Projecting The Roster: Defense

You know why I love this site and you guys?  Because yesterday we argued the merits of carrying either a second fullback (Jason Davis) or a fullback/tight end hybrid (Michael Gaines).  Let's see what we can cook up today. Again, we're assuming the Bears repeat the 25/25 breakdown of 2008.

DEFENSIVE LINE (Last year: 9)
This year: Tommie, Adams, Izzy, Harrison, Ogunleye, Brown, Anderson, Gilbert, Melton
Note: I know the consensus thought is the Bears will take Matt Toeaina after Dusty Dvoracek confirms that he's not going to play this season.  I just have the feeling that Jerry and Lovie will have a hard time letting Henry Melton go.  Matt Toeaina spent time on the practice squad a year ago without being picked up by another franchise and I think the Bears will be willing to take that chance again.

LINEBACKER (Last year: 6) 
This year: Urlacher, Briggs, Tinoisamoa, Jamar, Hunter, Roach
Note: There's very little drama at this position but a shitload of depth.  We haven't heard from Nick Roach - due to a concussion - but most reports indicate he'll be back on the field soon.  The player I loved watching Saturday night was Mike Rivera, a rookie from Mark Mangino's Kansas program.  I'll be rooting for him to finish the summer strong and hoping he lands on the practice squad.

SAFETY (Last year: 5)
This year: Payne, Manning, Afalava, Steltz, Bullocks
Note: I don't like making this list without Mike Brown's name.

CORNERBACK (Last year: 5)
 
This year: Peanut, Bowman, Graham, Vasher, McBride
Note: You may remember these five names from last year's 53 man roster.  Is that a good thing?  Only if we get the pass rush..... 

Comments

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  • i had lots of problems with your picks on offense but these are no brainers. the only possible change i see is if vasher becomes a cap casualty or they stick mcbride on the practice squad and keep freeman at linebacker, but given our worries at corner i seriously doubt that happens

  • In reply to luftwaffle:

    I'm pretty sure you can't put a guy on the practice squad once he's played six regular season games. I've actually been trying to find out how the whole practice squad works. It's pretty interesting.

  • In reply to luftwaffle:

    I call it Lovie Red-shirting.

  • In reply to luftwaffle:

    how much do practice squad players make?

  • In reply to luftwaffle:

    Minimum salary is around 88 grand a year (5,200 a week). But a team can pay them more. It's a good gig because you stay a free agent.

  • In reply to luftwaffle:

    i really don't want to see DJ, Freeman, and any of the following: Iglesias/Knox/Rideau/DA, on the PS. It looks like we may have actually too many players that could actually contribute this year.

  • In reply to hollywood1:

    What a problem to have, eh?

  • In reply to hollywood1:

    It would be a hard choice to ditch HH. He has been quietly solid for several years now as evidenced by being a multi-year starter.

    Maybe it's just that I like him, but I see him staying around another season; the young guys are a season or two short of having enough of an edge to supplant Hunter's versatility IMO.

  • In reply to luftwaffle:

    This side does appear to have a lot fewer decisions to make. I personally really like Kevin Payne. I need to watch this last game a second time and more closely. In the first game I didn't think Tino was very good, missed more than one tackle. Hunter seems to be the quintessential "competent journeyman" right now, thinking he needs to stay for depth. And I'm sorry, I didn't see Ur bringing hits, I felt embarrassed for him. I realize Brandon Jacobs is a beast, but that was "The" Brian Urlacher he was running through! Unfortunately, Briggs now is our sole remaining world class linebacker. It must be said. I admit I haven't watched Tino much.

  • In reply to PhilfromSATX:

    do you think Brian would be offended if we quietly asked him to let Lance play in the middle? It will never happen but Briggs would be a great Middle Linebacker and Briggs knows it. Pisa is no Lance Briggs but in the 1st quarter he was a ball hawk. He missed a tackle but was in on 6 others so i feel that he will bring just a little more action to the position than Hunter. I respect the hell out of HH but I want guys that take risks like Pisa and make things happen, attack the pulling guard or tackle instead of just taking up space and occupying a blocker while the running back has time to decide what he wants to do. Urlacher did get lit up by Jacobs so it is a good thing that there are not alot of backs like him in the league. But even if there were, he was getting smacked around by multiple tacklers even though he did embarass some guys in one on one situations like Urlacher, Pisa and Afalava. these are 3 guys that won't be shamed too often this year.

    SC Dave - i totally agree that he is the consummate professional. I just can't see them keeping HH unless they unload young, developing talent to the PS with the risk of losing them.

  • In reply to PhilfromSATX:

    I still think Urlacher is going to have a great year. He just looks bigger, faster and more aggressive.

  • In reply to hollywood1:

    Totally agree. Even though he bounced off Jacobs twice, the second time he did change Jacobs momentum to the sideline. After that he smartened up and hit him in the thighs. I watched the game on the internet and the comments from the Giants fans were hilarious. They started out with the usual Bears suck, we're going to slaughter you. By the end of the 1st quarter it was, we've got a ton of starters out. 2nd quarter, it's preseason and means nothing. 3rd quarter, we beat you last year and we won the Super Bowl. 4th quarter, NY has better pizza than Chicago. Really lame stuff.

  • In reply to hollywood1:

    I have one thing to say, we are always giving our guys special names. this ones for you shady from the clown of the blog.

    Al's new name is "Al, Awful Lot of Liquid Hot Magma" the double "A" that keeps going and going and going...

    any questions

  • In reply to PhilfromSATX:

    JUST GOT WORD THAT THE BEARS BROUGHT D. MCCLOVER BACK. What does this mean? McClover has been a prime special teams contributor and it could mean the injury to nick roach is serious.

  • In reply to PhilfromSATX:

    One question: why is devin hester our number one WR?

  • In reply to Grizzly559:

    cause we didnt want to pay 40 million for a kick returner.

  • In reply to JimmyNewport:

    Well, it's funny you should say that...'cause one way or another, we haven't.
    Here's hoping that with the offense clicking on all cylinders, Devin gets his head straight. I really think that once it's not all about Devin and the magical mystery WR tour that he's on, he'll get back to form with his returns. If Early Bird steps up and effectively becomes the #1 WR, the weight on DH will ease and his ju-ju will be back.

  • In reply to JimmyNewport:

    OK, Bullocks as the safety of last resort? Yeah, if we have to. My buddies here in Nebraska want him to stick so that we eventually have an all Huskers defensive backfield.
    I personally think he is awful. There's a reason that even the worst coverage squad in football (NO) did not want to keep him around. He sucks.

  • In reply to JimmyNewport:

    That's why (Javorskie Lane):

    "Lane had a chance to showcase his abilities for NFL scouts in the 2009 East-West Shrine Game on January 17, 2009. Scouts were discouraged by his weight, which was 295 pounds at the time.[15] During the game, he was unable to carry the ball past defenders inside the 5-yard line three times.[3] Prior to the draft, scouts have stated that Lane could play up to his potential in the NFL if he shows his ability to control his weight.[16] However, he was not drafted in the 2009 NFL draft and was not signed as an undrafted free agent."

    Because he's fat. That's why. And yeah, there has to be a better safety out there than Bullocks.

  • In reply to JimmyNewport:

    There is. And his name is Al Afalava.

  • In reply to JimmyNewport:

    Never doubted Vasher - he's a pro-bowler and a legend. People get so beefed up on pre-season and training camp.

    How about keeping Melton as a fullback ? I'd love this. The Fridge Mark II.

    Mr. Hester. Hmmm. I'm not so sure we should be trying to make Devin our #1 guy, and the book shouldn't be closed on this one. So they've paid him the receiver money. Well, we could look at that like repayment for what he did as a spectacular, unparalled return man for us. It was just a glimpse, and only one play, but there was another receiver called Devin on the field of play for the Bears the other night ... and he just caught the sh*t out of the back of that ball at full stretch. I'm not often impressed by receivers because I grew up watching Jerry Rice. But this dude could be something. And he's 6'2 I think. Wouldn't it be nice to have him on the field with Bennett and Rideau ?

    Maybe, just maybe play with this. Devin Hester goes back to fielding punts and kickoffs. That is what he was put here to do, that is what he does better than anyone else. Occasionally, bring him on as a receiver where he runs one route and one route only. Throw him bombs and nothing else - but not every time he's on the field. He becomes a decoy. Maybe it's going deep, maybe it's not, either way a safety has to be on hand to help out if the CB gets beat or it's six points thanks very much. Maybe it's going deep over to the other side. Maybe it's a counter trap to Forte. If we use him sparingly as a receiver, two things happen. First, we have the premier return man in the NFL, with the legs to go the distance on every return. Secondly, we have a decoy/deep threat when he is on the field as a WR. Let's stop trying to throw him 6-yard curl/hitch/slant passes and pretend he's Steve Smith(CAR). Let's use his speed and the THREAT of his speed to our advantage, not p*ss away his strengths. The dude isn't big. If we keep sending him hospital passes then sooner or later that's exactly where he's going. Personally, I'd be happy with Bennett, Rideau and the other Devin as our primary receivers - they're taller if nothing else, and hey - guess what - they're all bona fide tall-ish wide receivers, not guys *trying* to be wide receivers. I'm not having a go at Mr. Hester, I'd just feel better if he was doing what he was best at. Anybody feeling this ?

  • In reply to Grizzly559:

    It's one way to keep the Devins on the roster straight.

  • Yeah, Max, I know I'M certainly reassured with seeing names like Steltz and Bullocks fortifying the Bears' safety "depth". Maybe that's another position they should look at for Henry Melton ?

    Saturday night, I thought Vasher looked like a guy who had just realized (or been told) that a spot on the roster for him was NOT a foregone conclusion.

  • Yah this is much easier to read, esp with Dusty's injury. The only thing they may do is keep another secondary guy than normal on the PS; I know there are some limiting rules on what players can be put on a PS but I don't know them all. I'm with Max in that I think they should seriously consider keeping Moore over either Bullocks or Mcbride. Watching Bullocks get beat deep 2 times against the 3rd string qb-wr was gut wrenching Saturday. I would definately take the white lion back there over him. Steltz seems to have worked on his tackling this offseason.
    Ultimate outcome ... and I know this is mean to even mention is that Rasheid and Trumaine get just hurt enough in Preseason that we can carry them in on IR :) that would give us easy answers.

  • Do either Freeman or Moore last on the PS? Moore hasn't shown me much, but Freeman looks like he's got real potential at Will, and I'd hate to see someone else grab him.

    BaM, I figured you were making a Trogdor the Burninator reference.

  • Totally agree with D-line and linebacker predictions. I can see them ditching Bullocks. Not sure what they will do with DJ Moore though. He would be instantly picked up if sent to the practice squad. Lovie seems to love McBride but i would like to see the Bears develop a new little prick at corner. A fiesty guy like Moore gaining confidence may be just what the doctor ordered. Graham has been playing well, especially when blitzing.

    Here's the kicker though:
    What do we do with Freeman? He is a young talent that would be attractive to another team if placed on the practice squad. Jamar and Hunter haven't had the offseason that Roach has had and with the addition of Pisa it makes it more complicated. I just can't see Hunter playing 2nd string MLB and special teams when we could move Briggs over to MLB in case of an Urlacher injury and put on the weak side either Jamar, Roach or Freeman, or even PISA who played WILL last season. I think Hunter is gone.

  • That's one hell of a linebacker lineup... has to be one of (if not THE) best in the NFL.

  • In reply to JimmyNewport:

    our linebacker are some bad dudes. Briggs, Urlacher and Pisa actually bring the hits to the other team. Watching Pisa dive at the knees of a pulling guard to bring him down while Urlacher and some d-lineman piled onto Jacobs was awesome.

  • In reply to JimmyNewport:

    I agree with most, but I really feel like the BT is going to make a place for Freeman. Idk where that roster spot will come from, but Rash and HH may be likely candidates. IMO, rash is gone. Did he even play in that last game???? The only thing that might keep HH around is the fact that he backs up Urch on the depth chart... I dont see the Bears chancing Knox, Melton, or Freeman on the practice squad....

    ....btw Jeff, i cant tell u how annoying the whole reset-my-password-every-time-i-want-to-post thing is... is anything being done about it???

  • Word.

  • And you have him one higher than I do - I say he's more of a #3. But Irish, while I mostly agree with you (and NEVER was in favor of us ruining the best returner in the history of league, which we have done) I don't see them backing off on this, that's a decision that's made in the offseason. Maybe next year they'll do this, but this year he's set over there. The only thing I think Devin H has in his favor right now is he DOES have decent hands - we've never seen lots of drops that he should have made - but we do see uncatchable balls (his routes maybe?) and we see his inability to catch balls in traffic. The thing I AM confident about is that Mr. Cutler will find the receivers who are running good routes and able to catch the ball.

  • I am surprised at all the gushing over one catch by Aromashedu.

    I agree with SATX that while I don't recall seeing Hester drop too many, he still has some learning to do adjusting to the ball when it is in the air. The off-the-shoulder-bounce bomb from Grossman against the Giants comes to mind. The one from Cutler (against the Giants again, hmmm...) was a little different in that it was a broken play.

    So far as DH catching in traffic, we'll have to see. There is too much expectation that he turn every catch into a long gainer; it simply won't be that way. We've all heard the cliche about players running before securing the ball, and Devin needs to avoid that. I would like to see him learn to take what he can get and avoid getting clobbered.

  • In reply to Mastodon:

    SC - in regards to DA i think it is important to note that while he might not have a ton of catches in games as a Bear it appears that Cutler really likes the way he plays and likes throwing him the ball alot. He has never mentioned Rash once in an interview as someone he is impressed with. This leads me to believe like in Eddie Royal's case in Denver, that he really wants DA and Rideau as 2 of his targets this year.

  • In reply to hollywood1:

    I've no argument with that, Johnny. All I was really saying is that I'm not greatly excited by a single catch. On the other hand, if he just keeps cathing the ball every time I'll get excited real fast :)

  • In reply to Mastodon:

    i agree, he will have to prove himself over the next 2 games to convince me. Here's to Bennett continuing to evolve into an NFL receiver!!

  • In reply to Mastodon:

    Thanks for doing these analyses. Keep up the great work!

  • In reply to hollywood1:

    shonbear, that is the worst nickname i have ever heard.

  • In reply to MASOCHR:

    it really needs to be done in dr evils voice though to bring it home

  • In reply to MASOCHR:

    Is it Sunday yet?

  • In reply to hollywood1:

    I don't know. I kind of like Double-A. But I think Volcano works just as well.

    Query: I've heard people refer to Hester as the Skunk. Where does that come from?

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