Bear Essentials

Bear Essentials

WEEK 7 POWER RANKINGS – TOP TEAMS TUMBLE

Posted by Bob LeGere on Tue, 10/14/2008 - 11:55
1. Tennessee Titans (5-0): Probably didn't need off week to prepare for road game vs. Chiefs this week. They've won 8 straight regular-season games and have two-game lead in AFC South. Last week: 2. 2. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-1): Another team coming off bye and going on the road to face a supposedly inferior opponent in winless Bengals, but Pitt is dangerously thin at RB. Last week: 3 3. Buffalo Bills (4-1): Third team to benefit from off week, as each of the top eight teams who played last week were defeated. Coach Dick Jauron's team is coming off 41-17 loss to Cardinals in Week Five, but QB Trent Edwards (concussion) is expected back. Last week: 8.

Metcalf suspended by NFL

Posted by Bob LeGere on Mon, 10/13/2008 - 15:40
Seven-year veteran guard Terrence Metcalf has been suspended by the league without pay for the next four weeks for violating the NFL policy on anabolic steroids and related substances. The suspension begins immediately, meaning the 6-foot-4, 310-pound Metcalf will be eligible to rejoin the Bears on Monday, Nov. 17, the day after the Bears game against the Packers in Green Bay. Metcalf, a third-round pick in 2002, has started 25 games and played in 84, including all six this season in a reserve role. He went to training camp this year as the starting left guard but missed three weeks following arthroscopic knee surgery and lost the job to Josh Beekman.

Vasher out again

Posted by Bob LeGere on Sun, 10/12/2008 - 11:14
Cornerback Nate Vasher was inactive for the second straight game following surgery on his dislocated thumb, an injury that occurred in the second half of the Eagles game in Week Four. Vasher was replaced in the starting lineup by Corey Graham, who started last week against the Lions and led the Bears with 10 tackles. In each of the last two weeks, Vasher told reporters earlier in the week that he would play on Sunday but did not. He missed 12 games last season with a groin injury. Wide receiver Brandon Lloyd, who didn't practice all week, also missed his second straight game with a sprained knee. Devin Hester started in his place, as he did last week.

On being Michael Turner

Posted by Bob LeGere on Thu, 10/09/2008 - 18:51
It really isn't a big deal, since the Bears don't tackle in practice anyway, but they really don't have anyone who can provide a similar look in practice for what the defense will see from the Falcons' Michael Turner. The stumpy but explosive Turner packs about 255 pounds on a solid 5-foot-10 frame, although the Falcons list him at 244. The Bears' backup running backs – 5-foot-7, 186-pound Garrett Wolfe and 5-10, 212-pound Adrian Peterson – just aren't the same type of players. So it was suggested to defensive coordinator Bob Babich that maybe stout nose tackle Anthony Adams could play the role of Turner. Adams weighs 307 pounds and is listed at an even 6 feet tall, but he looks more like 5-10.

Week 6 power rankings - NFC East on fire

Posted by Bob LeGere on Tue, 10/07/2008 - 11:38
1. New York Giants (4-0): Eighth straight win – 44-6 over Seahawks -- was almost too easy. Offense is hitting on all cylinders, and defense is allowing just 12 points per game. Last week: 1. 2. Tennessee Titans (5-0): Stingiest defense in the NFL. Offense struggled in tough, 13-10 road victory over Ravens, but veteran QB Kerry Collins engineered late, game-winning drive. Last week: 2. 3. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-1): Third-string RB Mewelde Moore rushed for 99 yards, and QB Ben Roethlisberger finally got passing game off the ground with 3 TD throws in mettle-testing victory on the road against Jaguars. Last week: 3.

Bradley was barely a blip

Posted by Bob LeGere on Mon, 10/06/2008 - 22:44
The release of 2005 second-round pick Mark Bradley two weeks ago barely registered on the radar because the wide receiver's contributions were barely noticeable after a promising rookie season. Bradley caught 18 passes for 203 yards back in '05 and started four games before the season was halfway over. But in what proved to be his career game, the seventh of that season, he caught 5 passes for 88 yards but shortly before halftime suffered a torn ACL. Bradley never started another game. He caught 14 passes in 2006, just 6 the next year and none before he was cut this season. He was picked up on waivers by the Chiefs, who are desperate for help in all areas.

Vasher sitting out

Posted by Bob LeGere on Sun, 10/05/2008 - 11:05
Cornerback Nate Vasher, who said after Friday's practice: “I expect to be out there 100 percent,” was 100 percent inactive on Sunday. Vasher suffered a dislocated thumb in Week Four but finished the game and then had a minor surgical procedure but returned to the practice field Friday after sitting out Wednesday and Thursday. “I had full practice and I’m looking forward to it,” Vasher said Friday of today's game at Detroit's Ford Field. Instead Corey Graham started in place of Vasher, as he had done in Week Three when the Bears preferred going with a bigger more physical lineup.

Jones may play bigger role

Posted by Bob LeGere on Sat, 10/04/2008 - 00:37
It wouldn't surprise me to see backup running back Kevin Jones play a more prominent role Sunday against his former Lions teammates. Jones is anxious to put on a good show at his former home field and prove that the Lions gave up on him too soon following last season's knee surgery. He was drafted in the first round by the Lions in 2004 (30th overall) and rushed for 1,133 yards as a rookie, but he was released after the 2007 season.. Jones got 13 carries in the Bears' season opener and gained 45 yards, but he's gotten just 7 carries since them for 26 yards. He's looked surprisingly healthy for someone less than a year removed from a torn ACL.

Bears suspend Tommie Harris

Posted by Bob LeGere on Thu, 10/02/2008 - 15:54
Three-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Tommie Harris, who signed a four-year, $40 million contract extension prior to the start of the season has been suspended by the Bears for this week's game for an unspecified breach of team rules. Harris did not play last week because of lingering effects from the off-season arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, and he has rarely practiced at all since the start of the season. In the three games he did play, Harris was a virtual non-factor, recording just 2 tackles plus an additional tackle for loss. Harris has not practiced at all this week.

Don't burn out Forte

Posted by Bob LeGere on Wed, 10/01/2008 - 22:24
I've harped on this before, but I really believe the Bears need to cut back on rookie RB Matt Forte's workload of they want him to be effective in December. Forte leads the NFL in rushing attempts with 92 – 6 more than the Chiefs' Larry Johnson – and he's also caught 18 passes, giving him a league-high 110 touches. At the quarter pole, it's easy to do the math: 368 carries and 440 touches. That's a heavy burden for a 22-year old. It's not as if the Bears don't have any other options. Kevin Jones is a viable alternative who could at least provide an occasional breather for Forte, and whatever happened to getting a few touches a game for Garrett Wolfe?