Bears

New England Julius? Free-safety Julius?

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New England Julius? Free-safety Julius?

Thursday, Dec. 9, 2010
Posted: 2:42 p.m.

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

Great piece by Comcast SportsNet colleague Tom Curran out east on CSNNE.com about the possibility of Julius Peppers being in the "other" uniform this Sunday.

Peppers opened the door to talk of him in New England a year before he became a free agent when he talked about interest in a 3-4 defensive scheme in April 2009, Tom chronicles. "I thought about a number of teams including New England," Peppers said Wednesday. "In free agency you look at all your options. You want to play for one of the better franchises and I definitely had interest in playing for those guys."

The Patriots did sign a Bears pass-rushing force once when the Bears did not want to pay linebacker Rosevelt Colvin what New England was willing to after Colvin, who beat out Brian Urlacher for the SAM linebacker spot in Brian's rookie season. But the Patriots also lavished money on rush-linebacker Adalius Thomas in free agency subsequent to that and Thomas was a huge-money bust, doing a "New England faceplant in his three well-compensated seasons," Tom says.

How well Peppers in fact might have fit in a 3-4 scheme is open to question, if only because 3-4's typically do not get high sack totals from their ends. Peppers, however, likely would have been far more of a devastating factor in New England's 3-4 at 283 pounds than Thomas was at 270.

"You can put him pretty much anywhere, except corner, maybe," Bill Belichick said. "But anywhere else. He can definitely play on his feet and play linebacker. I mean, he'd be wasted there but you could put him there... You could put him at tight end. Probably make a left tackle out of him. I wouldn't want to tackle him if he was carrying the ball."

New England Robbie?

Where Peppers might have been a Patriot, Bears kicker Robbie Gould actually was one

Gould, pretty clearly the greatest kicker in franchise history, went to New England as an undrafted free agent out of Penn State in April 2005. The problem is that the Patriots had Adam Vinatieri, a Super Bowl winning kicker, and Gould was there to give Vinatieri a break, not a job.

Gould handled all kickoffs and one extra point in the first preseason game, kickoffs in game two, and second-half kickoffs in game three. He was slated to handle all kicking in game four but an injury elsewhere on the roster forced the Patriots to add a position player and cut Gould.

Bitterness over the cut? Not even a little bit.

"New England is a great place, like here, and they were always straightforward with me," Gould said. "And Bill Belichick, I love the guy. He's probably the greatest coach of all time."

"Iceman" Belichick?

New England coach Bill Belichick has been called many things but he may be in line for some sort of new nickname besides "Hoodie" (after his trademark hooded sweatshirt).

Linebacker Lance Briggs called on a movie reference to describe the persona Belichick and his defensive posses have.

"I like to think of them like 'Top Gun,'" Briggs said, using the blockbuster Tom Cruise film for a Belichick likeness, in particular the hyper-cool fighter pilot nicknamed "Iceman" and played by Val Kilmer.

"Remember Iceman. It's like he didn't make mistakes. He was just patient. He waits for you. As soon as you slip up a little bit -- bam -- he's got you."

IceBill?

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.

ICYMI: The Bears lose in OT, the Bulls season nears, the Blackhawks make history

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USA TODAY

ICYMI: The Bears lose in OT, the Bulls season nears, the Blackhawks make history

The Bears suffered a heartbreaking defeat (that makes two of those), but the Bulls are days away from the start of a new season and the Blackhawks did something that has never happened before in sports history.

Bears

The Bears had a slow first half, failing to score against the shorthanded Dolphins, but picked things up in the third quarter. It all fell apart late in the fourth quarter and then again in overtime in a 31-28 defeat. Miami went up against the Bears without starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill, but Brock Osweiler threw for 380 yards and three touchdowns. What does that say about the Bears' defense?

Matt Nagy was a bit chippy with the media after the game, but there were still positive signs from the offense.

Plus, Dwyane Wade was there and repped the Bears on the road.

Bulls

The Bulls wrapped up the preseason Friday with a 98-93 loss to the Nuggets. Wendell Carter Jr. and Bobby Portis both showed well in the preseason finale and Jabari Parker flashed his potential as well.

With the preseason complete, Mark Strotman graded each player on the Bulls roster. You may not want to calculate the team GPA.

The roster is being finalized as well, with Ryan Arcidiacono making the team and local product Tyler Ulis getting picked up off waivers.

Blackhawks

Saturday was an eventful day for the Blackhawks. First, it marked the 1,000th career game for Duncan Keith. Keith talked about the emotional night after the game.

As for the game itself, the Blackhawks beat the Blues 4-3 in overtime. That was the second time the Hawks beat the Blues in OT this season, adding to a 5-4 OT win in St. Louis on Oct. 6.

Unbelievably, that was the fifth straight OT game for the Blackhawks. Every game has gone to overtime this season, and not one of those has even gone to a shootout. No NHL team has done that since the league introduced a regular-season overtime period in 1983-84, per the Elias Sports Bureau. Overtimes are more rare in other sports, but that also holds true for the NBA, NFL and MLB.

The Hawks don't play against until Thursday, when the host Arizona.

Bears notes: Was Trey Burton’s penalty justified?

Bears notes: Was Trey Burton’s penalty justified?

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — In a game full of pivotal moments, one seemed to irk the Bears in particular following Sunday’s 31-28 overtime loss to the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium.

Driving on the Dolphins three-yard line, the Bears lined up in a T formation with Jordan Howard, Trey Burton and Tarik Cohen lined up left to right in the backfield behind Mitch Trubisky, who was under center. Burton motioned out of the backfield and to the right, and ran his route into linebacker Kiko Alonso.

Trubisky threw a short pass to a wide open Cohen for a touchdown, with Alonso late getting to the running back after being hit by Burton. But that score was taken off the board for offensive pass interference, with officials ruling what Burton did amounted to an illegal pick play.

“Trey did everything I asked him to do,” Matt Nagy said, sharply.

On the next play, Trubisky forced a pass into double coverage in the end zone, which was easily picked off by Dolphins safety T.J. McDonald. Miami turned that interception into eight points on Albert Wilson’s 43-yard touchdown and an ensuing two-point conversion.

The way Burton understood the rule was that offensive pass interference was only assessed on a pick play if he intentionally ran into a defender without running a true route. That’s what Burton felt he did; the officiating crew disagreed.

“I thought I ran a route and the guy ran into me,” Burton said. “I thought they changed the rule this year or last year — if you run the route, it doesn’t matter if you pick the guy or not, you’re good. Obviously they called it.”

A Rough Return

The conversations surrounding the Bears Sunday into Monday would be awfully different had a number of things happened — Trubisky doesn’t throw that interception, the Bears’ defense gets a stop, Tarik Cohen doesn’t fumble near midfield, etc. In that same group: If Cody Parkey hits what would’ve been a game-winning 53-yard field goal in overtime.

Parkey, instead, missed that kick wide right. His career long is 54 yards, which he hit last year while with the Miami Dolphins (and that was a game-winner with about a minute left against the Los Angeles Chargers).

“I had the distance, I just didn’t kick it straight enough, bottom line,” Parkey said. “But you’ve got to move on. I’ve made game winners, I’ve missed game winners. As long as I keep playing, I’m just going to keep trying to kick my best.

“… I control what I can control, and unfortunately I missed a field goal. I’d like to have that one back, but it is what it is and I’m just going to focus on the next game. That’s all I can do.”