Chicago Sun-Times

Four Down Territory, Oct. 6: What to do at running back?

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It's been a week, and I was delayed tonight by a nice piece on a wide receiver fighting to get back in the league--David Terrell--that will run over at the National Football Post in the morning. Without any more delay, let's jump right into the action.

Q: I'm a longtime Bears fan, now transplanted in Los Angeles. I can tell you that Kahlil Bell really showed something when he played for UCLA. I feel like Lovie should give him a shot. Can you tell me that Kahlil's injury status is, is he game ready, and what the coaches think of him?

Robert S., Los Angeles

A: Bell is healthy after injuring his ankle during the summer with the Minnesota Vikings. He has been running with the scout team in practice. As far as being game ready, I couldn't tell you where he is at right now with the Bears' offense. Could he take a handoff and hit the right hole? Sure. Does he understand the blitz responsibilities for the position? That takes time. The Bears will have to make a decision on whether or not to sign a running back to the 53-man roster with Adrian Peterson expected to miss a least the Atlanta game on Oct. 18 with a sprained knee. They have only Matt Forte and Garrett Wolfe right now, although fullback Jason McKie could handle duties in a real pinch. My guess--and this is just a guess--is that if Peterson will miss only one or two games tops the Bears will role the dice with what they have. Why add someone like Bell or an outsider who doesn't know the playbook for one game when Forte rarely comes off the field? That doesn't seem like that big of a gamble to me. Bell would also have to prove to have real value on special teams to get a shot. We'll see what happens moving forward with A.P. This is a story to keep an eye on, no question.

Q: After a weekend of two NFC North matchups, I am curious how things will unfold down the stretch for the Bears. From what we've seen by now can you lay out some pros and cons for the Bears going forward in the division in terms of strength of schedule, facing Green Bay a second time, and facing Favre and the Vikings two times yet not until week 12 and 16? I am hoping Favre will be feeling the pain a bit more by then as he looked scary-good last night.

Geoff, Maui, Hawaii

A: The schedules are pretty much identical. The Vikings draw Carolina and the New York Giants. The Bears get Atlanta and Philadelphia. The Bears should have beat Green Bay in the first meeting because they got a top defensive effort. Jay Cutler was a disaster and you had what you had there. The Vikings looked pretty good on Monday night, no question, but that's a different game if the Packers' offensive line was even 50 percent better than it was. As dominant as the Vikings looked at times, they still won by only seven points. How Favre's arm holds up over the course of the season will be a key. Plus, it looks like there are starting to be some cracks in the Williams Wall. Teams are running the ball with a little bit of success on Minnesota. They're still impressive and they have the best player in the division in Adrian Peterson.

Q: Do you think we will sign a RB? Who? Will Jarron Gilbert ever get any playing time?

IMHOtep, Parts Unknown

A: See above on the running back question. Gilbert suited up for his second game on Sunday against Detroit, and he saw limited action at left end. It might have been just one snap, in fact, but he was on the field. Lovie Smith remains high on him and told me a little more than a week ago that he anticipates the rookie third-round pick contributing this season.

Q: Why does Lance Briggs keep lining up on the strong side? Did the Bears move him to the strong side? He has been lining up there a lot since Brian Urlacher went down. Is he trying to enforce the mike position?

Creighton, Parts Unknown

A: That is something that happens with regularity in the Bears' scheme, whether Urlacher is in the middle or anyone else. The weak-side linebacker, Briggs, lines up behind the three technique tackle, usually Tommie Harris. His responsibility is to check the A gap. In an over front, the weak side linebacker will be across from the tight end or the strong side of the offense. This is one of the reasons why the Bears like to say their positions are interchangeable in a lot of ways. So, no new calls or techniques.

Q: I would like to see an analysis of the defense as a whole. Here is a squad that blows a game in Green Bay, handles the Steelers, can barely handle Seneca Wallace, gets shredded by a rookie for the first half at home against Detroit and then completely shuts them down in the second half. This kind of maddening inconsistency smells like a coaching problem to me, but here is the team handing the game ball to their defensive line coach at the end of the game. Is it conditioning? Attitude? Talent? Coaching? Why do you think we can't rely on our defense any more?

Peebs, Parts Unknown

A: Don't have the time or space for a full blown analysis of the defense right here and right now. I think we all know the strengths and weaknesses with the current defense. We ought to as the scheme and the players haven't changed. I would disagree with you that the defense blew the game in Green Bay. Yeah, Nathan Vasher got caught with his drawers around his ankles on a game-winning play, but that was one bad play in a game full of good ones. The defense turned in a solid effort there. Let's face it, this isn't the 2005 and 2006 Bears defense and it's not going to be. But with 14 sacks through four games, I think it's showing an improvement over the last two seasons but it's just a start. They can't afford more injuries at linebacker, and the secondary remains iffy to me. If the pass rush isn't there, the secondary is going to get beaten up. This isn't anything new though, is it?

Q: What would you attribute Greg Olsen's slow start this year to? Is he being doubled or bracketed? Has Nick Roach played well enough to supplant Hunter Hillenmeyer again, this time at middle linebacker? Will Jamar Williams ever get a chance to start on a regular basis? I thought he did really well this week on the strong side, and Pisa Tinoisamoa is a little too small for my liking on the strong side.

Joe F., Parts Unknown

A: Olsen's slow start (10 catches, 94 yards, 2 TD) is probably due to a combination of things. He's dropped at least two passes. He's gotten extra attention from some defenses, particularly Green Bay. The Bears have not run him vertical as much as maybe some people expected. He's probably not going to the Pro Bowl this season, but Olsen should still have a fine year and he's proving to be a great force in the red zone, especially at the goalline.

Roach did well filling in at middle linebacker for the second straight week, and I would say there is a chance he remains there, yes. We'll get a better indication at Atlanta. I don't think Williams will get a shot to start on a regular basis unless an injury happens, but the Bears can't seem to stay healthy at linebacker so you never no. Tinoisamoa will have his turn again when he is healthy, and Williams is in a contract season. He had not played well until the Detroit game.

Q: Could you tell us a little more about how the practice squad works and how the players fit into the team? For example, do they all get paid the same rate? When? Do they get any help with subsistence or travel expenses? What does a player like DeAngelo Smith do to support themselves when they are released for a week and then are re-signed? Do they have side jobs? You get the idea, how does the practice squad work for the team and the players?

MSBearsFan, Mississippi

A: The practice squad works very similar to the way the 53-man roster works except these players are not eligible for play on Sundays, and the minimum salary for practice squad players is $5,200 per week, or $88,000 over the course of the season. The minimum for rookies this season is $310,000, so it's a considerable difference. I can't tell you what Smith is making after signing with the Bears' practice squad today, but I can tell you the seven other players on the practice squad are all earning the minimum. Most teams keep nearly every player on their practice squad at the minimum, although there are exceptions. For example, a couple years ago the Bears really wanted to keep defensive tackle Antonio Garay around. They signed him to the practice squad for the rookie minimum, and then eventually promoted him to the 53-man roster. When the Bears bring players in, of course they cover their travel expenses. Once they're here to stick around, they've got to pay for their own place. Football is a year-round job for them just like players on the roster, and these guys are working at it all they can to get promoted and earn the big bucks, so I don't think many are holding down part-time work elsewhere.

Q: We know that Nate Vasher is in the doghouse, and Zack Bowman has at times struggled this year. Given this, why haven't the Bears used Corey Graham more, given his greater experience and relative success at cornerback in the past?

IDC, Parts Unknown

A: Obviously, Graham wasn't as successful last season as we thought he was, right? That's about the best explanation I can give you. He hasn't been given the same opportunities with new secondary coach Jon Hoke. In some of the statistical work done by Football Outsiders, Graham did not grade out well last season. He had a healthy tackle total, but often times that can be the sign of a cornerback who had a lot of passes completed against him. I know the Bears' corners are very involved in run support, but for whatever reason Graham hasn't found a niche on defense. He remains an integral part of special teams. I wouldn't write him off yet though.

That's all I've got for now. We'll get back to the mailbag again soon. Thanks for reading, and as always thank you for participating.

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The RB injuries have turned into a bit of a dramatic twist, just like the injuries at linebacker. But we're still chugging through and I think that speaks volumes about the quality depth this team has.

Anyway, I think we'll be ok with the RBs we have. The offense hasn't necessarily set the league on fire with the running game, so we've already transitioned into a pass-first team as it is. We still have to run the ball no question, and as long as Forte is healthy, we can do that. But our passing game is moving the ball and putting up points; even with Ron Turner aka the human anchor calling plays. If Forte gets hurt, then we can panic.

Your answer on the defense as a whole was no answer at all. What are you afraid of saying? The point is, during the 1st half of the detroit game, against a rookie QB, the bears defense was pinned on their heels with what looked like prevent defense. This is not the first time that they have played this way. This year, the defense looked like this in all 4 games. Last year and the year before, they went into this mode multiple times during the 4th quarter and have lost games due to this defensive philosophy. Most of my friends, all bear fans of course, think their is a coaching problem more so than a player problem. So, Peebs, Parts Unknown is not the only fan that feels this way. If you can't answer this question in short, then how about answering it with a full article and cover it in depth....rather than not answer at all.

I say that the acquirement of Cutler is going to save Lovie's job this year. He may be a nice coach but so was coach Armstrong. That still isn't going to get you to the superbowl. And I don't want to hear about the superbowl that lovie has already taken us to. We got there because of Ron Rivera's defense. He got fired for that. The defense has gone south since then. Fans aren't stupid.

Val -

"I think we all know the strengths and weaknesses with the current defense. We ought to as the scheme and the players haven't changed."

In all fairness, I think he did address it. Our secondary did not change much from the last two years, so yes it is still vulnerable. How vulnerable it is depends on the pass rush. Our Defensive line, UNLIKE the last two years, is now third in the NFL in sacks. When the pressure is there, the defensive backs look decent. When it isn't, they get smoked. Our scheme and play calling often leaves too much cushion, giving up short passes pretty often in order to prevent more of the big plays.

We had no pressure in the first half against Detroit, and got lit up. We got there in the second half, and stifled their passing game.

" They can't afford more injuries at linebacker, and the secondary remains iffy to me. If the pass rush isn't there, the secondary is going to get beaten up. This isn't anything new though, is it?"

The Bears defense is better this year than the last two years, mostly because of improved effort from the defensive line. That improved effort got Marinelli a game ball. Ogunleye had 5 sacks last year. He has 4.5 through 4 games this year. We had 28 sacks last year. We have 14 through 4 games. Pressure is better, period.

Is it coaching? The 1st quarter game planning on defense could use some work...But the in game adjustments on defense are the best they have been since 2005. We were terrible second half and late game on defense the last couple of years, this year we close well. Can the coaches be asked to be better at getting us started right? Sure. Is it better than last year when we blew leads constantly? Yes. (Atlanta, Tampa, Carolina, almost Detroit...)

I for one like Lovie's efforts at play calling, love the improved pressure, and think that if we simply wrapped up more often (Seattle anyone?) our defense would be even better than it is right now.

Thanks for the support Val. Brad, I agree that you didn't really answer the question that I asked, so as far as I am concerned it still stands.
However, I want to clarify my position. I am still open-minded on this. I am not blaming the coaches (yet), but merely point out that when players come out flat (first half of Detroit game) and the defense can't get off the field on third down (evidence several long drives this year) and then turn around and play stellar defense seems odd.
Maybe its a leadership problem? Without Urlacher and Brown, maybe they lack inspiration at times?
I might agree that there is a talent/injury problem, but we have seen some excellent play at times from the people who are there.
I am not one to dwell on the past (good or bad), but we lost some games last year in the same fashion we lost the GB game this year. Maybe the defense will not be as reliable as Robbie Gould, but there is a consistency problem and it is pretty obvious.

"I say that the acquirement of Cutler is going to save Lovie's job this year. He may be a nice coach but so was coach Armstrong. That still isn't going to get you to the superbowl. And I don't want to hear about the superbowl that lovie has already taken us to. We got there because of Ron Rivera's defense. He got fired for that. The defense has gone south since then. Fans aren't stupid."

And not picking on you or anything Val, but Rivera's defense in San Diego is getting smoked, just like ours did in 2006 both in the first 4 weeks of the season AND in the playoffs. "Rivera's defense" had one complete season, 2005. 2006 looked good because of the turnovers and the excitement of it all, but Devin Hester single-handedly contributed to our 2006 season as much as the defense did. And, hate him all you want, but for the FIRST 4 games of that season, Rex Grossman played better than our defense did...And in the playoff game against Seattle.

It has always been Lovie's defense, the only thing that changes in 2007-08 was that someone new called the plays in that defense. We changed that this year, and all of a sudden we have pressure again. Its a 4-3, Cover 2 base defense. Sometimes it plays prevent in the hope that the front 4 get pressure and the back 7 make plays. It also VERY effectively uses zone blitzes to create extra pressure, as we have done often this season (over 40% of plays involve a blitz of some kind this season).

It's not 2005 all over again as far as performance, but that is not a coaching issue in my mind, it is the players ability. Harris is 70% of what he was then. Vasher is 10% of what he was then. Urlacher is older AND out for the season. We don't have a talented player next to Harris at Tackle anymore. Ogunleye and Brown went from "in their prime" (late 20's) to "aged veterans" (in their 30's). Tillman and Briggs still look good. We haven't added any "blue chip" players to our defense, so it isn't getting by on talent as often as it used to.

2005-2009, we addressed offense in the first round (05 - RB, 06 - NONE, 07 - Olsen, 08 - OT, 09 - NO PICK (Traded for QB). We haven't added a first round defensive player in years. I think we are getting what we can out of what we have. A veteran defense in a scheme based on speed, focusing on turnovers and limiting big plays rather than lock down coverage.

I was just wondering.....Where are all the Ron Rivera supporters now???...His true colors are showing through...He was/is overrated and was blessed with great players here in Chicago....Lovie knew what he was doing when he fired his bigheaded, overrated behind!!! BEAR DOWN!!!

Tripper, go back on that trip. San Diego has no one at tackle for their 3-4 scheme and their linebackers coming back from injury are not what they were. A team with declining talent in the D is certainly harder to coach than a top line talented team. Rivera did well in Chicago with good talent and had done well with San Diego. Tripper, are you saying that Lovie's decision to bring in his bud Babich was a better move than keeping Rivera?

As for Brad's comment about the Williams wall. When you take away the steroids all of a sudden you have real humans not super strong animals. Take a look at Barry Bonds before and after steroids and you get the picture.

Clearly those two cheated, were caught and so far have beaten the system except for the fact now it is tougher for them to find steroids that they can take and hide without being caught.

Now those two, but particularly Pat Williams are just fat slugs, that get tired by the second half and do not have the stamina that steroids provide these two cheaters.

Viqueens will not win it all, there are some chinks in their armor.

By Brendan H on October 7, 2009 8:41 AM
"And not picking on you or anything Val, but Rivera's defense in San Diego is getting smoked, just like ours did in 2006 both in the first 4 weeks of the season AND in the playoffs."

The Bear defense got smoked the first 4 weeks of 2006??
Week 1 They gave up zero points.
Week 2 they gave up 7 points.
Week 3 they gave up 16 points.
Week 4 they gave up 6 points.

Dude how is that getting smoked? Those are amazing numbers. Those are dominant numbers.

"2006 looked good because of the turnovers and the excitement of it all, but Devin Hester single-handedly contributed to our 2006 season as much as the defense did. And, hate him all you want, but for the FIRST 4 games of that season, Rex Grossman played better than our defense did...And in the playoff game against Seattle."

I don't know about that. You know turnovers are part of what the defense does. Forced Fumbles and all, interceptions, striping.

So Rex had 5 good games, ok he is a backup in Texas now who cares? He was not very good in his career with the Bears.

Just listen to you ants discuss this and that about MY Chicago Bears! All of you minnows are simply guessing at the things I already KNOW!

And Brad, what makes you think you have the passion to write about MY team when I know a hell of a lot more about them than ANYONE in the universe!? I am the Bears #1 fan! It was because of ME that ANGELO GOT CUTLER!!! IT WAS BECAUSE OF ME THAT ANGELO DRAFTED KNOX!! AND IT WAS BECAUSE OF ME THAT THE SUN ROSE THIS MORNING AND WILL CONTINUE TO RISE AS LONG AS I WILL IT!!!

Now all of you, get on your fragile, mortal knees and give praise to ME, the infallible Mr. Holland.


THE #1 Bears fan, Bill

Lovie Smith for President!!!! He can't do any worse than that clown Obama is doing now!GO BEARS!

The concern I still have with the defense is the lack of coverage. What we are not getting when the D-line gets pressure is turnovers. We used to be very adept at pouncing on those mistakes and hurried throws, and we are getting very few chances for picks in the secondary. We have led the league in turnovers since Lovie got here, but we are struggling in that area this year. I think we need 2 per game to put us in a position to win, and we are not getting that. I thought at the start of the season that 2 sacks and 2 turnovers would be the magic formula to translate into wins. If we can maintain the sack numbers, and get a few more fumbles/INTs, our special teams and offense will be enough to give us a chance to unseat Minnesota and win the division.

But for the love of all that's holy, can we try bump and run when we are in Cover 2? Tillman and Bowman are fast enough to run with Roddy White and Michael Jenkins, so we should go for it in Atlanta. Disrupting the timing of a young QB, and going after him with the blitzes and pressure we have been able to generate should translate into a decent game for the defense. That will also give Afalava and Manning/Payne time to get over to the sideline to make plays on the ball. And if we force them outside on the release, we not only eliminate the slant pattern, but could potentially shove them out of bounds, which makes them ineligible receivers, and one less target for the QB to throw to....

Tillman and Bowman (and Graham for that matter) are all big enough and physical enough to be able to jam and disrupt. Why do we insist on taking away their best attribute, and relying on dumb luck to not get slant-ed and stop-routed all the way down the field? Enough with the bending part of the defense. We attack all over the field with blitzing, so why not attack the receivers and try and give the pass rush a second or two longer to get there?

The Bears should have made an attempt to acquire Braylon Edwards whom the Jets acquired in a trade. Edwards starting opposite Hester would have allowed Knox and Bennett to alternate between flanker and slot which would have enhanced the Bears chances of go the distance in the playoffs.

Albeit the Bears receivers are better than expected and Knox is a steal in the fifth round, maybe rookie of the year type consideration but the Bears really could have used Braylon Edwards with Cutler throwing to him.

Braylon is a special talent, three years into the league who has had poor QB's and a bad team. Remember two years ago he seemed unstoppable. The JETS got a deal.

Angelo was great with the Cutler deal but the Bears still have problems with not having a true number 1 receiver, which Hester has yet to become. But could you imagine Hester and Knox as a compliment to Edwards, that offense would have been special. Too Bad!!

Maybe not too late to get Brandon Marshall since he is a free agent next year, the Donkeys may want to deal since they may lose him without compensation?

Go BEARS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


The Bears 2006 defense was ranked #1 in the league until week #6 when Arizona lit us up in the first half and we lost Mike Brown in the 3'rd quarter of that game. The first 4-games of 2006 the Bears looked like the 2009 Bronco's !! We allowed a measily 7.25 points per game in that span. I don't understand how you came up with the statement:

"but Rivera's defense in San Diego is getting smoked, just like ours did in 2006 both in the first 4 weeks of the season AND in the playoffs. "Rivera's defense" had one complete season, 2005. 2006 looked good because of the turnovers and the excitement of it all, but Devin Hester single-handedly contributed to our 2006 season as much as the defense did. And, hate him all you want, but for the FIRST 4 games of that season, Rex Grossman played better than our defense did...And in the playoff game against Seattle"

Here is the Bears breakdown in it's first 6 games:

26-0 at GB
34-7 vs Detroit
19-16 at Minnesota
37-6 vs seattle
40-7 vs Buffalo
24-23 at Arizona

The Bears Defense was just fine trough the first 5-games actually. Arizona let us off the After that we started to stink alittle. We went from allowing 7 points a game to 14 points a game with the loss of Mike Brown. Tommie Harris went down vs St.Louis and we allowed 20-points a game the rest of the way including playoff's.

After the Bye-week:
41-10 vs SanFran
13-31 vs Miami (6 Bears TO's allowed Miami to score 21 points)
38-20 at NY Giants
10-0 AT NY Jets
13-17 at New England (Rex tosses 4-INT's)
23-13 vs Minnesota
42-27 at St.Louis
34-31 vs tampa
26-21 at Detroit
7-26 vs GB

27-24 vs Seattle
39-14 vs Saints
17-29 vs Colts in Miami

Briggs doesn't play strongside. When the Bears are in their base package he only lines up to the QB's right when the offense has flipped their formation (ie he stays weakside). I am not sure teams ae tracking where he lines up though (or maybe it is just detroit) as he was annihilating right sided runs when the Lions put Pettigrew on the left side of their line.

By the way Brad thanks for answering all these questions. I didn't even post that one under 4 down and you still answered it. The main reason I post here is football knowledge, and 4 down is better than "School House Rocks" back when I was a kid.

Could you give us some insight into the Bears deep passing game? I know the West coast offense is not a go deep often offense, but it seems the Bears are sticking with high percentage short routs most of the time and some intermediate crossing routs. You mentioned Olsen is not going deep as much as most thought he would. But I am surprised at the lack of a deep passing threat with both Hester and Knox being burners. Not that they need to do it a lot but it would be nice to see the Bears hit on a few deep threats. Is this do to lack of timing with Cutler and his recievers? Cause I am seeing very few five and seven step drops, and when I do see the five step drops Cutler is usually hurried. I also don't see a lot of seperation with the recievers and it seems like the recievers are not getting hit in stride very often. I thought we would see more running after the catches this year. Any insight?

Tripper you goofball, yes, Lovie is doing a good job calling plays. But when he let his best buddy Boob "Crazy Eyes" Babich run the D into the ground, you'd have to have been a complete moron not to have wanted Rivera back. San Diego lost their main DT for the year, and that's why they suck but that's not Rivera's fault. Imagine the Colts offense without Peyton Manning.

Brendan H, way to rewrite history to justify your man crush on Grossman. Rex is in Texas, maybe you should follow.

And NBS, Lovie practically worships Obama. What makes you think he would do things differently? And just so you know, your hero Lovie made Orton the starter last year. How do you reconcile that? careful what you wish for...I got a chance to see Braylon Edwards ever since Cleveland drafted him...He leads the league in dropped passes and is a huge cancer in the lockerroom!! He would drop an easy pass and blame it on the QB! What a loser!! Besides, he's from that cesspool up north...Michigan!!! He's a copy of David Terell!! No thanks and good ridence!!! GO BEARS!!

So, MIKE, losing one player will make your whole defensive team suck? Somebody mentioned that Harris is 70 percent of what he was and Mike Brown was hurt in 2007. Does Crazy Eyes get a break from that as well? Beating the Rivera ain't here no more drum is monotonous. We lost Don Johnson too but got Marinelli now so maybe that was all we needed. Babich just didn't work out. Neither did Shea and no one keeps bringing his name up as a anchor that drug the team down. What you are saying more than anything is that if you have your best players then you should be graded on that. Babich had more injuries to key players in 2007 and 2008 than Rivera had during his time here. Pull the plug on judging on scale. The big picture is that Rivera's D at this moment isn't getting it done. Respond talking about football and not what you think about me and see where this goes. If you want to go back and forth about anything but the Bears then you are showing that you are just a tool. Some of us like to share information and give opinions about our players. Try that for once. Tick tock.

""San Diego lost their main DT for the year, and that's why they suck but that's not Rivera's fault. Imagine the Colts offense without Peyton Manning.""

Uhhhh. Lovie lost his best DT in 2006 and he hasn't been the same ever since yet nobody is giving Lovie or BFF Bob any slack !!!

Tommie Harris is the little engine that used to, he is a mere shell of his former self yet everyone was dumping on the coaches, the scheme, the stars getting fat on their fresh contract extensions ect.. ect... ect... when things got rough !! I didn't here anyone say it wasn't Lovies fault because he lost Tommie and Mike Brown !!

Now you want to cut Ron Rivera slack because he lost his DT ?? Poor baby....

Go Bears !!

"So, MIKE, losing one player will make your whole defensive team suck?" -WRDweeb

Well, the DT is kinda the most important position in the 3-4 and Williams is kinda one of the league's best if not the best at his spot. You know who's replacing him? A practice squad player who's 50 pounds lighter. Now is that Rivera's fault? Or the Chargers' front office for not having a halfway decent backup plan? When Tommie Harris was out for '06 the Bears at least had Tank Johnson.

"Somebody mentioned that Harris is 70 percent of what he was and Mike Brown was hurt in 2007. Does Crazy Eyes get a break from that as well?" -WRDweeb

"Uhhhh. Lovie lost his best DT in 2006 and he hasn't been the same ever since yet nobody is giving Lovie or BFF Bob any slack !!!" -Bensonshmuck

Well gee fellas, every team in the NFL, both past and present, have dealt with injury problems and it definitely hurts the team. But tell me, what say you when under Babich's watch this team in '07 gave up an NFL record for points allowed to the freakin' Lions? The Lions!? That's right, NFL record. As in worst ever. (Yeah, that onside kick got returned but still.)

And what do you think of a coordinator that takes Tommie Harris, bad knee and all, and drops him into coverage? Or one who consistently blew 4th quarter leads? Or how about one who got addicted to his "Mug look" defense and had Briggs and Urlacher running up and down the field on every snap?

You can vouch for your buddy Babich all you want and try and make excuses for him. Fact is, he stunk it up big time in the historical sense.

But hey, to the both of you, thanks for playing.

If a few of the bloggers can't see that Babich was a bone head move and Lovie was wrong for making it, then I guess they just can't see.

Mike, you hit most of the main points about Rivera except that Rivera's defense came up big when the Chargers rallied and won their last 8 games (did not check) to make the playoffs last year when the donkeys went into the tank.

The Bears D for two years has been pretty pathetic, can't you see that? Now that LOvie has taken over it has become better and I think will be really good by years end.


You may be right and you probably went to the OSU if you don't like Michigan that much. I do know that Braylon was a great #1 two years ago and has the physical talent to excel. You may be right that Braylon is bad for the locker room and mentally is not what the Bears want or need in a #1 WR.

I do know that the Bears still need a true #1 (whomever that may be) which would make their offense special.

""Well gee fellas, every team in the NFL, both past and present, have dealt with injury problems and it definitely hurts the team. But tell me, what say you when under Babich's watch this team in '07 gave up an NFL record for points allowed to the freakin' Lions? The Lions!? That's right, NFL record. As in worst ever. (Yeah, that onside kick got returned but still.)""

Don't forget that Brian Greises tossed an INT that was returned for a TD in that 4'th quarter.... Detroit got 14-points on a pick-6 and a last second botched squibb kick. You can only hang 20 points on the defense !!

It's still bad giving up 20 points in the 4'th quarter to the Loins but it's not like the Defense gave up all 34-points.

Go Bears !!

We must be playing good if we are arguing amongst ourselves during the bye week instead of beetching about the Bears W/L.

I am wondering what is going on with the Deep ball as well, Jay has missed Hester too many times for it to be conicidence.

I would have liked Edwards but I felt the Jets gave up way too much for him. Maybe not, we will see, he does have a QB now. Can't blame the Browns on Edwards, underachiever so the trade should have reflected that, the Jets want their new QB to have a legit WR.

See MIKE you are a tool. An unfunny tool who can't debate without being stupid. So being stupid takes away from whatever it is you're trying to say. Rather childish and not something a man does when he's secure with himself. It really speaks of seriously flaws. Anyway, Tank Johnson wasn't around at all for Babich since he got cut after going to jail. So Rivera benefitted , again,where Babich didn't. Babich also didn't have any of the back ups that Rivera had. All our major back ups were allowed to sign elsewhere. We lost 3 after 2006. Dahli, no one is saying that we choose Babich over Rivera we say it's been done and it's over. Babich didn't work out. Why keep bringing both up as coordinators. It's the past. It's like being mad because we didn't get Rex Ryan as the defensive coordinator before Rivera. Why keep rehashing it? It's like the guys who wish that Orton or Rex was still here. Or talk about them not getting a chance. Why keep doing that? Orton has his team 4-0, Cutler has his 3-1 should we be mad that they have one win better? No we can't. Move on. It's also like the guys who think that Marinelli is helping this team out now and the face off they have with guys who don't see it. Nobody can say that we would've been better with Rivera if he had to endure a lot of what we went thru for two years. Unless you have a crystal ball there is really no reason to debate it. Coach Smith made an effort to have a coordinator who he was comfortable with. Sometimes they pan out. This one didn't. We're better for it. And where we are as a team should be accepted for what it is. Not what it could've, should've, would've.

If a team 3 and out on offense as much as we did any defensive team would give up points in the 4th after playing so much. I still don't know what game it was you were playing MIKE to thank us for playing but you haven't schooled anyone. I still say unless you live in an alternate universe and it played out differently for you to see then you really can't say that it would've been so much better. Speculation isn't gospel. You're trying so hard to be Creighton and it works for him. He speaks about whatever it is he feels and that makes him unique. You come off as a small and miniscule imitation of him. Imitation is a form of flattery but since the guy who's trying to be like the original guy is really not up to par it says that the tail end guy is a tail in guy. You really must've been bullied a lot MIKE because you use this forum to fight your battles. I'm not afraid to tell it like I see it because I'm a man even when I'm not behind these keyboards. You are not. Talk about the sport man. Leave unfunny at the door.

If you play any kind of sport, you will recognize momentum swings, and periods when you just click with your teammates and then periods when nothing seems to click. Teams will adjust on the fly, and then at half-time or when you change fields, and then of course it has a lot to do with what your opponent is doing and whether your adjustments counter and match their adjustments. Your opponents could start clicking too. Sometimes it just takes one guy making one play, to change the flow of things.

In basketball this is easy to see, because you have "runs." In baseball you have the occasional big innings. In football, it may be a little harder to see, but you may have a stalled offense suddenly complete 10 passes in a row.

So I would not call a bad half followed by a good half a coaching problem. If it persists throughout the game, okay, the inability to make the right adjustments cost you the game. Coaching could've been better. If it persists through a couple of games, now you're talking about coaching problems, but it's also the players that need to make those clutch plays that will change the momentum in your favor.

Maybe this kind of talk is a cop out, but even when a winning team meets a losing team, you seldom witness complete dominance. Expecting your team to dominate an entire game because the team was able to do it for a half, to me, is a bit of a stretch. Even when a team does dominate, a lot of things that could've fallen either way have to go their way for it to happen.

Buddy, if I'm a tool then you're a Sears store.

Tommie Harris had his knee issues in 2007, but he still played in all 16 games and posted a career high 8 sacks. Darwin Walker and Adams were also there to provide depth even though Walker flopped. In '08, Tommie did miss a couple of games and was battling injuries but the Bears had Dusty, Idonije, Adams...even drafted Harrison and they had substantial depth. I brought up Tank cuz' Tommie went on IR in '06, meaning the Bears again had depth. The Chargers on the other hand have pinned their hopes on one guy and now are forced to use an inexperienced backup. The point? The Bears have had depth on their d-line and Babich had at least something to work with. San Diego does not this season and Rivera has both hands tied behind his back.

Anyway, you pretty much sidestepped everything else I said, probably since I'm correct and there's nothing to rebut. You do that quite often. You also love to tell me how childish I am and how unfunny I am for calling people names and then you call me names yourself. In closing, I'm sorry, but I couldn't let this one slide. You wrote:

"It really speaks of seriously flaws."

Well, speaking of flaws...

What issues were we supposed to be addressing. The one where Tommy fell back into coverage. That was stupid. If he was trying to be innovative it didn't work. I said you were childish but where did I call you names. I implied something about why people try to bully others. If you know the clinical name for it and someone called you that then that's another thing. Thank the United States Army for the free psychology classes for MPIs. In my opinion: when a person goes over board like you there are reasons. They were bullied. Not close to a male parent. Really close to female parent. Now takes the side of the biggest perceived bully in his life so as not to get bullied by them. Better known as a kiss butt at work. And imitates the biggest bully deftly behind a computer screen in the most anonymous fashion possible. Don't have real relationships with women. Never had kids but dote on possible sibling's kids. Hoping to live vicariously thru them. Suffers from isolation. Narcissistic. Feels he's smarter than others since he only knows himself. Either that person is an only child or he is at odds with siblings because he always felt superior. You can tell a lot about a person when his comments to people (who haven't done anything to them) are always the same. I've asked to just talk about the Bears since this is a forum for people who like talking about the Bears. You constantly want to down others who you disagree with. They don't even continue arguing but you bring the argument to them. Try to respect other people's opinion. Don't keep hiding behind the internet.

I forgot. You mention Dusty but he didn't finish any season since he's been here. Tommy hasn't been the same and regressed somewhat after 2007. I keep saying that Babich and Rivera didn't have to face the same adversity. The Bears have pinned a lot on their one guy, Tommy and he hasn't had help working beside him. Remember back in 86 when we were better in stats? That didn't mean we didn't miss Buddy Ryan. But they faced different adversity. It's harder to motivate after you go to Super Bowls. Even after losses. It's even harder when average guys go and get better contracts and leave. We lost so many back up defensive players after 06 than any other year. Guys who knew the system. who reaped way better contracts than they deserved. We actually brought in players who did not pan out including Walker and Bazuin who used up a 2nd round pick. We suffered more because of not having proven back ups. Then we inserted Anderson who was one-dimensional. Who needed a better position coach like he got. That's why I've said for 2 years that Don Johnson was a big loss. No back ups and under achieving expectations. If you don't think Coach Smith has been handcuffed by and large due to not having back ups, an old offensive line for several years, no talent at QB then so be it. Coach Smith didn't trade a single soul. He actually got half the players he wanted. Archuleta was a mistake. Who knew before hand that he would be? At the time of the signing everyone took a tempered approach to him. But no one expected that he would bomb. Pisa is another Smith guy. No one held that against him. Not until it doesn't pan out. Coaches aren't evaluated by what they don't have or what they lost. They are evaluated with the results. The Chargers' previous D coordinator didn't get the benefit of saying that he didn't have Merriman. He got fired because his defense was helping them lose. Bring him back then if he didn't have his best player. Put Rivera back as the inside LB coach since the former guy is getting a second chance. Put it all back, right? It doesn't work that way. Move on.

"I said you were childish but where did I call you names."

Let's go up a few posts...

"See MIKE you are a tool. An unfunny tool who can't debate without being stupid."

Mm-hmm... So I see you're into psychoanalyzing people based on the sports blogs they write (great source to research btw). But tell me, what do you say about a guy who has such an extreme ego, that he doesn't even realize how often he contradicts himself, even within the same post?

I don't know why you hate Rivera so much but love Smith and all the decisions he makes. I really don't know what else to say, but if you can't see that Rivera's a better coordinator than Babich, then I can't help you.

First off MIKE I asked you to not call me names and to let's talk football. Then I said that if you did call me names instead of just giving your opinion then it show that you are a tool. Then along the way you took my initials-added letters- and called me a dweeb. On Oct 7th at 7:38pm I made the request. There is no contradiction there. You just did what I asked you not to. I didn't goad you or insulted you at all. You took it upon yourself to show exactly what I was talking about. For example: If I asked stupid people to make a comment towards me then whoever did was stupid. Didn't call anyone stupid they called themselves stupid. And I don't hate Rivera. I just get tired of people acting like he has this keen mind and we went down the tubes after he left and only because he left. This isn't 85 all over with fans being upset that Buddy was gone. I'm all for supporting whatever we have here. With fans throwing names around as future replacements for the head coach and the season hadn't even started yet it made no sense to me. Whatever he had done wrong in the past should stay in the past. I'm not one to dwell on past mistakes. Tell me what mistakes he's making NOW that is costing us games then I can see that. Every year should be a clean slate right out the gate. No first time head coach comes in knowing everything. There will be mistakes made. Has he learned from his mistakes? I think he has. The mistakes he made in 2007 and 2008 were not the exact same mistakes. Was Babich a mistake? More than almost anything it was. But you can't blame Smith because he thought his guy was ready. He suffered because of it. Fans really suffered less than he did. His master plan didn't work out. But with his differences with Rivera that we are not even privy to it had to go down the way it did. But after seeing what he does with our LBs I can see why he is still around. I don't think he will be a great coordinator here. No one will give him a chance in this town again. A lot of coordinators don't work out. I thought Jason Garrett would be good. As a head coach I thought Zorn would be good. I thought Denver's coach would flop right off the bat but he has shown quite a few people that he knows a lot more than we gave him credit for. Etch this is stone: I do not hate Rivera. I just think that fans should give him not being here a rest. I'm from the school of "if you can't change it by will, you can't change it by crying".

Hmmm... getting a bit hot in here...

I'll say this about our defense:
In 06 we were the best defense in the league, if not one of the best defenses in history. I don't care what the stats say since a lot of our yards came in coverage and after games were already blown out. Almost our whole starting lineup were PRO BOWLER caliber players. Our whole starting lineup. Then we had pretty good depth too which was why we could somewhat absorb the loss of Dusty and Mike Brown early on. After the 06 season, you could see a huge drop off in the effort of our defense. Call it Super Bowl hangover or whatever there was a drop. And there was a change in scheme to, which I don't hear many people talk about. Even though we were a 4-3, we had enough athleticism to drop many of the DEs and DT into coverage so you could say in that way we were kinda a 3-4.

There was a lot of talk of Rivera and Lovie clashing heads on scheme, and it probably turned out the best for the defense as a whole. But when he fired Rivera after the season he had a chance to do things his way and we see how it turned out. Guess he didn't understand 'if it ain't broke don't fix it'.

I think Rivera had a lot to do with how well our defense played in 06 and had our defense given Manning a different look in the second half then we probably would have won the game. In all honesty I don't really know what's wrong with the defense right now. The line's playing better but is not getting to the quarterback on a consistent basis but and corners give too much of a cushion. Maybe it's just getting old and needs new talent. Or maybe it's on its way back to old for. Who knows but I do like a lot of what I see. I just wish they would bench Harris till he get's better. We see I guess.

And chill guys it is just a game

Also, Dahli, The Chargers were 8-8 to end the season. They were not 0-8 at the half way point. They were worse than the Bears with their record and only gave 3 points less on D. They were 4-1 compared to our 3-2 in the last 5 games. Not that big a difference but we had a QB who didn't have two good lets to stand on. And he didn't keep his defense fresher like Rivers did.

WRD, the 4-1 vs the 3-2 for the last 5 games is the difference in the Chargers making the playoffs and the Bears did not because they lost the last game of the year, a win would have won the division and ensured the playoffs.

WRD what is with the psychoanalysis stuff. It is not needed or necessary in this blog. This analysis of Mike (whom I think is a good guy) is BS. What is it that defines a man? The answer is more than you or I know.

Lets just talk football and cut the shi-.

Cutting the shi- should also include namecalling. If everyone does that we will be able to talk football. You and I have debated several times when have I called you names? You may like a person but you can not defend that they do it a lot. Not just to me. I don't like namecalling. Even when Brando and others do it I'm not a fan of that stuff. So when someone bring it to me I'm not going to take it lightly. Go back and remove the friendship blinders and see where it all started.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on October 6, 2009 10:51 PM.

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