Chicago Sun-Times

Minicamp notes: Smith to coach nickel position

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The sunny weather was perfect for football Tuesday afternoon at Halas Hall but the windy conditions didn't help out the passing game. More than a few passes sailed out of the reach of receivers.

It's impossible to evaluate line play when players are not in pads, so making a judgment on the running game is a fruitless effort.

But they were back wearing helmets at Halas Hall and a return to action is always a good thing. Here are some observations and notes:

*** Lovie Smith, who we know is going to call the plays on defense, announced he'll also remain in the role he began midway through last season as the coach of the nickel back. That means more 1-on-1 instruction for Danieal Manning. That could be a good thing as Manning made strides in the role in the second half of last season. It's become pretty apparent that is where he will remain.

*** New defensive line coach Rod Marinelli was as advertised when it came to running drills. Granted, the players were not in pads, but he had them on the move. Asked if he was the savior of the line, he repled, ``I'm a football coach who likes coaching football.''

*** Free-agent pickup Frank Omiyale worked with the second team at left guard. If the goal was to get bigger in the interior of the line, he'll be a step in that direction. Of course, with John St. Clair departed Omiyale could wind up back at right tackle.

""I feel comfortable at tackle, but I was at guard today and it felt pretty decent,'' Omiyale said. "I'm just trying to get comfortable where I'm at right now and everything else will just come along."

*** The weather isn't expected to be quite as nice Wednesday and the action could move indoors. Smith reported afterward that there were no injuries.

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This is very good news for the Bears, and a great decision by Lovie. Manning has picked up nickel very well, but 1-1 mentoring with LS can't be a bad thing. I foresee the defense sneaking back into the top 12 defenses in the league next year.

Chicago is probably going to have to put Frank Omiyale at tackle now, a position Omiyale feels "comfortable" at. Josh Beekman is still the starting left guard, I thought he had a pretty good season there and got better as the year went on. I don't necessarily think Frank Omiyale 6-4 310lbs would add size inside when Beekman 6-2 310lbs is only a couple inches shorter. Actually it would lighten the interior if you think about it, Beekman is two inches shorter, but his weight is more compact being 310lbs at 6-2, wheres Omiyale is 310lbs at 6-4. I just don't see how that would be adding size to the Bears interior, maybe two inches, but like I was saying, your left guard would actually be lighter at 6-4 310lbs being 2 inches taller than Beekman who is 6-2 at 310lbs, and thats not really adding size. Maybe the Bears do move Omiyale back to tackle, maybe not, we'll see. I don't see any reason he couldn't handle playing tackle, a position he's been at his entire career.
Chicago is lookig at Oklahoma's Phil Loadholt pretty hard right now, that tells me if they like him, their gonna have to either trade down for him, or reach for him in the first at #18, which wouldn't surprise me. Jerry Angelo has proven in past drafts that he isn't afraid to reach for a player that he covets i.e. Matt Forte, Devin Hester, and heck even Charles Tillman 2003 2nd rounder was a projected 3rd-4th rounder. The free agent pickins are pretty slim right now, the draft might be a better option, we'll see how things play out GO BEARS!!

I agree Kevin A. the draft is a better option, remember we are looking for a right tackle they are easier to find, they must be soild on the run, and be stout enough to not allow an inside rush directly into the QB's eyes, the QB should be able to see the end going wide since he is opened up to that side the right tackle that gives up the inside rush don't last long in the league. Hiestand seems to be one our our better position coaches, let's give him two to three guys to work with and let them fight it out....I'd rather reach for Hicks or Britt with pick 18 and get the lineman later, don't forget the kid from Illinois they looked at earlier he has size and is a right tackle that could be had in round 4, I see us picking two lineman this season out of necessity, another late rounder to look at George Bussey from Louisville 4 year starter played mostly at left tackle but was solid pass protector and has size to play on the right side of the line.

With lovie still coaching the nickle and now the defensive coordinator as well...who is going to play the roll of head coach?
Lovie isn't superman. It will be difficult to wear so many hats and also do a good job of it.
Nope...I don't see it. This defense is going to go south real fast, so fast that lovie will see his head spinning.

"With lovie still coaching the nickle and now the defensive coordinator as well...who is going to play the roll of head coach?
Lovie isn't superman. It will be difficult to wear so many hats and also do a good job of it.
Nope...I don't see it. This defense is going to go south real fast, so fast that lovie will see his head spinning."

Who better to call the Defensive plays then the head coach ?
Lovie should have done this mid-way through last season after himself and everybody knew his buddy, BFF Bob was way over his head.

Lovie coaching the nickle involves basicaly tutoring Daniel Manning. He did it last season and it paid immediate dividends so that should not cause any problems for Lovie.

Lovie calling the Defense on game days means he will have more control of the team then he has had in previous years. That should be a good thing because it is his scheme, his vision and ultimately his responsiblty being the head coach.. If he wishes to be more involved on game days instead of just standing around, wearing the headset with that blank look on his face then I say God bless him...

Go Bears !!

I hope I'm wrong but I think Loadholt will be a bust. He really looks slow and stiff. Hopefully Eban Britton will be the one. Except for Moore of Virginia and Smith of Baylor, he's the safest pick at tackle.

Just wait and see the Bears will sign Kevin Shaffer. Shaffer is 29 so he is 3 years younger than St. Clair, that is a plus. Is he the best RT in the game? No. Is he a nice insurance policy to go along with the tackle we are going to draft? Yes. All the panic over losing St. Clair. I wonder, if St. Clair is soooo good then where was the praise for Jerry when we brought him in as a free agent? I swear some of the fans are so lost its unbelievable. Everybody is in a state of panic and we haven't even gotten to the draft yet! Don't forget players are getting cut from teams nearly everyday. And when the draft is over guess what, more veterans will get cut! Everybody relax, take a deep breath. It will be ok! Let's judge Jerry and the staff after the season is over because right now we don't have a clue what is going on behind closed doors at Halas Hall.

Hey Brad just a thought but how could Omiyale wind up back at RT if he has never played RT, not for us, not for Atlanta and not for the Panthers.

The Bears will be checking out Eben Britton, and Loadholt again.

Kevin, Buddy, you just keep holding on to that Beekman dream. Yeah there paying Omiyale 6 million dollars this year to be his backup.

The guy is not a RT I keep telling you but you don't listen. Besides they don't want to bounce guys around it makes it harder for them to learn the position. Omiyale will start at LG this year and Beekman will return to his backup role. Omiyale is just learning the offense right now so he is on the second team. He just got here and yesterday was his first day.

I telling people they are looking for Garza's replacment, the Bears have looked at a ton of interior line prospects this offseason. None of them have been projected to center and I am sure there not replacing Omiyale just yet. Which leaves only one spot to fill.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on March 17, 2009 9:24 PM.

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