Lovie is 'disappointed in QB play'


Lovie is 'disappointed in QB play'

Coach Lovie Smith rarely shows many lineup or roster cards in the early hours after a game. He stayed that course Monday in declining to either announce a change at quarterback or clarify that there will be no change from Caleb Hanie after Hanies disastrous three-interception performance Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks.

His strongest indication of an impending change was in a very straightforward, Right now, were disappointed in our quarterback play. It hasnt been as good as wed like it to be.

Smith was quick to apply that assessment to other positions. But in recent weeks Smith at least noted that Caleb did some good things. That was decidedly not the mood Monday, probably because Hanie didnt do many good things.

Hanie has a 41.8 overall passer rating in his four starts, all losses. And while he is expected to give way to Josh McCown at least to give a demoralized team a statement that different solutions are at least being tried, Smith was not making that change officially.

Right now, Caleb Hanie is our starting quarterback, Smith said. He played Sunday. We finished up, we felt like we needed a boost, we needed to change the course a little bit, but we do that with all players.

Smith stopped well short, however, of declaring Caleb is our quarterback. None of those decisions have been made with any of our position players. We evaluate the video, which were doing right now...

What was clear Monday is that Nathan Enderle will not follow Andy Dalton, Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert, Cam Newton or any other fellow rookie quarterbacks onto the field at this point. Enderle did not distinguish himself in preseason and dropping him in against Green Bay with Clay Matthews or Minnesota with Jared Allen cant be calculated to enhance his development just yet.

This isnt a tryout period, either, Smith said. Were trying to win a football game. So the best guys that give us an opportunity to do that, of course talking with our coaching staff, will be on the field. No more than that.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Will Bears actually trade Alshon Jeffery?


SportsTalk Live Podcast: Will Bears actually trade Alshon Jeffery?

Brian Hedger (nhl.com), Teddy Greenstein (Chicago Tribune) and Rich Campbell (Chicago Tribune) join Chuck Garfien on the panel.

The Bears reluctantly go back to Jay Cutler as the starter. Meanwhile, can the Bears actually trade Alshon Jeffery?

The guys give their predictions for the Bulls season, Hedger dissects the Blackhawks penalty kill problems and Teddy explains why Michigan will win the Big Ten.

Listen to the SportsTalk Live Podcast below:

Bears running back committee still a work in progress as ground game languishes

Bears running back committee still a work in progress as ground game languishes

The Bears have a fantasy football conundrum. Which of their running backs do they go with?

Jeremy Langford is listed as the starter. Then Ka’Deem Carey. Then Jordan Howard. Joique Bell was waived Monday, a clear statement that Langford is sufficiently back from the sprained ankle he suffered against the Dallas Cowboys.

The Bears have had three different leading rushers through seven games, which might be considered promising, except that none has established any sort of consistent identity with the opportunities.

The problem: in a production-based business, the depth chart is in inverse order of results. Howard is averaging 4.8 yards on his 73 carries and has a receiving and rushing touchdown. Carey is netting 4.7 on his 23, of which 10 came against the Green Bay Packers. Langford is rushing at the 3.7-yard average of his rookie season, but with two rushing touchdowns. Howard’s 14 pass receptions are nearly double the combined by Langford (5) and Carey (3).

And Howard has played 265 snaps, vs. 100 for Langford and 65 for Carey.

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But Howard was muzzled by the Packers and Langford is coming off a month’s worth of inactivity. And after averaging 116 rushing yards per game last season, the offense that was being committed to the run is down to 88 ground yards per game.

So who’s the Bears’ choice, because “committee” hasn’t exactly been the way, either. With the exception against the Jacksonville Jaguars when fullback Paul Lasike got a fourth-down rush for a first down, only once (Philadelphia Eagles) have the Bears had carries by all three running backs.

“When you look around the league, I don’t think many people are running it very effectively in general,” Bears head coach John Fox said. “I think in our division I think it’s maybe a little bit more important than it is league-wide. Again, to me the essence of football is still being able to stop the run and being able to run the ball. So we emphasize it quite a bit.”

If it’s being emphasized, that’s perhaps even more concerning. Better if the failed run game was due to neglect rather than an area of emphasis. And the reality is that it needs to succeed if the Bears are going to.

“We’ve got to keep running the ball well,” quarterback Jay Cutler said. “I don’t think we’re running the ball well the last couple of weeks as we wanted to. That three-game span we were doing OK [4.4 ypc. combined vs. Detroit-Indianapolis-Jacksonville].”