-- Peter, Chicago
I think Carimi could be the
of 2013 in terms of being a greatly improved player. He is talented enough to make major improvements in his game. In the early part of the 2012 season, Carimi was not healthy. He was favoring his right knee, which had been partially dislocated and surgically repaired. In the latter part of the 2012 season, Carimi had issues with a lack of lower body strength, and a lack of confidence. All of it, I believe, was related to the knee. He needs a full offseason of strength training to build power and bulk, and he needs to remember how good he can be. If Carimi does not come back strong next season, he probably never will.
Dan, I read all of the Senior Bowl prep about the players and was interested in watching Lane Johnson from Oklahoma. I watched every snap he played and all I can say is WOW. I loved the way he moved his feet and used his hands to keep the DE away from him. Is it a pipedream to think an ex-tight end will be a good LT in the NFL? Also do you think he will last to 20 if he backs it up with a great combine?
-- Brian Guffey, Scottsdale, Ariz.
Johnson will not be the first NFL offensive lineman who has converted from tight end. There have been a number of them, including
, Adrian Jones and
. When you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Offensive tackles need more athleticism than ever. A tight end who outgrows his position makes a natural offensive tackle. As of now, I think Johnson will be on the board at 20. That could change with a phenomenal combine. Some front office men are concerned about Johnson's ability to anchor and move defenders in the run game. They would like to see him put on more weight. But generally speaking, tackles are drafted because of their ability to pass protect. Johnson looks like he can do that pretty well.
-- Arnold Amador, Edinburg, Texas
I disagree with your premise that the Bears defense does not need a youth injection. I think they need multiple young players on defense. They may or may not need multiple young players to make big contributions in 2013, but they definitely need to get them in the pipeline so they start to develop and are ready when the team does need them. You can't look at a draft as a way to solve all of your immediate problems. You have to look at a draft as a long-term method of replenishing resources. The thing about older players is you never know when they will fall off. They are more susceptible to injury than younger players. And their skills can diminish at different, sometimes unpredictable rates. I don't believe the Bears are in any position to make a big move up in the first round.
Doesn't it make sense to focus hard on drafting young offensive players this year?
-- @FacingRyan, from
Not from where I'm sitting. I think it always makes sense to do two things in the draft. No. 1, don't pass up players who stand out on your board. No. 2, try to spray to all fields in terms of positions. If you concentrate too much in one area, eventually you will pay the price.
Will the Bears get any extra draft picks this year for losing players or for a new coach?
-- @cutler53235, from Twitter
I would not count on it. Compensatory picks are rewarded based on a complicated formula based on free agents lost and free agents signed the previous year. In 2012, the Bears really didn't have any significant free agent losses. The biggest losses were
. None of the players who left the Bears signed for big money. Given the free agents the Bears signed, I would not expect for them to be in line for any compensatory picks. Teams that sign new coaches are not given extra draft picks.
-- Richard Currier, Des Plaines
The Bears have a lot of money tied up in Forte and Bush. And the running game is not a problem. It wasn't as strong as it should have been in 2012, but I think it should improve with better blocking. I would not anticipate the Bears making a big move for a running back, though a late round pickup might be possible.
-- Sam Partipilo, Chicago
Bowe is an interesting name because Bears general manager
was with him in Kansas City and knows him well. But I don't believe the Bears will be looking to acquire a high priced wide receiver. They already have one in
, and there probably are not enough
passes or McCaskey dollars to satisfy both Marshall and Bowe. If the Bears go after a higher priced free agent, it probably will be an offensive lineman, tight end or middle linebacker if Brian Urlacher leaves. They likely will pick up a wide receiver in the bargain basement area of free agency, or in the second half of the draft.
-- Carl Bogenholm, Santa Fe, N.M.
It's a great idea in theory. And it would have worked wonderfully if Smith were a robot. But he's a human being. And I don't think a human being you hired as a head coach would make a very good special assistant to the GM after he was fired as a head coach. It would kind of be like divorcing your spouse but then employing said spouse to cook your meals and clean your house. There might be a tad bit of resentment and prejudice there, don't you think?
-- Bob, Bristol, Conn.
After having played 31 NFL games, Russell no longer is practice squad eligible. A team that signs him will have to keep him on the active roster. No one ever doubted Russell's physical talent. It was his desire, focus and commitment that prevented him from succeeding with the
. It is possible, but not likely, that Russell has learned from his mistakes and changed his ways. Given the potential reward, it certainly could be worth investigating where he is physically and mentally at the age of 27 and after three years away from the game.
Do you feel with the hiring of Marc Trestman, the Bears will take a close look at CFL players who could help out as free agents to supplement their lack of draft picks for 2013? Shouldn't this be a huge advantage for the Bears?
-- Kelly Bickler, Minot, N.D.
It is a potential advantage because Trestman might have some inside knowledge on some of these players. But it's not like the CFL is brimming with potential NFL starters. There often are one or two CFL players who make it in the NFL each year. The best CFL prospect, defensive end Armond Armstead, already signed with the
. It's possible the Bears could sign a player or two, but don't expect Canadian players to make a big impact on the Bears next year.
-- Bill, Maquoketa, Iowa
It seems like a lot of people have very high opinions of Flynn. But it's all based on one regular season game and some preseason looks. We've never really had a chance to see what he can't do. It says something that he may be available for the second time in as many offseasons, and that he could not beat out a third round rookie in Seattle. Look, Flynn might become a fine NFL starter. But he is an unknown at this point. The Bears can't be messing with unknowns. They need to go all in with Marc Trestman coaching Cutler and see if they can make it work with him. And don't forget, Flynn still is under contract with the
. It might take a draft pick to get him. And if he is cut, Flynn will have his choice of teams. He likely will be offered a starting spot by one or more teams. Why would he want to come to Chicago where he would have Cutler in front of him?