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Tag:Lovie Smith
Posted on: August 29, 2011 5:45 pm
Edited on: August 29, 2011 5:52 pm
 

Chester Taylor actually NOT cut from Bears

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Earlier today, we wrote about the Bears cutting third-string running back Chester Taylor and how one reason could have been that the organization was tired of Taylor asking for more playing time. That was news to Chicago coach Lovie Smith. Because Taylor, in fact, has not been cut.

Bears RB Problems
"I guess there was a little bit of a misunderstanding on what we talked about," Smith told reporters after practice, via the Chicago Tribune. "Chester Taylor is still a part of the team."

The misunderstanding stems from the conversation Smith and Taylor had when Smith told Taylor he wasn’t in the Bears plans. Taylor thought that meant he was cut (and I can see why he’d think that). But that’s not the case. Not yet, at least.

Hell, maybe the Bears won’t cut Taylor, because general manager Jerry Angelo told Taylor after the misunderstanding that the team actually likes him. Furthermore, Smith said he was talking to Taylor about last Saturday’s game at Tennessee and not necessarily about the future.

It’s all very confusing.

"If a player is released, I will tell him that, 'You're released, thank you,'" Smith said. “That is not the case. Misunderstanding. I talked to him about what happened in the last game in a private conversation. No more than that. As far as what is going to happen later on, we have cuts coming up. We’ll let everyone know who is a part of it then, they’ll know. I don’t talk any more than that. I talked about what happened the last game.

“He was coming up, he wanted to talk to me, but guys talk to me always. I’m the head football coach. Players who are wondering a little bit about what is going on, I want them to come up and talk with me. Thought we had a good conversation. I guess it didn’t go exactly like I thought it did.”

I guess we’ll get our next indication about the Bears plans for Taylor when they face Browns on Thursday. But for now, your guess is as good as anybody’s how much longer Taylor will be a part of the team.

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Posted on: August 13, 2011 9:51 pm
Edited on: August 13, 2011 10:09 pm
 

Bears kicked off at the 30-yard-line: Why?

Posted by Will Brinson

You've certainly heard about the NFL's new rule on kickoffs: they're happening from the 35-yard-line now. Not the 30.

Maybe the Chicago Bears missed the memo?

Because they spent their first preseason game on Saturday night (as you can see from the photo to your right) kicking off from the 30-yard-line.

Per Jeff Dickerson of ESPN Chicago, the press box official at Soldier Field has been screaming at the Bears -- "They cannot kickoff from the 30!" -- in vain. (It's very far away from the field, as you might guess.)

For whatever reason, Chicago's simply refusing to kick from the 35-yard-line.

"The team is simply evaluating our kickoff coverage unit," a Bears spokesman told CBSSports.com.

So then it's not anything to do with the fac that three teams truly got hosed by the NFL's decision to change things up: the Bears, the Seahawks and the Browns. The latter two recently extended return specialists (Leon Washington and Josh Cribbs, respectively) and the Bears rely on Devin Hester to be a gamechanger on special teams.

That's good. Although Mike Pereira, former VP of Officiating at the NFL, tweeted that "Carl Johnson called and put a stop to it." So clearly someone at the NFL wasn't too thrilled that the Bears were using the preseason to practice kickoff coverage by sacrificing safety.

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Posted on: July 31, 2011 10:54 am
Edited on: July 31, 2011 4:15 pm
 

Report: Bears, Kreutz only $500K apart

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

The Bears and free agent C Olin Kreutz still haven’t come to an agreement on a new contract, and apparently, the two sides are only $500,000 apart.

That’s the word from the Chicago Tribune, which writes that the Bears have offered Kreutz a one-year deal worth $4 million while Kreutz is seeking $4.5 million.

KreutzDoesn’t sound like a big difference, does it? Especially when you consider Kreutz is a long-time emotional leader on the team and word is that real damage could be done to the team’s psyche if Chicago doesn’t retain his services (not to mention that G Roberto Garza -- who has one career start at center -- might have to slide over if Kreutz doesn’t return).

The paper reports that the Bears initially offered a one-year, $3 million deal while Kreutz’s agent countered with $5 million. Chicago apparently refuses to go above the $4 million mark, and because of that, writer Brad Biggs wonders if there’s a divide between the coaching staff and the front office (the assumption here being that coach Lovie Smith would give Kreutz the extra $500,000).

One team source called the situation a “ticking time bomb,” which certainly doesn’t sound like a positive development. Particularly when, according to Biggs, there were at least six botched snaps at Saturday’s practice.

UPDATED (4:13 p.m. ET): It's been reported that the Bears have signed former Seahawks C Chris Spencer. This means Kreutz is done in Chicago.

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Posted on: July 29, 2011 8:30 pm
 

Bears sign Roy Williams, Vernon Gholston

Posted by Will Brinson

People have been wondering why the Bears didn't make a splash in free agency this year. Obviously $90 million to Julius Peppers in 2010 just isn't enough commitment.

So here's some, um, news: they've now (officially) signed both Roy Williams and Vernon Gholston.

No it's not the sexiest of offseason maneuvers, but both players do have upside. Particularly Williams -- at least if you're asking Bears' coach Lovie Smith.

"Roy Williams has number one receiver skill. Devin Hester does also," said Smith, per Zach Zaidman of the Bears Radio Network. "At least about five of the guys we have right now that I know of have that type of ability."

Williams does have No. 1 receiver ability. Otherwise he wouldn't have been a No. 1 receiver on several teams and Jerry Jones wouldn't have packaged the farm to Detroit in exchange for him. Of course, if he still was a No. 1 receiver, it's a lot less likely that he would have gotten cut by the Cowboys.

And as for Gholston, well, he's clearly got upside. After all, he was selected No. 6 overall in the 2008 NFL Draft. But start to Google his name and see what the second result is (hint: it rhymes with "rust").

But it's going to take a lot for the Bears to justify to fans that his signing was their "big move" this offseason. (Though in fairness they're still working on Olin Kreutz and they did land Nick Roach and Anthony Adams. So there's that.)

The harder sell might be that Williams is the answer to their lengthy issues at wideout, even if he has played in a Mike Martz offense before.

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Posted on: July 15, 2011 6:45 pm
Edited on: July 15, 2011 7:05 pm
 

Follett says Lions' players could report July 25

Posted by Ryan Wilson

The latest evidence that the Great Lockout of 2011 is almost behind us forever: Lions linebacker Zack Follett tweeted this Friday evening:

"Just received word it would be the 25th of July we would be able to report back if a deal got done. Pending approval by all parties."

Like most of the news we've heard in recent days, it comes with the "pending approval" qualifications, but by all indications, we're very close to having an actual football season.

CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman has been all over the latest developments, and the NFL and the NFLPA released a joint statement Friday afternoon announcing that things are "in a good place." There are some details to iron out, but the major issues have been agreed upon, and we could have football in days if not hours. Which means that we'll have a fast and furious free-agent signing period, followed by training camps and preseason games, and then a full schedule of regular season games.

Assuming that most teams report on or around July 25, as Follett suggests, it will give the Bears and Rams 10 days to practice before they're scheduled to face off in the August 7 Hall of Fame Game. Chicago offensive coordinator Mike Martz said he would need just one day to prepare his team to play, while head coach Lovie Smith was a tad less optimistic, telling the Chicago Tribune: "Just the way the NFL is set up: 15 days before the first game. That’s what you want. That’s what it’s been every year. But this is a different year. If the NFL says we’re going to play a game and the Rams are dealing with the same thing, we’re going to get ready."

The Bears might have to make due with something less than 15 days, but either way Smith says his team will be in Canton. "If an agreement gets done and the NFL says we’re going to play the game, we'll be ready. Right now, we haven’t been told that anything has been cancelled."

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Posted on: May 19, 2011 4:38 pm
Edited on: May 19, 2011 5:00 pm
 

Hot Routes 5.19.11: Beck's mullet retrospective

Posted by Will Brinson



Got a link for the Hot Routes? Hit us up on Twitter (@CBSSportsNFL).
  • I don't know why, but I just can't quit John Beck. Whatever the Redskins would-be starter is doing is just making me wish more and more that he DOES end up starting. Of course, Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post isn't exactly doing much to kill my mancrush by posting a retrospective look at Beck's mullet. Which probably tells you worse things about me than it does Beck, but whatever.
Posted on: March 23, 2011 12:19 pm
Edited on: March 23, 2011 12:20 pm
 

Hot Routes 3.23.11: Buddy Ryan has cancer



Posted by Josh Katzowitz

  • Once again, former coaching standout Buddy Ryan has cancer, according to Jets coach Rex Ryan. But Rex is confident in his father. Said Rex: "He's 80 years old, but he's doing great. He's tougher than (s---). He's had other things in his life. He overcame encephalitis. He's overcome cancer twice. He's tough."
  • Sounds like the students at Assumption Catholic Church in St. Louis had a blast with Rams RB Steven Jackson. Even if this was a team-sponsored event (the Rams had to get special permission before Jackson could appear).

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