15 on 6: Keeping the eye on the prize

15 on 6: Keeping the eye on the prize

Saturday, Jan. 1, 2011
11:30 PM

By Jim Miller
CSNChicago.com

Ouch!

It is midnight and I just got home after coveringwatching a slaughter for Michigan State radio as Alabama crushed my beloved Michigan State Spartans 49-7. A ton of NFL scouts were present including representation by the Chicago Bears. It's just a hunch, but the Bears could not go wrong with selecting any player from the University of Alabama. I don't think my eyes or the score were deceiving of just how much football talent is present at Alabama. What's crazy is all their first round talent are underclassmen. That team has ludicrous talent. I am not going out on a limb declaring them National Champs already for next year. Book it!

Eye on the prize

Things have changed rather quickly concerning today's game against the division rival Green Bay Packers. It all started last Tuesday with the Philadelphia Eagles losing to the Minnesota Vikings. It really was an improbable victory by the Vikings as their season is over. Give former Chicago Bear and interim head coach,Leslie Frazier, a ton of credit. His head coaching fortunes come down to a rookie WR playing QB, Joe Webb. If Leslie prepares the young signal caller for another week, Leslie will have earned himself a head coaching job. The Vikings victory secured the Bears the number two seed in the NFC along with the coveted bye week. It has also altered the coarse for Lovie Smith on the importance of the most storied rivalry in all of football. Does Lovie play his starters?

Lovie will give the first stringers minimal time in today's game as it is now meaningless. He will have them prepare as they will play the whole game and the players must respond with great effort. If it's not displayed, their reward will be to play a little longer. I would suggest they give great effort because after all, it is the Packers who they could see down the road in the playoffs. The one caveat is Jay Cutler. Dom Capers, Green Bay's talented defensive coordinator, will be instructed to bring every blitz possible. They are playing to just stay alive and the sooner Cutler is out of the game, the better. It's a tough call for Lovie whether to play Jay at all. I would start Jay to keep him in the fine groove he's in, but he would be a quick hook. If Jay gets injured, the Bears Super Bowl hopes are lost. The Bears Division Title is already won. Play it smart and keep your eye on the prize. That's how to win an NFL Championship.

Jim Miller, an 11-year former NFL quarterback, is a Comcast SportsNet Bears analyst who can be seen each week on U.S. Cellular Bears Postgame Live. Miller, who spent five seasons with the Bears, analyzes current Chicago QB Jay Cutler in his "15 on 6" blog on CSNChicago.com and can be followed on Twitter @15miller.

Bears add another assistant coach to John Fox's staff

Bears add another assistant coach to John Fox's staff

John Fox and the Bears have added another assistant coach.

Zack Azzanni is leaving the University of Tennessee to become the Bears' new receivers coach.

Azzanni has been with Tennessee since 2013 as a receivers coach and passing game coordinator. Prior to that, he spent time at Wisconsin, Western Kentucky, Florida, Central Michigan and six seasons at Bowling Green.

Azzanni was on Urban Meyer's coaching staff at Bowling Green in 2001-02 and also coached Pittsburgh Steelers superstar receiver Antonio Brown at Central Michigan. Under Azzanni's tutelage at CMU from 2007-09, Brown totaled 305 receptions for 3,199 yards and 22 TDs, earning a sixth-round draft selection in 2010.

Curtis Johnson spent 2016 as his first season in the role of Bears' wide receivers coach, but announced he was leaving after the Senior Bowl to take a job with the New Orleans Saints.

It's unknown if Azzanni will get a chance to coach Alshon Jeffery (who is currently a free agent) but the incoming coach will have an important job in molding young receivers like Kevin White and Cameron Meredith.

The Bears also announced the additions of assistant coaches Brandon Staley and Derius Swinton II Wednesday morning:

Staley will replace Clint Hurtt as outside linebackers coach and Swinton will be the assistant special teams coach under Jeff Rodgers.

Swinton is reprising his role he held on the Bears coaching staff in 2015 before leaving to take a promotion with the San Francisco 49ers special teams. 

Hurtt left the Bears to take a position as the defensive line coach with the Seattle Seahawks. Staley spent last season as the defensive coordinator at Division-III John Carroll University, the alma mater of New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and Hall of Fame coach Don Shula.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Will there be any takers for Bears QB Jay Cutler?

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SportsTalk Live Podcast: Will there be any takers for Bears QB Jay Cutler?

In the latest SportsTalk Live Podcast, Hub Arkush (670 The Score/Pro Football Weekly) and Brian Hedger (NHL.com) join Kap on the panel.

ESPN is reporting that the Bears have begun shopping Jay Cutler. Will there be any takers? 

Meanwhile, Jimmy Butler doesn’t think he’s going anywhere. Would that be a mistake?

Miguel Montero makes his peace with Joe Maddon but was this even a big deal? Sammy Sosa says he put Chicago on the map, and compares himself to Jesus. When he will the Cubs welcome him home?

Plus, Pat Boyle drops by to talk Blackhawks and the “Roly Poly Goalie” is looking for work all because he ate a pie.

Check out the latest SportsTalk Live Podcast right here: