Bears

Word on the Street: TCF Bank Stadium 'unplayable'?

Word on the Street: TCF Bank Stadium 'unplayable'?

Sunday, Dec. 19, 2010
CSNChicago.com
Vikings' Kluwe: TCF Bank Stadium 'unplayable'

The Minnesota Vikings got the first look at TCF Bank Stadium on Sunday when they held a walk-through at the stadium on the University of Minnesota campus.

Vikings punter Chris Kluwe, who was critical of the decision to play there during the week, called the field "unplayable" on his personal Twitter account. At this point, however, it's unknown what, if anything can be done about the situation. Kluwe added that he has been muzzled, asked not to talk about the field on his Twitter account that has the handle chriswarcraft.

"Serious time -- All respect to the people that cleared the field and got it ready, you did an amazing job. That being said, it's unplayable," Kluwe wrote on his Twitter account," (ChicagoBreakingSports).
Has Gibson lost his starting job?
Taj Gibson suffered a concussion Saturday night in his first start as the replacement center for the injured Joakim Noah. But, even though he played just 10 minutes, could Gibson have lost the opportunity to start, especially going up against the 7-foot-1 Spencer Hawes of the 76ers Tuesday (Gibson is only 6-foot-9)? (Chicago Tribune)
Former Bear Grossman throws 4 TDs Sunday

Rex Grossman, who was drafted by the Bears to be the quarterback of the future, got his first chance to start with another team Sunday and made the most of it. After getting promoted to first string for the Washington Redskins (over Donovan McNabb), Grossman engineered his team to 30 points, albeit in a 33-30 loss. Grossman had a career-high 4 TDs and was 25-of-43 for 322 yards. He also threw two interceptions and was sacked five times. (Chicago Tribune)
Favre ruled out against Bears

Vikings quarterback Brett Favre has officially been ruled out of Monday night's game against the Bears with a shoulder injury.

Favre didn't have much to say as he walked around the locker room Saturday afternoon but interim coach Leslie Frazier said the quarterback will sit for the second straight week, (ChicagoBreakingSports).

Former Cubs MVP Cavaretta dies

Phil Cavaretta, who won the NL MVP with the Chicago Cubs in 1945, passed away Saturday at the age of 94. Cavaretta, who also attended Lane Tech, led the Cubs to their last World Series appearance in that same season while playing first base and outfield. He also played the final 77 games of his career for the Chicago White Sox. He was also believed to be the last living person to have played against Babe Ruth, which he did so in 1935. (Chicago Tribune)

Buehrle's flip named Defensive Play of the Year
The 2010 GIBBY for Defensive Play of the Year goes to the White Sox Mark Buehrle. The GIBBY (Greatest in Baseball Yearly) Awards were handed out on Friday based on This Year in Baseball voting on MLB.com.

The White Sox held a four-run lead over the Indians at U.S. Cellular Field in the fifth inning with one out when catcher Lou Marson hit a shot back toward the mound. Buehrle stuck out his left foot in an attempt to stop the ground ball, only to have it strike his left shin and roll toward the first-base line.

Buehrle raced after the ricochet, avoided colliding with Marson and grabbed the ball with his glove. Then the play just became ridiculous.

Buehrle flipped the ball with his glove between his legs -- sort of like one of those remarkable Roger Federer winners on the tennis court, (MLB.com).
Fehr chosen to lead hockey players' association

Don Fehr is the new executive director of the National Hockey League Players' Association.

The union made the announcement Saturday. It said the players voted overwhelmingly to appoint Fehr after the executive board's endorsement.

He will start in his new position immediately. The collective bargaining agreement between the union and league is set to expire in September 2012, (ChicagoBreakingSports).

Bears to practice at Northwestern

In possibly the strongest indication yet that their game with the Minnesota Vikings will indeed be played at the University of Minnesotas TCF Bank Field on Monday, the Bears will hold a closed practice outside on Saturday but theyll do it on the artificial turf of Northwestern Universitys practice field in Evanston, (CSNChicago.com).

Did Santo's passing influence Wood to return?

CSNChicago.com's Patrick Mooney said after Ron Santo's funeral service, Kerry Wood and his wife began discussing the possibility of returning to the North Side. Did Santo help in the final decision?

How Tarik Cohen is thriving as the Bears continue to put more on his plate

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USA Today

How Tarik Cohen is thriving as the Bears continue to put more on his plate

Mitchell Trubisky shook his head and grinned when he fielded yet another question this week about the touchdown pass Tarik Cohen threw against the Baltimore Ravens.

“Dang, you guys can’t get enough of this,” Trubisky said. “I talked about it after the game. Dowell (Loggains) was saying it was the best pass of the game. I’m like, ‘All right, geez, let him play quarterback.

“… He threw a dime ball. I love how he was fading away on it and celebrating on the 50-yard line. Zach (Miller) made a great catch. So A-plus; really impressive spiral, especially with the gloves on. Can’t count any of that out. Tarik’s a special player and it was an awesome throw.”

The point here is less about Cohen’s throw and more about the Bears finding yet another way for the rookie running back to make an impact. So far this year, Cohen has rushed 50 times, caught 26 passes, returned 14 punts and now thrown that historic touchdown. He’s been asked to block in pass protection more frequently, allowing him to be on the field more. And he’s worked with wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni and Kendall Wright (who Cohen referred to as another receiver coach for him) to expand his route tree, leading him to be the most-targeted player (33 targets) on the Bears through six weeks. 

That may seem like a lot to put on the plate of a fourth-round draft pick from an FCS school, but it hasn’t been too much for Cohen. 

“We need Tarik to be that guy for us — the best playmaker we have,” Loggains said. “There’s no secret there. And he’s a guy who we’ll continue to use, and people are aware of him. So how creative can we get with him? How many different things can we do with him? 

“Like, we’re stretching him. Mentally, he’s stretched to the max playing all these positions — motioning out to wide receiver, playing running back and doing more in the backfield with more carries. So we have to keep stretching him and keep using him in the offense.”

Opposing defenses have keyed on Cohen since his explosive debut Week 1 against the Atlanta Falcons, scheming to muffle his playmaking ability. But he still managed to nearly have a walk-off 73-yard run against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 3, and then in Week 6, with defenses figuring they could crash down on him on sweep plays to the edge, he (literally) threw another wrinkle into how to gameplan against him. The next time the Bears run a toss sweep to Cohen, opposing safeties will have to think twice about bolting toward the line of scrimmage to stop him. 

Every time Cohen seems to hit a rookie wall, he and the Bears find a way to knock it down. The discussion a week ago about Cohen was that he was dancing too much and not cutting upfield quick enough; this week, it’s all about his perfect quarterback rating. 

“Our coaches do a good job of continuing to put him in places so he can be successful,” fellow running back Benny Cunningham said. “But ultimately I feel like he has such a genuine love of the game, I don’t see that happening (hitting the wall). Since the day he’s been here, from Day 1 to today, I’ve seen no drop-off in his desire to be successful and to help this offense.”

The Bears have known this about Cohen's mentality since they scouted and drafted him back in the spring, and his potential only blossomed after getting him into Halas Hall in May — “Early on, we knew Tarik was going to be pretty special,” coach John Fox said. But Cohen wouldn’t be able to reach that potential without the ability to handle the responsibilities of all the different tasks the Bears have asked of him so far. 

Cohen’s ability to do so many different things makes him an important player for this team, and his ability to do them with an exciting, playmaking flair has made him a fan favorite since training camp. So what’s next for the 5-foot-6 rookie?

“I think we’ve got something — I’ll punt the ball this week,” Cohen joked. “Naw, I’m playin’. I can’t put the ball for nothing, I don’t think. It’ll probably go like 20 yards.”

The Bears defense is trending up, and could get Nick Kwiatkoski back as soon as this weekend

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USA Today

The Bears defense is trending up, and could get Nick Kwiatkoski back as soon as this weekend

Nick Kwiatkoski was a full participant in Bears practice on Friday, marking the first time the second-year linebacker has done that since he suffered a pec injury Sept. 17 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Officially listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers, Kwiatkoski sounded confident he could make his return five weeks after suffering that painful injury. 

“It’s not really my decision,” Kwiatkoski said. “I’m preparing like I am, so we’ll see. … “In my head I am (playing). But we’ll see.”

The Bears’ defense, despite placing three key players — linebackers Willie Young and Jerrell Freeman and safety Quintin Demps — on injured reserve, has been solid at worst so far this year. Pro Football Focus has Vic Fangio’s group as the third-best defense in the NFL through Week 6, behind only the Minnesota Vikings and Jacksonville Jaguars. 

While Christian Jones played some quality snaps next to Danny Trevathan (and John Timu — he struggled after Timu’s injury against Minnesota), Kwiatkoski represents an upgrade at inside linebacker. The Bears liked what Kwiatkoski did last year in place of an injured Trevathan, and were confident they wouldn’t miss a beat with him filling in after Freeman’s Week 1 injury. 

“He’s a smart guy who has been willing to work,” coach John Fox said. “And I’ve seen that improvement from last year to this year. And anytime you get whacked or injured or taken out for some reason, you’ve got to kind of regain that again. It’s like a do-over. So he has had a good week.”

Kwiatkoski stayed sharp by going through meetings and film study as if he were playing while that pec injury — which he said felt like a “bad pulled muscle” — kept him sidelined for practices and games. If Kwiatkoski indeed is active and/or starting Sunday against Carolina, the hope is he can step in and pick up where he left off in Week 2. 

“I have all the confidence that he'll do fine,” defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said prior to Kwiatkoski’s injury. And that confidence, in all likelihood, still exists.