Cubs

Like it or not, '12 Bears largely formed

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Like it or not, '12 Bears largely formed

The critics would like to have had the Bears draft an offensive lineman. The Bears would like to have drafted a defensive tackle, maybe a linebacker (which they might have done with the third-round pick traded away in the Brandon Marshall deal but would you rather have a franchise wideout or a backup linebacker at this point? Easy call.)

Signing 11 undrafted college free agents brings in two tackles, one defensive tackle and a linebacker, so the need areas (perceived or otherwise) werent ignored.

And there will be other moves between now and the starts of minicamps, training camp, preseason and the regular season.

We are currently talking to players and we are looking to add to our roster, definitely," GM Phil Emery said after the draft. Especially since our rosters limit went up to 90, were going to need some more players at all the positions. Were looking to sign a couple and keep improving that roster and keep bringing up the competitive level of that group.

But the major additions have been made -- Marshall, defensive end Shea McClellin, wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, thirdnickel safety Brandon Hardin, tight end Evan Rodriguez.

The supplements now are filling in rotations (a veteran defensive tackle) or ideally the pipeline for the future (undrafted free agent tackle James Brown from Troy). Some shuffling in an area like the offensive line is possible, even likely, but the key pieces are in the house, save running back Matt Forte contractually.

The Bears started last season with five first-year undrafted free agents on the roster, getting significant impact out of wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher on offense and linebacker Dom DeCicco and safety Winston Venable on special teams.

But the top three defensive ends are in place -- McClellin, Israel Idonije and Julius Peppers. The top three tackles are set -- Henry Melton, Stephen Paea, Matt Toeaina. The Bears have two ends in Idonije and Chauncey Davis who can play on the inside and the team has generally gone with seven defensive linemen active on game day.

Emery did not indicate that he felt defensive tackle promised a lot from this point on.

The problem with the defensive line position in college free agency and in the draft, its very thin, so the numbers arent there, Emery said.

The Bears first wave of college free agent signings:

RB

Alvester Alexader, Wyoming

WR

Terriun Crump, Western Illinois
Britton Golden, West Texas A&M
Chris Summers, Liberty

OT

James Brown; Troy
A.J. Greene, Albany

DT

Ronnie Cameron. Old Dominion

LB

Adrien Cole, Louisiana Tech
Ronnie Thornton, Southern Mississippi

S

Trevor Coston, Maine
Jeremy Jones, Wayne State

Sports Talk Live Podcast: Have the Cubs turned the corner?

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USA TODAY

Sports Talk Live Podcast: Have the Cubs turned the corner?

Hub Arkush, David Schuster and Mark Grote join Kap on the panel.

0:00- The Cubs sweep the Marlins and have won 7 of their last 10. Have they finally turned the corner?

8:00- The White Sox keep playing but the controversy surrounding Tim Anderson's bat-flip-heard-round-the-world continues. Does baseball need to lighten up or does Anderson deserve some blame?

14:30- The guys remember Chet Coppock. The "Godfather of Sports Talk Radio" died at the age of 70.

18:00- Carlos Zambrano drops by the studio. He talks to Kap about his comeback with the Chicago Dogs, his thoughts on the Cubs winning it all and his hopes to once again pitch in the majors.

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

Cubs Talk Podcast: Carlos Zambrano drops in & a statistical deep-dive with Chris Kamka

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: Carlos Zambrano drops in & a statistical deep-dive with Chris Kamka

Luke Stuckmeyer and Chris Kamka go through some fun and perhaps meaningful numbers through the Cubs' first 17 games, including good trends for the starting pitching and puzzling numbers for Kris Bryant & Anthony Rizzo (1:30). Then, David Kaplan catches up with former Cubs ace Carlos Zambrano, who discusses his comeback attempt with the Chicago Dogs, his accomplishments while he pitched for the Cubs, and his newfound commitment to his faith (10:30).

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