Bears

Burleson gives Bears bulletin-board material

Burleson gives Bears bulletin-board material

Thursday, Dec. 2, 2010
7:07 PM

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

Its not exactly Joe Namath calling his shot with the New York Jets in Super Bowl III but for an NFC North rivalry game, itll have to do.

Detroit wide receiver Nate Burleson, against whom the Bears played when he was a Seattle Seahawk and Minnesota Viking before he became a Lions last offseason, likes his new teams chances against the Bears, winners of four straight, even though the Lions are 2-9 and losers of four straight.

Burleson this week issued what is being construed as a guarantee of a Detroit victory Sunday.when he said on his local radio show, We will win on Sunday.

The Bears supposedly posted the guarantee on bulletin boards, which surprised Burleson, who clarified and tempered his comments substantially, which were hardly inflammatory in the first place.

You can take it as a guarantee, Chicago can take it as a guarantee, they can take it however they want, Burleson said, as reported on MLive.com. We play to win the game, we want to try to win on Sunday, and we think weve got a chance to win.

Not exactly something to start a war of words, and if that in fact does incense the Bears, that may be the bigger surprise.

Deep down every player, I would think you would guarantee a win every week you go into it, said linebacker Lance Briggs. Its good. It should fire them up. I know it definitely fires us up. Weve got it pinned up everywhere in our meeting rooms.

It was none other than Briggs who guaranteed a win in 2004 over Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts. No record of whether that added anything to Indianapolis motivation, but the Colts left Soldier Field with a 41-10 win that day. Im not going to guarantee more wins, he guaranteed.

And guarantee that this will not be the last guarantee made somewhere by someone.

Ive heard it so many times in the last 11 years, said linebacker Brian Urlacher. Its locker room material. If you need to get fired up at this point in the season, somethings wrong with you, but it does add a little more fuel to the fire.

So does pundits and observers showing little or no respect for the Bears or their accomplishments. In fact that may be the one thing that does put some fuel to the Bears fire, and their coach sees to it that they know theyre being disrespected.

The no respect thing I think does provide motivation, Urlacher said. We play on that pretty well. Weve done a good job of it. Coach Smith hypes it up pretty good, and we kind of thrive on that.

"But other than that, if you cant get ready to play and get ready for a game at this point in the season or even at the beginning of the season, somethings wrong. You shouldnt be playing football. Because now they mean a lot unless youre 2-9 or so, then they dont mean as much. But our games mean a lot right now, so we need to be ready to play.

Sick bay

Chances increased Thursday for Nick Roach starting at strong-side linebacker for the third straight game as Pisa Tinoisamoa returned to practice but only on a limited basis. Whenever you have a guy who isnt able to practice on Thursday, theres some concern, said coach Lovie Smith.

The Lions officially lost kicker Jason Hanson to a right-knee injury that has raised questions about his career. Right tackle Gosder Cherilus was unable to practice as well because of a knee injury and defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch was out again with a neck injury.

John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com'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.

Anthony Miller is hyped about Nick Foles' knowledge of Bears' offense

Anthony Miller is hyped about Nick Foles' knowledge of Bears' offense

One of the main reasons the Bears targeted Nick Foles in an offseason that was overflowing with quality quarterbacks to challenge Mitch Trubisky for Chicago's starting job is his familiarity with Matt Nagy's offense. The Bears knew what they were getting when they traded a fourth-round pick to the Jaguars for the former Super Bowl MVP, and in the current COVID-19 reality, that knowledge of who Foles is as a quarterback is more valuable than the team could've ever imagined.

So is Foles' comfort with the playbook. 

Unlike traditional offseasons when players have a chance to acclimate themselves with their new city, teammates, coaching staff, and offensive system, the novel coronavirus has thrust the Bears' quarterback competition into a shotgun four-week run that Foles is oddly equipped to handle. He's already made a positive early impression on wide receiver Anthony Miller.

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“You can definitely tell that Nick has been playing this game for a long time, and he knows this offense very well," Miller said Friday during a Zoom call with reporters. "He’s very detailed in practice, you can catch him in the back of an offensive play going through his progressions and he’s not even in, so that’s just the type of player he is, and I can’t wait to see him live action to see what he really can do.”

It feels like the Trubisky vs. Foles showdown has been underway since March, but the reality is it's just getting started. Padded practices begin next week and will give Chicago's coaches and players their first real opportunity to evaluate which quarterback gives the team the best chance to win.

According to Miller, the starting gig is up for grabs.

“This is going to be an interesting competition to see and the best man is going to get the job.”

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Super Bowl or bust? Why Bears' championship formula is backward in 2020

Super Bowl or bust? Why Bears' championship formula is backward in 2020

First, the good news: The Bears can win Super Bowl LV.

Why not? It’s August.

If Matt Nagy can find the right quarterback and Ryan Pace’s play to overhaul the tight end room pays off, this offense could be a ton of fun to watch. And if the addition of Robert Quinn gives the Bears the sort of fearsome pass rush we expect it will, this defense should be among the best in the NFL – and more than good enough to win a Super Bowl.

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There’s absolutely no part of me that’s going to tell you the Bears cannot win a Super Bowl before we’ve seen them practice, let alone play a game, in 2020.

“We want to win a Super Bowl,” wide receiver Allen Robinson said. “Every day we come into the facility, all our meetings and things like that, I think that our coaches are doing a really good job for everybody to keep that in mind and that's the main thing.”

Okay, but you’re probably waiting for the bad news. I just didn’t want to start with it. Because while it's not impossible for the Bears to make a Super Bowl run, there's a big reason why it feels unlikely. 

The Bears’ formula for winning in 2020, seemingly, is pairing a good enough offense with an elite defense. It’s what got them to the playoffs in 2018 as NFC North champions. It’s what could get them back to the playoffs again this season.

But an “eh, it’s fine” offense coupled with an awesome defense is not a formula that wins you a Super Bowl in 2021. As the last 10 Super Bowls tell us, it pays to have a great offense – and doesn’t matter if you have a great defense.

The last 20 Super Bowl participants, on average, had the sixth-best offense in a given year as ranked by Football Outsiders’ DVOA. The average ranking of their defenses was about 12th.

It’s been even more pronounced over the last four years. On average, a Super Bowl team in that span ranked fourth in offense and 16th in defense.

Only two teams in the last decade reached a Super Bowl with an offense outside the top 10 in DVOA (Denver in 2015, Baltimore in 2012 – notably, both teams still won). Eleven of the last 20 teams to make a Super Bowl had a defense outside the DVOA top 10, including last year’s Kansas City Chiefs.

MORE: Why you shouldn't worry about Allen Robinson getting a contract extension

So the Bears, as currently constructed, do not appear built to win a Super Bowl. That doesn’t mean it can’t be done – we’re not all that far removed from the 2015 Broncos hoisting the Lombardi Trophy with the No. 25 offense and No. 1 defense – but recent history suggests it’s unlikely.

That is, unless Nagy can find the success his former peers (Doug Pederson, Andy Reid) had with his offensive scheme. Make no mistake: Offense leads Super Bowl runs, with defense a supporting character. Not the other way around. And it feels like the Bears have it the other way around. 

 

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