9:55 AM CDT, March 28, 2012
The NFL’s competition committee had an idea that the Bears should like but don’t.
The committee recommended increasing offseason rosters from 80 players to 90 as a way of developing more talent. Nothing wrong with that, right? A chance to find more players.
But no. The Bears aren’t in favor of it. One reason might be increased cost. Another reason voiced by Bears chairman George McCaskey is that more bodies would make training camp more chaotic.
One reason sounds dumb, the other sounds like a lot of hooey. It seems to me that increasing rosters plays to the strength of their new general manager.
Gathering talent is why Phil Emery was brought in. Specifically, gathering college talent. That was Ted Phillips’ big deal. He wanted a GM to close the talent gap in the draft. Doesn’t it make sense, then, that the Bears would want to give their new GM some extra shots at closing the talent gap? Doesn’t it seem as if the Bears would be hurting their cause by voting against the proposal? It does to me.
It’s imperative that the Bears upgrade their talent in many areas, starting with the offensive line, then moving quickly to wide receiver and linebacker.
It sounds funny to say there’s a talent gap at linebacker when you start with Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs, but after Urlacher and Briggs, the gap in talent is as terrifying as the lack of depth.
Same goes for wide receiver in a lot of ways. Providing he can keep his hands to himself off the field, Brandon Marshall solved part of the problem on the field. But Marshall alone doesn’t solve enough of Jay Cutler’s problems, not if Bears coach Lovie Smith continues this Devin Hester nonsense.
At a media gathering Wednesday morning during the NFL meetings in Florida, Smith said the Bears will continue looking for ways to use Hester, and I’m thinking, use him as a kick returner and punt returner. Period. End of discussion. Next.
Hester can’t figure out how to do it. Bears coaches can’t figure out how to get him to do it. So, before Smith completely destroys the greatest kick returner in history, take away Hester’s offensive playbook.
The offensive line is the most obvious issue that seemingly could benefit by extra bodies on the roster. The Bears finished the season with everybody playing out of position. It looked worse under Mike Martz, the deposed lunatic offensive coordinator who regularly failed to realize who he was calling plays for.
The line figures to be more reliable with Mike Tice calling plays because Tice coaches that line and is more aware of what it can’t do, but still, hang loose, Jay.
Smith said Wednesday he would be comfortable with J’Marcus Webb at left tackle. Smith might be the only one. Smith also might want to ask Cutler. Webb led the league with 14 sacks allowed and also led the league with eight false starts. Third and long. Fourth-and-dead.
But Bears management-slash-ownership doesn’t think the team would benefit by expanding rosters to give the Bears another three or four chances to discover actual blockers charged with protecting the most expensive and important asset on the team?
I fully understand that the last 10 players on a 90-man roster are unlikely to be much more than camp bodies, but look, when you have a talent gap as large as the Bears do in critical areas, then you need all the help you can vote for.
In tweeting his unhappiness over the Bears’ signing Michael Bush last week, Matt Forte noted it was the fourth time the Bears signed another back. Yes, and one of the big reasons is Forte’s inability to consistently convert third-and-short and goal-to-go.
The gamble that Marshall can stay on the field is a good one for a rookie general manager who figures to be bullet-proof for a couple years, but less so for a veteran head coach who has missed the playoffs four of the last five years.
Cornerback Zack Bowman left the Bears for Minnesota, so that’s two 200-yard games a year for Marshall.
New Denver Bronco Caleb Hanie: “I’m not going to try to be Peyton Manning.’’ Trust me, you won’t. And you might also want to avoid being Caleb Hanie, too.
Let me get this right: People in Denver got mad at the quarterback of a lifetime for dumping a guy who said Monday he’s not even a quarterback first for the Jets this year?
Miami Dolphins fans staged a protest at team headquarters over the direction of the franchise. Wait, the Dolphins have a direction?
You’re next, Redskins fans.
Then you, Jets fans.
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