So What's The Book On Peppers?..............

Discussion in 'Chicago Bears' started by soulman, Mar 1, 2014.

  1. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    It took more than one year to do it and remember he had some key players already in place and traded for another soon after he arrived. he may have rebuilt the line in one year but the rest took longer than that and the defense is more problematic right now than the offense was because of all the free agents. I'm glad some of you guy are as optimistic about that kind of a defensive turn around but I'm not. I don't want to be woefully disappointed two years in a row.
  2. JustAnotherBearsFan99

    JustAnotherBearsFan99 Coordinator SuperFan DBS Writer

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    +1

    Also, fixing an entire defense (depth included) is a lot bigger task than fixing a sub-unit on the offense (the OL). It's a more daunting task and more complex than dealing with a 5 man unit. And we're still not finished with the OL. We still have to add a center at some point and upgrade the depth a bit.
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  3. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    Well unless Emery plans on bringing back a significant number of the guys who are hitting FA then yeah it will be. There's a decent collection of FAs out there and this draft is pretty deep in second tier type guys who can play but if he plans on a lot of turnover it'll still take time for them to gel. The thing that bothers me is that other than sticking with a base 4-3 and some possible variations on a 3-4 we still don't know what type of defense they even plan to run and I'm not as strong a believer in Mel Tucker as Emery and Trestman seem to be. I think the guy is in over his head here.
  4. 4dabers

    4dabers Veteran DBS Writer

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    I tend to agree with soul here.
    First of all, let me share my own opinion on the complexity if "fixing" this Defense. As a guy that played both ways on the line (OT and DE) at a small high school a gagillion freakin years ago, I will openly admit that I cannot attest to all the complexities of Pro Ball. However, regardless of the level of play, football is still football in it's purest form. If you've ever strapped on a pair of shoulder pads for an organized team, you have at least a basic concept of the premise of the game. With that said, I will share two things about the differences between offense and Defense. Offense is ALWAYS more mentally challenging and complex while Defense is ALWAYS more physically demanding. There may be people that disagree, but that has been my experience and I'm sticking with it.

    As a result of the above, I am confident that it will not take as long to correct the Defense as it typically does an Offense. Honestly, we haven't even seen the whole offense yet, and we may not see it completely for another two years; but in that time, the Defense can be completely rebuilt and moving forward. I have every confidence that two or three solid to good free agents combined with the selective re-signing of some of our own, and sprinkled in with a "good" draft (2 to 3 starters) would literally transform this Defense. Yea, we'll see some hiccups and some growing pains in the first year, but unless the injury bug hits us as hard as it did this year, then we should be very competitive and we will have set the stage for a very promising 2015. I agree with whomever above suggested the entire Defense would be more difficult that fixing a single sub unit (O-Line), but let me suggest that the O-Line was replaced by a full 80%, which would equate to 9 new starters for our Defense. We won't have that much of a change. Furthermore, the whole "gelling" thing IS important on Defense, and I will NOT discount that, but the O-Line is probably the closest working group on an entire football team and the "gelling" takes longer with them than anyone else. I fully expect our O-Line to be even better this year.

    All this is why my arrow for this team is definitely pointed up. I share souls concern about Tucker, but I remain hopeful. If we bring in the parts that we need and we still suck, then he has to go. If he blends them well together, and the glitches are sporadic, then I am more than happy to blame the mess that was last year on the guys we sent packing and injuries.
  5. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    I'll be a whole lot more hopeful when I finally hear Tucker talk about HIS plans for the defense rather than Emery and Trestman talking about it. Is Tucker a mute or just a mime? Emery may be in charge of providing the players but Tucker has to coach them and scheme a new defense and so far he hasn't been very impressive doing it. He had some key injuries to deal with I admit but some of the guys who replaced them looked like they'd never played football before. I've never seen so much confusion and chaos for a Bear's defense ever.

    We're stuck with him for another year so all I can do is have some hope but so far the guy says about as little as Lovie did but unfortunately he doesn't have Lovie's talents for scheming and coaching a defense. He's been the Terry Shea of Defensive Coordinators and yet he was retained. Why, because it would have looked bad to the NAACP to have fired two black coaches back to back? Would Jesse Jackson have launched a march on Halas Hall? Guys who coach that bad seldom get a second chance yet he did. Hmmmmm.......
  6. MPbears68

    MPbears68 Pro-Bowler

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    Was screaming all that stuff from the rafters here late last season but it fell largely on deaf ears due to the "injury card".
    Yeah, I hate to be that cynical but the racial angle crossed my mind too. The Bears caught some bad press last year for firing a "10-6 coach" who happened to be black. Strangely, it was not mentioned that he repeatedly missed the playoffs and in 8 years couldn't find an offense even if it had just been shoved up his a$$.

    Mel Tucker has to be one a very very few NFL coaches who ever presided over a unit's meltdown that bad and still got to keep his job.
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  7. JustAnotherBearsFan99

    JustAnotherBearsFan99 Coordinator SuperFan DBS Writer

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    I'm just hoping we don't have the same thing now, but the issue is flipped - and now it's the defense they can't figure out. It's not all on Tucker. Emery and Trestman (just like Angelo and Lovie) are also responsible, especially now that they have chosen to continue on with Tucker. It was really embarrassing to watch the Bears give games away last season. It was like Green Bay gift wrapped the division & tried to give it to us last year, yet we were too pathetic on defense to take the gift. I don't think we'll see a weak GB team like that again for years to come.
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  8. GermansbombedPH

    GermansbombedPH Pro-Bowler

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    Peppers will get cut... June 1

    no Cap Savings for Free Agency now but for later in the year
  9. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    All three teams gift wrapped it and we still couldn't take advantage and when I hear that the winning TD in the GB came because of yet another mix up in coverage because Conte didn't get the signal for the change from who but James Anderson all it does it confirm what I said all of last season.

    Emery gutted that defense more when he lost Marinelli and Urlacher, Roach and Izzy than he did because of injuries. To much coaching and too much on field leadership was lost and it looked like a "Chinese Fire Drill" before every snap with guys running around trying to figure out where they were supposed to even line up. It was pathetic and that's on both the coach and whoever is playing defensive QB and it's pretty clear no one was or at least no one with the competence to do it.

    Urlacher's performance was declining but his leadership wasn't and I would have taken even 70% or 80% of his physical abilities coupled with 100% of his leadership. Roach and Izzy weren't All Pros but both were far more competent players in that defense than the guys who replaced them. But this isn't really about any one specific player it's about Phil Emery's lack of foresight and understanding of cause and effect as it related to the personnel and coaching decisions he made and I hand some of the blame to Trestman as well for continuing to support Tucker even after the season ended when he should have fired him.

    But what's done is done and it's now 2014 and that's all behind us. All I can say is this. Phil Emery has just this one offseason to make that defense respectable again because until he does the Bears won't even sniff a championship and they'll still be sniffing the lead dogs ass and that really pisses me off. Packer fans have become so smug because no one in the NFCN ever challenges them and it's not because they're so good, it's because everyone else can't measure up. Outside of the NFCN they weren't any better than the Bears were. We just handed the title to them like we didn't want it badly enough.

    If that defense isn't significantly better in 2014 I'm sure I won't be the only one calling for Emery's head on a platter, Tucker's for an hors d' oeuvre, and Trestman's for dessert. I'm really tired of watching half a football team finish 8-8 all the time with an occasional 10 or 11 win season when all the stars and planets are in their favor. I had 9 years of that with Lovie and Angelo and I'm done with it.
  10. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    Is that an announcement from the Bears front office or an opinion brother because they can release him now and designate him for a June 1st release for cap purposes and free up about $14 mil as soon as they do it. Then they take the hit for another $4 mil of dead cap space this year and the other $4 mil in 2015.

    If they do it now they better be planning on bringing Wootton back and have a good FA DE they figure they can sign because if not they'd have no starting DEs under contract. They don't have to do it before they find replacements so I was just wondering what you were basing this pronouncement on. ??????
  11. MPbears68

    MPbears68 Pro-Bowler

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    Exactly. The Bears don't have to wait until June 1 to do the above (every team has the option to designate up to 2 players as a "June 1 release" even though they're cut before that date). IIRC, that portion of the dead cap hit pertaining to 2015 doesn't revert back to the team for use in 2014 until June 1st.

    Thus, in Peppers' case, the Bears would accrue $10m in additional cap space the day of his release and $4m more on June 1 for a total cap savings of $14m (all numbers approximate). If/when he's cut, it's almost certainly going to be via the June 1 Designation route.

    But he's UNDER CONTRACT and the Bears have no other starting DEs in that same position. So there's no urgency to do any of this until they have another DE on the roster.
  12. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    I forgot about that hook and I think you're right but that's money to sign the draft picks with then since until they actually sign their deals all they count is the rookie minimum of $420k x 7 is roughly $2.9 mil and change. Once they're all signed we're probably looking at $3.5 to $4 mil in cap costs.
  13. MPbears68

    MPbears68 Pro-Bowler

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    That's what I was thinking too, Soul. Under a Peppers June 1 Designation release scenario, the team would see an additional accrual to the cap of $4m on that date (the actual number is $4.2m I believe). That's conveniently the approximate number at the appropriate time for the "draft picks signing fund".
  14. JustAnotherBearsFan99

    JustAnotherBearsFan99 Coordinator SuperFan DBS Writer

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    I wish they had been more thoughtful with the defense. It was a "surgery with a chain saw" approach. I realize a lot of folks want to make excuses for what happened, just like they did with the offense under Ron Turner, Mike Martz & Mike Tice. We were always making excuses for the failures on offense. Now it's the defense embarrassing us. I'm hopeful the team gets turned around under Emery/Trestman. But they have to prove that.....hopefully they will.

    I'm a long time Bears and Cubs fan of over 50 years now. So I understand how Chicago fans suffer and make excuses for mediocre teams. The new GMs/Coaches come in, we have high hopes, they fail.......and new GMs/Coaches come in and we repeat the endless cycle. Always excuses for failing to win championships. At some point a team has to actually win championships instead of us fans making endless excuses. I'm a big one on "doing" rather than "talking" a good story. LOL, I almost feel downright "unamerican" here for questioning the almighty Emery/Trestman regime. But right now I'm sitting and watching the same old movie, hoping THIS time the ending is different. That we can actually have a sustained success and bring championships to Chicago. I'm too old to enjoy the excuses anymore and the "next year" mantra and keeping hope alive for our "lovable losers" here in Chicago. That said, "Go Cubs" and "Go Bears" :)
  15. abegibronlives

    abegibronlives Veteran

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    His best years are behind him. If you can get him relatively cheaply, a one or two-year deal would be acceptable. If he wants a big payday, thank him for his contribution here and wish him well somewhere else.
  16. MPbears68

    MPbears68 Pro-Bowler

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    It was? How so, JABF?

    The only starters on defense that changed before last season started were Roach (who was widely considered a minor loss and expendable) and Urlacher (who as I recall you wanted gone as "too old").

    Lets see which starters were carried over: Wright, Conte, Tillman, Jennings, Briggs, Wootton/Shea, Melton, Paea, and Peppers. Thats 5 pro-bowlers. Not to mention that the same D scheme and terminology were retained as was an attempt to keep Marinelli who departed voluntarily. Does that sound like a regime that took a "chain saw" to the defense?
    Come on....

    I do fault Phil for two bad D picks (Shea and Hardin) that depleted our depth but the vast majority of the defense's collapse last year was due to a combination of bad coaching, bad aging, and bad injuries.
  17. JustAnotherBearsFan99

    JustAnotherBearsFan99 Coordinator SuperFan DBS Writer

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    Those are good points, and I fully confess that I was all for letting Urlacher go at the time. In hindsight, maybe keeping him on a 1-year deal would have been better. Part of the problem is on Jerry Angelo too.

    Here's our 2012 defense. It was a top-5 defense (ranked just below the 49ers and Seattle Seahawks that year) that helped us to a 10-win season. Obviously last season was a mess. I was reading on ESPN earlier today where they described the D we now have as, "The defense is in the kind of shambles that one offseason is unlikely to fix in a significant way." I admit that there were a lot of factors that took us from that top-5 NFL defense to the abortion we have now. Maybe "surgery with a chainsaw" isn't a good descriptor. Maybe just saying the defense went to hell in a hand basket is better :)

    Here is the 2012 D:

    DC: Rod Marinelli

    DE: Julius Peppers, Israel Idonije, Shea McClellin, Corey Wootton, Cheta Ozougwu

    DT: Henry Melton, Matt Toeaina, Stephen Paea, Amobi Okoye

    LB: Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, Nick Roach, Geno Hayes, Patrick Trahan, Blake Costanzo, J.T. Thomas

    CB: Charles Tillman, Tim Jennings, D.J. Moore, Kelvin Hayden, Sherrick McManis

    S: Chris Conte, Major Wright, Craig Steltz, Anthony Walters, Jeremy Jones
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2014
  18. ZifanQ

    ZifanQ Pro-Bowler

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    I think we should cut Peppers unless we don't land any DE's in the FA, but I'm all in for releasing Peppers if it means we can land Bennett
  19. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    FWIW Here's what Brad Biggs wrote about this in the Trib this AM. From the looks of it the only two top DEs the Bear will have to pursue are Michael Bennett and Michael Johnson and either could command a $40 mil deal. Biggsy also comments as I have that the draft is not strong in DE pass rushers worth taking at #14 and I've seen the few mentioned after Clowney drop all the way back to the late first and early second following the combine. These guys are mostly 4.8 speed guys not 4.6 guys and they aren't the kind of physical freaks guys like Pep was and Clowney is when they were drafted in the first couple of picks. It's not impossible but finding a replacement for Pep in 2014 doesn't look to good right now.

    Bears' possible replacements for Julius Peppers take shape
    [​IMG]
    By Brad Biggs , Tribune reporter
    Mon Mar 3 2014 7:48 PM


    The Bears would have no problem paying Julius Peppers $14 million next season if they knew he could be a game-changer every Sunday, a pass-rushing force capable of wreaking havoc on quarterbacks. They also would find a way to make his $18.1 million salary-cap hit work for that kind of presence. But at 34 and coming off a subpar season that started slow after he missed three exhibition games and a good chunk of training camp with a hamstring issue, Peppers is nearing the end.

    General manager Phil Emery has not dropped clues on what will happen with Peppers, who is signed through 2015, but given the economics involved, it's difficult to imagine him remaining on the roster much longer. A steep pay cut likely would be difficult to achieve, and the Bears might not be interested in that anyway. "Decisions are made when they need to be made," Emery said at the scouting combine.

    One could interpret that to mean Peppers, who had seven sacks in 2013, is a needed commodity until the Bears have a plan in place to improve a defense that tied for 31st in points allowed (29.9 per game), tied for last in sacks (31) and was last against the run. Releasing Peppers would create $9.8 million in cap space or nearly $14 million if the Bears spread out the dead money over two seasons.
    Free agency gets going this weekend. Teams are permitted to begin contacting agents Saturday, and the curtain on the new league year rises at 3 p.m. March 11, when signings can start.

    The options for a replacement at right end became clearer Monday, when the deadline for franchise and transition tags passed. The Panthers on Friday secured defensive end Greg Hardy, coming off a 15-sack season, with the franchise tag, and the Redskins applied the same to outside linebacker Brian Orakpo on Monday. The Steelers opted for the seldom-used transition tag with outside linebacker Jason Worilds.

    That leaves the Seahawks' Michael Bennett, the Raiders' Lamarr Houston and the Bengals' Michael Johnson as the top available ends for a 4-3 system. Johnson seems destined to find a new home, but the Raiders and Seahawks have expressed a desire to re-sign Houston and Bennett. The question is how high the price will go for these players on the open market? Will some or all be paid as elite right ends? The average guarantee in contracts for the five highest-paid pass rushers entering last season was $40.3 million.

    Bennett, the older brother of Bears tight end Martellus Bennett, excelled while playing a little less than 60 percent of the defensive snaps for the Seahawks, who used a wave of linemen in front of the NFL's most talented secondary. The 28-year-old is disruptive against the run and pass and has 66 1/2 quarterback knockdowns and hurries over the last two seasons, according to STATS. The Seahawks cut defensive lineman Red Bryant and wide receiver Sidney Rice to create room for a number of signings, one of which they hope is Bennett.

    Johnson, 27, who has a similar frame to Peppers at 6-foot-7, 270 pounds, played under the franchise tag last season, but the Bengals invested in Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap and might not pony up to keep him. While his sack total dipped from 111/2 in 2012 to 31/2, he had 31 knockdowns and hurries, 15 more than Peppers. He also had nine passes defended.

    Houston, who turns 27 in June, isn't the same pass-rushing threat at 6-3, 300, but he's tough against the run and hasn't missed a game in four seasons. The Raiders are projected to be nearly $66 million below the $133 million salary cap, the most room in the NFL, and would like to keep Houston, who had a career-high six sacks last season.

    The Bears have roughly $8.4 million in cap space before factoring in possible cuts such as Peppers and running back Michael Bush. With the flexibility in contracts for Jay Cutler, Tim Jennings and Matt Slauson to create additional space as needed, Emery won't be handcuffed if he wants a player. If the Bears can add an end and accomplish their stated goal of re-signing tackle Henry Melton, it would be a good start toward reshaping the defense.

    The top safeties also should make it to the marketplace as the Bills declined to put the franchise tag on Jairus Byrd for a second year and the Browns used the transition tag on center Alex Mack, freeing T.J. Ward. But improvements to the secondary will struggle to take root until the front is fixed.

    The Bears could fortify the line and find a more modestly priced free-agent safety while also drafting one with an eye toward revamping the secondary. Drafting a cornerback also could be a high priority; the list of standout right ends projected to be available at No. 14 is short.

    The great unknown is how high the market will go to sign one of the right ends. It figures to be a game the Bears will be in on.

    bmbiggs@tribune.com
    Twitter @BradBiggs
  20. MPbears68

    MPbears68 Pro-Bowler

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    Our depth sucked last year. That was exposed mightily by injuries, Pep declining, Shea not advancing, and IMO Mel Tucker doing a shitty job (our young/depth guys looked just as bad at the end of the season as they did to start even after getting a lot of practice and playing time). You can argue Tuck's hands were tied by having a run a scheme he no longer has the horses for.....we will see.

    But I don't see any way you legitimately accuse the FO of "tacking a hatchet" to the defense.

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