The Chicago Bears will open the season at Indianaplis on Sunday night. Here are my thoughts:
There's a couple things I hate about the internet. One is that I'm buying in. Two is fan speculation on who teams are going to/should draft. Really, what do any of us know about talent evaluation? We know what we see on the college football field and we know the numbers generated at the combine. So I know Tom Brady wasn't going to be much of a quarterback and Devin Hester is not first-round talent. Hell, I wondered what the Bears were thinking by drafting Hester with LEONARD POPE SITTING ON THE BOARD! LEONARD POPE IS AVAILABLE AND THEY'RE TAKING A KICK RETURNER! HE'S LEONARD POPE! Worse...go back and read this. That's right, I wanted Eddie Drummond.
We know nothing at all. Get over it. It's fact. What do I know? I know how every team is going to finish in 2008 without drafting talent or running a wind sprint. I know today, March 28th. Here are the six playoff teams in our conference played right through to the Super Bowl.
Dallas Cowboys 11-5
Cowboys sell their soul for Pacman Jones and it pays off.
Chicago Bears 10-6
Bears get healthy on defense and stay that way for sixteen plus games.
New Orleans Saints 10-6
Sean Payton wallops a swiss cheese division and Jon Vilma wins comeback player.
Arizona Cardinals 10-6
Seahawks nosedive. Cardinals rise.
New York Giants 9-7
Just don't think they're good enough to do it for an entire season.
Minnesota Vikings 9-7
They change quarterbacks three times. They never change running back.
New York Giants over Arizona Cardinals
New Orleans Saints over Minnesota Vikings
New York Giants over Dallas Cowboys
Chicago Bears over New Orleans Saints
NFC Championship Game
Chicago Bears over New York Giants
Chicago Bears over Cleveland Browns (after a 13-3 year)
So apparently the NFL decided the San Francisco 49ers (lying, cheating scoundrels that they are) tampered with Lance Briggs before his contract expired and ironically did not tamper with him at all once he became a free agent. The Bears will move up five slots in the third round, swapping picks with the 49ers. Don't sneeze at it. The third round now opens the second day so the Bears will have the overnight to mull this one over.
LAKE FOREST, Ill. – Following a detailed investigation and a hearing, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has determined that the San Francisco 49ers violated the league’s anti-tampering policy last season by contacting linebacker Lance Briggs’ agent without the Bears’ permission.
As a result of the ruling, the Bears will swap third-round draft picks with the 49ers, moving up five slots to the seventh selection of the third round. According to a chart used by NFL teams that assigns numerical values to each pick in the draft, the move equates to a sixth-round choice. San Francisco will also forfeit its fifth-round pick, but the Bears will not receive that selection.
“We are appreciative of the efforts of the league office on this matter and support the commissioner’s decision,” said Bears president and CEO Ted Phillips.
The Bears currently have eight picks in the draft, with one in each round and an additional third-round selection that was acquired from the San Diego Chargers in a draft-day trade last year.
The Bears had filed tampering charges against the 49ers to initiate the proceeding. Briggs, whose contract expired following the 2007 season, agreed to a six-year extension with the Bears March 1, the second day of this year’s free agency period.
Since we are in the NFL news abyss, and more specifically the Chicago Bears news abyss, I have decided to strike up our own version of an NFL mock draft, Bears Blog style. Since I know we are all astute Bears fans, and more importantly for the sake of this mock draft, astute NFL buffs, I am going to assign one team’s pick to each of you who respond. That’s right, while the head cheese is away, the part-time bloggers will play. (Jeff, you’re more than welcome to participate, I’m sure you have a computer there)
What I need everyone who is interested to do is simply post a response on this thread saying that you want in. As soon as I have 30 responses (Me plus 30 others) I will do a follow up thread listing the draft order and time you should post. (I’m sorry in advance for those who will snooze and subsequently loose….er…lose) What I plan to do is set up 15 minute time blocks for each blogger, tentatively for Monday, where I will set up a thread so you can post your draft picks. I realize this creates some confusion because we may be doubling up on guys but I’m going to try and make this work. If you stick to your time frame to draft you should be able to know who is gone before you. You may have to draft some guys on the fly and we may double up on some guys but so what? We’ll try and make this as fun as possible. I will do my own random selection process (just trust me) that will determine which blogger gets each pick.
If you wont have access to a computer on Monday, or wont be able to post your pick for whatever reason please don't participate.
I will continue to post addendums if any breaking news comes up. As of now, the most noteworthy breaking news is that the Bills and Steelers will play a pre-season game in Toronto and that the Seahawks have signed Lofa Tatupu to a lucrative long-term deal...WHOOPTIE DO.
ADDENDUM: HAPPY EASTER TO ALL! It's now 4:00PM Central time on Sunday afternoon and we have a total of 10 who are willing to participate in the Blog Draft....needless to say that isn't enough to even get to the Bears pick. We might have to nix the whole thing but I think we'll wait to see what Monday brings. I assume there will be more traffic and probably more people willing to participate. Its a holiday weekend and so we probably arent getting the amount of participants we could during the week.
On another note...no interesting news to speak of...regarding anything. Again Happy Easter to all.
For the next five days, I shan't be around. Mssr. Pissed Off has assured me that he'll be tinkering around on here while I'm gone. If any major story breaks (doubtful) he'll cover it, I'm sure.
If you need me, I'll be in Belmar.
Chad Johnson is a raging prick of a man. He's a petulent child of a football player, in the model of the many petulent children who have come before him at the wide receiver position. He can destroy a locker room with the sound of his voice and make the morons on Around the Horn piss their pants with his post-touchdown antics. He's what what the folks from my neck of the woods call a douche bag. He's also very good at distancing himself from cornerbacks and catching the football when it's thrown his way. He's a petulent child of a football player - but he's also an elite one.
I want Chad Johnson on the Chicago Bears because the Bears miss something in their huddle since Thomas Jones was traded to the New York Jets for a bag of peanut butter M&Ms and some Bear Stearns stock. Jones and his "make a play Rex" mentality put pressure on the eleven guys paid to score points to actual provide a couple points. Name the player in the 2008 huddle who will do that now, assuming the center can't throw or catch. Grossman? Booker? Hester? Wolfe?
When it comes right down to it, I think I'd rather the Bears have a negative personality than no personality at all if that means they'll score enough points to win ballgames. They won't give up the inevitable second-round pick it'll cost them to get Ocho from Cincy because that's not what the Bears do. But that doesn't mean it's not what the Bears should do. It is. Because every time Jay Mariotti wrote another dumb column about Chad Johnson's field antics, it would mean that Chad Johnson has scored another touchdown.
He can take a dumb in the endzone every time he scores for all I care. As long as he scores.
Just wanted to check-in with everybody on what will be going on with us here from now until the draft.
(1) We'll start breaking down offensive line talent in the draft in the weeks ahead, surveying the landscape of "expert" opinion and bringing them directly to you.
(2) We've designed a t-shirt that we think is pretty damn funny and very site-specific. Once it's ready-to-go we'll sell them on here...and believe, they'll be worth the ten bucks or whatever we're going to charge you.
(3) The 2008 schedule gets announced on April 3rd reportedly. It is one of my favorite days of the year. I'll have it on here the second it becomes available to the media.
(4) Last year the Sunday night game writers went pretty damn well (I thought) sans some technical difficulties in December. We'll do that again in 2008 and I've got a bunch of people I'm considering for it. If YOU ARE INTERESTED IN BEING ONE OF OUR SUNDAY NIGHT WRITERS, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know.
I'll still be around with the regular news-of-the-day type stuff but this next month tends to be the slowest in the NFL. Keep up the good work in the comments.
Kevin Jones has be released by the Detroit Lions and the Bears should be attempting to sign him right now, even if he's not going to be ready to play come the start of training camp. I have some reasons why.
(1) In no way should this preclude them from drafting a running back in later rounds. Kevin Jones is an upgrade over both Hungry Like the Wolfe and AP.
(2) Cedric Benson is that rare kind of pitiful athlete that needs a boost to play hard at professional sports because the many millions of dollars is not enough. KJ - even lingering with an injury - might be the kind of added incentive Benson needs to play with a wee bit of heart.
(3) Twice a year, KJ will run against Detroit like he's never run before. Players don't just leave Detroit. They leave angry.
My verdict is sign him and do it quick. Don't be frightened by the idea of not having the guy until the season starts or later. He's a real talent and Detroit is where talent goes to die.
Apparently the rumors are true and the Bears are interested in bringing Chris Brown to Halas Hall. It's not a move I particularly like but one I do understand. If it plays out, the following questions follow:
(1) Does Adrian Peterson move to special teams exclusively? I'll assume that Jerry Angelo is not going to allow his draft pick of a year ago (GWolfe) be bounced from the offense, leaving Adrian Peterson as the odd man out. Peterson is terrific in special teams coverage.
(2) Does the draft become entirely about the offensive line?
Again I'm not in love with it but it does create the competition for Cedric Benson that Angelo has mentioned several times. We shall wait and see.
ProFootballTalk Addendum: With all that said, Adam Schefter of NFL Network reports that Brown could sign with the Texans as soon as Thursday..
(2) Tell me - as a Bears fan - you can read today's column on Da Site about Marty Booker's return and not feel a little happy to have 86 back in the navy and burnt. Booker belongs here.
"Hackett is one of the most attractive remaining free agents in a market that is already painfully shallow. He played in only six games last year due to a lingering ankle injury, but caught 32 passes for 384 yards and three touchdowns. Those totals project to a more than serviceable 85 receptions for 1,024 yards and eight touchdowns had he played in all 16 games."
(2) Rotoworld has Bryant Johnson visiting Tennessee today and describes the overall reception to the receiver as "lukewarm." I like Johnson as a player and think the Bears can't go wrong by putting as many bodies in camp as possible. Hackett just seems to have more upside.
Now that the Cardinals have locked up receiver Larry Fitzgerald at a more affordable (or, as the case may be, less unaffordable) price over the next four seasons, they might have to deal with another thorny issue at the position.
According to Adam Schefter of NFL Network, Anquan Boldin could want more money and/or a trade in the wake of Fitzgerald's $10 million-per-year contract.
Per Schefter, some in the Cardinals organization actually regard Boldin as the better wideout. But Boldin will make far, far less than Fitzgerald over the next three seasons -- he's due to earn base salaries of $2.5 million, $2.75 million, $3 million.
In our view, Fitzgerald and Boldin together is a luxury that the Cardinals don't need, especially with coach Ken Whisenhunt presumably trying to bring a Pittsburgh-style power running vibe to the desert.
Assuming that the Cardinals have a plan (which could be a dangerous assumption because we're talking about, you know, the Cardinals), the huge deal given to Fitzgerald should be regarded as evidence that they've opted to keep Fitzgerald over the long haul, and to get what they can for Boldin.
Throw in the fact that Boldin is represented by Drew Rosenhaus, and the stage is set for Boldin to start making noise about moving on.
Possible destinations are Philly, Dallas, and the Redskins.
Jason Taylor wants out of Miami - according to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald. Taylor is in the twilight of a borderline Hall-of-Fame career and is still one of the best defensive ends in the game. Why am I writing about him? Because he wants to play for a contender and I want the Bears to contend.
The arguments against making a move for Taylor are understandable. (1) He'll inevitably cost early round draft picks. (2) Defensive end is not necessarily a need for this team. (3) He most likely won't play much into the next decade.
The arguments for the trade are just as strong. (1) The Bears have good defensive ends but the New York Giants proved that a great pass rush can change your season and the Bears' ends are not the strongest at getting to the quarterback. (2) Taylor would be installed into a rotation he did not enjoy in Miami which should keep him fresh for the entirety of a season. (3) An offensive line will now have to double-team either Taylor or Tommie...but not both. This would become one of the most feared units in the game.
Not a likely deal, I know, but one that would certainly make things more exciting in 2008. Would you sacrifice a second and third round pick for him? A first round pick next year? Mark Anderson and one of those picks? Food for thought I guess.
Special thanks to Rancid for bringing this to my attention. I'm actually quite surprised that SalPal got the approval of the Leader to put something so honest on their site. Apparently it is an abridged version of the piece that appears in his book. Nevertheless...
We interrupt the continued deification of Brett Favre -- a first-ballot Hall of Famer and the most durable player in NFL history -- with the following reality check.
Yes, Favre played long enough to throw the most touchdown passes and collect the most wins by an NFL quarterback. But let's examine the second half of No. 4's career. The truth is, Favre did little over the past decade to earn the gushing praise heaped upon him by our fawning brethren in the media.
After beating the San Francisco 49ers in the 1997 NFC Championship Game, Favre won just three of his last 10 playoff games. Eli Manning had more postseason wins in a 29-day span this past season than Favre had in his last decade with the Green Bay Packers.
Yes, Favre won a Super Bowl -- 11 years ago! But as his career arc spiraled downward, the blind adulation only got worse.
Favre's passer rating in his last 12 postseason games was a pedestrian 77.8. In his last five wild-card games, he went 2-3 with more interceptions (nine) than touchdown passes (seven). In his last three divisional playoff games, he went 1-2 with seven TDs and seven interceptions. That's a 3-5 record with 14 touchdown passes and 16 picks.
In two of his last four postseason appearances, Favre threw two of the most unthinkable playoff interceptions in NFL history, both in overtime -- to Brian Dawkins of the Philadelphia Eagles in 2003 and to Corey Webster of the New York Giants in January. In fact, Favre is the only quarterback in NFL history to throw overtime interceptions in two playoff games. In his last nine playoff games, Favre threw 18 interceptions.
Brett Favre's career playoff record was 12-10. Fellow Packer star quarterback Bart Starr, above, was 9-1.
In the first 81 years of the Green Bay franchise, the most hallowed in all of pro football, the Packers were 13-0 at home in the postseason. But since 2002, the Packers have gone 2-3 in playoff games at Lambeau Field, with Favre losing to three not-quite Hall of Fame quarterbacks: Michael Vick, Daunte Culpepper and Manning.
If Manning had a decade like that, he'd be run out of New York. If Philip Rivers kept chucking ridiculous overtime interceptions in the postseason, he would be branded a first-round bust. If Drew Brees came up short in three out of five home playoff games, he'd be mocked.
But no matter how many dumb passes he threw and how many playoff games he lost, Favre remains immune to criticism.
Favre isn't even the greatest quarterback in the history of the Packers. It's not even close. Bart Starr won five NFL championships -- four more than Favre -- and retired as the NFL's most accurate passer.
Oh, you say Starr was surrounded by a Hall of Fame roster with a legendary coach. But Starr still is the NFL record holder with a 104.8 career playoff passer rating, nearly 20 points higher than Favre's. That wasn't Vince Lombardi or Ray Nitschke throwing those passes for Starr, whose career postseason passer rating, by the way, is 38 points higher than Johnny Unitas'.
Favre's career playoff record was 12-10. Starr's was 9-1 -- without the benefit of wild-card games. Favre threw 28 interceptions in 22 playoff games. Starr threw three in 10. Think about that -- just three picks in 213 postseason attempts.
But Bart Starr gets the Ringo Starr treatment -- underappreciated and overlooked. Favre gets put on a pedestal. Yes, he had a Pro Bowl season in 2007 with the youngest roster in the NFL. But his final moment on Lambeau Field was a wildly errant pass that turned into the NFC title for the Giants.
Indeed, a decade after his last moments of glory, the football hype machine continues to paint Favre as a hallowed icon of Americana, a symbol of all that is right with sports, a Wild West gun-slinging good ol' boy. There's Brett on the farm! There's Brett with his family! There's Brett on the cover of Sports Illustrated! There's Brett throwing another overtime interception!
Favre was among the best in the game, once upon a time. Those days are long gone. Only the idolatry remains.
The addition of Brandon Lloyd today is a good one. It might not provide the excitement of landing Randy Moss or the security of keeping Bernard Berrian but that doesn't change the soundness of the move. Let's look at the Bears wide receiving corps.
Marty Booker is something of a prodigal son, returning to the Chicago Bears organization that devastated to trade him in the first place. The question is: what does he have left in the tank?
Brandon Lloyd catches everything (everything!), though he wasn't thrown much in Washington the last two years. Lloyd hasn't scored a touchdown in two seasons where he leapt for the Redskin money instead of finding a team that actually required his services. He has that now and he should slide into the role of a reliable third-down receiver. I repeat...he CATCHES everything.
Mark Bradley is the the Bears' single greatest question mark in 2008 but I'm on record a dozen times saying that I believe he has more ability than Bernard Berrian. If Bradley can stay on the field this season, I think he'll repeat his brilliant back-to-back performance during the Meadowlands Massacre of 2006.
Devin "The Skunk" Hester is the most exciting player in the league.
Are they great? Yes, if Hester brings his special teams brilliance to offensive side of the ball. Hester, me and my brothers would be a great receiving corps if Hester plays to the level he's capable. As they sit right now, they each have to perform to the maximum of their potential for the Bears to have a more-than-just-average passing game.
And you know what? I think they will. What do you think?
I'm not one to preach from the pulpit but the NFL is full of scumbags. You've got your murderers (Ray Lewis, Leonard Little), your drunk racists (Kerry Collins), your abnormally large douchebags (Adam Jones) and Brett Favre. (Wait, he's not in the NFL anymore)
Tommie Harris is a good guy but you won't read about him in Jay Mariotti's column because good guys don't sell newspapers. They don't lead the six o'clock news. They don't get Skip Bayless jazzed up on the Show-Formally-Known-as-Cold-Pizza. Good guys are just good guys.
Da Site has been following Tommie in Afghanistan and I've only linked there to the first of four or five articles. Peter King, also on a USO tour, documents Tommie's relationship with the troops in a column today.
I know it's not going to stir much conversation on here but I like it. He's a guy we're about to sign to one of the most lucrative contracts in the history of the league and after reading some of the stuff above, I think you'll be even happier about that.
Marty Booker was sad to be traded from the Chicago Bears - "bummed" the Daily-Herald called it. So was I even though it was a trade that needed to be made and has paid dividends. All that matters is Marty is back. Say what you want about diminishing skills and age having got the best of him. When Marty Booker puts the navy and burnt back on, I'll be expecting the old Marty Booker. Apparently so will he.
Two things I like from a nice article on Da Site.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“When I was traded to Miami, I had to take a backseat to being No. 1, and being that No. 2 guy, that affected me a lot to where I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t the opportunities that I would have liked. But to come back and help out the young guys and hopefully be their No. 1 guy, thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a role IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m comfortable with. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a role IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m ready to accept.Ã¢â‚¬?
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I just figured it would be a better opportunity for me to come to Chicago and the opportunity presented itself, so I had to jump on it,Ã¢â‚¬? Booker said.
Think about this from the perspective of a Green Bay Packers fan. Your organization has been hijacked by one player for five years, who has held out his return to the club until the talent around him was developed to a championship level. Then when that talent is assembled and the team looks on like they're on the brink of competing for a championship, said player quits because - as he said - he can't handle the pain of not winning a championship. What an asshole!
People also need to stop comparing this to the Barry Sanders/Jim Brown. First of all, those are the two best running backs to ever play football (in my opinion) and Brett Favre is nowhere near the top of the quarterbacks list. Secondly, neither of those players walked away from a club in serious competition for a title. Favre's last move is utterly reminiscent of the Super Bowl appearance-less second half of his career: a selfish moment for a selfish player.
Favre's plane was delayed en route to Green Bay so the press conference has been pushed back a half hour. When they land, Favre will stand on the tarmac and (in front of television cameras) show the pilot was route he should have taken to avoid the issue.
The crackerjack ESPN team lead by Trey Wingo just discussed for two minutes how stacked the Pack is but never criticized Favre once. ONCE!
It took Favre nine seconds to completely break down emotionally.
Train wreck! Total train wreck!
Brett Favre just became the first person to cry while saying the name "Mike Holmgren" since the night-shift manager at the downtown Seattle Arby's.
"I'm sure on Sundays I'll say I should be doing that." - Brett, in regards to the two interceptions Aaron Rodgers will throw each week.
Favre just tearfully listed all-time great Packers, leaving off Koren Robinson, sending him into a cocaine-fueled rage.
I wish Favre wasn't sitting down so I could enjoy his Wrangler jeans.
Brett can hardly get through the canned "All good things must come to an end" line. I wish ESPN had simply run the great Nick Nolte speech from the end of Blue Chips instead of this.
If Aaron Rodgers suffers a season-ending injury in a preseason game, is there any chance at all that Favre doesn't ride into Green Bay on horseback and save them? Answer: no.
LiveBlogging sucks. I'm done with it. Marty Booker column coming tonight. I bid adieu to Brandon Ayanbadejo, who signed an okay deal with not play linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens now.
I haven't LiveBlogged anything in an awful long time (should LiveBlogged have a space?) so I'm pretty damn excited about 12:00 pm ET on Thursday. I'll be sitting on the couch with a cold can of Coors Light (tall boy, of course) and a burrito from this terrific Mexican joint on 3rd Avenue between 26th and 27th streets. I hope you'll join me here as we officially usher in the Aaron Rodgers era.
Also wanted to fully weigh-in tonight on how happy I am with the Marty Booker signing. Look at what Cousin Larry says on DaSite:
"The Bears are basically getting the same player they signed in 2005 when Muhsin Muhammad joined the team as a free agent (and for a lot less money): A dependable 31-year-old veteran possession receiver whoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s savvy, physical and an asset as a down-field blocker. Booker is definitely an upgrade over the player Muhammad was in 2007 and will be a good influence on young receivers such as Mark Bradley and Devin Hester given his professionalism and work ethic. While I applaud the signing, I think the Bears will be just as motivated to select a wide receiver in the first three rounds of the draft."
By the way, here is the link to the play-by-play of Marty Booker's best game as a Bear. You may remember it as the day Dick Jauron called FOUR KNEES THE ONE AND ONLY TIME IN NFL HISTORY in a desperate attempt to not make the postseason.
Brett Favre is done and the Chicago Bears have just seen their Vegas odds skyrocket within the division. Look at the starting quarterbacks now in the NFC North:
Chicago: Rex Grossman/Kyle Orton
Minnesota: Tarvaris Jackson
Green Bay: Aaron Rodgers
Detroit: Jon Kitna
Favre just called Chris Mortensen to deny the rumors that he's retiring because the Packers failed to sign Randy Moss.
10:58 AM UPDATE
Mike Downey has begun the Chicago paper fellacio fest. Do you get the sense from this column that Downey is a Packers fan or is just pretending to be a Packers fan? Either way, it's official. Mike Downy...I'm watching you.
11:07 AM UPDATE
Rosenbloom saves the day! He says the Favre retirement is a bad thing because he's the only quarterback Lovie can beat. I don't agree with him but it sure is funny.
12:53 PM UPDATE
Apologies for the server problems. We remain your one-stop shopping for Brett Favre goodbyes. John Clayton has already brought the Packers back to earth. The real question? Has there ever been a football division with this amount of insecurity as the quarterback position?
1:00 PM UPDATE
The Journal Sentinel is updating quite often and this Favre retirement is starting to sound almost like it was forced by the Packers. Here's a comment from his agent:
"I know he wants to play one more year. I do not know much conversation there was (between Favre and the Packers) and I don't think anyone forced him to make that decision. But I don't know that anyone tried to talk him out of it."
1:24 PM UPDATE
Rick Morrissey of the Trib thinks Favre's retirement is everybody's loss. He's wrong. Dead wrong. I cherish the Green Bay Packers ballgame where I don't have to listen to announcers wax poetic about how much fun Favre is having throwing the ball to the other team.
1:28 PM UPDATE
Gallo bringing the funny over at ESPN.
1:37 PM UPDATE
Three of the worst playoff games ever played by a quarterback in this league.
1:47 PM UPDATE
Attention all Bears fans! Meggles is right. We need some videos of Favre's blunders, especially against Chicago and involving these playoff games above. I'd like all six from the Rams game and 'the heave" on repeat.
2:07 PM UPDATE
Fake headline from ESPN.COM in June:
PACKERS ENTER TRAINING CAMP WITHOUT PROVEN QUARTERBACK
by John Clayton
(I'm having fun today)
3:32 PM UPDATE
Brad Biggs has some Bears reactions to the Favre retirement. This column includes the inadvertently funniest phrase of the day from Nathan Vasher: "He would put balls in places where they were just out of reach." I bet he did, Nate.
5:25 PM UPDATE
The Real Mariotti has finally gotten on-board the "Brett Favre is God" bandwagon and describes himself as "bummed" not to have Favre going for another title. Two tidbits...
Mariotti writes in regards to Favre's poor play in the NFC Championship Game, "Didn't the Packers suffer no harsher sin than an overtime loss to the eventual Super Bowl champions?" Woah. Is this the same Jay Mariotti that has crucified Rex Grossman's performance in a loss to the eventual Super Bowl champions? The same Jay Mariotti that was unforgiving in his indictment of the Bears organization in the aftermath of Super bowl XLI?
How about this comment? "Bears fans think they have a chance to control the rivalry again. I will bring them back to earth with this: I'd rather have Aaron Rodgers, Favre's heir apparent, than Turnoversaurus Rex." (1)The Bears are 6-2 in the last four years of the rivalry and our makeshift quarterbacks have been to more Super Bowls since the Y2K phenomenon that Brett has. (2) How many games has Aaron Rodgers won in pro football? (3) I'm happy that Jay Mariotti wrote a predictably ignorant and sycophantic column about Favre. If he'd written something honest and truthful, it would have destroyed my feelings about him.
9:53 PM UPDATE
I know it deserves its own post but I figured why not use the space of this glorious day to talk about Marty Booker returning to the Chicago Bears. The Bears have now added a steady, reliable presence to the receiving corps and hopefully aren't done yet.
Oh glorious day! I wish thee never to end!
11:51 PM UPDATE
Great day folks. Thanks for being here. I'll be back tomorrow with a look at today.
With news breaking all day long during free agency, I'm going to stick with these quick note columns and bring back to heavy-handed opinions as we get closer to the draft.
JAGS WANT JIMMY
The Jaguars have signed Bears reserve defensive tackle to an offer sheet and we've got a week to match it. I can't imagine the Bears spending anywhere near the roughly million bucks it'll cost with Tommie Harris soon-to-be the highest paid defensive player in the game. The emergence of Matt Toeaina at the end of the year, coupled with a healthy dusty and Anthony Adams doesn't necessarily make this a position of great need.
NOT GETTING A BJ
Apparently the early reports about Bryan Johnson visiting Halas Hall early this week were erroneous. Brad Biggs reports that he's leaving Buffalo without a contract and may be headed to Washington and Tampa Bay next.
OTHER RECEIVERS AVAILABLE
Buffalo's Lee Evans, Detroit's Roy Williams and Cincinnati's Chad Johnson may still be attainable for the right offer according to the getting more-and-more reliable Profootballtalk.com. Detroit won't deal Roy within division. Dicky J won't want to make the Bears better. Cincinnati can't seem to complete a trade.
SPEAKING OF CINCINNATI...
Completely contradicting my previous point, the Jets may be cutting Dewayne Robertson as they watch a deal to trade him to Cincinnati fall through. Robertson has had the misfortune of being misused basically his whole career and if the Bears acquired him and lined him up next to Tommie, you'd be looking at the best defensive tackles in the game.
More I'm sure as the day progresses...
TALK ABOUT A PERFECT FITZGERALD
Just to wet your whistle, take a read of this piece from the Arizona Republic which outlines the problems the Cardinals are having re-signing the elite Larry Fitzgerald. Is he attainable? Not likely but his name has been bandied about in several places, including Philadelphia. To quote Glengarry Glen Ross, "A man does not walk on the lot less he wants to buy." He's a perfect match for the Bears (big, physical, young) and worth abandoning wholesale (1st, 2nd, whatever) draft picks to acquire.
THAT'S ENOUGH, LANCE
Brad Biggs' blog on Sun-Times.com features a quote from Lance Briggs, explaining why the free agent market dried up for him. Yeah...it doesn't make any sense. Just smile now, Lance, and make 100+ tackles.
The remainder of free agency and the draft leaves the Bears with four major areas of focus: (1) offensive line (2) wide receiver (3) running back (4) safety. Let's see how it plays out.
GRIESE TRADE TO TAMPA BAY
Brian Griese has been shipped off. He'll now become another name in that quarterback graphic shown every Sunday, somewhere between Henry Burris and Erik Kramer.
THE TWO JAKES
So the Jets signed Damien "Didn't he retire?" Woody to another in a long line of ridiculous contracts for the team. (Once again proving my theory that the young coach/young GM are horrified about losing their jobs.) I started looking for any other offensive linemen worth taking a look at. Found two. Both on great running teams. Both not old. Both started every game last season. 26 year-old Jacob Bell of Tennessee and 26 year-old Jake Scott of Indianapolis. Either one of these guys would enable the Bears to solidify the offensive line in the first round of the draft.
Jerry Angelo rescinded the offer to the Brandan Ayanbadejo in what is clearly a sign that the organization is pissed off at the perennial all-star special teamer for his lofty demands. This doesn't mean Dejo won't come back but it means the Bears will not allow themselves to be used as a bargaining tactic by a player who believes he deserves more time at linebacker because he made a couple tackles in the damn Pro Bowl. I'm no expert but I don't think Devin Hester's numbers will take a nosedive next year. (Good job to you guys for bringing this story up first.)
The focus of the Chicago Bears organization shifted last night with Jerry Angelo's near-miraculous signing of Lance Briggs, characterized by both the Sun-Times and Trib as a disaster for the elite linebacker and a coup for Halas Hall. Now the organization has achieved the most economically efficient move of this off-season and restored the confidence of a fanbase slowly drifting out into Lake Michigan. Here's what else is going on.
Randy Moss and Daunte Culpepper want to kill two-birds-with-one-stone for some lucky NFL franchise. Can you get Moss without Pepper?
Mosley Dead has changed his tune on the Chicago Bears, understanding that this defense is still very young and health will elevate them back to elite. They still need security at the safety spot, however.
Randy Moss is also being rumored to be a possibility in Green Bay if Favre returns. Jerry Angelo needs to take a page out of the Yankee/Red Sox rivalry on this one. Pay whatever you can to keep this from not happening. An unsuccesful Moss is Chicago is a positive thing if he's not playing with Favre.
Shane Olivea should be a real possibility at right tackle for the Bears. Norv Turner benched him in San Diego this season and GM A.J. Smith commented that he'd lost his fire but Olivea has proven himself to be a terrific player and could be a due for a renaissance with a new franchise where he'll be dedicated to prove A.J. the dickhead that he is.
Three interesting and (I think) related bits from Brad Biggs today which is a must-read for Bears fans. (1) Berrian saw his role diminishing in Chicago, most likely to...(2) Devin Hester, who has begun the negotiating process with Halas Hall. (3) Drew and Jerry are discussing Dejo, who is looking for an opportunity to play more linebacker.
Lance Briggs called it "coming home." I call it a coup for Jerry Angelo and the Chicago Bears front office. After the somber silence of these past few days, the Bears just signed the top defensive player in free agency and have solidified what will continue to be one of the league's elite linebacking corps. They were patient. They were smart.
Now we need some points, Jerry. Go get us some points. Randy Moss could be a total disaster but wouldn't it be fun?
Jay Glazer has reported that the Minnesota Vikings have signed Bernard Berrian to a six-year deal, putting him in a significantly more unstable quarterback situation than the one he just inhabited (the Vikes just offered a third round pick for Sage Rosenfels). Berrian sought cash and cash he's reportedly found - though the terms of the deal have not yet been released. The rumors are swirling that he's being paid 7 million a year with 16 up front. My God.
The Bears now need to be very careful. (1) Don't sign Bryant Johnson to some ridiculous contract because you need to fill the position. (2) See what it takes to be involved with the Randy Moss situation. I second my previous statement that lining up Moss and Hester at the same time would make the Bears offense more exciting than it has ever been in the history of the franchise. You can't double team both. (3) Javon Walker is going to win comeback player of the year next season and he won't cost the house. (4) Call Devin Hester. Get him to Chicago if he's not there. Teach him the offense. He's the ballclub now.