Bears

Moon: Angelo wants Forte; Bears will win division

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Moon: Angelo wants Forte; Bears will win division

Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2011Posted: 11:04 a.m.

By JohnMullin
CSNChicago.com BearsInsider Follow@CSNMoonMullin
The Bears schedule is a little nastier this year because of their winning the NFC North. The obvious rough opening three games Atlanta, New Orleans, Green Bay has been well chronicled.

Actually, its worse than you thought.

All three (Falcons, Saints, Packers) ranked in the top 11 for points per game. The Saints (No. 3) and Falcons (No. 4) were among the elite at keeping their quarterbacks un-sacked; the Packers didnt protect Aaron Rodgers as well as that, but the Packers seemed to manage just fine anyway. Green Bay and New Orleans ranked in the top 10 for yardage.

The Bears ranked no better than 21st in any of those departments.

But then it gets even more surly.

The Falcons (fifth), Saints (seventh) and Packers (second) all stand among the NFLs defensive elite as well. The Bears were fourth in scoring defense but ninth in yards allowed vs. Green Bays No. 5 and New Orleans No. 4.

Just to be clear...

The Bears offer to running back Matt Forte wasnt enough to get Forte to nod OK. But the Bears are not closing any doors even though GM Jerry Angelo told ChicagoBears.com that there are no current plans for negotiations before the end of the season.

And Angelo was explicit long-term: We want to have Matt play his entire career as a Bear. That was our intent when we started negotiations.

Reasonable assumption, but...

Mike Florio at ProFootballTalk.com has the Bears finishing out of the playoffs. Thats a very reasonable conclusion and Mike is among the best at assessing league-wide situations.

But as Mike said Wednesday on his 10 a.m. check-in with Dan McNeil and Matt Spiegel on WSCR-AMs The NcNeil and Spiegel Show one of his and others fundamental underlying assumptions is that the Green Bay Packers have to be the pick to win the NFC North. They won the Super Bowl and theyre getting a lot of injured guys back.

But Ive gone the other direction and picked the Bears to win the division again, in part because of the last 10 Super Bowl winners, only four have even won their division the following year. Life and the NFL dont always go in the straight line they look to be following.

As for specific Bears issues, Mike said he was concerned about the offensive line as a work in progress. Thats significant if the defense has trouble winning games for them early. And Mike admitted to the feeling shared by a lot of Bears fans last year.

I just feel they got lucky in early 2010 and the defense carried them through a lot of those games.

Well see. Mikes not alone in his take here. I do have a hard time seeing lucky getting you to 11 wins, though. Guess thats why they play the games.
Rostering

If you wondered whether fourth preseason games matter and teams pay attention to who does what, the Bears replenished their fullback larder Wednesday with the signing of jumbo blocking back Tyler Clutts from the practice squad of the Cleveland Browns the Bears opponent in that fourth warmup game.

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.

Putting Bill Belichick’s complimentary comments about the Bears in context

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USA TODAY

Putting Bill Belichick’s complimentary comments about the Bears in context

Bill Belichick had plenty of good things to say about Matt Nagy and the 2018 Bears during a conference call with reporters on Wednesday. Some of the highlights:

 

On the Bears’ season as a whole:

 

“The Bears have lost two games, one on a game when they were in control of the game and another one they lost in overtime. This really looks like a 5-0 team to me, if you change one or two plays. You can say that about a lot of teams, but that’s the league we’re in.”

 

On Mitch Trubisky:

 

“I think he’s done a good job of getting ball to the players that are open or in space and letting them be playmakers. He has a lot of them. That’s the quarterback’s job is to deliver the ball to the playmakers and let them go. I think he’s done a good job of that. He’s a tough kid, which I respect. That’s what we would ask our quarterbacks to do, to make plays to help our team win, to get the ball to the players that are open and in space. It’s not about stats. It’s about doing what you need to do to win.”

 

On Tarik Cohen’s usage:

 

“He plays about a little bit less than 50 percent of the time and he’s in a lot of different places, he’s hard to find. He’s a dynamic player that can run, catch, really threaten every yard of the field from sideline to sideline, up the middle, deep. You can throw it to him, you can hand it to him and he’s elusive with the ball and he’s elusive to be able to get open so the quarterback can get him the ball. Those are great skills to have. Any one of those is good and he’s got several of them.

 

“He’s very hard to tackle. But they do a great job mixing him, not just putting him in the game but who he’s in the game with, what the combinations are and then where they locate him and so forth. There are a lot of multiples. It’s hard. Coach Nagy does a good job with that and he’s a special player that you gotta know where he is at all times.”

 

On Trubisky’s 54-yard bomb to Taylor Gabriel on Sunday:

 

“That’s about as good a throw and catch as I’ve seen all year. The execution on that was like 99 out of 100. It was a great, great throw, great route, great catch. There was like a few inches to get the ball in there 50 yards downfield and that’s where it was.”

 

On Akiem Hicks’ impact, who played for the Patriots in 2015:

 

“He’s hard to block. It doesn’t make any difference what the play is, you can run to him and he’s hard to block. You can run away from him, and he makes tackles for loss on the back side. He’s quick and can get around those blocks when there’s more space back there because everybody is going to the front side. He can power rush. He can rush the edges with his quickness. He’s a very, very disruptive player. He’s hard to block on everything.

 

“I appreciate all of the plays he makes. He makes plays on all three downs, against all types of plays, whether it’s reading screen passes or power rushing the pocket to help the ends, to help (Leonard) Floyd and Mack and (Aaron) Lynch rush on the edge. He’s a powerful, disruptive guy. (Eddie) Goldman has done a good job of that. (Bilal) Nichols has done a good job of that too. They have some really powerful guys inside that are hard to block, and they change the line of scrimmage in the running game and the passing game. It really creates a problem, frees up the linebackers in the running game and helps the ends because the quarterback can’t step up in the pocket in the passing game.”

 

On Matt Nagy:

 

“Obviously he's done a great job, as has Ryan with building the team. They have a lot of good players. They have a really experienced staff and they do a great job in all three areas of the game. They're good in the kicking game, they're good on defense they're good on offense. They have highly-skilled players in all three areas.

 

“It's a well-balanced football team that does a lot of things well. Run the ball. Stop the run. Throw the ball. Rush the passer. Intercept passes. Return kicks. Cover kicks. Cover punts. They're at the top of the league in all those categories. Turnovers. Points off turnovers. It doesn't really matter what area you want to talk about, they're pretty good at all of them. That's why they're a good football team.

 

“Coach Nagy and his staff certainly deserve a lot of credit. It's not a one-man band. They're all doing a good job. It's a good football team. I'm sure there will be a lot of energy in the stadium this week. It will be a great test for us to go into Chicago and be competitive against them.”

 

While listening to Belichick rave about the Bears, this missive from former Patriots general manager Michael Lombardi stands out:

 

“Whenever Belichick tells the media on Mondays or Tuesdays that he has already moved on to the next game, trust me, he’s not lying. I worked with Bill for five years in Cleveland, and then during the 2014 and 2015 seasons in New England. Belichick treats every game like a Super Bowl; no detail is too small, no possible scenario or situation goes overlooked. I have heard Belichick break down a bumbling Jaguars team as if it was the reigning two-time Super Bowl winner and treat Blake Bortles like he’s the second coming of Aaron Rodgers. Belichick does it with tape to back up his claims, only showing his team the opponent’s greatest strengths. (With Bortles, I swear, he must have used George Lucas to doctor the video.) No Patriots opponent is underestimated or taken lightly — EVER.”

 

One of the myriad things that make Belichick the best coach in the NFL — and maybe the best coach in NFL history — is how he never takes an opponent lightly, and then how he’s so successful at scheming against what an opponent does best.

 

The Bears are undoubtedly better in 2018 than they were in the John Fox era, or when these two teams last met in 2014 (when New England waxed a moribund Marc Trestman side, 51-23). And a lot of Belichick’s points are valid – that throw Trubisky made to Gabriel was outstanding, for example.

 

But Belichick talks this way about every team he faces. And that, again, is part of what makes him the best at what he does.

Under Center Podcast: What will we learn about the Bears against the Patriots?

Under Center Podcast: What will we learn about the Bears against the Patriots?

On this week's Under Center podcast, JJ Stankevitz and John “Moon” Mullin look at how Bill Belichick and New England will attack Matt Nagy and the Bears on Sunday, and if Mitch Trubisky can get to the point where he can reliably lead a late-game scoring drive like Tom Brady is so good at doing.

You can listen to the whole thing here, or in the embedded player below: