A Lament for Fans Everywhere and Other Points of View


‘‘’Which of our younger players? Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, Julius Peppers,’ Smith said. ‘You’re talking about those .?.?. players? Or younger players?’’’

  • Despite Smiht’s hesitation, John Millin at CSNChicago.com points out that the Bears do have some youth at some key positions. I’d say its not great youth but I’ll acknowledge that they do have some to build on. On a related note, I’ll also do something I rarely do recently and compliment GM Jerry Angelo by saying that I didn’t think last years’ draft was a bad one.
  • On the other hand, I’m having a hard time disagreeing with Pat Boyle at CSNChicago.com:

“Angelo has had plenty of time and some success over the past decade plus with the Bears. Unfortunately, much like his roster, Angelo has too many holes in his game and he hasn’t been the difference making leader this franchise desperately needs.”

“The defensive line needs a growth spurt. The Bears head to Minnesota with 31 sacks and stand 27th in the league in sacks per pass play. They’ve had one or zero sacks in eight games.

“Peppers and tackle Henry Melton (seven) have more than half of the team’s sacks, magnifying the need for more production from others.”

  • The Bears are projected to have about $20 million dollars in cap space in 2012.  Almost $8 million of that will go to Matt Forte if the franchise him.  I’m still wondering why they sat on most of the cap space they had available in 2011.  It appears that much of it is going to go to waste.
  • Mullin also thinks the Bears will take care of Lance Briggs.
  • McClure writes about the Bears struggles at cornerback.  Everyone who reads this blog knows that I pushed hard for cornerback help last off season and will do so again this year.  But I’m also starting to wonder how safe the job of defensive backs coach Jon Hoke is.  They didn’t cover themselves in glory and one could argue that they should have done better in single coverage than they did, even given the miss match in talent.
  • Dan Pompei at the Chicago Tribune answers your questions. Though I agree with Pompei, I like the way this fan thinks outside the box:

“Am I the only person who thinks Craig Steltz plus 20 pounds could be a decent, if not very good, strong side LB? He can hit and play the run, but his coverage skills seem weak. With NFL training programs the weight gain is feasible but what about the position shift? — Dan; Jackson Hole, Wyo.

“As a strong side linebacker, Steltz always would be undersized. Even if you put 20 pounds on him — which you can’t assume you could do — he might struggle to keep it on. And it might slow him down to the point where he is no longer effective. Steltz is 6-1. That’s shorter than you’d like a strong side linebacker to be. I think he’s doing just fine at safety.”

“I like what I saw of McCown on Sunday, but I haven’t seen enough of him. I’ve seen enough to think I’d like to see him in camp next year competing with another player for the No. 2 spot. Remember, everyone evaluated Caleb Hanie off his one performance in the NFC championship game and thought he could be a fine No. 2. One game doesn’t tell you anything. Sometimes an entire camp and preseason doesn’t tell you enough. Usually, you don’t find out everything you need to know about a quarterback until he gets an extended playing opportunity in games that count.”

  • Which is why I mildly disagree with him here:

“We understand the Bears want to win the game. No one is suggesting they shouldn’t.

“But they should try to win with [Nathan] Enderle playing at least a good portion of the game.”

Pompei makes some good points and I wouldn’t object strongly to seeing Enderle get some time late in the game depending on the situation. But Enderle has plenty of time to develop. Remember, he didn’t have an off season to work with Mike Martz. Martz would probably like to have one with him before he threw him out there. And, bottom line, we know Enderle’s going to be on the roster next year. We don’t know about McCown. Both need to be evaluated but the need for McCown is more immediate.

“’I feel like I made plays when the opportunity came,’ Williams, 30, said Wednesday at Halas Hall. ‘Of course, everybody is going to bring up the negative, which is fine. But for the most part I think I made enough plays. I would be happy to re-sign, but if not, you know I will continue on elsewhere.’”

With the possible exception of Mike Martz, Williams is everyone’s favorite whipping boy. But I’m going to stick my neck out and say I agree with him. Williams habit of dropping the first or second ball thrown to him every day is intensely irritating. But he also made some good catches this year.  All you have to do is think back to the way that the Packers dominated Johnny Knox at the line of scrimmage last year to appreciate that Williams can at least use his size to help the Bears.

“After watching the success of New England’s Wes Welker, can the Bears useDevin Hester in a similar role?– Harry Tram, Chicago

“Yes they can, and they probably should. But Welker is a much better receiver than Hester and can catch a greater variety of passes. Hester has better speed. The two have similar short area quickness and elusiveness. Both cause matchup problems for defenses. And both are outstanding after the catch.”

  • Jay Cutler comments on ESPN Radio 1000 on whether Mike Martz should be retained, Via Seifert:

“‘I don’t want to learn a new offensive system, I know that,’ Cutler said. ‘I think we have a good thing going here. …

“‘We’re building something here,’ he added. ‘If you look at the offenses around the league that are really good — Green Bay, the Patriots, the Saints — there is consistency there. They’ve been in the same system. They’ve had the same offensive coordinator. They’ve had the same receivers, tight ends, guys around them that have grown up in the system.

“‘If you want to be an elite offense in this league, that’s what you have to do. You can’t keep shipping guys in and out. You can’t keep doing different offensive coordinators left and right. It’s hard on quarterbacks and it’s hard on everyone to learn that kind of stuff.'”

“Those at Halas Hall who find the offense a convenient dumping ground when things go south will have a hard time pinning this on a unit that dominated time of possession to keep the defense fresh.”

“Those at Halas Hall? Who are these “those at Halas Hall” that are undermining Martz? I think we know the answer.

Jerry Angelo is nothing short of a frustrated coach wanna be. I’m tired of hearing about this apparent in fighting between him and Smith over Martz. I’m going to tell you right now, and I think a lot of fans would agree, if it came to a choice between Smith and Angelo right now, Angelo would be the one to go.

For the good of the organization, Angelo needs to get his nose out of the coaches room and into the film room. As Smith’s frustrated responses to reporter’s questions about Martz this week indicate, this kind of stuff only creates bad feeling and works to destroy the coherence of an organization.

  • Pompei answers a fan who doesn’t seem to pleased with the coaching staff:

“Lately it seems all we can hope for is a close first half of the game before the opponent opens up and ultimately beats us in the second half. I realize our offense is a mess, but it sure seems the opponents make half time adjustments and we are challenged in that task. Over the years, I have noticed that half time adjustments aren’t Lovie’s strength. Am I way off base here? — Pat Cassidy

“I understand where you are coming from, but I actually think the Bears have gotten a lot better with in-game adjustments over the last couple of years. I think what you are seeing now in the third and fourth quarters is the Bears are just wearing down because they don’t have as many good players as the opponent. The Bears are losing games in part because they lost the war of attrition. On offense alone, they are without their quarterback, their best offensive player (Forte), the offensive lineman who was their best blocker as per Mike Tice (Gabe Carimi), another starting offensive lineman (Chris Williams), and their best wide receiver (Johnny Knox). The lack of depth has really shown up on special teams as well.”

I’ll buy this but it doesn’t explain the collapse of the defense in the second half of recent games. They’ve been reasonably healthy and the time of possession hasn’t been unbalanced. And its not like the opposing offenses have been extraordinarily healthy.

Something is off with the Bears defense. If it isn’t in game adjustments then we are left to occlude that they are losing mental intensity. We haven’t had to say it often over the last decade but they need to toughen up.


“(715): i was drinking at the bar last night with a guy with no bottom teeth, wearing zubas and a polka dotted hat. if that isn’t the definition of wisconsin, i dont know what is.”

  • Rafael Vila at the Cowboys Nation blog on America’s team:

“There is at least one organization which advises new hires that, ‘the minute you start thinking like a fan, you’re on your way to becoming one again.’  What does it say for us that the biggest ‘fan’ in the building this year was the owner?”

  • Charlie Casserly found out what the NFLPA has proposed to congress on HGH testing. Via Mike Florio at profootballtlak.com:

“First, under the NFLPA’s proposal there would be no in-season testing.  Second, only 10 percent of players would be tested in offseason.  Third, players could decline to be tested.
“Again, players could decline to be tested.
“One more time, players could decline to be tested.
“Fourth, players would receive 24 hours notice before testing.  Fifth, three positive tests would be required before discipline would be imposed.”

Let’s face it. Most of the league is on HGH and the NFLPA knows it. How DeMaurice Smith could have agreed in principal to testing is beyond me. Ultimately its about player health but the current players aren’t going to thank him. It’s going to ruin a lot of them.

One Final Thought

It was in 2001 after a particularly tough loss to the Bears when I found this cry from a Viking fan on the Internet.  Long time readers of my blog posts at various sites over the years know that I have made a tradition of reposting it during Viking week.

My admiration for this anonymous fan is almost as strong as my sympathy for anyone who is stuck rooting for what is traditionally one the most gutless teams in the NFL.  We all understand this pain but I think that, more than any other organization, the Vikings have probably made the least out of the most talent over the last twenty years.  But I will never be able to express that sentiment with the eloquence of this poet.  Enjoy.




As a bonus addition, I’ve added the radio call of the last Hail Mary pass in the Vikings’ (gutless and predictable) loss to the 3-12 Arizona Cardinals in the final game of 2003.  The loss (and the play) knocked the Vikings out of the playoffs.  Just listening will immediately warm any Bear fan’s heart.

Game Winning TD, Vikings-Cardinals, 2003

Game Comments: Bears at Packers 12/25/11


  1. The Packers started with seven in the box  against the run.  I think a lot of these teams want to just try to stop the Bears without bringing that extra guy down.  They don’t want to just give up too soon.   The Packers did resist and really didn’t start bringing that eight guy down and didn’t shoot the gaps regularly but when they did stop the Bears run, that’s what they did.
  2. And there’s no doubt the Bears did run the ball well.  The offensive line blocked well.  The tight ends blocked well.  Tyler Clutts blocked well.  Nice work.
  3. And the protection for quarterback Josh McCown wasn’t all that bad.  They did a nice job of picking up the blitz and when they didn’t, McCown sensed it, left the pocket and ran.
  4. Having said that, McCown never looked all that comfortable in the pocket to me.
  5. McCown’s accuracy wasn’t bad but it could have been better.  Its probable he’s still getting the timing down with the receivers but I don’t think that’s all of it.
  6. Kahlil Bell and Armando Allen both ran well and made yards on their own.  I thought Bell looked particularly good.  His only real gaff was fumbling the ball in the first half.  McCown recovered it but you’d think the one thing these guys would know to do is give the defense a chance and to under no circumstances turn the ball over.
  7. Roy Williams actually didn’t do too bad once he got his customary drop out of the way.  I wish there was a way to break him of that.
  8. Dane Sanzenbacher had a good game but eventually the Packers picked up on the fact that McCown was feeding him and started jumping his routes.
  9. Wow was there some bad Green Bay tackling out there.  This teams is going to have a hard time making the Super Bowl unless they clean up their fundamentals on defense.
  10. Down 17 points and McCown dunks the ball over the crossbar?  Bad form.


  1. The Bears went largely with single coverage most of this game which was, in terms of the X’s and O’s, the right way to play it.  It was, therefore, a re-enforcement of what I think we all know by now.  They can’t do this.  Their corners aren’t good enough.
  2. The Bears did try to blitz occasionally and put pressure on the Green Bay line, which was a bit banged up.  Green Bay picked it up well and they caught the Bears in the blitz a couple times for big gains with some good calls.
  3. Which emphasizes another problem.  The pressure on Aaron Rogers wasn’t there.  Many of the passes were coming out quick but when they weren’t, the Bears weren’t getting there.
  4. The Packers must really not be confident in their running game.  the Bears were inviting them to do it, playing seven in the box against running personnel and the Packers still threw the ball most of the time.
  5. Once again the Bears defense broke at crunch time and allowed a touch down in less than two minutes to end the half.  This has been a major problem for what is supposed to be a strength of the team.  They aren’t bowing up and stopping teams when they need to.
  6. Apparently if you want to score agains the Bears, you just isolate Zack Bowman in single coverage and throw at him.  I’ll be interested to hear what Lovie Smith has to say about this happening over and over again.  I’m not sure what, if any adjustments they could have made but that was way too easy.


  1. I was trying to watch the game amongst various and a sundry family members and there was far too much noise to hear the announcing team.  The Sunday Night crew usually does a good job.
  2. Is Chicago leading the league in interceptions thrown to pass rushers?  The interceptions obviously hurt.
  3. I thought Devin Hester called fair catch on a punt in the second quarter that he decided to run after catching the ball.
  4. If you’re going to pooch the ball on a kickoff into the empty space behind the hands team, make sure you practice it and can execute it.  That was pathetic.
  5. I can’t com pain about drops this game.  Except for Williams’ usual brain cramp they didn’t too too bad here.
  6. Too, too many penalties.  The defense was offsides.  There were false starts.  An legal shift?  There’s not excuse for this.
  7. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  You can’t succeed against the best teams in the modern NFL unless you have corners who can cover man-to-man.  Its too easy to set up mismatches against a zone.  To Lovie Smith and Rod Marinelli’s credit, I think they know this.  But that doesn’t help when you simply don’t have the talent to do it.  The Bears don’t.  Its another of the many, many needs the Bears have going into the offseason.

The Bottom Line on the Bears Problems and Other Points of View


“It is possible a veteran quarterback might have been able to prevent Barber from committing his illegal formation penalty by verbally communicating with him when he saw him lined up incorrectly. I’m not sure the quarterback could have done anything about Barber running too close to the sidelines.”

[Caleb] Hanie’s Passer rating on the seven drop-backs he was blitzed? 2.5. No, I did not miss a digit.

“During the Patriots-Redskins game, Tom Brady was caught cursing at his offensive coordinator on the sideline after an interception. This is no different, if worse, than what Cutler did a few weeks ago in the game against Minnesota. Just because Brady has better credentials than Cutler doesn’t justify it any more. I find it strange that you haven’t come out and questioned Brady’s leadership and/or respectability. — Shaun Canady; Victorville, Calif.

“I didn’t have to question what Brady did because Brady owned up to being wrong. He and offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien hugged it out on the sideline after the exchange. Then, Brady admitted to the media after the game that he was out of line. And he was.”

“There are a lot of ways the Bears can go with their first round pick, and it’s too early to zero in on needs because we don’t know what will happen in free agency in terms of additions and losses. As it stands now, you could see needs at receiver and cornerback, as you suggest, and linebacker, defensive line and offensive line. If all things are equal, I always lean towards going big. And I think the defense really needs a young player to build around. So put me down for a defensive end.”

The only thing I’d add is that the best available in the first round is almost always the way to go. And the Bears have enough needs (at the moment) that they can probably do that.

    1. guards/centers
    2. big wide receivers without top end speed.
    3. strong side linebackers.

All three could be argued to be Bears needs – depending on the definition of “without top end speed”: they don’t need a possession guy. None of them tends to be in demand in the first round but if there’s a really good one and the Bears are sitting at about #18, they might consider it. Otherwise these are spots to look for in rounds two and 3.

“The corners weren’t exactly playing against a group of all-star receivers, and they made a few significant mistakes.

Tim Jennings whiffed on a jam attempt of Ben Obomanu, then was run by for a 43-yard completion. He later got grabby with Golden Tate and gave up 16 yards on a pass-interference penalty.

“Earlier, Jennings had his arms around Tate after a catch and Charles Tillman came barreling in with his head down and arms at his side. He knocked off Jennings, allowing Tate to run an additional 18 yards.”

The Bears decided to go with a lot of single coverage against the Seahawks, not the current group’s strength. I agree that sometimes this kind of coverage is called for. But if they’re going to execute it, they need at least one corner who is better at it.

  • I’ve debated with many people about where the problem with the Bears really lies. I’m a Lovie Smith guy and I think the team has over achieved for well over a year before the current losing streak but there are a number of people out there who think its the coaching staff. Mike Mulligan at the Chicago Tribunesummarizes my answer:

“The Bears will start just eight of their draft picks Sunday night, including Brian Urlacher, who was selected before general manager Jerry Angelo joined the team.

“With Gabe Carimi and Chris Williams injured and out for the season, Urlacher is the only former first-round pick currently on the Bears roster that was drafted by the team.

“He was selected in 2000.”

Case closed.


  • Here’s another of those stories about out of control Packer fans after losses. In this case, an angry woman was arrested after trying to choke her daughter after the Packers lost to the Chiefs on Sunday.

I wouldn’t dare be dumb enough to suggest that this problem is limited to Packer fans. But I will say this. I’ve met a number of Packer fans and most are really nice. But many of the ones who have spent most of their lives in Wisconsin are a different breed. Playful banter isn’t something they engage in. Most give you a look like you insulted their mothers and I’ve basically stopped talking to them about football.

I love the Bears and follow them pretty religiously. I write a blog for heaven’s sake. But even I think some of these people need to get more of a life outside of football. Its a game not a world war.

  • Some might see some value to the Bears in this quote from the Audibles section at Pro Football Weekly:

“The reason Miami is winning right now is because they are healthier than everyone else. Give Bill Parcells credit — if there is one thing he understands, it is that you make the playoffs by what you do in November and December. He built a big team that plays big and they have weathered the storm. Outside of the quarterback, whom have they lost. When the rest of the league is rested, they will still have the same problems they did early.”

  • I’m not sure what this Audible means for the Matt Forte talks:

“You look at Buffalo’s decision to extend (QB Ryan) Fitzpatrick. It was kind of like buying a stock. His stock went through the roof, and Buffalo said — I am going to buy it. The next thing you know, the price cuts in half. What happens if the Bills start negotiating now — would they have paid what they did? You never negotiate when a guy has all the leverage.”

“If anyone thinks (Tim) Tebow is going to continue to win playing the way he has, they are nuts. You’ve got to be able to throw from the pocket to win in this league. Eventually, you have to make plays with your arm. I’m talking about making accurate throws with (defenders) covering. He has done a helluva job — they are running the ball, playing good defense and not screwing it up. Tebow is not turning it over at all — give him a lot of credit there. But he is going to have a hard time consistently winning if he cannot make throws in the pocket.”

The first thing that struck me about this comment was the parallel to Caleb Hanie and the question of how the Bears could have failed to realize this about him a long time ago. Its likely that offensive coordinator Mike Martz did. the second thing I’ll say is this: Tebow is making rapid progress. Long delivery aside, there’s nothing in my mind that says he won’t become a decent pocket passer with good coaching.

“Give (Chiefs GM) Scott Pioli credit — it’s Scott’s way. Whatever he does from here, whether he crashes or succeeds ­— it definitely is his way.”

“Bill Cowher is very smart and calculating. He knows what it takes to win. He’s not going somewhere just to take a paycheck like the Tuna (Bill Parcells) did in Miami. The worst thing that might have happened to Miami — they started winning games. They may not have a shot at a quarterback in the draft — and it’s going to make it more difficult to attract a (big-)name (head coach) capable of flipping it quickly.”

I admit that I haven’t seen him much. But from what I have seen of Matt Moore, they may already have the answer at quarterback in Miami.

  • Michael David Smith at profootballtalk.com highlights the fact that Juan Castillo isn’t looking like such a bad defensive coordinator in Philedelphia anymore.
  • Tom Pelissaro at 1500ESPN.com begins the process of scapegoating in Minnesota with some comments about Donovan McNabb that those who wanted him for the Bears might find interesting:

“For players familiar with Brett Favre’s precision and encyclopedic knowledge of Xs and Os, the contrast was stark. Coupled with some atrocious practice performances, questionable conditioning and a seemingly cavalier approach to correcting mistakes, McNabb had teammates wary even before he suited up for a regular-season game.”

Mike Florio at profootballtalk.com highlights this article and wonders if the coaching staff shouldn’t bear most of the blame. But I’m wondering when someone isn’t going to take a good hard look at Vice President of Player Personnel Rick Spielman.

  • Judy Batista at The New York Times writes a nice profile of Chief’s interim head coach Romeo Crennel. There’s strong sentiment around the league that he should succeed Todd Haley permanently. This excerpt reminds me of Lovie Smith:

“That Crennel is held in high regard by players should not be construed as his being soft as a coach. During halftime of the Chiefs’ game against Indianapolis this season — when the Chiefs had allowed the hapless Colts to score 24 points in the first two quarters and were trailing by a touchdown — Crennel lit into his defense, questioning the players’ professionalism and toughness. It left players, and even Haley, at a loss for words. But it is now viewed within the organization as a turning point in the season. The Chiefs shut out the Colts in the second half, shut out the Raiders in the next game and then beat the Chargers.”

  • These guys need to get a room. Via The Sports Pickle.
  • I’m guessing it had something to so with this. Via The Onion.
  • And The Sports Pickle also asks the question “Are the Packers still the favorite to win the Super Bowl?”. Here’s my choice:

“Maybe — they have serious problems on the offensive line and defense, but 50-50 Roger Goodell bans blocking and tackling by the playoffs, so they might be fine”

One Final Thought

Josh McCown begins the process of making excuses while denying he’s making excuses. Via Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune:

“Everybody expects you just to play well, and that’s the expectation for myself also.  If I keep looking back and saying, ‘I only got here six weeks ago,’ then it becomes an excuse and you leave an area for you not to play well because you’re leaving something to fall back on. I’m trying to refuse to do that and just say, ‘You have to play well. The team’s depending on you.'”

They’re screwed.

Quick Game Comments: Seahawks at Bears


  1. The Seahawks opened with seven in the box against run personnel. They did that a lot for most of the game.
  2. The Bears came out running Marion Barber into the line. Kahlil Bell followed on about the third series and then Barber was noticeably more effective after that. I’m wondering if the one-two-punch of two different types of runners didn’t making them both more effective (a la Cedric Benson and Thomas Jones in the Super Bowl year)
  3. Nice point from color man Tim Ryan about about how the blocking for Bell (largely zone) differs from the blocking for Barber (mostly man).
  4. I’m starting to wonder if we aren’t finding out why Jay Cutler wasn’t targeting Johnny Knox more. He’s a small receiver who spent a lot of time on the ground early (again) before leaving injured.
  5. Speaking of that, terrible looking injury to Knox. Scared the heck out of me.
  6. Caleb Hanie looked more accurate. I also liked what Hanie showed in terms of his mobility. He really bought a lot of time with it and to my eye, threw more accurately on the run.
  7. On a related note, nice half time adjustment by Seattle as they did what they could to keep Hanie from moving to his right. Its apparently that part of beating the Bears with Hanie is keeping him in the pocket.
  8. To my eye, Mike Martz did a good job of sticking with the run until the Bears fell too far behind and were forced to pass. Of course the game was over then anyway. There’s no way the Bears offensive line can protect under those conditions without max protect. There’s not enough talent for it.
  9. I still think Martz could do more with the play calling to help out against the rush with more delayed handoffs/draw plays or screen passes. Admittedly the few times they’ve runit, the Bears haven’t shown that they can run the screen very well since Hanie took over so that could be a big part of it.
  10. I thought the pass protection for Hanie was for the most part pretty miserable. Rushing yardage was occasionally hard to come by despite the fact that the Seahawks often weren’t stacking the box. Not a good game for the offensive line.
  11. Having said that, I was watching Lance Louis and he looked dominant at times in pass protection. Despite his flaws as a right tackle, I really do like his aggressiveness.
  12. Lest all of the blame fall on the offensive line, the other positions didn’t coever themselves in glory either. Some miserable blocking by the running backs.
  13. I thought Ryan was totally unfair to Martz when he started whaling on his scheme late in the game. There are plenty of teams who expect the receiver and the quarterback to adjust to the blitz at the line without audibles. I understand that not everyone is going to agree with that scheme. But it is legitimate and its not too much to ask for an offense to execute it.
  14. If Martz has a major fault its late in games when they’re behind that they call too many slowly developing plays, sending half the team out too many men on routes instead of using them for protection. Some teams can do that. The Bears with that offensive line can’t. They have to max protect under those conditions.
  15. Josh McCown threw his interception with authority.


  1. Unlike the Seahawks, the Bears come out with eight in the box against run personnel. They obviously identified Marshawn Lynch as the major threat. On the other hand they probaly remember how Tarvaris Jackson threw when he was with the Vikings.
  2. Nice stand on first and goal from the one yard line in the first quarter. Of course, it was ruined by a special teams penalty.
  3. It looked to me like the Bears were having a hard time getting pressure a good part of the time with their front four. It allowed Seattle to dissect their zone defensive coverages and move the ball. Blitzes were more effective.
  4. Its time to just say it. Julius Peppers just plain gets held on almost every play. Otherwise he just never get blocked at all.
  5. Jackson has a bad habit of holding the ball too long. He probably needed to be occasionally reminded by coaches to let go. The clock in his head isn’t any better with the Seahawks than it was with the Vikings.
  6. Having said that, Jackson does look more accurate than I’ve seen him in the past.
  7. The Bears are getting thin at safety without Major Wright and now Chris Conte.
  8. Long completion to Benjamin Obomanu in the third quarter led to a Seattle touchdown. It looked like Tim Jennings just totally blew the single coverage as Steltz was moving into the box and he had no safety help. I thought that Seattle tried to go at Jennings in the second half whenever they saw single safety.
  9. This brings up another point. I thought the Seahawks had too many big plays this game. Many of them came on Marshawn Lynch runs that went 15 or 20 yards. Those can’t happen.
  10. Nice game for Stephen Paea who ended up penetrating into the offensive backfield quite a bit.
  11. I’m tired of watching the Bears blow coverages at important times in ball games as teh Seahawks threw their touchdown to Michael Robinson to make it 31-14.
  12. The Bears defense looked tired in the second half of this game and there was no excuse for it. The time of possession was practically even when the Seahawks scored that touchdown.


  1. Ryan and Chris Myers did a good job. I’ve always liked Ryan. He does a good job of pointing out things I wouldn’t otherwise see.
  2. Ryan strongly implied that the Bears got out coached today. I saw nothing to indicate that he wasn’t right.
  3. Devin Hester looked indecisive most of the game taking returns. The Seattle kicking game stood out in limiting him. On a potentially related note, The Bears sent Earl Bennett out to return a Seattle punt near the end of the first half. The Bears probably thought Bennett had the more sure hands in that situation.
  4. Robbie Gould spent most of the game knocking kickoffs out of the end zone.
  5. Even one drop was too many in this game but I didn’t think the Bears receiers were too bad in this area otherwise.
  6. Unbelievable penalty on the Seahawks 22 yard field goal try in the firs quarter from Corey Graham. The Seahawks turned it into a touchdown.
  7. It looked to me like the official in the defensive backfield was letting both sides get away with a lot in coverage.
  8. Johnny Knox began early with a nice fumble of Caleb Hanie’s first decent pass to set the Seahawks up for their first score. Hanie’s poor decision to throw to Kellen Davis down the seam leading to an interception in the end zone in the first half hurt badly. On the other hand, Caleb Hanie was right on target to Red Bryant for his pick six in the third quarter. Couldn’t have been more accurate. The interceptions by Brandon Browner Richard Sherman were icing on the cake.
  9. What a play by Peppers, knocking the ball out of Jackson’s hand for a Idonije recovery for a touchdown near the end of the first quarter. Bad job by Jackson holding the ball too long in the end zone.
  10. Its no revelation to say that turnovers are what killed the Bears today when they couldn’t afford any errors. It was tough to watch this team literally throw contests away the last four games after watching them play so well for more than a year before that. The Bears met adversity in the form of a number of major injuries and went out with a whimper. But that’s what teams that don’t have what it takes do.

Top 10 Things You Can Do with 1000 pounds of Marijuana and Other Points of View


“I’ve never met an athlete who was more happy to be alive. ‘There’s no way you can always be as happy as you look,’ I would tell him.   And he would smile and say something about getting only one shot at life and making the most of it.  I always thought that was a great quality about Sam Hurd. But maybe not.”

I loved watching Hurd play special teams.  He was the kind of guy who jumped out on the screen as someone who was going with all out effort.  But sometimes players like that, while great on special teams, aren’t as appropriate for the offensive unit, where that kind of effort must be coupled with smart play.

Hurd isn’t some kind of master mind drug dealer.  He’s a guy who came to believe that money leads to success.  So he approached it just like he approaches football.  What’s the fastest way to make money?  “Drugs.”  What’s the fastest way to make a lot of money?  “Sell a lot of drugs.”  So he dove in with boundless enthusiasm and ambition and little else.  It’s a shame.  But looking back at it, maybe it’s not that surprising.

“Asked if Hurd’s shocking arrest will affect his own future, [Jerry] Angelo snapped at a reporter.

“‘Whistle Dixie,’ he said.”

“Barber declined to talk about the play with 1 minute, 55 seconds remaining in Denver when he bounced an inside run outside and went out of bounds to stop the clock for the Broncos, who were out of timeouts.

“‘I’m not trying to be disrespectful, but I just move on,’ Barber said. ‘Just bear with me.'”

Barber was interviewed by Larry Mayer, who works for the Bears owned website and Zack Zaidman who works the Bears game broadcasts (ie. the most Bear-freindly media members they could find). Zaidman told WSCR yesterday that the interview doesn’t tell the whole story. Barber isn’t dodging the questions. Apparently he has a real problem speaking to the media that sounds like it might be classified by some as pathological.

  • Dan Pompei at the Chicago Tribune writes an outstanding column that gives us all things to concentrate on in our disappointment over the Bears fall:

“Even good teams can’t win every game. But they always can learn.”

“With the moderate success of T.J. Yates in Houston, why not let Nathan Enderle play? It could not be any worse and at least you would know what you have. — David; Coral Springs, FL

“Because Nathan Enderle is not T.J. Yates. There is a reason [Caleb] Hanie was No. 2 on the depth chart and Enderle is No. 3. Throwing a quarterback on the field before he’s ready defeats the purpose of trying to develop him and can have negative short-term and long-term consequences. Maybe I could envision a scenario of allowing Enderle play if the Bears have no shot of making the playoffs in the final game of the season. Then it would be just like a preseason game. Otherwise, he needs to stay parked on the bench.”

“Don’t jump to any conclusions about Angelo retiring. But if Angelo were to leave the team, I think [Tim] Ruskell would by far be the leading candidate to replace him. I think the Bears would be looking to maintain some semblance of the program Angelo started. Coach Lovie Smith likely would remain, and would need someone he felt comfortable with. Ruskell is respected and liked throughout the league and at Halas Hall. As for his Seattle history that you refer to, I think it’s been portrayed inaccurately. Not everything he touched turned to gold, but Ruskell made a lot of solid moves in Seattle and presided over a team that made the playoffs three times in five years.”

I can only say in response that the Seattle media didn’t agree. They savaged Ruskell after he left. It appears that if things continue to go as they have over the last 10 years, we’re probably going to find out the right of it because Ruskell is clearly the next in line.


“I’ll just say that I think, as players, we would probably like to finish this thing out if we get a chance,” Rodgers said Wednesday of the team’s goals for the stretch run, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “And (have) a chance to maybe keep the Bears and the Lions out of the playoffs like the Bears tried to do to us last year.”

“According to two sources, a group of defensive backs raised concerns about Pagac’s play-calling — specifically, the timing and frequency of blitzes and man-coverage calls — within the first month of the season.

At times, some players simply refused to play the defenses called, yelling out their own coverages as they broke the huddle.”

  • Brain Stelter and Amy Chozick at The New York Times write about the stiff price we pay to watch the NFL on television. Here’s hoping those Internet alternatives they mention materialize soon. As someone who watches sports but very little else, something like being other types of shows on iTunes would be much more affordable. I’d love to get rid of cable.

One Final Thought

Given that its usually sold in “ounces” we’re pretty sure Sam Hurd wasn’t going to find enough people per week to sell his inventory to.  So here are some other possibilities for it:

10. Give it to a little pig for building material and then “Huff and puff and blow his house down”
9.  Burn it, pipe the smoke into Matt Forte‘s hyperbaric chamber and then resign him for a 7-Eleven burrito.
8. Spread it on Soldier Field on game day to cover up the mud.
7. Smoke a turkey with it and make everyone’s Christmas really merry.

6. Make the world’s biggest Christmas tree with it.

5. Pay the supplier with a check signed “Marion Barber” and make sure it bounces before game day.
4. Give it to Caleb Hanie as as a joke since drug tests are the only thing he can pass.
3. Bake it into Love Smith‘s pre-game brownies to settle him down a little on the side lines.
2. Distribute it to Soldier Field patrons and stage a historic re-enactment of the “Fog Bowl”.


1. Give Jay Cutler the “munchies” and laugh while he tries to find where you hid his insulin.

Game Comments: Bears at Broncos


  1. Daryl Johnston made the excellent point that the Bears needed to keep Tim Tebow from rolling to his left. They had only limited success.
  2. It was very evident that the Bears were determined to limit the run. Lots of guys near the line of scrimmage. Some man coverage with a deep safety.
  3. There were a lot of camera shots of Julius Peppers early that left me wondering if his knee wasn’t bothering him more than in previous weeks.
  4. I’m not entirely sure why the Bears didn’t have someone spying Tebow. He hurts you badly on the ground. Perhaps it was because they needed everyone in position to defend the option, including Brian Ulacher. Either he or Lance Briggs would have ordinarily drawn the duty. Johnston suggested late in the game that Craig Steltz may have been doing a little of it.
  5. I’ll say this. As good as he runs, Tebow does not throw the ball well consistently. He winds up like a top and he’s not accurate much of the time.
  6. As both Tony Siragusa and Johnston pointed out, the Bears defense just lost all aggressiveness as the first half wore on. The Bears would run a stunt or rush Tebow and he would run right by them. They were worried about their responsibilities on the option and about Willis McGahee. Too much thinking and not enough reacting. They did better in the second half but they still weren’t always as aggressive as usual.
  7. The Broncos offense is an interesting problem. The Bears basically were successful because of their speed to the ball. Without it, they would have been in some trouble.
  8. Give the Bears credit for playing with discipline, as well (penalties aside).
  9. I’m guessing the long Bears offensive drive in the third quarter was welcome not just because it resulted in a touchdown but because it gave the Bears defense a rest in the thin air.
  10. The Bears played very, very soft coverage in the fourth quarter. They had obviously watched the tape of how the Broncos were pulling off these miracles in previous games. The big play wan’t gong to happen.


  1. Caleb Hanie rolled out for his first pass. That was different.
  2. The Broncos weren’t stacking the box against the run early on first down against run personnel, apparently believing they could stop the Bears without doing so. Personally, I thought it was a mistake. There’s no reason not to try to pressure Hanie and make him beat you through the air.
  3. As you might expect, the Bears took the gift and got started running the ball.
  4. Good thing as Hanie was, once again, less than impressive. His accuracy was again suspect as even the screen passes were high (again).
  5. The Broncos were blitzing reasonably effectively on obvious passing downs, particularly second down. The offensive line was having a tough time with pass protection and Hanie didn’t help by holding the ball too long (again).
  6. The Bears played it conservative early, apparently choosing to rely on the defense. They didn’t go for it on fourth and one on the first possession and chose to run on 3rd and about 17 on the second. The tone was set.
  7. As you might expect, the Broncos eventually came to the realization that the Bears weren’t going to beat them through the air. They stacked the box and crowded the line in the second half, exactly like they should have from the beginning.
  8. To the Bears credit, they still ran the ball reasonably well. The line did a reasonable job of run blocking to my mind. It’s tough sledding when there’s zero fear of the pass.
  9. The wide receivers were also having a tough time but it looked to me like they was separation there on occasion. They weren’t awful. Hanie just wasn’t hitting them in the short windows they were open.
  10. As often as I’ve ridden Roy Williams for his drops, credit him with a great catch with 2:00 left in the third quarter on third down.
  11. Johnston once again made the excellent point in the third quarter that the Bears needed to keep using Kahlil Bell. He withdrew the comment later but I thought he was right. Bell’s more versatile and he’s a better receiver. Marion Barber did well (until the fourth quarter) but I think he’s more suited to the change of pace back role. Perhaps they should be splitting the carries more evenly.


  1. Kenny Albert, Johnston, Siragusa were just excellent. Johnston and Siragusa peppered the broadcast with good comments that the average fan like myself might not have otherwise picked up. It was a pleasure.
  2. Wonderful job blocking the field goal in the second quarter. Peppers blocked it but give the whole unit credit for getting a good deal of penetration.
  3. Robbie Gould could have hit that field goal at the end of the third quarter from a lot farther out than 57 yards. It wasn’t close.
  4. Punt coverage was outstanding.
  5. Hanie was, once again, not helped by his supporting cast as Devin Hester came out and dropped the first pass to him. The Bears were fortunate that the Broncos were even worse, dropping balls all over the field.
  6. Personal fouls on the Bears defense in the first half kept Broncos drives going early. You can’t take shots on quarterbacks high or low. Guys on defense have to play with control or the team will pay.
  7. The penalties weren’t limited to the defense. In a game like this one, every one was damaging and special teams and offense contributed their fair share. Lance Lewis had another poor game with some false starts, making me miss Gabe Carimi more than I thought I would at this point.
  8. Hester had a face mask at a bad time late in the third quarter. Can’t run the ball when you are putting yourself in those downs and distances.
  9. Wonderful interception on the sideline by Charles Tillman in the first quarter. Tebow held the ball too long once all game and the Steltz caused him to fumble the ball.
  10. The Bears almost stayed alive in the playoff race because of their defensive speed and discipline. But if you’re going to run the ball offensively and survive that way, then the mistakes have to go completely away. No penalties, no drops, no Barber brain cramps, no margin for error. It’s a tough way to live.

Charles Barkley Begs for Sanity and Other Points of View


“We’re an athletic defense … we have a pretty good front,” [Brian] Urlacher said. “We run to the football. Hopefully we get takeaways, which we haven’t done in the last couple of weeks. Just run to the football and do what we do.”

The Bears do have the kind of discipline it takes to stay in their gaps and stop this kind of offense when they’re playing well against the run – which they have not always done this year.  But the real problem is that plenty of teams have stopped the Broncos this year only to have them hang around and win at the end.  The defense has to lay a complete game and they are gong to need some offense to win.

“I want to make a personal plea to Lance Briggs, Brian Urlacher, Mr. [Julius] Peppers, please stop the madness,” Barkley said Friday on “The Waddle & Silvy Show” on ESPN 1000. “I’m just so tired … I like Tim Tebow. He seems like a good kid, and I wish him success, but I am Tebowed out. So this is my personal plea for you three guys, please stop this madness.”

  • Jeff Dickerson at ESPNChicago.com points out that the Broncos like to run out of a three receiver set. It will be interesting to see if the Bears choose to keep linebacker Nick Roach in the game in those situations instead of going to the nickel. The guess here is that they confident in their nickel backs stopping the run.
  • Dan Pompei at the Chicago Tribune makes the point that the Bears are less likely to pass to the running back with Matt Forte out. That’s true. But I was puzzled by the lack of a screen game against the Chiefs. I’m wondering if offensive coordinator Mike Martz has lost confidence in Caleb Hanie‘s ability to execute it after having one intercepted against the Oakland Raiders two weeks ago.
  • Pompei also points out that the Bears are being penalized a lot but that the penalties are even for and against the Bears. I never doubted whether there was a bias against the Bears but I do think the officiating has been especially bad this year. I’m starting to wonder if adding another official to the crew might not be a bad idea.
  • And Pompei also writes about the way to game plan against the Broncos:

“The best way to play [Tim Tebow] is with a zone defense so all eyes are on him. Eight in the box is recommended. Try to force him to throw to beat you. Gap discipline is important.”

  • Vaughn McClure at the Chicago Tribune writes an article about how safety Craig Steltz has to step up with Major Wright suffering a sprained shoulder. Meanwhile we’re all left to wonder what happened to Brandon Merriweather (again).
  • Pompei also points out that the upcoming draft will be a good one for defensive ends for The National Football Post. The Bears might be thinking in the direction of the defensive line (again). The Bears need another end even if you don’t account for the fact that none of the current defensive linemen has taken full advantage of the presence of Julius Peppers.
  • For those of you who enjoy these things:


  • The Browns are under fire for allegedly letting  quarterback Colt McCoy play with a concussion.  This may be one to keep an eye on.  It sounds like the team may be outright lying.
  • Lions head coach Jim Schwartz continues to enable Ndamukong Suh. Via ESPN‘s NFC North blogger Kevin Seifert:

“‘The fact that he was in a fender-bender?’ Schwartz said. ‘How guys drive and things like that … let’s worry about him on the field. Ndamukong is a hard-working guy and he hasn’t had any kind of issues with the law, including this one. Let’s worry about him on the field and get him back playing well. He’s under a microscope, but that’s too much of a microscope.”

Here’s the description of the “fender bender”:

“‘When the light turned green, he floored it,’ one of the passengers told KGW-TV. ‘I just remember going so fast and it was violent, and just getting thrown around like rag dolls.'”

Suh eventually hit a tree.  Afterwards he told one passenger who requested medical attention that “she was fine”. She left and walked down the street to get her husband to take her to the hospital.

“Put on the tape and watch (Lions DT) Ndamukong Suh get blocked one-on-one all game and you show me where he is the dominant player he has been made out to be (by the media). I’ve never seen a bigger farce. I thought he was overrated coming out of college, and he has done nothing to change my mind. He’s nothing but a bunch of hot air, and I think people are starting to come around to it.”

  • Pompei also makes the point for the Chicago Tribune that the injuries around the league are a “strong argument against an 18 game season”.
  • And Pompei quotes Titan’s head coach Mike Munchak on running back Chris Johnson for The National Football Post. Bear fans might want to pay attention to this one because it might be relevant if Matt Forte decides to hold out after being franchised next year:

“Missing camp, it definitely affected him,” he said. “We knew it would. We just didn’t know how much. Is that the only reason we weren’t running well? No. But to be a running back in this league, you have to be in a certain kind of condition and shape, have a certain spring in your legs.”

“Usually at this time of the year, there is more clarity about who will be in the Super Bowl. Yeah, Green Bay is undefeated, but if they land on a field where they can’t throw the ball and they have to play power football, I’m not so sure they are the best team in the NFC. And they are looking at a cold home field. The Packers look a lot like the Patriots did when they ran the table – a loss might be good for them right now. I think they need to be humbled.”

One Final Thought

Fred Mitchell at the Chicago Tribune summarizes the situation in Chicago:

“After the last two losses, Bears players and coaches may have more confidence in themselves right now than their fans.”

Yeah, pretty much.

Game Comments: Chiefs at Bears


  1. The Chiefs came out running against the Bears defense with a couple short passes. This was apparently to take the pressure off of KC quarterback Tyler Palko. They were probably also anticipating a defensive game with Caleb Hanie at quarterback for the Bears.
  2. Palko came out throwing easy throws accurately.
  3. This was a really good game for the defensive line. Julius Peppers was a beast on the pass rush.
  4. The Bears supplemented the pass rush with some well timed blitzes but otherwise they were, once again, generally bland.
  5. Palko avoided a pretty good rush by simply running away from it. He’s very mobile.
  6. I was surprised to see Kyle Orton with Palko not doing too bad to my eye. It was a shame to see him hurt after only one play.
  7. Dwayne Bowe always seemed to be a step ahead of the Bears defense. He’s big and he can run after the catch and he always seemed to get just enough yardage to get that critical first down.
  8. KC did a really good job of running the ball on the Bears defense in the third quarter as Bears pass rushers eager to get to Palko ran right by the running backs. Some really good play calling there.
  9. Bear defensive backs were having a terrible time getting off blocks on the Kansas City wide receiver screens. They’ve got to be stronger than that.


  1. It didn’t take long for Kansas CIty to bring that safety up into the box to stop Matt Forte. As usual, the Bears opponent wanted to make the Bears beat them through the air. First possession – three and out.
  2. Kansas City’s defensive backs dominated the Bears receivers with good coverage.
  3. Caleb Hanie came out unable to complete even some of the short passes that Mike Martz called to get him started. His accuracy apparently did not get better in his second week wth the starters. He was missing opportunity after opportunity to hit wide open receivers on broken coverages.
  4. Thank you Matt Spaeth for that wiff on the block that got Matt Forte hurt.
  5. Caleb Hanie has to get rid of the ball. I know the Bears receivers were well covered most of the time but he’d have had more success if he threw with some anticipation to a spot like the offense calls for him to do.
  6. KC did a good job of keeping Hanie in the pocket with a controlled, disciplined pass rush.
  7. Glad to see Marion Barber running so well again.
  8. The offensive line struggled to block for the run on occasion when they were allowing too much penetration. The Chiefs were crashing line of scrimmage against the run.
  9. Caleb Hanie cannot throw a jump ball with Johnny Knox as the receiver. This was a lesson Jay Cutler learned his first year (with Hanie watching). Interception.
  10. The pass protection was really poor in the second half. Mike Martz really needed to call some screens and draws. Running the ball with some delayed handoffs like Kansas City did to slow down the Bear pass rush would have been a good way to do it.
  11. In fairness, giving Hanie max protection in the fourth quarter did help. It might not be a cooincidence that Hanie’s passing improved at that point as well.
  12. I’m not entirely sure why Devin Hester ended up being Hanie’s primary target.


  1. Like the Bears, Kevin Harlan was off his game. Warning that a punt almost hit Jalil Brown again was, perhaps, unnecessary given that KC kicked it. Getting Dom DeCicco mixed up with Patrick Trahan wasn’t a high point for him. It could be because we’ve been spoiled with the best color men the NFL has to offer this year but Solomon Wilcots didn’t seem to have much of any significance to say.
  2. The Chiefs started off the special teams battle the right way with a touched punt that resulted in a turnover to the Bears.The Bears fake field goal was pretty sick. Yellow flags flew everywhere against the Bears special teams. KC kicked the ball off out of bounds midway through the third quarter. Devin Hester dropped a fair catch. Hester had a nice return at the beginning of the second quarter but otherwise special teams were just a comedy of errors. A really bad comedy.
  3. Kansas CIty got an interception late midway though the third quarter that just killed the Bears. I thought that’s what the Bears were supposed to be doing. Instead Charles Tillman missed an interception in the second possession of the first quarter. Tim Jennings dropped one as well.
  4. The penalty on Bowman for interference with a punt reception in the first quarter was bogus. Marion Barber sure looked to me like he was close enough to the line of scimmage to avaid a penalty on the stolen touchdown in the second quarter. A bogus defensive holding call on Tillman kept a critical drive going in the third quarter that led to a field goal. The referees hurt the Bears as much as the Chiefs did.
  5. There weren’t many drops but it figures that the one critical one that resulted in an interception would come from Roy Williams. Its come to be expected.
  6. I hope someone explains why the Bears called timeout in the second quarter immediately after one by Kansas City.
  7. Late in the third quarter down 10-3. The Bears had first and goal from inside the ten. Two Hanie sacks on some terrible pass protection later, Robbie Gould missed the 42 yard field goal.
    They aren’t a playoff team.
  8. Television commercial of the year: Allstate mayhem commercial with the “300 lb streaker painted blue and completely naked apart from the cleats”. Made me smile on a miserable day.