Bear Down On The 10/9/13 Links: The Defensive Tackle Mess, Emery On The Idea Of A 3-4 Defense, & Much MorePosted by Matt Clapp | 10/09/2013 05:46:00 PM | Alshon Jeffery, Brandon Marshall, Christian Tupou, Corey Wootton, Jay Cutler, Nate Collins, New York Giants, Phil Emery, Shea McClellin, Stephen Paea, Zach Minter
The Chicago Bears are on a short week as they prepare to play the winless New York Giants on Thursday night at Soldier Field, in hopes of avoiding their third straight loss after starting the season 3-0.
Let's go to the links to get caught up on the happenings (and there's a lot going on) in the world of the Bears, and as always, I'll add in some of my own thoughts to the topics.
Nate Collins out for season with torn ACL- After losing Henry Melton to a torn ACL in the team's week three win at Pittsburgh, the Bears lost his replacement in the starting lineup, Nate Collins, to a torn ACL as well in the team's loss on Sunday against the Saints.
And now, here we are with a "Yikes" defensive tackle situation.
Stephen Paea is still around, but a toe injury kept him out of Sunday's game, and at the moment, he's considered a game-time decision for Thursday night.
After that, the only traditional defensive tackles on the roster are Landon Cohen, whom the Bears signed off the street when Melton went down, Zach Minter, an undrafted rookie that has yet to play an NFL snap (even after while being 'active' against the Saints), and Christian Tupou, a guy that was signed to the practice squad this week and ultimately promoted to the 53-man roster once Collins was placed on IR.
Tupou, 24, is an undrafted rookie out of USC, and spent training camp with the Bears. He's 6'2", 290 pounds.
Here's Pro Football Weekly's draft scouting report on Tupou
Positives: Engages quickly off the snap. Good upper-body and point-of-attack strength. Active hands and feet. Plays hard and gives effort in pursuit. Three-year starter. Solid personal and football character. Well-respected — motivated, hardworking and coachable.
Negatives: Pedestrian length. Marginal foot speed. Not an explosive athlete. Can be displaced by double-teams. Tested poorly at the Combine — managed just a 24-inch vertical leap, 7-foot, 8-inch broad jump and clocked a DT-worst time of 8.07 seconds in the 3-cone drill. Average eyes and recognition. Tight hips (cannot work edges). Limited pass-rush value. Played in rotation.
Summary: Relatively small-framed, stout, intense, unflashy nose tackle who rebounded from a torn ACL in 2010 to regain his standing as a senior. Plays better than he tests and could develop into an effective two-down plugger in a 4-3 alignment.
So what you gather from that, is Tupou should handle himself just fine against the run in the NFL, but won't offer much as a pass-rusher.
We'll also likely see a lot more of Corey Wootton kicking inside from defensive end, particularly on passing downs. But again... he's much more of a defensive end than defensive tackle, at least until he gets used to the position. (ChicagoBears.Com)
Bears GM Phil Emery hosts live fan chat- Phil Emery did a Q&A on Tuesday with Bears fans on the team's official website. While much of it was your typical robotic general manager speak, Emery actually provided some pretty interesting thoughts. Much more than I was expecting, anyway.
I highly advise giving the whole thing a read/skim, but I'll go through some excerpts from the chat that particularly caught my eye...
Emery on the idea of the Bears switching to a 3-4 defense after this season: That type of transition would require almost a total commitment to our draft and to any UFA signs towards defensive. I see that as possibly unbalancing the team and not giving us the best chance to consistently be in championships. We have a group of players who were acquired to fit within our current scheme that we run, and that is what gives us the best chance to win championships going forward.
Well, that pretty much shot down the 3-4 possibility, didn't it? The idea of the Bears switching to a 3-4 within the next year or two has been fair to wonder, and has been a big discussion topic ever since Emery and the Bears used a first-round draft pick on Shea McClellin in 2012.
McClellin was considered a better fit by most pundits as a 3-4 outside linebacker than how the Bears are using him as a hand-in-the-dirt 4-3 defensive end. And so far, it's looking like those pundits were probably right. This season, McClellin has a -7.2 grade from Pro Football Focus, ranking him 44th of their 49 graded defensive ends. He's especially been bad against the run, with a -6.3 grade, ranking him last among graded defensive ends. Really, all of the concerns people had about McClellin being able to be a three-down defensive end are proving to be, well... concerns.
Then you add in the upcoming free agency for Henry Melton, the Bears currently having five quality linebackers on the roster (and it could be six if you count McClellin as an outside linebacker), Mel Tucker having a past coordinating 3-4 defenses in addition to 4-3 ones, etc, etc, and the 3-4 speculation has been natural. But those comments Emery made certainly make it appear he feels it would take an unrealistic overhaul to switch to a 3-4 in the next year or two.
Emery on the defensive tackle position: Our fans can anticipate that they'll see a lot of Corey Wooton at defensive tackle like they did last week... We also are pleased with Landon Cohen and his positivity since he's been here, and we hope that Steven Paea wil be ready to play and we are confident that Zack Minter will supply quality reps.
Now, the main thing I took away from this part: Was Phil typing this or an employee for the Bears' website, because he had the spelling wrong for three of those players' names (should be Corey Wootton, Stephen Paea, and Zach Minter).
But moving along from playing the role of spelling nazi, what you notice in that excerpt is Emery immediately talks about Corey Wootton at defensive tackle, so clearly that's a big part of the Bears' plans at the position on passing downs, with Shea McClellin and Julius Peppers being the defensive ends.
Emery on Jay Cutler (his performance and future as a Bear): Jay has had several excellent performances through the first 5 ball games. I myself, along with our fans and everyone in the Bears organization is excited about everything he has brought to the table. He continues to improve in all areas as a player and we look forward to his continued contributions.
He handled this answer beautifully. Talked well of Cutler, but made sure to not tip his hand on the organization's plan at the moment in regards to Cutler's Bears future.
Emery on Marc Trestman: Very confident about what Marc has done - he has definitely gotten team buy-in on all phases, offensive, defense and special teams. He, like our players, takes accountability. He is truly a head coach in every sense of the word - he has developed a trust in our players and our staff and I know that each phase has continued to improve in some ways each and every week. Mark has become not only a leader in terms of our position in terms of our players, but he has rather quickly become a leader in all areas of our organization. He knows how to build genuine relationships that are positive for everybody.
Okay, back to being a spelling nazi again- "Marc" (the correct spelling) in the first sentence and "Mark" later on? Yeah, this has to be some Bears social media intern.
But Emery speaks very well of Trestman and he's obviously going to after just hiring the guy.
Emery on scouting college players: This year I'll see approximately 45 schools play on the field either in practice or in games. This is up from about a dozen schools from last year. Obviously with the expansion of technology and Ipads and what wer're able to see with those devices greatly helps what I'm able to see on the road. When I'm on the road, I'm able to see what is going on with those devices. Coach Trestman, myself and Kevin Turks are able to make those adjustments dialy throughout the week. Scouting is the lifeblood of what we do and something I extremely enjoy, and I don't ever see myself being away from the road and being able to do that .
So, that's good to know. Emery should have a much better idea of some college prospects before the college All-Star games, the NFL Combine, etc.
Emery on drafting the best player available vs drafting based on need: It's always a combination of both. You want to get a player who you feel has dynamic athletic ability and will improve the chances to win championships. You can't totally ignore needs to simply go after the best player, because if you do, you won't be able to build the best roster possible to put you in position to win championships
Emery on signing Christian Tupou to the Practice Squad: Every situation is unique whether they played for the Bears or another team. Obviously their situation helps - that is why we brought Christian Tupou. He has been coached in our system and he knew our verbiage.
Like I said earlier, Tupou was with the Bears in training camp, so the scheme and principles of the defense will be no issue for him.
Emery on Bears guard Matt Slauson: When we brought Matt here to be a Bear, both parties expressed their interest in Matt being a Bear for the longer term. Matt understaoood the salary cap and the neccessities of a one-year contract at that time. He clearly has played well, and at the appropriate time, we will approach Matt about the opporutnity to remain a Bear.
Slauson has been a very nice value signing for the Bears, and has a solid +3.3 grade from PFF this season, ranking him 22nd among NFL guards.
Emery on free-agent quarterback Matt Blanchard: Matt is a player that we like - he is well aware of that. If we have the opportunity to bring him back in a Bears uniform, we would be excited about it. The key is our ability to bring him back before Matt may have other opportunities in the League. Due to the conditions of his injury settlement, he would not be available to come back to the Bears until our 10th week, so Matt may have other opportunities before that timeline. (ChicagoBears.Com)
Know your opponent: New York Giants- Dan Durkin with a detailed breakdown of the New York Giants (670 The Score).
Pleased to meet you, New York Giants- Windy City Gridiron's Steven Schweickert also with a great look at the Giants. (Windy City Gridiron)
Bears-Giants Matchups- Rotoworld's Evan Silva writes one of my favorite articles every week where he, in detail, breaks down each NFL matchup of the week for fantasy football purposes, but they're just great general NFL breakdowns in general. This guy is really good. Give him a follow on Twitter if you aren't already following him: @EvanSilva. (Rotoworld)
Keys to a Bears victory over Giants- Bear Goggles On's Mike Burzawa breaks down what the Bears need to do to get back into the win column on Thursday night. (Bear Goggles On)
Bears thankful for short week after long day vs Saints- Mark Potash reports on the Bears being happy to have a Thursday game to focus on and forget about the ugly loss vs the Saints. Quotes from Trestman included (Chicago Sun-Times)
Bears Sackwatch: Week 5 vs Saints- Lester A. Wiltfong Jr. breaks down the tape to examine the three sacks the Saints had on the Bears on Sunday, giving the Bears nine sacks taken on the year (which is down from 14 after five games in 2012). This is a great read with GIF evidence of the sacks, so check it out. (Windy City Gridiron)
Statistically speaking about the Bears, powered by PFF- Each week, the Chicago Sun-Times is showing off an interactive graphic section supplied by PFF and their stats. It's very cool. Nice time for a reminder that we frequently show off PFF stats and analyze them on here (as well as on our Twitter feed). (Chicago Sun-Times)
Four Downs: Concerned about Marshall?- Jeff Dickerson and Jon Greenberg give fact/fiction responses to four Bears topics.
And let it be known that, no, I am not concerned with Brandon Marshall's frustration. He wants to be productive. He wants the ball. He wants to be the No. 1 wide receiver he is. Good for him. This is a story completely blown out of the proportion by the media and especially Chicago columnists/talking heads.
If it starts effecting his play, then yes, I am concerned, but I don't expect that to be the case. And Alshon Jeffery's emergence will take some defensive attention off Marshall. (ESPN Chicago)
Emergence of Alshon Jeffery should open up passing game for Marshall- As I was just saying :). (Chicago Bears Huddle)
Bears' Stock Watch- Jeff Dickerson provides his "rising" and "falling" guys for the Bears after week five. (ESPN Chicago)
Bears Week 5 Rookie Report- Bear Goggles On's Mike Flannery takes a look at the progress of the Bears' rookies. (Bear Goggles On)
Da Bears Blog on the Radio (Audio)- Da Bears Blog's Jeff Hughes talks Bears with 1490 The Jock (Des Moines). (Da Bears Blog)
Bears could play Falcons in London next season- The NFL will have three games in London next season, and they announced on Tuesday that the Atlanta Falcons, one of the eight opponents the Bears will face on the road in 2013. So, it's possible that the Bears are the team the Falcons play in London. (Chicago Tribune)
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