Chicago Sun-Times

Afternoon nuggets: A rainy day for football in Bourbonnais

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BOURBONNAIS, Ill.--Talk about football weather.

It's been alternating between drizzle and light rain this afternoon with a little bit of wind. Welcome to August.

The Bears will put on pads this evening for the first time, and it should be a good practice to watch. If you're planning on attending, you better show up early. There are only so many seats in the stadium and the rest are left to jockey for position around the outside of the track. Danieal Manning is expected to be in action so he'll get his first time at free safety this year. Josh Beekman started with the first team on Friday and our guess--just a guess--is that Frank Omiyale may see time with the ones at left guard this evening. Stay tuned.

*** Over at the National Football Post, Matt Bowen takes a look at tight end Greg Olsen and one way the Bears can deploy him more this season.

"When the Bears align Olson as a wide receiver, a safety will be put over him -- usually in off-coverage -- on Olson's outside shoulder, as his help will be toward the middle of the field. What this does for the Bears is allow Olson to run a multiple of inside breaking routes and use his big body to shield the defender from the football. We saw some of this last season in offensive coordinator Ron Turner's weekly game plans, but with Cutler now at quarterback, the ball will come out faster and it will be on target. Expect Olson to be Cutler's No.1 option in 2009."

*** Minnesota quarterback Tarvaris Jackson suffered a sprained MCL in practice this morning. No word how serious is is right now. Maybe the Bears can use an open roster spot to sign Brett Favre as a backup before the Vikings re-enter the picture for him. OK. We were just kidding.

*** The Bears have a guest with an awful lot of NFL knowledge with them. Former head coach and offensive line guru Jim Hanifan is at camp. He's worked with some of the premier left tackles in the history of the game--Dan Dierdorf, Joe Jacoby and Orlando Pace. Hanifan and Lovie Smith were on the same staff in St. Louis when Smith left to become coach of the Bears. That 2003 season was the final year Hanifan spent in the league. Hanifan and pro personnel director Bobby DePaul were both coaches in Washington in 1991 when the Redskins won Super Bowl XXVI.

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I am really looking forward to how Manning will do with this move to Free Safety.

I have two hopes.

1.Lovie, unless Manning is a complete bust in preseason, leave him in the position and let him get the reps.
2. Put Graham back at Free Safety, with the depth at the corner with Bowman, McBride and Moore, let Graham show what he can do at Free Safety. I think Graham would be stellar!!

Then Manning (if not successful at FS) could return to concentrate on nickel and kick return the two areas he has excelled and Graham could be the guy at Free Safety.

I know it is all Lovie dovie right now with the Bears but I still have to wonder if the Bears are going to be better at making halftime adjustments this year? I honestly think the Bears have been poor in this critical area in the past but maybe an addition of Marinelli and Hoke will make a difference and some brain power to the group. Also I say the Bears will run the ill fated fullback plunge play at least 7 times this year, hopefully with a better conversion ratio than last year. How about a fake plunge and go for the bomb TD or play action plunge and bootleg by Cutler, have an H Back carry the ball or or or or or or anything except McKie for no gain on fourth or third down when there is 8 or more in the box.

Dahli, reliable depth at corner is what the Bears want, Bowman, Vasher, and McBride do not fit that bill. Plus your forgetting the Nickle back. Who do you have playing nickle?

Just a guess

Vasher and Bowman at corner, with Tillman do to return no later than mid season no sooner than game 2 or 3 probably. Payne and Manning at safety. Graham is a huge question mark as to what they will do with him. He has been moved to three different positions this offseason and that will not help him start. I think he will probably end up at nickle, then corner, then safety before the season is over. Hw will start at nickle, get bounced to corner after Graham or Vasher get hurt, then he will move to Safety after Manning once agin shows he does not have the instincts to cover and steltz does not have the tools for the position. Right now the secondary is a Hoke.

Your best player is injured, they may end up starting 3 injury prone players and the guy who is best suited to be a Free Safety is getting bounced all over the place to fill voids created by said injured players, and is not getting a chance to actually work on being a safety.

Final thought on Manning at FS, Lovie said he was going to do this at the begining of the off season until Angelo stepped in and said he wasn't. Manning should be left a nickle where he belongs, he can't play FS and he has already proved that more than once. Not to mention starting will effect his kick returns, and given the fact that the defense can't get off the field he is going to be tired. Lovie is the same guy that thought Adam A was an awsome safety, you will excuse me if I think his judgment of talent at the position sucks.

As much as I'd love to see Daneal Manning get the mental aspect of the FS position, I have to agree with Creighton here. We can keep wishing and hoping Manning will get it, but how long is that going to take? I didn't see the game, but I've read that he blew at least one coverage that cost the Bears a TD in the last game of the season v. Houston. If he hadn't gotten it by then, it's hard to imagine him ever getting it.

I agree free safety is an issue. However, Creighton, your assumption that Bowman, Vasher and McBride don't fit the bill, I believe is wrong. I like the Bears mix at corner. If the Bears started Bowman and Graham at corner, until Peanut returns, I would be happy. McBride has done ok and Vasher has had his momements (outside of not being a good tackler). Yes, not alot of great size with Vasher, McBride and Moore but Bowman and Graham have alot of upside. No team is going to be four to five pro bowl caliber deep at corner. I like what the Bears have! Go Bear secondary!

Actually Creighton, I agree with you on most of your comments. I also believe that Lovie has a problem with judging talent in the safety group, I believe that Graham should be the starter at Free Safety but since Lovie wants to go with Manning, I just want to have Manning get enough reps to truly see if he can handle the job, quit jacking him around and give him a shot.

I also wish that Manning should have been kept at nickel and kick return only since he has been successful in both and now Lovie may be adding just too much onto Manning's shoulders. We will see, my hope that Graham will be getting reps at safety as well in case Manning just does not make it.

As for backups at corner, I think the guys we have like Bowman, McBride and Moore are adequate backups and I am looking for a good year from Vasher at corner, we will see.

I liked the secondary is a Hoke line.


Who said that Bowman, Vasher and McBride don't fit the bill? You?

Phewwwwwwwwwwwwwwww! I was worried for a nano second.

Agree with you on Manning.

Not convinced on your assessment of Graham. He he was that bad, he would be long gone. I think he is turning into a kind of utility guy. Can play many positions but maybe not great at any of them. Very useful kind of guy considering that injuries are a foregone conclusion in this business. Teams place great value on these kinds of players. let's see what happens this year as they move him around. He may find a natural home.

why have none of you brought up Tillman at freesafty we know he can tackle, great ball skills, and at this point he could use the extra 15 to 20 yards off the line to keep from being burnt. See Steve Smith

"What this does for the Bears is allow Olson to run a multiple of inside breaking routes" -Matt Bowen

Perhaps he's looking for the word multitude? And who the heck is Greg Olson? Wasn't he a scout or something? Why would he be running any routes?

I appreciate Matt Bowen's inside analysis but for Pete's sake, a demented monkey would use better grammar and actually know the correct spelling of the names of players he is writing about. I don't care if the bloggers do it, but this guy gets paid to write articles. Come on.

Brian Luther, we've all brought up using Tillman at safety. But Lovie shot that idea down 100% because it would make too much sense I guess.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on August 1, 2009 3:14 PM.

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