Bear Essentials

Bear Essentials

Ex-Bears death motivated Clemson's Bowers

Posted by Bob LeGere on Sat, 02/26/2011 - 14:15
It was the death of former Bears defensive end Gaines Adams that helped motivate Clemson defensive end Da’Quan Bowers, who could be the No. 1 overall pick in the draft after leading the nation with 15 ½ sacks last season as a junior. Adams died of a heart attack caused by an enlarged heart just over a year ago at the age of 26. Several years earlier, at a Clemson football camp, Adams had taken the 15-year-old Bowers under his wing, and the two developed a relationship that continued after Bowers followed Adams to Clemson and took his No. 93 jersey.

Williams, O-line works in progress

Posted by Bob LeGere on Fri, 02/25/2011 - 12:22
Just about everyone assumes the Bears will make improvement of the offensive line the No. 1 priority in this year’s draft, but coach Lovie Smith attempted to downplay the team’s need for improvement there.

Rivera remembers Duerson

Posted by Bob LeGere on Fri, 02/25/2011 - 01:29
New Carolina Panthers coach and former Bears linebacker Ron Rivera played on the same defense with Dave Duerson from 1984, when Rivera joined the Bears as a second-round pick out of California, until 1989, after which the four-time Pro Bowl safety was released. In their six years together, Rivera came to consider Duerson as someone who had his life in order on and off the field, which is why his suicide last week came as a surprise. “Dave was probably the one guy that you sat there and thought, 'Wow, he's got it together,' ” Rivera said at the NFL’s Scouting Combine at Indianapolis. “But then, unfortunately, some things unraveled, and whatever happened it was a very unfortunate situation.

Lake Zurich OT Castonzo fits Bears' biggest need

Posted by Bob LeGere on Thu, 02/24/2011 - 14:58
Boston College offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo was a Bears fan growing up in Hawthorn Woods and at Lake Zurich High School, where he was a Daily Herald all-area player in 2005. And he’s well aware of the Bears’ need for offensive linemen. Most mock drafts have the 6-foot-7, 305-pound Castonzo being selected at least several spots before the Bears’ first pick at No. 29 overall. But, if he fell to them, it wouldn’t be a total disappointment for the four-year starter, who is rated as the No. 1 offensive tackle in Pro Football Weekly’s 2011 draft guide. “That would mean that I get to continue to be a Bears fans,” Castonzo said, laughing.

Ditka, Ryan influenced Rivera

Posted by Bob LeGere on Thu, 02/24/2011 - 12:27
New Carolina Panthers head coach and former Bears linebacker Ron Rivera was one of the first speakers at the podium this morning at the NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Afterward I had an opportunity to talk with him one on one about what kind of influence Mike Ditka and Buddy Ryan have had on his coaching style. “The one thing about Mike was that he never expected us to do anything that he hadn’t done as a player,” Rivera said. “So his expectations were high, and I know I will carry that with me and keep those expectations high. But there are some things I wasn’t capable of doing, and I know some guys are, and so I’ll be able to hold them to a higher standard.”

Packers' McCarthy to join Lovie in $5 million club

Posted by Bob LeGere on Wed, 02/16/2011 - 14:02
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Packers head coach Mike McCarthy's soon-to-be-completed contract extension will pay him about $5 million per year, and he will join Bears coach Lovie Smith as one of the 10 highest paid coaches in the league. An extension for Smith is also expected soon, as per the comments of G.M. Jerry Angelo the day after the Bears were beaten by the Packers 21-14 in the NFC championship game. "We very much want to extend Lovie ... and his staff, so our focus, our intent is to extend Lovie," Angelo said on Jan. 24. "That will be part of the business at hand in these next several weeks."

Holding on to Tice the right move

Posted by Bob LeGere on Tue, 02/15/2011 - 00:39
While it may not have been in the best interests of advancing Mike Tice’s career, the Bears’ refusal to grant the Tennessee Titans permission to talk to him about their offensive coordinator vacancy was the right move for the Bears. Lovie Smith has usually been in favor of his assistants taking better jobs, even when it meant losing talented coaches, but Tice’s situation is unique. He has been instrumental in converting a mediocre group into a unit that was good enough to help the Bears get to the NFC championship game. But there is still much work to be done before the Bears’ offensive line is a championship-caliber group.

Where were Cutler critics on Super Sunday?

Posted by Bob LeGere on Mon, 02/07/2011 - 21:54
Not to beat a dead horse, but I’m going to the whip. The criticism of Jay Cutler for failing to finish the NFC title game with a Grade 2 sprain of the MCL in his left knee looks even more asinine after the Super Bowl. Packers cornerback Charles Woodson (fractured collarbone) and wide receiver Donald Driver (ankle) left Super Bowl XLV in the first half with injuries and did not return, but I have yet to see any Twitter activity questioning the toughness of those two.

Steelers' Wallace a big-play specialist

Posted by Bob LeGere on Sat, 02/05/2011 - 03:16
No one in Sunday’s game poses the threat of scoring faster and from farther away than Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace, who averaged 21.0 yards per catch and scored 10 touchdowns in the regular season. Wallace might be a bit under the radar with all the big names in Super Bowl XLV, but the lightning-fast artificial turf at Cowboys Stadium could benefit him more than anyone else. "The only thing that allows people to cover him are under-thrown balls," said Steelers free safety Ryan Clark. "If it’s thrown out there, and he has to go get it, I think he wins every time."

Bears hire D-line coach

Posted by Bob LeGere on Thu, 02/03/2011 - 16:03
The Bears today hired Mike Phair as their defensive line coach to replace Eric Washington, who left on Monday to join the Carolina Panthers and their new head coach Ron Rivera, a former linebacker and defensive coordinator with the Bears. Phair spent the past six seasons with the Seattle Seahawks, including the last three as an assistant coach, following three years as an area scout. Phair was a defensive assistant last season, an assistant defensive line coach in 2009, and the assistant linebackers coach in '08.