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LAKE FOREST, IL — The Chicago Bears have agreed to terms with DT Ego Ferguson and P Patrick O’Donnell on four-year contract
The 6-2, 315-pound Ferguson was selected by the Bears in the second round (51st overall) of the 2014 NFL Draft after appearing in 38 games for LSU, starting his final 12 contests finishing with 85 tackles (24 solos) – including one sack and five tackles for losses – five pass break ups and three quarterback pressures. In 2013, Ferguson earned All-Southeastern Conference honorable mention from the Associated Press and was named to NFL Draft Report’s All-American Super Sleeper Team (most underrated player at each position) after starting 12 games at defensive tackle, finishing fifth on the team and leading LSU defensive linemen with a career-high 58 tackles (18 solos) that included a 15-yard sack - three quarterback pressures, 3.5 TFLs and three pass deflections
The 6-4, 220-pound O’Donnell, who was selected in the sixth round (191st overall) of the 2014 NFL Draft, spent four-plus seasons with Cincinnati (2009-12) and Miami, Fl. (2013) booming 234 punts for 10,168 yards (43.5 gross avg.), landing 86 punts inside-the-20. In 2013, O’Donnell was a unanimous All-Atlantic Coast Conference first-team choice ranking third in the nation with a school record 47.1 gross average (53 punts for 2,498 yards). He had 19 punts land inside-the-20 and finished with a 40.0 net average in one season with the Hurricanes.
LAKE FOREST, IL — The Chicago Bears have agreed to terms with T Charles Leno, Jr. on a four-year contract.
The 6-3,302-pound Leno, Jr. was selected by the Bears 246th overall in the seventh round of the 2014 NFL Draft after starting all 39 games at both tackle positions (13 at right and 26 at left) over his final three seasons at Boise State. He was a first-team All-Mountain West Conference selection during his senior season starting all 13 games at left tackle.
BEARS CB KYLE FULLER INTRODUCTION PRESS CONFERENCE
Friday, May 9, 2014
Phil Emery:“Good afternoon. I had a chance to talk to everybody yesterday and I certainly appreciate you coming back early before the start of the draft to meet Kyle. And just want to welcome Kyle Fuller to the Chicago Bears organization. And welcome him to our fans, our great Chicago Bears fans. And lastly, I thanked some people that were pivotal in Kyle’s life. I want to thank a couple gentlemen that were pivotal in helping Kyle through this process, this draft process, and that’s Joel Segal and Greg Barnett, his agents. And with that I’ll turn it over to Kyle.”
Kyle Fuller: “So I’m honored to be part of the organization, being able to come in and help this defense. I’d like to thank my family and my friends for supporting me through this whole process, Marc (Trestman) and Phil (Emery), and also the McCaskey family. So, here I am. I’m glad to be here.”
On Fuller’s experience of playing as an inverted safety
Fuller: “That’s a technique we played at Virginia Tech which prepared me for this level and it’s the closest thing I’ve probably done to safety. It gives me something else to do, as far as being versatile.”
On if there is anything that he learned from that experience
Fuller:“It never really changed anything. I’m a versatile player. I can do a lot of things – whatever I’m asked to do, I can do, so it really didn’t change much.”
On who was with him in New York Thursday and what the last 24 hours have been like
Fuller:“Last night it was my mother, my father and my 3 brothers in the green room with me. I had 4 other friends outside there supporting me. But its been a lot of fun. That was a great experience and I’m just glad to be a part of this organization now.”
On if he considered coming out before his senior year
Fuller: “After my junior year I knew I wanted to come back and play another year. My youngest brother was there. I had a good time playing with him… Being able to graduate. I’m definitely glad I stayed and had a good time at Virginia Tech.”
On what he has learned from his older brothers’ getting drafted and playing in the NFL
Fuller: “Mine was a little bit different but the biggest thing I took from them was just to enjoy it, take it one day at a time, don’t really think about where you’re going to go. At the end of the day God’s going to take care of everything. That happened for me, so I really enjoyed the whole process.”
On how much of his natural ability comes from being an athletic family and his dad being a track coach
Fuller: “That’s definitely helped out a lot. We’ve been in sports all the way since we were like 6 years old playing basketball, track and football. So I definitely think it prepared me to get to where I am now. And also competing with my brothers, growing up under them and seeing what they’ve done has helped me become the player I am today.”
On special teams being important at Virginia Tech
Fuller: “Yeah, definitely being a contributor on special teams. I took pride in that at Virginia Tech playing under coach Beamer. I’m definitely willing to play special teams.”
On what roles he played on special teams there
Fuller: “The majority was punt return, but kickoff, whatever I was asked to do, I was able to do it.”
On if he considers himself more of a man or zone corner and if he likes doing both
Fuller: “I like doing it all. I feel like being able to play man but also being physical enough to tackle. That’s one of the areas where I feel like I separate myself from others and just my all-around game.”
On if he has contact with Charles Tillman or Tim Jennings and what it will be like to play with them
Fuller: “I’m definitely looking forward to coming in, being behind those guys and learning from them. But a lot of guys here have reached out to me and congratulated me, looking forward to working with me and I’m likewise as well. I’m definitely looking forward to coming in and getting started with those guys.”
On if he thinks he can start as a rookie
Fuller: “I’m just going to come in and learn the defense, work hard and get better every day. Like I said, learn from those veterans and we’ll see what happens.”
On if he would be disappointed if he didn’t start
On what he showed people in his play against Alabama
Fuller: “I feel like I definitely showed my physicality and my toughness, my ability to tackle, my ability to play man coverage, my ability to play in the slot as well. That was probably one of the best games of my career and I felt like I showed everything I could do.”
On making a block for his brother on special teams in that game
Fuller: “There you go again showing what I can do on special teams as well.”
On the influence of his older brother, Vincent
Fuller: “He was a role model for all of us. He went through everything we dreamed of going through. It’s definitely good to have him to look up to.”
On what point he thought he could be a first-round pick
Fuller: “You know, even until before I got picked I wasn’t really thinking about when I would get picked. I was just taking it one day at a time, focusing on what I had to do to come in and impress the coaches. And whatever happened, happened.”
On if this is the best team that fits him
Fuller: “Definitely. When I think of the Chicago Bears I think of their physical defense and I think I fit it very well.”
On what aspects of his game he needs to fix
Fuller: “I feel like all around you need to fix everything. You can’t have one thing better than another. I think that’s what makes me a better player, just being even all the way around.”
On how much of his toughness comes from competing against his brothers
Fuller: “That comes from competing with them, the little league teams we played for, the guys we went up against growing up. It definitely has a lot to do with the way we were brought up and how much of competitor we are.”
On facing former North Carolina and current Lions tight end Eric Ebron and if he can have success against big tight ends
Fuller: “I feel like I’m a bigger corner, being able to matchup against those bigger receivers and tight ends. I feel like the competition that I went against in the ACC, like Eric Ebron, will prepare me for this level. So I’ll definitely be looking forward to going up against him.”
On if he graduated from Virginia Tech
Fuller: “Yes, I graduated in December.”
On if he majored in Finance
On what made him decide to major in Finance
Fuller: “I came in…I just wanted a degree, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I started off in Business Information Technology and my brother kind of swayed me away from it a little bit, as far as what I would be doing after football and things like that. So I decided to go into finance to help me manage my money and make smart decisions and things like that. Hopefully I’ll find out what I want to do while I’m in the league; do things…Like I said, find out things I want to do and don’t want to do and go from there.”
On if he will be able to acclimate to the cold weather after playing his college career in warm weather
Fuller: “I think I’ll be fine. I don’t consider Blacksburg and Baltimore warm weather. I feel like…I’m pretty sure Chicago is maybe a little bit colder. I’m not sure. But I think I brought the nice weather today so we’ll see.”
On if he has a wager with his brother, Corey (a wide receiver for Detroit), for the Lions/Bears games
Fuller: “Yeah, I remember when I was on the phone getting the call…right before when Chicago was on the clock he mentioned how we played them twice a year or something like that so I’ll definitely be looking forward to that. I was able to play against him my sophomore and junior year so that’ll be a lot of fun.”
On if any money will be involved in the wager
Fuller: “Oh yeah we’ll probably do something. We’ll see.”
On if he will be talking to his brother Lions week
Fuller: “Yeah, the amount of time we normally talk.”
On his off-field hobbies
Fuller: “Yeah, I’m a pretty laid back guy. I grew up sports. Not too long ago I picked up golf so I really love playing golf. Other than that, really just hanging out. I’m pretty much a laid back guy.”
On how good he is at golf
Fuller: “I think I’m a little bit better than average. Not too much but…”
On if any of his new teammates have reached out to him
Fuller: “Yeah, a lot of them have contacted me; last night, today. Like I said, just congratulating me, telling me they’re looking forward to meeting me and working with me, and likewise, I’m looking forward to working with those guys as well.”
On how much it helps that his new teammates reached out to him
Fuller: “Yeah, it means a lot. It shows a family atmosphere which is pretty much what I’ve come from growing up. So it definitely brings a comfort level and I’m really looking forward to it.”
On if anyone said anything particular that stuck with him
Fuller: “Yeah, Tim Jennings, Jay Cutler, Nate Collins, Kyle Long. A lot of other guys. I can’t remember correctly, but a lot of them have reached out.”
On what excited Marc about having Kyle as a Bear
MarcTrestman: “Well I think you get a big picture of it right here. You’ve got a very smart young man, he’s high football intelligence, he’s humble and hard working. We all know, we’ve seen him play, he’s physically tough and he said it himself, we want him to bring that to the table and Phil said it yesterday, he’s physical in coverage. Look at our division, we’ve got to line up against three (wide receivers) so much during the season – that’s 11 personnel – it’s a lot of what we see. We’ve got some tremendous offensive players throughout this division. Certainly Kyle gives us the versatility because he can play inside and outside and cover so much of the types of players we’re seeing; the big player, the long player, now the [Eric] Ebrons of the World and certainly the 3 wide receiver sets we see throughout the division.”
On how much of an input did defensive coordinator Mel Tucker have on the decision to draft Kyle
Emery: “Well, like I said last night, Kyle is a player that is universally loved in our building. Throughout the course of our meetings with scouts, and with our coaches, and our interactions with one another, Kyle was our top rated corner. So he was pretty excited.”
On if Kyle knew of other teams that wanted to draft him
Fuller: “Yeah, I have no idea. With this whole process, you don’t know what’s going to happen so I was just taking it day by day. Like I said whatever happens, happens.”
On his familiarity with the city of Chicago
Fuller: “Yeah, not too much, so that’s something I’m definitely looking forward to doing and I think it’ll be a lot of fun. I hear a lot about it.”
On if he is aware of the intense Chicago Bear fan base
Fuller: “Yeah. I’ve heard it’s awesome and I think it’ll be similar to, if not better than what I’ve experienced at Virginia Tech; just die-hard fans, just love the team, and that’s what I hear about it.”
On if Trestman has put together a program to integrate Kyle and how valuable does he think Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings will be in this process
Trestman: “Absolutely, he’ll be in on Thursday and these guys that are around him will mentor him into the program and the coaches will as well. That’ll be part of the weekend; just orientating the guys to our system of football and the defensive side of the ball as it relates to Kyle, obviously. I know the players will be involved in helping. Certainly, during the weekend it will be just the rookies, but the coaches will be there to get them started and the players will be around to certainly, as the already have, welcoming them into the team and to the locker room. We know it’s an exciting time for us as coaches to have Kyle and it’s just as exciting for the players to meet a new teammate that they know is going to be a contributor and help us along the way.”
On if Phil told Tim Jennings and Charles Tillman that he was looking to draft a corner
Emery: “It’s rare that you do that. You’re so focused on getting the best player available and obviously I completely trust the input of our scouts and coaching staff in that process and we come to a conclusion to work through who is the best player at that pick; who represents the most value and who can help the Bears win. At the time of our pick, who is the person that is most likely to help us win? So, that’s where the focus is. We don’t bring players in and ask their advice on that. I know that they’ll be excited and are excited when we pick a good player that they see can contribute to wins. That’s when they get excited, but I definitely had players text me last night and congratulate us on the pick and it was good to hear from them. Like Coach [Trestman] has mentioned, we’re a family, we’re here for each other, we’re going to help Kyle through this process. He’ll probably have more than one mentor to help him through the process, and what’s exciting about that though is Kyle’s the type of person that can accept mentoring. It takes a certain level of maturity to let others reach out and help you along the way and Kyle is certainly that type of person.”
On if Charles Tillman will move to safety
Emery: “You can rule that out, 100%. You don’t even have to finish your question. Charles Tillman is our starting corner and that’s where he’s going to be.”
Past Bears coverage...
The Bears Win again 31-20. Grounding the Chargers at Soldier Field
Bears win Fifth game in a row…Cutler may be out for the remainder of regular season
Suburban Journals of Chicago Photo
The Bears played the first of four consecutive games with the AFC West when they took on the potent, but stumbling San Diego Chargers. Early on it seemed this would be a low scoring affair. Both teams waited until the second quarter for their offenses to gel.
"Last week when I talked to you, I talked about the defense and how they did everything to help us win the game," Coach Lovie Smith told reporters. "Today, it was about the offense."
Jay Cutler passed for two touchdowns and ran for a third, completing 18 of 31 attempts for 286 yards and a 97.0 passer rating. Cutler scored on a 1-yard lunge, capping a drive during which he completed 4 of 4 passes for 76 yards.
"[Cutler] came out poised and controlled today," said receiver Earl Bennett. "He ran the offense to greatness. We had a great game. He was just slinging it. The offensive line did a great job keeping him clean. We were able to get a couple of big passing plays."
"Jay did a great job of getting rid of the football, moving around in the pocket," said center Roberto Garza. "I thought Edwin did a great job stepping in and allowed us to keep going and doing the things that we've been successful at.
"It's tough to go on a five-game winning streak," Smith said. "We feel good about our 7-3 record. [But] we still have a long way to go. Oakland is a good football team and they'll be up next."
The key play of the game, The Bears were driving midway through the fourth quarter when Knox slipped on a slant route, Chargers cornerback Antoine Cason intercepted Cutler's pass and returned it 64 yards to the Chicago 16.
Jay Cutler plays defense
Cutler saved a touchdown, charging downfield to slow up Cason, who was eventually forced out of bounds by Matt Forte. Three plays later, safety Major Wright intercepted Rivers in the end zone. This very well may have been the play that Cutler injured his thumb.
"Maybe Jay's biggest play of the game came on that interception, buying time for Matt," Smith said. "Who would have thought we'd be talking about Matt Forte and Jay Cutler on a defensive play?"
"It's unusual, yes," head coach Lovie Smith said of Cutler's willingness to go after Cason on the play. "On the tackle, what do you do? It's kind of simple as that. It might have been the biggest play of the game. We don't want Jay to make a lot of tackles, but sometimes he has to. Sometimes he has to run also. That's kind of how it goes."
Cutler last missed time with in the 2010 NFC Championship game, when a knee injury kept him out of the second half of a close loss to the Packers. Backup Caleb Hanie came in for Cutler and went 13 of 20 for 153 passing yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. The Bears lost that game, 21-14, and Cutler was wrongly criticized by many for not playing hurt when the perception was that he possibly could.
This time, Cutler finished the game and went about business as usual; Neither Lovie Smith or Jay Cutler alluded to any injuries during post game interviews. Rumor has it that Cutler was taken to the hospital for x-rays on his thumb. We will have to wait for the Monday press conference on Monday for confirmation.
To date, Cutler is 182 for 314, with 2,319 yards, 13 touchdowns and seven interceptions. The injury comes at a time when the offense and Cutler were finally working on the same page. Tonight’s game was probably Cutler’s finest to date.
Suburban Journals of Chicago Photo
Turnovers win games
Major Wright now has interceptions in three consecutive games, while Corey Graham, replacing the injured D.J. Moore at nickel back—picked off a pass for the second consecutive week.. The Bears defense will have to step up now and take control, continue to take the ball away as they have the past few weeks.
Defense has been a key to many teams in their playoff run, and the Bears should be able to rise to the task.
Shut-out in the fourth quarter
The Bears offense outgained the Chargers 106-0 in the fourth quarter, rushing for 58 yards on 17 carries, a stark contrast to the previous three quarters when they gained only 35 yards on 15 attempts.
"That's what you've got to do, especially in November and December," Cutler said. "You've got to be able to finish games. You've got to be able to run the football even when the defense knows you're going to run the football, and we did a good job with that."
The Chicago Bears (7-3) are tied for second place in the NFC North with the Lions (7-3), who rallied to beat the Panthers 49-35 Sunday at Ford Field in Detroit.
Next stop for the Bears on the AFC West tour.. The Raiders in Oakland on Sunday.
The best case scenario for the Bears not to put Cutler on injured reserve. This option would allow him to be available for a playoff run. The upcoming schedule for the Bears is also weak, so all may not be as bad as it looks. Hanie has shown he can play and nearly rallied the Bears last year in the NFC Championship game.
Bear down Chicago Bears….
Packers continue their dominance, Beat Bears 27-17
It looked like a continuation of the so called epic Championship game played here last January.
The Bears did show a different look this game, but not how they played. The Bears wore their Orange alternate home Jersey early this year.
The Chicago Bears usually wear this Jersey near Halloween, but this year, The Bears will have their "Bye" week during the scary weekend.
Maybe the Bears figured the color change would throw off their hated rival from the north….Not today or any day, would these Packers be fooled.
The Packers are the team we thought they would be.
Aaron Rodgers threw for 297 yards, including three touchdown passes to Jermichael Finley, and the Packers shut down Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears in a 27-17 victory Sunday.
Rodgers led the Pack, completing 28 of 38 passes in another sharp performance from a quarterback who sees a difference in himself this season.
"More comfortable, definitely," he said. "Going through the postseason like that and feeling good about the way I played, other than maybe the second half here, it gives you a lot of confidence going into the season."
Head Coach Mike McCarthy could hardly agree more. "He had a lot of success as a player, he won a world championship last year," he said. "I think that would give everybody more confidence once they are involved in that. He has a very good handle week in week out of the plan, how the defense is playing. He is a very good player, he definitely is on path to be recognized as a great player when his career finishes."
The field was scary at times, just like the Bears offense.
On one play, the official made a strange call.. “There is a dangerous situation on the field. What it turned out to be was a staple holding the new turf together. Good thing the caught it before anybody was seriously hurt.
Why would they change the sod just prior to one of the most important games of the season? The Chicago Park district and the Bears should finally stop all of the sod issues and install field turf. Problem solved.
Hello Mr. Urlacher...
If there is one constant bright spot for the Bears, it’s Brian Urlacher. He has not skipped a beat in the first three games, even after the tragic loss of his mother earlier this month. Urlacher seems to bring out the worst in every great quarterback he has faced this season.
Urlacher was there to intercept Rodgers, his first interception of the season. Urlacher picked him off with the Packers leading 27-17 in the fourth quarter. But again the Bears inept offense could not do anything with this gift.
The Bears have much work to do, The running game was in hibernation.
Cutler struggled in a big way and the running game was again nonexistent as Chicago dropped its second straight after an impressive win over Atlanta.
The Bears continue searching for an offensive identity and are now two games back of the defending Super Bowl champion Packers and the surprising Lions in the NFC North.
A week after there were just 12 rushes and 11 running plays called in a thrashing at New Orleans, the Bears had 12 rushes and called only nine running plays. They managed only 13 yards rushing, the fewest in franchise history since 1960, and 12 more than they had on Oct. 26, 1952, against the Los Angeles Rams. The 12 carries tied for the second-fewest ever.
Have you seen this game plan before? "I don't audible," said quarterback Jay Cutler, who added to the running totals with three scrambles for 11 yards. "You're going to have to ask someone else about that. I don't do the game plan."
Can it work?
"We are 0-2 doing this," Cutler said. "So, it's not looking very good."
The Bears managed just 13 yards rushing — and with only 12 attempts, they matched their second-fewest for the second straight game. Against New Orleans last week, they called 52 pass plays and handed off 11 times, with a scramble by Cutler bringing the run total to 12.
Forte carried nine times for 2 yards. He was stopped in the backfield for a loss on six of the carries behind the makeshift offensive line that Jerry Angelo said he went to all lengths to upgrade.
"We took a step back," Forte said. "When we first came out the first week, I felt like we made a couple strides forward in where we are going. Last week, I think we took a little step back and this week we took a major step back."
"We didn't run the ball because we weren't able to," said Forte, who was limited to 80 yards on Seven receptions. "We just played bad out there.
Still much to improve? For the Bears, yes. The Packers seem just fine.
"I think we have the potential to get better, and I don't know how many wins that means or the playoffs or whatever, but I just think we can play better football," he said. "The standard we've set around Green Bay is excellence, so until we're at that point, there's going to be a lot of hard work during the week." Rodgers said.
A Spectacular Play… almost..
The Bears had a chance to make a game of it when Knox and Hester orchestrated a brilliant play designed by special teams coordinator Dave Toub.
Johnny Knox lined up to jam a gunner at the line and then sprinted back. He fielded Tim Masthay's punt in the corner while Hester pretended to be catching the ball on the other side of the field. Green Bay's coverage team converged on Hester while Knox had an easy 89-yard run for a touchdown. But hold everything, the great play was wiped out by a holding call against Graham way away from the play. If the touchdown had counted, the Bears would have been an onside kick and a field goal away from overtime.
Rodgers took notice.. "That was the most incredible play I've ever seen," Rodgers said.
A few bright spots, for the Bears.
Jay Cutler took some shots down field, including a 32-yard touchdown strike to Kellen Davis to bring the Bears within 10 with 11:46 to play, but Martz's offense was out of sync.
The Bears converted only 3 of 12 third downs and didn't get it right against a defense that Panthers rookie Cam Newton had a field day with a week earlier. Two passes targeted for Roy Williams were picked off by safety Morgan Burnett.
Coach Smith, as always, sounds like a broken record. "Offensively, we had opportunities," Smith said. Sure we had opportunities, but what the Bears need to do is fix their offensive line as soon as possible, or this season will be a long one and over before it started.
Maybe the Panthers are just what the Bears need to turn things around..if they can stop Cam Newton. The Packers barely did.
Bears Beat the Browns to end Pre-season 24-14.. Now let the real games begin
Even though the majority of the Bears starters sat on the bench, The second team did very well, giving some confidence heading into the regular season.
No Urlacher, no Briggs, not even Matt Forte played a down tonight. But it was the Cleveland Browns, not the New England Patriots, so what good reason would there be to play them? None. Smith made the right call Thursday night… keep them fresh for when the games count on September 11th.
It’s a better bet than the lottery that the Bears will play the Browns in the Pre-season. 2011 marked the 8th straight time the Bears closed out the Pre Season against the Browns.
Ready in Prime time.
Sure it was a prime time game, sort of, and the Bears were ready for the task. Cleveland on the other hand, seemed to be asleep.
Early going, the Browns were living up to the nickname “The mistake by the lake” The Bears defense forced the Browns to 3 and out on their first four possessions. Sure, it was the Bears back-ups in of defense, but they still looked not ready for prime-time. The Bears on the other hand were.
“I thought the defense played well early on,” Lovie Smith said. “We kept a lot of guys out of the game, of course, like we normally do for a preseason game. I can’t say there are a whole lot of negatives tonight.”
Up to the task.
Caleb Hanie was sharp. He completed 7 of 10 passes for 83 yards, including a 19-yard touchdown pass to Johnny Knox on a corner route, to help stake the Bears to a 10-0 lead. It was a nice end to a preseason that had a rough start after he was called out by offensive coordinator Mike Martz. "It was just good to have a strong game," Hanie said. "(Preseason) has been up and down. I don't try to judge those things. I go and do my work and worry about what I can control."
Knowing where he stands.
Hanie knows he will be the number two quarterback as he was last year. For him it was getting ready for the shortened pre-season and not about confidence, but hard work. "It wasn't that important," he said. "I know what confidence they have in me, and all I can do is keep working hard and keep that confidence going."
Yes, Chester Taylor is still a Bear and he played well when he had the ball. Taylor had 27 yards on 10 carries with a nice 9-yard burst around left end.
Taylor’s presence was probably due more to the injury of Marion Barber. Barber sat out with a calf injury, and third running back Kahlil Bell left with an ankle injury in the second half. Look for the Bears to keep Taylor, especially after the injury to Bell.
Last chance for some players to shine, and a few made the most of their chance.
Rookie Dane Sanzenbacher made his presence known with four receptions for 50 yards and had a 65-yard punt return for a touchdown that was called back by penalty. His impressive performance more than likely secured him a spot as the Bears sixth wide receiver.
"Everybody has had to scrap their way onto a team since you were coming into college," Sanzenbacher said. "It's going to be a fight to get in and a fight to stay in. It would be awesome. It's something you dream about."
Notre Dame product Robert Hughes dominated the second half of the game, rushing for 69 yards and two touchdowns. Even with that impressive display and power, he still considered a long shot to make this Bears team.
“This last preseason game, you want to take advantage of your opportunities,” Smith said. “Robert did that. We’re all talking about him right now. He’s worked hard each day in practice. He blends in, a good guy in the locker room. He was a good player in college. Again, he made the most of an opportunity.”
“There are some tough cuts coming up,” Smith said. “They don’t let us keep everyone.”
“It’s good to finish up with a win,” said coach Lovie Smith. “Of course, you want to get a win because you’re keeping score and all that good stuff. We wanted to see some things. We wanted Caleb Hanie to play with the No. 1 line and have the opportunity to do some good things, which he was able to do. Great pass on the touchdown to Johnny Knox.”
A cause for concern
The biggest problem for the Bears may be the injuries that knocked running back Kahlil Bell (ankle) and safeties Craig Steltz (hip) and Chris Conte (concussion) out of the game. “I don’t know how long those guys will be out,” Smith said. “All three of them seem like they’re doing OK right now. We do have a bit of time before we play the Falcons [in the Sept. 11 regular-season opener]."
Bears will trim the roster from 79 to 53 and form at least the beginning of a practice squad this weekend.
President Obama makes the most of the Packer's visit to the White House
Last week was full of news.. the most noteable was when the defending Super Bowl Champs paid a vist to the Oval Office.
President Obama had probably the most fun he has had in quite some time this past Friday.. Even if the longtime Bears fan did have to welcome the Green Bay Packers to the White House.
“I’m just going to come out and say it,” Obama said, chuckling. “This hurts a little bit.” The president involked the name of legendary Bears coach Mike Ditka, and somewhat sadly, acknowledged that the Packers advanced to the Super Bowl with a win over ..da Bears.
“This is a hard thing for a Bears fan to do,” Obama said at the White House ceremony. “It doesn’t hurt as much as the NFC Championship game hurt – but it still hurts – you guys coming to my house to rub it in. What are you going to do – go to Ditka’s house next?”
The President also got to poke fun at congressional Republicans, likening the recently settled NFL dispute to the debt ceiling standoff.
“Like every football fan, I was thrilled to have the lockout ended.” Obama said. “Nobody likes long, frustrating negotiations… with rigid opposition, taking it to the brink.”
Obama also talked about the Packers star defensive back Charles Woodson, who mocked the president for deciding against the attending Super Bowl after the Packers dispatched the Bears.
“After the Packers beat the Bears, Charles addressed the team – everybody on ESPN saw it: I saw it while I was working out in the morning – and Charles said ‘If the President doesn’t want to come to watch us at the Super Bowl, then we’re going to him.”
The Green Bay Packers earned the White House trip by defeating the Pittsburg Steelers in the Super Bowl. Indeed, Woodson attending and spoke on behalf of the Team. Noting that the team is publicly owned.
Woodson presented Obama with a single share of Packers stock, inspiring more Bear-Packer banter.
“What I’m thinking is I think we should initiate a trade to send (quarterback Aaron) Rodgers down to the Bears,” Obama said.
“A minority owner, thank you,” Woodson quickly interjected.
Congratulating the Packers, Obama added: “Enjoy it while it lasts.” Because Bears fans have two dates circled on our calendars..” he added. “September 25th and Sunday Night Football on Christmas Day.”
“And,” the president added, “if you guys are on a roll by then, just keep in mind that there’s only one person here who can ground all planes in and out of Green Bay – if he has to.”
The John Fox Era begins. Bears beat Dolphins 27-10
The Chicago Bears opened their 2015 preseason slate when they hosted the Miami Dolphins at Soldier Field on Thursday.
New Coaches, new players, new grass field and two of the best new scoreboards in the league greeted a sparse crowd at Soldier Field for the first real test of the new era in Chicago Bears football.
The sparse crowd was most likely due to the game being played on a Thursday evening, with many fans stuck in rush hour traffic or just deciding to stay home. At game time, there was nearly 20,000 empty seats. Many may have stayed away because of the dismal play last season. For whatever reason, those who stayed away missed a very entertaining game.
After what most considered one of the worst seasons in franchise history, the Bears cleaned house. They begin 2015 under new general manager Ryan Pace and head coach John Fox. Fox is 119-89 (.572) in the regular season as a head coach with the Carolina Panthers (2002-10) and Denver Broncos (2011-14), leading his teams to six division titles, six double-digit win seasons and seven playoff appearances. In the postseason, Fox has amassed an 8-7 (.533) record as a head coach with three conference championship game appearances leading to two trips to the Super Bowl (XXXVIII with Carolina in 2003 and XLVIII with Denver in 2013). He is one of six coaches in NFL history to lead two different teams to Super Bowl appearances along with Don Shula, Bill Parcells, Dan Reeves, Dick Vermeil and Mike Holmgren. Impressive credentials indeed.
The beginning of this game featured what might be the starting line-up come the regular season. But like last year, the Bears stormed out of the gate stumbling, going three and out on their first possession.
The Dolphins on the other hand marched down the field and scored on their opening drive.
The Bears second unit, looked sharp, especially on defense, forcing four turnovers giving the offense the spark to score points.
Sure it’s the pre-season, but Clausen and the offense played better than Cutler.
“There’s good and bad like any other preseason game, especially the first preseason game. We’ll take a look at the film on Saturday, make some corrections and move on.” On the mental errors and penalties in the first half. “We had a ton of penalties. A lot of pre-snap penalties, stuff we can clean up. We’ll take a look at that, make our drives a little more sustainable.” Cutler said.
It’s not always easy when you are learning a new system. “It’s tough. The offenses are pretty similar all around the league; it’s just different terminology. The coaches do a great job of helping us prepare. Jay (Cutler) has helped me out a lot, as well as David (Fales) and Shane (Carden) – just coming together and trying to learn it together because we’re all learning it for the first time. It’s been a hard time at different times, learning it, but I think we’re starting to get the hang of it and starting to roll with it.” Said Clausen.
“All the receivers looked good tonight. I was just trying to spread the ball around to different guys. In this offense, anybody can get the ball at any time, and I thought they did a great job of making plays when plays were there.”
In the offseason the Bears added three-time Pro Bowl S Antrel Rolle along with such players as LBs Pernell McPhee, Mason Foster and Sam Acho, DL Jarvis Jenkins and CB Alan Ball on defense and WR Eddie Royal, RB Jacquizz Rodgers, C Will Montgomery and TE Bear Pascoe, offensively.
White was sidelined with an injury and will likely not see any real game action until possibly the last pre-season game against the Browns.
The Bears have a way to go, but if tonight’s game is any indication, the future definitely looks brighter.
“We looked very sloppy particularly early. What I liked is the guys hung in there, they didn’t blink – they kept fighting. I think what’s normal in this league – turnover ratio, ball security – is critical in the game. I think that’s what swung it for us. I think we were probably plus-four with that last pick I think. So that was really the difference in the game. A lot of penalties and things. We still have a whole lot to work on.” Said John Fox.
“Injuries to report from the game: Terrance Mitchell went out with the concussion protocol. He was cleared later in the game and we decided not to risk him and also not participating – I think it was a surprise to most people – was Alshon Jeffery strained a calf in practice the other day at camp before we came down and we held him out so he’ll be day-to-day.” Said Fox.
The Bears will travel next to Indy to take on the Colts on Saturday August 22.
BEARS AGREE TO TERMS WITH RB KA’DEEM CAREY
LAKE FOREST, IL — The Chicago Bears have agreed to terms with RB Ka’Deem Carey on a four-year contract.
The 5-10, 207-pound Carey was selected by the Bears in the fourth round (117th overall) in the 2014 NFL Draft out of Arizona. The Pac-10 offensive player of the year in 2013, Carey started 24-of-36 games played in his three-year career with the Wildcats (2011-13) rushing for a school-record 4,239 yards and 48 touchdowns on 743 carries (5.7 ypc). He added 679 receiving yards and four touchdowns on 77 receptions (8.8 ypr) and 565 yards on 27 kickoff returns (20.9 ypr). His 48 rushing touchdowns rank second in FBS history behind the 49 by Montee Ball of Wisconsin (2009-12).
LAKE FOREST, IL — The Chicago Bears have agreed to terms with QB David Fales on four-year contract.
The 6-1, 228-pound Fales was selected in the sixth round (183rd overall) after starting all 25 games as San Jose State’s quarterback over the last two seasons (2012-13), completing 639-of-938 passes (68.1 percent) for 8,382 yards, 66 touchdowns and 22 interceptions. He was one of only two quarterbacks in the FBS to pass for over 4,000 yards in each of the last two seasons, along with Fresno State’s David Carr. Fales owns the two top passing seasons in San Jose State history with 4,193 yards in 2012 and 4,189 in 2013, the single-season school record for touchdown passes (33 in both 2012 and 2013) and the top two marks for completions (327 in 2012 and 312 in 2013).
Vereen and Fales are the first 2014 draft picks to agree to terms with their respective team.
Bears QB David Fales
May 10, 2014
On his experience with Marc Trestman
“I’ve got a chance last year to kind of be around Jordan Palmer and worked with him and developed relationships. Just hearing from Jordan and the different stuff we’ve talked about, that’s the extent and I’ve just talked on the phone with him. It’s an honor to be selected and represent the Bears. I’m really excited to get over there and meet with them and learn from them.”
On his relationship with Jordan Palmer
“I met him up in California at Elite 11 last May. And met him there and worked with him there. And before the Senior Bowl this year, he was training a couple quarterbacks with (Blake) Bortles and Brett Smith. And then I worked with them for a week there. And then before he headed back to Chicago I worked with him again. And over the last year and a half we’ve been talking.”
On what he knows about the Bears QB situation
“I know Jay (Cutler) is there, and then Jordan and then Jerrod [Johnson]. I’m excited for the opportunity to come in and compete and learn from Jay and work with Jordan and Jerrod and learn from coach (offensive coordinator Aaron) Kromer and (quarterbacks) coach (Matt) Cavanaugh and coach Trestman. I’m really excited for the opportunity and I can wait to get there and compete.”
On his transfer from Nevada to winding up at San Jose State
“I committed to Nevada before my senior year and coach (Chris) Ault was the head coach there still. He said before (Colin) Kaepernick it was a passing offense and that’s what he wanted to do with me and that’s where he felt like going. It looked like a good opportunity. After getting there first semester, it was kind of mutual, he wanted to go that way with Kaepernick and keep running the ball. I didn’t go with that style. I just saw myself being successful going to a junior college for two years. I really developed myself there. After my second year at MPC(Monterey Peninsula College), San Jose State offered me and it was really a perfect situation and opportunity. It was an hour away from home. I played at San Jose for two years and I had a great experience there.”
On his contact with the Bears leading up to this point
“Coach Cavanaugh came and worked me out. I think it was a week ago. So, I picked him up from the airport and spent the morning with him, morning and afternoon. And watched some film, threw the ball around and got to spend some time with him.”
On defining himself as a quarterback and what he thinks is his best skill
“I definitely think my mechanics are pretty consistent. And my anticipation and accuracy, I feel like, are consistent. And I do a good job of giving my receivers the best chance to make a play. And my footwork as well. I’m always trying to improve everything but if I had to pick something, I would say my anticipation and accuracy and mechanics.”
On how he developed that anticipation
“I think…experience. After Nevada I played in my first [year] at MPC and my second at MPC and then just experiencing and developing my game and understanding as I transitioned to San Jose (State) on the different balls I could throw and allowing our receiver to make plays in relationship to the defender. So, I think just with the experience of playing and over time.”
On getting a coach with the reputation of Marc Trestman
“I’ve spent a lot of time talking with Jordan and he just praises him all the time. So just to get this opportunity and being drafted by the Bears and Coach Trestman, it’s an honor with a coach like that. And then I did get a chance to watch a couple of games last year and Jordan was telling me all this stuff so I’m really looking forward to the experience and it’s an honor to be drafted by them.”
On how strange it will be to be in competition with Palmer and if he’ll go from a mentor to a competitor
“I think he’ll always be a mentor. I’m always picking his brain. We have a great relationship so I’m looking forward to working with him and competing. Everyone’s competing but definitely looking forward to just working with them and getting better and I’m excited.”
On if he learned early on in his workouts if there was anything teams wanted to see from him or wanted him to improve on
“Yeah, I think after the first day of the Senior Bowl there was a lot of arm strength going on – arm strength talk. I’ve never felt that I had an arm-strength issue but the first day of the Senior Bowl I had the flu and it definitely wasn’t my best first impression but I feel that everybody I’ve thrown around or been with doesn’t say I don’t have the arm to make any of the throws. So that’s one thing but I’m always trying to prove that too, whether it’s just getting into the best shape I could be or getting my core going and strengthening up my shoulder and just all the little different things. So this is one part of improving myself as a quarterback.”
Past Bears coverage...
Sleepless in Chicago.
Seahawks Burn Bears in rout 38-14
It’s starting to look like next year for the Chicago Bears
Game Photos By Scott Krause
The Seattle Seahawks flew into Chicago on a near picture perfect day for football. The Seattle defense rose to the occasion in the second half, pressured Caleb Hanie into a game-turning mistakes and shut down and shut out the struggling Bears in all phases of the game, especially the final 30 minutes.
Seattle makes Adjustments at halftime.
Halftime usually gives you a short time to make key adjustments to your offense and defense. The Seahawks made those adjustments, the Bears as usual kept it “status quo”.
“We really cut the defense loose,” Seattle Head Coach Pete Carroll said after the Seahawks finished with four interceptions, a fumble recovery and four sacks in a 38-14 victory Sunday.
The Seahawks trailed 14-7 after the first half, and then outscored the Bears 31-0 in the final two quarters.
“To come back in the second half, shut them down and not give a point up,” Carroll said. “Hanie was running all over the place and until we slowed that down, we really weren’t in control of the football game. So the halftime adjustments and the guys actively carrying those onto the field were very important.”
Having blinders on again.
One must ask what was Caleb Hanie thinking? After all the Seahawks did have on white jerseys. Maybe Hanie is color blind? Or maybe he just is not NFL material. Hanie has shown some spark at times, but after four starts, most quarterbacks would have made adjustments and made plays. One would only have to look at how former Bear Kyle Orton, traded a few short weeks ago from the Bronco’s to the lowly Chiefs, has made the adjustment to a new team. As the Bears were struggling again, Orton guided the Chiefs to an upset win over the rival Green Bay Packers, the Bears next opponent. That’s why they play the games.
The Key play to the Bears downfall… Pick one.
With the game tied at 14, Seattle’s K.J Wright hit Hanie as he tried to roll and he ended up throwing the ball right to Red Bryant.
Bryant , rumbled and galloped after an interception 20 yards for a touchdown early in the third quarter, then the Seahawks scored twice in a span of 50 seconds and went ahead to stay.
"I just tried to get rid of it," Hanie said. "The guy got a little more of me than I
anticipated and I forced a throw right to the defensive tackle. Some unfortunate luck there."
“That’s a fat kid’s dream right there,” Bryant said. “It’s not every day as a defensive lineman you get an opportunity to get an interception. To get in the end zone off one, so many emotions go through your head. …”
“K.J. did a great job of getting to the quarterback and then he just threw the ball up and I just happened to be at the right spot at the right time,” Bryant said.
Brandon Browner picked off another of Hanie’s passes in the fourth quarter and took it 42 yards for another TD and the Seahawks evened their record at 7-7.
Peaking at the right time.. for the Seahawks
Marshawn Lynch broke 1,000 yards rushing for the season and scored for the 10th straight game with two TD runs and Jackson also had a strong second half, completing 15 of 19 for 176 yards over the final two quarters.
But it was the defense that played the biggest role in keeping the Seahawks’ wild-card hopes alive. Seattle has won five of six and the victory came on the field where they were beaten in the divisional playoffs last January.
Injuries mount for the Bears
Knox is scheduled for surgery Monday to stabilize a vertebra in his back. The Bears said the prognosis for Knox is good and it is not considered career-threatening.
Knox’s injury was the latest setback for the Bears over the past month. Quarterback Jay Cutler (broken thumb) and running back Matt Forte (sprained knee) have been sidelined and this week.
Distractions did not help the Bears either.
Wide receiver/special teams player Sam Hurd was arrested on federal drug charges and subsequently cut by the team.
“It has been a tough week,” Chicago defensive back Charles Tillman said.
The Bears Defense looked great in the first half, then went on Christmas break.
Tavaris Jackson came out on the first possession of the third quarter and drove the Seahawks 80 yards. He threw a 33-yard pass to Golden Tate who broke two tackles on the play, and then hooked up on a 43-yarder to Ben Obomanu setting up Lynch’s 3-yard TD run to tie it at 14.
After Bryant’s return, Seattle got a 33-yard field goal from Steve Hauschka and then iced the game early in the fourth on Jackson’s 2-yard TD pass to Michael Robinson. That score was set up by Leon Washington’s 36-yard punt return.
"Yeah, I'm mad," said middle linebacker Brian Urlacher. "This is not our team. This is not
how we're supposed to play. This is not how we should play. Doesn't matter who is playing
quarterback. The defense has to play better. That's all there is to it.”
Game over, season over, not even a miracle could possibly save these Chicago Bears.
Hanie’s few bright spots..
Hanie threw a 25-yard TD pass to Kahill Bell with just under 2 minutes left in the first half for a 14-7 lead.
But then Hanie made the mistake by throwing the ball right to Bryant and the Bears never recovered.
"The feeling in the locker room is not good," Hanie said. "All the guys in the there want to win games. I'm at the top of that list. I want to win games and I haven't gotten it done."
"It's tough when you're 7-3 and everything's looking good," said receiver Roy Williams. "All of a sudden, you're 7-7 in the blink of an eye. One thing about this football team is that we've been fighting. The ball hasn't bounced our way."
Sounding like a broken record
“It’s hard when you don’t get more production from the quarterback position,” Smith said. “Caleb’s been our guy, great opportunity, but we haven’t played as well as we need to.” Hanie, who was replaced late in the game by Josh McCown was10 of 23 for 111 yards.
“When Jay went down, I thought we were missing a key piece on our football team, but when you look back, we had some opportunities. To go on a four-game losing streak, no, that wasn’t a part of my mindset,” Coach Lovie Smith said.
“We’re better than that. We’ve lost a lot injury-wise, but every team in the league will talk about injuries and the people they’ve lost.”
Things won’t get any easier as the Bears head to Lambeau Field to play the rival the Packers, who suffered their first loss Sunday at Kansas City.
With Hanie struggling the way he has, the Bears are going to have a difficult time winning another game this season. Bring in Nathan Enderle and see what he can do.. What do the Bears have to lose? Not much at this point.
Chiefs stun the Bears at home. Win 10-3
It’s not that the loss was that hard to swallow, it’s the loss of running back Matt Forte to a knee injury that surely puts a dark cloud on the Bears playoff chances.
This was supposed to be the game where backup quarterback Caleb Hanie would take charge and guide the Bears offense for a playoff push. Instead, what could go wrong, did go wrong.
Another devastating injury
The game was barely a quarter old when yet another key player was lost for what could be the remainder of the regular season. Matt Forte was hit hard on his knee on a rushing play by Chiefs defender Derrick Johnson. Forte would be out for the game, and probably at the minimum of two weeks, but more likely the regular season.
"Just like everyone, it's not a good feeling when you see your star tailback go down with a knee injury," he said. "But it's part of the game. We'll just keep our fingers crossed and hopefully it's not that serious."
Good play, gone bad, and a game changer
Trailing 3-0 with two seconds left in the first half, the Chiefs passed up a possible 56-yard field goal to attempt a Hail Mary.
Chief’s quarterback Tyler Palko dropped back 12 yards, stepped up in the pocket and launched the ball 50 yards to the end zone. Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher was in the perfect position to make the interception, but decided to bat the ball down. Nine out of ten times it works. This time it backfired in a big way.
"It's the same thing we always do: bat it down," Urlacher said. "The guy just happened to catch that one. We've done it a hundred times and it's the first time anyone has caught one."
The time-tested technique on how to defend Hail-Mary pass is for the defender to knock the ball down. Brain Urlacher did just that, only he knocked it directly into the hands of Dexter McCluster. He didn't make the wrong play, just an unlucky one.
Perhaps NFL coaches should train defenders to knock down the ball only if they don't have a chance of catching it. In this case, Urlacher would have been better off going for the interception.
That touchdown ended up being the deciding factor in this crucial inter-conference matchup. Kansas City would win 10-3 serving a devastating blow to the injured Bears' playoff hopes. The touchdown was also only the second offensive touchdown the Chiefs scored since October. The Chiefs hapless offense scored only one touchdown in the month of November.
The Hail Mary was the first touchdown pass of Palko's brief NFL career. He had thrown 96 passes in seven games—all with the Chiefs the past two seasons—with six interceptions and no scores.
Where did the offense go?
It’s only the first week of December, but the Bears offense looked to be in hibernation.
"Offensively, we didn't get anything done," said coach Lovie Smith. "It's hard to maintain drives when you can't convert on third downs. They got too much pressure on us. We did a little bit with the running game, but just never got anything going."
Just how bad was it?
The Bears failed to sustain any drives, going 0-of-11 on third down and 0-of-2 on fourth down. Their only points came on Robbie Gould's 32-yard field goal early in the second quarter after Hanie's apparent 4- yard touchdown pass to Marion Barber was nullified by an illegal formation penalty. Then there was the Roy Williams pass in the end zone that stalled yet another drive as he bobbled it into the hands of Chiefs safety Jon McGraw for an interception and touchback.
"When I came around the linebacker, I didn't see the ball until late,'' Williams said. "I just tried to put my hands up. There was no way I could knock it down or anything else. A had a linebacker right in my face. When I came around him, all I saw was a big brown thing coming in front of me. I just tried to stop it. It was my fault. I’ve got to make those plays,’’ Williams said. ‘‘Did that lose the game? Nope. There were a lot of things that happened before that that [could have made a difference]. But in my mind, yes, it [did]. In the fans’ mind, yes, it [did].’’
Playing the blame game.
You could ask any Bears player who was to blame for this shocking loss, and each will step up and say it was their fault. But in reality, this was a total team loss, so blame the whole team.
“We did it to ourselves,” center Roberto Garza said. “We weren't being effective on first or second down, so we were in third and- long. We have to go out there and protect our quarterback. It falls squarely on our shoulders, and we didn't do that today and that's the result.”
"I know Caleb Hanie will be blamed for a lot of it, but it's us as an offense overall," Smith said. "We didn't perform the way we needed to. Let's not attack one guy. We all had a lot to do and had a lot to say in what happened today. Caleb was a part of it. Caleb needs to make improvements like we all do, and we all will."
Caleb Hanie completed 11 of 24 passes for 133 yards with three interceptions and a 23.8 quarterback passer rating. He was sacked seven times by a Kansas City defense. The blame here..the Bears offensive line. Just when it seemed they were beginning to gel, they fell apart looking like they did earlier in the season.
"It's the quarterback's job to get the ball out," Hanie said. "The plays I can get it out, I need to. I know all the sacks weren't on them, that's for sure. I'm sure I had a couple on me. The receivers will tell you they had a couple on them, I'm sure. It's a collective effort."
Roy Williams summed up Hanie's performance well. "I know he was on his back a lot," he said. "I think he played OK. He's going to have to learn some more. We didn't help him as an offensive group."
Still some light at the end of the tunnel
Despite the loss, the Bears (7-5) really didn’t lose any ground in the wildcard race. They remain tied with the Lions (7-5) and Falcons (7-5), one game ahead of the Giants (6-6), after all three of those teams also lost on Sunday.
Always the optimist
"We need to get a win next week," Smith said. "We're still in good shape as far as I'm concerned. We're in great shape if we take care of business. If we make those necessary changes, adjustments and improvements we have to make, we'll be in great shape. We're one win away from feeling a lot better."
Orange Crush..The Bears defense dominates the Lions 37-13.
A Black and Blue Thrashing at Soldier Field.
The Chicago Bears are now even with the Detroit Lions at 6-3 . The Monsters of the Midway now set their sights on the Green Bay Packers, but that will have to wait until Christmas. The AFC West is now on the Bears radar for the next four games, beginning with Phillip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers.
A Classic Black and Blue NFC North Battle
This game had nearly everything.. Hard hits, great runs.. And even a big brawl in the second half.
It would be the Bears who would come out on top this time.. 37-13. The Bears had hoped to just play safe and consistent, as they did last Monday against the Eagles.. Sure revenge was on their mind going into today’s game, but they did more than avenge the loss a few weeks ago in Detroit. They sent a message to the other NFC North teams.. The Bears are back.
The Bears would win this game on a great defensive effort. They held Detroit out of the end zone nearly the entire game. The Lions finally scored a touchdown with 5 minutes remaining. The game was already over by that point.
"We're getting better," said Brain Urlacher "No doubt about that. We're not done yet. We've still got a long way to go. But we're going the right direction, that's for sure.
The idea that the Bears would be tied with the Lions seemed out of reach after their 24-13 Monday night loss at Ford Field last month, but the teams have gone in different directions since.
"We had a lot riding on this game," Lovie Smith said. "NFC division game at home we just couldn't afford another loss. We've gotten better and better each week.
24 points were scored by the defense, 13 by the offense. Matt Forte scored the only offensive touchdown early in the game. Gould would make 3 of 4 field goals for the Bears.
“We preach and we practice taking the ball away a lot,” Bears coach Lovie Smith said. “It was about defense this afternoon.”
"It was about the defense this afternoon," said coach Lovie Smith. "We preach and we practice taking the ball away a lot, and it was good for it to show up. I think we had four different guys that intercepted the ball. When you have three non-offensive scores, you're going to be pretty hard to beat."
“I don't think (we're) going to lose too many games playing like that on defense,” said Urlacher, who had 9 tackles, 1 fewer than Jennings. “That's as dominant as I've been around since I've been here.”
"We played the way we wanted to play," said Urlacher. "They were in our way today and we took care of business and got back on a roll in the division."
Stafford on the other hand had 4 interceptions, tying his season total of four. The Bears defense had his number today. It almost looked as if Stafford was color blind, not able to notice that Bears wearing their alternate orange home jersey.
Stafford would blame the wind and not his eyesight. Stafford said the finger wasn't really a factor, but the strong wind was.
"Wind was blowing the ball around, and they had a tough time throwing it and we had a tough time throwing it," he said. It would seem that the Bears also were playing in the same wind, and yet Cutler did not throw an interception. It would be the second straight game that Cutler has been near perfect and not turned the ball over.
Cutler handled the pressure the best he could, but the Lions seemed to take their anger out on Cutler. Some of the hits will sure get a look from the league this week. The Lions Suh probably watched that Green Bay game some years ago when Charles Martin made Jim McMahon look like a rag doll.
"It wasn't clean and it wasn't quiet," Bears quarterback Jay Cutler said. Cutler had his own beefs. Lion’s defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh ripped off his helmet from the back in the second quarter. There was no penalty. Tackle Nick Fairley was called for roughing the passer when he drove Cutler into the turf in the end zone long after the ball was out. "Crossed the line?" Bears coach Lovie Smith said when asked about Cutler's helmet going flying. "It's safe to say you shouldn't do that. I'll leave it at that."
The Lions would have a high offensive output, but the turnovers would ultimately doom them. The 13 points the Detroit scored was their lowest output of the season.
Frustration leads to Fighting..
Things really got ugly early in the fourth quarter after Stafford threw his third interception. Jennings picked him off and got shoved hard out of bounds by Nate Burelson While that unfolded, Stafford grabbed Moore by the helmet and threw him to the ground, setting off a confrontation involving players from both teams that ultimately led to Moore's ejection.
Moore admitted he was wrong but said, "When you go toward my livelihood and you're grabbing my neck and it seems like you are trying to hurt me, you just can't let that go."
Said the Lions’ Johnson: "You can't hit our quarterback and expect us not to come back at you." Stafford said he wasn't trying to injure Moore, he was just frustrated.
"He kind of blocked me and I was just trying to get him off me best I knew how," Stafford said. "And I guess he didn't like the way I did it. He wanted to ask me about it."
Shutting Down Megatron
The Bears defense played a great game and shut down yet another potent offensive player. This time it was “Megatron”, Calvin Williams as he is known. Johnson would have only one long pass of 40 yards and later in the game was not used. Johnson’s total was a scant 81 yards on seven catches.
The Detroit Lions now have dropped three of four after charging out of the gate and winning its first five. This one was brutal—particularly for Stafford and Calvin Johnson.
The Bears scored its second highest point total of the season with 37 points. They may need more to beat the San Diego Chargers next Sunday. So far, the Bears have answered each challenge.
Bears clip the Falcons wings, Beat Atlanta 30-12 on an emotional day In the NFL and America.
Game Photos By Scott Krause
The day seemed similar to that fateful day ten years ago.. Bright sunshine, very few clouds and warm temperatures.. But this day was about honoring our heroes and those that protect us from the events that changed our lives forever.
Security was higher today than it ever has been.. due to the recent threats that our government agencies received during the week. The presence of this extra security was both intimidating, yet reassuring. Nothing would happen today.
The NFL does a great job when it comes to honoring heroes, and today was nothing short of spectacular. The pre game ceremonies were synced in all stadiums at noon. Robert DeNiro gave a short tribute on the video screen and a live simulcast of the trumpeter performing “Taps” .. And a minute of silence followed.
Chicago heroes, Police and firefighters rolled a larger American flag across the field .. Players and coaches from both sides also lent a hand to help.. Unity for a few moments.
Then a resounding rendition of the national anthem done by Jim Cornelison fired up the crowd… ”USA… USA..” And everyone was ready for some football.
9/11 reminders were everywhere today at Soldier Field.. There were large 9/11 ribbons at the 25-yard lines on both ends of the field. Even a special coin was used today for the coin toss. The coin used for the pregame toss had the same ribbon on one side with a Bears “C” on the other
The home team Bears would win that coin toss.
One team would be ready and confident on this most special day, the other would wonder what went wrong.
The importance of Confidence
Going into the season opener, there seemed to be a lack of confidence among some of the newest Bears players. Today, was a big step in the right direction.
“Big confidence booster for us as a football team. We knew what we can do offensively. We knew what we can do defensively. But to put it together, especially against a good football team in Atlanta, shows what kind of football team we have.” Said Roy Williams.
Williams caught four passes for 55 yards in his Bears debut before leaving with a groin injury in the fourth quarter.
Jay Cutler has arrived.
Jay Cutler wasted no time on Sunday to erase those bad memories from the Championship Game loss against the Packers. He left that game with a knee injury and was heavily criticized for his lack of leadership and being a team player. Not today, This is the Jay Cutler that everyone was waiting for.
Cutler was on target with 22 of 32 passes and was intercepted only once.
He was sacked five times Sunday, but had a 107.8 quarterback rating, but remained tough. Cutler is 23-0 when his quarterback rating is above 100.
Cutler remained humble.. “We still have to play up to the defense’s level,” Cutler said. “They’re still carrying us.”
Player of the game.. Mr Urlacher.
“It’s a good start,” Urlacher said. “We’ve got a ways to go. We made some mistakes, me included. Our offense played great today. I know they’re going to say they didn’t do this and that, but they kept us on the sideline for the most part.
One would wonder what mistakes Urlacher was referring to?
Urlacher’s interception at the Chicago 29 on a pass intended for Tony Gonzalez and Matt Forte’s big touchdown three plays later—when he caught the screen pass and bounced off Sean Weatherspoon were the two key plays as the Bears built a 16-3 halftime lead.
Urlacher said he was surprised Ryan threw that ill-fated pass.
Ryan said he should have just thrown it away, and on the fumble, he just didn’t protect the ball.
“Brian (Urlacher) made a good play, full extension,” he said. “He made a nice catch. I probably shouldn’t have thrown it there. I definitely shouldn’t have thrown it there. But that’s one of those situations where you need to throw the football away. You have to make a good decision and get the ball out of your hands with somebody in your face. Just a poor decision there, and on the fumble, you just got to protect the football better in the pocket, that’s as simple as it is.”
Ryan completed 31 of 47 passes for 319 yards for Atlanta, but he also had those two costly turnovers.
Michael Turner ran for 100 yards, including a 53-yarder, but it was hardly what you would expect from a player of his caliber.
Disappointment, Very un “Falcon Like”
After having the best record in the NFC last year, The Falcons looked like they had their minds someplace else. But it is only one game, and the first game. Still a bit of a disappointment .
“Disappointed, not discouraged,” Atlanta coach Mike Smith said. “It’s a long season, it’s Week 1. We will work to get this fixed and we will get it fixed.”
The Falcons will head home to face the Eagles. For the Bears, an even harder task at hand.. The New Orleans Saints and then back home to face the Super Bowl Champion Packers.
If today is any indication, These teams better prepare well for these Chicago Bears.
Bears hold on to beat Buffalo. Start the new season on a winning note.. 10-3
It wasn’t pretty, but a win is a win.
The Bears started 2011 as they finished last year…But again, this is only the first Pre-season game.
Shades of 2010
Jay Cutler only played one series, but it sure did look like last year. Sacked a league-leading 52 times a year ago, there wasn’t much he could do Saturday with the Buffalo defense rushing him. All Cutler managed behind a revamped line that no longer includes departed center Olin Kreutz was a shovel pass to Matt Forte on the Bears’ second play from scrimmage for no gain He did manage to escape for a 10 yard run, the longest of the first quarter.
Then he got sacked by Marcell Dareus on a third down at the 35 before Chicago punted. Exit Jay Cutler.
And he escaped without injury and attacks on his toughness. Unlike his previous appearance at Soldier Field—the NFC championship loss to Green Bay in January
“They were good. They were fine,” Cutler said. “It took a little bit to get settled down. Some of those young guys are still jelling a little bit.”
The Bears offensive starters were gone after only one series, the linemen staying put for the first half. On the defensive side, the first stringers lasted two series, while the Buffalo lifted their starters on both sides after two series.
There were a few bright spots for the Bears…
Marion Barber made a good impression, running for 45 yards and leading the Bears to a second-quarter touchdown. He carried six times for 37 yards on that drive, setting up a 4-yard run by backup quarterback Caleb Hanie.
Hanie got a rude welcome on the previous possession when he was sacked on consecutive plays by Merriman. That forced Chicago to punt after an impressive punt return by Johnny Knox.
Go Johnny Go..
When Johnny Knox lost his starting job to newcomer Roy Williams for the exhibition opener against the Bills, Knox vowed to do whatever it took to regain his role. And he did.
"Been a while since I've been back there. It felt kind of weird at first,'' Knox said. "Once I got going, it felt pretty good.''
Devin Hester sure took notice. "It was a great return," Hester said. "We know Johnny is great returner. He has showed us that since Day One. He is capable of taking it the house any time."
And he almost did. Knox was asked why he didn't on this play.
"I tripped on the 50-yard line,'' he joked. "You didn't see it?''
Offensively, Knox caught one pass for 11 yards on a quick slant from Hanie, running a perfect route.
Knox entered Saturday's game fresh off controversy as talked swirled of him desiring a trade. He said he never had any intentions to ask for a trade and vowed to be a Bear for life.
"I didn't pay attention to what was going on,'' Knox said. "I know what I have to do is handle my business on the field, and that's what I came to do.''
On the first five combined drop backs for Cutler, and backup Caleb Hanie, there were three sacks, and Cutler was flushed out of the pocket on a scramble. The starting line settled down then, playing the entire first half as offensive coordinator. Mike Martz said the team would need to seek rhythm.
The Bears had only 78 total yards at halftime and when they got rolling with help from some hard running by new back Marion Barber, and the Bills starters on the sideline. A fourth sack came just before halftime.
Lovie Smith knows where the problem is, it’s the same as we saw last season “Too much pressure on the quarterback,” Smith said. “We have to tighten that up a little bit. But besides that offensively I thought we accomplished what we wanted to the first game. We have so far to go.” Time to fix it.
On defensive side of the ball, Amobi Okoye made an immediate impression with two sacks and teammate Henry Melton made some plays early. Second-year safety Major Wright was also part of the stout play.
This Bears defense could be significantly better on the inside line this season , now that they've moved past the Tommie Harris era.
"We need to get better," middle linebacker Brain Urlacher said. "That's all there is to it. We're a defensive team and we'll get better every week.
"After a long layoff it's fun to get back out there and play football again."
Running back Kahlil Bell also ran well with a 27-yard run in the fourth quarter, helping set up a 45-yard field goal by Robbie Gould with 5:52 remaining. Bell finished with 73 yards on 13 carries. Gould missed two field goals, including a 34-yarder. That was all the scoring for this game.
Shawne Merriman impressive for Buffalo
Buffalo head coach Chan Gailey was quick to praise Merriman on his return to form.
“The understatement of the evening I thought Merriman was impressive on his return,” he said.
They never got the spark they were seeking from Merriman late last season because the three-time Pro Bowler injured his Achilles’ tendon about 15 minutes into his first practice with Buffalo after being waived by San Diego. He missed the rest of the season.
“I’m still getting a feel for the game again, so going out there and making certain moves, getting back in football shape is going to be a long process, but you are never going to take the athleticism and the ability to go out and want make plays for somebody,” Merriman said. “I’ve been away for a year and half still just getting into the groove of things.”
The Bears will not travel for the next two games, heading to the Meadowlands to play the NY Giants and then to Tennessee to take on the Titans before returning home for a final pre season tune-up against Cleveland on Thursday September 1st.
Bears battle the Bills, first test of the season for the New Look Bears Offense
The 2010 NFC North Champion Chicago Bears (0-0) will open their 2011 NFL preseason slate when they host the Buffalo Bills (0-0) at Soldier Field on Saturday, August 13.
Chicago is 14-15 in preseason contests under head coach Lovie Smith, including a .500 or better mark in fi ve of his seven seasons. Overall, the Bears own an all-time preseason mark of 223-161-8.
At the start of the preseason, the Bears added eight new veteran faces on offense (RB Marion Barber, WR Sam Hurd, TE Matt Spaeth, C Chris Spencer and WR Roy Williams), defense (DL Vernon Gholston and DT Amobi Okoye) and special teams (P Adam Podlesh), building on their third division crown under Smith since 2004, most in the NFC North during that span.
Chicago has won 11 of the 14 all-time preseason meetings with the Bills dating back to a 23-16 victory in 1969. Buffalo won the last such meeting in 2009, 27-20, at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, NY.
Following Saturday’s contest, the Bears will travel to New York to take on the Giants to start a string of three preseason games in 11 days.
In the NFL Draft the Bears acquired talent on both offense and defense, adding players at the skill positions by selecting WR Kevin White (first round, seventh pick)
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