Moon: Tice, three assistant coaches extended

Moon: Tice, three assistant coaches extended
February 17, 2011, 4:16 am
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Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2011
Posted 10:16 p.m.

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

The Bears denied offensive line coach Mike Tice the chance to interview for the job of offensive coordinator with the Tennessee Titans but they have assured him at least an extra year in his post with the Bears, extending his contract through the 2012 season.

The extension, announced on the teams website, is part of a wave of new deals that has included extra years for defensive backs coach Jon Hoke, who had interviewed previously for the Philadelphia Eagles job as defensive coordinator. Linebackers coach Bob Babich and running backs coach Tim Spencer also signed extensions recently, ensuring the return of nearly the entire Lovie Smith staff with the exceptions of assistants on the defensive line (Eric Washington) and special teams (Chris Tabor).

Im looking forward to continuing the progress we made on our offensive line in 2010, Tice told the team website. Our guys are motivated and I am excited to get back to work with them.

Feeling the draft

A call with ESPN draft guru Todd McShay on Wednesday yielded a number of interesting perspectives, including several that offer some encouragement to the Bears down at No. 29 in the first round. In that spot its difficult to target a player or even a position but needs in the previous 28 picks are in their favor.

McShay sees quarterbacks Blaine Gabbert from Missouri and Auburns Cam Newton as the top two that position. Because nine of the first 12 teams have degrees of need at quarterback, those two will go in the top 10.

More important, McShay has as many as nine defensive ends going in round one, as well as three cornerbacks. With Israel Idonije, Julius Peppers and Corey Wootton, the Bears are not looking to address their defensive edges.

Three cornerbacks could go in round one; the Bears are in the market for size and youth at that key spot but have not gone for a corner that high in Jerry Angelos tenure.

Add Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley (the Bears want DT help but Fairley will go long before their pick), Alabama running back Mark Ingram, Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green (Angelo dislikes risking first-round picks on wideouts), and you have as many as 17 players with first-round grades that teams ahead of the Bears are likely to grab.

What the Bears wont like are players such as Colorado tackle Nate Solder (McShay has him at No. 13, likely going to Detroit as Jeff Backus successor) going before they can select an offensive lineman.

But the draft is more than two months away. Stay tuned.

John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider, and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.