Veteran Bears linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer was playing in the 2010 season opener against the Detroit Lions when he felt ill and left the field.
It would be the last time he would play, an abrupt ending to a successful career. On Sept. 14, 2010, Hillenmeyer, who had racked up a career-high 90 tackles the previous year in a career that spanned 69 starts, was placed on injured reserve due to a concussion suffered two weeks earlier. He was cut from the team in February.
But armed with a master’s in business administration from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, earned while still with the Bears, Hillenmeyer had other plans. He has become an advocate for increased awareness of sports-related concussions and in September was hired as director of corporate development at Chicago-based online startup OpenChime.
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.
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.
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.
Noots' Notes: Injury Report & Implications (CHI vs. GB)
INJURY REPORT AND IMPLICATIONS – HOLIDAY EDITION Chicago Bears (7-7) at Green Bay Packers (13-1) By Michael Nudo
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.
“‘‘Just keep working every day, keep grinding,’’ Hanie said. ‘‘That’s all you can do. Try to fix all the mistakes that you make and learn from them. [I’m] obviously disappointed. I don’t want to play bad ever or lose games. It is what it is at this point. You just kind of roll with it.’’”—
Bears QB Caleb Hanie addressing his renewed position on the bench.
“I’m concerned. [He] hasn’t practiced all week; hasn’t done much," Smith said of Hester. "Of course Marion Barber, too. Two key players for us [could be out]. [We] have a little bit of time still before the game, but it’s not looking real good.”—
Bears HC Lovie Smith on the dismal outlook of Devin Hester playing Sunday.
“Whenever my number is called, I’ll be there," Jennings said. "I can come in as the third corner, fourth corner, however they want me to do it. Whatever they need. I think they’re gonna give him a shot, see if they like [Bowman] and go from there.”—
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.
“We were feeling really good about the team and had no reason not to. When we made the switch with the quarterback we knew it was going to be an adjustment. But unfortunately we weren’t able to do the things we needed to do to win games, particularly in the close ones. The thing that’s probably been the most disappointing to me is that we weren’t able to finish and we imploded in some cases.”—
Bears GM Jerry Angelo on his team wetting the bed after Cutler’s injury.
The Bears announced Wednesday that McCown will be the starter Sunday night when the team travels to Green Bay to face MVP candidate Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. It will be McCown’s first start since the 2007 season when he made nine starts for the Oakland Raiders. McCown is scheduled to address media at noon at Halas Hall.
Hanie struggled badly in four starts replacing Jay Cutler, who is still recovering from a fractured right thumb. He posted a 41.8 passer rating and threw three touchdowns and nine interceptions, two of the picks returned for touchdowns last Sunday in the 38-14 loss to the Seattle Seahawks at Soldier Field. McCown replaced Hanie in that game and threw two passes, one of them an interception.
McCown signed a one-year contract on Nov. 23 after the Bears failed in a bid to claim Kyle Orton on waivers from the Denver Broncos. McCown played under offensive coordinator Mike Martz in Detroit in 2006.
“I will be ready to roll,” McCown said Sunday when asked if he could start against the Packers.
Each week, the website www.makeNFLplayoffs.com calculates the chances each NFL team has of making the playoffs. The Bears entered the season with a 37.5 percent chance of reaching the playoffs. They hit a season-high 77.4 percent after improving to 7-3 in Week 11. This week, sitting at 7-7, their chances have hit a season-low 8.6 percent — down from 31.2 percent a week ago.
“Because you can’t give it that burst like you want to," he said. "Any fast guy, if you have a sprained ankle, it just eliminates what you can do. It’s like a quarterback with two broken fingers …It shows a little bit, let’s put it that way, it shows a little bit. I don’t feel like myself but at the same time this is the NFL and you have to fight through things like that.”—
Bears KR Devin Hester on playing injured over the last few weeks.
The SEC said Willie Gault, the former Chicago Bears wide receiver and Olympic track star, is among six people charged with artificially inflating the stock price of a heart-monitoring company.
The agency said the company, Heart Tronics, repeatedly announced millions of dollars of sales that didn’t exist. The company installed Gault as a figurehead CEO to “generate publicity,” according to the SEC, while behind the scenes the company was controlled by a California lawyer who hired stock promoters to tout Heart Tronics shares on the Web.
The lawyer, Mitchell J. Stein, made nearly $8 million from “secret trades,” the SEC said. In a lawsuit the SEC filed against Stein, Gault and others, the SEC said Stein “orchestrated a brazen series of frauds designed to inflate the price of Heart Tronics stock so that he could profit from selling its securities to investors.”
The SEC said Gault and J. Rowland Perkins, a Hollywood talent agent also hired to generate publicity for the company, “rarely questioned Stein’s fraudulent agenda and abdicated their fiduciary responsibilities.” The SEC said Gault and Stein also funneled investor money for personal use.
Gault has been in the news recently for happier reasons. Los Angeles police this week recovered a Super Bowl ring that had been stolen from his family home last month.
”If you went at him low, he would stomp you to death. If you went at him high, he just knocked you down and ran over you.” - Mel Hein, NY Giants star
Bronko Nagurski. The name almost has a kind of leathery feel to it, as if it should be raised off of the page or screen. Bronko Nagurski. The name alone inspires visions of sharp, clunky, heavy, and dangerous objects that are probably the part of some large and likely unsafe piece of farm equipment. It’s a name that is synonymous with the game of football and inflicting massive heavy-footed stomps to the crotch of your opponent. Let’s talk a bit about ol’ Bronko Naguriski.
Back in the late 20’s a guy by the name of Doc Spears (a similarly pretty badass name) was shitkicking around the northernmost portions of Minnesota when he got lost all to fuck and pulled over. Unable to get his topographical shit together, he spied a nearby farm. Upon arrival, he saw an enormous gargoyle of a man plowing a field without the aid of a horse. Obviously nobody knows fuckall about early plows, so let me fill you in: it’s basically 3-500 pounds of steel arranged into set of sharp blades on 2 wheels. Average mortals back then had tough-ass horses haul these cumbersome machines around their fields while their owners rode in back, guiding things along. Bronko Nagurski was pushing it through the cold-hardened soils of Hell’s Outhouse, Minnesota. Doc Spears asked this beastly dude if he knew which way it was to town; Bronk lifted the plow, pointed it in the direction, and promptly went back to being a ball-crushing hardass.
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Doc Spears convinced him to play for the pussy-sounding Golden Gophers, and the Bronk didn’t disappoint: in his first two seasons he played both sides of the ball, but primarily the two most hardcore positions in football: fullback and tackle. But his major penchant was for laying out any sorry son of a bitch who thought they could take him down. Nagurski was 6’2” 230, which nowadays doesn’t sound like much, but for his time he was easily the biggest man on the field. Taking his enormous size and desire to commit near-homicide with brute strength alone, Nagurski quickly became a legend.
After four seasons of testicle-smashing in Minnesota, George Halas acquired Bronk as a Chicago Bear for the tidy sum of $5000. Along with legends Red Grange and Beattie Feathers, the 30’s Bears changed the game of football forever, winning several league championships. He was famous for being the toughest motherfucker in the league, and when given the opportunity to carry the football would drag handfuls of tacklers, leaving others bruised and bloodied in his wake. Players compared trying to tackle Nagurski to stopping a freight train on a downhill slope, and coaches felt the only way to stop him was to “shoot him before he leaves the clubhouse.”
Nagurski in mid-shitstomp
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Nagurski, while famous for his straight-ahead-fuck-you style, had more weapons than pure strength, and was far from being some no-necked cowpoke. His fake-plunge-into-a-jump-pass devastated defenses, going for touchdowns in 2 championship games. His precise blocks paved the way for guys like Grange and Feathers to have amazing career numbers. At linebacker, Bronko was a sure tackler, and ruined the shit of many a running back who felt he could outrun the Bronk. When injured, he would come in and play tackle. Let’s put that into perspective: when injured, he would take a break from playing fullback/linebacker, and play tackle - smashing repeatedly into the face of another large angry man. Nowadays a lot of players get pissed if they have to play on special teams at all - Bronko Nagurski played 4 different positions and was revered at all of them. Fuck you, Chris Harris.
During the glory days of the 30’s the Bears called Wrigley Field home. On one particular home game against the hated Redskins, Nagurski was having a field day tromping his enormous cleats into the cleft assholes of every opponent to stand in his way. It was a close game in the final minutes, however, and the Bears needed the Bronk to punch one home. In a playcall that I imagine was named “Facerape 99 Shit-Ruin,” Nagurski carried the ball up the gut, blasting his way through the pile of bodies with a mighty savage roar. After exploding through the initial throng, he obliterated one poor bastard into unconsciousness before leaving another victim with a shattered shoulder. In the midst of his level 40 berzerker rage attack, Nagurski lost all sense of time and space, clobbering the goalpost and then crushing his unprotected skull against the famous outfield brick wall.
After returning to the bench (and the red bloodmist having recinded from his eyes, I imagine), Bronko told his teammates that “That last guy hit pretty hard.” Legend says that the crack he left is still there to this day.
Unfortunately for the mighty Bronko, he had a falling out with Halas over his salary and had to retire from the Bears to join a similarly badass career in professional wrestling. He was just as successful in laying waste to human beings in that field as well, winning several titles and being a fan favorite before retiring. At the age of 35, he returned home to Why-Are-You-Still-Alive, Minnesota where he resumed destroying the crust of mother earth with giant pieces of jagged steel.
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World War II broke out, and as men were shipped off to mutilate Nazis there was a major player shortage in Halas’ fledgling league. He sent a letter to Bronko imploring him to come back for one season. Nagurski, being a hardass son of a bitch, said why the hell not - only on the condition that he conclude his harvest and would only play tackle. With his body half-destroyed by occumulated injury, Bronk had an all-star year on the lines and lead the Bears to a successful season. However they had to beat their rival Chicago Cardinals in a cross-city showdown to win their division in the last regular season game.
The Bears were down 24-17 going into the 4th quarter when Nagurski requested he get one final shot at playing fullback. At 35 years of age and with nearly two decades worth of unprotected physical ball-crushing play in his system, Bronko put on a show that many would argue was the greatest ending to a Bears game of all time. Carry after carry, he leveled each Cardinal-red wearing bastard in his path; mercilessly breaking faces with each lumbering burst into the fray. Sixty-two yards later, he punched in the tying score as the Chicago faithful roared. In the waning moments of the game, Bronk was called upon again to acquire 6 points. With his remaining testicular fire, he gave time, god, and physics the middle finger with a deft leap into the end zone to secure the lead. During their championship game victory over their then-rival Washington Redskins he also scored a touchdown before hanging up his enormous cleats (and likely enormous jockstrap) for good.
Unfortunately for the Bronk, decades of physically decimating stupid bastards without wearing proper head or knee protection took their toll. He quietly ran a gas station in Minnesota before getting bored with that and dying in 1990.
Elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1951 and one of the first Pro Football Hall of Fame members, his #3 and #72 are retired by the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Golden Gophers respectively. Today his name is also on the trophy of college’s defensive player of the year award.
"He was the only man I ever saw who ran his own interference." - Steve Owen
Yes, that was all 2004, arguably the worst year for Bears fans to watch QB play ever. Three of the worst quarterbacks to ever wear a Bears uniform. Ever. All playing in one season. Caleb Hanie has passer ratings worse than ALL OF THEM.
1. CUTLER BREAKS THUMB
Nov. 20 at Soldier Field: Attempting to make a tackle after throwing an interception to San Diego Chargerscornerback Antoine Cason, in part because Johnny Knox slipped on the route, Cutler suffered a Bennett’s fracture in his right thumb that requires surgical repair in Vail, Colo. Cutler’s injury thrusts Caleb Hanie into the starting lineup. The team hasn’t won a game in the four weeks Cutler has been out of the lineup.
2. HANIE’S ROUGH FIRST START
Nov. 27 at Oakland Coliseum: Hanie tossed two interceptions in the first quarter, and the Bears’ first five drives resulted in two turnovers and three three-and-outs. After the slow start, Hanie hit Knox for a 29-yard touchdown to give the Bears a 7-6 lead toward the end of the first half. But Hanie’s third pick of the game led to another Oakland score. Hanie put on a promising performance, passing for 254 yards and two TDs in the loss.
3. FORTE INJURES KNEE
Dec. 4 at Soldier Field: Making a cut on an weak-side run in the first quarter, running back Matt Forte was slammed in the knee by Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson. The hit resulted in Forte leaving the game after just five carries with a Grade 2 MCL sprain. Forte hasn’t played since, and says he doesn’t expect be back for the rest of the season.
4. PALKO HAIL MARY
Dec. 4 at Soldier Field: In the same game Forte was injured, Chiefs quarterback Tyler Palko threw his first career touchdown pass on a Hail Mary at the end of the first half. Waiting in the end zone for the pass, Bears linebackerBrian Urlacher attempted to knock the ball down, but safety Chris Conteknocked it right into the hands of Chiefs running back Dexter McCluster. That pass was the game’s only TD. The Bears eventually lost 10-3.
5. BARBER GAFFE NO. 1
Dec. 11 at Sports Authority Field at Mile High: With the Bears leading 10-7 and the Denver Broncos out of timeouts, Barber ran out of bounds to stop the clock with 1:55 left in the fourth quarter. The mistake gave Denver extra time to mount a comeback and tie the game 10-10 at the end of regulation. Even Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow said, “I might have thanked the Lord” when Barber made that mistake.
6. BARBER GAFFE NO. 2
Dec. 11 at Sports Authority Field at Mile High: In overtime of the same game, Barber fumbled just five plays into Chicago’s possession, and that led to the Broncos hitting a 51-yard field goal with 8:34 left in OT for the victory.
7. SAM HURD ARREST
Dec. 14 at Morton’s The Steakhouse in Rosemont, Ill.: Undercover officers arrest Hurd on federal drug charges. Authorities say Hurd allegedly attempted to purchase cocaine and marijuana in North Texas. The arrest sparks national conversation and a firestorm of controversy at the team’s training facilities in Lake Forest. Many of Hurd’s teammates are shocked by the arrest. Clearly the spectacle of the arrest led unwanted distractions.
7. KNOX INJURY
Sunday at Soldier Field: Just three plays into Chicago’s second possession on Sunday, Knox caught a 17-yard pass from Hanie on a slant route and fumbled. In the scramble for the loose ball, Knox was clocked by Anthony Hargrove in a collision that caused the receiver’s body to jolt backwards violently. The hit led to Knox suffering a lower back injury that will require surgery. Knox became the team’s fifth offensive starter to go down with a significant injury.
“This isn’t a tryout period, either," Smith said. "We’re trying to win a football game. So, the best guys that give us an opportunity to do that will be on the field.”—Bears HC Lovie Smith on how he’ll handle the next game, Bears have a 2% chance of amaking the playoffs. Not a joke. That’s per vegas.
The Bears have placed rookie safety Chris Conte on injured reserve with a foot sprain.
Conte joins receiver Johnny Knox (back surgery) on IR following Sunday’s loss to Seattle. It leaves the Bears with three healthy safeties in Craig Steltz, Brandon Meriweather and rookie Winston Venable.Major Wright could be back from a shoulder sprain this week.
Conte, a third-round draft pick from Cal, had a solid rookie season making nine starts and appearing in all 14 games to date. He finished with 47 tackles and one interception.
With Conte and Knox on IR and receiver Sam Hurd no longer on the team, the Bears promoted receiverMax Komar, linebacker Thaddeus Gibson, and running back Armando Allen from the practice squad.
As expected, Gibson, signed to the practice squad Nov. 30, was one of the players elevated to compensate for the Bears’ injuries. Allen and Komar were also promoted, putting them in position to collect significantly larger checks for the final two weeks of the regular season.
The Bears also signed running back Robert Hughes, a Notre Dame product, to the practice squad. Hughes spent training camp and preseason with the team. There are two open spots on the practice squad.
Gibson is a player the Bears liked. They failed in a waiver claim to land him in August when he went to the Washington Redskins after being cut loose by the San Francisco 49ers. An outside linebacker at Ohio State, the Bears will try him as a situational pass rusher.
Komar was signed to the practice squad on Oct. 11. Allen has had two stints on the practice squad.
It was a pretty bad week for the Chicago Bears. Actually, it’s been a pretty bad month for the Bears while losing four consecutive games in excrutiating fashion. If you thought the loss to Denver was a horrific loss, yesterday’s loss to Seattle stings even more because of no improvement or productivity after four weeks from the quarterback position. I wanted to break down two key plays from the game that at this point in Caleb Hanie’s career, he should know better. One will be done for today’s blog and the other tomorrow due to length in order to break down properly. I cannot speak for how Hanie is coached or what is communicated to improve Hanie’s higher education and knowledge of defenses or his own effort when working his craft to become a better quarterback. I just know what I know from my experiences and great coaching during my career.
I would first like to preface for CSN viewers that each offensive play is its own entity which should be approached as such by every quarterback. There is a process/checklist every quarterback must go through or should go through once the play is received in the huddle. The neurotransmitters in your head better be firing at all times thinking about personnel, down and distance, or which opponent is substituting for clues (i.e. nickel, dime, regular defense). The quarterback should communicate any helpful reminders or “heads up” to any teammates in the huddle about the particular play called. If the quarterback is worried about a certain defensive look or blitz, he should let his teammates know to be prepared for it. It is what film study is for to prepare for these situations. It’s also why quarterbacks get paid the big bucks because the quarterback runs the show!
The two plays I will break down are the two interceptions by Hanie that were returned for touchdowns. Both mistakes were all on Hanie, but it will give you a window into the process/checklist he should have been going through.
Looking for Clues
The first play call was, “West Right Fake Counter 37 Bootleg Naked Right” (How it was called when I was with the Bears). Let the thinking begin: 2nd and 7 ball on the Bears 28 yard line.
1. It was “Detroit personnel” deployed by the Bears, which means two tight ends for your knowledge and higher learning as well. “West Right” just means Matt Spaeth lines up just outside Kellen Davis one yard off the ball with Flanker (Z) split out to the right and the Split End (X) split out to the left. The lone running back seven yards deep behind the quarterback.
2. Detroit personnel will normally bring regular defense (For Seattle purposes, their Regular Defense = 4-3 defense. I.E. four defensive lineman, three linebackers, and four defensive backs) or Detroit personnel may force a defense to go to a 4-4 look (Four defensive lineman and four linebackers) if opponent is concerned about physically matching up. Minimum, the quarterback should know the defense most likely is going to rotate a safety down into the box because they are out-manned if both tight ends are attached to the line of scrimmage. It is just COMMON SENSE the defense will rotate a safety down. The threat is against the RUN, so why have two safeties back in coverage? There are no hints to communicate to your teammates on this particular play in the huddle. It was all on Hanie.
Again, the huddle call is: “West Right Fake Counter 37 Bootleg Naked Right…On ONE…On One… Ready Break!”
When Hanie gets under center it does not give him or any other quarterback the authority to stop thinking. Start getting clues when going through cadence.
Start your Cadence…”RED EIGHTEEN”…
1. It was press coverage by both Seattle corners on the ‘Z’ and ‘X’. Richard Sherman andBrandon Browner were both up and solely looking at the receivers faced up eying them down. Hanie should know already it is man-to-man coverage. These are man-to-man techniques being displayed and both Sherman and Browner’s demeanor is telling the quarterback as much.
2. As Hanie continues his cadence, he should have noticed the strong safety rotating down to the two tight end side. The SS also displayed man-to-man techniques eying Spaeth and he even followed Spaeth at the snap of the ball by going backside with the fake to stay on Spaeth.
3. Hanie should have also noticed the strong side linebacker on the line of scrimmage during his cadence.
This was a buyer beware situation for Hanie! The strong side linebacker was not showing blitz with his back leg kicked back like he was going to blitz, but it is called a Bootleg Naked for a reason (Naked = you are exposed)! The quarterback is responsible for the end man on the line of scrimmage, which was the strong side linebacker who blitzed. Hanie could have gotten one more clue when the ball was snapped while pulling away from center. PEEK OVER THERE! THAT WAS YOUR ONLY THREAT ON THIS PARTICULAR PLAY!
Minimum Hanie should have gotten depth (straight back) after the fake rather than coming flat (toward the sideline) out of the fake the way he did. It just proved to me Hanie did not have a clue. Depth would have given Hanie separation from the backer allowing him to get the ball off to Davis or minimum to throw the ball away. I personally would liked to have seen Hanie abort the fake altogether getting depth as fast as he could, but that would blow a gasket right now for Hanie with what he is going through. You have to always be thinking at the position of quarterback or you don’t have a chance of starting in the NFL. I thought that was Hanie’s goal when he took over the role? My advice for him is to learn his craft. It is one thing to say it, but quite another to learn and apply it. When one can apply under pressure is when you really earn the big bucks! You have to be constantly thinking to even have a chance.
Check back tomorrow as I will break down Hanie’s other pick six vs. blitz zone. As CSNChicago.com’s John ‘Moon’ Mullin wrote about not blaming Jerry Angelo for signing Sam Hurd, I think the same methodology applies here for Hanie. If quarterbacks coach Shane Day and offensive coordinator Mike Martz are not teaching Hanie these core principles then shame on the Bears, but I just find that hard to believe.
“No, it makes me feel good," said Urlacher, his voice dripping in sarcasm. "I like doing this shit. It’s fun. Four in a row is great. Hell yeah, I’m mad. This is not our team. This is not how we’re supposed to play. This is not how we should play. It doesn’t matter who’s playing quarterback, our defense has to play better. That’s all there is to it.”—
Bears MLB Brian Urlacher in his post game shit-giving speech.
“I don’t think about those things," he said. "That’s not something I try to get into, the `whys.’ I’m all about showing the love, and Sam’s been my brother for a long time. I love him to death. I’m here to support him.”—
Bears RB Marion Barber talking himself into free agency about his buddy Sam Hurd.
Noots’ Notes-Game 14: 38-14 Loss to Seattle
By Michael Nudo
The Bears (7-7) fell apart after leading 14-7, seeing the Seahawks (7-7) score 24 unanswered points. Caleb Hanie threw three interceptions, two of them were returned for touchdowns. The game was a microcosm of the season. Off to a good start, and then it quickly unraveled. The Bears have lost 4 in row since Jay Cutler left with a thumb injury.
Everyone is hoping Johnny Knox will be fine (Tribune Photo).
Quarterback Caleb Hanie (10-23-111, TD, 3 INT, 5/34) had another memorably bad game. Two pick sixes quickly erase some nice things he did with his feet to pick up some first downs as a scrambler, and to buy himself time to find open receivers. So sure, there was some good, but it was far outweighed by the bad. He was sacked four times. The sack at the end of the half was on him for holding the ball too long. I think he didn’t want to put the ball up and risk yet another interception, when this was probably the only time he could risk it. Some of his passes appeared to be thrown into triple coverage. The interception that wasn’t returned for a touchdown was an underthrown pass to Kellen Davis. He’s still missing some very short throws that are costing the team in terms of picking up first downs. His most perfect-looking pass was probably the strike he threw to 323-pound defensive end Red Bryant, who gathered the ball in and lumbered 20 yards for a touchdown. Josh McCown (1-2-12, INT) came in at the end and added an interception of his own. This was a real horror show. GRADE: F
Running Backs Khalil Bell (15/65, 5-43, TD) had his best game as a Bear. He continually ran for tough yards and made some decent cuts. Hanie found him for a 25-yard touchdown pass on a route that broke from the right seam to the left sideline. Marion Barber (11/33) picked up a few nice first downs and had a 10-yarder called back on a holding penalty by Kellen Davis. Tyler Clutts had some good blocks leading up in the hole. GRADE: B
Receivers Johnny Knox had a 15-yard reception and then fumbled the ball away to Denver. What happened next left everyone feeling awful. As he scrambled for the loose ball, he was hit head-on by a defensive lineman and was bent over his back at nearly a 90-degree angle. He was subsequently carted off the field on a board and taken immediately to a hospital. It was reported that he had movement in his extremities. Everyone is hopeful for him to have a full recovery. Dane Sanzenbacher (2-26) had a key first down reception but couldn’t hang on to a pass in the flat. Earl Bennett and Roy Williams only had one reception each. GRADE: D
Offensive Line Today was J’Marcus Webb’s turn to have a horse bleep game. He allowed two sacks and was flagged for holding twice. Webb was continually beaten to the inside. Lance Louis held his own until he also allowed a sack in the second half. Offensive Coordinator Mike Martz is taking advantage of his athleticism, calling him to pull on counter plays from right tackle to left tackle. The interior three of Williams, Garza and Spencer were average. Run blocking was average as a whole, but pass protection, which was good early, eventually broke down. GRADE: D
Defensive Line The front 7 really did a great job to hold Marshawn Lynch to 42 yards rushing on 20 carries. Julius Peppers had a sack and forced fumble of Tarvaris Jackson in the end zone. The fumble was recovered by Israel Idonije (5 tackles, FR, TD) for a touchdown. The defensive tackles, especially Matt Toeaina (5 tackles) and Anthony Adams (3 tackles, TFL) came up big against the run. Rookie Stephen Paea even had an early tackle for a loss. There was some pressure, but there was only the one sack. GRADE: B
Linebackers Lance Briggs (4 tackles, 2 TFL) recovered from an early missed tackle to play well the rest of the way. He had great pressure on a blitz, and one of his tackles for a loss was of Jackson (19-31-227, TD) on a busted play. Brian Urlacher (6 tackles, TFL) didn’t really make many impactful plays. In fact, it appeared he had a clear shot at a fumble recovery but somehow couldn’t come up with it. Nick Roach had a tackle for a loss and a pressure/qb hit. GRADE: B
Secondary Craig Steltz again made the most of his start, leading the team with 8 tackles. His sure tackling prevented a third down after Briggs couldn’t wrap up. Steltz was making plays from sideline to sideline and very near the line of scrimmage. Chris Conte took a bad angle and left his feet on one of Seattle’s big plays. He later suffered a foot injury and had to leave. Brandon Meriweather (6 tackles) replaced Conte. Cornerback Tim Jennings (2 tackles) was beaten for a 43-yard completion by Obomanu and also committed pass interference. Charles Tillman had some issues wrapping up on his tackles, and was beaten by Morrah the tight end for 20 yards. Tillman appeared to be injured and had to leave the field. Nickel back D.J. Moore allowed a third and 9 conversion to happen in front of him. He was also beaten deep but the pass was incomplete. There were too many third and long conversions that they allowed in front of them, they didn’t produce any turnovers, and the tackling was poor. GRADE: D
Corey Graham was flagged for using his teammates to propel him on a field goal block. This turned 3 points into 7 as this is an automatic first down. It looked to me like he leaped OVER the defensive linemen. Marshawn Lynch ran it in for a touchdown on the next play. Graham redeemed himself by expertly downing an excellent Adam Podlesh punt at the 4-yard line. This field position set up the Peppers/Idonije sack/forced fumble/touchdown. Returns were below average. Devin Hester was eventually pulled from returning kicks as he could not be counted on to make a good decision. He kept signaling for a fair catch, and then would run away from the ball. Bennett replaced him on punts. Knox and then Bell replaced him on kickoffs. Punts were otherwise average, kickoffs were good and field goals were nonexistent. Punt return coverage had a buster, where Podlesh needed to knock Leon Washington out of bounds after a 36-yard return. GRADE: C
I cannot argue with the offensive play calling. Martz ran it enough. He continually put Hanie into manageable third down situations. How do you coach around a quarterback who cannot hit a checkdown pass, and throws the ball out late into triple coverage? The defense, which put 7 points on the board, played well for a half and then must have been disheartened as the offense surrendered 14 back on two pick sixes. But the coverage was too loose. It’s unacceptable to see so many third and longs get converted. Who do these coaches need to talk to about the holding penalties? It seems ironic that the Bears would get called for holding 3 times this week, when a week ago, Peppers was held on almost every play. Full-on nose dive mode here, and there seems to be little hope of pulling up. GRADE: D
I picked the right winner and picked a blowout (24-3). I wish I was wrong more often, but it’s going to be hard to pick the Bears again unless Cutler can return.
Noots’ Nut Crackers Johnny Knox, we are thinking hopeful thoughts about you.
Nudo’s Kudos Julius Peppers Craig Steltz Israel Idonije Khalil Bell
Horns Caleb Hanie J’Marcus Webb Tim Jennings Devin Hester
If you were in Chicago circa August/September 2007, chances are good you heard bells ringing. You heard songs being sung. If you put your ear to the wall you could hear the audible sounds of handshakes, hugs, and high fives. You saw Blackhawks banners and flags being hung on doors and out windows; doors and windows that hadn’t featured Blackhawks paraphernalia in about 15 years. There were no games being played, no major signing. There was just an audible buzz of hope, a long-anticipated event had come to pass that opened the door to a true revival for the blackhawks:
"Dollar" Bill Wirtz had died.
Under his watch the Blackhawks had spent the last decade of his regime slowly crumbling in on itself, becoming a national joke among national sports. The shame of a legendary franchise that was a cornerstone of the league being run into the ground and treated with such willful stupidity permeated the fan base, and long-timers had accepted that it would take the man’s death for true changes to be made that would bring the franchise into the 21st century.
The day he died sports radio in Chicago played “Ding Dong, The Witch Is Dead,” people read the news online and in print with smiles they had to pretend to hide. They knew that finally after years of misery that a new day was coming. If you’ve been conscious over the last few years, you’d know that the Blackhawks are now one of the most respected well-run and winningest franchises in the modern NHL.
Fast forward to 2009/2011: The Cubs, arguably the franchise with the most notorious relationship with losing, had spent years under the thumb of the Wrigley family only to be sold to the Tribune Co., a company whose purchase of the Cubs was more of a “free money” acquisition. For years the Cubs have had incredibly limited success with an indifferent ownership who did the bare minimum to provide a winning product; content in the knowledge that fans would come no matter what was on the field.
In the midst of a financial implosion, the Tribune Co. finally sold the Cubs to the Ricketts family, and there was a vibe of potential sweeping change. The seed was planted for a brighter renewed future, and if you fast forward to this past summer the Cubs transformation was further encouraged with the acquisition of Theo Epstein as team President. Slowly but surely, year by year, the team has plans to reinvent it’s farm system and style of roster management. There is an aura of a renewed intelligence, a more structured plan, a superior intelligence heading the meticulous work behind the scenes. There is hope.
Now as we stare 2012 in the face, the city’s biggest and most popular team is on the verge of an implosion that weeks ago nobody could’ve predicted. The Bears have a tool here, a weapon there, and for once - they have a quarterback, like a REAL quarterback - as well as a defense that while not altogether perfect has the pillars that could make up a champion. And yet with a single injury to Jay Cutler, it appears that we here in Chicago are getting a full appreciation for just how good he was, while also exposing the flawed and inexcusably poor roster that ownership and management has compiled.
The McCaskey family like all too many diseases has infected the team brass. The matriarch, the evil queen, the most hated woman in Chicago. Virginia McCaskey. Does she sign off on bad acquisitions? No. Does she call our poorly scouted first round draft picks? No. She just collects the checks and gives out moneys to her kids. She’s 88 years old, and if you’ll forgive my saying so, a visit from the angel of death would be the best thing she could ever do for her beloved franchise.
I don’t wish her a painful transition, but her leaving could potentially set the wheels in motion for a renewed day in Chicago. George McCaskey just took over as team Chairman and is the last McCaskey in the fold of the franchise. Former Bears VP Tim McCaskey passed away last January, and Michael McCaskey retired as chairman before passing the role onto his older brother. If Virginia were to exit this mortal coil, we’re looking at an empty chair that could be an opportunity for the board to sell the team.
Look at it this way: the Bears are on the verge of a major fundamental implosion. The primary players are 3-4 years away from the end of their most viable seasons, with Cutler as the only possible exception. The team is notoriously bad at drafting and has had to over-rely on patchwork free agent signings to fill out the roster (Jay Cutler and Julius Peppers the obvious exclusions). The future is not bright - not bright at all. There’s no plan, there’s no long-term higher wisdom dictating the careers of Jerry Angelo and Lovie Smith. As it stands, the two are intertwined and their contracts go until 2013.
If you’re a stockholder, the time to sell the team is now. The team is still highly profitable and the pieces are there for winning now, but not then, if that makes sense. For people with financial long-term wisdom that also have a football sense of time, logic would dictate that it’s a smarter move to sell now. With Virginia gone, placeholder George in a ceremonial position only, Ted Philips/Lovie Smith/Jerry Angelo on the tail ends of long-winded title-less tenures…logic would dictate a sale.
Obviously my dreams are reliant on the whims of the new ownership, but I feel like it would be similar to the Blackhawks/Cubs in terms of “It’s About Time” feeling.
To close out my rambling on the transition of dying fading ownership, I’ll quote Shakespeare:
Chicago Bears wide receiver Johnny Knox was taken off the field on a board and cart and transported to a hospital during the first quarter of Sunday’s game with what team officials described as a “mid-back injury.”
Knox fumbled on a third-down reception after he was stripped by Seattle Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor. During the scramble for the ball, Seahawks defensive tackle Anthony Hargrove delivered a crushing blow to Knox on the ground that replays showed bent back his upper torso.
The game was delayed for more than five minutes while Knox was tended to on the field by medical personnel. He was strapped to a hard board and placed on a cart. Knox was moving his arms and hands and his helmet was removed.
The cart took Knox to an ambulance and he was transported to a hospital according to the WBBM-AM 780 broadcast. Sideline reporter Zach Zaidman reports Knox is moving hands and fingers.
The loss of Knox leaves the Bears with only four wide receivers for the remainder of the game as Sam Hurd was waived Friday and the Bears entered Sunday with five on the roster.
BFO Exclusive: Q & A w/ Michael Nudo of "Noots' Notes"
Michael Nudo, author of the well-established and widely e-circulated Chicago Bears breakdowns known as "Noots’ Notes," was kind enough to answer some questions for Bears Fans Online.
BFO: If you don’t mind, tell us briefly about who Michael Nudo is, where you’re from, etc. MN: I’ve lived my entire life in Illinois. I grew up in the Northwest suburbs. I’m in the city now after being away in the Western suburbs for a while. I started paying attention to the Bears around the mid to late 1970s. Right around the time Walter Payton arrived and I was old enough to understand the game.
BFO: When and why did you become a fan of the Chicago Bears? MN: As to why, I’m not sure of that, really. I don’t think there’s too much choice in it if you love football, and you’re from here. Is there?
BFO: What inspired you to start doing game by game breakdowns, and what keeps you motivated? MN: I started writing up some crib notes on the games around 15-20 years ago and posting them on some of the first ever message boards. It sort of took on a life of its own from there. Some of the motivation is from the many e-friends I have made over the years. I used to get letters from people that couldn’t see the games, and would count on me to let them know how the team performed. The other motivation is from within. It’s a labor of love, clearly.
BFO: Break down the process of your method when you’re watching games, if you don’t mind. What do you look for, do you literally take dictation of the action, etc? MN: I usually take two sets of notes. I like to have a running play by play that I write up in a sort of chicken scratch short hand on one sheet. On another, I keep track of what I feel are big plays, good or bad. While this is going on, I usually have tv audio as well as radio play by play in one ear.
BFO: Throughout your time, what’s a couple of the best and worst times you’ve had writing Noots’s Notes? MN: I think the best times I have had have been when I’ve met some of the people I’ve only known via the web to take in a game. It’s hard to describe a worst time. Sometimes, when the team is clearly bad (think of some of the Wannstadt era and also Dick Jauron), it’s actually EASIER to write as the game jumps onto the page for me. The worst times are when you have to write the story up, and the season is already over, and it’s holidays when would rather be with family and friends. That’s the hard part.
“If Jay was playing, there would probably be even more pressure to come back and play," Forte said. "There’s a lot of pressure on him to play, but he’s got screws and pins in his thumb. You can’t go out there and play if you’re not 100 percent really. Guys can play injured and stuff, but right now I don’t think it would benefit me or the team to go out there and play on a half a leg, so to speak.”—
Bears RB Matt Forte on wanting to return to 100% next year (on a contract that will probably pay him 60% of what he wanted).
Police say the stolen 1985 Super Bowl ring of Chicago Bears wide receiverWillie Gault has been recovered from a downtown Los Angeles jewelry store.
Los Angeles police said in a statement Saturday that Gault’s ring from the Bears’ victory over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XX along with a wedding ring and five stolen watches were found Thursday. The jewelry was stolen in a Nov. 8 home burglary.
Noots' Notes: Injury Report & Implications: SEA @ CHI
INJURY REPORT AND IMPLICATIONS Seattle Seahawks (6-7) at Chicago Bears (7-6) By Michael Nudo
Matt Forte’s knee injury means more action for Barber.
BEARS OFFENSE vs. SEAHAWKS DEFENSE
Since Caleb Hanie took over for the injured Jay Cutler (thumb) 3 weeks ago, the Bears offense has only put up 40 points. He piled up six interceptions in his first two starts before going pick-free a week ago. Second-string running back Marion Barber started for Matt Forte (knee) last week after taking over early two weeks ago. During that time he failed to line up properly to take a touchdown off the board against the Chiefs and then against the Broncos he failed to stay in bounds during the four-minute offense with a lead, and fumbled in overtime. The mental errors overshadowed a strong running effort (27/108, TD) a week ago. Wide receiver and special teams’ ace Sam Hurd was released on Friday after federal drug charges were brought against him.
Defensive end Chris Clemons has 9 sacks. He’ll be lined up over Lance Louis, who has struggled the last few weeks. It was reported that Louis injured both his ankles recently, but is not on the weekly report. In winning 4 of their last 5 games, the Seahawks have allowed only 74 points. Before you pooh-pooh the teams they were playing, the first of those wins was against the Baltimore Ravens (22-17).
Caleb Hanie has shown little ability to deliver the ball accurately or on time. The Bears should expect to see 8 men in the box with the corners jamming the wide receivers at the line. To succeed, they must find a way to convert third downs. Tight ends and receivers must get off the line and hold on to the ball. Hanie’s best friend is going to be a receiver who can break a tackle and make a play. Psst….Earl Bennett. The best way to help Louis against Clemons would be to run right at him. He’s more of an undersized speed player.
BEARS DEFENSE vs. SEAHAWKS OFFENSE
Safety Major Wright (shoulder) is expected to be ready for action. He may be eased back into the lineup with Craig Steltz playing well the last two weeks. Add in the likelihood of Seattle running the ball with Lynch. Defensive tackle Henry Melton (shin) is questionable. Melton has had his ups and downs, but it’s difficult to argue with 7 sacks through 13 games from the defensive tackle position. His loss might be rookie Stephen Paea’s gain. Paea had the most disruptive game of his rookie season last week. He and Amobi Okoye have provided some pass rush in spurts.
Marshawn Lynch needs just 31 yards to reach 1,000. He also has 9 rushing touchdowns. He is their offense. Over the last 6 games, Lynch is averaging 118 yards rushing. Tarvaris Jackson only has 11 touchdowns versus 12 picks, but has still completed 60 percent of his passes. This should be just enough to outscore the Bears, no matter how well their defense is playing. The Seahawks’ Injured Reserve has recent additions in tackles Russell Okung and James Carpenter as well as wide receiver Sidney Rice. Wide receiver Doug Baldwin is expected to play despite a bothersome ankle.
The Seahawks have allowed 41 sacks. This could be another game for stat padding for the defensive line. But Seattle runs the ball about 43 percent of the time, and Lynch can wear down a defense and then break off a long run. If the Bears are going to break their losing streak, they’ll need the defense and special teams to put the offense into field goal position at a minimum. Discipline and tackling form is critical again from the safeties, to ensure Lynch does not to go all the way if he breaks through the second level.
Nootstradamus’ Fearless Forecast
These are two teams going in completely different directions. The Seahawks, winners of 4 of their last 5, are coming together. The Bears are falling apart at the seams. They’ve lost their top QB and RB and now have a massive controversy swirling over Hurd’s drug arrest. My heart tells me it’s going to be even more of a rout than I am predicting.
“He’s been very valuable. He’s been a four-phase starter for us," Toub said. "He’s been the personal protect on punt team. He’s been the captain of our punt team. It’s going to take a little bit to replace him. We’re all shocked, let’s leave it at that.”—
Bears ST Coach Dave Toub on Sam Hurd’s newly discovered fondness for powdered goods.
“This is just very shocking to me,” Williams said Thursday. "And I’m kind of pissed off at him, too, because it’s a really selfish act. He has let us down in the wide receiver group, in which we were so close. He let down the wide receivers coach, the head coach, the Bears organization and the city. But that’s my boy, too.”—
Bears WR Roy Williams on his coke-lord buddy Sam Hurd.