Bears

View From the Moon: Lining up the offense

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View From the Moon: Lining up the offense

Thursday, April 14, 2011
Posted: 9:50 PM

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

Worth a look.

The Bears are expected to address their offensive line with one or even both of their first two picks, whether in those current slots or up or down by virtue of a trade. It could happen.

And it is also a distinct possibility that the Bears will pick two offensive linemen before round five for the first time since Jerry Angelos first (2002) Bears draft. One would be within those first two rounds. And last Friday, the Bears held a private workout for Louisville tackle Byron Stingily, who at 6-5, 315 pounds, ran a 4.86 in his 40 at the Cardinals Pro Day and impressed the Bears enough to take an up-close second look at a talent not expected to go in those early rounds.

After what the Bears found with JMarcus Webb in last years seventh round, Stingily is a name to listen for on draft day. More than a dozen teams have been circling and best guess is that he will not last if the Bears wait past their pick in the fourth round.

Center Olin Kreutz is all but a lock to return and is the teams No. 1 veteran priority. That takes the need at center down a very significant notch. It also means right guard also is in place with Roberto Garza, one of the potential options for a Kreutz replacement but one that would have meant just moving the need area one place to the right.

Important changes

Two new voices of major significance are being heard at Halas Hall in the run-up to this draft.

One is Tim Ruskell, director of player personnel, who has revamped some key elements of Bears scouting processes. Insiders say that Ruskell has shifted some of the often-excessive attention given to prospects targeted in later rounds and turned that on higher-round possibilities.

The other is Mike Tice. The offensive line coach took an increased role in the offense overall during last seasons off week, one of the major reasons the play-calling changed so dramatically at that point of the season.

Tice, with his impeccable credentials as a position coach and perspectives from his head-coaching time, now is playing a very big part in draft plans. Bears coaches have always had input into the draft; with this draft and the lockout theyve had more time to do film study, workouts and all the rest.

But Tice is a player. What that suggests is that the lines will be addressed early and often, and probably pretty well.

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: Who might be the next Bears head coach?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Who might be the next Bears head coach?

Hub Arkush (Pro Football Weekly/670 The Score), Teddy Greenstein (Chicago Tribune) and Danny Parkins (670 The Score) join Kap on the panel. Fox Watch continues. Is his dismissal a foregone conclusion? And how many other coaches will be fired after this season? Plus, the guys discuss Jerry Jones vs. the NFL and the latest installment of “As The Bulls Turn.” 

Listen to the full SportsTalk Live Podcast right here:

With matchup against Golden Tate looming, Bears need Kyle Fuller to have a short memory

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USA Today

With matchup against Golden Tate looming, Bears need Kyle Fuller to have a short memory

A couple of relevant stats on Detroit Lions receiver Golden Tate: Passes toward him average 6.5 yards in the air, the second-lowest average among NFL receivers this year (via NFL Next Gen Stats). Tate, though, leads receivers with 315 yards after the catch, and is ninth in the league with 659 total receiving yards. 

The point: Matthew Stafford gets Tate the ball quickly, and when he gets the ball, he’s a dangerous weapon. 

“He’s kind of built like a running back and runs like one,” Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said. “Once he gets the ball in his hands, he’s a double threat – not just catching it but then after he catches it what he does with it. He’s good on the low routes but yet he can get deep balls also, too. He’s kind of a complete receiver with really good running ability after the catch.”

This is especially relevant for Kyle Fuller, who whiffed on a third down tackle attempt on Green Bay’s first drive last weekend, resulting in a 38-yard gain for Randall Cobb. Fuller went on to have his worst game of the season, allowing 127 yards and a touchdown on 10 targets and missing five tackles, according to Pro Football Focus. 

Fuller was one of the Bears’ best defensive players in October, and with free agency looming after this year looked like he could be setting himself up for a sizable payday. But he’ll need a short memory to move on from his struggles against the Packers. 

“I hope (he has that),” Fangio said. “You need to at that position in this league.”

If Fuller’s tackling issues re-surface this weekend, Tate could be in for some gaudy numbers. Or Fuller could find his starting spot in jeopardy, with Marcus Cooper — who signed a three-year, $16 million contract in March but has only played 14 defensive snaps in the last three weeks — in position to play if coaches make that call. 

“Anything but your best effort in tackling, both from a mindset and technique stand point, is going to be needed when you are going up against a guy like this,” Fangio said.