Chat with Michael Wright
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, ESPN NFL Nation Chicago Bears reporter Michael C. Wright drops by to chat and answer all of your Bears questions.
Wright joined ESPNChicago.com in April 2010 after spending the previous four seasons covering the Jaguars. He also covered the Redskins for two seasons. A native Texan, Wright was a four-year football letterman at West Texas A&M University.
Send your questions now and join Wright Monday at 1 p.m. ET!
Michael (12:59 PM)
Hello everyone. Thanks for coming by to chat. Let's get things rolling.
Do you see the Bears making a strong move for HaHa Clinton-Dix in the first round?
Michael (1:01 PM)
What's a "strong move?" I don't really know what you mean here. But I think there's a good chance he could be available at 14. If you're asking me whether the Bears would trade up for him, I'd say that's probably a remote possibility.
Mason (Twin Lakes, Wisconsin)
Why do all my Bear fan friends think the Aaron Rodgers isn't a Top 3 quarter back in this league? And they also think Jay Cutler compares well to him...
Michael (1:02 PM)
Mason, I think Rodgers is definitely a top three quarterback, and I don't think Cutler compares when you look at the overall body of work. Physically, Cutler is the better player to me. But when you throw in everything that it takes to be a quarterback in the NFL, obviously Rodgers wins that one hands down.
Matt (Pittsburgh) [via mobile]
How much should we read into Deone Buchannon being brought in for a second team interview? Is Emery tipping his hand a bit with a strong interest or was this more a followup after the Chris Conte injury news broke?
Michael (1:04 PM)
I guess it all depends on how you look at it. If you look at this team's past few drafts, you'll see that the Bears have drafted some of the guys they've brought in for pre-draft visits. Buccanon's visit wasn't his "second" as has been suggested. The Bears talked to him back in January or so, and then brought him in for a pre-draft visit. You've got to remember that the scouts are on the road all season long and they'll talk to the same players over and over again.
Frank (New Orleans)
Will the Bears go with Jordan Palmer as their No.2 QB or will they look to free agency and/or draft to upgrade position?
Michael (1:06 PM)
Phil Emery suggested that the team is comfortable going into 2014 with Jordan Palmer as the No. 2 quarterback. But he's also said that the team plans to bring in several veterans between now and the start of training camp to take a look. Emery also said that the Bears will look seriously into drafting a quarterback in May that can be developed into a No. 2.
I know there are still a ton of questions on the defensive side of the ball but do you see any glaring holes on the offense?
Michael (1:07 PM)
I don't see any glaring holes. I think the Bears need to upgrade at the No. 3 receiver, but the solution to that problem might be Marquess Wilson, who is entering his second season. From what I've seen on social media, it appears Wilson has worked hard this offseason. Looks like he's bulked up quite a bit.
Eric (Virginia) [via mobile]
Will the Bears draft anyone from the offensive side of the ball or will it be a defensive draft?
Michael (1:09 PM)
Phil Emery has said that this will be a defensive draft, but if a player they feel can help the team is available, the Bears aren't going to hesitate regardless of whether that player plays on offense or defense. I mentioned earlier the Bears would like to add a quarterback at some point. So keep your eyes peeled for that. I don't see this being a defensive draft entirely. I think they address some areas of need on defense, but in the later rounds, they could add an offensive player or two.
Dan (Madison, WI) [via mobile]
Will Chicago look for a veteran RB like Chris Johnson or draft a "fresh" RB to groom behind Matt Forte?
Michael (1:12 PM)
My colleague Kevin Seifert did a nice feature on running backs for today's "Hot Read." You should check it out because it details precisely why the Bears most likely wouldn't look to add a veteran such as Johnson and Forte's backup. I think the Bears are hoping that Michael Ford takes a big step up in Year 2 in the NFL. The Bears really like what he brings to the table, but he's got to improve in pass protection enough for the team to feel comfortable enough about having him as Forte's No. 2. The fact the Bears released Michael Bush back in March gives you an idea for how they might feel about Ford.
How's Nate Collins recovering fron his ACL injury? Will he be ready for trading camp?
Michael (1:15 PM)
That's the plan right now, Sam. Collins has said that he expects to be ready for camp. As far as the rehabilitation process goes, Collins has been lifting weight, including squats, which obviously is a sign that he's taken a step in the right direction. Collins has said he's got to be careful not to rush back too early. But right now, Collins' rehab has gone positively with no setbacks.
Dwayne/ Decatur IL [via mobile]
Do you see the Bears making the playoffs this year??
Michael (1:16 PM)
It's way too early to make that prediction. But I'll say that if the defense can get to just the "mediocre" level in 2014, the Bears will have a great shot at making the postseason.
What happens if DLP beats out Garza for the starting C spot? Will there be locker room turmoil since Garza is a Captain?
Michael (1:18 PM)
I don't think so Dan. De La Puente was brought in to serve as the backup to Garza. But if somehow he beat out Garza, I wouldn't expect there to be turmoil in the locker room. Everybody in that locker room understands what they signed up for, and competition is a part of the deal. If De La Puente turns out to be the better player, the locker room will support it because what's best for the team is what's most important to them.
Gary (Woodland Hills, CA)
Are the Bears fine at the linebacker position because it seemed their safeties had to made a lot of tackles?
Michael (1:20 PM)
You might not agree with me, but I thought James Anderson was the liability in that linebacking corps, and I think that's why he's not coming back. Outside of him, remember, they lost D.J. Williams and Lance Briggs for quite a while. I think if you've got Briggs, Williams and maybe Jonathan Bostic on that strong side, the linebacking corps will be just fine. The safeties did have to make a lot of tackles for sure. But if you look at some of the playmaking safeties in the NFL, guys like Eric Weddle and Earl Thomas, you'll see they made a ton of tackles, too. Safeties get paid to make plays, and making tackles certainly falls into that.
Andrew (Ohio) [via mobile]
What % of the snaps do you think Jared Allen will get this year?
Michael (1:21 PM)
Let's not put a percentage on it just yet. We asked Phil Emery and Jared Allen about this last month, and the plan right now is to play it by ear to see what everyone is comfortable with before making any determination. I don't see Allen's snaps being diminished a ton with the Bears. I think he'll play around the same snaps he's always played.
Antonio (Phoenix, AZ)
I feel we need to get a DT with that first pick to make that D-line really formidable, I know we need safety help also. What do you think?
Michael (1:23 PM)
I've thought about this quite a bit lately, and although the Bears need help at safety, it's easier to get by with subpar safety play than it is to get by with bad play on the defensive line. So if I were making the pick, I'd probably opt for another defensive lineman. A good defensive line can hide bad safety play.
Is there a reason DLP signed as a backup after he started two straight years in NO? Is he expecting to get some playing time in a rotation or anything?
Michael (1:24 PM)
Eric, the free-agency market obviously didn't unfold the way he expected it to. So he signed with the Bears for an oppportunity. In my opinion, he's just the starter in waiting.
How good is Willie Young? Didn't hear much about him while he was in Detroit.
Michael (1:27 PM)
I think the Bears got Willie Young at just the right time. Young became a starter last season for the first time in his four-year career, and ended up contributing 47 tackles, three sacks and pass breakups. Young is a player in my opinion who is just now starting to reach his peak. Phil Emery has talked about acquiring players at "the right time" in their careers, and Young certainly fits that description.
Antonio (Phoenix, AZ)
Since D. Manning was cut by Houston do you think he is someone the Bears might look at for CB depth and also his ability in the return and since the longer time goes by his price might go down?
Michael (1:27 PM)
He's a Cincinnati Bengal now.
Best WR duo..Brandon/Alshon or Julio/Roddy?
Michael (1:28 PM)
I like Marshall/Jeffery more. I think Jones and White are a more dynamic duo, but I like Marshall and Jeffery's consistency more.
Jim (Champaign, IL)
How would you grade Emery so far this offseason? Anything he could have done better?
Michael (1:29 PM)
Solid B-plus. Emery and the personnel staff have done so much work thus far in the offseason that they've potentially made the upcoming draft easier. Think of all the question marks at the end of the season compared to now. Emery and his staff deserve some credit because they've done a ton of work in a short amount of time. I don't think there's much more that Emery could have done better.
AS Shea is moving to a OLB will there be a move to 3-4 Defense?
Michael (1:31 PM)
Jeff, Shea McClellin is moving to linebacker (he'll be working at Mike and Sam), but the Bears will remain a 4-3.
Is it just me, or would NIU safety Jimmie Ward be a perfect fit for the Bears in the 2nd round?
Michael (1:31 PM)
Mike, I like him. Good player. And yes, I think he'd be a great fit.
Michael (1:32 PM)
Guys, that's my time. Thanks for stopping by to chat. And if I couldn't get to your question today, remember that we also do a Twitter mailbag that runs on Saturdays. Just be sure to use the hashtag #bearsmailbag. Everyone have a wonderful day.