Bears

Field secrets? Hester not sharing any tips

Field secrets? Hester not sharing any tips

Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2011
7:45 PM
By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

So the Soldier Field turf is a problem? Not if you know your way around on it.

Opposing NBA players at one time thought that a true advantage for the great Boston Celtics teams were the dead spots in the parquet floor of Boston Gardens. An innocently dribbled basketball might go down but if it hit one of those dead spots, it wasnt coming back up. The Celtics knew how to pick their spots, literally.

And not all spots in Soldier Field are slip-inducing. You just have to know where the different spots are.

Some Bears know where to step and where not to.

Kind of, Devin Hester said, with a sly smile and a laugh. Yeah, kind of.

Would he mind sharing those now?

Uh, not sharing those, he said.

Sack Pack

Green Bay sacked Jay Cutler six times in the second game between the teams this season. The Packers sacked him three times in the first.

You have to understand that with some of the guys they have, depending on what you do, theyre going to go all out, and with hot protections there are going to be some sacks involved occasionally, said coordinator Mike Martz. You just have to limit those sacks and not get too concerned about it.

But at the time of the year when quarterbacks are all, sacks are a concern, more with Martz than many in his job. Running the offense of Ron Turner last season, Cutler went down five times in the two games last year.

Sacks definitely should be expected in a Martz offense. Veteran Jon Kitna was never sacked more than 37 times in a season prior to Martz taking over as the Detroit offensive coordinator. Kitna then was sacked 63 and 51 times in his two seasons with Martz, more than in any three combined seasons in his NFL career.

The problem is not necessarily poor blocking but rather in the variety of pass plays Martz uses and the accompanying myriad adjustments those require from the offense, particularly the line.

We throw a lot of hots reads a lot of sights adjustments, said offensive line coach Mike Tice, not necessarily pleased with all that comes with the scheme. We still have some deep routes. We throw some empties where its our five blockers against the world.

Sometimes were all on the same page where that stuff is coming from and sometimes were not. So theres going to be some sacks but as you get better, you expect those numbers to go down. And theyd better.

Criticizing the critics

His defenses have been among the NFLs best and at other times among the not-so-best but through it all and in the face of sometimes-shrill criticism, Lovie Smith has not wavered in his belief in his Cover-2 defensive scheme.

One reason not to care about critics attacks is the conclusion that they dont know what theyre talking about. That is especially the case when the attacks were based on the opinion the game had passed Smiths schemes by.

Well I look at criticism a little bit by who is giving it, Smith said. For people to criticize Cover 2, which has been around since George Halas and Vince Lombardi, and long before that. Cover 2 is a defense everyone uses. It will be around long after were gone.

Interestingly perhaps, no one seems to make those kinds of assaults on the West Coast offense or even the Mike Martz offense when it has not succeeded. We believe in what we do defensively, Smith declared.
Sick bay

Safety Chris Harris, who suffered a hip pointer in the Seattle game, was held out of practice Wednesday. Receiver Earl Bennett and cornerback Zackary Bowman did not practice for reasons not related to injuries.

Multiple Packers were limited in work Wednesday: offensive linemen Chad Clifton (knees) and Jason Spitz (, defensive ends Cullen Jenkins (calf) and Ryan Pickett (ankle), linebacker Clay Matthews (shin), cornerback Pat Lee (hip), running back John Kuhn (shoulder). Linebacker Frank Zombo (knee) did not practice.

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

Roquan Smith helps shear a sheep at Bears community event

Roquan Smith helps shear a sheep at Bears community event

Roquan Smith has more sheared sheep than tackles on his stat sheet as a pro football player.

Smith and several other Bears rookies participated in a hands-on community event at Lambs Farm in Libertyville, Illinois on Monday where he assisted farm staff with the sheep's grooming. Smith said it was a first for him despite growing up around animals. 

"It's like on the norm for me though, playing linebacker you're in the trenches," Smith said of the experience.

"Shaving a sheep, I never really envisioned myself doing something like that," Smith said via ChicagoBears.com. "I was around animals [growing up], but it was more so cows and goats here and there and dogs and cats. I've petted a sheep before, but never actually flipped one and shaved one."

Bears rookies got up close and personal with more than just sheep.

Smith was selected with the eighth overall pick in April's draft and will assume a starting role opposite Danny Trevathan at inside linebacker this season. Here's to hoping he can wrangle opposing ball-carriers like a sheep waiting to be sheared.

The Bears' defense is ahead of its offense, but Matt Nagy doesn't see that as a problem

5-21bearsplayersotas.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

The Bears' defense is ahead of its offense, but Matt Nagy doesn't see that as a problem

Asking players about how the defense is “ahead” of the offense is a yearly right of passage during OTAs, sort of like how every baseball team has about half its players saying they’re in the best shape of their life during spring training. So that Vic Fangio’s defense is ahead of Matt Nagy’s offense right now isn’t surprising, and it's certainly not concerning. 

But Nagy is also working to install his offense right now during OTAs to build a foundation for training camp. So does the defense — the core of which is returning with plenty of experience in Fangio’s system — being ahead of the offense hurt those efforts?

“It’s actually good for us because we’re getting an experienced defense,” Nagy said. “My message to the team on the offensive side is just be patient and don’t get frustrated. They understand that they’re going to play a little bit faster than us right now. We’ll have some growing pains, but we’ll get back to square one in training camp.”

We’ll have a chance to hear from the Bears’ offensive players following Wednesday’s practice, but for now, the guys on Fangio’s defense have come away impressed with that Nagy’s offense can be. 

“The offense is a lot … just very tough,” cornerback Prince Amukamara said. “They’re moving well. They’re faster. They’re throwing a lot of different looks at us and that’s just Nagy’s offense. If I was a receiver I would love to play in this offense, just because you get to do so many different things and you get so many different plays. It just looks fun over there.”

“They’re moving together, and I like to see that,” linebacker Danny Trevathan said. “We’re not a bad defense. They’re practicing against us, so they’re getting better every day, and vice versa. It’s a daily grind. It’s going to be tough, but those guys, they got the right pieces. I like what I see out there. When somebody makes a play, they’re gone. Everybody can run over there. It’s the right fit for Mitch, it’s the right fit for the receivers, the running backs.”

Still, for all the praise above, the defense is “winning” more, at least as much as it can without the pads on. But the offense is still having some flashes, even as it collectively learns the terminology, concepts and formations used by Nagy. 

And that leads to a competitive atmosphere at Halas Hall, led by the Bears’ new head coach. 

“He’s an offensive coach and last year coach (John) Fox, I couldn’t really talk stuff to (him) because he’s a defensive coach and it’s like Nagy’s offense so if I get a pick or something, I mean, I like to talk stuff to him,” Amukamara said. “He’ll say something like ‘we’re coming at you 2-0.’ Stuff like that. That just brings out the competition and you always want that in your head coach.”