Bears

Lovie: Business as usual for veteran Bears

Lovie: Business as usual for veteran Bears

Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Posted: 3:45 p.m.

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

Right now the NFL players are locked out of their football homes. For the Bears, nothing is really all that different.

And yet everything feels different. The NFL may ultimately be a business but on another level its very, very personal, including relationships with coaches.

Theyre like family, said defensive tackle Anthony Adams. Its separating your family... Its a shame that we have to go through something like this, something that couldve been resolved two, two-and-a-half years ago.

Offseason workouts would only have begun last week, and one player told CSNChicago.com that one start date for the offseason program actually was to have been April 11. Regardless, the first two weeks are devoted to lifting weights and running, which is what players are doing anyway at myriad facilities around Chicago and elsewhere on the States.

READ: Re-signing Adams a high priority for Bears

But while its fun, Adams said Tuesday before receiving the 2010 Ed Block Courage Award at Maryville Academy in Des Plaines, its just not the same.

Professional athletes are creatures of routine and its awkward for us because were used to being on a set structure, Adams said. Its different but were all professionals and have to handle ourselves as such.

Unlike a number of teams, the Bears have a coaching staff virtually intact and players vested in its systems, for the most part. The Bears do not have the difficulties that will beset Carolina, Denver, San Francisco and other teams with new head coaches waiting to install new systems with a roster that is in a molten state because of a vast group of free agents and a prohibition against signing and bringing in draft choices and other rookies.

The lockout is hurting some of the teams that are just getting started but we have a veteran staff, a veteran team, and its not like we have to be out telling the guys what they need to be doing, said coach Lovie Smith. They know that we eventually have a season and you have to be ready to go once were told to go back to work.

The lawsuit to end the lockout and its expected appeal by the losing side is expected to take weeks to play out. Veteran players who have put in the work to stay in the NFL to this point arent waiting for any court decisions.

Ive been in the league for a while and I understand how hard I have to work, what I need to do, what works for me and what doesnt, Adams said. By me being a veteran, being 30 years young, I understand the rigorous amount of work youve got to do.

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.

Bears-Lions prediction: Will special teams continue John Fox's NFC North woes?

Bears-Lions prediction: Will special teams continue John Fox's NFC North woes?

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

SportsTalk Live Podcast: How hot is John Fox's seat?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: How hot is John Fox's seat?

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: