jerk guys around and nullify any chance they have at success.

It would be one thing if we were capable of teaching a new position to a player, but our coaching staff, touted as a teaching staff, has not developed a single player since they got here. Name one person who has gotten significantly better since they got to the Bears.....I can't think of any. A kid like Mark Anderson, who gets 12 sacks as a rookie, hasn't even sniffed the QB for 2 years...well, he did get one sack in 2008...Urlacher still can't shed blocks and control the point of attack. He is one of the strongest players in the league at his position, and gets pushed around like London Fletcher....We haven't developed a QB for 50 years...Our offensive and defensive lines get less effective every year. Some of those positions are just a case of us getting old, but in the case of our younger players, they just don't get better while they are here. Hester might be the only one that has a chance to get better, but that might be more due to his own athleticism and work ethic than coaching...This staff has failed to make people better. Marinelli is the only one of the group that has any kind of track record as a player development guy, and he got Simeon Rice, Warren Sapp, and Booger McFarland, so how much of it was him, and how much was them? This team is suffering from a severe lack of talent on the offensive line, and we are weak at SLB, FS, DE, QB, and WR. Coaches get paid to coach, to teach....Our guys get paid to show up.

Hey Joe (sorry, couldn't resist),
It's both lack of talent and bad coaching, though the Bears have some good coaches. But you say that "[t]his team is suffering from a severe lack of talent on the offensive line, and we are weak at SLB, FS, DE, QB, and WR," then go on to complain about the coaching. You can't blame the coaches for lack of talent; it's management's job to get good players. The coaches can only work with what they have, and they just don't have much on which to improve.

Rusty Jones is considered to be tops in the league. Ron Turner consistently gets something out of nothing every season, and Dave Toub is also an excellent coach. And while he had no success as head coach in one of the worst organizations in the NFL, Rod Marinelli is widely respected as an excellent defensive line coach.

The problem with the Bears is ownership. As I've said ad nauseum, Mike McKaskey is nothing but a corporate slimeball who cares far more about money than he does about winning football games. And even if his first priority in life were winning the Super Bowl every season, there's no evidence that he knows how to put a winning football team together. Until he's gone, the Bears might win a championship every 10-20 years, but that's about all we can realistically expect.

Ha I am in the middle of dropping weight myself, for a 300 pound man Like Izzy dropping 25-35 pounds is not that bad, putting it on is moe fun but dropping it is not to bad. I thought Izzy played well at DT last year, I thenk he is a natural 5 tech end and belongs in a 3-4 but that is just me. This move will Allow Angelo to do one of his favorite things. Draft a DT. Whats strange is with the move the Bears will not need to draft an End this year as they will have five on the roster. Baldwin counts even if he has done nothing and will continue to do nothing.

Kevin I have a quote for you about Omiyale.

"I thought he was a pretty good talent," one general manager said of Omiyale, who will line up at left guard at mini-camp this week. "He could be a starter. He has developed, his body has developed. I think he's more of a left tackle, but could be tackle or guard. It's a good signing."

What did I tell you man LG, I told you that is were they would put him, notice they say nothing about RT but do say LT. Chris William insurance and Beekmans replacment. Now Garza will compete for RG with Buenning and Buenning will probably also be competing for the Backup center job with Beekman. Dude they are looking at a lot of interior line help for this draft too.

Creighton- good points here in regards to the O-line. Do you think they could be a sleeper to trade down for Unger? Most likely they'll resign St. Clair for the right side, and can use Max as swing-player and/or compete for the RG spot. What do you think?

Why not have Vasher the Interceptor play free safety?

Dark is Easy, I don't think you need to trade down for Max Unger he could be had is the second round. Unger is a jack of all trades type, but he really fits a zone blocking scheme. The Bears play some zone, and it looks to me like they may be playing more zone than ever this year. They seem like there moving away from a power style OLine from what I can tell. Williams, Omiyale, and Kruetz all actually fit a zone system better than they do a mauler type line. It also explains a lot of the Oline prospects they have been looking at. I think they are in the middle or revamping the entire line. Problem is Garza, Beekman and St. Clair may not fit the system, Buenning doesn't fit it at all. Either way they are getting more athletic and Unger is very Athletic. However I don't see the Bears going interior for the OLine until the 3rd at the earliest. He is one of the Best swing players you will see on the Line as he can play 5 positions pretty well and Angelo does love multi taskers. Unger could also be the future Center if they go after him. But they seem to be showing a bit of intrest in Levitre. I think 2 of the Bears first 5 picks will be on the Oline as for who they will be and when it is way to early to tell. If they sign St. Clair they will not go OT till probably round 5. I think the Bears are falling in love with Bey, which I think is a bad thing. Angelo may try to patch work the Oline again and go after a WR, FS, DL, with the first three picks. Just some food for thought, if Angelo signs St. Clair who has said he wants to start at RT, the Bears will only have one Angleo draft pick on the Oline again. Once again showing he cares little for the OLine and would rather stop gap all those positions. Williams, Omiyale, Kruetz, Garza, St. Clair, it also shows he can't draft OLine to save his life. I don't know any top level teams that do that to there Oline. Most build it through the draft but he is so bad at drafting he has to try and play to his strengths and draft DT's and DB's. He is suppose to be good at drafting defense but spends more picks than anyone doing that and stop gaps the offense the best he can. Last year he had only 4 or 5 starters on offense that he drafted. Which is high for him. Plus a lot of the primary Backups were signed FA, like , Booker, Lloyd, Davis, Jones. Only Orton, Forte, Hester, Beekman(who is going back to his backup role), and Olsen was only listed as the starter for 7 games.

Hey Joe!
Enjoy your posts. Your one of the few people on this site that knows the skill sets of a FS and SS are radically different and not readily interchangeable. Too many talking heads on this site that just regurgitate and repeat sound bites from other sites. You also know the difference between, to, too and two!! Keep Writing & ...
Go Bears!
pete banachi, yucca valley, ca

Ogunleye doesn't need to be rotated out with Idonije.Yes Idonije is a very vauluable player but Ogunleye knows his position wayyy better as proven last season when Idonije was put in for wale. My opinion Wale will have a break out season this year and the bears will re-sign him!
end of discussion!
go bears and ogunleye!!!

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on March 15, 2009 7:40 AM.

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