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August 8, 11:00 AM ET
Chat with Michael Wright, Jeff Dickerson

Michael
  (11:01 AM)

Good morning folks. I'm here, live from beautiful dorm room in Bourbonnais. Let's get this thing rolling.

corinthian (chicago)

why not lock up forte and go into the season with no worries or do the bears like drama

Michael
  (11:02 AM)

It's coming, my friend, believe me. The sides are hard at work trying to hammer out an agreement. I anticipate it happening sooner rather than later.

Jon (NY, NY)

The Bears were arguably the worst o-line in football last year. The shuffling on the o-line thus far has marginally improved their prospects at best, how come more was not done to improve their biggest weakness from last year.

Michael
  (11:05 AM)

Jon, maybe they know something we don't. I'm in agreement with you. I just don't see how you can expect drastic improvement with virtually the same guys (other than Gabe Carimi) as last year. I know they've been in the system a year and all. But to me, they definitely still need to add to the position. The only positive I see in the whole situation is the fact they've got Mike Tice as coach. He's one of the best in the league at shaping up an offensive line. He's certainly gonna have to earn his money this season, especially if they keep the offensive line the way it is now.

Sergio (papa bear) Sotelo (Albuquerque)

Morning Mike...The question i have is...do you think that enough has been done to ensure that Cutler has moer time to throw the ball downfield?

Michael
  (11:06 AM)

Short answer: No. Longer answer: Absolutely not.

Colin (Des Moines)

Is Hester practicing as the other starting wide receiver over Knox and Bennett? If so will this hold up till the season starts? I just see Hester better utilized in the slot type and not an every down player.

Michael
  (11:08 AM)

As of right now, Roy Williams and Devin Hester are the starters on the outside. Based on what I've heard from receivers coach Darryl Drake, this will likely hold up going into the regular season. Remember, Williams has history with offensive coordinator Mike Martz AND Drake. Drake coached Williams at the University of Texas.

Michael
  (11:08 AM)

As of right now, Roy Williams and Devin Hester are the starters on the outside. Based on what I've heard from receivers coach Darryl Drake, this will likely hold up going into the regular season. Remember, Williams has history with offensive coordinator Mike Martz AND Drake. Drake coached Williams at the University of Texas.

Matt (Melbourne, Australia)

Sticking with the offensive line theme, why are the Bears not interested in acquiring a guy like Jared Gaither that is still available? Am I missing something?

Michael
  (11:09 AM)

All you're missing is the fact the Bears don't want to spend any money. I know agents that represent a few of the offensive linemen still out there on the market. They said they've been in contact with the Bears, but feel like the organization is dragging their feet in an attempt to drive down the price of their clients.

Mike (Glasgow, Scotland)

According to reports Corey Wootton has looked very explosive and quick in TC so far after dropping some weighta?¦how would you rate his progression from last year and do you feel he has a chance to start opposite Julius Peppers?

Michael
  (11:11 AM)

Mike, I'll tell you this: Wootton has been absolutely eating up Gabe Carimi during team drills. The reports you're reading are correct. He's gotten much more explosive. But he's also playing a lot better fundamentally with good pad level, and hand placement.

dan (texas)

why dont the bears want to spend $, don't they have to spend to reach the minimum? what happens if they dont make the minimum?

Michael
  (11:12 AM)

Dan, they don't have to do it right away. That's what I think a lot of folks are missing in all this. They don't have to reach that floor until the start of the new league year in 2012.

Gary (Tennessee)

Is roach or tino gonna start and the opposite linebacker to briggs?

Michael
  (11:13 AM)

I'm guessing you're meaning Pisa Tinoisamoa? Well, he's not even on the roster yet. So right now, the best candidate to start opposite Lance Briggs is Roach. There's a mutual interest in bringing in Tinoisamoa. But there's a concern that he won't be ready by the season opener.

Ben Gabrielson (Lincoln Park)

How does JT Thomas look in camp? Will he push for any time at the SAM or is he expected backup Urlacher or Briggs?

Michael
  (11:16 AM)

Ben, Thomas has been impressive so far. Bears coach Lovie Smith has definitely made it a point last night to single out Thomas for the way he's been performing. Earlier in camp, the team's veteran free agents couldn't participate in practice, which opened up the door for Thomas to take reps with the starters. Thomas took advantage. Now he's just got to continue to shine in the preseason games to make this team.

Nathan (DC)

Will Gholston make the team? Obviously he has a lot of learning to do, but how has he looked so far?

Michael
  (11:17 AM)

Nathan, I won't even lie to you. In watching team drills and individual drills, I've never once thought or said, "Man, that Vernon Gholston is a beast." Sure, he's shown some quickness. But he's just not a guy who has really stuck out to me so far.

Dave (Tampa, Florida)

Anything new on Lofa or Hayden?

Michael
  (11:18 AM)

The interest is still there on both guys. Funny thing is I hear the coaches want Pisa Tinoisamoa as a potential acquisition at linebacker, but the front office leans more toward Lofa Tatupu. As for Hayden, stay tuned. That situation is definitely heating up.

Mario (Chicago)

How is training camp going for Andy Fantuz?

Michael
  (11:19 AM)

It's going just like his running: slow. Seriously though, it's obvious Fantuz has some talent. One thing people don't realize about Canadian League receivers is that most of them run good routes and have great hands because they throw the ball so much in that league. The bad thing, however, is a lot of them are SLOW. Fantuz sort of fits that mold.

Carl (Valpo, IN)

Hey Michael, great stuff on Twitter and Espn during training camp so far! We all know the Bears are stiff with their money and are sometimes hesitant on spending it. Are the Bears in the trading market to add another OL. We know Angelo is out of trading draft picks but in order to keep Cutler up, why not trade for a solid linemen?

Michael
  (11:22 AM)

Thank you, Carl. I'm in agreement with you about the need to protect their most important investment. A frustrated agent -- who has a client the Bears have been in contact with -- said to me last week, "Why protect your million-dollar investment with $5-per-hour security guards?" So we'll see. I haven't heard anything about the Bears trying to do something in terms of a trade for a good offensive lineman. But I certainly wouldn't put it past them.

Nathan (DC)

Do you feel Enderle sticks around as the #3 QB?

Michael
  (11:23 AM)

I believe he will. Mike Martz has been really tough on him at practice. Lots of yelling. But I think Martz really likes him. He did alot of scouting work on Enderle prior to the team drafting him.

Sean (TX)

How are all the rookies besides Carimi doing? Any surprise late round guys or undrafted FAs that might make an impact this season?

Michael
  (11:26 AM)

OK, this is gonna be my one and only post relating to Dane Sanzenbacher. But he's definitely opened some eyes here at camp. Receivers coach Darryl Drake says he's the real deal, adding that there's a reason he's gotten so many reps. One of the things I give Dane props about is the fact he came to camp totally prepared. While other guys are already exhibiting signs of having training camp legs, Sanzenbacher looks fresh. That's a credit to his physical conditioning. But he's the undrafted rookie I think that will make the team. I've also been impressed with Onrea Jones (#17) so far. Dude catches everything thrown his way.

Jameson (Naperville, IL)

Hey Michael,How has Caleb Hanie been fairing so far? Have you seen him making strides? He definitely has flashes in those preseason and regular season games.

Michael
  (11:27 AM)

I used to question Caleb's arm strength, Jameson. But I was so wrong about him. He's got a very live arm. But what I like so much about him is his ability to read and get rid of the ball quickly. He does a great job of anticipating in Martz's offense, and I think he's definitely solidified himself as the No. 2. He'll be a free agent next year, so the Bears are gonna have to pony up to keep him.

Don (San Francisco)

Does Tice have any real influence in acquiring OL or do you think the front office just says "here's who we 're looking at, what do you think?"

Michael
  (11:28 AM)

Don, Tice does have some influence, and the situation is exactly as you described.

RC (Chicago)

Ha, "Why protect your million-dollar investment with $5-per-hour security guards?"... did you answer "What difference does it make when they are all going to be running on $0.10 grass" ?

Michael
  (11:29 AM)

No answer here, but I'll grab the drum stick and hit the hi hat for you. Zing.

Roger Maye (Aurora)

Mike huge fan great job with the bears so far. Any chance the bears are going to trade for the giants osi umenyiora? i heard he can be had for a 2nd round draft pick

Michael
  (11:31 AM)

I doubt that's gonna happen. A second-round pick is just too much to give up to a lot of these GMs. And what's so crazy to me is they're so reluctant to give up that second-round pick, but go and draft someone the next year that doesn't even make the team. That's kind of just how the business goes. Teams are very reluctant to give up high draft picks unless they're acquiring someone like a Jay Cutler or Randy Moss (in his prime).

Eddie (O-town)

How many wr's will the Bears keep on the roster this year??

Michael
  (11:31 AM)

More than likely it will be five. That's ben the case in the past.

Steve (Manteno, IL)

How u liking ONU's campus? I'm not that big a fan of the dorms, but the off-campus housing apartments are where it's at haha

Michael
  (11:33 AM)

Like the campus. Not sure about these dorms. Hook me up with the apartment stuff, man.

Michael
  (11:34 AM)

Guys, that's my time. I've got to get out to media availability. Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us. My boy JD is about to sign in and carry this thing home.

Chris (Lombard)

What's the chances of Bears signing Kelvin Hayden? And is he better than what we already have?

Jeff Dickerson
  (11:35 AM)

I'd say the Bears have a good shot to sign Hayden. However, several teams are interested in the free agent CB, so the numbers will have to be right. He's a good fit for the defense. Lovie Smith is a big fan. Sounds like a good landing spot for the Chicago native.

Eddie (O-town)

So you say they'll keep five wr's. So it will be Williams,Hester,Knox,Bennet and who's the fifth out of Hurd,Fantuz or Sazenbacher????

Jeff Dickerson
  (11:37 AM)

Bears keep could 6 WRS. The kept 5 last year, but play on the field can dictate how many guys are kept at each spot on the 53-man roster. If Sanzenbacher continues to make plays (especially in preseason games) he has a legit shot to make the squad.

Gibby (Springfield, MO)

what roles do you think taylor and barber are going to have behind forte?

Jeff Dickerson
  (11:41 AM)

I'm still not convinced the Bears are going to keep both Barber and Taylor. Jerry Angelo is a big fan of Barber, so I'd give Marion (if he stays healthy, of course) the inside track to be the No. 2 RB. All Taylor can do is play well. If he does, he certainly has a shot to stick here, or perhaps go someplace else and contribute. But keeping all three of those backs, while "plausible", doesn't sound feasible. Unless Martz fights to keep Taylor. That could change things, because Martz tends to get his way in regards to personnel moves on offense.

Ryan (Evergreen Park)

I went to camp last night and Dane was making some huge plays. What are the chances of both Fantuz and Dane making the team?

Jeff Dickerson
  (11:42 AM)

That would be tough. But if say, Fantuz peforms well in the preseason games, maybe he could land on the practice squad. But it's so early, everything is subject to change.

jj (chicago, il)

Hurd makes the team no doubt. No way they spend that kind of money and not keep him.

Jeff Dickerson
  (11:43 AM)

Without question. Hurd is expected to be one of the top special teams players on the Bears this year.

Nathan (DC)

How many defensive tackles will the Bears keep? Is Harrison pretty much out the door, no matter what?

Jeff Dickerson
  (11:44 AM)

I count five defensive tackles ahead of Marcus Harrison: Anthony Adams, Henry Melton, Stephen Paea, Amobi Okoye and Matt Toeaina. Having a hard time seeing where Harrison fits in.

sam (ny)

why not have Hester focus more on returns with the addition of new receivers and the loss of Manning?

Jeff Dickerson
  (11:47 AM)

Sam, I hear you out there in NY. Hester will certainly get his opportunities in the return game, but up to this point of camp, he's looked the best out of all the WRs. If you come to practice, you can't deny that. The coaches don't sound like they want to phase Hester off offense, in fact, it sounds like quite the opposite.

Darryl (Wpg, Mb, Canada)

Who is your guess for a Bear who really steps up this year that has not done so yet? I hope it is Lance Louis as that would help establish and improved OL.

Jeff Dickerson
  (11:49 AM)

Lance Louis is a good choice. I'd also throw Major Wright, Gabe Carimi or J'Marcus Webb into the mix. Bears better hope some of those guys on the offensive line step up.

Jose (Tucson)

Does Roy Williams look like a pro-bowler at practice or does he look more like a Moose? ;)

Jeff Dickerson
  (11:51 AM)

There hasn't been one moment in practice this camp where I thought, 'wow, what a play by Roy Wlliams'. I'm just saying. Bears might want to tap the breaks on the Roy Williams is going to be an elite receiver talk.

Brad (Naperville)

Is Chris Williams going to become a player or do they just keep him around because he is a first round pick

Jeff Dickerson
  (11:52 AM)

Tice is going to give him a shot at LG. But I don't believe it's etched in stone. Tice claims Williams has shown great improvement since last year at guard. I'll take him at his word. Let's see how Williams plays in the preseason games...that is probably going to be the best indicator.

Eric (Lost in Europe...)

Is Carimi legit? Is he holding his own or is he the next Chris Williams?

Jeff Dickerson
  (11:54 AM)

I think for a rookie, Carimi is holding his own. He can play. Light years ahead of Chris Williams back in 2008. I mean, Williams got hurt on the first day.

David (Los Angeles)

How does Jay Cutler's knee look? Any noticeable restricted movement?

Jeff Dickerson
  (11:54 AM)

Jay Cutler appears to be 100% healthy.

Henry Melton (Bears Camp)

I'm looking poised for a break out year, right?

Jeff Dickerson
  (11:55 AM)

I thought you had a breakout year last year. Which caught me totally off guard. What can I say, Melton turned out to be good.

Andy (Rock Island, IL)

Does Cutler's mechanics really seem to be that much improved as Martz says?

Jeff Dickerson
  (11:56 AM)

No. I don't believe Cutler will ever change those mechanics. But that doesn't mean he can't put up big numbers and/or win a lot of games for the Bears.

Talmadge Jones (North Carolina)

has johnny knox returned to practice?

Jeff Dickerson
  (11:57 AM)

Knox did not practice last night. Bears workout at 2:30 coming up this afternoon.

Davis (Des Plaines)

If the Bears sign Hayden, does he come in and start opposite Tillman? Who's roster spot does he take?

Jeff Dickerson
  (11:58 AM)

I believe Hayden would probably start, so Tim Jennings or Zack Bowman might have to go. Both are in the last year of their respective contracts.

Matt (Chicago)

What are the chances that Favre signs with Da Bears?

Jeff Dickerson
  (11:59 AM)

Ha ha. That's the last thing we need to worry about down here in Bourbonnais.

Carlos (NW Indiana)

If you had to give a Yes or NO answer to this questions what would it be, are the Bears done signing OLmen?

Jeff Dickerson
  (12:00 PM)

No. I'm sure they are going to continue to look. But it's getting late in the game. And is there anybody good still out there?

Jeff Dickerson
  (12:01 PM)

Thank you everybody. We have to go stake out the dining hall and talk to players before practice. Have a great rest of your day.