I hope Slauson is on the roster to play Center next season, not as a guard, otherwise we're toast.
Phil clearly went after what he considers to be positions of need
- and he did it in spades. It seemed as if the draft presenters were stifling their laughs as Mayock defended the selection of Kyle Long
. Mayock loved the pick. Mayock loves everybody. Nobody else loved it. Mayock has to face Howie from time to time.
Question. Why do you spend half of your draft picks at a position where you've just signed two veterans? They were good ones too. DJ Williams echoes Wilber Marshall in the violence department. Anderson looks solid. Why the overkill on drafting linebackers? Why the obsession? It appears puzzling at first ... until you saw a certain Lance Briggs
hawking the new Reebok Carbon-Fiber shoe on NFL Xtra.
Notice any smoke signals from Halas Hall recently? The murmurs of discontent from the old defensive guard have been conspicuous by their absence. Lance is not happy that Brian was so unceremoniousy ushered out the door with an insulting offer that was guaranteed to irk him. The safety net of oh-so-relaxed Lovie is no longer there. Gone too the sideline Yoda, Rod Maranelli. Old Monsters of the Midway are no longer required. Halas Hall made a clear statement of intention by drafting three linebackers this week.
They also made another.
Either Slauson will be moved to guard ... or the unthinkable happens ... the temporary fix of Roberto Garza
playing Center actually continues.
For me, Center was the biggest need on draft day - has been since Olin left us. Jerry Angelo ignored talent on draft day for the best part of ten years - particularly on the offensive line - and in no bigger way than completely refusing to accept that both Olin and Brian weren't getting any younger. Even when Olin was eventually low-balled out the door, no attempt to lock up the line's keystone was made. Instead, they put a guard into the position - a guard at the end of his career, sporting two knee-braces and a penchant for false-stating when he's the only player on the field who knows when the ball is going to be snapped. I had never seen a Center do this before Garza did it.
So on the surface of things, Emery is fine with heading into the new season with a bevy of tackles and guards ... with a battered, washed up old warhorse masquerading as a Center, who can no longer get any push on the running plays, is too slow to have any use at the second level, and who collapses the pocket on almost every passing down as he gets pushed directly back into his quarterback.
The recent addition of Martellus Bennett
, the promising Joe Anderson
battling it out with Earl the Pearl in the slot ... the 1-2 punch of Forte and Bush ... the Beast-like Brandon Marshall and the up-and-comer Alshon Jeffrey opposite ... will all be negated because of the age old problem of time. The time that has worn out Garza's knees ... the time for Cutler to remain upright and deliver the ball ... the time since last the Lombardi was lifted by a Bear.
The shortest distance between any two points is a straight line. A-gap to Cutler - that's exactly where they'll come at us - right through Roberto Garza.
The new Read-Option defense calls for a zone-blocking scheme where the guards and center become more important than the tackles, moving swiftly into position as the pocket moves. This does not bode well for Roberto Garza nor for the Chicago Bears
Phil Emery made no attempt to move into the third round and take Schwenke - a mauling bear of a man in the mold of Nick Mangold
(his hair anyway), who doesn't just block, but imposes himself on defenders and tosses them out of his way, usually to the ground where they become useless. He made no bold leap in the second round for the man who would bolster that line for another ten years all things being equal. He did trade down however - right into the bottom of the 7th, where no such Centers remained. Jay Hilgenberg went undrafted, but there is no Jim Finks in Halas Hall now to find such a player ... if one exists.
One might argue that we could have traded down with the 20th overall pick, and still drafted a solid guard (maybe even Kyle Long) and a couple of very good linebackers, Mills at tackle etc. and ALSO have gotten Schwenke, thus ending any uncertainty about the foundations of any team - the offensive line.
As things stand now ... there is
uncertainty. Even healthy, Garza isn't up to the job. He wasn't up to it last season and now he'll be one year older. Maybe we deal Briggs to the Titans
for Schwenke straight up. If we do, I'll hail him a genius, and we are mere mortals who were watching his hands when we should have been watching his assistant.
We'll have a great defense, we always do. But we now live in the world of high-powered offenses and those offenses are built on solid foundations. Not even the Packers
could overcome a poor offensive line, but Phil knows best, and as a result .... now we are in serious trouble. All the weapons in the world are useless if Cutler is on his back. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and next season our chain will be snapping right in the middle .