Chat with Michael Wright, John Jurkovic
Welcome to ESPNChicago.com! Join us on Thursday for our weekly Bears chat.
Michael Wright 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 Thursday at 11 a.m. CT/noon ET!
ESPNChicago.com (12:07 PM)
Michael is at Halas Hall and is just about ready to start. Thanks for your patience.
Why are the Bears so concerned with the deep ball while their receivers continue to produce the all important YAK yards?
Michael (12:17 PM)
Eyad, I don't think the Bears are concerned at all. In fact, they said yesterday that it's something that will basically come whenever it comes. They said they've taken a few shots and they just didn't work out, but they think sooner or later they'll be able to hit one. As of right now, Jay Cutler is 8 of 33 on passes of 21 yards or more through the air.
Alex (Mobile, AL)
Michael, Do you think that Martz will put a bounty on Stanton after the things he said about him in your article today? If Stanton does get knocked out of the game who will back him up as quarterback?
Michael (12:18 PM)
Alex, nah man. That's not gonna happen. Mike Martz wouldn't hurt a (insert something nice and fluffy here). If Stanton gets knocked out, he'll be replaced by Zac Robinson. I liked Robinson when he was coming out of Oklahoma State. But if he has to play, I can tell you one thing: He'll be in over his head dealing with Chicago's defense.
Why are we making a big deal about Burleson calling for a Lions win? What is he supposed to say?
Michael (12:20 PM)
We're not, at least I don't think so. I heard about him making the guarantee on Monday night. I didn't even bother with it because A). It was Nate Burleson, and B). It's the Lions. But you're absolutely correct. What is he supposed to say? "The Bears are gonna 21-skunk us?"
When does Izzy's contract expire? I know we signed him to an extension a couple years back, but since he has played so well this year opposite Peppers would we consider extending him again?
Michael (12:21 PM)
Matty, Israel Idonije signed a contract extension in 2009 that will carry him through 2011. I could see the Bears trying to get him extended. But like with everything else, this CBA situation is gonna hold up things.
Travis (Cedar Rapids)
I read here on espn how Drew Stanton was talking crap about Martz and the mechanics he was teaching him. The mechanics have seemed to work for Cutler, my guess is that's why Drew Stanton is a 3rd string quarterback and not a starter in the NFL. These mechanics obviously worked for Kurt Warner as well because someday he will be in the Hall of Fame.
Michael (12:22 PM)
This isn't a question, but I figured your rant deserved a little play. So here you go.
What is the biggest concern going into this game with the Lions? Does the team seem to be preparing adequately? (I don't want a letdown game!)
Michael (12:24 PM)
The biggest concern in my opinion would be defending Calvin Johnson. But what's new, right? One thing I can say about Lovie Smith is that in my brief experience with him, the guy gets his guys up to play regardless of the stakes. I definitely don't see this being a letdown game. I'm sure they've watched film of the Patriots game, and the Lions gaave them all they could handle in that game. So don't expect a letdown.
If somehow we dont make the playoffs and Lovie gets fired, even in the coming years, who would we look to to replace him as the head coach? In my honest opinion, i would love Mr. Gruden
Michael (12:27 PM)
Jordan, you'd have to get in line for Jon Gruden's services. He seems to be a pretty hot commodity these days. Besides that, would you want Jay Cutler to have to learn yet another complicated offense? I like the way things are going now. So let's hold off on firing Lovie. But if somehow Smith didn't survive after the season, my guess is there are gonna be a ton of openings and movement this offseason. So the Bears will have a huge assortment of coaches to choose from. But again, let's not run Lovie outta here just yet. Give Lovie some, err, love.
Michael...can we let everyone know for the upteenth time this year that the Bears WILL NOT pay big money for a head coach (Gruden Cowher, etc.)...it's just not in their DNA.
Michael (12:27 PM)
Y'all see that? Listen to Eric.
When will we see a Michael Wright on Chicago Tribune Live?? It's past due, if you ask me.
Michael (12:28 PM)
I don't see that happening (plus I'm exclusive to ESPN). The Tribune is my direct competition, but that's nice of you to say.
Michael, Lovie is probably going to be around for at least one more year, but do you see the jobs of Angelo and Phillips in jeopardy? Even if they have a strong playoff showing, they still have to have consecutive playoff seasons, don't you think?
Michael (12:29 PM)
I'm not sure that would be the case. But I would say that if the Bears make the playoff run we expect this year and give the fans a dud in 2011, their jobs will probably be in serious jeopardy.
You think D.A. is done as a bear after this year? After week one he's almost completely disappeared
Michael (12:32 PM)
Sadly, Kieran, I could definitely see that happening. Devin Aromashodu's contract is actually up after the season. I could see him simply wanting to go elsewhere for a fresh start.
Do the Bears love playing on Soldier's surface, or would most of them prefer field turf?
Michael (12:34 PM)
Chris, I think the skill guys would prefer turf. But at the same time, I think the guys are also thankful or the advantage that horrible turf gives them. The Bears will be re-sodding that field in the coming days though. So it'll be fresh for them when they return to Soldier Field on Dec. 12 against New England.
how many more games u see the dears winning after they torch the lions?
Michael (12:35 PM)
Mario, at least one more, which is probably where the Bears need to get to make it to the postseason. My guess, though, is the Bears will make a real run at the NFC North title. And if you look at the schedule, there's not one game on it that isn't winnable (including the Patriots on Dec. 12).
Bear fan from the North... What is your impression of Major Wright's play? He looks to be a bit lost/timid to me. I know he is a hitter and I thought I would se some of that from him so far...
Michael (12:37 PM)
Mike, I think you're correct in your assessment. He does look a little cautious when he plays. But I think that's more a product of not being completely comfortable with system. Give it some time. In the next couple of weeks, I see Wright starting to make some plays as he becomes more comfortable.
Is there any way the Bears can keep Lovie and Co. and just do away with Jerry Angelo?
Michael (12:37 PM)
I don't think they're a package deal. So that's possible.
alex e (los angeles)
Can you honestly tell me that DA couldn't help this team, instead of his new role as a blocking wide receiver? He had a tremendous 4 games last year... and I thought things were starting well with Detroit this year.... I'm so confused :)
Michael (12:38 PM)
Alex, bottom line is Mike Martz isn't completely comfortable with Aromashodu. The drops and missed blocks in the opener didn't help his cause. When new coaches come in these sorts of things happen. My guess is Martz doesn't think Aromashodu fits the system.
No Hill and no Vandenbosch... okay, still have to be focused on not getting upset on the road, but is there a tiny bit of peeking ahead to NE going on in the coaching room?
Michael (12:40 PM)
Nope, and that's the good thing. The Bears know they can't overlook anyone.
Ryan (Elmwood Park)
Why has Chester Taylor not been a factor in our running game?
Michael (12:41 PM)
I'd say it's partly because of limited opportunities. But over the past two weeks, he's had more attempts than yards. So he's definitely not making the most of the few chances he gets. Taylor has done well in pass protection when he's been in on third downs.
What are the Bears going to do with Tommy Harris? He is overpaid and he is unproductive (yes he got the tip on the int in the end zone but one play for that?) Can they cut him and save money or do they have to live with him?
Michael (12:43 PM)
Elliott, they could just cut Harris and take the cap hit (once a cap is established when/IF there's a new CBA). I could also see them approaching him in the offseason about possibly taking a pay cut. But don't sleep on Harris. He's been playing pretty well in recent weeks.
do you see the bears signing any big time free agents coming up this off season like maybe a receiver or o line?
Michael (12:45 PM)
Nick, it all depends on that CBA. The reason teams are currently slow to re-sign their own vets is because the owners and general managers have no idea of what the salary cap will be once a new CBA is reached. So they're reluctant to sign guys to deals that could get them into cap trouble. I think the answer to your question is also dependent upon what happens from here on out. If the Bears advance pretty far into the postseason, there could be the thought from ownership that the team is only a player or two away from winning the Super Bowl. That type of thinking could lead to them emptying out the wallet once again for big-time free agents this offseason.
Ari Z (DC)
Love your articles, read them daily. We have seen a lot of different combinations at the inside D-line position. What do you see as the most consistent/best combo?
Michael (12:47 PM)
I appreciate that, Ari Z. It's hard to identify a "most consistent/best" combination on the defensive line because it's constantly changing. The starters do just fine, but I like to see Tommie Harris, Marcus Harrison and Henry Melton in the game, too. I think those guys add major energy/speed to that defensive line when they come in.
Tony (Peru, IL )
I'm torn with my fantasy and you answered my questions a couple weeks ago about Melton and yes I won, but I want to start Hester, but I'm hesitant?? Do you think he'll have a big game or should I start Ben Obamanu for Seattle?
Michael (12:48 PM)
Start Hester. He gives you more options because he can score points as a receiver, or kickoff/punt return man.
the way I see it is the bears will not make the playoffs at 10-6, unless one of those wins comes in week 17. what do you think?
Michael (12:49 PM)
I think they'll make it at 10-6. But wouldn't it be a shame if the NFC West winner has a losing record, and a 10-6 team doesn't get in?
After watching the first 11 games of the season, I feel like Brad Maynard has lots a little bit on his punts. Do you agree, and if so do you see them trying out another punter in the offseason to give Maynard some motivation?
Michael (12:52 PM)
George, I definitely agree with you on Maynard. He's lost some steam. He did boot a 56 yarder against the Eagles, but DeSean Jackson ran the thing back 35 yards. I thought the Bears were sending Maynard a message on Oct. 26 when they signed Richmond McGee to the practice squad. But then on Nov. 2, the Bears terminated McGee's contract. Maybe they bring him back on again to give the Maynard the motivation you're talking about.
Hey Mr. Wright thanks for taking questions every week. I have about had it with players getting fined for playing football how about we start fining refs for blatantly bad calls i never see andyone bring this up
Michael (12:54 PM)
Wildman, it's a tough job for those refs. They're told by their bosses to err on the side of caution when dealing with these big hits. So that's more of a directive coming from the top as opposed ineptitude on the part of the officials. Obviously, they're human. So they're gonna get some calls wrong. But I think the folks in the league office have put them in a tough spot with all this concentration on illegal hits.
Isn't Pisa Tinoisamoa's contract up after the season? Do you see the Bears re-signing him, or would concerns about his durability and the depth at the position outweigh the positives he brings?
Michael (12:56 PM)
Justin, yes, Tinoisamoa's contract is up after the season. And I could honestly see the Bears being tough in any contract negotiation for the very reason you stated. Besides that, the Bears like the backups they have at linebacker. I'm sure the Bears figure either Brian Iwuh or Nick Roach can do just as good a job.
Michael (12:58 PM)
Guys, that's my time. I'm gonna hand it off to Jurko. Be sure to check us out on ESPNChicago.com all week for updates on the Bears and this week's matchup with the Lions.
ESPNChicago.com (1:01 PM)
Jurko will be with us momentarily. Thanks.
Jurko (1:02 PM)
Bears catch another break. They get Drew Stanton instead of Sean Hill at QB. No apologies necessary, take the breaks when you can get them.
Jurko, what's your predicted score for the Lions game?
Jurko (1:03 PM)
Bears are going to win 31-17. I see Matt Forte having a big day.
Jurko, thanks for taking questions. It seems like Tommie Harris has been more productive after losing his starting job. Should this increased production be attributed to him getting more rest for his knees or him having more motivation after a wake-up call?
Jurko (1:04 PM)
Could be more motivation. Let's look at what he really did. He wasn't getting a pass rush and put his hands in the air. Tipped the ball and it went to Chris Harris. To me, that's the extent of his contributions. I'm not complaining. I know exactly who he is.
James (Las Vegas)
Jay Cut seems to be more effective when he rolls out, do you think the Bears should implement more roll out plays for him?
Jurko (1:05 PM)
I think they've been implementing them. They went from 0 to a few. I think he's got a better feel for what's happening, too, for what other teams are doing against him.
If the Bears just squak out a victory, do you think everyone will jump off the bandwagon? (I hope so)
Jurko (1:06 PM)
No, I don't think people will jump. Most people are considering this a trap game anyway. It will be their easiest game on the rest of the schedule.
Can we stop posting any questions related to resigning/signing/hiring/firing? All of these are directly related to a new cba which we have no idea how it's going to turn out.. so really are all blind guesses.
Jurko (1:06 PM)
I agree. Plus with the 9th win this weekend, isn't everybody safe? Nobody is in trouble. Not even Jerry Angelo.
Jurko - Big Bears fan here in the intermountain west who's never seen my bears live! Sad for me...should I make the move and position myself in Arlington this coming February?
Jurko (1:08 PM)
I wish I could tell you to absolutely go ahead and pull the trigger. Make sure you have a backup plan if you happen to be going there. Six Flags. Stars. John F. Kennedy Museum.
Jurko, Do you thinks Johnny Knox will eclipse 1000yds this season? Do you think if Cutler throws at least 25+ tds and 14ints will he get his 2nd pro bowl?
Jurko (1:10 PM)
Yeah, I think Knox will get to 1,000. Cutler is on the outside looking in. Rodgers, Brees, Ryan and Vick.
What are the Chances that the bears and pack play for the divison title and then end up playing again in the Wild Card?
Jurko (1:11 PM)
It's happened before. We ended up playing Detroit at end of the '93 year and again in the playoffs the next week with Green Bay. We lost the final game of the year and beat them in the playoffs.
Jurko, do you still see them going 9-7? You really have them going 1-4 over the last 5 weeks???
Jurko (1:12 PM)
Anything is possible. I had them going 7-9 so they already surpassed my expectations. If you put down Pats and Jets as losses, Minnesota and Green Bay on the road? Anybody think that's a walk in the park, I don't. If you beat Detroit, have to win just one more.
Being close to the Bears, have you seen/heard any reactions from Stanton's pompous comments? Talking a big game for a third string NFL QB. If I'm Peppers, Briggs, Urlacher - I'm looking to teach him a lesson early on.
Jurko (1:14 PM)
I don't care if Martz is the worst QB in the country, he can still give a young kid pointers. They were disturbing, but maybe it speaks to the maturity level of the kid. Either way he's playing against the Beras, and I like it.
What do you think is the biggest weakness on this bears team as of right now?
Jurko (1:14 PM)
It's still the offensive line. Consistent play from the OL, let's put it that way and quality at the wide receiver position.
Steve H. (Logan Square)
Jurko love the Saloon,With the upcoming bad weather part of the season, do you see Kellen Davis having a larger role in the offense? He did last year. Do you think he could pose some matchup problems for teams similar to a J. Finley of the Packers with his size? Didn't he catch like 6 TD's last year?
Jurko (1:16 PM)
Davis is the third tight end on this team and the second best pass-catching TE on this team, behind Olsen. Great to see Olsen jump up and grab some balls. Davis will get more chances when Martz trusts him more.
Why do you feel they will lose to the Pats or Jets - I actually think we matchup pretty good with both teams??? The Pats cannot run on us, have a terrible defense and no real star other then Brady...
Jurko (1:17 PM)
They have tight ends who are better than the TEs we have. Their QB has mastered his system. They have a coach, who if you compared, the edges goes to Belichick. We win the defensive matchup.
Not much is said of the Bears re-aquiring Chris Harris. How much of an impact has he made by stabilizing the secondary?
Jurko (1:17 PM)
He's been fine because he's the one guy who's back there, rather than having a rotation. He stayed healthy and catches overthrows and tipped balls.
Hey Jurko, who do you think has done the best coaching job this season? Lovie, Tice, Marinelli, Martz, Toub?
Jurko (1:18 PM)
I would go Tice, Toub, Marinelli, Mike DeBord and then Lovie. Took Martz 6 games to realize he needed to change, that's too long.
You think Henry Melton's gonna be a force for us in the future if he puts some extra work in? Seems like he's making plays every week
Jurko (1:19 PM)
Here's an interesting thing. Keith Traylor started as a LB in this league and became a DT. Melton was a collegiate RB and now playing DL. The speed and quickness he'll always have, no matter how big he gets. Now it's his ability to withstand punishment and understand schemes that will dictate his success in future years.
Jurko, do you and the other experts feel differntly about the bears receivers now? I believe in them.. can't teach speed.. it does make up for mistakes it seems
Jurko (1:20 PM)
I'm still not a believer. I'm not going to overreact to one game where they had success. Receivers around the league do that every Sunday. And we've seen it what, 1 or 2 games maybe this year.
Do you think if Tom Brady has a chance to run at Urlacher again, that he will fool him twice? The last time the Bears played the Pats Brady ran by Urlacher for a first down! How embarrassing!
Jurko (1:21 PM)
I think if Brady is running, Urlacher is going to clean his clock the first chance he gets and he'll remind him not to mess with him again.
Mike McCarthy (Green Bay)
Am I a better coach than Lovie Smith?
Jurko (1:22 PM)
Mike, you have a talented roster. You've done a wonderful job of overcoming injuries and keeping everyone on the same page, I'd say right now it's a draw.
Dave (Palos Park)
Of the remaining games left for the Bears, which one do you think will be the toughest to win? And how do you see the Bears playoff picture shapin out as well?
Jurko (1:23 PM)
The Jets. They can shut this offense down. You're goign to ask how do you score? Special teams and the defense will have to score. The defense will have to beat the Jets, by putting the offense in easing scoring positions or by scoring themselves. The difference is Sanchez has a bevy of receivers to go to.
Jared (Los Angeles)
Don't forget that the Pats will be coming off a short week. Advantage Bears.
Jurko (1:24 PM)
Don't forget the Pats are 23-2 after they lose a game, so if they lose against the Jets, they're 23-2. So pray that New England wins. The short week gives you less time to prepare. Tuesday is still the off day, but you have to crunch everything togetehr when you come back on Wednesday. Mondays are a lot, bumps and bruises, weights, film work. You start looking at film for the next game.
sam (iowa city)
Will the bears move Tillman to Calvin Johnsons side of the ball? I just dont like the 6-5 Johnson going against the 508 Tim Jennings?
Jurko (1:25 PM)
It doesn't matter if it's Tillman or Jennings, they're going to throw the ball up and let Johnson get it. That's the way they work.
Robert (Waukegan, Il)
Is it fair to say Tommy Harris may not be back next year? Otherwise he will have to take a huge paycut and play a hell of alot better...
Jurko (1:26 PM)
That is very fair to say he might not come back. The principle on that is it's always easier to play for less with somebody else than play for less with the team you're on.
Mr. Omiyale (Chicago)
Why can't I remember snap counts?
Jurko (1:27 PM)
Because you're a big man and you're probably thinking about dinner and what you're going to have for dinner. You get concentrating on the guy in front of you and the task at hand and forget about the count.
What is the current QB - RB status in Detroit? Are people still banged up or do they have all their pieces back together again for the game this week?
Jurko (1:28 PM)
Stanton at QB, Burleson and Johnson at WR. Not sure about Best.
Robert (Waukegan, Il)
Dont you think this weeks game with the lions will be bitter sweet to them. They were one rule away from a win. I look for a very close contest but Bears win!
Jurko (1:29 PM)
They'll go back and look at it, but it's basically 3 months ago. Yeah, they're probably ticked. But they won't be able to use that as the main motivating factor. The Beras are better than they were the first week. They better focus on why the Bears are more successful than earlier in the year.
DelawareBear (Wilmington, DE)
Over/under 3 takeaways for the Bears this Sunday?
Jurko (1:29 PM)
Over-under I set at 2 1/2.
Robert (Waukegan, Il)
When are we going to see more of Corey Wooten??
Jurko (1:30 PM)
What else you got for me?
Looks like all the pressure is going to be on the safety play for the 'air-it-out-to-Megatron' offense that is the Detroit Lions.
Jurko (1:31 PM)
Corners and safeties. If the corner gets a good jam off the line, gives the safety enough time to get over. Pressure on both.
Jurko (1:31 PM)
Bears 31, Lions 17. And get ready. Have to get to Win 10 as early as possible.