- Fred Mitchell and David Kaplan at the Chicago Tribune quote Bears tight end Desmond Clark on head coach Lovie Smith:
“Every player has Lovie’s back. After last season we all got together and talked about how we are going to screw up a great thing if we don’t turn our team around. He treats us like men and he is the kind of coach you want to play for. We are very lucky to have him.”
- Dan Pompei at the Chicago Tribune reports that Devin Hester and Julius Peppers were named All-Pro by the Associated Press. Brian Urlacher is second team All-Pro.
- Brad Biggs, also at the Tribune, quotes new special teams assistant Kevin O’Dea. O’Dea served in the same position in 2006 and 2007:
“‘I just got off the phone with (coach Lovie Smith) and he made the comment, ‘Kevin, you’re not coming back, you’re coming home,’ ‘ O’Dea said. ‘Any time someone makes a comment like that to you, that’s pretty special.'”
- Biggs also reviews the interesting story of wide receiver Devin Aromashodu as he heads towards restricted free agency. I’ve talked to fans who are irrate that Aromashodu didn’t make it on to the field more this year. We probably won’t find out for sure what the Bears problems with him have been unless or until he leaves but there surely is a problem. It could be as simple as a lack of ability on special teams but I’ve a feeling there’s more to it than that.
- Packers quarterback Aaron Rogers on people questioning the toughness of Bears quarterback Jay Cutler:
“I was real disappointed, to be honest with you. I’ve known Jay for a few years now and know what kind of competitor he is. I thought it was disrespectful, some of the stuff said about him.”
Yes, I would say that total disrespect for Cutler as a person and a player sums it up well.
- Pompei reminds us that Urlacher doesn’t get it in his latest question and answer column:
“Urlacher insists that the Julius Peppers hit on Aaron Rodgers was clean. What is your take? Will there be a fine? Jim Johnson, Skandia, Mich.
“Peppers hit Rodgers’ helmet with his helmet. You can’t do that. He might not have intended to do that, and he might not have even been able to avoid doing that, but he did it. I think he is going to be fined.”
- Pity this little girl. Not because the Bears lost. Little girls need their daddy and how can she have any opportunity to grow up normal with so little respect for hers? Via The Sports Pickle.
- Bengals receiver Chad Johnson says he needs to fight coach Marvin Lewis before doing staying in Cincinnati. TNA wrestling has offered he and Lewis the opportunity to do it in a steel cage match. Via Mike Florio at profootballtalk.com.
- The Sports Pickle has once again come through for us fans by digging up Chad Johnson’s recent name change application. Who do they get these things?
- Carson Palmer might want out but to no one’s surprise, the Bengals have no intention of trading him. Its idle speculation but I was stuck by the timing of Palmer’s statements. He made them almost immediately after the Bengals decided to keep Lewis. One wonders if Chad Johnson isn’t the only one who has a problem with the head coach.
- Florio also reports that ground work is being laid at the Senior Bowl before assistant coaches meet at the NFL Scouting Combine to discuss forming a union.
- Florio also correctly points out that not all players will begin missing pay checks in September if there is no collective bargaining agreement. Those due roster bonuses or who would ordinarily be getting signing bonuses in March as part of free agency will be vocal about making a deal as soon as possible.
- Michael David Smith, also at profootballtalk.com, takes us through the Steelers goal line stand as they played the Jets last Sunday with the NFL Network show Playbook. The Jets tipped at least one play.
- Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press Gazette reports that the Packers have decided to take their Super Bowl picture with everyone in it instead of leaving out those who are on injured reserve. Good move which would have only been better had the correct decision been made in the first place.
- Tim Twentyman at The Detroit News says that though the Lions biggest need is at cornerback they aren’t likely to get an elite one in the draft.
- Twentyman also says out that the Lions are in a very stable position with the coaching staff and their core players intact heading into a period of labor uncertainty.
As Pompei pointed out today, the NFC North is shaping up to be one tough division next season. Whether the Bears win or not, we’re going to see some good football.
- Scouts Inc.’s Matt Williamson had this interesting observation about the Pittsburgh-Jets game. You must be an ESPN Insider to access the entire article:
“The Steelers’ usage of Troy Polamalu is very interesting — and perhaps very telling. In Pittsburgh’s two playoff games, Polamalu’s and Ryan Clark‘s roles have often flip-flopped, with Polamalu often in deep coverage in the middle of the field instead of tormenting the offense by attacking the line of scrimmage and being used in his usual variety of ways. That tells me that he just isn’t healthy and in a way, he can be hidden in the deep middle of the field, where there is far less contact. The extra rest before the Super Bowl could do him very well.”
One Final Thought
- “Socially, Cutler has major issues, ones that have come home to roost.”
“People say Cutler is arrogant, cocky, immature. I wonder.
But whatever ails him now, it’s all in his head.”