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From the start of the season to now, what changed in what you think is the Bears greatest positional need, aside from K? Submitted by Matt
Matt, at the beginning of last season, I thought the Bears' greatest needs were at offensive tackle — more on the left side than the right — safety, cornerback, tight end and 5-technique.
I thought Eddie Jackson would get much better but had no idea he’d be a first team All Pro so quickly, and I didn’t think Adrian Amos was much better than a number three.
I did expect Kyle Fuller to have another Pro Bowl season — he should have been picked last year — but didn’t realize he’d be one of the two best corners in the game, which he was along with Stephon Gilmore.
And I was worried about how far away I thought Adam Shaheen still was. It wasn't that I thought he was a bust, just that he was still so far away.
Now, Charles Leno has been to the Pro Bowl as an alternate, but I find that very surprising, and while he isn’t near the worst left tackle in the league, he isn’t near the best and I still think the offense could use an upgrade if the running game is going to improve and Mitch Trubisky is going to be safe on his blind side.
Leno was definitely better than I expected, but he still can’t handle a speed rush to save his life.
The Bears need another tight end — even if Shaheen does become the player they hope. His blocking is already better than I expected, but he’s not much of a threat in the passing game yet, and even if he does touch his ceiling, they still need an upgrade over Dion Sims, who will almost certainly be released to save cap space, Ben Braunecker and Daniel Brown.
The Bears aren’t going to break the bank to sign either Amos or Bryce Callahan. At the Bears' price, one or both could be back, but they also could move on, so either way the Bears still have real needs there.
You have to love Akiem Hicks, Eddie Goldman and Bilal Nichols, but Roy Robertson-Harris is a restricted free agent and Jonathan Bullard has been just a guy, so more talent at the 5-technique is still a need.
Are there any free agents out there you think the Bears can add without breaking the bank? Submitted by Steven Negishi
The safety position is loaded with Landon Collins, Tyrann Mathieu, Lamarcus Joyner, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Earl Thomas.
Collins wants to stay in New York, and the Giants will tag him if they can’t sign him. Even if they didn’t, he is going to break the bank somewhere.
But the other four are all legitimate Pro Bowlers, too, at least 2 and possibly 3 or all 4 are going to move and all four would be a significant upgrade over Adrian Amos.
Thomas troubles me a bit because he’s 30 and has had serious injuries each of the last two seasons, and he seems intent on ending up a Cowboy.
But the “Honey Badger” only got $7 million last year on a one-year, prove-it deal, and though he’s going to get at least three, maybe four years this time, it doesn’t have to be at more than $8-9 million a year, probably $20 million guaranteed.
They can afford that, and he’s worth it.
Cordarrelle Patterson could solve their kickoff-return issues and give Nagy a versatile offensive weapon to play with. Luke Willson could be a fit at tight end, and Johnathan Hankins is more of a 3-technique but might be interesting at the 5 as well.
Where is more depth needed on the current Bears team and can they address it in the draft? Submitted by Kent Carr
Kent, again I start at offensive tackle. I like Massie on the right side but am not in love with Leno, and neither Brad Sowell nor Rashaad Coward are a good fit on the left side if Leno gets dinged. They definitely need to upgrade the depth at offensive tackle.
I do not agree with all who think Jordan Howard isn’t the answer at running back, but whether he is or not, Tarik Cohen, FA Benny Cunningham and Taquan Mizzell – who realistically has done nothing to suggest he should even be in the league – are all situational players, none of whom are capable of being a feature back if Howard or his potential replacement should get nicked.
Depth is needed.
Even if they do re-sign Bryce Callahan, based on his injury history, the Bears need depth at cornerback.
I’d also really like to see them re-sign Aaron Lynch, who is a free agent, but if they don’t ...
They’re great starting at outside linebacker with Khalil Mack and Leonard Floyd, and with Sam Acho back they’re not in horrible shape. Isaiah Irving is promising, but I didn’t see much out of Kylie Fitts.
My issue is Lynch is the only one of those guys who plays with the same style and body type as Mack, so if they can’t get him back, I’d like to see them bring in another player of his ilk.
Could the bears have beaten the Pats in the super bowl. Minus a couple mistakes bears could have won in chi town. Submitted by HLC1778
Yes, the Bears “could have” beaten New England in the Super Bowl. With their defense, which did not play well against the Pats in the regular season in part because Mack was playing on 1 ½ legs coming off the high ankle sprain, they could have beaten any team in the league on any given Sunday.
Do I think they would have beaten them? No.
I really like where the Bears are at right now and where they’re heading. I won’t decide for another 3 or 4 months, but there’s a chance they’ll be my NFC pick for the Super Bowl this coming season.
But I don’t think they were any more ready for a Super Bowl or Belichick and Brady this year than the Rams were.
I think you have to get your heart broken in the playoffs before you’re ready to go all the way through them, and the Bears certainly got that done this year.
Maybe next year will really be the year for the Bears, but they weren’t ready yet last month.
Where is the best place for chicken and waffles in Atlanta ?? Submitted by John Wedlake
John, we stayed at the Patriots hotel, which was the Hyatt Regency downtown, about a mile from Mercedes Benz Stadium. It was something like 285 Peachtree St. NE.
We found a place just about a block and a half to two blocks south of there on the other side of the street called Sweet Georgia’s Juke Joint, and it was outstanding.
We had some chicken and waffles, ribs, bacon and maple braised collared greens, cheesy grits and corn bread, and it was all outstanding, especially the chicken and waffles.
Better yet, they had live music every night from 8:00-1:00, and the night we were there the Soul Cartel was playing. Part R & B, part Motown and part Southern Rock, they were great.
Also had some good chicken and waffles at Gus’ Famous Fried Chicken on Courtland Street.