Bizarre meeting on deck when Bears face Kreutz


Bizarre meeting on deck when Bears face Kreutz

Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2011
Posted: 11:05 p.m.

By John Mullin Bears Insider Follow @CSNMoonMullin
The number is different, 50 instead of the 57 hes worn since coming into the NFL in 1998 as a third-round pick of the Bears. And so is the uniform: the New Orleans Saints instead of the Bears.

One word described it, as far as the former teammates of Olin Kreutz are concerned:


Its been weird, said Roberto Garza, now at center because negotiations didnt get a deal done to keep Kreutz in Chicago in late July. We got a chance to watch a couple of games with him out there. Its still Olin, flying around, hitting people and its a little weird to see him in that No. 50. But you know, thats the NFL I guess.

The contract situation doesnt warrant rehashing; the Bears offered him a one-year deal, Kreutz wanted more (how much more is a subject of some dispute but not really important anymore), they couldnt reach a compromise, and Kreutz signed with the Saints for substantially less than the Bears offered.

He wasnt happy to leave. The Bears werent happy he wasnt coming back, perhaps a little more so because the market for Chris Spencer dictated a two-year deal worth 6 million, more than Kreutz was looking for in his one year.

He embodies what a football player is, GM Jerry Angelo said. I have the highest respect for him. The reason that Im in this business and why were all in this business is because of players like Olin Kreutz.

Brian Urlacher has been facing Kreutz only in training camp, because No. 1s dont practice against No. 1s since 2001, the offseason after Urlacher moved to middle linebacker. Now he will be seeing Kreutz when it counts.

Like Roberto Garza said, No. 50 looks weird on him, Urlacher said. I watched him Thursday night against Green Bay and I watched him throughout the preseason. It just looks like a different jersey.

It will indeed be different, for both sides, on Sunday. This one has been years, literally, in the making.

Coach Forte?

Running back Matt Forte put another chip in the pot Sunday in making the case for what he believes his new contract should be. He rushed for 68 yards on 16 carries (4.3 average) and led the Bears with five receptions for an additional 90 yards, 56 of those taking a screen pass into the end zone for a TD. The 158 yards marked the fifth-highest game total of his career.

He also added coach to his resume.

The Bears placed fullback Tyler Clutts on the active roster despite only being signed Wednesday. Somewhat surprisingly, Clutts had a major role a Fortes lead blocker in an offense that hed only had a few days to absorb. It is an offense that is universally acknowledged to be difficult, with players still saying they are adjusting to it after a year in the system.

But Clutts had help. Right behind him, in fact.

Matt is like a coach on the field, and hes right behind me, Clutts said. So any question I have, I just give him a look or hell check with me, and we communicate back and forth.

And the coaching staff did a good job of not putting me in situations that could be disastrous on my part.

Wake up

Sports Illustrateds Peter King advises Dont sleep on the Bears in his Monday Morning Quarterback column in the wake of Sundays games, noting that the Bears were in position to score on five of their first seven possessions. Not bad for a team known for its defense.

Peter only rates Green Bay, New England and Baltimore ahead of the Bears in his weekly power rankings.

John "Moon" Mullin is'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.

Rob Gronkowski 'highly unlikely' to play Sunday against the Bears

Rob Gronkowski 'highly unlikely' to play Sunday against the Bears

Sunday's game against Tom Brady and the Patriots will be a tough test for the Bears, but it looks like they're going to receive a big break.

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski didn't travel with the Patriots to Chicago and is "highly unlikely" to play Sunday.

Avoiding Gronkowski, who is one of Brady's favorite targets, would be a huge break for the Bears' defense. In six games this season, the tight end has 26 receptions for 405 yards and a touchdown; in 14 games last season, Gronkowski had 69 catches for 1,084 yards and eight touchdowns.

Gronkowski has not officially been ruled out yet, though time is running out for the Patriots to make a decision.

Meanwhile, Khalil Mack appears set to play Sunday despite dealing with an ankle injury. Between having Mack on the field and Gronkowski off of it, good news keeps coming for the Bears' defense.

Final thoughts: Cody Parkey quickly moves on from missed game-winning kick

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Final thoughts: Cody Parkey quickly moves on from missed game-winning kick

There’s, probably, only one position in sports that can match the you-had-one-job scrutiny of a placekicker attempting a critical field goal late in a football game. As in: If you make the kick, it was expected; if you miss it, well, you didn’t do the one thing you were brought on to do. 

The comparison here is a closer in baseball. The expectation is whoever is called upon with a one-to-three-run lead in the ninth inning will convert the save and win his team the game. 

But when a closer blows a save and is in the spotlight during baseball’s regular season, there’s always a game the next day or, at worst, in two days. The immediacy and pace of a Major League Baseball team’s schedule lends itself to closers having to “flush” a bad outing and move on to the next one, since it might be tomorrow. 

For Bears kicker Cody Parkey, though, he’s had to wait a week until he gets his next “meaningful” chance at making a field goal after missing a game-winning 53-yard attempt last weekend against the Miami Dolphins. But moving on from a critical missed kick has never, and is not, a problem for the fifth-year veteran. 

“(It takes) five minutes,” Parkey said. “You kick the ball, and if it doesn’t go in you’re not going to sit there and cry on the field, you’re going to continue to move on with your life. I don’t think there’s really much to it other than knowing you’re going to have to kick another one sometime throughout the season, next game, in the next week, you never know. You stay ready so you’ll be ready for the next week.”

Not allowing those missed kicks to fester is an important trait for a placekicker to possess. What helps Parkey quickly work through his misses is focusing on having a good week of kicking in practice, and also an even-keel mindset that’s been instilled in him since a young age. 

“I think I’ve always been pretty mellow,” Parkey said. “At a young age, my coaches told me never let the highs get to high, never let the lows get too low. And I’ve kind of taken that to heart. If I miss a game winner, make a game winner, I’m going to have the same demeanor. I’m just going to be super chill and knowing it’s a game, it’s supposed to be fun, we’re supposed to go out there and try our best. I put in a lot of work and I try my best on the field.”

That’s something, too, that special teams coach Chris Tabor sees in Parkey. 

“He's always been like that,” Tabor said. “He hit a good ball, his line was just off. In his career going in he was 7-of-8 over 50 yards. I'll be honest with you, I thought he was going to make it. And next time we have that situation, I know he will make it.” 

Age is just a number

Sunday will mark the 6th time in Tom Brady’s career that the 41-year-old has faced a head coach younger than him, but the first time it’ll be a coach other than Miami’s Adam Gase (who’s 40). Brady is 3-2 against Gase’s Dophins. 

Matt Nagy, meanwhile, is also 40. Brady just missed playing Kyle Shanahan (38) and Sean McVay (32), facing the San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Rams in 2016, a year before both those youthful coaches were hired. 

Meanwhile, the youngest player on the Bears — 21-year-old Roquan Smith — was three years old when Brady made his unassuming NFL debut on Nov. 23, 2000. 

They said it

A couple of amusing one-liners out of Halas Hall this week…

Nagy, when it was brought to his attention that Mitch Trubisky (105.6) has a better passer rating than Brady (98.2), chuckled: “You want to say that one more time?” 

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, when asked if he’d ever heard of “Baby Gronk” Adam Shaheen: “(long pause)… Sometimes.”