Phair Replaces Washington as DL Coach
Friday, 6:24 a.m.
Phair spent the past six seasons with the Seattle Seahawks, including the last three as an assistant coach, following three years as an area scout. Phair was a defensive assistant last season, an assistant defensive line coach in 2009 and the assistant linebackers coach in '08.
Before working for the Seahawks, Phair spent three seasons in the college scouting department of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He also coached at Arizona State as a graduate assistant on defense from 1999-2000 and at Tiffin University, where he coached linebackers and special teams in '01.
Re-signing center Olin Kreutz is presumed to be the Bears' top priority among their players who are expected to be unrestricted free agents.
After that, DT Anthony Adams has been a starter more often than not over the previous four seasons and is a reliable, proven commodity, although he is not irreplaceable. P Brad Maynard lacks a big leg and is 37 years old, but he is a very good directional kicker. But the Bears have invited Richmond McGee to training camp the past two years, and he could be the heir apparent.
TE Desmond Clark was phased out last season, his 12th in the NFL, and he is not expected back. Neither is 39-year-old QB Todd Collins, who has outlived his usefulness. S Josh Bullocks, LB Rod Wilson and RB Garrett Wolfe are also not expected to return.
At linebacker, Pisa Tinoisamoa has missed 18 games the past two years with knee injuries, and he would only be back with a one-year deal at best. Nick Roach has filled in admirably for Tinoisamoa and is younger and healthier, so he would seem to be the higher priority.
WR Rashied Davis, CB Corey Graham, LB Brian Iwuh and S Danieal Manning are all valuable special-teams players, which carries a lot of weight with Lovie Smith and the coaching staff. Manning was also a 16-game starter at strong safety.
1. Offensive line: Kreutz and right guard Roberto Garza can't go on forever. There is some youth, but left guard Chris Williams and right tackle J'Marcus Webb are already starting, and no one else is proven. Left tackle Frank Omiyale got better over the course of the season, but there is still room for improvement.
2. Defensive tackle: Adams is unrestricted and Tommie Harris hasn't played well enough to earn another roster bonus due in March, but the Bears have already paid him the majority of his bonus money so he's got a chance to be back. Marcus Harrison has been a career underachiever, but solid, blue-collar worker Matt Toeaina was given a contract extension.
3. Wide receiver: There is some big-play ability here, especially with Johnny Knox and Devin Hester, and Earl Bennett is a solid and reliable possession guy, but there is a crying need for a big, physical player who can win jump balls.
4. Running back: A young backup for Matt Forte is needed. Chester Taylor, 31, got old in a hurry, and there would be a big drop-off to Wolfe and Kahlil Bell.
Courtesy of The Sports Xchange
Dent: Emotions 'building up over time'
Wednesday, 6:43 p.m.
DE Richard Dent
Charles Rex Arbogast/AP
But he finally saw his decade-long wait come to an end Saturday, as the former eighth-round selection out of tiny Tennessee State will be enshrined in Canton this summer in a star-studded class of seven new members, including dual-threat running back Marshall Faulk and shutdown cornerback Deion Sanders.
Turned away by voters time and time again, this despite being a finalist six times in a seven-year stretch, Dent is still coming to terms with the reality of being honored as one of the game's all-time greats.
"It's building up over time," Dent said Wednesday at Halas Hall. "It's a relief, too, because it has been some time. I've always felt that you can't take a star from the sky. It can be cloudy, but sooner or later it has to shine. I guess this is my shining time."
In addition to his impressive sack total, Dent recorded 34 forced fumbles, 13 fumble recoveries, eight interceptions and one defensive touchdown in a Bears uniform.
Hudson Has the Look of a Ruskell Pick
Tuesday, 2:47 p.m.
G Rodney Hudson
The Monsters of the Midway have shaken up the chain of command since the last time they were on the clock, as director of pro personnal Bobby DePaul and director of college scouting Greg Gabriel are both out and new director of player personnel Tim Ruskell is in at Halas Hall. With a different voice now involved in the evaluation process, it will be interesting to see if a different kind of player is being targeted at the league's annual selection meeting in New York City.
According to Doug Farrar, who covers the Seahawks for SportsPress Northwest and is familiar with Ruskell from his time in Seattle, a guard from Florida State could be on his way to Chicago.
"I think you might want to keep an eye on Rodney Hudson," said Farrar. "It occurred to me that the kid screams 'Ruskell pick,' as he's a senior, a team leader and had 40-plus starts in college, but he may have already hit his ceiling, too."
Hudson, a 6-2, 290-pounder, is coming off a great showing at the Senior Bowl in Mobile -- his hometown, as a matter of fact -- and looks to be a second-round prospect a few weeks ahead of the Scouting Combine.
Ruskell did well with draftees of similar pedigree when he took linebacker Lofa Tatupu and defensive tackle Brandon Mebane, although he crapped out playing it safe with cornerback Kelly Jennings and defensive end Darryl Tapp.
"Tapp was the quintessential Ruskell pick," Farrar said. "A try-hard guy that maxed out his abilities in college, and then Ruskell's left wondering where the upside is. He was always good at getting those perfectly-formed draft prospects, but he was singularly ill-informed when it came to the concept of athletic potential at the NFL level."
That's a far cry from what Bears general manager Jerry Angelo has done in the past, as he tends to reach for upside, which is all the more curious since he and Ruskell were once on the same staff in Tampa Bay.
Super Bowl Should Never Be in Chicago
Monday, 9:24 a.m.
I've been fortunate to cover a few Super Bowls in my career and did enjoy every one of them, even when rain-soaked Dolphin Stadium put a damper on what could have been a great matchup between the Colts and Bears in Super Bowl XLI four years ago. But if there's one thing I've learned this week in North Texas, it's that the Super Bowl has no business being played in a city where the prospects of cold weather like we experienced here for several days are even a remote possibility.
Next year, the Super Bowl is scheduled to be played in Indianapolis, which was frozen in a foot-thick sheet of ice all week long due to the snowstorm that paralyzed so much of the Midwest. In 2014, the feel-good story about taking the Big Game to the Big Apple and New Meadowlands Stadium doesn't feel so good right now. Sure, Indy and NYC are much more prepared to handle ice and snow because they have all the salt, all the trucks and all the people they need to remedy such a situation, which was not the case in Dallas. The Texans pretty much shrugged their shoulders all week long as if to say, "Oh well." But even if Indy and NYC can do a better job clearing roads and the like, that doesn't make it any more enjoyable of an experience for fans that spend hard-earned money to come support their favorite team. So many of this week's activities were either sparsely attended or canceled altogether, with people practically trapped in their hotel rooms hoping to stay warm.
The game itself was fine, as the Packers defeated the Steelers 31-25 and did so in the comfort of an enclosed roof at Cowboys Stadium, and while that's the most important thing, Super Bowl week is about so much more than just the game in the 21st century of the NFL. Some sort of four- or five-city rotation is the way to go, with Miami, Tampa, New Orleans, Phoenix, San Diego and Los Angeles really the only cities that should be considered.
After New York was awarded Super Bowl XLVIII, many Bears fans -- and Windy City folks in general -- wondered aloud, "Why Not Chicago?" But hopefully the disaster in Dallas buried that idea in the snow once and for all.
Dent Finally to be Inducted into HOF
Sunday, 7:33 a.m.
DE Richard Dent
In two stints spanning 12 years with the Bears, Dent recorded a franchise record 124.5 sacks. Dent recorded a Chicago single-season record and career-high 17.5 sacks in 1984, his second season in the NFL. One of the most dominant defensive ends of his era and a cornerstone of Chicago's revolutionary 46 defense, Dent recorded double-digit sack totals each season from 1984 to 1988. Dent totaled eight double-digit sack seasons as a Bear while leading the team in sacks in eight seasons.
Dent moved on from the Bears to play a total of 15 years in the NFL, earning a Super Bowl ring with San Francisco in 1994 before finishing his career with single seasons with Indianapolis in 1996 and Philadelphia in 1997. Concluding his overall career with 137.5 sacks, Dent ranks tied for sixth all-time with John Randle in sacks in NFL history behind only Bruce Smith (200.0), Reggie White (198.0), Kevin Greene (160.0), Chris Doleman (150.5) and Michael Strahan (141.5).
Courtesy of the Chicago Bears Football Club
John Crist is the Publisher of BearReport.com, a Heisman Trophy voter and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.