Chicago Sun-Times

Weekly Bears Q and A

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Q: Devin Aromashodu proved that he is a worthy No. 1 receiver last season. So why is it that the Bears still think that Devin Hester is their No. 1? Aromashodu outperformed Hester in the limited time he was on the field and was one of Cutler's favorite targets. --- dahlillama

A: I wouldn't worry about who the No. 1 receiver is going to be before the season starts. The No. 1 receiver is the guy Jay Cutler throws to the most, the guy who is open the most, the player who catches the most passes. They can anoint Rashied Davis the No. 1 receiver. It doesn't mean that he will be.
Q: How has rookie WR Freddie Barnes been performing? Do you think he'll make the team? --- Giskard
A: He has been the best of the rookie receivers. Whether or not he makes the team may come down to his ability to play special teams. Rashied Davis is a valuable special teams player and therefore likely has a better chance of keeping his roster spot.
Q: Marcus Harrison sat out the recent mini-camp because he was "ill." Is that code for "fat and out of shape" or did he really have the sniffles? ---Big Bear
A: He was definitely ill. Here's what Marinelli said about Harrison at the minicamp: "He's a big, athletic man who can really move. He did some nice things last year and next year he'll be doing the same thing again. He's going to take a step. We've got some inside players."
Q: How have last years draft picks Jarron Gilbert and Henry Melton looked so far in camp? Are they making any progress and do you see them being contributors this year? --- Raj Singh
A: I don't want to sound like a broken record, but it's impossible to judge defensive linemen before they get the pads on. Personally, I don't know what to think about these guys because Melton was hurt last season and Gilbert only played briefly and didn't make much of an impact. The Bears need these guys to be players, though. Whether or not they will be is a question for later.
Q: Who is Johan Asiata? I have heard Mike Tice rave about this guy as a possible starting left guard, but I know little about him. Do you have any impressions of this guy? --- Rod Mooney
A: He is an undrafted free agent out of UNLV who was signed after the 2009 draft. The 6-foot-4, 300 played left guard and right tackle at UNLV, where he was named honorable mention all-Mountain West after his senior year. Asiata, who was born in New Zealand and did not play high school football, is considered a project with a lot of upside potential. He saw snaps at left guard during a recent minicamp and is expected to compete for the starting spot at left tackle during training camp. As far as having an impression of him during the recent minicamp, sorry. It's impossible to learn much about linemen before they put the pads on. He's worth watching closely when camp opens, however.
Q: What's the word on Kahlil Bell? I thought he did a great job of running the ball last season, at times he looking better than Forte. What do you think the Bears will do with him? --- Elvin
A: He'll be the third running back behind Matt Forte and Chester Taylor unless he gets beaten out by rookie free agent Brandon Minor.
Q: I was looking at roster spots 54 through 80. Do teams always carry that many wide receivers? Do they need that many to run a training camp? If wide receivers are a strength of this team, why carry so many?
A: The Bears kept six wide receivers in 2009. It's possible they could keep seven this year since Mike Martz's offense calls for a lot of multiple-receiver formations. It will depend on which players best contribute on special teams, how many tight ends they keep and myriad other factors. Six is a typical number, however. A lot of the players on the roster now will not survive training camp, obviously, but they need a lot to be able to put multiple-receiver formations on the field with the first, second and third teams during training camp.
Q: With Oshiomogho Atogwe becoming an official free agent do you think the Bears have any interest? I'm afraid we might be in the same situation next year at free safety. --- Timothy Miller
A: I've gotten a ton of questions about Atogwe, so Sean Jensen and I checked it out. From what we hear, the Bears are not among the teams interested in acquiring the unrestricted free agent. Evidently, they feel confident about their safety situation as it currently stands. Obviously, it's been a problem area for several years. I don't completely understand Smith's logic of having Danieal Manning play strong safety during a recent minicamp. I think he's better at nickel. I would think that Chris Harris would be the starter at that spot with everybody else competing to be the starter at free safety, but I don't get paid $5.5 million a year to coach the Bears.
Q: Do you think Jay Cutler will lead the NFL in interceptions again this year? --- R.Daneel
A: The Bears better hope he doesn't if they want to make the playoffs. As for me, no, I don't think he will. Martz has worked wonders with quarterbacks and I'm convinced he'll have a profound impact on Cutler's career. Like Brett Favre, Cutler will always throw interceptions because he has the same gunslinger mentality but he won't finish with as many as he had last year because the offensive line should be improved, the receivers have more experience and Matt Forte and Chester Taylor should help give the offense a more potent running game.
Q: What are your thoughts and what is the common belief among NFL pundits as to the Bears defense in 2010, Rod Marinelli as the defensive coordinator and the style of play the Bears defense will have? --- dahlillama
A: I don't think there's any debate. Lovie Smith is clearly a proponent of the cover-2. Marinelli's background is in the cover-2. Marinelli was who Smith wanted to run his defense when he first came to Chicago. They will run the cover-2. How aggressive Marinelli is will be largely determined by how much pressure they're getting up front. If the front four is putting pressure on the quarterback there's no reason to blitz much. If not, expect more blitzing.

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I don't get $5.5 million to coach the Bears either, but Im still gonna question the Danieal Manning to strong safety move? I don't get it either? I'd like to see Manning as the Bears nickleback/kick return. He's a pretty good nickleback and one of the leagues better return men.

The only logic I can see is maybe Chicago feels he was a 2nd round draft pick and their not ready to give up on him? Athletically Manning's great, instinctively, which is a key attribute for a safety, Manning's subpar. Manning's proved he's a pretty good nickleback, putting Manning at nickle would not be wasting a draft pick. In todays pass happy NFL, a nickleback is a very important position. The only other logical explanation I can think of is, maybe they feel putting him in the box more, as a strong safety, will take away Manning having to rely on his instincts like if he was at free safety out in coverage? Manning had 90 tackles which was 2nd best on the team last season, but I've seen the guy miss a couple tackles, we'll see how it works out. I think Chris Harris will end up at strong safety, rookie Major Wright will end up at free, and Corey Graham will be the nickleback, just an opinion GO BEARS!!

ahhh...rong agian BUM

but ou guys now me old crap-ton...just tryiong to be posatcie

ps teh weather is sooo nice...but is it pink panties weahter?? :)

Thanks a lot Neil "they can anoint Rashied Davis as the #1"...I just blew coffee all over my monitor !!!

Manning is Lovie Smith's pet project so he will get every chance to start at safety. If you can't tell Lovie is trying to prove something about himself with Manning. Manning may very well have been a call by Lovie Smith when he was drafted, and Lovie has been more than supportive of him.

I got Harris at FS and Manning at SS when the season opens. An injury could happen, but outside of that I don't see them handing the job to a third round rookie. Harris played 13 games at FS for the Bears, truth is last year he was better in coverage than he was against the run. What Harris did struggle with last year was missed tackles.

I don't agree that Martz will help Cutler not throw picks. The Martz offense is known for giving up a lot of INT's. Sense 2002 when Faulk began his decline this is the passing to int ratio per year in a Martz offense.

TD 24, Int 27
TD 23, Int 23
TD 23, Int 22
TD 23, Int 24
TD 21, Int 22
TD 19, Int 22
TD 21, Int 19

Sense that three year run the Rams had a decade ago, the Martz offense has not been all that great.


I was one of the ones who sent in a detailed question about Atogwe and our safeties. And I understand that you are "just the messenger" but it is responses like the one above that makes some Bears fans feel as though management does things on a 'knee jerk' reaction basis. The 3 stooges are on a 1 year reprieve with regard to their jobs, so what do they do? They go on a spending spree. Do they spend wisely? Still up for debate. They give a blocking TE who is recovering from injury a nice healthy contract. And when the division is stocked with 6'4" or taller WR's we bring in a 5'8" nickel back.
Word around the league was that the Rams were not going to re-sign Atogwe. The Bears had to have known this. I have been saying it since the draft. Now you have the Lions as one of the hot teams after him. Anyone who thinks the Lions are going to be 2 easy wins on the Bears' schedule is nuts. They have had a great off season. Suh and Best in the draft along with an upgrade at OG (out foxed Angelo on that one as well), you trade for Scheffler, and bring in Vandenbosch who is going to benefit from playing at least 9 games a year on field turf. And now they might bring in Atogwe?
News flash...the safety positions with the Bears have not been shored up with a trade for Harris and the drafting of Wright. If you have a chance to make a significant upgrade at a position that has bit you in the rear for several years AND keep a top flight safety away from a team in your division, I don't see where the hangup is. But once again, I like the rest of you, don't get paid 5.5 million dollars a year to stand in front of the media and tell the world how much I like Craig Steltz.

Gearhead, that was one of the best messages I have ever read. Everything you have stated is true, and I think that the best thing we can all do now is just cross our fingers and hope that the Bears start winning. Winning, not for the sake of Lovie or any of the staff, but for the players and the fans. If the team does not perform well this season than we all certainly deserve better and must move on with a whole new staff. But let's all wait and give our team a chance to showcase itself. Go Bears!!

These are some seriously generic answers, truth be told the spending spree was window dressing. This team still has not addressed the offensive line, like last year Marinelli was suppose to raise the level of defensive line play this year it's Tice and the O-Line. Now let's see we have Marinelli failure at Det.(really had no chance), Tice (ousted at Minn), Martz (SF,Det& StLouis) and now because these guys are here (College of Losing Coaches) it is said they would coach up these weak areas. Marinelli and Lovie weren't big winners in Tampa. Tampa's success came post Angelo/Lovie/Marinelli. Any coach that takes a finese tackle used to playing in space and put him at guard with no space saying a size increase (6'4" 315 vs. 6'2" 310) looks like a wash to me, can't see a once great OT was a shell of himself, can't see his aging center is playing subpar because he's hurt and you play him, playing stupid again at safety where you are playing a SS at FS and a SS who should be and has proven to be a nickel. That is pathetic, even the Cutler/Peppers thing no players around then just expensive window dressing and lame attempts to make sure those PL's stay in those seats. We still have the three stooges Moe(Angelo), Larry(Phillips) and Curly(Lovie) until these three clowns punch their tickets we are moribound with mediocrity. It's just getting boring now.

Gearheadboy is absolutely right.As I write this, the Bears vs Colts Superbowl is on NFL network, and I just watched Chris Harris give up the first TD the Colts scored. If Angelo thinks Harris is the answer to the Bears problems at safety, he is GROSSLY mistaken. Atogwe should have already signed a contract with Chicago, but Jerry has to prove he's smarter than the rest of us.He "liked" his roster last year too !

In a perfect world the Bears would sign Atogwe, but my guess is that, even in an uncapped year, Angelo was given a certain amount of money to spend by the McCaskeys. There was only enough to make one blockbuster deal and that went to Peppers. So now the Bears will have to make due with what they have.

Neil, thank you for including my comment about Marinelli's style of defense.I must have not asked the question very well? I know that the Cover 2 Tampa 2 will be the base defense. What I meant to say was given the fact that the Bears should have more pressure on the QB with Peppers on the field, I was thinking that with this added pressure that Peppers should help to create, would it allow for even more ability on the Bears part to get creative and more aggressive with the defense? How about running different more aggressive styles of defense on various down and distance scenarios to confuse the offense, having more one on one corner coverage therefore bringing either a linebacker or safety up to get exotic in the blitz package, running more stunts, particularly on 3rd down and passing scenarios.

My recollection of the last few years as to why teams converted on 3rd and long so often on the Bears (6 yards or longer) was due to the fact that there was no pass rush and the QB's passed to whichever read was open because of no pressure. The QB's could have barbecued a burger back there sometimes So why can't the Bears adopt some of the philosophies of the teams like the Jets and Ravens, where many time in these situations they just bring the heat, the Bears play back and give up the play and the subsequent first down which makes me puke blood.

Grow a pair is what I say!!

deputydawg, you're absolutely right! Every now and then I find myself foolishly having hope that we'll actually be good this year, but then reality sinks in. What's more, a 4-win season, while painful, is probably the best think that could happen to this team (because we all now we're not making the playoffs). Maybe then our lame owners (which is actually the REAL problem) will be forced to fire the 3 stooges and their posse of cast-off former head coaches. The rest of the league just laughs at the Bears. It's pathetic that a team with such tradition, a great fan-base and in such a large media market is so laughable.


Actually the first question about Aromashodu was not my question, I think the question is a good one but I should not get the credit for asking it?

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This page contains a single entry by Neil Hayes published on June 4, 2010 2:34 PM.

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