Chicago Sun-Times

Bears not interested -- yet -- in former DE Alex Brown

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Alex Brown is reminder of the questionable decision-making that marked the Bears' fall from the Super Bowl in 2007 to three consecutive non-playoff seasons. Twice the Bears rejected Brown in favor of Mark Anderson -- and twice they were wrong.

Maybe that's why Bears coach Lovie Smith, despite calling Brown "a lifelong friend," was cool to the idea of re-acquiring Brown after the New Orleans Saints suddenly cut the defensive end Tuesday. So much for the idea that you can never have enough defensive ends.

''Alex Brown is a lifetime friend," Smith said. "I was planning on pulling for him 15 games this season [all except the Saints game against the Bears on Sept. 18 in New Orleans]. But that's part of it. I don't know enough about it to respond to it. I try not to respond unless I have all the facts."

Brown, a fourth-round draft pick by the Bears in 2002, started 107 games in eight seasons with the Bears (2002-09).

With Brown's familiarity with the Bears' defense and the Bears' need for depth at defensive end with Corey Wootton injured, Brown would seem to be a good fit back at Halas Hall. Nick Reed and rookies Mario Addison and Jake Laptad are behind Julius Peppers and Israel Idonije on the depth chart.

''We've seen Alex. Alex has been here before,'' Smith said. ''We like our guys we have right now. There's great competition with the guys we have right now.''

Brown, 32, was unspectacular, but steady, efficient and productive when he played for the Bears. He has played in 143 consecutive regular-season games -- the longest current streak among NFL defensive ends.

Last year with the Saints, he had 44 tackles, two sacks, 11 quarterback hurries, three pass breakups, three tackles-for-loss, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. In the Saints' playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks, Brown had six tackles, a sack, two tackles-for-loss, a QB hurry and a pass breakup.

And he never gives up -- the hustling Brown was the last player to miss a tackle on Marshawn Lynch's 67-yard touchdown run that all but clinched the Seahawks' upset victory over the Saints that sent Seattle to Chicago.

With Peppers and Idonije, the Bears aren't desperate for help at end, assuming Wootton recovers from arthroscopic knee surgery as expected. And Alex Brown is not a savior. But when teams are looking to shore up their roster with other team's discards after the cutdown to 53 -- a veteran player and stand-up guy who is familiar with your defensive scheme and has an intimate knowledge of the offense you're going to face in Week 2 seems like an option worth considering.

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Now there's a ringing endorsement...
"And he never gives up -- the hustling Brown was the last player to miss a tackle on Marshawn Lynch's 67-yard touchdown run that all but clinched the Seahawks' upset victory over the Saints that sent Seattle to Chicago."

I know what Potash meant, but rather than bring up a missed tackle 45 yards downfield, why not talk about his reputation as a relentless worker between the whistles? That play was so bad by the Saints defense the film should be burned by the coaching staff, and never showed again.

Brown was always solid, but was never going to be a sack guy. His best season was only his best because he abused someone from the Giants (don't remember which LT it was for them at the time) for 2.5 sacks in that one game, and then got basically 4 the rest of the season. 4 sacks in 15 games is not a guy that can help you. Heck, Tommie Harris almost got 4 sacks last year.

He is not going to help us this year. Wootton has upside. Brown has history. Reed and Addison are unknowns, while you can set your watch by Alex. He will knock down 3-4 passes a year, force a fumble or two, and do well against the run. And he'll get 3-4 sacks. I think we will get that out of Wootton this year. Maybe not as good against the run, and possibly not as adept at knocking down passes, but the production numbers should be similar.

The best part of it to me? Brown was released because he wasn't a "left DE". He played the left side in New Orleans all last year, and did ok. Where is Mark Anderson? Released by the Texans, and I don't think he will be on a roster this year either. But the Bears needed to make that move. Just like several other positions (Olin, Dez Clark, Garza, Vasher, Fred Miller, Tait, Pace, etc.), the Bears have kept veterans around instead of developing young talent behind them. They didn't want to give up snaps, so the depth was largely untested. We would know by now if Graham, Josh Moore, DJ Moore, and Bowman could play if we rotated them in for a few series at a time in place of Tillman and Jennings. We could have rested a beat-up Kreutz last year and in 2009 and see whether any of the young players could step in and play. Instead, we are scrambling to identify a long term solution after they are gone, instead of having a succession plan in place.

That, more than anything else, is the failing of this organization and staff. They have failed to build this team for the long haul. They set their 22 starters, and then put together a decent special teams unit. We still need great special teams, but we have no depth to keep from losing ground if someone gets hurt.

Joe........What you said.

I think maybe the only exception to the George Allen school of thinking on the Bears coaching staff is Tice. He seems to be willing to find and develop a younger player.

Here is one of the problems Joe, the Bears are in a win now mode, not a rebuilding mode. And to be fair to them they do try and develop there young players. It just doesn't always workout does it. One problem is they often put the player in a bad situation by moving him around to much like with Manning. Last year they didn't touch him and he had a very good year, so of course they let him walk, but now you have Wright on the field and they are trying to develop him. Bowman was given a shot, he was given several chances, he got pulled last year because he was bad, and now he got hurt. They know what Bowman can do, and you can't blame them because he got hurt. They are trying to develop Wootton, but he got hurt and there is nothing they can do about that, dude has a long list of injuries.

Some of the vets you listed were not moves done by the Bears, they did not cut Tait, he retired and they begged to get him back, Miller also retired and then they brought him back in an emergency after a lot of injuries. Clark is still on the team but young guys have been playing ahead of him, Pace was brought in to be a stop gap for Williams, and Williams got a shot to start at tackle more than once, and he lost the job more than once. They let Olin go but they did not replace him with a young player. You know how I feel about how they have treated the O-Line over the years so I won't get into all those mistakes.

True the Bears are not built for the long haul and yes when it comes to talent they have had there problems and have needed to bring in vets to be key players. Peppers, Garza, Jennings, Urlacher is a hold over, Adams, Cutler, Barber, Taylor, Roy Williams.

But they have tried to develop young guys, it just does not always work.

Hester (still a project after 3 years starting and 5 years working at the position, Drake is the man)

All are or have been starters, they have 10 young starters as we speak who are developing or at least developed(Forte). Some of them will not make it and some will. I know they have a problem developing young talent, but I won't say they have not tried. They are just kinda bad at it. Tice is helping a lot with the O-Line and doing his best with what he is given.

If you look on defense the last stud player they drafted and developed was Briggs, Manning developed but is gone. On offense Forte and Bennett have turned out well, so... so far that is 3-4 guys in like 9 years with Angelo and 7-8 years with Smith. So maybe they have come up a little short, but more guys may develop this year. You could count Tommie Harris he had like 2-3 good years, darn injuries again.

That's all I got, it's kinda of a mess, but that does not mean they are not trying. Angelo is my hero, god he is good at what he does. He should retire and become like a draft guru. Please retire, pretty please with suger on top.

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This page contains a single entry by Mark Potash published on August 30, 2011 8:18 PM.

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