- Packers nickel back Sam Shields insists he’ll play Sunday but he currently can run on a knee which has a mystery injury (via Tom Silverstein and Gary D’Amato of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel). Safety Atari Bigby has been ruled out for the game.
- The Bears can probably expect a steady dose of full back John Kuhn this week. Kuhn was the subject of this interesting feature from the AP. Kuhn has been coming on since Ryan Grant went down for the Packers and, as Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune has pointed out, the Bears typically struggle with bigger, more physical backs.
- It appears that the Bears are going to have to deal with more than the pass rush of outside linebacker Clay Mathews. Mathews comments via Pete Dougherty at the Green Bay Press Gazette:
“[Packers nose tackle] B.J. [Raji] is really starting to come into his own now. Sacks are like a drug, you want more. B.J.’s starting to get a taste of it, so he’s turning into a pretty good pass rusher.”
Add the currently injured Cullen Jenkins to the mix when the playoffs start and the Packers are going to be even more of a hand full. Jenkins is unlikely to start the Beas game but he hasn’t been ruled out.
- Matt Bowen at the National Football Post gives his opinion on how much the Bears starters should play from the point of view of an ex-player.
- Despite cries of “no respect” from players and fans, the Bears improvement on offense is starting to get some national attention. Gregg Rosenthal at profootballtalk.com had some good things to say.
- Biggs points out this interesting fact:
“Veterans Chris Harris and Danieal Manning are expected to start Sunday at Lambeau Field and mark the first time the Bears have had safeties paired for an entire season since Tony Parrish and Mike Brown in 2001.”
- Fred Mitchell and David Kaplan have a good Brain Urlacher quote about the speed of the game in the playoffs (I didn’t put it here because the article is short and I didn’t want to quote the whole thing).
- Michael C. Wright at ESPN points out that Lance Briggs and Urlacher are the only linebackers in the entire Pro Bowl from 4-3 defenses.
- Rather than posting my own apathetic response, I prefer to go to The Superficial for my Brett Favre phallus commentary. As an aside, I expect scouts will soon be taking notice of the performance of talented undrafted free agent linebacker Amber Portwood.
- OK, I really just went to the site to see if Paris Hilton is pregnant. Sue me.
- Tim Twentyman at the Detroit News points to some legitimate Pro Bowl snubs. The worst by far is Aaron Rogers. Michael Vick is not consistent and is over-hyped. As good as Drew Brees and Matt Ryan are, I’d take Rogers over any of the three this year. This was a crime.
- Of all of the players elected to the Pro Bowl, I think the case of Logan Mankins might be the most puzzling. Via Michael David Smith at profootballtalk.com.
- Twentyman also highlights the fact that Tampa Bay has started an incredible 10 rookies this year.
- Don’t look now but the Lions are trying for their fourth win in a row (via the Detroit Free Press). The Lions could be a force to recon with in the division next year.
- I was surprised to read this from Lori Nickel at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The Packers Fan Fest has been canceled this off-season due to lagging ticket sales. Perhaps the Packers players will agree to come to the Bears Expo. Or maybe not…
In fairness to the Packers fans, the negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement adds uncertainty to pretty much all off-season activities this year.
- Greg Bishop at the New York Times emphasizes a dilemma that the Jets face which Bear fans will certainly recognize.
- Vikings defensive tackle Pat Williams gave his always unique take on the movement of the Eagles game from Sunday to Tuesday to Tom Powers at the Pioneer Press:
“‘This was the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen in my life,’ Pat Williams said. ‘It was b.s. Play the damn game. We should have played on Sunday.’
“Pat was getting agitated. He’s spent the past four days eating Philly cheesesteaks and hanging around the team hotel.
“‘Fan safety. Fan safety!’ he said. ‘The fans all left. They ain’t no good, anyway.'”
- Phil Sheridan at the Philadelphia Inquirer goes through some of the reasons why the Eagles lost:
“It starts with the head coach, as Andy Reid likes to say. That is more than boilerplate this time around. The Eagles came out being too cute by half — a shovel pass to DeSean Jackson, really? — against a team they should have been able to dispatch without resorting to such chicanery.”
Easy to see who former Vikings head coach Brad Childress learned to formulate his offensive game plans from.
- The National Enquirer is “reporting” that O.J. Simpson‘s daughter forgives him for murdering his mother (via benmaller.com). Correct me if I’m wrong but in order to forgive someone, don’t they have to actually be sorry first?
- Tampa Bay Buccaneer and former Oregon Duck LeGarrett Blount has “no regrets” about totally losing his mind and being suspended after a loss to Boise State according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune (via benmaller.com). [head shake]
- Gregg Rosenthal at profootballtalk.com thinks that the rumored coupling of head coach Gary Kubiak and potential defensive coordinator Wade Phillips in Houston could be dynamite:
“We’ve said for weeks that it’s dangerous to just throw away Kubiak’s effective offense when it has so much continuity. Phillips may not be a great head coach, but he brings a lot to the table as a defensive play-caller.”
I couldn’t gee more. Some guys just aren’t cut out to be head coaches. In truth, Kubiac may be one of them, too. But he’ll be giving himself a better chance with Phillips being in charge of the defense.
One Final Thought
For the first time I can remember, maybe the first time ever, Mike Tice has something nice to say publicly about pass-happy Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz. From Neil Hayes at the Chicago Sun-Times:
“A lot of credit goes to Mike to be able to adjust on the go and call the game a little differently [since the bye week]. He’s done a great, great job. He’s really helped us get to where we are.”
Its snowing in hell.