Chat with Dickerson, Jurko
Welcome to ESPNChicago.com! Join us on Tuesday for our weekly Bears chat.
Jeff Dickerson kicks things off from 11 a.m.-noon; Jurko wraps it up from noon-12:30 p.m. (All times CT.)
Send your questions now and join the chat Tuesday at 11 a.m. CT/noon ET!
Jeff Dickerson (12:03 PM)
Wow. A 3-0 start! Let's talk some Bears football.
David Paras (Chicago)
How close was the Bears really from replacing Devin Hester on PR?
Jeff Dickerson (12:06 PM)
Dave, it was close. Hester was told that he needed to stop losing yards on his returns. Field position is too important. The Bears simply could not afford to watch Hester run backwards or side to side any longer. They told him to get the ball up the field. And it worked! But...if he would have come out and looked bad on his first return, I believe the Bears would made a change, maybe to D.J. Moore. But hey, it all worked out in the end.
Hey JD,What's with Lovie's new attitude regarding underperformers? Is this something we can expect to see for the rest of the season, and how do you think the guys in the locker room will respond to it?
Jeff Dickerson (12:10 PM)
That's a great question Mike. Very surprised to see Devin Aromashodu and Zack Bowman take a seat on the bench. Tommie Harris, not so much, because we've seen this movie before. As long as the Bears keep winning, there is no doubt Lovie will keep the locker room happy regardless of his changes. If they start to lose, different story. But this is a stark contrast from a guy who continued to play Adam Archuleta and Orlando Pace long past their primes.
Dwight Aquino (Skokie)
JD! I'm drinking some Bears Kool-Aid this victory tuesday. Do you think the Bears will keep this up ?
Jeff Dickerson (12:14 PM)
Bears fans should feel great this morning, so there is nothing wrong with drinking the Kool-Aid. Look, the schedule sets up for this team to be at least 6-2 heading into their next divison game -- Minnesota on November 14. Now, the Bears have been on the receiving end of quite a few lucky breaks, but every good team gets their share of good bounces during a season. Don't feel bad about a thing. Starting off 3-0 gives the Bears a very realistic chance at winning 10 games this year, and that usually gets you in the playoffs.
Ace (Los Angeles, CA)
What do you make of Lovie Smith's benching of Tommie Harris? Can you give us the inside scoop? I read that it was a production issue, and I'm wondering if the coaching staff was sending a message to Harris to pick up his play, or have they lost faith in him? In sum, can Harris return to the dominant player he once was, or have the injuries over the years taken its toll? Thanks..L.E.
Jeff Dickerson (12:18 PM)
Ace, I don't believe Harris will ever be a dominant player, but the Bears did think he could still be above average. But he didn't look good in the first two games, and that reason alone, led to him being inactive last night. Sure, the coaches are trying to send a message, but they've tried this in the past and it hasn't worked. Harris is an interesting guy to say the least, so I have no idea where this thing is going. Harris may want out, but the Bears paid him a sizeable roster bonus in June. One thing about the Bears, they don't like paying guys then turning around and cutting him. And who in the world would trade for Tommie Harris? Buckle up for this one.
Does Lovie bench Bowman and Schaffer if his job isn't on the line this year? Screams of desperation but then on the other side, benches a starting DT and leading week 1 receiver. This is more confusing than a double rainbow. What does it all mean?
Jeff Dickerson (12:21 PM)
Jim, these coaches are going to do whatever it takes to keep their jobs. Plain and simple. But if they keep making the correct calls -- have to give Tim Jennings credit for his play vs. GB -- then who can complain? This new cut-throat philosohpy will only come back to haunt Lovie if they start losing. But right now they're 3-0, so I'm sure he's feeling very secure about his decisions.
What is going on with Devin Aromashodu? I thought - and heard from a lot of experts - that he is their best receiver. Now I don't even know if he has a place on the team.
Jeff Dickerson (12:25 PM)
I felt the Bears were justified in their use of Aromashodu in Dallas. Let's face it, he dropped passes and failed to block versus Detroit. Point taken. But to make him inactive the following week??? This is where a good coach allows a talented player to bounce back and rebuild his confidence. You're telling me the 90,000 page Mike Martz playbook can't handle dressing 5 wide receivers and using 4 in the offensive gameplan -- Rashied Davis only a special teamer. If you're going to put a guy in the dog house, give him a chance to work his way out. Whole thing is very strange.
Hector Martinez (Kenosha, WI)
Do you believe the Bears are better defensive football team without Tommie Harris?
Jeff Dickerson (12:26 PM)
Hector, I wouldn't say they're better without Tommie. But are they any worse? I don't think so.
SprungOnSports (Long Island)
What can the Bears improve on going into their game with the Giants?
Jeff Dickerson (12:28 PM)
Well...I'd still like to see them run the ball. And the pass rush -- besides Julius Peppers -- isn't anything to rave about. I'm not sure what to expect from NY. One more loss and they might cancel the rest of the season. Will they come out inspired for Tom Coughlin? Or will they be tight like the Cowboys in Week 2? Tough to say.
Pete (West Lafayette)
The Bears have a somewhat favorable schedule until their Week 8 bye week. Is it realistic to see a possible 7-0 Bears team heading into the second half of the season?
Jeff Dickerson (12:30 PM)
I mean, it's possible. But I'm sure they'll have a few rough spots this year. However, being 2-0 in the NFC North is huge at this point. I only wish the Bears would take on the Vikings now, since Minnesota is so banged up and out of sorts. Minnesota might have their act together by mid-November.
Where did Tim Jennings come from?? I don't even remember him being on the depth chart. Nice fumble recovery and all around defense.
Jeff Dickerson (12:33 PM)
Jennings was cut by the Colts in the offseason and signed by the Bears in March. He started 21 games for the Colts from 2006-09, so he has experience. He did a nice job last night, especially in the tackling department -- until the final play when he ultimately recovered the fumble.
Garrick (Macomb IL)
Since we have gotten off to a great start 3-0, does this basically mean that lovie smith's job is very close to being safe for another season?
Jeff Dickerson (12:34 PM)
I would hold off on that. We still have 13 games left. Anything can happen. But Lovie is under contract for one more season and is making good money, so those two factors alone help his job security.
zach (Orland Park)
I know Tommie's production this year hasn't been what they wanted but doesn't he take a double cover on every snap freeing up the rest of the d line. Henry Melton starting over Tommie Harris? Has he fallen that far?
Jeff Dickerson (12:35 PM)
Actually, Matt Toeaina starting over Tommie Harris. But yes, he's fallen that far. I think Peppers is facing most, if not all, of the double teams.
Jeff Dickerson (12:36 PM)
That would be awesome from a media standpoint. But where is Tommie going to play in a 3-4 defense?
Rachel (St Louis)
How much of Devin Aromashodu is attributed to Martz making personnel decisions? Here in St. Louis I remember when Martz didnt make too many good personnel decisions.
Jeff Dickerson (12:37 PM)
Aromashodu isn't getting much support from Lovie, Martz or his position coach. Again, it's up to him to change their minds. Maybe this is the week he does so at Halas Hall.
Jennings had some impact last night. Although he did miss a tackle, his overall performance was as good, if not better, than what we've seen from Bowman. Will this change stick?
Jeff Dickerson (12:39 PM)
That's tough to say. Remember, Bowman had 6 INTs last year, and was the third leading tackler on the team after two weeks. I really don't think he was playing poorly. But it's not like Jennings did anything to upset the coaches last night. It'll be interesting to see how this all plays out.
Would the Bears try to acquire a DT via trade to get more production out of the middle of the line, and would somebody help Mark Anderson stay on his feet at the point of contact.
Jeff Dickerson (12:39 PM)
Who is Mark Anderson?
Jeff Dickerson (12:41 PM)
Yes, Will is on IR. Depending on if Martz is still around, I think Ta'ufo'ou has a shot to be back next year. He had a very good camp until the injury.
Jesse (Midland, Texas)
JD, I love the Bears. I live in Texas and I am as optimistic as they come but the Bears look more lucky than good. I am just afraid things will fall apart, tell me I am wrong. Thanks
Jeff Dickerson (12:42 PM)
I can't tell you that it won't Jesse. But enjoy the ride while it lasts. Don't worry about later in the year, just focus on the fact this team has a great shot to go on the road, beat NY, and improve to 4-0. That concludes my public service announcement!
Not to spoil the mood but is there anything coaching wise that can be done to stop Cutler from throwing off the back foot?
Jeff Dickerson (12:44 PM)
I don't believe Cutler will ever stop taking chances or making questionable decisions. That's just how he is built. But to his credit, he's made far fewer bad decisions so far this year. If that continues, he's going to have a really good 2010.
Jason Magsalin (Chicago)
What happened with the Jay Cutler's first INT? Was that a poo throw by Jay or did Greg Olson stop running his route?
Jeff Dickerson (12:47 PM)
I thought it was a bad route and a bad throw. Olsen and Cutler spent a few minutes talking it out on the Bears sideline after the INT. Looked like each guy was trying to make his point. Plenty of blame to go around in that instance, but it's nice to see Olsen continue to make big catches in crunch time.
Did the Bears really think they had something special in Mark Anderson? I would have never given up Alex Brown. Peppers is getting double and triple teams and nobody on the line can break free. Your thoughts?
How about that roughing the passer (questionable call) called on Henry Melton. He showed he can get after it if given the chance.
Jeff Dickerson (12:50 PM)
I've never been a Melton fan, but I must give credit where credit is due. That was a solid shot on Rodgers.
Devin Aromashadu (Chicago)
Since Desmond Clark dropped that pass, will he be inactive just like I did?
Jeff Dickerson (12:52 PM)
Nothing would surprise me at this point. But c'mom Cutler, don't zip the ball behind the guy. Sorry, that wasn't an easy catch.
Better 3-0 team: Bears, Steelers, or Chiefs?
Jeff Dickerson (12:52 PM)
Steelers. 3-0 without Big Ben. Pretty good, even though the Bears have beaten two highly rated teams in Dallas and Green Bay.
Bears DE Mark Anderson
Jeff Dickerson (12:54 PM)
Oh, that guy. Haven't seen him since 2006.
What is with the Bears and their inability to gain ONE yard?! The O-line gets blasted off the line every time. What can they do to mix it up some and actually get that yard?
Jeff Dickerson (12:55 PM)
How about a QB sneak or something. Cutler is a big guy, just send him over the top of Olin.
Do you think the Bears are hesitant to cut Tommie Harris with how Benson suddenly started playing well once he got to the Bengals?
Jeff Dickerson (12:58 PM)
You know Phil, I don't think we'll see a Cedric Benson type situation with Tommie, where he leaves Chicago and lights it up someplace else. I just think the Bears paid him a big roster bonus in June and are stuck with the guy. If I'm a McCaskey -- and I'm not -- I'd be like, why didn't we cut this guy in May if he was so bad? Might be a case of some of these head honchos trying to save face.
Ive read a story about how chicago needs to enjoy martz now because he wont be here long. Whats the chances of him leaving the bears after this season to coach else where?
Jeff Dickerson (1:00 PM)
As much as I liked that story, let's relax a tad. Remember, Martz was out of football in 2009. Maybe we should hold off on handing him a 2011 NFL head coaching gig.
Jeff Dickerson (1:00 PM)
Thanks everybody. Jurko is in the house and ready to take your questions.
Jurko (1:01 PM)
Thanks JD. Hello everyone, thanks for stopping by, and sorry about missing last Thursday. Bears are 3-0, and at this point I thought they'd be 1-2. Definitely a bonus.
chad (somebody's trunk)
How would you rate the line last night? What effect will Williams have when he returns? Thanks!
Jurko (1:02 PM)
OL got a C. Average. Thank heavens, sometimes in this offense, the ball gets out of there quickly, and/or Jay buys himself some time. The middle three were a lot better than the tackles.
Is it safe to say the Bears will be drafting a center, a possible g/t, and a DT in next year's draft?
Jurko (1:03 PM)
Let's not start projeecting to next year's draft. Eventually you're going to have to replace Olin Kreutz, and Garza is not getting any younger. Let's worry about the draft in April.
Jurk, what was the deal with Steve Young's odd questioning of Greg Olsen about Cutlers demeanor? Seemed a bit out of place, like he was digging for something that wasn't there.
Jurko (1:04 PM)
I don't have any issues with his demeanor. I believe Jay has proven to people that he wants to win, and he's tougher than nails. Steve Young was a former QB and may put an emphasis on non-verbal communication and body language. I don't think Jay has any problems with his teammates.
Melvin (Durham, NC)
Jurko, I know you're down on Anderson. But how does somebody who got 12 sacks one year just totally forget how to get upfield. It just seems odd
Jurko (1:05 PM)
Now he's worried about more than just rushing the passer. He used to play in second-and-long and third-and-long situations. Just pin your ears back and get the quarterback. When he became a starter, his game became more hesitant because he had to think about the run.
Kevin Shaffer (Lake Forest)
What do I have to do (besides hold Clay Matthews to zero sacks) to start over that bum Chris Williams?
Jurko (1:06 PM)
Hey Kevin, look at all the plays from yesterday's game. I saw you whiff a handful of times, with your face in the mud as the DE went by you. Get better.
Tommy Harris (Chicago)
Jurko, have I played my last down for the Chicago Bears?
Jurko (1:07 PM)
If you have, it's because you've made it that way. You are no longer the special player you once were. The knee injury, and old age, have been cruel to you. You've gotten one coach fired in Don Johnson, you're no longer worth having another coach fired. See you in the next life, wake me up for meals.
How did you assess Omiyale's play last night? Not hearing his name is definitely a good thing, right?
Jurko (1:08 PM)
Yeah, he's becoming more competitive. If he had 60 plays last night, I think he'll probably one have about 3-5 minuses. Grades out pretty good for an offensive lineman.
Dave (West Burbs)
I know Lovie is the HC - and gets paid to make personnel decisions - but how much (if any) influence does Martz have in deciding to leave D.A. on the bench? And why again wasn't Chester Taylor used during the goal line plays?
Jurko (1:09 PM)
The goal line is goign to be a problem for the Bears all year. You can have Emmitt Smith, Barry Sanders or Pete Johnson back there, it's not going to make a difference. This OL is not a group of earth movers. They're occupiers. If you don't know the offensive system, you're not going to play. Put the blame on DA.
Give us your thoughts on going for it on 4th and goal from the 1 and on the play call. Thanks Jurko
Jurko (1:10 PM)
No problem going for it in that situation. Third quarter, plenty of possessions left, and they went via the pass. And it was there. If it was the fourth quarter, I would have kicked the field goal. Both are equally culpable in the play not working.
sam (iowa city)
Is Harris, Bowman, and DA going to be able to earn playing time again after all of them being benched this past week??
Jurko (1:11 PM)
Harris should be cut. Bowman looked disinterested in the game. Missed too many tackles. DA has the best attitude, and should be on the field before the other two.
When will the Bears defense start concentrating more on tackling than trying to strip the ball? Opponents seem to gain a lot of yards after getting hit because of this. The strip only seems to work if they catch the ball carrier unaware.
Jurko (1:12 PM)
The emphasis will always be on forcing turnovers. First person is supposed to wrap, the next man in goes for the strip.
Do you think that Cutler will be able to continue playing well this season or do you see him slumping off into the 2009 version. He seems to overall be making better decisions but last night was a bit concerning...
Jurko (1:13 PM)
Got bailed out by the refs a lot last night. GB's defense small and quick, and swarming. I don't like seeing the ball go up in the middle of the field where it looks like a free-for-all. The one interception he did throw, 50-50 blame with Cutler and Olsen. Why is a 4.52 Olsen being covered by a 4.68 AJ Hawk? (And I'm being nice).
Jurko, what do you think of the toughness Cutler displays? That has to earn him points in the locker room right?
Jurko (1:14 PM)
Absolutely. He's getting his brains knocked in. And he still gets up and answers the bell.
Whats the deal with Jay Cutler throwing off of his back foot so much?? I know he has a strong arm, but i feel like this is something that Mike MArtz would not allow.
Jurko (1:14 PM)
When there's pressure at your feet, you don't have much of a choice. With all the challenges this OL faces, he's going to throw off his back foot sometimes, you just hope it doesn't cost you.
E (The World)
Zack Bowman looks like he's just not good more than he's disinterested. It's like having Nathan Vasher after contract signing again.
Jurko (1:15 PM)
Listen, the switch to the left side hasn't benefitted the kid. He looks hesitant and he's lacking confidence. They should switch him back.
Garret (Oak Brook)
Jurk, heading into next Sunday, what do you think is more likely? NY bouncing back after a poor start and grabbing an 'underdog' win or the Bears staying humble and moving to 4-0?
Jurko (1:16 PM)
Bears staying humble and moving to 4-0. I like the cut of this team's jib. They still haven't played a perfect game. They'll watch the film, and they'll probably ask themselves how the hell did we win this game. The Giants are going to bring their best effort, it will be a 4-5 point game either way.
How has lance louis performed thus far? alot of people gave a huge question mark to him, has he held his own?
Jurko (1:17 PM)
I grade a young kid simple: Pass/fail. Right now the kid is passing. Do the fundamentals right. Hat on a hat, stay between your man and the QB when you pass protect. Grade the veterans tougher.
Does the "psycho" defensive scheme make it harder to call screens or passes to Forte? I thought they might use him more since the Packers were being aggresive.
Jurko (1:18 PM)
When a team has success in the first two games with the screens, the opponent is now going to work on those as a point of emphasis. I think GB did a good job covering them.
Todd (Washington DC)
We all realize that the offensive line is having trouble. But, the Bears aren't even trying to get a running game going. With two solid backs in Forte and Taylor, do you think we will see more carries against the Giants who have the 26th ranked rushing defense?
Jurko (1:19 PM)
Maybe. But this offense is what it is. If the Bears go up 14 points, then you'll start to see an emphasis on the running game.
Matthews took an inside route on Schaffer one time and made poor Kevin look like a mannequin. I'm not even sure if Schaffer got out of his stance. Can you compare Matthews to someone from your playing days?
Jurko (1:19 PM)
Every player is going to have a bad play, and that was one of Shaffer's worst. And Matthews reminds me of Kevin Greene.
Kevin (San Diego)
I disagree, Cutler threw off his back foot many times with no pressure at all on him. Watch the tape. If he stopped doing that, he is a top-5 QB in the league. Thoughts?
Jurko (1:20 PM)
When you start getting shelled at the QB position, whether you like it or not, subconsciously you put a clock in your own brain. As you start feeling the pressure around you, you know it's coming and that's what causes it. He's a Top 5 QB now, even with that.
Mitch Kaz (Riverside CA)
whats the deal with Clay Mathews kicking our running back in the head the first play of the game, the bears can use that for the next match up
Jurko (1:21 PM)
A lot of crazy things happen in the pile. Things have a tendency to even out over the course of time. It may have set the tone for the rest of th penalties to be called.
E (The World)
Point well taken, Mr. Jurko. So what side can Mark Anderson be switched to improve? I'm guessing the sideline is his only remedy. I'm just glad to be 3-0 instead of 1-2 or 2-1.
Jurko (1:22 PM)
Never apologize for victories in the NFL. Do you think the Saints would like to be 3-0 today? They would be if their idiot kicker can make a field goal. Anderson? The sideline is his only secure position, preferably with a baseball cap and official team wear on.
Can we say Manumaleuna is wasted money that could off went for O or D man?
Jurko (1:23 PM)
He looked bad at times trying to pass block, but in the run blocking he bowled over Clay Matthews on the first series.
Jurko (1:24 PM)
Let me say this, they had to make a decision at the DL position. Alex Brown or Tommie Harris? Who should we keep? They chose the wrong guy and allocated the wrong resources to that guy. Tommie mentally can't handle the breakdown in his game. And if he's going to be a disruption he has to go.
Mike Shanahan (D.C.)
Jurko, I'm thinking about pitching a trade to the bears; Two-Down Tommie Harris for Albert "I didn't know about any conditioning drill" Haynesworth, what say you?
Jurko (1:24 PM)
I'll take Albert in half a heartbeat. If you're dumb enough to make that trade, I'll do it in a heartbeat.
So far, do you approve or disapprove of da bears keeping 4 TEs with no FB??
Jurko (1:25 PM)
In this offense you don't need fullbacks. They're an unnecessary evil in Martz's system. Don't blame not having a fullback for lack of goal-line success.
Can the Bears get some credit? GB has arguably the best defense, and offense in the league. Those holds weren't the worse thing to happen, ask Stafford. And the DPA's stopped the WR's from making plays, especially the one on Bennett. The Bears made a lot of mistakes and that oline is high school quality. But they kept it close and made the last play, man i missed Urlacher. Packers are really, really good, don't forget that.
Jurko (1:26 PM)
They're getting credit. They made the plays when they had to. But if you ask yourself the honest question, if they played 10 times, which team would win 7?
What was with the D-line getting no pressure on Rodgers? Besides all the holding/false start penalties...what do they need to work on, or are the packers O-line just that good?
Jurko (1:27 PM)
I thought there was more pressure than you're giving them credit for. Rodgers had an intentional grounding because the pressure was getting to him.
Mitch Kaz (Riverside CA)
good point on the 3-0 comment the saints should be 1-2, you got allot of folks saying Green Bay lost the game because of penalties, I think Peppers should get sack credits for all those false starts
Jurko (1:28 PM)
As a former NFL player, the penalties on Melton and Zombo made my stomach squirm. Those are two pure football plays in the spirit of the great NFL. And for those plays to be penalties makes me sick to my stomach.
Jurko - what would your starting D line for the Bears look like? Peppers and....
Jurko (1:29 PM)
Left to right: Idonije, Toeaina, Adams, Peppers and Harrison is my rotation tackle.
Lucas (plainfeild )
Is there ANYONE that will step up on the d-line to help out peppers?? Was it a good move to let ogunleye go?
Jurko (1:30 PM)
Alex Brown is the one they should have kept. Ogunleye is not being picked up by anyone. There's a reason.
Joel Okmin (LA)
Would you rather have Lovie be your coach, or Wade Phillips?
Jurko (1:30 PM)
Jurko (1:30 PM)
Ok, that's it. Have to get ready for the Afternoon Saloon on ESPN 1000. Thanks for all the great questions. See you back here on Thursday.