Moon: To audible or not? That's the question


Moon: To audible or not? That's the question

Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2011
6:03 PM

By John Mullin

Offensive coordinator Mike Martz doesnt want his quarterbacks to audible. But he also has the image of being willing to listen during the week and if he cocked an ear toward his starting tailback Wednesday, he would have heard some game-planning.

After the Bears lost to Seattle in Game 6 in a game where running backs were handed the ball just 12 times vs. 47 pass plays called, Matt Forte made uncharacteristically strong comments about the way the plays had been called.

In case Martz missed it the first time, Forte went public with his feelings about the need to run the ball and run it a lot.

I dont think we have a choice, Forte said. We cant go out like last time and throw the ball 40-50 times and only run 10 times. We have to have a balanced offense.

Jay Cutlers public thoughts on game planning were in stark contrast, however.

Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints threw 60 passes in their loss last weekend to the Seahawks. But Cutler gave the impression that the Seahawks more than the Bears would determine what the Bears do.

We might throw it 60 times, Cutler said. It depends on what they give us. Theyve played some man coverage. Theyve played some zone, depending on who theyre going against. So were not for sure what theyre going to do against us. Were going to figure it out in the first quarter and go from there.


Seattle coach Pete Carroll was the defensive backs coach for the Minnesota Vikings in 1985 when they faced the Bears in the turning-point game of that epic season. Indeed, it was Carrolls DBs who were victimized when Jim McMahon came off the bench in the third quarter to rally the Bears with two long TD passes on his first two snaps.

Carroll brought that game came up to Matt Hasselbeck on Wednesday. Well keep that confidential til after this game. I dont want to offend any of the 85 Bears. I think a lot of those guys. They might still come after me.

That hints at Carroll maybe, just maybe, suggesting that the Bears were lucky or whatever to have a recovery like that. Carrolls account of his account was just that we had to suffer through those matchups with them when I was with the Vikings way back when, and how dynamic those teams were in the 80s, the great players that were on them, Carroll said. We just kind of shared some stories about the old times.

Duly noted
In an indicator that he wont be active for Sundays playoff, tight end Desmond Clark was wearing a No. 17 Wednesday as he simulated wide receiver Mike Williams for the Bears defense in practice.

The Bears scouting work this week is including input from director of player personnel Tim Ruskell, who joined the Bears last offseason following five years a president of football operations for the Seattle Seahawks. We use all resources, always, Lovie Smith said. Of course, Tim knows a little more about their personnel but we can see a lot about their personnel from watching the video also.

Snow and frozen outdoor fields sent the Seahawks indoors for their practice Wednesday. The Bears did their second day of playoff prep in the Walter Payton Center.

Denial isnt just a riverJohnny Knox caught none of the eight passes thrown his way in the season-ending loss at Green Bay, ending his quest for 1,000 yards at 960. So he probably would like to forget that game.

It appears he has.

The Bears wide receiver acknowledged that there are some things that just didnt work out. One of my goals this year, to get a 1,000, just didnt work out. Most importantly, we got that win in Green Bay. We did want to knock Green Bay out so we wouldnt have to play them for a third time but getting 1,000 was a goal. Most importantly we did get the win.

No word from the NFL on whether this takes the Packers out of the playoffs retroactively.

Sick bay
Cornerback Charles Tillman was ill and unable to practice Wednesday. All other Bears were down for full participation.

Seattle was without Pro Bowl middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu, recovering from a concussion but expected to play Sunday.

John "Moon" Mullin is'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.

Where should Khalil Mack rank among all-time best Bears?


Where should Khalil Mack rank among all-time best Bears?

One season was all it took for Khalil Mack to enter the conversation among the all-time best Bears players.

Six forced fumbles, 12.5 sacks, 10 tackles for loss, four pass breakups and one pick six kept him in the Defensive Player of the Year conversation despite an ankle injury.

It’s hard to stack one dominant season against players who maintained excellence over multiple years, but Hall of Fame writers Dan Pompei and Don Pierson did just that in their ranking of the top 100 Bears players of all time.

For Mack’s efforts in 2018, he came in 60th on the list, one spot behind former defensive end Julius Peppers.

Richard Dent is the only player in Bears history to record more than 12.5 sacks in a season, and Mack’s production was tied for the third best year for the franchise since they started recording sacks in 1982.

Peppers hit double-digit sacks twice in his four years in Chicago with three trips to the Pro Bowl, but Pompei and Pierson may have been hesitant to rank Mack too highly given how little time he’s spent at Halas Hall.

The star outside linebacker is not the 60th most talented player in team history, but in terms of best contributions while on the Bears, his lack of tenure could be what keeps him lower on the list.

If he continues at his current rate, he should rise near the top of the rankings after another few seasons.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Bears.

Hall of Fame writers rank Jay Cutler behind Brandon Marshall on all-time Bears list


Hall of Fame writers rank Jay Cutler behind Brandon Marshall on all-time Bears list

The summer days of the offseason are prime ranking season, and the Bears official website is entering the mix as part of the team’s 100th season celebration.

Hall of Fame writers Dan Pompei and Don Pierson ranked the top 100 players in franchise history for their upcoming centennial scrapbook, and Monday the team released the first 25 names on the list.

The biggest standout was quarterback Jay Cutler, who ranked 85th.

Plenty of Hall of Famers should rank above the Bears’ all-time leading passer, but 84 is quite a few.

It’s hard to compare a modern quarterback to players from previous decades, like 82nd-ranked George Blanda, but Cutler even came in behind the likes of wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, neither of whom spent more than five years in Chicago.

Third-year safety Eddie Jackson also made an appearance at 96 on the list, and beloved former long snapper Patrick Mannelly started off the list at 100.