It certainly was a weak crop of players at Fan Convention last weekend, especially on the defensive side of the ball. It's been rumored that this was a sign of support for Lance Briggs, although I still can't believe crowd favorites like Brian Urlacher and Alex Brown didn't participate considering the event was sold out for the first time in history. Most of the fans didn't come from all over creation to get autographs from Mike Hass and Copeland Bryan.
Just wondering if the Bears would consider signing a couple of ex-Bears players' sons to play for the Bears, like Jarrett Payton and Aaron Moorehead. We could definitely need another RB now that Thomas Jones is gone.
– Mark (Rochester, MN)
Although the Bears are one of the more storied franchises in sports and bring back so many legends at events like this past weekend's Fan Convention, signing the younger Payton or Moorehead just for the sake of appeasing the paying customers seems a bit silly. Payton had a hard time seeing the field in college at Miami, so there was no way he was going to succeed in the NFL. Moorehead has contributed in this league, but do you really see him getting playing time ahead of the likes of Muhsin Muhammad, Bernard Berrian, Rashied Davis, or Mark Bradley?
I saw Payton at Fan Convention this past weekend, and believe it or not, he was actually a better soccer player than football player.
Is the Lance Briggs trade with Washington truly dead? Or might this be revisited closer to the draft? – Denny (Palos Heights, IL)
It's certainly possible that the Bears and Redskins could pick up their trade talks again and work out a deal, although it doesn't seem very likely. Jerry Angelo didn't want to include the 31st overall selection, and Vinny Cerrato didn't want to part with Rocky McIntosh. It seems much more probable that Angelo will entertain more legitimate offers from the likes of the Bills and Giants, especially since he doesn't want the financial commitment associated with the No. 6 overall pick.
The wild card in all this is Daniel Snyder, who might get antsy again and demand that he get his free-spending hands on Briggs.
Bear Report ran a story on zone blocking the other day, so I was curious if the Bears ever do it or have considered using it. – Orrin (Duluth, MN)
The Bears use man blocking almost exclusively, although there are some zone blocking elements sprinkled into the running game. On counter plays, the pulling guard and tackle don't always have a designated man to block, so they simply blow up the first defender they see. Teams like Denver and Green Bay use zone blocking almost exclusively, and they've been two of the better running clubs in the NFL for quite some time.
Although my beloved Florida State Seminoles experimented with the technique back in the 2005 season, and the results were nothing short of disastrous.
I saw you wrote that either Charles Tillman or Nathan Vasher will be gone after this season. Everyone wants to move Devin Hester over to offense, but won't we need him at corner in 2008? – Frenchy (White Plains, NY)
Moving Hester from cornerback to wide receiver is certainly a hot topic this offseason and still a realistic possibility. Although it does appear that the Bears will need to replace either Tillman or Vasher in 2008, I just don't see Hester being that replacement. He's such a natural with the ball in his hands, so getting him a few extra touches per game on offense makes much more sense since he's never truly been a gifted corner.
I'm predicting that Tillman will be re-signed and Vasher will be let go after this season, so don't be surprised if the Bears take another corner at some point in the draft.
Everyone seems to be saying that the Bears are going to draft an offensive lineman in the first round. Why would they do that with Ruben Brown re-signed? Shouldn't they be looking for a starter instead of a backup? – Smitty (Libertyville, IL)
Quite honestly, I can't think of too many positions where a rookie might come in and start for this team anyway. Safety was moved down the list of priorities for this team after dealing for Adam Archuleta, although I suppose you could argue that the Bears might draft a weakside linebacker with thoughts of making him a starter if the ultimate plan is to trade Briggs. The offensive line remains intact and is still very good, but it's glaringly obvious that they need to get younger and find some quality backups.
Angelo is a big believer in targeting the best player available as opposed to drafting for need, so I guess anything's possible.
Dante Wesley was a topic of conversation on the message boards this week. Was he a waste of a signing last year? Should we just cut our losses with this guy? – Cam (Fort Wayne, IN)
I talked to Wesley at Fan Convention and asked if he was happy with his first season in Chicago, and he admitted a second Super Bowl loss was tough and that he really thought he'd be playing more at cornerback. I for one was surprised to see Hester get so many reps at corner once Vasher and then Tillman missed time with minor ailments, but maybe Wesley just isn't cut out to play that position in this league. I for one think he could be a contributor if converted to safety because he's got the build for it, but he told me that no one has ever approached him about making the switch.
I hardly think that signing him was a waste, although he did not look like the special teams ace we heard he was in Carolina.
What are the odds Rex Grossman gets a new contract after this season? And if not, are we really going to go into 2008 with Brian Griese and Kyle Orton as our QBs? – Ashton (Tempe, AZ)
Grossman is quite literally playing for his life in Chicago next season, but it wouldn't surprise me to see him get a contract extension during the year if he gets off to a good start. If he happens to light up the league and proves to be better than a year ago, Angelo won't want him to be able to test the free agent waters next March and possibly sign for big bucks somewhere else. Grossman has maintained that it's a dream come true to be playing quarterback in the NFL for a franchise like the Bears, although his experience with the media in 2006 had to sour him to some degree.
If it plays out that he's simply not the guy going forward, I'd expect the Bears to make a play in free agency because they see both Griese and Orton as nothing more than backups right now.
So it seems like Danieal Manning might get moved to corner from safety. I didn't think he played that bad last year. Can he even play corner? – Lionel (West, TX)
I thought Manning was fitting in quite nicely at free safety and certainly made more sense there than Chris Harris, but he struggled mightily down the stretch. He seemed somewhat lost after Mike Brown went down in Week 6, but there's no question he has the skills to play corner. If you ask Bears players who the fastest player on the roster is, believe it or not, Manning gets mentioned all the time.
Lovie Smith knows exactly what he's getting out of Brown and Archuleta at safety, but don't just assume Manning is headed to the bench.
Ron Turner says the Bears are going to use the shotgun more next season. Why was he so afraid to use it in the past when guys like Peyton Manning and Tom Brady are in the shotgun all the time? – Mikey (River Forest, IL)
Simplistically speaking, the shotgun has never been a big part of the west coast offense because it narrows the playbook in terms of what can be called. If you look back at the glory days of the 49ers with both Joe Montana and Steve Young, they threw the ball all over the place but never used the shotgun. That being said, I do believe it would be a big help to Grossman and give him an extra second or so to read the defense before making a decision where to throw.
Perhaps even more important, it could do wonders for his footwork since he won't have to worry about taking a drop from center and might help him step up in the pocket better.
|John Crist is the Publisher of Bear Report and Editor in Chief of BearReport.com. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.|