Back to Football: Bears Need Young Players to Replace Ray McDonald

| May 27th, 2015


As unpleasant as any conversation about Ray McDonald may be, there is still a football discussion needing to be had as the Bears must now replace a potentially key part of their defense. There’s no question the Bears made the right call in cutting McDonald. He needed to prove he could stay out of trouble and he didn’t. By releasing him they became a better organization. But they will be a worse team if young players don’t step up because McDonald was going to be the team’s best defensive lineman.

The obvious players to fill the void are second-year linemen Will Sutton and Ego Ferguson, who will now figure to see quite a bit of playing time simply because the team lacks capable bodies on the defensive line.

Much has been made about Sutton’s fit in the Bears new 3-4 scheme but good players find ways to fit. Sutton has roughly the same measurables as Green Bay’s Mike Daniels, one of the better defensive linemen in the league. Like Sutton, Daniels wasn’t part of his team’s original plans. The Packers drafted players like Jerel Worthy in the second round and Datone Jones in the first. Worthy is no longer on the team and Daniels played twice as many snaps as Jones last year.

Ferguson seems to be more of a nose tackle, but the Bears have said they’re planning on moving him around. They seem to prefer him to Sutton, but he’s so raw, it’s hard to see him being able to rush the passer. Neither Sutton nor Ferguson have arms that measure even 33 inches, which is considered a prerequisite for that position in this scheme. With McDonald out of the way, both of the Bears young defensive tackles have a chance — and the talent — to break the mold.

The wildcard will be Cornelius Washington. Many have projected Washington as a linebacker in Fangio’s defense but he possesses the desired strength and length to play with his hand in the dirt. If he were to put on about ten pounds, he could be an ideal fit, even while his role does not take advantage of his physical gifts.

There has been some conversation of Lamarr Houston playing the 5-tech position, but it doesn’t fit his skill set. What makes the great 5-techs so great is their ability to crash into double teams and hold up. Houston was a good run defender because he set the edge, his ability to take on two gaps is questionable. Jarvis Jenkins is the fallback option. The Bears already know what the free agent signee can do, and it isn’t special. The Redskins gave him up without a fight and the Bears signed him knowing he would be adequate and nothing more.

McDonald’s mistake could be a blessing in disguise. While Ferguson, Sutton and Washington may not have been the team’s first choice to play the position, there is no question they have potential. If one of the Bears young players steps up, they’ll be better off now and in the future. If they don’t, the Bears defense will be in for another rough season.

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  • BearDown100393

    Trade Cutler for a defensive lineman. Problem solved right?

    • footballandpoop

      I’d take an extra tackling dummy and 2 rolls of tape.

      • BearDown100393


    • Irish Sweetness

      The Titans and the Jets were looking for a QB. Had we been serious about improving the team as a whole they would have been shopping Jay, and had it been the Jets we traded him to, likely Leonard Williams is a Bear right now.

      • They both indeed were looking for a QB, just not Cutler.
        I doubt either would’ve given anything higher than a 3rd for him, if that.
        If the Jets were really serious, we could’ve paired Marshall and Cutler, but perhaps since that bromance spoiled, they preferred Bmarsh for pennies.

        • Irish Sweetness

          I really think Pace isn’t being entirely truthful (FWIW) on the Cutty situation. He said they never tried to shop Cutty. That doesn’t mean they didn’t pick up the phone when the Jets and the Jags and the Jets rang up to see what the price was.
          If the Jets offered the Bears the 6th pick, the atmosphere would be real strange in the Jets locker room right now. High noon at the heartbreak hotel, featuring Cutty and the Beast.

          • Andrew Dannehy

            That is true. Pace only made one call Re: Cutler, that was to get Mariota. Other than that, nada.

      • Andrew Dannehy

        Titans weren’t looking for a QB. They were looking for a ton of draft picks and wanted a QB as a throw in. It’s why both the Bears and Chargers said no.

    • Andrew Dannehy

      Except then you don’t have a QB…

      • BearDown100393

        Minor detail.

      • Irish Sweetness

        Phone call to Ryan Fitzy’s boss. What, 10c?

        Cost of new QB : 4th rounder.

        Value to defense of Leonard Williams ?


        • Andrew Dannehy

          I mean, you don’t really think Fitzpatrick solves the issue, do you? He’s going to back up Geno Smith this year. Cutler+Sutton/Ego, etc. is better than Fitz+Williams and it isn’t close.

          • Irish Sweetness

            I know Cutty hasn’t solved the issue. Ryan can be a guy to hand it off and make throws when you need them. He’s the best option there is, and would have Clausen to back him up. Williams is a game-changer. Neither Sutton nor Ferguson are. Cutty is a drive-killer, and costs us an extra ten million a year compared to Fitzpatrick. Rebuild the team without putting all the shekels into the QB, then see what happens down the line. That’s a plan – but sitting back and hoping the leopard changes his spots is not a plan …. it’s a surefire recipe for more of the same. We can’t all have studs at QB, and the Bears know that better than anyone.

          • Andrew Dannehy

            You clearly have never seen Ryan Fitzpatrick play. He turns the ball over more than Cutler and doesn’t make plays. Again, he’s the backup behind Geno Smith right now. Clausen doesn’t strengthen your argument. The plan is to win in the near future, Cutler is the best option. You’re also overrating Williams. Even if he’s Richard Seymour (he’s not), he’s not a game changer.

      • Scharfinator

        Do we now? 😛

  • Some “scouting reports” on Sutton.



    Scouting report on Mike Daniels.



    Apart from both being undersized, another difference is the 40 (Sutton 5.24, Daniels, 4.84), Length (Sutton barely 31″, Daniels nearly 33″) and effort/desire (Sutton’s was “questionable”, while Daniel’s was “adequate”).

    Pack seemed to have drafted a better player later, but we’ll see.

    • Andrew Dannehy

      And here’s another that says he rarely turn the switch off. http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/players/1664702/william-sutton. In a related matter, NFL.com changed who they had doing the scouting reports this year because they were always so off. Nobody thought Daniels as a prospect was better than Sutton.

  • SC Dave

    People seem to like Washington because of biceps. But I’ve seen little evidence of brainpower.

    • Yeah, Kellen Davis LOOKED the part and flashed at times too, but we all know how that turned out.

      Looks like Tarzan, plays like Jane.

      That being said, the Bears are due to hit on ONE project one of these days.

  • The GP

    So he tries to evict his baby mama at 3am, gets arrested – gets fired from Da Bears, gets released from the county lock-up, judge files restraining order against him and the baby mama.

    So now he’s pissed. Baby mama just cost him $1M. So what does he do?

    He violates the order last night, heads back there to yell at her some more. Of course.


    • BearDown100393

      He cost himself the $1M. He better call his mama and buy a plane ticket pronto.

    • BillW

      One gets the feeling that McDonald could go postal at some point. He seems to be fixated on confronting this woman.

      • BearDown100393

        These situations usually end tragically. Hope that isn’t the case here.

  • The GP
    • Jay Cutler won’t ever dip to “horrible” Leaf/JaMarcus/Gabbert territory, but that’s not saying much.

      Cutler, after all, made a PB, so he’s fully capable, but he’s critically flawed. He’s like a Shakespearean tragic character…if only Othello wasn’t jealous, or Hamlet indecisive…if only Cutler weren’t (x)…but much like those characters, the audience well knows how the script will turn out.

      • Waffle

        Your first sentence is brutal. Why are we revising history so much? It’s laughable. Of course he won’t dip into a horrible category….because he’s not a horrible, decent or average QB. He’s one of the 20 QB’s in the NFL that can actually play the position and that’s in the entire fucking WORLD.
        Guys like Luck get a pass because when throw dumb fucking picks their team still occasionally wins because they play in the fucking AFC South and because their D wasn’t ranked fucking dead last in the league and history of their organizations. OH MY GOD I WANT TO FUCKING STAB MY EYES OUT BUTCH.

        • Johnnywad

          Your last sentence is lacking several exclamation points. Other than that, the post is perfect.

        • Irish Sweetness

          Let’s not pretend the world plays American football ……

  • BillW

    Ok Viva. In your hands now. We need a Da Hawkcse! every day!

    This is a great team!

    • Viva

      Gamedays only, BW.

      • BillW

        OK – I acquiesce to your expertise. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

        Three thoughts –
        For all the hitting they are doing, it seems to be affecting the Ducks more.
        Their goaltender seems a bit shaky.
        The extra day will help both teams

        Unfortunately, we have dinner planned Saturday night with two other couples that I would not consider the type to want to sit in a bar and cheer on the team.

        However, we’re going to Ditka’s (trackside – not downtown) so there’s that.

        • Viva

          If I’m not mistaken, you’ll come down with seasonal allergies that will prevent you from missing dinner but allow you to enjoy game SEVEN.

          • BillW

            But it’s Ditka’s! Somehow Da Coach will know and come to my house and knock sense into me. I feel like Farley in the SNL skit when Ditka was coaching the Saints and Farley didn’t know what to do.

            Luckily the other two couples are not late night people (not that I am – but they are even older than me). Dinner is with the blue haired crowd about 6 I think. Should be home for the third period.

  • NewBearInTown

    There is always an interesting period before the regular season starts. We see a few notable contributors get cut in favor of younger players. We see some retired vets who didn’t want to go to camp anyway get a look to fill in for camp injuries.
    There will be quality veteran talent to fill mcdonald’s role on the team. We won’t get the same production. We won’t get the same familiarity with Fangio’s scheme. But there will be guys who can play 20-30 snaps in a game and not stink.
    I’d prefer to sign somebody before the season starts. I don’t mind going into the preseason wondering who the backups will be. I don’t like the conversation right now about who the weak 1 starting DE rotation will be. We need to know that there are players on the roster to fill that spot. And we need to know that if someone blows an ACL in week 4 of the preseason, that we still have enough guys to fill the roster a week later.
    I am almost certain Pace agrees with me. And a roster spot just opened up.

    • Irish Sweetness

      We have to sign a semi-stud. No way around it. We had jack shit at LB before he got fired, now we need to replace him, or it’s back to Cutty playing catch-up and throwing those doomed bullets.

      Or ….. Shea and Bostic inside (slight chance they come on well in their new roles), but still with Jared Allen and McPhee on the outside, Houston and Jones to fill in. Between Rat, Sutton, Ferguson, Goldman and Terry Williams, we could do a lot of sexy stuff with 5-man lines. Unblockable IMHO. Mix in blitzing schemes with that and it’s Goodnight Irene. Allen/McPhee as your two LBs – emphasise the positives, restrict your deficiencies. With Amos, Fuller, Rolle, Mundy and the CBs looking a lot better with the chaos generated in front of them.

      If our ILBs are the problem, just don’t play them a lot.

  • AlbertInTucson

    Listen the “Marty and Miller” segment in the ast thread.

    Very disappointing.

    @1;45- “Now, you’re still going to have the outspoken, I call them sort of a, a loud minority who will come out and say ‘Hey, the Bears gave the guy a chance, it didn’t work out, so be it, you move on’.”


    Loud, yes, but certainly NOT a MINORITY that I can see onTHIS Blog.

    @ 2:24 – “This entire regime, whether they want to admit it or not, this entire regime will now be looked at under a little bit of a microscope”.

    When is a Bear Regime NOT under a microscope?

    “Defining Moment”. – Overstatement.

    “Stain on the Franchise’. – Hyperbole.

    “Scarlett Letter”. You KNOW the Playwrite couldn’t WAIT to work that reference into the text!

    New thread: BACK TO FOOTBALL. Amen,brother!

    • Trac

      Ditto! Hee hee

    • Huge Bear’s Penis

      i got to agree with you on the “Minority” portions. All the fans I have talked to outside the blog are on par with ‘we gave him a chance and it did not work out’ opinion. There was no guaranteed money and it was a one year prove yourself deal. So in my opinion the loud Minority the people in Jeff’s group. It is an outrage that McDonald can’t control himself and repeated violence. I don’t see it as an outrage the Bears signed him. Be mad at the people perpetrating the violence not the organizations that give them a job.

      • The GP

        That’s because we’re smarter than your friends.

        • Huge Bear’s Penis

          lol – i would not consider all of them my friends. also to be honest there are a lot of ‘fans’ that did not know anything about it and did not even know we had signed him to begin with. It’s the off season not everyone follows the sport as closely as we do here on the blog.

      • Irish Sweetness

        Exactly. Not having a job could exacerbate his problems. Fangio knows this guy to an extent. There’s a risk attached to every draft pick. With a player like Ray, that risk is a bigger number when you sign him knowing what you know. The numbers played out. This league is full of those guys and always has been, we just turn a blind eye. It’s business these days, not football. Halas doesn’t sign Ray, George had to.

    • BillW

      But…but.. it was one of the best things Jeff ever did!

      I guess that could be true and be disappointing at the same time.

      • BearDown100393

        George Lucas was really proud of Howard the Duck. Just saying.

  • Irish Sweetness

    I just had a thought in the shower. A thought, and a failed attempt to spark life from my flaccid member, drained of life, joy and inspiration.This global warming deal. CO2 levels in the atmosphere too high? Hmmm. What breathes carbon dioxide? Better still, what breathes carbon dioxide and gives you back oxygen? What would clean all that shit out of your air, and replace it with oxygen? Trees. And what do we cut down faster than we grow them? Wait, how do you tweet that?

    “Problem: global warming. Solution: stop cutting down the fucking trees.”

    That one’s for you Jefe, tweet away. All yours. Spread the love.

    • NewBearInTown

      Interesting addendum to this. Ocean vegetation accounts for (if I’m not mistaken) the majority of the world’ CO2 production. Its not just the trees we have to lay off, its the coral reefs as well.

      With that said, forests are collectively designed to deal with trees being cut down (or burning down in a fire, etc.) If the tree population is not controlled, it can become too dense, and then forest fires don’t naturally burn out (plus they burn much hotter). In addition, an over-abundance of trees can hurt other natural vegetation.

      I imagine there are those on the blog who know a lot more about this than I.

      So yeah, “stop cutting down trees” is an oversimplification. But I agree with you that being more responsible with nature should be a priority world-wide.

      • Doc Hamstring

        You’re mistaken.


        Terrestrial biological CO2 emissions exceed all other sources, including oceanic emissions. Human emissions are a fraction of biological emissions. The problem is that anthropogenic carbon emissions are increasing, and have been throwing off the carbon cycle for decades.

        Sequestration in biomass is only a slice of the pie. A thin slice. 90% of anthropogenic CO2 is from burning fossil fuels. 10% is from land cover change.

        We just need to stop burning so much fossil fuels.

        • Irish Sweetness

          This is my feeling too. The planet is making itself warmer, and we’ve got diddly squat to do with it, and there’s diddly squat we can do about it. Either way, we’re gonna need those trees. And tigers. They’re fucking useless, but they look cool.

      • Irish Sweetness

        I’ll bet that when man first walked the Earth (after being genetically spliced with our alien ancestors DNA, explaining our more advanced intelligence against the entirety of all other life ever produced on Earth) …. there was an abundance of trees, there having been nobody around to cut them down. It didn’t seem to harm us any.

        Aside: The most memorable thing about the recent version of Robin Hood, was that Britain was portrayed to be absolutely smothered in trees. I prefer a hairy planet to one that’s eroded and covered in chemicals. When there’s twice as many of us in 40 years, how will it look then?

        • Doc Hamstring

          The won’t be twice as many of us as there are now. Not in 40 years, not in 400 years.

          World population, even by pessimistic forecasts, will peak no higher than 11 billion at the end of the 21st century. Many demographers predict the world population will peak somewhere between 9 and 10 billion.

          Given that most of the world population growth will happen in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, population growth isn’t what results in deforestation–like in places such as Southeast Asia or Central/South America. What drives deforestation isn’t the poor so much as the rich. Have you ever seen the correlation between beef prices and Amazonian deforestation? Pretty chilling stuff, all because ranchers in Brazil can make money selling beef to the OECD.

          • Irish Sweetness

            The maths aren’t hard. When Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon there were 3 billion souls on Earth. 45 years later there are over 7 billion of us. Anybody doing studies on world population will be funded by the people who don’t want to upset the herd. The doubling period was just less than 40 years. Are there the resources left on the planet to double again? Certainly not in a sustainable manner … but people aren’t going to stop fucking.

      • Irish Sweetness

        Another interesting slant on the oceans is that the more CO2 they absorb from the atmosphere, the more that will affect her currents, causing the flows to stop, which generates lower land temperatures. In that scenario, you don’t get global warming, you get an ice age.

        • Waffle

          Irish, I like your thoughts on this type of thread about the environment, etc but then you’ll go off on some batshit tangent about aliens or worse yet…that we should get Fitzpatrick at QB……
          still love you though.

          • Irish Sweetness

            I think Fitzy could look good for us under center. But it’s not going to be. I’m kind of curious to see how Cutty plays out this year. It’ll be interesting.

        • Doc Hamstring

          Currents don’t stop. They change.

          The tropics absorb more solar energy than they emit. The polar latitudes emit more energy than they absorb. Ocean currents transfer heat from the tropics toward the poles.

          So maybe the North Atlantic Drift weakens, but the heat still must be transferred, so another circulation starts up and keeps Europe warm.

          No one outside of oil/coal industry shills and their right wing advocates thinks that there will be anything approaching an ice age for a long, long, long time. Given that global warming has uneven temperature implications–polar regions will warm far more than the tropics, for example–there is little or no chance of an ice age, or even cooling that will affect any inhabited part of the planet.

          • Irish Sweetness

            Currents can slow down. Ice ages happen. I underestimate humans and their ability to predict anything. One magic trick the ‘experts’ pull is to tell everybody that “… at current levels of consumption X can last for Y years…”, where X is oil and Y is a hundred years or whatever. What they fail to point out is that in 5, 10, 20 years time, we’re not anywhere near those consumption rates, and have gone far beyond them. So their numbers are meaningless.

            One thing’s for sure though, rising CO2 levels in the ocean would acidify the water and kill off life.

  • Doc Hamstring

    McDonald was on a 1-year deal. If he had kept his nose clean and played well, he’d be too expensive to keep after a year–or someone would sign him away. If he hadn’t played well, he’d be gone.

    So basically, McDonald was a “win-now” stop-gap. I agree with the premise that his absence might allow younger players to step up.

    But mainly, McDonald’s failure reinforces for me that the defensive re-build will take more than one year. I like Amos, but a 5th-round FS does not inspire confidence. The ILB corps should be OK, but there are a lot of poor fits at OLB. The d-line is in the middle of transition. Nickel CB needs help. A good 2016 off-season and draft could mean that the defense is ready for prime time.

    • T’Challa

      In my opinion Sutton is not a good fit for this defense. I am hoping the Bears seek a trade with some team like Atlanta. The Falcons are switching from a 30 front to a 40 front. It is quite possible Hageman doesn’t fit in their scheme.

      Another possible fit is Da’Quan Bowers who is currently a FA. He has nice size in the range of 6’3 and 290 lbs. He was once regarded as a 1st rd pick, but he could at least be a rotational DE for us.

  • Big Mike

    We interrupt the discussion of an awful human, who never played a down for the Bears and bring you this.

    Matt Forte is a role model. http://fw.to/u9LYf5l This article could be titled “How to act when you want an extension”

    • BillW

      Am I the only one having problems with the Tribune website (PC version – tablet and phone are OK)?

      The display is messed up – a lot of links or text boxes where pictures would be.

      I’m using the most recent version of Chrome. I don’t have an updated version of IE – so I get a “crippled” version there though with graphics. Haven’t tried Firefox.

      • I had that yesterday on my PC at work in both Chrome and IE. Works fine on my macbook at home

    • Irish Sweetness

      It’s smart not to extend him yet. Let’s see if he can stand up straight by the end of the season.

      In that article he admits himself what some of us were harping on, he had no burst. We have the 49ers strength trainer now. Hopefully he gets a hold of Shea McClellin.

      • Big Mike

        Not about extending Forte or not. It’s about Forte attitude in the face of adversity and not getting what he feels he deserves. It’s about his recognition of his situation.

  • Huge Bear’s Penis

    what the hell is going on? we have so many threads lately you would think it is the regular season already.

  • Scott N. Bergman

    Speaking with the Bears about my client Donte “cupcake” Rumph, if you want cupcake, please contact the Bears.

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