Chat with Michael Wright
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, ESPN NFL Nation Chicago Bears reporter Michael C. Wright drops by to chat and answer all of your Bears questions.
Wright joined ESPNChicago.com in April 2010 after spending the previous four seasons covering the Jaguars. He also covered the Redskins for two seasons. A native Texan, Wright was a four-year football letterman at West Texas A&M University.
Send your questions now and join Wright Monday at 1 p.m. ET!
Michael (1:00 PM)
Hello everyone and welcome to today's chat. We're inching closer and closer to the draft, and I'm sure you've got tons of questions. Let's go.
Rich (New Jersey)
Hi Michael - Got tired of reading about the draft when I saw this story that the Bengals got the OK to play one of their home games in London, I'm don't care for the idea about those games in England or anywhere else, how do you feel if the Bears gave up one of their home games to play in London ?
Michael (1:04 PM)
Rich, they did it back in 2011 and to be honest, it was an amazing experience. I met guy who drove all the way from Scotland (and he actually named his daughter Devin, after Devin Hester), and lots of Bears fans who, without them coming to London, would never have gotten the opportunity to see their team play. So I think it's a great vehicle for exposure. But at the same time, playing in London shorts the local fan base of one home game. The team wasn't all that thrilled about going over to London back in 2011, but it made the most of the experience. As a football fan, I like the idea of teams going over to play in London. But if I'm a player or member of an organization, I wouldn't like it because of the logistics involved.
Joey Higgins-Luckow (Madison, WI)
If Wilson shows he's a good receiver this year, which one of the three top WRs are left out long term? If I recall correctly, Marshall is a FA after this year, and Alshon could want an extention after this year. Also, who do you envision playing the slot in 3 WR sets?
Michael (1:08 PM)
Joey, I wouldn't say any of the current top receivers would be left out in the long term provided they continue to produce at the level they're currently contributing. The Bears will just have to find a way to make it all work here pretty soon. You're correct that Brandon Marshall will be a free agent after the season. But he's already said on record that he isn't looking to break the bank when it comes time to do a new deal. As for the third receiver, I envision that being Wilson. The Bears would like to see him make that jump in 2014 and become a major contributor, which likely is part of the reason the Bears asked Eric Weems and Earl Bennett (who was later cut) to take paycuts. Wilson has trained pretty hard this offseason with Marshall and Alshon Jeffery out in Florida. If you get a chance, do a Google search for Wilson and videos of him training in Florida. He's making some serious progress it appears.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What College Football Players that are in the 2014 NFL Draft do you think will be perfect fits for the Bears?
Michael (1:14 PM)
Chris, there are quite a few. But the Bears want to focus primarily on defense in this draft. In the first round, I like the potential selection of defensive tackle Aaron Donald out of Pittsburgh. He seems to be an ideal fit for what the Bears do on defense. If the Bears decide to go with a safety in the first round, I like Calvin Pryor out of Louisville. He's an intimidating presence on the back end, but you can tell he understands routes and what offenses are trying to do to him. I think he's more of a physical presence than Ha Ha Clinton-Dix of Alabama. If the Bears wait until the second round to draft a corner, I like Lamarcus Joyner from Florida State. Mel Kiper has the Bears taking him in the second round in his latest mock draft. Joyner to me seems very similar to Tim Jennings, but is probably a more versatile player, considering he's spent a lot of time starting at safety as well.
Rich (New Jersey)
Hi Michael - With the Bears sitting at number 14 and a little over two weeks to go before round one, which one of these players would the Bears would like to have - Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh; Timmy Jernigan, DT Florida State or Ra'Shede Hageman, DT Minnesota ?
Michael (1:18 PM)
Good question, Rich. And I can't really answer that because the Bears aren't talking about the players they prefer for obvious competitive reasons. I personally think Donald and Jernigan are better fits than Ra'Shede Hageman. But if Hageman can ever perform up to his potential, he'd wind up being a way better player than the other two guys. I'm really torn about Hageman because he has the potential to be a beast. And if you look at the veteran presence in the locker room, there's a chance Hageman could really flourish in Chicago. But with him, the risk is huge. That's not the case with Donald and Jernigan. One thing I can tell you about Bears general manager Phil Emery is that if he believes in a player, he's not afraid to take a chance on him regardless of what the public opinion might be in the immediate aftermath.
Joey Higgins-Luckow (Madison, WI)
Is Willie Young going to just be the 3rd DE or do you think there will be many packages with Lamarr Houston inside at DT?
Michael (1:20 PM)
Joey, it looks like it's just you and me in this chat. So I'm gonna answer this last question and cut this chat short. I believe Willie Young will indeed be the third defensive end with Jared Allen and Lamarr Houston serving as the starter. On passing downs, I see the Bears moving Houston inside to defensive tackle and keeping Willie Young out on the edge opposite Allen. Young should be able to benefit significantly from any extra attention given to Allen.
Michael (1:21 PM)
We're going to cut this chat short 10 minutes. Thanks everyone for coming in to chat for a little while about your Chicago Bears. Catch up with me again right here next week.