Tag:Lance Briggs
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 12, 2011 9:54 am
Edited on: December 12, 2011 10:11 am

Urlacher on Tebow: 'He's a good running back'

By Will Brinson

Top of the Tebow to you, folks. Monday is the day where the bandwagon following Tim Tebow and the Broncos probably becomes too crowded (and the coverage of Tebow finally reaches a saturation point). Just do not expect Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher to be on board.

Week 14 Recap

Urlacher, speaking to the press after Denver's miraculous 13-10 victory over Chicago Sunday, said that Tebow as "a good running back."

"He’s a good running back," Urlacher said Sunday. He does a good job for them. They have a good offense with him back there. They do some different plays. I thought we did a good job overall."

The Bears did a great job, really, when it came to defending Tebow much of the game. The problem was they became too reactionary late in the game, which allowed Tebow to succeed through the air, Tebow's receivers stopped dropping every pass, and Caleb Hanie/Marion Barber couldn't put any points on the board.

Back to Urlacher's slight of Tebow, though -- the Broncos quarterback appreciates it. Of course.

"Coming from a really good player, that means a lot," Tebow said when asked about Urlacher's comments.

That cracks me up for some reason. But other players on the Bears defense don't find it quite so funny.

"We missed some opportunities in the game," defensive end Julius Peppers said. "We have to finish better; that’s pretty much it. It wasn’t anything special that [Tebow] did."

Lance Briggs, the linebacker who last week pointed out how mad he'd be if the Bears lost, was a bit more subdued.

"Played hard," Briggs would only say when asked about Tebow's performance.

Briggs is probably the only one who's right about this. Tebow did play hard, but he also did do something special and he did not act like a good running back on Sunday. In fact, he was pretty ineffective on the ground and didn't really get rolling until he turned into an all-world passer -- against the Bears defense -- in the fourth quarter and overtime.

It's OK to be upset about losing but at least give the guy his due.

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Posted on: December 8, 2011 3:41 pm

NFL players not thrilled about losing to Tebow

By Will Brinson

In case you've been living under a rock for the past few weeks/months, Tim Tebow took over as starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos and has them squarely in the hunt for a playoff bid.

He's been criticized for not being a "normal quarterback" and received a ton of attention from fans and media alike and now the Broncos quarterback is starting to generate some backlash from other NFL players, some of whom have already lost to him.

"He's obviously doing great things because he's winning football games, and at the end of the day, that's what we're judged on: wins and losses," Vikings defensive end Jared Allen said on the NFL Network Wednesday night. "But still, it just sucks to lose to a guy who's not a throwing quarterback."

The comments aren't just limited to those Tebow has beaten, either. Up this week is Chicago, featuring a defense that is the last bastion of hope for the Bears chances of making the playoffs. And the members of Chicago's defense don't like the idea of becoming Tebow's next victim.

"No, I will be frickin' pissed," Briggs said when asked if he'd be embarrassed if Tebow beat them Sunday. "[Tebow] is one heck of an football player and we're going to have to stop that crap."

Briggs also added, via Gregg Rosenthal of Pro Football Talk, that "[Tebow is] not Michael Vick" and that "Cam Newton is a better athlete, faster."

Nothing that Allen or Briggs said is necessarily disrespectful or malicious, but it's certainly not the same sort of words you might hear from them if they lost to Aaron Rodgers.

Oh, wait, both teams have lost to Rodgers, with Green Bay mauling the Vikings 45-7 less than a month ago.

"All I know is he crushed us tonight," Allen said at the time.

Look, Tebow isn't Rodgers, and when Allen pointed out Wednesday that Tebow isn't even a Pro Bowler, he's right. But Tebow keeps on winning, and and that's hard to argue against.

If he pulls it off this weekend, don't be surprised to hear similar comments out of Chicago.

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Posted on: October 12, 2011 11:30 am
Edited on: October 14, 2011 9:43 am

Film Room: Bears vs. Vikings preview

Posted by Eye on Football Analyst Andy Benoit

Few people are excited about this week’s Sunday Night game. The 1-4 Vikings and 2-3 Bears look like non-contenders in an NFC North division housing a pair of 5-0 clubs. This Film Room post is not about the Bears-Vikings game. We’ll touch on the matchup towards the end simply because it’d be weird not to. But the main point here is to examine why the Tampa 2 defense – which both these teams run – is on its death bed.

1. Tampa 2: What it is
The Tampa 2 (aka Cover 2) is a classic zone scheme. Four pass-rushers up front; three linebackers underneath; a left and right cornerback outside; and, as the "2" refers to, two safeties over the top.

Against the pass, as the illustration to the right (click to enlarge) shows, the safeties each cover half the field deep. The linebackers and cornerbacks each cover 1/5th of the field underneath. The middle linebacker is responsible for any vertical routes inside. Up front, the linemen shoot the gaps. There’s no blitzing.

The advantages are that all pass defenders have straightforward responsibilities and the action (for the most part) always takes place in front of them. As for the disadvantage ...

2. Run Defense
In football there are two traditional ways to stop the run: have a defensive line that wins battles in the trenches or have a strong-tackling safety drop down as an eighth man in the box. A Cover 2 naturally misses on both of these. The defensive linemen are instructed to rush the passer first and play the run if it’s convenient along the way.

Defensive line penetration is great for stopping the run, but it can be hit or miss (especially if the offense knows that the defensive linemen are trying to penetrate on every play). The safeties must stay back and cover deep. If they step forward, they run the risk of biting on play-action (which is a great way to get beat deep).

Because of this, Tampa 2 defenses rely on their linebackers and cornerbacks (yes, cornerbacks) to stop the run. More on this in item 4.
Worth noting is that not all Tampa 2 defenses are bad against the run. In fact, the Vikings and Bears have been spectacular in run defense over the years. That’s a product of phenomenal personnel.

The Vikings have had the Williams Wall at tackle (and Pat Williams actually played a nose tackle role, which is a twist on a traditional Cover 2 front) and the Bears have had star linebackers Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs. But Tampa 2 teams without top-echelon run-stuffers (like the Colts) are very susceptible to the run.

3. Tampa 2 vulnerabilities
Cover 2 defenses are vanilla by nature. That was fine in the late 90s and early 2000s when the scheme was still new and offenses weren’t spreading the field every down. But complex, motion-oriented offenses have an easy time creating mismatches against a Cover 2.

Heck, even basic offensive formations can create mismatches. For example, something the Eagles do against a Cover 2 is line up their speedy receivers in minus splits (close to the formation).

Because Cover 2 cornerbacks always line up outside, this formation dictates that DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin run their routes against linebackers and safeties. Talk about a mismatch.

There are other avenues for mismatches. For a long time, Cover 2 defenses did not have No. 1 and No. 2 corners, but instead, left and right corners. If the left corner stunk, offenses would simply align their best receiver over there. Mercifully, most Cover 2 defenses (the Bears and Vikings included) have recently shown a willingness to at least move their corners from one side to the other based on where they expect certain receivers to be.

That still doesn’t mean a defense will get the corner-on-receiver matchup it desires. This past Monday, Calvin Johnson ran what amounted to a slant-and-go against the Bears’ Cover 2. Charles Tillman stayed with Johnson for about 15 yards. He should have jammed Johnson in an effort to reroute him. Instead, he played the basic Cover 2 technique, which meant he let Johnson go once Johnson went inside towards safety Chris Harris’ deep zone. That left the most athletic wideout in the world matched up on a strong safety. The result was a 73-yard touchdown.

Besides matchup issues, there are natural voids in the Cover 2 that everyone knows about. The gaps 15-20 yards downfield outside the numbers are the main ones, though the voids behind the linebackers in the seams can be enticing too. Really, Cover 2 is the new Prevent Defense. And because the Cover 2 became such a popular defense in the early 2000s, every offense in the NFL has a special chapter in its playbook specifically designed for beating it.

4. Stringent personnel needs
Obviously, a Cover 2 is not a completely hapless defense. If it were, nobody would run it. With the right personnel, the scheme can be quite viable. A great defensive line can sometimes be enough; look at the 2011 Lions or previous years’ Colts, for example (But keep in mind, great defensive lines are going to make any scheme look good.)

Because of the Cover 2’s simplicity and NFL offense’s familiarity with it, the “right personnel” has gone from being “strongly recommended” to “absolutely required”. And the bar for the “right personnel” has risen considerably.

In a Cover 2, you must generate a pass-rush with only four defensive linemen. Thus, you need top-notch speed rushers and defensive tackles with outstanding initial quickness. Those types of players are usually found only in the first rounds.
Because the cornerbacks only defend the first 10-15 yards outside, and because the safeties are aligned so deep, Cover 2 cornerbacks are counted on as part of the run defense. Thus, they need to be good tacklers. This is why Antoine Winfield is so potent in Minnesota’s D. Or why, in part, Ronde Barber has stuck around for so long in Tampa Bay. Or why Indianapolis always brings in firm-tackling corners.

It’s also why you’re always hearing about Tampa 2 teams needing fast linebackers. Yes, the linebackers need speed in order to play the pass (especially the middle linebacker, who must run with any targets running vertically between the numbers). But really, Tampa 2 linebacker speed is needed for stopping the run. With the cornerbacks lined up along the front, the defensive linemen are told to shoot the gaps and force runners to that help outside. It’s up to the linebackers to chase them down along the way.

Finding quality Cover 2 type players is certainly not impossible. Problem is, if you don’t have the right guy in every spot, offenses can easily punish you. If a team like the Packers has a weak spot on D, they can use disguises and zone blitz concepts to cover it. If a team like the Bears or Vikings have a weak spot, they can only hope that their defensive ends reach the quarterback before the quarterback exploits it.  

5. Studs and Duds
The star defensive players for both teams have lived up to their end of the deal. For the Bears, middle linebacker Brian Urlacher has moved with more quickness and fluidity than in any of the past three seasons. Monday night’s game aside, Lance Briggs has been the fierce hitter he always is. Julius Peppers has only two sacks, but he’s been a force in bits, if not chunks. Opposite him, Israel Idonije, who has great movement skills and a real feel for executing moves based on the situation, remains one of the most underrated ends in the game.

For the Vikings, Jared Allen has recaptured his 2008/2009 form. End Brian Robison has been fast and tenacious. In fact, he’s having a much better season than Ray Edwards is having in Atlanta. As usual, defensive tackle Kevin Williams has shown his uncommon mobility/power combination. Cornerback Cedric Griffin has been stout in coverage, and E.J. Henderson, while not always great versus the pass, remains a smart, assertive downhill force against the run.
The problem is both teams have had a propensity to give up big plays, in part due to iffy play at safety. It’s worse with the Bear than the Vikings. But, on the flip side, the Vikings’ offense has been worse than the Bears’. We could write a thousand posts explaining what’s wrong with both offenses. In short, neither has a good line nor the receivers necessary for their respective systems.

Perhaps this is the week that these offenses find their rhythms through the air. After all, both will be facing plenty of Cover 2 looks.

So who will win? Check our NFL expert picks for all Week 6 games

Follow @Andy_Benoit on Twitter or contact him at Andy.Benoit-at-NFLTouchdown.com.
Posted on: September 16, 2011 11:13 am

Urlacher's teammates surround him in support

UrlacherPosted by Josh Katzowitz

It’s been a whirlwind week for Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher. His mother, Lavoyda Lenard, died suddenly, and though he expected to take a few days off to grieve and be with his family, Urlacher returned to Halas Hall on Thursday, presumably to practice and get his mind off his mom for maybe just a few hours.

Sounds like his teammates -- who, if possible, seem to respect Urlacher even more now after he showed up for Thursday’s practice -- will do everything in their power to support him through this difficult time.

That’s why, as reported by the Chicago Tribune, a Bears contingent will travel to Lovington, N.M., in order to attend Lenard’s funeral Saturday and to be present for Urlacher.

The traveling party will include coach Lovie Smith, team chairman George McCaskey, president Ted Phillips, general manager Jerry Angelo, linebackers coach Bob Babich and linebacker Lance Briggs.

"Brian is family,'' Smith said, via the newspaper. "We see it like a family member passed away. So of course we're going to be there. The Bears will be represented well. We want to be there to show our support and help Brian as much as we can through a tough time.''

The funeral is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday, and the Bears crew will then fly to New Orleans for their Sunday matchup against the Saints. Urlacher, at some point, will follow, since he’s scheduled to start. Smith, whose mother died a week after the NFC championship guy, can relate to the emotions Urlacher is having.

"My mother, she let the season end, then she chose to go be with God,'' he said. "That's how her timing was.

"You know that being in a profession, you have to have plans for deaths that happen through the course of the year. And our plan is pretty simple: We put football on the back burner. We let that person do everything he needs to do ... That's exactly how we do it around here.''

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Posted on: September 9, 2011 3:25 pm

NFL allows players to wear special 9/11 apparel

Posted by Will Brinson

There's been a lot made about some of the clothes that NFL players received from Reebok to honor the 10-year anniversary of 9/11.

That's primarily because guys like Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and Bears linebacker Lance Briggs tweeted out pictures of their gear (Briggs is seen to the right) and essentially said they didn't care if they got fined, they were wearing the gear during Sunday's games.

Very good news comes from the NFL, then, as the league informed the clubs that players could wear the gear honoring the tragic circumstances of September 2011.

"NFL confirmed to clubs this morning that players may wear special shoes/gloves from NFL licensees for Week 1 games," tweeted Michael Signora, the NFL's VP of Football Communications.

Of course, that doesn't mean that anyone can go out and buy red, white and blue shoes and throw them on for Sunday's action. Presumably Reebok will need to ship the gloves and shoves to the players (or the players can request them I would guess) and then and only then may they be worn.

And Hasselbeck's picture of the back of his shoes which are, I think the same as Briggs. But he gets the best shot of "Never Forget" on the cleats.

Per Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean, Hasselbeck will donate his shoes after the game to Team Red, White and Blue, a charity that assists wounded veterans and their families.

Hopefully, many other players will follow his lead and help to drum up charity work after showing their support for those that were senselessly taken from the world and for those that gave their lives to help others.

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Posted on: September 8, 2011 4:58 pm
Edited on: September 8, 2011 5:09 pm

Film Room: Bears vs. Falcons preview

Posted by Eye on Football Analyst Andy Benoit

On paper, the top two seeds from last season’s NFC playoffs are both improved heading into 2011. Consequently, the Atlanta Falcons have become somewhat of a trendy Super Bowl pick. But the Chicago Bears? They’re the team most are picking to finish right behind Detroit in the NFC North. In analyzing five key threads these teams share, we might understand why.

1. Receiver Infusion
Thomas Dimitroff realized that Atlanta’s offense was a playmaker short of being nearly unstoppable. So, the fourth-year general manager traded five premium draft picks to move up and select Alabama wideout Julio Jones sixth overall.

Jones is a great fit because he’s not only a dynamic downfield threat who also has the thickness to go inside, but thanks to his days in the Crimson Tide’s black-and-blue offense, he’s also a savvy downfield blocker. That’s important, as Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey has always had a predilection for power runs out of two tight-end/two back formations.

In Chicago, with a system built around downfield routes out of three-and four-receiver formations, offensive coordinator Mike Martz needed more firepower outside. Instead of reaching for an unproven wideout late in the first round, overpaying for free agents Santana Moss or Santonio Holmes or taking a risk on Braylon Edwards (attitude) or Plaxico Burress (rustiness), the Bears acquired  Roy Williams after his star fully plummeted in Dallas.

Williams, a straight-line runner with big hands and feet, was never a good fit for the Cowboys’ shifty catch-and-run oriented system. But in the 28 games he played for Martz in Detroit, Williams produced 2,148 yards receiving. However, whatever optimism the Detroit success instilled was likely blown away by Williams’ dropped passes and admission to being out of shape this past August (candor has always been his Achilles heel).

Because the Bears refuse to admit that Devin Hester is merely a return specialist with modest slot receiving ability (i.e. NOT a starter), it was rising third-year pro Johnny Knox whom Williams supplanted in the lineup. Knox, who has superb speed and quickness and excellent chemistry with Jay Cutler, particularly in deciphering zone coverages, is eager to recapture his starting job (and thus, his leverage for a new contract in the near future). He will, if Williams continues to struggle. And the Bears’ passing game will essentially be right back in the same place it was a year ago.

The Falcons figure to clearly have an improved pass attack. The Bears are TBD.

2. Big meaty offensive lines
To put it politely, Atlanta’s and Chicago’s offensive lines both feature more size than athleticism. The lunch pail approach has worked great for the Falcons. They have a straightforward power-run offense that’s conducive to forming good chemistry up front. In the passing game (where a line’s athletic limitations get exposed), the Falcons rarely use more than three wide receivers, which makes an extra tight end or running back available to stay in and block. In short, the Falcons can bend their system for their offensive line.
The Bears, on the other hand, are more inclined to bend (or break) their offensive line for their system. Martz frequently has Cutler take seven-step drops, which only gives heavy-footed offensive tackle J’Marcus Webb, laterally stiff guard Chris Williams and the rest of the front more time to get beat in pass protection. Also, with the running back often being an important receiving option in Martz’s system, Bears linemen must shoulder more responsibility in blitz identification and pickup – an area in which they’ve struggled.

Hence, the 52 times Cutler was sacked last season.

3. The traditional  4-3 defense: evolve vs. resolve
Mike Smith was a classic zone-based 4-3 defensive coordinator in Jacksonville. But over his three seasons in Atlanta, he’s drifted away from vanilla Cover 2 tactics and towards more diverse blitzes and zone exchanges. Impressive considering he employs these tactics out of traditional base and nickel sets.
Lovie Smith was a classic zone-based 4-3 defensive coordinator in St. Louis. Over his seven years in Chicago, he’s ... remained a proponent of classic 4-3 zone-based defense.

The Bears are the only team that virtually still runs a fulltime strict Cover 2. They’ve made it work largely because they have two perfect linebackers for this scheme in Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs. But as we’ll explore more in-depth another week, there are significant vulnerabilities to a Cover 2. Those vulnerabilities are why Smith and the Falcons have chosen to evolve.

4. The No. 2 defensive end
Arguably the best two defensive ends in the NFC are Julius Peppers and John Abraham. Both have devastating explosiveness off the edge and both can play the run (Peppers is by far the NFL’s best all-around run-stopping 4-3 end; Abraham is more finesse-oriented but is still underrated as a backside chaser).

What the Falcons learned last season is a pass-rush is incomplete without a second outside presence. Kroy Biermann is a very active run-defender, but he registered just three sacks in his debut season as a starter. So, Thomas Dimitroff spent $11 million (guaranteed) on free agent Ray Edwards, who each of the past two years in Minnesota posted at least eight sacks against frequent one-on-one blocking opposite Jared Allen. Edwards is also an adept all-around run-defender.

The Bears have a stalwart No. 2 pass-rusher of their own in Israel Idonije. Versatile enough to line up inside or outside, the ninth-year veteran tied Peppers for the team lead in sacks last season (eight). Idonije does not quite have Edwards’ quickness around the corner, but he’s one of the best in the league at executing stunts.

5. Safeties
Over the years, watching the Bears try out different young safeties in the starting lineup has been like watching Gilbert Brown try on outfits that don’t make him look fat. The Bears drafted Danieal Manning in ’06; Kevin Payne in ’07; Craig Steltz in ’08; Al Afalava in ’09; Major Wright in ’10 and Chris Conte in ’11.

All, with the exception of Conte, were given a shot at starting. And, assuming that newly signed Brandon Meriweather soon supplants Wright as the current first-string free safety, all were ultimately deemed unqualified.

The Falcons have taken a flier with young safeties, as well. The difference is theirs have succeeded. Thomas DeCoud, a third-round pick in ’08, started all 16 games each of the past two seasons. His instincts in coverage have improved and he’s a fast, firm open-field tackler.

His running mate, William Moore, a second-round pick in ’09, stayed healthy for the first time last season and showed genuine game-changing potential over 15 starts. Moore’s a fierce hitter who is developing in pass defense quicker than expected.

So who will win? Check out the video below. And see who our experts pick for all the Week 1 games

Read Andy's Film Room breakdown of Jets-Cowboys.

Follow @Andy_Benoit on Twitter and contact him at Andy.Benoit-at-NFLTouchdown.com.
Posted on: September 6, 2011 11:50 am
Edited on: September 6, 2011 12:52 pm

Bears put Briggs, Forte contract talks on hold

Lance Briggs and Matt Forte may have to wait until after the season to talk about new contracts. (Getty Images)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

On Friday, Bears linebacker Lance Briggs announced (by way of his agent Drew Rosenhaus) that he wants to be traded. He's currently in Year 4 of a six-year, $36 million deal he signed in 2008. "The Bears made their decision, now I have to make mine," Briggs recently told the Chicago-Tribune after the team rebuffed his request for a raise.

Briggs later took his case to Twitter, explaining the nuances of NFL contracts (sic'd): 

“Most have no idea what's goin on. Owners can cut any player they want at any time and answer to know one. Players fight for themselves … And get ridiculed. You know as well as I do there are things that happen behind doors that all the fans/critics dnt know about … I keep reading that players (I) should honor our contracts...when have owners honored contracts...they dnt. Chris Johnson should never have … Had to hold out to get a new deal. His play spoke for himself. Yet team wouldnt just pay the man. Tommie Harris was honoring his contract … When the bears cut him right before his bonus. Cut Brandon Manumaleuna when he was just honoring his contract. … Players do what you must. People get hurt and emotional. I understand...bottom line were all still bears and were trying to bring home a championship.”

We understand Briggs' concerns but most fans do understand that NFL contracts aren't guaranteed. And, in general, we have absolutely no issue with players gettin' while the gettin' is good. But we hesitate to immediately take up Briggs' cause because he's now on his second contract, generally the one that pays big-name players handsomely after making relatively little on their rookie deals.

So now, three years into a contract he was happy to sign, Briggs, a nine-year veteran, wants more money. That's a little different than Chris Johnson, one of the two best backs in the league, holding out for something more than the $800,000 or so he was set to make in 2011.

Whatever Briggs wants will now have to wait until after the season.

"What he's doing is not something that hasn't been done here in Chicago and around the league," Bears general manager Jerry Angelo said Monday, according to ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert. "We feel very, very confident that Lance's focus is going to be on the season and having a great year, and we'll just take care of our business when that time comes. And that'll be at the end of the year."

Briggs admits that he's open to the idea of talking after the season, and all he wants to do is switch the $6.25 million he's set to make in the final year of his deal with the $3.65 million he'll make in 2011. Which is nice, but that's something he should take up with his agent, who structured the deal, instead of his bosses.

Either way, that appears to be a conversation for another day.

In other Bears-related contract news, the team has cut off negotiations with running back Matt Forte. According to CBSSports.com Rapid Reporter Gene Chamberlain, the two sides are no longer talking contract extension. "Right now our focus is going to be on the season," said Angelo on WBBM-AM 780's Bears Insider Show. Angelo called it a "mutual understanding" that there would be no more talks for now.

Last week, the Bears reportedly offered Forte $15 million guaranteed, although the details of the proposal weren't made public.

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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