- Bears safety Chris Harris via the Chicago Tribune after the Jets game:
“On closing out the regular-season home slate with a win:
“‘It was very important. I think we were 4-3 at home, and our road record is better than our home record. We definitely know we are going to have a home playoff game so we need to get in the condition of winning at home and this is the first step.'”
- Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune writes about Matt Forte‘s success against the Jets. Forte became the first back to get 100 yards against them in 22 games.
As noted by Dan Pompei, also at the Tribune, though Forte is doing well lately Chester Taylor‘s lack of success is worrying. Taylor’s getting hit in the backfield a lot but he’s running behind the same line Forte is.
- The Tribune‘s Vaughn McClure highlights the Bears problems on defense against the Jets:
“‘There’s always room for improvement in everything we do,’ (Bears cornerback Charles) Tillman said. “Our disguises, our blitzes, our man coverage — everything.”
Amen to that.
- From my favorite feature, Pro Football Weekly‘s Audibles:
“I keep hearing about how much Brian Urlacher is playing this year. I think it’s pretty simple why — look at how much better the defensive line is playing in front of him. The big question I would like to know — was it Lovie (Smith) or was it (defensive coordinator Rod) Marinelli who decided to move Julius (Peppers) to the weak side? I give them all the credit in the world — John Fox never did that in Carolina — and I think it’s made a world of difference and affected the whole team. The million-dollar question is — who decided to turn Julius loose and let him go (after the quarterback) and made (Israel) Idonije the strong-side end? The Bears never did that in the past. It was a great move. I would guess it was Rod.”
- Not everyone agreed with the decision to postpone Sunday night’s Eagles-Vikings game until Tuesday. Via the AP:
“The postponement did not sit well with Gov. Ed Rendell, who told KYW-TV he did “not at all” agree with the decision.
“‘This is football; football’s played in bad weather,’ Rendell said. ‘I think the fans would have gotten there, the subways work and the major arteries are still open, and other fans would have stayed home — but you play football regardless of the weather.'”
- Mike Florio at profootballtalk.com thinks that the advantage of moving the game may go to the Vikings. Here’s one good point:
With two more days to recover from his concussion suffered on Monday night, Brett Favre could supplant Joe Webb. (We assume that facing Favre would be a bad thing for the Eagles. That could be the subject of a reasonable debate.)
- Florio also says that Zygi Wilf is pushing to play the Vikings games outdoors at TCF Bank Stadium. That could be tough to pull off. As Florio points out, the Vikings have another year on their lease with the Metrodome. The capacity of the stadium os smaller than the Metrodome’s as well.
- Unable to look Kyle Shanahan in the eye and tell him what he thought, quarterback Donovan McNabb is now running from the situation and asking the Redskins to release him according to Adam Schefter at ESPN (via Florio at profootballtalk.com). To say that I’ve lost any respect I’ve ever had for McNabb would be an understatement.
- Its PFT day here as I’d like to highlight yet another Florio post. The Vikings “leadership committee” met with head coach Leslie Frazier to talk about ways to prevent the team from “checking out” mentally.
- Mike Singletary‘s last game as head coach of the 49ers was appropriately punctuated by a screaming match on the sideline with Troy Smith:
“Singletary said he doesn’t know much about ‘coaching etiquette’ when it comes to how he handles his quarterbacks. And, he said, the way Troy Smith responded is ‘fine.'”
One wonders if a little more “coaching etiquette” would have helped Singletary a lot more in the long run.
- Florio thinks Singletary’s motivational talent would make him a good college coach.
- Bill Cowher isn’t denying that he’s already drawing interest from teams . The crows are gathering in Houston over Gary Kubiac (both via PFT). Its going to be an interesting offseason.
- According to Manish Mehta at The New York Daily News, the Jets only had 10 men on the field for Devin Hester‘s touchdown catch.
- Here’s a familiar question from George Bretherton at the New York Times: “If the Jets get another chance at the Patriots, will they be able to make the adjustments needed to turn 45-3 into having a chance to win?” I think the Bears should be wondering the same thing.
- The New York Times also has a nice update on the current playoff scenarios here.
- More Audibles:
“It was around 25 years ago the last time the (NFL) players when on strike. All I keep reading about is how high the NFL ratings are. The two sides need to get moving. No one wants to be responsible for cracking the golden egg. I know it’s not easy, but how hard could it be to divvy up a few billion dollars? If you’re an owner or a player it’s still real money, and real money they stand to lose, if they don’t figure it out. When you look at how the NFL is going to be affected, I don’t see it affecting scouts a lot. There is still going to be a draft no matter what. College football is not going away. The job description of scouts is not going to change much. But obviously, it could dramatically change the job of coaches. There will be no OTAs or offseason coaching. What worries me the most is that (NFLPA executive director) DeMaurice Smith has so little connection to the league and history and what the game does for everyone and how big it really is. A work stoppage could really screw things up.”
One Final Thought
Fred Mitchell at the Tribune describes the moment when the Redskins beat the Jaguars in over time and Jets officially made the playoffs:
“‘When (Jay) Cutler‘s hot, he’s as good as there is,’ (Jets head coach Rex) Ryan was saying. ‘He made some big plays against us, then eventually it comes down to …’
“‘By the way, I think we’re in the playoffs,’ Ryan announced with a big smile. ‘It ain’t the way I wanted it, but I’ll take it. Whew! My goodness! I can’t even hide that fact.'”
Better to back in than not to be in at all.