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Tag:Earl Bennett
Posted on: November 20, 2011 1:35 pm
 

Bennett to be removed if he wears orange shoes

Posted by Will Brinson

Earl Bennett's orange shoes have cost him $15,000 already this season -- though the Bears are 2-0 when Bennett rocks the kicks, the NFL's fined him twice this season, once for $5,000 and the second time for $10,000.

According to CBS Sports' Charley Casserly, if Bennett wears the orange shoes on Sunday against San Diego, he'll be fined another $15,000. And he'll be removed from the game until he changes.

"The NFL told me they called the Bears this week and told them this: if Bennett wears the shoes today during the game, he will be fined a minimum of $15,000," Casserly said on The NFL Today. "But more importantly, he will be removed from the game and he will not be allowed to go back into the game until he has the proper footwear on."



Bennett's decision to continue wearing the shoes obviously didn't sit well with the league office -- and it sets a dangerous (well, relatively dangerous) precedent if the league simply continues to fine Bennett. There's a strict uniform policy around the NFL, but if there's no substantial punishment for breaking that policy apart from financial incentivizing, it wouldn't be shocking to see players do what Bennett did over a longer period of time.

The NFL clearly wants to nip that in the bud, and they're doing so by potentially keeping Bennett from playing on Sunday.

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Posted on: November 17, 2011 11:05 am
Edited on: November 18, 2011 2:36 pm
 

Vanden Bosch, Stafford fined $7.5K, Moore $15K

Posted by Will Brinson

We told you earlier this week that the Chicago-Detroit tilt from Sunday (a resounding 37-13 victory for the Bears) would likely involve some players getting fined by the NFL.

Well, the first of those fines rolled in on Thursday morning, and it's directed at defensive lineman Kyle Vanden Bosch, who was reportedly fined $7,500 for hitting a runner on the ground, according to ESPN.

Apparently, the collective decision of Lions and Bears players earlier this week that Detroit isn't dirty wasn't enough to prevent the NFL from beginning to fire out expensive Fed Ex envelopes.

But all the fines in this game aren't because of violence -- Earl Bennett was fined for his clothes. Or, more specifically, his orange shoes, which cost him $10,000 for wearing them for the second straight week.

Last week, Bennett was fined $5,000 for wearing the orange cleats and a whole controversy brewed up about whether or not Jay Cutler can pay the fine for Bennett, who's emerged as Cutler's best receiving option. (He cannot.)

UPDATED (Nov. 18; 11:38 A.M. ET): According to the Chicago Sun-Times' Sean Jensen, Bears cornerback D.J. Moore, the man who scrapped with Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford that led to the bench-clearing fracas, has been fined $15,000 for his role. According to reports, Moore also has been ruled out for Sunday's game vs. the Chargers.

More fines are almost surely to come.

UPDATED (1:04 p.m.): According to the Detroit Free Press, Stafford has been fined $7,500 for throwing Moore to the ground, the same figure as Rob Sims for jumping on the pile late.

UPDATED (2:35 p.m.): Detroit's Nick Fairley has been fined $15,000 for his illegal hit on Bears quarterback Jay Cutler.

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Posted on: November 16, 2011 3:40 pm
 

Film Room: Bears vs. Chargers preview

Posted by Eye on Football Analyst Andy Benoit


The Chargers have not won a game since we featured (and lauded) them in a Week 7 Film Room post. The Bears, on the other hand, are white-hot, having won four straight in taking over the NFC wild card lead.

Here’s a five-part breakdown of the two teams in this Sunday’s late afternoon showdown at Soldier Field.


1. Quarterback
It was not long ago that the preeminent strong-armed, interception-prone quarterback in his mid-twenties with an on-field demeanor that rubbed many the wrong way was Jay Cutler. This season, however, it’s Philip Rivers.

His league-leading 15 interceptions have been genuine turnovers – not the kind of cheap tipped picks that plagued Eli Manning last season. Rivers’ downfield accuracy has waffled. He also has been uncomfortable passing from a dirty pocket. That’s alarming given that his best trait in years past has been making strong throws in the face of pressure.

Cutler knows all about operating in the face of pressure. However, lately he’s been throwing from much cleaner platforms. Because he has the strongest raw arm in football, he does not necessarily need to set his feet in order to throw. He’s a solid athlete with underrated mobility that allows him to buy time. But it’s when the time is bestowed upon him and he is able to set his feet that he gets in rhythm.

It’s not quite a Brady/Brees/Rodgers-like rhythm – Cutler has too many fundamental flaws for that – but it’s a potent enough rhythm to carry a team to victory.

2. Offensive line
The reason Cutler has been more comfortable is he trusts his pass protection. Mike Martz knows that his unathletic offensive line cannot hold up long enough to consistently protect seven-step drops, so he’s built more three-and five-step drops into the gameplan (though the Bears did drift away from this just a bit against the Lions last week). As Cutler has said, he’s potent when he has room to throw.

To be fair, the Bears offensive linemen have elevated their play as of late. Guard Lance Louis has been particularly solid since becoming the new right tackle. Losing left guard Chris Williams (on I.R. with a wrist injury) hurts because, until Gabe Carimi returns from his knee problem (he’s missed seven games and underwent arthroscopic surgery last week), Frank Omiyale will likely play. Omiyale was a train wreck at right tackle earlier this season. He played guard earlier in his career, but if he were truly viable there, he never would have moved outside. Edwin Williams replaced Chris Williams last week, but the Bears have not named him the new starter. He could still be in the mix.

Either way, offensive line coach Mike Tice will have his hands full helping this group continue performing at an acceptable level.

Rivers has felt a lot of Cutler’s old pain as of late. Left tackle Marcus McNeill has fought injuries the past few weeks; after he left the Raiders game last Thursday night, backup Brandyn Dombrowski was eaten alive. Inside, backup left guard Cornell Green, filling in for All-Pro Kris Dielman (out since suffering a concussion-related seizure after the loss to the Jets), has struggled to move his feet in pass protection.

Even though Norv Turner’s playbook is heavy on slow-developing downfield passes, the Chargers did not give the left side of their line much help last Thursday. That should change going up against Julius Peppers.

3. Receivers
Once again, these two clubs are going in opposite directions. The Bears have recently gotten healthy outside, with Earl Bennett back and showing newfound quickness. Bennett is no longer just a plodding possession slot receiver – he’s Cutler’s go-to guy. His presence has eased the burdens on the unreliable Roy Williams and permanently raw Devin Hester.

Also, what can’t be understated is the brilliance of Matt Forte. His success on the ground has given the offense balance, which helps the passing attack. Forte is also one of the best receiving backs in the league.

The Chargers, on the other hand, are without Malcom Floyd (hip injury). His absence has been ameliorated by the flashes of athletic explosiveness from rookie Vincent Brown.

However, San Diego’s usual stars have disintegrated in recent weeks. Antonio Gates has looked heavy-footed and Vincent Jackson has consistently failed to separate against man coverage. Jackson had a three-touchdown outburst against Green Bay thanks in part to some coverage busts. But in the three games before that, he caught a total of seven balls for 98 yards. Last week against Oakland, he had just one reception for 22 yards.

4. Cornerbacks
It will be tough for Jackson to reignite at Soldier Field. Bears cornerback Charles Tillman is having arguably the best season of his stellar career. Tillman thoroughly won his one-on-one battle against Calvin Johnson last week, using a mixture of aggressive press coverage and well-timed post-reception physicality from off-coverage positions.

Tillman, like all Bears cornerbacks, used to only play one side of the field. It was part of Chicago’s strict Cover 2 scheme. But as this season has progressed, Lovie Smith and defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli have drifted away from Cover 2 and more towards single-high safety concepts with the corners playing both man and zone principles. This allows the other safety to roam the field as an extra run supporter or, more often, versatile pass defender.

Consequently, the corners have moved around based on matchups. Tillman defends the opposing team’s biggest (and often most dangerous) receiver, while Tim Jennings (who is having the best season of his career) follows the smaller-but-quicker No. 2 receiver. The commendable performance of these corners is the reason Chicago has been able to spice up its defensive scheme.

In sticking with our theme, San Diego’s secondary has been increasingly disappointing the past month. Left corner Quintin Jammer and slot corner Dante Hughes have been fine, but on the right side, Antoine Cason and rookie Marcus Gilchrest have taken turns replacing one another in the starting lineup. Free safety Eric Weddle moves well and has some interceptions, but he’s not a true stopper.



5. Defensive front
A feeble pass-rush doesn’t help matters for San Diego. The loss of Shaun Phillips (still out with a foot injury) and Larry English (injured reserve) leaves the Chargers with journeymen Antwan Barnes and Travis LaBoy on the edges. Barnes is fast and has actually been as impactful as his team-high six sacks suggest. LaBoy’s run defense compensates for his low sack total (1).

Still, the bottom line is the forces that once buttressed San Diego’s pass-rushing depth are now the forces that comprise San Diego’s pass-rush period.

If the Chargers want to generate consistent pressure on the quarterback, they have to blitz. Inside linebacker Victor Butler and slot corner Dante Hughes are the two best options for this. Blitzing is not preferable for defensive coordinator Greg Manusky, though.

It’s never been preferable for the Bears. They almost exclusively use a traditional four-man pass-rush, which works when you have a deep rotation, a highly-skilled No. 2 rusher like Israel Idonije and a monster like Peppers. In an effort to create matchup problems, Peppers has been lining up at both end positions and, lately, inside on certain passing downs.

So who will win? Check our NFL expert picks for all Week 11 games

Follow @Andy_Benoit on Twitter or contact him at Andy.Benoit-at-NFLTouchdown.com.
Posted on: November 8, 2011 12:24 am
 

Impressive Bears have turned around their season

B. Urlacher tackles L. McCoy (AP).Posted by Josh Katzowitz

For a second there, the Bears looked like they were in trouble. The Bears had dominated the early part of the game, taking a 10-point lead, and with Jay Cutler playing well and Matt Forte showing why he deserves to sign a large contract extension, Chicago was simply playing tougher than the Eagles.

But with Forte losing two fumbles -- he hadn’t put the ball on the ground in more than a calendar year -- the Eagles scored 14 points off those miscues, and though the Bears seemed tougher, Philadelphia took a touchdown lead after LeSean McCoy’s 33-yard rushing touchdown. Suddenly, Cutler was atrocious and the Bears couldn’t do anything right.

And yet …

And yet, the Bears 30-24 comeback victory showed us something important. That Chicago, in one of the toughest divisions in the league, is good enough to be a playoff team. That, when Cutler gets plenty of time to throw by his offensive line -- which allowed Cutler to get smashed repeatedly earlier this season but didn’t allow a sack tonight -- he perhaps can be one of the NFL’s elite quarterbacks. That, the Bears can compete with the Lions, Cowboys, Falcons and, yes, the Eagles to grab one of those NFC wild card spots.

In the NFC North this year, you tend to forget about the Bears, considering you’ve got the all-world Packers at 8-0 and the uprising Lions at 6-2. But after tonight’s win, the Bears are 5-3 and after pounding the Vikings and beating the Buccaneers in London, they're on a three-game winning streak. And showing plenty of toughness.

Chicago isn’t the most talented team in the division. Forte is one of the best backs around, but Cutler runs hot and cold and the receivers are less than stellar (except for Earl Bennett, who returned tonight after missing the past five games and caught five passes for 95 yards and a touchdown). The defense features Brian Urlacher, Julius Peppers and Israel Idonije. But it’s also ranked 25th in the league, and the Bears have allowed at least 24 points on four occasions this season.

And yet …

And yet, tonight the Bears made Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson -- who also fumbled a punt return that led to Bears points -- irrelevant, contained Michael Vick and only allowed 330 yards, a season low for the Eagles.

Four weeks ago, the Bears were going nowhere at 2-3, and some of us wondered if coach Lovie Smith’s job was in danger. But now they’re one of the hotter teams in the NFC, though not as hot as Green Bay, and they’ll get one more shot at the Lions and the Packers. Both squads beat Chicago earlier this season.

And yet …

And yet, this might be a different Bears team. A Bears team that has the playoffs squarely in its line of sight.

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Posted on: June 17, 2011 4:30 pm
Edited on: June 17, 2011 6:13 pm
 

Hot Routes 6.17.11: Palmer still could be traded



Posted by Ryan Wilson
  • When quarterback Carson Palmer said he would retire if the Bengals didn't trade him, owner Mike Brown didn't budge. And Brown still hasn't. But NBC Sunday Night Football analyst Cris Collinsworth, who played for the Bengals in the 1980s, thinks Brown will eventually cave and try to move Palmer.
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Posted on: March 22, 2011 11:31 am
 

Offseason Checkup: Chicago Bears

Posted by Andy Benoit



Eye on Football's playing doctor for every NFL team with our Offseason Check-ups. Also, check out our checkup podcast:





Lovie Smith earned a new contract after his seemingly mediocre team ended its three-year run of mediocrity. The ending of the Bears’ season became THE story of the postseason when Jay Cutler left the NFC Championship with a strained MCL. The loss of Cutler’s strong arm confirmed what many already knew: the Bears had been paddling upstream all season against the current of their awful offensive line, ho-hum receiving corps and close-to-lethargic run game.

Credit Cutler and especially the surprisingly malleable Mike Martz for making late season adjustments that compensated for these weaknesses. Helping compensate for offensive shortcomings was the resurgence of a defense that saw MLB Brian Urlacher return from his ’09 wrist injury fresh as can be and long-time Panther Julius Peppers provide a much-needed pass-rushing presence while galvanizing the run defense.



 Every time you put on the film, Nick Roach, the athletic four-year linebacker, stands out. Roach, undrafted out of Northwestern, has been a special teamer who only starts when someone is injured. Last season, it was Pisa Tinoisamoa’s bum knee that propelled Roach to the first string. Predictably, Roach proved to be an upgrade over Tinoisamoa.

Roach's lack of size and abundance of speed make him better equipped for the weak side in a Cover 2 system. Obviously, this team’s weakside position is held down by Lance Briggs. But given Chicago’s options on the strong side, Roach is worth playing out of position.

(Not to push too much change too fast, but Briggs is actually built more like a strongside linebacker anyway. So if the Bears really wanted to mix things up – which, we know, they don’t – they could relocate their veteran Pro Bowler, too.)



1. Offensive tackle
Just because J'Marcus Webb started as a rookie doesn’t mean he’s the answer at right tackle. The lumbering seventh-round pick only started because the team’s Gatorade cooler didn’t have hands or feet and the tackling sled didn’t know all the plays. The Bears could also stand to upgrade at left tackle, though veteran Frank Omiyale survived well enough in that spot last season.

2. Interior offensive line
Center Olin Kreutz hit a wall in 2010. It wouldn’t be sensible to re-sign the 33-year-old. Left guard Chris Williams is a former first-round pick who didn’t take the field until 2009. You hate to give up on the guy this early, but watch him in pass protection and you see that you wouldn’t be giving up on much.

3. Wide receiver
Devin Hester is at worst a gadget play specialist but at best only a slot option. Johnny Knox is a zone-beater with speed to burn, but it’s hard to picture teams ever rolling their coverage to his side of the field. With Earl Bennett being almost strictly an underneath target, there’s room to insert a downfield playmaking weapon in this rotation.



Any team that hosts the NFC Championship and returns virtually all of its players the next season will have legitimate Super Bowl aspirations. But it wouldn’t be outlandish to proclaim these Bears a one-hit wonder. A little more firepower and a lot more blocking prowess are needed offensively. Defensively, the table is pretty well set, though coaches have for years been searching for a playmaker at the safety position.

Finding one may be necessary for putting this unit over the top. As things stand, this is far and away the second best team in the NFC North.

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Posted on: January 1, 2011 2:17 pm
Edited on: January 1, 2011 2:18 pm
 

Week 17 injury report analysis Part II

Posted by Andy Benoit

Because a handful of teams have nothing to play for in Week 17, deciphering the injury report can be a very inexact – and, frankly, pointless – science. Thus, we’ll only bother analyzing the injury reports from games that carry playoff implications.

Giants @ Redskins
C. Webster (US Presswire)
The Giants will be without explosive WR Hakeem Nicks (broken toe). Center Shaun O’Hara, who has struggled mightily in his first two games back from an ankle injury, is out again this week (foot). Rich Seubert will fill in (the Giants this year have been better with Seubert at C anyway). CB Corey Webster missed practice all week with bad ribs. Fortunately for New York, the Redskins, aside from Santana Moss, don’t have a single wideout worth fearing.

The Redskins had a CB of their own miss practice all week: Carlos Rogers (calf). Everybody else had full participation, in part because all of the big-name players who are banged up have already been written off (see Haynesworth, Portis, Landry, etc.)


Vikings @ Lions

Okay, okay, so this game doesn’t have any playoff implications. But being a member of the media, I just couldn’t pass up an opportunity to once again tell you about Brett Favre. He’s doubtful with a concussion.


Bears @ Packers

Unless something utterly unexpected happens with the NFC South games, the No. 2 seeded Bears will have nothing to play for Sunday. We’ll see what that means for playing time. Everyone on the roster is healthy, with the exception of WR Earl Bennett, who was limited in practice with an ankle.

The Packers will be without DE Cullen Jenkins (still nursing a calf), FB Korey Hall (knee), LB Frank Zombo (knee) and SS Atari Bigby (groin). Bigby, a promising hard-hitter, has battled injuries all season long.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .

Posted on: November 29, 2010 4:37 pm
 

Hot Routes 11.29.10 Sunday box score tidbits

Hot Routes

Posted by Andy Benoit

Mike Tolbert had 26 carries for 103 yards.

Chargers inside linebacker Kevin Burnett has been one of the most pleasantly surprising players of 2010. He led the team with 10 tackles Sunday night.

Matt Ryan threw just four incompletions against the Packers Sunday.

Greg Jennings continued his dominance with 119 yards on five catches. Jennings averaged 36.6 yards per outing the first five games; he’s averaged 106.5 in the past six games. (One factor has been increased opportunities resulting from the absence of Jermichael Finley.)

The Steelers ran 83 plays against the Steelers, seemingly all of them coming on the first drive.

The Steelers also had over 100 yards in penalties for a second straight week.

Hines Ward had 107 yards receiving. Fred Jackson led the Bills with 105.

Donte Whitner had 18 tackles for the Bills. That speaks well for the safety and poorly for the front seven’s run defense.

Another strong outing for Peyton Hillis: 26 carries, 131 yards against the Panthers. Oh, and three touchdowns. Hillis has 11 rushing touchdowns on the season. If 131 yards rushing aren’t enough, how about the 63 yards Hillis added through the air?

Abram Elam, a safety, led the Browns with two tackles for a loss AND two sacks Sunday.

The Jaguars rushed for 207 yards against the Giants, with more than 140 of them coming in the first half. Maurice Jones-Drew had a career-high fourth-straight 100-yard game. Backup Rashad Jennings (seven carries, 53 yards) continues to look better each week.

Brandon Jacobs got 14 carries (87 yards). Ahmad Bradshaw got nine (49 yards).

Giants wide receivers caught a total of five passes Sunday.

Despite being without Adrian Peterson most of the day, the Vikings outrushed the Redskins 137-29.

Toby Gerhardt had 76 yards on 22 carries. In a startling display of consistency, Gerhardt’s longest carry was just six yards.

Jared Allen recorded a sack and three tackles for a loss. He has 5.5 sacks his last three games after getting just one sack his first seven. (A few of his 5.5 sacks have been cheap, though.)

The Titans had just nine first downs at Houston, two of them coming from Texan penalties.

Randy Moss got his first, second and third catch as a Viking, though even listing them one at a time like that doesn’t make the total sound at all substantial.

Arian Foster: 30 carries,143 yards; nine receptions, 75 yards.

Miami Dolphins: 82 plays. Oakland Raiders: 45. What does this tell us? Oakland’s run defense still isn’t good. (Dolphins had 186 yards on the ground.)

Worth mentioning is that the Raiders run offense doesn’t appear to be very good, either. The Raiders ran the ball 12 times for 16 yards. Darren McFadden was stifled for the second week in a row.

The rushing disparity in Oakland almost pales to that in Seattle. The Chiefs: 270 yards on the ground. The Seahawks: 20. The Chiefs had the ball for more than 41 minutes.

Fantasy owners, take note: Seahawks wideout Ben Obomanu was impressive for a second straight week. The willowy fifth-year pro had 159 yards on five receptions.

Michael Vick’s 333 yards passing marked his second 300-yard game this season and just the fourth of his career. The Bears held Vick to 44 yards on nine runs.

The Bears’ top three wideouts, Devin Hester, Earl Bennett and Johnny Knox, all went for over 55 yards receiving.

The people calling for Josh McDaniels’ head can’t use the Jay Cutler trade as part of their argument. Kyle Orton threw for 347 yards and three touchdowns against the Rams. Clearly, offense is not the problem in Denver.

Joe Flacco continues to quietly post big numbers. He had 289 yards through the air against the Bucs, with two touchdowns and only one pick (the Aqib Talib interception between the knees).

Bucs rookie DT Gerald McCoy had two sacks and two tackles for a loss.




Combed through all the box scores to bring you any nuggets that may have fallen through the cracks. Enjoy.

No need to read the Colts-Chargers box score too closely – only one stat stands out: Chargers zero turnovers, Colts five.
 
 
 
 
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