Bears

Moon: Bears need Packers' draft success

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Moon: Bears need Packers' draft success

Thursday, Feb. 3, 2011
Posted 3:32 p.m.

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

As the 2011 draft stands right now, the Bears dont go on the clock until the No. 29 pick of the first round. What they could use, after playing the Green Bay Packers three times in the span of about four months, is for some of the Packers draft good fortune to have rubbed off.

The Bears were very lucky once when Brian Urlacher fell to them at No. 9 after the Arizona Cardinals took Thomas Jones at No. 7 and the Pittsburgh Steelers opted for Plaxico Burress at No. 8. Both teams had Urlacher in their final three at those spots and chose offense.

The Packers were down at No. 24 in the 2005 draft, long after the Bears chose Cedric Benson at No. 5, and had to wait and settle for what was left. What was left turned out to be Aaron Rodgers.

And yes, they were surprised, GM Ted Thompson admits.

We talk about that locally a lot, Thompson said during a media session in Dallas Thursday. We didnt spend a lot of time studying Aaron up until about a week or 10 days before the draft, because wed always assumed that he was going to go pretty high.

Then the rumors started flying that he might be dropping, not because people didnt like him as a player, but because people werent in the position to take a quarterback in the first round.

Could it happen for the Bears? Absolutely. Somewhere in every draft are nuggets deep into the first round and beyond. To wit:

T Bryan Bulaga, 23rd, 2010
LB Clay Matthews, 26th, 2009
WR Jordy Nelson, 36th, 2008
G Daryn Colledge, 47th, 2006
WR Greg Jennings, 52nd, 2006
LB Nick Barnett, 29th, 2003
T Chad Clifton, 44th, 2000.

Throw in Rodgers, another 20s find, along with LB A.J. Hawk (5th, 2006) and DT B.J. Raji (9th, 2009), and you have might have something.

Like a Super Bowl team.

New kid

The Bears filled their staff vacancy for defensive line coach almost as fast as they did the one for special-teams assistant, where Kevin ODea was in place about the same time as Chris Tabor was taking over special teams for the Cleveland Browns.

Mike Phair has been hired as D-line coach. Call it part of the Ruskell Connection, with Phair formerly with the Seattle Seahawks in several capacities during the time Tim Ruskell was president of the Seahawks. Phair previously was a scout with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, also working for Ruskell.

No surprise

A report in Thursdays Sun-Times confirming what Lovie Smith said after the loss to Green Bay, that quarterback Jay Cutler got a shot and received treatment at halftime for his injured knee, shouldnt elicit surprise. What is surprising is that anyone still would find something to blast Cutler for in that game other than his performance.

Cutler went back in the game and tried for one series to play. That somehow seems to be overlooked constantly. It shouldnt be.

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.

Return of the Monsters of the Midway: Bears defense has huge day in win over Panthers

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USA TODAY

Return of the Monsters of the Midway: Bears defense has huge day in win over Panthers

Are the Monsters of the Midway back?

You wouldn’t be wrong for feeling that way after watching yet another strong performance from the Bears’ defense in Sunday’s 17-3 win over the Carolina Panthers at Soldier Field.

Highlighted by Eddie Jackson’s pair of 75-yard turnover-return touchdowns, the Bears’ defense had a second straight highlight-reel display on Sunday. In addition to Jackson’s takeaways, the defense also added a fourth-quarter interception for a third takeaway, sacked Cam Newton five times and kept the Panthers completely out of the end zone.

For those keeping score at home: That’s two full games without allowing an offensive touchdown.

And they did it all while constantly being on the field. Thanks to Jackson’s touchdowns, the Bears’ offense got to stay on the sideline more than usual, the Bears’ offense possessing the ball for fewer than 7 minutes in the first half and only 21 minutes and 25 seconds on the game overall. And when the offense did take the field, the results were poor, meaning a quick turnaround for the defense.

The overworked defense didn’t always keep the Panthers from marching down the field, but the Panthers never found the end zone, Newton’s inaccuracies assisting the terrific play of the Bears’ defense, which technically forced four turnovers, if you count a third-quarter turnover on downs.

And that’s all before mentioning that the defense supplied almost the entirety of the Bears’ scoring output for the day on Jackson’s first-quarter fumble-return touchdown and his second-quarter interception-return touchdown. Both went 75 yards as Jackson, playing a year to the day from the end of his collegiate career with a broken leg at Alabama, became the first defensive player ever to have two 75-yard-plus return touchdowns in an NFL game.

If you’re having flashbacks to the last decade, when Lovie Smith’s defenses had a habit of being bigger scoring threats than the offense, you’re not alone. Twitter lit up with Mike Brown comparisons for Jackson.

Great day for the rookie, great day for the defense.

No offense to be found

Meanwhile, the Bears’ offense did next to nothing on a day when the defense was excellent.

Mitch Trubisky was mostly silent in his third career game, the obvious exception being his 70-yard heave to Tarik Cohen. Trubisky’s deep ball landed in his fellow rookie’s hands, and Cohen did the rest scampering all the way down to the 5-yard line.

Of course, the Bears’ offense failed there, unable to cover five yards in three plays for a touchdown. Trubisky attempted to rush in on third down, racing to the pylon and diving for the score. It was initially ruled a touchdown, but a replay review determined he was down short of the goal line. The Bears settled for a field goal on that drive, and it was the only scoring drive the offense engineered all day.

In the end, the numbers were disgusting. The Bears accumulated just 153 yards, picked up just five first downs, went 2-for-11 on third downs and scored just three points. Trubisky barely even threw the ball, completing just four of his seven passes for 107 yards.

Good thing the defense was so good — and scored 14 points — because the offense was practically non-existent.

Eddie Jackson, you are ridiculous! Wild facts about rookie safety's NFL-first touchdown combo

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USA TODAY

Eddie Jackson, you are ridiculous! Wild facts about rookie safety's NFL-first touchdown combo

When you do something that’s never been done before in an NFL game, you’ve done something pretty special.

Eddie Jackson had himself a jaw-dropping day Sunday, returning not one but two Carolina Panthers turnovers 75 yards for touchdowns in the first half of the Bears’ Week 7 contest, the first time ever a defensive player had multiple return touchdowns of 75 yards or more.

The Panthers had little trouble moving the ball downfield on their first possession of the game, but quarterback Cam Newton’s option pitch was fumbled, allowing Jackson to pick it up and dash down the sideline 75 yards for a score.

Then in the second quarter, the Panthers got inside the Bears’35-yard line, only for a Newton pass to be batted up in the air by Prince Amukamara and land in Jackson’s hands. The rookie safety again ran back 75 yards for a Bears touchdown.

And how about this: Jackson's huge performance came a year to the day that his collegiate career ended with a broken leg at Alabama.

Some more wild facts from Jackson’s remarkable first half:

Incredible. And that was just in the first half.