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Blog Entry

Meriweather, Harris headed to bench for Bears

Posted on: October 13, 2011 5:42 pm
Edited on: October 13, 2011 5:57 pm
After four starts, Meriweather could be back on the bench. (US PRESSWIRE)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Maybe Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was onto something when he released safety Brandon Meriweather a week before the start of the regular season. Meriweather, New England's 2007 first-round pick and a Pro Bowler in 2009 and 2010, was cut loose because, as Belichick explained at the time, "I just don't think you can pick teams, or pick your players based on what's happened in the past. You have to pick them based on what you think is going to happen this year, and that's relative to the competition, to the make of your team, and player's performance."

Translation: the Pats grew tired of watching Meriweather take bad angles and miss tackles, Pro Bowl accolades aside. He wasn't out of work long; the Bears signed him three days later. It was a one-year contract, which suggested to us at the time that the Bears weren't completely convinced Meriweather was a long-term answer in the secondary. If anything, he adds depth and experience, something Chicago lost in its preseason finale when backups Craig Steltz and Chris Conte suffered a hip injury and a concussion, respectively.

Well, five weeks later and Meriweather, a starter in the Bears' last four games, is again headed to the bench.

Details via the Chicago Tribune's Vaughn McClure:
Veterans Chris Harris and Brandon Meriweather are expected to be benched in favor of Major Wright and rookie Chris Conte for Sunday’s game against the Vikings, according to multiple team sources. Wright and Conte are expected to get the first-team reps at strong and free safety, respectively, during Thursday’s practice. …

Meriweather played a bit reckless throughout the game, opting for big hits rather than wrapping up for the tackle. The former New England Patriot seems to be having a tough time adjusting to a new defensive system.
Sounds familiar.

Cornerback Charles Tillman was asked how the Bears could find more consistency at safety.

"Play harder, fix the mistakes, go back to fundamentals," he said. "And the most important part is to have fun."

In other Bears-related news, if the most important ingredient to NFL success is having fun, Jay Cutler would've been out of the league a long time ago. He's perpetually dour, which undoubtedly has to do with offensive coordinator Mike Martz, whose pass-blocking-optional offensive philosophy has a way of taking the joy out of the game.

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Since: Feb 11, 2009
Posted on: October 14, 2011 8:26 pm

Meriweather, Harris headed to bench for Bears

The pro bowl is voted on by the players. They vote for themselves and other players who attended their alma mater. Merriweather went to Miami, which has more players in the NFl than any other school. They all vote for each other. That is why Merriweather made the pro bowl. Reason number 116 why the pro bowl sucks...

Since: Dec 22, 2010
Posted on: October 14, 2011 12:19 pm

Meriweather, Harris headed to bench for Bears

What will the benching of Meriweather and Harris do to improve the offensive line ?
Nothing, but it's defensive breakdowns that have caused two of their three losses. These two guys helped the Lions to 14 points last week. 

Since: Jul 27, 2010
Posted on: October 14, 2011 10:31 am

Meriweather, Harris headed to bench for Bears

Why are the Bears so willing to make changes to their defense when players aren't performing and yet continue to refuse to address both the play-calling on offense and the play of the O-line? Defense, while it hasn't been great this year, is a far second to the problems on the offense I think...Does Martz really hold that much water that the Bears won't even attempt to reign him in? 

Since: May 20, 2008
Posted on: October 14, 2011 10:17 am

Meriweather, Harris headed to bench for Bears

I'm suprised it took the Bears this long to bench these guys!  If it wasn't for the play of their terrible o-line, I would say these guys are costing the Bears the season.  Meriweather made the pro bowl??? REALLY??? All he does is drop his head and spear. Harris has not been the same since we got him back.  Major Wright is a joke. But on the plus side I'm excited to see Conte play.

Since: Nov 7, 2008
Posted on: October 14, 2011 10:14 am

Meriweather, Harris headed to bench for Bears

What will the benching of Meriweather and Harris do to improve the offensive line ?

Excellent point. The D seems very willing to try and fix it's deficincies while Martz and the offense keep trying to fit a square peg into a triangle hole.  

I just read some depressing stats.  Greg Olsen, the TE we didnt need any more has more catches than Hester, Williams, and Bennett combined.  And more Td's.  And, our "blocking" TE's have more false starts and have given up more sacks.  And, oddly enough, have caught as many TD's from Cutler as the WR's have.  That's the brilliance of the Bears.  We finally draft an offensive weapon and we trade him for pennies on the dollar and far lesser versions.  


Since: Nov 19, 2008
Posted on: October 14, 2011 12:25 am

Meriweather, Harris headed to bench for Bears

Meriweather is a dirty player that always leads with his head. The bench is a good place for him.

Since: Apr 5, 2007
Posted on: October 13, 2011 11:19 pm

Meriweather, Harris headed to bench for Bears

June6, I agree 100%. I live in Bears country so I do have a place in my heart for the Bears when they don't play my Falcons. Matt Ryan and Jay Cutler are two QBs that this year are just getting demolished (though Ryan's protection is improving). When your o-line stinks, you can't pass. So the other team goes up by a touchdown or two, Jay Cutler is forced to throw and play catch and gets demolished. I think it all starts with the release of Olin... I didn't think he was a good center but maybe I was wrong. He was a smart guy who knew what calls to make and at what time.

Since: Sep 24, 2006
Posted on: October 13, 2011 9:22 pm

Meriweather, Harris headed to bench for Bears

What will the benching of Meriweather and Harris do to improve the offensive line ?
I realize that the defense has not been doing it's job this year either but this move will only help on one side of the ball. It seems like making it to the NFC Championship game last year was just a mirage. The Bears this year have come back to playing bad football. It looks like the Bears will be in the Michael Floyd sweepstakes. It would be wonderful to have a Great wide reciever in the windy city.

Since: May 31, 2007
Posted on: October 13, 2011 8:31 pm

Meriweather, Harris headed to bench for Bears

Harris is a good safety in the right system... I just don't think he's a good fit for the scheme the Bears play.  As for Meriweather, he's always been overrated.  He's basically just a younger version of Roy Williams... too concerned about making the highlight reel, so he misses tackles or gets burned in coverage.  The Patriots saw it and moved on.  The Bears saw it, took a low-risk gamble to try and change it, it didn't work, and now they're moving on too.

I think under the circumstances, Major Wright will actually be an improvement.  He's not bad, just rough around the edges still.  I don't know anything about Conte really though.

Since: Nov 26, 2006
Posted on: October 13, 2011 8:00 pm

Meriweather, Harris headed to bench for Bears

proof that pro-bowls are a joke. Guys make pro-bowls every year because players choose not to go. Obviously the pats saw how bad Merriweather is and now the Bears see it as well.

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