WBEZ | Lovie Smith http://www.wbez.org/tags/lovie-smith Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Bears season is taken off life support http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2012-12/bears-season-taken-life-support-104622 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Lovi.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The Bears may have felt they were in a hospital waiting room with doctors telling them their playoff hopes had died when Minnesota beat Green Bay. They had barely beaten Detroit 26-24 and needed a Packer win...it didn&rsquo;t happen, and now the season is over. The post season drought continues for Lovie Smith&rsquo;s team. This year actually feels worst then last. How can a team begin the season 7-1, finish 10-6 and not make the playoffs? With the present NFL playoff system, fifty-three teams began a season at 7-1 and only the 1996 Washington Redskins and now the Bears failed to make the playoffs.</p><p>Last year the injuries to Jay Cutler and Matt Forte gave more credence to that season&rsquo;s outcome. Where is the blame now and who will suffer the consequences? Last season it was General Manager Jerry Angelo given his walking papers. He was the person in charge of the roster and there were significant gaps with the depth of that team.</p><p>Angelo&rsquo;s replacement Phil Emery, after his first year at the helm, has some major decisions to make for a team that has to figure what direction to take now.</p><p>If the fans had a vote you know what they would say&mdash;fire head coach Lovie Smith. After nine seasons as the Bears head coach, his team has been to the playoffs three times, once in the last six years (2010).</p><p>NFL coach&rsquo;s jobs are measured by wins and losses and playoff berths. Although this year&rsquo;s record is respectable, more was expected of the Bears. The inability to beat Green Bay in two meetings, not winning the division and not playing beyond the regular season may cost Smith his job. Emery was told he had to keep Smith when he came on board as General Manager. With a year left on the coach&rsquo;s contract will the team hierarchy give Emery the green light to make a change?</p><p>One fact is certain-no one knows what Phil Emery is thinking. He had been a man that does not leak any information, does not cozy up to the media and now faces a major decision in his young tenure at the helm. &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>If Emery decides to make a change, will it be a sweeping change? Some may argue that defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli and special teams coach Dave Toub deserve to be retained. Would a new head coach want to deal with any hold-overs (like Emery did keeping Smith)?</p><p>If there is no change at head coach and Smith stays to finish the final year of his contract, it would be likely that offensive coordinator Mike Tice could be the odd guy out.</p><p>The Bears offense had issues in so many ways. The final game was a microcosm of the season even with the win.</p><p>Prior to the game it seemed that an easy victory was at hand over a Detroit team that only had four wins this year. But Lovie Smith&#39;s team didn&#39;t make it easy on themselves against the Lions. The Bears defense gave the offense the ball four times in great field position. Unfortunately, they only scored 16 points after settling for three Olindo Mare field goals and a Matt Forte one yard touchdown. Luckily for the Bears, they were playing a team that that knew their season was over on Sunday. The Lions fought and showed enough life closing in on a 17 point deficit.</p><p>Both teams had similar game plans-shut down their opponents &quot;big time&quot; player.</p><p>Bears receiver Brandon Marshall had limited catches (5 receptions 42 yards), but he did have an impact with a huge block that allowed Earl Bennett to scamper down the sidelines for a 60-yard touchdown. Despite a sore ankle, Matt Forte had 103 rushing yards. Jay Cutler was 18 of 31 for 257 yards, 1 touchdown and no interceptions.</p><p>Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford had to rely on other weapons since Bears All-Pro Charles Tillman did a good job on record-setting receiver Calvin Johnson. Last week &quot;Mega-tron&quot; Johnson set the mark for receiving yards in a season, but he was kept from crossing the 2,000-yard barrier.</p><p>Once again it was the Bears defense that was the strength of the game. Lovie Smith does deserve credit for the philosophy he has&nbsp;instilled with that part of the Bears, but the offense is still a struggle, and when you are a head coach it is your responsibility for all three phases of the team, defense, offense and special teams. Of course, Lovie Smith likes to talk about the Bears fourth phase&mdash;the Bear fans. I think he better not bring that up&mdash;he lost them.</p><p>Follow Cheryl on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/Crayestout" target="_blank"><font color="#006896">@CRayeStout</font></a> and Facebook <a href="http://www.facebook.com/CherylAtTheGame" target="_blank"><font color="#006896">Cheryl Raye Stout #AtTheGame</font></a></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 31 Dec 2012 06:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2012-12/bears-season-taken-life-support-104622 Bears stunned by Seattle in OT http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2012-12/bears-stunned-seattle-ot-104153 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/rsz_bear_fan_praying.jpg" title="A Bears fan's prayer is not answered in the OT loss. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)" /></div><p>The Bears defense wilted in the final minutes against Seattle Sunday, with Coach Lovie Smith taking the blame for a poor 4th down decision. The offense had some big plays, but didn&#39;t control the ball late &mdash; the result was a 23-17 overtime loss.</p><p><strong>Defense blows 4th quarter lead</strong></p><p>The Bears defense has been the team&#39;s strength throughout the season. But Seattle&#39;s rookie quarterback Russell Wilson saved his best for last; he drove a go-ahead touchdown late in the 4th quarter and guided the Seahawks to a game winning score to Golden Tate in the OT. Safety Major Wright&#39;s huge hit on Tate almost caused a fumble, but after one of many reviews of the game, it was ruled a game winner for Seattle. Wright, as well as the rest of the Bears, was stunned by the dramatic defeat. &ldquo;We definitely got to come out and play better football,&rdquo; said Wright. &ldquo;This is a tough loss to swallow.&rdquo; The defense looked worn out and suffered more injuries: Tim Jennings hurt his shoulder and Brian Urlacher had a sore hamstring. Another factor for the Bears defense was losing starting safety Chris Conte; he was weakened by the flu during the first half. His absence seemed to open up the running game for Seattle&#39;s Marshawn Lynch and Wilson (71 yards rushing).</p><p><strong>Point a finger at Lovie Smith (he did)</strong></p><p>The advantage should have belonged to the Bears, so when a team loses at home to a club that has only one previous road win, you have to analyze certain game decisions. The big one was early on, when Coach Lovie Smith decided in the second quarter to forgo a short field goal 4th and inches on Seattle&rsquo;s 15 yard line. Smith trusted a revamped offensive line to get the first down &mdash; it didn&rsquo;t work. After the game the Bears&#39; coach took full responsibility for his decision. &quot;We should have taken the field goal. It felt like we had momentum,&quot; Smith said.&quot;[I] wanted to really try to knock them out and get them on their heels a little bit.&quot;</p><p><strong>Did the Bears score enough? Probably.</strong></p><p>Jay Cutler got his team on the board early in the first after the defense gave him good field position off a forced fumble by Brian Urlacher. Cutler again found his big player, receiver Brandon Marshall, throwing touchdowns to Earl Bennett and Matt Forte. But Bennett&#39;s helicoptered effort to get into the end zone may have been costly. Although he continued to play and dropped what looked like a sure touchdown, Bennett was ruled out during the intermission because of a concussion. Cutler lamented that the offense didn&#39;t help the defense enough by not controlling the ball late, which allowed the Seahawks too many opportunities. Cutler and Brandon Marshall deserve huge credit with the amazing 56-yard pass play with seconds left in regulation. &ldquo;I told Brandon to run as fast as he could down there, and I&rsquo;ll throw it to you and you make a play. That&rsquo;s what he did,&rdquo; said Cutler. That pass completion gave Robbie Gould the opportunity to tie the game with a 31-yard field goal. Marshall finished the game with an incredible 165 reception yards. The problem in overtime the Bears offense never got to touch the ball.</p><p><strong>OT-turned out to be &#39;Oh, no&#39;</strong></p><p>The Bears didn&rsquo;t win the coin toss to get the ball on offense in the overtime. If the Bears &ldquo;D&rdquo; could have held Seattle to a field goal, the Bears would have been given an opportunity to tie or win with a touchdown. Unfortunately, the Bears defense was exhausted and couldn&rsquo;t stop the Seahawks from getting into the end zone.</p><p><strong>Looking forward</strong></p><p>The Bears are now 8-4 for the season and fall to second in the NFC North with Green Bay beating Minnesota.&nbsp; The Packers&#39; earlier&nbsp;win over the Bears gives the tie-breaker to Green Bay. That is why the loss on Sunday was a heart-breaker. Next week the Bears will travel to Minnesota, and every game from now on will have significant importance as the season winds down. There is plenty of work for Lovie Smith and his staff to do to get this tired and banged up team ready for the playoff push.</p></p> Mon, 03 Dec 2012 09:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2012-12/bears-stunned-seattle-ot-104153 Bears make changes on O-line with QBs hurting http://www.wbez.org/news/bears-make-changes-o-line-qbs-hurting-103980 <p><p>The Chicago Bears will not know until at least Thursday and possibly Friday whether quarterback Jay Cutler will play against the Minnesota Vikings this weekend.</p><p>They know for certain some things will change within the offense.</p><p>Cutler, who missed the last game and a half due to a concussion, will go through a limited practice Thursday then could get the go-ahead for a full practice Friday ahead of Sunday&#39;s game.</p><p>&quot;Jay has to be cleared to practice on a limited basis, which he has been cleared to do that,&quot; coach Lovie Smith said Wednesday. &quot;Before he can play, he has to be cleared by an independent neurologist, and we&#39;re not to that point.&quot;</p><p>Cutler said he feels fine, is symptom-free and hopes to get medical approval to play.</p><p>&quot;I&#39;ve got to see some more doctors, got to go on the field and make sure you can exert yourself, really,&quot; he said. &quot;It&#39;s a personal thing, just making sure you feel OK.&quot;</p><p>Cutler was injured during the Houston game as he scrambled to try and throw a pass in the open field, and has often done this when his struggling offensive line has failed to protect him. He said the concussion, his second with the Bears and third in the NFL, will not make him less willing to take risks.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s not going to change the way I play football,&quot; he said. &quot;It&#39;s not going to change my desire to return to the field by any means.&quot;</p><p>To make sure Cutler or backup Jason Campbell is properly protected in the future, the Bears are considering changes at offensive tackle. They allowed six sacks to the San Francisco 49ers on Monday night and have given up 34 on the year, second only to Arizona (44).</p><p>&quot;There&#39;s never job security when you put up a performance like that across the board,&quot; center Roberto Garza said.</p><p>Starting left guard Chilo Rachal was placed on the reserve/left team list for personal reasons that were not disclosed. As a result, either Chris Spencer or Edwin Williams could get a start at left guard against veteran Jared Allen and the Vikings.</p><p>Spencer started the first two games at left guard this season before Rachal was moved into the spot. Williams started the final seven games at left guard in 2011 after an injury to Chris Williams.</p><p>There could be changes coming at tackle, as well, after right tackle Gabe Carimi and left tackle J&#39;Marcus Webb both struggled against the 49ers.</p><p>Offensive coordinator Mike Tice said veteran tackle Jonathan Scott, acquired in early September after playing for Pittsburgh, Detroit, and Buffalo in a seven-year career, has the ability to start at tackle.</p><p>&quot;I have been in meetings for the last three months, so I&#39;ve been paying attention,&quot; Scott said. &quot;I believe I am ready.&quot;</p><p>Carimi, the 2011 first-round draft pick from Wisconsin, was beaten several times by 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith and has never looked 100 percent after offseason knee surgery.</p><p>&quot;He gets all worked up and he doesn&#39;t settle down and it compounds it,&quot; Tice said. &quot;It&#39;s happened more than once. It compounds and it keeps building. So, he&#39;s a young player and he has to work through it. He really does.&quot;</p><p>Webb has started at left tackle the last two seasons after starting at right tackle as a rookie.</p><p>&quot;You know, it all boils down to him, when he uses his hands,&quot; Tice said. &quot;He&#39;s OK. He&#39;s not bad. And the few times this game that he used his hands, he blocked his guy. But when he doesn&#39;t use his hands, he&#39;s just a big, tall guy out there getting edgy and getting knocked around.&quot;</p><p>With the offense now ranked 30th in the league and the passing attack 31st, Tice is searching for answers. One possibility won&#39;t be Tice relinquishing play-calling duties to quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates.</p><p>&quot;There&#39;s no consideration of that, I don&#39;t know where you got that from,&quot; Smith told reporters.</p><p>Tice said the Bears&#39; offense simply has to block better. Without that he said they &quot;could bring Joe Gibbs out of retirement and have him call the plays,&quot; and the offense would still struggle.</p><p>Notes: DE Shea McClellin was given clearance to go through a full practice following a concussion suffered two weeks ago, which means he will be available to play Sunday unless he has more symptoms. WR Alshon Jeffery underwent arthroscopic knee surgery and Smith said the rookie will miss two to four weeks. Jeffery had just come back from a fractured right hand before suffering a knee injury in the second half against San Francisco.</p></p> Thu, 22 Nov 2012 08:11:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/bears-make-changes-o-line-qbs-hurting-103980 Blow out win for the Bears going into the bye week http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2012-10/blow-out-win-bears-going-bye-week-102958 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/rsz_2lovie_smith.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="http://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F62662153&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>It was a tale of two halves for the Bears in their 41-3 win over Jacksonville as they head into the bye-week with a 4-1 record. Head Coach Lovie Smith and his staff should delete the game plan they had drawn up in the first half. As bad as it was with a 3-3 tie, the second half was 100 percent better in every phase of the game. It would have been great to be a fly on the wall to hear the halftime talk Smith had with his team. The coaching staff did an excellent job of implementing adjustments, which got the team back on track.</p><p>The Bears opened the third quarter on offense and although the drive only netted a field goal it was a long, sustain drive that seem to wear out the Jaguars defense.</p><p>It didn&rsquo;t take long for the Bears to flex their muscles on defense; they forced a rattled Jacksonville&rsquo;s quarterback Blaine Gabbert on a 2nd and long into throwing a bad pass, which allowed Charles Tillman to snare an interception and a score just as the Bears cornerback did on Monday night in Dallas against the Cowboys. Bears linebacker Lance Briggs also duplicated his turnover from week four; he grabbed a pick and went into the end zone. For three straight weeks the Bears defense has scored touchdowns on opponents&rsquo; miscues-that has not happened since November 1950.</p><p>The rout was on in the second half the Bears as they piled up 38 points the most the team has scored after halftime since 1941.&nbsp;</p><p>It wasn&rsquo;t just the Bears defense that turned the screws on Jacksonville; Jay Cutler had two touchdown receptions, one to Brandon Marshall and another one that may be costly to rookie Alshon Jeffery. After the touchdown, Jeffery came off the field the Bears medical staff attended to an injury to his right hand. If he has to miss any significant time it will be a difficult loss for the Bears offense.</p><p>The blow-out allowed the Bears to take out starters Cutler, Brandon Marshall and Matt Forte as they got to watch the game from the sideline during the final minutes. In those waning moments, they got to see running back Armando Allen scampered 46 yards for his first NFL career touchdown.</p><p>Forte finished the game with 107 rushing yards and Marshall caught 12 passes for 144 yards and a TD. It was the first time in six years the Bears had a player rush for over 100 yards and catch over 100 yards.</p><p>This win gives the Bears a tremendous feeling heading into the bye-week. It wasn&rsquo;t just a so-so win; it was a major blow-out and gives them a lot of confidence no matter if it was Jacksonville or any other team.</p><p>What makes this win sweet for the Bears, their divisional rivals, the Green Bay Packers got beat by the Indianapolis Colts 30-27, dropping them to a record of 2-3. The surprise team of the division has been Minnesota; they won again, beating Tennessee 30-7. The Vikings and Bears are on top of the NFC North division with a 4-1 record.</p><p>This Bears defense despite its age and many believed they were too old (myself included), look vibrant and youthful. There seems to be a right blend of young defenders with older ones that are producing right now. If they stay healthy &mdash; always a concern &mdash; this could be an opportunity to have a special season.</p><p>There is still a long, long way to go and plenty of football is left on the schedule. At least this week, they get to rest, continue to refine their game plan and prepare for their next opponent , the Detroit Lions on Monday Night Football October 22. The national spotlight has captured the Bears mojo once again.</p></p> Mon, 08 Oct 2012 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2012-10/blow-out-win-bears-going-bye-week-102958 Do the Chicago Bears rival the Boston Red Sox for worst collapse of 2011? http://www.wbez.org/blog/justin-kaufmann/2011-12-19/do-chicago-bears-rival-boston-red-sox-worst-collapse-2011-95006 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-December/2011-12-19/AP111218041502.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Chicago Bears. That is supposed to mean something. But right now, I'm not sure it does.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-19/AP111218041502.jpg" title="" width="512" height="341"></p><p>Instead, it shines brightly as a symbol of incompetency and joke football. Is it the heart? Is it the soul? The brains? But more times than not this season we have watched football on par with the Indianapolis Colts - even with Cutler and Forte healthy. And then there were flashes of brilliance, that same feeling you had when the Bears beat up the Seahawks last year in the playoffs. That is the Bears we signed up for. We signed up for a team that had swagger, that had talent, that had heart. We showed up for the Bears team that stuck it to Atlanta on opening day. And/or the Bears squad that pummeled Michael Vick and the Eagles. We showed up when it dismantled the Lions. We've showed up ever since. Too bad the team didn't.</p><p>It's the mark of a coach, too. Because I remember the coach of all coaches (Da Bears) getting handed crappy quarterback after crappy quarterback and still grinding out 10-0-type wins. Nope, not this squad. When the chips were down, this squad sputtered, flopped, choked and gave up. That's not a glowing endorsement of the head coach, whose job is to motivate players to play.</p><p>But guess what? The NFL has changed. There is no way that a mobile, active quarterback will make it 17 weeks. You have to have a capable second player. They learned that in running backs. They learned it even in wide receivers. But teams can't afford to pay back-ups (or choose not to) and take their chances and hope they don't get burned. I have to say, if Forte went down but we still had Cutler, we would be the No. 5 seed and very much in the playoff hunt. So I guess that's on the GM. As we've heard day after day after day for the last month, "We are happy with our quarterback situation."</p><p>It just seems to be that the Bears brass has led this team to a 50/50 split. And right now, we are seeing the other half.</p><p>So if the Bears go out and lose the next two games, will we be talking about the 2011 team as one of the biggest choke-artists in Bears history? Where do they stack up against other Chicago sports? Or in 2011? The Red Sox and the Braves faltered down the stretch in their race for the wild card. If the Bears go from 7-3 to 7-9, will it be Chicago legend?<br> <br> <strong>Here are some very quick, random observations from yesterday's game: </strong></p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-19/AP111218052798.jpg" style="width: 507px; height: 337px;" title="If losing didn't kill your morale, a good ole fashioned neck injury did (AP) "><br> &nbsp;</p><p>The Bears were sloppy at the top of this game. Penalties, turnovers, tense neck injuries. Whoah Johnny, that was quite a hit. I'm glad Knox is okay. The slow-motion replays on that play were gruesome. And Fox seemed to really enjoy showing it over and over. Knox did the thumbs up while being carted off, and Fox missed the thumb - it was obscured. That's a money shot right there. Gotta get it, guys. But Knox is okay. Probably out for the year, but not for life.</p><ul><li>With Knox out, we could see some other guys get a shot. What's that Hurd guy up to? (What, too soon?)</li><li>I hate the Seahawks. But as fans, we share each other's pain. The Seahawks are now coming on? What about earlier in the season, guys? If you didn't start so poorly, you'd be in the playoff race. Instead, you have teased a city. I guess it's better than winning early and blowing four straight to get bumped OUT of the playoff race.</li><li>Is it Nathan Enderle time? I don't want to watch Josh McCown. We got a glimpse of him wearing the benign #15 jersey. He looked sooo like a back-up quarterback. Give Enderle a shot. I would much rather watch a untested rookie outplay expectations than watch a crusty veteran underplay them.</li><li>Julius Peppers is a beast. Now he's forcing fumbles for TDs. This guy is sooo good. It's a pleasure to watch him play football every week. I hope he plays the rest of his football here in town.<i> <a href="http://thepapermacheteshow.com/">Paper Machete</a></i><a href="http://thepapermacheteshow.com/"> host Christopher Piatt</a> had a great joke last week: "I don't know football. I always thought Julius Peppers was a Lettuce Entertain You restaurant."</li><li>It's funny how we all now look at Cutler and say, "Yeah man, now we realize how great Jay Cutler is." What I liked about Good Jay Cutler (as opposed to Bad Jay) was the halftime adjustments. When Cutler and the Bears are on their game, they do a great job making adjustments. With Hanie, they regress. Same coaches, same plays - so it has to be the QB, right? Cause Hanie just looks awful after the half. In all four games, he has been awful. Last week in Denver was his best, but this one was definitely his worst. Also, I miss Cutler's look. Cutler looks sooo mad when they are losing. He even flashes the famed "I couldn't give a care" look. It's almost always when they are losing. But Hanie? His look is "Why did I throw that?!?" or "I'm so mad at myself!" or "Where am I?"</li><li>I've kind of got that Cutler look going on in this post. I couldn't give a care about the Bears anymore. C'mon guys, let's go hit Rush Street.&nbsp;</li></ul><p>Here are some pictures pulled off the AP wire:</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-19/AP111218030216.jpg" title="Chicago, welcome your new Cutler and Forte (AP)" width="399" height="512"></p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-19/AP111218039043.jpg" title="The warrior. Tavaris strikes fear. (AP) " width="367" height="512"><br> <br> <img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-19/AP111218046006.jpg" title="Santa is a camera slut (AP) " width="512" height="361"></p><p style="text-align: center;"><br> <img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-19/AP111218023633.jpg" title="Can someone tell Marshawn that they make smaller headphones? (AP) " width="357" height="512"></p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-19/AP111218033194.jpg" title="Is Peppers conducting an improv workshop? (AP) " width="512" height="341"></p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-19/AP111218042781.jpg" title="When did this guy score? Why don't we just let every Seahawk in the end zone? (AP) " width="512" height="333"></p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-19/AP111218034390.jpg" title="Oh, I guess we are letting everyone in (AP) " width="380" height="512"></p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-19/AP111218042971.jpg" title="Run! Run! Don't fall down! Okay, you know he fell down (AP) " width="512" height="321"></p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-19/AP111218040421.jpg" title="Even the Bears no-name players are scratching their heads (AP) " width="512" height="341"></p></p> Mon, 19 Dec 2011 13:44:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/justin-kaufmann/2011-12-19/do-chicago-bears-rival-boston-red-sox-worst-collapse-2011-95006 Congrats to the Chicago Bears organization. You've won back a fan. http://www.wbez.org/blog/justin-kaufmann/2011-11-08/congrats-chicago-bears-organization-youve-won-back-fan-93848 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-November/2011-11-08/AP111107038551.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-08/AP111107038551.jpg" title="Marion Barber uses his hair to gain extra yards (AP) " width="512" height="430"></p><p>The Chicago Bears assumed the familiar role of "us against the world" last night and defeated Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles played well but the Bears played better.&nbsp;</p><p>It was a gamer game -&nbsp; the kind of game we're accustomed to seeing from the Pittsburgh Steelers or New England Patriots. And the Bears responded. No miscommunication on the offense. No blown assignments on the defense. An actual comeback in the second half?!!! And poise under pressure from a certain QB who Chicago loves to hate. All this, on the road.&nbsp; It's a good morning, Chicago. Don't even care if it is raining.</p><p>This is how it is supposed to be. This is how it was drawn up from the beginning.</p><p>Make no mistake about it, the Philadelphia Eagles are good. They have an outstanding QB and a terrific running back. They play at a very high level. So that's why this win is sweeter than most (not to mention that the Eagles were heavily favored). It is also sweeter because Cutler, Peppers, Urlacher, Briggs and even fumble-fingers Matt Forte played ball on national television. And if you read this Bears rant regularly, that's all I ever want.</p><p>Congrats to the Bears organization. You've won back a fan. Just in time for the holidays. Which probably was your plan all along. The Bears play well in November, forcing fans to spend loot on merchandise. Great conspiracy theory, eh?</p><p>And I have to give big ups to Bears head coach Lovie Smith. The Bears are 5-3 and currently in wild card contention. They've also rattled off three wins in a row. NFL fans, take note.</p><p><strong>Here are some other random observations</strong>:</p><p>This is how the Eagles came out of the tunnel:</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-08/AP111107138070.jpg" title="C'mon. We can all agree that this is pretty dumb? (AP) " width="512" height="341"></p><p>The conversation in the City Room this morning is delightfully positive. "We can beat the Lions. We can beat the Chiefs. The Broncos? Give me a break. The Packers on Christmas? Done. RUN THE TABLE!!!! WE ARE GOING ALL THE WAAAAY!!!!!!!" Then Tony Sarabia smashed a window and it got weird.</p><p>Either Peppers is a huge drama queen or he is the toughest man on earth. How many times does a football player hurt his knee (twisted back under a pile) and return four plays later? Usually when a defensive lineman has a knee injury, he's out for like, two years. This guy is unbelievable. Or he is faking. Regardless, I think Julius Peppers is the best defensive lineman in football.</p><p>John Gruden said that Lovie Smith dresses more defensive backs than any other team in football. He said it was for special teams. Is that true? Can someone fact-check this? Not me, I'm busy fixing the window Sarabia broke.</p><p>Towards the end of the game, Xfinity was selling those local commercials like crazy. Doesn't it seem like every other local commercial is for a business in Willowbrook?</p><p>Is it me or does Roy Williams look awkward out on the field? I don't know if it's the way he wears his pads or helmet, but something is off. It's like his neck is too tall or something. Maybe the Bears have only one set of pads left, and they used to belong to Bobby Engram. And now Williams has to wear them.</p><p>Devin Hester was neutralized and the Bears won without him. Cut him and bring back RW McQuarters. Right? Am I right Chicago?</p><p>You know what I would like to see less of? This:</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-08/AP111107138773.jpg" title="C'mon coach! (AP) " width="341" height="512"></p><p>Let's do a quick poll. This poll is for the coaches. Which Bear should run extra laps at practice this week?</p><ul><li>Matt Forte (2 fumbles, one resulted in Eagles TD)</li><li>Roy Williams (couple catches, but dropped huge bomb)</li><li>Major Wright (interception, but faked out of shorts down by goal line)</li></ul><p>And let's do a positive poll: Who should get a free can of soda from the vending machine?</p><ul><li>Jay Cutler (this is what we paid for, eh?)</li><li>Brian Urlacher (his pursuit and energy was just plain awesome)</li><li>Lance Briggs (loves playing against Vick)</li><li>Julius Peppers (hurt, comes back, chases Vick all over field)</li><li>Earl Bennett (look, a WR sighting!!!)</li><li>Matt Forte (even with fumbles, put together 130 yards)</li></ul></p> Tue, 08 Nov 2011 14:42:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/justin-kaufmann/2011-11-08/congrats-chicago-bears-organization-youve-won-back-fan-93848 EXCLUSIVE: Coach Lovie's bye week wiretapped voicemails http://www.wbez.org/blog/justin-kaufmann/2011-10-31/exclusive-coach-lovies-bye-week-wiretapped-voicemails-93631 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-October/2011-10-31/AP111010149198.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-31/AP111010149198.jpg" title="Hey Jay. It's Coach Lovie. Pick up. (AP) " width="512" height="341"></p><p>This week, the Chicago Bears had a bye. This usually means that the players are given time to rest up, visit family and do non-football related things in various parts of the country. But not Coach Lovie. He takes football very serious. And he wishes his team would do the same.</p><p>What was Coach Lovie doing on Sunday? Well, he was at home watching all the games, preparing for the second half of the season. How do I know this? Well, I tapped his phone lines...<a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/justin-kaufmann/2011-09-09/exclusive-coach-lovie-smith-wiretapped-voicemails-left-during-last-n">again</a>. What can I say, I practice 21st century journalist tactics. Coach Lovie likes to analyze the games, so he calls his fellow coaches and star players to get their thoughts on other teams around the NFL. The one problem? Nobody picks up.</p><p>Today, I bring you another installment of <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/justin-kaufmann/2011-09-09/exclusive-coach-lovie-smith-wiretapped-voicemails-left-during-last-n">the Coach Lovie Voicemails</a>!</p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332483808-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/sites/default/files/lovie-byeweek-voicemails.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 31 Oct 2011 14:59:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/justin-kaufmann/2011-10-31/exclusive-coach-lovies-bye-week-wiretapped-voicemails-93631 Bears win big over Vikings http://www.wbez.org/story/bears-win-big-over-vikings-93176 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-October/2011-10-17/Bears AP Charles Rex Arbogast.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Chicago Bears won big against the Minnesota Vikings at Soldier Field Sunday night.</p><p>At halftime the Bears led 26 to 3, and the final score was equally comfortable: Bears 39, Vikings 10.</p><p>Bears quarterback Jay Cutler threw for 267 yards and wide receiver Devin Hester ran back a 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Chicago scored on offense, defense and special teams.</p><p>Bears coach Lovie Smith said everyone played their A-game.&nbsp;</p><p>"All three phases really showed up. Hopefully that's who we are - the team you saw tonight. Defense needed to come back from the last couple of weeks really, and they came back strong," Smith said in a post-game press conference.</p><p>The Bears are now 3-3, and in third place in the NFC north division. Next the Bears head to London's Wembley Stadium for an international series game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.<br> <br> &nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 17 Oct 2011 12:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/bears-win-big-over-vikings-93176 Chicago Bears season ticket prices to rise for 2011 season http://www.wbez.org/story/american-football/chicago-bears-season-ticket-prices-rise-2011-season <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/bears Drew Migdal.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>If you're a Chicago Bears season ticket holder get ready to shell out more money for seats in 2011. Scott Hagel is a spokesman for the Bears. He said it's the first time in three years they've raised prices.</p><div>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s about remaining economically competitive in our league and to build a championship team,&quot; he said.&rdquo; When you look at our environment we are the largest single market team, yet we have the smallest stadium in the NFL.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Non-club ticket holders could pay up to $15 more per seat while club ticket holders could expect to pay $10 to $30 more a game. Hagel said prices won&rsquo;t be affected for fans buying single game tickets.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>In other Bears news, head coach Lovie Smith has signed a two-year contract extending his leadership through the 2013 season. Next year&rsquo;s season will be Smith&rsquo;s 8th with the Bears.</div></p> Fri, 25 Feb 2011 22:12:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/american-football/chicago-bears-season-ticket-prices-rise-2011-season NFC Championship preview: Bears-Packers showdown http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/nfc-championship-preview-bears-packers-showdown <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/rodgers cutler_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Bears fans, want the secret to winning Sunday&rsquo;s NFC Championship? &quot;It&rsquo;s really all about the fat guys. If you think about it, the first line of defense is usually fat guys, and the first line of offense is fat guys. You know, that&rsquo;s a bonus. You can move, and you got a big belly.&quot; That's according to Bears defensive tackle Anthony Adams--it's not about touchdowns or turnovers; it's about the fat guys.<br /><br />So here&rsquo;s to downing that deep dish fellas!<br /><br />But seriously, with all the anticipation surrounding Sunday&rsquo;s NFC Championship, this is a game with story lines on top of story lines. You&rsquo;ve got your players, the coaches, the turf itself &ndash; talk about a deep dish!<br /><br />To serve up a steaming hot slice, host Alison Cuddy spoke with &quot;Eight Forty-Eight's&quot; sports contributor&nbsp; Cheryl Raye-Stout. The NFC Championship game kicks off at 2:00 p.m. Sunday: Go Bears!</p><p><em>DJ&nbsp;AMPM Music button:<br />Jadakiss, &quot;We Gonna Make It&quot; (instrumental)<br />Luniz, &quot;I Got 5 On It&quot; (instrumental)<br /></em></p></p> Fri, 21 Jan 2011 14:47:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/nfc-championship-preview-bears-packers-showdown