- Having just watch ESPN’s NFL Matchup show, I’m glad Michael David Smith at profootballtalk.com took the time to note down some of the interesting and unique analysis of the Bears-Packers game by Ron Jaworski and Merril Hoge. You can find it here.
- The village mayor basks in the big city spot light as he wagers with Mayor Daley on today’s game. Via the Chicago Sun-Times.
- Earl Bennett‘s wife just had a baby boy. I guess he was involved somewhere in the process as well. Via Neil Hayes at the Sun-Times.
- Five year old Jack Lawyer won the Bears game face contest by ripping the head off of a Packer Christmas ornament. Via the Sun-Times.
- Former NFL safety Matt Bowen breaks down the Bears zone blitz for the Chicago Tribune.
“It’s a risk to send pressure at [Green Bay quarterback Aaron] Rodgers. He has shown the ability to get the ball out of his hands quickly and accurately. With the Packers using a six-man protection (the running back stays in the protection scheme), there is no guarantee the Bears will get a hit on Rodgers. Therefore, the coverage and tackling in this scheme are crucial to the Bears’ success”
- Fox studio analyst Michael Strahan on Bears quarterback Jay Cutler via Dan Pompei at the Chicago Tribune:
“‘I think if he gets under pressure, he’ll just start slinging that sucker around like free loaves of bread in the hood, man,’ Strahan said during an appearance on the ‘T.Ocho Show.’ ‘I don’t think he’s going to sit back there hold it and be cool with it.’”
- Pompei also got this comment from Saints safety Darren Sharper regarding the leadership ability of both quarterbacks in this game:
“You talk about body language — Aaron’s might be 10 times better than Jay’s. Jay’s body language sometimes just kills you.”
- Pompei continues to give general manager Jerry Angelo a standing ovation, this time for The National Football Post.
- Erin Andrews is dead to me now. From the Chicago Tribune.
- Looks like Packers safety Atari Bigby will be in uniform today.
- Doug Bufone got a taste of the Packers early as he played in the college All-star game before heading to Bears training camp after he was drafted in 1966:
“It so happened the college kids were playing the defending NFL champion Packers.
“‘It’s an all-star game and they came out to pounce our ass,’ Buffone said. ‘I remember what Jimmy Taylor’s first words were: ‘You guys didn’t come up here to play football, you came up here to count your money.’ I told him as he was screaming at me, ‘Look you (jerk), I was drafted by the Bears. There is no money.’”
“Under [Bears offensive coordinator] Mike Martz, the Bears have not attempted to get Olsen the ball downfield as much. In fact, they have not attempted to get him the ball as much, period.”
Its worth noting that Olsen was not Cutler’s primary receiver even on that play.
- PTI debates Barak Obama going to the Super Bowl. Couldn’t agree more with Tony Kornheiser on this.
- Dan Le Batard at the Miami Herald writing about the Dolphins. But he could have easily been saying the same thing about the pre-Jay Cutler Bears.
“A slew of alleged Dolphins leaders have been run through this rinse-repeat car wash since – a cornucopia of alleged offensive minds, defensive minds, culture changers, hot candidates and legends. And all have left here varying degrees of exposed or diminished. It isn’t a coincidence that the organization’s descent began when Dan Marino’s did. You don’t need greatness and stability atop your organization as much as you need it atop your huddle.”
- Viking head coach Leslie Frazier on the Minnesota quarterback situation via Bob Sansevere at the Pioneer Press:
“Ideally, find a young guy, build around him, know you’re going to have him for the next nine, 10 years as your starting quarterback. Those guys are sometimes hard to find.”
A former Bear ought to know.
- Frazier again on his interview with Mike Singletary for the position of linebackers coach and special assistant to the head coach:
“I called him up, interviewed him on the phone. I said, ‘Hey, man, you want to come out here and help me out, help us win a championship?’ That was his interview.”
- Mike Florio at profootballtalk.com thinks Pittsburgh Steelers chairman Dan Rooney needs to be more involved in the labor talks.
- Pompei agrees with Florio (or the other way around):
“Asked about the 18-game season by Judy Battista of the New York Times, Steelers chairman and American ambassador to Ireland Dan Rooney said, ‘I’d rather not have the money.’ I say the NFL needs this guy more than Ireland needs him.”
- “Vince Lombardi” offers some powerful words of advice and encouragement for the teams involved in Sunday’s Championship games. Via NFL.com
- Pompei thinks the Eagles might be changing to a 3-4 defense. The Beas are the only final four team still playing a 4-3 front.
- Chip Scoggins and Judd Zulgad at the Minneapolis Star Tribune write that new Vikings quarterback coach Craig Johnson wants Vince Young in Minnesota. So do most Bear fans.
- They also report that new special teams coach Mike Priefer is already thinking about Devin Hester.
- Mary Jane Smetanka at the Star Tribune reports that the Metrodome roof may not be repaired in time for the start of the Vikings exhibition season.
- Jim Souhan, also at the Star Tribune, penned this bit of nonsense:
“Mike McCarthy will need to win about five Super Bowls before most Packers fans will elevate him to Vince Lombardi‘s exalted status, but I say he’s already a better coach.”
- Michael Lombardi at NFL.com thinks the Ravens need to move tackle Michael Oher back to where they can see him.
- Lombardi sees the New England Patriots taking a lot of risks in the draft:
“With two picks in every round for the first four rounds, the Patriots will not have enough roster spots available to ensure those players will make the team. As a result, I can see them being aggressive in the draft to ensure they come away with the specific players they need. They have depth, they have youth, but they need an impact defensive player who can be impactful right away — not down the road.”
- The New York Jets did well keeping their mouths shut this week. But they finally exploded Thursday. Here’s Jets safety James Ihedigbo‘s message to Jets fans. Via Steve Serby at the New York Post:
“Stock the refrigerator full of champagne and get ready to celebrate.”
One Final Thought
Rod Marinelli on his visit to Charlotte, NC with coach Lovie Smith to recruit defensive end Julius Peppers to play for the Bears. Via Vaughn McClure at the Tribune:
“One thing I wanted to make sure he knew was how important it was for me to be there,” Marinelli said of the meeting. “He was important to us.
“You have to know the guy. He doesn’t want to hear someone in his ear yakking. I understand players. I have a good beat on a person. And one thing I really wanted to express to him was that I really wanted to coach him.”
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