Bears

Lovie: It's one game and no more than that

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Lovie: It's one game and no more than that

Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2011
Posted: 5:26 p.m.

By JohnMullin
CSNChicago.com BearsInsider Follow@CSNMoonMullin
Lovie Smith gets credit for keeping a sense of perspective in place for his players. Every game of an NFL season is a big deal, but Smith also knows how to parcel out the weight of any particular game.

Like this one coming up against the Atlanta Falcons. First games are sometimes viewed as season direction-indicators, team-definers. And they are huge games. Sort of. Depending on how the Bears do.

The years weve won, Ive put a lot into it. Im pumped up about it, Smith joked. The years we havent, then its not thats important.

But seriously, folks

It is one game and no more than that, Smith said. I dont think it counts any more but it does give you an idea of where you are, because you really dont know. No team really knows.

Smith has had some practice with assigning value to a first-game win or loss. From 2005-2011, only in 2006 (Green Bay) and 2010 (Detroit) did the Bears open against a team not coming off a playoff season or beginning one that would culminate in reaching the playoffs.

Working in the Bears favor is that the Falcons have not won in Soldier Field since 1983. Jay Cutler was four months old then. It was, coincidentally, the opening game of that season.

Smith insisted you really cant think ahead. Who do we play the second game anyway?

No answer. Thats what I thought, he said.

Whoever it is, thats a long time away.

That would be called focus.

Capn Crunch

Roberto Garza is replacing Olin Kreutz as the Bears starting center. He also is replacing Kreutz in the role of co-captain, along with Cutler, of the offense. Given that Garza is the clear head of the young offensive line, this is an obvious pick.
Julius Peppers and Brian Urlacher are the returning defensive captains and long snapper Patrick Mannelly represents special teams.
He said what?

Matt Forte said Wednesday that he did not think GM Jerry Angelo lied about the desire to get something worked out before the season. But in Fortes mind, Angelo was being less than accurate in his portrayal of negotiations breaking off.

Angelo said that the decision to suspend contract negotiations with Forte was a mutual understanding; the two sides obviously had solidly different basic negotiating assumption.

He said that? Forte said. I didnt say that. I guess it wasnt mutual. But that was his decision. I cant really decide if we continue to talk or not. Hes the one we walk to, so the doors always open on my end.

Sick bay

Running back Marion Barber, bothered by a calf injury suffered in the preseason game at Tennessee, did not practice for the second day this week, raising concerns about his readiness for Atlanta.

Nose tackle Anthony Adams (calf), wideout Sam Hurd (ankle) and defensive end Corey Wootton (knee) were limited in practice. Woottons return to practice is a good sign for a defense that needs the edge rushing he was demonstrating in camp.

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.

Former Bear Greg Olsen randomly walks into marriage proposal, catches whole thing on video

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USA TODAY

Former Bear Greg Olsen randomly walks into marriage proposal, catches whole thing on video

Scenario: you're walking down the street and randomly walk into a marriage proposal. What do you do?

For former Bear and current Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen, the answer was to capture the magical moment on video. 

Olsen was in Nashville this week to give a keynote speech at a healthcare conference. While walking back to his hotel on Thursday, he randomly stumbled into a marriage proposal. His first response: hit record on his phone and capture the whole thing on video.

"Did she say yes? I got it on video, dude," Olsen said emphatically. "I'm going to send it to you!

"She said yes and I got it all on video, and you don't even know me, but I'm going to send it to you."

The couple, according to the Panthers, is Max Harvat and Brooke Hartranft. The two were visiting Nashville for the week, but Harvat didn't necessarily plan the proposal. It was as much of a sporadic moment for him as it was random for Olsen.

"Oh my god, you're my hero," Harvat said to Olsen after the proposal.

As it turns out, Harvat grew up a Panthers fan. However, he had no idea that Olsen was the person recording the proposal in the moment, only happy that someone caught it on video. When he stood up, he realized who the mystery man was.

“When I stood up, I looked over and I started having a mini heart attack," Harvat said to panthers.com. "I was like, ‘I’m 90 percent sure that’s Greg Olsen from the Panthers!’

“I'm a huge Carolina fan. I was like, ‘Oh my God, you're telling me that Greg Olsen just recorded the whole thing?’ I was so excited. It was amazing."

The moment wasn't just special for Havrat and Hartranft, though.

"It's the best thing I've ever witnessed," Olsen said in the video.

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Bilal Nichols eyes an even bigger impact for Bears in 2019

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USA Today

Bilal Nichols eyes an even bigger impact for Bears in 2019

Even if Bilal Nichols repeated his 2018 performance in 2019, the Bears would be lauded for unearthing a solid rotational player with a fifth-round draft pick. But Nichols isn’t resting on his rookie accomplishments, and is aiming to be an even more impactful player on the Bears’ defensive line as he enters Year 2 in the NFL. 

“More consistent, more dominant,” Nichols said. “That’s the biggest thing for me right now.”

Nichols was a top-50 run defender in the NFL last year, as rated by Pro Football Focus — he made a “stop” on 8.7 percent of his run defense plays, ranking 44th in the league (PFF defines a “stop” as a play that constitutes a failure for the offense). For reference, Akiem Hicks ranked eighth at 13.3 percent, Eddie Goldman was 17th at 11.6 percent and Jonathan Bullard came in 40th at 9.1 percent. 

Nichols’ biggest “stop” came in the Bears’ narrow Week 3 win over the Arizona Cardinals, in which he dropped running back Chase Edmonds for a three-yard loss on a third-and-two play inside Bears territory just after the two-minute warning. While Nichols debuted a week earlier against the Seattle Seahawks and recorded a pressure of Russell Wilson, that play against the Cardinals was critical in an important victory for the Bears. It also proved to Nichols that what he was doing was beginning to work. 

“That was really a situation where I had cut it loose and went,” Nichols said. “I knew what i was doing on that play, I knew the possible things I could get from the offense and that was just a situation where I cut it loose and just played football. And I happened to make a big play. 

“I can’t wait to do that this year.” 

Nichols, as he was figuring out how to form a routine and study opponents in the NFL after making the jump from FCS-level Delaware, played a shade under a third of the Bears’ snaps last year as part of a rotation that proved critical to the team’s defensive success. Hicks played the most snaps (780), followed by Goldman (552) and Roy Robertson-Harris (353). Nichols (328) pushed Bullard (298) to the bottom of the rotation, which helped keep members of Jay Rodgers’ unit fresh and at their most effective when they were on the field. 

The Bears’ defensive line is arguably their best and deepest unit, one which can collapse pockets and stymie opposing run games (the latter of which is especially important, given the Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions’ renewed commitments to running the ball this year). Nichols was already a big part of it in 2018, and may be an even bigger part of it in 2019. 

“Last year, I was still trying to figure things out, still trying to figure the league out, figure myself out as a player,” Nichols said. “And now that I got everything figured out, I’m just able to go. I could just play and play fast and cut it loose.”