- The cat and mouse game that the Bears special teams unit played with the Jets continued yesterday. The Packers caught the Bears with Danieal Manning moving up in anticipation of a short kick by booting it over his head. Manning eventually fielded the ball in the end zone and downed it.
- ESPNChicago.com‘s Jon Greenberg on Bears quarterback Jay Cutler after being beaten up in the Packer game:
“I was a little worried about his health when Cutler answered questions in full sentences, and played along with a reporter’s witty retort — even laughing at the joke, rather than the reporter — but I didn’t see any sign of real damage, mental or physical.”
- ESPN.com’s Jeff Dickerson is less than optimistic about the Bears’ offensive line after the loss:
“The offensive line will never be completely fixed: It’s impossible for that to happen this year. We all knew it. But that group should get credit for picking up their play since the bye week, and they even put forth their best performance of the season last week against the New York Jets. But Sunday reminded everybody that pass protection remains a core issue — Cutler was sacked six times. To be fair, you can argue Cutler held on to the football way too long on a few of those sacks, but each tackle was cleanly beaten at one point.”
- Dickerson points out Rashied Davis‘ role in the Bears offense yesterday. Davis did his best but it was evident that the Bears missed the bigger Earl Bennett as all of the wide receivers were physically dominated by the Packers defensive backs.
- ESPN.com‘s Kevin Seifert was less than impressed by the Packers yesterday.
- No one will eve accuse me of being a Vikings fan. But I find it impossible to dislike Jared Allen:
- From my favorite feature, Pro Football Weekly‘s Whispers:
“The problem with teams moving to the 3-4 (defense) is that you often need a transition year. You could play some of it some of the time, but it’s hard to overhaul your roster overnight. The players on your roster are what they are. You can’t turn over your roster in one draft. You need some flexibility. I don’t think (former Browns GM Phil) Savage understood that when he hired Romeo (Crennel). I don’t think the Bills understood it this year. I don’t think the Redskins were ready for it. I’ve seen it more at the college level, too. Everyone is trying to mimic (Nick) Saban and more teams have moved to the 3-4, but they just don’t have the bodies to pull it off. It’s hard to find 325-330-pounders who can move.”
I’ve said many times that one weakness of the 3-4 is that so many teams are going to it. Not only is it hard to find defensive linemen, particularly nose guards, to man it but its going to be extremely hard to draft those guys with so many teams looking for the same characteristics. The Packers were very lucky to get B.J. Raji. Guys like that aren’t going to last long.
“The Falcons like to run left. I don’t know why teams have not picked up on it, but they do a great job getting defenses to flow one way and come back the other way. It’s a play they call Joker. It’s usually run from a two-back set and both backs go one way, but the tailback cuts back. (Michael) Turner runs it real well. The Chargers and Giants do the same thing.”
If both teams last long enough in the playoffs, this is the kind of play that can really cause the Bears problems. They’re a fast defense but they over react sometimes.
- Don’t look now but the Lions finished the season with their fourth win in a row.
- How do I know that Brett Favre is finally finished? There were no tears this year:
One Final Thought
Rick Morrissey at the Chicago Sun-Times quotes Bears head coach Lovie Smith after the loss to the Packers:
“’I’m still proud of the effort we gave,’ Smith said.
“He should be.”