Bear Essentials

Bear Essentials

A healthy Harris would help

Posted by Bob LeGere on Fri, 01/21/2011 - 10:09
Free safety Chris Harris hopes to be able to practice later today despite the hip pointer that knocked him out of last Sunday’s game and has kept him sidelined all week. Coach Lovie Smith said Harris could play Sunday, even if he isn’t cleared to practice today, and the Bears really don’t want to be without one of their leaders in the secondary, especially against Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Rookie Major Wright would see more action if Harris is unable to play by Sunday. Although the rookie has been given significant playing time throughout the season, he is prone to make more mistakes than Harris or even veteran backup Josh Bullocks, and the Bears cannot afford mistakes against the Packers’ potent passing game.

QB performance will determine winner

Posted by Bob LeGere on Wed, 01/19/2011 - 02:19
Get ready to strap it on for what may be the biggest week of hype in the history of Chicago sports. But when all is said and done, it’s going to come down to two things: Can the Bears keep the Packers’ pass rush off Jay Cutler? And, can the Bears pass rush hurry Aaron Rodgers enough so that he doesn’t come close to duplicating the amazing numbers he put up against the Falcons?

Keeping Lovie key to Bears success

Posted by Bob LeGere on Tue, 01/18/2011 - 03:44
I don’t think there’s any chance the Bears would have even made the playoffs this season if Lovie Smith had been fired after last season’s 7-9 record. Remember, Smith was instrumental in recruiting Pro Bowl defensive end Julius Peppers, practically camping out on his doorstep to be there to woo him at the dawn of the free-agency period. If Peppers isn’t the Bears MVP this season, he’s at least in the top two. And don’t forget, it was Smith who promoted Rod Marinelli to defensive coordinator and hired Mike Martz as offensive coordinator and Mike Tice as offensive line coach. All three have done magnificent jobs this season.

Packers a tougher test

Posted by Bob LeGere on Mon, 01/17/2011 - 03:38
No matter how good Packers QB Aaron Rodgers looked against the Falcons -- and he looked unbeatable -- he will not complete 31 of 36 passes for 366 yards against the Bears Sunday at Soldier Field, as he did Saturday night at the Georgia Dome. But Rodgers is capable of lighting up any secondary in football, and the Bears’ defensive backfield is suspect, especially at the safety position. CB Charles Tillman was tremendous against the Seahawks. Even though Mike Williams caught 2 short TD passes, the first of which was against safety Danieal Manning, Tillman made him a non-factor for most of the game.

Packers look invincible

Posted by Bob LeGere on Sun, 01/16/2011 - 12:20
That regular-season-ending, 10-3 loss to the Packers could come back to haunt the Bears. A victory by the Bears in that game would have eliminated Green Bay from the playoffs. Instead, they squeaked in as the No. 6 seed, but they’re not playing like a last seed. After watching them dismantle the Falcons in Atlanta, which the experts said couldn’t happen; it’s tough to imagine the Bears defeating them next week, provided the Bears get by the Seahawks today. Even though a Bears-Packers matchup would be in Soldier Field, the Bears are likely to be betting underdogs after Green Bay’s impressive performance against the Falcons, who had been 20-2 at home behind QB Matt Ryan, who somehow was voted to the Pro Bowl ahead of the Packers’ Aaron Rodgers.

Who's the jerk?

Posted by Bob LeGere on Fri, 01/14/2011 - 03:46
According to ESPN.com’s Rick Reilly, quarterback Jay Cutler is some kind of creep because he didn’t idolize any NFL quarterbacks as a kid. Maybe he had other, more worthy role models like his parents or a teacher. Reilly rips Cutler because he doesn’t have any endorsements and doesn’t want any. Brilliant. Better he should be a money-grubbing shill, willing to endorse anything for a buck. What kind of a jerk focuses on doing his job at the expense of making easy money? How dare he?

Bears by 10? Book it

Posted by Bob LeGere on Thu, 01/13/2011 - 02:41
Ten points might seem like a prohibitive pointspread for a Bears team that didn’t get much respect from bookmakers all season. The Bears haven’t been favored by more than 6 ½ points all season, and they’ve only been any kind of a favorite seven times in 16 games. In those 7 games they went 4-3 straight up and covered just twice with one push. But now they’re favored by double digits over a playoff team that defeated them in Week Six. The Bears were 6-point favorites in that game but lost 23-20. So why the big pointspread now, in the playoffs?

Bears are good -- and lucky

Posted by Bob LeGere on Tue, 01/11/2011 - 02:48
Not to belittle the accomplishments of this year’s 11-5 Bears, but they have gotten more than their share of breaks this season. That led to a recent discussion at Halas Hall as to what was the luckiest break the Bears got all season. The Calvin Johnson non-catch of an apparent game-winning touchdown pass in the season opener was a big favorite. The unbelievably good health of the 53-man roster for the entire season was cited by some as the key to the season, considering the injury misfortune the Bears have suffered in previous years. Then there was the three-game stretch of road games where the Bears faced third-string quarterbacks in each game. In order, it went: the Dolphins’ Tyler Thigpen, the Lions’ Drew Stanton and the Vikings’ Joe Webb.

As Forte goes, so goes Cutler

Posted by Bob LeGere on Thu, 01/06/2011 - 01:40
Sports Illustrated says the key to beating the Bears is to pressure Jay Cutler early and force him to become “Grossmanesque.” Pro Football Weekly says mistake-free play by Cutler is the key to the Bears chances of winning the Super Bowl. But the key to avoiding the first scenario and increasing the odds of the second doesn’t involve Cutler at all. The key to the Bears’ playoff chances is held by running back Matt Forte. For the Bears to have any chance of making it to Cowboys Stadium for Super Bowl XLV they have to run the ball almost as frequently as they throw it, and they have to run effectively, the way they did while winning seven of nine games after their bye.

The good luck keeps on coming

Posted by Bob LeGere on Tue, 12/28/2010 - 23:53
The Bears continue to get some incredibly lucky breaks. The 14-point underdog Vikings, using third-string QB Joe Webb, upset the Eagles 24-14 Tuesday night. That guarantees the Bears the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye in addition to home-field advantage in their first game and in every game that doesn’t involve the Falcons. That is assuming the Falcons don’t lose to the 2-13 Panthers Sunday, which would give the Bears’ the No. 1 seed, and even they’re not that lucky -- I think. Now, the question is how long Lovie Smith plays his starters Sunday at Lambeau Field. A Packers victory gets them into the postseason as the No. 6 seed. The Packers can still sneak into the postseason tournament with a loss, if the Giants and Bucs also lose.