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Newz Forum: FOOTBALL: Chicago Bears Preview 2004

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posted on Sep, 13 2004 @ 05:47 PM
A 6-4 finish couldn't make up for a 1-5 start to the 2003 season, as Chicago finished 7-9 and out of the playoffs. Despite the strong finish, the Bears made some big moves in the offseason. New head coach Lovie Smith takes over for the fired Dick Jauron, and Terry Shea takes over as the new offensive coordinator. Shea has a big job ahead of him as the Bears' offense ranked 28th in the league last season, and quarterbacks Kordell Stewart and Chris Chandler were both released. Inheriting the quarterback job will be Rex Grossman, who started the final three games of his rookie season in 2003.

Grossman will be handing off to both Thomas Jones and Anthony Thomas at running back, unless one of them outshines the other in training camp. The Bears' running game will get a boost from an offensive line improved by the addition of John Tait. That boost might come at the expense of the Bears' passing game, where Grossman has a deep receiving corps of David Terrell, Justin Gage, Marty Booker, and Bobby Wade. On defense, stalwart Brian Urlacher sets the tone for a solid unit.



Star Power: Brian Urlacher, MLB, 4th year in league, ( 6-4, 258 ), Olin Kreutz, center, 7th year, ( 6-2, 292 ), Charles Tillman, cornerback, 2nd, ( 6-1, 196 )

Notable Additions: Adewale Ogunleye, DE, Miami Dolphins, ( 6-4, 260 ) John Tait, T, Kansas City Chiefs, ( 6-6, 315 ), Thomas Jones, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, ( 5-10, 220 ), Tommie Harris, DT, 14th overall pick, ( 6-3, 300 )

Notable Subtractions: OLB Warrick Holdman, DE Phillip Daniels, DT Keith Traylor, QB Kordell Stewart, QB Chris Chandler,WR Dez White, WR Marty Booker, and G Chris Villarrial.

Notable Returnees: Mike Brown, S, 4th year in the league, ( 5-10, 220 ), Lance Briggs, OLB, 2nd year, ( 6-1, 238 ), Alex Brown, DE, 3rd year, ( 6-3, 262 ) Desmond Clark, TE, 6th year, ( 6-3, 254 ).

Much of the hopes of the Bears in '04 rest on the arm of second-year QB Grossman, who showed good poise and pocket presence in three starts as a rookie. However, he is still very young and learning a new system, so it is likely he will have his ups and downs this year. The youngster has a strong arm and his strengths are a good fit for offensive coordinator Terry Shae's system. Although he is not a scrambler, he has good footwork and is very good at buying time by moving around in the pocket.

The Bears new offensive system calls for a back with more speed and receiving ability than former Rookie of the Year Anthony Thomas has shown throughout his career, so GM Jerry Angelo took a chance on Thomas Jones, whose potential has yet to be reached since being drafted seventh overall by the Arizona Cardinals in 2000. Jones has better speed, strength, and receiving ability than Thomas, and he did show signs of breaking out when given a chance to carry the load with Tampa Bay late last season. The Bears would like to use a more vertical attack this season, but they lack the speed at wide receiver needed to stretch opposing defenses. Marty Booker is a former Pro Bowl receiver, but he's more of a possession receiver than a game-breaker. He is big and strong with adequate speed, and he catches the ball well across the middle and in traffic, but he is probably better suited as the No. 2 guy in this offense. Second-year player Justin Gage showed some playmaking ability in '03, and he will most likely be the second starter, but he also lacks the speed to consistently get deep. Penciled in at No. 3 is David Terrell, who is in a make-or-break year after the Bears made him the eighth overall selection in the 2001 draft. If he should continue to display the poor route-running and stone hands that put him in the doghouse with the Jauron regime, he could be released before the season, giving speedy rookie Bernard Berrian the opportunity to gain some experience in the No. 3 role. Bobby Wade will also see some playing time in multi-receiver formations.

2004 is certainly a season of change for the Chicago Bears and a lot of playing time will be dedicated toward developing many of the younger players on the roster. With a new coaching staff and a new philosophy, there will be a period of adjustment and likely a lot of ups and downs. However, there is a lot of young talent on this team that rebounded nicely from a horrible start in 2003. After turning it around to go 7-9 last season, the Bears could be poised for a bit of a step backward as they build for the future, but with the continued development of Grossman and a solid running game, this team could match its record from last year or possibly improve by a game or two.

posted on Sep, 13 2004 @ 09:03 PM
Jut another mediocre season for this once proud franchise...


posted on Sep, 22 2004 @ 04:17 PM
The Chicago Bears, already without safety Mike Brown for the rest of the season because of an Achilles injury, will be without two more starters on defense for awhile.

Cornerback Charles Tillman is expected to be sidelined for 7-to-10 weeks because of a hairline fracture near his right knee, while defensive tackle Alfonso Boone will likely be out for three weeks after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Wednesday.

Both Tillman and Boone were injured in last week's victory against Green Bay.


posted on Sep, 25 2004 @ 11:24 AM
Middle LB has never missed a game

Chicago Bears middle linebacker Brian Urlacher was listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the Vikings in Minnesota, after being held out of Friday's practice because he aggravated the right hamstring he pulled in training camp.

"When you're dealing with those hamstrings, you never know for sure exactly how it will be," Bears coach Lovie Smith said.

Smith said Urlacher has a "50-50" chance of playing Sunday.

If Urlacher can't start, he will be replaced by Hunter Hillenmeyer, who has appeared in 15 games on special teams for the Bears since being signed off waivers last September.

Urlacher has never missed an NFL game and has started 64 straight regular-season games since becoming starting middle linebacker in the third week of the 2000 season.

The original hamstring injury occurred July 28 in Bourbonnais on the first day of practice this year. Urlacher missed every preseason game, but played in the Bears' season-opening 20-14 loss to Detroit and last week's 21-10 win over Green Bay.

Bears starting safety Mike Brown is out the rest of the season (Achilles), cornerback Charles Tillman (knee) is out seven to 10 weeks and defensive tackle Alfonso Boone is gone for four to five weeks (knee).

Defensive tackle Tank Johnson, who has a strained groin muscle, practiced Friday and is expected to play. However, he remained questionable on the injury list.


posted on Oct, 14 2004 @ 08:34 PM
Any hope of a decent season seems to have disappeared when Grossman went down and out for the season. Maybe when they get Urlacher back they can score some, well, at least on defense...


posted on Jan, 2 2005 @ 10:30 AM
What's it all about?

The Bears host the Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field today, revisiting one of sports' great rivalries. That alone makes the game a significant event. Unfortunately, that's about the only significant thing. The Bears are 5-10, and a victory pushes them back in the draft lineup.

But a victory would enable the Bears to sweep the Packers for the first time since 1991 and serve as a springboard to next season under coach Lovie Smith. For the Packers, the game is a mixed bag of challenges. They are in the playoffs as the No. 3 seed in the NFC, so the final score won't affect their postseason position.

Because of that, there is speculation the Packers will only play their starters for the first half or less, hoping to avoid a key injury. But the Packers also want to avoid any letdown of emotion or momentum heading into the playoffs. The last time the Bears defeated the Packers at home was in 1993. The Bears are hoping to make a statement of sorts, declaring themselves a team to contend with in 2005.

Daily Herald


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