Bears

Webb motivated by Packers' draft day snub

523274.jpg

Webb motivated by Packers' draft day snub

Friday, Sept. 23, 2011
Posted: 1:16 p.m. Updated: 5:38 p.m.

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com Bears Insider Follow @CSNMoonMullin Sick bay

The Chicago offense will be without two starters receiver Earl Bennett and tackle Gabe Carimi but there is officially a 50-50 chance they will have several key figures back for the Green Bay game on Sunday.

Officially.

Guard Lance Louis (ankle) and running back Marion Barber (calf), who did not practice last Friday and did not play after being listed as doubtful on the week-end injury report, finished this week listed as questionable. Also in that group was wide receiver Roy Williams (groin), expected to play Sunday but not certain as to whether or when he returns to the starting lineup.

Safety Chris Harris (hamstring) also went from doubtful and not practicing last Friday to questionable, although he is expected to give way to Craig Steltz in the starting lineup for this week. Brandon Meriweather, who started at free safety in New Orleans alongside Wright, will stay in that job in what is likely to be a permanent move.

A key indicator: Barber, Harris, Louis and Williams all went through full practices, albeit on Friday when practices are not the full-pads sessions of a Wednesday.
Major Wright, listed as questionable, practiced on a limited basis but the Bears will not rush a player with a head injury back onto the field.

The Packers will be without safety Nick Collins (neck, out for season), defensive end Mike Neal (knee) and linebacker Frank Zombo (shoulder). All other Packers are listed as probable, including starters Chad Clifton (knee), Clay Matthews (quad) and Charles Woodson (foot) who either sat out of practice or were limited.

Duly noted

The Bears under Lovie Smith are 8-7 against the Green Bay Packers. All seven losses came when the Bears failed to score more than 15 points.

If the Bears have managed to hold the Packers and Aaron Rodgers to lower point totals, the Packers have been positively inhospitable to Jay Cutler. In the five games played with Cutler against the Packers, the Bears have scored just 15, 14, 20 (with a Devin Hester punt return for a TD), 3 and 14 points, an average of 13.2 points. And all 14 of the points in the NFC Championship game were Caleb Hanie productions.

The Bears offense under Mike Martz in three Green Bay meetings is averaging 10 points per game. In 12 Green Bay games with Ron Turner as offensive coordinator, without adjusting for defensive or special-teams scores, the Bears averaged 18.8 ppg. with quarterbacks Rex Grossman, Chad Hutchinson, Kyle Orton and Brian Griese.
The chip's in place

Bears great Jay Hilgenberg made it a career mission to take the measure of No. 1 draft choices whenever he faced them. The seven-time Pro Bowl center had been an undrafted free agent and used the draft-day slight for motivation.

JMarcus Webb knows the anger.

Webb at least had the relief of being drafted in 2010 but not until the seventh round. That passed-over feeling was there in a rookie year that saw him win the starting job at right tackle before moving to left tackle this offseason.

Of course it bothers me, Webb said. There is definitely a chip on your shoulder to prove to those teams and yourself that youre better than they thought you were. Youve got to have that competitive mindset as well.

If he wants motivation in the form of No. 1s, the Packers will have rush linebacker Clay Matthews (2009 first round, No. 26 overall) and nose tackle B.J. Raji (2009 first round, No. 9 overall) in their front for him.

A more direct diss for Webb: Green Bay also thought tackle Bryan Bulaga was worth a No. 1 pick last year, 23rd overall, and didnt think enough of Webb to make a move on him in any of the next five rounds, either.

But being a veteran in his second NFL season has mellowed Webb. Or so he says. It was something I definitely thought about a lot last year, he said. This year I think its more about myself and how I can get better, how to help my team.

One way: dominate some former No. 1 pick.

Numbers-gaming

The Bears under Lovie Smith are 42-9 when they hold a team to 17 or fewer points, the standard defensive point target. That fact is particularly relevant when the opponent is the Green Bay Packers.

Eight of the 15 times Smiths Bears played the Packers, Green Bay scored those 17 or fewer. The Bears are 7-1 in those games.

Meaning: Whatever the Bears do, they cannot turn the game into any kind of scoring fest and need desperately to shorten the game by consuming time, and also by keeping Aaron Rodgers watching.

That will not be easy.

Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy is 6-0 in road openers, and this is the Packers road opener. Worse for the Bears, the Packers have won 14 of the last 19 games played in Soldier Field.

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 ’18 offseason dramatically different from ’17 but with difficult money-management issues looming

ryan_pace.jpg
USA TODAY

Bears ’18 offseason dramatically different from ’17 but with difficult money-management issues looming

About this time a year ago the Bears were setting up for the annual NFL beauty pageant in Indianapolis, sitting with the No. 3 pick in the 2017 draft and with myriad roster decisions to address with both that draft and free agency. Because of the Bears’ lofty draft position, even more scrutiny and attention swirled around the college prospects (Deshaun Watson, Jamal Adams, Solomon Thomas, not enough on Mitch Trubisky as it turned out, a testimonial to GM Ryan Pace’s ability to keep a secret).

But what was developing in free agency was arguably of even greater significance in what was then the short term, at least for John Fox, as it turned out. And the changed landscape this year bodes considerably better for Pace and the Bears. At least in one important respect.

First, a perspective from last year’s pre-Combine period...

Because of the unsettled quarterback situation – the Bears were working toward Mike Glennon and cutting Jay Cutler two weeks later – and concerns about a possible lame-duck situation for Fox, free agents and their agents were willing to look at the Bears but only if the Bears would pony up excessive guaranteed dollars. The worry any time a coach is heading into a tipping-point year is that if things go badly, the coach and staff are gone, and the resulting changes will alter the job situation of that particular veteran player.

So the likes of cornerbacks A.J. Bouye or Stephon Gilmore opted for less total money from Jacksonville and New England, respectively, because the Bears weren’t offering higher guarantees to compensate for the uncertainty.

(One of the reasons then-President/CEO Michael McCaskey stated to this reporter for firing Mike Ditka after the 1992 season was a concern over the negative pall Ditka cast over playing for the Bears as the NFL prepared for the 1993 start of free agency. A quarter-century later, Pace didn’t fire Fox because of free agents’ aversion to Fox, but the overall wasn’t making Pace’s job any easier.)

Would Alshon Jeffery have stayed if...

On a slightly different tack: Would Alshon Jeffery have given the Bears a more receptive look had the quarterback position been addressed sooner in the Fox/Pace tenure? Jeffery took less from the Eagles in a one-year prove-it deal, not because Philadelphia was so much warmer than Chicago, but in large part because of where the offensive arrow was pointing in Chicago with Fox, Dowell Loggains and an unsettled quarterback situation.

Not insignificantly in the Jeffery case: Jeffery had four choices – Bears, Indianapolis, Minnesota, Philadelphia. The Colts weren’t sure about Andrew Luck, coming off shoulder surgery and ultimately missing all of ’17. The Vikings were resting then on brittle Sam Bradford, whose knee broke down early, and Case Keenum wasn’t CASE KEENUM at that point. The Bears with Loggains and Glennon? Jeffery didn’t go with Philadelphia, Doug Pederson and Carson Wentz only for the money, which did come anyway.

The Bears have “fixed” all of those issues in the year that’s played out since Jeffery signed with the Eagles almost concurrent with the Bears moving on from Cutler. None of that matters now in the least with Jeffery, Bouye, Gilmore or any other options that demanded too much guaranteed money or spurned the Bears back then, but it does matter going into the run-up to free agency over the next couple weeks.

Why this in fact matters more than the draft is that, while sound organizations are grounded in quality drafting, the reality is that in virtually every offseason, more starters for that season are acquired via free agency than the draft. Last year’s draft centerpiece was Trubisky, though he wasn’t supposed to start last season. But free agents Glennon, Prince Amukamara, Marcus Cooper, Quintin Demps and Markus Wheaton and Kendall Wright were.

The money pit

Longtime Bears and NFL personnel chief Bill Tobin once remarked back in the beginning of free agency, “Just because you pay a guy $2 million doesn’t make him a $2-million player.” That still applies, adjusted for inflation. And that could make this free agency dicey for the Bears.

Because price isn’t always determined solely on quality; it’s a matter of supply and demand. And while the Bears are among those with the greatest estimated space under the projected cap of $178 million, the others way up on the list include Cleveland, Indianapolis, the Jets, Houston and Tampa Bay – all teams with five or fewer wins in ’17 and expected to be the most aggressive in using free agency to fix gaping holes. The Bears have a lot of money to spend, but so do a whole lot of others.

Meaning: A lot of dollars will be chasing a select few players, which will make some of them overpaid, not unlike Glennon was last offseason (how many apparently better options were there?) or a couple of others, who will be paid like $2 million players even if they aren’t, adjusted for inflation.

The result is another offseason of brinksmanship for Pace, this time in need of better results than his first three free agencies if the outcome for his second head coach is to be better than it was for his first.

Report: Bears could be a potential landing spot for Dolphins WR Jarvis Landry

jlandry.png
USA TODAY

Report: Bears could be a potential landing spot for Dolphins WR Jarvis Landry

The Bears are looking for an upgrade at wide receiver this offseason, and there may be one available.

The Dolphins used the franchise tag on wide receiver Jarvis Landry on Tuesday, in a move that many believe signals the team's desire to deal him instead of losing him in free agency for nothing.

Landry put up excellent numbers last season, catching 112 passes for 987 yards and nine touchdowns. He led the league in catches and was fourth in touchdown receptions but was just 17th in yards. His yards per reception ranked 108th of 139 qualifying players.

Still, it's no secret he'd be an upgrade for the Bears at wide receiver. Though they'll get Cam Meredith and Kevin White back from injury, the corps largely struggled and didn't give rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky much help.

Luckily, they may be interested in Landry, per NFL.com's Ian Rapoport.

"There are a couple teams that we should keep an eye on as far as a potential Jarvis Landry landing spot......the Chicago Bears are looking for receviers," he said.

Rapoport also mentioned the Titans, Panthers and Saints as options for Landry. The franchise tag will pay Landry about $16 million before he becomes a free agent in 2019 (or has the franchise tag used on him again).