Chat with Dickerson and Jurkovic
Welcome to ESPNChicago.com! Join us on Monday for our weekly Bears chat.
Jeff Dickerson kicks things off from 11 a.m.-noon; Jurko wraps it up from noon-12:30 p.m. (All times CT.)
Send your questions now and join the chat Monday at 11 a.m. CT/noon ET!
Jeff Dickerson (12:01 PM)
Looks like the Bears have a great shot to make the playoffs for the first time since 2006. 6-3 overall, not to mention 3-0 in the NFC North, puts the Bears in excellent shape. Now on to Miami to face a Dolphins team, while still talented, that has major issues at the quarterback positon. Let's get after it.
First off I think it was a pretty good job of play calling overall by Mike Martz dont you think? Devin Hester proved that he can be effective in kick and punt returns and at WR, do you think lovie will continue to let him handle all 3 duties for the remainder of the season?
Jeff Dickerson (12:04 PM)
Yes, I liked the balance in regards to the offensive play calling. 32 combined carries for Forte and Taylor, 35 pass attempts by Cutler. Perfect. As for Hester, I would be surprised if the Bears didn't allow him to keep returning kickoffs. I think Hester may still rotate with Danieal Manning on occasion, but #23 will no doubt play a large role in the entire return game for the remainder of the season.
Rich A (Phx, AZ)
I still cant figure out why Aromashodu is getting little to none playing time. Why isnt he on the field? Is he not the play maker every Bears fan can easily see?
Jeff Dickerson (12:07 PM)
Rich, you would figure Hester playing a few less snaps at WR would allow Aromashodu to get more chances, but it just hasn't happened. Knox, Olsen, Bennett and Hester look to be the prefered targets on offense. I like Aromashodu because he brings something different to the WR group, but the Bears clearly do not feel the same way.
Steve Rodriguez (Terre Haute, IN)
What has been the key in Greg Olsen playing a largerpart in an offense that does not normally feature the tight-end as a reciever? Is it in the game plan, based on matchups, or is there a concerted effort by Martz to do something different?
Jeff Dickerson (12:11 PM)
Steve, the Bears have made an effort to get Olsen more involved since the Washington game on October 24. Olsen has made three catches in each of the last three games, not a big number, but two were for touchdowns. Plus, Olsen also picked up a critical first down late in the game against Buffalo. I believe the Bears run game (or attempt at a run game) has forced teams to put more defenders in the box, which in turn has opened up the middle of the field for Olsen to find some open space.
Justin (Las Vegas, NV)
Given his performance, I'm assuming the Bears plan to continue using Devin Hester on kick returns. However, I'm hoping someone on the coaching staff has confirmed this, because I'm familiar enough with the organization to know that making seemingly no-brainer decisions isn't always their standard operating procedure. Do we know yet for sure that they plan on this change being fairly permanent?
Jeff Dickerson (12:15 PM)
Justin, in fairness to the Bears, it's probably better for them not to reveal their plans on kickoff returns. It's better to keep teams guessing. Will it be Hester? Manning? Or Knox? Believe it or not, teams actually defend kickoffs differently based on who the return guy is. I'm all for full disclosure of information (obviously), but I can't kill the Bears for keeping this one close to the vest.
sean (colorado) [via mobile]
The bears were considered the nfl's worst 5-3 team coming into last week. Now are they the worst 6-3 team? Or do people think they are better now.
Jeff Dickerson (12:19 PM)
Sean, it really doesn't matter if people think the Bears are the worst 6-3 team in the NFL. They're 6-3. What, are Bears fans going to decline an invitation to the postseason if the Bears win 10 games because the Bears are the worst 10 win team in the NFL. This isn't like Notre Dame refusing to accept a bowl invitation last year. Style points mean nothing. Now, I think the Bears played their most complete game of the season yesterday, so if that's what people needed to see, so be it. I just feel like we get so upset when our teams lose (rightfully so), why can't we ever be happy when our teams win?
Nathan (Coralville, IA)
Bears players think that the team has turned the corner, and it's all coming together at the right time. Are they being too optimistic? Does that matter as long as they really believe it?
Jeff Dickerson (12:21 PM)
Nathan, I'd rather have a team full of believers. Don't get me wrong, it's not like the players think the Bears are some amazing team. But look around the rest of the NFC. Why shouldn't they feel like the Bears can make the playoffs?
Greg (San Rafael, CA)
Yo Jeff! So great win yesterday, how can we build on it against Miami without a huge letdown?
Jeff Dickerson (12:24 PM)
Greg, I think it's simple. First, the Bears can't allow any big plays on defense. Given Miami's QB situation, I expect the Bears D to play well again. But no fluke plays or long passes. Second, and most important, keep being patient on offense. Run the ball. The Bears probably don't need to score more than 17 points to win, so don't turn the ball over. That's how the Bears could lose, in my opinion.
Joe (Glastonbury, Ct)
During the first few weeks it looked like the Bears were an all passing team. The last two weeks it seems we have gone back to being a balance offensive team. How many more weeks do we have to see the Bears play before we know who they are?
Jeff Dickerson (12:27 PM)
I hope this is who they are, Joe. A team that attempts to run 25-30 times a game, and one that cuts down on the amount of turnovers. Cutler will always have his bad moments - that INT in the redzone yesterday was awful - but the Bears can overcome the occasional dumb play. It's when they come in bunches that it kills this team.
How many wins in the last 7 games do you think the Bears will need to win the division? I think 5 maybe 4 should do it with wins against the Dolphins, Vikings, Lions, Eagles, and either the Packers or Jets, maybe both?!?!
Jeff Dickerson (12:29 PM)
Steven, I think you're right. 4 probably gets it done, but 5 would be a slam dunk.
matt (altoona pa)
how did MajorWright play in sundays game vs minn? will we see more of him in future games?
Jeff Dickerson (12:32 PM)
Matt, Major Wright did play more yesterday, a few series I believe. Yes, you will continue to see his playing time increase. However, I really didn't see him do much against Minnesota.
JD, I know that MW ribbed you a bit about this yesterday...but what are your thoughts on Henry Melton? Also, how did you think Webb played? (I liked the box-out)
Jeff Dickerson (12:38 PM)
Henry Melton has far exceeded my expectations. I would never be critical of somebody just for the sake of being critical. Henry Melton was the worst player on the roster during the offseason and most of training camp. That wasn't just my opinion, that was told to me by multiple people I trust. However, Melton has made tremendous strides, and is turning into a pretty good passing rushing D Lineman. Good for him. I think Webb is getting better. Ray Edwards was a tough assignment and I felt the rookie handled himself nicely.
Big John (Tucson,Az)
Will we see more of Kellen Davis, And are we ever going to see D. Clark on the field again?
Jeff Dickerson (12:41 PM)
Not sure about seeing Desmond Clark unless somebody gets hurt. That was a nice call on the Kellen Davis' touchdown, his first catch of the year. Davis was a pretty good redzone target last year, so maybe he will be used a little more.
Mike (Homer Glen, IL)
How much do you think Roberto Garza's return has helped the offensive line? The offensive line played much better yesterday.
Jeff Dickerson (12:42 PM)
A ton. I don' think it's a coincidence that Garza's return has helped solidify the right side of the line and also help J'Marcus Webb learn on the job. Garza has always been underrated.
Olin Kreutz (Chicago, IL)
I am pleased with the win but concerned with all the false starts and holding penalties at home, including my own. What gives?
Jeff Dickerson (12:43 PM)
You looked like a guy who hadn't practiced all week, Olin. Just kidding.
Jeff, what do you think of moving J'Marcus Webb to LT next year? Tice has already said he's got the raw talent for it, and if anyone can coach him up it's Tice. He's already shown consistent improvement.Moving Webb to LT would allow the Bears to be a lot more flexible on their draft strategy. Could pick up a CB and a C in the first few rounds instead of focusing on LT.
Jeff Dickerson (12:45 PM)
I have to say, James, Frank Omiyale has done a solid job on the left side. I may leave the tackles where they are. Obviously, the Bears are going to need to look for guards, and maybe a center since Kreutz is in the final year of hid contract, but I like Omiyale at LT and Webb at RT.
Jeff, like so many people I just can't get a pulse on this team. One week they look horrible, the next they look like a playoff team. What can we take away from the win against the banged up Vikings, who weren't nearly at full strength while the Bears possibly played there best game of the season?
Jeff Dickerson (12:48 PM)
Corey, it's week to week in the NFL. That's why you can't find the pulse. All you can take away is that the Bears are 3-0 in the division, and 6-3 overall. Anything could happen from here on out. But at least the Bears gave themselves a fighting chance with this good start.
How does the team schedule differ during the short week. I know today is likely off, but then what? Practice days? Media access? Press Conferences? are when now
Jeff Dickerson (12:50 PM)
The players are here at Halas Hall right now watching film. Tomorrow is the full practice day. They have a short practice Wednesday then fly to Miami. It's a lot to get done in three days. That's why most teams don't like playing on Thursday night.
Brad Childress (Minnesota)
Jeff, does this loss mean I will soon be back re-taping the TV series Simon & Simon remake soon?
Jeff Dickerson (12:51 PM)
I can't believe they let you on the flight back to Minneapolis.
Tim (The Loop)
Are the Bears that good or are the Vikings that bad?
Jeff Dickerson (12:53 PM)
I think the Bears are a good team. Not great. But good. And the Vikings...they play like a team that expects to lose. Pretty sad considering all that talent.
Were there are comments made after the game regarding the Soldier Field surface? After several key slip-ups by players (including on Favre's last INT), I figured a few players would say something...
Jeff Dickerson (12:55 PM)
The field looked nice from the press box, but it was slick. A few of the players laughed about it after the game, but nobody wanted to come out and fire on the park district. After a big win, that would've been bad form. But yeah, it was slick.
Whats up JD. I was really impressed with how the OL played yesterday. Not only ded they keep Cutler upright most of the day, he actually had time to work back there too. Do you think this line can continue to come together in the second half like Green Bay's line did last year? That line was terrible early in the season too and put together a nice run. Mike Tice is looking like an absolute magician.
Jeff Dickerson (12:58 PM)
O-Line played well as a group. Cutler had plenty of time to throw, and he was only sacked once. Of course, there were some penalties, but if the line can play at this level for the rest of the season, the Bears are going to win a lot more games. After a bumpy start, it's been a very good past few weeks for Tice and Mike Martz.
Matt (Coal City, IL)
Cutler has shown much improvement with this offense and decsion making over the last two weeks coming off the bye week. What do you think is the contributing factor in such a change. I know he made a big mistake in the redzone yesterday, but overall he has really made great strides.
Jeff Dickerson (1:01 PM)
I think Cutler has played excellent football the past two games. He's making smart choices with the football - except for the redzone INT vs. Minnesota - and taking what the defense is giving him. The line is buying him more time, and Martz is doing him a favor by calling for some rollouts. I was really down on Cutler after the Washington game, but he's played like a guy worthy of the big money the past two weeks. I hope he keeps it up.
Jeff Dickerson (1:01 PM)
Thanks everybody. We'll talk next week. Enjoy the rest of your day. Here's Jurko......
Jurko (1:02 PM)
What a great victory for the Bears. I know I predicted there would be a Purple Storm descending on Soldier Field, but the Bears were up to the task and played their most complete game of the year. Any and all mocking of me that takes place is well deserved.
with a the toughest part of the schedule left do you think the Bears need to reach 10 wins to make the playoffs or will 9 wins put them in?
Jurko (1:04 PM)
Ten would make you feel most comfortable. If Philly wins tonight, you will have six 6-3 teams. Only 4 of these will make the playoffs. So I would feel most comfortable with 10 wins. If yesterday's performance is indicative of the play we'll see rest of the year, they could possibly reach 10.
When can hell come back to Chicago? The Bears need a few more cake wins. Sorry, I had to...
Jurko (1:05 PM)
They'll be going to the Land of 10,000 Hells later in the year. I just don't think Favre will be the QB at that point.
JURKOOOO JD gave me an early prediction last week on who wins and why ! i love game center and i follow ur predections every week.. who wins this week Dolphins Bears and why ?
Jurko (1:06 PM)
Monitor the QB situation. The DBs for Miami are tougher than nails. If we're reliant simply on the run, we're in trouble. The running game started to get better after the 26-yard scramble by Cutler. Teams have a tendency to play better at home, so be careful of this road trip and a short week to prepare.
The Sane Madman (Bears Nation)
Sir Jurko. Hello. Thou shalt not mock you. I have to ask this: Do you have a clue about this Bears team because I sure don't. We look like instant crap just add water against Buffalo, Giants, Lions, and we beat the three most talented teams pretty handily (Cowboys, Packers, Vikings). On top of that, we've outcoached them... which says a whole lot about their coaches (Wade, McCarthy, Chilly are disgraceful). I'm baffled, stunned, and beyond reason right now. It's hard for me to keep sane. Thoughts? Let's hear them.
Jurko (1:08 PM)
They're consistenly inconsistent. The defense is playing its butt off. When Lance Briggs missed two games, they lost. They OL looked like it's playing a little better, and the OL is running a lot of counter-OT, counter-OF, counter-OY, like the old Redskins used to run.
henne, pennington, wake, and long are all out. something tells me the bears might find a way to lose this game
Jurko (1:09 PM)
That's the crazy thing about this team, and the NFL. Cowboys beat the Giants, Denver destroys KC, the Jags find a way to win against Houston, and Pittsburgh looked brutal last night.
Mitch (Rolling Meadows)
Urlacher, healthy and playing like a machine. Watching him this year, I think he may play another three year...at least. The question, do you think he'll be in the hall of fame?
Jurko (1:10 PM)
Three more high-quality years, absolutely. They ran a trap play in the middle early, gained 12 yards, not Urlacher's fault. Hole was way too big to fill. Defense made adjustments, and they tried to run the play again, and the Bears stopped it cold. Good to see them recognize and adjust.
E (The World)
Peace be onto you, Jurko. Two requests: 1. Call someone who can play the safety position and fast 2. Give me a top list of Croatians, including yourself. The Fab Five if you will. Go.
Jurko (1:12 PM)
The corners have some culpability in that too. He needs to remain as deep as the deepest until he passes him off to the safety. He also is responsible for re-routing him and giving the S time to get width. Top 5: 5. Zvonimir Boban; 4. Luka Modric; 3. Mirko Filipovic; 2. Toni Kukoc; 1. Drazen Petrovic. There's a five-pack for you.
Hey Jurko, great win!!! I really do not see any way the Bears can get beat Thursday with the injuries unless we beat ourselves. Assuming Bears don't mess it up, how does it work getting 10 days to prepare for Eagles? Like a bye week almost?
Jurko (1:13 PM)
The 10 days are like a bye week. It's the 3 days to prepare for the Dolphins that's the real challenge. They won't feel good until Wed. morning, and then they have to get on a plane. The Bears really will have to simplify things this week. But I think we're catching the Dolphins at the right time.
Peter (Ocala, Florida)
How incredible has the safety position looked compared to how it looked in the preseason? Are you suprised? and hasn't Frank Omilyle been suprising? Is it all Tice?
Jurko (1:14 PM)
I think the safety position is better. Every blue moon you're going to get beat. The front 7 are fitting in better against the run. Omiyale's play has risen to the mediocre level, which is a vast improvement.
sam (iowa city)
I think the o-line preformed really well in pass protection yesterday but i still see chris williams getting blown up on the inside. with the tackles playing pretty well, is LG chris williams permanent position?
Jurko (1:16 PM)
He's got to get better moving and picking up linebackers when he pulls. This is what Tice is trying to get out of him. He realizes the Bears can't man up on people and move them, so play the angles. Back blocks, double-team at the point, and pull up to get the LB. Sometimes that's what you have to do.
Going on what you said, that game yesterday did not seem as physical as the Dolpin/Titan game.. will that play into the game Thursday night?
Jurko (1:17 PM)
Hopefully the Bears recover better than the Dolphins.
Adam (San Diego, CA)
With the Dolphins QB situation being as bad as it is any reason at all the Bears don't keep 7 or 8 in the box the entire game?
Jurko (1:17 PM)
They'll always have 7. Miami is going to play a ton of Wildcat if Thigpen is the QB, tackling will have to be sound. And D-linemen will have to shed blockers.
Jurko (1:19 PM)
Win vs. Miami; loss vs. Philly; win at Detroit; loss vs. NE; win at Minnesota; loss vs. Jets; win vs. Green Bay to make the playoffs.
A lot of people are saying the Bears need to go at least 4-3 in the remaining games of this season. If that's the case, in your opinion, which games are losses and which are wins?
Won't the wildcat play into our hands? We just made the best running back in football this side of Tennessee look very pedestrian...
Jurko (1:20 PM)
I hope it does play into the Bears' hands, this is an absolute must win. Sometimes fatigue can lead to poor tackling. Hopefully it's not hot and humid. Hydration will be the key.
Chris (Lincoln Park)
Jurko, Martz is finally starting to move Cutler out of the pocket a bit and its paying off huge. This offense seems a lot more comfortable the last two weeks. Is this just a case of the offense finally getting in sync and can we expect this the rest of the way or should we prepare for more inconsistency?
Jurko (1:21 PM)
A case of the OL getting a little better. Smarter, actually, than better. You don't see any unblocked blitzers coming through, trying to take Cutler's head off. That's the key. Boom!
How huge had Israel Idonije been this year for the Bears?
Jurko (1:22 PM)
There's a key move nobody took a look at. Finally cutting Mark Anderson opened up the room for Izzy to start. The Bears pig-headedly kept trying to tell the world that Anderson was a good football player. He's a one-dimensional player who lost the ability to rush the passer. He needed to be cut a year ago.
Peter (New Jersey)
What is the biggest need coming into next offseason. Is it DT or guard?
Jurko (1:23 PM)
Offensive line or wide receiver. Look at Dez Bryant in Dallas. They have receivers. He's going to be a monster.
Are there any free agent punters who can punt it further than 38 yards available?
Jurko (1:24 PM)
I am looking for the ghost of Ray Guy. Reggie Roby is looking down from above, shaking his head.
Why is everyone so impressed with GB and so down on the Bears when 4 of their wins came against the same opponent? Were those teams somehow better when they played GB?
Jurko (1:25 PM)
The consistency of QB play. Their ability to sack the quarterback and score points with their defense gives them the benefit of the doubt.
E (The World)
Drazen Petrovic. Yes he was a beast. RIP. I think this team can actually make the playoffs now. I remain with mixed feelings though. It has to be a change in the front office. We need our drafts to be worth a damn. However, I feel we can beat the Dolphins on Thursday, sweep the division, and the Philly game is up in the air. At the very least, that's 10 if I'm correct. I still can't believe we're 6-3. No wonder the air smells fresher.
Jurko (1:27 PM)
I played with Earl Dotson, an OT for the Packers. It took him 2 years and five games on the bench to figure out it was time for him to get his butt in gear. When he finally realized it, he became a great player. Not saying that J'Marcus Webb will be that, but at 6-7, having already invested time in him, it will be interesting to see how he turns out. As long as this OL continues to improve, the Bears get a better and better chance of making the playoffs.
How do you feel about seeing Hester as the main return man? Personally I thought it was refreshing. I think ST is going to be key for us to make the playoffs.
Jurko (1:28 PM)
He should never have been removed. They made a mistake when they tried to make him a receiver, you in essence wasted two years of Hester's special teams productivity trying to make him a No. 1 receiver. He caught a TD and he's still only a No. 3.
Tony (Peru, IL )
Our line proved well versus a pretty good defensive line, our defense did their job like usual and we won in impressive fashion when no one gave us a shot! Are the bears a super bowl contending team in this mediocre, unpredictable NFC?
Jurko (1:29 PM)
They are a playoff contending team. And anything can happen in the playoffs. Top five in the NFC right now: 1. Atlanta; 2. Packers; 3. Giants; 4. Saints; 5. Tampa; 6. Bears
Jurko - What is going on with Gould - missed his last 3 field goal attempts after starting year on fire... would hate to have him cost us a game???
Jurko (1:30 PM)
I'm not worried about Gould. He'll straighten himself up.
Chris (Lincoln Park)
Love that the bears are 6-3 right now, but that doesnt hide the fact that Jerry Angelo NEEDS to be gone at the end of the season. Hes just absolutely horrible at drafting and player development. Any chance he still gets fired if we make the playoffs?
Jurko (1:30 PM)
No chance of being fired if they make the playoffs.
Jurko (1:30 PM)
See you guys Thursday for my prediction. Game day chat. Thanks for the questions.