Bear Essentials

Bear Essentials

Bears CEO Ted Phillips on lockout

Posted by Bob LeGere on Sat, 03/12/2011 - 13:25
Bears president and CEO Ted Phillips has issued a statement on the NFL’s decision by the owners to lock out the players: “We’re disappointed in the need to take this step,” Phillips said, “but it is necessary for the long- term health of our league. Ultimately we believe an agreement will be reached at the bargaining table. As an individual club, our team focus is on our preparation for the 2011 season, and we want Bears fans to know we are going to continue to do everything we can within the League rules to prepare for a championship season. Our immediate focus is on preparing for the draft. We also continue to evaluate our team and will be ready to take advantage of all avenues to improve our team once a new collective bargaining agreement is reached.

Mocking the NFL draft

Posted by Bob LeGere on Fri, 03/11/2011 - 02:29
It’s less than two months until the draft, so let the mocking begin. Below is my first, but definitely not my last, attempt at predicting the first round. I see the Bears getting an offensive lineman, but not one of the consensus top four tackles. Actually my pick for the Bears played left tackle in college, but he’s projected as a guard in the NFL. But who knows? Chris Williams was supposed to be a left tackle in the NFL and now he’s a guard. 1. Panthers – DE Da’Quan Bowers, Clemson 2. Broncos – DT Marcell Dareus, Alabama 3. Bills – DT Nick Fairley, Auburn 4. Bengals – QB Blaine Gabbert, Missouri 5. Cardinals – QB Cam Newton, Auburn 6. Browns – WR A.J. Green, Georgia 7. 49ers – CB Patrick Peterson, LSU 8. Titans – OLB Von Miller, Texas A&M

Big help at WR available in draft

Posted by Bob LeGere on Thu, 03/10/2011 - 00:30
Wide receiver is not a position for the Bears that cries out for improvement as the offensive line does, but they need to get better there. Just about everyone agrees that Jay Cutler needs better protection than he received last year, when the Bears allowed the most sacks in the NFL. But it’s almost as important that the Bears provide Cutler with more weapons in the passing game. The Bears currently have just three wide receivers with NFL experience under contract. Six-year veteran Rashied Davis is eligible for unrestricted free agency. Four-year pro Devin Aromashodu was not tendered a contract offer from the Bears, so he will be free to sign with any team when free agency begins.

Feeling the draft

Posted by Bob LeGere on Wed, 03/09/2011 - 00:25
With all the mock drafts out there, it’s interesting to see what others project the Bears to do with the 29th overall pick. So far, I’ve seen everything from logical to wishful thinking to highly unlikely to major reach. The logical: Illinois DT Corey Liuget, Oregon State DT Stephen Paea, Wisconsin OT Gabe Carimi. Wishful thinking: Boston College OT Anthony Castonzo, Colorado OT Nate Solder. Highly unlikely: Pitt WR Jonathan Baldwin, Georgia OLB Justin Houston. Major reach: Villanova OT Ben Ijalana, Mississippi State OT Derek Sherrod.

Free agent possibilities

Posted by Bob LeGere on Fri, 03/04/2011 - 01:27
With the two sides agreeing to extend the deadline for a new collective bargaining agreement until 11 p.m. tonight (Chicago time), there is a faint glimmer of hope that free agency could possibly begin sooner rather than later. And, with the restructuring of Julius Peppers bonus money giving the Bears more room under whatever the salary cap is set at, they could be more active in free agency, although they won’t spend nearly as much money as they did last year on Peppers. The offensive line has to come first and there are a lot more quality guards than tackles available. The Bears could use more quality and more depth at both positions, but tackles, especially those who can play on the left side are more difficult to find.

Could be long labor fight

Posted by Bob LeGere on Thu, 03/03/2011 - 01:23
With the collective bargaining agreement between the NFL owners and its players’ union due to expire at 11 p.m. (Chicago time) tonight, a long work stoppage appears likely. Whether the players make a pre-emptive strike by decertifying as a union or the owners lock the players out, most of the football news for a long while will be about the labor situation. It’s possible the two sides may agree to extend the current CBA and continue talking, which would be a positive step. But they’ve reported no progress after almost two weeks of federally mediated talks, so don’t get your hopes up.

Combine helped Illini LB Wilson

Posted by Bob LeGere on Wed, 03/02/2011 - 01:37
It will be interesting to see where Illinois LB Martez Wilson is drafted. The Simeon High School product ran the fastest 40-yard dash among all the linebackers at the Scouting Combine, 4.49, which was faster than all the outside linebackers, who are supposed to be the better athletes. The 6-foot-4, 250-pound Wilson is also one of the biggest linebackers in this year’s group, and that combination of size and speed will help elevate his draft stock. But there are still questions about whether Wilson has the instincts to be a first-round draft pick. His production on the field has rarely matched his physical gifts, and NFL teams will have to be sure that the neck injury that sidelined him for the entire 2009 season will not become a chronic condition.

Round 1 could bring D-line help

Posted by Bob LeGere on Mon, 02/28/2011 - 22:44
While the Bears' greatest area of need remains the offensive line, no one should be surprised if they target the defensive line with their first-round pick (29th overall). With defensive tackle Tommie Harris cut on Monday and nose tackle Anthony Adams eligible for free agency, reinforcements on defense are needed. Since taking over as the Bears’ draft day decision maker in 2002, G.M. Jerry Angelo has used his top pick on a defensive lineman three times and drafted 14 in nine years. There are an abundance of talented defensive ends available this year, and as many as seven could be drafted in the first round. But, with Julius Peppers and Israel Idonije both coming off excellent seasons, the Bears are more likely to look for tackles than ends.

Frequent drug questions frustrate Arkansas QB

Posted by Bob LeGere on Sat, 02/26/2011 - 15:47
Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett a 6-foot-6, 240-pound junior with a rocket arm, walked away from the stage at the Combine Saturday afternoon when he was repeatedly asked about rumors of marijuana use. After saying several times that he would discuss those allegations with teams that interviewed him and not with the media, he was asked again and waved off the question while walking away and saying, “Thanks,” near the end of his interview time. Mallett, who is still regarded as a first- or second-round pick by most draft analysts, answered others questions but used the word “ridiculous” to describe the rumors about his alleged drug use. He also implied that some of the stories were fabricated.

Draft before free agency would suit Angelo

Posted by Bob LeGere on Sat, 02/26/2011 - 14:48
If the negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement drag on for a significant length of time, which unfortunately appears to be a foregone conclusion, the draft could happen before free agency. Free agency is supposed to begin at midnight on March 3, but it cannot start without a collective bargaining agreement in place. Regardless of the labor situation, the draft will be held the final week in April. A reversal in the order wouldn't bother Bears G.M. Jerry Angelo.