Bears

Brian Urlacher and Alex Brown to join Comcast SportsNet's Chicago Bears coverage team

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Brian Urlacher and Alex Brown to join Comcast SportsNet's Chicago Bears coverage team

Bears legend/eight-time Pro Bowl linebacker Urlacher to be featured in new weekly Bears show beginning Thursday, September 15

Former Bears defensive end standout Brown to join network’s “Bears Pre/Postgame Live” coverage team beginning this season

COMCAST SPORTSNET ALSO ANNOUNCES ITS COMPREHENSIVE ON-AIR/DIGITAL 2016 CHICAGO BEARS/NFL SEASON COVERAGE LINE-UP

“Pro Football Weekly” (Season Premiere): Friday, September 2 at 5:00 PM

“Bears Recap brought to you by United Airlines” (Season Premiere): Monday, September 5 at 7:00 PM

“Bears Huddle brought to you by Verizon” (Season Premiere): Wednesday, September 7 at 4:30 PM

“Bears Blitz brought to you by XFINITY” (Season Premiere): Thursday, September 8 at 4:30 PM

“3 and Out” (Season Premiere): Wednesday, September 7 at 6:30 PM on CSN+

“Real Fantasy” (Season Premiere): Friday, September 9 at 4:30 PM

 “BEARS PREGAME LIVE brought to you by Meijer” (Season Premiere): Sunday, September 11 at 11:00 AM

“BEARS HALFTIME LIVE brought to you by BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois” (Live stream Season Premiere): Sunday, September 11

“BEARS POSTGAME LIVE brought to you by State Farm” (Season Premiere): Sunday, September 11 at 3:00 PM

“SportsNet Central: Inside the Huddle w/Dave Wannstedt, brought to you by Ankin Law” (Season Premiere): Sunday, September 11 at 10:30 PM

RETURN: “The Lance Briggs Show (Season Premiere): Tuesday, September 13 at 11:00 PM

NEW: “The Hard Count with Brian Urlacher, brought to you by RESTORE” (Season Premiere): Thursday, September 15 at 10:30 PM

“Chicago Huddle” (Season Premiere): Friday, September 16 at 11:30 PM

CSNChicago.com to deliver 24/7 Bears coverage all season long featuring Bears “Insider” John ‘Moon’ Mullin

Details on new “Bears Classics” specials coming soon

Chicago, IL (August 30, 2016) – Comcast SportsNet, the regional home for the most comprehensive on-air and digital coverage of the Chicago Bears, has announced Bears legend/eight-time Pro Bowl linebacker BRIAN URLACHER, along with former Bears defensive end standout ALEX BROWN, will be joining CSN as part of the network’s massive line-up of Bears programming for the 2016 NFL season.

Urlacher, who spent all 13 seasons of his storied career in a Bears uniform, which earned him numerous honors including NFC Defensive Player of the Year and eight Pro Bowl nods, will be featured in a brand new weekly Bears show this season entitled The Hard Count with Brian Urlacher, brought to you by RESTORE airing Thursday nights at 10:30 PM beginning September 15.  Urlacher will be joined by host Mark Schanowski and fellow analysts, former Bears quarterback Jim Miller and former Bears head coach Dave Wannstedt, to discuss the team’s next game and break down the match-up from a defensive, offensive, and head coaching standpoint.

Brown, who spent eight of his nine NFL seasons with the Bears amassing a career total of 45.5 sacks, joins CSN’s signature Bears game day coverage as a studio analyst on BEARS PREGAME LIVE brought to you by Meijer and BEARS POSTGAME LIVE brought to you by State Farm, beginning with the team’s 2016 NFL season opener on Sunday, September 11 against the Houston Texas.

“We couldn’t be more pleased and excited to have two enormously popular and well-respected former Bears join our team beginning this season,” said Kevin Cross, Comcast SportsNet Chicago Senior Director of News & Original Content.  “The addition of Brian and Alex to our overall Bears coverage team, featuring numerous NFL experts, once again showcases our year-round commitment and desire to deliver the most comprehensive coverage of the Bears to our viewing audience.”

In addition, Comcast SportsNet Chicago has also announced its complete on-air/online line-up of Bears and additional pro football related programming/coverage for the upcoming season.  Please note the following on-air and online details:

BEARS GAME DAY PROGRAMMING… 

BEARS PREGAME LIVE brought to you by Meijer – Beginning Sunday, September 11 prior to the Chicago Bears 2016 NFL season opener against the Houston Texans at 11:00 AM CT, Comcast SportsNet kicks off its Bears game day coverage with Bears Pregame Live brought to you by Meijer.  Now in its fourth season, this one-hour pre-game show – the ONLY live, local Bears pre-game show on Chicago television – provides fans with the very latest game day news, player updates, a detailed X’s and O’s game preview breakdown and analysis, along with numerous on-field pre-game reports.  Bears Pregame Live is hosted by Chris Boden featuring expert analysis from former Bears linebacker/seven-time Pro Bowler Lance Briggs, former Bears quarterback Jim Miller, the new addition of former Bears defensive end standout Alex Brown and CSNChicago.com Bears “Insider” John “Moon” Mullin.  Plus, SportsNet Central’s Bears beat reporter Kip Lewis will provide additional pre-game coverage from the field with up-to-the-minute game day information. 

BEARS HALFTIME LIVE brought to you by BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois – Also returning for its fourth season, debuting Sunday, September 11, will be Bears Halftime Live, a special “live-stream” exclusive that fans can view on CSNChicago.com & ChicagoBears.comBears Halftime Live features Boden and Miller, who will breakdown the first half of every game focusing on the key plays/game moments that had the greatest impact during the first 30 minutes of action, along with their thoughts on precisely what the Bears need to focus on for the remainder of each contest. 

BEARS POST GAME LIVE brought to you by State Farm – Immediately following the Bears-Texans NFL season opener on Sunday, September 11 (approx. 3:00 PM on CSN), Bears Postgame Live brought to you by State Farm returns as THE destination for fans to hear from the experts who played the game, along with their always-entertaining, no-holds-barred take on the day’s events.  Bears Postgame Live brought to you by State Farm is a 90-minute post-game show hosted by Boden and features detailed post-game analysis from Briggs, Miller & Brown.  In addition to the spirited banter from the stars of the show, Bears Postgame Live also showcases the live post-game press conferences with coaches and players from both teams.  Lewis & Mullin will also provide immediate post-game interviews with Bears players inside & outside the locker room.  Bears Postgame Live brought to you by State Farm can be seen on Comcast SportsNet following every Bears game this season with replays airing regularly throughout the season on Sunday nights and Monday afternoons. 

WEEKLY BEARS/NFL PROGRAMMING…

BEARS RECAP brought to you by United Airlines – Comcast SportsNet is the place for Bears fans to watch the official team press conference featuring head coach John Fox.  Hosted by Boden and former Bears offensive lineman/veteran Chicago sports personality Dan Jiggetts, Bears Recap brought to you by United Airlines will go to Halas Hall each week to hear from the Bears head coach, along with additional Bears players/coaches.  The show will also air game highlights and viewers can also look forward to additional Bears Recap brought to you by United Airlines content on CSNChicago.com.  The one-hour Bears Recap brought to you by United Airlines makes its 2016 debut on Monday, September 5 at 7:00 PM with a special “season preview” edition with weekly premiere airing to take place on Mondays at 4:30 PM throughout the entire Bears season.

BEARS HUDDLE brought to you by Verizon – Every Wednesday at 4:30 PM beginning September 7, Comcast SportsNet will provide Bears fans with a preview of the team’s next opponent on Bears Huddle.  This one-hour show, hosted by Boden and Jiggetts, features weekly interviews with Bears offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains and Bears quarterback Jay Cutler.  Additional content via team updates and interviews will be provided by Lewis and Mullin.  To go along with numerous game highlights, Bears Huddle will also provide a multitude of key stats for all categories and will feature in-depth player match-up analysis for every upcoming game.  Fans can also interact with the show on Twitter by utilizing the hashtag #BearsTalk.

BEARS BLITZ brought to you by XFINITY – Every Thursday at 4:30 PM beginning September 8, Comcast SportsNet will provide Bears fans with even more in-depth game previews and analysis on Bears Blitz.  This one-hour show also features the same talent line-up and similar show format as presented in Bears Huddle and will include interviews with Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and additional Bears players.  Fans can once again interact with the show on Twitter by utilizing the hashtag #BearsTalk.

THE HARD COUNT with BRIAN URLACHER, brought to you by RESTORE – CSN proudly presents the network on-air debut of one of the most popular players in Bears history as The Hard Count with Brian Urlacher, brought to you by RESTORE premieres on Thursday, September 15 at 10:30 PM.  Featuring the eight-time Chicago Bears Pro Bowl linebacker and former NFC Defensive Player of the Year, Urlacher will be joined each week by host Mark Schanowski and additional panelists, which include former Bears standout QB/Bears Pre-Post Game Live analyst Jim Miller and former Bears head coach Dave Wannstedt.  This new, weekly, half-hour program provides fans with a complete preview of the Bears’ next game, featuring the prospective from a defensive (Urlacher), offensive (Miller), and coaching (Wannstedt) standpoint.  Highlighted segments from the show include a social media fan interactive segment with select questions to be answered by Urlacher and the crew, along with additional special feature segments. Weekly premiere airings of The Hard Count with Brian Urlacher, brought to you by RESTORE will take place regularly on Thursday nights at 10:30 PM.

THE LANCE BRIGGS SHOW – Bears fans can also look forward to the return of The Lance Briggs Show, featuring host Pat Boyle and seven-time Chicago Bears Pro Bowl linebacker Lance Briggs.  This half-hour program provides fans with a complete preview of the Bears’ next game, including a discussion about all the key plays from the team’s previous contest.  Highlighted segments from the show include a social media fan interactive segment with select questions to be answered by Briggs, along with the popular, two-minute “Hurry Up” segment with Boyle firing off a multitude of questions to Briggs.   The season premiere of The Lance Briggs Show on Comcast SportsNet airs Tuesday, September 13 at 11:00 PM.  Weekly premiere airings will take place regularly on Tuesday nights at 11:00 PM with repeats to be shown at varied times on Wednesday afternoons.

SPORTSNET CENTRAL: INSIDE THE HUDDLE (featuring Dave Wannstedt) brought to you by Ankin Law – Debuting Sunday, September 11 at 10:30 PM and airing every Sunday night at 10:30 PM during the Bears/NFL season, SportsNet Central: Inside the Huddle brought to you by Ankin Law features the in-studio appearance of NFL expert/former Bears head coach Dave Wannstedt, who will discuss the day’s game in detail and offer his thoughts on what the Bears did right or wrong in that particular’s day’s game.  Plus, the half-hour show will showcase full NFL highlights from all the day’s key match-ups.  In addition, all season long, SportsNet Central’s team of anchors and reporters will provide the very latest Bears/NFL updates nightly at 6:30 PM, 10:00 PM, 10:30 PM and midnight.

PRO FOOTBALL WEEKLY – Entering its 29th season on television, Pro Football Weekly is a half-hour program hosted by SportsNet Central’s Pat Boyle and features an expert panel led by Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Hampton, NFL expert/former Bears head coach Dave Wannstedt and PFW founder Hub Arkush.  The program’s in-depth preview analysis and unique format make the show a preferred vehicle for football fans desiring the most thorough coverage of the NFL.  This hard-hitting program features the latest NFL news reports, opinions and insider information.  Pro Football Weekly makes its regular season premiere on Friday, September 2 at 5:00 PM with regular weekly debuts airing on Fridays at 4:30 PM while replays can be seen Saturday afternoons/evenings at varied times and Sunday mornings at 10:00 AM.

3 AND OUT – Debuting Wednesday, September 7 at 6:30 PM on CSN+, NBC Sports Regional Networks’ football analysis and debate program 3 and Out returns for its fourth season on CSN Chicago, which will also air on Comcast SportsNet regional sports networks across the country.  Hosted by CSN Mid-Atlantic’s Chick Hernandez, this fast-paced, weekly 30-minute program features hard-hitting opinions via CSN New England host of “Felger & Maz” Michael Felger, along with former Pro Bowlers Brian Mitchell and Bill Romanowski.  For specific weekly air times, fan can check their local listings or visit CSNChicago.com for weekly scheduled airings.      

REAL FANTASY – CSN is known for its award winning NFL analysis.  Now, drawing on their unprecedented local inside access and nationwide via NBC Sports Group resources, CSN brings you the information you need to win your Fantasy Football league with Real Fantasy.  Debuting Friday, September 9 at 4:30 PM, Sebastian Salazar of CSN Mid Atlantic, Josh Norris of Rotoworld and Kay Adams of NFL Network draw on CSN and NBC personnel & perspective to bring you information beyond stats and depth charts, letting you know who to sit and who to play, who to keep and who to trade, AND how to WIN week in and week out.  Real Fantasy will air on Friday afternoons throughout the NFL season at varied times; viewers are urged to check their local listings or visit CSNChicago.com for weekly scheduled airings.

CHICAGO HUDDLE – Back for its fourth season on Comcast SportsNet, Chicago Huddle is hosted by former Bears longsnapper/17-year NFL veteran Patrick Mannelly, who will be joined each week by Bears linebacker Jerrell Freeman, defensive back Tracy Porter, along with special appearances from other Bears standouts during the season. Taped at Chili’s in Vernon Hills, Chicago Huddle provides fans with an in-depth, weekly Bears review/preview/interview show throughout the entire 2016 campaign.  The season premiere airs on Friday, September 16 at 11:30 PM with replay airings at varied times on Saturdays, along with Sunday mornings at 10:30 AM. 

SPORTSTALK LIVE presented by The Chevy Silverado – Comcast SportsNet sets the table with lively sports talk every Monday through Friday night at 5:30 PM on SportsTalk Live presented by The Chevy Silverado.  Throughout the 2016 NFL season, SportsTalk Live host David Kaplan and a panel of local pro football experts (including former Bears longsnapper Patrick Mannelly every Monday), along with guests from local sports talk radio and national media, will breakdown the games and preview the match-ups that lie ahead for the Bears and other key games from around the NFL.  In addition, SportsTalk Live will also feature a number of special guests from the world of football all season long, including appearances from players, coaches, celebrities and many more.

CSNCHICAGO.COM Comcast SportsNet Chicago’s website, CSNChicago.com, delivers comprehensive 24/7 Bears and NFL coverage all season long via its “Bears Talk” platform featuring the following digital and social media highlights this season:  

  • Bears Pulse a one-stop social media hub that reveals the latest trending topics and player buzz from Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.  Plus, “Bears Pulse” aggregates all Bears player tweets, along with fan tweets that utilize the hashtag #BearsTalk.
  • John “Moon” Mullin – CSNChicago.com’s resident Bears “Insider” returns for his eighth season on the beat.  Fans can follow Mullin at Twitter @CSNMoonMullin for the latest team/player news and inside access 24/7.  Mullin will also file daily stories/video reports, which include his popular “View from the Moon” segments, and will make regular on-air appearances throughout the season on Bears Pre/Postgame Live, SportsTalk Live and SportsNet Central.
  • CSNChicago.com digital BearsTalk contributor Scott Krinch (@scottiekrinch) and Tony Andracki (@TonyAndracki23) will also be providing game day reports, analysis and features.
  • BearsTalk, brought to you by Max Madsen – CSNChicago.com’s high-velocity, real-time, comprehensive Bears news section featuring original commentary, news reports, trades and rumor via contributions from Mullin, Boden, Lewis, and other in-house experts as they lend their knowledge and expertise to the latest happenings in the NFC North, as well as league-wide. BearsTalk is under the banner of NBC SportsTalk, NBC’s successful digital franchise on NBCSports.com that includes ProFootballTalk, HardballTalk, ProBasketballTalk, ProHockeyTalk, CollegeFootballTalk and GolfTalkCentral. SportsTalk was extended to CSNChicago.com through the creation of BlackhawksTalk, BullsTalk, CubsTalk, WhiteSoxTalk and BearsTalk, which contains interactive content and continually updated insights from the network’s digital and on-air talent.
  • FacebookFacebook Live “Bears Warm-up” – A half-hour prior to every edition of Bears Pregame Live, host Chris Boden, along with analysts Alex Brown and Jim Miller, will hold a special Facebook Live segment on CSN Chicago’s official Facebook page: Facebook.com/CSNChicago. Bears fans will have an opportunity to have their questions answered by submitting their game day inquiries via the “comments” section on the live stream.
  • TwitterBears Talk (@CSNBears) is THE Twitter source for Bears breaking news, updates, rumors, trade and much more 24/7.  Fans are encouraged to use #BearsTalk to voice their opinions and interact with CSN reporters and analysts.  Additional must-follow Twitter handles include @CSNBoden (Chris Boden), @CSNkiplewis (Kip Lewis), @15miller (Jim Miller), Alex Brown (@alexbrown96) and @LanceBriggs (Lance Briggs).
  • CSNChicago.com’s Bears content will also be distributed via its digital network of partnerships including NBCSports.com, NBCNews.com, Yahoo! Sports and Xfinity.com.

In addition, Comcast SportsNet will be airing four, brand new BEARS CLASSICS documentaries this fall/winter.  More specific details and air dates for these specials will be announced separately in the coming weeks.

Why Leonard Floyd is the key to the Bears' defensive success

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USA Today Sports Images

Why Leonard Floyd is the key to the Bears' defensive success

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — For all the attention heaped on Roquan Smith in the last 48 hours, he’s not the most important player to determining the success of the Bears’ defense in 2018. 

Rightly, the Bears feel good about their depth at inside linebacker, especially now that the No. 8 overall pick is in the mix. Smith, Danny Trevathan and Nick Kwiatkoski being at the top of the depth chart is solid at worst; John Timu is entering fourth year in Vic Fangio’s defense, and rookie Joel Iyiegbuniwe has some promise. 

This isn’t to diminish the importance of Smith, who represents the biggest (and, arguably, only major) addition to the Bears’ defense made in the 2018 offseason. But if you’re looking for the guy whose performance will be the most critical to the success of this defense, look toward the last Georgia product the Bears took with a top-10 pick. 

Given the upside of Leonard Floyd and where the Bears stand at outside linebacker three and a half weeks before the start of the regular season, that’s your guy. And over the last few weeks, Floyd has practiced and played better and better, providing an encouraging sign for a guy the Bears are betting big on this year. 

“He’s feeling more comfortable,” Trevathan said. “So I’m just happy with the direction he’s heading. It’s just going to make our defense better with Flo flying around.”

The Bears have seen flashes from Floyd in the past, but he’s yet to put together much in the way of consistency when it comes to affecting the quarterback. His 11 1/2 sacks in 1,118 career snaps come out to an average of one sack every, roughly, 102 snaps in 22 career games. For a guy that’s averaged 51 snaps per game his first two years in the league, that averages out to about one sack every two games. 

If you factor in quarterback hurries, of which he has 21 in two years, Floyd is affecting the quarterback once every 34 snaps. Pernell McPhee, who the Bears released earlier this year, averaged a sack or a hurry once every 24 snaps, abeit in a small sample size. Von Miller, who Floyd is sharing practice fields with this week, averaged a hurry or sack once every 26 snaps in the last two years over 1,828 snaps. 

These numbers don’t factor in a lot of things, like coverage assignments or flat-out statistical misses of hurries (for instance, Floyd wasn’t credited with a hurry in last week’s preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals, despite his pressure on quarterback Andy Dalton forcing a throw Kyle Fuller picked off and ran back for a touchdown). But the overall point is this: The Bears need Floyd to put more pressure on opposing quarterbacks and be that double-digit-sack guy they envisioned when drafting him two years ago. 

Floyd isn’t putting that pressure on himself, though, and stuck to the usual one-day-at-a-time answer when asked how he achieves better consistency and what his goals are for the season. 

“Going out and practicing and just going as hard as you can, fixing your corrections and just continuing to be better every day,” Floyd said. 

If Floyd was a little reserved about his own expectations for the season, his teammates are more than willing to do the talking for him. 

“Even if he’s not flashy in the way you would want to see your outside linebacker flashing, he’s scaring offenses, you know what I’m saying?” defensive end Akiem Hicks, who tabbed Floyd as a Pro Bowl favorite as early as April, said. “So he already put that intimidation factor in there, and then to come up with the plays on top of that, the sky’s the limit for that guy. You just look at the body of work that he’s had as far as putting it in the past couple years, you’re waiting for that moment where he just takes over the league, and I think it’s this year.”

“He’s more disruptive,” Trevathan said. “I see a sense of him trying to create more big plays. Instead of just a sack, more to it. Sack/caused fumble. Getting the quarterback’s (vision). He’s guarding, dropping back. He’s doing everything that Flo is supposed to do even better now.”

Another positive point in Floyd’s favor is outside linebackers coach Brandon Staley seeing him talking more in meetings and growing more comfortable with his role and position on this defense. While Floyd isn’t going to be a vocal leader in that room — that role is ably filled by Sam Acho — his teammates are starting to notice his performances in practice. 

“I think our guys know that Leonard can do so many things for us,” Staley said. “They lean on him by his example — how he is in the practice field, how he is in the meetings. He's been doing a good job.”

But the most important point on Floyd may be this: The Bears bet big on him, and are betting big on him, based on how they addressed outside linebacker in the offseason. Aaron Lynch was brought in on a one-year, prove-it deal, but the injury issues that dogged him in San Francisco have returned during training camp (he’s only participated in one practice due to a hamstring injury). Acho was re-signed to a two-year deal, rewarding him for the stable play he’s provided over the last few years, but he’s only recorded four sacks in 47 games with the Bears. Ryan Pace waited until the sixth round before drafting an edge rusher, giving a flier to Kylie Fitts. Isaiah Irving, an undrafted rookie from a year ago, has flashed in a few preseason games dating back to last year but didn't record a sack in his 41 snaps on defense in 2017. 

Those moves screamed one thing: The Bears believe in Floyd, and believe if he has the kind of season they think he can have, they didn’t need a massive addition to their group of edge rushers. That doesn’t mean Pace won’t make a move for an edge rusher before or after cut-down day in September, but unless he were to pay an exorbitant price to trade for Khalil Mack, whoever is brought it won’t be viewed as the team’s No. 1 edge rushing option. 

That would be Floyd, who’s shown in the last few weeks that he’s past his season-ending knee injury from 2017. It’s now on the third-year player to make that leap in production and play a major role in the success of a Bears’ defense that, other than Smith, largely stood pat this spring. 

Under Center Podcast: Takeaways from the Bears’ joint practice in Denver

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AP

Under Center Podcast: Takeaways from the Bears’ joint practice in Denver

JJ Stankevitz and The Athletic’s Kevin Fishbain break down the Bears’ joint practice with the Denver Broncos on Wednesday, including how Roquan Smith looked, some encouraging signs for the offense and an enjoyable sequence of pass-rushing drills involving Von Miller.

Listen to the full Under Center Podcast right here: