Tuesday, December 19, 2006

No, Tank Johnson isn't getting cut

And he shouldn't be.

First of all, let's review.

Player A: smashed his teammate in the skull with a blunt object that left a visible scar. Missed one game due to injury, was fined.

Player B: Punched player A in the face, breaking his jaw and knocking him out for a game. Was fined, not suspended.

Player C: Assaulted a man at a 24-hour dining establishment while still on probation for a previous assault. Suspended by the league for one game.

Player D: Has been arrested twice and been charged with misdemeanors for not having filed the proper state paperwork on his legally owned personal property. Was present when his friend was shot and killed by unknown assailants.

You will not convince me that player D has committed a serious enough transgression to be fired, but the other three haven't. Sorry.

Do I think he should sit on his ass? Yes. But can you win the Super Bowl without this guy? No.

No? But aren't you just replacing him with Ian Scott?


Lovie Smith's system is based on 1) smaller players able to get up the field and pressure the QB. 2) a deep rotation to keep those smaller players fresh against much bigger offensive linemen.

The rotation a month ago was Tommie Harris, Tank Johnson, Alfonso Boone and Ian Scott, with spot appearances by Israel Idonije.

Now your rotation is Tank Johnson, Alfonso Boone, Ian Scott, and Idonije. If you take Tank Johnson off the front of that rotation, the 4th spot is taken by Antonio Garay. Now you have two run-first guys (who are, in fairness, better against the run than Tank is. Ian Scott started last season and the first 5 games this year and their run defense has suffered since he was bumped back in the rotation) and two replacement level players. Is there a dropoff from Tank to Antonio Garay? Yes. Can you win a super bowl with Mr. Garay as a key component of your line? Hell no.

You need that pass rush to keep the pressure of Danieal "Chumped by Tim Rattay" Manning and Devin "You Are Rediculous" Hester. Granted, Vasher will be back in the starting lineup come playoff time unless someone's fibbing about his hammy, but you still need that pass rush. Your #1 middle pass rusher is Tank Johnson.

For everybody clamoring for his ass -- Mr. Terry Boers, to the white courtesy phone -- ask yourself this. Do you want to see the Bears win a super bowl this year? Do you think they're going to be able to next year? Scott and Boone are both free agents, who knows when Tommie is going to be healthy again, and the entire defense is going to be a year older.

Are you going to root for the Bears to fail if they play him this postseason? Do you root against the Bears because Ricky "Nice Laptop" Manning Jr. plays for them? Do you root against Olin Kreutz and Fred Miller?

I didn't think so.


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