Bears

Tinoisamoa out 3rd straight game, Roach to start

Tinoisamoa out 3rd straight game, Roach to start

Friday, Dec. 3, 2010
2:26 PM

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

The Bears will be without Pisa Tinoisamoa for a third straight game after the veteran strong-side linebacker was unable to practice fully on Friday. In his place, former Northwestern star Nick Roach will start.

Coach Lovie Smith had indicated Tinoisamoa be back but he didnt come around as much as wed hoped, Smith said. Tinoisamoa missed most of last season with two knee injuries and the Bears hope to have him for the finishing stretch of 2010.

The falloff from starter to backup is virtually nil between Tinoisamoa and Roach. Indeed, including the last two games of 09, the Bears have won Roachs last four starts at Sam backer, including a shutout in Miami and wins over Michael Vick and Brett Favre (09) when the latter was deep into his statement season.

Roach has been active for every game except Dallas this year so it hasnt been a difficult year for me, he said. Ive been healthy except for a minor knee injury in training camp so I count that as a plus, being able to play in every game.

The Detroit Lions, however, are likely to be without defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch, who missed his fourth day of practice with a neck injury. The Lions already lost kicker Jason Hanson for the season with a knee injury and are without their 1-2 quarterbacks in Matthew Stafford and Shaun Hill.

Sad note, but somehow not

The passing of Cubs legend Ron Santo at age 70 from bladder cancer is one of those things that gives rise to thoughts and recollections, snapshots really, and in Ronnies case, theyre all good.

Forget what Ronnie was or wasnt as a broadcaster at the end of his career. Ron just enjoyed (unless it was Bad Cubs) the game and being at the game and if you couldnt just appreciate the emotion, that was always, to me, your loss. He got it. A good groan now and then? Hey, weve all heard worse over the airwaves.

I remember back in his playing days when his Park Ridge pizza place gave free pizzas if you were in the shop when he hit a homer. Sometimes the folks there didnt stop giving free stuff if the Cubs won, and Ronnie never minded.

Later he opened a place in downtown Park Ridge. Nice food, nice setting, nice people. Like most restaurants, it eventually went away. But Ronnie was there a lot of the time and always had time for folks, coming over to a table where my parents might be sitting and visiting.

Ronnie never big-timed people, and thats really the best measure of someone. Its always amused me when its said of an individual, Oh, really, hes nice once you get to know him. Heck, arent we pretty much all nice to people we know (except the jerks)? Ron Santo was nice to nobodies, to people who werent Hall of Fame voters, to just folks.

Too soon gone, Ronnie. Too soon. Thanks for the pleasant times. And the pizza. It was great.

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.

Can the Bears make enough plays to beat the Carolina Panthers?

Can the Bears make enough plays to beat the Carolina Panthers?

Everything changed for the Bears after going up 17-3 last week against the Baltimore Ravens. Mitchell Trubisky’s 27-yard touchdown to Dion Sims was immediately followed by Bobby Rainey running a kickoff back 96 yards for a touchdown, then the offense was bogged down with three fumbles (two lost) on three consecutive possessions. 

But Adrian Amos seemed to seal the game with his 90-yard pick six — that is, until Michael Campanaro ran Pat O’Donnell’s punt back 77 yards for what wound up being a game-tying touchdown after a two-point conversion.

The point is the Bears should’ve cruised to a comfortable win last week; a few critical mistakes didn’t allow that to happen. The Bears haven’t led at the end of the fourth quarter this year, a pretty strong indicator they haven’t played a complete game yet despite having two wins. 

The Carolina Panthers have road wins over the Detroit Lions and New England Patriots this year, and only lost to the Philadelphia Eagles by five points last week (despite Cam Newton throwing three interceptions). The bet here is the Bears keep things close on the backs of a strong defense, but either can’t make enough plays or make too many mistakes to win. 

Prediction: Panthers 20, Bears 16

Three and out: What Ron Rivera likes about Mitchell Trubisky played out this week

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USA TODAY

Three and out: What Ron Rivera likes about Mitchell Trubisky played out this week

Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera saw a lot of Mitchell Trubisky last year, with the North Carolina quarterback on TV quite a bit in the Charlotte area. The Panthers, set with Cam Newton, weren’t in the market for a quarterback in the 2017 NFL Draft, but Trubisky nonetheless stood out to the seventh-year Carolina coach and former Super Bowl-winning Bears linebacker. 

For Rivera, more than Trubisky’s arm strength and athleticism jumped off the screen. 

“Leadership,” Rivera pointed to. “When you watch him when he was playing — I love watching guys that either get on their teammates when they’re not doing it or they take accountability when they make a mistake. And you saw that with him.

“… We think the young man has got what it takes. We like who’s he’s gonna become. We do. We think the future can be bright for him. We are big fans here.”

Trubisky took accountability for both of his turnovers against the Minnesota Vikings: The interception Harrison Smith baited him into was certainly his fault, but his sack-strip fumble was more the result of Everson Griffen jumping the snap and blowing past left tackle Charles Leno. Against the Baltimore Ravens, Trubisky also lost a fumble on a sack-strip when cornerback Lardarius Webb hit him and dislodged the ball.

Trubisky’s explanation of that fumble was that he moved off his first read too quickly, causing him to miss Webb making a beeline for him in the backfield. But according to offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains, that fumble wasn’t the quarterback’s fault. 

“That’s because he’s a stud,” Loggains said of Trubisky taking responsibility for it. “We screwed the protection up. We should have been sliding to the guy. The guy should not have been coming free. That’s Mitch taking a bullet that he doesn’t need to take. The reality is he saw the guy coming and tried to get over to the check down quickly but we got to do a better job up front protecting him.”

But that Trubisky was willing to say he was at fault for that fumble plays into why he quickly gained the respect of the Bears’ the locker room. That’s what a quarterback should be doing when speaking to the media after the game — accepting responsibility and deflecting off his teammates, even if he’s not at fault. That kind of stuff doesn’t go unnoticed. 

Stopping Superman

Pernell McPhee offered this goal up for his fellow defensive teammates this week: Make sure Newton stays as Clark Kent on Sunday. 

“He’s a very talented guy, but the only thing I told the defense is let's make him be Cam Newton, not Superman,” McPhee said, referring to Newton’s signature touchdown move. “We don't want him opening up the cape.”

So how does a defense stop Newton from being Superman?

“He’s a very versatile quarterback,” defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said. “Obviously his running the ball, whether it be through his improvising with scrambling on called pass plays, or the called running plays they do have for him, that’s a strength for him. We can’t just focus on stopping that. We’ve gotta stop Cam Newton the passer and the runner. They’ve got good running backs they’re handing it off to and receivers and running backs he’s throwing it to, so you’ve got a total offense to stop.”

One point to note here: Newton threw three interceptions last week against the Philadelphia Eagles and had been picked off eight times this year. A Bears secondary that intercepted Joe Flacco twice last week could have some more shots at takeaways on Sunday. 

High praise

Sunday will mark Thomas Davis’ 156th game in the NFL, with the linebacker playing every one of those with the Carolina Panthers. He played for John Fox from 2005-2010. But where we’re going here is what he had to say about how the Bears run their offense with a rookie quarterback:

“I think this is probably the best running game that we’ve seen from an offense with a rookie quarterback,” Davis said. “You look at some of the other rookies that come in. Teams want to run the ball. But when you look at the physicality and the style of play that this team plays with, I think that really makes the job a lot easier for a young quarterback. So I definitely feel like that physicality in their running game is definitely going to help him out.”

The Bears ran the ball 50 times against a Baltimore Ravens defense that played a lot more Cover-2 than expected. With star linebacker Luke Kuechly out for Sunday, the Bears may try to use a similar strategy, even if Carolina loads the box more than Baltimore did (a little more than once one every three runs by Jordan Howard). 

But if the Bears’ offense is going to have success, it’s going to be behind Howard, Tarik Cohen and an improving offensive line. Maybe Davis’ comments are hyperbole, but he’s also played a lot more football than you and me.