Brett Favre May Be Retiring But the Boys Aren’t Going Down Without a Fight and Other News


  • Dan Pompei at the Chicago Tribune goes through what I thought was a key play in the game when Lovie Smith decided to go for it on fourth and 1 from the Packer 40 yard line.  With the defense playing well in a tight, field position game this is not the decision I would have made.  I’m surprised Smith hasn’t seen more heat over it.

“I don’t know who called it. I did my job. What was it, third-and-15? That was big. I think that was the changing point in the game right there. We had opportunities. We didn’t capitalize.”

You can almost hear the frustration in Taylor’s voice as he can’t catch a break in what has turned out to be a rough second half of the season for him.  Smith says that he made the decision to call the time out.

  • Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune on the large pass to run ratio in offensive coordinator Mike Matz‘s play calling:

“Was Martz trying to hide something for the playoffs? That doesn’t mesh with the explanations given that the Bears played to win the game Sunday. They didn’t use the formula they had been winning with and if they get out of whack in the playoffs, this has proved to be a recipe for disaster.”

I’ve heard the theory put forth that this game was more about testing the offense to see what they can do by Martz than it was about calling plays to otherwise win the game.  Like Biggs, I’m not sure I buy it.

  • Lost in the playoff excitement was the fact that the Bears lost yet another third round pick.  Biggs reports that the Bears offered to promote wide receiver Juaquin Iglesias from the practice squad to the 53 man roster (and to give him playoff game checks) to keep him leaving for the Vikings.  The Bears signed Eric Peterman to take his place on the practice squad.
  • Kevin Seifert at believes that Devin Hester‘s revival as a return man was due to the perfect balance between that and his role as a complementary receiver on offense.
  • Seifert also notes this interesting statistic:

“Bears quarterback Jay Cutler has struggled throwing to the left side of the field all season. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Cutler finished the year ranked 27th among NFL quarterbacks in passes thrown outside of the left hashmark. Sunday, he completed six of 14 passes and threw both of his interceptions in that direction. I don’t know if it’s a mechanical issue, a matter of the Bears’ scheme or if it’s just happenstance. But it’s worth monitoring.”

  • Soldier Field general manager Tim Lefebvre comments to about the upheaval over the state of the stadium’s turf:

“It’s unfortunate. You see them spending too much time talking about conditions rather than just playing the game.”

I couldn’t agree more.

“No one seems to be talking about it of late, but the Bears won the Jay Cutler trade with Denver. Cutler didn’t do much against the Packers in Week 17, but he has played very well of late. … All that being said, Kyle Orton had a fine season, but no way does he lead the Bears to the No. 2 seed in the NFC this season. This is exactly what Chicago envisioned when it made the blockbuster deal for its franchise quarterback.”

  • Jeff Dickerson tells the ESPN mothership that talk about Devin Hester over shadows Danieal Manning‘s performance as a kick returner:


  • Mike Florio at makes the relevant point about the retention of the current power structure in Minnesota with new head coach Leslie Frazier:

“We believe what we have right now as an organization has worked,” [team owner] Zygi Wilf said, per Tom Pelissero of

“Well, if it really was working, [Brad] Childress would still be the head coach.”

  • Albert Breer at the NFL Network is reporting that the Titans owner Bud Adams will meet with head coach Jeff Fisher to determine his fate.  Indications are that Adams wants Vince Young, who is feuding with Fisher, as his quarterback but he also doesn’t want to hire a new head coach in the face of a potential work stoppage.

One Final Thought

The always thoughtful Matt Forte gives his perspective on the Bears’ season to Jim Rome:

Jay Cutler’s Situation Defines “Catch 22”

Joseph Heller, author of the famous book Catch 22, describes the essence of the no win situation that the books title has come to represent.  He does it in terms of the psychology of a bomber pilot, Orr, during World War II:

“There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one’s safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn’t, but if he were sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn’t have to; but if he didn’t want to he was sane and had to.”

In a related way, the Chicago Tribune‘s David Haugh‘s does his own psychoanalysis of Bears quarterback Jay Cutler today.

“I didn’t address Cutler berating Chester Taylor at Lambeau Field after Taylor lined up in the wrong spot and cost the Bears a timeout because the very public outburst didn’t affect Sunday’s game. But the tantrum revealed Cutler’s impulsiveness that could hurt a Bears offense that needs more prudence than passion from its quarterback.

“One minute he’s losing his cool with a teammate, the next he’s letting the ball sail over an open receiver into the arms of a safety. I want to believe Cutler’s hair-trigger emotion and his execution are unrelated. I also want to believe there’s no connection between a half-hour on the treadmill and chronic knee pain but I would be kidding myself about that too.”

I’m not as inclined as I used to be to judge Cutler’s mental state on the field based upon his body language.  Yes, he was a bit mercurial last week but his emotions have been showing through the cracks in that armor of disinterest he shows the world more and more over the last six seeks even as his performance behind center has improved.

I’m really not sure that these outbursts are a bad thing.  Cutler is showing some leadership qualities that he failed to demonstrate last year and, though the form sometimes shows his immaturity, I’d rather he was being more demonstrative than less.

But admittedly its a delicate balance and in many ways it demonstrates the Catch 22 bind that Cutler is in.  Like most of us, Cutler has to deal with a mass of contradictions.   He’s got to show some emotional leadership but if he does that he’s not cool and collected.  He’s got to be competitive and want to make plays but if he does that he’s holding the ball too long.

So what do you do?  Most of us dance in the middle, trying to please everyone and in the process pleasing no one.  You can’t win – no one can.

It’s a simple question of moderation.  But there are no simple answers.  No one knows that better than Jay Cutler.

NFC Playoffs Will Be All About the Matchups

Analysts Kurt Warner and Trent Green agree that the Bears will want the Saints coming into Soldier Field rather than the Eagles (via Neil Hayes at the Chicago Sun-Times).

    “’With how well [the Bears] defense is playing, the Saints coming to Chicago would be a better matchup because Michael Vick is playing at such a high level,’ former Rams quarterback and current NFL Network analyst Trent Green said. ‘I don’t necessarily believe Philly is going to beat Green Bay, but the inconsistencies have been a little surprising from New Orleans, some of which is due to injury, some of which is Drew forcing things more than he did last year. Based on that, and especially since they are a dome team and if you can dial up the right kind of weather they could have problems, I would say the Saints, even though it’s hard to say you hope the matchup is against the defending Super Bowl champs.’”

    But Hayes also sees the Eagles as a good match up for the Bears:

    “If there is a defense equipped to stop Michael Vick, it’s the Bears. They proved as much during a 31-26 win on Nov. 28 that wasn’t as close as the score indicated. The Bears are quick and disciplined defensively. They kept Vick in front of them and forced him to run around in cold weather on slick sod trying to throw touch passes over Brian Urlacher’s head.”

    I would agree.  I would also have to say that, for all of the reasons that were demonstrated Sunday, the worst individual match up for the Bears is probably the Packers.  The Packers exposed many Bear weaknesses in that game.  Fortunately, the Bears won’t see either them or the NFC favorite Atlanta Falcons until the NFC championship game.

    Indeed, there is a decent chance that the Bears won’t see the Packers at all.  The same characteristics that make the Bears vulnerable to the Packers makes the Eagles an awful match up for them.  Kevin Seifert at explains the reason why:

    “[LeSean] McCoy has gotten his YAC on (Yards After Catch) this season. In fact, he has 724 YAC this season, the most in the NFL. His average of 9.3 YAC per reception ranks No. 9 in the NFL. Meanwhile, [DeSean] Jackson has 359 YAC and is averaging 7.6 YAC per reception.”

    “The Packers will not only have to keep track of where Vick, McCoy and Jackson are before the snap. They’ll need to take special care to wrap them up when they have a chance.”

    ESPN’s Trent Dilfer agrees:

    The Packers can, in fact, do that and they are perfectly capable of winning this game.  But, as indicated above, while the Bears cover two is specifically designed to stop the West Coast offense and limit the YAC, the aggressive man-to-man defense that the Packers specialize in is vulnerable to it.

    Bottom line, it isn’t just about who the best team is or even who the best team is on a given day.  Its also about the personnel and the scheme.  And how things fall together in those terms after this weekend will ultimately determine the Bears fate as much as any other factor.