Here is this week’s Q&A
Q: The past two years Bears wide receivers Earl Bennett and Juaquin Iglesias have sat on the bench because they couldn’t grasp [former offensive coordinator] Ron Turner’s offense. It also looked like Devin Hester was lost sometimes lining up last year. Do you think Mike Martz’s scheme will be too complex for them? Also, Why don’t the Bears have cheerleaders? It would be nice to have a cheerleaders’ calendar. — Timothy Miller
A: Martz’s offense isn’t too complex. He has installed this offense and had immediate success at virtually every stop he has made during his career. Every offensive player will be learning this offense together, remember. It won’t be as if young players will have to learn something that veterans already know. That should make it easier for everybody. As for the Honey Bears, they were disbanded in 1986. Although no official reason has ever been given, it’s believed that team patriarch Virginia McCaskey disapproved of the scantily clad cheerleaders.
Q: Danieal Manning has the build, athleticism, ball skills, tenacity, etc. to be an ideal free safety. What is it about him or the coaching he receives that prevents him from playing well at what should be his natural and best position? Would he be a top safety in a different system? — Joliet Pat.
A: Instincts can be just as important as athleticism, build and some of the other characteristics you mentioned. Manning has a reputation as a great athlete who for whatever reason isn’t an instinctive player. Of course, being moved from position to position probably hasn’t helped.
Q: I know Olin Kreutz is on the mend. Could the surgery he had have lingering effects that could prevent him from performing 100% by the start of the season? — Timmer.
A: The surgery was to remove a bone spur near his Achilles that was extremely painful and limited his effectiveness last season. Now that the spur has been removed, the veteran center has almost completely recovered and should be 100 percent by the beginning of training camp.
Q: What does a player have to do during a physical to join a team? Is it more of a doctor checking them out or is it like a physical performance test? — Shawn
A: A doctor checks them out to ensure the team isn’t receiving damaged goods. Let’s say the Bears trade for a cornerback with a history of shoulder trouble. The deal will be contingent upon the Bears team doctor checking the shoulder to make sure the player can perform as expected.
Q: With the potential job security issues in Denver, what would be the likelihood the Bears would take back Kyle Orton? —lsh
A: The chances of Orton returning to Chicago would seem slight. This is Jay Cutler’s team until proven otherwise. If Orton was released the Bears might consider signing him as a veteran backup, although he may not be a great fit in Martz’s offense. It’s unlikely the team would give up a player or a pick in order to acquire Orton via trade, however.
Q: On the Bears O-line, it seems at though the guaranteed starters are Chris Williams at left tackle, Olin Kreutz at center, and Roberto Garza at right guard. Meanwhile, People have said that Frank Omiyale will win the right tackle position. And while that’s his natural spot, why does that make him the starter? He has NO history of being good, so why do we favor him over Kevin Shaffer? I personally think it should be Shaffer at right tackle, cut Omiyale, and put Josh Beekman at left guard. — Weezie Beezie
A: The Bears saw something in Omiyale in the 10 games he played for the Panthers in 2008. Moving him to left guard was a failed experiment, obviously. They think they can move him back to right tackle, where he will compete with Shaffer in training camp. Whether or not he excels at right tackle or becomes the starter remains to be seen.
Q: How do you see the competition shaping up on the defensive line? Julius Peppers and Tommie Harris are locks, but what about the other tackle and end? Israel Idonije had been moved out prior to drafting Corey Wootton, is it possible he competes at both positions? I heard Jarron Gilbert and Henry Melton both beefed up to compete inside at tackle, is this true? What about Anthony Adams, who I believe has been our best run stuffer in the middle the last couple of years? — Chicago Joe
A: Whew! That’s a lot of questions. Here’s my best answer: The defensive line will be the most interesting position to watch during training camp. Marcus Harrison was the team’s most consistent 3-technique tackle at the end of last season. If he shows up in shape this season he should be in the mix for a starting job. I agree with you on Adams. As for Gilbert and Melton, the plan is to work them at tackle and see what happens. Idonije and Anderson will compete for the starting job at end while Wootton hopes to impress enough in camp to remain in the mix.
Q: Nobody ever mentions Gary Fencik for the Hall of Fame. He was the backbone of the greatest “D” ever!! What are your thoughts? — Tripper
A: I loved watching Fencik play, as well. Has there ever been a surer tackler? That said, he was a very, very good player, in my humble opinion. Not a great one.
Q: To paraphrase Mike Martz, Caleb Hanie appears to be a fine quarterback and a good athlete but he lacks “experience,” so it’s hard to tell how he’ll play when it counts. Therefore he would feel safer if the Bears had a veteran backup QB. If “experience” is such a valuable necessity, how does Hanie go about getting playing time if he’s relegated again to third on the depth chart behind Cutler and the veteran backup?How will we ever find out what Hanie can do unless he’s given a chance?The Patriots weren’t afraid to go to war with Tom Brady or Matt Cassel as inexperienced backups. Kurt Warner was also inexperienced when Trent Green went down. That worked out well.Why all the trepidation about a third year player like Hanie? — Chris in Homer Glen
A: Because Hanie has only taken a handful of regular season snaps. At the recent rookie minicamp, Martz explained that he saw lots of film of Kurt Warner playing in the Arena League and in NFL Europe and had a feel for how he would perform while being pressured. No such film exists with Hanie. Hence the concern. These situations can be a Catch-22 for young quarterbacks like Hanie, who have trouble getting the playing time necessary to develop. On the other hand, what if Cutler is lost to a season-ending injury in Week 2, and Hanie can’t play? What would Bears do then?
Q: How washed up is Justin Smiley and do you think the Bears will sign him if he gets released? — Shaun.
A: The Bears are mostly satisfied with their offensive line personnel but I’m told there may be some interest in Smiley if the Dolphins release him. His shoulder injury has limited his effectiveness and sidelined him for much of the past two seasons. The severity of the injury would certainly be something the Bears would want to investigate when he is released.