INDIANAPOLIS The stock prediction for what the Bears will do with their first-round draft pick in April has been wide receiver. They have a shortage of good ones and uncertainty over the future of Johnny Knox after his gruesome back injury.
But at least one NFL insider has a strong leaning toward the other side of the football and coach Lovie Smith is saying nothing that contradicts this.
Matt Bowen, longtime NFL safety and National Football Post columnist, talked with CSNChicago.com Thursday at the Scouting Combine. Matt heard comments by Smith earlier Thursday and believes the Bears will go for a defensive end with their first pick, with Alabama rush terror Courtney Upshaw the first name he mentioned.
Pro Football Weekly reports that 38 percent of Upshaws tackles were made behind the line of scrimmage.
A big reason for his conclusion, which I second, is Smiths re-statement, in the wake of the New York Giants Super Bowl win, that defense still wins championships.
I'm totally convinced of that, Smith said. In order to win, of course, it's a biased opinion. I think the Giants have a strong defense, they have a running game and you need to be able to have explosion in your passing game, I think that's a big part of it.
The Giants won with a 4-3 scheme similar to the Bears but based on as many as four defensive ends used in nickel situations, all proven pass rushers.
A top-shelf wide receiver in free agency followed by a pass-rushing defensive end on day one of the draft.
The key is Smith and GM Phil Emery being of like mind on personnel priorities, which they presumably are based on conversations during the GM hiring process. Its pretty unlikely Smith was voicing a philosophy from what he knows to be his GMs.
The great Ricky Bobby once said, “If you ain’t first, you’re last.” Talladega Nights hit a little too close to home for the Bears in Week 7.
They came into Sunday at 3-2 at the top of the NFC North. After a 38-31 loss to the New England Patriots, they dropped to the bottom of the division.
The Detroit Lions defeated the Miami Dolphins 32-21 to improve to 3-3, leaving them tied with the Bears in the cellar.
The Minnesota Vikings’ 37-17 victory over the New York Jets jumped them to 4-2-1 overall and first place in the division over the 3-2-1 Green Bay Packers, who were off for their bye week.
The NFC North remains the most tightly contested division in the NFL, the only one with no teams under .500 through seven weeks of the season.
The final standings may not be decided until Week 17, and the Bears have already blown the early season cushion they built for themselves while the Vikings and Packers were struggling.
The divisional action will pick up in November, and Chicago only has a pair of games left to put it all together before back-to-back-to-back games against the Lions, Vikings and Lions again.
Matt Forte, Lance Briggs and Alex Brown join Laurence Holmes to break down the Bears 38-31 loss to the Patriots. What happened to the Bears defense over their bye week, and how did the special teams struggle so bad against New England? Plus – the guys debate Mitchell Trubisky’s decision making in the red zone and Matt weighs in on how the Bears should play his former team – the New York Jets – next week.
0:35– Special teams to blame for loss?
4:12– Where did the Bears pass rush go?
5:27– Bad tackling followed Bears from Miami
7:25– Are the coaches to blame for the defense after the bye?
10:10– Evaluating Mitchell Trubisky’s game
11:55– Agree with Matt Nagy on Mitch’s “mental” game?
13:30– Trubisky’s red zone decision making
17:10– Are the Bears giving away games so Mitch can learn?
18:00– Bears need to run the ball more
21:04– Matt Forte scouts his former team, the New York Jets
Listen to the full podcast here or in the embedded player below.