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)
The chat room looks a little empty today, but I certainly appreciate all the folks who came out to talk about the Bears. I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend. Let's get started.
Shawn H (Galesburg, IL)
Reports say that Will Hill has been released from the Giants. Would he be worth a flyer for the Bears to bring to camp considering the 6 game suspension he's facing and his troubled past?
Michael (1:05 PM)
Shawn, Bears general manager Phil Emery can tolerate quite a bit with regards to these types of issues, but three drug suspensions in three years? I don't see Emery taking a chance like that because I think you've got to wonder whether there's a real problem here. We're talking about a player who is suspended for the first six games of 2014 after missing the first four games of 2013 because of a drug suspension, not to mention four games in 2012 for the same offense. That's just too much. Also, if you go back to the year he came into the NFL, remember he went undrafted because of concerns about his off-the-field stuff. So I don't really see it happening, but at the same time, the Bears in my opinion still have a need at safety. But if they brought him in, he'd couldn't help the team for the first six games. That's too long in my opinion to wait on a guy that you don't know whether you'll be able to trust long term.
Hey Michael, love you work. Great that you give us updates on the Bears all the time. However, having seen the improvements this team has made, I've read Insider articles and a few others saying the Bears should be considered serious Super Bowl contenders now. What do you think?
Michael (1:07 PM)
Thanks for the kind words. I agree that the Bears could be serious contenders provided that defense gets back to respectability. They don't have to be a top 10 defense or anything. I think a middle-of-the-pack type of defense will be good enough for this team to contend.
Joe Bergschneider (Jacksonville, il)
With the recent news that the Cowboys are interested in Urlacher, wouldn't make sense for the Bears to cut/trade DJ Williams and offer Brian the real ending to his career he deserves. Without a doubt the Bears have a chance to win it all and with a revamped DLine Brian could really be a leader on defense.
Michael (1:10 PM)
Well, Joe, the Cowboys actually aren't very interested in Urlacher. The Bears shouldn't be either. I know Urlacher was injured during his final season in Chicago, but he clearly wasn't anywhere near the level of player he was in the past. Combine that with the fact he's been away from the game, and I don't see how he'd be a viable option for the Bears in 2014. When Urlacher is ready to truly hang up the cleats, I'm sure the Bears will send him out with a huge ceremony. But I seriously don't see how he'd help this team this season. I believe too much is made of this "leader" stuff. Besides that, the Bears are playing the defense differently this season than they were when Urlacher was a part of the organization.
Whats your signature move when hitting on chicks?
Michael (1:11 PM)
Dude, I'm married. Been out of the dating game a while.
Ryan (Moline, IL)
When will the training camp schedule with times and dates be released?
Michael (1:13 PM)
Ryan, we haven't been told just yet. But my guess is that schedule will be coming out pretty soon. I'd say that you should keep checking the team's official website. I do know they report on July 24th.
Corey B (Brookfield)
Hi Michael, it was nice to finally have a good back-up QB last year, shouldn't the Bears be concerned about this position considering Cutler's fragility?
Michael (1:16 PM)
Corey, I'm with you on this one. Cutler hasn't played an entire 16-game season since 2009, so there would seem to be a pretty good shot of the backup having to play this season at some point. The Bears did improve the protection dramatically, but Cutler was forced to miss time twice last year. The Bears seem to be pretty confident in Jordan Palmer's ability to get it done if pressed into duty. But Phil Emery did say that they'd continue to look for ways to improve at the position if possible. I'm not saying they plan on adding another player to the mix in the coming weeks. But I wouldn't be surprised if it happened. Emery said they'd continue to bring in veterans looking for opportunities for workouts.
How is Ka'deem Carey looking in OTAs and do you think he can be a legit part of the offense this year?
Michael (1:20 PM)
It's really hard to get a true feel for how a guy is looking in OTAs because they're practicing in shorts and contact isn't allowed. So I don't want to get you overly excited about him just yet. From what I've seen he's quicker than advertised and seems to have really good balance and cutting ability. But we won't get a true measure for what he can do until they strap on the pads and start hitting. If Carey impresses once they get into the pads, I could see the Bears using him as a change-of-pace back that would give you a little bit of a different style than what Matt Forte brings to the table. Remember, teams are starting to go to more of that running back by committee model. I could see that happening in Chicago even with Forte being as good as he's been over the years.
Hey mike! What LB do u see starting the season?
Michael (1:20 PM)
Fred, my starting three are Briggs, D.J. Williams in the middle and Jonathan Bostic at Sam. That's what I see happening.
Ben (Baton Rouge, LA)
What's the status on DJ Williams? Is he practicing at the OTAs yet, or what, is he still not 100% healthy?
Michael (1:21 PM)
No word on D.J. Williams from anyone. Remember, OTAs are voluntary. Williams doesn't have to show up until mandatory minicamp.
Cooler (Lake Forest, Il)
Do you see Marquis Wilson being a factor for the Bears offense this year? How has he looked in OTAs?
Michael (1:23 PM)
He'd better be a factor because the Bears are certainly counting on him. Wilson looks like he's gotten a little bigger. You can tell that he's hit the weights this offseason. Again, I can't get a real feel for how he "looks" until they put on the pads. But so far, he's caught the ball well and looked pretty smooth running his routes.
Tom (Lakeland, FL)
What kind of leadership do you think Mel Tucker holds over this new defense?
Michael (1:25 PM)
Tucker is the type of guy that doesn't give you mixed signals. You know where you stand with him as a player, and I think the guys really appreciate that about him. Under Lovie Smith, a lot of times guys didn't know where they stood. Tucker is one of those tough-love type of guys that is all about accountability. He's also a pretty good communicator and teacher. I think he'll do better in 2014 because now he's got some players, not to mention assistants that are known for being great teachers helping out. I think the guys respect Mel Tucker for the most part and believe in him.
Any chance the Bears bring in Ed Reed for a look? Would seem like an ideal fit for the veteran defense.
Michael (1:29 PM)
Robert, you really have to think about what Ed Reed does and has done as a player. Then, think about how he'd fit into Chicago's system. Reed isn't the same player he once was, and he's really not a fit to play in a disciplined scheme like the one the Bears play. Reed has a tendency to freelance. In Chicago's system, that'll get you beaten badly. Granted this was a long time ago, but I talked to someone in the Bears organization about the possibility of bringing in Reed. At the time, I was told the Bears wouldn't be interested because of some of the reasons I mentioned before. You also have to take into account his injury history.
We've seen some gushing about Trestman by offensive players, (Marshall being the obvious mention here) but what sort of feeling are you getting about the coach's relationship with the Defensive players? Is it along the same lines or is the D feeling a little less love for the offensive minded HC?
Michael (1:33 PM)
Doug, I think there are still some growing pains in that area. I know that a lot of the guys didn't like the fact the coaches were actually spending time in the locker room (that never happened under the old regime), which is considered a sacred place for the players. I also know that last season the Bears didn't spend as much practice time getting reps on defense as they did in years past and guys weren't very happy about that. I think for the most part, the guys really like Trestman. But as I said there are still a few growing pains they've got to overcome. Knowing how inclusive Trestman is as a head coach, I see everything smoothing out pretty easily.
Michael (1:34 PM)
Folks, that's my time. I appreciate you guys coming in to chat with us. Chicago's next OTA is open tomorrow, so check back with us for updates on all the things going on at Halas Hall. Enjoy the rest of your day.