Bears

View from the Moon: Packers in Super Bowl XLVI?

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View from the Moon: Packers in Super Bowl XLVI?

Monday, Feb. 7, 2011
11:04 a.m.

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

Former ChargerPatriot and current NFL analyst Rodney Harrison told The Dan Patrick Show on Comcast SportsNet that of the Steelers and Packers, he saw the Packers as the more likely to be playing next February in Indianapolis. Part of the reasoning was what Green Bay accomplished this year having lost the likes of Jermichael Finley and Ryan Grant from an offense that was still among the NFLs best.

Agree very much with Harrisons take. More than just the young age of the Packers, the chemistry and organization within that team points away from the kind of personality issues that pulled the 85 Bears and others down.

The media needs to let go of the Brett Favre thing. Now. It was an issue several years ago when Favre could still play and he was capable of a good season with Minnesota or letting one ebb away for the New York Jets. That monkey may have been on Aaron Rodgers back in 2007 but it certainly isnt now. And why there needs to be a choice made between Rodgers and Favre somehow makes zero sense...

The big worry, if youre a Bears fan or a Bear, is that Rodgers once again played his best in the biggest game. His post-season passer ratings, in a year when his regular-season rating was 101.2, were 122.5, 136.8 and 111.5 in the Super Bowl. Add to that the 121.4 he posted in the 2009 wild-card loss and you have a disturbing pattern in an opponent.

The one game not in that cluster was the 55.4 that he struggled to against the Bears in the NFC Championship game. Rodgers threw 2 INTs and zero TD passes, the only one of his post-season games without a scoring toss. And those were the only interceptions Rodgers threw this postseason.

But heres the rub: The Packers still won. And under Rodgers they are 5-2 against the Lovie Smith Bears. The Jay Cutler brouhaha (Rodgers outplayed him for the first half anyway) overshadowed another trend line, that Rodgers is a winner.

And that is indeed a problem-in-waiting for the Bears.

Kudos to legendary NFL scrivener Peter King for Sports Illustrated, who got into the difficulties involved in voting for the Hall of Fame. This year the process put Richard Dent in the Hall but Peter makes an interesting case for transparency in voting while also acknowledging the problems that would come with a shift to open-balloting.

Good friend Jim Trotter takes you even a step further inside the process and deliberations, and how the selections are going to be harder, not easier, to make in the coming several years.

Peter also shares the result of his informal Twitter poll as to what fans want in the way of games in a season. His stepping-off point was Commissioner Roger Goodell declaring that 18 games is what fans want, which Peters research didnt confirm. What fans do want is an end to meaningless preseason games that cost regular-season prices for tickets.

Assuming there will be a 2011 season starting on time, Peters best guesses for the Packers 2011 season-opener opponent (the NFL has the Super Bowl winner open at home now): New Orleans, Tampa Bay, and the Bears. Given that the league loved hooking the Saints and Vikings up to start the 2010 season, after the two had squared off in the 2009 NFC Championship game, easy pick for the likely favorite for the NFL:

Bears at Green Bay, Sept. 8.

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.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Did the Bears technically "win" on Sunday?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Did the Bears technically "win" on Sunday?

David Haugh (Chicago Tribune), Adam Jahns (Chicago Sun-Times) and Patrick Finley (Chicago Sun-Times) join Kap on the panel.  Kap is happy that Mitch Trubisky played ok and John Fox’s team lost again.  The panel disagrees.

Plus Leonard Floyd doesn’t have an ACL tear…. Yet. Should the Bears shut him down even if he gets good news?

Bears need Mitch Trubisky to become a closer, but teammates see it coming

Bears need Mitch Trubisky to become a closer, but teammates see it coming

With Sunday’s game on the line and the Bears owning the football at their 17-yard line, the offense needed a drive for field goal position to tie the Detroit Lions. But rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky, with 1:03 on the clock, wasn’t thinking 3 points. He was thinking touchdown and a win, and the huddle knew it.

“I think that's his mindset all the time,” said guard Josh Sitton, who recognized something familiar in Trubisky’s face that Sitton had seen over his years with Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay. “He's a play-maker, he's got all the confidence in the world in himself and the guys around him.

“You can just see it on his face. I don't think he really says anything, he doesn't really need to say anything, you can kind of see it, by that look in his eyes. He's got what it takes to be a great player in this league.”

It was not intended to be any even remote comparison with Rodgers. More than eyes are involved in that. But while the drive Sunday ended in failure in the form of a missed field goal, something was noted in the process.

The 13-play drive for the Bears’ first touchdown Sunday was the longest sustained by the offense under Trubisky. And it was a statement possession for an offense that had not scored a first-quarter touchdown in nine prior games.

But if a negative among the many Trubisky positives was the fourth time in five situations that Trubisky has failed to direct a game-winning or –tying drive, which goes a long way to answering why the Bears are 2-4 under him. Actually the number of come-up-short drives is more than those if you count things like a three-and-out at Baltimore in regulation before Trubisky led a seven-play drive for a winning overtime field goal.

Still, looking a little deeper, Trubisky has gotten progressively “closer” to being the kind of finisher that the Bears have needed for decades. At the very least, Trubisky is keeping drives alive longer and longer, if not ending them with points. In these situations:

Vs.                     4th qtr/OT situation

Minnesota         1 play, interception ends potential winning drive

Baltimore          3 plays, punt, regulation ends in tie

                           7 plays, game-winning FG in OT

Carolina            Game already decided

New Orleans    2 plays, interception ends drive for tie

Green Bay        5 plays, ball over on downs on drive for tie

Detroit               11 plays, missed FG for tie

Within the huddle, the team confidence in Trubisky and vice versa has clearly grown, regardless of outcome, and that is something the offense did not consistently have in Mike Glennon, Matt Barkley, Brian Hoyer, Jay Cutler, Jimmy Clausen or even Josh McCown.

“[Trubisky] is just growing and growing and you just see it,” Sittyon said. “You saw the talent right away and he just keeps ... the nuances of the game, he just keeps learning and learning. He gives you all the confidence in the world as a guy in the locker room and on the field, in the huddle.

“He has that look in his eye where you're thinking 'All right, he's going to get the job done.’”

Staff addition? Probably not but Bears have an opening

Taking a morning-after look around the NFL after the Bears’ 27-24 loss to the Detroit Lions:

Something to probably dismiss but at least worth mentioning… .

The Denver Broncos on Monday fired offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, the same Mike McCoy who handled the Denver offense as John Fox’s OC. Don’t expect anything in-season, certainly not at this point, but the situation does offer an interesting future option if somehow Fox sees the fourth and final year of his contract, even looking further down the coaching road irrespective of Fox’s presence.

McCoy was ousted from a foundering Broncos situation, presumably over not being able to make anything much out of Trevor Simian

McCoy, who was the mix of candidates and interviewed to succeed Lovie Smith back in 2012, wouldn’t necessarily be brought in as offensive coordinator by Fox or anyone else. What about the role of “consultant” or “assistant head coach” added to the Bears offensive staff?

The Bears have neither position on the staff currently, and haven’t had an assistant head coach since Rod Marinelli had that as part of his title from 2009-2012 under Lovie Smith. Marinelli, like McCoy, had been a head coach as well.

Notably, Fox kept McCoy on his staffs when Fox was hired both in Carolina and Denver, a good measure of Fox’s take on McCoy’s offensive-coaching skills. Fox added the job of passing-game coordinator to McCoy’s duties as quarterbacks coach with Carolina in 2007-08. Since then McCoy coached Peyton Manning in Denver and Philip Rivers in San Diego.

Also notably, perhaps in the other direction, Fox might have brought McCoy to Chicago after the latter was fired as Chargers head coach after last season. That didn’t happen, possibly because McCoy instead wanted a full OC position, which wasn’t open with Loggains in place.

Offensive consultants aren’t necessarily staff bloating; they have been referred to as “coaches for coaches.” Bruce Arians brought in longtime OC Tom Moore when Arians became Arizona Cardinals head coach (following Phil Emery’s decision to go with Marc Trestman over Arians). Moore previously served as offensive coordinator, then senior offensive coordinator, then offensive consultant through the Peyton Manning years in Indianapolis. Moore subsequently became offensive consultant for the Jets (2011) and Tennessee Titans (2012), the latter stint while Loggains was offensive coordinator.

Longtime offensive line coach Jim McNally has been a “consultant” with the Jets (2011-12) and Bengals (2012-this season). Randy Brown was a kicking consultant working under Bears special teams coaches in the Dave Wannstedt and Dick Jauron regimes, going on to work under John Harbaugh in Philadelphia and Baltimore.