pompei mailbag- plex,asomugha,forte, covert
Dan Pompei's Bears mailbag
Will the Bears re-sign Matt Forte? Will they pursue Plaxico Burress or Nnamdi Asomugha? The Tribune's Bears columnist answers these questions and more.
By Dan Pompei Tribune staff reporter 4:04 p.m. CDT, May 24, 2011
Matt Forte is one of the best backs in the league, but he doesn't get nearly the credit he deserves. He basically held the Bears together last year while a lackluster Jay Cutler sat idly by as the team was about to fail under an unbalanced offense. I fear the Bears may not re-sign him after his contract expires since he is not a big enough name. How do you feel about this? Ryan Hall, Reserve, N.M.
I know for a fact the Bears value Forte highly. In fact, they already have tried to sign him to an extension. I would think that once the labor situation is settled, they will make another run at signing him. The only issue is can they find common contractual ground with Forte. Even if they don't sign him this summer, they still will have time to work something out, as his contract does not expire until after the 2011 season. My feeling is Forte will re-sign with the Bears eventually and be part of the organization for a number of years.
Given the Bears' apparent search for a big receiver, what do you think the chances are that they will pursue Plaxico Burress, a large, talented receiver who has clearly demonstrated the ability to be consistent and make clutch catches? Samuel Schubert, Vienna, Austria
Burress has three things working against him. The first is he will be 34 when the season starts. The second is he has not played football, or even trained with a football team, for two full years. The third is he has a history of getting in trouble. I don't think the Bears are that desperate.
What are the chances of Andy Fantuz starting for the Bears at WR? Brandon, Wisconsin
He has an excellent chance of starting -- if Johnny Knox breaks his leg, Devin Hester retires, Earl Bennett blows out his knee, and whoever the Bears sign as a free agent breaks his arm. Otherwise, he doesn't have much of a chance.
What are the chances the Bears go after Nnamdi Asomugha? Mike, St. Charles
If the Bears go after Asomugha, it will be completely out of character for them. Given the defensive scheme they run, they have not prioritized high-priced, shutdown cornerbacks. They need physical corners who can tackle and who have ball skills. I don't see that changing now.
I cannot understand why Jimbo Covert is not in the Hall of Fame. He was one of the finest left tackles I have ever seen. Ken Johnston, Rock Island
He is one of the finest left tackles I have ever seen as well. It's pretty apparent to me why he's not in the Hall, though. He played only eight seasons. And in two of those seasons, he played only nine games. To get to the Hall of Fame, most players not only have to be great, they have to be great for a long period of time. You can talk about Gale Sayers if you want. He basically played in only five seasons and made the hall. But Sayers is the exception to the rule, not the rule. Over the past 10 years, seven offensive linemen have been inducted into the hall. None of them played fewer than 11 seasons. Bruce Matthews played 19 years, Ron Yary and Randall McDaniel played 14 seasons apiece. Joe DeLamielleure CQ played 13, Mike Munchak and Gary Zimmerman each played 12 and Russ Grimm played 11. I don't think there is any question that if Covert had played another four years, he'd be in Canton.
What do the Bears plan on doing with newly acquired OL Herman Johnson, whom they picked up off Arizona's practice squad? I feel if he pans out they can have a massive line with (left to right) (Gabe Carimi, Chris Williams, Olin Kreutz, Johnson & J'Marcus Webb). How do you feel the Bears feel about that? Quinton Young, Woodridge
The Bears haven't seen enough of Herman Johnson to feel good about saying he can be a starter, or even saying he can make the roster. He will have a chance to make a push in training camp. The lockout hurts guys like him. I'd be very surprised, though, if your scenario played out and Johnson were to beat out Roberto Garza. If Johnson has a chance of starting, it's probably at left guard.
Do you think the Bears are giving Mike Martz too much power? With his influence on demanding a veteran QB last year (Todd Collins), the mishandling of playing time with Devin Aromashodu and drafting QBs in back-to-back years, he has been given a lot of power. With Martz's track record with previous teams, it seems like he has a lot of influence even though he might not be here for too long. Timothy Miller, Endwell, N.Y.
A team has to put a lot of faith in the person who is running the offense. The alternative is saddling that person with players he doesn't believe in. You want the offensive coordinator to have ownership in the final product. How can the offensive coordinator buy in if management isn't buying in to him? It's especially important with a veteran coach who has had considerable success as Martz has. The Bears can't concern themselves with how long Martz will or won't be here. The future isn't promised with any coach.
I wanted to ask you if you thought it was fair of the media, current and past NFL players bashing Jay Cutler during the NFC Championship Game? How can anyone question this guy's toughness when he battles with diabetes every single day? How about all those hits and sacks he has endured since coming to Chicago? I find it hard to believe Jay would tap out a game that significant. Michael Shahbaz, San Diego
I thought some of the criticism of Cutler was uncalled for. It's really difficult for me to ever question whether a player is hurt, because I'm not in his body. I don't think it has anything to do with Cutler being a diabetic, but he has proven he is a very tough quarterback who can take a hit. It's interesting that we're still discussing this four months after the fact. I wonder how long this will continue to be an issue.