It's online, but I opted to post it here as well.
1) Is Lance Briggs really a Pro Bowl player or just a product of the type of defense the Bears run? It seems to me that every time he misses a game, his replacement leads the team in tackles. I recall Jamar Williams having a career day with about 19 tackles in Briggs' place and last week Iwuh leads the team. What's up?
A: Fair question, Malone. But, in my opinion, making tackles and making plays are two entirely different things. In this defense - and several other schemes - the weakside linebacker is in a position to make a lot of tackles. They are often unblocked and have more liberty than the other two linebackers. Yes, Brian Iwuh led the team in tackles. But, his only impact play was a tackle for loss. Think of how regularly Briggs gets those, as well as the occasional sack, pass defense or forced fumble?
The splash plays are what gets players into the Pro Bowl, and Briggs has done a good job of generating those in his career.
2) Sean, since the Bears moved Chris Williams from tackle to guard is it possible for him to enter the HOF as BOTH?
A: Kevin, that's a tough, tough question (wink, wink). But I suppose that is entirely possible, and his versatility would help him land one of those coveted spots.
Seriously, for a 14th overall pick, Williams has a long way to go. Let's just say he's currently walking to Canton instead of taking a speedier form of transport.
3) Before the trade deadline were there any serious talks about trading for New England OL Logan Mankins? Do you think we should made more of an effort to trade for him?
A: I don't know how you'll feel about this, Tim, but my understanding is that the Bears were never a serious player for Mankins. As I pointed out numerous times, there were too many obstacles in front of them. First, the draft pick(s). It would have probably cost a second or a third and a conditional. Jerry Angelo, the Bears GM, was on record as saying they don't want to get into the habit of trading away picks. Second, the contract. Mankins was looking to be the highest-paid, or second highest-paid guard. The going price is $8 million a year. Is a guard really worth that? I also wonder if Mankins is worth that. I don't think there's any question Steve Hutchinson, at the time the Minnesota Vikings signed him, was the league's best guard. But can you say the same about Mankins? I don't think so.
4) How many more sacks and false starts do the Bears front line need to commit before the coaches start to discipline the players?
A: The staff is in a tough spot. They know this group has some limitations, and they don't want them to go completely in the tank. I think Mike Tice is exercising more patience with the group, trying to coach them up. Also, I don't think berating would work with guys like Frank Omiyale, Edwin Williams and, especially, Chris Williams. The latter, in fact, seems like the sort of player who doesn't take criticism too well.
Internally, though, some lines do have a fine system for penalties, sacks given up, etc...
5) J.T. O'Sullivan was recently released. Since he's Martz's guy, think the Bears dump Toddy C. and bring in O'Sullivan for a backup QB role?
A: There's no pressing need to make a change. All three are healthy, at the moment. Besides, Collins is paid for through the season. I do think Collins will get better, the more he's around. He was put in a tough spot, joining the team so late in the offseason. Jay Cutler, actually, made that point after Collins' disastrous performance against the Panthers.
6) I would like to know why Cutler has not been on a roll out pass play this season to help out his O-Line. He is a mobile QB with accuracy on the move. Likewise, why hasn't the D been faulted for allowing drive like they have. One cannot win when you allow the other team to begin within the 15 and then down the field each time.
A: Great question, Darran. Mike Martz baffles me with some of the things he chooses to do. I'll put this in his suggestion box, along with the one about limiting seven-step drops, running the ball more, and figuring out ways to use Desmond Clark and Devin Aromashodu.
7) Were the Bears looking for help at the trade deadline, or are they restricted from parting with any of their draft picks for 2011?
Also, how active is Ruskell in the day to day personnel evaluation of the team? Do we have him to blame for an out-of shape Grant being brought in, or was that Angelo?
A: I do believe the Bears did entertain some calls, but I do not believe they were close to making any deals. It's customary for every team to at least pick up a couple of calls. Teams like the Oakland Raiders were aggressive in trying to move players.
As for Tim Ruskell, he's very active, working closely with Angelo. Those two are tight, and he's certainly got a say.
The thinking on Charles Grant was this: the Bears had given up on Mark Anderson. He is athletic, but he just wasn't producing. They figured it was time to pull the plug, thankful that he gave them 12 sacks as a rookie. Grant was drawing interest from at least one other NFL team, and the Bears decided to give him a look, an extended tryout. Grant did, after all, have 5 ½ sacks last season for the Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints. But, Grant had surgery, and they wanted to see if he still had any juice left.
Apparently, he didn't. What the Bears need right now is speed, and Barry Turner has it. He's an explosive player who did flash some potential during the preseason. Run defense might be an issue, but Turner could get some looks in obvious passing situations.
8) On Cutler's responsibility for sacks from the backfield, do you think the problem is he's not seeing his hot reads? I'm sure no one wants to admit it but in a couple different games I've seen him get hit without even looking at the blitzing back. That tells me he is so concerned with pocket protection that his eyes never move off the D Line, which is why he is so susceptible to the safety blitz. Thoughts?
A: I definitely think Cutler just doesn't trust his protection. That may affect his ability to go through his reads properly. I find it interesting that Mike Shanahan pointed out Wednesday that Cutler was sacked just 11 times in 2008, his last season in Denver. Cutler was sacked once every 56 passes. That's remarkable. Obviously, the Broncos had a better o-line. But, it shows that Cutler does a good job of making quick decisions.
So why isn't he here? Perhaps it's not being comfortable with the offense. Or, maybe the personnel isn't as good. He did have Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal to throw to in Denver, as well as some solid tight ends. I also think the fact that different linemen have taken turns missing blocks has him on edge about where pressure may come from, on any given play.
They've got to improve this, in order to get Cutler playing with confidence.
9) Are you familiar with the NHL policy http://www.nhl.com/ice/page.htm?id=64063 for hits to the head? Do you think this would work as base for the NFL policy instead of the current rule which only forbids:
'A tackler using his helmet to butt, spear, or ram an opponent.'
'Any player who uses the top of his helmet unnecessarily.'
'Striking opponent on head or neck with forearm, elbow, or hands whether or not the initial contact is made below the neck area.'?
I couldn't find the defensless receiver provision.
Or if you just boil it down to 'Any hit to an opponent where the head is targeted and/or the principle point of contact is not permitted.' This would encompass all players at all times and would penalize all hits to and with the head.
A: I think it would be better to just include all hits above the shoulders, whether on offense, defense or special teams. Several defenders pointed out that running backs often use their helmet as a battering ram, driving it into people. If they're going to penalize defenders, then running backs also should be prohibited from using their helmet as a weapon.