Bears

Mullin: Mike Tice Miracle on O-Line? Not quite

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Mullin: Mike Tice Miracle on O-Line? Not quite

Thursday, Jan. 6, 2011
11:01 AM

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

Phew lots to range over with Mac and Spiegs this morning on the weekly visit with The Danny Mac Show on WSCR-AM 670. (CLICK HERE to listen to the segment).

Mac clearly isnt buying into the Mike Tice Miracle with the offensive line, a group that has improved almost weekly but still allowed (with contributions from poor blocking by tight ends and backs at times) a league-worst 56 sacks. And Dannys right; if youre 30th in offensive production, you dont rate a rainbow of bouquets.

But in fairness, I thought it worth acknowledging that Tice came in with an open-mind policy on players, which actually have hurt him in the selection process. What that meant was a guard like Johan Asiata jumps out in OTAs because hes athletic. Trouble is, when pads come on and playbooks expand, Tice finds out why Asiata wasnt in the mix before this.

Then Tice sees things from Lance Louis, enough so that he moves Roberto Garza to a new position (left guard) to fit Louis at right guard. Trouble is, Louis cant play effectively through what by NFL standards are minor injuries, so that path was a dead-end.

Throw in the injuries to Garza and Chris Williams and I do think you see the amount of assessment Tice had to do while all the while in the middle of teaching his group the new system and protections...

Mac (no surprise) had fun with what Anthony Adams had said to me, that there need to be more fat guys on magazine covers. Id add here that there need to be more fat guys in booths, meaning that bright bulbs like Adams should get more looks as analysts and color guys. Tony Siragusa is a cartoon figure but when I watch Michael Strahan, I see a job for Anthony Adams funny but thoroughly knows his game.

But back to MacTalk...

We went from Adams to the defensive line in general as the guys were interested in how the stats of Julius Peppers and the defensive line with him werent stunningly leaping up this year with the addition of No. 90. But thats probably another good measure of Peppers impact he has calmly said all year that hes not about the stats, winning is not about stats, and he and the Bears have played like it.

Draft breezes

Interesting brief look ahead when the guys alluded to Hub Arkushs thought that the Bears will have to address the defensive line this draft or offseason. Id agree with that, and mentioned a look back Id done at drafts in which Jerry Angelo was a part. A vast majority of them saw linemen (offensive or defensive) taken with his teams first pick, irrespective of round.

When he took over running the draft as Bears GM, what did he pick first? Offensive line (Marc Colombo, 2002), defensive line (Michael Haynes, 2003), defensive line (Tommie Harris, 2004). Two of the last three years he stayed bigs on his first picks: offensive line (Chris Williams, 2008), defensive line (Jarron Gilbert, 2009).

Given that Angelo doesnt need a quarterback, running back, tight end or safety, and he wont spend a first-round pick on a wide receiver, chances are very, very good that the lines are addressed with the top two picks in the 2011 draft.

Playoffing

Im on board with the guys thinking that Green Bay-Philadelphia is the game of the wild-card weekend. They werent sure why all the love for Green Bay, but the Packers were my preseason pick for NFC Super Bowl representative and the No. 1 reason is No. 12. Aaron Rodgers is still there, and as good a season as Michael Vick has had, I give the QB edge to Green Bay this weekend.

And just thinking about this right now: Mac noted that, yeah, the Packers cant run the ball. Agree. But what I see in Rodgers is a young Brett Favre without the image of the gunslinger. Favres teams were more than passable without a dominant run game, were very good with one (Dorsey Levens for a year to win a Super Bowl), and while this defense doesnt have Reggie White the way the Favre teams did, this one is more than good enough.

The Packers beat the Eagles in Philadelphia to start the season, with Vick taking over when Kevin Kolb suffered a concussion. This wont be the same Green Bay team (that one had RB Ryan Grant) or the same Eagles team (Vick has a season behind him). But the result will be the same.

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.

Four players Ryan Pace should target to fix the Bears

Four players Ryan Pace should target to fix the Bears

The Chicago Bears have a 1 percent chance to make the playoffs in 2019 after falling to 4-6 following Sunday night's 17-7 loss to the Los Angeles Rams. As a result, it's time to start looking ahead to 2020 and the necessary moves GM Ryan Pace must make in order to take advantage of the Bears' already championship-worthy defense.

Pace will face some obvious challenges in the offseason, most notably the salary cap where the Bears won't have much flexibility. According to Spotrac, Chicago will be in the bottom-five teams in the league in cap space which will make shopping in free agency a limited endeavor. 

But as we've seen many times in the NFL, creative general managers can move money around in ways to free up the dollars for new contracts to make sense, and it's on Pace to make sure he does that in order to land at least two big-ticket free agents to fix two of this team's most pressing needs.

The NFL draft will also provide Pace with a great opportunity to add young, starting-quality talent in the second round. The Bears will end up with two of this year's top-60(ish) players and they have to make those picks count.

Here are four players Pace should target in order to turn the 2020 Bears into the contender they were supposed to be this season.

Sign QB Teddy Bridgewater (Saints)

Bridgewater would be the perfect target for Pace and the Bears in free agency to bring stability and reliability to the quarterback position. The former first-round pick of the Minnesota Vikings has resurrected his career after a devastating knee injury in 2016. Now three seasons removed, Bridgewater proved he's ready to take on a starting job after playing five games in relief of Drew Brees after the future Hall-of-Famer suffered a hand injury.

Bridgewater won all five starts and completed nearly 68 percent of his passes along the way. He racked up 281 yards and two touchdowns in Week 7 against the Bears and displayed the kind of accuracy and decision-making that Matt Nagy's offense calls for.

The Bears won't be the only suitors for Bridgewater's services, but the appeal of starting in Chicago with a defense that's proven it can win games on its own will at least be enticing for the former Lousiville star.

Sign TE Austin Hooper (Falcons)

Hooper will command a contract similar to what Chicago paid Trey Burton in 2018 (four years, $32 million), so it will be hard to justify tying up that much money in the tight end position. But as 2019 has proven, there's no way for Nagy's offense to reach its potential without a weapon at tight end in the passing game.

Hooper missed Week 11 with an MCL injury and could be on the shelf for a few more weeks, but he's been one of the league's better playmakers at tight end this season. He has 56 catches for 608 yards and six touchdowns and has shown steady improvement over each year of his career. He had 71 catches for 660 yards and four scores in 2018.

Draft OT Prince Tega Wanogho (Auburn) in 2nd round

It'll take a little bit of luck for 'Prince' to fall to the Bears' first of two second-round picks, which right now sits at No. 46 overall. But the Bears have to be aggressive in upgrading the offensive line this offseason. While Charles Leno, Jr. and Bobby Massie are serviceable offensive tackles, a player like Tega Wanogho has the kind of traits that could eventually develop into a top-tier starter on either side of the offensive line.

The Bears could decide to prioritize the interior of the offensive line in the draft, and that's fine. But the best (and cheapest) way to land a high-end offensive tackle is through the draft, and Pace has to swing for the fences on a pick like this in 2020.

Draft EDGE Yetur Gross Matos (Penn State) in 2nd round

Pass rushers like Gross Matos are often pushed up the draft board because of the premium placed on the position, but with several teams expected to take a quarterback in the first round and with the number of ridiculously talented wide receivers in the 2020 class, a player like Gross Matos could suffer a bit of a fall.

Gross Matos has six sacks so far this season, which is a respectable total but has fallen a tad short of expectations entering the year. He had eight sacks in 2018 and was a popular pick to explode as a sack artist this fall. Still, he has the athletic profile Pace loves in his pass rushers and would be an instant upgrade over Leonard Floyd, who's failed to live up to his first-round billing since joining the Bears in 2016.

Sports Talk Live Podcast: What happens with Mitch Trubisky going forward?

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USA TODAY

Sports Talk Live Podcast: What happens with Mitch Trubisky going forward?

Hub Arkush, JJ Stankevitz, and Ben Finfer join the birthday boy on today's show.

0:00 - Sunday's debacle in L.A. continues to dominate headlines. So what happens with Mitch Trubisky going forward? Is Matt Nagy's offense fixable? And how did a team that was one of the favorites for the Super Bowl fall apart this quickly?

16:00 - Jeremy Roenick joins Kap to talk about Kirby Dach's hot streak and if the Jeremy Colliton saved his job by making one tweak to his scheme.

24:00 - Dave Wannstedt joins Kap to discuss the fallout from Sunday's Bears loss to the Rams. How would Wanny handle Eddy Pineiro's confidence? Plus he talks about how to keep a team motivated with the playoff hopes essentially gone.

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:

Sports Talk Live Podcast

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