Tag:Chicago Bears
Posted on: April 14, 2011 2:52 pm
Edited on: April 14, 2011 2:52 pm

Hot Routes 4.14.11 good Fitz, bad Fitz

Hot Routes

Posted by Andy Benoit

  • Larry Fitzgerald stinks – STINKS! – at baseball. And he knows it.
  • In other Larry Fitzgerald news, he organized team offseason workouts at Arizona State. Kent Somers, a highly respected Cardinals beat reporter, says that five years ago, the idea of Fitz (an admitted loner early in his career) exerting this kind of leadership would have been almost laughable.
  • Because they’re playing in the Hall of Fame game, the Bears and Rams will both get an early start on training camp.
  • Jerome Simpson, wide receiver of the Bengals, is training hard this offseason. There’s a chance the underachieving second-round pick could be in contention for a starting job in 2011.
  • Jamal Lewis is offering $3 million to purchase the shuttered Maui Sands waterpark in Erie County, Ohio.
  • Jaguars offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter and defensive coordinator Mel Tucker held a film session for 500 Jags fans. Koetter took the fans through four offensive plays. Just how revealing was the film? Well, one of the plays Koetter showed was the Hail Mary against Houston – not exactly the most complex X’s and O’s the sport has to offer.
  • Good headline from the Miami Herald: “The joke that is the pre-draft press conference”.
  • Matt Light and his fellow New England resident Peter King hosted a lockout breakfast to raise money for charity. (And no, the charity did not benefit players who can’t handle their money.)
  • Here’s a great glimpse into some of the offseason workouts of Texans Connor Barwin and Owen Daniels.
  • Ray Lewis talks about regularly visiting the hood.
  • Could the Steelers be looking at Baylor nose tackle Phil Taylor?

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Posted on: April 12, 2011 6:21 pm

Report: Bears-Bucs will be in London next year

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Assuming there is a season next year, the Bears and the Buccaneers will be spending some time abroad.

As ESPN radio reported (via ESPN Chicago ), Chicago and Tampa Bay are the teams that will participate in the now-annual London contest at Wembley Stadium.

The NFL’s preseason schedule was released today (sort of) The regular-season schedule should be released some time next week with a date and time for the London game.

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Posted on: April 11, 2011 4:35 pm

Hot Routes 4.11.11 kick off week with legal news

Hot Routes

Posted by Andy Benoit

Posted on: April 10, 2011 3:23 pm

Cutler cares about Kenya

Cutler Posted by Josh Katzowitz

As the lockout continues with no sign of let-up – meaning team-wide offseason workouts and mini-camps are not on the docket – many players are spending time expanding their horizons.

Ravens S Tom Zbikowski, for instance, is trying to determine if he can make it as a top-notch boxing contender, while another Ravens S, Haruki Nakamura, organized a relief effort for those suffering in Japan.

Now, we see another story of an NFLer who is trying to better himself in a different way. And the player might surprise you.

Bears QB Jay Cutler – who people, including his fellow players apparently, just love to hate – recently took a trip to Kenya with the non-profit OneKid OneWorld (a charity that benefits students and teachers in El Salvador and Kenya) in which he visited a small town in the Rift Valley that had been without water for more than two months.

‘‘After all the turmoil we go through here, everyone thinks we have so many problems,” Cutler told the Chicago Sun-Times. “But to see what they have to deal with and to see how grateful they are to have water is just amazing.”

More from the story:

At an all-girls school and orphanage, Cutler was left alone in a classroom full of high school students. When other volunteers later returned, they discovered Cutler teaching the girls physics.

‘‘Jay was so into it,’’ McCubbin said. ‘‘He’s so amazing with kids.’’

Cutler's Cause
Cutler and (girlfriend Kristin) Cavallari encouraged students to pursue any career they desired, played assorted sports with them and painted classrooms and murals.

Cutler marveled at the spirit of the students he interacted with, and he marveled at the challenges they face in even going to class because of family obligations.

‘‘They have 1,000 reasons not to go to school,’’ Cutler said. ‘‘But you could tell how grateful they were for the opportunity.’’

Much of the time, Cutler comes off as awfully surly, especially when dealing with the media (and, by extension, his fans). But it’s nice here to see him making such a difference.

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Posted on: April 8, 2011 1:28 pm
Edited on: April 10, 2011 2:20 pm

Cutler finally speaks about knee injury drama

Posted by Andy Benoit
J. Cutler (US Presswire)
Aside from an unwanted cameo on TMZ, Jay Cutler has been incognito since his postgame press conference following the NFC Championship. The Bears quarterback stayed quiet amidst the din of criticism that followed his controversial exit from the game. He stayed quiet when the team revealed that he had suffered a Grade II MCL tear, which for most players is a 2-3 week injury. And he stayed quiet when it was reported that he received a pain-killing injection at halftime of that game.

On Thursday, Cutler was quiet no more. He broke his silence in an interview with the Chicago Sun Times . (Cutler was promoting the NCO Youth & Family Services “Fun Run” in Naperville, where in nine days he’ll join 350 kindergarten age kids for a mile run; NCO’s mission is to “provide life-changing services to youth through prevention education, counseling and shelter.”)

Cutler was finally asked what he thought of the post championship game drama.

“I was gone, and I stayed away from it all,” he said. “But I can’t say it didn’t bother me that people questioned my toughness and desire to play.

“I think I’ve been through a lot here in Chicago, and I would have loved to play.”

Cutler said ultimately the opinion of his teammates is what matters most.

“Those are the guys you are with a lot of the time,” he said, “and those guys didn’t flinch. I’ve got to thank them for that.”

Cutler’s knee took about six weeks to heal on its own. He says he hasn’t fully tested it yet.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: April 1, 2011 9:58 am

Greg Olsen desires long-term deal from Bears

Posted by Andy Benoit

Remember the days when individual teams and individual players haggled over money? These dreary lockout days, with collective owners and collective players now haggling over money, can make you long for a good home-feeling contract squabble.
G. Olsen (US Presswire)
Alas, we don’t have a story about one to offer here (no player in his right mind would gripe over his personal contract right now). But we do have a story about a player seeking a contract extension.

That player is Bears tight end Greg Olsen, who understands the league’s current situation and still wants to make it known that he’d like to be in Chicago for the long haul.

"I’ve said, since the day I got here, that I’m very happy here," Olsen said, according to Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune. "I’m very happy here. I feel like I’ve had a good four years and have really enjoyed my time.

"I know there’s a lot that goes into (an extension), with the situation with the labor agreement or what not. I would love to have that security and be here for a long time. There are a lot of things right now kind of out of all of our hands. We’ve got to let it play out. Once we get all this situated and get to free agency and all of that out of the way, we’ll see what happens."

Olsen’s contract expires after the 2011 season. His desire to remain a Bear is noteworthy given the way his role in the offense has somewhat diminished since Mike Martz came in. Martz has never been big on utilizing tight ends in the passing game. Indeed, last season Olsen posted his lowest receiving numbers since his rookie year of ’07.

It would make sense for the Bears to want to keep Olsen (at the right price, of course). With his ability to adjust to tough passes in tight quarters, the 6-5, 255-pounder is a valuable target in the red zone. He’s not a great blocker (the Bears never figured he would be), but he’s not the liability in this department that many originally assumed he would be.

In the meantime, Olsen will be in touch with teammates about offseason workouts while they wait for their collective contract squabble to play out.

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Category: NFL
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: March 21, 2011 4:30 pm

Hot Routes 3.21.11 workouts and lockouts

Hot Routes

Posted by Andy Benoit

  • The Panthers will be on hand for Georgia wideout A.J. Green’s pro day. Probably wise not to read too much into that. Green is impressive, but being drafted first overall?

  • Surly Chargers GM A.J. Smith wanted to be part of the labor negotiations, but his request was quickly denied by the NFL.

  • Jeff Blumb has resigned from his position of PR Director of the Packers. This comes just days after fellow Super Bowl XLV PR Director Dave Lockett of the Steelers resigned.

  • Tiki Barber is coming back to the NFL because he (ahem) loves the game. Many have speculated that the soon-to-be 36-year-old running back could join his twin brother Ronde in Tampa Bay.TBO.com says forget it.

  • Bears president Ted Phillips is very honest about the team’s sloppy grass field. He says, “frankly, it’s been part of our home-field advantage.”

  • Pat Yasinkas of ESPN wanted to clear things up and make it known that the Buccaneers, not taxpayers, paid for their own practice facility.
  • Everybody seems to be getting on Red Ryan for comparing himself to Babe Ruth. Physique-wise, he’s not far off.

  • The lockout could cost Robert Mathis $160,000 in workout bonuses. We’re guessing he won’t be the only one impacted in this way.

  • The Madden ’12 cover is being determined by a fan vote. (Bears fans are voting for Aaron Rodgers, Steelers fans are voting for Ray Rice….you get the idea.)

  • The Titans are working out Colin Kaepernick, who is Vince Young minus the drama.

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