What Coaches Should Really Say and Other Points of View


“‘You know what we have? We have the best offensive line coach in the league, period,’ said Olin Kreutz, a 13-year veteran who was a third-round pick by the Bears in 1998.”

The Bears offensive line coach is former Vikings head coach Mike Tice.

“[Offensive coordinator Mike] Martz is one of the best in the world at what he does.”

Jensen also mentions in passing that Martz will be calling the game from the press box.  That would be a change from the regular season where he stayed on the sideline.  I’m not sure what the reason for the change is but ti would seem odd to be changing a formula for success right as the post season begins.

“The biggest thing for them, when Jay [Cutler] tries to make things happen, is in the red zone,” [former Ram quarterback Kurt] Warner said. “You can’t have turnovers. You have to score points when you have opportunities.”

I have quoted someone or said this in some form every single day.  The surest path to disaster for the Bears is for the Bears quarterback to try to do too much.

“The good thing is the Bears won the division and earned the bye.
“The bad thing is the void of fresh, local football analysis. I’m pointing the thumb as much as the finger because I have participated in the blather.
“‘The quarterback doesn’t smile.’ … ‘A contract extension is due Lovie Smith.’ … ‘ ”Enlightened’ Greg Olsen finally realizes he should contribute more.’
“I feel shame.”

“The remarkable array of NFL coaches spawned by the 1985 team — [Leslie] Frazier, Ron Rivera, Jeff Fisher, [Mike] Singletary, plus ballboys Rex and Rob Ryan, not to mention [Jim] McMahon successor Jim Harbaugh — help keep the Bears of the ’80s on the front page.

“Standing ovations get tiresome after 25 years, but don’t sit down yet.”

  • Biggs interviews former NFL safety Matt Bowen for the Tribune.  Not surprisingly, they focus on the Bears-Seahawks matchup.  Bowen comments on Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch in this little nugget:

“The one thing Seattle is doing, what they did a lot against the Saints, is they ran the ball on the slot side. What that does for a running back is it gives him more room to choose. He gets the ball deep in the backfield and he has the ability to cut back, take the first hole or stretch it all the way to the edge. Marshawn Lynch is an excellent cutback runner.”

Though it hasn’t been as evident this season, speed teams like the Bears can be beaten by cutback runners as they flow rapidly to the ball.

  • I couldn’t find the video but former NFL quarterback Ron Jaworski broke down the Bears-Seahawks matchup on ESPN‘s Pardon the Interruption.  When Bears fan Mike Wilbon asked him why he should be worried about the Bears chances, Jaworski pointed out the the Bears led the league in negative plays.
  • Profootballtalk.com‘s Mike Florio picks the Seahawks to win:

“Sometimes, football makes no sense.  Last week, a clearly superior Saints team went to Seattle and lost.  This week, the Seahawks return to Soldier Field with plenty of confidence and a lot of momentum, against a Bears team that isn’t as good as the Saints team that the Seahawks beat last weekend.”

“Besides, the Bears could be tight and the Seahawks could catch them flat-footed and Seattle could do that which no one — including the Bears — expects them to do.”

Reserve your spots on the roofs of the best buildings now Bear fans.


  • The Browns hired Rams offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur as their new head coach:

  • And the Broncos hired John Fox:

One Final Thought

Kyle Koster at the Chicago Sun-Times provides a day-by-day look at how the Bears good fortune could continue to a historic Super Bowl run.  Here’s a sample:

“Wednesday, Jan. 19: [NFL commissioner] Roger Godell unilaterally abolishes instant replay. Despite the outcry, Bears fans take to the streets celebrating the end of [Bears head coach Lovie] Smith’s long red-flag follies. [Packers head coach Mike] McCarthy appears on “SportsCenter” and calls for Goodell’s ouster.  The emboldened commissioner bans the Packers coach for life.”

Young Bears Have to Match Playoff Intensity

Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune quotes Bears wide receiver Johnny Knox:

“People say they play harder in the playoffs.  To me, it’s just like a regular-season game. It’s going to mean a lot. One of my biggest games that I am going to ever play in. I’m going to go out there, not put any pressure on my shoulders, just go out there and have fun.”

I hope Knox is just mouthing that blather and doesn’t really mean it.  Becasue if he really treats this just like a regular season game there’s going to be trouble.  If the rest of the young players do it there’s going to be really big trouble.

I never played in an NFL playoff game but you don’t have to do that to see what happens when the lights come on in the post-season.  Perhaps “playing harder” isn’t a good way to phrase what’s necessary.  But playing with greater intensity and, especially greater speed is absolutely crucial to post season success.

Former NFL safety Matt Bowen , also writing for the Tribunedescribes the situaiton with more authority than an average fan like me can provide:

“Monday night games and divisional rivalries — while considered intense — don’t compare to the overall speed that will be seen Sunday at Soldier Field. From covering kicks on special teams to defensive football inside of the red zone, players will treat each snap with a more aggressive style than is played in the regular season.

“That’s what happens when a possible Super Bowl championship and playoff checks are on the line.”

“The Seahawks already experienced that in their wild-card victory over the Saints. They played their best football of the season with quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and running back Marshawn Lynch playing at a level that is conducive to winning in the postseason. It was called an upset over the Saints, but it isn’t really an upset when one team plays faster from the start of the first quarter.”

“Schemes and X’s and O’s give you a chance in the playoffs, but in the end it comes down to players, and the ones who advance play faster.”

Knox got a little peak at what the playoffs are like when the Bears squared off against the Packers in the last regular season game.  I’ve said it several times already but Knox got dominated in that game. The biggest reason is that the Packers raised their intensity to play what was essentially a playoff game for them.  If Knox didn’t learn that lesson then, if he thinks that the high level of play that the Packers demonstrated was a result of any given Sunday, he’s not going to succeed.

Knox and the other young Bear players had better not just treat this like a “regular-season game”.  They’d better come out ready to contest for their playoff lives.