I do believe that Griese should be the No. 2 quarterback for the simple fact that he is the second-best QB on the roster and most likely to get the job done should Rex Grossman get hurt. We all know that Griese is on the back nine of his career, but the Bears were heavily criticized during the first few years of Grossman's tenure because they did not have a veteran backup behind him. That's why we were subjected to borderline fatal doses of Craig Krenzel and Jonathan Quinn.
And please don't read too much into anything that happened in Week 17 last year because the entire team sleepwalked through that New Year's Eve catastrophe.
Do you think that this year will be a continuation of the same defense, or will there be new wrinkles? Do you think that Bob Babich favors more pressure from linebackers and safeties than Ron Rivera? I sure hated getting picked apart by Peyton Manning and others due to lack of pressure.
– Chazz (New York, NY)
Since Babich and head coach Lovie Smith have such a long relationship in football, if anything, I believe there will be even less activity from the linebackers and safeties this season. Babich is a pure Cover 2 guy, while Rivera cut his teeth under the blitz-happy Jimmy Johnson in Philadelphia. The entire Bears defense is predicated on getting consistent pressure from the front four, and remember that both Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs were very ineffective the few times they did blitz a year ago – nickelback Ricky Manning Jr. was the team's most effective blitzer.
So look for more Cover 2 and even less blitzing in 2007 because Babich is banking that most teams can't continually put together 10- and 12-play drives against his defense.
Did quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson really leave on his own, or was he fired? – TexasBearsFan
Wilson left on his own accord to make a lateral move back to Dallas, but let's just say that nobody in Lake Forest made any sort of effort to keep him around. It's no secret that Grossman has awful footwork sometimes, and that's what leads to the overwhelming majority of his poor throws and bad mistakes. For whatever reason, Wilson was not able to improve that footwork enough as Grossman continued to throw off of his back foot and repeatedly got sloppy with his delivery.
New QB coach Pep Hamilton has gotten rave reviews so far, but we'll see how much of a difference he makes for No. 8 once the season begins.
What do you think are the weakest positions for the Bears in this upcoming season? Once the season starts, there are always problems. – CTomas1941 (El Salvador)
As you know, it's sometimes tough to answer a question like this before the season because there's bound to be a position you didn't expect that gets ravaged by injuries. That being said, I believe Bears fans should be a little worried about the depth at cornerback right now. We all know that both Charles Tillman and Nathan Vasher are very good players, but Tillman had a procedure on his back in the offseason and Vasher missed time a year ago with a hamstring problem.
Manning has proven to be a very good nickel man but sub-par as a starting corner, and with Devin Hester moving to offense and Dante Wesley failing to impress as a free agent signee, there's a bunch of unproven rookies playing on the second and third team.
I keep hearing everything under the sun about Mark Bradley. First he's awful, then he's great, and then he's awful again. What's the truth? - Jake (Tulsa, OK)
Bradley has been all over the map this offseason, and believe me, I seem to change my opinion on him every single time I see him in action. He was arguably the worst player on the entire field at veteran mini camp, dropping balls left and right and looking genuinely uninterested at times. Then he was nothing short of sensational the first week or so of OTAs before getting another case of the dropsies this past Wednesday, the last day of the offseason program.
Smith made a point to single out Bradley as a shining star when talking to the media on Wednesday, but I believe he was politicking to some degree because he didn't want to answer any questions about how inconsistent his talented wideout has been.
The more I hear about Greg Olsen, the more I think he's going to be awesome. What do you think? – Stanley (Terre Haute, IN)
Not only has Olsen been impressive on the practice field in Lake Forest, but he's been doubly impressive every time he's had a microphone in his face. You can tell that he's the son of a coach because he appears to be the kind of player that eats, drinks, and sleeps football every day of his life. He made an absolutely incredible one-handed grab on Wednesday over the middle in traffic on a high throw from Chris Leak that made the sideline break out in pandemonium.
Desmond Clark is still the starter at tight end, but look for Olsen to line up everywhere from tight end to fullback to H-back to wide receiver in order to get him on the field and create mismatches.
Why do you think Brian Urlacher wore No. 55 in practice the other day? Was he just showing support for Lance Briggs, or is there more to it? – Barry (Lake Bluff, IL)
I was quite surprised to see Urlacher in No. 55 on Wednesday, yet the more I think about it, the less I believe it's really a big deal. I'm sure he was just looking for a way to show his support for his fellow linebacker and close friend, but I don't necessarily think he was trying to get under the organization's skin or anything like that. I asked Coach Smith about it after practice, and as you'd expect from a man who knows how to feed a heaping spoonful of nothing to the media, he claimed that he never even noticed the jersey switch.
I originally thought that GM Jerry Angelo might be pissed off to high hell about what Urlacher did, but not so much now.
Do you expect there to be any fallout from the Rex Grossman/Tommie Harris debate this week, or is this a dead issue already? – Perry (Sherwood, OH)
If you know Harris, you know that he is a major league jokester and doesn't take anything too seriously. I'm sure he would love to play with Donovan McNabb at some point because he's a great quarterback, but in no way do I believe Harris was undercutting Grossman with those comments he made in Philadelphia. The media did what they could to make this into some sort of gigantic story, but Harris and Grossman both did a good job of diffusing it quickly on Monday and putting it behind them.
Regardless of what is said between now and the end of the season, Grossman will most likely be back long-term if he plays well this year but will almost certainly be gone if he doesn't.
How did Tank Johnson look in the offseason program, and what kind of season do you expect him to have? – Dillon (Berwyn ,IL)
Johnson did almost nothing at veteran mini camp because he had just gotten out of the clink, but he started to work his way back into shape during OTAs and was eventually rotating in with the first unit. Antonio Garay and Dusty Dvoracek were seeing a ton of action for a while there with Johnson on the comeback trail and Harris still recovering from that hamstring situation, but Harris and Johnson will be the starters come Week 1. Remember that Johnson was on the non-football injury list for the majority of training camp last year, but he still got himself ready for the regular season.
And as far as the off-the-field stuff goes, I honestly believe that Johnson has been scared straight and will be a model citizen going forward.
Alright, give us your honest prediction as to what the Bears' record will be this season. – Willie (Des Moines, IA)
While I firmly believe that the Bears can be a better team this season than they where last season, I don't think their record will reflect that. The schedule is much more difficult in 2007 regardless of what the experts might think, and some of the road dates in particular will put this club to the test. The offense should be better since a lot of speed has been added in the offseason, but the defense needs to keep its major components healthy and has something to prove after faltering in Super Bowl XLI against the Colts.
I see a third consecutive NFC North title for Smith & Company, but I don't think their record will be any better than 11-5.
|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.|