Chat with Wright, Jurko
Welcome to ESPNChicago.com! Join us on Thursday for our weekly Bears chat.
Michael Wright 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 Thursday at 11 a.m. CT/noon ET!
Devin Hester (Miami, FL)
How should I celebrate my record-breaking night tonight?
Michael (11:29 AM)
Do the "Dougie" or "Chopper City Juke."
Michael C (Adddison )
Julius Peppers has not had to good of games down in Miami, Do you think that he will break out tonight? leading the d line in tackles and sacks? he has the oppurtunity with the wildcat offense coming at him
Michael (11:38 AM)
You've got to give Peppers credit: He comes to play in the prime time games. I sort of think this could be a great opportunity for him to have a breakout game. He's got just two sacks so far, but just watch. He's going against Jake Long, who has a major shoulder injury (I have no idea why Long insists on playing because I've seen labrum injuries end players' careers). So I'm not sure how effective Long is gonna be. In fact, if Long plays, my guess is at some point he'll wind up leaving the game.
The game tonight seems like a classic set-up game. What do the Bears need to do to avert a loss? Also, do you Webb at RT growing into an above-average OL?
Michael (11:41 AM)
You're right, Brian - classic set-up/trap game. To avoid an upset, the Bears need to do the obvious on defese: shut down the run, and force Tyler Thigpen to beat you through the air (that could mean a ton of turnovers). The worst thing the Bears can do is allow Miami to get that running game going. Offensively, Jay Cutler has to be careful with the ball, and Mike Martz can't put him into bad situations by calling a bunch of deep drops. Martz needs to continue to work off the formula he's utilized over the past two weeks. Also, don't forget that Miami's pass defense is one of the league's best. So it's pretty important for Chicago to run the ball and try to play keep-away from Miami's offense.
Luis (Chicago, IL)
Hey Michael, what's happening?! I just wanted to ask how special would it be for Chicago to get a victory tonight against Miami. They haven't won their last two outings in Miami, their on the brink of their 700th regular season victory (first NFL to reach the milestone), Devin Hester is in his hometown reaching for that 14th return TD, and their playing in the same stadium they lost Superbowl XLI. I believe redemption is in store for the Bears, what do you think?
Michael (11:44 AM)
Luis, my guess is that's exactly what's on the mind of the Bears, too. Lovie Smith says he has great memories of the Super Bowl XLI experience, but definitely wants to erase what transpired in the game. Devin Hester talked about that Super Bowl return for a TD, and said it would've been great if the Bears had won the game. So this is definitely an opportunity for redemption. More importantly, it's an opportunity for another victory against a banged-up Miami squad playing with its No. 3 quarterback. Chicago squandered opportunities to rack up wins against Seattle and Washington. With it being November, the Bears can't afford to squander any more.
Bobby (Notre Dame)
What has been the biggest factor in the inability of Forte and Taylor to not produce when given the chances? Will we ever see a Bears RB finish a game with more than 4.0 yards per carry on average?
Michael (11:46 AM)
Based on what I've seen, Bobby, I'd say no. To me, the problem starts up front on the offensive line. The line needs to get somewhat of a surge to give the running backs room to run. If you pay attention, it seems Forte and Taylor rarely take a handoff without someone in their immediate vicinity, which means a lot of times they're making something out of nothing. So the offensive line needs to start blowing folks off the ball. I haven't seen evidence that suggests they'll ever start doing that.
Fitz (My Cube)
I know this is a prime time game and he home team is usually favored but why are the Dolphins favored in this game?!?!? Makes me very very nervous...Is vegas banking on a Cutler 3 pick game?
Michael (11:49 AM)
Fitz, the Dolphins are pretty talented in terms of pass defense (6th in the league), and the Bears tend to favor the passing game. So there's a good chance the bookies are banking on Cutler throwing some interceptions. At the same time, I don't see how they're favoring Miami given all the injuries at key spots and the fact the Dolphins are playing with the No. 3 quarterback. Obviously, the fact the Bears are playing on the road on a short week factors into the equation, too, I'm sure. I'm not sure you should be nervous. I think this is gonna be one of the most physical games the Bears play all season, though, and given the quick turnaround, the probability for injury is high.
Since the dolphins will most likely be using a 3rd string QB, do you see the Bears throwing a lot of blitzes at him trying to force some bad decisions?
Michael (11:52 AM)
Tim, the Bears will try first to get pressure with the front four before resorting to the blitz. If they can get pressure with the front four (remember, Miami's starting center is out, and LT Jake Long is playing with a significant injury), they can play zone on the back end, which is what they'd prefer to do. So I'd say they'll blitz as sort of a last resort type of deal. When Miami operates out of the Wildcat, I could see the Bears throwing some run blitzes at it. The best way to shut down the Wildcat is to penetrate and disrupt all the misdirection in the backfield.
Cincy Dave (Cincinnati)
Tyler Thigpen realizes in his first start what Chad Henne didn't in 8 starts: Brandon Marshall is now a Dolphin. Marshall goes up against my favorite Bear, Charles Tillman (rolls eyes). Marshall torches Tillman for 187 yards and 2 TD's, scoring 42 fantasy points which would have provided the margin of victory in my game this week, but alas, based on his performance to date, he is on my bench. Thoughts?
Michael (11:53 AM)
The Bears would be crazy not to bracket Marshall or double team Brandon Marshall.
Tony (Peru, IL )
Mr. Wright, I need you to tell me something. Long story short, I lost my fantasy last week by 1 measley point, but I have the Bears defense. We get 1 point for each sack, fumble recovery, etc....So I need to know, was Henry Melton ever credited with the sack on Favre? It looked like he was behind the line of scrimmage and I seen that Larry Mayer for Bears.com says that the NFL was reviewing the play? Do you have any inside on this, I'm freaking out!? Thanks my friend!
Michael (11:55 AM)
Tony, I hate to be the bearer of bad news. As of right now, Melton has not been credited with a sack on that play. And I doubt he'll be given credit for a sack because Favre was past the line of scrimmage. The official play-by-play of the game called the play a 1-yard run by Favre.
I think Omiyale has done an adequate job at LT this year, but I don't think he's the long-term answer to the position. What do you think about moving Webb to LT next year? I think he's got the physical attributes for the job, and Tice has been coaching him up pretty well.
Michael (11:57 AM)
I like the idea, James. But we've got to see how much Webb develops the rest of this season before we start seriously contemplating that move. I'm with you: Webb definitely possesses the physical tools to do the job, and Tice has done a great job of helping him to develop. But I still want to see a little more out of Webb as the season progresses. I could see Webb, Chris Williams (sorry to say it, but the Bears would probably give him another shot there), and Omiyale battling it out for the starting job if all are still here during training camp.
The Phins have put up hefty numbers on the Bears D in the past. DO you think this trend will continue tonight or will the Bears D answer the bell as they did last week against AP?
Michael (12:00 PM)
DD, I think it'll be a little different because Rod Marinelli is calling the defense. Lovie Smith had been making the calls in the past, and while it's not a knock on Smith, I just think Marinelli has done a phenomenal job of meshing his calls with what the club does best (while masking weaknesses). So I think Marinelli will do a better job of putting the Bears in position to make plays, which means we likely won't see a rise in Miami's offensive production.
Michael (12:01 PM)
Guys, that's my time. Have to call it an early day because I've got to get ready for tonight's game. Be sure to make ESPNChicago.com you go-to spot tonight for Bears-Dolphins news and updates. We'll be all over this game tonight.
Michael (12:04 PM)
Whoops guys, I was wrong. I'll be back on in about half an hour and we'll go from 11:30 to Noon. My apologies. I'm throwing myself off with this Eastern time zone stuff. So keep those questions rolling in. I know, I know. I'm a bonehead.
Michael (12:33 PM)
Alright, I'm back folks. Let's get rolling.
I keep hearing on talk radio that people are picking the Dolphins because "they need it more" and "their more desperate for a win with the Pats and Jets in front of them" Does desperation and need mean anything? I have to believe the Bears need, want and desire a win just as much as the Dolphins. No?
Michael (12:33 PM)
Jay, who needed it more last week between the Vikings and Bears? I'd venture to say Minnesota. So I don't think it matters who needs it more.
MarQ (Macomb, IL)
Regarding an earlier question - According to Larry Mayer from Bears.com, "The Bears were informed Wednesday that Henry Melton will be credited with a sack on the play"
Michael (12:34 PM)
That is correct. Just looked it up, and Melton did receive credit. The information packets distributed by the team didn't have that change.
For those of us that don't get NFL Network and don't live in Chicago, is there anyway for us to watch the game tonight?
Michael (12:35 PM)
Phil, I believe you can stream it on NFL.com
Joel medrano (MI)
any word on how the o line has performed in practice?
Michael (12:36 PM)
Well, Joel, the Bears practiced only once in preparation for tonight's game (Tuesday). The staff claimed the entire team practiced well. But really I don't think one practice is enough to give a true indication either way.
michael, do you really want to see the bears battle out the left tackle spot? I'd rather have them establish the position instead of having it flux like the line was this year
Michael (12:37 PM)
Friendan, I'm not saying I want to see them battle it out. But surely the Bears aren't just gonna hand out the most important position on the offensive line without having a competition for the spot.
I'm an hour ahead of my cousin CST, but it looks like quite a few ESPNChicagoans also didn't realize that. Hopefully the Bears manage to show up at the right time.
Michael (12:38 PM)
Let's hope so. The sad thing about this is every watch I own is still set to EST. Yet I still messed it up. Imagine that.
Scott (Machesney park,IL)
Have the Bears thought about using Hester as a third down back a la Dennis Gentry years ago?
Michael (12:40 PM)
I like the idea, Scott (Gentry used to blazing fast on Tecmo Bowl back in the day). But these days, to be an effective third-down back, you've got to be able to pass protect. I'm not sure Hester is suited for that. Besides that, whenever he's lined up in the backfield, teams would know there's a good chance Hester would get the ball.
Would the bears consider using the wildcat with taylor/forte or Hester tonight?
Michael (12:40 PM)
Yes they would. I wouldn't be surprised if the Bears broke that out for a play or two. They've shown it a few times already this season.
Joshua P. (Itasca, IL)
In recent history how has the bears fared against a 3-4 defense?
Michael (12:42 PM)
Well, if you base it off just this season's schedule, the Bears are 2-1 against 3-4 teams.
Jeff (Houston, TX)
Hi Michael. How much of a drop off, if any, do you feel in Roach starting in place of Pino tonight?
Michael (12:46 PM)
None, Jeff. I think we all forget that Nick Roach appeared to be on track to win the starting job until knee issues during training camp forced him to undergo minor surgery. Roach is a little more stout at the point than Tinoisamoa, and similar in terms of athleticism. I think the Bears will be just fine with Roach starting.
Michael (North Carolina)
As well as Danieal Manning has played - should Bears extend his contract or just start Chris Harris and Major Wright. Would Bears be able to trade him?
Michael (12:49 PM)
Personally, I think the Bears should extend Manning because A)He's got experience, and knows the system, and B)He's entering the prime of his career. Trading won't be an option for the Bears because Manning is set to become a free agent. So why trade for a guy when you can get him through free agency? Also, from what I understand, the Bears haven't said one peep to Manning or his people about an extension. To me, that's a bit of an insult considering the way he's played, which could come back to bite the Bears in the butt if they ever decide to finally start talking turkey. Believe me, teams are gonna be interested in Manning's services after this season. He's a talented safety, but also adds value because of his ability to return kicks.
I've heard a lot about the Dolphins' pass defense being rated very highly. Is that because they are legit, or because teams have had such an easy time running, why pass?
Michael (12:50 PM)
David, Miami's pass defense is legit. But it's hard to ignore the fact the Dolphins are 19th against the run.
Aaron (St. Charles)
What will be a bigger factor tonight: the short week for the Bears, or Tyler Thigpen at QB for the Dolphins?
Michael (12:51 PM)
How about this: Thigpen at QB for the Dolphins, their injuries, and the fact they're playing on a short week, too.
Jeff Joniak (780)
Devin at the 30, 40, 50, ONE PLAYER TO BEAT! TOUCHDOWN! TOUCHDOWN DEVIN HESTER! Will I make this call tonight?
Michael (12:53 PM)
I don't know. But if you're Jeff Joniak, and you have to do it, I'm sure you'll do wonderfully as always.
Jake Long-can he make it through the whole game? Have you heard of any other guy playing through this injury and being effective?
Michael (12:54 PM)
No, and that's the scary thing. It's one thing to be tough, and another to jeopardize your career. Former Jaguars left tackle Tony Boselli is one of the best to ever play the game. Guess what ended his career, and will probably keep him out of the Hall of Fame? Labrums aren't something to mess around with.
What happend to Pisa?
Michael (12:55 PM)
He's had some issues with a sore knee. I really don't think it's serious, though.
I'm a little scared that the dolphins are going to be playing with a chip. The bears have seemed not to be putting back-to-back efforts together this season. Bears have come out flat the next game after being dominating the week before. I'll be honest that Miami's wr's scare me in the underneath passing game. Chicago lb's have struggled getting coverage in the Tampa 2 coverage system. Why hasn't Chicago blitzed off the edge where Peppers is located? I think they are better off blitizing with packages that will force teams to make adjustments instead of swallowing blitz up the middle.
Michael (12:57 PM)
Well, Bank, the problem about blitzing is it puts your defensive backs in man-to-man coverage. Do you want Charles Tillman - gulp - covering Brandon Marshall man to man? That's why the Bears prefer to pressure with the front four and play zone in the secondary.
Who is someone the bears must resign this offseason?
Michael (1:01 PM)
There are quite a few to choose from: Devin Aromashodu, Khalil Bell, Desmond Clark, Corey Graham, Caleb Hanie, Brian Iwuh, Olin Kreutz, Patrick Mannely, James Marten, Brad Maynard, Nick Roach, Pis Tinoisamoa, Matt Toeania, and Edwin Williams, in addition to Manning. Who would you re-sign? To me, of all these folks, Manning is the most important. I know Kreutz is the glue on that offensive line, but given his age and declining skills, I'd be reluctant to extend him beyond one season.
Michael (1:02 PM)
For the second time today, that's my time. Check back with us tonight on ESPNChicago.com.
Jurko (1:04 PM)
Thanks Michael. Hey what's up Bears fans, if you look at my confidence picks, I have a 14 on the Chicago Bears to win this one in Miami. The OL, as Mike Tice predicted, would come together and provide some protection for Cutler.
What was Thigpen's record in his 11 career starts?
Jurko (1:06 PM)
He's 1-10, all with the Chiefs. I believe they'll use a lot of Wildcat. Thigpen's an athlete, and I think he might be a viable receiving option out there.
Hey, Jurko. Do you think Sparano is gutsy enough to kick to Devin, or will the Bears start from the 40 tonight on kick offs?
Jurko (1:09 PM)
I was with Sparano in Cleveland in 1999, he was the asst. OL coach. The guy's got the heart of a champion. But he's also a smart coach. He'll kick away from him, try to pin him on the sideline.
E (The World)
Jurko. Peace be onto you. Here's a question that the people want to know. As a prestigious figure who is for the common people, what is going to be feasted upon come Thanksgiving Day? What's the menu, my friend? Let's talk about it.
Jurko (1:10 PM)
Turkey, real stuffing with gizzards and livers and hearts, and my ma likes to make potatoes, where she wedges them into thick fries and cooks them in an oil. Oh, they come out so toasty and brown, it's unbelievable. No pies. No sweets. Just the basics.
Mike B. (Chicago)
What do you think the bears need to do to start up there run offense?
Jurko (1:11 PM)
Their QB will have to be a key to their running game. His scrambling abilities, and ability to get positive plays out of negative plays, will be important for tonight. It's not ideal, but it's what we have to live with. They've been running more counter plays with their RBs, I think that's helping.
How much of the short week will be a true problem for the bears? They had 1 real day of practice against Miami who will show many different looks on offense. Is it really enough time to prepare for the fins?
Jurko (1:12 PM)
Problem for both teams. The team that travels has got it worse. They really only had 1 1/2 days of practice. This is where intelligence comes in. The ability to not only watch film, but comprehend what you're seeing. Too many people watch film and get nothing out of it. Greg Blache, former DC, is the one who taught me how to watch film and what to look for. Unfortunately, not all players get those lessons, and waste time looking at film.
Jurko who wins tonight and why??
Jurko (1:13 PM)
Da Bearssss: 20-13. They'll protect the ball, they'll take advantage of field position provided by defense and special teams, and they'll contain Marshall and Bess.
why has forte declined so much after his rookie season?
Jurko (1:14 PM)
Last year because of injury and a bad OL, this year it's mainly because of a bad OL. When you get hit a ton, you come to expect to be hit all the time, and it makes you naturally hesitant. He is a victim of this offense.
Jay (NW Indiana)
Jurko - what is your top restaurant of choice in NW Indiana? Love the show!
Jurko (1:14 PM)
Ciao Bella in Schererville and Gamba in Merrillville.
Rick (Shampoo-Banana, IL)
Why does Brandon Marshall have only 1 touchdown so far this season and what are the Bears doing to gameplan for this gamer?
Jurko (1:15 PM)
They're conservative, and teams have focused on shutting him down, which has allowed other players to flourish. Marshall loves to go deep, deep ins, fly patterns, he's dependent on the ball being in certain spots so he can out-leap people.
Jurk, I'm watching from home tonight. What should I eat while watching on the tube?
Jurko (1:16 PM)
Stop by, pick up some Soppresatta salami and mozzarella cheese, fresh loaf of Marconi bread in Chicago Hts. and some canned peppers. Boom! You've got yourself a feast.
Rick (Urbana, IL)
Why do the Bears even line up a running back under Mike Martz? Forte should be full back and line up an extra blocker or wide receiver in every set. Seriously.
Jurko (1:17 PM)
The RB has always been an integral part of Martz's offense. And both Forte and Taylor have made big plays receiving the ball.
Jurk...I'm thinking of putting a dime down at the window on the Bears. Is this too much?
Jurko (1:18 PM)
First, we do not condone gambling. But if you're only going to put down a dime's worth of pretzels, maybe you should put down two dimes.
MarQ (Macomb, IL)
Trying to corner Hester doesn't seem to work. Last week, the punt could not have been any better unless it went out of bounds, even though they cornered Hester, he still almost took it back. If the punter had not gotten a hand on Hester to slow him down, the record would already be broken.
Jurko (1:18 PM)
The punt return is always going to be reliant on Hester making people miss. When you punt toward the sideline, you take away precious real estate. It makes it easier for the defense to cover.
Paul (New jersey)
Do you think that C. Taylor should get more touches either through the air or ground? he seems to go forward & gain positive yards more than Forte does.
Jurko (1:19 PM)
I think Taylor's getting the exact amount of touches he deserves. Just because you signed a contract here doesn't mean you automatically get things. Touches have to be earned.
Thigpen's career record doesn't show how bad the Chiefs defense was at that time. He brings an added dimension to the Dolphins offensive attack...running QB. Good time for the Bears defense to step up on their Wildcat defense for next week's showdown with the Eagles.
Jurko (1:20 PM)
We know KC was a God-awful team back then. The question was simply what was his record. It's 1-10 as a starter. I'm more afraid of his athleticism than the other two Chads. Those guys were sitting ducks in the pocket.
Jurko,Will the Bears do anything to build up their O-line in the offseason or should we expect to see the same miserable O-line next year?
Jurko (1:22 PM)
I believe the center and the right guard position are going to have to be addressed, probably in the third round. I would still like to have a top flight tackle. WR is still a pressing concern, and can we get a tall, physical corner???
Peter (New Jersey)
Do you think the Bears will get both the Davises more involved in the offense?
Jurko (1:22 PM)
I've seen them in the game before, circumstances happened to work out right for both. If unguarded, they'll get passes thrown their way.
Bob (Elk Grove)
Ok Jurko here's a Curveball you'll loke:Who's wins the Championship Sunday at Homestead? I'm betting on the 4 time Champ. Go Bears!
Jurko (1:24 PM)
We're talking Denny Hamlin, Jimmy Johnson and Kevin Harvick. I think I have my drivers straight. I hope it's Hamlin that takes the championship, I'm tired of solid vanilla, Jimmy Johnson. And any guy who would dump his pit crew, and take on Jeff Gordon's guys, is not really that good of a guy. Don't tell me it was Chad Knauss' call.
Jurko,Better for the Bears to sneak into the playoffs and get crushed in round 1 or miss the playoffs and clean house?
Jurko (1:24 PM)
Personally, I would like for them to clean house. As a Bears fan, I hope they make the playoffs and win the Super Bowl. The only Super Bowl worth winning is this year's. The NFC is wide open. Why not us?
Whats up Jurko? I go into this game against the Dolphins with a weird calm over me. Should I be as worried as everyone sounds, or should we control this game?
Jurko (1:26 PM)
We should control this game, because of all the circumstances surrounding it: 3rd-string QB; Jake Long hurt; Cameron Wake hurt; Devin going back home, trying to break record; OL playing better; Mike Martz calling plays smarter; defense playing butt off; it just seems like it's going in the Bears' direction.
Alex (West Virginia)
Ditka vs a Hurricane, who would win?
Jurko (1:26 PM)
Ditka beats all hurricanes, except for Hurricane Ivan.
Why is the wildcat so danderous, if you see a running back line up there, aren't they just gonna run him 90% of the time? Just watch him.
Jurko (1:27 PM)
Remember Ronnie Brown is a left-handed thrower. He's got a pretty good and accurate arm. The reason it's dangerous is everyone has to play his responsibility. If they start having success with it, the Bears' players might try to do too much and abandon responsibility, then you have chaos.
So Miami has their 3rd string qb in the game, and the Bears are coming off one of their more impressive wins vs the Vikings. Yet Dolphins are still giving up points to the Bears... thoughts good kid?
Jurko (1:28 PM)
In the NFL, the home team gains all the advantage. Since it's only 1 1/2 points, home field is worth 3-3 1/2 points. That's from Jimmy The Greek.
Is it time to start drafting linebackers early? Urlachers been great and i think it'd be smart if we started grooming some players for when they're gone, we traded away Jamar Williams, and Roach's contract ends after this year so who knows if he'll be back.
Jurko (1:29 PM)
That's all we've done is draft LBs. That's what Angelo likes to do, I'm sure there will be one taken.
Jurko (1:30 PM)
Antonio Cromartie is 6-2, 210. Reavis is 5-11, 200. Tim Jennings is 5-8, 165 pounds. Do you notice a difference? I do.
ryan (des plaines)
What if the hurricane's name is Hurricane Ditka?
Jurko (1:31 PM)
Hurricane Ivan (me) will destroy Hurricane Ditka!
Jurko (1:31 PM)
Bears win again 20-13, it won't be purdy, but it will be effective. Thanks for the questions. See you next week.