Chicago Sun-Times

Getting by without Twitter; Could Olsen be up for extension too?

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BOURBONNAIS, Ill.--Did the NFL do in Twitter?

I don't know, but my efforts to tweet from the dorm room have been stifled by struggling technology. Perhaps the site will be up and chirping by the time this post is done.

Reports coming out of San Diego now are that Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers could begin talking about a new contract for him soon. Rivers is believed to have been waiting for Eli Manning to strike. Although Manning has a Super Bowl title to his credit, and that's what it is all about, Rivers' statistics over the course of their careers are far superior. Don't think for a second there is any reason other than that for his delay in getting to the bargaining table.

Wanted to Twitter a piece I did for the National Football Post this morning on Jay Cutler and what at some point will be his own negotiation for a contract extension. The Bears have never written the big-money deal for a quarterback before. Since general manager Jerry Angelo took over in 2001, no team has allocated less money to the position. Who did he have to pay? The team has someone to pay now but putting a gauge on that pay day right now is very difficult. When the team goes to a player, they are adamant that the integrity of the current contract be maintained. In other words, the player will get his money but the team isn't going to rip up the current contract and start all over.

The Bears have a history of approaching players during season to see if they can strike a deal and get ahead when it comes to the salary cap. If a deal is done by midseason, money can be applied to the current year's cap. With the Bears sitting on more than $20 million in cap room, doing a Cutler deal now would allow them to put a nice chunk in 2009. Assuming the CBA gets worked out--that looks like the assumption the Giants went under in doing Manning's deal--it's a smart move.

But it's no guarantee that the team and Cutler get to the bargaining table. If they don't, it's possible the Bears could target tight end Greg Olsen for an extension as I wrote here for the NFP. Olsen is entering the third year of his five-year contract and is clearly part of the long term future. Early restructures turn into win-wins. The player gets guaranteed money sooner than he would, and the team gets value moving forward.

*** Maybe word trickles out today about cornerback Zack Bowman's hamstring pull, but as coach Lovie Smith says, you never know about hamstrings. It's a definite setback for Bowman. Not as much from the standpoint that he pulled his hamstring, but that he got injured, period. Durability has been the knock on him and when a player can't stay healthy, a coaching staff can't rely on him no matter what kind of flashes he shows.

*** What's interesting is when Smith ran down the options at left cornerback with Charles Tillman recovering from back surgery, he mentioned Trumaine McBride, draft pick D.J. Moore and even undrafted free agent Woodny Turenne. No mention of Corey Graham. Just an oversight? Possibly. A sign the Bears want to keep him at right cornerback where he has been behind Nathan Vasher? Possibly. For sure Graham wants a shot at running with the ones, though, after starting nine games last season. McBride was viewed as a longshot to make the roster coming into camp and he'll need to make the most of his opportunity. He was with the ones on Wednesday.

*** Defensive tackle Jarron Gilbert continues to impress. He's been getting positive feedback from line coach Rod Marinelli during individual drills. If it's possible, Gilbert looks bigger than 6-5, 285 pounds, when you see him up close and in pads.

*** Tight end Desmond Clark had a veteran's day off on Wednesday. There is a good chance he will be back on the field today.

*** NFL officials are expected to arrive on campus today for their annual meetings with players and coaches to go over rules changes and some of the things the men in stripes will be looking for closely this season. On the crew visiting camp will be Tony Michalek, a Chicago area native.

*** The Bears have a mini-practice closed to the public this morning and the full practice is tonight at 7.

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16 Comments

This surely looks like good news coming out of camp that Omaiyle still has not been inserted into the starting Left guard spot, sure we paid the guy a lot of money, but it shows that Beekmsn is a player if you take a positive spin on it. Sure no games have been played yet, but Beekman is not going down without a fight, that's the same thing I hope to see at strong-side LB, both safety positions, and on the d-line as well. Nothing makes a team better than fear of lost playing time because the guy behind you is pushing you everyday.Something to be said about quality depth, and the Bears appear to have it for the first time in memory. Speaking of team depth, how has Josh Bullocks looked at safety or is it really a two man race between Steltz and Payne for the other position at this point?....go BEARS

Hate to see Bowman go down. This kid is special. He's going to turn into another Mike Brown-- gritty and talented but can't stay on the field.

Brad, do you think there's any chance Desmond Clark might look for a trade somewhere down the line? Despite his age, he definitely has first string ability and it makes you wonder if he'll be content with being a backup.

Two subjects here, but both equally important.

First, Olsen and Cutler should both be approached about a new deal. Olsen is a budding star, and could be a Pro-Bowler with Cutler throwing to him, so getting him locked up long term is the right move to make, before he tosses up 70 catches and 8 TDs this year. Cutler is less critical to get done now, but equally important to approach. The Bears are nothing if not tight with money, and the idea of paying out $120 million to a QB is not something they want to deal with. 6 years, $85-90 million is the right range for a Pro Bowl QB entering his prime, but with zero playoff experience.

Second, I am extremely disappointed that Graham is not Bowman's replacement. He was a starter, and is capable of filling that role. I think we need at least one CB with some size on the field at all times, and 5'8" McBride, and Vasher (5'10", maybe) are not big enough to play against our own receivers, let alone the guys we will be facing. Graham, Tillman, and Bowman are the guys that need to be on the field, and since we can't have the last two, we need to utilize Graham. McBride is going to have a hard time sticking on the roster. Forget Turenne, Hamilton, and Burgess. He is behind Graham, Tillman, Vasher, Bowman, and Moore as far as importance to the CB group. If Manning is still going to serve as the nickel back, and bring in another safety, you only need 5 CBs at maximum for the roster. Why waste time with a guy who won't be here in 4 weeks?

I think McBride did an admirable job stepping in as a rookie and playing as much as he did, but he regressed last year, and looked more tentative in coverage than as a rookie. We need to determine whether Graham can play as a starter at CB, and sitting him at this point is foolish. We will get to the end of camp, and have no idea where he fits into the roster (or if he fits at all). He is not getting reps at safety, and he is only getting reps as the backup nickel (if he is even getting that). If and when Vasher gets hurt again, Graham is his backup, which is all fine and dandy, but we keep hearing about getting our best players on the field. Is Trumaine McBride our best CB still standing? Absolutely not. Our coaching staff continually amazes me in their poor decision making when it comes to evaluating young talent. If they are making a "fish-or-cut-bait" decision on McBride, that's one thing. Personally, I don't think they are. I think they have already run the numbers, and know McBride does not have the ball skills of Moore, and he is not physical enough to fill the role of Tillman or Manning. He's going to get a visit from the Turk before the end of camp. The more critical question is whether Graham can replace Tillman or Vasher, who are both making a sh!tload of money, and have been either injured or playing injured since the extensions were signed. We are a mess at CB, and need some serious stability at the position. Musical chairs is not stability.

I am also happy to see that Gilbert is doing well. We are going to need him when Tommie breaks down halfway through the season.

This is completely off topic, but you've only mentioned the two fights -- between the offensive and defensive lines -- in passing. This is the best news I've heard out of camp so far. The Bears have definitely lacked a fire the past two seasons, and hopefully this means they've got it back.

Put Graham back at Free Safety, he could be a natural at the position, unless you move Peanut to the Free Safety role after he returns healthy.

Manning needs to get into a groove in the nickel and in the kick returning game, where he has excelled.

Too bad Bowman can's stay healthy.

Thanks for the post. Twitter has been experiencing a DoS attack all day. I've been able to post here and there....hopefully it will let up soon.

Early restructures turn into win-wins? Always? Brad, you sure about that. If I recall current Bears history (oh, say, since Diet Dr. Pepper's #1 customer went to the Big Adios) early contract extensions have coincided with players like Gross Rexman, Nathan Vasher, that guy who was on course to become the best interior defensive lineman in the NFL (what was his name??),and that other guy -you know, the one who used to be on course to become the greatest punt-kick returner of all time?- have turned into absolute car wrecks. Or I might just be drunk I am, after all, driving in my #55 jersey as I text. I simply suggest a player actually produce a little something more than a bad Vanilla Ice impression (is there any other kind?) to lay claim on more clams.

You know I thought Trumaine McBride looked very promising his rookie season but then regressed horrendously last year. I don't know what happened but he was not the same player. After watching him early I thought he was going to be a late-round gem but last season - even in preseason - he looked like he was completely lost. If he can regain the magic he had his rookie season that would be great, but it looks like he's got an uphill battle with the depth Chicago has in the secondary.

Bowman is hurt? All ready? Imagine that. I know I said he would get hurt before camp ended, but that was quick.

You guys are forgeting some things about Lovie and the Cornerback position. Last year Garham played right Corner, that means Lovie will leave him at right Corner unless he has no other choice. He does not flip his corners. He does not train his corners to play both sides, that way it's easier to train them. Remember Steve Smith? Not to mention Vasher has not looked all that great, he has had good moments but he has had bad moments in camp.

Besides this just means they can hurry Tillman back from surgery, thats always a good idea and Bowman will get healthy again, before he gets hurt again.

By the way for the guy that compared Brown and Bowman, don't do that again. Brown broke down over time, but he played 16 games a season for his first four seasons. Bowman is a young guy that can't stay healthy long enough to get on the field. He has looked good against the Bears recievers drills, but then again these are the Bears recievers. Let me know when he plays 16 games a season, then you can compare him to brown. Not to mention Brown had average physical talent, Bowman has elite talent. Brown played with his head and his heart, I can't tell you what Bowman played with cause he doesn't play.

ahhh... itold you loosers taht bowman would get injured before camp ans waht do you now??? man i am always right. im tired of angelo getting loosers who are always injured. theyre all BUSTS! why cant he get someone good like my hero rashard mendenfall???

but you guys noiw me old crap-ton just tring to be posative...

ps somtimes i wake up in the middle of the knight SCREAMING ans my mom asks me waht wrong ans i tell her i had a nother nitemare abot bradno the bully!!! oh boo hoo hoo!!!!!!

By Crap-ton on August 6, 2009 4:35 PM
"ahhh... itold you loosers taht blah blah blah blah blah, touch myself, blah, blah, pick my nose, blah, blah, eating it."

Hey where are my damn cookies, I been craving a thin mint, quit your complaining and get me my cookies and don't forget the little green uniform. You are never going to be able to afford that sex change until you start focusing on your cookie selling. Now go get me my cookies, don't make me slap you and your momma around again. Oh and stop bashing Cutler, I know you don't like him but pretending to be him on Twitter and making up stories about him is going a little far. Cutler does not Twitter and does not have an account. Obbsessed with Cutler and Creighton, you must have a thing for the letter C.

Now that little miss Brando has been put in place lets talk some football. So who is everyone hoping has a good year this year? 1 on offense and 1 on defense and try not to list the usual suspects.

I want to see Bennett break out, a nice guy who got screwed over by the coaching staff last year, looks like the best reciever in camp by a pretty good margin. I still think he needs to play flanker, he is not dealing with the jam in practice but he will when the season starts.

On defense I want to see Gilbert get some time on the field at the three tech, I am a big fan of tall DT's, sense the tall ones usually end up being the best ones.


I still say we're pretty deep at CB. Luckily we're not that deep into pre-season, and maybe this hammy will be Bowman's big injury for the season, and not affect him when it counts. I still have confidence in McBride and Graham, both young and still in their 3rd year, both with starting experience (and steady performers when they were starting) and knowledge of the defense, with Graham possibly having the edge physically (taller, longer arms). And Moore was said to be a pretty good pick in the draft too. On top of that we have a healthy Vasher and a guy who's going to be really eager to come back and play in Tillman.

I think lots of teams would be envious of what the Bears have to work with at CB.

Go Bears! Get well soon Bowman Tillman!

I think that there is plenty of talent in our DBs. However even the best corner/saftey will get beat if he has to defend a reciever for over 6 seconds, or has to always be worried about a running back getting to the second level. In 06 when the defense was the best(and in 85 for that matter) the D LINE was so domintate that the DBs never had to worry about the runner and they only had to cover one break by a reciever. Most of the time all they had to do was keep the WR in front of them and make a break on the ball that was hurried out of the QBs hand by the D LINE. When QBs can wait for the WR to make 2 and 3 moves no one can cover them. All defense starts up front and with the new coach and lots of competition i hope that improves this year. As far as injuries are concerned, if anyone has played football you will know that the best players play with wreckless abondon. Full speed with out concern for your body will eventually lead to injury, its FOOTBALL it happens to every team. Sometimes the difference between worst and first is just keeping your guys healthy (last years miami dolphins) Not only will depth at a lot of positions bring competition but it will also allow player to rest if needed (Matt Forte, any one on the D LINE)
So i guess what i am saying is that if you can pressure QBs they make mistakes, even the best (Giants v Pats in the superbowl)Mistakes turn into pics and incomplete passes. That makes DBs look good. THe talent is there, we just need some pressure up front.
best off season signing ROD MARINELLI!!!

I was reading an article on the Sun Times Web page about Mark Anderson, and how he is flying off the ball again. So far, all I can remember seeing on him on the blogs is that he was held out, being treated, or banged up....But they are noticing a difference with the presence of Marinelli. If we do not have a pass rush that can consistently pressure the QB with only the front 4, then we are going to be exposed in the secondary pretty badly.

I sincerely hope he can get back to the form he displayed as a rookie, but I would be happy to see 8 sacks out of our pass rushing specialist. If Alex steps up and gets better at finishing against someone other than the Giants, and Wale bounces back and manages to look more like the 9-12 sack guy than the 3-7 sack guy, we will be a lot better off. You figure 6 sacks from Harris, 8 from Wale, 7 from Alex Brown, and 3 from the nose tackle. That's 24 from the starters. We need to be in the total range of high 30s, low 40s to be truly effective. Granted, if we only get 30, but are getting lots of hurries, hits, and pressures, we could still be ok. I would suggest that we need at minimum a total of 7 hurries, hits, or pressures every game, to go with 2-3 sacks. Most teams will throw the ball 25-35 times per game on us, so that would mean we are making it difficult on 1/3 of those plays. I think that is a solid goal to aim for.

Also, I find it funny that Marinelli gives nicknames to the rookies. Melton is "blind dog," which is not exactly a ringing endorsement for a roster spot or playing time, and Gilbert is "Iron Deer," which is a pretty clear picture of what he thinks of our future starting 3-tech tackle. Tommie is going to be protected for the stretch run, so we will be seeing a lot of Gilbert early on, and probably a lot of Izzy on the inside.

CRAPton why do you even say anything you show everytime that you know nothing at all about football let alone the bears. You think your funny? your not!! you think you have some sort of insight you dont!!! Now my spelling is not great but you need to repeat grades 2-5 just to get the basics down. most people who are that bad at somthing tend to try and hide it a little. But you seem to not even care. That says you are a idiot or at least you should wear a helmet around like people who have mental problems do. But that would be mean to them. JUST SHUTUP

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on August 6, 2009 9:35 AM.

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