All or nothing year for Bears' Stephen Paea

Discussion in 'Chicago Bears' started by short faced bear, Jun 5, 2014.

  1. short faced bear

    short faced bear Assistant Head Coach DBS Writer

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2009
    Messages:
    10,299
    Likes Received:
    1,118
    Ratings:
    +1,172 / 0 / -2
    ßearz ßuckz:
    48ß
    Veteran defensive tackle on expiring rookie contract will have to earn starting job, most likely over 2nd-rounder Ego Ferguson

    By Brad Biggs, Chicago Tribune reporter

    6:51 p.m. CDT, June 4, 2014

    Stephen Paea is not acknowledging pressure as much as he is reality on the Bears revamped defensive line.

    There is no starting position being held for him. He's going to have to win a job in what is a contract year for the second-round draft pick that former general manager Jerry Angelo flipped a fourth-round pick to the Redskins to trade up and get.

    Paea and safety Chris Conte are all who remain from the Bears' 2011 draft class and both have much to prove. Paea didn't make a game-changing error near the end of the season finale that was a contributing factor in missing the playoffs. But he battled a nagging case of turf toe on his left foot at two points during the season and was ineffective down the stretch, making just one tackle in 81 snaps over the final four games with Jeremiah Ratliff replacing him in the starting lineup for the last three.

    Rest this offseason has healed the injury and Paea said he has not missed an offseason workout. He has been working with the starters in organized team activities but there will be considerable competition with Ratliff, draft picks Ego Ferguson and Will Sutton, Israel Idonije, Nate Collins and even undrafted free agent Brandon Dunn, who has shown well so far.

    "Every year I have been here there is always competition," Paea said. "Now is my contract year and they bring in new guys. If you are not thinking about competing, then this isn't for you. There is no job here that is safe unless you are Jay Cutler or Jared Allen. So, I am just out here to get better and help (the new guys) get better.

    "This is my all-in year. I am putting all of my chips in. You are going to see everything out of me. As long as I stay healthy, I have to put everything on my plate."

    Paea showed flashes of being player the Bears have been seeking in 2013. He made 41/2 tackles with two stops for a loss and a sack in the season-opening home victory over the Bengals. He had eight tackles and two pass deflections in the Nov. 10 loss to the Lions at Soldier Field. In the Dec. 1 road loss against the Vikings, he had a sack and two pass deflections. But the sprained toe, first suffered in Week 4, never really went away and his playing time dipped from 595 snaps in 2012 to 474. It probably would have been lower but the Bears were so short on bodies on the interior that they needed Paea in the second half of the season.

    Paea's massive upper body strength — 49 reps on the bench press at 225 pounds at the NFL scouting combine before he was drafted — was negated because he didn't have a base under him. It stripped him of his leverage.

    "When you have to come off the ball every play, if you can't push out of your stance, then you can't do it," he said. "If you can't do it one time, you can't do it 45 times or however many reps you have in the game.

    "I let my teammates down. The best thing about it is I have a second chance to do it. There's a chip on my shoulder this year."

    New defensive line coach Paul Pasqualoni is working with Paea to make him more effective with his hands to take on blockers and shed them. Pasqualoni might be 64 years old but he has the energy of a younger man and the line has been working at a fast tempo.

    Paea is earning $877,623 this season, so he's inexpensive for a veteran but the Bears don't have more time to invest in him beyond 2014 if he doesn't elevate his game. They have a hungry rookie in Ferguson, who likely will be his primary competition for a starting job in training camp. Ratliff has had a good spring and provided he remains healthy should be the man to beat out for the three technique spot. But no jobs are going to be won or lost in the trenches before pads go on.

    "The competition is high and that's the best thing because we're just going to run through all (offensive) lines," Paea said. "Whoever is coming into our stadium.

    "Last year was my third year going into the same system. I was on a roll and unfortunately I had the toe injury. I mean, it's no excuse. I just have to get better."

    bmbiggs@tribune.com

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sport...-biggs-bears-spt-0605-20140605,0,736582.story
  2. short faced bear

    short faced bear Assistant Head Coach DBS Writer

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2009
    Messages:
    10,299
    Likes Received:
    1,118
    Ratings:
    +1,172 / 0 / -2
    ßearz ßuckz:
    48ß
    Any 411 tweets in OTA's on Brandon Dunn? A snippet I found:

    DT Brandon Dunn

    Dunn rejoins his defensive line coach of four years from Louisville Clint Hurtt. Hurtt joined the Bears this off-season as an assistant defensive line coach.

    Dunn, a run stopping tackle was a big part of Lousiville's success in 2013 as they became the No. 1 total and No. 1 rushing defense in the nation.

    Dunn added 42 tackles, a sack, and 4.5 tackles for a loss in his senior campaign. Prior to that he appeared in 36 games, making 17 starts, totaling 58 tackles, and two sacks.

    According to the Crunch Zone, he plays with a high motor and has a great attitude towards the game of football. Dunn should come in and compete in the rotation behind draft picks Ego Ferguson and Will Sutton. The Bears are doing things right by making sure they have talent a plenty at the defensive tackle position.

    http://www.chicagonow.com/bears-bac...-fill-roster-with-nine-undrafted-free-agents/
  3. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2004
    Messages:
    4,314
    Likes Received:
    1,356
    Ratings:
    +1,680 / 2 / -2
    ßearz ßuckz:
    1,147ß
    I've always been a big believer in Paea and if there's been any real flaw with his development so far it's that he's been injured too often. When he's healthy and he can push off at the snap he's one of the quickest guys through a gap on the team and not all that different than Will Sutton but because of his natural strength they always played him at NT rather than DT so he seldom gets to penetrate.

    He's another one of those guys I'm gonna be pulling for to stay healthy all year and be able to show the coaching staff that he belongs. He hasn't come anywhere near playing his best ball yet and if we don't re-sign him I think eventually we'll regret it because I believe he can be a solid player in this league. I'd just like it to be for us. He's by far one of the strongest players in the NFL.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. MPbears68

    MPbears68 Pro-Bowler

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2011
    Messages:
    4,006
    Likes Received:
    885
    Ratings:
    +1,033 / 1 / -0
    ßearz ßuckz:
    64ß
    This is pretty much the first thing I thought of when I learned about Ferguson after the Bears drafted him. That he's Paea's backup and possible replacement if SP can't stay healthy. I doubt Paea is going to be offered much of a contract deal by Phil unless he shows more this season than he has thus far. He's been a disappointment IMO chiefly because he can't seem to play more than 4 straight games with out some nagging injury.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2004
    Messages:
    4,314
    Likes Received:
    1,356
    Ratings:
    +1,680 / 2 / -2
    ßearz ßuckz:
    1,147ß
    Yeah, that has been the major issue with him and I think it's been that far more than a lack of ability that's been limiting his impact. I just recall that play he made against Minny in his first start where we had them backed up around their own 5 yard line and he shot through that A gap so fast and nailed Ponder (I think it was Ponder) for a safety. Huge play!

    He's not that fast in the 40 or in pursuit but for the first few yards the kid looks like he's been shot out of a cannon and hen you combine that with his natural strength if he can put it all together he's another guy who can play like Sutton at 3 Tech if they play him there or be a very active NT who can provide some pass rush.

    Ferguson is bigger but I'm not sure he's stronger or as quick out of the blocks as Paea is but he's correct. He needs to put it all on the table this year and keep himself healthy. He's young and he has a lot of good football in him. He just needs to show it and convince Emery to give him an extension for at least another couple of years if not longer.
  6. Grizzblue

    Grizzblue Pro-Bowler

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2012
    Messages:
    1,874
    Likes Received:
    390
    Ratings:
    +439 / 1 / -0
    ßearz ßuckz:
    42ß
    I like Paea, but this being a make or break year is extremely accurate IMO. We just brought in 2 rookie DTs with reasonably high picks. Both could turn out to be a great pick. Unfortunately for him, I think he is one injury, or a bad season from no longer playing in Chicago. We have added some much needed youth and the position as a whole is getting a bit crowded. In the event that both our rookies come on very strong and develop the way some expect them too, it could spell the end of SP's stay in Chi, unless he can stay healthy and start to tap into that potential.
  7. MPbears68

    MPbears68 Pro-Bowler

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2011
    Messages:
    4,006
    Likes Received:
    885
    Ratings:
    +1,033 / 1 / -0
    ßearz ßuckz:
    64ß
    I agree, Grizz. Ego is his potential replacement at NT and between Ratliff, Collins, and Sutton (2 of whom can also play NT) there's talent there for 2015 at 3T. Paea needs to show something this year (and staying healthy is a big part of that) to warrant Phil offering him a follow up contract. He's been a big disappointment to me thus far chiefly because of nagging lower body injuries. I really thought he'd be a beast on the interior DL by now when we first drafted him.
  8. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2004
    Messages:
    4,314
    Likes Received:
    1,356
    Ratings:
    +1,680 / 2 / -2
    ßearz ßuckz:
    1,147ß
    I agree with both of you. Players like him an Conte who are going into a contract year and while having shown flashes of promise they've also not quite lived up to expectations. They may have survived that under the old regime but no longer. Just "good enough" is no longer good enough.

    So yeah Paea needs to stay healthy and put on a show this year. His situation reminds me a little of Dusty Dvoracek who always looked promising when he was healthy but he could never stay healthy. Let's hope Paea can put a great season together this year because the team could use that too.

    There's far better depth in the line than we've seen for quite a few years so I'm hoping that helps keep all of them fresher and less prone to injuries. But when you're Paea and have a former Pro Bowl vet who can move over and replace you plus a rookie high draft pick breathing down you're neck you'd better stay healthy and pull out all the stops. Time is short to prove yourself.
  9. shark86x

    shark86x Pro-Bowler SuperFan

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2012
    Messages:
    1,397
    Likes Received:
    475
    Ratings:
    +537 / 0 / -0
    ßearz ßuckz:
    129ß
    Paea's not going anywhere, nobody does a better Haka than he does.
  10. dachuckster

    dachuckster Veteran SuperFan

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2013
    Messages:
    450
    Likes Received:
    249
    Ratings:
    +293 / 0 / -0
    ßearz ßuckz:
    105ß
    Have you ever seen a New Zealand All Blacks rugby match? That is a Haka!!
    • Like Like x 2
  11. Ojibway Bob

    Ojibway Bob Veteran SuperFan

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2013
    Messages:
    332
    Likes Received:
    73
    Ratings:
    +94 / 0 / -1
    ßearz ßuckz:
    44ß
    I posted a video of 1 a few months ago... It is awesome to see it done by them
  12. dachuckster

    dachuckster Veteran SuperFan

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2013
    Messages:
    450
    Likes Received:
    249
    Ratings:
    +293 / 0 / -0
    ßearz ßuckz:
    105ß
    I don't think a NFL team could do a real one and not be penalized/fined. If you watch a lot of their hakas, they make throat slitting and disemboweling movements as a threat to their opponents.
    • Like Like x 2
  13. Chicago_66

    Chicago_66 Veteran

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2013
    Messages:
    573
    Likes Received:
    323
    Ratings:
    +350 / 0 / -0
    ßearz ßuckz:
    31ß
    When I was in New Zealand there was a crew of some kids who ran into the street when the crosswalk went green and did the Haka in the middle of the street, it was cool as hell.
  14. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2004
    Messages:
    4,314
    Likes Received:
    1,356
    Ratings:
    +1,680 / 2 / -2
    ßearz ßuckz:
    1,147ß
    HAKAAAAAAA!!!!! GIVE ME HAKAAAAA!!!!!

    I love what I believe Paea CAN do I just want him healthy for one year so I can see him actually do it. I still remember that first game he ever played where he shot that "A gap" on Minny and was on the QB before he even turned around. If he can anticipate a snap count like that with some consistency they can move him over to play 3 tech along with Sutton.

    With the drafting of Ferguson I think Paea needs to show that he can handle either inside spot too so they can shift these guy around in their alignments and look for the best mismatches. If the rookies pan out this is the best collection of DTs and NTs we've had in a while. We just need them healthy and ready to play. From the very first time I heard Paea interviewed at the Combine after he set that record for the bench press I was impressed with his maturity and hoped the Bears would draft him. I really don't want to lose the guy because I believe he can play.
  15. Ojibway Bob

    Ojibway Bob Veteran SuperFan

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2013
    Messages:
    332
    Likes Received:
    73
    Ratings:
    +94 / 0 / -1
    ßearz ßuckz:
    44ß
    that's awesome....I would be happy to see a flash mob here but a "Flash Haka!!!" WOW

Share This Page