Ron Rivera Get the Ultimate Revenge Against the Bears

The Bears may have former Bear Ron Rivera to thank for their playoff loss.  Think I’m stretching it?  Read on, McDuff.

Neil Hayes at the Chicago Sun-Times answers you questions:

“Q: Why was Todd Collins the No. 2 quarterback. Sean [Jensen] gave me a “he has experience” answer back when I originally asked the question so if you can give me an answer without using the “e word” I would be most appreciative. — Mike

A. I don’t know if I can. This was Mike Martz’s decision. The offensive coordinator has always preferred a veteran backup. Based on his comments made during the offseason and in training camp, I don’t know if he ever trusted [Bears quarterback Caleb] Hanie, who hasn’t always been the most accurate passer, which is something Martz covets. I have been told that Collins was the more consistent in practice. For whatever reason, what was obvious to everybody after watching the Collins throw four picks against the Carolina Panthers wasn’t obvious to Martz, who stubbornly stuck with Collins. I do know the competition was close enough that the staff was considering moving Hanie back to No. 2 late in the season and only gave Collins two possessions before putting Hanie in versus Packers.”

Yes, but those two possessions were critical.  Many have made the argument that had Hanie been the second string quarterback, the Bears might have gotten another score and tied or even won the game.

Its not that surprising that Collins underperformed.  He is a veteran but he was retired and was signed in desperation.  That need was made acute in part when Hanie was injured in the first preseason game against the San Diego Chargers and then defensive coordinator Rivera.  San Diego blitzed continually against all convention in such a game and it was obvious that Rivera did it because he was still upset by the way he was let go by Bears head coach Lovie Smith when he was here.

Setting aside the obvious – that this was a misevaluation of the veteran Collins, there are a couple curious things about this situation.

First, I’m going to ask a question that maybe is anathema to Hanie-mania Bear fans.  Is Hanie really a number 2 quarterback?  Logically, just because Collins was misevaluated, that doesn’t mean that Hanie wasn’t, too.  Yes, he moved the offense late in the third and in the fourth quarter.  But he also threw two interceptions.  It was evident even to the fans watching on television that Hanie was dejected over his performance.  He, at least expected more.

Though I’m willing to chalk up the negative aspects of Hanie’s game to lack of practice with the offense, I’m also not willing to necessarily assume he’ll is or should be the back up next year.

Speaking of the practices, the other question I have about this response regards them.  Hayes states that “the competition was close enough that the staff was considering moving Hanie back to No. 2 late in the season”.  What competition?  I was told that Hanie hadn’t taken a snap in practice since the bye week.  If it was simply chucking the ball around in drills, its no wonder that Hanie didn’t move ahead of Collins.  There was nothing to judge him by after he got hurt in the preseason.

And there’s the irony.  In a season where the Bears were so extremely healthy, it is possible that it was the third string quarterback’s preseason injury in the August that doomed them in January.  Thank you, Ron Rivera.

Key Obama Aid Betrays Country and Other Points of View


  • Neil Hayes at the Chicago Sun-Times answers your questions.  This dead on response came to a fan who wanted offensive coordinator Mike Martz to be fired.   Here’s part of it:

“The other key is continuity. I can’t stress this enough. Talk to quarterbacks who have had multiple offensive coordinators and they will tell you how much of a disadvantage it is. At this point of his career, Cutler needs to continue to learn and mature in one offense rather than switching to another.”

“Hell no I’m not rooting for the Packers in the Super Bowl. I have a ton of respect for that organization and the head coach, but I don’t want them to win the Super Bowl. They’re in our division, I want them to lose.”

Couldn’t agree more.

Summary: The Bears nailed one of the top sleepers in the whole draft, when seventh-round pick J’Marcus Webb was thrown into action and performed pretty well. Suddenly, a draft that didn’t see any picks until No. 75 overall (Major Wright) found some decent value. Corey Wootton also looks like a keeper as a defensive end out of Northwestern. The Bears saw value in him as a local guy who wasn’t at 100 percent during his final season in Evanston, and it should pan out for them. There wasn’t major impact, but given where they were forced to pick, Chicago did well.

Draft grade: B | Current Grade: B

  • Don Banks at has released the first of many mock drafts he will put together in the coming weeks.  He has the Bears taking Derek Sherrod, an offensive tackle out of Mississippi State:

“The Bears have decent options when their turn comes around. They can get help for the offensive line that caused them so many headaches, particularly early in the season, or address their needs at either defensive tackle, receiver or cornerback. Sherrod is the highest-rated remaining tackle, but Texas cornerback Aaron Williams and LSU defensive tackle Drake Nevis would also make sense.”

  • NFL Live’s Trey Wingo, Tom Jackson, and Trent Dilfer at ESPN give the Bears their season report card:

  • This fan has obviously recovered from the loss:

  • Barak Obama‘s special assistant and personal aide Reggie Love has betrayed his country:


  • James Walsh at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports the facts behind former Bear and current Vikings wide receiver Bernard Berrian‘s law suit against a California couple who found his Blackberry.  The couple say they were “negotiating a reward”.  Berrian’s lawyers and apparently the FBI have called it “extortion”.  I would simply call it “unethical” regardless of what the law says.
  • Guard Logan Mankins told Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald that its highly unlikely that he will be back with the Patriots unless they use the franchise tag on him.  He will be the best guard available to the Bears in free agency.
  • Ray Lewis comments upon the honor of playing in the Pro Bowl as players around the league, including the Bears’ Brian Urlacher, back out due to “injury”:

“When you look at a guy like Peyton [Manning], when you look at a guy like Tony Gonzales, they appreciate it.  When you get over, there’s a certain brotherhood. The guys you went to war against, now you come here and it’s all about family and sharing and understanding.”

  • The NFL players union says the average number of injuries has risen during the 2010 season.
  • ESPN‘s Outside the Lines reveals the results of a scientific study, that for the first time reveals the level of prescription painkiller use and misuse by retired NFL players.

  • Scouts Inc. ranks every single player on both Super Bowl rosters for ESPN.
  • It seems that green Bay nose tackle B.J. Raji has taught the world a new dance.  This new step was inspired by his now famous belly dance in the end zone:

One Final Thought

Rachel Cohen writes about the NFL’s soaring television ratings for the Associated Press.  Fox Sports chairman David Hill had this to say about a work stoppage:

“With the sport reaching heights that Pete Rozelle would never dreamed of, we want to keep it that way.  We know what happens to sports after a strike or a lockout; people turn away and it takes a while for them to come back.  It would be a great tragedy if both sides weren’t able to reach an agreement.”

In the case of baseball, some of us never went back.  And the game has never been the same.

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Packers-Steelers Couldn’t Be Simpler

Sam Farmer, writing for the Chicago Tribune, previews the Steelers-Packers game by pointing out the keys for Pittsburgh.  Unlike the complex issues involved in the Packers-Bears game last week, this one couldn’t be simpler.  Green Bay’s run defense against Pittsburgh’s run-oriented offense:

“If the Packers are poised to stop the run in a 3-4 formation — as opposed to bracing for the pass with a 2-4-5 — the Steelers will look to throw.”

Though this is a good point, I’m going to disagree.

Certainly the key for the Steelers is to run and hold the ball, keeping Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rogers off the field and wearing the defense down at the same time.

But unlike Farmer, I think the Steelers are going to be able to run on Green Bay in that 3-4.  And I think Green Bay knows it.  Look for them to put at least 8 in the box and play a four man line.  They did this a few times against the Bears and I think we’ll see it a lot more next week.