Moon: Bears still need to find themselves

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Moon: Bears still need to find themselves

Friday, Sept. 9, 2011
Posted: 11:01 a.m.

By JohnMullin
CSNChicago.com BearsInsider Follow@CSNMoonMullin
The New Orleans-Green Bay game was almost exactly what should have been expected from two of the absolutely elite offenses and, in the end, from an elite defense as the Packers stuffed Heisman-Boy Mark Ingram at the goal line to preserve the win.

It was a game that no doubt sent scares through Bears Nation because the reality is that the Bears cannot score with either of those teams.

But thats not the point. The point is whether the Bears even should try. Because they shouldnt.

You dont win by pursuing a strategy that the other guy clearly does better than you do. You play to your strength, not his.

And you begin by knowing yourself. The Bears quarterback sounds like he completely gets that.

You know, its only the second year for a lot of the guys in this offense, and we got some new guys that are just coming into it, quarterback Jay Cutler said. Were still growing, were still figuring things out, were still learning by experience, so we just got to go out there and play mistake-free football. Were going to mess up some plays, and have some mentals out there. We just got to limit them.

One thing that was graphically made clear last year is that the Bears do not have the blocking prowess to run the passing offense Mike Martz operates. Ideally, a quick-release West Coast system puts an average offensive line in its best position for success, but Martz doesnt run that. So if the Bears use a game plan that throws the ball as many times as Green Bay and New Orleans did, the only question is not whether Cutler will be sacked, but how often?

The Bears have a seventh-rounder (JMarcus Webb) at left tackle and a rookie (Gabe Carimi) at right. The Packers have second-rounder Chad Clifton at left and 2010 first-rounder Brian Bulaga on their edges. They run an offense that uses short drops, and notably, Aaron Rodgers was sacked 50 times in 2009 and 31 last season.

But right now, as impressive as Ryan Grant and James Starks were running the ball for the Packers, the Bears have a clear advantage over Green Bay in the persons of Matt Forte and, when he comes in, Marion Barber.

The point of this Bears season will not be how often they throw the football visavis Green Bay or New Orleans. If they throw the ball that often, they will finish up the track, probably without Cutler upright. Cutler doesnt have the Green Bay or New Orleans receiver group, or a tight end the equal of Jermichael Finley.

If they try to play like they do, season over.
Good perspective

Tom Thayer weighed in on Matt Fortes situation during last nights Countdown to Kickoff. '

Running backs are a dime a dozen but football players are few and far between. Matt Forte is a football player, said Thayer, former Bear and current WBBM-AM color commentator. Matt is the perfect fit for the Chicago Bears. Matt deserves an upgrade in this contract because hes a great football player, not because hes a running back.

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.

Draft pick at No. 3 demands guiding 'concept' of what Bears ultimately want to be

Draft pick at No. 3 demands guiding 'concept' of what Bears ultimately want to be

With the Bears holding the No. 3 pick of the upcoming draft, the obvious and automatic focus settles on Player A, B, D etc. "Best available" is an operating philosophy that routinely rules the moment.
 
But for the Bears and the 2017 draft, another overarching philosophical principle is in play. Specifically, what is the concept (for want of a better word) guiding what GM Ryan Pace is attempting to do?
 
Coach John Fox, as well as Pace, want a team founded on defense, running the football and ball security. They know the franchise need for a quarterback, but a team building on defense could reasonably be expected to weight their draft decisions toward that side of the football.
 
Meaning: A quarterback like Clemson's Deshaun Watson could alter the entire persona of the Bears and the Halas Hall building, but if the far-and-away best option at No. 3 is defense…?
 
What makes this draft and the Bears' operating concept intriguing is that the chances will be there potentially to build a true elite defense. Beginning at No. 3:
 
"I think [Alabama defensive lineman] Jonathan Allen is one of the two or three best players in this draft," said NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock via conference call on Monday. "What I like about him is he dominates outside…but I think he's going to make his money on an inside pass rusher. Inside or outside, I think he's a special player."
 
Behind that – and last year's No. 1, Leonard Floyd, addressed the rush-linebacker spot – is the secondary, with both cornerback and safety among the strongest positions in the draft.
 
"This is a great corner class," Mayock said. "If you don't get one in the first round, you can come back in the second or third rounds and really help yourself."
 
The safety group is such that Mayock posited the prospect of two going in the Top 10, maybe Top 5. 
 
Deciding on a "concept"
 
One former NFL personnel executive maintained that the salary cap all but precluded building offense and defense equally, so the need was to define an identity and build to that, within reason. Former Bears GM Jerry Angelo opted a concept that built both offense and defense equally, but with designated positions ticketed for more cap resources: quarterback, running back, one wideout, two O-linemen, one franchise pass rusher, etc. Not all 22 positions are created equal but creating offense and defense simultaneously was doable.
 
"It's really what a team is looking for," said Mayock, speaking both of player preferences but in a way that extended to picking players for a scheme. Or philosophy.
 
Different concepts, like diets, work if you execute them well.

The Bears reached Super Bowl XLI with a Top 5 defense and a mid-teen's offense. The Indianapolis Colts prevailed in that game with a No. 3 offense and a defense ranked in the low 20's in both yardage and points allowed.

CSN Chicago to provide extensive coverage of the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine

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CSN Chicago to provide extensive coverage of the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine

CSNChicago.com Bears “Insider” John ‘Moon’ Mullin and Bears reporters Chris Boden & J.J. Stankevitz to provide on-air/digital updates starting Wednesday from Indianapolis

Chicago, IL (February 27, 2017) – CSN Chicago and CSNChicago.com, the local television and digital source for the most comprehensive Chicago Bears coverage 24/7, will provide football fans with extensive coverage of the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine from Indianapolis, IN starting Wednesday, March 1.  The network’s Combine coverage is also scheduled to include interviews with Bears head coach John Fox and Bears GM Ryan Pace.

CSNChicago.com’s Bears “Insider” John ‘Moon’ Mullin (@CSNMoonMullin) and CSN Bears reporters Chris Boden (@CSNBoden) and J.J. Stankevitz (@JJStankevitz) will be on-site to deliver up-to-the-minute news & details on which potential future NFL stars are making the biggest impact on their path to a professional career.  Mullin will also report on the Bears’ NFC North rivals (Green Bay, Minnesota, Detroit) after their respective head coaches and GM’s meet with the media. Additional on-site coverage will also be provided by digital producers Jake Flannigan, Scott Krinch, and Scott Changnon for CSNChicago.com’s ‘BearsTalk” section (@CSNBears), which will feature numerous players/coaches/front office exec interviews. Fans are also encouraged to listen and subscribe to the new, in-depth #BearsTalk podcast at csnchicago.com. Look for updated segments throughout the duration of the Combine and throughout the spring leading up to the NFL Draft.

"We’re excited to be back at the NFL Combine once again to share numerous stories of these gifted young athletes chasing their NFL dreams," said T.K. Gore, Senior Director of Digital Media for CSN Chicago.  "Our on-site team will produce countless hours of player features that will be distributed as 2017 NFL Draft VOD content on all NBC Sports' digital platforms, as well as social media platforms via our strategic partnerships with Facebook and Twitter."

Starting Wednesday (March 1), viewers are urged to tune in nightly to CSN’s In The Loop at 6:30 PM, along with In The Loop Prime at 10:00 & 10:30 PM and Fast Break at midnight, along with CSNChicago.com 24/7 for feature stories, video highlights, extensive analysis and much more throughout the weekend.  In addition, fans can get interactive with CSN Chicago’s coverage at the NFL Combine by utilizing the Twitter hashtag #BearsTalk.

The Combine kicks off CSN & CSNChicago.com's extensive two-month "Road to the Draft" coverage leading up to the 2017 NFL Draft in Philadelphia April 27-29.  Beginning in early March, more than 100 NFL Draft Profiles that include analysis, statistics and player interviews will be released each day on CSNChicago.com all the way up to draft day. NBC Sports/Rotoworld's Josh Norris will also be featured in several profiles and on CSN.