With the Bears management staff in Indianapolis for the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine evaluating players that will end up being part of the future of the organization, the news coming out of the organization is slim but there is always plenty to talk about when you are talking about the Bears.
Chicago extended head coach Lovie Smith’s contract another two years giving him there more years in Chicago. This seems to be the best option for a coach leading a team that has struggled up until 2010 season after appearing in the Super Bowl in 2006. This will also help keep his group of assistant coaches, including offensive coordinator Mike Martz and offensive line coach Mike Tice together making things much easier on the Bears next season.
The good thing about the length of the contract is that if Smith does not perform well, the Bears aren’t tied to him for a long period of time (like they were in the last contract). So this is a good decision by the ownership and gives Smith some time to continue building a winner without a lot pressure on him (to do it in one season). Although sometimes pressure is good thing.
There were several former Bears that attended the funeral of former Chicago Bear’s safety Dave Duerson who passed away a little over a week ago. Some of those players present included linebacker Otis Wilson and Hall of Fame defensive end Richard Dent.
The events leading up to Duerson’s death are coming to light more and more all the time and there is some speculation that injuries suffered to his brain over the course of his career playing football may have lead to some of the problems that he had. He asked that his brain be donated to the research being conducted on the long term effects of concussions on players and someday perhaps we will know what drove him to do what he did.
The 2011 NFL Scouting combine is going on right now and there have been several instances where both Lovie Smith and Mike Martz have been interviewed. Smith looked as upbeat as ever (probably because he just signed that new contract while Martz spent a little time defending his quarterback Jay Cutler from all of the criticism that he has received since the Bear’s NFC Championship game.
Martz feels that Cutler will be one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL when it’s all said and done and that he is misunderstood.
As mentioned, the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine is underway and the Bears are well represented there with what appears to be their entire coaching staff (being present). They appeared to show some deep interest in the offensive linemen which was a good sign especially since this team needs several good offensive linemen and need to get them in this draft.
There will be some additional news and notes about the Bears, the Combine and the offseason over the course of the next few days.