Biggs: Bears Offseason Needs
3. Put five scouts in a room and ask them to rank needs for the Bears heading into 2012 and guess what? You might get five different lists. Sure, there would be plenty of repetition for some of the obvious needs but that doesnít mean they would all prioritize them in the same order. Outraged? Think itís evident to anyone who has watched the Bears play for the past several seasons that offensive line is the No. 1 need? Canít believe everyone wouldnít rank a playmaking wide receiver at the very top? Maybe you look at the other side of the ball and say as long as theyíre going to play this scheme, they need another pass rusher to pair with Julius Peppers? All valid points. The morning after the end of the season, here is how I rank the teamís top five needs heading toward free agency (more on that a little later on) and the draft:
-- Wide receiver. Since the trade for Jay Cutler on April 2, 2009, general manager Jerry Angelo has drafted three wide receivers, all in that yearís draft class. Johnny Knox, a fifth-rounder, has emerged as one of his best offensive draft picks, period. Reports are he should be fine to return by summer, but coming off back surgery, you never know. The other players from that class? Juaquin Iglesias, a third-rounder, and seventh-rounder Marcus Monk are long gone. What jumps out about this position is the Bears have never committed much in the way of resources to it. In all, Angelo has drafted 11 receivers (not counting cornerback Devin Hester in the second round in 2006). One second-round pick, Mark Bradley, was a bust. One third-round pick , Bernard Berrian, was a productive yet one-dimensional player. The franchise hasnít paid much for wide receiver help, either, with the only splash addition being the signing of Muhsin Muhammad in 2005. Roy Williams fell short of making the kind of impact Muhammad did. History shows it is difficult to pay top dollar for free-agent wide receivers and have them make huge impacts. Sure, you can find players who have, but there are far more instances where they flopped. The best route is to develop your own and that is where the Bears have been shy to invest because Angelo has been scared off by the high bust ratio that comes with first-round receivers. Could be time to take that gamble.
-- Defensive end. While the run defense remained one of the best in the league, there were holes in the pass defense. Yes, the Bears need to find a young cornerback who can come in and play soon to pair with Charles Tillman. Until then, maybe they look for a stop-gap measure. But what they canít wait for is pass-rush help. Angelo and Lovie Smith have struggled in the combination of drafting and developing defensive ends. They have drafted eight ends starting with Alex Brown in 2002 and other than him only Mark Anderson (5th round 2006) has made an impact even if it was for just one season. Henry Melton has been moved to tackle where he is flourishing. Julius Peppers turns 32 later this month and he canít do it alone, not with regular double teams and chips. Israel Idonije isnít a pass rusher but probably should be re-signed. Pursuing Jason Babin in free agency during the summer would have been a very good move.
-- Offensive line. The Bears should ask one question before every move they make this offseason. How does this particular move impact the development of Jay Cutler? Even if theyíre adding a pass rusher, they need to answer how that allocation of resources will affect offensive building. Keep in mind, they essentially have a second first-round draft pick as right tackle Gabe Carimi should return after playing only six quarters as a freshman. A lousy end to the season by left tackle JíMarcus Webb raises valid questions. No, Carimi is not an option to play left tackle. While a young addition might have been in the works for the interior of the line, the Bears have Chris Spencer, Lance Louis and a more seasoned Edwin Williams now with former first-round draft pick Chris Williams also returning from his wrist injury. Perhaps left tackle needs to be prioritized and, of course, it would depend on what is available when the Bears select at No. 19 overall, according to ESPN. Thatís not exactly prime range to find a left tackle of the future.
-- Cornerback. With Tim Jennings, Zack Bowman and Corey Graham all set to become unrestricted free agents, some might rank this higher. But if the pass rush improves, it will make everyone on the back end look better. The most realistic plan is to re-sign Jennings with an eye toward him competing for the job with a draft pick and maybe another veteran addition. Graham should be re-signed to captain the special teams units.
-- Tight end. You could put a lot of different positions here but I chose tight end because given the significance of the position in so many offenses, itís a must. The Bears need to add the dimension to the passing attack and give them a player to help control the middle of the field. Greg Olsen wasnít a top 10 tight end in the NFL for the Bears and he wonít be for the Panthers. But he is in the top half of the NFL and this is what the Bears need to find. It doesnít necessarily require a first-round draft pick either.
Brad Biggs' 10 thoughts on Bears' win to end season - Page 2 - chicagotribune.com
Might as well put QB in the TE position if we keep martz. That position is as worthless in Martz's O as Kicker when the D is on the field. I agree w/most the rest of the article.
same fucking needs for the past 5 years
knock knock halas hall anyone home
I guess this explains one playoff appearance and one playoff win for 5 years
High Fives / Like - 1 BEAR DOWN!, 0 Dislikes
I'm not totally sold that Gabe Carimi isn't LT material. That is his natural position, and until Mike Tice quits fucking around with the line and decides what in the hell he is going to do with it, the worse off Carimi is going to be. I definitely don't think that Webb is our LT of the future as he looked like shit down toward the end of the season. Here is my ideal OL, including one free agent signing:
LG: C. Williams
C: either Garza or Spencer depending on the RG
RG: Carl Nicks
We CANNOT afford to be inactive this offseason with regard to the OL. I would address the OL in free agency and then go after a WR in the first round.