Chat with Michael Wright
Welcome to ESPNChicago.com! On Friday, our Chicago Bears reporter Michael Wright makes his weekly appearance.
Wright joined ESPNChicago 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. He covers the Bears for both ESPNChicago.com and Chicago's ESPN Radio 1000.
Send your questions now and join Wright Friday at noon CT/1 p.m. ET!
Michael (1:02 PM)
Been a long, difficult week discussing this whole Cutler-Webb thing. It would be nice to actually discuss the matchup with the St. Louis Rams. So let's get this rolling.
Brandon (Workin' smart in Phoenix)
Michael, have you ever seen a team with so much promise collapse so quickly?
Michael (1:03 PM)
Brandon, my man, it's Week 3. I think it's way too early to start talking about a collapse. Like anything new, this offense is gonna have some growing pains. I suspect the Bears will get things together and be just fine.
Ken K. (Oak Lawn)
Do you think the media will ever stop blowing things up? When will people hold players other than the QB accountable for their poor play. I do not blame Cutler at all for what he did. The line failed him, not just Webb, the whole line play was AWFUL. Not to mention the dropped and not caught passes. I am soo sick of everyone putting Cutler under the bus.
Michael (1:09 PM)
Cutler took so much heat because immediately after the game, he didn't act as if he himself was accountable for what transpired out there. Nobody's throwing Cutler under the bus. I don't think it's really a big deal that he jumped all over Webb. What WAS a big deal was that after the game, he never held himself accountable. Hey, even if he didn't feel he was accountable, he should have at least acted like he was because that's what leaders do. He didn't do that until five days later when he did his radio show. Absolutely the line failed him. So did the coaching staff in terms of play calling. But on some level he should have taken responsibility for his part in the whole thing. So it looks kind of bad when a guy is yelling at his starting LT, and then seemingly acts blameless. It comes off as a my-stuff-doesn't-stink kind of deal and I think that's where all the controversy came from.
If you were J'Marcus Webb and Cutler bumped you after berating you on TV, what would you do?
Michael (1:10 PM)
Not sure because I wasn't in the heat of the battle like that. I definitely wouldn't have just smiled and shrugged it off. There would have been a problem. But I don't think you can ever say what you would or wouldn't do unless you were actually thrust into that situation.
Does it look like Matt Forte will be sitting out this Sunday?
Michael (1:12 PM)
Brodie, I'd love to be wrong here. But at this point, it definitely appears that way. Lovie Smith spoke Thursday as if Michael Bush would be making the start. I'm also hearing that today he won't be practicing.
Josh V (Carlinville IL)
Any word on the timetable for Forte? If not what do you think?
Michael (1:13 PM)
Josh, it doesn't look like he's gonna go on Sunday. But we'll know for sure later today when the injury report comes out because my guess is they'll probably rule him out. If that's the case, the Bears will have a little extra time coming off this game because they face the Cowboys on Monday Night Football. So my guess is he'll be back for that game.
when are the bears going to come to their senses and get rid of turnstyle webb? with a legit line cutler can be dangerous, if they dont replace webb how do we make the line better?
Michael (1:14 PM)
Sam, who do you suggest the Bears replace Webb with at this point? I'll hang up and listen.
Michael- One game a season does not make. To me there were some positives to draw from such a bad game in GB- D played really well with good sack counts, the offense played aweful and still we were not blown out by 20plus. I see us rebounding and beating GB in Chi Town.. your stance?
Michael (1:15 PM)
I agree that the fiasco last Thursday counts as just one game. And yes, I see some of the same positives as you. I think the Bears will play better the next time they see the Packers. But you also have to expect an improved Packers team, too. Both teams will improve as the season progresses.
Nick (South Dakota)
Michael, Do the Bears ever move Carimi to left tackle, assuming Webb continues to struggle?
Michael (1:17 PM)
I don't think so, Nick. The Bears could have done that a long time ago, and they haven't. He just doesn't project at the LT position in the NFL. He's definitely a strong player in terms of technique and power in the run game. But he's not as nimble as a guy like J'Marcus Webb. Also, it's not as if Carimi played well against the Packers. After all, he did give up five pressures.
Is Hardin coming back this season? I think this dude has major potential to be a star
Michael (1:19 PM)
I doubt it, Hank. Also, I don't think you and I were watching the same guy in the preseason. I can tell you that the staff was a little disappointed in Hardin's performance in the preseason. Had he not been injured, I'm not sure the Bears would have been comfortable with playing him on defense.
Chris (Northern Suburbs)
What was Mike Tice's reaction to the game and the offenses struggles? You mentioned that he is really hard on himself.
Michael (1:21 PM)
Chris, he definitely wasn't pleased with the performance, and he knows he played a role in what transpired. Tice is definitely very hard on himself as a coach, and I think that really drives him. I see Tice devising a better game plan for Sunday.
Robert (Arlington Heights)
What impact will Rachal have on the O-line? Was Spencer really playing that poorly?
Michael (1:22 PM)
Spencer didn't play very well at all. But the hope with Rachal is improvement in the running game. Spencer wasn't very physical as a run blocker, which is something the Bears can't have if they plan on prioritizing the running game.
Hodo (Ames, IA)
Why did they bench Spencer and not Webb too? Was Spencer's play significantly worse than Webb's or do they not have any faith in C. Williams?
Michael (1:24 PM)
Hodo, I'll tell you verbatim what I was told by someone in the organization: "(Webb) is out of strikes." To me, that means if he struggles against the Rams, the Bears will be looking to replace him. Webb has been given so many chances so far because he's immensely talented, and ALL coaches hate to just give up on talent.
Randy (Nashville, TN)
Just to review, the Bears went on the road during a short week and played against the team that most picked to win the Super Bowl and was 15-1 last year......and the sky is falling? Yeeesh, tough crowd.
Michael (1:25 PM)
Can't say I disagree with you, Randy. I think you're right on the money.
With Marshall attracting a lot of double coverage, should we expect to see more of Jeffery as the season progresses?
Michael (1:27 PM)
That was part of the reason the Bears brought him in. I think you'll see more of Jeffery as well as Earl Bennett and Devin Hester, too. What I'd like to see is the Bears start incorporating the tight ends more. But they'll never be able to do that as long as they have to max protect on passes because of the struggles with the starting five on the line.
Mike (Green Bay)
I have been impressed with Shea McClennin so far. With the injuries to the Rams O-line, is he poised for a big game?
Michael (1:27 PM)
Mike, I thought he had a big game last week.
dan (loop) [via mobile]
Do u think tebow can cut it as a nfl qb
Michael (1:27 PM)
I can't escape Tebow, I see.
Bob Stachowski (Carbondale, IL)
Who has a bigger game? Danny Amendola or Brandon Marshall?
Michael (1:29 PM)
In terms of characers, Marshall. His name is 15 letters long. Seriously, Bob, you really have to ask?
Is there anyone on the team that is faster than me? If not who is 2nd?
Michael (1:31 PM)
Actually, yeah, believe it or not. Pre-injury, Johnny Knox was faster.
How come there has been talk talk about Tice's play calling agianst GB? It looked like Martz was still there... Adjust please! Get the ball out quick when your line can't handle the pass rush!
Michael (1:33 PM)
Matt, where do you throw it if nobody's open? Give Green Bay some credit here, too. The Packers executed well on defense.
Jay (Wisconsin )
With the Rams improved defense do you think they're going to be all over Marshall like GB did? If so, which players need to step up this sunday?
Michael (1:34 PM)
Well, Jeff Fisher is one of the league's best defensive coaches. So surely he'll take a page or two out of what Green Bay did against the Bears. So yeah, they'll be all over Marshall. It's up to Michael Bush in the running game, and the other receivers such as Earl Bennett, Alshon Jeffery and Devin Hester to win their matchups when the Rams key on Marshall.
Chris (Glen Ellyn, IL)
Wow, did Wright really just misread a question as, "Who has a bigger name?"
Michael (1:35 PM)
It was a joke.
Bob (Princeton, NJ)
You keep saying that Webb is immensely talented. If so, why can't he block anyone? Is he not giving max effort?
Michael (1:36 PM)
He's not nearly as bad as he's made out to be. He gave up two sacks and two pressures playing against one of the league's best pass rushers. Roberto Garza gave up a sack and a couple of pressures. So did Chris Spencer. Gabe Carimi gave up five pressures. The only Bears offensive lineman to put out a strong performance against the Packers was Lance Louis.
Is my job in jeopardy if we don't win the next few?
Michael (1:38 PM)
No. Phil Emery isn't a knee-jerk reaction type of guy. If the Bears continue to struggle, my guess is Emery would stay the course unless ownership forced a move. I must say again: IT'S WEEK 3.
Efren (North Burbs)
I'm not a huge fan of Webb but couldn't they have given him a little help over there in the blocking scheme? Will we be seeing max protect this week?
Michael (1:38 PM)
Efren, you saw max protect against the Packers when Matt Forte missed a block that caused a sack.
How can the Bears get Alshon Jefferys, Kelin Davis and Brandon Marshall more involved vs the Rams
Michael (1:40 PM)
The simplest way is to run the ball well, and not get into a pass-heavy type of game like they did against the Packers by falling behind early.
Tom D. (San Diego, CA)
Why didn't the Bears kick the tires on Jay's former teammate Ryan Harris this offseason?
Michael (1:41 PM)
He's a good choice, Tom. Did you know that opposing quarterbacks so far this season have a passer rating of 19.7 when they target Jennings? That's a good trivia question for you to use on your friends.
Cheezzy (Crystal Lake)
Just curious, against Green Bay, Cutler and Marshall were hoping for man coverage and got cover 2, wouldn't screens, quick slants, and over-the-middle passes worked?
Michael (1:42 PM)
Cheezzy, Cover 2 is not what they got. They got 2-man, which is a slight variation. But you are correct in that screens, slants and throws over the middle are the way to attack 2-man.
Brendan (Davenport, IA)
Have you been to practice recently and if so, how does Jmarcus Webb look since the incident? Is there any fire in him now?
Michael (1:44 PM)
I've been to every Bears practice. The problem is we're only allowed to watch the indvidual period (basically stretching) before we have to leave. Besides that, practice isn't a good place to judge the "fire" you speak of. You'll only see that in games.
Doesn't it look like Urlacher is not as recovered as he wants us to believe? He has been playing poorly for a while now. Do you believe we should start looking for his replacement next offseason?
Michael (1:46 PM)
A.J., I don't think Brian Urlacher has tried to make us believe anything. He acknowledges he's still got a way to go before he's back to form. In terms of looking for his potential replacement, that search should have started long ago. I'm not saying Urlacher has fallen off or anything. I just think it would have been advantageous for the team to locate Urlacher's potential successor a long time ago so that Urlacher could basically groom him over the course of a couple of seasons.
Matt (Lincoln Park)
Michael, as a reporter, do you prefer the mean-but-honest Jay Cutler, or would you prefer a nice-but-vanilla guy? Which one weighs out?
Michael (1:47 PM)
Matt, I don't care either way. As a reporter, I never let how I'm treated by the subject affect how I cover them. You can't do that because ultimately we're just a liason to YOU the fan.
How big will the Play-action be against the Rams so that Brandon Marshall gets more one on one chances.
Michael (1:48 PM)
Play action means squat if you're not running the ball well to make the playfake believeable.
Iceman (Nashville, TN)
Project to the end of the season if Wootton continues to play well. Do they resign him and let Izzy go?
Michael (1:49 PM)
That's not a hard ? to answer if you always remember that this is a young man's game.
Tom D. (San Diego, CA)
Wait a minute; I asked about Ryan Harris and you respond about Tim Jennings?
Michael (1:50 PM)
Sorry, must have clicked on the wrong question to answer.
D.J. (Sleepy Hollow, IL)
Why didn't Tice put Hester in the slot on Thursday night? He could have run the go route and taken the safety off of Marshall, both would be single covered.
Michael (1:51 PM)
That's not true, D.J. In 2-man, the safeties are still playing halves.
TheDano (Mankato, MN)
Brandon Hardin......you said the staff was disappointed in his preseason. Then why the reach in the draft to get a guy that some projected would go undrafted? Why not take that guy in the 6th or 7th round and try to add O-line depth in the 3rd round. There are still solid options available in round 3, and they went complete wild card, didn't they?
Michael (1:53 PM)
That pick was definitely scrutinzed from some personnel folks I know around the league. But to me you can't judge a pick after just a few months. It takes a few years to truly judge a draft pick. So let Hardin develop before being so quick to judge.
Bill Cowher (Unknown)
Will I be coaching the bears this time next season?
Michael (1:54 PM)
No. It's. Week 3. Way too early to be pondering coaching changes. Besides that, if the Bears -- hypothetically -- had any interest in you, they'd be unwilling to pay your asking price.
Do you think Matt Forte will play against the Rams
Michael (1:55 PM)
I don't think so, John. I'm hearing he's not gonna practice today. So when a player doesn't practice on Friday, most of the time that means he's not gonna play on Sunday.
Iceman (Nashville, TN)
Have you heard anything from the coaches about Jonathan Scott? Is he being viewed as a potential LT down the road, or is Williams strictly the backup if JWebbNation fails to improve?
Michael (1:56 PM)
You're on the right tack with this. Stay tuned, I would say.
What happened to Evan Rodriguez against the Packers? He was blowing people up in week 1 against the Colts. I don't recall seeing him against GB.
Michael (1:57 PM)
Brandon, I don't recall seeing much from anyone on the Bears offense against the Packers. So to not see Rodriguez shouldn't have come as a surprise.
RevBillH (Bears Fan in Packerland of La Crosse, WI )
What about establishing the run game first? Is "getting off the bus running" simply passe in this day and age?
Michael (1:59 PM)
Rev, it seems to be that way, huh? But like you, I'm a big believer in the importance of the running game. Chicago's lack of a consistent running game last Thursday against the Packers contributed greatly to the team's loss.
Michael Gray (Villa Park)
Do you see more time for Shea? He really has impressed me but I don't know if thats because he's brought in on 3rd down pressure situations or if he's just THAT good. if he is THAT good...Why doesn't he start to play more?
Michael (2:00 PM)
Michael, I think you've answered your own question here. McClellin is still a work in progress that the team wants to take baby steps with. So far he's looked strong as a situational pass rusher. If it ain't broke right now, no need to fix it. His role will expand as he progresses as a player.
Tim (Denver )
How do you think the Bears defence has played so far this year.
Michael (2:01 PM)
I like what they've done; especially with the front four generating so much pressure. I think they've got to be more consistent against the run though.
Michael (2:02 PM)
Guys, that's my time. I appreciate everyone taking the time to chat with us here at ESPNChicago.com. We'll see you here same time next week.