BECAUSE I KEEP BEING EMAILED/ASKED ABOUT IT...
J'Marcus Webb is going to be the starter at left tackle for the Bears in 2012. Right or wrong decision I have continually cited Mike Tice's comments on the position as my rationale for the belief. Brad Biggs did a nice job digging up the quotes for his almost absurdly long post-draft column:
“Here is what I saw with him: Second-year player playing one side one year and one side another,” Tice said. “I thought he was adequate. I thought his consistency grade -- how many times does he block his guy – his consistency grade was actually solid. What grade was bad was the critical errors, the sacks, penalties, not really a ton of quarterback hits. When he made a critical error, everyone knew what it was. But, what you look at is the development of a second-year, seventh-round draft pick. Is he a guy we can move forward and win with?
“Well, if you change your drops and you’re not always in the deep drops. If you change your philosophy of making sure the guy gets chip help from a back or a tight end. If you change and move the release point of the quarterback, you’re going to already make him better without making him better. And then you have an entire offseason and now you have a chance to make him better there. So there are two ways I just told you we can get him better in. And then already I think he is a very good run blocker. That is an area that doesn’t get talked about. Do I think he is the guy moving forward? Yes, I do unless some miracle happens and an elite first-round pick that we couldn’t pass up fell in our lap which I doubt. Yeah, he’s our guy moving forward.”
Tice blames Martz and the Martz system for Webb's public failings in 2011. And this team is not going to cut ties with the monster tackle until they've given him an opportunity to succeed in a simpler, more manageable system.
RASHAAN SALAAM DIDN'T WORK HARD
I remember being down Gunnel Oval in Kearny, New Jersey. Little League baseball. I was in blue pinstripes for Kearny Florist and a buddy ran over to me to tell me the Bears had drafted Penn State's great running back Rashaan Salaam. I was convinced the second coming of Walter Payton had arrived. It hadn't. Salaam gives some telling quotes to Fred Mitchell in the Trib:
"I didn't realize coming up how much work you had to put in once you got to the NFL," he said. "It's a whole different lifestyle. You have to change the way you live. You have to change who you hang out with. You have to totally get focused on your game. You have the athletic ability, but if you don't put the work behind it, nothing will come from it."
Salaam admitted many years ago that his partying and use of marijuana contributed to his downfall as a player.
"I had no discipline. I had all the talent in the world," he said. "You know, great body, great genes. But I had no work ethic and I had no discipline. The better you get, the harder you have to work. The better I got, the lazier I got."
It is so easy to trash general management when draft picks go awry. But there are very few tests one can apply to know whether an individual cares about the game. Salaam didn't. And he squandered the opportunity for a brilliant care and legendary status in Chicago.
WHERE WILL SHEA MCCLELLIN LINE UP?
A lot of people have been guessing where 19th overall selection will line up for the Chicago Bears. Some have guessed he'll be starting for Nick Roach and operating as a blitzing backer. Some have wondered if he's the heir apparent to Brian Urlacher. My guess? He's just a plain old defensive end. Nothing fancy at all. In the Bears system the defensive end is a three-down player that must be solid against the run and rush the passer. That's the role McClellin will fill. The Bears are looking for him to be Alex Brown with more sacks.
T-SHIRTS AND KOOZIES FOR SALE
The 2012 Bears Blog t-shirt and koozie will go on-sale simultaneously on the blog by the end of May. The site will on vacation (I'm going to Ireland) from May 10-19. After that we'll get the system set up to accept orders. Unlike previous years we'll be doing all the orders at once. The first orders will be filled before July 4th. The second set of orders will be filled by Labor Day.
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