Bears Grades: Hroniss Grasu has 'great' debut at center


Bears Grades: Hroniss Grasu has 'great' debut at center

Amid the cut-off tape, shoes and bric-a-brac, the feet of left tackle Charles Leno Jr. after Sunday’s 18-17 Bears win over the Kansas City Chiefs was a game jersey. Not Leno’s; a Chiefs jersey No. 91, worn by rush-linebacker Tamba Hali, a gift from Hali to Leno, the latter a young offensive lineman who had just effectively shut out one of the premier pass rushers in the NFL.

Did Leno give his to Hali? “He didn’t want mine,” Leno said, with a very contented smile.

Kansas City edge-rush terrors Hali and Justin Houston were each limited to 2 tackles, no sacks, no quarterback hits, no tackles for loss, by Bears tackles Leno and Kyle Long.

But the Bears-Chiefs story line up front really centered around rookie Hroniss Grasu being told not long before the game that he would be starting at center in his first NFL game ever. But the game ultimately was marked by superb protection of quarterback Jay Cutler in the crucial fourth-drives on which the Bears were penalty free and sack-free.

[MORE: Bears Grades: Cutler leads Bears to another comeback win

Grasu appears to have settled the question of Bears starting future for the short term and very likely the long term.

“He was on the whole thing,” said guard Matt Slauson. “He did great, stepped in there as a rookie and I thought he did great.”

It was far from easy. Kansas City threw both their nose tackles (Dontari Poe, Jaye Howard) into multiple sets against the Bears, lined up over the gaps immediately to either side of Grasu, and in situations that Bears linemen said were unusual points on the field. Howard was able to get by Grasu in the second series to sack Cutler, leading to a fumble that was recovered for a Chiefs touchdown. The fault was not entirely on Grasu, however; guards Slauson and Vladimir Ducasse were not able to seal to the inside and exact assignments were difficult to pick out in the breakdown.

More important, breakdowns like that disappeared. Grasu may have been inactive over the first four games but he was hardly inactive Sunday or in the weeks leading up to this.

“Even when I was inactive the last couple of weeks, I was preparing like I was playing,” Grasu said. “These guys, the O-line, the whole offense, accepted me. They brought me in with open arms and they really made me feel comfortable. When we were out there, there was no panic for any of us.”

[NBC SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

Slauson returned to his familiar spot at left guard and was instrumental triggering the Bears’ silent count as well as making line calls with this being Grasu’s first NFL game of any kind other than preseason.

The center makes the initial “point” identifying the middle linebacker and other keys, communicates, and then is ready to go. But Sunday was Grasu’s first NFL moment and had enough to do with snapping the football and contending with a strong inside pass rush.

So when things changed, he didn’t always have time, particularly when the Bears were in shotgun, waiting for Slauson to tap him on the left hip to begin the snap count.

“But I do [have time],” Slauson said. “I’m watching for the ‘heel’ [quarterback lifting his heel to signal] and when I get the heel, if [the Chiefs] move, I’ve got time to call a move over here or wherever, and then give the tap.”

Moon's Grade: A-

Kurt Warner has no idea what the Bears are doing on offense

USA Today

Kurt Warner has no idea what the Bears are doing on offense

With the city of Chicago still reeling from the Bears recent 36-25 loss against the Saints, everyone from NFL analysts to your co-workers are offering up their hot takes on how the Bears offensive game, particularly QB Mitch Trubisky, could do better.

Kurt Warner, an NFL Hall of Fame quarterback with an illustrious history, took to Twitter to give his two cents on why the Bears offense is struggling.

After twelve years in the NFL, taking both the Rams and the Cardinals to the Super Bowl, Warner might just know a thing or two about offense. However, Warner seems just as confused as the rest of us as to what’s not clicking for the Bears. Here’s what Warner had to say.

We all feel you, Kurt. It’s been a struggle to watch indeed. He later goes in to respond to comments in the thread, defending the much maligned Trubisky by saying that he is not the only thing wrong with offense this season.

It will be interesting to see how the Bears respond to this painful loss and the recent bought of criticism. Matt Nagy insists the team is drowning out all outside noise and focusing on their game, but we’ll see if this loss was the wakeup call the team needed when they face off against the Chargers in Week 8. 

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After expecting to close, Ditka's Restaurant extends lease to stay open


After expecting to close, Ditka's Restaurant extends lease to stay open

After being in a “fourth and long” situation to keep Ditka’s Restaurant open, it appears the restaurant has extended its lease in the Gold Coast.

Diana Ditka, wife of former Bears coach Mike Ditka, told the Chicago Sun-Times of a new year extension on their lease. The restaurant has been open since 1997.

Last year the hotel that the restaurant resides in was bought by new owners who planned to do renovations. That complicated a new lease and it appeared Ditka’s Restaurant would close at the end of the year. Instead, they came to a resolution.

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