I'm hoping we have a solid plan in place regarding Urlacher's eventual replacement - so we don't end up in a crisis mode and have somebody like Roach at MLB. Frankly, I don't think Roach would be starting material on 90% of the teams in the NFL at any LB position. He is barely adequate for our needs as an OLB, and he is pitiful at MLB (I'm not a Roach hater, just a realist).
I'm fine with signing Urlacher to a short extension so he can retire a Bear. But have a young guy in place to learn our defense, and the play at the NFL level, before the bottom drops out with Brian.
I'm OK with going the FA route if you have to. But so often you pay more - and get less - going this route vs the draft. There are notable exceptions to this (like Peppers). And of course, you have to have a GM in place who can judge talent well. You can't go out and get Urlacher's replacement based upon the college kids ability to jump out of a swimming pool well, or go after a 5'3" midget who runs fast, but who couldn't tackle my grandmother.
I'd like to see us go after LB and oline in the 3 of the first 4 rounds (if we are going after 2 oline players in 2013). Don't reach for a player, if the talent doesn't match the draft position. But if there IS a solid guy at those positions, then pull the trigger. If our draft number comes up in any of those rounds and the best talent is not at LB or Oline, then yeah, pull the trigger on another position.
Just don't wait until we lose Urlacher, before we address a plan to groom his replacement.
Soul, you have mentioned this several times. If the Packers or New England had drafted him I'm guessing he'd be a linebacker right now (more of one anyways). On the games I've seen so far, it does seem like Shane steps back off the line more than the other DE's on the Bear's front. Not saying alot though 'cause it still feels like 80% (vs. 90%) of the time his ears are pinned back. The questions I believe still has to be about his coverage skills. As big of a fan as I am, I don't see McClellin being as fast or as quick as Urlacher. However, I do believe he has the football skills and athletic ability to play the position.
Originally Posted by soulman
I think you have to take a wait and see approach:
1.) I agree with your "monster?" assessment, he very much looks like a hard working kid that has yet to reach his physical potential. Will he get there? Will his work eithic's change?
2.) And I'd like to see how his current position on the line plays out. Shane still has work to do before we see where he's at with the End slot. He needs to work on getting off blocks and that inside move still, IMO. Individually, I have seen many bright spots, but overall have been mildly disappointed. I also will put it out there, that I think his role as a rushman has to have played a part in the increased production we have seen overall up front.
3.) I also don't see him as a guy that would quickly take lead of the "D", if anything I see him moving from outisde in. From what little I know, that seems like one of the issues with Roach. Everyone especially the person taking over needs to buy in and be on the same page. I get the impression that the rook still keeps to himself quite a bit. I could be wrong but perhaps it will take a season or so before he get meshed into the team fabric. I don't see that really as a bad thing either, he plays aggresive and with confidence. I just see him as that quiet kid in class soaking up the material. When he finally gets called out, he might just surprise a few people.
Of course the only thing I really know, is that I'm going to enjoy watching it play out. That and thankfully, as much as I dislike Cutler... At least it is easier to replace a linebacker than a QB. I think Emery will have our backs.
I think Roach is somewhat underrated as a SLB in this defense because of what the scheme requires of him. He mostly a coverage LB and a guy who cleans up on tackles but seldom the first on the scene.
He's a smart enough player and he doesn't make many mistakes but he's also lost in the shuffle playing with two All Pros. He's a decent enough SLB in this defense but you're right. He doesn't have all the physical tools he needs to be a MLB in it. He won't hurt you but he won't help you much either and the shoes he'd be filling would be way to big.
I don't see us finding the right guy in FA right now or maybe ever because any LB who could fill that spot the way we're used to seeing it filled will never see FA period. We've always drafted and developed our own guys at that position and we will again. It's just a matter of finding the right one and when.
I totally agree. At least this would be the ideal to shoot for. Regarding Roach, he's not a bad player at SLB, just not a great player. At MLB he'd be a bad player IMHO. He gets manhandled there. You see blockers take him out with ease.
Originally Posted by soulman
Soul, excellent analysis as usual. I only was disagreeing with you that we DO need to prioritize MLB coming up here soon not that we should "give away the store" to trade way up for a particular player. A lot of people talk smack like that without ever consulting a draft trade point value chart. It is very very costly to trade up more than a few positions in the 1st, especially into the top 10, and probably only worth considering for a franchise QB or maybe a marqui LT. That's not what we are talking about here. Way it is shaping up now, T'eo looks like he's going to be way out of our reach just like Kuechley became last year.
That doesn't mean Emery can afford to ignore the issue though. I hope BU plays and plays well for quite a while too but let's face it. He's definitely lost a step or two this year (still hopeful he will continue steady improvement as the season goes on) and the prospect of a recurrent/re-aggravated injury to that knee is always there. He's at an age where he can't recover as quickly or as completely as ten years ago. It can happen quickly--just look at Ray Lewis, whose career may suddenly be all but over. I hope we can squeeze 1-2 more solid years out of Urlacher but it sure would be smart to draft, if available, a young promising player to be his understudy this coming year. I don't see any other position of higher draft priority at this point, so if the "right guy" is there in the late 1st, I'd pull the trigger.
Soul, your point about Shea is the wildcard in all this. It has been made before including by a lot of pundits after the draft who wondered why a traditional 4-3 team like the Bears would pick a very "non traditional DE" prospect. I agree with you. I'd live to see it pan out that way. Question is, can Shea learn the mental aspects and coverage skills required to be a Tampa 2 MLB like we need? I hope so cuz you're right that his measurable stats like 40 time, size, etc, were basically identical to Urlacher's many years ago. I suppose the team is going to have to think really hard this offseason about where they want to use and develop Shea for the long term, but the "MLB problem" may have the answer already on the roster.
That would be almost too good.
One additional thought about Brian Urlacher. I hope he doesn't hang around until he's embarrassing himself. You see sports greats do this all the time, from football to boxing and everything in between.
Go out with some dignity intact & as a stud.
Not as some broken-down guy you feel sorry for.
At this point we don't know how much Brian still has left in the tank. But he sure is looking like a mere shadow of his former self right now. If he can get back to where he's playing great ball again, fine, stick around. Take it year by year.
Just don't hang around once the writing is on the wall, and the bottom drops out talent-wise (saying you're the "Face of the Franchise" is fine as long as you can play......once your talent drops significantly, it becomes a bad joke).
Remember that Brian started out with the Bears playing another position before moving to MLB as well. Shea ?
He went from strong side to Mike. That's very different than what Shea would have to do. I just don't see Shea as the successor to the Lach. It would be great if he was, but he's not. If the coaches and Emery thought so, he wouldn't be playing at DE right now.
Lach played safety in college so they put him at SLB where he didn't exactly impress but rather learned the "D" and backer position in particular. Shea played LB in college so he doesn't have to learn the position in particular, just the "D" overall. I'm not saying that they are grooming him as the next MLB but I see some similarities and the possibility exists that the Bears are thinking the same thing. Call it just a hunch on my part.
Originally Posted by Zelezo Vlk
idk I can't really see Shea going MLB. Izzy and Pep will be another year older and the DE rotation will be disrupted. Then it's back to drafting a bunch of DE's again. I don't want the D line altered in any way right now. If it ain't broke don't fix it.