- I laughed out loud when I read Sean Jensen ‘s interpretation of this comment from Brian Urlacher for the Chicago Sun-Times:
“It’s getting cold outside and it’s been a long time since the Bears played a game, but the most discussed knee in Halas Hall should be just fine come Monday night against the Detroit Lions.
“‘It’s the same either way,’ said linebacker Brian Urlacher, who continues to work his way back after spraining the medial collateral and posterior cruciate ligaments in his left knee in the regular-season finale last year.”
- Mark Potash at the Chicago Sun-Times quotes Rod Marinelli on safeties Chris Conte and Major Wright:
“The biggest thing is that they tackle. And they tackle in space. Not tackle in a box. You have to tackle in space. And that takes great athleticism. You eliminate a lot of big plays by tackling in space. We’re very, very fortunate to have players of that caliber.”
- Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune writes about J’Marcus Webb‘s footwork problems.
“A primary focus for Webb this season has been improving his footwork, specifically his second step with his outside left foot. He had a tendency a year ago to step in the bucket and that created a more direct path to quarterback Jay Cutler. That led to hits, hurries, sacks and times when Webb simply had to lunge and grab. It’s something offensive line coach Tim Holt consistently is drilling into Webb.
“‘You get yourself in trouble when you turn at the line of scrimmage and give that defensive end a short corner to get to your guy,’ Webb said. ‘It’s a conscious effort when you’re tired, a conscious effort all the time.’”
- Dan Pompei at the Chicago Tribune answers your questions:
“With all the talk about Henry Melton getting a contract extension, why is there no talk about one for the best player on the other side of the line, Lance Louis? Louis has been the most dependable, consistent offensive lineman this season by far and should be a cornerstone for the future. Agree? — Danny Jones, Iowa City, Iowa
“Good point Danny. Just because we have not heard any talk about extending Louis’ contract does not mean there hasn’t been any talk behind closed doors. And even if the Bears have not spoken with Louis’ agents about an extension, that does not mean they won’t prioritize re-signing him before he hits the open market. The thing about Louis is he is a developing, emerging player. So it might make sense for all parties to wait until after the season to best gauge his value to the team. But he clearly is not a player the Bears should allow to leave. They can’t afford to let a good offensive lineman walk after spending four years developing him.”
- Bears running back Matt Forte makes a good point via Jensen:
“‘As you see in the last game when they played the Eagles, [the Lions] got constant penetration, and that kills the run game,’ Forte said. ‘So up front, we’re going to have to try to stop that. They do a lot of different run blitzes, so we’re going to have to do play-actions to try to calm that down.
“‘But it really just starts up front with not allowing penetration.’”
- Another good question for Pompei:
“Is there any chance the Bears will look at Minnesota to find ways to utilize Devin Hester the way the Vikings are using Percy Harvin or take some plays from Green Bay and their utilization of Randall Cobb? They all seem to have the same skill set but the Vikings and Green Bay seemed to have figured out how to use their dynamic players, and if they haven’t considered it can you please suggest they do so. Devin Hester taking direct snaps out of the backfield would be awesome. — Isaac Sykes, Woodbridge, Va.
“I’m sure the Bears have studied how the Vikings use Harvin and how the Packers use Cobb. These are three different players though. Harvin is much stronger and more difficult to tackle than Hester. Cobb has a better feel for the game than Hester. And Hester may be the fastest of the group. So you really can’t use Hester quite the way the Vikings use Harvin or the way the Packers use Cobb.”
- The San Francisco 49ers miss current Bears special teams standout Blake Costanzo. From the Chicago Tribune.
- I’m not entirely where this comment from Benjamin Hoffman‘s preview of the Bears-Lions matchup for The New York Times comes from but I thought it was worth noting.
“Chemistry is supposed to be vitally important in football. The Bears seem to prove that false each week. The team’s offense and defense appear to hate each other and yet the Bears keep winning.”
- Bears cornerback Kelvin Hayden on Lions star wide receiver Calvin Johnson. Via Biggs.
“… If he is going up in the air and leaving the ground to make a catch, he’s going to have to pay for it. Guys have to rally to the ball and it’s not just one guy hitting him. … Put something on his mind that can distract him from catching the ball. Anything.”
- Matt Bowen at the Chicago Tribune talks about how the Bears might go about trying to stop the Lions offense:
“The splits of the wide receivers are a top priority when you break the huddle as a defensive back. Here, both Johnson (Z) and Nate Burleson (X) are aligning inside of the numbers with the ball at (or near) midfield. Studying the Lions offense, this should be an automatic alert to play for a vertical shot down the field.”
- Vaughn McClure at the Chicago Tribune quotes Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford during his pre-game session with the media.
“‘Once the ball’s put down and it’s whistled ready for play, man, it’s another game, it’s a different game,’ Stafford said, downplaying any hatred between the teams. ‘The beauty of the NFL is every week is different, and you have to approach it that way.’”
Fortunately for the Bears the Lions never have. With a head coach like Jim Schwartz fueling the flames with fist pumps and emotional sideline demonstrations after wins like the one last week, the likelihood of a let down becomes considerably higher.
- An already miserable Lions defensive backfield promises to be worse than usual as the Lions are down to three healthy corners for Monday Night’s matchup. Via Darin Gantt at profootballtalk.com.
- An interesting point to look for today as the Jets play the Patriots. The Jets are concerned that officials are allowing the Patriots to substitute in their no huddle offense without allowing the defense time to do the same. By rule this is illegal. Via Mike Florio at profootballtalk.com
- We have a good Audible from Pro Football Weekly:
“Mike Nolan was known for running the 3-4 defense in Baltimore and before he was in Baltimore, he ran the over/under 4-3. He didn’t have that stout nose or the personnel to make it work in Atlanta so he switched to the wide “40” and lined (DEs Kroy) Biermann and (John) Abraham (and Ray Edwards) outside in a wide-seven (technique). If you look at their (defensive) tackles — (Jonathan) Babineaux, (Peria) Jerry and (Vance) Walker — none of them can play the nose. That is great coaching.”
- I really don’t give a hoot about the Saints bounty scandal. But some people still do so… from Pompei, this time writing for the National Football Post:
“Everybody wins with the appointment of Paul Tagliabue to hear the appeals of the four players in the Saints’ bounty scandal. The Saints win because Tagliabue is not just an extension of Roger Goodell. And Goodell wins because he washes his hands of the mess while providing a credible arbiter.”
- Bowen, als writing for The National Football Post does this pretty interesting breakdown of the Patriots offense.
- Miami Dolphins defensive end Jared Odrik reveals how easily entertained he is on Twitter. Via The Sports Pickle:
“There’s 4 total passengers on my flight n I just farted. That’s a quick game of ‘Who-Dunnit’, lets see if they catch me
“— Jared Odrick (@JaredOdrick98) October 19, 2012″
One Final Thought
And finally, we have one more revealing quote from Pro Football Weekly‘s Audibles section:
“There is a reason the Bears’ defense is as opportunistic as it is — when they snap the ball, count how many guys are looking at the ball. All 11 of them are keyed on it and ready to pounce. The linebackers are always zeroed in on it. They do a great job of pursuing. They don’t overcomplicate it.”