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Bears select Oregon State DT Paea in Round 2

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Bears select Oregon State DT Paea in Round 2

Friday, April 29, 2011
Posted: 6:51 p.m. Updated: 7:25 p.m.

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

Paea draft capsule
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A 'strong' pick for the D-line

This time the trade of their fourth-round pick went through for the Bears as they moved up in the draft to grab Oregon State strongman Stephen Paea with the 53rd pick of the draft, No. 21 of the second round.

It was that fourth-round pick that the Bears stumbled in trying to deal with the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday night to move up in Round 1. The deal broke down when the Bears did not get a call in to the league properly in time.

This time the call got there in time and the Bears moved up from No. 62 to 53 for a pick that the Washington Redskins had acquired from an earlier trade with the Indianapolis Colts.

The result was a power addition to the defensive line, 6-foot-1, 303-pound Paea, a native of Tonga who projects to replace Tommie Harris as one of the linchpins of the defensive line. The Bears addressed their two primary needs, offensive and defensive line, with their first two selections.

We feel in the first two picks of the draft, we strengthened ourselves in the trenches, said player personnel director Tim Ruskell. We feel that hes capable of doing both. Hes a guy whos very strong and very quick. Hes a high-motor player.

Paea set an NFL combine record when he bench-pressed the standard 225 pounds a very un-standard 49 times. But it was his versatility and quickness pushed him ahead of a player like North Carolinas Marvin Austin in the Bears minds.

It was kind of a no-brainer for us, Ruskell said.

Happy camper

Paea will get looks at both tackle spots but he sees himself as potentially the three-technique that Harris was for some very productive years.

Oregon State played a similar defensive scheme as the Bears and it takes one team to love me and I feel like the Chicago Bears are the right team for me, Paea said. Im blessed.

He suffered a knee injury at the Senior Bowl but described himself as 100 percent. He said he can play both nose and three-technique but projects himself as potentially more effective at the three-technique.

His role model as a player is Minnesota tackle John Randle, a Hall of Famer as a three-technique with an ability to rush the passer good enough to post 10 or more sacks in 10 straight seasons and 137.5 for his career. If Paea achieves anything close to what Randle did, the Bears will be ecstatic.

However long it takes me to get to his level, thats what I want to be in the future, Paea said.
Athletic background

Paea came to the United States as a teenager, two years after his mother moved to this country to begin working. His early sports background was primarily in rugby, which gave him some skills that transferred nicely to football.

I think rugby helped a lot, Paea said. To myself, I'm able to stay low, and you need a lot of energy for rugby. You're running at a specific way and a specific time. You could also say the same in football. So I feel like that has helped me transition easier to football.

If you're in the middle of a rugby scrum, you're getting crushed from all the force behind you. You've got to be strong in there.

Breaking right

When the draft passed No. 50, Paea came within range for the Bears. And when the New York Giants took North Carolinas Marvin Austin at No. 52, the Bears made their move.

Before that, the second round started going the Bears way early, with multiple picks at positions the Bears were not looking to address.

Two quarterbacks (Andy Dalton to Cincinnati, Colin Kaepernick to San Francisco) went in the first four picks of day two. Three linebackers went in the first 10. Two tight ends went in the span of five picks beginning with Minnesota at No. 11 of the round, 43rd overall.

With the Bears already having Gabe Carimi in the fold, they were not disappointed to that three offensive tackles went in the space of four picks beginning with Miamis Orlando Franklin at No. 46 overall to Denver.

The only defensive tackle taken through the first 19 picks of the second round was Clemsons Jarvis Jenkins, a 310-pounder more suited to nose tackle rather than the three-technique that the Bears were after.

Stay with CSNChicago.com for the latest on this developing story and all the happenings from Halas Hall from Bears Insider John "Moon" Mullin.

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.

Film breakdown: Why the Bears' sudden change defense could key a deep playoff run

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Film breakdown: Why the Bears' sudden change defense could key a deep playoff run

Prior to Sunday night’s Bears-Rams game, if you were told Mitch Trubisky would throw three interceptions in his own territory, you probably would’ve through the Rams would win in a laugher. Giving one of the best offenses in the NFL, if not the best offense in the NFL, three short fields — including one in the red zone — seemed like a recipe for disaster.

Only it wasn’t. The Rams managed three points off those three turnovers, which stands as arguably the biggest reason for the Bears’ 15-6 win. 

“We want to go out there and get it back as fast as we can so (the offense) can have a little momentum going in the right direction,” defensive lineman Akiem Hicks said. “So there is an emphasis on making that play off a turnover.”

Today’s film breakdown looks at how the Bears’ sudden change defense clamped down on Los Angeles. 

First turnover came when Mitch Trubisky overthrew Josh Bellamy, with cornerback Marcus Peters picking off the pass and returning it 48 yards to the Bears’ 15-yard line. 

The Rams handed off to Todd Gurley on the first play after taking over possession. Vic Fangio dials up a blitz for safety Adrian Amos (red arrow), who comes unblocked and doesn’t seem worried about the prospect for a play-action fake and turns his attention right at Gurley. Meanwhile, linebacker Roquan Smith is matched up against tight end Tyler Higbee (blue circle/arrow).

Right after Gurley takes the handoff, Akiem Hicks, Eddie Goldman, Danny Trevathan and Smith are all holding the point of attack at the line of scrimmage (blue circle). The only one who doesn’t is outside linebacker Leonard Floyd (yellow arrow), but Gurley is too close to the line to cut outside, especially with Amos chasing him from the back. 

Smith sheds Higbee and gets to Gurley first, with Amos getting his hands on the running back shortly after. Gurley gains one yard, bringing up second and nine. 

After that gain, the Bears drop eight into coverage in an effort to keep everything in front of them. This is a good call by Fangio, who trusts his defense’s ability to make a stop on third down. Goff isn’t pressured and picks out Brandin Cooks for a gain of five, bringing up third and 4. 

Khalil Mack wrecks the Rams’ playcall here with a tremendous pass-rush move on right tackle Rob Havenstein. Mack starts wide and cuts inside across Havenstein’s body, while Gurley (yellow arrow) runs a route and isn’t available to help chip Mack. 

Help comes from right guard Austin Blythe, but it’s too late to keep Mack away from Goff. 

Goff can only heave the ball away while Mack is draped over him, resulting in an incomplete pass and a 27-yard field goal from Greg Zuerlein. 

These are the only points the Rams score off a Bears turnover all game. 

***

The Bears’ other two defensive stops off turnovers were simpler, relatively speaking. The second turnover came when Trubisky was picked off by cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman with 19 seconds to go in the first half, which gave the Rams the ball on the Bears’ 49-yard line. After Gurley was whistled for an illegal shift on the first play, Goff completed a short pass to set up a Hail Mary that was picked off by Eddie Jackson to end the half. 

***

What happened after Trubisky’s final interception was probably the second-biggest play of the night (behind Goldman’s safety). With the Bears leading by nine midway through the third quarter, Trubisky was picked off when he sailed a pass beyond Trey Burton into the waiting arms of safety John Johnson. 

With the ball on the Bears’ 27-yard line and a chance to make it a one-score game at worst — and, at best, cut the Bears’ lead to two — Goff drops back and stares down receiver Josh Reynolds (yellow arrow) almost from the start of the play. Kyle Fuller is matched up on Reynolds in off coverage (blue arrow). 

As soon as Reynolds makes his cut, Fuller jumps the route — even before Goff throws the pass. The result is Fuller’s seventh interception of the year, tying him for the NFL lead. Fuller felt like he didn’t bait Goff into the throw, he just identified the route and jumped it, which might have something to do with the extraordinary amount of film study he puts in each week

***

Being successful in sudden change opportunities is part scheme and part attitude, and the Bears not only have the right scheme for these situations but collectively the right attitude. 

“Where I see teams or sides of the ball that can get into trouble would be when you have a bunch of individuals that all of a sudden get upset or angry that, ‘We got a couple stops here, and now you just give the ball right back to them,’ and they start pouting when they go back out to the field,” coach Matt Nagy said. “And we don’t do that.” 

Bears opponents have only managed 40 points on 20 drives that began due to an interception or fumble — and that’s with the average starting point of those drives being the 50-yard line. The Bears have forced more turnovers and punts (10) than allowed field goals and touchdowns (eight, with the other two drives ending on a turnover on downs). 

For a team with an offense that remains under construction, this is a massive reason why the Bears are 9-4 and tantalizingly close to their first NFC North title in eight years. And it’s a major reason to believe this team could legitimately make a deep run into the playoffs next month. 

“Not one time this year have we had — and it could have happened a few times, I go back to the Arizona game, the defense was playing really well, the offense wasn’t — and not one time did that defense complain about the offense not playing well,” Nagy said. “And that I think is speaks volumes to the character of these guys.”

Mike Ditka describes his recent heart attack as 'massive'

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USA TODAY

Mike Ditka describes his recent heart attack as 'massive'

As one of the icons in Chicago sports history, Mike Ditka's recent heart attack got plenty of attention.

Turns out, Ditka isn't downplaying it either.

In an article in The Athletic by Dan Pompei, Ditka said his heart attack was "massive." He was in the hospital for a week and a half and doctors inserted four stents and a pacemaker.

“I got my ass kicked pretty good there, but I’m feeling a lot better,” Ditka said. “Every day I get stronger. I’m not exerting myself. When I exert myself is when I can feel it. So things are good. If you had asked me two weeks ago, I couldn’t have said that.”

The 79-year-old was golfing in Florida when the heart attack happened. The Hall of Famer is still recovering in Florida.

 

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