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

Brian Urlacher misses Top 10 of all-time Bears list

urlacher_1920_bears.jpg
AP

Brian Urlacher misses Top 10 of all-time Bears list

Brian Urlacher played his way into the pantheon of Bears linebackers and the Hall of Fame over his 13-year career in Chicago, leaving no question he belongs among the all-time greats.

Where he stacks up with the best of the best in team history is still up for debate.

Hall of Fame writers Dan Pompei and Don Pierson ranked the top 100 players in franchise history for the team’s official site, and Urlacher fell outside of the top 10.

Urlacher came in one spot ahead of fellow legendary linebacker Mike Singletary, but the greats of pre-merger era earned many of the top spots on the list.

Dick Butkus came in second to only Walter Payton, while old school legends Bill George and Bulldog Turner ranked seventh and eighth, respectively.

It’s difficult to compare linebackers that played 50 years apart, especially when stacking them up with players at other positions.

Urlacher is still near the top of the list of the best Bears ever. They just have so many all-time greats, the likes of Dan Hampton, Richard Dent and Jimbo Covert just don’t have a spot in the top 10.

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Eddie Jackson’s pitch for the Bears hits home with Ha Ha Clinton-Dix: ‘It’s just like Bama’

Eddie Jackson’s pitch for the Bears hits home with Ha Ha Clinton-Dix: ‘It’s just like Bama’

Six years ago, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix recruited a three-star wide receiver recruit named Eddie Jackson to play his college ball at Alabama (Jackson, of course, played for Nick Saban as a safety). In March, it was Jackson who was recruiting Clinton-Dix, this time to play for the Bears. 

He did so with a simple message: “It’s just like ‘Bama.”

And from there, “I was ready to sign,” Clinton-Dix said. 

The friendship between Jackson and Clinton-Dix developed in Tuscaloosa and continued after Clinton-Dix became a first-round pick of the Green Bay Packers in 2014. But Clinton-Dix didn’t decide to sign with the Bears — on a cheap one-year prove-it deal — just because of the opportunity to team up with one of his friends. 

Jackson and quarterback Mitch Trubisky chatted with Clinton-Dix on his visit to Halas Hall back in March and offered another critical pitch centered around coach Matt Nagy. 

“I told him coach Nagy is one of those coaches, he lets us be us, go out there and have fun with swag,” Jackson said. “But he knew it. He was like man, I know, I’m a fan of y’all, I’ve been watching. He was on board.”

Jackson and Clinton-Dix combined for 14 interceptions since the beginning of the 2017 season, though Clinton-Dix left the Green Bay Packers via a midseason trade last year with a reputation for missing tackles (for what it’s worth, Clinton-Dix missed one fewer tackle than Adrian Amos did in 2018, per Pro Football Focus). The Bears see Clinton-Dix’s one-year deal as a win-win for all parties: The Bears get a starting safety with proven past production and playoff experience, while Clinton-Dix slides into one of the league’s most talented defenses with an excellent opportunity to rebuild his value on the free agent market in 2020. 

“I always like to focus on the positives guys have,” safeties coach Sean Desai said. “He’s shown that he’s a highly instinctual player, he’s shown that he’s got good ball skills and good range and those are traits that we’re going to develop.” 

Jackson and Amos forged a strong relationship on the back end of the Bears’ defense the last two years, with good communication between the two helping accentuate each player’s strengths. A thought here is replacing Amos with Clinton-Dix will help ease the transition for Jackson, given his friendship with his new safety mate. But there’s more that goes into a good safety pairing than a strong friendship. 

“They gotta build that communication,” Desai said. “It’s different to speak a personal language off the field and then a football language on the field. So that’s what we’re all building.”

Still, a good off-the-field relationship with Jackson got Clinton-Dix in the door at Halas Hall. And the Bears hope it can be an important part of the league’s best defense in 2018 holding on to that title in 2019. 

“I’m just glad to be on the back end with him, man,” Clinton-Dix said. “This is a special defense and I’m glad to be a part of these guys.”