I'm not going to lie to you, I really thought the Bears abandoned the running game too early in the second half. Thomas Jones was the lone productive offensive player in the Super Bowl and racked up 112 yards on just 15 carries, but he wasn't given the ball nearly enough after halftime. Cedric Benson sprained a knee on his second carry and was lost for the night, so the one-two punch that worked so well in the regular season was no longer available. However, it's the last game of the year and they should have run Jones till he couldn't run anymore, plus Adrian Peterson is more than capable of sharing the load. I think the overwhelming time of possession disparity clouded Ron Turner's better judgement.
So what was the highlight of Super Bowl week down in Miami? Was it just crazy down there? – Colt (Algonquin, IL)
The week in Miami was great for me if for no other reason than to escape frigid Chicago. It was in the 70s pretty much my entire trip and very sunny with the exception of Super Bowl Sunday. I'm actually taking an extra week in Jacksonville right now to visit some family, unwind after my Super Bowl responsibilities, and soak up a little more warm weather. The funniest thing that happened to me during Super Bowl week was running into Steve-O of Jackass fame at a dive in South Beach called Club Deuce and drinking with him until they finally kicked us out at closing time. That guy is seriously insane both on television and in person, but hey, it beats the hell out of working at Sears.
The Colts certainly seemed to have their way with a vaunted Bears defense. Why did they have such an easy time? – Jester (Nashville, TN)
First of all, anyone who thinks the torrential downpour didn't have an effect on the ballgame is out of their mind. The Bears had probably their worst tackling performance of the season, and the wet-and-wild conditions were a big reason why. For the most part, they had trouble covering Peyton Manning's check-down receivers and got nickel-and-dimed to death with short passes to the likes of Joseph Addai and Dallas Clark. Then in the running game, the Colts busted Addai and Dominic Rhodes right up the gut and took away any sort of speed advantage the Bears' defenders may have had. We've talked about the losses of Tommie Harris and Mike Brown for quite some time, but they were needed more than ever on Super Sunday.
I know Rex Grossman deserves his share of the blame and has been getting killed in the media, but it wasn't all his fault. Why is he always the issue in Chicago? - Lonnie (Zion, IL)
As is always the case, quarterbacks get way too much credit if their team wins and way too much blame if their team loses. Such has been the case with Grossman, who has been perhaps the most heavily scrutinized player in the NFL this season. One week he's the league MVP, the next week he needs to be benched. One week he's the first Bears QB to take his team to the Super Bowl in 21 years, the next week he's getting run out of town and potentially replaced by 63-year-old Jeff Garcia. I know Grossman did not play well when his team needed him most against the Colts, but that game was lost by their inability to convert third downs on offense and their inability to get Manning & Company off the field.
Just level with me. Have we seen the last of Lance Briggs in a Bears uniform? Would they really break up the best LB combo in the league? – Dillon (Manchester, NH)
The Bears are in pretty good shape financially and the salary cap is going up to $109 million next season, but I just can't get a read on what they're going to do with Briggs. He's proven that he is an elite player and has done some incredible things alongside fellow All-Pro Brian Urlacher. The two of them are very good friends in addition to being arguably the best linebacker tandem in the NFL. Franchising Briggs would cost the team about $8 million in 2007, which is a big number for nothing more than a one-year commitment. GM Jerry Angelo has never once used the franchise tag with the Bears, so perhaps he'll find a way to reward Briggs with a long-term deal and keep his defense relatively intact at the same time.
I know Angelo likes to build his offensive line with free agents, but is there anyone in the draft you know he likes? They could use some younger guys. - Kato (Louisville, KY)
The offensive line is very good, but it is also very old. Ruben Brown is a free agent and may not be back, and Fred Miller just turned 34 two days after the Super Bowl. The Bears offered contracts to tackle Mark LeVoir and guard Tyler Reed, two rookies who were on the practice squad last year, so perhaps they can develop into capable starters one day. In terms of this upcoming draft, it's a little early to say who the Bears like and may be specifically targeting. But Tony Ugoh of Arkansas is a name that seems to be creeping up everybody's draft boards, and you can read a BearReport.com feature story about him Right Here.
Is there any way Ron Rivera makes a lateral move to be the DC in Dallas? Or is he holding out to be the head guy somewhere else? - Travis (River Forest, IL)
Whether or not Rivera was going to Dallas certainly got some air time down in Miami, but I don't believe for a second that it was a distraction for the team. He said all the right things and focused entirely on the game, plus it's not like he could interview until after the Super Bowl anyway. He did meet with Jones for about six hours on Tuesday, but Wade Phillips was given the nod on Thursday. Rivera's dream is to be a head coach in the NFL, so I would be shocked if he left Chicago for Dallas without the promotion he wants. And the Cowboys run a 3-4 system that is way different than the 4-3 cover-two scheme Rivera has run in the Windy City.
Lance Briggs is the one free agent that everyone is talking about, but is there another free agent the Bears could lose and would miss? - Colby (Oakland, CA)
Ruben Brown may turn 35 years old this coming Tuesday, but the 12-year veteran just made his ninth Pro Bowl this season. We've already talked about the Bears having one of the more experienced offensive lines in the league, and Brown is even more highly decorated than Olin Kreutz. He is a calming influence in the locker room and a heckuva player at left guard. As of right now, Terrence Metcalf would probably step in as the starter if Brown leaves town, but that would certainly be a downgrade. Angelo might be wise to keep Brown in Chicago for another season until he has someone truly ready to take his place.
Do you think there's any possibility all this talk about trading for Donovan McNabb actually happens? - HammerJack1010
McNabb signed a 12-year contract with Philly back in 2002 that could be worth up to $115 million, so the financial commitment alone will probably make the trade next to impossible. I understand that NFL contracts are largely smoke and mirrors, but in order to make it happen, the Bears would have to part with multiple top draft choices, perhaps a player or two, and they might even have to cut a few more in order to make the numbers work. I'm fairly confident that the QB depth chart in 2007 will just as it was in 2006: Rex Grossman as the starter, Brian Griese as the backup, and Kyle Orton as the third-stringer. In my eyes, Grossman showed enough this past season to warrant playing out the last year of his rookie deal and getting a chance to earn an extension from the Bears. McNabb coming back home to Chicago has a nice ring to it, but I'd give it little more than 20-to-1 odds.
Do you really have to speak Spanish in order to survive down in Miami? - Sammy (Lansing, MI)
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