Chicago Sun-Times

Answers to your questions

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Q: Everyone seems worried about our offensive line. How much of this is a scheme problem versus a personnel problem? Last years' scheme left much to the imagination. Your thoughts.

A: Based on last season, I think it's completely warranted for people to be concerned about the Bears offensive line. But, with that said, the Bears believe they have the right players in the right positions and that the players are a year older.
To start with, Pro Bowl center Olin Kreutz had surgery in January to remove a bone spur near his Achilles, and he participated in a limited fashion in the team's last couple O.T.A. sessions.
In addition, the Bears believe Frank Omiyale is suited better to play right tackle than guard and that Chris Williams will thrive at left tackle.
The Bears are also intrigued by Johan Asiata, a young athletic lineman who got plenty of snaps with the first-string offensive line this off-season.
The Bears didn't splurge on the position, either in free agency or the draft, which makes clear that they have confidence in the unit. Given their investment in Jay Cutler, the Bears aren't blind to the importance of an offensive line.
Is their assessment accurate? Only time will tell. For now, I'll reserve my opinion until at least I see the guys in pads at training camp.

Q: Any word on starting nickleback frontrunner??

A: Corey Graham sure looked good - in shorts. He stood out, making a lot of plays on balls and intercepting a few. Veteran Tim Jennings is solid insurance, and draft pick Josh Moore doesn't appear as if he will be an immediate contributor on defense. But the x-factor is Danieal Manning, who is currently atop the depth chart at strong safety.
If somebody behind him steps up, then Manning - arguably the most athletic player on the entire team - may shift back to nickel.

Q: We have heard many reports as to how Cutler is picking up Martz's system. And I understand that the starter gets the bulk of the snaps. But how has Caleb Hanie looked in the OTA's and mini camp? There hasn't been much talk in the past few weeks about bringing in a veteran QB like there was right after the draft. Other than Lovie saying something a couple of weeks ago that bringing in a veteran is still a possibility. That was before (Marc) Bulger went to the (Baltimore) Ravens. Has Hanie done anything to sway Martz one way or the other?

A: The sense I get is that the Bears will not close the door on adding a veteran quarterback. That they didn't make a serious play for Bulger, who will be a backup in Baltimore, should be encouragement for Hanie. But, my guess is that, before training camp, Martz is going to take a long, hard look at all the snaps Hanie took throughout the off-season.
In the couple of sessions I watched, I can't say I was overly impressed by Hanie. But, Martz's system is obviously difficult to get a handle on, and Cutler had his share of growing pains, too.
There are still a few veterans on the proverbial street, including Josh McCown, who is not under contract to a UFL team.

Q: I haven't been hearing much about a new CBA and was wondering what the major hurdles are in negotiations? Has anyone suggested draft money modifications more in line with what the NBA does? With JaMarcus Russell being the huge bust he was I can't see the justification for paying unproven players such large sums.
808 Bears

A: You are right. It has been quiet. But, the uncertainty is one of the main reasons teams have been reluctant to give players lucrative extensions. It's the great unknown. Besides, why would owners commit cash, if there's the possibility of a work stoppage in 2011?
Fox Sports reported Wednesday that NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith said he and NFL Comissioner Roger Goodell are working toward a six-year deal. But, the two sides still have a long way to go.
One of the major sticking points is the NFL's refusal to provide the NFLPA detailed financial records for its teams. The union feels that information is essential in order to justify asking players to take a pay cut.
Meanwhile, Goodell has expressed an interest in reining in rookie salaries, but the NFLPA isn't going to give that up easily. It's a key bargaining chip. While many veterans complain about it, the reality is the rookie deals keep raising the salary bar, so to speak. Proven stars can justifiably ask for more money than the top draft picks.

Q: If the Bears go 9-7, which would be a slight improvement, is Lovie (Smith) and company gone then?

A: I don't think it comes down to a record. For instance, 9-7 may be good enough to win the division or a playoff spot. Then, anything is possible.
Then again, 9-7 might not be good enough to punch a ticket to the postseason.
I do think there's definitely an expectation from everybody at Halas Hall for the 2010 Bears to make the playoffs. Anything short of that would be a disappointment, which would surely result in changes throughout the organization.

Q: What Bear do you think has the best chance to be a first time Pro Bowler this season?
Bear Down in Naples

A: I wonder if Chris Williams could somehow put it all together quickly and make Cutler look good. And given the offense, I also wouldn't be surprised to see one of the running backs really blow up.
But I'm going to go with cornerback Charles Tillman. He's been awfully good the last few seasons, especially at forcing fumbles, and I think he's the sort of opportunistic player who may be able to really take advantage of the team's potentially excellent front seven. I think he's well-regarded around the league, and he may get the benefit of the doubt, assuming the Bears defense is among the league's best.

Q: My question is why did the Sun Times hire you Sean when you use to be a Vikings beat reporter. In my opinion Inside the Bears have lost its luster and INSIDE info on the Bears sense Brad has left. The news you post is not only on every other NFL based site but it is almost always a day old.

A: Ah, I saved the best for last.
I try - like Denny Green - to travel on the high road. I've posted many comments critical of me on the blog. I have no problem with people taking issue with something I post.
But I cannot stand idly by when someone attacks me.
I'm not going to even bother pointing out the countless mistakes in his "question," which lacks a question mark, like my friend Gregg Doyel of CBS Sportsline might do. Nor, am I going to dredge up and obsess about some regrettable comments he's made on this blog in the past (like on Michael Turner or Lance Briggs).
Instead, I will try to answer the question as honestly as possible.
The Sun-Times hired me because they liked the way I covered the Minnesota Vikings. You'd have to ask my editors specifically what appealed to them, but I pride myself in my versatility, having earned awards for breaking stories, features and even a series.
It seems Brando is implying that the fact that I covered a rival of the Bears is a knock against me. Well, I covered the Green Bay Packers for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel before I worked at the St. Paul Pioneer Press and that didn't seem to be an issue.
Let me highlight that: I worked of the Journal Sentinel and Pioneer Press. I didn't work for the Packers or the Vikings.
That might explain why I often wrote stories that the Vikings were thrilled to see in print but other stories they wished had never seen the light of day.
Brando is entitled to his opinion that Inside the Bears has - as he says - "lost its luster." And I agree with him that Brad Biggs is good. That's why Biggs and I often communicated, when I covered the Vikings. I might fetch a quote for him or provide him an injury update, and vice versa.
But I do think Brando is way off base in his assertion that the news I post is "on every other NFL-based site."
I've had plenty of stories unique to the Sun-Times, although I believe it would be absurd to list them. And I can assure you that I will continue to vigorously pursue stories that you can only find at the Sun-Times.
Again, I've got no problem with banter and people having differing opinions. But, I do think people should be more courteous and respectful to one another.

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Hehehehehe, hahahahahahahaha, hohohohohohoh, woooooooooooooooooo! Oh man LMAO, Brando you just can't stop yourself can you?

Sean don't take it personal, Brando loved Brad. He once asked Brad to be his Valentine, he once pretended he and Brad were family until Brad made him stop. Brad would write the final scores of sunday games and Brando would write things like "your writing moves me."

I love the concept though, Sean is a secret spy form the vikings because he used to cover them. Hahahahahaha, hay Brando by your logic, that means Lovie, Angelo, Tice, Martz, Cutler, Peppers, Taylor and many others are all secret spies sent to destroy the Bears by other teams. Hahahahahahahaha. Its job Brando, a job.

Oh and this is the off-season how much Bear football action do you think there is going to be. The fact is the only thing you are mad about is the fact that it is much harder to make personal attacks on this board now. Which is basically all you do.

If you don't like Sean and what he writes you can go to other places, nobody is making you read his stuff. Not like you would be missed.

I agree with Creighton about not paying too much attention to Brando, but would point out that Creighton's assertion that making personal attacks on this blog is harder now is rather ironic in that he is personally attacking Brando. Anonymous attacks are typical of cowards the world over, so let's all take the high road and show respect and restraint.

I think you do a fin job Sean, thank you for filling my lunch hour with the minutia of da Bears, who I love so dearly. So on Sunday then, who are you routing for?
Aloha from Maui

Hahahaha!! Brando got owned again. Honestly, I thought Biggs was way too uncritical of Bears management. Welcome aboard, Sean. I think the change has been great, plus Neil is now on board as well. I just don't understand why the blog was down for so long during the transition, but that's in the past. As for being attacked, well that comes with the territory. You can't take the good without the bad. Long live free speech and the First Amendment.

Yeah Sean we are all pee-ons compared to you. Who cares if I didn't use a question mark I got the point across. Sean in my opinion your not here for the passion of the Bears, your here to collect a pay check. Thats why I asked about the Sun-Times had choosen you. Neil has passion, Neil gets pumped about the Bears you seem to only do your job and that is it!
Sean tell me when I have ever wrote anything about Lance Briggs that that I would regret. The answer is NOT ONCE have I ever said anything bad or in anyway put down Lance Briggs. Maybe your refering to your BBF Creighton.
I can see why your on your third job writing for 3 different papers and 3 different teams. In my own opinion you stink at what you do. Just because your an english major of some sorts doesnt make you good at being a sports writer. It will be a matter of time Sean, when your gonna be released from the Sun-Times and start working for a paper writing about the Lions.

Geez, Brando. You just don't get it, do you?

I didn't start this, and I never intimated that any of you are "pee-ons." I respect everyone's opinion, even if it differs from mine. You don't know anything about me, and I wish you would stop pretending as if you have any special insight. I have countless readers of the Pioneer Press who can attest to my passion for my job. I am privileged to make a decent living writing about sports and, in particular, the NFL.

I don't care to get into a back-and-fort with you, so this is my last response.

When did you put down Lance Briggs? Read for yourself, in a comment you posted on May 28, 2008. You wonder how effective Briggs would be, without Urlacher. Well, he performed just fine last season, after Urlacher went down with his wrist injury.

Just in case, though, here it is, verbatim, sans a swipe you take at Joe and Creighton:

"Why trade a Hall of Fame linebacker???? Makes no sence. 
You claimed Briggs can shed Blocks??? Thats not true. Not true at all. Why do you think Briggs has more backfield tackels then any other Bear. Ahhhhh Because opposing offenses key on Urlacher and Tommie Harris to open up a big holes for Briggs. Most every play Briggs is in the backfield he is untouched!!!
What happen to Holdman when he left free agentcy? What happen to Rossie Colvin besides break a hip when he left for free agentcy? What will happen to Briggs if Urlacher leaves the Bears? What will happen to Hunter if he is Traded or released.
I have an answer for that Joe. There average at best. Let the Bears do a dumbie move like the Charger did with Junior Seau.

Sean, I'm all for some type of rookie salary cap. I get your point about how rookie deals keep raising the salary bar, but lets be honest here, these guys are always gonna get theirs, meaning their always gonna get paid. My thing is this, pay the players that deserve to get paid. Rookies shouldn't be coming into the league making the same amount of money as proven vets based solely on what they did in college. Also, a rookie salary cap would probably end the days of the rookie hold outs. Teams would be getting their top picks into camp on time. A lot of the time a player gets paid as a rookie, gets into the NFL and takes a hit, and says the heck with this game, and you never hear about them come time for their second contract i.e. a bust. And basically not try because they already got paid. A rookie salary cap would weed out the players that don't deserve to be in the league in the first place, and pay the players that really deserve it. I say a player should get their major pay day on their second contract, just an opinion as always GO BEARS!!

By Creighton on April 21, 2010 5:43 PM
Yeah I am with Coach, rejections are way up for some of us. You can say Crap-Ton, but not id+the last three letters of riot. This blog seems to be run by a mom who is putting training wheels on her 35 year old sons moutain bike and dressing him in full pads and helmet while only letting him ride in the driveway. No offense Tripper, the rest of us don't actually go mountain biking like that.

Maybe the name should be changed from Inside the Bears, to Sesame Street. You realize it is a football blog right? When you are in the locker room after games do you just stick your fingers in your ears and pretend the players are talking about taking tea in the garden?

Dear Sean,

You need to show your passion for the Bears. Please show passion by not making any objective observations or critical comments about the Bears. That shows passion because you will be sparing your readers the truth, and we all know the truth hurts. Please show passion by retaking your picture. Please paint your body blue, wear an orange wig, and hold a big "Bears #1" foam finger. A picture says a thousand words, or in this case, it will say "passion" a thousand times. Please show super duper passion by changing your name to George Halas. Wives traditionally change their name after falling passionately in love and get married. Of course, some would argue that passion ends after the wedding, so you may want to have a few extra names to continue the passion. Might I suggest the next name be Bronko Nagurski? And finally, please show passion by writing an article about how you chose the Superbowl Shuffle for your ringtone because that song changed your life. Especially since it taught you how to dance like Steve Fuller and helped you get passionate with the ladies.

Failure to do all of these will cause me to doubt your passion, which means I will be unable to read any of your articles.

Passionately yours,
T Dawg


Man, chill out. When you make valid points on the board you kill your own credibility by making outlandish statements like you did above about Sean.

I think the blog has been more touchy feely since Sean came aboard because he wants bloggers to treat each other fairly, no name calling etc. but overall Sean has been fair.

As for the Briggs comparison to Urlacher, Briggs still made the probowl without Urlacher last year. Briggs is a stand up guy that is taking a leadership in the locker room and on the field. Briggs is not making excuses about poor play nor is he taking on ICONS of the Bears past as Urlacher did with Sayers. There is some thought that trading either Urlacher or T Harris for someone special (Vincent Jackson) might be in the long run best interest of the Bears. Lets face it both Urlacher and T Harris are questionable with their health issues. The great teams that have had dynasty's in the past such as the Niners knew when to trade or cut their past top performers such as Joe Montana when Steve Young was ready to replace him and Montana still succeeded well with the Chiefs. Ronnie Lott, Rice etc.

Personally, I believe keeping Urlacher is a good move for the next year or two but if there would be trade value for T Harris to pick up someone special like a quality #1 wide receiver, a top level Offensive line tackle or guard, a top corner or safety I would pull the trigger in a second.

In the next few years the Bears will have some draft picks in all the rounds, lets hope they make the most with them and if necessary pull the trigger on a trade of a veteran if it will ultimately improve the team.

Sean, don't let all these fair weather fans get you down. You're doing a great job and I look forward to reading your column everyday. They're all just jealous that they don't have a great job like yours! GO BEARS!

I haven't read all of the comments, but the attack on you, Sean, is reckless and spiteful. If anything, your experience covering other teams in our division for other newspapers (not teams, Brando) has allowed you to develop a unique perspective on the Bears. I enjoy reading your columns. You didn't deserve this. Keep up the great work. Ignore people like this, but I'm glad you shared this with us so we could understand what it must be like to read such crap in your inbox.


Brando, I like the cut of your'd fit right in with The Chicago Sports Fan Message Board....I'm inviting you, Sean Jensen, and others to join that board...A lot of our favorite sports radio are members of the board, including Dan McNeil, Matt Speigel, Fred Heubner, Jason Goff, Matt Abbatacola, Chris Rongey, Marc Silverman, and name on the board is spmack and I've been there for over 6 years. Check it out. Thanks.

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Jensen published on July 2, 2010 1:20 PM.

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