Chicago Sun-Times

Might be hard to find another safety, tackle

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If Major Wright's or Chris Williams' hamstring injuries result in the Bears looking for help at tackle and safety they could be out of luck, according to an NFL source.

According to the source, the current free-agent market is extremely thin at tackle, safety and linebacker in large part because players with NFL experience have been swallowed up by UFL teams and are therefore unavailable.

The UFL regular season ends on Nov. 20, at which time players from that league will be available to sign with NFL teams, which could provoke a signing frenzy, especially for teams that have been trying to replace injured players.

Free-agents typically work out for interested teams on Tuesdays.

The lack of experienced players on the market could also increase the value of what few proven players are available, such as Chargers holdout left tackle Marcus McNeill and receiver Vincent Jackson.

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18 Comments

Would love it if Angelo could get either one of the holdouts from SD

Yeah it's gonna be real hard to replace Chris Williams. Are there any tackles on the market as bad as he is?

Maybe the Bears could trade one of their many young stud defensive linemen they have been drafting for years?

Or is it time for the Webb?

Anyway how hurt is Williams? Does not really seem that hurt does he? Or are you saying you want to replace him.

As for Safety, can't they just move one of their DB's over. It's not like they have a shortage, a couple of short ones yes but not a shortage. I am sure one of them could be a backup for 5-6 weeks. Graham has the size.

Why, up rooted? You don't have confidence in Rashied, Davis, or Earl Bennett?..lol. Sorry, man, I agree with you whole heartedly. If the Bears were able to get the Tackle, mcNeil, then maybe next year you could move Williams to G and see if he can work out there.

As I mentioned on air {and here} last week, opposing defenses are not scared of Hester or Knox therefore they are blitzing like crazy. Neither one of those guys are forcing teams to double team them and other than Knox's 59 yard bomb, everything else has been underneath routes and an occasional mid range curl or seam route. If they were to trade for a guy like Jackson, he would demand a double team look on almost every play forcing defenses to blitz less. Less blitzing would mean less of a chance for Cutler to get hurt. Just a thought.

Craig Steltz should be back this week which basically resolves the problem at safety at least in terms of numbers. The Bears have been carrying an extra safety since Steltz was hurt in preseason so Wright will simply swap spots for the next 6-7 weeks. As far as the tackle position goes that's where the Bears will be hurting if they don't find a suitable player during William's absence. They do not have the depth to cover his loss long term. Unfortunately, there are no decent solutions on the list of available veterans so they will either have to go with a young guy or keep having Cutler get rid of the ball on 3-5 step drops. Of course, this doesn't resolve the lack of ability the Bears have trying to pick up any 3rd and 1's.

Tell me at this point that Logan Mankins (N.E. Patriots)would not be able to help the O-Line of the Bears. He is an All Pro at OG and played OT in college. His pro career includes 80 straight games starting since he was drafted in the 1st round in 2005. He is 28 years old. He is a holdout that has stated that he will never return to the Patriots. Even if the Bears give up a second round draft choice, he will be the BEST offensive lineman on the team.

Naw. Aren't these positions where they have some depth? When the Bears made their roster decisions this year, safety and tackle are two positions where they decided to keep an extra player. Those are not positions where you would expect to sign somebody off the street during the season and get much help. I fully realize guys like Webb and Marten are raw, but they are getting paid and given those helmets with a big C for a reason.

I can't see them signing a street free agent at this point. These guys each have a soft tissue injury. They should be able to heal up in a few weeks.

I think we would be better off getting McNeill than Mankins, because I think we will need to give up more than a second rounder to get him away from NE. McNeil may be a little cheaper, because the Chargers are looking to move on from both Jackson and McNeill. I think the Pats are sending a message to Mankins, and making him sit out the year for not being a brainwashed automaton like the rest of the Pats organization.
AJ Smith learned a few years back to not get spiteful when it comes to player negotiations, but Belichick still thinks he is untouchable, and can do no wrong.

Williams scares me this week, because they will probably put Matthews on his side. He has struggled against 3-4 OLBs. If Tice is smart, he will assign the LT specifically to Matthews, and not play the "check inside, then slide outside" game they did early against Dallas. We are not talented enough at tackle to do that against premier pass rushers. Let Garza handle the DE, and let Williams/Omiyale handle Matthews. The good thing is GB has no one else to rush the passer, so if we commit to stopping Matthews, they will have a hard time beating up Cutler.

If Jerry pulls off a deal for either disgruntled OL, I would be impressed, but that also means Garza and Kreutz are gone after this year, because the contract that he will have to pony up will mean trimming the salaries of the rest of the line. No big loss, but something to consider. No cap this year, so they can spend as much as they want the rest of this season, but they will need to be prepared for the cap next season.

Hey Gear,
You are right with hester and knox. But a running game would also help. Red dogs can be blocked and runners can move the ball against them. Giving Cutler less chance of injury. Over the last few years with all the rule changes to help, "pass to run" success is about 50/50 to "run to pass". But this is the nfc and "run to pass" is the norm.

vincent jackson, mcneil or mankins. do they want to win or not?
i dont know why nfl teams place so much priority on draft picks, it's a crap shoot. why not get proven players? if the bears had jackson and either of the two tackles they would be in the running for the nfc championship. maybe you could throw hester and williams in on a deal. if they dont win this year they are all gonners so why not pull the trigger? tony dungy and jim mora are waiting in the wings.
roddog

Pumpkin,

....Agree with you 100% as well. Obviously with Forte's 89 yard run in the pre season and his long screen pass against the Lions, he's gotten his burst back and honestly, I didn't realize he was that fast. I guess the problem is that the Bears line can't blow anyone off the ball and going back to my original point, too many defenders right around the line of scrimmage.

It seems as though SD is asking a steep price for Jackson. I can agree that JA should not over pay for him and if MN wants him that bad and they want to give up what SD is asking, then let them. Jackson isn't going to make Favre any younger or infuse healing powers to his ankle. And plus the Vikings are going to have to sign Jackson to a lucrative deal. I think Rice will be due for a contract at some point in the next year or so as well and at some point there will be another salary cap and signing 2 stud WR's like that is going to be a problem.

Joe,
Kreutz should have been gone 2 years ago. And maybe, just maybe, Williams and Louis are your guards of the future. Williams looks scared at LT and he's not powerful enough {or maybe he's not nasty enough} to play RT.

I watched the Bears game for the 3rd time last night concentrating as much as I could on OL play. Omiyale didn't do a bad job and there were many times he was out on an island. I also saw a lot of talk about the Bears doing more quick drops, but they also did some 5 and 7 step drops that Cutler was un touched. It has been proven in 17 games that Omiyale is not a power type of offensive lineman, maybe he's more of a LT. I wonder what the total # of hits on Cutler was for the game, because at one point in the first half it was somewhere around 11, but in the second half he wasn't hit much.

I'm not saying I agree, but Tice/Lovie/Martz's answer to why not get proven players?" is that the line needs to work together and practice as a unit and get their schemes. It is true that a new face on the line often results in a learning curve, but I don't personally see how it could set us back that far.

I don't know enough about McNeil to say if he's worth a 3rd rounder or not. I'd be more inclined to try out J'Marcus Webb, if Schaffer or Omiyale fall apart again... and I think they will. Hopefully we're all wrong about that, though.

One thing we are neglecting to mention is that after the Pack we play @NYG, then enter the weak portion of our schedule: @CAR, SEA, WAS, bye, @BUF. So I don't mind shelfing Major especialy until we are sure he's clear of this injury. Nothing like playing on a lame hamstring to F* up the rest of your leg, take it from me.

Word is the Vikings are about to land Jackson for a second and a conditional.

The the way the Bears are not going ot be trading away draft picks.

How awesome would it be to swap Williams and a draft pick for McNeil? That would be like when the Lakers essentially traded Kwame Brown and some picks for Pao Gasol.
So many analysts have demonstrated why Chris Williams is not cut out to be a Left Tackle in the NFL, and at this point I believe them. His arms are too short, and he doesn't make up for it with aggressiveness. It's just another example of Angelo trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, so to speak. Much like Hester, Omiyale, Manning, etc., the Bears are trying to mold these players into something they clearly aren't by playing them out of position, and its only a question of how long management's egos will allow this to continue.
That being said, are UFL players really so restricted from abandoning their franchise? I find it hard to imagine a player not immediately jumping a flight to go play Sunday in the NFL.

Gearhead,
I think Omiyale's success was more because they stopped having the tackle bend inside first to protect the middle before sliding to the edge. When they finally let Omiyale block the rusher on the end, he did fine. Williams might do better in that same format.

I don't disagree that Kreutz should have been gone already, but since we dropped Beekman, and our only developmental center is Edwin Williams on the practice squad, I am not overly optimistic about our ability to play center if Kreutz isn't there. Not like Kreutz is playing all that well, but we are awfully thin on the line, so we may have to live with bad shotgun snaps, poor blitz recognition, and getting steamrolled by DTs for the rest of the year.

Williams is not a great fit for guard, because he doesn't have that short area punch and drive that you need to be a good guard in the NFL. Everybody steals it from Gil Brandt, but you want your guards to be able to maul someone in a phonebooth, and Williams is too finesse to maul. I could see Louis as developing, but Williams is a tackle or bust. I tend to think that a full year of playing on the left side will see him get better, and he will continue to improve with more time. His hammy scares me a bit though, and I would rather (and I never thought I would say this) have Omiyale on the left against the Pack if he is not 100%.

Omiyale shifting and Schaeffer getting in more reps definitely improved the O-Line Sunday. I say give the Omiyale/Schaeffer ended line another shot versus the Pack and, hopefully, that solves the issue. Williams was a waste of a pick that goes to show Angelo, at the very least, should be gone next season.

Creighton, you're an idiot. In the final 8 games last year and 1 game this year, Williams has given up 2 sacks. But don't let the facts get in the way.

Joe,

I have to respectfully dissagree with you on all fronts. One of the knocks on Williams coming out of college was that he didn't slide well against pure speed rushers. I think Omiyale is a little quicker than Williams. You can't teach an attitude, you either have it or you don't and right now, Williams doesn't have it. But he does have the size to play guard. I look at Gallery as the example and the only difference I see is the attitude. Gallery came out of Iowa P'Oed. They have similar size, but Williams came out of Vandy happy to have a job.

Not having a replacement for Kreutz is another argument in of itself. Injuries aside, Olin has been average to below average at best since 2007. From his lack of ability to consistently snap the ball from the shotgun formation, to gettting blown off the ball by some of these bigger NT's in all of these budding 3-4 schemes, and then [despite what the coaches will tell you} his lack of maturity {the incident with Miller, & the 4-5 personal fouls he's good for every year}, in my opinion makes him a candidate for the pink slip a long time ago. But once again, a good debate.

Giving up a first/second/third/fourth round draft pick for a proven offensive tackle or guard is well worth it. McNeil is one of the top rated pass protection tackles in the game but as of now he already negotiated a one-year deal with the Chargers and he will be back at LT for them after week 6.

Mankins is the most realistic option for us. The thing that makes it complicated is that he is holding out for a reason. He wants the MONEY. Trading a draft pick...say a 2nd rounder is all great when you are playing Madden but in order to get him you must also pay him. I believe he is well worth a first or second round pick. Who have been our first round picks the past say 5 years that have actually panned out for us??? What about our 2nd picks??? We'd be getting a proven LG at 28 years old who has another three good years left.

Since 2005-2009 here have been the players that have been picked by the Bears using a first-fourth round pick. 2009: Jarron Gilbert, Juaquin Iglesias, Henry Melton, DJ Moore. 2008: Chris Williams, Matt Forte, Earl Bennett, Marcus Harrison, Craig Steltz. 2007: Greg Olsen, Dan Bazuin, Garrett Wolfe, Michael Okwo, Josh Beekman. 2006: Danieal Manning, Devin Hester, Dusty Dvoracek, Jamar Williams. 2005: Cedric Benson, Mark Bradley, Kyle Orton.

That is average compensation for all those draft picks especially for the draft position. Hester, Olsen, Daniel Manning, Forte, Bennett are really the only ones that have given us anything to get excited over. Benson is a scrub and I like Orton but I'd rather have Cutler. Henry Melton could maybe be good and it's too late to give up on Chris Williams and his short arms. Garrett Wolfe is alright same with Harrison and Stelz. DJ Moore is given us some depth.

What I'm saying is Logan Mankins is definitely worth a draft pick no matter which round. It is up to Angelo to pay him. If Angelo wants to win NOW then he needs to get going and do something soon because holding onto a draft pick and saying we don't want to jeopardize are future would be jeopardizing our future. Just look at the list. BEARS FOR LIFE no matter what but we need not only our players but our coaches and management to step up

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This page contains a single entry by Neil Hayes published on September 21, 2010 4:52 PM.

Doctor provides insight on Major Wright and hamstring injuries was the previous entry in this blog.

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