By Laurence Holmes-
BOURBONNAIS (CBS) — If it’s Tuesday, that means it’s time for another Bears mailbag. It’s nice to have actual football to discuss, so let’s go…
I noticed the Bears haven’t done anything to address the defensive backfield. Do they really think they’re all set with Tim Jennings starting and only one experienced safety? What are your thoughts on their DBs? – Greg, Crest Hill
Good question Greg. Tim Jennings had some highlight moments last year like when he came up with the pick that solidified the win against Buffalo. He does bite on pump fakes a bit, but I thought that he did a decent job. The Bears were hoping that Zack Bowman would be farther along by now. He has good coverage skills, but last year the Bears weren’t happy with his tackling, which gave Jennings the opportunity. As for safety, I’ve been wondering about that too. I asked Charles Tillman a few weeks ago what type of player needed to be at the safety spot and he said, “Mike Brown”. It seems as if the Bears haven’t been able to properly replace Brown who was the perfect combination of smarts, speed and physicality. Chris Harris has some of that in him. The concern comes with the other safety spot. Major Wright had injuries and inexperience to overcome last year. He finished the year with 31 tackles with zero passes broken up, zero0 interceptions and zero passes broken up. The Bears like him and he’s going to get the first shot at the job. Lovie Smith made mention of Craig Steltz getting more of an opportunity this season. We shall see. If the Bears can get a consistent pass rush, it makes it easier for the “back-4”, but the Bears have questions in the 3-Technique that haven’t been answered.
The Bears signed Gholston, Okoye and Roy Williams — all first-round busts — and another first rounder in Spencer; do you think Angelo is giving these guys a tryout this year because he probably himself liked these players when they came out of college? — Brando, LaPorte, Ind.
It’s possible Brando. In Williams’ case, he had his best year under Mike Martz in Detroit in 2006-07. He caught 82 balls and had over 1,300 yards with eight touchdowns. He’s familiar with the system and Martz thinks he can play a role with this team. For Spencer, he actually fills a need. On top of that, he has a relationship with Bears player personnel guy, Tim Ruskell, who was the GM in Seattle when the Seahawks drafted him. Gholston and Okoye are interesting. They both were top 10 picks. Financially it’s not a big burden for the Bears to take a risk on these guys. It’s very similar to what the White Sox do with great pitching prospects that don’t quite click. Rod Marinelli is considered to be one of the best coaches for linemen in the NFL. The Bears hope he can unlock some of that talent and get some value from two guys that have incredible measurables and potential. But for now, it’s that, potential.
Hey Laurence, Whatever happened to Desmond Clark? I know he’s not the best pass-catching tight end ever, but he seemed serviceable and was a good blocker for the Bears. How is it that he didn’t see the field at all last season? — Mike Hasse (not that Mike Hass), Bowling Green, Kent.
Pretty timely question, Mike, as it looks like the Bears are going to re-sign Clark. With the Bears trading Olsen and releasing Manumaleuna, an opening was created for a well-rounded veteran TE, which is exactly what Clark is. Manumaleuna played over Clark last season because he was Martz’s guy, but with both he and Olsen out of the picture, Clark should get more playing time this season (assuming they don’t add another tight end). Dez is a good man and has been a good player. Keeping him around is a good move.
Thanks for the questions. Email me your questions for the next week’s mailbag at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow me on Twitter as well (@lholmes670).