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Let's get right to the mail.

Q: My question concerns the Green Bay Packers' implementation of the 3-4 defense. Under Lovie Smith's tenure, the Chicago Bears' record vs. teams that run the 3-4 is 2-6. Here are the results:

2004: Houston Texans (coached by Dom Capers) 24 v. BEARS 5
2005: Cleveland Browns 20 v. BEARS 10; BEARS 17 v. San Francisco 49ers 9; Pittsburgh Steelers 21 v. BEARS 9
2006: BEARS 41 v. San Francisco 49ers 10; New England Patriots 17 v. BEARS 13
2007: San Diego Chargers 14 v. BEARS 3; Dallas Cowboys 34 v. BEARS 10
2008: no opponents

Dom Capers (an associate of 3-4 students Bill Cowher and Dick LeBeau) has taken three separate basement dwelling defensive units and flipped them into formidable forces in his first year on the job. The 3-4 defense can can prove to be exotic, dynamic and perplexing all within the same possession. What are your thoughts on Capers and his history? Any insights on how the Bears prepare themselves for the Packers new defense?

Jim A., Parts Unknown

A: To take your well made point a step further, the Bears are 0-6 vs. teams that implement the 3-4 defense that are not in San Francisco. I think the 49ers were running more of a hybrid 3-4 there at the time, however, because of some personnel shortages. At any rate, Capers' success has been well documented and Dan Pompei recently put together a nice story in the Tribune about it. There is a lot of work that goes into switching a defense and the key is acquiring the personnel. The Packers believe they are off to a good start after landing tackle B.J. Raji and linebacker Clay Matthews in the draft. I don't know what to say about that 2004 game with Houston, though. That meeting came at the end of a disastrous offensive season for the Bears. If you recall, Chad Hutchinson was the quarterback at the time. I think the one thing the Bears have going for themselves in this situation is new quarterback Jay Cutler. He comes from the AFC where the 3-4 has been more prevalent and he's played twice a season against one of the better 3-4 defenses in the league in San Diego.

FIrst-round pick Peria Jerry limped off the practice field in Atlanta on Saturday.

The day before, New Orleans linebacker Stanley Arnoux, a fourth-round pick from Wake Forest who Aaron Curry called the best player on their college team, ruptured an Achilles tendon in a minicamp practice.

Last weekend, New England linebacker Tyrone McKenzie, a third-round pick, blew out an ACL in minicamp.

Injuries happen in the offseason and no team knows better than the Bears. The good news coming out of Atlanta this morning is that Falcons coach Mike Smith called Jerry's injury a mild sprain. Remember though, that is what the Bears said second-round pick Dan Bazuin had in 2007 in a rookie minicamp. As it turned out, he had a knee injury that led to two surgeries and ultimately cost him his entire rookie season. Bazuin still wasn't the same player at the end of training camp last summer and wound up being cut. Arnoux and McKenzie will get to experience being rookies all over again next season. They're both done for the year.

Draft picks take part in rookie minicamps and portions of the offseason program without having contracts. They sign agreements with their teams that they will be given fair contracts in the event they are injured. That's not a big deal--it happens everywhere. The point worth making is that the offseason isn't without its share of bumps and bruises, some of them serious.


If anyone has the pre-draft buildup figured out it's Juaquin Iglesias.

The Oklahoma wide receiver got away for five days last week when he went to the Turks and Caicos islands with some players he has been working out with at Competitive Edge Sports in Atlanta, Chip Smith's facility that Brian Urlacher has done a lot of work at in the past. Iglesias, along with his girlfriend, vacationed with Arizona quarterback Willie Tuitama, Maryland linebacker Moise Fokou and Georgia safety C.J. Byrd.

"Working out and relaxing,'' Iglesias said. ``That's all I can do.''

Iglesias returned on Tuesday and is counting the days to the NFL draft now. He's hopeful to be selected in the second round and will likely be off the board by the third round. The Bears put Iglesias through a private workout on April 7 in his hometown of Killeen, Texas. Wide receivers coach Darryl Drake worked out Iglesias the day before he traveled to Athens, Ga., to put Georgia's Mohamed Massaquoi through a private workout.

While the Bears did their best to downplay the possibility the team will choose a wideout with its first pick--No. 49 overall--there is no denying it is the greatest need on the roster. It's been NFC North teams that have shown the most interest in Iglesias. Minnesota personnel boss Rick Spielman and coach Brad Childress attended the Oklahoma pro day. Iglesias then made an official visit to the team's facility.


The Bears are going to hold their annual pre-draft media session on Tuesday at Halas Hall.

General manager Jerry Angelo and college scouting director Greg Gabriel are going to do their best to convince everyone listening--and then everyone reading and listening to the reports after the press conference--that the Bears will have a world of opportunities when they go on the clock Saturday night with the 49th overall pick in the draft.

Best available player.

The Bears have preached it forever but it's hard to find a time when they have come out and practiced it, at least with their first pick. Look no further than last year's draft when they selected offensive tackle Chris Williams with the 14th pick. It wasn't a need selection, it was a dire need selection.

Angelo and Gabriel want everyone, including the teams picking in the vicinity of their selection, to believe they can go with anything other than a wide receiver at No. 49. Sure, there could be an intriguing safety on the board. Maybe even an offensive lineman or defensive lineman that is interesting. Then all you have to do is take a gander at the depth chart at wide receiver and see what real need looks like. You can't clamor for a safety or some other position in the second round now and then cry about the receiver situation come September. Remember, Angelo has had success finding safeties later in the draft.

One more Four Down Territory on Friday, so shoot in your questions now. We're going to suspend the Q&A next week (we'll try to get one done) while we're covering Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa. Don't worry, we'll resume in a big way after the season officially comes to an end.

Q: What is your opinion on the running back situation? Do the Bears bring back Kevin Jones or try to turn Garrett Wolfe into their own version of Darren Sproles? Jones was basically on the shelf all year and should be healthier than he was when he joined the roster. Do they draft a running back and cut Jones? Also, what's Roberto Garza's contract situation? I still think that while the line stayed together all year and played better than ANYONE expected, the Bears still need more interior push in the run game. I'm still sold on Olin Kreutz but I'm starting to wonder about Garza.

Ray, Connecticut

Wide receiver Mark Bradley cleared waivers this afternoon, a little more than 24 hours after the Bears released him to make room for cornerback Marcus Hamilton.

The former second-round draft pick had been on the field for just one offensive snap this season, and spent the majority of the preseason running with the second and third teams.

Another high pick from the Bears' 2005 draft class is history.

Wide receiver Mark Bradley was waived this afternoon to make room for cornerback Marcus Hamilton.

Bradley was a second-round pick from Oklahoma in the same draft that produced running back Cedric Benson in the first round. He came on in his rookie season before a torn ACL in the middle of the year derailed him. Bradley never recovered and spent much of last season in the doghouse. He was hailed as a starter after Bernard Berrian escaped via free agency and veteran Muhsin Muhammad was released, but Bradley required arthroscopic knee surgery in May and was essentially never seen from again. He appeared on the field for one offensive snap in three games.

No word yet on whether wide receiver Mark Bradley will be ready to go when the Bears hit the practice fields for the first time Wednesday.

Bradley missed the bulk of the offseason program after tweaking his right knee in voluntary workouts leading to arthroscopic surgery in May.

At the time, the club announced he was questionable for the start of training camp. For his part, Bradley vowed he would be ready when things kicked off. It's fair to say it is important for Bradley to be involved early. He was essentially handed a starting job after Bernard Berrian set sail for Minnesota in free agency and Muhsin Muhammad was released. But after making just six receptions last season, and really being only marginally involved because of injuries since his rookie season in 2005, Bradley doesn't have much room for error.

There are two things that strike you when you consider the current plight of wide receiver Mark Bradley in light of the announcement Wednesday he recently underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee and is questionable for the beginning of training camp, which doesn’t start for nearly nine weeks.

First, this guy’s had some incredibly poor luck.

Second, just how is it the team came to count on him so heavily heading into 2008? There had to be a reason he was only on the field to catch six balls last season. Yes, Bernard Berrian had a very productive season relative to the ineptitude of the offense as a whole, but what exactly was Muhsin Muhammad doing to keep Bradley or anyone else off the field?

Let’s recap Bradley’s injury history:

*** He tore the ACL in his left knee when he was a sophomore at Arkansas-Pine Bluff in 2001 and wound up doing most of the rehab after transferring to Oklahoma the next year.

*** He tore the ACL in his right knee during Week 8 of his rookie season in 2005 at Ford Field. It happened at the end of the first half in what was turning into a breakout performance. Bradley was getting loose in the Lions secondary and looked like the run-after-the-catch star the team heralded him to be when drafting him in the second round with the 39th overall pick that April.

*** He badly sprained an ankle in 2006 when he tripped down a flight of stairs in his home. He explained he was hustling to watch a spiritual DVD. That cost him five games. This doesn't strike of the explanation defensive lineman Bryan Robinson delivered when he broke both wrists in May 2002. He blamed it on a home fall on a stairwell, saying he tripped over his dog. Turns out Robinson was actually injured on an ATV, or at least that's the story he gave the coaching staff.

*** Knee soreness knocked him out for a week at the end of training camp last summer reducing his role in preseason and no doubt leading to coach Lovie Smith announcing he was the team’s “No. 5” receiver early in the year.

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