Moon: Bears will be ready for upstart Seahawks


Moon: Bears will be ready for upstart Seahawks

Monday, Jan. 10, 2011
4:40 PM

By John Mullin

Julius Peppers cut to the chase, and he did it a lot better than the New Orleans Saints did.

The Bears defensive end watched as Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch broke a 67-yard touchdown run to end New Orleans' playoff hopes. What struck Peppers was how many Saints did not do much more than watch as well.

Lynch broke more than a half-dozen tackles and as far as that ever happening against Peppers and the Bears defense, No, he said simply. He repeated the statement with purpose. No.

I watched that play and it was a great play by Marshawn. He ran really hard on that but I saw a few guys miss tackles, get up and start watching. That doesnt happen around here. We get up and run to the ball. Somebodys going to get up and run to the ball.

The effort that he displayed was amazing. It was also a lack of effort on the other side by a couple of guys, and I dont think that well have that problem this week.

The Saints didnt play playoff football, which is somewhat surprising. They were out-coached, throwing 60 passes in a game that didnt require that, and they were out-played.

As for the Seahawks, the style of win over New Orleans may be a decided factor in the Bears favor. The Bears can speak from experience that it is often more difficult to come back from a good win than a bad loss, and the Saints game was arguably the Seahawks Super Bowl. To return to that level emotionally is unlikely, not from the perspective of game day, but from that of devoting every hour to the kind of preparation needed for that kind of win.

They mean it

The Bears came together for their usual pre-practice huddle Monday and broke with a yell that doubled as a mission statement: Champs!

Think its just clichd rah-rah, usual stuff? Think again.

Tim Jennings was a member of the Indianapolis Colts for the first four years of his career, including the Super Bowl game against the Bears as a rookie. But he wasnt sorry to see the Colts lose to the New York Jets on Saturday in the AFC wild-card round and not out of any sort of ill-wishes toward the team that didnt re-sign him last offseason.

I had a little sigh of relief, Jennings told, allowing himself a look ahead to where the Bears expect to be. Weve still got Tom Brady to worry about but its a relief to have one great team out of the playoffs.

Theres a couple more, but I didnt want to see Peyton in the Super Bowl.

Serious wager

Wide receiver Devin Aromashodu was wearing a stylish blue-and-orange sweatsuit with a large Auburn across the front. Not far away, defensive tackle Matt Toeainas shoes were sitting in his locker stall with the distinctive O for Oregon.

Their respective alma maters meet Monday night in the BCS championship game. I cant talk about our wagers, Aromashodu said. Hell have to wear this Auburn top for a day and weve got some other stuff.

Toeaina was willing to admit that Auburn had some chance against his Ducks. To a point.

Its a tough game to call, Toeaina said. But Im planning on bringing in one of the six Oregon jerseys I have and let him take his pick.


We can pick this up in our regular Monday on-line chat from 7-8 p.m. tonight on And in the interest of disclosure, I had the Saints defeating Seattle on Saturday, but by less than the 10 points the Saints were favored by (thought New Orleans would win by 7). I did not see the Colts falling to the Jets on Saturday, either. I thought the Colts would win by 3.

I did, however, go with both road teams Sunday, with the Baltimore Ravens over the Kansas City Chiefs but by 3, not the 23 that the Ravens won by. And the Packers really werent that difficult a 4-point pick over Philadelphia.

For this week: Home teams hold serve. The Pittsburgh defense makes the Steelers a touchdown better than the Ravens. Tom Brady will work extra hard in the film room to ensure his Patriots spank the Jets and Rex Ryan. The Atlanta Falcons will have to score late to get past the finally-gassed Packers. And the Bears

Chicago 34 Seattle 20

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Will Cam Meredith return to the Bears?


SportsTalk Live Podcast: Will Cam Meredith return to the Bears?

Hub Arkush (Pro Football Weekly/670 The Score), Mark Grote (670 The Score) and Mark Carman (WGN Radio) join Luke Stuckmeyer on the panel. Quenton Nelson works out at Notre Dame’s pro day. If he’s still on the board at 8, should the Bears take him? Plus the panel talks about the Cubs outfield heading into 2018 and if it’s time to shut down both Jonathan Toews and Lauri Markkanen.

Could Quenton Nelson increase his value by playing tackle?

USA Today

Could Quenton Nelson increase his value by playing tackle?

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Quenton Nelson hasn’t met with the Bears yet during this pre-draft process, and doesn’t have a local visit scheduled with them. But maybe that’s not too surprising.

Harry Hiestand has better intel on him than anyone else after coaching him for the past four years at Notre Dame, after all. 

“Coach Hiestand, he’s known me since I was an immature freshman that wasn’t good at football, until now being a lot more mature and responsible and doing the right thing and a good football player,” Nelson said. “He knows everything about me.”

Could part of that intel provided by Hiestand be that Nelson has the ability to eventually play tackle?

Nelson might be the closest to a “sure thing” prospect in this year’s draft, with his reams of dominant film and off-the-charts work ethic projecting him as an All-Pro for years to come. But that he plays guard is a stumbling block, given interior positions generally don’t hold as much value as tackles in the NFL.

So here’s a potential scenario for the Bears: They draft Nelson at No. 8 — which is still "high" for a guard — and plug him at left guard in 2018. They then, under the careful watch of Hiestand, slide him to tackle in 2019. 

“I’m pretty convinced that Q could do whatever he sets his mind to,” Mike McGlinchey, a first-round tackle in his own right who's Nelson’s ex-Irish teammate and workout buddy, said. “If that’s what teams want him to play, I’m sure he’ll take that head on and perform to the best of his ability.” 

Nelson, to his credit, is confident he could make the switch to tackle (he was recruited by Hiestand as a tackle, and began his college career backing up Zack Martin at tackle). He said the only team that’s asked him about it so far is the Cincinnati Bengals, though it’s unlikely he’ll still be on the board when they pick at No. 21. 

But maybe the thought of guards being significantly less valuable than tackles is slowly becoming antiquated in today’s NFL. Four of the top 10 highest paid offensive linemen, by total contract value, are interior linemen. Three of the top 10 offensive linemen with the most guaranteed money are guards, led by Andrew Norwell, who inked a five-year, $66.5 million deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars earlier this month with $30 million guaranteed at signing. Only one offensive lineman — Nate Solder, who just signed with the New York Giants — is guaranteed more money. 

Following the money, if teams are willing to splash down loads of cash for the best guards in the league, a team may be willing to spend a top-10 pick on a guard who could immediately be among the best at his position in the NFL. Or the calculation for whatever team drafts him may be this: Would you rather have him as a perennial All-Pro guard or "merely" a solid-to-good tackle? 

Regardless of where he ends up playing, though, Nelson is one of those supremely-talented players who takes the right approach to his craft — in other words, one of those guys you just want to get in your building. And while Nelson said he’d love to play for his hometown New York Giants — who could be interested in him with the No. 2 pick — he said getting to link back up with Hiestand would be an incredible opportunity, too. 

“That would be amazing to play for him,” Nelson said. “He’s the one that made me into the player I am today. I wouldn’t be here without him or be in any conversations in the draft without him, so it would mean a lot to play for him again.”