Nerves rise in Bears Nation after Packers beat Vikes


Nerves rise in Bears Nation after Packers beat Vikes

Sunday, Nov. 21, 2010
2:36 p.m.

By John Mullin

Looking at the Green Bay-Minnesota game (well, it was supposed to be one):

Not that the Bears and Bear fans wanted a booster shot for any NFC North nervousness but .

FOX Sports graphic showing the exact same win-loss records (23-18) for Aaron Rodgers and Brett Favre through their respective first 41 games should have sent a jolt through Bears Nation. The real meat of the graphic was in the far better TD-INT ratio that Rodgers has to this career point vs. Favre. Because Rodgers is anything but a game-manager and he still is not giving the ball away to the degree that Favre did, and does.

James Jones Nice throw point to Rodgers after a deft touch pass along the deep right sideline was a statement. And Rodgers just needed a quick finger gesture and Greg Jennings broke his route in the end zone for a TD pass from Rodgers. Then Jones connection with Rodgers for the TD before halftime just was one more illustration of the growing connection that quarterback and receiver corps.

Throw in Jennings second TD connection with Rodgers in the third quarter and the Vikings were road kill. Then Rodgers drops another into Jennings lap to push things to 31-3.

Jay Cutler may eventually have that with Devin Hester, Johnny Knox, Earl Bennett and others. Not yet.

Faulting Favre
Brett Favres choppiness on the sidelines during this game says again how bad a fit he has become is his dotage. The Vikings turnover ratio reached a minus-13 with a poorly thrown slant throw that was intercepted near the end of the first half. It was Favres fault and his mesh with his receivers appears to be only slightly better than with his coaches.

At some point, when it starts looking like everybody else is the problem, you realize that theres one constant in all these issues: No. 4.

Much has been made about reports of how players dislike coach Brad Childress, but those seriously miss the point. It is never difficult to find the five (three, six, pick a number) players who dislike the head coach or manager; you want three in the Bears locker room, theyre there.

The real issue in Minnesota appears to be how divisive Favre has been

John Randle, Overachiever? No such thing

Fun to see John Randle receive his Hall of Fame ring Sunday. The Minnesota defensive tackle was in the Class of 2010 and was one of the great Bears tormentors of the 1990s as well as one of the funnier players to line up against the local 11.

He was also 6-1, 270 pounds and an undrafted free agent that no one thought was worth much of a look. But Randle is worth a very long look for more than just his sack total and domination of so many games.

Its easy to label people like Randle as overachievers because they accomplished so much more than expected. I look at Randles instead as inspiration he achieved everything he was capable of. The ones who decided how good Randle should be, ooops.

Matt Toeaina and I talked a little about the notion of overachiever this past week and he agreed that you cant over achieve (unless youre substance-aided or such). The Bears defensive tackle, himself undrafted and pretty much uncelebrated before winning Tommie Harris starting job this year, had an amusing self-assessment:

I dont look at what Im doing as over-achieving, Toeaina said, laughing. I think what I did before this was maybe me under achieving.

Couldnt have said it better.

John "Moon" Mullin is'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.

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.”