- Sean Jensen at the Chicago Sun Times quotes Brian Urlacher on the value of experience as their first playoff game approaches:
“We don’t ever get too rattled. Plus, our coaching staff has been around for a while. There are some exciting times, [but] we stay pretty even-keel most of the time.”
“On Friday, [Seattle coach Pete] Carroll said: ‘‘We’re kicking the football, and he’s going to get it.’’ The day before, punter Jon Ryan said he would try to limit the amount of field Hester would have to work with by angling his punts toward the sidelines.”
This is, of course, what teams did the last couple years and what both Green Bay and Seattle did earlier this season. It seemed to work as long as the punter executed it well.
- As Bears special teams coordinator Dave Toub points out via Neil Hayes at the Chicago Sun-Times, a lot of Hester’s success will revolve around scheming against Seattle’s special teams:
“Special teams is about matchups, getting your best guys on their best guys so you don’t have a size difference or one guy isn’t more athletic than another,.Those things you all take into account when you game plan.”
- Mark Potash, also at the Sun-Times, has this interesting quote from defensive tackle Anthony Adams about the teams lack of sacks against Seattle the first time around. He seems to be suggesting the possibility that it was a scheme related problem:
‘‘For whatever reason, a lot of other teams were able to get sacks,’’ Adams said. ‘‘Maybe they didn’t run a 4-3 like we run it. Or ran a 3-4. I don’t know. There are a lot of different avenues you could go down. But you have to bring your A-game every week”
- With any luck we’ll be seeing WNBA player Candice Parker at Portillos this week. Well, some of you will. I need to lose some weight. Via the Sun-Times.
- Dan Pompei at the Chicago Tribune answers your questions:
“I am tired of the carping over the offensive and defensive lines. Both are set and have a good mix of veterans and younger players. The draft need will be greatest at linebacker to begin grooming successors for Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs. Do you agree or see a greater need? — Stuart Cutler, Winnetka
“I share your concern about the linebacker position, but I think the offensive and defensive lines are bigger concerns. I know you can play winning football with average, maybe even below average linebacker play. You’ve got no chance to be really good without above average lines. The Bears also need to start thinking about a successor to Olin Kreutz, and a successor to Tommie Harris. Plus they could use another guard, another offensive tackle and another defensive end. I think they need to see what the draft offers them and be prepared to take a lineman.”
“The Bears don’t build their defense around great cover cornerbacks. They build their defense around great pass rushers. I don’t think Asomugha, who will become one of the highest paid defensive players in football, would be a wise investment for the Bears and I don’t think they will pursue him.”
I would agree. But the bears do have to get better in the defensive backfield. You can’t play cover two every down.
“Have you ever asked Jay Cutler if he understands the concept of “throwing the ball away?” — Greg, Chicago
“No, I’ve never asked him, Greg. From watching him play, I think I already know the answer.”
- It wouldn’t be right to quote the whole article. Just one more and then you’ll have to read the rest on your own:
“Whenever I see [Devin] Aromashodu languishing on the sideline game after game, I keep thinking about Brandon Lloyd and how our coaching staff never gave him another opportunity after he was injured during his lone season in Chicago. The “other Devin” is our only big target and Jay clearly has a connection with him. ”
“– Jim Gordon, Memphis, Tenn.”
“I’d like to see more of Aromashodu as well.”
As would I. I’ve heard this sentiment expressed by Bear fans over and over again. But if Aromashodu is going to play more he needs to perform on special teams as well. That means he has to block.
- Michael C. Wright at ESPNChicago.com explains that defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli‘s strength is as a teacher of the fundamentals of the game:
“Several players talk about Marinelli in meetings rehashing the same subjects over and over again, drilling them exhaustively to the point that most of those things morph to become second nature in game situations.
“The players also point to Marinelli’s motivational tactics — he puts together a video to pump up the defense before every game — and strict adherence to accountability in describing the coach’s worth.”
- Johnny Knox might not understand what’s behind the intensity of playoff football but veteran Tommie Harris certainly does:
- The experts at ESPN breakdown the Bear-Seahawks matchup:
- Rachel Nichols at ESPN implies that the Seahawks might be more than passingly worried about withstanding the cold temperatures at Soldier Field Sunday:
- And Lovie Smith explains a few things to Nichols as he talks about the Seahawks matchup:
- Here’s the video I was looking for yesterday of Ron Jaworski at ESPN expressing concern of the number of negative plays the Bears generate on offense:
- Asomugha, who is probably the premier free agent this off-season, talks about his future in this video. I’m thinking he might end up staying with the Raiders:
- Jaworski talks about who will come out on top between Antonio Cromartie and Tom Brady on the field:
- Todd McShay at ESPN goes through some overrated players entering the draft, including quarterback Ryan Mallett out of Arkansas:
- The ESPN experts break down today’s the Packers-Falcons matchup:
- and the Ravens-Steelers:
- Kevin Seifert, also at ESPN, points out this interesting statistic as we look at the Packer-Falcon matchup:
“Since 1990, the NFC’s top-seeded team is 18-2 in the division round. Yes, this season’s Week 12 game between the two teams was close, and the Packers are getting plenty of respect from Las Vegas. But if the Packers do pull off a victory, it will be only the third time in 21 years that a No. 1 seed has lost in the divisional round.”
One Final Thought
Though I’m still not convinced that Tommie Harris is all the way back to where he should be, there are a couple things that are undeniable. One, he is making the occasional play. And more importantly, as pointed out by Bears coach Lovie Smith through Vaughn McClure at the Chicago Tribune, he handled his demotion really well earlier in the season:
“‘He couldn’t have handled the situation any better,’ Smith said of Harris. ‘To have to go to another role when you’re a star like that … he did it. He’s come to work every day. And he’s earned his position back.'”