Bears

Could Tommie Harris be key for Bears vs. Pats?

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Could Tommie Harris be key for Bears vs. Pats?

Thursday, Dec. 9, 2010
Posted: 11:23 a.m.
By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

Another thoughtful Thursday go-round with Mac and Spiegs on "The Danny Mac Show" on WSCR-AM 670, which I always like not just because the guys are fun to hang and talk football with, but because I get story ideas when we visit...

Like it occurring to me that there is likely to be a surprise player for Bears who could have a dramatic influence on this game if the Bears are going to win. Danny and Matt didn't instantly buy in (they will) but my quick pick for that player is Tommie Harris.

Harris has done little of note all season, making him one of the few legitimate personnel disappointments in a season otherwise relatively free of them. But Harris also has been played sparingly and at this time of year, when he has traditionally worn down a bit, he has a chance to be the impact player against a New England offensive line that is one of the NFL's best but also gave up three sacks of Tom Brady last Monday night. We'll see.

Harris or Julius Peppers or Israel Idonije or Henry Melton rank as keys to the game if only because pressure is the only reliable way to cope with Tom Brady. The Bears have fared well through this mid-section of the season relying primarily on their front four creating pressure, with the occasional D.J. Moore blitz sack, and leaving the back seven to create a weed patch for Brady to get through is crucial.

But the game strategically could be taken out of Harris' and a lot of others' hands if, as we talked over, Bill Belichick can goad, scheme, entice, force, whatever, Mike Martz into abandon the offensive recipe that has been instrumental in the Bears' 5-0 run the past month-plus.

I do expect Chester Taylor to play Sunday, by the way. The veteran running back was held out of Wednesday's practice with a sore knee but he has missed just five games in a career of nearly nine years.

Taylor and Matt Forte have been instrumental in the Bears' season turnaround simply by their utilization in Mike Martz's "new" offense. The two have caught 19 passes over the last five games while combining for no fewer than 20 carries in any of those five.

Some observers want to dismiss the New England wins over Martz's Detroit and San Francisco offenses in 2006 and 2008, respectively. The reasoning is that Martz simply didn't have the personnel to match up with Belichick's defense.

The problem with that, as I detailed in a previous blog, is that the Lions turned the ball over on their final three possessions to lose. The 49ers led 14-7 roughly 10 minutes into their game with the Patriots and then could score just once in the final 50 minutes.

The point really isn't to pick on Martz so much as to look objectively at his history vs. one of the elite defensive schemers in the NFL.

Looking forward now to visiting with the guys again next Thursday. By then we'll know how Harris, Martz, Belichick and all the rest played out.

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.

The Bears have the top-ranked defense in Madden 20, plus other takeaways from today's ratings reveal

The Bears have the top-ranked defense in Madden 20, plus other takeaways from today's ratings reveal

A boatload of Madden ratings dropped on Monday, and with it, more content than you could shake a stick at. 

The Bears, predictably, got a fair bit of love on the defensive side of the ball and were largely ignored on offense. 

No Fangio, No Problem

For a wide variety of reasons, it's trendy to point out that the Bears' defense is headed for some regression this season. Madden disagrees, though, rating the Bears defense (88) as the best in football. They did also give the Houston Texans' defense an 88 as well, but never let the details get in the way of a good story. Here's what they said: 

For Chicago, the unit is fronted by 99 Club member, LOLB Khalil Mack. FS Eddie Jackson (91 OVR) is a Superstar X-Factor like his teammate, Mack. That’s a scary combination for any opposing quarterback. Toss in CB Kyle Fuller (89 OVR) and you can see why this Bears unit should roar out of the gate in Madden 20. 

Year 2 Mitch Doesn't Get Any Love 

Trubisky was rated as the 24th best QB, which is already being debated passionately, regardless of how debatable it actually is. What's lowkey worse is that Chase Daniel, the 9-year NFL vet, got the same rating as Dax Raymond, the undrafted free agent. 

May We Remind You That Khalil Mack Is A Terrific Football Player 

Earlier in the month, Mack was revealed as one of the 4 players who received the infamous 99 rating. That means he's also the top-ranked LOLB, two points ahead of Denver's Von Miller and 16 points ahead of any NFC North LOLB. Enjoy those draft picks, Oakland! 

Akiem Hicks Gets Snubbed And Frankly We've Just About Had It 

Hicks was ranked as the 19th-best defensive lineman, which is just objectively untrue. In some alternate universe, there may be 18 better defensive linemen than Akiem Hicks, but that is just simply inaccurate in this one. He was heated about his rating, and we cannot blame him. 

The Lowest Ranked Bears Player Was ... 

Patrick Scales. Sorry Patrick Scales.

Akiem Hicks not happy with Madden 20 ratings: ‘Tell them to come see me’

Akiem Hicks not happy with Madden 20 ratings: ‘Tell them to come see me’

EA Sports released the full Madden 20 player ratings for every team in the NFL, and not everyone was happy with the numbers they received.

The Bears shared a video of backup quarterback Chase Daniel revealing ratings to his teammates, and defensive lineman Akiem Hicks seemed the most upset of the group.

“Bring some of the scouts out here doing the madden ratings,” Hicks said. “Tell them to come see me.”

Hicks received an overall rating of 87, tied for fourth-highest on the team and 10th-highest among defensive ends.

He has the same rating as Green Bay Packers DE Mike Daniels and Detroit Lions DE Trey Flowers.

In the video, running back Tarik Cohen was disappointed with his 92 speed, which is tied for third-fastest on the team behind wide receivers Taylor Gabriel and Emanuel Hall.

Cohen does lead the Bears with 97 agility and 92 elusiveness, but he thought his throwing power stat should be higher than 51 after his two career passing touchdowns.