Pyle Ponders

It's always been hard for me to pay much attention to the draft ever since I realized it's simply the most hyped non-sports sporting event in the world. To me, it's put on for the benefit of the media. Think about it. This is the perfect chance for any sportswriter to fill pages of newsprint just guessing. Then the hope is that by the time we see if the draftees can actually play in September, we'll have forgotten just what these reporters predicted.

There are pages and pages of this stuff running now. Just open the papers and take a look. The only things that I know are true for sure are the stats. Joe Blow is 6-foot-6 and weighs 320. That's probably right. But who knows if he can actually play the way these writers say he can if we haven't seen him on the field? Do these players seem familiar to you? Me neither. But we'll hope that the ones selected by the Bears turn out to be the cream of the crop.

I have often been quite critical of GM Jerry Angelo in the past, but I must grudgingly admit that he has been doing some very smart things recently. Yes, I still blame Angelo for greasing the way for Dick Jauron's downfall, but for some reason he seems to be pulling out all the stops to help Lovie Smith. Go figure.

The Bears have come a long way recently thanks to free agency. They have strengthened the o-line immensely. I like Ruben Brown and John Tait quite a bit. LT might be somewhat of a concern as Marc Colombo's status remains uncertain, but Mike Gandy certainly can play well. Qasim Mitchell is an unknown to me but I'll be interested to see how he handles things there.

Jonathan Quinn would seem to be a very promising backup quarterback so that shouldn't be a place the Bears are looking for extra help, although I read in today's paper that there might be some interest in Kurt Warner. Whether or not that happens, I think the team is in good shape with Rex Grossman and Quinn right now.

The bottom line is that the Bears need help on defense and that should be where they begin their hunt. The draft seems deep in positions where the Bears are weak. Who they area actually able to select however will depend on who of the top players are left once the Bears get their pick. I won't bore you by going through the candidates one by one, but I will say that I see quite a few out there who could be a good fit into the Bears revamped system.

Speaking of the new system, I have to give Smith, Ron Rivera and Terry Shea a tremendous amount of credit for how they have come along so far. From what I hear, the players are enthusiastic and giving much more effort than they ever have before. That's a sign of excellent coaching.

What I like about Lovie is that he isn't always running off at the mouth about how good he is. Instead, he's putting himself on to the field. You can see his results right in front of you. He has a true passion for the game, like Dusty Baker of the Cubs has. Players who are part of a team like that tend to give it everything they've got. That's how you win football games.

That was Mike Ditka's strength as a player. I've always told Mike that if he had been in World War II, he wouldn't have lasted more than 30 seconds. Why? Because he never hesitated, he just went in there regardless of the consequences. That's exactly how he coached.

Angelo and Smith seem to be playing their cards pretty close to the vest right now, exactly as they should be doing. You never want to give away your moves before you make them so anything we read or hear about this draft right now is simply conjecture. We'll see how all of this turns out this weekend. I, for one, am expecting good news from Halas Hall.

Mike Pyle played for the Bears from 1961-69 and has stayed involved in the NFL through his work in broadcasting and print media.


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