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Tag:Chicago Bears
Posted on: October 30, 2011 11:43 am
 

Report: Ray Rice, Matt Forte to get franchise tag

Should Rice and Forte blame Chris Johnson(US PRESSWIRE)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Ray Rice and Matt Forte are two of the best running backs in the league. They also play a position that is among the easiest to replace in terms of productivity and that, along with Chris Johnson's no-show performance with the Titans this season after signing a four-year, $53 contract, means that neither should expect a new long-term deal this season. In fact, their respective teams, the Ravens and Bears, plan to slap them with franchise tag this offseason, ESPN's Adam Schefter tweeted Sunday morning.

"I think the Ravens are going to do the right thing … with the contract situation, I'll leave it in their hands," Rice told CBSSports.com earlier this month.

Rice's notion of the "right thing" might differ from that of the organization's.

Both Rice and Forte are in the last year of their rookie deals and both have been an integral part of their offense's success. But the reality is that running backs are, in general, fungible (we've been beating this drum for some time). Look no further than DeMarco Murray, the Cowboys' rookie third-round pick who treaded the Rams for 253 (!) rushing yards last week in place of an injured Felix Jones.

Also not helping: Chris Johnson going from one of the league's most explosive backs to its least effective, a transformation that unofficially took place the moment he signed the shiny new deal he had been demanding (Johnson held out for most of training camp before the Titans relented, giving him $30 million guaranteed).

The Ravens and Bears have even more incentive to wait on giving Rice and Forte long-term deals: according to Schefter, franchise numbers for running backs drops next season from $9.45 million to $7.71 million.

It's not a bad consolation prize, but it also offers no security over the long haul. And while we think that it doesn't require much effort to find a replacement-level back, Rice and Forte are exceptions because their offenses go through them. If Ravens fans are frustrated with Joe Flacco now, what state of mind would they be in if Rice wasn't touching the ball 30 times a game? (for a glimpse of what that looks like, just rewatch the Jags debacle from Monday night.) And Forte, perhaps more than the o-line, is responsible for keeping Jay Cutler upright.

But that might not be enough to keep either from getting franchised. It's easy to point fingers at the front office, but Johnson is also responsible, too.


CBS Sports' James Brown, Dan Marino, Bill Cowher, Shannon Sharpe, and Boomer Esiason break down the Monday night matchup at Arrowhead Stadium between the San Diego Chargers and the Kansas City Chiefs.

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Posted on: October 28, 2011 5:23 pm
Edited on: October 28, 2011 5:32 pm
 

Lions claim Chris Harris off waivers

Chris Harris faced the Lions in Week 6. On Friday, he joined them. (US PRESSWIRE)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

On Thursday morning, the Bears released safety Chris Harris. A day later, he's been claimed off waivers by the Lions, according to his agent Albert Elias.

Incidentally, it was Harris' performance against Detroit in Week 6 that led to his benching. After sitting out the Vikings game, he was back on the field last Sunday in London, when Chicago beat Tampa Bay.

In Detroit, Louis Delmas and Amari Spievey will remain the starting safeties, but Harris will add depth to a secondary that lost Erik Coleman to injured reserve earlier this month, and Vince Fuller met the same fate Friday afternoon.

Harris, who led the Bears with five interceptions last season, hasn't been as productive this season and that, in part, led to his release.

“It’s the body of work,” Chicago head coach Lovie Smith said, via the Chicago Sun-Times, “and just not one thing. Then it’s just a gut feeling, as a head football coach. I felt like we needed to go in a different direction. …

“We don’t all of a sudden wake up one morning and just say, ‘Hey, we’re going to go this direction.’ It’s a pattern,” Smith said, “and I feel good about the decision we had to make. It is a business and, for us, it’s about production. We felt like we had some other options that we felt pretty good about, at the safety position.”

To Harris' credit, he took it all in stride, spending much of Thursday accepting well-wishes from the Twitterverse, and even he managed to get off quite possibly the best job-related tweet ever. (Upside: at least Harris wasn't stealing boxes.)


If you don't get the reference, then shame on you -- and here's a handy video clip (naughty language alert).

By claiming Harris on waivers, the Lions assume the remaining $644,000 on his contract this year. And in case you're wondering, the Lions face the Bears on November 13. 


Tim Tebow was impressive last week in his first start which led to an overtime win. Can the Broncos repeat as they prepare to take on Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions this week? NFL.com's Pat Kirwan and Jason Horowitz preview this game.

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Posted on: October 27, 2011 10:06 am
Edited on: October 27, 2011 10:18 am
 

Bears release safety Chris Harris

Chris Harris went from starter, to the bench, to looking for work. (US PRESSWIRE)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Two weeks ago, Bears safeties Brandon Meriweather and Chris Harris were benched. The move (coupled with his release from the Patriots prior to the season) caused Meriweather to rethink how he plays the game. Harris will have plenty of time to contemplate such things, too -- the Bears announced Thursday that they have let him go. 

"I was just released this morning by the Bears," Harris tweeted. "Thank u for the opp to play football n do what I luv. I'm looking toward my next venture."

After heading to the bench against the Vikings in Week 6, a game the Bears won 39-10, Harris was back in the starting lineup last Sunday in London against the Buccaneers (Chicago won, 24-18). He got the nod over Major Wright, who was inactive with a hip injury.

The Chicago Tribune's Vaughn McClure writes that it's unclear if Harris asked for his release. Shortly after his benching, Harris requested a trade and the team honored his request before he decided to finish the season in Chicago.

He leaves the Bears having started 39 of 44 games, logging two interceptions and three fumble recoveries.

Harris began his career in Chicago when the team selected him out of Louisiana-Monroe in the sixth round of the 2005 draft. In 2008, he was traded to the Panthers for a fifth-rounder before Carolina traded him back to Chicago in 2010.

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Posted on: October 25, 2011 1:45 pm
 

Eye on Football NFL Awards: Week 7

Posted by Will Brinson



Every week, our NFL experts will hand out the Eye on Football hardware to the best of the best from the NFL week that was.

Week 7 NFL Awards
Expert Offense Defense STeams Coach
Freeman  Forte  Revis Braman  JDR
Judge  Brees Flowers Scobee Haley
Prisco Murray Woodley Scobee  JDR
Brinson Murray Flowers Scobee Haley
Katzowitz Murray Flowers Bryant Haley
Wilson  Foster Flowers Scobee Haley
Week 7 is in the books and that means it's time to hand out some awards. Oddly enough, we've got a pretty good consensus going this week, as a number of players were just so impressive that they garnered an easy victory.

Big ups to new Cowboys starting running back DeMarco Murray who wins his first-ever Eye on Offense Award. I'm sure he's slightly more excited about that than he is about breaking Emmitt Smith's single-game Cowboys rushing record.

On defense, multiple members of our esteemed panel requested the freedom to vote for Kyle Boller and Carson Palmer. Since that's not allowed, Brandon Flowers ran away with the hardware like it was a Palmer pass to the flats.

If you saw the abomination that was Monday night's game between the Jaguars and Ravens, there shouldn't be any question who won the Eye on Special Teams Award -- Josh Scobee knocked out three 50+ yard field goals and picked up the cheese from us.

And Todd Haley, the bearded wonder, has his Chiefs within one win on Sunday of creating a three-way tie in the AFC West. For that, plus blanking the Raiders on Sunday, he's your Eye on Coaching Award winner. No, we didn't see this coming either.

Leave your votes in the comments below or scream angrily at us on Twitter @EyeOnNFL.

Eye on Offense Award
Mike Freeman Clark Judge
Matt Forte Matt Forte, RB, Bears
You can be predictable and pick Arian Foster. Or Drew Brees. He threw for a cabillion yards and 800 touchdowns against the Colts. But it's the Colts. The way they're playing Brees could have thrown for five touchdowns on one leg while drinking a Dos Equis. I'm going with Matt Forte. He had 183 total yards against Tampa in England, mate. He's surpassed 1,000 total yards for the season already. Pay the man.
Drew BreesDrew Brees, QB, Saints
Tim Tebow had three spectacular minutes of play; Brees had 60. So whom are we talking about now? Yeah, well, that's what happens when you win a Super Bowl and throw TD passes every week. Only this week he had six. I don't care that it was against the Colts. I care that he did it, period. Magnificent performance by a magnificent quarterback.
Pete Prisco Will Brinson
DeMarco Murray DeMarco Murray, RB, Cowboys
Murray -- He comes off the bench to rush for a franchise-record 253 yards, including a 91-yard touchdown run, so there can't be any other player in this spot. Murray is an explosive back who just might be taking the starting job from Felix Jones.
DeMarco MurrayDeMarco Murray, RB, Cowboys
When your first carry of the day goes for a 91-yard touchdown, you're probably going to end up with a decent statistical outing. But take away that monster run and Murray still averaged 6.75 yards a carry against St. Louis en route to his 253-yards, a Cowboys single-game record.
Josh Katzowitz Ryan Wilson
DeMarco MurrayDeMarco Murray, RB, Cowboys
For a guy who had 71 career yards entering Sunday’s game vs. the Rams, Murray’s record-breaking 253-yard performance was enough to lead Dallas to a monster win, give Jason Garrett a reason to keep playing him instead of Felix Jones, and lead the man whose record he broke to give him a shout-out on Twitter. That, of course, is Emmitt Smith.
Arian Foster Arian Foster, RB, Texans
I know DeMarco Murray went buck wild on the Rams defense but, well, it's the Rams defense. What else was he supposed to do? Arian Foster, against division foe Tennessee, had more than 100 yards receiving by halftime. He ended the day with 234 total yards (119 receiving, 115 rushing) and three touchdowns as the Texans whipped the Titans, 41-7.
Eye on Defense Award
Freeman Judge
Darrelle RevisDarrelle Revis, CB, Jets
Man crush alert. I have one. His play at CB is remarkable right now and he had another interception returning this one 64 yards. This on the heels of an INT last week that was returned 100 yards for a TD. The pick wasn't classic Revis but it was still solid and reflected how the Jets are using him in coverage. He's playing everywhere, doing everything.
Brandon Flowers Brandon Flowers, CB, Chiefs
The Chiefs intercept Oakland six times, two of them by Flowers and two of them for touchdowns. Flowers had one of those scores, and it was notable because it marked Carson Palmer's first TD of the season. Give Flowers and the Chiefs credit. They were give little chance here, and they won ... with defense.
Prisco Brinson
LaMarr WoodleyLaMarr Woodley, LB, Steelers
Woodley had two sacks, spent the day in the Cardinals backfield, and showed why he's one of the top pass rushers in the NFL. Woodley can do it with speed or power. He's a tough one to block without help.
Brandon FlowersBrandon Flowers, CB, Chiefs
Like last week, it might be fine to hand this award to Kyle Boller or Carson Palmer, but give Flowers credit for picking off two passes, taking one to the house and making three tackles in a crucial game that got the Chiefs back into the AFC West race.
Katzowitz Wilson
Brandon Flowers Brandon Flowers, CB, Chiefs
The Chiefs embarrassed two quarterbacks (Kyle Boller and Carson Palmer) and one head coach (Hue Jackson) by intercepting six Raiders passes. You could go with the collective effort of the entire Kansas City defense, but since Flowers recorded 33 percent of the interceptions, plus a pick-6, I’ll single him out for recognition.
Brandon Flowers Brandon Flowers, CB, Chiefs
We could have gone with the entire Chiefs D -- or, hell, Carson Palmer and Kyle Boller for doing their part as the defensive players of the week -- but Flowers had two picks against Oakland, including a 58-yard TD return against Palmer. On the day, KC's D had six picks, and made Palmer look a lot like the guy who bumbled his way through 2010 in Cincinnati.
Eye on Special Teams Award
Freeman Judge
Bryan BramanBryan Braman, LB, Texans
The most unusual choice perhaps I'll ever make but I love these kinds of stories. Rookie Bryan Braman made the Houston team as an undrafted free agent.John McClain of the Houston Chronicle pointed out how Braman made two big hits that helped to set the tone on special teams.
Josh Scobee Josh Scobee, K, Jaguars
Thank goodness he was in the lineup. Otherwise, neither of these two teams might have scored until Friday. Scobee did what Sebastian Janikowski did two weeks earlier, which is nail three 50-yarders. Janikowski was my pick then, and Scobee is my pick now. I bet he's Jack Del Rio's, too.
Prisco Brinson
Josh ScobeeJosh Scobee, K, Jaguars
Scobee made three field goals from outside 50 yards and added another as the Jaguars upset the Baltimore Ravens. Scobee has not missed a field goal this season, going 14 for 14 and making all five of his kicks outside 50 yards.
Josh ScobeeJosh Scobee, K, Jaguars
The Jaguars won 12-7 on Monday night and Scobee's the only reason why, belting four field goals, three of which were more than 50 yards long. His clutch knockdown of a 51-yarder with 1:43 left saved Jack Del Rio from another questionable coaching decision. He's 14/14 on the year too.
Katzowitz Wilson
Red Bryant Red Bryant, DE, Seahawks
The hard-headed (quite literally) Seahawks defensive end blocked two Browns field goals, and though ultimately, Cleveland won a terribly ugly game and Bryant was ejected for head-butting Browns tight end Alex Smith, that doesn’t take away from his special teams performance.
Josh Scobee Josh Scobee, K, Jaguars
He striped three field goals from beyond 50 yards  and accounted for the Jaguars' only points against a Ravens team that featured an offensive game plan crafted before the invention of the forward pass. Outside of MJD, Scobee is Jacksonville's best scoring threat, and Monday night he was their only scoring threat.
Eye on Coaching Award
Freeman Judge
Jack Del RioJack Del Rio, HC, Jaguars
He's going to be fired at the end of the year. He knows it. Everyone on the Jaguars does. He's been terrible this season and for the past several years the only person Del Rio hasn't fired and thus scapegoated is the owner. If Del Rio could, he'd fire him, too. But his win against Baltimore was gritty, smart and nicely done despite the ugliness of the game.
Todd Haley Todd Haley, HC, Chiefs
Not only did he go into Oakland and pull out an improbable victory; he blanked the Raiders, the first time the Chiefs have had a road shutout since 1973. I thought Haley's coaching career was supposed to be on life support. Yeah, well, all I know is that he won his last three and can tie for first in the AFC West with a win Monday.
Prisco Brinson
Jack Del RioJack Del Rio, HC, Jaguars
He is clearly on the hot seat, and there had been talk of his being let do during the bye week, but Monday's impressive victory over the Baltimore Ravens changes that. Del Rio's team shut down the Baltimore offense in a 12-7 victory.  For his efforts: A trip to Houston this week.
Todd HaleyChan Gailey, Bills
I've already spent some time apologizing to (a) Chiefs fan(s), who find their way back to .500 after Week 6, even though the teams they beat are a combined 5-16. But the only team with a winning record in that list is Oakland, and give credit for Haley coming in and whipping the Raiders.
Katzowitz Wilson
Todd Haley Todd Haley, HC, Chiefs
The winning streak beard continues to grow on Haley’s face, and though we saw some jokes before Sunday’s game that questioned the last time the haggard-looking Haley had bathed, there’s no doubt of the turnaround the Chiefs have made the past three weeks. Remember how Scott Pioli was on the verge of firing Haley? Well, those days are gone, after the Chiefs smashed the Raiders on Sunday.
Todd Haley Todd Haley, HC, Chiefs
I was all set to give this to Jack Del Rio, but Brinson reminded me that not only did Del Rio challenge whether Joe Flacco stepped out of the back of the end zone, but he also chose to kick a 51-yard field goal with the Jags up by two and 1:43 to go in the game. Instead, I'll take Todd Haley, who could've been fired after the first three weeks of the season. Now, Kansas City is 3-3 after smoking Oakland 28-0. Clearly, this has everything to do with Haley's new hobo chic appearance.
Posted on: October 21, 2011 11:50 pm
 

Meriweather rethinking way he plays the game

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

It’s taken quite a bit to get through Bears safety Brandon Meriweather’s head, but perhaps two separate fines worth $45,000 for hits on Carolina’s Steve Smith and Detroit’s Nate Burleson and a benching by Chicago has done the trick. Now, Meriweather -- who had a disturbing habit of unnecessary roughness penalties and fines -- says he’ll have to adjust the way he plays the game.

NFL Keeps Taking Money
"Apparently I need to fix something if (the NFL) is concerned about my hits," Meriweather told the Chicago Tribune. "I have to change it, or else I'm going to keep getting fined. Eventually if you get enough fines, you're going to end up getting kicked out the league. For me to continue to do something I love, I just have to change the way I play."

Although the league isn’t planning to meet with Meriweather, who was fined $40,000 last year for two separate hits on then-Ravens tight end Todd Heap in the same game, his organization has told him to simmer it down with the way he leads with his helmet.

"Everybody told me that," he said. "It's not necessarily what they said, but how they said it. People have told me before that I had to change my ways. I've been trying. It's just something you can't do overnight."

Yes, overnight is too big an expectation. But we’ve been talking about this seriously for about a year at this point. When you consider it’s been many months since James Harrison was fined for anything (!), that should have been plenty of time for Meriweather to make a change.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: October 21, 2011 7:59 pm
 

Local cuisine hampers one Buccaneer

B. Urlacher practices cricket in London (AP).Posted by Josh Katzowitz

When the Bears and Buccaneers meet this Sunday in London, there’s a decent chance that one or both teams will still be suffering from jet lag (from the long airplane ride to the UK and from the five-hour (Tampa Bay) or the six-hour (Chicago) body clock change).

The other day, we touched on the Bears decision to arrive in London a scant two days before the game and that Lovie Smith said his team surely be fine: “For us, we wanted to keep a regular game-week routine in place and that's what we're doing. As far as getting acclimated, you can bog your mind down with all of that talk. We're going to go there. We'll be there Friday. We're leaving Thursday from here. That's plenty of time."

I wrote, however, that the previous two years have showed that the team that arrives in London first -- whether it’s 17 hours or three days -- has had the easier time adjusting* and also, perhaps not coincidentally, won the game (that hasn’t stopped three of the five CBSSports.com Expert Pickers  from taking Chicago in this one).

*I’ll admit that I’m not sure how playing too much cricket (as you see from Brian Urlacher in the photo) affects your ability to play football.

Well, here’s one caveat to that opinion. Local foods can wreak havoc with your digestive system, and that apparently has what’s happened to Buccaneers defensive end Adrian Clayborn.

According to the Tampa Tribune, Clayborn had a meal of fish and chips after arriving with his teammates Monday night. It did sit quite right.

“It didn't sit well with me at all,” Clayborn said. “It messed up my stomach bad. It won't keep me from playing, though.”

So, the counter to jetlag is food poisoning apparently. Unfortunately for the Bears, just about everyone on their team could be jetlagged. Probably not everybody from Tampa Bay will have stomach issues.

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Posted on: October 21, 2011 12:13 pm
Edited on: October 21, 2011 12:20 pm
 

Saints C Olin Kreutz leaves team

After 14 years, Olin Kreutz appears to be hanging it up for good. (US PRESSWIRE)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

One of the Bears' biggest liabilities is along the offensive line, so it stood to reason that the organization would make a concerted effort during free agency to keep veteran center Olin Kreutz in Chicago. Instead, general manager Jerry Angelos gave Kreutz, a six-time Pro Bowler, a take-it-or-leave-it offer and, well, Kreutz left, signing with the Saints on August 5.

Now, two and a half months later, Kreutz is leaving the Saints.

"He decided, 'If I can't bring that same passion every day to work, I'm not gonna just sit here and collect a paycheck,'" his agent Mark Bartelstein told New Orleans Times-Picayune beat reporter Mike Triplett. "That's the way he is. Olin's a little different than most guys. People say all the time that it's not about the money. That's really how it is with him. It never has been."

Brian De La Puente, who originally signed with the 49ers as an undrafted free agent out of Cal prior to the 2008 season, would replace Kreutz.


The Indianapolis Colts are hoping to turn their disappointing season around as they travel to the Superdome to battle the New Orleans Saints on Sunday night. Jason Horowitz is joined by NFL.com's Pat Kirwan to break down this upcoming game. Also: don't forget to check out the Pregame: Colts-Saints edition.

In July, a week before signing with the Saints, Kreutz told the Chicago Tribune that "retirement is definitely an option." He also said that "Jerry [Angelo] has been good to me too. It felt like maybe it was time to move on. I just got that feeling. I have enough money. So the offer wasn't a big hurdle for me. It was a feel I had, just maybe they wanted to move on no matter what the offer was.

"I don't want to taint anyone. …[The Bears] treated me good and I think I've played my ass off for them. I know negotiations are never pretty. Things are said and you can't take them personal, but you do get kind of a feel for where people stand and I just didn't get the right feel for it."

And now it appears Kreutz really will retire, just two months later than the thought.

Triplett writes that the Saints have not yet commented on Kreutz's decision. Bartelstein said the team wasn't happy about it, but they understood it.

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Posted on: October 20, 2011 9:08 am
Edited on: October 20, 2011 12:46 pm
 

Bucs should have advantage with early trip

SmithPosted by Josh Katzowitz

Last year when the 49ers met the Broncos in London, it was clear to then-San Francisco linebacker Takeo Spikes that arriving in England a few days before Denver made a big difference.

“I think it helped (to leave early),” he told me in a Five Questions (or more) interview. “To be honest, we got there Monday morning, and we didn’t recover until that Thursday. That’s when everybody’s bodies were back on schedule. I can’t even imagine doing what Denver wanted to do and expect them to feel well-rested and alert. I know for us, even on Wednesday, I still couldn’t go to sleep on time. … I talked to them when they got off the plane on Thursday, and they said they felt fine. But damn, it must have been tough.”

Apparently, Bears coach Lovie Smith still believes the Broncos approach can work for his squad. Although the Buccaneers, who play Chicago this Sunday in London, left for the UK on Monday, Chicago won’t hop on a plane until Thursday, arriving in London on Friday. That means the Bears will have only two days to get their bodies acclimated before playing Sunday.

Smith doesn’t see a potential problem.

“For us, we wanted to keep a regular game-week routine in place and that's what we're doing,” he said, via the Tampa Tribune. “As far as getting acclimated, you can bog your mind down with all of that talk. We're going to go there. We'll be there Friday. We're leaving Thursday from here. That's plenty of time."

Tampa Bay has tried to have a normal work week as well. The Buccaneers took Tuesday off, like they normally would, to sight-see around London and then got ready to have normal practices Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

"Getting our players here early and getting them acclimated to the city, letting them have the day off here (on Tuesday) to do whatever they want kind of takes the angst away from coming in at the end of the week,'' Bucs coach Raheem Morris said from England.

Another key reason for the early travel schedule. Getting the team acclimated to the Wembley Stadium turf.

"That's why we came here on Monday,” Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik said. “Because the Wembley field is just like that. It's slipperier than what you expect, so it's important for our guys to be able to practice on it and with the right cleats on.''

The Buccaneers tried the Smith approach two years ago, and they were easily beaten by the Patriots 35-7. New England had arrived 17 hours before Tampa Bay -- which, granted, isn’t a big difference, but it is something. And with the 49ers easily beating the Broncos last season -- when San Francisco got to town three days earlier -- you’d think the Bears would be paying attention to the mini-trend.

But you’d be wrong.

"You can get as much rest as you need," Smith said. "We're going to end up playing the game at 12 o'clock, Chicago time. I don't think that's an issue at all. I think normally when you go overseas, I think the best football team normally wins. It's as simple as that. That's what will happen this time around."

Maybe, or perhaps jet lag will play a big part in a Tampa Bay win.



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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com