Camp Chatter: Tice, Cutler breaking barriers; Price debuts


Camp Chatter: Tice, Cutler breaking barriers; Price debuts

BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- Offensive coordinator Mike Tice and quarterback Jay Cutler just dont speak the same language. Literally.

Hes from the South and Im from New York so he doesnt get my jokes much or understand much of my English, said Tice, who as a New Yorker clearly views Indiana as the South.

For instance, if theyre going to talk cars, Its not aw-toe, its ott-toe, Tice said.

Car talk isnt where Cutler and Tice need to be communicating, however. Specifics of the offense are and both sides are satisfied that theres a meeting of the minds developing.

Im trying to give him everything thats on my mind: what I dislike, what I like, what I love, what I hate, what I think is going to work, Cutler said. Thats why hes got a tough job.

Assuming Tice speaks Hoosier, the Bears should be fine. Mike Martz was not always receptive to Cutlers suggestions initially but Tice expressly asks for them.

We want to know what he likes, Tice said. I think its very important to have a line of communication with the quarterback and running back and the receivers.

Why call things that theyre not comfortable with? If were calling things theyre not comfortable with, theyre not going to make the right throws. If were calling runs the back doesnt like, hes not going to hit it up in there. If were calling routes that the receiver doesnt like to run, hes not going to run them with authority or confidence.

So I think its important across the board to have a great line of communication between the players and the coaches.

Price sees first action with Bears

Defensive tackle Brian Price spent his first day in pads since his trade to the Bears from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and it was a difficult one. Price, wearing No. 95, started well in some reps with the No. 2 defense but is clearly not yet in full football shape. He and backup center Edwin Williams had a brief bit of shoving after a pass-protection drill won by Williams.

Hopes are still very high for the former second-round pick, who is viewed as a potential impact player at both inside spots. We wont probably bring in a guy if he can only play nose, coach Lovie Smith said. You have to have some athletic ability. Im talking about 3-technique, under-tackle type ability and he has that.

Camp Notes

Cornerbacks Tim Jennings and Charles Tillman came up with interceptions in Tuesdays session.

Kahlil Bell provided Tuesdays top highlight when he did a vault and somersault into the end zone in a full-tackling goal-line period. Bell is facing a very stiff challenge to stick as the No. 3 running back over Armando Allen and Lorenzo Booker in particular.

Rookie defensive end Shea McClellin continued to struggle in pass rush, being handled first by left tackle JMarcus Webb, who was taking his day with the No. 1 unit, and then by rookie tight end Evan Rodriguez. McClellin had a little success against Chris Williams but Williams also had the upper hand in their reps.

In the kind of matchup the Bears would like anytime, Matt Forte was isolated on a linebacker and Cutler dropped a touch pass into his hands along the right sideline. The linebacker happened to be Lance Briggs, which wont make it a special moment in the defensive meeting room but Forte is one of the NFLs elite receivers out of the backfield.

The Commish in town

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is stopping by Bears camp Wednesday afternoon and will be part of a brief panel discussion with Bears Chairman George McCaskey and former coach and broadcaster John Madden.

Recalling moments in Tom Brady history ahead of his likely last meeting with Bears


Recalling moments in Tom Brady history ahead of his likely last meeting with Bears

As Tom Brady approaches what in all reasonable likelihood will be his last game against the Bears and in Soldier Field, the first time this reporter saw Tom Brady comes very much to mind. Actually the first times, plural. Because they were indeed memorable, for different reasons.

That was back in 2001, when Brady should have started replacing Wally Pipp as the poster athlete for what can happen when a player has to sit out and his replacement never gives the job back. Drew Bledsoe, who’d gotten the New England Patriots to a Super Bowl, had gotten injured week two of that season. Brady, who’d thrown exactly one pass as a rookie the year before, stepped in and never came out, playing the Patriots into the AFC playoffs the same year the Bears were reaching and exiting the NFC playoffs when Philadelphia’s Hugh Douglas body-slammed QB Jim Miller on his shoulder.

After that the playoff assignments were elsewhere, including the Patriots-Steelers meeting in Pittsburgh for the AFC Championship. Brady started that game but left with an ankle injury and Bledsoe came off the bench to get the Patriots into Super Bowl.

Then came one of those rare moments when you are witnessing history but have the misfortune of not knowing it at the time.

The question of Super Bowl week was whether Bill Belichick would stay with Bledsoe’s winning hand or go back to Brady. Belichick of course waited deep into Super Bowl week before announcing his decision at 8 p.m. on a Thursday night, the second time that season Belichick had opted to stay with Brady over a healthy Bledsoe. And of course Belichick didn’t announce the decision himself (surprise); he had it put out by the team’s media relations director.

You did have to respect Belichick, though, going into his first Super Bowl as a head coach with a sixth-round draft choice at quarterback and leaving a former (1992) No. 1-overall pick with a $100-million contract on the bench. The Patriots upset The Greatest Show on Turf Rams in that Super Bowl, Brady was MVP, and Bledsoe was traded to Buffalo that offseason.


That Super Bowl also included one of those performance snapshots the Bears envision for Mitch Trubisky but missed a chance to let him attempt last Sunday at Miami in his 17th NFL start. Brady took the Patriots on a drive starting at their own 17 with 1:30 to play and no timeouts, ending with an Adam Vinatieri field-goal winner.

If Belichick was all right letting his second-year quarterback in just his 17th start throw eight straight passes starting from inside his own red zone, the next time Matt Nagy gets the football at his own 20 with timeouts and time in hand, best guess is that the decision will be to see if his quarterback lead a game-winning drive with his arm instead of handing off.

It may not happen this Sunday. Brady is a career 4-0 vs. Bears, and if there is one constant it is that his opposite numbers play really bad football against him, or rather his coach’s defense. Bears quarterback passer ratings opposite Brady, even in years when the Bears were good: Jim Miller 51.2 in 2002, Rex Grossman 23.7 in 2006; Jay Cutler 32.9 and Cutler again in the 51-23 blowout in Foxboro. Cutler finished that game with a meaningless 108.6 rating, meaningless because Cutler put up big numbers beginning when his team was down 38-7 after he’d mucked about with a 61.7 rating, plus having a fumble returned for a TD, while the Bears were being humiliated.

A surprise would be if Trubisky bumbles around like his predecessors (New England allows an average opponent passer rating of 91.6), but whether he can produce a third straight 120-plus rating…. Then again, Pat Mahomes put a 110.0 on the Patriots last Sunday night, but Deshaun Watson managed only a 62.9 against New England in game one.

Trubisky will make the third of the three 2017 first-round QB’s to face the Patriots. The first two lost.

Bulls Talk Podcast: The ultimate Bulls briefing to get you ready for Opening Night


Bulls Talk Podcast: The ultimate Bulls briefing to get you ready for Opening Night

On this edition of the Bulls Talk podcast, Mark Schanowski sits down with Kendall Gill and Will Perdue to discuss all the need-to-know topics to get you ready for the season opener. The guys analyze how Lauri’s injury will make its mark on the early season rotation, whether Jabari will return to the starting unit or embrace the 6th-man role and why Portis betting on himself is the right move. Plus, Kendall has the key to unlock a “6th Man of the Year” award for Portis this season.

Listen to the full episode here or via the embedded player below: