- The Chicago Tribune writers make their season predictions. The majority of the Super Bowl predictions makes this list darned depressing but you can always count on Steve Rosenbloom to liven things up.
- Apparently the Bears think the home crowd is going to be pretty noisy today. Apparently they also think the fans won’t have the common sense to pipe down when their own offense is on the field. Via Brag Biggs at the Chicago Tribune:
“The Bears piped in crowd noise at practice this week, something they have done in the past. Typically, teams only prepare for loud environments when they go on the road. But obviously the Bears feel the Soldier Field crowd doesn’t create ideal offensive working conditions.”
- Dan McNeil at the Chicago Tribune thinks Brian Urlacher might be within sight of the end. It’s way past time time to start taking a serious look at improving the depth at linebacker. He also thinks the Bears will go 9-7 and miss the playoffs. I generally agree primarily because of this point:
“Julius Peppers had an uneventful summer, save the plantar fasciitis from which he has been hobbled. Peppers had 101/2 sacks last year and it wasn’t enough because the Bears weren’t steeped in pass rush threats.
“They still aren’t. Israel Idonije is back. So are Corey Wootton, Henry Melton, Stephen Paea, Matt Toeaina and Amobi Okoye, who was re-signed as the Bears cut Bucs castoff Brian Price, the early-in-camp media darling. First-rounder Shea McClellin is what most of us thought he would be on draft night — a project.”
Skill position players are great. You need them and the Bears are definitely improved on offense with the addition of Brandon Marshall. But football is still played at the line of scrimmage.
- On a related note, Biggs takes a shot at people like me who think the Bears should have built the offensive line in the offseason:
Those who protested that the Bears needed to add playmakers for [quarterback Jay] Cutler cannot call into question the team’s inability to upgrade the offensive line simultaneously. It was one or the other, and the front office finally answered pleas Cutler had been making since shortly after he arrived.
That’s fair enough though I still maintain that the real problem was that there really wasn’t anyone to add that would have helped. They need a left tackle. Those don’t grow on trees and there was reasonable doubt about whether drafting Riley Reiff would have given you one.
- Mark Potash at the Chicago Sun-Times doesn’t think the bears handle injuries well. He’s right. They haven’t had any depth in years and one offseason didn’t change that situation as much as people think.
- Dan Pompei at the Chicago Tribune answers your questions:
“Since leaving the Bears a cone of silence has descended around former GM Jerry Angelo. As far as I know, Angelo hasn’t uttered a word about his dismissal and he’s given no interviews. Have I missed anything? Does anyone know what Angelo’s thoughts were? Or has he totally fallen off the radar? Bob J., Camarillo, Calif.
“I think it would be safe to assume Angelo has chosen to take the high road. What was it your mother told you to say if you had nothing good to say? You haven’t missed anything, Bob. By the way, with all due respect to Phil Emery, who I think has done an outstanding job, it’s interesting that either 20 or 21 of the 22 Bears starters on opening day will be Angelo acquisitions. That is a credit both to Angelo and Emery, who has been wise enough and secure enough to acknowledge the existing talent on the team. Not all new GMs are so open-minded. The only certain Emery acquisition to start will be Brandon Marshall. Evan Rodriguez also is a possibility.”
Its also worth noting that the one way to ensure that you never get a job as a GM again is to trash your former team. One one is going to hire you only to wait until its their turn when they have to let you go, too.
- Vaughn McClure at the Chicago Tribune says that Devin Hester will be returning kicks today. It looks like Dave Toub is trying to throw opponents off balance by giving them a look at two different running styles, similar to what a team might do with to different running backs:
“Toub previously explained how Weems’ straightforward style can be more beneficial, but it’s hard to argue
with Hester’s elusiveness.”
- I thought at the time it was kind of odd that the Bears released Matt Blanchard before the last preseason game rather than afterwards. But it makes sense in light of this comment from Potash
Blanchard, the rookie quarterback from Lake Zurich High School and Division II Wisconsin-Whitewater, was cut before last week’s final preseason game. The Bears knew they wanted him on their practice squad but apparently didn’t want him to put anything on tape that might interest another team.
Potash goes on to say that the Bears almost lost him to the Dolphins as it was.
- Former Bear Tyler Clutts compares and contrasts Matt Forte and Texan’s running back Arian Foster. From the Tribune:
“Asked to compare Foster to Forte, Clutts told Houston reporters, “Just seeing Arian Foster on film and being around him these last couple of days, they are very similar because they can both do a lot, they both run hard.
“‘Matt Forte is a little more shifty, he’s not really going to put his head down as much as Foster is, which is something you really like to see. You like to see your running back really kind of put his head down and fight for those yards.’”
- Hey, who said new offensive coordinator Mike Tice won’t be creative? From The Onion
- If you want to know why head coach Lovie Smith is so close mouthed about injuries, comments from Amobe Okoye about rookie Tampa Bay head coach Greg Schiano demonstrate one good reason why talking about them can only get a coach in trouble. Okoye was released by the Bucs before signing with the Bears in part because he missed much of camp recovering from knee surgery. From McClure:
“‘It didn’t reflect his statement about T.B.A., and it shocked me when I heard that,’ Okoye said. ‘He said the same thing to me during the exit meeting. I reminded him about how I never missed a practice due to my right knee since I’ve been in the NFL. So how is that a history?
“‘I feel like, don’t try to put stuff out there that can mess up my livelihood. I thank him for the opportunity to be a Buc. I just wish the things he said could have been rephrased.’”
- Former Bear defensive tackle Anthony Adams continues to explain why not having a job in the NFL isn’t that big of a deal:
- The Sports Pickle asks “How the Rest of the Nation Perceives Your Favorite NFL Team’s Fans”:
“Chicago Bears: Exactly like everyone on the Da Bears sketch, but dumber and fatter.”
- Hey, Maurice. It was wrong. From the Associated Press:
“‘I’m in a good place,’ [Maurice Jone-Drew] said. ‘I did something I felt was right, and I’m always going to feel right. I’m not going to feel wrong for what I did it at all. And that’s why I can come back and not have a negative attitude. I think if you regret things, you’re going to come back salty, be a distraction, things like that.
“‘I don’t feel that way ’cause what I did was right. No one can tell me it was wrong. Not one person here can tell me what I did was wrong.’”
Jones-Drew went back on his word and let his teammates down by holding out of training camp. Thank heavens he’s not a Bear.
- The Sports Pickle asks, “Which of last year’s non-playoff teams has the best chance to win the Super Bowl?” Here’s my choice:
“Jets – teams with a bad quarterback rarely win a Super Bowl. But TWO bad quarterbacks? No one has tried that before.”
- Good question:
- And here are some helpful flash cards for those replacement referees today:
One Final Thought
Joe Cowley at the Chicago Sun-Times quotes defensive back D.J. Moore:
“’I didn’t go to school to learn too much, to be honest with you,’ Moore replied when asked which school was better for an education. ‘Once I got to school and got good, I was like, ‘Man, this is for the birds. It’s time to leave.””
“Asked if he was being overly honest about college athletics, Moore then said, ‘Well, I mean, I’m smarter than some of the kids that went to Florida State or those types of schools, now. Some kids get in school with a point-nothing (GPA). They didn’t even go to high school.’”