Chicago Sun-Times

Pacemaker: Kurt Warner discusses Bears' new left tackle

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Kurt Warner turned 34 a month before his first training camp with the Arizona Cardinals in 2005.

At the age when most quarterbacks are nearing the end, or moving to a role wearing a ballcap and headset on the sideline, Warner was just getting started on the second half of his storybook life in the NFL. It was a move that revitalized his career.

In a lot of ways, Orlando Pace is in the same position Warner was. Like Warner, he will turn 34 this season, his first in new surroundings. Pace was seeking a fresh start following a downward spiral in St. Louis that saw the Rams win just five games over the last two seasons. He's seeking a chance to be on a winning team again. They play different positions, they're vastly different personalities, but you can draw some parallels. Both have arguably put up Hall of Fame credentials. That's one.

Pace was formally introduced as the new Bears' left tackle on Wednesday afternoon at Halas Hall. Earlier in the day, we touched base with Warner on his thoughts on the man who protected his blind side for the Greatest Show on Turf.

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON ORLANDO PACE AS A PLAYER FROM YOUR EXPERIENCE PLAYING WITH HIM?

KW: Obviously, when I was with him he was as good as anybody in the game. It was one of those comfort zones for a quarterback where we just knew every week that we didn't have to worry about anybody on his side of the ball. I think that is a great compliment for any player, but particularly a lineman and a left tackle. When you don't have to worry about anyone that you're going to play all year long because you know he can handle them whether it is strength-wise, he's just big and strong, or whether is is athleticism, he could move at his size. You just didn't have to worry about any kind of player when he was over there. It was just a tremendous comfort zone for me as a quarterback to not have to worry about that and just play.

YOU REVITALIZED YOUR CAREER WITH A MOVE TO ARIZONA AND RETURNED TO BEING ONE OF THE ELITE PLAYERS IN THE LEAGUE. CAN A CHANGE OF SCENERY HELP A GUY LIKE ORLANDO WHERE HE IS AT IN HIS CAREER?

KW: I think sometimes. I think sometimes getting into a new place there is a freshness. Sometimes there is a challenge with getting out of what has been ``normalcy'' for so long, a comfort zone of going to the same place, working the same way, same coaches, same system, whatever it might be. When you go somewhere else you basically have to re-establish yourself in regards to your teammates, to your coaches, to the commitment they made to you as a free agent to say, `Hey, I'm worth what you gave me. I am going to be worth you taking a chance on me.' I think a lot of times that can be a good thing for a player where it can revitalize guys back to the point where they are out to prove something again and they take that mentality on instead of trying to stay status quo and play at the level they played at for a number of years.

HOLD ON. YOU'RE TELLING ME A TWO-TIME MVP LIKE YOURSELF OR A SEVEN-TIME PRO BOWL GUY LIKE ORLANDO HAS TO RE-ESTABLISH HIMSELF?

KW: I don't know if you have to. I think when you go to a place you automatically have respect. I am sure with coach Lovie [Smith] there knowing Orlando and knowing the kind of person he is and the player he is, I am sure he is not going to have to establish himself as far as convincing other guys, but what I am saying is sometimes your mentality as one of those elite players is, `OK, they said I was too old and they said I couldn't play anymore.' I want to prove to all of the guys that committed to me how good I can still be and show them that I can still be one of the elite and they didn't take a chance on a guy that is long in the tooth and can't play anymore. They took a chance on a guy that can still play at the top of his game and can help you win. I think that is the mentality that great players take instead of just saying, `Well, I've been to seven Pro Bowls and I've been there before and I don't have to prove anything to anybody.' I think the great ones have that edge to them that says, `Hey, there were people out there that said I couldn't do it. Now, I'm going to work my butt off to convince people that I can, and more importantly to show my new teammates and my new organization that they made the right move in picking me.' I hope that makes sense.

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12 Comments

He, even at his advanced age, is still one of the best LTs in the game today!! Our line is and will be so much better this year. Now lets draft Robiskie and we'll be set for a while. Go Bears, Go Buckeyes!!

Im not a big fan of this signing, but, if the Bears can squeeze another year out of Pace, and at the same time allow Chris Williams to get his feet wet on the right side, go for it. Hopefully it all works out for the best.

I would still like to see Chicago draft a young tackle, Im hoping they take someone like Eastern Michigan's T.J Lang in the third to bring in and groom as the eventual right tackle. If not Lang, maybe someone like Florida's Jason Watkins who has nice size at 6-6 318lbs and could be nabbed in the 4th-5th round. Im still a big fan of getting this line younger, and there are some nice prospects that could be brought in on the second day of the draft to develop to do this. I like T.J. Lang the best, he also has nice size at 6-4 318lbs and is known as a mauler who works hard on and through every play. Chicago gave him a close look, I hope they draft him GO BEARS!!

ok, i know this isnt the blog to put this in, but i couldnt find another one. i just got done watching a thing about chad johnson could be out of the bengals. they were saying a team could probably get him for a 2nd round pick. my question is, why not give up our 2nd for him? most think the bears are going to draft a WR in the 2nd anyway, and he's a proven player. i bet chad has a good 4 to 5 years left in him.i would rather have him than chance a draft pick on someone who hasnt even played in the nfl. could you imagine cutler having C. johnson on one side and hester on the other. the passing game would be unstoppable, not to mention the kind of season forte would have with teams not being able to stack the line. one PROVEN WR is all its gonna take to get that offense to where it needs to be, everywhere else is looking pretty good. so JERRY, i thought you done an awesome job with the cutler trade, i would think youre a god if you could get CJ!!! GO BEARS

BUILDING THE DYNASTY

I didn't say building the dynasty was going to be easy or done overnight.

I think you underestimate the value of a PROVEN RB like Forte and PROVEN TE like Olsen versus the UNKNOWN of whoever are the top picks at RB and TE for this year. Remember #4 pick Cedric Benson? How much is he worth now?

Forte was something like 39 per cent of your offense last year. I would think we'd get a high pick for him and an even higher one if we add a pick or picks to the trade. Same goes for Olsen.

The idea behind building an "Elite O-line" now, is that for the next 10 seasons EVERY RB, WR, and TE you draft and put on the field will be able to fully maximize his potential. It is giving your team the best possible chance to succeed, especially combined with the "Elite QB" in Cutler.

When you can dominate with the O-line, Cutler will have all day to throw. Coverages will break down and people will get open to catch the ball. Huge holes will be created for whoever is your RB to rack up yardage, 1st downs and bust off the long one for TD's. You'll make the 4th and ones. You'll get that goal line TD.

Opposing teams will be crying because they can't stop the run and they can't stop the pass.

Opposing offenses will cry because they will have so little time of possession to work with and are down 7 points before they even take the field every game. Always playing catch up to the highest scoring offense in the NFL.

Our Defense, fresh and strong, will be able to go all out 100 per cent because they know the other team has to resort to the pass just to try and keep up.

Most games will really be over by halftime, with the Bears leading 21-0 or 24-0. The other teams will just give up in the second half because they know the odds of them winning are slim. Why risk injury busting your butt in a game you know you're gonna lose? Better to save the effort for when you play against a team you think you can actually beat!

And how well will the Defense do playing every second half against a demoralized team that's given up and is just mailing it in? Players playing just hard enough not to get injured?
The Bears Defense stats will skyrocket!

The sooner we do what it takes to get that "Elite O-line" up and running, the sooner we get the dynasty and the glory days.

You know you're lucky to even get a shot at Andre Smith. Be thankful he's made some mistakes and scared others off so that he will drop low enough to be there so you can even draft him. And he will come at a cheaper price in terms of contract. If you think he's fat and flabby and can still be the Top pick that he is, just imagine what he will do as he gets in even better shape!

They call him "the next Orlando Pace" because of his natural quickness. Now that we have the REAL Orlando Pace here, imagine what an inspiration it will be to Andre Smith! Pace can take him under his wing and teach him all he knows so that Smith can go on to seven Pro Bowls of his own, just like Pace.

You can argue about the ranking of the picks I suggested to get, but they are close enough to be among the consensus Top 3 picks in each category. I offer you potentially the best Center, Guard and Tackle that's available by consensus and you say "Oh my God, what a risk???" Everything has some element of risk, but I think it's the best risk you can take.

NO GUTS, NO GLORY. And NO DYNASTY. "Mediocrity" forever.
7-9, 8-8, 9-7

Jerry Angelo, time to be a hero. Do what it takes. Build that "Elite O-line". Life is too short for Mediocre football.

GO BEARS!

BUILDING THE DYNASTY

Without the "Elite O-line" the Bears can be a team that would make the playoffs. But you will have no Superbowl dynasty. And to just keep losing in the playoffs is STILL MEDIOCRITY to me.

And what you may be failing to realize, is that if CUTLER goes down with injury or out of the game due to his health issues, the "Elite O-line" gives the replacement QB his best chance to succeed.

Put a Mediocre QB with a Mediocre O-line and what do you get?

Mediocrity.

GO BEARS!

From the sound of it, I don't think Warner was too adamant in expressing his belief that a change of scenery will automatically boost a player's motivation. Nonetheless, it must have been a living heck for Pace to go through the last two seasons as a Ram. So at the very least he would feel that the Bears have a good chance of post-season success and that they would indeed be playing for something this season.

On a side note, did anyone read the avalanche of printed words directly above? I'm sorry "Protect the QB," maybe you have some good points in there. But after seeing you scream for T.O. and Burress, and then claim we should fill up on linemen in the draft, I just couldn't bring myself to care to read what all that stuff was about. Maybe someone could condense it for me?

Protect the QB,

I think I can speak for all of us in saying we hope you feel better having got that off your chest.

Kevin,
I basically agree with your post, except for one thing you didn't talk about. That thing makes me LOVE the fact that the Bears signed Pace.

Listen to what the man said. He says he is tired of losing and wanted to play for a team that gives him a chance again. He chose the Bears. Then they go get Cutler.

This is how the Pats wind up getting real good veteran players on the cheap. They have already hit the jackpot and don't care that much about the money. They just want a chance at a ring. Signing a player like Pace could easily be a lodestone for free agents like Torry Holt or Jason Taylor. Guys like that are never going to sign for a team unless they think there is a chance at the playoffs.

Those specific players are just examples that may never come here. The point is that Pace, and then Cutler, give the Bears instant credibility for veteran free agents who have already made their pile and now want a championship more than a paycheck. That's big.

Protect,
once again, you are only looking at one side of the equation. You would strip the talent away from the team to get these "elite O-line players." Let's assume for a moment that you are correct in your assertion that all three of the players we would draft are going to be as good as you think. We still end up as an expansion team for the next 2 years while we 1) wait on these elite prospects to gel as a unit, and 2) try and rebuild the talent around them with no high draft picks, since we will have to give up not only our best talent on the roster, but our best picks out of next year's draft.

Nobody is going to accept 2011 draft picks to let us move up. So we only have our picks this year, and our picks next year (worth a lot less than point value would suggest because it is unknown value until we finish the year). You made a comment that we underestimate the value of PROVEN talent like Forte and Olsen. I think we all understand the value of dynamic young talent on our team. I think you are unclear in that these are not bargaining chips, they are BUILDING BLOCKS! You build around your best talent. We have a Franchise QB now. Take a look around the league at the true franchise QBs (Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees..the rest are debatable) and see how they have constructed their teams. Manning was given weapons. Marvin, Reggie, Dallas, Edge, and then Addai to maximize his talent. Brady had a great defense, but as they aged, they brought in Maroney, Watson, Moss, Welker, Stallworth...The Saints had Deuce, Bush, Colston, Henderson, and then brought in Shockey to support Brees.

You don't surround him with high-priced talent on the line. Left tackle, and right tackle are the most important positions to a QB. You already have a Pro Bowl caliber player at LT and C. You have a first round pick tagged to play right tackle. So let's trade away all of our premier talent to add a little more talent to an already improved, solid unit. While fundamentally, building an elite O-Line is a good plan, you cannot rebuild Rome in a day. That is why the good teams, and the great ones, take the best players on the board, and rebuild over time. If you do it all at once, you ignore everything else on the team.

Again, your intentions are good, but your methods are just plain wrong.

Ditto Joe, well said.

Also, anyone know what happened to Neckbeardsucks? Haven't heard anything from him since Cutler day. I think he is on Denver blogs now.

GO BEARS.

"When you can dominate with the O-line, Cutler will have all day to throw. Coverages will break down and people will get open to catch the ball. Huge holes will be created for whoever is your RB to rack up yardage, 1st downs and bust off the long one for TD's. You'll make the 4th and ones. You'll get that goal line TD."


Well, with thew additions of Pace, Shaffer and Omiyale you can have that in 2009 and 2010, perhaps even 2011 if Pace is still playing at a high level. Omiyale is 26, Beekman is 26, Williams is 22, Shaffer is 28, Buenning is 28.....

The core is all under 30. Kruetz will probably be gone after this season and either Buenning or Beekman will be the starting Center. Garza is out the door soon as well, could be this year before the final roster cuts or certainly before the 2010 season.

The Bears should draft an O-lineman, probably an OT but not until round (3) or beyond. Next year they should do the same but take a Gaurd and the O-Line will be set for the next (8) seasons. Just like you wany but we don't have to trade our young, Offensive players to accomplish that !!

Go Bears !!

Mike what protect wants to do and believes is that the Bears should trade Forte and Olsen for first round picks. Then go and get Andre Smith who he feels is the next Orlando Pace even though most feel he is not good enough to play the left side. Cause if we get Andrea Smith there is no chance of him being a bust and for the next ten years it will not matter who is our reciver or RB cause we will have Smith and no one will stop us. He seems ot believe that if you draft an Oline player there is no chance he will be a bust. I guess he only recently became a Bears fan and knows nothing of our history at LT. Not sense the 80's have we been able to build an elite line. Just look at Chris my bad Back Williams misssed all of last year and got bumped to the right side.

You ask me Tubby Smith is a bust waiting to happen and is nothing like Pace.

Tomk he is still around he just has a lot less to talk about. Just look for NBS/something. I think it would be great if he visted Bronco boards, after how many Bronco fans like Brando kepp showing up here talking smack.

Kevin it's Orlando Pace, I would think you would be happy. You don't think it's a good idea to have Orlando Pace mentor bad back Williams? If Pace gets hurt then they will move him over to LT. It's obvious the Bears don't think he is ready to start there. Mayock predict Williams would be a RT in his mock last year, he said because of his short arms it would be a more naturla position for him once he learned to run block, which is more about desire then it is about skill.

By the way if the core of the line is made up of three backups then it is under 30, until then is is made up of Olin, Pace, Garza, Omiyale and Williams. The core of that line are the first 3 players who have actually played and started games. Until Omiyale and Williams prove themselves in no way can they be or are they considered core players. Just ask the coaching staff.

Here is a pic of Andre Smith.

http://slanchreport.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/andre-smith.jpg

Here is a pic of Pace

Not really built alike at all and Pace out of college looked like he was carved out of Marble

http://www.emqb.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/orlando-pace_zumawirewestphotos604984-20081116-zaf.jpg

Here is a classic picture of Kyle Orton, what a class guy and thats a classy looking dame. I am gonna miss this guy.
http://cache.deadspin.com/images/2006/03/orton0301.jpg

Oh and here is a Picture of Cutler just trying to stay in shape during the off season

http://www.heykobe.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/jay-cutler-broncos-_heykobe1-200x300.jpg

And here is McDaniels response when asked if he had to go number 1 or number 2.

http://images.dailyradar.com/media/uploads/ballhype/story_large/2009/03/04/mcdaniels.jpg

Here are some Orton fans, no really these are what they look like, that may very well be a Brando or Kevin in the middle.

http://cache.deadspin.com/assets/resources/2007/12/neckbeardarmy.jpg

Orton staying in shape Sort of. Good times, good times.

http://cache.deadspin.com/assets/resources/2007/12/neckbeardarmy.jpg

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on April 8, 2009 9:16 PM.

Dollars and sense: The Kevin Shaffer contract was the previous entry in this blog.

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