Posts Tagged ‘Adewale Ogunleye’

Pre-Season Indications: The Pass Rush Is Back

September 2, 2009

While most fans and analysts agree that the pre-season isn’t a great indication of how things will go, I’m going to step up and disagree with that assessment. Having seen all three of the Bears’ pre-season games to this point I can clearly say without much hesitation that the pass rush is back.

The Bears’ defense struggled last year against the pass, and it was the main reason they missed the playoffs. Meanwhile in 2009 the CB situation is far from settled and most fans would prefer to see a ball hawking free safety back there, the bottom line is thee success of this defense starts with the front four.

The top off-season priority was to find a way to fix the pass rush and to do it without overhauling the current crop of defensive lineman who were so successful in 2006 together. Enter Rod Marinelli one of the preeminent defensive line coaches in the league, if not the last couple decades. Marinelli’s resume speaks for itself although most Bears fans see only 0-16 and the coach of the Detroit Lions.

However Lovie Smith knows Marinelli well and knew that he was just the guy to fix the front four. There was a reason Smith called him the biggest free-agency acquisition of the 2009 off-season. Marinelli is a motivator of men, and is all football all the time. Toss in that he may be one of the best teachers of the game and is a disciple of the Tampa-2 defense and the choice was an easy and obvious one.

I predict and can say that it has already paid huge dividends for the Bears’ defense. While most fans remain skeptical the fact of the matter is the Bears’ pass rush has improved and it has improved drastically. The Bears currently rank eighth in the league with a pre-season total of 11 sacks. So? It’s the pre-season come the naysayers, fine but consider the opponents the Bears’ pass rush has looked the best against, the Giants and the Broncos.

Then the naysayers come with “the Broncos only allowed one sack the entire game”. Yes I’m aware of the stat, but the Broncos’ offensive line was also the cause of numerous holding penalties. A sign that the Bears’ defensive line was particular aggressive and dominating to the point that they had no choice but to grab and hold.

The Broncos mind you were the best offensive line in the league in pass protection last year. The Broncos only allowed 12 sacks on the season which good for first overall. Part of this has to do with Jay Cutler’s ample mobility and the other part would be they simply were good. Considering how many pass attempts the Broncos and Cutler attempted last year you can certainly see just how well they were in protecting the passer.

Cutler attempted 616 passes last year and was sacked the aforementioned 12 times. An average of 1 sack every 51 pass attempts. A phenomenal stat in pass protection for the Broncos. Yet the Bears’ offensive line did well to attack that well protecting front.

Not only are the sack totals up during the pre-season the intensity level is up. The D-Line seems to never quit on the pass rush and it shows. If one player gets the penetration forcing the QB to step up or move around in the pocket, typically someone else is there to make the sack. The front’s motor never seems to stop where as last year if they were stopped on their initial moves they seemed to just stop.

There is a clear difference in motivation along the front four. A never ending collective effort to get pressure and they have been successful. What also is a healthy indication is it’s not just the starters that have performed well. The backups have been just as intense and just as focused. Add on that the Bears will use a healthy rotation among the 11 members of the front four they could keep and the future looks bright.

There seems to finally be an intense focus as well as a realization of how important the “rush men” are to the success of the defense. The line has bought into what Marinelli is yelling, but more importantly they are learning from what he is teaching. The improvement to this point, has been visible to the untrained eye and that has the makings of what could be a very exciting season of Chicago Bears football.

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Bears vs. Giants Film Review

August 25, 2009

In keeping with the weekly tradition I’m wrapping up the pre-season game from the weekend with a film session. We’re going to go over the tape (hopefully in a smaller more readable format this time) and do our best to evaluate the game in a fair and balanced manner.

The starters are the usual, Cutler, Forte, Bennett, Hester, McKie, Olsen, on the line it’s Pace, Omiyale, Kreutz, Garza and Williams. The T.V. got something wrong when they had Beekman starting at the right guard spot. Garza started at RG and Omiyale at left guard. Beekman has yet to make a career start at right guard nor do I ever foresee him making such a start.

The Bears receive the opening kick off and Cutler brings them out starting at the 24-yard line.

First Drive

Frank Omiyale badly misses a block and Forte is stopped for no gain on the play. Second play run blitz, Forte shows quick feet gets to the outside and makes something out of what should have been nothing. Third and eight the Giants blitz and bring more than the Bears can block, Forte makes his block and Cutler RIFLES IT, a play that Bears fans are not used to seeing to Earl Bennett between two defenders. Hester with a nice block Bears gain 27 on the pass play. Nice bit of run after the catch by Bennett as well.

Hester gain of 10, Olsen split wide catch and a run off a down the line pass. Pace struggles with some run blocking Forte makes some moves and gains positive yards. Omiyale misses his second block of the game on a run play. Olsen drops a pass after Forte empties the back field. Pass blocking has been good to this point, third and long, pass wide of Hester. Willliams held his ground pretty well in pass protection, but did get set up late in the rush on an inside move.

Negatives two missed blocks by Omiyale on the opening drive. He seems to be getting beat pretty consistently in run blocking. This would be why Beekman should be the starter since he performed at a higher level throughout camp. This drive could have stalled a lot earlier based on Omiyale’s run blocking. Only the big catch by Bennett, saved this drive from no points. Disappointing opening series for Frank Omiyale who the Bears paid a lot of money to come in and be the starter at LG.

Result is a field goal, drive may not have stalled were it not for Omiyale’s poor run blocking.

Bears first drive on defense with the usual starters. Harris, Adams, Brown, O-Gun. Urlacher, Briggs, Tiniosamoa, Trumaine McBride, Vasher, Payne and Afalava. Bears do their typical blitz look that they ran a lot last year, Quick drop by Manning completed pass to Steve Smith. Tommie Harris double-teamed on the play, with Manning out of the shot gun.

Bears again with their blitz look from the linebackers, double team on Harris to a scrape to the linebackers, Giants run at Tommie Harris. Jacobs breaks a lot of tackles on third and two including bowling through Urlacher and gains a first down. Tommie Harris got good penetration on the play, Jacobs slipped to the other gap where Urlacher should have made the play. If Urlacher makes this tackle the drive stalls right here.

Good jump by Alex Brown another good run by Jacobs up the middle, Tommie Harris again getting good penetration to disrupt things. Jacobs bounces it to a hole where Harris was, and gains some yards. Overall Harris looks explosive and disruptive though the holes he’s choosing aren’t the right ones. Jacobs is making the Bears look bad but he’s the biggest running back in the NFL, he makes everyone look bad.

Defensive line does a good job thommie Harris looks ineffective because the guard gets a way with a hold to slow him down and get a better lock on him. The rest of the pass rush gets some pressure, Manning steps up and fires a dart that’s beautifully broken up by Kevin Payne. Payne rolled his hips perfectly into the receiver’s route and breaks it up.

Result is a punt

Second Drive

Fake toss, Cutler rolls out and fires a completion to Earl Bennett, Bennett does a great job of shielding the ball from the defender while making the catch. Bears go no-huddle hurry up offense, Cutler looks things over audibles to Forte who springs forth for his first big run of the game. Excellent audible call well communicated by Cutler to the entire offense and Forte does the rest. Good run blocking by everyone, well executed scrape block and then getting to the second level by Omiyale. Next run is a bad one, no real blocking up front and Forte is dropped for a loss.

Cutler out of the shot gun, Bears in a two TE set, Olsen split wide, a little pressure but Cutler makes another great throw to Olsen. Cutler being able to see down the field over his lineman and the collapsing pocket in front of him makes this play possible. Had this been Rex Grossman back there, it would have likely been picked or he would have been sacked for not being able to see his receiver and make the throw.

Near perfect blocking up front on Forte’s touchdown run. This play is superbly executed all the way around and it makes Forte’s job ridiculously easy. Lots of emphasis on the extremely good run blocking on this play for the Bears.

Second defensive drive

Two complete passes to start this drive. First pass has a good inside move pass rush that gets a hit on the QB by Alex Brown. Superb pass rush here by Brown, it really looks like he’s coming on. Next pass Tommie Harris is double teamed and it’s a quick out pass to the receiver.

Bears do a good job of string out this run play again, but Jacobs makes something out of nothing the only way he can. He absolutely trucks through another big hit without a wrap up by Urlacher. Urlacher is getting there but as usual he’s having trouble against big power backs. Urlacher does show great pursuit on the play and if it wasn’t Brandon Jacobs making this run the tackle would have been made.

The next run Idonije gets blown up at the point of attack, but does a good job of driving wide to string the play out. Brown gets good back side pressure and Jacobs picks through the linebackers to make a gain out of nothing. Again great run defense by the Bears here overall, just frustrating that they have to attempt to tackle the biggest RB in the NFL so he makes EVERYONE look foolish.

Next run play is good technique and drive up front by the defensive line. They attack their gaps well and why not making plays in the backfield give the linebackers ample room to roam and attack and make plays. Urlacher and Tiniosamoa attack Jacobs high and low and drop him quick. Two linebackers combining to make a tackle as Jacobs enters the hole just shows good gap control by the D-Line.

Next play is a quick pass to Ahmad Bradshaw, good pressure by the D-Line it’s just a quick pass play that doesn’t give them time to get to Manning. Only a gain of three and Briggs swoops in and makes a solid tackle. Third and 11 play Alex Brown just uses a speed rush past the LT and swipes at the ball. Fumble on the play is recovered by the Giants, but just an excellent pass rush by Alex Brown on a third and long. Good twist between O-Gun and Tommie Harris, springs O-Gun free as well. He gets a hit on Eli after Brown knocks the ball loose. Superb pass pressure all the way around here. Results in a punt.

Bears’ third offensive drive

Chris Williams struggles a bit in run blocking, well executed play everywhere else but the play doesn’t really go anywhere. Next play is the play fake roll out where Cutler shows off his sick arm strength by launching the ball to a wide open Devin Hester. Hester misjudges the ball and it’s incomplete. Next play is a good pass play, that could go complete were it not for the absolute mugging of Earl Bennett. They’re used to people in New York so I guess this shouldn’t come as a surprise. I hate to see drives kept alive by penalties, but when it’s this obvious of a call you just laugh at the defender.

More good pass protection for Cutler on a slant, Bennett should run the perfect route or shield the defender who breaks up the pass. Bennett could have been more effective in this route than sort of just nonchalantly doing what he did. Forte with a nice catch out of the backfield, he was wide open on the play so Cutler made the right throw in just getting the ball to him.

Cutler on a roll out play, comes back to Hester who lays a block on his side of the field to which the roll out was going. Hester slips into the open after the block and makes the first down grab. Forte picks his way for a gun of four off of an average run play. Some good blocking but some good pursuit by the Giants.

Cutler feels some pressure on the next play in which the Giants blitz, overall the pass protection is good. Orlando Pace particularly gets a good set, the blitz was just good. Greg Olsen gets jammed up at the line of scrimmage. He let the defender get up deep into him it was almost as if it was a block. Olsen was trying to get into his pass route and never did. Disappointing on this play to see Olsen not get into his route and not beat the jam. A lot of times last year this is what took him out of games.

Cutler from the shot gun out of an empty backfield. He sees the wide open middle of the field steps up and with some speed gets 12-yards on the play. Great pass protection on the next play Cutler easily sets his feet and makes a superb throw to Aromashadu. The 38-yard gain on the pass play is well-executed and is a great catch by Aromashadu.

Well execute play fake Cutler his a wide open Desmond Clark for the touchdown. Just good execution on this drive and there is joy in the City of Big Shoulders.

Bears on defense

Probably the worse play of the game here for the Bears. The play-action fake by Manning stops a run blitz and Manning hits a wide open Steve Smith for a big gain in the middle of the zone.

Again good solid run defense at the point of attack. The D-Line holds their gaps well, keeps their ground, Jacobs makes something out of nothing but not for much of a gain here. Al Afalava coming up into the box to make a tackle on Jacobs on this play for a gain of four. Good to see the rookie step up and make a tackle low on the big man. Good blitz on this play, Manning is pressured and throws an intentional grounding ball away. Good execution on the blitz here sets up this play.

A great rush by Adewale Ogunleye on this play he sets up the tackle with a strong move to the outside but then slides back and sacks Manning. Another double team on Tommie Harris on this play. The result is another forced punt by the defense.

Chicago Bears Training Camp Report Day 3

August 2, 2009

While the defense has stolen the show for the most part of the first two days, the offense didn’t want to take that lying down on day two.

The passing game continues to find it’s groove with both Jay Cutler and Caleb Hanie getting in on the action. Cutler was overall sharp while Hanie continued to shine and show a high level of improvement over last year. Hanie has the arm strength to get the ball down the field and the accuracy behind that rocket to make big plays in tight spots. It looks as though they are the one and two (Cutler obviously) but Hanie is running away from Basanez. Honestly it’s not even close at this point even when Basanez improves his accuracy he still seems to get picked off once a practice.

On the offensive line Chris Williams is beginning to show signs of being fully healed from his back surgery last year. On top of being healthy Williams has shown the talent that made him the Bears’ first round selection in the draft last year. While most fans are skeptical given the recent lack of overall success with first round picks, Williams seems to be fighting as if his job were on the line. He’s had a few pancake blocks here and there and has been solid in pass protection as well. Williams has also been talking with a chip on his shoulder with the media. He seems to be fuming somewhat that they (the media) helped anoint a bust before he played his first real game.

The Bears need stability along the offensive front, especially at offensive tackle and it’s Williams and Pace that are attempting to do just that. The severely disappointing play from the offensive line last year really hampered the Bears’ success in both the running game and in pass protection. Now Williams seems intent on changing that and earning his pay check.

A bit of a surprise thus far has been the success of Lance Louis as a second team LT. Louis has shown that he may be a capable back up, at least from the early going of camp. Free agent signee Kevin Schaeffer is showing why the Bears signed him in the first place. Also playing with a high motor and a lot of intensity. Schaeffer was noticeably solid in the first pads practice and showed up again today. If for any reason Williams goes down Schaeffer is more than a capable back up in his place. On the flip side Williams would likely flip to the left side in place of Pace and Schaeffer would move up to starting RT.

At wide receiver Earl Bennett and the coaching staff may get the last laugh. Bennett is showing the signs that Jay Cutler and the coaching staff have been talking about from the get go. Bennett put a nasty double move off of a pump fake on Nathan Vasher and hauled in a pass 40-yards down the field from Cutler. Bennett also snatched the ball out of the air on a diving reception that brought a roar from the crowd. Bennett’s consistency is the most promising sign and it really helps that he shows to showing the signs of the same rapport he had with Cutler at Vanderbilt. ’08 may have been a wasted year for the rookie, but ’09 could be a year that makes the fans forget all about that.

With Juaquin Iglesias struggling to adjust to the pro level, the need for Bennett to step up his game and show why he was a third round pick is even more apparent. Iglesias had the first drop of the practice tonight and has made too many drops for our liking. Most people are beginning to ask who exactly was the third round selection and who was the fifth round selection between Iglesias and Knox. Knox is taking to the game like a duck to water, continuing all the great catches and route running he showed in OTAs. Further cementing his status on the team and moving up the depth chart to second team WR.

On defense Pisa Tiniosamoa is another player showing why the Bears were excited to sign him. He has laid the wood to both Garrett Wolfe and Kevin Jones on more than one occasion. Even at the smallish 224-pounds Tiniosamoa has made up with it with his intensity. Still you have to worry about things a bit when your strong side linebacker is tipping the scales in the range of some safeties.

Lance Briggs and Hunter Hillenmeyer took the day off for the most part with the veteran injury excuse of “general soreness”. This gave Jamar Williams the reps with the first team defense at the WILL ‘backer spot. Williams got popped pretty good by Olin Kreutz towards the end of practice. Williams is another player that has been the story of OTAs showing that he’s versatile enough to play all three LB positions while being the first player to come off the bench if an injury occurs.

Perhaps the best excitement of practice was the debut of the Wildcat formation or the Cane formation as the Bears are calling it. Devin Hester lines up behind center with Cutler split wide and fireworks happen. It’s just another reason to get Hester the ball in space or on a misdirection play that let’s him use his speed and moves in the open field.

As I predicted in an earlier article rookie Al Afalava is moving up the ranks in the secondary. He’s moved up to take reps with the second team defense. Even though Afalava was only around for a week of OTAs, he is out there showing off why the Bears are essentially experts at finding solid talent late in the draft. The more Afalava improves the better for the overall health of the secondary.

Unfortunately the secondary is not all stable. Nathan Vasher has been described as looking like a first year player, getting lost in coverage and beat by younger receivers. The sixth year veteran may very well be participating in his last Chicago Bears training camp. Coupled with his injury problems and his lack of consistent play Vasher looks like he’ll like be supplanted by Zack Bowman once Charles Tillman returns to reclaim his starting job.

At this point it’s one person’s opinion, although he has a lot of overall backing from everyone else in attendance in practice that there is absolute new attitude on the D-Line. The Rod Marinelli effect is being felt and the players continue to rave about as much as the media does. Adewale Ogunleye stated this is the first time he’s been able to implement what he’s being taught into real game situations (via game film). Alex Brown has taken to Marinelli’s approach like a duck to water. Not surprising given Brown naturally plays like Marinelli coaches. Rookie Jarron Gilbert is showing why the Bears are excited about his potential. Gilbert is versatile strong and very fast, he’s taking to the intensity. One observer made the comment that some D-Lineman have a tendency to look like Tarzan and play like Jane, while Gilbert is Tarzan on both counts.

Israel Idonije is looking like a slimmed down beast. Down 40-pounds from 306-pounds to 266-pounds. This gives Idonije a fierce burst off the ball and his already impressive power is magnified by the speed he possesses. This could be Idonije’s coming out party this year and it’s none too soon to have happen.

For more in-depth discussion on the Chicago Bears’ training camp go to Midway Illustrated

53-man battle royale: Mark Anderson

May 15, 2009

Where have you gone Mark Anderson of 2006? The rookie sensation who had 12 sacks over 16 games as a part time starter for the NFC Champion Chicago Bears. Anderson also caused four fumbles on his way to a run at the defensive rookie of the year honors.

However if you closely examine Anderson’s 2006 season you find that his success came in spurts, but also came against some of the worst pass protecting offenses in the league for that year.

When you break it down, Anderson had 8.5 sacks against teams that were in the bottom ten in the league in sacks allowed on the season. Anderson had 2.5 sacks against the Detroit Lions, 2.0 against the Buffalo Bills, 2.0 against the Seattle Seahawks, 2.0 against the St. Louis Rams, teams that were just awful in pass protection in 2006.

With this type of production against teams that were this bad at protecting the passer it’s easy to see how Anderson’s numbers were so inflated. Feasting against the worst pass protecting teams is exactly the reputation Anderson built for himself.

So the question is will he be able to better take advantage of Rod Marinelli’s arrival and get back to that level of production?

I find the likelihood of that to be highly unlikely. Anderson has some natural pass rushing ability, but there isn’t one aspect of his game that he does very well. He has decent size to be a weak-side pass rusher at 6-foot-4 255-pounds. But he is under-sized by the regular standards of what would be considered ideal.

Anderson’s speed off the edge is also not very impressive for a player who needs to be making his living off of rushing the QB. While he may have the most speed off the edge of any player on the Bears’ roster, it’s inadequate. Alex Brown and Adewale Ogunleye have average speed at best when it comes to running the curve.

While Brown has superb closing speed and both the starters hold up well against the run, getting to the QB is the weak point of their games.

You can even argue that Ogunleye has given up at this point in his career given how big of a failure he has been in Chicago.

Anderson further hurts himself by not being able to hold up well against the run thus limiting his role to a third down rusher. As a starter Anderson was man-handled against the run making it easy for teams to run at him.

The only plus side of Anderson’s failure was the fire it lit under the ass of Alex Brown. Brown has in turn become one of the best DEs in the league against the run. Brown saved the game against the Eagles with his fourth and one stop on the goal-line.

With the arrival of both Jarron Gilbert and Henry Melton Anderson may be on his last chance to be a part of the D-Line rotation. Both the rookies have attributes that Anderson lacks. Also by virtue of their draft standing this year they are both guaranteed a spot on the roster.

So the battle for Anderson may be for his very NFL career this year. With Marinelli here, and a load of competition behind him it’s Anderson’s year to put up or shut up. If he doesn’t show signs of big things in the pre-season you will likely see him not a part of the Bears’ final 53-man roster.

NFL Draft Combine Updates D-Lineman and LBs

February 24, 2009

Getting back into the combine we come to the coverage of some of my favorite players in all of football. The defensive front seven, war hogs of hell. I’ve grown up a Chicago Bears fan, so it’s easy to see that this is just naturally in my blood to root for and watch these gladiators. It’s simple really the Bears didn’t get the nickname “The Monsters of the Midway” from their history on offense.

With that said I plan to keep a close eye on the DEs and some of the LBs because whether Bears fans are ready to admit it or not it maybe time to start looking for a player who could push Urlacher for playing time, and perhaps be the future. Urlacher got old fast by football standards and we may only get one perhaps two decent years out of him production wise.

First up in the 40-yard dash is a player that has been mentioned a lot around here. DE Michael Johnson from Georgia Tech who has all the athletic measurables in the world by all accounts, but apparently needs a heart transplant. I however am of the opinion that if he has first round type talent and dips to far into the 2nd or maybe even the third round he may be to tempting to pass up. A lot of people questioned Simeon Rice’s heart for a number of years when he was with the Arizona Cardinals, but Rod Marinelli got a lot out of him during his tenure in Tampa Bay. Johnson’s measurables are similar in stature at 6-7 266-pounds.

As expected Johnson blows it up in the 40-yard dash with a time of 4.66. That’s moving down the line for a player of his size. Most LBs can’t run that fast. He looks the part that they say, he’s built, cut, trim, well proportioned…he has it all…..lub dub, lub dub….lub dub aside.

Next up is a four-year starter at DT from Iowa Mitch King. Mayock instantly addresses the heart issue with Johnson by comparing him to King who is a white farm bred boy who’s 6-1 281. “I tell you what if did a heart transplant between Johnson and King you would have a Hall of Fame DE.” King is a kid who is really to small to play DT, to big to play DE, but he just flat out makes plays.”

King definitely looks good running his 40-yard dash doing so in 4.81, which is pretty darn good for a DT prospect. I’m with Mayock you can’t coach heart or work ethic so you’d like to hope that King winds up somewhere and has a good career. You root for the guys that just love to battle in the trenches and epitomize every work hard superlative compliment you can throw out there.

One of the heroes from the Sugar Bowl victory for the Utah Utes steps to the line for his 40-yard dash. 6-4 263 DE a RS Sophomore for the Utes. Mayock rates him as #5 on his list of top DEs in this draft. Paul “Freddy” Kruger runs a 4.84 in the 40-yard dash. Like what you see from a kid who has spent his entire career underrated, undre recruited, and under respected. Perfect fit as a later round selection if he lasts that long runs a 4.84 40-yard dash.

Someone that definitely triggers debate is up DT from USC Fili Moala 6-4 308-pounds. Loved by the likes of Mel Kiper Jr and especially Todd McShay. Played next to and benefited from the production of Sedrick Ellis from USC last year. A prospect that I haven’t always felt was as highly regarded as McShay or Kiper Jr crowed about. I’m able to separate USC generated hype from actual production. Moala IMO is that type of player not as consistent or as dominant as he should be for a player rumored to be as talented as he is.

Just as I finish typing this it’s precisely what the two ex scouts from the NFL Network get into. They talk about how he is a high level talented guy but you just don’t see enough out of him to be blown away. Moala gets down the line in 5.14 in the 40-yard dash. Average among DTs just another thing that says what I’ve been saying all along about USC football players. Are there great ones that come out of USC? You bet, Sedrick Ellis was one of them I had him ahead of the Glen Dorsey last year. However things in the NFL always tend to even themselves out amongst players and some of the Trojans end up being exposed.

As I finish typing about a Trojan yet another one steps to the line. Kyle Moore 6-5 272-pounds, yet another manufactured hype player from the Trojans. He goes out and runs an acceptable 4.82 40-yard dash.

So the question is why do the USC guys dominate so well in college week after week. Simple they don’t see even remotely good OTs on a week to week basis. They may see one to three good guys a year that measure up as talented OTs. But then they run into the Arizona State’s, the UCLA’s the Wassu’s the U-Dubs who don’t have even a remotely decent offensive tackle and they expose them. The Sun Devils and Bruins specifically have had O-Line problems for a number of years and last year was no exception. Plus people by default think that these two typically top of the Pac-10 schools would have a great OT. But they flat out don’t so the USC’s of the world expose that.

Next up is the stud from Texas Brian Orakpo who goes 6-3 263-pounds. Orakpo won’t be around long enough for the Bears to select and he immediately shows why by running a 4.63 40-yard dash. If scouts think he can play the OLB in a 3-4 defense they’re probably right when you can fly down the line in the 4.63 range.

BJ Raji is one of the most highly regarded DT maybe a nose tackle on the big board of just about everyone. Unfortunately if you make him take his shirt of you might be able to catch a wave off his stomach. Obviously at 6-1 337 he’s not going to be put together like a man of steel, but you would still prefer to see some sort of definition instead of a jiggle. He is built like a freaking tank though low squatty just thick throughout. I’ll give him props for throwing up 33 reps on the 225-bench.

This set of experts can’t get enough of busting Michael Johnson’s balls. They go in and show tape on the kid show how he got a pretty good push and defeated Eugene Monroe, but then gets taken out by a TE. Please let him fall in the draft just enough into the third round or so who knows. He could be valuable with running a 4.69 40-yard dash. Buyer beware, but Rod Marinelli just might be the guy to get something out of him.

Is it redundant with my reporting on Johnson? Yeah I should perhaps move on to others.

Okay so Robert Ayers from Tennessee 6-3 272-pounds goes out and runs a 4.80 in the 40-yard dash. Highly regarded and highly rated by Mike Mayock, Mayock says “I have to see where he was at before his senior year.” Ayers may be a potential prospect that slips to the Bears.

A Northen Illilnois boy Larry English a great edge rusher 6-3 255-pounds. Mike Mayock likes him a lot said he dominated the Minnesota Golden Gophers the first game of the season. Extremely talented edge rusher one of those tweener types that could play DE or LB in the NFL. A lot of the fast DEs in college are a wee bit undersized by NFL standards so there are a bunch of them that look like Lawrence Taylor, Devon Ware type 3-4 guys. English gets down the line in a pretty decent time of 4.77.

The intriguing thing is though these under-sized DE types seem to be the type of DEs that Lovie Smith favors even while running his 4-3 defense. Neither Alex Brown or Adewale Ogunleye are Bruce Smith or Reggie White type DEs.

In the end what the Bears need anyway is speed off the edge.

Everrette Brown from Florida State is another one that may just happen to fall to the Bears. If the perfect storm happens as the Chicago media mentions and all the OTs, WRs and Safties are off the board by the time the Bears select there is a plethora of pass rushers that would fall to them. Brown is 6-4 252-pounds and goes and runs a 4.63 40-yard dash. So while I say the Bears should not take a pass rushing DE on day one, if a great one happens to fall and keeps on falling and all the other high need prospects are off the board then take the needed value at 18 cut Ogunleye and save yourself some cap money in the process.

Connor Barwin from the Cincinnati Bear Cats goes 6-4 255-pounds and runs a 4.61 in the 40-yard dash time. Yet another tweener edge rusher type who if you put his hand in the dirt would be a good DE in the cover-2 defense where pass rushing is a must.

Barwin will be available later in the draft possibly outside the first round to where the Bears can snatch him up after they take an OT at 18 because guys like Orakpo, English, Brown will already be off the board by 18.

Why the Chicago Bears should NOT draft a DE on day one

February 22, 2009

A lack of a pass rush by the defensive line in 2008 arguably contributed to three to four losses on the season for the Chicago Bears.  Starting DEs Alex Brown and Adawale Ogunleye failed to muster much pressure throughout the seaosn.  They were consistently shut down. Even Mark Anderson who looked like a future pass rushing demon as a rookie couldn’t get a rush going to help the team.

I myself am solidly of the opinion that the Bears DO in fact need to upgrade their pass rush.  I was one livid person to be around on 3rd and longs this year.  No one could be in the room with me while watching the games because I couldn’t help but try to scream motivational garbage at the TV.  Somehow I  thought and will still think that these players can hear me through the TV.  It hasn’t stopped me since about the time I hit puberty and it won’t stop until the day I die, although if I go to heaven it likely won’t end there because let’s face it, heaven is on the Bears 50-yard line about 12 rows up.  That’s where I plan to watch games from anyway once I’m dead.

So then it begs the question WHY in the hell am I writing a blog to try to convince myself and others that the Bears shouldn’t draft a DE on day one of the NFL draft?  Well after my temper begins to cool down with the weather (let’s face it after January and most of February in Chicago even the most hot under the collar Bears fans chill out) I am able to think more clearly.  What have I thought about?  Just exactly how good O-Gun and Brown were against the run.  These two DEs were some of the best in the league in run defense.  No TEs could block them one on one, and Brown made plays in run support that won the Bears two maybe three games.

Which brings me to my point, draft a replacement for Mark Anderson the so-called pass rushing specialist.  It can be a guy in the fourth round or later, someone who  himself excels at rushing the passer and not much else.  Why take this type of risk at such a position of need?  Simple competition will motivate Anderson and whoever wins the battle in mini-camp and the pre-season the loser gets cut.  It is possible to find late round pass rushing talent at DE on a yearly basis.  Alex Brown was a fourth rounder and has been way more valuable to this franchise than his draft slot.

So then where can the Bears  find a player who could use a bit of extra motivation to earn some money and some playing time, but has all the natural ability to develop into a beast?  Georgia Tech’s Michael Johnson may be just the guy.  Every scout up to this point has questioned Johnson’s heart, his motor, his effort, his desire and his mental aptitude.  What they won’t question is his 6-7 260-pound frame, his athleticism, his speed, quickness and skills.  This kid is the perfect gamble for the Bears to risk on who might fall into the later rounds of the draft.

Why would I say this?  Because there is a new sherrif in town on the staff who happens to be the D-Line coach.  This guy happens to be Rod Marinelli who is known for his attitude, his strut and his ability to motivate eskimos into thinking they live in the tropics.  I have seen Marinelli in action first hand throughout his career.  Marinelli was the D-Line coach at Arizona State when I first ran across him.  He was the first coach at ASU who evoked images of legendary motivator Frank Kush.  Marinelli is a fire breathing tough guy who spits bullets and pisses on your scrapes and scabs.

There will be a tangible difference in this defensive line as a whole with Marinelli in charge.  Is he a miracle worker?  No, but he won’t need to be with the right mix of players.  The Bears still do have a strong mix of players on the D-Line.  The same can’t be said for other positions.

Brad Biggs of the Sun Times and I think alike:

Brad Biggs’ Blog