I started, and trashed, 5 different articles about the Bears today. Every single subject lead me to talk about something else. I was beginning to feel as though I needed those special meds to turn off the radio in my head. Things became exasperated when I noticed that my friend Marice is celebrating her 21st year as host of Behind the Lyric. That lead me to re-watch one of my favorite videos that she did. There’s something about scantily clad women and kitchen utensils that drove me even further off topic.
I can’t imagine what.
Like The Ex Senators opine, I was suffering from that “A.D.H.D. deficient mind disease.”
Somehow I was able to return to the topic at hand. Well, more correctly, I was able to discern what should be the topic at hand. I picked “The Bears.”
With that out of the way, I began scouring the papers for something that would provide useful information without fawning over their current record. Much to my surprise, I found it.
The Tribune’s DAN POMPEI popped open his mail bag today to talk with fans about their concerns. Since they mirrored, nicely, many of the concerns voiced by bloggers here, my problem was solved.
I might be nuts, but with the Bears defense returning to Pro Bowl caliber, I think they can have success against the Eagles and Mike Vick. The main reason I feel this way is the way the Bears linebackers have had success against Vick in the past. The have good outside containment and usually Brian Urlacher has been able to shadow Vick effectively. Do you agree? Steve Cserpnyak, Arvada, Colo.
Yes and no. The Bears have never played against the new and improved Michael Vick. He is a different animal now and a much better passer. If he plays the way he did against the Redskins two weeks ago, there is no defense that is going to contain him. That being said, if any defense can match up with Vick, it’s the Bears. They have very good team speed. They have disciplined pass rushers. They excel at playing zone, so defenders will be able to keep their eyes on him. They have good tacklers in the secondary. I don’t think I would use Urlacher as a spy on Vick, as some have suggested. If the Bears want to spy Vick, Danieal Manning is the man.
Am I the only one that thinks Jay Cutler holds the ball to low (near his hip) when he’s setting up to pass which leads to a long throwing motion (see Randall Cunningham) and fumbles because on sacks it’s easy to pin his arms against his sides and then strip the ball (check the first sack/fumble in Thursday night’s game)? The long throwing motion also gives defensive backs more time to react so the interceptions are not surprising to me. It seems to me he and the team would benefit if he would learn a more classic setup holding the ball close to shoulder height like Peyton Manning or Dan Marino for instance. Tony Yager
Football coaches are never going to point to Jay Cutler as an example of textbook technique. I agree with you that he does hold the ball low. And he would be better off holding the ball higher. But if no coach has been able to get Cutler to pay more attention to technique up to this point, it’s probably unlikely that any coach ever will get through to him. There have been many quarterbacks through the years that don’t do it exactly the way you are taught to and have gotten away with it. Cutler is just one of those guys. As long as he makes good decisions with the football, he can get away with less than perfect fundamentals.
Jay Cutler seems to fumble every time he is hit. What is his hand size and is it below average for an NFL QB? Dave, Dubuque, Iowa
Cutler has a hand span of 9 3/8 inches. Those are average sized hands for a quarterback. But he does fumble a lot. He has eight fumbles this year, and 48 in his 62 NFL games. For comparison sake, Aaron Rodgers has no fumbles this year and 23 in 49 NFL games. Cutler’s fumbles probably are more attributable to the fact that he often holds the ball low (see above), and he tends to take some big hits.
What would it take for a 10-6 or an 11-5 team to miss the NFC playoffs this year? And could that be the Bears? And if it is the Bears, would that cost Lovie Smith his job? John McPherson, Champaign
Let’s assume the Bears finish 10-6 but finish second in the division to the Packers. That means they need would need to make the playoffs with one of two NFC wild card spots. Now, let’s assume the Eagles, Falcons and Seahawks will stay on top of their respective divisions. That means the Bears’ primary competition for a spot likely be the Bucs, Saints and Giants. It is entirely possible that two of those teams could have tiebreakers over the Bears. The Giants already have the head-to-head tiebreaker, though the Bears have one more victory at the moment. It is not uncommon for a team to win 10 games and miss the playoffs, but an 11-win team is almost guaranteed a spot. In terms of whether or not Smith would be fired if he wins 10 or 11 and misses the playoffs, that’s a tough question, and it’s one only the owners of the Bears can answer. But it’s starting to look like the chances are very good that Smith will remain the coach of the Bears next year.
Is there such a thing as an offensive face mask penalty for a stiff arm? I have seen it called on lineman but it seems running backs and wide receivers get away with what I would consider a face mask penalty on stiff arms frequently. Charlie Johnson, Sarasota, Fla.
If a player twists, turns or pulls a facemask, he is hit with a 15-yard personal foul penalty. But if he just pushes a facemask, there is no penalty.
I watching an interview with Charles Tillman on WGN and noticed he had red eyes. Hope he is not sick, and this is just a left over from his Thriller Halloween costume. What’s up with that? Mitch, San Diego, Calif.
Tillman wears performance lenses during games that make his eyes appear red. They are supposed to reduce glare and make moving objects easier to track. It’s definitely a freaky look, though.
With the obvious need to address the offensive line in the offseason, how does this upcoming draft look in regards to depth at the position? Joe, Chicago
From the looks of it now, there aren’t expected to be a lot of top of the draft blockers available. It’s not a great year for offensive linemen. There are a number of prospects who could go late first round or in the second round however. If the Bears keep winning, they could be in position to take an offensive lineman in that range.
Does every team have assistants or scouts who prepare specifically and only for their divisional opponents all year round? I think they should considering that divisional games in essence count twice as much as the other games on a team’s schedule. Clark, Palo Alto, Calif.
It varies from team to team. Typically, one pro scout is assigned each team, and he stays with that team all year. Sometimes, it’s broken up by division. That scout will often be responsible for “advancing” an opponent, as well as writing up every player on that team’s roster for free agency purposes. In the case of the Bears, two of their pro scouts take 11 teams and a third scout takes 10. That scout is assigned the NFC North division.
See? I bet you learned something today. I know I did.
One thing’s for certain, the Bears are going up against their toughest opponent of the year thus far. Despite all of the focus on the new and improved Michael Vick, the Eagles have a scary defense, solid special teams and several offensive weapons. Plus the Eagles will get fed by Mrs. Vick the night before the game. Even so Chet Coppock is advising his readers to give the points and take the Bears. Since Chet’s wearing the same fur coat he’s worn since 1978, you should take that for what it’s worth.
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