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Why a Chris Conte Renaissance Could Go a Long Way Towards Defining the 2014 Bears on Defense

| August 11th, 2014

The 2013 Chicago Bears season came to a fittingly sad conclusion.

Chris Conte, one of the emerging stars of the previous campaign who seemed to have not only lost his way in the secondary but his confidence as well, missed an assignment. The physical side of the game had let him down all season long. Now the mental side was delivering a final, crippling blow. Peppers leaps. Kuhn blocks. Rodgers scrambles. Cobb scores. The culprit was Conte. Not only had he, in that moment, become the poster child for this devastating loss. That wasn’t enough to pour onto the slumping shoulders of a beleaguered safety. No, in that moment, Conte became the symbol of the entire season’s defensive futility.

Shots were fired at Conte from every discernible angle. Once news of an off-season surgery surfaced many, myself included, wrote off Conte’s potential future with the Chicago Bears. When Marc Silverman of ESPN Radio bet Tom Waddle Conte would not play a down for the Bears this season, Conte met that challenge with a Twittery terrific, “fuck u all.”

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Bears Take Chance on Former Pro Bowl Safety Adrian Wilson [VIDEO]

| June 24th, 2014

Three thoughts on the signing:

  1. It is another sign that this current Bears regime will not settle for inadequacies on the roster. The previous administration seemed to enjoy going to great lengths to not only defend weak positions but make claims that a weakened position was somehow part of the overall strategy.
  2. Chicago could not enter the summer with Ryan Mundy as the only viable strong safety on the roster. Why? Because Ryan Mundy isn’t that good.
  3. Keep expectations low on Wilson. If the former top safety is on the roster come September, it would be a surprise.

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On Masters Week, Nine Holes Bears Must Fill to Succeed in 2014

| April 8th, 2014

masters

I love golf. And while most golf fans are down on their knees with their mouths in the lap of Augusta National, I am more reserved. I think Augusta is, for the most part, the most self-indulgent sports entity in creation and The Open Championship is my favorite tournament. But I still get excited for the first major championship of the season and it seems a convenient way to put a column together.

Here are nine issues, nine holes, still facing the 2014 Bears.

Hole #1 Tea Olive

The Bears don’t currently have a good safety on the roster.┬áIs it possible Ryan Mundy will thrive at the strong safety position after showing limited flashes in both Pittsburgh and New York? Yes. But ask yourself this question: if Mundy were a budding star, why would the two best run organizations in the sport, both with proud lineages on defense, let him walk out the door?

And while Chris Conte has been the subject of ridicule, he’s a capable free safety if his run-stopping assignments are limited. His lack of availability for the bulk of training camp won’t help build his confidence heading into the 2014 season. I see his days in Chicago numbered.

Hole #2 Pink Dogwood

The Bears will have to win a game or two with Jordan Palmer playing quarterback. History says what history says and history says Jay Cutler will get banged up at some point during the season. Today, that would mean Palmer steps under center.

Side note: I could have written the same thing, with Josh McCown’s name a year ago and it turned out not to be a hole. But McCown at least has a MINOR track record in the sport. Palmer does not.

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Reactions to Day One of Free Agency

| March 12th, 2014

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ON LAMARR HOUSTON…

Of the three high profile defensive ends on the open NFL market, Lamarr Houston was the best fit for the Chicago Bears. Neither he nor the two Michaels (Bennett, Johnson) are elite edge rushers who’ll draw double teams on every down. But Houston is smart, gets off blocks and displays tremendous discipline; he is one of the best run-stopping defensive ends in the game.

The Bears could fix their pass rush all they wanted. It wouldn’t matter if they continued being one of the worst run defenses in the history of recorded time.

From Brad Biggs:

…Houston plays the run very well, he’s durable (hasn’t missed a game in four seasons) and has the flexibility to shift around on the line. There is a good chance the Bears will slide him inside in the nickel package, which is probably what the plan was for Bennett. He’s athletic enough to see time at the three technique tackle position, if needed.

Versatility is great but production is better and that is what Emery is counting on. The reality is Houston, who will turn 27 in June, offers more bang for the buck than a 34-year-old Peppers and probably more than Jared Allen or DeMarcus Ware, both soon to turn 32.

Remember this, desperate Bears fans: it ain’t all getting fixed in twenty-four hours. Houston doesn’t solve their woes along the defensive line. But he solves one of them.

THREE ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS

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