Bears busy offseason will fuel change on D

Discussion in 'Chicago Bears' started by riczaj01, Apr 8, 2014.

  1. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/bears/

    Bears' busy offseason will fuel change on D
    April, 8, 2014
    10:00 AM ET
    By Michael C. Wright | ESPN.com

    The Chicago Bears' front office grunted through one of the league's busiest offseason of signings to put the team in position to draft the best player available in May while also minimizing the burden of the potential first-round pick to carry the savior label.

    So while the workload won't lighten as the Bears prepare for the NFL draft and the April 22 start of the offseason program, they've unwittingly utilized a core motto of former NFL coach Dennis Green: Plan your work and work your plan. That has led to the Bears signing 30 players since the final week of December, a group that includes 17 returners, 10 unrestricted free agents and three street free agents to drastically improve -- at least on paper -- one of the NFL's worst defenses of 2013.

    "I think we'll slow down a tad," Bears general manager Phil Emery said on March 31. "But we have a lot of work to do. We have some positions we want to make more competitive. The draft's around the corner."

    Not to diminish the work to be done over the next few weeks, but Chicago's activity up to this point should make things easier moving forward. Headed into the offseason, the Bears needed to address a defensive line that played a major role in 2013 in the defense allowing 5.34 yards per rushing attempt (the league average was 4.10), and did so by signing Jared Allen, Lamarr Houston, Willie Young, and Israel Idonije, in addition to bringing back Jeremiah Ratliff and Nate Collins.

    The club also re-signed starting corners Tim Jennings and Charles Tillman, while adding to the safety position by acquiring M.D. Jennings, Danny McCray and Ryan Mundy.

    So is the defense better now than it was in 2013?

    "The obvious answer to that would be we're healthier [than in 2013] because nobody's hurt," Emery said. "Also, I think we've added some guys at key points in their career. Jared adds experience, production, leadership. Somebody like Lamarr and Willie add some youth, speed and [physicality]. Really excited about Jeremiah Ratliff this year. He's excited about playing. He wants to finish here. He added so much the last few weeks [of 2013] in terms of leadership; unbelievably mentally tough player. So yeah, I think the collective group, we've gotten stronger and we're headed in the right direction as far as we want to establish as a defensive football team."


    Given the financial commitments to Houston, Allen and Young -- all defensive ends -- it'll be interesting to see how defensive coordinator Mel Tucker finds ways to get them on the field at the same time. Allen is the bona fide starter at right end, and Houston will play on the left side. But it's likely the Bears will take advantage of Houston's versatility and kick him inside to defensive tackle on passing downs while playing Young opposite Allen at end.

    Even without the benefit of the upcoming draft, Chicago's defensive line appears to be a more dynamic group than it was in 2013.

    "It's up to our coaches to find ways to get them all on the field at the same time or at different times or different personnel groupings or groupings against personnel," Emery said.

    Depending on the direction the Bears take in May in the draft, that task could become more difficult for Tucker. Despite the Bears adding Jennings, McCray and Mundy in free agency, the club could stand to acquire another safety in the draft capable of competing for a starting job; especially with the possibility Chris Conte might miss time at camp after undergoing shoulder surgery.

    But the club might see more value in using its first-round pick on one of the talented interior defensive line prospects such as Pittsburgh's Aaron Donald or Florida State's Timmy Jernigan, as picking a safety at No. 14 might be a little too high for the team's tastes. Surely, the Bears will address safety in the first three rounds, in addition to adding depth at some point at corner and at linebacker.

    Emery declined to say whether the signing of Allen or all the work done to revamp the defensive line will change the club's draft plans -- only that "it's always been about getting the best players possible to continue to build our team towards winning championships. To do that, you have to have high-quality players and players that can make plays. We talked at the end of the season about having more playmakers on our team."

    The Bears certainly added some. In the process, they made the possibility of a defensive renaissance similar to what was experienced on the other side of the ball in 2013 a potentially easier undertaking.

    They've planned their work and are working their plan.
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  2. omc1969

    omc1969 Veteran

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    Yet another long winded article by espn to tell us what we already know. Slow time of the year eh ric?
    ;-)
  3. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    very slow. but they gotta keep the writers busy :)

    again the NFL draft should be this weekend.
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  4. 4dabers

    4dabers Veteran DBS Writer

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    nice read ric, thanks for sharing.
  5. omc1969

    omc1969 Veteran

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    Agreed ric. I don't understand why they moved it back in the first place. Drives us fans nuts as we have to put up with the "Talking Heads' longer than normal.
    :3 8 14[1]:
  6. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    yep, and the thing is you know these teams know who they want/don't want at this time right now, all this is doing is brining them in to the point of 2nd guessing themselves.

    just do it.
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  7. ZifanQ

    ZifanQ Pro-Bowler

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    Really? Seriously, this off-season feels way shorter than last years. I'm still not over the fact that the draft is "only" a month's time away.
  8. weneedmorelinemen

    weneedmorelinemen Veteran

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    Paea will be looking around the linemen's room at all the new faces thinking to himself, " What's up, Izzy? Look at me, last man standing, right? Remember when Rod would call us the Rushmen and we would call Tice's guys the Traffic Barrells? Yep, those were the days."
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  9. JustAnotherBearsFan99

    JustAnotherBearsFan99 Coordinator SuperFan DBS Writer

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    Oh those lovable OL during Tice's tenure. They had other cool nicknames like "The Lawn Ornaments"
    [​IMG]



    And the nickname I personally liked (it sounded like an old Motown group from the 60's) was "The Turnstiles"
    [​IMG]
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  10. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    Ya this one feels like it's dragging on b/c FA just seems to have died off.
  11. JustAnotherBearsFan99

    JustAnotherBearsFan99 Coordinator SuperFan DBS Writer

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    Z, I think you're so many time zones away from Chicago that there's some kind of a time warp in Denmark and you're feeling almost like it's summer training camp time. Or you're drinking way too much of that German beer :-)
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  12. omc1969

    omc1969 Veteran

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    Maybe for Z he's having JA withdrawal because Emery is actually active in FA.
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  13. JustAnotherBearsFan99

    JustAnotherBearsFan99 Coordinator SuperFan DBS Writer

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    Originally, a few years ago, we'd planned a road trip to Denmark to visit Z. The hope was that the Bears would play an exhibition game over there. About the only thing I remember about the plans was a road trip (within a road trip) to Germany to buy beer. I can't remember why we'd planned to go to Germany for Denmark beer, but I do remember that Z had a good reason to do so. He said he had room to put us all up at his house (that would save us money). We'd just be responsible for plane transportation there and back (and food and beer money).

    Maybe we should re-visit this plan. I do have some vacation time coming at work. Z, are there any cool sporting events over there this summer? I don't think the NFL is going to have that exhibition game with the Bears in Denmark any time soon.
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  14. ZifanQ

    ZifanQ Pro-Bowler

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    Because of the fee/tax/duty on liqouir and soda it's cheaper to drive 1 and half hour to Germany and buy the booze + soda and bring it home.. (We normally fill a half trailer when we go there + the car.)

    Should totally call Halas Hall and ask Emery if he wants to hold the training camp in Denmark lol.

    Dunno why but I just feel like FA just started last week.. Perhaps it is indeed because Emery is so god damn active.
  15. weneedmorelinemen

    weneedmorelinemen Veteran

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    What's helped this FA period move along is the Bears had so many players they needed to sign. Just think about next year when Emery will have half of the roster turnover of this year. It's going to feel like an eternity.
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