Bears

Inexperienced tackles holding their own in Bears' O

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Inexperienced tackles holding their own in Bears' O

Thursday, Sept, 15, 2011Posted: 10:45 p.m.

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com Bears Insider Follow @CSNMoonMullin
Right tackle Gabe Carimi declared during this years NFL Scouting Combine that he considered himself the best of the tackles in this draft class. If you back it up, its not bragging.

And Carimi wasnt bragging.

I didnt feel out-matched, Carimi said. I feel like I can have a solid game against opponents.

The performances of Carimi and bookend partner JMarcus Webb, against two of the better defensive-end rushers in the NFC, were definitely not out-matched.

The record will show quarterback Jay Cutler sacked five times by the Atlanta Falcons defense. That record will not be the full story.

Only two of the sacks were directly traceable to failures on the offensive line, following a trend that began almost unnoticed last season when the O-line became a punch line and punching bag after the debacle against New York on national TV.

This becomes particularly significant for two crucial reasons:

Elite competition

The performances, particularly those of young tackles Carimi and Webb, came against Atlanta defensive ends John Abraham and Ray Edwards, who accounted for a combined 21 sacks in 2010.

They will face few more difficult end tandems this season.

I felt good, Webb said. My coaches and teammates felt good about me and supported me. Mistakes are going to be made and youve got to learn from it and give it your all the next time.

The next time comes Sunday in New Orleans against two defensive ends Jeff Charleston, Turk McBride who each have fewer career sacks than Edwards alone had last season.

Domino effect

The second major reason is because tackles who can handle their edges, without jury-rigging the protections to cover for or help, loom as perhaps the single biggest difference between the Mike Martz offense of 2010 (30th yardage, 21st in scoring) and the one that put 23 points against an Atlanta defense that ranked fifth in the league in scoring defense.

The ability of the tackles to handle Abraham, Edwards and reserve Lawrence Sidbury was vital in freeing Matt Forte to get out of the backfield and into the passing game. Indeed, 14 of Cutlers 32 pass attempts went to running backs and tight ends, two for TDs.

They played well; those guys played well, Cutler said. They have to continue to do well.

Can you hear me?

The noise of the Superdome has been amply chronicled. Theres certain parts of the field youre not going to be able to hear a thing, line coach Mike Tice.

The task, particularly for young players like Carimi and Webb (Roberto Garza and guards Chris Spencer and Chris Williams have a combined 234 NFL starts), is to dial down the angst that comes with not being able to hear. That situation is exacerbated for players out on edges.

The bottom line is youre not going to be able to hear crap, Tice said. Were going to get edgy. Hopefully on those plays where we get edgy, we get the ball out fast Hopefully there wont be too many of those.

Youve got to talk them off the roof. Its happened and itll happen long as footballs football. You just dont want to compound errors.

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.

ICYMI: The Bears lose in OT, the Bulls season nears, the Blackhawks make history

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USA TODAY

ICYMI: The Bears lose in OT, the Bulls season nears, the Blackhawks make history

The Bears suffered a heartbreaking defeat (that makes two of those), but the Bulls are days away from the start of a new season and the Blackhawks did something that has never happened before in sports history.

Bears

The Bears had a slow first half, failing to score against the shorthanded Dolphins, but picked things up in the third quarter. It all fell apart late in the fourth quarter and then again in overtime in a 31-28 defeat. Miami went up against the Bears without starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill, but Brock Osweiler threw for 380 yards and three touchdowns. What does that say about the Bears' defense?

Matt Nagy was a bit chippy with the media after the game, but there were still positive signs from the offense.

Plus, Dwyane Wade was there and repped the Bears on the road.

Bulls

The Bulls wrapped up the preseason Friday with a 98-93 loss to the Nuggets. Wendell Carter Jr. and Bobby Portis both showed well in the preseason finale and Jabari Parker flashed his potential as well.

With the preseason complete, Mark Strotman graded each player on the Bulls roster. You may not want to calculate the team GPA.

The roster is being finalized as well, with Ryan Arcidiacono making the team and local product Tyler Ulis getting picked up off waivers.

Blackhawks

Saturday was an eventful day for the Blackhawks. First, it marked the 1,000th career game for Duncan Keith. Keith talked about the emotional night after the game.

As for the game itself, the Blackhawks beat the Blues 4-3 in overtime. That was the second time the Hawks beat the Blues in OT this season, adding to a 5-4 OT win in St. Louis on Oct. 6.

Unbelievably, that was the fifth straight OT game for the Blackhawks. Every game has gone to overtime this season, and not one of those has even gone to a shootout. No NHL team has done that since the league introduced a regular-season overtime period in 1983-84, per the Elias Sports Bureau. Overtimes are more rare in other sports, but that also holds true for the NBA, NFL and MLB.

The Hawks don't play against until Thursday, when the host Arizona.

Bears notes: Was Trey Burton’s penalty justified?

Bears notes: Was Trey Burton’s penalty justified?

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — In a game full of pivotal moments, one seemed to irk the Bears in particular following Sunday’s 31-28 overtime loss to the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium.

Driving on the Dolphins three-yard line, the Bears lined up in a T formation with Jordan Howard, Trey Burton and Tarik Cohen lined up left to right in the backfield behind Mitch Trubisky, who was under center. Burton motioned out of the backfield and to the right, and ran his route into linebacker Kiko Alonso.

Trubisky threw a short pass to a wide open Cohen for a touchdown, with Alonso late getting to the running back after being hit by Burton. But that score was taken off the board for offensive pass interference, with officials ruling what Burton did amounted to an illegal pick play.

“Trey did everything I asked him to do,” Matt Nagy said, sharply.

On the next play, Trubisky forced a pass into double coverage in the end zone, which was easily picked off by Dolphins safety T.J. McDonald. Miami turned that interception into eight points on Albert Wilson’s 43-yard touchdown and an ensuing two-point conversion.

The way Burton understood the rule was that offensive pass interference was only assessed on a pick play if he intentionally ran into a defender without running a true route. That’s what Burton felt he did; the officiating crew disagreed.

“I thought I ran a route and the guy ran into me,” Burton said. “I thought they changed the rule this year or last year — if you run the route, it doesn’t matter if you pick the guy or not, you’re good. Obviously they called it.”

A Rough Return

The conversations surrounding the Bears Sunday into Monday would be awfully different had a number of things happened — Trubisky doesn’t throw that interception, the Bears’ defense gets a stop, Tarik Cohen doesn’t fumble near midfield, etc. In that same group: If Cody Parkey hits what would’ve been a game-winning 53-yard field goal in overtime.

Parkey, instead, missed that kick wide right. His career long is 54 yards, which he hit last year while with the Miami Dolphins (and that was a game-winner with about a minute left against the Los Angeles Chargers).

“I had the distance, I just didn’t kick it straight enough, bottom line,” Parkey said. “But you’ve got to move on. I’ve made game winners, I’ve missed game winners. As long as I keep playing, I’m just going to keep trying to kick my best.

“… I control what I can control, and unfortunately I missed a field goal. I’d like to have that one back, but it is what it is and I’m just going to focus on the next game. That’s all I can do.”