Bear Essentials

Bear Essentials

Bears should draft OT

Posted by Bob LeGere on Wed, 01/21/2009 - 23:23
Although free agency doesn't even begin until the end of February, it's never too soon to offer some advice to Jerry Angelo and Lovie Smith on who the Bears should take with the 18th overall pick in the draft on April 25. It might not be the most glamorous idea, but the Bears would be wise to draft an offensive tackle. For the second straight year, the draft is strong in bookend blockers, and the Bears are long overdue to start replenishing the offensive line, which they've ignored for years. Before they took Vanderbilt OT Chris Williams in the first round in 2008, the Bears hadn't drafted an offensive lineman in the first round, the second round or the third round since 2002, when they took Marc Colombo in Round One.

Cards' Grimm was almost Bears head coach

Posted by Bob LeGere on Tue, 01/20/2009 - 17:46
If Cardinals assistant head coach/offensive line Russ Grimm looks familiar, it's because he almost became the Bears' head coach in January of 2004, after Dick Jauron was fired. Grimm, one of two finalists, lost out to Lovie Smith, but he made an impression as an upfront, plain-spoken regular guy. The four-time Pro Bowl guard almost came off as too much of a regular guy when, after his interview with Bears brass, he came downstairs to the media room for the obligatory press conference.

Fiery ex-Bears coach Haley helps Cards to Super Bowl

Posted by Bob LeGere on Mon, 01/19/2009 - 17:08
Seeing Cardinals offensive coordinator Todd Haley having heated sideline exchanges Sunday afternoon with his quarterback Kurt Warner and Pro Bowl wide receiver Anquan Boldin brought back fond memories of earlier training camps in Bourbonnais, when Haley was the Bears' wide receivers coach under Dick Jauron from 2001-03. Haley, one of my favorite coaches of all time, is intense, and he doesn't have much patience with players who aren't. He isn't the touchy-feely kind of coach. He's more the cuss-you-up-one-side-and-down-the-other type. If Haley's upset with a player, the player knows right away, whether it's Keyshawn Johnson or Terrell Owens, two of the many players that Haley has coached and gone tor-to-toe with.

Peppers would spice up Bears' defense

Posted by Bob LeGere on Sun, 01/18/2009 - 14:29
Four-time Pro Bowl defensive end Julius Peppers, who has double-digit sacks in five of his NFL seasons, wants out of Carolina, and the Bears need a premier pass rusher to make their Cover-2 scheme work at peak efficiency. A match made in heaven? Definitely, maybe. Peppers had a career-best 14 ½ sacks in 2008 and was voted to the Pro Bowl. But -- and there always seems to be a “but” -- he might not be the Bears' most efficient use of $10 million a year for the next five or six years. That's what it will cost to get Peppers, if the Panthers don't slap the franchise tag on him, which is unlikely.

Peppers would spice up Bears' defense

Posted by Bob LeGere on Sun, 01/18/2009 - 14:29
Four-time Pro Bowl defensive end Julius Peppers, who has double-digit sacks in five of his NFL seasons, wants out of Carolina, and the Bears need a premier pass rusher to make their Cover-2 scheme work at peak efficiency. A match made in heaven? Definitely, maybe. Peppers had a career-best 14 ½ sacks in 2008 and was voted to the Pro Bowl. But -- and there always seems to be a “but” -- he might not be the Bears' most efficient use of $10 million a year for the next five or six years. That's what it will cost to get Peppers, if the Panthers don't slap the franchise tag on him, which is unlikely.

Anticipating an all-Pennsylvania Super Bowl

Posted by Bob LeGere on Thu, 01/15/2009 - 16:36
Hot on the heels of last week's 4-0 record vs. the spread, here is a sneak preview of my take on Sunday's conference championship games before they appear in Saturday's Daily Herald. I expect the clock to strike midnight for the Cinderella Cardinals, even though they're at home against the battle-tested Eagles, who will be playing for the NFC title for the fifth time in eight years. Even though the Cardinals have done a better job of running the ball in the playoffs than they did in the regular season, I don't believe they can run on the Eagles. And if Philly's defense makes Arizona one-dimensional on offense, they'll be able to get after Warner and rush him into mistakes.

Leftwich isn't the answer

Posted by Bob LeGere on Wed, 01/14/2009 - 17:46
The latest name being thrown about as the answer to the Bears' quest for an upgrade at the quarterback position is that of Byron Leftwich, the Steelers' backup. Bad choice. There's no doubt Leftwich has a big arm, as he demonstrated near the end of the divisional-round playoff victory over the Chargers on a deep ball that rookie Limas Sweed somehow managed to drop. But a cannon arm doesn't offset the negatives that come with Leftwich.

9 wins enough for Super Bowl berth

Posted by Bob LeGere on Tue, 01/13/2009 - 19:01
Lovie Smith pointed to the postseason success of the Eagles and Cardinals to justify his assessment of the Bears as “being close,” even after falling just short of the postseason with a 9-7 record. And Lovie actually makes a pretty good point. The Cardinals finished the regular season with a record identical to the Bears', but two postseason victories have them playing for a Super Bowl berth Sunday. The Eagles finished 9-6-1 and lost to the Bears 24-20 at Soldier Field back on Sept. 28. Either the Cards or Eagles will be in Tampa for Super Bowl XLIII on Feb. 1. “As we go into championship weekend, a nine-win team is going to the Super Bowl,” Smith said. “That is why I say we’re not far away. Once you get in the playoffs, anything can happen.”

Bears must remember defense is key

Posted by Bob LeGere on Mon, 01/12/2009 - 14:25
Anyone who still doesn't think defense wins championships in the NFL should rethink their position, especially after the outcome of the four divisional-round playoff games over the weekend. Three of the four remaining teams still in the Super Bowl chase – the Eagles, Steelers and Ravens – had the league's best defenses during the regular season. The fourth team, the Cardinals, were below average defensively in the regular season, but their defense has played its two best games of the season in the playoffs. The Steelers, Ravens and Eagles ranked 1-2-3, respectively, in total yards allowed during the regular season. They ranked 1-3-4 in points allowed, 2-3-4 in rushing yards allowed and 1-2-3 in passing yards allowed.

Is Dent a Hall of Famer?

Posted by Bob LeGere on Sat, 01/10/2009 - 14:20
For the fifth time in the last six years, Richard Dent, the Bears' all-time sack leader, is one of 17 finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame’s board of selectors will meet in Tampa on Jan. 31, the day before Super Bowl XLIII, and choose 4-7 inductees. The question is: Does Dent deserve to join former teammates Walter Payton, Mike Singletary and Dan Hampton in Canton, Ohio. Dent made it to the final 10 last season but was not elected to join the Class of 2008, which included defensive end Fred Dean, cornerbacks Darrell Green and Emmitt Thomas, wide receiver Art Monk, linebacker Andre Tippett and offensive tackle Gary Zimmerman.