Chat with Jeff Dickerson
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, ESPNChicago.com reporter Jeff Dickerson stops by to chat about the Chicago Bears.
Dickerson is a Bears beat reporter and weeknight host on ESPN 1000. He also handles Bears coverage for ABC-7 and appears on "The Chicago Huddle."
Send your questions now and join Dickerson Thursday at noon CT/1 p.m. ET!
Jeff Dickerson (1:01 PM)
Greetings. Let's get right after it since things have no doubt picked up at Halas Hall.
Who is the Best GM available out there in NFL? How does one become an NFL GM?
Jeff Dickerson (1:04 PM)
That is really tough to say. Eric DeCosta is considered by many to be the best up and coming personnel executive in the game, which is why Baltimore refused to let him go and made him the heir apparent to Ozzie Newsome. But there are quite a few talented candidates out there. It's up to the Bears to find the right one. GM's usually rise through the ranks as scouts. Because the essential job of any GM is the make sure there is enough talent on the roster, which is why a scouting background is key.
Chris W. (Chicago)
Who do you see the Bears hiring and which candidate would you prefer?
Jeff Dickerson (1:06 PM)
To me, it looks as if the Bears No. 1 goal is to find a GM who can run the draft, and run it the right way. I'm not so sure they're looking to hire a guy who is going to walk in the doors and turn the place upside down. If that were the case, they would have fired Lovie Smith. No, the Bears want a guy with a heavy college scouting background who can find the players Lovie wants. I have no preference.
Tyrone (MT. Prospect)
Do you see the bears drafting the center from wisconsin with the first pick?
Jeff Dickerson (1:08 PM)
I don't think center is a major need at the moment. They just signed Roberto Garza to an extension and have Chris Spencer waiting in the wings. I guess I would be surprised if Bears went offensive line in the 1st round. But if they do, find another tackle, because J'Marcus Webb makes me nervous. And the idea of Chris Williams moving back to tackle doesn't knock me out either. But I don't believe the first pick will be spent on the offensive line.
Z (Phoenix, AZ)
JD - What's the chances of Marc Ross as GM? He sounds like a good fit given his position and reputation in NY.
Jeff Dickerson (1:11 PM)
Marc Ross works for an excellent GM in Jerry Reese and in the last five years the Giants have drafted some impact players (Hakeem Nicks, Jason Pierre-Paul, Ahmad Bradshaw, Kenny Phillips, etc). However, and this is the reason I can't truly endorse a particular candidate, did Marc Ross do the heavy lifting in those player evaluations or did Reese? I simply don't know the answer. But since Reese is going to interview, you have to figure he has a decent shot to land the Bears gig.
vincent jackson, d bowe, or colston?
Jeff Dickerson (1:13 PM)
How about two of three! Seriously, any of those guys would be a major upgrade. If the Bears hire KC's Phil Emery as GM, would that make it easier to sign Bowe? Jackson would be super expensive, but worth it. And Colston is just solid. In a perfect world, at least one of those three would be wearing a Bears uniform in 2012.
Brian (Dubai, UAE)
with the four GM candidates announced and two of them having previous ties to the organization is it safe to assume they would have the upper hand or be a front runner for the position? The Patriots have been so good at personnel evaluations for the better part of a decade I certainly like that choice!
Jeff Dickerson (1:15 PM)
Jason Licht is an interesting choice. He had a good reputation with Philadelphia, but got forced out because of something to do with Howie Roseman (now the Eagles GM). He knows his stuff. But would he be okay with the current power structure already in place at Halas Hall? Don't know. But Licht is talented, according to people who have worked with him at various stops around the league.
Margie (South Pasadena)
Perhaps Cutler's injury was a blessing in disguise as it unmasked systematic flaws within the organization. Any comments.
Jeff Dickerson (1:17 PM)
I think Cutler's injury showed the importance of having a proven No. 2 QB, and the importance of having more than basically an intern work with the back-up quarterbacks during the seaosn. Mike Martz only worked and met with Cutler. That's it. Caleb Hanie's development was in the hands of Shane Day. Not a good idea.
Is Tice as O.C. a good thing? Does he have any idea how to create a high flying offense?
Jeff Dickerson (1:18 PM)
Tice is qualified to be the OC. The Bears will throw the football, and they will throw it downfield. Trust me.
Roger Logan Sr (Temecula, CA)
Jeff, do you think that the fact that Lovie was left in place as Coach has scared potential GMs away from Chicago? Usually the new GM would like to come in and install their own Coach. Also do you think the bears will settle for someone mediocre? This is their MO.
Jeff Dickerson (1:20 PM)
Yes. The Bears job is much less attractive with Lovie Smith still in place as head coach. I don't know if it scared people away, per say, but a general manager prefers to hire his own head coach. Even Jerry Angelo wanted to fire Dick Jauron in 2001 but couldn't do it. It's just the nature of the beast.
Francine (Monrovia, CA)
There are so many high quality quarterbacks in the draft - wouldn't it be a good idea for the Bears to get one of them? They could probably get Russell Wilson, who is so composed and efficient.
Jeff Dickerson (1:23 PM)
I would feel more comfortable with a roster full of NFL ready QBs. Eventually, the Bears need to draft another QB, but with so many other holes to fill, I would address the need at QB via free agency (Kyle Orton, please!) and keep Josh McCown as my third. Would Nate Enderle be claimed off waivers if the Bears cut him next summer? Maybe, but maybe not. If he clears waivers, stick him on the practice squad. That is a way the Bears could save face.
Melvin (North Carolina)
JD: I ready our top 10 issues for GM to deal with, particularly your note about ownership maybe not wanting to pay Forte. What do you think would be a fair contract offer for Matt?
Jeff Dickerson (1:24 PM)
How about guaranteed money in the range of $16-$18 million. Is that fair?
If Bears finish .500 or worse next year, is Lovie gone?
Jeff Dickerson (1:24 PM)
If the Bears fail to make the playoffs I would not retain Lovie Smith.
Coach Tice (Chicago)
What are the best LT prospects this year?
Jeff Dickerson (1:25 PM)
Why are you asking me? You're the expert!
William (Palo Alto)
Hey Jeff!Of the four candidates, who would you like to see as the new GM?Also, is there anyone outside this list you hope the Bears will or would pursue?
Jeff Dickerson (1:28 PM)
Like I said before, I don't care who gets the job. But Bears fans deserve a GM who can properly evaluate talent. That is a must. As for an outside candidate. We've heard the name Chris Grier of the Miami Dolphins as somebody who deserves an interview. We'll see if it happens.
JD, who do you think, or what position, will the bears go after first in the draft? Thanks
Jeff Dickerson (1:30 PM)
It's a weak safety class, so not sure I'd go there. Receiver or cornerback might make sense since the Bears have obvious holes to fill at both positions. But I still expect to Bears to sign a veteran corner (Antoine Winfield?) and a veteran WR.
How worried should I be that the bears would consider hiring Ruskell as the next GM? Why is he even thought of with his draft record?
Jeff Dickerson (1:31 PM)
Tim Ruskell sounds like the absolute last resort. I would operate under the assumption he is not going to get the job. If he does....ouch.
Harry Caray (Heaven)
What's your favorite planet? Mines the Sun
Jeff Dickerson (1:31 PM)
Earth. Only one I've ever visited.
clarence (Gilbertsville Pa )
What happen to the canidate Les Sneed out of Atlanta he seem to be the best prospect left for GM why aren't the Bears interviewing him?
Jeff Dickerson (1:33 PM)
Sneed has a Pro Personnel background. Perhaps that's why he didn't receive an initial interview. The four candidates we know about all have college scouting backgrounds. I'll be curious to see if Sneed lands the Rams GM job. He interviewed for it on Tuesday.
Is Lovie Smith 100 percent sure to be the coach next year?
Jeff Dickerson (1:34 PM)
Yes. The Bears made it official the day Jerry Angelo got fired. At least one more year of Lovie.
Hi JD. Who do you think the Bears bring in as their "Passing Game Coordinator?"
Jeff Dickerson (1:36 PM)
Greg Olson is in town today. He is a former Bears coach who has a good reputation and easy concepts to learn. He's a good option. We also heard the names of Jeremy Bates, Jed Fish and Tice's guy Dirk Koetter. If Tice can hire Koetter he will, if not the other three also pretty good options.
do you think Eric DeCosta would be wearing a bears hat if it wasnt for the fact the bears decided to keep lovie?
Jeff Dickerson (1:37 PM)
TC, I can't speak for Eric DeCosta. Maybe his heart will always be in Baltimore. But I feel comfortable saying that if Lovie had also been fired, the Bears job would have been more attractive to Eric DeCosta. Would he have left for Chicago? Can't say.
Tommyboy (Oak Park)
So where do we stand on the contracts of Urlacher and Briggs?
Jeff Dickerson (1:40 PM)
Brian Urlacher has one year left on his deal and played well enough to earn another short extension (in my opinion). Briggs is under contract thru 2013 and hasn't backed down from his extend me or trade me stance he hit Angelo with near the end of the preseason.
David (San Diego)
Barron - SS from Alabama, How about it?
Jeff Dickerson (1:41 PM)
Best safety in an otherwise weak class. I'm all for selecting a safety in the first round, but for that to happen, the Bears need to recognize that Major Wright is not the answer. Not sure if the Bears are there yet.
Jeff can you give me a positive reason to watch the bears next year? I think I'm suffering from post-bearmaggedon depression...
Jeff Dickerson (1:43 PM)
Jay Cutler will be back and healthy. Forte, hopefully, will be back and healthy. The NFL changes every year. Crazy stuff happens all the time. There are plenty of reasons to watch the Bears next season. Don't be down in the dumps. All is not lost.
True or False: Bears will promote Ruskell and never intended to do otherwise.
Jeff Dickerson (1:44 PM)
False. I really don't believe the Bears want to promote Tim Ruskell.
how important is the draft and the new GM's approach to it?
Jeff Dickerson (1:45 PM)
It is the most important issue facing the franchise. If the Bears don't start drafting better, the organize will hit rock bottom once the veteran core (Urlacher, Briggs, Tillman, Peppers, etc) breaks down. It wil not be pretty.
does Ruskell get fired when the Bears hire a GM?
Jeff Dickerson (1:47 PM)
I'm not sure you fire Ruskell before the draft or free agency. Maybe. But when/if a new GM is put in place, odds are they would want to eventually bring in their own personnel people.
Do you believe Tim Jennings will be resigned? Seems like they should retain him and move on from Bowman.
Jeff Dickerson (1:49 PM)
Bowman wants a fresh start. Doubt he'll be back. From what I hear, Jennings is looking to get paid. Won't happen in Chicago. But if he agrees to take less money, then I wouldn't rule out a possible return to the Bears.
Why hasn't Corey Graham seen the field more? He did a good job replacing Moore when he got hurt and seems like he should have gotten the start instead of Bowman in the Green Bay game.
Jeff Dickerson (1:52 PM)
The Bears prepared Graham to play safety versus GB and defend Jermichael Finley but pulled the plug on the idea the Friday before the game. Not sure why. I'm all for bringing back Corey Graham and letting him play defense (either safety, corner or nickel) but the Bears tend to feel differently. Expect Graham to again test the free agent market. Bears were lucky to get him back last year. Might not be so lucky the second time around.
JD-if you were to have the choice of the 1st rd pick-do you take Jeffrey from South Carolina, Floyd from ND, or the kid from Baylor
Jeff Dickerson (1:54 PM)
Dan, I guess that depends on the new GM. Angelo didn't value WRs in the first round, and would never make that kind of move. Maybe the new guy has a different take on the subject. But hard to tell until the position is filled.
Whats more important for the future GM's role, the contribution to free agency acquisitions or draft picks?
Jeff Dickerson (1:55 PM)
Drafting well. That is the only way for an organization to sustain success in the NFL.
The Bear Facts (Sacramento,CA)
The fact that the Bears are only starting interviews with GM candidates today has me concerned. No sense of urgency to try and get in one of the "bigger" names. What's your read on the situation?
Jeff Dickerson (1:59 PM)
Here is the issue...who really is a "big name" in the personnel world. DeCosta was the No. 1 guy, no doubt about it, but after him...who? Reggie McKenize got hired right away in Oakland, but he turned around and fired the coach. That wasn't going to work here in Chicago because of Lovie's status. So given the parameters the Bears put on the job (which I do not agree with, by the way) this is the route they had to take. It's their own fault. Ted Phillips has never hired a GM before. So we all should have known it was going to be a slow process from the start.
Mike (Lincoln Park)
Will Tice allow Cutler to audible?
Jeff Dickerson (1:59 PM)
Jeff Dickerson (2:01 PM)
Thank you everybody. It was a pleasure as always. We'll try and do these one hour chats most weeks in the offseason. Have a great rest of the day.