Moon: Will the Bears pursue Shaun Rogers?

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Moon: Will the Bears pursue Shaun Rogers?

Thursday, Feb. 10, 2011
Posted 10:25 a.m. Updated 2:30 p.m.
By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

The Cleveland Browns created a bit of a ripple when they released defensive tackle Shaun Rogers, who becomes an immediate unrestricted free agent by virtue of having at least four years of service.

The Bears are looking (always) to fortify the defensive line and Rogers has been a force throughout his 10 seasons. But the Bears making a play for Rogers would be a major surprise, for multiple reasons.

Rogers is a master at blocking kicks (ask long snapper Pat Mannelly) and at controlling areas on the line of scrimmage. But he is a classic two-gap tackle in the mold of Ted Washington when he was a Bear or Pat Williams in Minnesota, rather than a fit for a one-gap scheme similar to the one espoused by Lovie Smith and Rod Marinelli.

Rogers controls blockers so linebackers can run and make tackles, meaning that Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher would no doubt go pick him up at the airport if he were coming. But his days as a rush threat are past, and the Bears are looking for more impact inside than theyve gotten from Tommie Harris and Marcus Harrison at this point.

Look for a trickle of players onto the market in the next couple of weeks before the Mar. 3 expiration of the collective bargaining agreement. But dont look for teams to rush into signings, of their own or others players, given the uncertain state of negotiations. No need to add players until theres more indication when and where the season is going.

More important, nearly 500 players are poised to hit the free-agency markets. It will be a buyers market, much to the disappointment of more than a few players.

Theres a lesson here...

Really nice to see former Bears center Jerry Fontenot and wifeStephanie at the Eggshell Caf in Northbrook Thursday. Jerry, one ofthe class individuals Ive had the pleasure to know and cover with thisteam, had that unmistakable glow that only comes from winning a SuperBowl, which he just helped the Green Bay Packers accomplish lastweekend as their assistant offensive line coach.

I did get to actually hold the trophy, for a little while, Jerry said, laughing. On the bus.

Jerry, who succeeded Jay Hilgenberg over the ball in 92, played 239games for the Bears, New Orleans Saints and Cincinnati Bengals, and hewas the Saints starting center when Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy wasNew Orleans offensive coordinator. Hes looking great and is having aball with a very, very good young offensive line up in Green Bay.

Best Jerry story: I happened to see Jerry, a good friend of actor BillPeterson (CSI, To Live and Die in L.A. and more), one evening up inPlatteville during a training camp. I think it was at the Dairy Queenthere on Rte. 151. He looked shaky.

You OK? I asked.

Oh, man, he said, shaking his head. Stephanies pregnant and I just took her to see the movie Seven.

Now, if youve seen Seven and remember how it ends, youll feel for Jerry.

Great guy. Good to see Stephanie and him doing well.

Lesson: Make sure you check out movie details before taking your lovely wife to one.

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 promote tight end Ben Braunecker to 53-man roster, waive C.J. Wilson

Bears promote tight end Ben Braunecker to 53-man roster, waive C.J. Wilson

The Bears announced on Saturday they have elevated tight end Ben Braunecker from the practice squad to the 53-man roster and waived defensive lineman C.J. Wilson.

Braunecker, 22, signed with the Bears as an undrafted free agent out of Harvard following the 2016 NFL Draft. In 25 collegiate games, Braunecker compiled 68 receptions for 1,168 yards and 10 touchdowns. Braunecker was named first team All-America (AP, Walter Camp and STATS) and selected as the CFPA tight end award recipient following his senior season.

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

Wilson, who signed with the Bears earlier in the week, has appeared in 78 games with the Green Bay Packers (2010-13), Oakland Raiders (2014-15) and Detroit Lions (2015). Wilson has notched 111 tackles, 6.5 sacks and 15 TFL's throughout his six-year NFL career.

The Bears' 53-man roster is now full.

Bears formula for beating Lions is basic

Bears formula for beating Lions is basic

Talking about what the Bears can do to defeat the Detroit Lions suddenly has a vague feel of irrelevance, since the downward spiral of the 0-3 start raises far broader questions and doubts than one game. But in point of fact, it IS about one game. More on that later.

Earlier in this week your humble and faithful narrator laid out three foundation points upon which the Bears could begin building a way out of the abyss. Nothing has changed in the meantime other than a few injury designations, and there is zero reason to dwell on those because the solution is about as simple as things can get. And they extend beyond Sunday’s game against the Lions.

“You’ve just got to keep improving,” said Brian Hoyer, the presumptive starting quarterback Sunday against Detroit and until Jay Cutler’s injured right thumb is sufficiently healed. “Nobody’s going to feel sorry for us. Everybody has injuries. It’s unfortunately part of the business so everybody just has to step up.

“And not only the guy himself has to step up, the guys around him have to step up. That’s just the nature of the beast.”

Which gets back to those three “turnaround” elements, because those comprise the basic formula for the Bears to overcome the Lions and themselves. Consider these the proverbial “three keys,” tailored to the immediate game at hand.

Unleash a defensive “village”

The Bears have not proved themselves capable of winning enough one-on-one matchups pretty much anywhere on the field, any side of the football. An alternative exists on defense, however: Swarm to the football, something that was axiomatic with Lovie Smith defenses but evaporated under Marc Trestman/Mel Tucker and has not developed under John Fox and Vic Fangio. It is also the only realistic way the Bears can have a dominant defensive game, which is the only realistic way the Bears can win a football game.

The Lions were never a particularly fun matchup for Chicago defenses when they had Calvin Johnson. In beating the Bears the last six times the teams met, Detroit averaged 29.3 points per game. Without Megatron the Lions are averaging 27 per game this season. Meaning: Things haven’t necessarily gotten any better since the Big Fella called it a career.

In place of Johnson, the focal point of the Detroit offense has become wideout Marvin Jones, No. 2 in the NFL in receiving yards and averaging 22.7 yards on his 18 receptions. Equally concerning: Jones has picked up first downs on 13 of those 18 catches.

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

“He's made some big plays,” defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said. “He's had some big ‘chunk’ plays, a 73-yarder last week, I think he had a 50-some yarder in another game. He leads the [NFC] in receiving yards and [is No. 2 in] average per catch. They've got a lot of weapons.”

The problem with that is that the Lions are predominantly a three-receiver offense, another team that will schematically force the Bears out of their base 3-4 and into nickel. The Bears intercepted a Houston Texans pass on the first possession of the season. They have not intercepted one in the 34 opponent possessions since then.

Detroit doesn’t run the football overly well (101 yards per game), but if the Bears cannot force quarterback Matthew Stafford to throw toward Jones or Golden Tate before he wants to, an undermanned secondary has no chance.

The defense no longer has a shutdown corner, even one must-account-for pass rusher or an established all-around game-changer. Jerrell Freeman is the best player on a struggling defense. The solution is a form of flash-mob flying to the football, second and third men in stripping the ball. One tackler or pass rusher has proved insufficient.

Take it on the run

It is far from any sort of exact correlation, but all six of the Bears’ wins last season came in games where they rushed more times than their opponent. A seventh win escaped them when Robbie Gould missed a kick against San Francisco. Only the Lions in Week 17 rushed fewer times than the Bears and won.

The Bears are not only among the NFL’s worst rushing teams (70 yards per game, 30th), but also its least busy, with 53 total attempts through three games. The total is mystifying because the Bears led the Texans through three quarters and the Eagles for most of two, making the reasoning that the Bears were trailing and forced to throw very difficult to understand.

The Lions allow 5.1 yards per rush, worst in the NFL. They are without top pass rusher Ziggy Ansah. If the Bears cannot run on this defense (allowing 28.3 ppg.), the issues are far deeper than feared and the philosophies and play calling of coordinator Dowell Loggains will come under even more scrutiny than they already have.

“I was pretty disappointed as well [after 15 rush attempts at Dallas],” guard Kyle Long said. “Just execution, and sometimes it’s not execution. It’s just you’ve got to beat the guy across from you and we haven’t done that enough.”

Win one play…then one drive…one quarter…one game

The Bears cannot get back to .500 Sunday afternoon. Barring a 28-point outburst, they cannot win the Detroit game in the first quarter. They led Houston and Philadelphia in first halves and lost.

To his credit, Fox has kept the target small, and simple. Because it is.

“It’s execution and it’s execution in all three phases,” Fox said. “Whether it’s the first half or the second half, they’re two equal times. And you have to put a complete game together and we have not done that through the first three games.” 

And the winner is...

“View from the Moon” erred in Dallas by going against its first impression and pick back early in the offseason, that the Bears would lose to the Cowboys, which they did. The Bears have done little to suggest that they are poised to go on any sort of upswing, but the Lions inspire not a lot to suggest that they are an NFC North power. The preseason pick stays:

Bears 17,  Lions 14

View from the Moon 2016 record: 1-2