The Bears Beat (03.13.14): Bears working to fill holes, upgrade roster

March 13th, 2014 - 9:53 am

If there is one thing I’ve learned about Bears fans over the years, it’s that you cannot ever fully please them. Nothing is ever enough.

They are the types to squeeze every last bit of toothpaste out of the tube. They will hold their beer bottles upside down until every last drop is out. Dump the leftover crumbs from a bag of potato chips into their mouths.

In short, they want everything and are never fully satisfied.

Hence, it should come as no surprise that as the Bears were introducing their new defensive end, Lamarr Houston, to the public, Bears fans were inquiring as to whether veteran defensive end Jared Allen would sign with the team.

Let it be known that I’m not against the idea of Allen as a Bear. The mullet-donning, quarterback-sacking lineman has had a stellar career and would still have a few good years left in him even at his current age of 31 (soon to be 32).

But I also know that he will come at a price and the Bears are near the bottom of the league in cap space, even with the release of Julius Peppers.

So, while it’s okay to want the Bears to be aggressive and improve the roster, know that it’s more likely they’ll go for quantity over quality at this point.

One thing can be certain: general manager Phil Emery has developed quite the track record for being aggressive and persistent in identifying problems and working to fix them.

Buccaneers sign Josh McCown at steep price

I like Josh McCown. I think he’s a pretty good player and an even better man. And I think he fit in with the Bears organization — specifically with head coach Marc Trestman and quarterback Jay Cutler — better than most others could.

But if former Bears and current Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith wanted McCown that badly in Tampa Bay, they can have him for the two years, $10 million that they signed him for.

There’s a reason why McCown, at 34, has never been a reliable starter. It’s because he needs a system to succeed, one with a good offensive play caller and a lot of talent surrounding him. And while I think Tampa Bay has some decent talent on offense, they are not quite the studs that the Bears have. Nor is Buccaneers offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford of the same variety as Trestman.

Can the Bears count on Palmer?

Now that McCown is out of the picture, the Bears will enter training camp with Jordan Palmer as Jay Cutler’s primary backup. The Bears will surely add, at minimum, a couple camp bodies, but will any of them seriously contend with Palmer to be the primary backup? And should Cutler go down with an injury next season, will that backup be able to step in and play as well as McCown did last year?

The things I feel the Bears will miss most about McCown was his leadership, knowledge of the system, and his mobility in and out of the pocket. McCown had great ability to avoid pressure and to make plays on the run. I don’t think Palmer has that same ability, nor do I feel he has the same command of the offense than McCown did.

But, I have no doubts that with the weapons the Bears have on offense, Palmer would be able to step in and keep the ship afloat if needed.

Have the Bears fixed the safety position?

The Bears made two moves at the safety position so far this offseason, by signing former Giant Ryan Mundy and former Packer MD Jennings. Both players provide a boost to a position that was sorely lacking playmakers, but the question is: were these two signings enough to correct the position?

My honest opinion is that no, I still think they need to draft a safety with the hopes that he develops into a long-term solution, but with so many holes on the defensive side of the ball, plus limited cap space, the Bears could only do so much in free agency.

The way it works in football is that — generally — you should build from the front to back, and from the inside to the outside. So, the Bears felt they needed to upgrade the pass rush first and foremost, knowing that a good pass rush can mask problems in the secondary.

I feel we haven’t seen the last of the moves in the secondary this offseason and that when all is said and done, the Bears will have an improved defense come training camp.

Will Peanut be back?

The fact that the Buccaneers didn’t strike quickly on Charles Tillman gives me a little bit of hope that Tillman will be back with the Bears. But the fact that he isn’t exactly on the verge of signing with the Bears leaves me wondering if they really want him back that bad.

If I had to make a guess at this point, I’d say the Bears would still like him back, but on their terms and at a much lower price, much like the small offer they gave Brian Urlacher last year before cutting ties with him. The difference is, Urlacher had little to nothing left in the tank while Tillman still has some good football left in him.

If a market doesn’t develop for Tillman, I can’t see him wanting to leave a comfortable situation for a small offer, hence, I could see him re-upping with the Bears.