Chicagos Offensive Line - Chicago Bears Podcast and Blog

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Scouting Report: Detroit

Welcome to The Scouting Report. Each week this season, we're going to take the opportunity to interview an opposing team's blogger/podcaster/insider to gain insight into the team we're facing. Lionsinthebasement.com, a Detroit Lions podcast, joins us and takes a look at week 4.

Chicago's Offensive Line (COL) - Football is a game of match-ups. Which match-up will you be watching and why?

Lions in the Basement (LIB) - The biggest worry for us at least is Detroit versus Soldier Field. The road has been really scary for Lions fans. But, at least offensively, for the Lions each game comes down to the protection provided by our swiss cheese like offensive line. If we can give Kitna time we have a good chance every week. If Kitna has time to throw, I think that our receivers can beat anybody.

COL - In the preseason, Jon Kitna promised that the Lions would win 10 games this season. Back when he said this, did you believe him?

LIB - Honestly, No. But it was good to hear that someone on the Lions (not named Roy Williams) believed enough in our team to make that kind of prediction. The attention that we received, althought mostly negative, gave the team both a goal and something to rally around. That prediction doesn't look quite so silly now.

COL - You guys call yourself the Lions in the Basement, was that a prediction of where the team would end up this season?

LIB - In no way was this a prediction of the Lions finish this year (and the fact that they finished there so many times before had nothing to do with it!?). It is just where we record the podcast. Our tagline is "It's not where they'll finish, it's where we record".

COL -Who are you guys happier to get back, Kevin Jones or Calvin Johnson?

LIB - Both, but if forced to pick, we would have to go with Kevin Jones. Just the threat of a running game at least forces the defensive line to think about something other than sacking Kitna. Kevin Jones looked real good (versus Tampa Bay) and if that keeps up it could be a very long season for opposing defenses. If other teams are forced to try and cover our receivers one on one, it will be a long day for defensive coordinators.

COL - How the hell has Matt Millen managed to keep his job for so long? Don't get me wrong, we've all been glad he's still there, but it makes you wonder.

LIB - We think the honest answer is he became good friends with the owner of the team. As long as Millen knows enough to b.s. Ford the job is his. Millen is massacred in the papers, we had the orange out, and who can forget the Millen man march last year? But come draft time there he is picking another receiver in the first round. At least he has gotten them half right with Calvin and Roy. Until Ford or Millen get hit by a bus on the way to work, the job will probably be his.

COL - Do Lions fans tune out Roy Williams as much as the rest of the nation does?

LIB - We here in the Basement try to tune in to everything Roy says. He is one of the most entertaining players in the NFL. Adds a lot of character to the team and most everyone knows it is just Roy being Roy. Plus, when he really puts his foot in his mouth, he is willing to don the Pizza Hut uniform and deliver pizzas personally.

COL - What is your prediction for the game this Sunday?

LIB - Kitna stays clean, Jones runs well, and you will wish you could tune out Roy Williams, Lions win 31-17.

Thanks again to Lionsinthebasement.com for the interview.

Friday, October 05, 2007

The Scouting Report: Green Bay

Welcome to The Scouting Report. Each week this season, we're going to take the opportunity to interview an opposing team's blogger/podcaster/insider to gain insight into the team we're facing. Al from Packernet.com, a Green Bay Packers Web site, joins us and takes a look at week 5.

Chicago's Offensive Line (COL) - Let me start by saying that it's been difficult for us to come up with a set of civil questions because we dislike the Packers so much. Do you think that the level of animosity between the two fan bases can be chalked up to a simple divisional rivalry or does it go deeper?

PN - I think much of the animosity stems from the Mike Ditka/Forrest Gregg days. Those two coaches hated each other and it trickled down to the players and to the fans. Gregg once told his players "you take care of the Bears, I'll take care of Ditka". Then the 1989 Instant Replay Game is still a sticking point in the Bears craw and Packers fans love to rub it in.

COL - Brett Favre has been having a great year so far. So far this year he's taken the career passing attempts, wins as starting QB, and touchdown passes and he's also on pace for career passing yards. The important question is, when will he break the NFL career interceptions record?

PN - Certainly it could happen this week, with weather likely to be a factor at game time, but this year's version of Brett Favre is different than the throw-it-up-for-grabs days of Mike Sherman as head coach. Favre is not given that leeway any longer and his play this year indicates that. Favre will end up with the most interceptions all time, but given his career it is only fitting. You don't get to be great by not taking chances, and No. 4 has made way more good plays than bad in the last 16 years.

COL - Seriously though, Favre and the Packers have been on a tear since the end of last season. What do you attribute this reversal of fortunes?

PN - First of all the defense got its act together the end of last year, which in turn as made Favre better because he's not playing from behind all the time. Also the Packers are building from the ground up under head coach Mike McCarthy and the young team has bought in to his method of coaching. McCarthy has done wonders with the offense this year by winning without the benefit of the running game and his pass-as-good-as-a-run approach is very reminiscent of the early Mike Holmgren days in Green Bay. General manager Ted Thompson believes in building a strong defense first and that has happened for the most part. And the Packers are gaining confidence in themselves as well. While the Packers are lacking in the running game, I believe they have an excellent receiving corp in Donald Driver, Greg Jennings and James Jones. Favre has weapons now, and if he stays healthy will have a huge year with these guys.

COL - Through the first four games of the season, the Packers are dead last in the NFL in total rushing yards. Where has the run game gone and how long can you continue to win without it?

PN - I do believe that part of the running game problem has been who the Packers have played thus far. The Eagles, Chargers and Vikings are stout against the run and for the most part they have tried to run the ball. I will be more concerned if the time comes when the Packers need to run the ball and can't, if that happens. I still think Vernand Morency will be a big factor in the running game's improvement once he has back to full speed. That may be laughable, but I think Morency is at least workable.

COL - Does it bother you that your best linebacker is married to Brady Quinn's twin brother?

PN - Maybe some day they will meet in the Pro Bowl. All I really know is, she's hot!

COL - Favre tends to draw most of the media coverage when it comes to Green Bay. Who would you say is the most over looked, or under the radar, player on the Packers?

PN - This year I would have to say linebacker Nick Barnett. Last it was Donald Driver, but he got his just due when he made the Pro Bowl. Now it's Barnett's turn. He has been a demon so far this year making big plays left and right. Barnett led the team in tackles every year until A.J. Hawk beat him last year. I think Barnett wants to get that crown back.

COL - Other than the rushing situation, is there an area of the team that you would most like to upgrade?

PN - I'm worried about the offensive line. The zone-blocking scheme doesn't seem to working like it does in Denver and Atlanta and if the Packers scrap it they don't have the type of offensive lineman to play a power running game, so they are very limited that way. If the running game doesn't pick up this year, all but Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher may be gone.

COL - Final question, what's your prediction for the game this Sunday?

PN - Clearly at this point in time, factoring in injuries, the Packers are the better team. Brett Favre is 22-8 against the Bears but has struggled at home recently against them. Still, Cinderella lives another week. Packers 19, Bears 13.

Thanks again to Al from Packernet.com for the interview.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Scouting Report: Detroit Part 2

Welcome to The Scouting Report. Each week this season, we're going to take the opportunity to interview an opposing team's blogger/podcaster/insider to gain insight into the team we're facing. Joe from LionsLocker.com, a Detroit Lions blog, joins us and takes a look at week 4.

LionsLocker (LL) - Will Brian Griese be a huge improvement at QB for the Bears? And will Rex Grossman ever see the football field in a real game for the Bears?

COL - I guess this is a matter of perspective. Till now, Grossman has been giving the ball away to opposing defenses like Santa at Christtmas and this has been killing us. Griese is known as being a much better decision-maker under center but he doesn't have the arm for the big pass play. Grossman's time in Chicago is pretty much up. Unless there's an injury he's gone after this season.

LL - Did the Bears trade the wrong running back? Cedric Benson doesn't appear to have much fire in him and he fumbles a lot.

COL - That's been a questionable move since it came down. Basically there were two things in play there. First, Benson got drafted/paid three years ago while we still had Jones under contract, setting the stage for the running back conflict. Second, Jones wasn't going to get the deal he wanted and made the deal that he would stick around for one year if the Bears promised not to franchise him after the 2006 campaign. Benson is moody, slow to start during games, drops the ball on the deck, and can't pick up the blitz to save his life. So, the short answer is yes, they did.

LL - Will the QB switch get Mushin Muhammad more involved in the offense?

COL - That's hard to say, but I think that Griese will distribute the ball more than Grossman has through three games. There will be more passes in the short to middle areas of the field, so I would say that Bernard Berrian will definitely see a decline in production.

LL - How in the world can the Bears defense replace Lance Briggs, Tommie Harris, Nathan Vasher and Charles Tillman and still be effective?

COL - It's definitely going to be hard, if not impossible, to keep producing at that level. While the Bears are known primarily as a Tampa 2 defense, they really only play the zone a third of the time. I think you'll see us play that a lot more in the coming weeks until we get our defense healthier. The big question is whether or not defensive coordinator Bob Babich will continue to call such aggressive games with as much blitzing as he has through the first three weeks.

LL - Would the Bears have won the Super Bowl in Griese started the game last season?

COL - No. It's even questionable whether they would have made it to the Super Bowl with Griese under center. When it came down to it, our defense is the strength of our team and it was just over matched against the Colts offense.

LL - I know Devin Hester has a TD return already this season but doesn't he seem a little off?

COL - I would agree, but there's a question as to what the cause is. I believe that he's pressing because he realizes that, with our anemic offense, games are hinging on whether he scores or not. Some believe that his time on offense is taking away from his return abilities.

People also tend to forget that he had a bad case of the dropsies around the same time last season and it took a lot of work for him to get past it. I think if he can settle and get back to his instinctive running he'll be able to work out of it. The Bears special teams squad is just too good for him to stay down too long.

LL - What is your prediction for the outcome this Sunday?

COL - I'm not feeling good about this game. The Lions have a high scoring offense and the Bears secondary is decimated right now. I think the Lions pulls this off at home, 17-21.

Thanks again to Joe from LionsLocker.com for the interview. Be sure to check out part two of the interview, where we answer the questions.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Scouting Report: Detroit Part 1

Welcome to The Scouting Report. Each week this season, we're going to take the opportunity to interview an opposing team's blogger/podcaster/insider to gain insight into the team we're facing. Joe from LionsLocker.com, a Detroit Lions blog, joins us and takes a look at week 4.

Chicago's Offensive Line (COL) - There was a Matt Millen protest last year and he tends to be a punching bag for other fan bases. Has the Lions success this season taken any fan pressure of Millen or is there still a feeling that he needs to go?

Lions Locker (LL) - Matt Millen still must go. A 2-1 start doesn'tmake up for the 24-72 record under Millen's watch.It's really stunning how bad the defense is when youconsider that Millen was a good, nasty linebacker as aplayer.

COL - I know when Millen drafted another wide receiver with the Lions' first pick we all got a chuckle over here in Chicago. Calvin Johnson has proven that he's a capable receiver and potential game changer in the first few games of the season. How did Lions fans react to the pick and how he's been performing so far?

LL - Calvin Johnson was by far the best playeravailable at the #2 pick in April's Draft. OffensiveCo-Ordinator Mike Martz definately has a lot of say inthe organization as offense is not the Lions problem.They would have been better off trading down andgetting a boatload of picks to use on the defense.

COL - I would say that Jon Kitna holding on to a starting job for an extended period of time is more a miracle than recovering from the concussion he had against Minnesota. Is he the real deal for Detroit and is he a quarterback the team and the fan base can really get behind.

LL - Jon Kitna is not the QB of the future for theLions. He turns the ball over way too much eitherfumbling it away or throwing pickoffs. Drew Stantonis the hope for the future when he returns from hisknee injury next season. But, Kitna's by far the bestQB the Lions have right now.

COL - After getting 56 points dropped on them the vulnerability of the Lions secondary was put on display. What's the situation with the DBs and how much of this was caused by the trade of Dre Bly to the Broncos in the off season?

LL - The Lions have decided that they will try tooutscore everyone and that's why the Bly tradehappened. They needed help at running back andoffensive tackle so the Lions didn't think they couldafford not to take George Foster and Tatum Bell forBly. The Lions secondary has a pretty poor collectionof players. CBs Fernando Bryant (16 tackles) andStanley Wilson (14 tackles) can't stop a cold letalone opposing receivers. Safeties Gerald Alexander(14 tackles, INT) and Kenoy Kennedy (11 tackles)aren't really playmakers but they can hit.

COL - After three weeks the Lions are ranked third in over all offense but 29th in over all rushing. Why such a disparity?

LL - The basic answer here is that Mike Martz hates therun. They would run the ball more if Kevin Jones werehealthy. The Lions don't have a lot of faith in TatumBell as they named a fumbling drill in practice afterhim.

COL - Rod Marinelli was Lovie Smith's first choice for defensive coordinator when he became head coach here in Chicago. How has Marinelli fit in the Detroit locker room and is Mike Martz secretly licking his chops waiting to take over the head coaching position?

LL - I think that Marinelli is a good motivator andtactian but he doesn't have the horses on defense.Mike Martz would love to be the head coach of theLions after the raw deal he got from the Rams who gotrid of him while he was sick.

COL - Last question, what's your prediction for the game this Sunday?

LL - I like the Bears to win this game 27-24 as I havea feeling Griese will inspire your offense.

Thanks again to Joe from LionsLocker.com for the interview. Be sure to check out part two of the interview, where we answer the questions.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Scouting Report: Dallas

Welcome to The Scouting Report. Each week this season, we're going to take the opportunity to interview an opposing team's blogger/podcaster/insider to gain insight into the team we're facing. Rafael from TheBoysBlog.com, a Dallas Cowboys blog, joins us and takes a look at week 3.

Chicago's Offensive Line (COL) - We know second chances are plentiful in the NFL. With Tank Johnson signing with the Cowboys earlier this week, how are Dallas fans reacting? Is Jerry Jones' attitude of winning at all costs despite character issues sitting well with you and other Cowboys fans?

Boys Blog (BB)- On Tank Johnson, I think the fans are fine with it. He's not going to show up with six weeks, so he's already on his best behavior in a sense. If he's pulled over again, or gets in some altercation in the next month at some bar he's gone.

People know he was turned down repeatedly and that he's only costing Dallas about $255K so the risk is small and the potential reward great. He's going to be a backup, so he's not comparable with T.O. He's here to make sure Jay Ratliff doesn't wear down.

COL - The Cowboys organization interviewed a lot of head coaching candidates after last season. How happy are you and other Dallas fans with the choice of Wade Phillips?

BB - He was the top choice of people on this site, given the available talent pool. I think a guy like Jeff Fisher would have been the top choice, but once it became clear that Tennesse was going to surround him with fire breathing dragons, Phillips was choice one. There was a huge push among Dallas press types for Norv Turner and he was NOT liked by my community.

COL - Over the first two weeks, the Cowboys have piled up 82 points. Who has been the most underrated player on the offense during this scoring explosion?

BB - It's hard to say who's been underrated. T.O. and Jason Witten have led the charge and everybody knows them. The good Romo has showed up, so I think the fans are relieved and excited.

If I had to push unsung guys I'd say the OT's Flozell Adams and Marc Colombo and the tight ends coach John Garrett, Jason's brother. Both OTs were injured during much of camp but are having great starts. The tight ends have been awful as run blockers the past couple of years. Witten didn't block half as well as his size allows. This year all three TEs have been great and it's opened up the outside game. Dallas flexes their TEs inside and runs a lot of "wham" traps and these guys have been cleaning up ILBs.

COL - T.O. has been pretty quiet so far this season. How long till he does something to draw the media circus back to Dallas and what will it be for?

BB - I don't see anything with T.O. He gets along with his OC, something that wasn't true in S.F. where had and Mariucci butted heads. He also gets along with Romo. We all know how he clashed with McNabb. Jason Garrett is calling plays for him and Romo's throwing him the ball. So long as that happens, I don't think we'll hear a peep from him, odd as that may seem.

COL - Are you now, or have you ever been, a Romosexual?

BB - My site was the first one to put the term in print. I'm an unrepentant Romosexual.

COL - It seems like Marc Columbo is back to full strength from his almost career ending injury suffered during his rookie campaign with the Bears. How much of a factor is he on Dallas' O-line and how do you think they match-up with the Bears' D-line?

BB - Colombo is better this year. He was gritty as a pass blocker last year but didn't have much pop as a run blocker. He's still not as good as Adams but he's still better this year.

As far as matchups, I think the matchup on Dallas's side that concerns me the most is Tommie Harris on Kyle Kosier. He's the weakest Dallas lineman, though he's solid. Harris, OTOH, was making Chris Deilman look stupid, so that's a possible mismatch. On the other side of the ball, I think too much is being made of Olin Kreutz vs. Jay Ratliff. Ratliff is getting his chance and he's good. He's not the road block Jamal Williams is but he's a very good pass rusher. You don't find many good pass rushing nose tackles.

COL - And finally, what's your prediction for the game?

BB - Prediction? I've just started watching tape so I'm shaky. Before the season I thought Dallas would start 2-1 with the loss in Chicago. If Terence Newman were 100% I would pick Dallas but I'm going to stick with my original pick for the time being. Chicago 17, Dallas 16.

Thanks again to Rafael from TheBoysBlog.com for the interview.

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Scouting Report: Kansas City

Welcome to The Scouting Report. Each week this season, we're going to take the opportunity to interview an opposing team's blogger/podcaster/insider to gain insight into the team we're facing. Chris from ArrowheadPride.com, a Kansas City Chiefs blog, joins us and takes a look at week 2.

Chicago's Offensive Line (COL) - Chicago is no stranger to the quarterback controversy. With Damon Huard as the Chiefs starting QB and Brodie Croyle waiting in the wings, which of these QBs gives the Chiefs the best chance to win and why? Who would you rather have under center?

Arrowhead Pride (AP) - By a hair, you can probably say that Damon Huard gives the Chiefs the best chance to win right now. Huard will makes fewer mistakes but at the same time can't make a lot of throws that Brodie Croyle's strong arm can. On the flip side, you could say that Croyle's arm strength gives the Chiefs the best chance to win because of defenses stacking the box against Larry Johnson, which creates the opportunity for more plays downfield.

I'm personally a Brodie Croyle guy. I don't believe that Damon Huard gives the Chiefs enough of a competitive advantage over Croyle to justify the veteran starting. The Chiefs need to find out if Croyle is the QB of the future and I would rather that happen in a down year like this year than wait until 2008. If the Chiefs are going to be scrapping around at the bottom of the AFC West all year, we might as well get the kid some experience.

COL - Everyone knows about Larry Johnson and Tony Gonzalez. What other players on the Chiefs offense should we be watching come Sunday and why?

AP - Beyond those two guys, the Chiefs don't really have anyone who has developed into a true weapon. Dwayne Bowe will eventually be our no. 1 receiver but he's nowhere near fully developed. I'll throw in a player thats a guilty pleasure of mine- Bobby Sippio. The guy caught 53 TDs last year in the Arena League and has athleticism and an attitude to boot. He's shown he can catch the ball a bit and not much else but I'm still excited about see Sippio play. Chalk it up to a case of having a boring offense this year and not having a lot to get excited about.

COL - As a Bears fan, I obviously don't want Larry Johnson to run rampant this week, but please tell me why I was right to draft him in my fantasy league for this season. Was last week's slow start due to his extended hold out, the load he had to carry last year, the fact that he doesn't want me to repeat as league champion? Is there concern in the Chiefs fan base since he is obviously a huge part of your offense?

AP - Last week's performance was based entirely on Herm Edwards only giving the ball to Larry Johnson 17 times. Only ten of those were rushes, down from his 26 carry a game average. Edwards was admittedly trying to ease LJ back into gameshape since he missed nearly all of the preseason. Over the next two games, Larry Johnson will be back on track and carrying the ball around 25 times a game. Herm knows he can't go very long without maxing out LJ so it will happen. Don't worry. Beyond the hard core believers in the "Curse of 370 Carries", most fans are expecting LJ to have another monster season. Maybe not as huge as his last two seasons, but he'll rush for somewhere around 1500 yards.

COL - The Chiefs made it to the play-offs last season, losing in the first round to the eventual Super Bowl champion Indianapolis Colts. As competitive as the AFC is this year, how do you think the Chiefs will fare this season in the AFC West and in the conference overall?

AP - I think the Chiefs will hover around the 6 win area and probably end up behind San Diego and Denver in the AFC West. It will be a cold day in hell before we place lower than the Raiders. We just don't have enough firepower on the offensive side of the ball to do much better than that. Our defense will win us some games though, mark my words. The legendary Chiefs' defense of the 1990s is on its way back.

COL - I thought Priest Holmes was dead. What's he thinking trying to make a comeback at his age, after all this time away from the game?

AP - Priest can talk about dreams and desire all he wants. Most fans know that he came back for the $$$. If what I've heard is true, Priest will receive a lot of money if he is cut. He seems to be forcing Carl Peterson's hand in that direction. He's on the PUP list until Week 7. He has that long to prove us wrong and get back in gameshape. I doubt we ever see him on a football field again. But I hope he proves me wrong.

COL - I don't have HBO so I don't really have an opinion about the latest Hard Knocks installment. What's yours?

AP - I absolutely loved it. I felt fortunate to have such an interesting perspective on my favorite team. I thought the show was filled with genuinely funny moments and very attactive player's wives. I enjoyed the unfettered access and felt that I actually gained some football insight into the team from watching it. It was very nice of NFL Films to tape the Chiefs, as a thank you to Lamar Hunt and all that he's done for football.

COL - If you could change one thing about the Chiefs this year (player, coach, scheme, etc.), what would it be?

AP - The Chiefs have a lot of needs so picking just one is difficult. Here's one a lot of people may not say- an explosive kick returner. We lost Dante Hall this year (and it didn't bother Chiefs fans) but he was a shell of his former self. I remember back to his heyday in the 2003 season when he was a threat to return a kick on every, single return. With the Chiefs offense playing as poorly as it has this year, better field position on punts and kickoffs would go a long way. Current kick returner Eddie Drummond, who was claimed off of waivers from Detroit, already fumbled in Week 1 and isn't anything special. After that, I would say throw Brodie Croyle in at QB.

COL - Final question, what's your prediction for this week's game against the Bears?

AP - Most people are saying its going to be a low scoring, grind it out game. And it more than likely will be that. But in the interest of keeping this interview fresh, I'll say that there will be more offense than anyone expects- 30 to 27, Chiefs. Crazy, I know.

Thanks again to Chris from Arrowheadpride.com for the interview.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Scouting Report: San Diego Part 2

Welcome to the first installment of the COL Scouting Report. Each week this season, we're going to take the opportunity to interview an opposing team's blogger/podcaster/insider to gain insight into the team we're facing. To kick things off Rob from Bolthype.com, a San Diego Chargers blog, joins us as we look at our season opener.

Bolthype.com (BH) - At this point, it's clear that Rex Grossman has the physical tools to play the game; but he has been prone to making costly mistakes. Is this a do-or-die year for Rex Grossman? Has the team's success been in spite of Rex?

Chicago's Offensive Line (COL) - When you’re a Bears quarterback it seems like every year is a do-or-die season. For Rex in particular, the organization is putting a lot of faith in him and he needs to show that it’s not misplaced. He’s entering the final year of his contract, so his future as a Bear, even as a NFL quarterback, is riding on his performance this year.

That being said, with the experience that a full year as a starting quarterback brings and the weapons that the Bears have assembled around him this season I predict good things for Rex this year.

BH - The Bears are looking for more production on offense. Can Devin Hester at Wide Receiver and Greg Olsen at Tight End pay immediate dividends for the team, or are they going to be brought along more slowly?

COL - It’s going to be interesting to see how both these players develop through the season. With his speed and instincts Hester could be a great wide receiver, but he’s already an all-universe returner. With special teams contributing to so many of our victories last year, losing that edge is always a constant worry. I would look for the team to slowly work a few packages for Hester into each game, with that increasing through the season.

Olsen on the other hand is a different story. His size, speed, and ball-catching ability makes him an attractive target along the seam route that Rex favors so much. Stretching the field, whether in two tight end sets or Olsen in the slot, will open up downfield plays or clear things out for the running game. We’ll see what happens with his knee injury, but thankfully it wasn’t too severe.

BH -You guys signed Adam Archuleta in the offseason. Why?!

COL - The short answer, we ran out of players that date Playboy Playmates. Seriously though, Adam is a great fit for our defense. He’s a physical player that plays the run well and has good football instincts. He took a lot of crap during his time in Washington, but people forgot how good he actually was in a system that fit him – namely the Lovie Smith brand of Cover 2 that he played in St. Louis. Add to that the question marks that tend to follow Mike Brown after the injuries he’s had, and it just made sense.

BH - Some Bears players are feeling a little butt-hurt about the new Nike Zoom commercial featuring LT (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xa1TM4PbEgI). Are Bears fans as heated about the portrayal of their team's defense? All Tomlinson was doing was the same thing he does to everybody!

COL - I don’t know about everybody else, but I know that got me going. When it comes down to it, we all see it for what it is - LaDanian visualizing what he wants to do before the ball is snapped. After the initial shock of seeing your team get embarrassed like that, most of the fans I know started to laugh at the names and numbers of the players in the commercial. “Wait, was that David Terrell out there?” Stuff like that. I will say this though, Philip Rivers may want to watch his back.

BH - When you think about the Chicago Bears defense, you think about a fast group of guys who fly to the ball and tackle. We all know about Brian Urlacher and what he brings to the field. Who is the most underrated guy on that defense?

COL - Honestly? I would have to say Hunter Hillenmeyer, at least from the point that he is the defensive player most under the radar. In our particular brand of defense, the Sam LB is the least glamorous position on the field. They’re supposed to close off that side and force everything towards the Will LB or downfield to the other areas of responsibility. Without him though, I don’t think the other players would get to shine.

BH - How is the NFC North going to shake out? Will the Detroit Lions make some noise in the division? Is Tarvaris Jackson and the Vikings a team to be feared? Will Green Bay push the Bears for the NFC North title?

COL - I think the North will be more competitive this year with the distance between the Bears and the other teams in the division shrinking.

Detroit has always been long on talent and short on production, and I don’t see them making any significant strides till next year.

With essentially a first year starting quarterback in Tarvaris Jackson, Minnesota’s offensive production is going to be put on Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor’s shoulders…and one dimensional team don’t usually fare very well in the league.

Green Bay is the most well rounded team of the bunch, and they’ll give us problems. They have a top notch LB corps, their secondary is improved with Al Harris and Charles Woodson and their line isn’t too bad either. I think Brett Favre is still dangerous, but much less so because he has no running game to back him up and his best receiver is Donald Driver.

That being said, the Bears will take the division handily again, followed by Green Bay, Minnesota and then Detroit.

BH - Gameday is coming up fast; Who on the offense should be keep an eye out for and what is your final score prediction?

COL - Keep an eye on the offensive line. They’re one of the best and oldest in the business. They didn’t do a very good job of opening up running lanes for Cedric during the preseason though, so that’s definitely going to be a concern. I would also keep an eye on our No. 2 receiver, Bernard Berrian. The Bears will look to test the Chargers secondary with Berrian’s speed in catching the deep pass.

In the end I think this game will be closer than people realize. I think the defense will play with an extra chip on their shoulder, the running game will wake up and the deep pass will be there for the taking. That said, it’s still a road game, but I’ll take the Bears 20 to 17.

Thanks to Rob and BoltHype for the interview. See the first half of the interview, when we asked the questions, earlier this week.