Chat with Dickerson and Jurkovic
Welcome to ESPNChicago.com! Join us on Monday for our weekly Bears chat.
Jeff Dickerson kicks things off from 11:30 a.m.-noon; John Jurko wraps it up from noon-12:30 p.m. (All times CT.)
Send your questions now and join the chat Monday at 11:30 a.m. CT/12:30 p.m. ET!
Jeff Dickerson (12:31 PM)
Lovie Smith just wrapped up his press conference at Halas Hall, so let't talk some Bears.
Will Roach and Wright be ready to go in two weeks?
Jeff Dickerson (12:34 PM)
I believe so. Wright suffered a "lower leg" injury that isn't thought to be serious. Given the breakdown in coverage yesterday on the Jennings catch, I'd say it's a pretty good bet Smith wants to at least keeping rotating Wright in at safety during the playoffs. Roach looked like he dislocated his shoulder on the first play, and the training staff probably popped it back into place when he came off the field. With Roach, it should come down to an issue of pain management, but given it's the playoffs, I'd say there's a good chance he plays in two weeks.
Is Lovie Smith coaching job safe?
Jeff Dickerson (12:34 PM)
For 2011...yes. No doubt about it.
RICK LOBIANCO (Hegwisch, IL)
Do you think that most of the sacks could have been avoided if Jay got rid of the ball a little quicker? and do you think he slipped back into some old habits by holding on the to the ball looking for he big play? Rick
Jeff Dickerson (12:37 PM)
On a few of those sacks, yes, Cutler should've thrown the ball away, because those Bears WRs were not getting open vs. that talented Packers secondary. But when your tackle gets smoked off the line by a DE, what can the QB really do in those situations? I think it's fair to divide the blame evenly between Cutler, the OL, the WR and the offensive coordinator yesterday.
Where was the balanced attack we've seen since the Bye week? 17 passes in a row, come on Martz...The commentators called every blitz coming and no one picked them up. Whats going on with that?
Jeff Dickerson (12:39 PM)
Bad game by Martz. He shouldn't known early on the Bears offensive line was going to struggle in pass protection. If the Bears go that route in the playoffs, they will be in trouble. Forte averaged 6.1 yards per carry yesterday, so it's not like the run game wasn't working.
Johnny Milburn (Layton Utah)
Although I cant really see a team going after one of our assistant coaches for a another HC job this, but lets say if any of them are in the discussions. Is there anyway the Bears can offer our assistants more money to stay on? I think its really important for the offense as well as Cutler to stay in the same system for the next few years for this offense to be a top 10 offense.
Jeff Dickerson (12:41 PM)
Sure. You can offer asst. coaches all the money you want. Look at Jason Garrett in Dallas, he's making like $3 million per year, which is more than some head coaches in the league. But assistant coaches usually don't pass up the opportunity to be a head coach. If Martz had another chance to be a HC, I'm sure he'd jump at it.
Johhny Knox (Falling Down Town)
Whats wrong with my cleats? I tend to fall down everytime the ball is thrown to me :(
Jeff Dickerson (12:42 PM)
Rough game, Johnny. 8 targets and 0 catches. Ouch.
What up guys, happy New Year. If you got to choose, who would you want to face in the second round, and why?
Jeff Dickerson (12:44 PM)
Happy New Year Ryan. I'd rather face Seattle if possible. I know the Seahawks beat the Bears earlier in the season, but that was before the Bears offense took on a balanced approach - with the exception of yesterday. I think the Bears, especially at home again, could handle Seattle and advance to the NFC title game.
Ron (Navy Pier)
Are we going to see contract extensions soon for some players that are heading into free agency? It would seem Daniel Manning, Anthony Adams and maybe even Greg Olsen should be locked up.
Jeff Dickerson (12:46 PM)
Bears made low ball offers to Manning and Adams, and both were rejected. Lovie is a huge fan of Major Wright, so I don't know how badly the Bears want Manning back. Plus, Danieal should be able to command pretty nice $$$ on the open market, so maybe he'd be better off leaving. I like Adams, so hopefully the Bears can work something out with AA. Olsen has one year left on his deal. I see no reason to extend him right now.
Common Sense (Museum Campus)
With all of the players complaining about the field and our need for a faster playing surface is common sense ever going to allow field turf to be installed?
Jeff Dickerson (12:48 PM)
You would hope so, but look how long the Park District and the Bears have allowed this to drag on, despite all the complaints of players. I'm surprised the Park District didn't call a press conference last week after Urlacher's latest comments about the field. The whole thing is a joke.
Mike (Downtown Chi)
With the sack total heading in to the playoffs at 57, yes 57 and Cutler is still alive, will OL be the most important need heading into the offseason? Or will Jerry Angelo continue his plan of ignoring the position?
Jeff Dickerson (12:50 PM)
Offensive line will be a big need heading into the offseason. You could argue the Bears need help at all three positions, and that includes center, because Olin Kreutz is in the final year of his contract. This will be impossible for Jerry Angelo to ignore.
My take in watching the game yesterday is that we won the first half and played really good on the defensive side of the ball. Lovie could have pulled the starters at that point and would have had a feel good. That said, do you think this defense can maintain/raise their intensity and carry the Bears against the Saints in two weeks?
Jeff Dickerson (12:54 PM)
No doubt. There is always a chance the Bears defense could hit another rough patch, but I'll take my chances with (relatively) healthy veterans like Brian Urlacher, Julius Peppers, Lance Briggs, Charles Tillman and Chris Harris.
Fred (The Burbs)
Is anyone on the team worse at their job then Brandon Manamluana [?]? This guy is hard to watch as he gets blown up by Charles Woodson who is 100lbs. lighter than him.
Jeff Dickerson (12:56 PM)
To be fair, Manumaleuna has done a better job blocking the last two months, but the Bears would be better off with Desmond Clark. That's all on Mike Martz. He's the Manumaleuna guy.
Does anyone really think Cutler will come thu in the clutch at ATL or vs Philly?
Jeff Dickerson (12:57 PM)
CC - Cutler could drop huge games on ATL or Philly, but he could also throw 4 picks versus both teams. That is the beauty of Jay Cutler. Nobody truly knows how he is going to play. If you do, please tell us, because you must have supernatural powers.
Jeff - what was with the "Rashied Davis: Primary Target" playbook yesterday? He had more balls directed his way than he has had all season.
Jeff Dickerson (12:59 PM)
Hey, he was open in the slot. Knox and Hester certainly couldn't get open yesterday!
Jeff Dickerson (1:00 PM)
Thanks everybody. Jurko is coming up next. Have a great Monday and we'll talk later in the week.
Jurko (1:01 PM)
Great competitive low-scoring game. Get to sit back, watch the first round and see who they play. No issue whatsoever playing the starters. Wish the OL could have protected their QB a little bit better, though.
Do the Bears game plan at all? It seems like, defensively, they do one thing. If it works (ie if the front four get pressure), they have a chance, if it doesn't, then they don't. I see other teams change it up, but we never do. Am I blind?
Jurko (1:02 PM)
The TD was scored not because Bowman didn't have good coverage, but because Manning was paying attention to another receiver. That's why Manning can't be a starting safety in this league. He gets lost.
Dennis Smith (Lincoln Park)
Philly, NO, Seattle.... who would the bears want to play and who would we like to avoid
Jurko (1:05 PM)
Obviously they'd want to play Seattle. I think they'd want to avoid Philly, because Philly believes they could have had that game. Philly was in the red zone 7 times, out of a possible 49, they scored 26. To me Philly is the more dangerous team. And the game plan you used to beat them, they've seen already.
I know everyone is gearing up for the playoffs, but I am looking forward to the off season. What holes do you see in the Bears you think they may address in the upcoming draft
Jurko (1:06 PM)
OL, wide receiver.
John (Glen Ellyn, IL)
Jurko, how excited do you think D-lineman get at the prospect of going up against the Bears OL?
Jurko (1:07 PM)
It's like going to the seafood buffet at the Rio in Vegas. If you've been struggling without a sack in a while, Bears OL is the perfect tonic. The worst in the league by far. And don't believe the guys who tell you it's not that bad. There's no grading on the curver in the NFL. Just becausue they've improved doesn't meant they're not the worst by far.
Daniel Manning (not somewhere I'm supposed to be)
Wouldn't you think I'd learn my lesson after getting baked by Wayne in the Super Bowl??
Jurko (1:08 PM)
It happens over and over. I don't know how many times it has to happen before he realizes there's a reason a guy is running in front of you. It's because they're trying to get a guy behind you. It happens ALL THE TIME! And it's a simple concept.
Steve (Tulsa, Ok)
Why won't Martz let Cutler throw from the shotgun?? Seems his 1.5 seconds it takes to set up with a 5 - 7 step drop would be better served going through his reads. Most all the top QB's thrive on throwing (and even handing off) from the shotgun.
Jurko (1:09 PM)
Holmgren never used the shotgun, because his system was predicated on the steps. I imagine Martz's system would be similar, just as far as timing, and when you hit that back foot.
am i the only one that doesnt understand why olsen doesnt get more targets? big, fast and good hands...what am i missing?
Jurko (1:10 PM)
He's not that good of a tight end. He's been a disappointment as a first-round pick. He can't get open, create mismatches like they thought he could. He could be single-covered. Your great tight endsd can't be single-covered.
Do you think that Martz didn't try to counter the GB blitz play calling because he wanted the line to learn or he's just to stubborn?
Jurko (1:11 PM)
I think the Packers didn't show anything different than before. Your OL is responsible for picking up guys. And they have rules. Chris Williams looked like a top out there, spinning one way and another.
Do the Bears have a realistic shot to make the Superbowl, or is their record only reflective of the easy schedule?
Jurko (1:12 PM)
I think it's a combination. Nice schedule coupled with some pretty solid wins.
I really don't get all the packer love. Yes, they are a very good football team. But every "expert" on all the stations picked them as team to beat in the playoffs. Am I missing something? They beat a Bears team running very base offense and defense, i.e. didn't really gameplan, and lost to the redskins, miami, and detroit.
Jurko (1:12 PM)
They've had so many injuries that would have dibilitated any other team. That's why they're getting the love.
Fox - to no one's surprise - did not explain this very well. Who called that timeout? Didn't someone tell Lovie to call it?
Jurko (1:13 PM)
Lovie is listening to the head phones. He's hearing the communication between the coaches. He heard they were in the wrong formation and Lovie called the timeout. Martz said they were in the wrong formation, and Lovie called it.
Jason newman (Spring Valley Il)
Do you think Martz, will have a better game plan with two week prepare?
Jurko (1:14 PM)
I thought his gameplan was fine. I thought the team executed it - especially the OL - poorly. And Johnny Knox will never be a No. 1 receiver in his lifetime. No. 1 receivers run slant routes. They don't get stopped dead in their tracks. Johnny is a slot receiver at best. The WR meeting room is a room full of 3s.
whatup jurko. will yesterday's ugly offensive performace finally kill the "will Mike Martz get a head coaching offer next year" talk? it was getting pretty tiresome.
Jurko (1:15 PM)
Mike Martz will never get another head coaching opportunity. Because here in Chicago somebody can keep him in check. As the head coach, nobody could.
Jurko, while I realize the Bears played hard, and played there starters, all game Sunday, did they also take the game as an opportunity to either try some new things on offense, or perhaps throw a bit of misdirection to opposing scouts?
Jurko (1:16 PM)
I'm sure they threw some stuff out there, tendency breakers. When the opponent looks at the film, they'll have to decide if those were real plays, or they were just running them to throw them off the scent. That takes time, and the more you make the other team work on it, the better off.
Olsen would be an All-Pro, Pro Bowl TE if he played on the Patriots. Olsen is good, right now, he's in the wrong system because we all know that Martz only likes Manumaleuna and nobody else.
Jurko (1:18 PM)
I disagree. Olsen knew this was a bad system for him in the offseason. What makes Tony Gonzalez, Jason Witten, Vernon Davis, special is they can't be single covered. You can put your worst pass defender and Olsen will not make a difference. The NE tight ends have an ability to get off the jam and create space for themselves. They also have an understanding of an offensive system and know where to be to receive the football.
Did it seem that the Bears couldn't stop the short pass against the Pack? It looked like Brady did the same thing to them?
Jurko (1:19 PM)
If you've been watching the Bears all year, they will give up the short pass and then try to converge and force a fumble. NE had two 90-plus-yard drives against the Bears. The Bears dared them to execute, and they did. That's the Lovie way.
Do you think the secondary could hold up against the New Orleans passing attack?
Jurko (1:20 PM)
Yes. Because the NO passing attack is not that special. This year, they've struggled with the pass. A lot of that has to do with their inability to run. And Drew Brees has come back to earth and made poor decisions.
Mike (Ingleside )
I'm not a huge fan of people getting down a cutler becasue of yeasterday, i admit that the first interception was a bit forced, but the second one wasnt a forced throw, hester was open he just overthrew him.
Jurko (1:21 PM)
You're in the playoffs with the No. 2 seed. The Bears played a game that didn't matter to them. You can try to pretend it mattered, but it really didn't. I was actually quite surprised to see the superior effort given by the Bears' defense, not the OL.
What should we take from Forte's 1,000+ rushing 500 recieving season?
Jurko (1:21 PM)
Nothing. Thousand yards isn't that special. He averaged 70 yards per game. Tell your story to somebody who cares. That does not impress me.
Nick (Cary, IL)
Hey Jurko, any chnce the bears make a run at a #1 receiver in free agency? If so, who do you think we would go after?
Jurko (1:22 PM)
Don't know until labor situation is worked out. Free agents might be 5-6 year guys. No reason to speculate until find out what parameters are.
Danny (South Windsor, CT)
Good Afternoon gentlemen, just one simple question. Was it me or if the run game was producing big chunks of yards why shy away from it?
Jurko (1:23 PM)
That's the problem with Martz. He thinks he sees something he can take advantage of, forgetting that his OL is the worst in the league and really can't protect Cutler.
"Olsen knew this was a bad system for him in the offseason." Jurko, you do know that Olsen could do nothing about this because the Bears have him under contract, right? It's not like he signed an extension after Martz was hired. This has to do with Martz, not Olsen. Olsen can only do so much or so little because of the offensive game plan - designed by Martz.
Jurko (1:24 PM)
That's BS. He could have done what he was doing and forced a trade. The problem was the Bears wanted too much for him, and he'd be with that great NE offense you so love. He could have forced the Bears hand, not shown up, been a jerk. He wasn't helpless, by any stretch of the imagination. His agent is Drew Rosenhaus, the guy makes a living doing this.
Peppers roughing the passer call was crap! Brady, Rodgers, Manning - all protected by the NFL.
Jurko (1:25 PM)
Sure. Especially those guys. I've said it before, the NFL stands for hypocrisy. Do you think they'd protect Charlie Whitehurst like that? No.
Mike G (Minneapolis)
Is it me or are the bears WR's soft. They are suppose to be so fast and cant get open even on streaks it seems they cant out run anyone as if the DB know the routes thats going to be ran. Especially Greg olsen he so big he is suppose to create so many coverage problems but is seems as if he cant out run any LB and when he gets the ball he get taken down with ease by players half his size. Do you think there soft.
Jurko (1:25 PM)
Soft. Yes. That would be a great word for it. Soft and lacking talent.
Jamie (Lake Villa)
Jurko, aren't you a bit hard on Forte? He managed to reach 1000 yards in really 10-11 games due to the unbalanced play calling early in the season and stupidly yesterday.
Jurko (1:27 PM)
Positives about Forte: He showed more maneuvarability, better vision, big-play capabilities. Ineffective at picking up blitzes, which caused him to be on the bench. If you're goign to be a complete back, and you want to be out there 60 plays a game, better be able to recognize who you need to pick up a blitz. So while you guys want to throw roses at his feet and send him to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl, I'd choose to understand exactly what he is. An above average back.
Jurko, I appreciate your players-point-of-view. Really do. But when is a player bigger than the organization? If I ran the Bears and Olsen did what you suggested, I would have told him, "fine, don't show up. You're only hurting yourself. You want to sit out, go ahead."
Jurko (1:28 PM)
The precedent has been set in the NFL that a dissatisifed player is not a good player to have around. You think the Skins wouldn't want to have gotten rid of Haynesworth. Didn't San Diego miss the playoffs because they had to prove a point to Jackson? The evidence is there.
jurk... who is softer: Bears receiving corps or Luol Deng?
Jurko (1:29 PM)
Luol looks like he turned the corner. Still won't go to the hole, but he's canning that outside jumper. And he's slashing to the basket. Of course, finishing with a layup.
John (Glen Ellyn, IL)
Speaking of the off-season...is there any chance the Bears keep Tommie Harris. I know he'll never be the elite DT that he used to be, but he's not terrible.
Jurko (1:30 PM)
Yes. If he's willing to play for $1.2 million. But if he wants more, let somebody else be disgruntled with him.
Jurko (1:30 PM)
Lot of coaches getting fired today. Interesting to hear someo of the names bandied about as replacements. See you on Thursday.