When choosing which member of the Chicago Bears I would want to interview, I had three criteria:
First, I wanted it to be a member of the defense. Defense has been the cornerstone of Bears football for decades, but it has struggled the last few seasons, and I am looking for some insight behind that.
Second, it needed to be a veteran player. I wanted to be able to ask about his career through the years, as well as get an experienced view on this year's roster.
Finally, I was looking for an unsung hero. Players like Brian Urlacher, Charles Tillman and Lance Briggs have already been asked nearly every question imaginable, so I was looking for a veteran with new information to share.
That brought me to defensive end Alex Brown. Below are the 30 questions I would ask if I was given the opportunity to interview him.
About the Defense
What do you think are some of the main reasons for the decline in the performance of the defense since the Super Bowl run in 2006? Is part of it attributable to the change in the defensive coordinator?
Last season, the Bears' pass rush was noticeably absent. As a result, do you think the Cover Two scheme is still effective? If not, what scheme do you think you and the team are best suited to run?
There has been a great deal of turnover at the defensive tackle position recently, both as a result of free agency and injury. Do the Bears have enough depth at the position this season? Assuming everyone is healthy, who should start alongside Tommie Harris on the line?
You've played opposite Adewale Ogunleye for the majority of the last five seasons. Does it make a difference having the same partner on the line for that period of time? If so, what are some of the specific advantages?
With the plethora of players aside from yourself available to play defensive end (i.e., Ogunleye, Mark Anderson, Henry Melton, and Jarron Gilbert,) how do you see the rotation shaping up at the position for 2009?
How has the experience been working with new defensive line coach Rod Marinelli? What are some of the most important things you have learned from him so far?
About Veteran Experience and Leadership
As the second-longest tenured player on the defense, do you take it upon yourself to be in a leadership position? If so, what are some of the responsibilities that come along with that?
Along the same lines, what advice do you give to the incoming rookies, especially those on the defensive line?
Do you think you deserve to be one of the defensive captains for the 2009 season? Aside from yourself, who would your choices be?
About Chicago and the Bears Organization
What was your initial reaction to the team's decision to not offer a contract to veteran safety Mike Brown? Has your opinion changed at all over the last few months?
What is your honest opinion of the fans in Chicago? Are they too quick to turn on players and start booing?
Why do many of the players including you wear short sleeves when it is freezing outside? Do the sleeves hinder certain types of movement or is it strictly for intimidation purposes?
Who has been the biggest influence in your football career? What is the best piece of advice that person has given you?
How do you measure a successful season for yourselfindividual stats, team performance, or a combination of the two? Which individual stat, if any, is the most important?
After a big play, I've noticed you do the Gator Chomp as a tribute to the University of Florida. Is there a certain type of play that warrants this celebration or does the motion happen purely out of instinct?
Where does the blocked field goal against Green Bay in Week 16 last season rank among your all-time favorite moments?
Finally, when going into a new season, do you consider anything less than a Super Bowl title a disappointment? What are your expectations for the Bears in 2009?