Bears

Kickoff rule change would greatly impact Bears

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Kickoff rule change would greatly impact Bears

Thursday, March 17, 2011
Posted: 11:13 a.m.

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

The Bears stand to take a hit this offseason and thats with everything right now at an official standstill.

The NFL and NFLPA are stalled on making changes to the collective bargaining agreement but the league is going ahead with a couple other needed changes, a couple of them particularly interesting.

Once upon a time NFL teams kicked off from the 40-yard lines. Not too many years ago, in an effort to inject more excitement into the game, the league moved kickoffs back to the 30. The league also took footballs out of the hands (literally) of kickers and instituted the K balls, kept in their wrappers and away from creative equipment managing, in order to keep balls from being booted as far. The express intent was to reduce the number of touchbacks.

Now the league is intent on giving the pendulum a healthy shove back the other direction.

At their meetings next week in New Orleans, a proposal to move kickoffs up to the 35-yard line will be voted upon, expressly to reduce the number of kickoffs. The feeling is that kickoff returns are a source of serious injuries, which they are. Along with that, receiving teams will be given the ball at the 25-yard line instead of the 20, making it less enticing for returners to bring a ball out of the end zone.

The Bears wont take it personally but this all hits them as hard as any team in the NFL.

The Bears had 10 kickoff returns of 40 yards or longer in 2010, most in the NFL. And they have three returners capable of and delivering these field-position gems: Devin Hester (five), Danieal Manning (four) and Johnny Knox (one).

Hesters 35.6-yard return average was highest in the NFL among players with at least 10 returns.

Mannings 17 returns of 40 or more yards since 2008 are No. 1 in the NFL over that span.

It gets worse.

The Bears ranked No. 1 in the NFL in starting field position for a receiving team, with an average start at the 31.5.

Seven teams (San Diego, Kansas City, Houston, Indianapolis, New Orleans, Dallas and San Francisco) posted average starting field positions of no better than the 25. Wonder how theyll vote on the bring-it-out-to-the-25 proposal?

Mike speaks

FOXSports Mike Pereira, formerly the NFLs vice president of officiating and now one of the top rules analysts in the game, is slated for a visit with Dan on The Dan Patrick Show tomorrow (Friday) on Comcast SportsNet.

Mikes got a great in-depth analysis of the rules changes, including the non-change expected to the Calvin Johnson Rule that saved the Bears in game one last season. Hes got a vote on each of the proposed changes and the best guess is that hell elaborate on each tomorrow with Dan.

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.

Trey Burton, Adrian Amos earn Bears’ top grades from Pro Football Focus for Week 7

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USA TODAY

Trey Burton, Adrian Amos earn Bears’ top grades from Pro Football Focus for Week 7

The Bears were not at their best against the New England Patriots on Sunday. They made plenty of mistakes on all three phases and gave Tom Brady too many opportunities to control the game.

It wasn’t all bad from Chicago, though. Trey Burton emerged as a new favorite weapon of Mitchell Trubisky, and the tight end was the Bears’ highest-graded player in the game by Pro Football Focus.

Burton had a career high 11 targets, nine catches and 126 yards with a touchdown, giving Trubisky a 144.7 passer rating when targeting his top tight end.

Seven of Burton’s targets and six of his catches traveled 10 or more yards in the air, according to PFF.

Defensively, safety Adrian Amos led the pack with a 74.6 overall grade. He did not miss a tackle after missing a career-high five last week, and he allowed only one catch for eight yards against the Patriots.

On the bottom of the scale, outside linebacker Leonard Floyd received the second-lowest grade of his career (38.9 overall) for his performance. He did not record any pressure on the quarterback in 13 pass rushing snaps, and he allowed two catches for 13 yards and a touchdown in coverage against running back James White.

Wide receiver Allen Robinson had a career-low grade as well at 44.9 overall. He was clearly limited by his groin injury, targeted five times with one catch for four yards and a dropped pass.

Overall, the Bears were able to stick with one of the top teams in the AFC while also leaving a lot of room for improvement. It’s a step in the right direction from where Chicago was in recent seasons.

NFL Power Rankings Week 8: Jags, Eagles, Bears all see stock fall

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USA Today

NFL Power Rankings Week 8: Jags, Eagles, Bears all see stock fall

Take a look over the NFC landscape and try to find me a team that can compete with the Rams. 

Packers? Held back by Rodgers' knee and Rodgers' coach. Saints? Might not even win their own division. Washington? Does Alex Smith really scare anyone in the playoffs? 

The Rams have one of the easier paths to the Championship Round/Super Bowl that we've seen in some time. Will it likely stay that way? Probably not. But there's a difference between parity and mediocrity and right now the NFC is toeing the line HARD. 

Outside the NFC's "elite", how did your team do this week? 

You can take a look here and see where they landed.