Monday Mailbag

Discussion in 'Chicago Bears' started by short faced bear, Jun 9, 2014.

  1. short faced bear

    short faced bear Assistant Head Coach
    DBS Writer

    Mar 29, 2009
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    By Brad Biggs, Tribune reporter

    8:00 a.m. CDT, June 9, 2014
    As I look at the Bears' schedule, I see two tough games: San Francisco and New England. Do you see any others and do you think the Bears will win the division and the Super Bowl? – LaVonte R., Chicago, from email

    I imagine you’ve stopped by after reading Steve Rosenbloom, huh? The Bears defeated the Packers in Marc Trestman’s first game as head coach in the rivalry. But Green Bay has won seven of the last eight meetings between the teams. Those two games would strike me as "tough." There are some other challenging points on the schedule. The Bears should be a contender in the NFC but we’ve been saying that every spring for how long now? To get to the Super Bowl, they’ll have to find a way past some very talented teams in the NFC West in the Seahawks and 49ers.

    The biggest weakness of the Bears’ offense last year was their inability to pick up short yardage on the ground. While a year-long problem, it especially cost them in losses to Detroit at home and to Minnesota on the road. Given the offensive line is returning and big back Michael Bush is gone, what are the chances the Bears improve in their ability to pick up one yard when they need it? Are they going to become one of those teams that go four wide on third-and-1? – Mark E., Arlington, Va., from email

    The Bears were 3-for-5 converting fourth-and-1 rushing plays a year ago and 2-for-6 converting third-and-1 rushing plays. It wasn’t good enough. They threw with some success, though: The offense converted the only time it tried passing on fourth-and-1 and was 4-for-7 in third-and-1 passing situations. I would imagine Ka’Deem Carey could get a look in short yardage. You’re certainly right that Marc Trestman could look to spread the defense, giving him the option to throw or try to run against a seven-man front. They need to get better picking up the tough yard and there is a reason it’s called a tough yard.

    Money-wise what is the difference between a seventh-round choice and an undrafted free agent? -- @Ernie R., Peoria, Ill., from email

    The Texans made Memphis running back Lonnie Ballentine “Mr. Irrelevant” by selecting him with the 256th and final selection in the draft this year. Ballentine signed a four-year, $2.27 million contract but the number that counts is guaranteed money. He picked up a signing bonus of $45,896. The largest signing bonus the Bears gave to an undrafted free agent was $8,000, which is the amount received by Louisville defensive tackle Brandon Dunn and Wisconsin guard Ryan Groy. However, some teams spent a little more on undrafted free agents. There were reports of a few players getting signing bonuses or guarantees north of $20,000. The base salaries for seventh-round picks and undrafted players are going to be the same. Clubs have a little more money invested in seventh-round picks but not enough that they are sacred, if you will. The upside for undrafted free agents is they get to sort through a handful of free-agent offers in an effort to choose the situation with the most upside and the least crowded depth chart. It’s all about opportunity.

    Will the Bears looks at any remaining free agents? Jermichael Finley? Ed Reed? -- @ECcrow23 from Twitter

    I don’t know that Finley will play, period. He’s been medically cleared to return to the game by the doctor that performed neck surgery on him, but a team is going to have to clear him with its medical staff. Reports are Finley can collect $10 million in insurance if he never plays again because of this injury and that might be a compelling reason to hang ’em up. If Finley does come back, he’s not going to do so on the cheap and the Bears don’t have the cap room to make an addition like that. As far as Reed goes, and I’ve gotten a handful of questions about him, apparently not many people saw him play with the Texans and Jets last season. Reed did not play well and I’d be a little surprised if he finds a club anxious to take him on this season. He’s said he’d like to play but doesn’t want to go through training camp. That’s nice. Reed was a fantastic player in his prime. He’s way past that at this point.

    With the June 1 cuts upon us, do you envision the Bears making a move on a current free-agent safety who has gone unsigned or a post-June-1 cut as well? – Tom T., Chula Vista, Calif., from email

    Safety has been a real need area for the Bears. General manager Phil Emery knows that. If he saw a safety that was on the street that could help the Bears, I’m pretty sure he would have taken action before June 1. As far as players that could come loose, no question the Bears will be keeping an eye on the discard pile. But I don’t think we’re going to see many starting-caliber players cut loose. The collection of safeties the Bears currently have likely will be what they have to choose from when it comes to picking starters for Week 1.

    Any updates on Pat Mannelly's rehab? -- @itsdehprey from Twitter

    Mannelly has returned from San Diego where he went to rehabilitate from hip surgery and is continuing that work locally. The door remains open for him to return to the Bears but he has yet to make a decision. Mannelly wants to ensure he is physically ready for a 16-game season before he commits to playing a record 17th season for the Bears. Ideally, the situation will be resolved before training camp. In the meantime, the team is working with Chad Rempel and Brandon Hartson in the offseason program. The Bears would like to have Mannelly back if he is able.

    Any chance Bears take a chance on Will Hill? I know they have faith in Brock Vereen and Chris Conte but Hill is proven. -- @Jumpman_1221

    Hill is proven trouble. There were a half-dozen questions about him this week and right now Hill has a six-game suspension to begin the season for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. It is his second suspension for recreational drugs and he’s also been suspended previously for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs. So, you’re talking about a three-time offender. Hill cleared waivers earlier this week after being released by the Giants and my guess is he’ll maybe have a chance to hook on somewhere after his six-game suspension ends if he can convince a team he’s cleaned up his act. Hill, 24, played well for the Giants when he was available but he went undrafted out of Florida because teams knew he was a high-risk guy. He’s justified those concerns during his time in the NFL and will need to make some lifestyle changes to earn another shot in the NFL. With a six-game suspension, Hill isn’t going to be able to provide much help to anyone until the second half of this season and that is assuming he can learn a scheme quickly if given a chance.

    Do you see Terrence Toliver as a viable option to keep as wide receiver? Imagine all the height the Bears would have in the passing game. -- @gallo07 from Twitter

    You don’t have to imagine the length on offense for the Bears. Brandon Marshall is listed at 6-4 but will tell you he is closer to 6-5. Alshon Jeffery is 6-3 and Marquess Wilson is 6-4. Add 6-6 tight end Martellus Bennett to the mix and you’ve got plenty of height. Toliver, who is 6-5, is going to face an uphill battle to make the 53-man roster. Wilson is the man to beat as the No. 3 receiver right now and Josh Morgan has experience as a complementary receiver. Morgan is considered a solid possession receiver and a real asset as a blocker in the running game. Chris Williams will have a shot to make it as a returner and wide receiver also and you can’t forget Eric Weems, who could figure as a special teams contributor.

    Who will be the holder next season? Has Pat O'Donnell done it before? -- @MonkrtyTunkerty from Twitter

    I would expect O’Donnell to handle the holding chores. He has experience holding in college.,0,5415301.story
  2. soulman

    soulman Coordinator
    SuperFan DBS Writer

    Oct 14, 2004
    Likes Received:
    Thanks shorty! :cheers: Some great questions and answers this week.

    Short yardage; This has been a problem spot for the Bears for years and since they seem opposed to having Cutler run QB sneaks we can only hope the have other plans. I'd like to see them try using FB Tony Fiametta as a short yardage guy similar to the way the Packers sometimes do with John Kuhn. Carey is a fairly tough inside runner but he isn't all that big so maybe this is a spot where Jordan Lynch could carve out a niche for himself. He isn't all that big either but he's strong and stocky and reminds me a little of a guy like Matt Suhey would ran well between the tackles.

    Finley; His name seems to come up around here at least once a week and I'm glad that Biggs is tackling this question. We seem to agree on the point that if Finley even does get a clearance from a team to play he's not gonna do it for a one year vet minimum deal. Not if he can cash in on a $10 mil indemnity policy if that neck injury has ended his career. The only reason why he may be putting himself in play is because that disability insurance requires him to pursue any opportunity available to him before it will pay off. It may be no better than 50/50 that he'll ever play again.

    Safety Help; I think it's pretty safe to say that all that can be done to upgrade has been done. With the need for top Safeties on the rise and the lack of depth in this years draft Biggs is correct. No one is gonna be cutting any starting caliber talent loose so we might just as well settle in with the guys we have and hope that the improvements we made upfront will make life a little easier for those guys. I don't think we're as bad off as some if only because we have three or four guys we starting experience including Conte provided he's recovered from his surgery. We've also got Vereen who may end up being a real find if he can get on the field this year.

    Will Hill; All I can say is this news is even worse than all that I knew about him previously. Apparently he's been a high-risk guy from the get go and he seems to think his talent alone is more than enough to get him off the hook for his transgressions. Well it's three strikes and you're out and even after his suspension is over I think any team who may be interested is not gonna take a very hard look at him as long as they believe nothing about him has changed and from all that I can see it hasn't. Not when you run off to play in the AFL instead of standing up to your issues and dealing with them. He isn't the kind of player I'd want to see in the mix with the Bears right now.

    Weems; Please God let somebody knock him off the roster this year.

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