It goes without saying that this is an extremely slow time of the year as a football fan, and usually even slower as a Bears fan knowing that your team rarely enters the Free Agent market. However, times have changed in the Second City and while we've been more active that we've been in years we are now deeply within one of the few dead periods of football, heightened even further by our lack of picks in the first and second round. So I've decided to take a bit of time to share a few thoughts for discussion
Nathan Vasher will be better for the San Diego Chargers than he ever could have been for us.
Everyone knows the saga of The Interceptor, but too many people like to play a game of revisionist history when it comes to this guy. It needs to be said that this guy was at one point a very good corner for us, and it's a shame he no longer had a place here. With that said, he definitely no longer had a place here. Vasher's game was always predicated on his great ball skills, his aggressiveness, and his generally fluid hips. A terrible couple of years filled with a multitude of groin injuries and wrist injuries not only appear to have permanently hampered that previous ability to shift, cover, and recover, but also robbed him of that aggressive streak by proxy. It remains to be seen how much the wrist injuries affected his ball skills, and he could still recover to some extent, but it wasn't going to happen here. He is not playing at the level of a starting cornerback in the NFL, and you can't rebuild a players confidence when you're benching him for a rogues gallery of promise.
Vasher signing with another team is the best thing that could have happened to him, and I hope he makes to most of it and becomes something he couldn't have been here. The third CB on the roster.
Alex Brown doesn't get enough respect, but that's more than made up for with undue credit.
It's a strange bit of warring opinion when it comes to the pending trade or release of Alex Brown. For the record, I'm steadfastly in the camp of thinking he should remain on the team, specially if he is willing to renegotiate his deal, However, that's not what I wanted to talk about, I wanted to say a quick piece about Alex Brown as a player, and teammate. Alex Brown was essentially a 6 sack a year guy playing as a RE, which is about as mediocre as it gets. It was never an impact player, but he has been the most consistent part of our line for years. This is where a case can be made that Brown would have been more productive if the rest of the line had been better. However, if that was true at one point it's extremely unlikely to be true now. I can't think of a single DL that has ever went from okay to great due to the addition of an impact player, specially when that impact player would be forcing him into a position that doesn't fit the strengths he has.
So, I just addressed the undue credit that Brown has received, but he also isn't receiving his due respect in a lot of corners of Bears fandom. Alex Brown again was one of the only reliable linemen on our team for years, and reliably okay is much better than flashes of greatness followed by a void of nothingness that the rest of the line has shown. Alex Brown isn't a hall of famer, but he was definitely a high character football player that always played the game to the best of his abilities, and led on the field as well as off. This as much as anything makes me proud to have had him in a Bears uniform, and I definitely wouldn't mind seeing him stick around at a reduced salary as rotational depth and a steady locker room presence.
The Bears are going to have youth all over the secondary, and we need to be ready for the growing pains.
Al Afalava, Craig Steltz, Kevin Payne, Daniel Manning. What do all of these guys have in common? They are all in the hunt for Safety positions, and none of them have more than 30 games starting at the position in the NFL. Same goes for our cornerbacks, because after Tillman we've got Corey Graham, Zack Bowman, and possibly Moore and Turrenne, with Bowman having the most starts at 12. Needless to say all of these guys need to be hitting the playbooks hard, studying tape until their eyes bleed, and hitting camp like there was no tommorrow, but we as fans need set our expectations properly before the pre-season even starts. Experience matters a lot in the secondary, we've seen smart players that are extremely gifted athletes make bone-headed mistakes, or simply bite on a fake leading to a touchdown.
It's going to happen, consider this your fair warning and try not to throw these guys under the bus while they are going threw some growing pains, or at least wait until Week 4 or so until you try to drum them out of town.
This is something that has just been going through my head the past couple of days. It is completely within reason that Urlacher is going to have a resurgent year this year. He isn't known for slacking on conditioning, he had more than a few lingering health issues, and facing facts he isn't a spring chicken anymore. Basically, taking the year off could very easily lead to him playing like a player much younger than he is, and if we all remember back not that far ago he was a really amazing player when playing at his best.
With that said, if he does have a Pro Bowl caliber year and the interest is there would you be okay with trading Urlacher for players or picks if it meant getting younger as a team. If so, what would it take for you to give up #54?