Tag:Josh McCown
Posted on: January 20, 2012 3:20 pm

McNabb really thought the Bears would sign him

McNabbBy Josh Katzowitz

After the Vikings cut Donovan McNabb on Dec. 1, he appeared on ESPN for an interviewe and seemed confident that, even if nobody claimed him off waivers, he would be signed as a free agent at some point soon.

That obviously never happened, even though apparently McNabb truly believed the Bears would ink him after Jay Cutler went down with his season-ending injury.

"I thought the Bears would call," McNabb said on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000 (via ESPN Chicago). "So many people continuously talked about the Mike Martz offense and things of that nature. I personally didn't care about that. If you want to win and win now, you go out and get a better quarterback and you cater your offense to his strengths, and obviously the strengths of your team.

"Obviously it didn't work out well for them. It's unfortunate. I wish things would have worked out, but it didn't. We will see what happens from now on."

Instead of signing McNabb (or Brett Favre for that matter), the Bears -- who did put a waiver claim on Kyle Orton before losing five of their final six games of the season -- went with the disastrous Caleb Hanie before finding some offensive stability with Josh McCown.

Even so, Bears receiver Devin Hester didn’t relish the thought of bringing in McNabb, saying it would be a “waste of time” because McNabb hadn’t played in former offensive coordinator Mike Martz’s offense.

Still, McNabb would have liked the chance, particularly since Chicago is his hometown.

"I definitely thought about it," he said. "Growing up a Bears fan, I kind of saw myself playing back home and hopefully winning the Super Bowl ... I think when the situation was there, everyone, friends and family, thought it would happen. It didn't, things didn't work out well for them.

"I got a chance to relax and rest my body, so I don't mind at this particular time what happened, but things could have been different."

For McNabb, and certainly, for the Bears.

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Posted on: January 19, 2012 9:14 am

Allen wouldn't have minded the Strahan treatment


By Josh Katzowitz

You remember Jared Allen’s amazing performance in Week 17, recording 3 ½ sacks against the Bears and finishing the season with 22, only a half-sack behind record-holder Michael Strahan (it was enough to make him our Eye on Football defensive player of the week)?

Considering Brett Favre basically dove in front of Strahan in the final week of the 2001 season in order to help get his buddy the sack record, you might think that Allen would be upset (in retrospect, at least) that Favre’s actions shut the door on Allen’s ability to get the mark a decade later.

Apparently not. And when he was asked by WHB radio in Kansas City if he wished Chicago quarterback Josh McCown had done his best Favre impression (the Strahan one, not the other thing) to let the Vikings defensive end set a new record, Allen didn’t mince words.

“Absolutely,” he said. “A sack is a sack is a sack. There was about three times when I hit him when he just got rid of the ball. I tell you what, all he had to do was hook slide for me on one of them. … There’s been a lot of talk about that. I guess the biggest controversy is, was it a pass or was it a run? I’ve gotten sacks where I’ve chased guys out of bounds. I haven’t had one yet where a guy slides and I get to touch him down, but I’ve gotten them any which way possible, but a sack is a sack is a sack and they’re still hard to come by.”

Funny, with Allen, it doesn’t seem that way. Which is probably why opposing offenses find him somewhat intimidating.

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Posted on: December 28, 2011 9:00 pm

Lovie Smith refuses to answer query about Martz

Martz, Cutler

By Josh Katzowitz

With the Bears season nearing its end and with offensive coordinator Mike Martz in the final year of his contract, this question, put to coach Lovie Smith, seems awfully legit and somewhat obvious: So, are you bringing back Martz next season?

Thing is, Smith didn’t see it that way.

“What kind of question is that anyway, at this time?" Smith demanded, writes Rapid Reporter Gene Chamberlain. "What kind of question is that? Why would you ask a question like that anyway?"

Will Martz return?
Well, the reason why it was asked is fairly understandable, but sadly, Smith didn’t answer the question. When reporters asked Martz about the same subject, he was slightly more pleasant about answering the query.

"Obviously I would sure like to be back. I think all of that stuff works out," he said. "This is going to be a great football team and I would like to be a part of it. We’ll just see how it works out."

Martz hasn’t had the most pleasing of years. He and quarterback Jay Cutler made big news when Cutler fired a “F--- him” at Martz after he and his coach disagreed on a playcall. Martz also was criticized plenty when he seemed to forget about Matt Forte (who, ahem, made the Pro Bowl) by calling for passes on 52 of 63 total plays in a bad loss to the Saints early this season and by not designing plays to keep Cutler out of the arms of defenders (Cutler was asked in September if he could survive the year, and he hoarsely said, “I don’t know. I don’t know.”)

Martz also didn’t get much out of backup Caleb Hanie and then later blamed Hanie’s execution for a tough play-call that Martz probably had no business asking for in the first place.

While Martz is easy to criticize, the Bears offense hasn’t been THAT bad with him in charge. Chicago ranks 16th in the league in points and 20th in yards gained, which is certainly an improvement on last year when they were 21st and 30th, respectively, under Martz.

So, will he be back? Hopefully, Smith feels like answering that question next week when the season is over.

Also on Wednesday, Bears general manager Jerry Angelo said he was impressed enough by Josh McCown’s appearance in his first start with the team last Sunday that he wouldn’t mind considering McCown as Cutler’s backup for next year.

“In Josh’s case, he came in here late,” Angelo told the team website, via the Chicago Tribune. “He did a real nice job. He did have a familiarity with the offense, so it wasn’t like he was brand new. He was new to us, but not new to the offense, and he showed that. We’ll have time to make that decision, and hopefully we’re going to see another good performance Sunday.”

The only other question, I guess, is whether Martz will be around next season to help make that decision.  Or as Smith would say, "Why would you even make that comment, anyway?!?"

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Posted on: December 27, 2011 5:46 pm

Bears officially end seasons for Cutler, Forte

J. Cutler and M. Forte both went on the IR list (US Presswire).

By Josh Katzowitz

It’s official. The seasons for Bears quarterback Jay Cutler and running back Matt Forte are finished, as the team announced today that both have been placed on the Injured Reserve list.

Now that the Bears have been knocked out of the playoff picture for good, this move was to be expected.

Though Cutler -- who broke his thumb in Week 11, which inevitably allowed Chicago to go from a 7-3 playoff contender to a 7-8 hopeless cause that has nothing to play for in Week 17 -- had said earlier this month there was an “outside chance” he could play vs. the Packers, that was an unrealistic goal.

That game occurred last week, and the only reason backup Caleb Hanie wasn’t on the field playing that day was because he had been so bad in his previous starts that Chicago, instead, started a man who, not long ago, was coaching high school football.

And the crazy thing about it was that Josh McCown, while certainly not on the same level as Cutler, was galaxies ahead of Hanie and performed relatively well on the road in Green Bay.

Meanwhile, Forte, who had made his desires for a contract extension widely known (and for good reason), wasn’t planning to return to the game unless he was 100 percent (also for good reason) after injuring his knee Dec. 3.

"These injuries, they usually take four to six weeks [to heal] they say," Forte said on Dec. 18. "And this will only be week three. I'm not going to rush to get back on the field and play while I'm hurt, because (if) you're not at 100 percent you may injure it even more if you do that."

Left unsaid was this: “Yeah, I’m not going to play, because there’s no way I’m going to put my knee on the line after I've already hurt it for a team that doesn’t pay a deserving player.”

Either way, both can begin looking forward to next season and trying to build another playoff run that won’t get spiked because of significant injuries.

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Posted on: December 25, 2011 11:47 pm

Packers win again, but have some issues

K. Bell gained 121 yards in Chicago's loss to Green Bay (AP).By Josh Katzowitz

Not many people gave the Bears much of a chance to upset the Packers on Sunday night. Not with Chicago missing its first-string quarterback, starting a guy who was coaching high school football not so long ago, and playing a third- and fourth-string running back in place of Matt Forte.

But Chicago’s Josh McCown was more than solid, running back Kahlil Bell looked fantastic and Chicago played evenly with the Packers in the first half (and ultimately outgained Green Bay 441-364). But the Packers did what the Packers do and dominated the second half to finish off Chicago 35-21 and secure the No. 1 seed in the NFC.

Before we anoint the Packers an automatic Super Bowl team, though, they still have issues they need to correct. Here are three that the Bears helped expose tonight.

Run defense: It’s easy to talk about how (statistically) poor the Packers pass defense is (though Green Bay has faced the second-most pass attempts in the league this season, so the statistics look a little worse than they should), but the run defense isn’t all that wonderful either.

Without Ryan Pickett, who was out with a head injury, in the lineup, the Packers showcased a major weakness through the entire first half. Bell -- the Bears third-string running back -- looked like an All-Pro, gaining 89 yards on 14 carries in the first half (he finished with 121 yards). Last year on their run to the Super Bowl, the Packers allowed 114.9 rushing yards per game, ranking 18th in the NFL. This year, after Sunday’s game, they give up 114.4 yards per contest, ranking 16th.

Listen, that’s not terrible. But against a Bears team that was one-dimensional, starting a third-string quarterback, the Packers knew Chicago would have to rely on its running game. Green Bay just couldn’t stop it. Against most teams, the Packers offense doesn’t allow that to matter, but in the playoffs, when Green Bay could be facing a top-notch defense like the 49ers, this could become a major hole.

Week 16 recap
Makeshift offensive line: The line actually played well vs. a Bears defense that boasts Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs and Julius Peppers. Marshall Newhouse handled Peppers well, and despite missing left tackle Chad Clifton and right tackle Bryan Bulaga, the Bears garnered just one sack. But this is potentially a problem in the future, because you can’t expect Newhouse and T.J. Lang, normally a guard, to keep up that pace in replacing Clifton and Bulaga.

Besides, without the starting tackles in there, Rodgers looks to make quick passes or get out in space on play-action. If Clifton, who’s been out since Week 5 with a bad hamstring, and Bulaga (a sprained knee last week who might not return until the postseason) can be back for the playoffs, that probably would make Rodgers -- who was sacked four times in last week’s loss to the Chiefs -- feel better.

Running game: Twice, in the span of one series, the Packers running back busted up a play and forced Aaron Rodgers to scramble a few yards and then fall down to avoid danger. Once, it was Ryan Grant, once it was James Starks and both times Rodgers couldn’t have been happy.

Starks and Grant were basically invisible anyway. They combined to record 57 yards on 14 carries, and overall, the Packers run game ranks 27th in the NFL. Even if the Packers become the most one-dimensional team in the league, it probably won’t matter with Rodgers running the team. But if he struggles in the playoffs or gets injured, Green Bay could be in trouble.

But Clay Matthews made a good point after the game in regards to how these issues could affect the team in the future.

“When you have a quarterback like that,” Matthews said on NBC, “you’re allowed to make a couple mistakes.”

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Posted on: December 23, 2011 12:24 pm

Barber 'expected' to sit, Kahlil Bell to start

Kahlil Bell's set to start Sunday. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

Bears quarterback Josh McCown, making his first NFL start since 2007, won't be the only new face for Chicago against Green Bay on Christmas: running back Kahlil Bell is poised to get the starting nod as well, with Marion Barber expected to miss Sunday's matchup.

Barber, who averages just 3.7 yards per carry on the year, hasn't had the best few weeks: he piled up just 33 yards against the Seahawks in a Week 15 loss and though he went over the 100-yard mark against the Broncos, he famously ran out of bounds and fumbled in an overtime loss that caused Tebowmania to top out at a dull roar last week.

So maybe it's best that, according to the Chicago Tribune, Barber is "expected" to miss Saturday's game against the rival Packers. Going with a third-string running back doesn't appear to bother coach Lovie Smith either.

"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. I see him every day in practice going against our No. 1 defense."

Bell's first carry was in 2009, when he ripped off a 72-yard run against the Eagles, a Bears record for the longest carry by a rookie.

"He can make you miss in the open field," Smith said. "He can run with power inside. He can catch the ball out of the backfield. I'm excited about the opportunity he has."

Bell's probably excited too -- Saturday will mark just his second career start, and since the Bears-Packers game is the only contest on Christmas, he's got a shot to make his mark in a big way. Over the past three weeks, Bell's seen 28 total carries and averaged five yards a pop on those carries.

Green Bay is above average in rush defense, but if Bell has a big day he'll give Chicago the best Christmas present of all: a chance to stay in the playoff hunt.

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Posted on: December 21, 2011 1:53 pm
Edited on: December 21, 2011 1:59 pm

Josh McCown to start for Bears on Christmas

By Will Brinson

Caleb Hanie had a good run (well, a run anyway), but it's all over now -- the Bears announced on Wednesday that Josh McCown will start on Sunday against Green Bay, per our Bears Rapid Reporter Gene Chamberlain.

It's been quite a while since McCown took starting snaps in an NFL game. December 23, 2007 to be exact, when, as Chamberlain notes, McCown went six of eight for 48 yards before leaving the game.

Since then, he's played in four NFL games (two with Carolina, one with Chicago), completing two of his eight attempted passes and throwing one interception.

In other words, things had to get really, really bad for the Bears to bail on Hanie and take a shot at McCown running the offense. And things did: Hanie completed an even 50.0 percent of his passes (51 of 102) for three touchdowns and nine picks this season and though he's been somewhat effective as a scrambler, it's pretty obvious he's not a capable starter in the NFL.

McCown probably isn't the "answer," per se, but the Bears are in a four-game losing skid since Jay Cutler suffered a broken thumb against San Diego. In those four games -- three of which were against the AFC West -- Chicago's been outscored 86-47. 21 of the points scored by their opponents came either on defensive touchdowns (two from the Seahawks) or via a Hail Mary (Tyler Palko to Dexter McCluster).

And the Bears limited the Raiders to six field goals (18 points) and a touchdown. It's not hard to imagine a world where, if they had a capable backup quarterback, they'd be in the playoffs.

So, um, Merry Christmas, Josh.

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Posted on: December 18, 2011 9:57 pm

Bears starting QB is up in the air for next week

C. Hanie is 0-4 as Chicago's starter (US Presswire).

By Josh Katzowitz

With Caleb Hanie, once again, playing unimpressively (10 of 23 for 111 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions) in Chicago’s 38-14 loss to the Seahawks, the Bears benched him in favor of Josh McCown.

And with the team 0-4 since Jay Cutler was lost (and with Hanie throwing three interceptions in three of those games), coach Lovie Smith wouldn’t say Hanie would return next week as the starting quarterback.

"It's right after the game and we're disappointed in our performance today at the quarterback position," Smith said, via Rapid Reporter Gene Chamberlain. "I can't tell you any more than that."

After McCown replaced Hanie, he only threw two passes -- one was a 12-yard completion and one was an interception. But if he’s called upon to start next week, he’ll feel confident about himself.

"Yes, I felt ready," he said. "There's obviously a different tempo on the playing field you can get when you start than if you come in off the bench."

Since taking over for Cutler, Hanie has thrown three touchdown passes and nine interceptions. He also hasn’t figured out a way to get the Bears a victory, and a team that was once 7-3 is 7-7 and out of the playoff race for now.

"First off, we're disappointed in our team and how we played the last four weeks," Smith said, via ESPN Chicago. "Of course, Caleb is a large part of that, just the quarterback position in itself. It's hard when you don't get more production from the quarterback position. And Caleb's been our guy, great opportunity, but we haven't played as well as we need to though."

Remember a few weeks ago when rumors had popped up that the Bears might be interested in Brett Favre and/or Donovan McNabb? You remember when Smith said the trio of Hanie, McCown and Nathan Enderle were his guys and that the team wasn’t going to search for other quarterbacks on the free agent line?

Turns out that might not have been a great decision. And it could have just helped ruin what was once a prosperous Bears season.

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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