Squib Kicks and more tears

October 17, 2008

 

I’ll start by saying I have never really liked the squib kick in the game of football.  I understand the concept of taking away the potential 85 yard touch-down return but it only makes sense to use it when a field goal won’t hurt your team.  The Bears were up by 1 point with 11 seconds left.  The key things at that point of the game was the time on the clock and field position.  A squib kick hands the other good field position. Add in a quarterback that has a lot of expertise in game winning throws at the end of the game and you are asking for trouble.  Hey Lovie, why don’t you ask Virginia Tech about Matt Ryan’s end of game passing abilities. On top of that, both starting cornerbacks were hurt at that point in the game.  On top of that, Bob Babich, for some reason, continues to have his corners give the receiver a 8 to 10 yard cushion off the ball.  On top of that, Jason Elam has been one of the better kickers in the league for a long time now.  On top of that, Tommie Harris is a shell of his former self and the rest of the defensive line is providing zero penetration. On top of that, the Cover-2 doesn’t work without penetration and also provides no safety valve for a deep ball.  On top of that…I could go on but I won’t.

The Bears looked like they were turning the corner with a great win of Philly and a sound beating of Detroit after 2 awful weeks against Carolina and Tampa.  Thankfully, I was on vacation for those games and the copious amount of beer I consumed at Hooters numbed the pain of watching Brian Griese throw the ball 67 times against the Bears.  The Bears schedule, on paper, is somewhat in their favor for a run to win the division and make the playoffs.  The problem is, the Bears have been up for the 2 top teams on their schedule so far, the Colts and the Eagles but have shown up for only 3 quarters against Carolina, Tampa and 1 quarter against Atlanta.  Instead of being 6-0 or at the very least 5-1, they are 3-3.

The good news is that Kyle Orton is getting better and better and Matt Forte has been pretty solid.  The bad news is the defense has been inconsistant once again. Plus, the injury bug is starting to creep in once again on defense.  3-3 could turn ugly pretty quickly if they can’t figure things out soon.  The first step should be to show Babich the door.  He has overtaken Ron Turner as the Bears’ worst coordinator and that is sad.

My joy because of the win over the Colts last week came to an abrupt end yesterday as I listened to the second half of the Bears/Panthers game on the way home from the dump. My big screen breathed a sigh of relief that the game wasn’t televised in my area because if I had seen what I had listened to, the remote or my foot would have rocketed toward the tv in ultra high definition. How do you lose a game in the second half after being up 17-3? Just ask the Bears, they have a perfect team model for doing it. It happened all last year and from the looks of things so far this season, it may not happen as much but it’ll still happen.

Let’s start off with the positives:

1) In the first half, the D held Jonathan Stewart to 1 yard rushing in the first half. Peanut Tilman picked off a pass to set up a TD. 

2) Matt Forte had another very good day rushing for 92 yards.

3) Special teams had a blocked punt by McGlover go right into the hands of Brandon Lloyd for a TD.

Now for the Negatives:

1) Kyle Orton can’t throw a mid range or long pass to save his life.  He averaged 4.7 yards per pass yesterday.  This is the NFL, not pee wee football, that is just pathetic. While he didn’t throw any picks, he certainly didn’t help the offense by missing receivers by the dozen.

2) The Panthers got TWO TD’s from TWO fumbles by Greg Olsen.  Olsen usually has sure hands, so this in an anomaly but you can’t do that and expect a win.

3) Lovie Smith has absolutely no vision for adjustments.  The Bears dominated the first half, the Panthers came out in the second half and made adjustments, the Bears did not, the Panthers won. I like Lovie but the lack of adjustments during the game has gotten very old.

4) Ron Turner sucks. He must have photos of someone. How he still has a job is beyond me. I hated him the first time he was around with Wannstedt and I hate him this time around.  You have Matt Forte, who ran the ball successfully all day, why give Jason McKie the ball on a 4th and 1 with the game on the line?  He barely made his TD on the 1 yard line earlier in the game.  He only made it because he jumped over a guy that was already on the ground. In all my years of watching McKie, I have never seen him run over anyone or bust through a hole in the line. Ron, did you think you were going to trick the Panthers somehow because you put in McKie instead of Forte? Well, you didn’t, you used the same play with a less talented runner.  With an awful offensive line, I can pretty much tell you that 9 times out of 10 it won’t work!!!  Watching his play calling during a game literally makes my brain hurt.  I hated John Shoop when he was offensive coordinator for the Bears. I still have my “Fire Shoop” shirt that I still wear on occasion.  I think I need to trade that in on a “Fire Turner” shirt. Just for the record, I hate Norv too.

5) The Bears ownership.  I’m really tired of being a fan of a mediocre team.  A great defense and an awful offense = a mediocre team.  A tired, great defense and an awful offense = another non playoff year. I’ve been a Bears fan since I was 7 years old and in the 28 years of being a fan, they have fielded a good team (a complete good team) a few enough times where I can count them on one hand.  The truth is that if the owners are using the 85 team as a model for the team nowadays, they need to realize that the 85 team had some talent on offense. This offense is modeled after the pre-Ditka years, where Sweetness was the only good play on offense surrounded by Bob Avelienis and Vince Evenses, etc.   Now its Matte Fortes with Kyle Ortons, Matt Garzas and Brandon Lloyds. The Bears have been a legit Super Bowl contender maybe 5 times in 28 years.  I’m getting a little tired of it.  Maybe fans should have free agency too.

Bears/Colts Review

September 10, 2008

 

Surprise, surprise, surprise, the Bears took out the Colts handily in the first game of the season with a 29-13 drubbing.  The Bears went to their old school ways in the victory sporting a dominating defense and controlling the clock through a dominating running game.

The defense showed that the preseason games really don’t matter.  The unit looked pretty bad throughout the preseason, giving up a lot of yards and a lot of points to unremarkable teams such as the 49ers and Chiefs. Missed assignments, poor tackling and a complete lack of urgency showed flashes of the injury depleted defense of a year ago.  A completely different defense showed up for the first game of the regular season.  The Bears held the Colts to 53 games rushing and made Peyton Manning look very un-Manning like, not letting him get comfortable in the pocket for any series. 

The front four for the Bears looked great in penetrating the line of scrimmage.  Marcus Harrison set up a safety late in the second quarter by blasting through the line and sacking Manning on the 2 yard line.  Adewale Ogunleye stopped Jospeph Addai in the end zone on the very next play for the safety.  With the front four doing its job, the linebacking and secondary corp were able to limit the effectiveness of Manning and the Colts passing game.  The Bears held the Colts to 1 TD, a great accomplishment to start the season. Lance Briggs also ran back a fumble recovery for a TD.  If everyone stays healthy like they did this week, the Bears defense may be back to their 2005/2006 status.

The Bears offense looked solid with Kyle Orton’s debut as the starting QB.  Orton seams to be just what the Bears need for their system to work.  Manage the game well, pass the ball here and there to multiple receivers and don’t turn the ball over.  He did exactly that, ending the day 13 of 21 for 150 yards and no picks.  He spread the ball around to 7 different receivers. A fantasy hall of fame day for the QB or Receivers, no, but the Bears have always been built on the run and that is what Matt Forte did.

Forte became the first rookie to start at running back for the Bears since Walter Payton and did a fine job of bringing back memories of a stout Bears running game.  Forte started his professional career off with a bang, rushing for 123 yards on 23 carries and 1 TD.  He also had 3 catches for 18 yards.  Forte looked loads and loads better than Cedric Benson’s run to the line of scrimmage, get hit, fall down for a yard or two running style. Kevin Jones added another 45 yards spelling for Forte time to time.  This looks like a solid tandem for the season.

I also have to give props to the offensive line.  John St. Clair looked solid against perennial Pro-Bowler Dwight Freeney. The line held the Colts D to 2 sacks and opened holes all night for Forte to run through. I look forward to seeing solid line play continue next week against the Panthers.

State of the Bears Address

September 4, 2008

State of the Bears Address

 

With training camp just under a month away, I thought I would write a pre-training camp sate of the Bears address.  I’ll start off by saying that last year was very painful for me.  I had a bad feeling the Super Bowl hangover would cause problems with the team but I didn’t think it would be as bad as it was.  I’m trying to put a positive look on the 2008 Bears team, but decisions by team management is making it difficult.

 

I’ll start out with the positives:

 

Special Teams

A definite positive overall, the Bears have one of the best special team’s squads in the league.

 

Return Game

Devin Hester, Devin Hester, Devin Hester.  Don’t really need to say anything more than he is a threat to score a touchdown on pretty much every punt return or kick return he gets his hands on.  Rashied Davis is also another solid kick off return threat. 

 

Kicking/Punting

Robbie Gould has turned out to be one of the most accurate kickers in Bears history.  He made the Pro-Bowl in 2006 and signed a 5 year contract extension during this off-season.  Entering into his 12th year in the league Brad Maynard is still one of the best punters in the NFL. 

 

On free agent loss that will hurt is the Ravens signing of Brendon Ayanbadejo.  Ayanbedejo is a perennial special teams, Pro Bowler and will be missed.  He amassed 26 special teams tackles last year.

 

Defense

The combination of injuries and an awful offense took its toll on the Bears defense last year.  Reports are that all of the key factors in the defense are healthy or at least mostly healthy and ready for training camp. 

 

D-Line (Tackles)

Coming off a hamstring tear the year prior, plus fighting a knee injury, Tommie Harris still showed why he is one of the best defensive linemen in football.  Harris should be 100% this year and I have zero doubt that he will continue to dominate the middle.  Anthony Adams is another solid defensive tackle for the Bears.  Dusty Dvoracek has played 1 quarter in the 2 years he has been with the team.  He has a motor that won’t quit. Hopefully he can stay away from the injury bug because I am excited to see him become a key factor in the front 7.  The Bears drafted Marcus Harrison from Arkansas in the 4th round of this year’s draft.  It sounds like he has the potential of being a very good lineman in the NFL.  Off the field issues dropped his status in the draft, but hopefully he doesn’t go the Tank Johnson and Cedric Benson route. Gerald Lee and Matt Toeaina add solid depth to the tackle position.

 

D-Line (Ends)

It sounds like Alex Brown will join Adewale Ogunleye as the 2 starting DE’s with sack specialist Mark Anderson as the insert to keep everyone fresh.  I like this a lot better than Anderson as the starter.  I think his sack numbers will go up to his rookie year levels this way.  Isreal Idonijie and Dan Bazuin round out the DE core.  Bazuin was IR’d last season as a rookie and I am interested to see what he brings to the table.

 

Linebackers

Not much to say here, but arthritic back or not, the Bears have probably the best linebacking tandem in the league with Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs.  Hunter Hillenmeyer doesn’t get the press he deserves as the other factor in the linebacker core. I also think Jamar Williams and Michael Okwo are ready for break out seasons.

 

Secondary

The secondary was decimated by injuries last year.  Charles Tilman had another solid year but Nathan Vasher was out for most of the year and that hurt the defense badly.  When Mike Brown is on the field, he is one of the best FS’ in the league.  Unfortunately, in the past 3 years, he has been off the field for most of them due to injury.  It sounds like he is healthy again and very excited for the 2008 season.  Mike Brown makes the defense better in play and leadership.  Trumaine McBride, Ricky Manning Jr., Danieal Manning add very solid depth to the secondary.  The Bears drafted SS Craig Steltz this year.  I’m excited with this pick because I have visions of Gary Fencik and Doug Plank dancing in my head.

 

The fun part is over with, now I have to talk about the offense. 

 

Offensive (Line)

I’ll start by saying that I have been unhappy with the offensive line for the past 3 seasons.  I have felt that, even in the Super Bowl year, that this was the weakest unit on the team.  Fortunately, rather unfortunately, this is not the case anymore.  I will say that I am very, very happy that the “Human Turn-style” Fred Miller, along with his cohort, Ruben “False Start” Brown are gone.  I can’t count high enough to give you the number of expletives I have screamed at the television at those 2 the past few years.  Good riddance to both. Olin Kreutz = Pro Bowler, John Tait is also solid and I love that he is moving to right tackle.  The Bears may finally have a dominant left tackle in Chris Williams, who was drafted with their first pick this year.  We’ll have to wait and see.  The guard position bothers me.  Roberto Garza, no matter how great of a guy he is, would be a back up on any other team.  I’m not even sure I’d want Terrance Metcalf as a back up let alone a starter.  Hopefully, Josh Beekman can win one of the guard spots.  He doesn’t have the prototypical size but he has a nasty streak that I loved watching when he played for Boston College.

 

Tight Ends

I am very happy with the tight end tandem of Greg Olsen and Desmond Clark. Olsen had flashes of greatly during his rookie year and Clark showed he is a down field threat in 2006.  Hopefully, Ron Turner…sorry, I just threw up in my mouth a little, will run some 2 tight end sets this season.

 

Running Backs/Full Backs

I have to admit, I am eager to see how Matt Forte will turn out.  I was happy that the Bears took him with their 2nd choice in the draft.  I hated the Cedric Benson pick in ’04 and am ecstatic he is gone.  Anyone and their grandmother could fall down and get 3 yards.  Have fun trying to get a job jackass.  Adrian Peterson is a decent backup.  I like him because he runs with heart.  If Ron Turner had any vision at all, Garrett Wolfe could be a threat to gain 15+ yards here and there.  Oh and Ron, I’m guessing that you don’t understand the concept of physics but here is a thought.  Don’t run Wolfe up the middle against the Vikings D again this season.  Garrett Wolfe is 5’ 7”, 186 pounds, Kevin Williams is 6’5”, 311 pounds and Pat Williams is 6’ 3, 317 pounds.  Garret won’t win. FB’s don’t do much in the Bears O, except block, so there isn’t a whole lot to say other than Jason McKie is pretty solid there.

 

Quarterbacks

Going into training camp, there is a competition between Rex Grossman and Kyle Orton for QB1.  I’ll start with the positives at QB, 1) Brian Griese is no longer on the roster, 2)…..wait, I am thinking……screw it, now I’ll start with the positives of Rex Grossman – 1) great arm, 2)…..wait, I’m thinking………….I like his gunslinger attitude, 3)….my brain hurts, onto his negatives 1)his gunslinger attitude gets him in trouble 2)fumbles snaps, 3)doesn’t step up in the pocket under pressure, 4)makes poor decisions way too often 5) I have to hear Tony Kornheiser talk about how bad Rexy is 2,000 times a game on MNF. Kyle Orton positives 1) doesn’t turn the ball over, 2)steps up in the pocket under pressure, 3) his beard rocks, 4) Kyle Orton drunk pictures on the internet are awesome. His negatives are that he doesn’t have the greatest arm and is more like Trent Dilfer than a Tom Brady. Both have rings, though so that may not be that bad with a great Bears D.

 

Wide Receivers (I just threw up in my mouth again)

Good googely, moogely, ESPN has Marty Booker and Brandon Lloyd as the 2 starters on the depth chart right now.  I have also heard the Lloyd has looked like the best WR during the OTA’s.  I’m starting to tear up just thinking about that.  If Mark Bradley can stay healthy and Devin Hester can makes strides at the receiver spot this year, there is hope that I won’t pop a blood vessel watching the Bears this year. I’ve read that 3rd round pick Earl Bennett doesn’t drop passes, so hopefully he can send Lloyd to the waiver wire or bench, where he belongs. Hey, Ron Turner, just some advice here, GO ROUTE TO DEVIN HESTER, GO ROUTE TO DEVIN HESTER, GO ROUTE TO DEVIN HESTER!

 

Overall

I actually feel a little more positive about the upcoming season than I did before I started writing this blog.  If we can keep injuries to a minimum, the Bears should have a much better season than the miserable one they had last year.  The season hinges on the offense though.  There has to be something of a running game or it will be more of the same.  The Bears will be in games until the 2nd half starts and the defense fades because they have been on the field way too long.  We’ll have to wait and see what happens with QB1 and how the receivers sorts out.  If they can do something, then I see a playoff team, if they are the same as last year (not quite sure the offense could get worse) then it’s just another waste of a great defense in Chicago.

 

 

 

 

 

Hello Bears Fans

September 4, 2008

Big Whiskey here.  Welcome to Da Bears 365.  Here you will find Chicago Bears news with lots of my opinion attached.  I hope you enjoy your time here.  If you think I am wrong, let me know, can’t promise I will admit you are right but you never know.

Preseason Game #3 Review

August 22, 2008

In the 3rd preseason game of the year, the Bears lost to the 49ers 37-30. As with the previous games, there were some positives and some negatives but for me the positives far outweighed the negatives.

 I’ll start out with the negatives today.  The defense looked like garbage once again.  I have to question if defensive coordinator, Bob Babich, coaches fundamentals at all?  Since Ron Rivera left the Bears defense just can’t tackle anymore.  From my viewpoint, the problem is a cross between laziness and trying to strip the ball from the ball carrier every time.  I grow more and more frustrated every time I see a Bears player try and make an arm tackle.  It doesn’t work in high school and it surely doesn’t work in the NFL.  And to all the players in the secondary, minus possibly Mike Brown, just once instead of trying to strip the ball, put your facemask in somebody’s chest!!!!  I understand being aggressive but it drives me up a way when a 5 yard play turns into a 20 yard play because of the lack of tackling. It happens with this defense far too often.

 

Another issue with the defense last night was that the defensive line was not getting a good push off the ball once again for the most part.  This defensive scheme doesn’t work without it.  Anthony Adams got blown off the ball 5 or 6 times, which is absolutely ridiculous.  The first play of the game, he was 5 yard down the field by the time the offensive player stopped pushing him.  You figure he would have been embarrassed enough not to let it happen again, but it happened on the very next play.  Thankfully, Dusty Dvoracek looked healthy last night and should leapfrog Adams in the depth chart.  I’ve waited two long years to see what he can do and from the looks of last night, he and Tommie Harris in the middle might be a monster to contend with. Another DT that looks to be able to help things out on the line is Marcus Harrison.  He has shown spurts of first round talent in the past 2 games. 

 

I think overall, the defense will be fine.  Minus injuries, there is just way too much talent on the defense to think otherwise.  I think at some point though, if things continue down this path, Lovie Smith is going to have to take control away from Babich.  I know that the defensive players like him a lot but missed tackles and poor line play isn’t going to help his sometimes suspect play calling as we have seen in the past.

Now onto the positives from last night.  Coaches from teams on the Bears’ schedule may have been shaking their heads this morning after seeing the return game from last night.  Not only do they have to worry about Devin Hester running a kickoff back for a touchdown, they may also have to worry about Danieal Manning doing the same thing.  Not only did Manning show his quickness and speed, he showed great ability to break tackles on two returns where he amassed 171 total yards.  With returns like that, the Bears may not have to deal with a top offense.  Earl Bennett also looked pretty good in the by returning a kick for 19 yards and a punt for 20.  Garrette Wolfe did a decent job himself until he fumbled the ball. Isreal Idonije had a blocked field goal for the Beats in the second half. Robby Gould was solid as usual too.  He was 3 out of 4 on field goals and 3 out of 3 for extra points.

Offensively, I thought Kyle Orton looked great as the new starting quarterback for the Bears.  He was very accurate in his throws and it looks like he has gained arm strength.  He had some pop in some of his throws, which was great to see.  He ended the night going 10 for 17 with 2 TD’s and no interceptions and a QB rating of 126.3.  For me the best part of him starting last night, was that he looks a lot calmer in the pocket than Rex Grossman ever does.  I didn’t have that nervous feeling that a turnover may or may not happen. 

Rashied Davis looked great last night catching 2 TD’s from Orton.  He came close to a 3rd TD, but there was a bit too much on the ball for him to handle.  Mark Bradley looked pretty solid in the game.  Devin Hester didn’t do much, but seems like his route running is getting better and better.  He also had an opportunity for a TD but dropped the ball.  Brandon Rideau caught a 51 yard TD pass from Caleb Hanie in the last seconds of the game.  The Bears may want to keep him on the roster, the ex basketball player has some hops.

The running game looked pretty decent overall.  The offensive line looks pretty effective for the most part.  There were a few run plays here and there that went absolutely nowhere but Josh Beekman and John St. Clair were actually opening up some holes.  I though they both played very well.  I expected to have to write that the offensive line played lousy again but I really can’t do that today.  They open up some holes for the RB’s and gave Orton time to throw the ball.  I think he was only pressured 3 times and hurried once in the half that he played. The only real weak spot on the line last night was Roberto Garza.  I’m sorry but he should not be a starting guard in this league but hopefully he and John Tait can gel on the right side where he can be serviceable.

Matt Forte looked pretty good in his action in the first half.  He showed he has the ability to cut and create something out of nothing which is the complete opposite of what Cedric Benson ever showed.  Kevin Jones saw the field for the first time.  He looked like he is healthy and had 30 yards on three carries.  A tandem of Jones and Forte might just be what the Bears need to have an effective offense this year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lovie Smith will formally announce that Kyle Orton will be the starting quarterback for the Chicago Bears at the start of the regular season.  While he has not been spectacular at camp, he has been solid.  Rex Grossman has continued to struggle here and there with fumbled snaps and interceptions. Although, not completely his fault, Grossman looked pretty bad during the Seahawks game this past Saturday.

I’m a little excited that Orton is getting a chance to start.  He doesn’t do anything great but doesn’t make too many mistakes either and with the awful offensive line that the Bears have, that is probably a good thing.  Two more things that may come out of Orton being named QB1 is hopefully more Kyle Orton drunk pictures on the net and more neck beard. 

I just finished watching the Bears second preseason game against the Seahawks.  Like with any preseason game the outcome doesn’t really matter.  The reason for the games are to evaluate talent, set depth charts, etc.  This one was more of the same.  As I sit here thinking about what to say, I am having a tough time not getting depressed and angry about what may inevitably happen again as soon as the real season starts.  I’m trying to be optimistic about the season but what I have seen from the #1 offense so far leads me to believe that the Bears are going to be more of the same.  A team consisting of a great defense andspecial teams that is wasted with an offense that sputters around for more 3 and outs than I care to count with some turnovers sprinkled on top.

The offensive line is so atrocious that I can’t even talk about the QB battle between Kyle Orton and Rex Grossman because it’s not really fair to either of them.  After the beating that Rex took last night in the first quarter, my advice is to make sure both QB’s health insurance policies are paid up in full.  Between the constant pressure and the penalties, Grossman really had no chance to showcase any ability.  During the few plays where he was able to set his feet, he looked pretty good.  Kyle Orton looked pretty good on the 2 minute drill at the end of the second half for where the Bears scored a field goal.  Caleb Hanie looked solid in his second outing.  He played against guys that may not be on the roster in a week or two but for what it’s worth, he may be turn into a pretty good NFL quarterback one of these days. 

Defensively, the Bears looked very good.  They tackled a lot better than they did in the first game against KC.  They had 3 interceptions, one for a touchdown and a safety.  A couple young players that I thought looked really good were Dan Bauzin, Marcus Harrison, Craid Steltz, Corey Graham and Leonard Peters.  Bauzin and Harrison both a motor on them.  They were both instrumental on Corey Graham’s interception for a touchdown.  Peters, a practice squad member last year, was all over the field the second half.  I liked the hustle I saw out of him, even though that hair and the number 45 jersey he wears doesn’t seam to fit as well as it did with Gary Fencik back in the day.

The special teams had 2 blocked punts, one by Darrell McGlover in the 2nd quarter causing a saftey and one in the 4th quarter by Mark Bradley. Earl Bennett ran back a 75 yard punt return for a touchdown in the 3rd quarter.  A nice stutter step and a block by Leonard Peters sent him on his way.  The best thing about the run was that when he got to the endzone, he just dropped the ball like he had been there before. I have to say that I liked seeing that.

Overall, there were positives and negatives but I think we are still going to have to wait and see how things are going to shape up in the next two preseason games to know where the Bears offense will be this season.  Hopefully, the offensive line can gel a bit so we can see what kind of offensive talent the Bears have.

 

The Bears released the first depth chart of the 2008 season today.  There are no real surprises so far, especially with so many positions on offense still up for grabs.  The position battles are in italics below.

 

Offense

WR–Rashied Davis/Devin Hester, Mike Hass, Brandon Rideau, Ryan Grice-Mullen
LT–John St. Clair, Cody Balogh, (Chris Williams)
LG–Terrence Metcalf, Anthony Oakley, Ryan Poles
C–Olin Kreutz, Josh Beekman, Anthony Oakley
RG–Roberto Garza, Tyler Reed, Chester Adams
RT–John Tait, Kirk Barton
TE–Desmond Clark, Greg Olsen, Kellen Davis, Fontel Mines, Marcus Stone
WR–Marty Booker/Brandon Lloyd, Mark Bradley, Earl Bennett, Marcus Monk
QB–Rex Grossman/Kyle Orton, Caleb Hanie
RB–Matt Forte, Adrian Peterson, Garrett Wolfe, P.J. Pope, (Kevin Jones)
FB–Jason McKie, Lousaka Polite

Defense

LE–Adewale Ogunleye, Dan Bazuin, Joe Clermond, Nick Osborn
DT–Tommie Harris, Israel Idonije, Marcus Harrison
NT–Anthony Adams, Matt Toeaina, (Dusty Dvoracek)
RE–Alex Brown, Mark Anderson, Ervin Baldwin
WLB–Lance Briggs, Jamar Williams, Joey LaRocque
MLB–Brian Urlacher, Nick Roach, Rod Wilson
SLB–Hunter Hillenmeyer, Darrell McClover, Michael Okwo
LCB–Charles Tillman, Corey Graham, Zack Bowman, Leslie Majors
RCB–Nathan Vasher, Trumaine McBride, Ricky Manning Jr., Trey Brown
SS–Brandon McGowan, Kevin Payne, Leonard Peters
FS–Mike Brown, Danieal Manning, Craig Steltz, Josh Gattis

QB – The competition between Grossman and Orton has brought out no clear front runner, although from reports that I have read, Grossman has looked better than Orton the past few days.  We’ll have to wait and see how the two perform in the preseason games before a winner will be chosen.  Rex may have let it slip that coach Lovie Smith with let them know who will be QB1 by the 3rd preseason game against the 49ers on August 21.

RB – Matt Forte is listed as RB1 at the moment and is slated to start in the first preseason game on Thursday (Aug. 7th) against KC.  Kevin Jones is still on the PUP list, so it is unknown at this point if he will make the roster at the start of the season or not.  Garrett Wolfe, who is trying to make the team as the 3rd down back has been impressive in camp so far.  Keeping Wolfe could provide offensive coordinator, Ron Turner (ugh!), a nice change of pace, although he showed no vision with very limited use of Wolfe on the roster last year, so I won’t get my hopes up.

LT/LG – These two spots on the offensive line are a bit clouded at the moment because of injuries.  Rookie Chris Williams has yet to see the field with a lingering back spasm problem.  John St. Clair has been used as the starting LT so far.  Terrence Metcalf has been out for the past few days, so Josh Beekman has moved over from the Center spot to fill in.  If the Bears can get Williams on the field, Metcalf and St. Clair should fight for the position.  I’d rather see Beekman get a legitimate shot, Metcalf shouldn’t be fighting for a starting spot let alone be on an NFL roster.

WR – The starting WR positions are still up for grabs. From reports that I have seen, however, Devin Hester has been playing lights out and may be showing potential as a #1 WR.  Mark Bradley and Marty Booker have been very solid in camp also.  Rashied Davis, an Arena Football league veteran, who has shown great flashes in the return game and as a deep threat the past few years may be the dark horse in the race.  It has been reported that he has looked great in camp and could be named one of the starters.  I have also heard that Brandon Lloyd has looked very good in camp.  Maybe he has finally figured things out and is focusing strictly on football and not trying to be a fashion model.  He played for Ron Turner at the U of Illinois, so maybe his relationship with Turner can bring out the potential he showed with the 49ers and not the train wreck he was with the Redskins.  Rookie Earl Bennett has looked good in camp also.  He seems to catch every ball thrown to him.  The team has been working with him on Punt Returns.  He has looked spotty at best there. Mike Hass, Marcus Monk, Brandon Rideau and Ryan Grice-Mullen round out the WRs in camp.  Each has shown some talent, not sure how many will be released or put on the practice squad.

There aren’t really any position battles on defense, but the team is waiting for Dusty Dvoracek to get on the field from a calf injury he has been dealing with.  Once on the field, it will be Anthony Adams or himself as the starting NT.  If healthy, both should see significant playing time this year along with Matt Toeaina.

One other spot on defense where there has been movement on the depth chart is the nickel cornerback position.  Corey Graham has leapfrogged Trumain McBride, Zack Bowman and Ricky Manning Jr. with stellar play filling in for starting left corner Peanut Tilman, when he missed some camp due to personal issues.  Graham, may at some point in the season or next year, compete with Tilman for the starting LC job.

I’ll have an in depth report of the Bears first preseason game against KC on Friday.  For Bears fans outside of the Chicagoland area (like me), the NFL Network will re-broadcast the game at various times throughout the week.  The scheduled broadcasts are below.  Also, the game on August 21, is going to be on FOX.

All times are Eastern. 
WEEK 1
Thursday Aug 7   12am

KC at Chi

Friday Aug 8     3:30pm

KC at Chi

Sunday Aug 10   4am

KC at Chi

Wednesday Aug 13   4pm

KC at Chi

 

WEEK 2

Sunday  Aug 17   1pm

Chi at Seattle

Thursday Aug 21  12:30am

Chi at Seattle

 

WEEK 4

Sunday Aug 31    4pm

Chi at Cleveland

 

 

 

Olin Kruetz, who had missed the past 6 days of camp with an achilles injury, passed a physical today and practiced for the first time.

Kevin Jones, still recovering from his knee surgery and on the PUP list, was on the field today.  Helmet but no pads.  Looks like he is on pace to start practicing sometime next week.

Chris Williams, who had slightly strained his back on his first day of workouts, was on the field again, helmet no pads, but this is a good sign he may see action in a day or two. I sure hope he is on the field soon, the offensive line hasn’t looked all that great so far. Plus, I really need to get the vision of Stan Thomas out of my head. It would really depress me if Williams turns into another Thomas.

Bears waived ex-Saluki QB, Nick Hill today, shattering hopes of Southern Illinois alumni, that he may become QB1 for the Bears this season.

It looks like the QB battle is going to be won on the field during the preseason games, which it should be.  Orton and Rexy have both looked good and bad in the tapes I have seen.  Kyle has been throwing up some picks the past few days while Rexy has been having trouble with snaps again here and there.  Now the Kruetz is back, hopefully that problem will be resolved. 

Earl Bennett and Matt Forte continue to impress.  I can’t wait to see Forte in a game.  Bennett looks like he is ready to contribute right out of the box at the wide receiver spot, although he has had some problems fumbling the ball while taking punts. 

I’ve been reading reports that Garrette Wolfe has been looking really good in camp. The Bears may just have to carry 4 RBs this year if that is the case.

Mark Bradley has looked really good at the receiver spot so far.  Hopefully, he can stay away from the injury bug that Dan Bauzin and Dusty Dvoracek have.

That’s about it for today.  I’ll have more in depth information this week.