Bear Essentials

Bear Essentials

Marshall a gamble -- a good one

Posted by Bob LeGere on Wed, 03/14/2012 - 00:17
Brandon Marshall arguably does more to close the talent gap between the Bears and their NFC North rivals in Green Bay and Detroit than any other player in the NFL. Not only is Marshall one of the most talented offensive players in the game, he plays a position that was considered the biggest Bears weakness. Marshall might not be the Lions’ Calvin Johnson, but he’s the closest thing to “Megatron” out there. Marshall is exactly what the Bears have lacked for years. He has AVERAGED 95 catches and 1,187 receiving yards over the past five seasons. The consensus around the league is that new G.M. Phil Emery pulled off a heist by giving up only third-round picks in each of the next two drafts.

Patience could pay in free agency

Posted by Bob LeGere on Mon, 03/12/2012 - 16:36
Every effort will be made by NFL teams to snap up marquee unrestricted free agents like Mario Williams and Vincent Jackson shortly after the market opens at 3 p.m. Tuesday. The Bears have interest in both players and, as they showed two years ago when they swept Julius Peppers off his feet with $84 million, they have the financial wherewithal to get a blockbuster deal done quickly. But the Bears don’t have to get a big-name, big-money player in the first 24 hours to close the talent gap between themselves and the Packers.

Plenty of WR talent available

Posted by Bob LeGere on Thu, 03/01/2012 - 16:34
Only two Bears are listed in the latest issue of Pro Football Weekly, which features a ranking of the top 100 free agents in advance of the March 13 opening of the market. PFW lists RB Matt Forte at No. 8, and DE Israel Idonije, at No. 76, is the only other Bear on the market. So it shouldn’t be too expensive for the Bears to hold on to their other 13 free agents, or at least the ones they want back. If the Bears want to spend the money to upgrade a wide receiver spot in need of improvement, they should have an abundance of options. Four of PFW’s top 10 free agents are wide receivers, the Steelers’ Mike Wallace (a restricted free agent) is No. 4, followed by the Chargers’ Vincent Jackson (No. 7), the Eagles’ DeSean Jackson (No. 9) and the Chiefs’ Dwayne Bowe (No. 10).

Which Bears UFAs will be back?

Posted by Bob LeGere on Wed, 02/29/2012 - 15:16
The start of unrestricted free agency is less than two weeks away, and the Bears have 13 players scheduled to hit the market, although we already know RB Matt Forte isn’t going anywhere. In addition, backup RB Kahlil Bell is a restricted free agent, who will probably be back with the team, considering he was more productive than Marion Barber last season. With the tight-lipped atmosphere that surrounds Halas Hall under new G.M. Phil Emery, it’s difficult to get a read on which of their own UFAs the Bears want back, but here’s my list, from top to bottom, of which players are the most important to retain. 1. RB Matt Forte 2. DE Israel Idonije 3. CB-ST Corey Graham 4. TE Kellen Davis 5. DT Amobi Okoye 6. S Craig Steltz 7. RB Kahlil Bell (RFA) 8. CB Tim Jennings

Any team signing Manning better win

Posted by Bob LeGere on Sun, 02/26/2012 - 17:44
Fox and NFL Network analyst Brian Billick had an interesting take on the possibility of a team signing Peyton Manning if he doesn't reach a contractual agreement with the Colts. "First off," Billick said, "when you bring him in, if it doesn't work, it's not Peyton's fault. There's going to be somebody's butt in somebody's brief case at the end of the day, and it's not going to be Peyton's, OK? Because that guy's got a Super Bowl, and he's walking into the Hall of Fame." The Colts will not pay Manning the $23 million roster bonus he's due next month because of the undertainty surrounding his health after three neck surgeries. But they could reach agreement on a renegotiated deal with the three-time MVP.

Billick says Tice just what Bears need

Posted by Bob LeGere on Sat, 02/25/2012 - 11:48
Brian Billick, the head coach of the Super Bowl XXXV-winning Baltimore Ravens and now a Fox analyst, was instrumental in new Bears offensive coordinator Mike Tice getting involved in coaching when his playing days were over. Billick believes Tice is exactly what the Bears and coach Lovie Smith need to run the offense after two up-and-down seasons under Mike Martz. “Mike has a complete view of the game,” Billick said. “Remember he was a head coach, and Mike has a bigger view of the game, and he has a certain mentality. That’s why, in my opinion, Lovie made him the offensive coordinator because he wants that mentality. They’re going to run the ball; they’re going to be physical.” But Billick believes the Bears need offensive upgrades.

Vikings' Harvin a Bears nemesis

Posted by Bob LeGere on Fri, 02/24/2012 - 12:42
Vikings head coach and former Bears cornerback Leslie Frazier says he and his offensive staff tread a fine line deciding how to best utilize dual-threat WR-RB Percy Harvin, who caught 87 passes for 967 yards last season and rushed 52 times for 345 yards, a 6.6-yard average. “The workload (last season) was probably what we could afford with him,” Frazier said. “We’re always conscious with Percy of overusing him. He’s such a main factor in our offense, but also on special teams. He’s such a threat every time he touches the football, and one thing that I talked about with him is being able to stay on the field a little bit longer, even when he’s not touching the football.

Lovie on GMs past and present

Posted by Bob LeGere on Fri, 02/24/2012 - 10:15
Bears coach Lovie Smith had not spoken publicly about the January firing of general manager Jerry Angelo, the man who hired him in 2004, until this week at the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. "We know in our profession what's at stake always, and changes can happen at any time," Smith said. "I'm here primarily because of what Jerry Angelo did for me, giving me an opportunity, leading the charge to give me the opportunity to be the head football coach here. I can't necessarily say (I'm) surprised (about the firing). I don't think any coach or G.M. in the league is surprised about anything that happens. "Jerry did an awful lot for us, but you move on, and that's what we've done. Jerry will be fine. He's a lifetime friend, but you do move on."

Lovie says pressure nothing new

Posted by Bob LeGere on Thu, 02/23/2012 - 11:59
When Bears president and CEO Ted Phillips began his search in January for a general manager to succeed Jerry Angelo the job came with the proviso that Lovie Smith would be retained as the head coach – but only for the 2012 season. Thursday morning at the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Smith said he doesn’t feel any more pressure to win this season under new G.M. Phil Emery than he ever has. It may be a “win-or-else” situation, but Smith says that’s nothing new. “Win or else?” Smith said. “Every year I’ve been a head football coach and pretty much (even) as a position coach, I felt like we had to win the next year or else. There’s a standard that we’re going to try to get accomplished. That hasn’t changed at all.

The Bears' Marshall Plan

Posted by Bob LeGere on Wed, 01/25/2012 - 15:29
In the latest issue of Pro Football Weekly, draft expert Nolan Nawrocki has the Bears taking LSU wide receiver Rueben Randle with the 19th pick in the first round. That would be a start. Trading for Dolphins WR Brandon Marshall, in addition to drafting Randle, could transform the Bears’ receiving group from one of the NFL’s worst to one of its best. It would also, for the first time, give Cutler a legitimate array of weapons with which to showcase his skills.