Bears

Kreutz: No hard feelings; Urlacher practices

538791.jpg

Kreutz: No hard feelings; Urlacher practices

Friday, Sept. 16, 2011
Posted: 8:53 a.m. Updated: 5:00 p.m.

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com Bears Insider Follow @CSNMoonMullin
Olin Kreutz did not get what he wanted from the Chicago Bears in terms of a final contract. But he is not taking any hard feelings onto the field with the intent of taking them out on the players for a team that drafted him in 1998 and for which he played his entire career until now.

None of those guys Im playing against made a decision me, Kreutz said. And to be perfectly honest and perfectly fair, they made a fair offer to come back and I didnt go back.

Theres no hard feelings.

Kreutzs comments are not surprising. He has always had a sense of whats right and not right, regardless of whether it squares with everyone elses. Indeed, it should be noted by critics fond of bashing the Bears for not paying him, that he considered the Bears offer fair. And he signed for about half the Bears offer to play for the Saints when the Bears pulled their offer off the table.

But if there are no hard feelings, that doesnt mean that there arent strong feelings.

Its hard to say its another football game, Kreutz said. Itll be like playing against your brother or your friend. You probably want to beat them more than you want to beat anyone else.

Im sure seeing them in the beginning will be a little emotional. But they know how I feel about them. I know how they feel about me.

"But that doesnt mean were not going to try to kick each others ass.

Nicks and bruises

With receiver Roy Williams missing a second day of practice with the groin strain suffered against Atlanta, expect Johnny Knox back in the starting lineup opposite Devin Hester.

Running back Marion Barber has been expected to miss his second game with a calf strain from the Tennessee preseason game. He has not played since then, did not practice again Thursday, and Kahlil Bell should get his second game as primary backup to Matt Forte.

Knox lost his No. 1 job to Williams early in camp when the former Dallas CowboyDetroit Lion arrived and started to settle in. But Knox caught 3 passes for 60 yards coming off the bench in the Atlanta game and is a proven deep threat after leading the Bears in receiving yards last season and ranking fifth in the NFL in average yards per catch.
Urlacher returns

Brian Urlacher was practicing again Friday, the final confirmation that the middle linebacker will be in his customary spot Sunday despite the recent death of his mother Lavoyda.

Measuring gauge

A game of some note for Bears fans will be the Philadelphia Eagles going against the Atlanta Falcons in the Georgia Dome. Colleague Ray Didinger at CSNPhilly.com does a very in-depth look at the offense, defense and special-teams situations.

The game is worth checking out because its a future Bears opponent (Eagles) against a team the Bears just finished with, and this is another of those deals that have playoff implications because of potential tiebreakers. Its also a chance to measure the Philly defense and that self-proclaimed Dream Team that the Eagles assembled in the offseason.

You have to love the East Coast media hype, though. The Bears sign five No. 1 draft choices Williams, Amobi Okoye, Chris Spencer, Vernon Gholston, plus a 2007 Pro Bowl tailback (Barber) whos sitting on the bench and get picked to slip backwards from 11-5 to 8-8 or worse by many observers.
Lockout blues

The Bears showed zero negative effects from either the long offseason lockout or players opting to work out pretty much on their own without a lot of wasted energy on group sessions. The Oakland Raiders, with new head coach Hue Jackson, got past the Denver Broncos last weekend in a meeting of two Bears November opponents.

But check out what Bill Romanowski has to say on CSNCalifornia.coms Raiders page about the lockout effects.

Bears going to funeral for Urlacher's mother

As perhaps befitting the second-most senior member of their roster, the Bears will be represented by members from all areas of their organizational family.

The private service for Urlacher's mother will be held on Saturday. The following Bears representatives are scheduled to attend: Chairman of the Board George McCaskey, President and CEO Ted Phillips, General Manager Jerry Angelo, head coach Lovie Smith, linebackers coach Bob Babich and linebacker Lance Briggs.

As a friend, you support your friend, Briggs said. I think everyone in the country right now is sending out their condolences and their prayers to him and his family, so I think thats the best way to support him and help him get through the situation.

In lieu of flowers, the Urlacher family has asked for donations to be made to the following:

Lavoyda Fund
co City of Lovington Youth Center
214 S. Love St.
Lovington, NM 88260

Its just sad, Smith said. Im lucky to be his coach. But our relationship goes a lot further than that. I lost my mother earlier this year, one of the first guys on the telephone with me was Brian...

Were just going to be there to support him in any way that we can and just be there to help him through a tough time. Unless youve been through it, theres no way to make it any better than it is at the time. But hell get through it.

With a little help from his friends.

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.”