Bear Essentials

Bear Essentials

Playoff picks

Posted by Bob LeGere on Fri, 01/09/2009 - 12:49
For anyone anxious to see my picks for this weekend's divisional-round NFL playoff games – probably not that many, considering last week's 1-3 record vs. the spread – here's a sneak peak before they appear in Saturday's paper. On Saturday, I like the Ravens plus the 3 points against the Titans. Both teams have outstanding defenses, but I believe the Ravens “d” is better, and massive NT Haloti Ngata could have a huge game with Titans seven-time Pro Bowl C Kevin Mawae expected to sit out with an elbow injury.

Let's talk about Favre

Posted by Bob LeGere on Thu, 01/08/2009 - 12:38
It's ironic that the first teammate to rip Brett Favre, at least in my memory, was Thomas Jones. When Jones was with the Bears, getting him to talk about anything was like pulling teeth. He just wanted to shut up and play, which worked out fine. Not that Favre doesn't deserve to be criticized for his mediocre-at-best season, which bordered on awful down the stretch, when the Jets blew a chance to make the playoffs. Or for the way he disrupted the Packers in the off-season with his on-again, off-again retirement plans. Clearly the Packers made the correct choice in deciding to go with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback, since he proved week in and week out that he is superior to Favre, even though the Packers had a disappointing season.

JERRY ANGELO UNPLUGGED

Posted by Bob LeGere on Tue, 12/30/2008 - 23:57
Bears G.M. Jerry Angelo had plenty to say at his end-of-the-season press conference Tuesday afternoon. Most of it was interesting and informative. Here's all of that, and all the rest: OPENING REMARKS: Not a good time obviously. We anticipated to play this week, unfortunately it didn't work out that way and I don't really want to get into the season, I'll let you ask questions obviously if you want, and we'll talk about that in terms of questions and answers. I really want to talk about going forward what the process will be. I think that's the thing that we're focused on and being proactive and going into the '09 season.

Manning replaces Brown

Posted by Bob LeGere on Sun, 12/28/2008 - 12:24
Danieal Manning, the nickel back for most of the season, will start at strong safety today in place of Mike Brown, who was placed on injured reserve following last week's calf injury. Earlier in the week it was assumed rookie Craig Steltz would take Brown's place, as he had in limited duty earlier in the season when Brown first tweaked the calf. But Manning, who has played free safety, strong safety, cornerback and nickel back, in addition to returning kickoffs, got the call instead. Jason McKie, who was inactive the past four weeks with a quad injury, was active on Sunday, but Jason Davis will start at fullback in his place. The starting wide receivers will be Devin Hester and Brandon Lloyd, with 12-game starter Rashied Davis coming off the bench.

Power rankings: Titans dethrone Steelers

Posted by Bob LeGere on Tue, 12/23/2008 - 23:08
1. Tennessee Titans (13-2): Outclassed Steelers to clinch home field throughout AFC playoffs, even without Albert Haynesworth. plus-4 edge in turnovers helped. Last week: 3. 2. New York Giants (12-3): Rushing for 301 yards in victory over Panthers that clinched NFC home field should get everyone's attention. Bears will be their biggest fans this week, when they visit Vikings. Last week: 5. 3. Pittsburgh Steelers (11-4): Capable of defeating anyone with dominant defense as long as they hang on to the ball, but poor run game is a major concern. Last week: 1. 4. Carolina Panthers (11-4): Run defense is a concern after getting gashed by Giants. WR Steve Smith needs to get the ball more. Last week: 2.

Monday night's inactives

Posted by Bob LeGere on Mon, 12/22/2008 - 19:36
Tonight's inactives are defensive tackle Matt Toeaina, who played last week, fullback Jason McKie (quadriceps), guard Terrence Metcalf, wide receivers Brandon Rideau and Devin Aromashodu, linebacker Gilbert Gardner and defensive end Ervin Baldwin. Caleb Hanie is the third quarterback. Jason Davis will start in place of McKie at fullback for the third straight game. The Packers moved strong safety Charles Woodson to left cornerback in place of Tramon Williams, and Aaron Rouse moved into the strong safety spot. John Kuhn started at fullback for Korey Hall (knee).

POWER RANKINGS: STEELERS PEAKING

Posted by Bob LeGere on Tue, 12/16/2008 - 00:38
1. Pittsburgh Steelers (11-3): Defense wins titles. Defeated 9-5 Patriots, 9-5 Cowboys and 9-5 Ravens in last 3 weeks to stretch win streak to 5, allowing less than 14 points in all 5. Last week: 3. 2. Carolina Panthers (11-3): Have 6 wins in last 7 games and finished home season undefeated, where they'll be tough to beat in the postseason. At Giants this week in battle for home field throughout the NFC playoffs. Last week: 5. 3. Tennessee Titans (12-2): Injuries to DT Albert Haynesworth and DE Kyle Vanden Bosch could send dream season up in smoke if last week's loss to Texans is any indication, but both are expected back for postseason. Last week: 1.

Playoff possibilities

Posted by Bob LeGere on Thu, 12/11/2008 - 19:59
Entering Week 15 action, the 7-6 Bears were No. 6 in the running for the two NFC wild-card spots, trailing the 9-4 Bucs, the 8-5 Cowboys and Falcons, the 7-5-1 Eagles and the 7-6 Redskins, who had a better conference record (6-4) than the Bears (5-5). The Bears had a better conference record than the Saints, who also were 7-6, but were No. 7 in the wild-card race because of their 4-5 in the NFC. The winner of Thursday night's game takes sole possession of the No. 6 spot based on head-to-head results, but remains a long shot for the playoffs. The loser has only a microscopic chance of getting into the playoffs. Even if the Bears win out, they need four of the following five things to happen: --The Redskins have to lose one of their remaining games.

Booker, Wolfe inactive

Posted by Bob LeGere on Thu, 12/11/2008 - 19:45
Tonight's inactives are running back Garrett Wolfe (hamstring), fullback Jason McKie (quad), wide receivers Marty Booker (ribs), Brandon Rideau and recently signed Devin Aromashodu, guard Terrence Metcalf, defensive end Ervin Baldwin. Caleb Hanie was the third quarterback. Jason Davis started in place of Mckie for the second straight week.

POWER RANKINGS: TITANS ON TOP AGAIN

Posted by Bob LeGere on Tue, 12/09/2008 - 02:13
1. Tennessee Titans (12-1): With AFC South wrapped up, clinching home-field throughout is all that's left. Last week: 2. 2. New York Giants (11-2): They were due for a letdown after 7 straight wins, as offense stalled in both phases vs. Eagles. Last week: 1. 3. Pittsburgh Steelers (10-3): Scored 17 unanswered in 4th quarter to overtake Cowboys for 4th straight win, and none of last 4 foes has scored more than 13 points. Last week: 3. 4. Baltimore Ravens (9-4): Offense can afford to be conservative with smothering defense that has allowed total of 20 points in 3 straight wins. Last week: 4. 5. Carolina Panthers (10-3): Impressive Monday night win over Bucs bodes well for postseason, especially relentless run game that piled up 299 yards. Last week: 7.