Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

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19 Jun 2008

Walkthrough: Chicago Hope

by Mike Tanier

Walkthrough usually begins with a joke. This week, it begins with the Chicago offense. We admit, this is a very minor format change.

The Grizzly Plan

It's June. NFL players are drilling and working out in shorts. The real hitting is more than a month away. A few players are holding out or rehabbing injuries, but most have enjoyed quiet camps and conditioning programs. They're in shape. They know the system. They're ready. It's a time for optimism.

Even about the Chicago Bears offense.

The Bears had trouble moving the ball when they went to the Super Bowl. Just two years later, their offense has the potential to be a true disaster. Rex Grossman and Kyle Orton are vying for the starting job in one of the least exciting quarterback controversies in NFL history. The team released running back Cedric Benson after three injury- and scandal-plagued years, leaving rookie Matt Forte as the top runner. The left side of the offensive line is new, and rookie Chris Williams will probably start the season at left tackle. The receiving corps features converted kick returner Devin Hester, aging journeyman Marty Booker, perpetual disappointment Brandon Lloyd, and a bunch of guys named Mark Bradley. There's no cornerstone and few guaranteed yardage generators. It's an offense filled with new faces of dubious pedigree, and if any one of the newcomers washes out, it could cause a cascading failure that makes the Bears one of the worst offensive teams ever.

But not everyone is gloomy about the Bears' chances in 2008. "I like where we are," head coach Lovie Smith said two weeks ago. "Even though we have a few question marks right now, it's a great opportunity to have some players step up." Tight end Desmond Clark is also optimistic. "We're probably in the best position we can be in -- nobody is expecting us to do anything. It gives you something more than your own motivation when you get outside motivation."

Lovie and Clark have to say nice things about the Bears offense. But they aren't the only ones who see potential, not for excellence, but for competitiveness. Reed Schreck, reporter for the Rockford Register Star, spent a lot of time at Bears OTAs this spring. He gave me an inside look at what the Bears have been doing right this offseason.

Devin Almighty: Bears coaches can't stop gushing about Hester, who they claim has the potential to be the team's top wide receiver. "I don't have to tell him anything anymore," said receivers coach Darryl Drake. "He's telling me stuff when I am screwed up. He has taken the time to study [the system]. He has been in my office every day since the beginning ... he's just so far ahead right now it's unbelievable.''

Drake sounds like he's over-selling a bit. But Schreck has been watching Hester carefully throughout OTAs. "He looks like a receiver, not a guy who's being converted," Schreck said. Hester is no longer a guy who only runs bombs and reverses. He's picked up much more of the offense, and he's running all kinds of routes. But the bombs are still there: On one play, Hester slipped into one of his quantum gears to chase down an overthrown Orton pass. "That was the signature highlight of the offseason" according to Schreck. That raw athleticism offers hope that Hester can not only force safeties to play deep, but also use his make-up speed to cover for quarterback's mistakes.

Like Hester, Brandon Lloyd is a deep threat with limited experience as an all-around receiver. Lloyd always looks better when no one is trying to hit him, but he has had a fine offseason and has not yet lapsed into malcontent mode. "This could be a good situation to resurrect his career," Schreck said of Lloyd, a Midwesterner who played college football at Illinois. If Hester and Lloyd can provide adequate big-play punch, they'll take pressure off everyone else.

Forte Time: Most observers agree that the Bears got better by releasing Benson. Rookie Forte is more versatile than Benson and comes with a lot less baggage. Some scouts see him as an immediate contributor. "He has better speed and agility than he's given credit for," Rob Rang of Scout.com told me last week. "I argued before the draft that he'd be one of more NFL-ready backs of the NFL class due to his experience as a blocker and a receiver."

Schreck is also impressed with Forte. "It looks like they finally drafted the right guy," he joked, noting that the team's awful track record when selecting running backs (Benson, Curtis Enis, Rashaan Salaam). Like Rang, Schreck thinks the rookie's receiving skills will be an asset. "He can run routes so much deeper than Benson. He can run routes 15 to 20 yards downfield and still be effective."

Forte's downfield receiving ability could be a major factor for a team that lacks a true possession receiver. Hester and Lloyd will do most of their work outside the hashmarks, and while Marty Booker can play the crafty veteran, the Bears are in trouble if he starts catching six passes per game. Forte and tight ends Desmond Clark and Greg Olsen will have to do the dirty week over the middle, and underneath the coverage that will (hopefully) be stretched thin if Hester and Lloyd do their jobs. Even with the offensive line in transition, a balanced passing game plus a more motivated runner should yield a solid ground game. "The Bears could be a better running team this year than last year, when they were supposed to be a 'running team.'" Schreck said.

Getting Creative: Offensive coordinator Ron Turner's system rarely fooled anyone in the past, but that's likely to change. Hester is a top trick play threat, and the Bears have practiced all manner of reverses and fake reverses in the offseason. Clark and Olsen are the only two known commodities at the skill positions, so Turner is mixing in more two-tight end sets (the team used two or more tight ends just 22 percent of the time last year, 20th in the NFL). Olsen has been playing a Chris Cooley role in camp, lining up in the slot and in the backfield while motioning around the formation.

The Bears will need a little bit of trickery to move the ball this year. "They need to make defenses think a little," Schreck noted. Trick plays and surprising formations only work when they're the icing, not the cake. Hester reverses only work when opponents fear off-tackle runs, and Olsen and Clark won't be able to roam around the formation if Turner needs them to help the offensive tackles block. Still, Bears fans who catnap through the team's offensive series might be thrilled to discover a little more diversity this year: more passes to the backs, more motion, a little razzle-dazzle, anything to break the two-handoffs-and-an-incompletion monotony.

A Shocking Display of Competence: None of this suggests that the Bears will suddenly become the Colts. They'll struggle to score points. Grossman and Orton will remain Grossman and Orton. But the Bears went 11-5 with a terrible offense in 2005, and they reached the Super Bowl with a not-quite-average offense in 2006. It's not crazy to predict a solid all-purpose season by Forte, plenty of thrills from Hester, 100 total catches for the tight ends, and enough points to help the defense keep the Bears in the Wild Card hunt. The Vikings did the same thing in the same in the same division last year. All it will take is a few surprising displays of competence -– like Lovie says, a matter of a few guys stepping up.


Then again, the June sun may be getting to me.

(Ed. Note: Our Pro Football Prospectus 2008 mean projection for the Bears is 6.9 wins. The offensive projection is not nearly as optimistic as this article.)

Around the League

Tampa: The Buccaneers signed long snapper Andrew Economos to a long-term contract last week. There are now mill-yuns and mill-yuns of dollars in the Economos.

Miami: John Beck and Josh McCown are battling it out for the Dolphins sacrificial lamb job, with Chad Henne running a distant third. But Dolphins quarterback coach Donald Lee says that June is no time to evaluate quarterbacks. "I really believe this in my heart,'' Lee said. "You evaluate a quarterback once he gets into a game when people in the stands are cursing at him and throwing ice at him and the FOX camera is running over his head in the huddle."

If cursing and ice throwing help quarterbacks develop, then Bobby Hoying should be Joe Montana. McCown and Beck may not become great quarterbacks, but they may learn how to play the theme from Rawhide.

Kansas City: The Chiefs held a series of open practices last week. One workout, which was held at Missouri Western University, gave the team an opportunity to bond while "roughing it." "I think it'll be good, all of a sudden get on a bus and go somewhere and practice, like it's a road game," Herm Edwards said. "Give them a sack lunch, an apple, kind of like high school football. But I think it forms a camaraderie. That's not a bad thing."

A sack lunch and an apple? That explains this audio clip someone sent me:

Voice of Larry Johnson: Man, am I beat. I never carried the ball 33 times before halftime before. My hammies feel like banjo strings. I need to refuel. Let's see what coach packed for lunch. Wow ... A PB&J on white bread, an apple, some Chips Ahoy, and a Capri Sun juice box.

At least Herm thinks of the little things: He cut the crust off the bread, just like I like it. But the jelly was on the bottom, and the apple was sitting on top of it. Now I have peanut butter bleed-through and the jelly is smeared all over my Fruit by the Foot. This is worse than the time he packed egg salad sandwiches and left them out on the bus during our road game in Jacksonville. The guys who didn't get sick from salmonella threw up when they saw the yolks stuck in Brodie Croyle's braces.

OK, let me finish this fruit cup and single-serving size Pringles and ... wow, halftime is over and I am still hungry. Oh well, tonight is dinosaur-shaped chicken nugget night, so I should be able to pig out.

Canton: Dolphins rookies got a chance to visit the Hall of Fame last week as part of an NFL sponsored program. Jake Long took a picture beside Dan Dierdorf's bust. (Conrad Dobler head-slapped him when he got too close.) Chad Henne had his picture taken beside the bust of Dan Marino. Hall spokesman Joe Corrigan led a tour of the museum that taught NFL newbies about the rich history and tradition of the game. Commissioner Roger Goodell sponsored the program after talking with noted football historian Michael Irvin. Irvin told the commish last August that he wished someone had taken him to the Hall when he was a rookie. Irvin actually had three "dream destinations": the VIP room at the Sapphire in Vegas, the Big 'n' Loud section at a John Varvatos boutique, and the Hall of Fame. Two out of three ain't bad, Mike.

Emmitt Smith also had a wish when he was a rookie: It was ...

KIDS! Here's your chance to write your own joke! What did Emmitt wish for? Post your best zinger. The winner will be immortalized in Walkthrough on July 3.

Write it Yourself

Here at Football Outsiders, we're always searching for new products we can sell to major and minor media outlets. For a few months, we've been experimenting with Write-it-Yourself Templates for busy editors with tight budgets and deadlines. Why dispatch expensive beat writers to compose routine training camp reports when you can just insert names into an easy-to-use template? It's fast, it's fun, and the same template can be used multiple times before anyone notices.

This week, we are proud to unveil our first Write-it-Yourself Template: The Undrafted Rookie Profile. Every local paper churns out three or four brief features about no-name rookies who made a few good plays in minicamp but will probably be cut by mid-August. The articles all seem unique, but when you read about 50 of them in a row (as I have to do when finishing Pro Football Prospectus) you realize that they are all the same. Sports editors: Save yourself some time and money. Use the template below, then drop us an e-mail to find out how you can buy others!

Headline: ROOKIE Shows off his moves

Copy: It was a routine short pass over the middle. ROOKIE caught the ball in stride for what looked like a four-yard gain. But then he made a move, juking out VETERAN DEFENDER and cutting upfield for an extra 20 yards.

It was only a minicamp drill, but the move opened eyes and turned heads. That catch wasn't the first time in camp that ROOKIE left a defender tackling thin air. "We didn't know what we had with this kid," said POSITION COACH after practice. "He really makes things happen."

ROOKIE has been making things happen for his entire football career. He broke every rushing record at TINY RURAL HIGH SCHOOL but wasn't highly recruited because he was just REALLY SHORT feet tall and weighed REALLY LIGHT pounds. After a year in juco, he transferred to UNHEARD OF UNIVERSITY where he overwhelmed the competition, rushing for OBSCENELY GREAT STATS while doing it all for the RIDICULOUSLY NON-THREATINING TEAM NICKNAMEs: rushing, catching passes, returning punts and kicks, and even throwing some option passes.

Still, pro scouts were skeptical of his size and the level of competition. ROOKIE didn't hear his name called on draft day, but several teams contacted him as a free agent. "I knew my size would be a liability. It has been all through my career," ROOKIE said. "I came here because I believe coach HEAD COACH will give me the best opportunity to show what I can do."

So far, HEAD COACH has been singing ROOKIE's praises. "That kid gives us a lot of flexibility. He can do a lot of things as a rusher, receiver, and a return man. I also like his effort and intensity." Still, ROOKIE faces an uphill battle to make the roster. FEATURED BACK and VETERAN THIRD DOWN GUY are locks to make the roster, and THIRD-ROUND PICK is ahead of ROOKIE on the depth chart. The team may keep four running backs, so ROOKIE's best chance to make the roster is to beat out DISAPPOINTING FORMER NO. 1 PICK WITH TWO DUI'S ON HIS RECORD and OBSCURE PRACTICE SQUAD GUY.

ROOKIE remains optimistic despite the odds. "I like being the underdog. It motivates me," he said. "This camp has showed me that I can play in the NFL." ROOKIE has faked and juked his way through an impressive college career. His next fancy move could fake him right onto the roster.

Self Promotion

The guys at Rotoworld published their 2008 Fantasy Draft Guide in conjunction with Beckett this season. Adrian Peterson is on the cover. Two articles by yours truly are inside, a silly one and a serious one. Check it out.

If you blinked on June 10, you missed my debut on NFL's Top 10 on the NFL Network (I said one whole sentence). But I appeared several times on the June 17 segment about the top tight ends in history. Watch the show, and you'll see me bash Mark Bavaro pretty badly. Don't get me wrong: I think he was a heck of a player. But there are several tight ends -- including Todd Christensen, Riley Odoms, Charlie Sanders and Brent Jones -- that I would rank ahead of him. I should be on several upcoming shows, and hopefully I won't be caught doing any more Giants bashing (although there could be some Steelers bashing on the horizon).

I'm thrilled to be on this program. But my one-line performance in the first show got me thinking of famous "one-line" parts in film history. Marcel Marceau in Mel Brooks' Silent Movie and John Wayne in The Greatest Story Ever Told leap to mind. Silent Bob had one long line in Clerks. Can anyone think of any others?

Oh, and I know that Carl Sagan never actually said "bill-yuns and bill-yuns" in the landmark Cosmos miniseries. He also never mentioned the evolution of the long snapper, which admittedly isn't as interesting as those crabs with the samurai face on their backs.

So much for a tight ending. Peace out.

In two weeks: Stopping the safety blitz, plus some summer book reviews

Posted by: Mike Tanier on 19 Jun 2008

69 comments, Last at 24 Aug 2010, 9:07pm by wholesale nfl jerseys

Comments

1
by Doug (not verified) :: Thu, 06/19/2008 - 12:59pm

Emmitt Smith also had a wish when he was a rookie: It was …

to dance if he wants to, to leave his friends behind, because his friends don't dance and if they don't dance then they're no friends of mine

he says, he can go where he wants to, a place they will never find, and he can act like he came from out of this world leave the real one far behind

s-s-s-s-a-a-a-a-f-f-f-f-e-e-e-e-t-t-t-t-y-y-y-y-safe! dance!

2
by Joe T. (not verified) :: Thu, 06/19/2008 - 1:33pm

Emmitt's wish was to win the NFC championship so that he might possibly go on to play in a Super Bowl.

3
by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Thu, 06/19/2008 - 2:13pm

Headline: ROOKIE Shows off his moves

Copy: It was a routine short pass over the middle. ROOKIE caught the ball in stride for what looked like a four-yard gain. But then he made a move, juking out VETERAN DEFENDER and cutting upfield for an extra 20 yards.

It was only a minicamp drill, but the move opened eyes and turned heads. That catch wasn’t the first time in camp that ROOKIE left a defender tackling thin air. “We didn’t know what we had with this kid,” said POSITION COACH after practice. “He really makes things happen.”

ROOKIE has been making things happen for his entire football career. He broke every rushing record at TINY RURAL HIGH SCHOOL but wasn’t highly recruited because he was just REALLY SHORT feet tall and weighed REALLY LIGHT pounds. After a year in juco, he transferred to UNHEARD OF UNIVERSITY where he overwhelmed the competition, rushing for OBSCENELY GREAT STATS while doing it all for the RIDICULOUSLY NON-THREATINING TEAM NICKNAMEs: rushing, catching passes, returning punts and kicks, and even throwing some option passes.

Still, pro scouts were skeptical of his size and the level of competition. ROOKIE didn’t hear his name called on draft day, but several teams contacted him as a free agent. “I knew my size would be a liability. It has been all through my career,” ROOKIE said. “I came here because I believe coach HEAD COACH will give me the best opportunity to show what I can do.”

So far, HEAD COACH has been singing ROOKIE’s praises. “That kid gives us a lot of flexibility. He can do a lot of things as a rusher, receiver, and a return man. I also like his effort and intensity.” Still, ROOKIE faces an uphill battle to make the roster. FEATURED BACK and VETERAN THIRD DOWN GUY are locks to make the roster, and THIRD-ROUND PICK is ahead of ROOKIE on the depth chart. The team may keep four running backs, so ROOKIE’s best chance to make the roster is to beat out DISAPPOINTING FORMER NO. 1 PICK WITH TWO DUI’S ON HIS RECORD and OBSCURE PRACTICE SQUAD GUY.

ROOKIE remains optimistic despite the odds. “I like being the underdog. It motivates me,” he said. “This camp has showed me that I can play in the NFL.” ROOKIE has faked and juked his way through an impressive college career. His next fancy move could fake him right onto the roster.

Outstanding work!

4
by Wikitorix (not verified) :: Thu, 06/19/2008 - 2:16pm

Emmit Smith's wish was to become famous enough to be on "Dancing With the Stars."

5
by Quentin (not verified) :: Thu, 06/19/2008 - 2:18pm

God bless us, every one!

6
by chip (not verified) :: Thu, 06/19/2008 - 2:53pm

6.9 wins for the Bears? Despite a terrible Offense, that seems low for a team that finished #2 in weighted defense, struggled with injuries last year and should have an easier SOS this year. I'll take the over and assume a repeat of the 2005 campaign with a dominant D carrying a poor O.

7
by Kneel Before Zod! (not verified) :: Thu, 06/19/2008 - 2:58pm

Emmit wished he could speak Spanish just as better than English.

8
by Or (not verified) :: Thu, 06/19/2008 - 3:04pm

That template is a work of art. Outstanding work.

9
by Kurt (not verified) :: Thu, 06/19/2008 - 3:04pm

Emmit Smith's wish was to be traded to the Raiders so that he could be eulogized and fawned over by Raiderjoe.

10
by Dan (not verified) :: Thu, 06/19/2008 - 3:10pm

Emmits wishes...

to grow three inches so no one would say he was too short, to put on 20 pounds so no one would say he was too light, and to make the Hall of Fame. One out of three ain’t bad, Emmit

11
by starzero (not verified) :: Thu, 06/19/2008 - 3:13pm

emmitt should have wished he had been learned how to talked so people would not makes fun of him.

12
by Mr Shush (not verified) :: Thu, 06/19/2008 - 3:17pm

#6 - Except that the rest of the division's got a hell of a lot better since 2005, and they have to play the AFC South to boot. And their current receiving corps is probably even worse than it was then, while the O-line has gone from average to probably atrocious. I don't think 6.9 wins is an unreasonable estimate at all, though I do think Hester is potentially a good fantasy pick-up in leagues that credit individual players for special teams scores.

13
by mawbrew (not verified) :: Thu, 06/19/2008 - 3:24pm

Emmitt Smith also had a wish when he was a rookie: It was … to one day be enscribed in the Hall of Fame. He was a little nervous about going to Canton though as he doesn't speak Cantonese.

14
by MP (not verified) :: Thu, 06/19/2008 - 3:26pm

Two of my favorite "This is my only line" moments come from the enjoyably bad Return of the Jedi.
Runner-up:
The anonymous Imperial officer who springs the ambush at the bunker, and hisses "You--rebel--scum!"
The winner:
When Lando tells the other fighters to peel off and "see if you can take some of those TIE fighters with you!", an only-seen-once pilot replies in a dead monotone, "Copy...Gold...Leader." That always cracks me up.

15
by Voice of emmett (not verified) :: Thu, 06/19/2008 - 3:32pm

Emmitt Smith also had a wish when he was a rookie: It was to not get debacled on a bad team so that his truly performances could shine ons the big stage that is the national football alliance and he could become the greatest running back the world ever see.

16
by Cabbage (not verified) :: Thu, 06/19/2008 - 3:38pm

Emmitt wished that his first Super Bowl ring would be encrusted with jewel that Conan had to retrieve in order to awaken Dagoth, the sleeping god.

17
by hubcap (not verified) :: Thu, 06/19/2008 - 3:44pm

The fact that Chicago thinks that adding Brandon Lloyd will help tells me all I need to know about the Bears offense. We got to watch him (not) play for three years in DC. A hapless wideout who's been a team cancer his entire career. Nice pickup.

OTOH now that Benson is gone Lloyd can fill the important "unpopular untalented malcontent" role on offense. Go Bears!

18
by panthersnbraves (not verified) :: Thu, 06/19/2008 - 3:50pm

On the one-liner deal - Disney has taken it to an art-form.

There is a show called "Phineas and Ferb" where Ferb only has one line per episode.

19
by Harris (not verified) :: Thu, 06/19/2008 - 3:52pm

Other than maybe Tim Brown, and Lovie Smith would strangle his children if Hester turns out to be that good, has there ever been a case of a team's #1 WR also serving as the primary kick and punt returner?

20
by Travis (not verified) :: Thu, 06/19/2008 - 4:12pm

Re: 19

Derrick Mason, 2000 and 2001 Titans, for one. I'm sure there are others, but none that are anywhere the return man Hester is.

21
by Harris (not verified) :: Thu, 06/19/2008 - 4:22pm

#20 That's my point. Most guys stop returning kicks as they become more valuable to the offense . Hester's value on offense will probably never equal his value in the return game. I wonder if he'll be less valuable on special teams as he devotes more time and energy to offense. If he never becomes a stud WR, and odds are he won't, are the Bears better off using him as the third or fourth receiver?

22
by PhillyCWC (not verified) :: Thu, 06/19/2008 - 4:29pm

Sadly, Larry Johnson's lunch sounds just like what I packed for my 8-year old to take to summer camp today. I'm not sure what exactly that says about me as a parent.

23
by Joe T. (not verified) :: Thu, 06/19/2008 - 4:43pm

#22 - You shouldn't have a problem with Child Protection Services unless they find out you're giving junior 40 carries a game in Pop Warner.

24
by Jon_L (not verified) :: Thu, 06/19/2008 - 5:12pm

I'll admit it...I laughed at the Sagan reference.

25
by TomC (not verified) :: Thu, 06/19/2008 - 5:17pm

Lovie Smith would strangle his children if Hester turns out to be that good.

Why?

26
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Thu, 06/19/2008 - 5:27pm

Re #22
I wouldn't feel too bad. That's probably what Tanier's kid gets, too (I think he has at least one).

27
by Tom D (not verified) :: Thu, 06/19/2008 - 5:39pm

I'm loving the Bear's centric walkthrough. I think 6.9 estimated wins sounds about right from a stats stand point. There is no reason to believe Mike Brown will ever be healthy all year again.

Re 19:

Steve Smith is the best example, didn't Santana Moss also return punts while receiving?

28
by Vincent Verhei :: Thu, 06/19/2008 - 5:58pm

In 1995, Eric Metcalf led the Falcons with 104 catches and was also their only punt returner.

29
by methdeez (not verified) :: Thu, 06/19/2008 - 6:16pm

Are you kidding me?
So you talked to a local reporter, whose job is to cover the local team and who has a vested interest in believing that this team will be good, and that made you think that they will be good?
Why don't you just quote the teams press book?

Did you watch Hester play last year? His problem was not that he "didn't know the offense" his problem is that he can't catch the ball and he doesn't run good routes, all of which he has been working on through high school, college and the pros. I don't think him studying up on the playbook in the offseason is going to change that.
I do think he has a good chance to be the best reciever on the team, bu that is because anyone could be the best reciever on the team, including Kyle Orton.

30
by Jimmy (not verified) :: Thu, 06/19/2008 - 7:04pm

#29

I think you are looking at a very small sample size when you look at Hester's play last year. There were games at the end of last year when he caught everything that went near him, somethimes in traffic and everytime he had the ball in his hands looked like he might score. There were also a couple of plays where the TV company showed replays of some of his route running when he was leaving the defensive backs for dead, but the ball was thrown elsewhere. The next two weeks (which were the last of the season) the opposing defensive coordinators put their best CB on him everytime he stepped on the field, no matter where he was lined up. Hester has had a couple of egregious drops, but I would say that overall his hands aren't bad. Apparently he hasn't dropped a ball in any offseason drills so far (add as many pinches of salt to that as is required to personal taste).

I think it is presumptious to assume Hester is going to contribute more on offense this year than he did last year. I would also say that Hester has the potential to be as good as he wants to be, and if he can harness it he could be one of the best receivers in football. It does remain at best a guess when or if that will happen.

As far as the Bears offense is concerned if it is bad then it hardly changes much for the Bears over what the Bears have had for about sixty years now, and they have won plenty of games over that period. This team was bad on offense two years ago and went to the Superbowl after looking like the best team in football during the first month of the season. For the Bears to do much on offense the left side of the line needs to step up, if it does they will be able to run the ball and set up play action. If it doesn't then they won't be able to do much of anything.

31
by Reinhard (not verified) :: Thu, 06/19/2008 - 7:11pm

After Hester lined up on offense last year he had to literally walk over to Muhsin and get his assignment on every play...

32
by chip (not verified) :: Thu, 06/19/2008 - 7:18pm

#30 John St. Clair will start at LG this year, which should help. Part of the reason the Bears looked marginally more competent on offense at the end of last year (31st overall, 25th weighted), is because he started at LG and RT in place of two turnstiles. In the games he played, those positions registerted a notable gain over his predecessor. I'd be shocked if Metcalf makes it out of camp. If Williams is even mediocre, the O-line takes a huge step forward over last year. And everyone else will actually look like NFL players.

33
by Tom D (not verified) :: Thu, 06/19/2008 - 7:34pm

Re 31:

Exaggerate much? It was about one or two plays per game, when he needed Moose to help him out. Which is still a huge number, but not every play.

Re 32:

Metcalf was playing with a broken hand last year, and the coaches think St Claire is more valuable as a backup tackle than a starting guard. So I wouldn't count Metcalf out just yet, or Josh Beekman. No one's seen what he can do.

34
by Quentin (not verified) :: Thu, 06/19/2008 - 7:37pm

I don't think it's a problem for Hester to both return kicks and be the Bears' #1 wideout. He's such a scary returner that most teams don't even let him touch the ball anyway. More often than not they can just trot him out, automatically get the ball at the 40, and then get to work on their 3-and-out. The workload and injury risk is much lower because he won't be returning as many as your typical returner/reciever threat.

So you talked to a local reporter, whose job is to cover the local team and who has a vested interest in believing that this team will be good, and that made you think that they will be good?
Why don’t you just quote the teams press book?

If that's how the local reporters work in your area, I envy you. Some of the local reporters around here seem to like nothing more than to bash the team.

35
by The McNabb Bowl Game Anomaly (aka SJM) (not verified) :: Thu, 06/19/2008 - 7:42pm

My favorite one-liner is from The Big Lebowski, when the Dude reporting the robbery of the briefcase (and tapes of CCR) to the cops, and one cop is explaining that it's unlikely they'll get the briefcase back. The other cop (a huge black guy with a deep voice) then has his single line, "Or the Creedence." Hard to explain, but it's hilarious.

36
by MJK (not verified) :: Thu, 06/19/2008 - 8:01pm

Apologies if someone has made this joke already, but would it be fair to say that running might be the Bears' forte this season?

:-)

Love the template. It's a work of art. I bet we were all thinking when we read it:

Wow! Mike Tanier must have lifted that template by copying the article in the LOCAL NEWSPAPER about the TEAM WE ARE A FAN OF's new undrafted free agent KID WE'LL SEE IN A COUPLE OF PRESEASON GAMES AND THEN FORGET ABOUT.

37
by Dan (not verified) :: Thu, 06/19/2008 - 8:32pm

34: Hester had 85 returns last year (43 kick + 42 punt), which was 4th most in the NFL.

38
by AmBentDonkey (not verified) :: Thu, 06/19/2008 - 9:27pm

With the number of 3 and outs we all expect the Bears O to generate I don't think we'll need to worry about Hester's workload.

39
by Jimmy (not verified) :: Thu, 06/19/2008 - 9:38pm

#31

After Hester lined up on offense last year he had to literally walk over to Muhsin and get his assignment on every play…

Where you say 'literally' you mean figuratively.

Also having watched every Bears snap last year I can only remember two (there may have been a third, but I can't remember it, or there were loads and I have a very bad memory) plays where Hester needed to ask someone what the play was. Apparently on both plays Hester hadn't been in the huddle as he had just run onto the field in the two minute offense. Hester also got blamed for two picks Griese threw where it appeared that Hester missed his hot route, but in fact it was Griese who misread the coverage.

40
by Yaguar (not verified) :: Thu, 06/19/2008 - 9:43pm

Reed Schreck, reporter for the Rockford Register Star, spent a lot of time at Bears OTAs this spring.

I liked that movie even though Donkey was a really annoying sidekick.

41
by Jimmy (not verified) :: Thu, 06/19/2008 - 9:44pm

Also just up on the Sun-Times website and PFT, the Bears have resigned Tommie Harris for a four year extention for $40m (that is four years after his current contract, so five more years of #91 inspired mayhem).

Thankyou Jebus!

42
by crazytrain (not verified) :: Thu, 06/19/2008 - 10:25pm

Anyone else see a similarity between the description of Devin Hester performing well at camp and the Undrafted Rookie Profile Template?

43
by Tom D (not verified) :: Thu, 06/19/2008 - 10:57pm

Re 41:

Now we just need him to be healthy. If the Bears have Harris, Urlacher, and Brown, they are unstoppable.

44
by Bobman (not verified) :: Thu, 06/19/2008 - 11:15pm

in... pain... from laughin...g.

must... get... to oxygen bottle.

oops--nitrous instead.

Now REALLY in f-ing pain, but it's even funnier somehow!

Tanier and gang, the kids are just asleep and I am trying to not laugh loud. It really does hurt. Thanks.

45
by Admore (not verified) :: Thu, 06/19/2008 - 11:36pm

My favorite movie one-liner is David Letterman in Cabin Boy: "Hey Mister, wanna buy a monkey?"

46
by kj (not verified) :: Fri, 06/20/2008 - 12:20am

Emmitt's wish: to become the first bald guy to be featured in a just for men commercial

47
by Marko (not verified) :: Fri, 06/20/2008 - 2:08am

Some other good "one-line" parts:

1. The gigantic dude in Animal House: "Do you mind if we dance with your dates?"

2. Nova in Beneath the Planet of the Apes, who speaks for the first time in her life: "Taylor!"

48
by Dylan (not verified) :: Fri, 06/20/2008 - 9:47am

39

I'm pretty sure that he meant "literally". Gorilla Monsoon pioneered that usage in the language.

49
by Harris (not verified) :: Fri, 06/20/2008 - 10:52am

My favorite was the little girl in "Airplane" who said, "I take my coffee black -- like my men."

50
by FantasyStooge (not verified) :: Fri, 06/20/2008 - 12:26pm

Emmitt says "I was never a rookie. Rookies are those things on Star Wars."

51
by lionsbob (not verified) :: Fri, 06/20/2008 - 12:32pm

Hope for the Bears offense! Can we get a write-up about hope for the Lions defense then? At any rate the Lions should perform another sweep on the Bears again this season.

52
by Reinhard (not verified) :: Fri, 06/20/2008 - 1:07pm

Yes that was an exaggeration, but not completely. Later on in the season Hester seemed to find his groove. But earlier he would come into the game about five times and wouldn't just line up and go a single time. And his routes were usually fades...

I didn't see every single snap because we had practice on Sundays. And I buy the argument that he had just come in off the sidelines on some of those plays.

53
by brasilbear (not verified) :: Fri, 06/20/2008 - 1:08pm

Can't you just let me drink the kool-ade in peace. Now you ruin everything with the 6.9 win projection?

But we turned it around, we turned it around...(brasilbears mutters something about Euro2008 and clicks on sopcast...)

54
by Fred (not verified) :: Fri, 06/20/2008 - 1:38pm

Emmitt's wish as a rookie was that he would never have to retire. If he was still playing he would not have ended up on ESPN and everyone wouldn't know that he was the butter knife in the drawer.

55
by justanothersteve (not verified) :: Fri, 06/20/2008 - 1:45pm

A couple memorable only lines from Blazing Saddles:
Scared Mexican Dude: Mongo! Santa Maria!
Adolf Hitler actor: They lose me right after the bunker scene.

56
by Tom D (not verified) :: Fri, 06/20/2008 - 2:34pm

Re 51:

I don't know, we don't have Brian Griese to melt down against the Lions any more.

57
by phil (not verified) :: Fri, 06/20/2008 - 5:27pm

#30
i can say with utmost confidence that devin hester will never be one of the best receivers in football.

58
by sophandros (not verified) :: Fri, 06/20/2008 - 8:02pm

If Hester was not very effective as a receiver in the ACC, then what makes people think that he will be a number one receiver in the NFL?

59
by Tom D (not verified) :: Fri, 06/20/2008 - 8:19pm

Re 58:

1) A dedication to playing receiver, after being jerked around in college.

2) Better coaching.

60
by Dales (not verified) :: Sat, 06/21/2008 - 6:20pm

59:

With the Bears?

61
by sam (not verified) :: Sat, 06/21/2008 - 11:48pm

wasn't he a cornerback in college and was converted last year to reciever?

62
by JimR (not verified) :: Sun, 06/22/2008 - 12:41am

61, Yeah, mostly as a CB (and some time at RB as well as WR) as well as PR and KR is the usual story. Given that he also left a year early, I think we might give him a pass for not being up on all the techniques and routes. He now takes his ungodly acceleration ability into year 2 as a pro WR (the year many 'get it'). There is some reason for hope in Chicago.

63
by The McNabb Bowl Game Anomaly (aka SJM) (not verified) :: Sun, 06/22/2008 - 11:44am

If athletic ability was all it took to be a competent wide receiver in the NFL, Troy Williamson wouldn't have been a huge bust.

Also, if Devin Hester had the potential to be a good WR, he probably would have played there in college full time.

64
by Joey Jo-Jo Junior Shabbadu (not verified) :: Sun, 06/22/2008 - 2:49pm

#56: I think that Grossman and Orton should be able to capably fill that role.

65
by Tom D (not verified) :: Sun, 06/22/2008 - 3:02pm

Re 63:

Tory Williamson could get open, he just couldn't catch. Hester might not have Randy Moss like hands, but he can catch the ball. Also, Hester never wanted to play receiver, he wanted to be a corner back like Deion Sanders. So all his coaches wanted him to be a receiver, and he also made them play him as a corner. Lovie Smith finally got him to agree to be a receiver full time last year.

Re 64:

I doubt it, the Lions were some kind of kryptonite for Griese. One game he was leading awesome 2 minute drills against the Eagles, the next he was throwing picks while in field goal range against the Lions.

66
by ArmyCraig (not verified) :: Tue, 06/24/2008 - 9:32am

#19
Other than maybe Tim Brown, and Lovie Smith would strangle his children if Hester turns out to be that good, has there ever been a case of a team’s #1 WR also serving as the primary kick and punt returner?

:: Harris — 6/19/2008

Troy Brown with the pats being another. I'm sure there're plenty more. Not many on championship teams, but I can think of a few top defensive backs that returned kicks regularly too.

67
by Eric (not verified) :: Sat, 06/28/2008 - 8:44pm

The comments about Hester were said almost verbatim in training camp last year. Then he couldn't run a route.

I'll buy it when I see it.

68
by Bjorn (not verified) :: Thu, 07/10/2008 - 5:58am

If Kyle Orton is a serious candidate to be your starting QB you are not a serious playoff contender. In my eyes it is that simple.

Sexy Rexy I can get, there is some (perhaps foolish) hope of an "upside" there that might make you belive he would sudenly make some dramatic improvement and "get it" enough to become a decent NFL starter but Orton should be no higher than #3 on any serious NFL team...

Playing Orton is more or less giving up and accepting mediocracy!