Bears

Tinoisamoa out 3rd straight game, Roach to start

Tinoisamoa out 3rd straight game, Roach to start

Friday, Dec. 3, 2010
2:26 PM

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

The Bears will be without Pisa Tinoisamoa for a third straight game after the veteran strong-side linebacker was unable to practice fully on Friday. In his place, former Northwestern star Nick Roach will start.

Coach Lovie Smith had indicated Tinoisamoa be back but he didnt come around as much as wed hoped, Smith said. Tinoisamoa missed most of last season with two knee injuries and the Bears hope to have him for the finishing stretch of 2010.

The falloff from starter to backup is virtually nil between Tinoisamoa and Roach. Indeed, including the last two games of 09, the Bears have won Roachs last four starts at Sam backer, including a shutout in Miami and wins over Michael Vick and Brett Favre (09) when the latter was deep into his statement season.

Roach has been active for every game except Dallas this year so it hasnt been a difficult year for me, he said. Ive been healthy except for a minor knee injury in training camp so I count that as a plus, being able to play in every game.

The Detroit Lions, however, are likely to be without defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch, who missed his fourth day of practice with a neck injury. The Lions already lost kicker Jason Hanson for the season with a knee injury and are without their 1-2 quarterbacks in Matthew Stafford and Shaun Hill.

Sad note, but somehow not

The passing of Cubs legend Ron Santo at age 70 from bladder cancer is one of those things that gives rise to thoughts and recollections, snapshots really, and in Ronnies case, theyre all good.

Forget what Ronnie was or wasnt as a broadcaster at the end of his career. Ron just enjoyed (unless it was Bad Cubs) the game and being at the game and if you couldnt just appreciate the emotion, that was always, to me, your loss. He got it. A good groan now and then? Hey, weve all heard worse over the airwaves.

I remember back in his playing days when his Park Ridge pizza place gave free pizzas if you were in the shop when he hit a homer. Sometimes the folks there didnt stop giving free stuff if the Cubs won, and Ronnie never minded.

Later he opened a place in downtown Park Ridge. Nice food, nice setting, nice people. Like most restaurants, it eventually went away. But Ronnie was there a lot of the time and always had time for folks, coming over to a table where my parents might be sitting and visiting.

Ronnie never big-timed people, and thats really the best measure of someone. Its always amused me when its said of an individual, Oh, really, hes nice once you get to know him. Heck, arent we pretty much all nice to people we know (except the jerks)? Ron Santo was nice to nobodies, to people who werent Hall of Fame voters, to just folks.

Too soon gone, Ronnie. Too soon. Thanks for the pleasant times. And the pizza. It was great.

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.

Roquan Smith helps shear a sheep at Bears community event

Roquan Smith helps shear a sheep at Bears community event

Roquan Smith has more sheared sheep than tackles on his stat sheet as a pro football player.

Smith and several other Bears rookies participated in a hands-on community event at Lambs Farm in Libertyville, Illinois on Monday where he assisted farm staff with the sheep's grooming. Smith said it was a first for him despite growing up around animals. 

"It's like on the norm for me though, playing linebacker you're in the trenches," Smith said of the experience.

"Shaving a sheep, I never really envisioned myself doing something like that," Smith said via ChicagoBears.com. "I was around animals [growing up], but it was more so cows and goats here and there and dogs and cats. I've petted a sheep before, but never actually flipped one and shaved one."

Bears rookies got up close and personal with more than just sheep.

Smith was selected with the eighth overall pick in April's draft and will assume a starting role opposite Danny Trevathan at inside linebacker this season. Here's to hoping he can wrangle opposing ball-carriers like a sheep waiting to be sheared.

The Bears' defense is ahead of its offense, but Matt Nagy doesn't see that as a problem

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USA Today Sports Images

The Bears' defense is ahead of its offense, but Matt Nagy doesn't see that as a problem

Asking players about how the defense is “ahead” of the offense is a yearly right of passage during OTAs, sort of like how every baseball team has about half its players saying they’re in the best shape of their life during spring training. So that Vic Fangio’s defense is ahead of Matt Nagy’s offense right now isn’t surprising, and it's certainly not concerning. 

But Nagy is also working to install his offense right now during OTAs to build a foundation for training camp. So does the defense — the core of which is returning with plenty of experience in Fangio’s system — being ahead of the offense hurt those efforts?

“It’s actually good for us because we’re getting an experienced defense,” Nagy said. “My message to the team on the offensive side is just be patient and don’t get frustrated. They understand that they’re going to play a little bit faster than us right now. We’ll have some growing pains, but we’ll get back to square one in training camp.”

We’ll have a chance to hear from the Bears’ offensive players following Wednesday’s practice, but for now, the guys on Fangio’s defense have come away impressed with that Nagy’s offense can be. 

“The offense is a lot … just very tough,” cornerback Prince Amukamara said. “They’re moving well. They’re faster. They’re throwing a lot of different looks at us and that’s just Nagy’s offense. If I was a receiver I would love to play in this offense, just because you get to do so many different things and you get so many different plays. It just looks fun over there.”

“They’re moving together, and I like to see that,” linebacker Danny Trevathan said. “We’re not a bad defense. They’re practicing against us, so they’re getting better every day, and vice versa. It’s a daily grind. It’s going to be tough, but those guys, they got the right pieces. I like what I see out there. When somebody makes a play, they’re gone. Everybody can run over there. It’s the right fit for Mitch, it’s the right fit for the receivers, the running backs.”

Still, for all the praise above, the defense is “winning” more, at least as much as it can without the pads on. But the offense is still having some flashes, even as it collectively learns the terminology, concepts and formations used by Nagy. 

And that leads to a competitive atmosphere at Halas Hall, led by the Bears’ new head coach. 

“He’s an offensive coach and last year coach (John) Fox, I couldn’t really talk stuff to (him) because he’s a defensive coach and it’s like Nagy’s offense so if I get a pick or something, I mean, I like to talk stuff to him,” Amukamara said. “He’ll say something like ‘we’re coming at you 2-0.’ Stuff like that. That just brings out the competition and you always want that in your head coach.”