- Bears special teams assistant Chris Tabor has been hired as special teams coordinator for the Browns (via Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune).
- Mark Potash at the Chicago Sun-Times addresses a great point with Bears linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa:
“And how about the most overlooked, and disturbing, statistic of the game — the Packers rushed for 119 yards on their first 26 carries (4.6 yards per carry), with six rushes for 10 or more yards. How did that happen in the biggest game of the season?
‘’‘Great coaching,’ Bears linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa said. ‘When you’re familiar with an opponent, you know how to attack them after a while. They knew what we were going to do. We come downhill and play hard defensively. So when we were doing that they were throwing the ball over our heads.
‘‘’So then we’re like, ‘We can’t come downhill as fast because then they’re going to throw it over our heads.’ But then they were running it. That’s why I give credit to [Green Bay quarterback] Aaron Rodgers and the coaching because they knew us. They did a good job of attacking us and keeping us off-balance.'”
- Biggs makes this point as he discusses the players heading into free agency:
“They’re missing a third linebacker because Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs are the only players at the position still under contract with the exception of Hunter Hillenmeyer, who is on injured reserve and has an uncertain future given his history of concussions”
- By the way, I was wrong yesterday when I said Caleb Hanie would be an unrestricted free agent. He is restricted, again via Biggs. My apologies.
The Bears would be fools not to bring Hanie back – and not to give him more snaps in practice so that he’ll be better prepared for what he’s faced with. The Tribune‘s Vaughn McClure reports Bears general manager Jerry Angelo‘s thoughts:
“He showed poise. You want to look for that at the quarterback’s position. We know he’s got talent. He was thrown into the fire, literally. And I thought he did a good job and it was good to see. The only way you really evaluate a quarterback is to see him in the line of fire. So, his stock went up in our eyes, at least mine anyhow.”
- Dawn Rhodes at the Tribune reports that John Stone, a car salesman, was fired for refusing to remove his Packer’s tie Monday morning. He said he wore it to “honor his late grandmother”. Give me a break. The guys’ selling cars to Bear fans in a dealership that does promotions with the team. He’s a Packer fan and he wouldn’t remove the tie when his boss told him to. End of story.
- Biggs thinks the Bears have apparent need at wide receiver:
“Those who propped up Devin Hester as a No. 1 wide receiver before the season learned how off base they were. Johnny Knox would be a terrific complementary receiver. He’s not the guy a quarterbacks looks to on third-and-6 and says, ‘I’m throwing it to him and they’re not going to stop me.'”
Most Bear fans would agree, though where you put it on the priority list might be a bone of contention.
“The explanation the Bears used for their poor effort at Green Bay in Week 17, or one of the explanations anyway, was that [offensive coordinator Mike] Martz had maintained the same hot reads from the Week 3 game. The Packers were on to their adjustments quickly and it created problems for Cutler. So what’s the deal this time? It looked like Martz feared the zone blitzes from Dom Capers and the Bears were really put on the defensive. There were no answers by the Bears and tight end Greg Olsen was ignored until the fourth quarter. [Bears head coach Lovie] Smith‘s coaching decisions and the Cutler knee issue are going to dominate the headlines. But Martz was outclassed here and the Collins/Hanie thing is not a good way to go out following a season in which the offense ranked 30th.”
- Former Green Bay Packers offensive lineman Greg Koch went on KLIT radio in Houston and said this about Bears quarterback Jay Cutler after watching him leave the Packers game with a knee injury:
“I just never thought that his tampon would fall out on national TV. … To sit on the sideline and ride a bike like a little girl?”
- The Sports Pickle has obtained the transcript of Cutler’s visit to the doctor.
- Mike Florio at profootballtalk.com says that the Bears PR department should take a hit over the Cutler fiasco. I have further Cutler thoughts below. (Sorry.)
- Charles Tillman provides some interesting comments in this video shot by Fred Mitchell at the Chicago Tribune:
- Biggs and Tribune columnist David Haugh discuss what’s ahead in the offseason for the Bears:
- Rogers’s shoulder is “sore” after taking some hits in the Bear game.
- Via Gregg Rosenthal at profootballtalk.com we read that linebacker Nick Barnett and tight end Jermichael Finley have been tweeting and they are not happy that they won’t be allowed to be part of the official Super Bowl team photo.
“’It’s kinda sad to think .. Just goes you injured yourself you not part,’ Barnett wrote.
“’We got hurt playing for the team. Its not like we got injury bs’in around,’ Finley wrote. ‘And its a team rule! Shame . . . I never trip abt anything, but the way IR players are getting treated not cool… I guess its what have u done for me lately!’”
- Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy will mimic former Green Bay coach Mike Holmgren as he prepares his team for the Super Bowl (via Rob Demovsky at the Green Bay Press Gazette):
“Holmgren learned from former San Francisco 49ers coach Bill Walsh that one of the keys to Super Bowl success was to prepare for the game at home because it’s easier to get work done there than the Super Bowl site.
“So McCarthy, like Holmgren did during the Packers’ consecutive Super Bowl appearances in the 1990s, gave his players Monday and Tuesday to take care of any and all arrangements for tickets and accommodations for family members, and then he planned to get to work on the Steelers.”
“’When we get on the plane Monday, we’ll be ready to play the game,’ McCarthy said. ‘This will be a normal week for us.’”
- Detroit Lions linebacker Zack Follett referred to quarterback Matthew Stafford as a “china doll” during a radio interview in Fresno, Calif. Seemingly like everyone else in the NFL world, he was also critical of Cutler saying amongst other things that “kind of just knew that they were going to lose, hung his hat up and said, ‘All right, maybe next season.'” ESPN’s NFC North blogger Kevin Seifert comments:
“I’m guessing most Lions players know Follett and understand his uniquely wired brain. So ultimately, Follett’s comments about Cutler could have more staying power.”
“It’s one thing for an AFC player who might never face Cutler or the Bears to take a shot. But Cunningham and the Lions play the Bears twice a year. I’m guessing these series of comments will rise to the top of the motivational file the Bears are almost certainly keeping right now.”
Follett explains his comments in this video by blaming Satan. (I’m not kidding.)
- Chad Ochocinco talks about his issues with the Bengals as well as those of quarterback Carson Palmer. Amongst other things he says he needs to “fight” with coach Marvin Lewis and that he’s changing his name back to “Johnson”:
- These kinds of things never happen in football. Good for the players but not nearly as much fun for the fans. Via The Sports Pickle:
One Final Thought
[Sigh] More Jay Cutler talk. I promise it will end soon. This round comes from Steve Rosenbloom at the Chicago Tribune:
“So, NFL players ripped Cutler. That’s what happens when a bunch of big goofs have more Twitter accounts than playoff games. That’s also what happens when a bunch of big goofs are Neanderthal stupid.”
“But the point is, Cutler doesn’t care about his image, so why should you?”
It will come as no surprise to anyone who reads this blog regularly that I think Rosenbloom is off point here. As a Bears fan I can say that his image amongst other fans and media, that I don’t care as much about. But these comments didn’t come from the media and they didn’t come from fans. They came from his peers. I can’t believe its just dislike – plenty of them dislike each other but they wouldn’t do this.
I think what we have here is a total lack of respect. I was watching Trent Dilfer comment and I think he bottom lined it. Cutler is seen as a guy who doesn’t do the hard things he needs to do to take full advantage of his physical ability, over come adversity and be a great quarterback. He lost at Vanderbilt. He lost in Denver. When things got tough there with Josh McDaniels, he bailed.
“A former quarterback who wears a Super Bowl ring, who has studied Cutler’s entire career in the NFL, told me before he left the field Sunday, ‘The sad thing is that if he embraced working on the monotonous details of quarterbacking he could be great.'”
That’s the bottom line. I’ve been trying to make the case for years that this is more than a minor problem because the way Cutler handles his life off the football field (e.g. with the media) is an indication of how he’s handling it as a part of football. It all came to a head Sunday when his peers- not me or you – couldn’t wait to jump on him.
Total lack of respect amongst his peers. As a Bears fan that is bugs me a great deal because I think its an indication of what kind of QB Cutler is and what kind he’s likely to become.