Friday, Feb. 11, 2011
By John Mullin
A long-time member of the NFL hierarchy told CSNChicago.com with no particular agenda, just an observation that he had never seen ownership as united as a group as they were through this current situation. That did not bode well for the players side finding cracks in the form of individual owners willing to break ranks.
On the other hand, the spitting and belittling that went on around Jay Cutlers knee injury in the NFC Championship game, while not part of any negotiating situation, helped foster the image of players willing to trash each other. Add to that items like the Twitter war between Antonio Cromartie and Matt Hasselbeck and the image being created is of a players bloc somewhat less than always solid.
Colleague Matt Maiocco at Comcast SportsNet Bay Area obtained a copy of an NFLPA internal memo and provides an excellent look at some of the intricate elements of salary proposals being discussed. The salient issue there concerns how players coming into the league are paid and is very much a subject on the table.
And Tom Curran out at Comcast SportsNet New England breaks down some of the math behind the NFLPAs proposal for revenue splits, that its 50-50 offer isnt necessarily all it seems.
A caveat in all of this: Nearly three weeks remain before the Mar. 3 deadline on the agreement, and myriad proposals and meetings will be happening between now and then. Tom notes the way that the proposal confuses the conversation immensely. A lot of that going on these days.
John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider, and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.
Only three of John Fox’s 12 wins as Bears coach have been against NFC North opponents, while 12 of his 29 losses have come against divisional opponents.
That’s a recipe for back-to-back-to-back last place finishes in the NFC North. And if the Bears can’t beat an Aaron Rodgers-less Green Bay Packers team, why could it beat a Detroit Lions team that has a healthy franchise quarterback?
The positive end of that answer is the Bears do have wins over two playoff teams (Pittsburgh and Carolina) while six of their four losses have been by eight points or fewer. Sunday’s game will probably be close, again (if it’s not, and the Bears are on the losing end of it, it would raise some significant concerns about the state of Fox within the locker room).
So if the game is decided by one possession or less, this could be the difference: Detroit has one of the best special teams units in the NFL, ranking second in Football Outsiders’ DVOA, while the Bears are 28th by the same measure.
Getting Sherrick McManis back this week should help solidify Jeff Rodgers’ special teams units, but Jamal Agnew has two punt return scores and is averaging 18.3 yards per return.
“Tough guy — he’ll return inside and outside,” Rodgers said. “He’s got multiple longer returns against people this year. it’s not just, ‘I had a long return in Week 2 or Week 1,’ and kinda held onto that. he’s been productive in a lot of games. certainly a guy that we’ve gotta do a good job against.”
If the Bears don’t do a good job bottling up Agnew, though, he could be the reason why the game flips to Detroit — or, at least, why the Lions keep the Bears at arm’s length.
Prediction: Lions 24, Bears 16
Seth Gruen (Bleacher Report/”Big Ten Unfiltered” podcast), Chris Emma (670TheScore.com) and Matt Zahn (CBS 2) join Kap on the panel. If the Bears lose badly to the Lions, should Sunday be John Fox’s last game?
Plus Bulls Insider Vincent Goodwill joins the panel to talk Bulls as well as the Niko/Portis cold war.
Listen to the full SportsTalk Live Podcast right here: