Bears KR Devin Hester on how disappointing it was to be snubbed by Patrick Peterson for the pro bowl this year.
LAKE FOREST, Ill. — The Chicago Bears announced Wednesday they have agreed on a two-year contract extension with offensive lineman Edwin Williams.
Williams’ deal now runs through the 2013 season.
Williams has played in 14 games this season, starting the past six games at left guard. He has made 11 starts and appeared in 23 games over three seasons with the Bears andWashington Redskins.
Offensive lineman Roberto Garza was chosen as a Pro Bowl alternate for the Jan. 29 game in Hawaii, according to a league source.
Garza made a seamless transition from guard to center after the team cut ties with Olin Kreutz.
It’s unclear where Garza stands on the alternate wait list, but he appreciated the recognition regardless.
Carolina’s Ryan Kalil is the starting center with Green Bay’s Scott Wells as the backup. Players routinely pull out of the game while recovering from injuries.
“Obviously, you always want to be recognized for the way you play,” Garza said. “First time ever, so it’s kind of cool, I guess.”
Joining Garza as alternates are returner Devin Hester, defensive end Julius Peppers, quarterback Jay Cutler, defensive tackle Henry Melton, and kicker Robbie Gould.
Bears HC Lovie Smith snapping a reporter’s head off when asking about Martz not returning in 2012.
Forte was one of five Bears players named to the NFCsquad, joining linebackers Brian Urlacher andLance Briggs, cornerback Charles Tillman and special teamer Corey Graham.
Although the NFL won’t announce Pro Bowl selections until 6 p.m. Chicago time, some Chicago Bears and former Bears are spreading the news a little early.
Weak-side linebacker Lance Briggs announced via his Facebook page that he has been selected to the all-star game for the seventh consecutive season. Cornerback Charles Tillman also has been named to the Pro Bowl for the first time in his career. Ex-teammate Alex Brown congratulated Tillman on hisTwitter account, and an NFL source confirmed Tillman will be headed to Hawaii.
“Want to thank the fans, my peers, and the coaches for voting me to my 7th straight pro bowl. Truly is a blessing,” Briggs said in the Facebook posting.
The Bears could have several other players selected. Middle linebacker Brian Urlacher has been named to seven Pro Bowl teams. Running back Matt Fortecould be selected as well. Forte is ineligible to play in the game, according to an NFL spokesman, because he was placed on injured reserve Tuesday.
Tillman had a chance to go to the Pro Bowl as an alternate after the 2009 season but broken ribs and a punctured lung prevented him from stepping in.
I totally didn’t see this one coming.
At some point it’s a safe story to write, that Bears GM Jerry Angelo is going to retire. That’s what 60-somethings talk about and do at some point in the natural order of things (just trust me on this one).
But barring a monumental shift of Halas Hall thinking, Angelo will not be leaving after this season. That was subtly apparent in comments the GM made in Denver about making a run at a championship in 2012 and has become even clearer from conversations with various sources within the organization.
Two main indicators:
One is the “next year” thinking that already is underway and has been for some time. To cite precedent here: At the end of a miserable stretch of an injury-marred 1997, then-coach Dave Wannstedt told confidants that he knew he was being brought back for the 1998 season because of late-season meetings and discussions with President and CEO Michael McCaskey that dealt with the plans for ’98.
Michael McCaskey is no longer running the Bears but Angelo is deeply involved in the 2012 planning. A lame-duck would not be.
And two, Angelo’s relationship with new Chairman George McCaskey is excellent, not something to be taken lightly. Angelo holds McCaskey in high regard, and McCaskey has quietly changed the culture within the Bears, with numerous examples of little things that have made impressions on Angelo and others top to bottom in the organization.
McCaskey has moved his office next to Angelo’s and takes an active “chairman” role without being a meddler. Where Michael once served as his own de facto GM, critiquing film on Mondays with Wannstedt, George does none of that but has made clear “mission statements” about the importance of winning, something that was given lip service in times past. No one is taking them as that now.
Angelo has gotten the Bears their franchise quarterback (Jay Cutler) and defensive lineman (Julius Peppers). He will be given the resources for significant moves again this year, as we’ll discuss later this week.
If those don’t work out, then there’ll be reason for discussion, because George McCaskey is serious about winning. But for now, the course is laid in.
“But there is so much else we can gain from this. It’s not a tryout period for us. We’re going to go with the quarterback that gives us the best opportunity to win, period. And that’s Josh. So Nathan will have his time. He’s a good quarterback for the future but that future isn’t now.”
Why isn’t there a tryout period?
“Others may do it differently but for us it would be pretty hard to tell the rest of the guys, ‘Hey, we’ve got a tryout period going here, we don’t really care if we win, we just want to see this guy play,’” Smith said. “ We won’t do it that way.”” —
Bears HC Lovie Smith on why guys like Nathan Enderle won’t play in the season finale.
OK, so maybe that fact isn’t so fun.
Nothing says “fuck this” like that game.
It was right there for Bears
Playoffs have not been a prominent topic of conversation since the Seattle game. With good reason. So many scenarios and contingencies exist that any attempt at precise analysis, given the Bears’ freefall, seems pointless.
But the Bears in fact are still a team with a chance to reach the postseason, and they can’t be officially eliminated by the kickoff time Sunday. If they do lose one more, playoffs are out. With Detroit clinching its first postseason birth since 1999 by defeating San Diego on Saturday, if Atlanta wins one more, the Bears are done, but the Falcons do not play until Monday night.
The four-game losing streak was agonizing enough, with its succession of head-shaking plays: Mike Martz’s call of the throw-back screen in Oakland, Roy Williams’ dropped TD pass and Marion Barber’s formation foul-up vs. Kansas City, Barber’s stay in bounds and fumble in Denver, Hanie’s two pick-six’es vs. Seattle and 41.8 passer rating throughout the four games.
But the sting was the more acute both because the playoffs were virtually locked up and because while the Bears were losing those four, other playoff wannabes were slipping up on or past them.
The Falcons, over whom the Bears hold a head-to-head tiebreaker, went 3-1. The Detroit Lions bumbled to a 2-2 stretch, and the New York Giants have been 1-3 while the Bears were foundering.
Meanwhile, the Seahawks were going 3-1 to reach 7-7 and the Arizona Cardinals, with surprise fill-in rookie quarterback John Skelton, were putting together a 4-0 sprint. Those two NFC West’ers play each other in game 16, but they’ve drawn even with the Bears, further reducing the Bears’ margin for errors.
“It’s been frustrating,” said linebacker Brian Urlacher. “It hasn’t been hard. You know football is still football. It’s still fun. It’s been hard to make plays for us for some reason.”
As Smith said about finding “solutions,” the Bears need to find “reasons” too.
INJURY REPORT AND IMPLICATIONS – HOLIDAY EDITION
Chicago Bears (7-7) at Green Bay Packers (13-1)
The Packers will be without their top 3 offensive tackles for their game Christmas Night with the Bears.
BEARS OFFENSE vs. PACKERS DEFENSE
Josh McCown takes over for an offense that has fallen off the tracks since Jay Cutler and Matt Forte went down. Caleb Hanie was largely ineffective during his 4-game tryout. Yeah, I’m in the Christmas spirit and being too kind with that statement. The injuries have piled up on this side of the ball. Wideout Johnny Knox is recently done for the year, after suffering a horrific-looking back injury. We’re all thankful that he appears to be ok after surgery. Long gone are linemen Chris Williams (LG) and Gabe Carimi (RT). Edwin Williams and Lance Louis have taken those spots. Louis’ play has fallen off after a good start. He’s out of position, but was forced to move there when the team realized that Frank Omiyale was the second coming of Qasim Mitchell. Likely to miss this game is running back Marion Barber (calf). The workload falls to Khalil Bell, who shined a week ago. Wideout Sam Hurd was released when it was discovered that he was trying to buy enough drugs to corrupt the youth of the entire Great Lakes region. Wideout Devin Hester is questionable, but hasn’t looked like he has been interested in playing contact football in about 3 weeks.
Defensive end Ryan Pickett is out with a concussion. Safety Nick Collins has been on IR since the beginning of the season. And they’ve rolled on. For those of you keeping score at home, Charlie Peprah is second on the team in interceptions with 4 and fourth in tackles. It’s easy to cover up for a 31st ranked defense when you have the top offense in the league, led by the most efficient passer.
Auditions in play here for Khalil Bell and Josh McCown. If, for some reason, Mike Martz is back as Offensive Coordinator next year, McCown’s audition here has significant meaning. Separately, if this turns into a blowout, there is every reason for Nathan Enderle to be brought into the contest to get his feet wet. Look for the Packers to pressure McCown to force turnovers and get this game over as quickly as possible. If the Bears are going to be successful, they must capitalize on this aggressive play. Draws more than screens should be in order. The timing of screens isn’t likely to be good with all the different players involved due to injury.
BEARS DEFENSE vs. PACKERS OFFENSE
Linebacker Lance Briggs (ankle) is questionable, as is defensive tackle Henry Melton (shin). The Bears have their greatest depth at Melton’s position, where Amobi Okoye and Stephen Paea have flashed during regular rotation. But behind Briggs, and any of the linebacker spots, there isn’t much. Untested special teams players Patrick Trahan, Jabara Williams and Dom DeCicco are the depth players at linebacker. Another possibility is moving Nick Roach to that spot, since he’s normally off the field in nickel packages.
They have great depth at wide receiver, but clearly suffered a blow in losing stud wideout Greg Jennings for a few weeks. He’s still out for Sunday night’s game. The Packers are down 3 offensive tackles. Bulaga and Clifton are out, while rookie starter Derek Sherrod was placed on IR with a broken leg last week. T.J. Lang is expected to move to tackle from guard, while Marshall Newhouse will have the other tackle position. Green Bay has already allowed 37 sacks.
Look for Peppers and Idonije to try teeing off on the Packers’ sorry tackle situation. It won’t be enough. Green Bay should be able to do just enough running and max protect to win out. Aaron Rodgers, back when he had no protection a few years ago, showed that he’s one of the few quarterbacks that can be extremely effective, even when he’s getting hit regularly. He’s not prone to turning the ball over. What for him to challenge the Bears’ sorry safety situation over the middle of the field. Jermichael Finley (45-683, 6 TDs) will be the man.
Nootstradamus’ Fearless Forecast
I don’t know how to see this any other way than Packers in a blow out of biblical proportions. To win, the Bears will need to have one of those Julius Peppers games where he has 3 sacks and gets the rare INT return for a touchdown…oh, and the Bears will also need to return a kick for a touchdown as well. Ho Ho Ho….I don’t think so. If Mike Martz couldn’t find a way to craft an offense around what Caleb Hanie can/cannot do, even when he had him for two years, do you really expect him to be able to do that with McCown in just a few weeks? Someone is going to have to explain to me why McCown and Enderle weren’t also getting some first team snaps in practice the last few weeks. I don’t care how commonplace it is for the #1 to get all the reps. It was plain for everyone to see that Hanie held the ball too long and was locked in on Knox. He was clueless out there.
Bears QB Caleb Hanie addressing his renewed position on the bench.
Bears HC Lovie Smith on the dismal outlook of Devin Hester playing Sunday.
Bears CB Tim Jennings on how he’s handling being benched this week.
“There are bigger concerns I have, and Kahlil is not one of them,” Smith said Thursday. “I vividly remember his first carry he had at Soldier Field (a franchise-rookie record 72-yard run). I see him every day in practice going against our No. 1 defense.
“He can make you miss in the open field. He can run with power inside. He can catch the ball out of the backfield. I’m excited about the opportunity he has.”” —
Bears HC Lovie Smith addressing Kahlil Bell, who will get his 2nd career start Sunday vs. Green Bay.
Bears OC Mike Martz comparing Luke McCown to Kurt Warner. Yes, you read that right.