Bears Notebook: Is Vick sackable? Oh yes

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Bears Notebook: Is Vick sackable? Oh yes

Thursday, Nov. 25, 2010
1:34 PM

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

Bears practice ended Thursday with a group celebratory roar as Lovie Smith sent his players to their home Thanksgiving training tables rather than Halas Hall fare.

We have so much to be thankful for, Smith said. Our football team, it seemed like this day, you dont have to give anyone a pep talk. Everybody is excited, cant wait to get the practice in and then get home and eat a little bit and enjoy some time with family.

And if Smith knew which of his charges was the teams No. 1 trencherman or gourmand, he was about to give the player up. As far as which Bear was likely the biggest eater:

You look at the size, and thatll give you a start, Smith said. I would say one of our offensive linemen, without singling out one.

Dirty guy I?

Philadelphia guard Todd Herremans was assessed a 5,000 fine for a chop block against New York Giants defensive tackle Chris Canty. Herremans admitted that he was unaware that Canty was engaged with Eagles center Mike McGlynn but Canty was not mollified.

Canty told Herremans after the game, Theres no place for that, no excuse for what you did, according to the Newark Star-Ledger. Herremans maintained on CSNPhilly.com that deep down he knows himself not to be a dirty player.

Dirty guy II?

With Mother Nature hosing down Soldier Field a bit on Wednesday and Thursday, the state of the turf will be closely watched. The temperature at game time is expected to be in the mid-40s, not the sub-zero wind chill that helped take the heart out of Michael Vick in the Bears 16-3 pasting administered in 2005. No more rain is forecast before Sunday.

Regardless, Philadelphia coach Andy Reid is more than familiar with directing offenses in Chicago. Reid was an assistant with the Green Bay Packers during the 1990s when Brett Favre and the Packers were dominating the Bears, often in Soldier Field. His Philadelphia teams are 5-0 in Soldier Field, plus once in Champaign during the Bears transplant season, so inclement doesnt necessarily favor the Bears.

I dont know if this is a good thing or a bad thing but I feel like Ive played there a million times, not only with the Eagles, but with Green Bay, Reid said. The turf is a little soft but what you lose in footing, when you land its a good cushion, so youve got to look at the positive and the negative of it and make sure you keep your shoulders over your toes at all positions and make sure youve got a good base.

Sackable? Oh yes.

At last, an indisputable bit of evidence that the whole football world may be concerned about Michael Vick, but there also is something, or someone, that Vick is truly concerned about.

The New York Giants didnt beat Vick and the Eagles but New York defensive end Justin Tuck did sack Vick three times in last Sundays game. And Julius Peppers was named NFC defensive player of the week after his three sacks of Miami quarterback Tyler Thigpen so.

I know what Julius can do, Vick said. I played against him about six years straight in Atlanta, always had competitive games and hes always a guy Ive tried to stay away from. So it doesnt surprise me that hes turning his game around right now. We knew it was just a matter of time.

Sick bay

The Bears continue to hold a health advantage with an unusual full-participation by all players at practice Thursday. The Eagles are still practicing without cornerback Asante Samuel (knee) and defensive end Juqua Parker (hip), and they had an added concern with run-stopping defensive tackle Antonio Dixon (abdomen) and starting right guard Nick Cole (knee) limited in practice.

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.

Good or better? Why offseason moves are making 2017 Bears better

Good or better? Why offseason moves are making 2017 Bears better

Improvement typically comes in incremental steps, not leaps. And the Bears of 2017, based on what they have done at a handful of positions, the latest being Thursday’s signing of wide receiver Victor Cruz, fit that template.

The clear organizational commitment is to build through the draft, even if injuries have undermined some otherwise apparent upgrades to starting lineups on both sides of the football. But if there is a “theme” to what GM Ryan Pace is doing to muscle up a sluggish roster, it is that the Bears are willing to take flyers on veteran players – with additions like four veteran wide receivers with injury and issue histories – that arguably point to a win-now mindset while draft picks develop and contribute.

Jaye Howard and John Jenkins. Make the defensive line “better?” Than Jonathan Bullard and Will Sutton, probably. But “good?” Mmmmm…..

The game-one tight ends last year were Zach Miller-Logan Paulsen-Gregg Scruggs. Now they’re Miller-Dion Sims-Adam Shaheen (based on a second-round draft choice). “Good?” Maybe, maybe not. “Better?” Obviously, based on Sims alone.

Mike Glennon-Mark Sanchez-Mitch Trubisky. Bears “better” at quarterback? Than Jay Cutler-Brian Hoyer-Matt Barkley, probably. “Good?” Mmmmmm…..

The decisions to sign Glennon and Sanchez to the quarterback depth chart have sparked their shares of understandable cynical skepticism. But Kirk Cousins and Jimmy Garoppolo were not available in trade, so the Pace decision was to gamble on upside with Glennon over the known quantity of Brian Hoyer (the preference of some coaches) and certainly Jay Cutler, for whom “potential” and “upside” no longer applied.

Add in the aggressive draft of Trubisky and the result was three possibilities of hits on a quarterback (Sanchez and Connor Shaw being combined here as a pair entry in the hit-possibility scenarios). All three were deemed an improvement over Cutler and/or Barkley.

The results may not vault the Bears all the way up to “good” at the pivotal position for any franchise. But “better” is sometimes all you can realistically manage.

Taking a wider-screen look at wide receiver in this context… .

Coach John Fox has cited the need for the Bears to establish the ability to get yardage in bigger chunks. Accordingly, all four of the veteran wideout signings this offseason – Cruz, Rueben Randle, Markus Wheaton, Kendall Wright –  have posted yards-per-catch seasons of 14 or longer.

All four won’t be on the opening-day roster, but all four offer the promise of major impact. Cruz, Randle and Wright have had seasons of 70 or more receptions, and Wheaton topped out at 53 in 2015 with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Randy Moss, Terrell Owens and Jerry Rice weren’t available, so “good” was hard to achieve in an offseason in which Alshon Jeffery and Eddie Royal were expected departures long before their exits. But are Cruz, Randle, Wheaton and Wright, with Kevin White and Cameron Meredith, a “better” starting point than Jeffery, Royal, White, Bellamy, etc. of a year ago?

Obviously. But players with even moderately established NFL “names” (like Cruz, Randle, etal.) are typically available for a reason; teams do not routinely give up on talent. And none of the four come without significant shadows on their NFL resumes, whether for injury or other questions.

Cruz missed most of 2014 and all of the 2015 season, and hasn’t played a full season since his Pro Bowl year of 2012.

Randle was described as a head case by scouts and was so bad that he was let go in the Eagles’ cutdown to 75 last year, followed by disparaging comments from those in and around the organization.

Wheaton flashed promise in his 2014-15 opportunities as a part-time starter but played just three games before a shoulder injury landed him on IR last season.

The Tennessee Titans thought enough of Wright, their 2012 first-round draft choice, to pick up his fifth-year option going into las season. But by week 14 he was benched for tardiness and was a healthy DNP in game 16, announcing after the game that he already knew he was not in the Titans’ plans for 2017.

The prospect of the Bears going from 3-13 to “good” borders on fantasy. But if being among the NFL’s busiest this offseason hasn’t propelled the Bears to that level, the results point to “better.” At this point, that’s something,.

How big of an impact will Victor Cruz have on the Bears?

How big of an impact will Victor Cruz have on the Bears?

The Bears inked Victor Cruz to a one-year deal on Thursday, adding another receiver to an already crowded corps.

But it never hurts to add a veteran one to a young group, especially with a new starting quarterback.

Cruz is 30 years old and isn't the same Pro Bowl-caliber player he was before missing the entire 2015 season with a calf injury, but he surely has a lot left in the tank and can serve as a great mentor for the Bears receivers.

Just how big of an impact will he have on his new team? See what the SportsTalk Live panel had to say in the video above.