- Steve Rosenbloom at the Chicago Tribune:
“’As you go back to the preseason,’ Lovie Smith said, “no one really saw us being in this position.’ Raising my hand.”
- Rosenbloom has a message for Bear fans:
“When. The. Bears. Have. The. Ball. Shut. The. Hell. Up. Already.”
- Jim Cornelison from the Chicago Blackhawks games will be doing an encore this week. Here’s the video how it went down last Sunday.
This leaves hometown American Idol winner Lee DeWyze to sing at halftime instead of the anthem (via Jeff Dickerson at ESPNChicago.com).
- Brian Urlacher decides to play front office executive by urging the Bears to give Lovie Smith an extension through Vaughn McClure at the Chicago Tribune:
“So we didn’t win a couple of years there. That’s not Lovie’s fault. It wasn’t because we weren’t coached well or weren’t prepared. And this is a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately league, so, yes, I think Lovie should get an extension now.”
So whose fault is it?
Step carefully, Brian. Perhaps you should stick to talking about the Packers.
- Though I’ve addressed it before, Mark Potash at the Chicago Sun-Times asks once again the question that which he has hit upon before and which the few anti-Smith fans that are left usually emphasize when it comes to the question of an extension:
“At the same time, we know the Bears can do better. Would the Bears be playing for a playoff berth today if they had had the injuries the Packers’ have dealt with this season?”
- Potash went through the 10 moves that he thinks made the Bears into contenders this year. This one caught my eye:
“A small, but not insignificant part of the improvement of the Bears running game is Greg Olsen’s improved blocking. The Bears always insisted Olsen was a true tight end when it was pretty clear that his ineffective blocking made him a wide receiver playing tight end. Tight ends coach Mike DeBord gets credit for improving Olsen’s blocking to passable for an NFL tight end.”
Olsen’s blocking has improved and it was down right good against Seattle. But I don’t think one good game makes it “passable”. I don’t think he’s ever going to be a good blocking tight end.
- Dan Pompei at the Chicago Tribune puts his finger on the problem that the Bears have with defensive tackle Tommie Harris, who they may have to pay as much as $5 million next season if they don’t cut him. Harris did well against the Seahawks last week:
“And it would be foolish to make a multi-million dollar decision based on one game. But if he plays against the Packers the way he did against the Seahawks, hold everything.
“What needs to be defined is what Harris is, and why he is what he is. Is Harris the player you don’t notice because he is getting blocked or is he the player you can’t see because his feet are quicker than the eye?”
- Sean Jensen at the Chicago Sun-Times considers whether Bears coach Mike Tice will be hired away in the offseason. Some might be tempted to make Tice a coordinator but Brian Billick doesn’t think that’s as likely:
“’There’s no question Mike could be a coordinator, if he wanted to,’ Billick said. ‘But he should be thought of as a head coaching candidate going forward.’”
I would agree. Tice strikes me as a leader but I’m not sure how he’d do calling plays.
- Someone associated with the Bears must like quarterback Matt Gutierrez. Michael C. Wright at ESPNChicago.com reports that the Bears have signed him once again to a contract.
- Phil Rosenthal at the Chicago Tribune talks about the fact that the Bears aren’t cashing in on their success with endorsements:
“ESPN.com columnist Rick Reilly took [Jay] Cutler to task last week for not working hard enough to be, in his view, likable.
“‘Cutler could own Chicago if he wanted … (and) have his name on half the billboards,’ Reilly wrote, connecting dots to produce a portrait of a sullen brat who dates a former MTV reality star rather than the strong, silent type others might see in Cutler, especially if he manages to actually win a Super Bowl.
“‘Mr. Reilly wasn’t very happy with me,’ [Cutler] said, grinning slightly after last weekend’s divisional playoff victory. ‘There are a lot of distractions, especially the situation we’re in now. We’ve just got to focus in and do our jobs.’
“There’s plenty of time to pose for billboards and tape commercials later.”
Yes, but Cutler won’t be doing any of that. Because its not important to him and simply he doesn’t want to do it. And, as is evident particularly when he deals with the media, Cutler doesn’t do things he doesn’t want to do.
“’The first couple times we went up there, it was easy to be impressed, especially if you were a young coach. There was all this history and tradition, Vince Lombardi and all that,’ Ryan said. ‘But after they rubbed it in a few times, it gets under your skin.
“’So, yeah,’ he added, ‘there were some games when we were more interested in making points than scoring them.’”
- Pete Dougherty at the Green Bay Press Gazette asks a key question:
“The question for the NFC championship game this week is whether Smith’s game plan Sunday will be more like the teams’ first meeting in Week 3, when he sat back in Cover-2 zones and gave up big yardage but kept the Packers from putting up many points in a 20-17 win at Soldier Field. Or will he play it more like the regular-season finale three weeks ago, when in the Packers’ 10-3 win Smith played mostly with a single safety deep and, very un-Cover-2-like, used extensive man-to-man coverage that included pressing receivers at the line of scrimmage?”
I’d say both.
- Rob Demovsky at the Green Bay Press Gazette got this interesting comment about the last regular season game when the Bears played the Packers:
“At least one player on the Packers’ side questioned whether the Bears really did go all out in the season finale. To injured running back Ryan Grant, from his perspective on the sideline, something seemed amiss that afternoon.
“’Honestly, it didn’t look like necessarily that they might have been giving it their all,’ Grant said. ‘But who knows? This is a different atmosphere. They’re going to want this game.’”
I don’t know about the coaching staff but if the Bears players were giving all out effort during that game they sure had me fooled.
- Most of us took note when it was announced that Terry McCauly, the referee when the Packers got called for 18 penalties in Week 3, would be officating this game. But Demovsky makes a key point:
“But it won’t be the exact same officials. During the regular season, the referee works with the same crew. But at this point in the playoffs, the NFL compiles what it believes to be the best officials at each position.”
- Tim Hasselbeck at ESPN thinks the Bears are overrated:
- ESPN’s Ted Bruschi thinks the Bears defense will stop Aaron Rogers:
- ESPN’s experts this Heinz Field is worse than Soldier Field. Warning, Skip Bayless is in this video. Be prepared to scoff:
- They also debate which defense is better. I note that there are no debates about which is the better offense.
- Mel Kiper has completed his first mock draft for ESPN. Here’s the relevant video for Bears fans. The sharp fan will note that Kiper has the Bears picking THIRTY-FIRST:
- Demovsky avoids autograph seekers. At least he didn’t blow by a cancer patient:
- Green Bay center Josh Sitton talks about the problems that come with preparing to play an opponent for the third time this season:
- Here’s a little lesson in etiquette for those Packer fans who plan to attend the game at Soldier Field:
- Mike Singletary is now the Vikings linebackers coach.
- And Bill Musgrave is now their offensive coordinator via Jeremy Fowler at the Pioneer Press.
- Someone finally hired Josh McDaniels. If you can’t guess which team I’ll give you a hint. The story is from Jim Thomas at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
- ESPN’s John Clayton reports that the Seattle Seahawks will be interviewing Viking offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell for their quarterbacks coach job. With the firing of Jeremy Bates I think its fair to consider whether the Seahawks don’t actually have him in mind as an offensive coordinator.
- The Giants safeties made some comments about Rex Ryan and Tom Coughlin that Kenny Philips think were taken the wrong way. Pretty hard to look at that Antrel Rolle comment out of context, though:
- Hasselbeck thinks that the Jets became more conservative on defense as the season wore on and that has made them more unpredictable:
- Vince Young makes a vain attempt to convince the sporting world that he’s a grown up:
- Here are the Kiper picks that everyone who isn’t a freak like me cares about:
- The Onion has unearthed this interesting sports-related fact:
“According to a report released this week by the Association for Applied Sport Psychology, more than 86 percent of NFL wideouts became receivers as a way to compensate for the lack of things thrown at them during their childhood.”
- I think the Jets might have a bit of a problem here. From Adam Reisinger at The Sports Pickle:
“Pittsburgh police issued an arrest warrant today for Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes, who allegedly racked up nearly 200 felony charges that were accidentally misfiled during his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers.”
They’re also supplying Ben Roethlisberger with police women to have sex with. True story.
- Aaron Rogers apparently hasn’t learned his lesson. From D.J. Gallo at The Sports Pickle:
“Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers created a controversy today while shopping at a grocery store near his home. Witnesses say Rodgers purchased his groceries and left the store without once acknowledging a child in the store who will one day die.”
One Final Thought
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