Moon: Bears need Packers' draft success

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Moon: Bears need Packers' draft success

Thursday, Feb. 3, 2011
Posted 3:32 p.m.

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

As the 2011 draft stands right now, the Bears dont go on the clock until the No. 29 pick of the first round. What they could use, after playing the Green Bay Packers three times in the span of about four months, is for some of the Packers draft good fortune to have rubbed off.

The Bears were very lucky once when Brian Urlacher fell to them at No. 9 after the Arizona Cardinals took Thomas Jones at No. 7 and the Pittsburgh Steelers opted for Plaxico Burress at No. 8. Both teams had Urlacher in their final three at those spots and chose offense.

The Packers were down at No. 24 in the 2005 draft, long after the Bears chose Cedric Benson at No. 5, and had to wait and settle for what was left. What was left turned out to be Aaron Rodgers.

And yes, they were surprised, GM Ted Thompson admits.

We talk about that locally a lot, Thompson said during a media session in Dallas Thursday. We didnt spend a lot of time studying Aaron up until about a week or 10 days before the draft, because wed always assumed that he was going to go pretty high.

Then the rumors started flying that he might be dropping, not because people didnt like him as a player, but because people werent in the position to take a quarterback in the first round.

Could it happen for the Bears? Absolutely. Somewhere in every draft are nuggets deep into the first round and beyond. To wit:

T Bryan Bulaga, 23rd, 2010
LB Clay Matthews, 26th, 2009
WR Jordy Nelson, 36th, 2008
G Daryn Colledge, 47th, 2006
WR Greg Jennings, 52nd, 2006
LB Nick Barnett, 29th, 2003
T Chad Clifton, 44th, 2000.

Throw in Rodgers, another 20s find, along with LB A.J. Hawk (5th, 2006) and DT B.J. Raji (9th, 2009), and you have might have something.

Like a Super Bowl team.

New kid

The Bears filled their staff vacancy for defensive line coach almost as fast as they did the one for special-teams assistant, where Kevin ODea was in place about the same time as Chris Tabor was taking over special teams for the Cleveland Browns.

Mike Phair has been hired as D-line coach. Call it part of the Ruskell Connection, with Phair formerly with the Seattle Seahawks in several capacities during the time Tim Ruskell was president of the Seahawks. Phair previously was a scout with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, also working for Ruskell.

No surprise

A report in Thursdays Sun-Times confirming what Lovie Smith said after the loss to Green Bay, that quarterback Jay Cutler got a shot and received treatment at halftime for his injured knee, shouldnt elicit surprise. What is surprising is that anyone still would find something to blast Cutler for in that game other than his performance.

Cutler went back in the game and tried for one series to play. That somehow seems to be overlooked constantly. It shouldnt be.

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-49ers: And the winner is?

Bears-49ers: And the winner is?

Both teams are on track to be drafting in the top five, and the inevitable “the loser is the winner” talk has made its rounds, meaning that a defeat moves the loser higher in the draft order. The reality is that neither team will tank the game for draft position.

But the chances of two woeful teams playing well are slim. The 49ers won in Week 1 and then have lost 10 straight. The Bears are trying to avoid losing four straight for the first time under John Fox.

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Quarterback Colin Kaepernick burst upon the NFL scene in 2012 with a blowout of the Bears in his first start. He has regained his starting job in San Francisco and is still one of the prototypical mobile quarterbacks.

But the 49ers are the NFL’s worst defense in both points and yardage allowed, and they are the worst rushing defense in the league. Expect the Bears to try exploiting that and give quarterback Matt Barkley a balanced run-pass game plan.

Prediction: Bears 24, 49ers 20

Bears hoping to get Kyle Fuller back in DB mix sooner rather than later

Bears hoping to get Kyle Fuller back in DB mix sooner rather than later

Kyle Fuller was one of the seeming fixtures in the Bears’ defense as it transitioned from the 4-3 of old to the 3-4 of Vic Fangio. And he may be again, the Bears hope very soon, as he has begun practicing after months on injured reserve following knee surgery in August.

The Bears could place Fuller on the active roster as late as Saturday after he practiced all three days this week. “He made it three days in practice, no setbacks,” said coach John Fox. “He seems to be adapting pretty well. He has another practice [Saturday] and we don’t have to make a decision until 3 p.m. because of where he is on the roster. We’ll evaluate that after tomorrow.”

Were Fuller to return — restoring one projected 2016 starter to a defense that has been forced to field five different starting secondaries in the span of 11 games — he may be phased back in with a managed number of snaps, as other certain other players returning from injury have been.

But getting Fuller back projects to be an instant upgrade for a defensive backfield among the NFL’s worst at producing takeaways.

“We all play different positions so we’re kind of used to it, people moving in and out over the year,” said Bryce Callahan, who was initially ticketed for nickel duty as the No. 3 cornerback this season but has been pressed into service starting at cornerback in four games.

“It’s always good to get someone like Kyle back.”

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The Bears would need to weigh what workload Fuller could handle vs. roster needs based on only having 46 players active on game day.

“You’re always a little bit cautious because it does affect your roster,” Fox said. “But if you feel like he makes you better, that’s a move you make. Now we’re just working through him medically, durability-wise, and how much he can play.”

Jay Cutler (shoulder) was officially declared out and is headed for surgery on Saturday, ultimately to injured reserve.

Other availability questions include receiver Eddie Royal (toe), guard Josh Sitton (ankle) and safety Adrian Amos (ankle), all questionable. Linebacker Willie Young (knee) did not practice but linebacker Leonard Floyd was able to practice on a limited basis although his status in the concussion protocol will not be known until closer to game time.