Chicago Bears: Fan Q&A with Zach Krpan 2/10/2014

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Photo Courtesy of Zach Krpan

Photo Courtesy of Zach Krpan

There’s a lot of talk that neither safeties will be brought back. [Do] You think Phil Emery will sign a safety via free agency or try to fill that position through the draft? – Asked by: Justin Boyd

Both are likely to happen. Major Wright will not be back with the Chicago Bears because his contract expires and both positions need attention. Before we go crying for either of their jobs, the one thing everyone is missing is how poor the front seven performed. When your front line is exposed, your safeties are put into the worst situation they can be in. With today’s quarterbacks and wide receivers, if you don’t get pressure, they are bound to break coverage. When teams can run the ball on you, you expose your safeties in coverage and have to stack the box. That’s not to say that the safety play this year wasn’t awful, as it truly was.

According to Pro Football Focus, Major Wright finished with a -27.4 grade, the worst among the 86 qualifying safeties. Allowing 512 yards on 36 targets, had a 5/1 (TD/INT) ratio, and a passer rating (against) of 146.8. I firmly believe that Major Wright will not be on the Bears roster next season; leaving Phil Emery most likely looking to free agency to sign someone like 49ers Donte Whitner or, Browns strong safety T.J Ward. Both of these players play hard, are intimidating forces on the back end, and have the ability to play the run. However, I think its also a strong bet that Emery looks to bring in a guy through the draft for strong safety, likely in rounds 2-3. My best guesses would be NIU’s Jimmie Ward or Baylor’s Ahmad Dixon.

Dixon is an intriguing prospect who has good size and speed and can play the run, but has some character issues on field that he will need to keep under control. As for Chris Conte, I firmly believe he returns to the Bears next season. Chris Conte fared better than Wright posting stats of 474 yards on 38 attempts, a 4/3 (TD/INT) ratio, and a passer rating (against) of 104.5. However he did miss 16 tackles, and those numbers are far from flattering; it seems as if Chris Conte was a product of a poor defense as a whole.He really needs to work on his tackling as well as his ball skills. He had far to many missed interceptions, one that cost the Bears a chance at the playoffs.

Emery will likely look to bring in one or two free agents to build some competition and depth at the free safety position. It’s also possible that he drafts a guy in later rounds just to add depth. Conte could rebound as he had a few missed opportunities for interceptions, but shows the ability to play, and did well in 2012. With such a low cap number, being on his rookie deal, the Bears have no reason not to bring him to camp.

What’s the outlook on special teams? Specifically Hester, punter and any standouts not signed. Aside from Gould how would you rate our special teams squad and their overall play and production 2013? Since you had the opportunity to chat up the coordinator. – Asked by: Eric Daneker

I did get the chance to talk to Special Teams Coordinator, Joe DeCamillis on my plane ride back from Jacksonville. Although we talked about these topics it would be wrong to give any of his ideas or predictions about players as it was not a formal interview, so nothing I write here should be taken as a quote or information I got from DeCamillis.

I don’t think Devin Hester will return, justifying a spot on the team for a guy that only returns kicks and punts is hard to argue for – you can get a rookie to return kicks, while adding depth to another position, at a much lower price than that of Devin Hester’s $2.9 million cap hit (2013). With a team that needs deep defensive help (badly), Emery should be looking for someone similar to the Arizona Cardinal’s Patrick Peterson; someone who can fill a defensive position and return kicks just as well, is worth more to this team.

As for Podlesh I think he will be let go before next season, if not punters will indefinitely be brought in to provide some sort of alternative. His average punt has dropped the last three consecutive seasons, and currently sits at a 40.6(avg).


Photo Courtesy of Zach Krpan

Photo Courtesy of Zach Krpan

The Seahawks domination of the Broncos in the Super Bowl has sparked some debate over the best defense of all-time. How do the Seahawks compare to the 85 Bears? – Asked by: Mayra Camden

In terms of raw stats the ’85 Bears outdid the 2013 Seahawks. The Bears only allowed seven total rushing yards, 12 first downs, and a total of 116 passing yards whereas the Seahawks allowed numbers of 17 first downs, 27 rushing yards, and 280 yards through the air. Peyton also completed a record setting 34 completions. Chicago forced six turnovers (four fumbles, two interceptions) to Seattle’s two (two interceptions).

What makes the Seattle defense so impressive is that they stopped one of the most prolific offenses of all-time. In the modern passing era, that in itself is impressive. It’s really hard to compare them simply because the NFL has changed so much since 1985. However, the Bears win in this match up on numbers, and that’s what this is a comparison of numbers. Winner goes to coach Ditka’s ’85 Bears.

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