What is the Chicago Bears Biggest Need?

Needs

It seems like such a simple question, but no one can provide a definitive answer.

In free agency, the Bears did quite a bit in terms of addressing some of their most glaring needs. The offensive tackle, tight end, and linebacker positions were all upgraded.

But with the NFL Draft less than a week away, predictions are still all over the board for who the Bears may take with the 20th selection.

In my opinion, this is a two-horse race: offensive lineman, or linebacker. Apparently, most draft experts don’t agree with me.

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Chicago Bears Full Draft Predictions

Goodell

The calendar has finally flipped to April. Phil Emery and the Chicago Bears are putting the finishing touches on their draft plans and are preparing their war rooms for the three-day extravaganza known as the NFL Draft.

Most sports media outlets have been churning out mock drafts for the past few months. These mock drafts, however, usually only cover the first round. The most daring sports analysts may even sneak out into the deep end and take a stab at predicting the second round.

Knowing that predicting the draft is just about as easy as picking a perfect NCAA Tournament Bracket, its understandable why fewer still try to predict all seven rounds. But, in the face of my own better judgment, I will attempt to do exactly that.

Here are my predictions at all seven rounds worth of Chicago Bears draft picks, including two predictions that are nearly guaranteed to be correct. [Read more…]

Chicago Bears Free Agency Analysis and Predictions

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New York Giants

Well, that escalated quickly.

GM Phil Emery followed up his amazing opening act last season with an equally impressive performance in the first few hours of this year’s free agency period.

About 60 minutes after the opening bell, former Giants tight end Martellus Bennett was watching the ink dry on his new four-year deal with the Bears. The terms of Bennett’s contract have not yet been disclosed.

A few hours later, ESPN’s Adam Schefter confirmed that former Saints Pro Bowl left tackle Jermon Bushrod would be joining Bennett in the Windy City on a five-year, $36 million deal, making him the highest paid offensive lineman in team history. [Read more…]

Bears/Northwestern’s Nick Roach Utilizes March Madness for Philanthropy?

By Paul M. Banks

Last fall, I had an exclusive with Nick Roach, a Northwestern alum who started at Linebacker for much of the Bears 2009 season. And now, as you get ready to fill out your brackets for March Madness, I’d like to pass on a very important message from him.

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Northwestern’s Top Ten Players of the Decade

Northwestern

By Paul M. Banks

For the first time since the 1930s, Northwestern football will have a winning decade. Indeed the program has taken a major step up to gain respectability and more during the 2000s. From about the 1960s up until 1995, going to Ryan Field and watching the home team lose was like walking into a Starbucks and hearing Norah Jones; 19 times out of 20 (Or thereabouts) it happens.

But since Pat Fitzgerald took over the program in 2006, the ‘Cats have nipped, clawed and scratched their way into bowl eligibility in every season but one during his tenure. If they win the Outback Bowl on New Year’s Day, 2009’s season win total will tie 2008 for second most in school history. It’s clear that Northwestern bowl berths will soon become as much a part of the holidays as that annoying over-synthesized Paul McCartney tune “Wonderful Christmas Time.”

So who are the top ten players who made this Evanston renaissanace possible? I enlisted the help of a man who knows more about NU sports than any other journalist I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting; the Daily Herald’s Lindsey Wilhite. In addition to his reporting duties, check out the blog he currently pens at the Herald site entitled Joe Sports

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Northwestern’s Nick Roach Starts at LB for Bears

nick-roach

By Paul M. Banks has an exclusive with Nick Roach

With the injuries piling up for the Chicago Bears at the linebacker position, some new opportunities for playing time have opened up. Northwestern alum Nick Roach is one athlete who sill soon capitalize on this opportunity being provided by a crisis.  Roach will start the Bears home opener in week 2; and share reps with Jamar Williams at strong-side linebacker, in place of the injured Pisa Tinoisamoa. In the season opener versus Green Bay, Chicago lost their All-World Linebacker Brian Urlacher for the season, and now with Pisa’s loss, they’ll be missing two of their three starters at the position. nickroach

At Halas Hall, I caught up to Roach  and asked him about playing in the huge rivalry game against the Green Bay Packers, and how it compares to other rivalries that he’s been a part of. “I guess it’s similar to Illinois, an old rivalry. All the fans, players, coaches get excited for it, so I guess it’s the same thing. I just found out it’s the oldest rivalry in the NFL, so you can’t beat that,” he responded.

The 6’1” 234 pound Milwaukee product had a solid, if not excessively hyped career at Northwestern. He was named Academic All-Big Ten and defensive MVP as a senior in 2006 despite having his season cut short by a broken leg. He still managed to lead the Wildcats in tackles despite playing in just eight games. This followed a junior season in which he finished second on the team in tackles.

And he’s not the only former Wildcat on the Bears roster. The school’s all-time leader in total offense and  passing, Brett Basanez, is the practice squad quarterback. “Brett and I were pretty close in college. We spent three years together, it’s always good to have a familiar face, and being just kind of up the street from school, the added familiarity {is nice},” Roach stated.

Roach is familiar with the practice squad, it’s the place where he began his NFL journey. The Bears signed him off the San Diego Chargers’ practice squad the day before Thanksgiving in 2007. In 2008 Roach registered 38 of his 40 tackles when he started the final nine games at strong-side linebacker. He had a career-high eight stops in the season finale at Houston. Throughout his professional career, Roach has kept in touch with his former Wildcat coaches:

“Fitz {Current NU Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald} and I we were pretty close. He was my Linebackers Coach for most of the time that I was there, so we kind of have that relationship, we text every now and then, he checks in on me, I check to see how they’re doing.”

nickroachnu

And teammates: “He {Tyrell Sutton} actually called me as soon as he got activated by Carolina. He was just excited. He was also kind of disappointed and down that he got cut, despite having a good preseason but he felt good about going to Carolina.”  Roach also added that he would like to return to Ryan Field for a game this fall, if the Bears and Wildcats schedules line up a chance.