Moon: Should Bears address OT first?

438133.jpg

Moon: Should Bears address OT first?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Posted: 11:00 a.m.By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

A question facing the Bears later this month remains whether or not, with needs on both the offensive and defensive lines, can they afford to wait on grabbing one or the other at No. 29.

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper thinks the Bears can get an immediate starter at offensive line, specifically a tackle, with that 29th-overall pick, possibly Colorados Nate Solder or Mississippi States Derek Sherrod.

But the Bears are high enough on JMarcus Webb to plan on moving him to left tackle. Chris Williams hasnt proved that hes a lock-down starter anywhere, although he had his best days at right tackle in the final third of 2009. So the need may not be truly at tackle, a spot where landing a rookie starter like Webb turned out to be is a rarity.

Kiper confirmed that the Bears could wait until the second round to address defensive tackle, perhaps with someone like Marvin Austin out of North Carolina or Miami DEDT Allen Bailey (6-3, 285). The problem with Austin, however, is a possible character flag since he was suspended and missed 2010 for improper dealings with an agent; Jerry Angelo was burned badly the last time he took a character question mark in the second round (Tank Johnson) and chances of him risking that again with Austin is virtually nil.

The third round will be where matters turn especially interesting. My own guess is that the Bears will look inside on the offensive line before they take a tackle, depending on grades obviously, but Kiper sees a number of centerguard types being there for the Bears in the third round, including Wisconsins John Moffitt (6-4, 315) or Stefen Wisniewski (6-3, 295) from Penn State. Theres a lot of those centerguard guys to look at, Kiper said.

But protecting Cutler is front and center, Mel said, speaking in a voice sounding suspiciously like Mike Martzs.
Backer thoughts

The Bears have two linebackers in place, both veterans in Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher. That also ties up substantial payroll, meaning the Bears will not invest heavily at the position in free agency, particular for a player who projects to be a two-down role fit at least until either Briggs or Urlacher are substantially less productive.

The intrigue for drafting a linebacker is choosing one that fits a 4-3, which the Bears play, vs. one that fits a 3-4, which Green Bay and myriad other teams play. The clear first choice for the latter remains Von Miller out of Texas A&M, who is being compared physically to Lawrence Taylor, who created the rush linebacker type who is a hybrid backerDE.

When he comes around the edge, I dont know how he keeps his feet sometimes, Kiper said, noting that Miller also is the only senior among his top 12 players. If hes going to be a great player in the NFL, its going to be how he gets after the quarterback, not how he plays the run.

Kiper has seen more success than failure in the Miller types. A lot of these 3-4 guys have made it big, Kiper said. New York Jets linebacker Vernon Gholston is one of the few busts.

Carolina watchin
Ron Rivera and the Carolina Panthers have the first-overall pick of the draft. They also have former Notre Damer Jimmy Clausen as their quarterback, a second-round pick, and one school of thought says Clausen is worth waiting on to develop, rather than jumping at a quarterback with that No. 1 pick, presumably Missouris Blaine Gabbert.

Based on what I know about Jimmy Clausen, I would trade out of there, move down and get a Nick Fairley, KIper said. Defensive linemen with high grades are going to go down to No. 18.

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.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Mark Sanchez officially signs with Bears

usatsi_9603010.jpg
USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Mark Sanchez officially signs with Bears

On the latest edition of the SportsTalk Live Podcast, Chris Emma, Seth Gruen and Danny Ecker join David Kaplan to discuss the Mark Sanchez signing. Does this mean the Bears won't draft a quarterback in the 2017 NFL Draft? 

Later, the White Sox named Jose Quintana their Opening Day starter, but lose Carlos Rodon and Todd Frazier to injuries. 

Finally, Robin Lopez is back after serving a one-game suspension. The panel looks at the Bulls matchup against the Philadelphia 76ers. 

Listen to the SportsTalk Live Podcast below. 

Noise around QB Mark Sanchez misses bigger, far more important goal for Bears ’17 offseason

Noise around QB Mark Sanchez misses bigger, far more important goal for Bears ’17 offseason

The tumult around the Bears quarterback position this offseason – signing Mike Glennon, cutting Jay Cutler, not signing Brian Hoyer, now signing Mark Sanchez – was to be expected. (Well, not all the brouhaha around Sanchez; if there has ever been more hyperventilating around the arriving backup quarterback, it’s escaping my recollections of a quarter-century on the beat.)

All of that, and a lot of the noise around Mike Glennon is really missing a larger point. A couple, really.

GM Ryan Pace established fixing the quarterback situation as a top priority, something it has been just about since Jim McMahon left, with the exception of a few Jay Cutler years. Doing that to any meaningful degree with the castoff options available in free agency or via trades wasn’t ever going to happen. What Pace has done with the quarterback situation, however, is more than a little intriguing.

The quarterback additions and subtractions, coupled with also suggest a draft plan far from locked in on a quarterback. The signings of Glennon and Sanchez don’t mean the Bears have solved their quarterback position, but it does mean the Bears have positioned themselves with the distinct option of NOT taking a quarterback – this year.

But here’s the bigger point.

Even with the optimum quarterback solution unavailable – Pace arguably did go best-available in his and the coaches’ minds with Glennon and Sanchez, all derision aside – Pace’s goal needs to be building a team that can reach a high playoff level regardless of quarterback.

Meaning: defense. And while the 2017 free agent and draft classes did not offer must-have quarterbacks in most evaluations, there are those elite-level defensive talents, and every indication is that the Bears will look there, in the draft, and should be. It had that feeling when the Bears, with ample, money to spend, backed away from day one free-agency runs at a couple of pricey defensive backs. The Bears simply think they can do better for less in the draft.

A perspective: With a defense at its levels during the Brian Urlacher era, the Bears could reach the NFC championship game with what they have at quarterback now. They did, twice, with Rex Grossman and with Cutler. Sanchez got to AFC championship games in each of his first two seasons. The Bears reached a Super Bowl with Rex Grossman as their quarterback. They went 13-3 in 2001 with a solid-but-unspectacular Jim Miller as their quarterback. They reached the 2005 playoffs with Kyle Orton as their starter most of that year, and should have been in the 2008 playoffs with him as well. The Bears reached the NFC championship game in 2010 with Cutler.

There is a common denominator in all of these situations, and it is within Pace’s grasp, and that was an elite defense. Rex Ryan had one with the Jets and Sanchez, Grossman and Orton and Cutler had theirs with Urlacher, Lance Briggs, Mike Brown, Tommie Harris, Charles Tillman, etc.

Forget the quarterback situation for now. Nothing anyone, including Pace, can really do anything about it (other than land possibly Deshaun Watson, based on their turnout at his Pro Day).

But if Pace and his personnel staff do this right, they can lay in the foundation for something elite on defense that will transcend the quarterback, or at least allow the Bears to play more than 16 games in a season even if they do not have a great quarterback. With the Urlacher core defense, the Bears went to postseasons with four different quarterbacks.

The prime directive now for Ryan Pace is to create precisely that model again.