Smith, Carroll relaxed heading into matchup

Smith, Carroll relaxed heading into matchup

Friday, Jan. 14, 2011
3:06 p.m.

By John Mullin

There may be some underlying angst in Seattle or Chicago about Sundays game between the Bears and Seahawks. But it doesnt appear to involve the opposing coaches.

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll opened up a cell phone and took a mock call when a media phone went off during a press conference this week.

Lovie Smith can be inscrutable, enigmatic, (your adjective here). But on Friday, after finishing off the final day of practice before the divisional-round game Sunday, relaxed might not even depict his mood.

Lets do this again next week, Smith suggested as the media gathering broke up.

Next week would of course refer to the final day of preparation for the NFC Championship game, the third such game for which Smith would be preparing. He was the defensive coordinator for the 2001 St. Louis Rams team that began with a bye week and went on to win the conference championship. He coached the Bears past Seattle in 2006 and on to a conference championship.

This time...

While Smith and the Bears can ill afford to look beyond the heavy underdog Seahawks, an inevitable thought strayed into who the Bears might like to win Saturday night when the Green Bay Packers go against the Falcons in Atlanta.

Who's playing? Smith deadpanned. I know about that game Sunday.

Assuming the Bears get past Seattle: If the Packers win, the Bears host the NFC title game, as they did in 2006. If Atlanta wins, the Bears go to the Georgia Dome.

So really it doesn't matter, Smith said. "Of course you'd love to play another playoff game at home Green Bay. But if we have to go on the road, you might as well go inside to play. We're a fast football team, so it doesn't really matter.

If you believe in theater omens, however, this might not have been a good one.

Bad dress rehearsal, good opening night is a timeless performers bromide. The Bears have had a succession of good rehearsals (the NFL calls them practices), so does that mean?

I know it's kind of coach talk, but we really have a great week of practice, Smith said. You expect that when you play a game like this. Guys can't wait to play. We're healthy and we feel like we have a good game plan, playing at home in the elements, everything you look for this time of the year.

We have to play better than we did last time. They deserved to win that football game. Normally you don't get a second chance. We need to make the most of our second chance.

The not-new kid

Carroll edged into his job in the nick of time this year, both on the college and NFL levels. He got out of USC before the firestorm of allegations, violations and sanctions engulfed him and the program. And he snagged a five-year contract to coach the Seahawks averaging a reported 6.5 million a season. This years hires, with the exception of Jim Harbaugh in San Francisco, are netted about half that.

Carroll is far from an NFL newbie. He took the 1997 New England Patriots (slaughtering a Rick Mirer-led Bears team 31-3 along the way) to a wild-card win after a failed one-year stint with the New York Jets in 1994.

He looks young but hes the second-oldest coach in the NFL, said quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. Hes an old-school guy and most of his talks to the team go back to guys like John Wooden or Bud Grant or people he played with or coached with. Stories that none of us hardly remember...

I dont see him as a college coach. I know he spent the last nine years at USC as a college coach but I see him as a long-time NFL coach who happened to go to USC to perfect his coaching style, and he was able to do it.

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.

Mike Trout says Browns will win more games than Bears in 2018

Mike Trout says Browns will win more games than Bears in 2018

Los Angeles Angels superstar Mike Trout is quickly becoming an icon in American sports. The two-time American League MVP is enjoying another dominant season batting .335 with 23 home runs and 48 RBI.

On Tuesday, he took a swing at what Bears fans may consider a shocking NFL prediction.

“I’ve got the Browns having a better record than the Bears,” Trout told a radio reporter, according to the Los Angeles Times. Trout's comments were made in response the reporter "talking up" Chicago.

Both the Browns and Bears have had productive offseasons that involved headline-grabbing acquisitions on offense. Cleveland drafted QB Baker Mayfield with the No. 1 overall pick, traded for WR Jarvis Landry, signed RB Carlos Hyde and drafted a backfield mate for him in Georgia's Nick Chubb. They added potential lockdown corner Denzel Ward with the fourth overall pick, too. Add all that to a motivated Josh Gordon ready to contribute for a full season, and there's good reason to be excited in Cleveland.

Still, it's hard imagining Trout can be that confident in a team that's won only one game over the last two seasons. And let's not forget what GM Ryan Pace has done this offseason, one that's been praised by analysts from all corners of the NFL universe. From new coach Matt Nagy to free-agent WR Allen Robinson and all the skill players in between, the Bears are ready to make a legitimate run in the NFC North.

Trout doesn't strike out much in the major leagues, but this prediction feels like it could be a back-straining whiff.

Is Matt Forte pushing for a coaching job with the Bears?

Is Matt Forte pushing for a coaching job with the Bears?

Is former Bears star Matt Forte going to be the team’s new running backs coach?

For now, that’s Charles London’s job, who was hired to head coach Matt Nagy’s staff earlier this year.

But on Tuesday night, Forte tweeted that he would like a coaching spot with Chicago sometime in the near future.

Serving as evidence, the now-retired running back responded to a tweet from ESPN’s Adam Schefter, which announced the Broncos’ hiring of former linebacker Demarcus Ware as a “pass-rush consultant on a part-time basis.” Forte tweeted at the Bears, saying that he is “available” to take on a similar role to Ware’s new Denver gig.

Forte’s tweet was relatively cryptic, and he never specified exactly what type of job he would want with the Bears. After finishing up a storied career this past season and solidifying his name as a Bears legend, Forte has proven that he could easily coach young running backs or even wide receivers at some point.

But isn’t this all just a joke?

Forte silenced the doubters by tweeting “I wasn’t joking” as a response to an article saying that his desire for a new occupation with the Bears was simply a gag. The former workhorse was also intrigued by a fan’s tweet asking “Coach Forte??”

The mere thought of having Forte back in Chicago with the Bears’ coaching staff sent fans on Twitter into a frenzy. In April, Forte came back to Halas Hall to ink his name on a one-day contract, successfully allowing him to retire as a Bear. Now, Forte wants a lengthier stay in the Windy City.

Ware’s role with Denver is not extensive by any means and, according to Schefter, he will work a pretty scattered schedule with Broncos players. What Forte’s role would look like with the Bears is completely unknown if his plan to coach becomes a reality.

Forte has the running back credentials to take on a coaching position. In eight seasons with the Bears, Forte racked up a combined 8,602 rushing yards, second to only the great Walter Payton. Forte’s 4,116 receiving yards as a running back, 12,718 yards from scrimmage, 24 games with 100 rushing yards and 25 games with at least 150 yards from scrimmage also ranks second behind Payton.

Maybe this will be a new development in Chicago’s offseason plans, but there is no real talk of bringing one of the team’s all-time leading rushers back to the team as of right now.

Last month, NBC Sports Chicago announced Forte will be joining the network as a Bears game day studio analyst for the upcoming 2018 NFL season. And we're not joking about that.