Quarterback Josh McCown comments on dealing with the windy conditions at Soldier Field. Via Rich Campbell at the Chicago Tribune:
“'It messes with your mind,' McCown said. '[head coach] Marc [Trestman] made a comment, ‘When it’s breezy, swing easy,’ before the game. But it was funny because it’s so true. If you just relax, and if you grip the ball harder and grit your teeth, it’s gonna move. If you can just throw spirals and stay relaxed, you should be alright. You should be able to cut the wind, to a degree. That was something that was in my mind.'”
It was pretty evident early in the game that the wind was on McCown's mind and he was having a much tougher time dealing with it than Raven's quarterback Joe Flacco. Those looking for the reason why the Bears are sticking so closely to the injured Jay Cutler as the starter probably need look no farther than his superior arm strength. His ability to deal with the adverse weather conditions at Soldier Field was one of the primary reasons they chose to acquire him in the first place.
Rick Morrissey at the Chicago Sun-Times points to what he sees as quarterback Josh McCown's deficiencies:
“But that doesn’t mean McCown is the better fit. It means he hasn’t tried to go beyond the limits of his abilities, which is smart. Someday, an opponent is going to realize he doesn’t have the strongest arm, that he works the middle often and that they might want to get up on Bears receivers a little more. I’m not sure that day is coming in St. Louis on Sunday or in Minneapolis the following week. But it will come, eventually.”
I'm not entirely satisfied with this. The arm strength is a given but McCown doesn't work the middle too often. He spreads the field. Furthermore realizing that a quarterback throws over the middle and stopping it are two different things.
And as for “getting up on the receivers” that's not going to happen. Unlike Injured starter Jay Cutler, McCown hits receivers coming out of their breaks. Furthermore, he has big receivers to throw to who can get off the line and burn a defensive back who covers too closely.
I'm not saying Morrissey's overall point that McCown isn't starter material is necessarily off base. But his reasoning is flawed.
Via Dan Wiederer at the Chicago Tribune:
“Sit down. Chill. Let it heal. Ice and stim. Take a Tylenol. Have a Coke and a smile. Just let it heal.”
Almost a week after the incident and Dan Wiederer at the Chicago Tribune is still writing about how Bear head coach Marc Trestman went for it on fourth and inches inside the Bears 35 yard line last week.
I don’t care if it worked. Believe me, no one would be lauding the decision if running back Forte had gotten tackled in the backfield for a loss – which he nearly was. I didn’t like the call then and I still don’t like it. I’m certainly tired of hearing about it. The fact that former Bears head coach Mike Ditka thought it was the right decision only supports my feeling.
Having said that, I did think this quote was interesting:
“Eight games into his tenure, Trestman’s acumen, his boldness, his proclivity for taking calculated risks have given the Bears a three-way share of first place in the NFC North.
“Said Bears general manager Phil Emery: ‘The older I get, the more I’ve realized it’s the people who are the perceived brainiacs who use that (strength), and it’s exactly how they’ll kick your butt.
“’That’s their edge. That’s Marc’s edge.’”
It’s not surprising to anyone that athletes have to have a competitive nature to win. But the more I watch football – college and professional – the more I realize how huge the degree of it actually is. The fact that good coaches have to combine high intelligence with that almost all-consuming desire to win makes for some unique personalities. Its one of the things that makes the game more interesting.
Rich Campbell at the Chicago Tribune on the Bears situation at defensive end now that Shea McClellin has injured his hamstring:
“With converted three-technique Corey Wootton likely to remain at tackle, rookie David Bass is a leading candidate to start at left defensive end. Cheta Ozougwu could figure into the rotation if the Bears promote him from the practice squad for the game.
“Bass, a seventh-round pick of the Raiders this year who was waived at final cuts, credited defensive line coach Mike Phair and assistant Michael Sinclair for his evolution through four games with the Bears.
“‘You always can improve on your fundamentals, your technique — so my first step, my first two steps, staying low, pad level,’ Bass said. ‘Using my hands — that’s huge in this league. As a defensive lineman, you get locked up with the big offensive linemen, and it becomes a big hugging match. You can’t get rid of them.’”
Campbell has been doing a good job recently of throwing in these little comments that help fans like me learn a little more about football. In this case, you know what Bass is concentrating on in order to improve his game. Let’s see how he does Sunday.
Mark Potash at the Chicago Sun-Times gets this quote that will thrill a few Bears fans:
“Hall of Fame quarterback and ESPN analyst Steve Young cautioned Jay Cutler to make sure he’s ‘healthy enough to go all the way to January and into February for the Super Bowl’ when he returns this week.
“’With the offense that Marc Trestman has … everybody is getting up to speed. They’ve had three or four months of playing with him, they now understand it and believe in it. I think it’s enough to carry them,’ Young, who played for Trestman with the 49ers in 1995-96, said Friday on ESPN’s SportsCenter. ‘If they can firm up the defense, get healthy, this team could threaten into February. So if Jay’s going to play … Jay, make sure you’re playing because you have an eye to playing in February. And if you’re not healthy enough, please be careful.’”
I’ll believe it when I see it. A lot of good things will have to happen for that defense to be Super Bowl quality and for every guy returning form injury, you’ll have a Shea McClellin pulling hamstrings in practice.
If the defense tightens up, fixes the mental mistakes they’re making and starts tackling, they’ll have a chance at being good enough to make a decent playoff run. But if they didn’t do it last week, you have to wonder if the problems aren’t going to be chronic.
I thought this comment from Rich Campbell at the Chicago Tribune was interesting:
“During passing drills media were permitted to watch, the mechanics of [quarterback
Jay] Cutler’s right (plant) leg were noticeably different from how they were before the injury.
"On Thursday, he often brought his right foot off the ground much higher than usual when following through. Quarterbacks with significant core strength typically drag their back foot. That steadies their body, and they can afford to do so because their core muscles generate sufficient strength. [backup quarterback Josh] McCown, for example, dragged his throughout passing drills Thursday.”
Its just an off hand observation from what is probably only a very small portion of the practice. But it does make you wonder if Cutler isn’t still going to have issues with his groin. Maybe its Cutler just being extra protective of it, which would indicate that he’s still thinking about it mentally. Or maybe its more physical than that. In any case, its something to watch for this Sunday.