- The Bears exepct the Raiders to do a great deal of blitzing against the inexperienced Caleb Hanie. According to Sean Jensen at the Chicago Sun-Times, they’re pretty good at it:
“The Oakland Raiders’ defense doesn’t distinguish itself in many statistical categories. It’s ranked 24th overall, 25th against the run and 20th against the pass.
“But the Raiders are tied for sixth in the NFL with 28 sacks and feature one of the faster defenses in the league.”
- Bears runningback Matt Forte had an interesting take on what needs to be done against the Raiders, who will undoubtedly be expecting a heavy dose of the running game. Via Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune:
“‘It always has been on my shoulders,’ said Forte, who rushed for more than 100 yards in four of five games before his recent slump. ‘I don’t think it’s anything new. I just want to continue to be successful and get some more passes out of the backfield. Then they can’t stack the box and we can get the ball out in space.'”
- Former Bill coach Marv Levy is writing a book. Via Biggs.
“The protagonist in the book is a legendary sportswriter who uncovered that his home town team’s coach has orchestrated a massive cheating plan to get his team to win the Super Bowl. Well, can he divulge it? Will it fly? Is his evidence right? Will he be sued for libel? And he agonizes over it.
I’m thinking of written a book, too. Its about a legendary writer who
blogs in his underwear from his mom’s basement investigates a huge cheerleading scandal. Really, really huge. Like Kelley Brook huge. He’s very dedicated that way.
- Biggs also quotes Corey Graham on his Pro Bowl chances:
Right now, Graham ranks fourth in fan voting for the Pro Bowl, causing him to wonder what happened to the Chicago machine.
“They always talk about Chicago is one of the biggest markets but we can’t tell. They ain’t voting for me,” he said. “I have to give them something to vote for. If I go out and make a lot of plays, more people will vote.”
I’m ashamed to say that until I read this quote I had not voted. I did with a ballot at nfl.com. Other notable Bears to con side include Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, Charles Tillman, Julius Peppers, Jay Cutler, and Matt Forte. I also voted for a few more who were, let’s just day, questionable choices for people voting without a Bear bias.
- Again, from Biggs, the Bears apparently didn’t want to comment much on the personal foul which Ndamukong Suh committed during the Lions Thanksgiving game:
“It was a hot topic around the league Friday although the Bears didn’t want to share any strong opinions, less than two weeks after Suh ripped the helmet off quarterback Jay Cutler and avoided discipline.”
“When the play was described to Smith, he shrugged.
“‘Oh really,’ he said. ‘Oh man, I’m sure the league will have something to say about that.’
“A reporter then piped up that’s not always the case with Suh.
“‘Next question,’ Smith responded.”
- Vaughn McClure at the Chicago Tribune writes a very good profile of offensive line coach Mike Tice. This section stood out:
“If Tice has any regrets about his assistant coach experience, it was his being denied the chance to interview for the Titans offensive coordinator position in the offseason.
“‘You’re always disappointed when you don’t have a chance to better yourself, professionally, and that’s what the interview process is all about,’ he said. “I wanted to do that interview.'”
And I continue to believe that the right thing to do for the Bears would have been to allow it.
- With the Bears Jay Cutler injured, special teams will have to continue to be strong for the Bears. On that note, every Bear fan can give thanks on this day for arrogance and overconfidence. Again, via Biggs.
- I’m not always Roy Williams‘ biggest fan. But he certainly is quick with a quote. McClure gets him here on new Bears quarterback Josh McCown, who played with Williams on the Lions:
“Shoot, the most athletic white boy I’ve ever seen in my life.
- David Haugh at the Chicago Tribune writes a nice article on the things every back up quarterback thrown into the starting role needs to know:
“‘That’s a subtlety a good head coach will manage well,’ [Jim McMahon backup Steve] Fuller recalled over the phone. ‘They didn’t drastically alter the whole system to make me feel like, ‘Oh, God, they’re frightened I’m in there.’ You strike a balance between putting in wrinkles versus completely scaring the crap out of the guy by putting in stuff completely different that would be panicking.'”
- McClure has this surprising quote from defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli:
“We didn’t blitz much last week, and that could help. There are little things we will have to improve, and we will. The pass rush, it just hasn’t been consistent. You just keep working at it”
I thought the Bears did blitz a lot last week. The problem is that the ball was coming out so fast there was no chance to get to Philip Rivers. If they’re planning on blitzing even more this could be an interesting game.
- Mike Tanier at The New York Times comments on the Bears situation:
“Jay Cutler has taken some criticism for not playing through injuries in the past, which is why he should consider wearing a protective walking boot on his thumb.”
- The boys at Kissing Suzy Kolber have pin pointed the exact moment that Cutler got injured:
Apparently they don’t think much of the Bears chances with Hanie at quarterback:
- Can someone please tell me what the NFLPA’s problem is? Are you telling me they couldn’t run this by the NFL first to make sure there won’t be any problem? Via Mike Florio at profootballtalk.com.
- Florio also concludes that the Indianapolis Colts have stopped making any effort to win, drawn from their failure to put in a waiver claim for Kyle Orton. It’s an excellent point.
- ESPN‘s NFC North blogger Kevin Seifert questions Lions running back Jahvid Best‘s future in football.
- We have a report from The Onion that the Carolina Panthers had to call a timeout “so they could try to figure out what their fans meant by ‘Go!'”When asked about it Jay Cutler said that he was sure the real reason was because the fans didn’t get the chant in on time.
- Tanier on the state of the Eagles:
“Our current national delusion is the belief that a quarterback whose team scores 17 points (7 as the result of defensive or special teams play) against a New York opponent, but who leads a grinding fourth-quarter game-winning drive, has done something truly exceptional. So there’s a (yawn) quarterback controversy brewing in Philadelphia, the City of Backup Quarterback-ly Love. If Michael Vick (ribs) is healthy, he will start over Vince Young, though locals are clamoring for Young, whose three early-game interceptions were apparently not signs of ineptitude but his flair for the dramatic. Meanwhile, DeSean Jackson’s self-promoting behavior has become so erratic and counterproductive that he is one step from renaming the rest of his season the Torpedo of Touchdowns Tour.”
- Omar Kelly at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel thinks the Dolphins should be dating Matt Moore rather than Chad Henne. I’ll say this. Having watched their loss to the Cowboys Thursday, Moore looks like a pretty hot date to me. He was impressive with his accuracy.
- Toni Monkovic at The New York Times laments the possible end of the Rex Ryan era even as he indirectly endorses the Lovie Smith style of dealing with the media:
“The Rex Ryan Experience has always had a risky side. If promises aren’t delivered, words become hollow and credibility suffers. It doesn’t seem to be an act for the long term. When Ryan is gone, sports journalists may miss him most. Dullness is an enemy, particularly on deadline. Fans around New York would miss him, too — if not at first, eventually. But they would never see another like him. You can’t re-create a football coach with his bluster, joy and joshing.”
- Finally, we have this New York Giants related message, also compliments of Tanier:
“Dear Steve Weatherford,
“It has come to my attention that you sometimes punt the football straight into the arms of the league’s most dangerous return men, forcing me to constrict and temporarily hinder blood flow to the brain. This week, you will be facing Darren Sproles, who has five total return touchdowns in his career. Please be advised that if he scores a touchdown as a direct result of one of your punts, I will shut down, then leap through the esophagus to strangle you, leaving you breathless and unemployed faster than you can say ‘Matt Dodge.’
“Tom Coughlin’s Pulmonary Artery.”
- The Sports Pickle gives us visual evidence that Ndamukong Suh might be a dirty player:
One Final Thought
“This all comes back to Schwartz. He has done much to turn the Lions around, starting with the excitement of a 5-0 start. However, in the moments after Detroit’s first loss on Oct. 16 against San Francisco at home, Schwartz also lost his cool. After a bad exchange with counterpart Jim Harbaugh, Schwartz lost control and chased Harbaugh down the field.
“In some respects, it was comical. At the same time, it probably warranted a fine. Now, weeks later, the Lions are playing like a team that doesn’t know how to handle tough situations. What a shocker. Players take their cues from the people in charge.”
The whole article is worth a read.
The “Lions organization” has released a statement condemning Suh’s actions. But as Michael David Smith at profootballtalk.com points out no one really knows who that means. Specifically, its notable that two days after the incident other than a weak “I haven’t seen the replay but we can’t afford the penalty” we’ve heard nothing from Schwartz, whose constant and vehement defense of Suh over the course of the season in the face of such dirty play enabled the behavior to the point that Thursday’s incident was inevitable. If Schwartz doesn’t come out and strongly put his foot down on Suh this time, the statement from the “organization” will be virtually meaningless.