Moon: To audible or not? That's the question

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Moon: To audible or not? That's the question

Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2011
6:03 PM

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

Offensive coordinator Mike Martz doesnt want his quarterbacks to audible. But he also has the image of being willing to listen during the week and if he cocked an ear toward his starting tailback Wednesday, he would have heard some game-planning.

After the Bears lost to Seattle in Game 6 in a game where running backs were handed the ball just 12 times vs. 47 pass plays called, Matt Forte made uncharacteristically strong comments about the way the plays had been called.

In case Martz missed it the first time, Forte went public with his feelings about the need to run the ball and run it a lot.

I dont think we have a choice, Forte said. We cant go out like last time and throw the ball 40-50 times and only run 10 times. We have to have a balanced offense.

Jay Cutlers public thoughts on game planning were in stark contrast, however.

Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints threw 60 passes in their loss last weekend to the Seahawks. But Cutler gave the impression that the Seahawks more than the Bears would determine what the Bears do.

We might throw it 60 times, Cutler said. It depends on what they give us. Theyve played some man coverage. Theyve played some zone, depending on who theyre going against. So were not for sure what theyre going to do against us. Were going to figure it out in the first quarter and go from there.

Scarred

Seattle coach Pete Carroll was the defensive backs coach for the Minnesota Vikings in 1985 when they faced the Bears in the turning-point game of that epic season. Indeed, it was Carrolls DBs who were victimized when Jim McMahon came off the bench in the third quarter to rally the Bears with two long TD passes on his first two snaps.

Carroll brought that game came up to Matt Hasselbeck on Wednesday. Well keep that confidential til after this game. I dont want to offend any of the 85 Bears. I think a lot of those guys. They might still come after me.

That hints at Carroll maybe, just maybe, suggesting that the Bears were lucky or whatever to have a recovery like that. Carrolls account of his account was just that we had to suffer through those matchups with them when I was with the Vikings way back when, and how dynamic those teams were in the 80s, the great players that were on them, Carroll said. We just kind of shared some stories about the old times.

Duly noted
In an indicator that he wont be active for Sundays playoff, tight end Desmond Clark was wearing a No. 17 Wednesday as he simulated wide receiver Mike Williams for the Bears defense in practice.

The Bears scouting work this week is including input from director of player personnel Tim Ruskell, who joined the Bears last offseason following five years a president of football operations for the Seattle Seahawks. We use all resources, always, Lovie Smith said. Of course, Tim knows a little more about their personnel but we can see a lot about their personnel from watching the video also.

Snow and frozen outdoor fields sent the Seahawks indoors for their practice Wednesday. The Bears did their second day of playoff prep in the Walter Payton Center.

Denial isnt just a riverJohnny Knox caught none of the eight passes thrown his way in the season-ending loss at Green Bay, ending his quest for 1,000 yards at 960. So he probably would like to forget that game.

It appears he has.

The Bears wide receiver acknowledged that there are some things that just didnt work out. One of my goals this year, to get a 1,000, just didnt work out. Most importantly, we got that win in Green Bay. We did want to knock Green Bay out so we wouldnt have to play them for a third time but getting 1,000 was a goal. Most importantly we did get the win.

No word from the NFL on whether this takes the Packers out of the playoffs retroactively.

Sick bay
Cornerback Charles Tillman was ill and unable to practice Wednesday. All other Bears were down for full participation.

Seattle was without Pro Bowl middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu, recovering from a concussion but expected to play Sunday.

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.

Bears announce additions to John Fox's coaching staff

Bears announce additions to John Fox's coaching staff

The Bears announced Monday several additions to John Fox's coaching staff in 2017.

Roy Anderson has been hired as the assistant defensive backs coach, Curtis Modkins has been named the new running backs coach and Jeremiah Washburn is the new offensive line coach. The team also announced that outside linebackers coach Clint Hurtt's contract was not renewed.

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

Anderson was the assistant defensive backs coach for the San Francisco 49ers last season, and spent his previous seven years with the Indianapolis Colts (2012-15) and Baltimore Ravens (2009-11). He replaces Sam Garnes.

Modkins has 22 years of coaching experience, and also spent the 2016 season with the 49ers as the team's offensive coordinator. His previous stops include the Detroit Lions (2013-15), Buffalo Bills (2010-12), Arizona Cardinals (2009) and Kansas City Chiefs (2008). Modkins replaces Stan Drayton.

Washburn served as the Miami Dolphins assistant offensive line coach last season, and spent his previous 14 years with the Lions (2009-15), Ravens (2003-08) and Carolina Panthers (2002). He replaces Dave Magazu.

Kiper: Deshaun Watson would be a stretch at No. 3 for Bears

Kiper: Deshaun Watson would be a stretch at No. 3 for Bears

If you haven't heard, the Bears are in the market for a quarterback.

It's no surprise that finding a long-term solution at the position will be at the top of GM Ryan Pace's to-do list as it's likely Jay Cutler has played his last game in a Bears uniform.

The Bears have a bevy options this offseason as they're saddled with the No. 3 selection in the 2017 NFL Draft, and have over $54 million of salary cap space — before roster cuts and an added $8 million in roll over money.

Having the 3rd overall pick, the opportunity is going to present itself for the Bears to nab one of the draft's top quarterbacks or add to their young defensive core with a player like Alabama defensive end Jonathan Allen (who ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. has the Bears selecting in his latest mock draft) or LSU's Jamal Adams (Kiper Jr. also has him as a possibility for the Bears).

If quarterback is the choice, that's where the real debate begins.

The 2017 draft marks one of the rare years where there isn't a consensus No. 1 quarterback. The four signal-callers likely to hear there name called within the first two rounds are UNC's Mitch Trubisky, Clemson's Deshaun Watson, Notre Dame's DeShone Kizer and Texas Tech's Patrick Mahomes.

Who comes off the board first? That may change 100 times between now and Thursday, April 27.

Despite only starting one year at Chapel Hill, Trubisky has the strongest case to be the first quarterback taken. Trubisky threw for 3,748 yards and 30 touchdowns and added 308 yards on the ground and five rushing scores in his first full year as a starter in 2016.

If the Bears have their eyes set on Trubisky, they may have to pull off a trade as Kiper Jr. doesn't see the former Tar Heel lasting to the third pick. In his conference call on Thursday, Kiper Jr. said it's Trubisky's dream to play for his hometown Cleveland Browns, and sees him in play for both the Browns at No. 1 and the San Francisco 49ers at No. 2.

Would the Bears pull the trigger on Watson if Trubisky is off the board? Kiper Jr. believes Watson would be a stretch for the Bears at No. 3 and right now he sees Watson as a fit with the Buffalo Bills at No. 10. Kiper Jr. had a second-round grade on Watson before he shined on the big stage in the College Football Playoff. Watson's stock catapulted back into the first-round mix after he torched Alabama for 463 yards and four touchdowns en route to leading Clemson to a National Championship.

By selecting a defensive player at No. 3, the Bears could still have the opportunity to draft their quarterback of the future in the second round. Kiper Jr. believes both Mahomes and Kizer will be available on Day 2 where the Bears hold the 34th overall selection in the draft.

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

What happens if the Bears don't come away with one of the draft's top quarterbacks? They could look toward free agency or the trade market.

The downfall of the free agent market is that the best available option is former Tampa Bay Bay Buccaneers quarterback Mike Glennon — he hasn't started a game in almost three years. You can cross Kirk Cousins off the wish list because there's a better chance of Brett Favre coming out of retirement and leading the Browns to a Super Bowl in 2017 than the Washington Redskins letting Cousins walk in free agency. The Bears also could elect to bring back two of their own unrestricted free agents in Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley, but neither would provide an ample long-term fixture at the position.

One of the most intriguing players available on the trade market is New England Patriots backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. The connection between him and the Bears runs deep as Garoppolo starred at Rolling Meadows High School in the Chicagoland area and played his college football at Eastern Illinois — the same alma mater as Pace — before he was selected by the Patriots in the second-round of the 2014 NFL Draft. In limited snaps backing up future Hall of Famer Tom Brady, Garoppolo has shown potential to be an above-average NFL quarterback, but unless the Patriots step down from their rumored asking price of a 2017 first-round pick and more, trading away the No. 3 pick would be too high of a price for the Bears to pay.

The Bears could explore the possibility of trading for Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo to serve as a stopgap and help groom a young quarterback, but bringing in the veteran Romo — just four starts since 2014 due to various injuries — would be a lateral move, and the Bears would likely be better off keeping Cutler for another season.

With less than two months until the start of free agency on March 9, we'll finally get our first clue then as to which direction the Bears will go at quarterback this offseason.