Chicago Sun-Times

Monday's practice report

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Here's some positive news heading into the regular season: The Bears were as healthy as they have been in weeks on Monday when the began their preparations for Sunday's season-opener against the Lions.

Linebacker Brian Urlacher (strained calf) returned to practice, as did Lance Briggs (ankle), who wore a hat instead of a helmet and participated in select drills. Nick Roach, who underwent minor knee surgery on Aug. 24, also returned to the practice field while safety Craig Steltz, who suffered a high-ankle sprain early in the first preseason game, backpedalled and did other drills on the side.

Receiver Earl Bennett, who missed the entire preseason with a hamstring injury, was also working out with his teammates.

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Its nice to hear Chicago is getting some of their banged up players back, especially Urlacher and Briggs.

With Detroit coming in this sunday, the key matchups of the game are gonna take place up front, as in Chicago's offensive line vs Detroit's defensive line. First year starter, right guard Lance Louis, will be tested right out of the gate, he'll be lined up against rookie Ndamukong Suh, who was probably the most dominant player in college football last season. Theres been no indication so far during the pre-season that Suh isn't gonna be a force in the pros either. Lance Louis needs to bring his A game, he did do a pretty good job vs Arizona's Darnell Dockett a couple weeks back, so the matchup of Louis vs Suh should be a good one and a key to the game for Chicago.

The other key matchup up front is Chicago's man of the hour, left tackle Chris Williams, vs 10 year vet Kyle Vanden Bosch, who Detroit head coach Jim Schwartz believes is still an elite pass rusher. I don't know if Vanden Bosch, who had under 5 sacks in 16 starts last season, can still be considered an elite pass rusher? Vanden Bosch simply wasn't the same player without Albert Haynesworth lined up next to him last season. Schwartz's hopes Suh can be as dominant as Haynesworth inside, and there by open things up for Vanden Bosch outside like Haynesworth did, thats gonna be interesting? Despite his drop in numbers, Vanden Bosch shouldn't be tooken lightly, especially if Suh is gonna be the player so many experts think he is.

Chris Williams and Lance Louis need to play well sunday, they'll be key for Jay Cutler in giving him time to put the ball down field. I also look for a lot of screen passes to help neutralize Detroit's front, but Chicago would be better off if Williams and Louis can get their job done on sunday GO BEARS!!

After looking at the Bears' roster, I am appalled at the WR core. Once again, in my opinion, it is going to be a weak spot for the Bears. if Johnny Knox is now your #1, then you have problems. I don't know who the team was trying to make a deal for Jackson, but if I am Angelo, I am on the phone. With how much a players "draft pick" value drops even after 3 or 4 years in the league, it amazes me that more teams don't try and build that way. Look at the Ravens. They have, in essence, re-vamped their WR core and in the process have only given up a 3rd and 4th for Boldin. Now, granted, one guy was coming off a vehicular manslaughter deal and another {TJ, H.} is over 30 years old. {And I think Boldin will be 30 next month.} But, none the less, it is a pretty impressive group.
This whole notion that bigger WR's don't fit Martz's system is silly. Go back to 99 and think for a moment. Their really wasn't a ton of bigger WR's in the league back then. Jerry Rice was an exception for all those years and to my knowledge he was only about 6'2" {I didn't take the time to look that up, just going off of memory.} Randy Moss came around about that time and he was one of the first that had really good size and sub 4.3 speed. Martz system is a timing and placement system, and personally I would rather have a guy 6'3"+ who can run a 4.4 vs. a guy like Bennett who is 6'0" and runs a 4.5. Football is not an "infinite" game. There is a limited number of different routes that can be run and there are a limited number of formations. Adding nuances to those formations and routes is all that seperates any 2 offensive coordinators. That and what their emphasis will be. {I.E. Run oriented or pass.}

I wouldn't call Kyle Vanden Bosch an elite pass rusher Kevin, in 8 seasons he has hit double digts twice. His single best season came in 2005 when he played LDE. That season and the following season he didn't play next to Haynesworth, they moved him in 2007 because Odom could not handle RDE.

The Lions have improved a lot in the offseason. But their are two real questions. Will the Bears play loose or tight in game one. If the y play tight they lose. Will Cutler fit in the Martz offense?

The Lions O-line is a little better but is still not good, they are bad at LB and their secondary could be worse than the Bears.

Buy the way just heard a report by Holmes that the Bears field is a total mess. They had 3 high school football games over the weekend and some other event. That will not help with all those sharp cuts the recievers need to make.

If I was going to watch one player it would be Corey Williams against Olin. Suh is gonna get doubled early. I am not sure how much this defense will blitz, but they should bring it. Lions should be better against the run, but I am not so sure they are a pass rushing team yet. We will see, should be an intresting first game for both teams who have both made big changes.

Almost forgot Kevin the slow sloppy field helps the Lions 2 gap defense more than the Bears 1 gap speed defense. It's harder to run draws and screens on a slow field than it is to run up the middle.

Holmes asked a great question. Does the park district hate the bears? Install a new hybrid field ASAP. Then again with the Chicago being in massive debt I can see why they can't, which means the Beasrs should step up ASAP. Can't do it till the end of the season though at this point as it takes about six weeks. It really is a shame that a small market team like the Pack have a better field than the Bears.

Not really Creighton, I believe New England did it 2 years ago and they did it in 2 weeks

Tom New England did what twice in two years? The Field. The Pats own their stadium man. They also use FieldTurf not the Hybrid field that Denver and GB use. The Bears could install Field Turf. Not to mention they didn't replace anything in 2008, in 2006 they upgraded the grass to Fieldturf. A fully artificial surface, then they just upgraded to an even better field turf in febuary. It took two weeks to install the field turf. Replacing grass with an underground pump system, heating system and a Hybrid surface that has grass hand woven with synthetic fibers takes a little longer. It took denver 3 weeks and the construction crews worked 24/7.

Find a two week whole is the schedule where Soldier field is empty for two weeks without any park district events. I have no problem with Field Turf but it's hard for me to see the Bears play on Turf at home. That's why I like the Hybrid surface. It's at least part grass.

Remember the Bears would need the park districts permission and approval of a new surface and they would need to pay for it. Then they would need to find a window to install it. The Park district and the Bears are not cooperating with the Soldier Field as neither wants to pay for it and neither want's to make nice with the other.

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This page contains a single entry by Neil Hayes published on September 6, 2010 2:13 PM.

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