Chat with Jeff Dickerson and John 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 (12:03 PM)
Great to be back with everybody. Hope you enjoyed the weekend away from the Bears. Now let's get ready for this pivotal matchup against the loss.
With Vick and the Eagles coming to town on Sunday, it will probably be our toughest game we will have played so far this year besides the Packers. I thought last night the two keys to be successful against Vick was to blitz and make him look at his hot reads and roll him out to the right. What will the game plan look like to try and contain Vick?
Jeff Dickerson (12:05 PM)
The problem with the Bears blitzing Vick is that it leaves the safeties and the corners in potential man coverage with speedsters like Jackson and Maclin. The Bears have played amost exclusively all Cover 2 this year. It's their best defense, the one they feel most comfortable in. The question is, can the front four generate any pressure on Sunday? If the answer is no, then the Bears are going to have to take some chances which could end up hurting them.
tom (Chicago, IL)
should jay cutler just run around and throw off balance to knox on every play? seems to work more often then any set play they have
Jeff Dickerson (12:07 PM)
Cutler has been very effective keeping plays alive by rolling outside the pocket. The reason Knox has been such a reliable target is because with his speed, the longer a play lasts the more difficult he is to cover. I prefer to not see Cutler throw off his back foot. But sometimes when the play is breaking down you have to do what you have to do.
Peter (Ocala, Fl)
There is a lot of talk about a contract extension for Lovie Smith. I think he has done well with the talent he has. In this season and past seasons. This guy went to the SB with Rex Grossman. I say yes to an extension right now what do you think?
Jeff Dickerson (12:10 PM)
I say 100 percent no. Lovie is under contract for one more year and if the Bears make the playoffs as expected, he should return in 2011. But extending him any further at this point doesn't make much sense. The Bears have missed the playoffs for three straight years, the organization has been littered with poor personnel decisions and the game day coaching by Smith has been less than stellar. I feel Lovie should post back to back winning seasons before receiving any type of extension. Of course, if the Bears make or win the Super Bowl then I would be open to the idea of Lovie potentially receiving a new contract. But with the labor uncertainty in the NFL, why would the Bears rush to extend his contract?
ESPN Chicago (12:11 PM)
BREAKING NEWS: Minnesota Vikings have fired coach Brad Childress, according to Fox Sports' Jay Glazer
I have no issue with Lovie. Well, not a big issue. My problem is with Jerry Angelo. Is it safe to say the fates of the two are tied together? I can't imagine a new GM not wanting his own coach, unless Ruskel is a GM-in-waiting.
Jeff Dickerson (12:14 PM)
I would say Lovie and Jerry are strongly tied together. The Ruskell situation is interesting because it sure seems like he's be the guy to take over if Jerry steps down. Don't forget Ruskell and Lovie also go back to Tampa together like Jerry and Lovie do.
Keenan (Minneapolis, MN)
Jeff do you believe this Bears defense is better than the '06 defense that lead us to the Super Bowl?
Jeff Dickerson (12:16 PM)
On one hand the '06 defense was much younger (Urlacher, Briggs, Harris, Tillman), but in '06 there wasn't a Peppers. As long as the Bears stay healthy on defense, this team is going to do quite well. Remember the Bears started giving up a lot of points at the end of the '06 season because guys started getting hurt.
ESPN Chicago (12:17 PM)
JD will be back in a minute. Keep the questions coming, and remember, Jurko will stop in at noon.
Childress even ruined our Bears chat.
Will Tinoisamona be out Sunday?
Jeff Dickerson (12:24 PM)
Ha Ha. Sorry. Had to run outside to check on something on the Bears practice field. However, I bet the game in MINN in December just got tougher for Bears to win. Those guys were not playing for Chilly.
Jeff Dickerson (12:25 PM)
As for Pisa, I think there's a good chance he plays Sunday. We'll find out more during the week.
Childress gets fired with 3 years left on his deal. Lovie should thank his lucky stars he works for the cheapest owners in the NFL.
Jeff Dickerson (12:26 PM)
Good point. But one thing Lovie has going for him is the ability to keep most of the locker room. Chilly lost those guys.
Paul Graefen (NJ)
JD, looks like Lovie is on his way to keep his job in 2011, do you see him bringing back Martz as OC if that is the case?
Jeff Dickerson (12:28 PM)
Sure, if they keep winning. Unless Martz gets some surprise offer to be a head coach, I think he'd be back.
Bobby B (Newport Beach, CA)
Why is taylor taking carries away from forte? Other than close yard situations, i cant really see the upside on keeping it balanced like the last 2 games. Forte can break one, taylor cant
Jeff Dickerson (12:32 PM)
I think Taylor is a good runner, Bobby. He does a tremendous job picking up yards after contact. I have no problem with Taylor receiving about 10 carries a game. It really hasn't been balanced the last two games.Minnesota: Forte 21, Taylor 11Miami: Forte 25, Taylor 11
JD... can we expect a WR, other than Knox, to step up in the coming weeks?
Jeff Dickerson (12:34 PM)
If I had to guess, Kevin, I'd say Bennett catches 6-8 passes on Sunday. Reason being the Eagles are highly likely to blitz the heck out of Cutler, and nobody does a better job breaking off his route than Bennett. He's a smart WR who works well with Cutler.
Do you think Kruetz will return in 2011? He's one of my favorite players on the team.
Jeff Dickerson (12:36 PM)
I think he should, Neal, but Olin is in the final year of his contract. Who is that future center on the Bear roster. Lance Louis? Edwin Williams? Kreutz may not be a Pro Bowler anymore, but he is still a good lineman. I'd bring him back for one more deal.
when can we see Mike Brown back with the bears as a coach??
Jeff Dickerson (12:37 PM)
I'm not sure how Brown would feel coming back to work here under this current regime. But he'd be a great coach. If he wants to do it, I have no doubt he'll find a job.
Jeff, it felt like being at Soldier Field Thursday? I was in Miami, did your hear that "Let's go Bears" chant in the 3rd quarter?
Jeff Dickerson (12:38 PM)
I did. Bears fans are the best and always travel well.
randy (south mississippi)
Jeff, What is the limit on Robbie Gould? He nailed that 50 yarder with plenty of room to spare it seemed. What do you think is the longest he would be allowed to attempt?
Jeff Dickerson (12:40 PM)
Randy, I've Robbie hit from 60-yards in practice. But the Bears usually prefer to punt in those really long FG situations because of their strong defense. Lovie likes to pin teams in deep if possible.
Jeff Dickerson (12:46 PM)
Sorry guys. Had to run back outside. Only two Bears players not practicing today are Pisa and Kreutz.
Dan W. (Schaumburg, IL)
J'marcus Web had rough time with Cameron Wake. What can the Bears do to prevent the same thing happening vs. Trent Cole?
Jeff Dickerson (12:48 PM)
Give the young man some help. But Martz really doesn't like to do that because it decreases the amount of receivers he can send out on pass patterns. Bears, however, did a nice job against Cole last year in that game at Soldier Field. He had one sacks, but wasn't much of an impact the rest of the way.
Anthony (Iowa City)
JD, I heard Larry Fitzgerald's time may be limited in Arizona. Any scenario he ends up in Chicago?
Jeff Dickerson (12:50 PM)
Without a new CBA in place, it's tough to say what the salary cap is going to be in 2011. That's why it's difficult to project the Bears adding big-name, big-money players in the offseason. We just don't know. But Fitzgerald in a Bears uniform would be unbelievable.
Chicago JoeSki (Chicago)
DA BEARS!!!! How come with the speed of our receivers and the brilliance of an offensive minded coach in Martz, are we not seeing bigger plays?? Just like he had in St.Louis with the greatest show on turf.
Jeff Dickerson (12:52 PM)
Remember Joe, the more shots down the field, the higher odds the Bears turn the ball over or do something stupid in pass protection. I like the offensive approach the last two games. You can take a few shots, but run the ball, and hit on the medium range passes. When the Bears do that, they don't cough it up, plus win the time of possession battle. That's always been the winning formula under Lovie Smith. Looks like it's the same this year, even though the coordinator is Martz and not Ron Turner.
The more I think about it, the more I think the Bears will get blown out this week. Which probably means that this will be a close game down to the end. What one area can you see turning this game in the Bears favor?
Jeff Dickerson (12:53 PM)
Turnovers. Giants got a few last night and it almost swung the game in their favor.
Sean (Downers Grove)
Jeff, it seemed Chris Williams played alot better @ left guard on Thursday. Is this reallly going to be his position of the future?
Jeff Dickerson (12:56 PM)
I just don't see Williams excelling long-term at guard. I just don't. But right now, they don't want to move Omiyale or Webb, so Williams is stuck inside. But he's making good money to be an average guard. Eventually something has to give.
Jason (Los Angeles, CA)
Hey jeff. I'm predicting Bears over the Eagles 20-17. Crazy talk or legitimate chance?
Jeff Dickerson (12:59 PM)
Not crazy at all. Bears could certainly win this game. The way I look at it; they need to at least split the last 6 games. They should beat Detroit and Minnesota, which means the Bears need to defeat at least one of the four playoff type teams left on the schedule: PHI, NE, JETS, GB. Given how unpredictable the NFL has become, I would not be stunned if Bears win Sunday.
Sam (Red Crown)
What's the latest on Charles Grant and Corey Wootenn? Haven't seen much of them recently.
Jurko (1:00 PM)
It was a great weekend of football including the NU-Illinois game. 7-3 Bears vs. 7-3 Philly. The event of the weekend. Bigger than Thanksgiving.
Jeff Dickerson (1:00 PM)
Grant got released and Wootton has been inactive the four games. Bears haven't got much production out of their 4th round pick.
Please don't tell me that Peanut will ever be matched up one on one with D-Jack on Sunday.
Remember when Urlacher shut Vick down in Atlanta? Maybe he has lost a step by why can't Briggs shadow Vick all day?
Jeff Dickerson (1:01 PM)
Since Jackson usually plays in the slot, I don't think so.
Jeff Dickerson (1:01 PM)
Thanks everybody. We'll talk next week. Here's Jurko....
Jurko (1:02 PM)
Play your normal defense. Change up who is going to shadow so he doesn't have one guy. I want a bunch of guys shadowing him. Could be Manning, Briggs, Urlacher, Roach. I want to confuse him and have him looking at different guys instead of reading the defense.
Scott (Machesney Park)
The Eagles have done well when Desean Jackson lines up in backfield with McCoy, can the Bears do this and be effective with Hester and Forte in backfield?
Jurko (1:03 PM)
They've tried it and early in the season when the OL was still trying to figure things out it didn't work. The OL is better now. They should try it again.
Andre (So Side)
JURKO I NEED THIS ANSWERED PLZ.... Will the Bears ever wear the all white this year because its way more AWESOME than the others!
Jurko (1:04 PM)
Andre, the all-white look is a summer look. Never after Labor Day.
How will DJ Moore do on D-Jack? Does he have enough speed and know how to keep up with him?
Jurko (1:05 PM)
It's imperative that the Bears DBs play the ball this week. These receivers never quit on a ball. If the Bears don't play the ball we could see a lot of interference penalties.
Drew (Franklin Park)
The D Line has been playing better lately, with Izzy piling up sacks and Henry Melton getting some sacks, is that because of Rod Marinelli or the Peppers factor?
Jurko (1:06 PM)
Peppers factor, 80 percent. Marinelli 20 percent.
Jeff, you must admit the Bears found a lot of success running the ball to the right, with Chris Williams pulling. His athleticism really makes him ideal for that role. Also, can you give a shout out to Lance Briggs? I think he may be the most impactful player on the defense. Even with very solid backups, when he sits out, the Bears lose. He doesn't get the praise he deserves on this team.
Jurko (1:07 PM)
Now that he has found a guy to block, he has been a lot better. It's not easy tranisitioning from tackle to pulling guard. But at least he has made the adjustment.
Have you seen enough of Cutler to think he has a chance to be an elite QB in this league? To me, he's too lax or something is missing mentally; he's smart, but seems to not make necessary adjustments to his game.
Jurko (1:08 PM)
His biggest weakness at QB is an unwillingness to be conservative. I love the gambler but I prefer a common sense gambler.
Andy (Burr Ridge)
I know they say Rod Marinelli is the defensive cooridinator, but how much say does Lovie still have in calling the plays
Jurko (1:09 PM)
I think less than he did at the beginning of the season. It's hard for a head coach to relinquish those playcalling duties but sometimes you have to trust your people.
E (The World)
Jurko. Peace be onto you. Here's two questions for you. 1. Everyone, almost everyone, eats either sweet potatoes or sweet potatoe pie. It's rare that anyone eats both. Do you eat one or the other or both? 2. Are you a fan of hip hop music? If so, who are you favored groups or MCs? Let's talk about it.
Jurko (1:10 PM)
Neither as far as the sweet potatoes. Normal Idaho potatoes or red russet employed at the Jurko household. Somewhat a fan of hip hop music. Like Usher's stuff and Jamiroqui (sp?).
Is our offensive line actually improving?
Jurko (1:12 PM)
Yeah, and getting healthy. I think your best five are out there. Webb is going to have some stinkers. He's a young tackle still figuring thingso ut. I go back to Erik Williams. the first time they played Philly the unit gave up 10 sacks in 1989 or '90. Next time they played them they didn't give up a sack so there's a learning curve. And a process. So it's going to take some time. You should be patient with them.
Will Idonijie go back to being a tackle next year after Harris is released? I've heard a few experts talk about him as a natural 3 technique.
Jurko (1:13 PM)
I think he's too rangy to play 3. Not enough beef on his body.
Will the new found running game be successful versus the fast, attacking style of Eagles D?
Jurko (1:15 PM)
If you're a big OL playing against a fast defense you want to outmuscle them. So a power running attack would be a good way to attack them. Power Os, counter OTs, get them flowing one way fast and take advantage of them getting out of position.
Maybe it's eternal fan optimism, but I see no reason why the Bears can't be the last team standing this season. The league is wretched, but someone has to win. Why not the Bears?
Jurko (1:16 PM)
The NFC is wretched. I think the AFC is top-heavy. Doesn't mean they can't get beat.
Andrew (Fort Walton Beach)
Hey Jurko, I know this is a new-look Bears team the last few games, but so now are the Packers. Who do you say wins this decision in the end, and will it come down to that last meeting at Lambeau?
Jurko (1:18 PM)
Last meeting at Lambeau: Bears need to have a one-game lead going into that one. Certainly they are playing better but the better team does not always win.
I think those two games the Bears somewhat gave away (Seattle and New York) are going to come back to bite them, just like the Atlanta loss did last year. The schedule down the stretch is just too tough. Agree?
Jurko (1:21 PM)
Seattle and Washington they gave away. They are doing well in the division and the NFC. I guess the best thing you can be is a team that is overlooked all the time and not respected. This defense is playing pretty good football and they are being told they stink all the time. This is their first real test. Vick, Jackson, Maclin, Celek, McCoy, pretty solid group.
Has Bears OL Webb show some positive stuff that makes you think he could develop into a consistent starter, or is this most likely a one year thing?
Jurko (1:22 PM)
He's 6-7, you can't teach height and size. He's got a baptism under fire right now. It's like being a baby and having your parents throw you in the deep end of the pool. Instinctively you'll fight for survival. This kid is doing a smidge better than surviving.
Will the D-line strategize to make Vick go to his right? It seems like you want to have him moving to his right if he gets outside the pocket.
Jurko (1:23 PM)
The blitz should come from the defense's right side and force Vick to his right. Force the huntee to the hunters.
Bob (New Jersey)
I've seen many of the talking heads saying Peppers isn't worth the $ because his sacks were down. I say he's disrupting a lot of plays and giving the other d-linemen more opportunities for sacks. What say you?
Jurko (1:25 PM)
The influence Peppers is having on this team really can't be measured. You hear the players talk very complimentary about him but you don't know if they are just being nice. I played next to Reggie White. All the attention was on Reggie. It made the offensive blocking schemes predictable. We could then get all our stunts coordinated knowing the direction of the slide and we would kill teams because of it.
Do you like the role devin Hester is playing
Jurko (1:26 PM)
I like the fact that Devin wants to play special teams now. He was the best ever as a returner. I think he was hoping to duplicate that success at receiver. Smartly enough, he's realized he should go back to returning the football.
Happy Thanksgiving, Jurko! Any unique items on the Jurko Thanksgiving menu?
Jurko (1:27 PM)
My Mom makes her homemade stuffing. It includes turkey hearts, livers and neck meat. It's the tastiest stuffing in the world. And of course plenty of Crown Royal.
Hey Jurko - talking to my co-workers, I seem to be the only believer in the Bears. I think they will win Sunday and Vick will have some trouble in the cold, windy conditions. How do you think the cold will play into the game?
Jurko (1:28 PM)
The colder and windier it is the better for the Bears. The snottier it is the better for the Bears.
Anthony (Iowa City)
Jurko, First three picks in the draft, OL, and either WR or Secondary with #2 and 3. Sound right?
Jurko (1:29 PM)
That's a solid game plan. Could be either direction. Could be either of the three positions in either order.
What comes first Cutler 350 yard game or forte another 150 yard game...
Jurko (1:30 PM)
You better hope it's a Forte 150-yard game. Otherwise it means we're passing too much.
Jurko (1:30 PM)
See you next week, everybody. Happy Thanksgiving.