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Tag:Lovie Smith
Posted on: September 29, 2010 9:53 am
 

Hot Routes 09.29.10: Questionable injury lists

B. Wells gains extra yards against Oakland (AP). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

-Although coach Ken Whisenhunt completely misled everybody not in the Arizona Cardinals locker room regarding the health of running back Beanie Wells’ knee – he said it was a bone bruise when, in actuality, Wells had knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus – Whisenhunt said he didn’t use the weekly injury report to his advantage. In the first two games Wells missed, he was listed as questionable.

-At least one 49ers player was excited by the ascension of Mike Johnson to the offensive coordinator position to replace the fired Jimmy Raye. And by excited I mean pumped. That’d be tight end Vernon Davis.

-Suddenly, Bears coach Lovie Smith is holding accountable – in very public ways – some of his team’s top players. If they’re not good enough to play – a la Tommie Harristhey’re simply not going to be on the field. With a 3-0 record, who’s to say Smith is wrong about this?

-The Green Bay Press-Gazette writes that tackles Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher are starting to look a little old. After watching Monday night’s game vs. the Bears, I was surprised with some of the mistakes made by Clifton (I didn’t notice Tauscher as much, though he had his fair share), especially with the penalties.

-Apparently nobody seems bothered by Ravens RB Ray Rice’s injured knee. It was not mentioned by anybody – not by coach John Harbaugh, not by radio host Gerry Sandusky, not by any callers – during Harbaugh’s weekly radio show.

-After watching the Dolphins lose 18 yards on eight attempts using the Wildcat formation, Sun Sentinel columnist Ethan Skolnick says Miami might want to dial it down a little. Skolnick calls the Dolphins victims of their own success and says the Wildcat has become rather predictable.

-The Jaguars re-signed S Gerald Alexander a few weeks after cutting him, and Alexander is happy to be employed once again. He said he wasn’t surprised by Jacksonville releasing him. In fact, he said he didn’t deserve to make the team, and he’s surprised he’s been re-signed.

-You might be wondering what’s up with Dolphins LB Ikaika Alama-Francis and why he hasn’t played this year (and subsequently allowed Koa Misi to have a big impact at that position). The answer is that Alama-Francis has been ill and has lost 15-20 pounds.

-Giants S Michael Johnson has been placed on IR with a herniated disc in his back.

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Posted on: September 12, 2010 2:45 pm
Edited on: September 12, 2010 3:00 pm
 

Stafford injured as Lions struggle into halftime

Posted by Will Brinson

The good news for the Chicago Bears is that Julius Peppers appears to care (he sacked Matt Stafford near the end of the half to land the Bears a field goal) and that Matt Forte appears to be closer to his first season than his second (he took a screen pass 89 yards to the house). The good news for the Lions is that Jahvid Best appears to be "for real" (he has two touchdowns in the first half) and they appear, as a team, to be better than last year (they're winning at halftime).

The bad news was that Mike Martz' offense managed to produce three turnovers ... against the Lions. The really bad news, though (at least for the Lions), is that Stafford suffered a shoulder injury on the sack by Peppers and was seen on the sidelines without his pads or jersey on.

Needless to say, the Lions will be careful with him, but considering that last year he managed to get back on the field and win a game with a shoulder injury, the news that he could be out for the second half is not good at all.

A strong showing by Jay Cutler, whose numbers are quite deceiving at halftime, in the second half could go a long way towards making Chicago fans feel less worried about their team this year. And likely towards keeping Lovie Smith and Martz' pants a little cooler.

Update (2:49): Shaun Hill entered the game for Stafford and the Lions' starter's return is officially listed as "questionable" -- he kicked the bench in frustration when being told that he wouldn't return.

Update (3:00): The NFL tweets that Stafford is OUT for the game and will not return, leaving the Lions hopes in Hill's hands.

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Posted on: September 10, 2010 12:52 pm
 

Cutler: Didn't trust McDaniels

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

In this Chicago Sun Times feature on Jay Cutler, the Bears QB makes some interesting comments about Denver coach Josh McDaniels.

Obviously, McDaniels wanted nothing to do with Cutler and traded him away. Two seasons later, Cutler says he didn’t trust McDaniels either.

From the story:

''I wasn't his guy, and he told me I wasn't his guy when he got hired,'' Cutler said. ''He had totally different intentions, which is fine. I understood that.''

What Cutler didn't understand was McDaniels' reluctance to own up to the trade talks when the quarterback called to ask his new coach about the rumors.

''He acted like he had no idea what I was talking about,'' Cutler said. ''Then it took him two or three days to finally admit that he tried to trade me.''

Even before a scheduled March 14 meeting -- one that included Cutler; his agent, Bus Cook; McDaniels, and Broncos general manager Brian Xanders -- the young quarterback was encouraged enough that he shipped his belongings from Nashville to Denver. But during the meeting, Cutler was put off by McDaniels' message: Any player, including Cutler, could be traded at any time.

''By that point, I was like, 'You know what? Just trade me now,''' Cutler recalled. '''I mean, just do it now. Let's get it over with.'''

That apparently is not the relationship Cutler has with Chicago coach Lovie Smith. Perhaps it’s because Smith hasn’t wavered in his idea that Cutler, despite a mediocre season last year, is his man on offense. You’ve got to love a coach who continues to believe in you.
 
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Posted on: August 28, 2010 9:28 am
 

Hot Routes 8.28.10: Good News, Bad News

Posted by Will Brinson

Got a link for the Hot Routes? Follow us on Twitter (@CBSSportsNFL) or send an email to will [dot] brinson [at] cbsinteractive [dot] com.

Fellow Blogger Fantasy Football League member (and Football Outsiders overlord as well as a really swell guy) Aaron Schatz got the hook-up from the NFL to show the official video of the NFL's rule changes . Check it.

Just how important is DeSean Jackson to the Eagles? Well, as the Eagletarian mentions , the offense went to a pile of mess when Jackson left with injury, so that should be a good clue. Of course, maybe it was just Kansas City's, um, vaunted defense? Not good times.

The Finsider points out that it's "good news-bad news" re: the Dolphins starting cornerbacks. Vontae Davis was "outstanding" while Jason Allen "proved … he is not an NFL starting cornerback." Harsh words, but it's important, especially if you're one of those idiots who picked the Dolphins to finish ahead of the Jets in the AFC East. /raises hand

One of my favorite interwebs spots, Cat Scratch Reader, notes that the third preseason game enerally provides a good indication as to how well the Panthers will do in the coming season.

The Rams have to be pleased with everything outside of the loss of Donnie Avery -- Turf Show Times says that the play of Jason Smith and Roger Saffold, for different reasons, is also encouraging, particularly in relation to how the combination of "Sam Bradford + Saffold" >>>>> "Russell Okung + Jimmy Clausen." Or something.

Some mildly tangential football news, in that Dan Steinberg discusses where Stephen Strasburg's injury stacks up against the all-time worst for DC Sports -- the chief comparison is that of Joe Theismann when Lawrence Taylor wrecked his life and forced us into bad football broadcasting and, eventually, a crappy movie rendition of a great Michael Lewis book.

Well, well, la-ti-da. Doesn't Chicago just have sooooo many trophies from professional sports teams ? Actually, as the only town to own all four major trophies over the past 25 years, all the owners got together and had a big party where they made fun of the Cubs and then cracked jokes about whether or not anyone would bother hiring Lovie Smith next season.

Our old pal SbB brings to light information that should totally remind everyone in Los Angeles: UR NOT GETTIN' OUR SOUTHERN FOOTBALL. Actually, Brooks ends the post optimistically, but let me tell you what, if they take football from Jacksonville, Thanksgivings are going to be REALLY awkward for my family. No offense, cousins and such.

Zerkle's rundown of Peyton Manning's issues with the umpire is worth it if only for the Madden '11 photoshop.

Haters gonna hate all they want, but Gregg Rosenthal still managed to work up a positive piece about LaDainian Tomlinson at PFT. It's logical too, because, well, as much we all suddenly want LdT to fail miserably, the good news is that he's not as awful as Willie Parker. Careers fade fast when you're from Clinton, NC, son.
Posted on: August 22, 2010 9:10 am
 

So much for vanilla

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

An interesting trend has emerged this preseason – defenses which normally would play fairly vanilla against offenses who were doing much of the same are being more aggressive in exhibition games.

The National Football Post takes a look at these occurrences.

In fact, when the Chargers faced the Bears, San Diego blitzed so much (I saw a report where it was six of the first eight snaps) coach Lovie Smith decided to get QB Jay Cutler the hell out of there.

The Giants blitzed 24 times against the Jets. The list goes on.

“For me, I would just say I was trying to set a mentality,” Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell told the Post. “I’m going to be very aggressive. Yes, we want to play base, fundamental defense and we want to see people take on a block, shed a block, that kind of thing.”

Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers provides a dissenting opinion.

“Sometimes you can cover up some ills by blitzing all the time,” he told the Post. “If you feel like you have nothing to lose, that’s fine. But if you go into the season feeling you have to rely on the blitz all the time, sooner or later it catches up with you. Now is the time when we can see if we can play base, fundamental football. And if we can’t, and do it well, the blitzing might disguise it for a little bit. But it’s not going to disguise it for long. People figure you out too much in this game. For us, it starts with stopping the run. If we can stop the run, then we can do a lot more things.”

I’m sure this is a trend that opposing quarterbacks who are just trying to get down their timing before retiring to the sidelines for the second half would like to see end. As would their coaches.

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Posted on: August 17, 2010 4:25 pm
 

The Bears' backup QB situation is getting awkward

Posted by Will Brinson

Currently the Chicago Bears have Jay Cutler (the starter), Caleb Hanie (the injured backup) and Dan LeFevour (the 12-year* college vet turned NFL rook) as quarterbacks on their roster.

With Hanie's injury and Lefevour throwing picks at a rate that makes Cutler look like Sammy Baugh, Mike Martz and Lovie Smith have been very interested in bringing in a solid veteran backup to ensure that if Cutler gets hurt their entire season isn't sunk.

So, Martz asked his (literally) old pal Trent Green if he'd be interested in joining the Bears' roster. He said no . Twice .

Next up? Damon Huard who has no interest in the job and would prefer to remain retired .

How about you, Todd Collins? Nope. He's not interested either .

So where will the Bears turn next? Jeff Garcia would be my guess if only because a) he's old b) he seems interested in playing and c) anyone else they might have on their radar is either deceased or retired.

*Probably not accurate but sure seems that way, no?

Posted on: August 13, 2010 10:17 am
 

Hot Routes 8.13.10: Of Preseason & Port-a-Potties

Got links for the Hot Routes? Follow us on Twitter or send an email to will [dot] brinson [at] cbs [dot] com .
  • Dan Connolly, who filled in -- and will fill in if necessary -- for the still-holding-out Logan Mankins last night, "held his own" according to Ian Rappaport of the Boston Herald . We haven't watched the game yet, because we're too busy swooning over Jimmy Clausen, but this is right in line with what we told Lauren Shehadi about the possibility of the Pats' doing a little "plug-n-play" on the offensive line.
  • Speaking of Clausen, Pat Yasinskas (former Panthers beat writer; now with the NFC South blog at ESPN) thinks that the rook QB "landed some jabs, but nothing close to a knockout punch" in his attempt to go after Matt Moore's job. I've got to agree -- the kid looked really sharp at times, but anyone freaking out over the first preseason game needs to settle down. It's going to take a nightmarish, Jake Delhomme-like start from Moore to force Clausen into a starting role.
  • Optimism reigns supreme at the Baltimore Sun 's Ravens Insider, where everyone seems thrilled at the offense's potent potability (or something). Ken Murray seems the most realistic of the group, though, making sure to point out that against the Panthers, the Ravens ridiculously depleted secondary didn't exactly have a big challenge. Not saying the 2010 AFC North Champions (they lose to the Jets in the AFC Championship, duh) are overrated, but just saying.
  • Jermichael Finley, who Andy is quite high on (more on that with an NFC North podcast coming this afternoon), uses boxing to become a better football player because it helps improve his hand and eye coordination. Until coach Mike McCarthy pointed out that hurting his hands and wrists isn't the best way to get paid as a tight end in the NFL. Smart call.
  • Lovie Smith says the Bears' starters could end up playing a full half against the Chargers. For those of you who (like me) are Dan LeFevour fans, won't you join me: "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" /shakes fist angrily to sky
  • Jerry McDonald of Inside Bay Area writes that the D-line "stole the show" for the Raiders last night. And here I was thinking Kyle Boller would get all the attention this morning. McDonald actually makes a good point about Boller too -- the 'Boys dropped an easy red zone interception, and we're not singing his praises this morning if they make the pick happen.

Posted on: June 24, 2010 8:16 pm
 

Lovie likes his squad

Coming off a 7-9 season – causing some observers to wonder whether Bears coach Lovie Smith should be replaced – the Bears have restocked their organization for what they hope will be a Super Bowl run.

As the Chicago Tribune writes, the front office expects results. And it wants results now.

From Tribune reporter Brad Biggs:

Three things have changed since the offseason began with President Ted Phillips announcing general manager Jerry Angelo and Smith were returning but that the "status quo wasn't acceptable."

First, Smith cleaned house with his offensive coaching staff. Next, ownership opened the vault like never before, dropping $55 million guaranteed in free agency. Finally, there was significant turnover in the front office.

All moves have Smith at least coming across as impervious to the win-or-else situation in which he finds himself as he maintains his goal is not merely to compete for a playoff spot but rather to win the Super Bowl.


In response to a third-place finish in the NFC North, Chicago added DE Julius Peppers on defense, and on offense, the Bears have married QB Jay Cutler and new offensive coordinator Mike Martz in what they hope will be a harmonious relationship.

"We know what a good football team looks like," Smith said. "And this is a good football team."

He’d better hope that’s the case. Otherwise, his seat might begin to feel warmer.

--Josh Katzowitz

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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