15 on 6: Secrets for Jay to achieve true greatness

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15 on 6: Secrets for Jay to achieve true greatness

Friday, Nov. 19, 2010
1:30 AM

By Jim Miller
CSNChicago.com

It was the Bears first shutout in more than 60 games. Julius Peppers was exceptional with three sacks on the night and overall the defense was fantastic yet again. Remember, only four days ago they corralled the NFL's best running back, Adrian Peterson, for only 51 yards. For an encore, they hold the Dolphins to only 39 yards on the ground.

Lovie talked in the postgame presser about making a team one dimensional. What is impressive is The defense is shutting down both phases as they have only allowed six touchdown passes all year. If this trend continues, we will be talking about a defense that is better than that of 2006. The Bears were ranked as the No. 4 defense in the NFL going into Thursday's game, and their domination will only push them up in the ranks.

Sure, the Bears won in convincing fashion but let's re-evaluate the defense again after their matchup against the Mike Vick's Philedelphia Eagles - easily the NFL's hottest offense right now.

To Truly be great...

Jay Cutler has to cut down the three reckless decisions he makes in seemingly every game. He only threw one interception on the night, but their could have been two more.

He got away with it again, but it will prove costly for the Bears chances to go far in postseason play. One poor decision can cost you a game in the NFL, Just ask Peyton Manning after his interception to Tracy Porter of the New Orleans Saints in last years Super Bowl.

Was that a game changing pick?

Mesh points

The commitment to the run game has been awesome the last three weeks. Offensively, the Bears have 109 attempts over this span, which is over 30 attempts a game.

The playaction pass game has really benefited. The best part for me watching the game were the fakes, because in order to have success in playaction, it has to look exactly like the run play to create that indecision. Jay and the running backs were great at it Thursday night.

At one point in the fourth quarter, DE Kendall Langford tackled Matt Forte on a stretch play thinking he had the ball, but Jay was already bootlegging five yards out the back end before Kendall realized he'd been had.

This type of discipline in selling the plays could prove to be essential in opening up larger passing lanes for Jay, which ultimately may minimize two or three of his dangerous throws.

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.

Bullard a prime example of how, why and where Bears can improve

Bullard a prime example of how, why and where Bears can improve

This Bears rebuild has taken longer than expected. Ideally, in year three of a GM/head coach tandem, they should be contending for the playoffs. 

That’s not to say the 2017 Bears can’t. It’s just unlikely. They don’t have enough players opponents have to gameplan for. They don’t have the depth to overcome key injuries. When franchises get on a winning roll, it’s when they have enough of those studs on both sides of the ball, and have the depth to avoid as many emergencies as possible. And that happens when second- and third-year players make a jump in their play.

Offensively, we saw an impressive jump by Cam Meredith, but another left leg injury still have us wondering exactly what Kevin White is, and how good he can be. Jeremy Langford’s growth was stunted by his ankle injury. Second-year center Hroniss Grasu missed the entire year. On the defensive side, we never got to see if Kyle Fuller could’ve proven his first-round status in his third year. Safety Adrian Amos started another full season, but is now in a battle to do the same a third straight year. We can see star qualities in Eddie Goldman, but how much of a difference-maker can he be by remaining on the field? We’ll learn the same about Leonard Floyd if he can do that this fall. And there are a handful of other second-year players we’ll be watching, from Deon Bush to Deiondre Hall to Cre’Von LeBlanc. There’s also 2016 third-round pick Jonathan Bullard, who learned what it took to become a 3-4 defensive end in the NFL.

“It was okay. I got about 17 snaps a game,” Bullard said of his rookie season during last month’s minicamp. “That’s not what I wanted coming in. But it is what is. I want to move on to the next year and hopefully be able to help this team in a big way.”

Rookie seasons for every player lay the groundwork. How high their ceiling goes starts to get established in year two, between the player’s effort, and getting coached-up correctly.

“They asked me to gain a few pounds. I was like 282 last year, and right now I’m at 296, so hopefully that helps me, said Bullard. “I’m just trying to make all this solid and not lose my burst that got me here. So I’m looking forward to it. I got a year under my belt now, I know what they expect. I’m gonna be ready.”

Part of Bullard taking things upon himself was hooking up with a former defensive end, from the same alma mater, who happens to be fourth in franchise history in sacks (albeit in a 4-3 scheme): CSN’s very own Bears analyst, Alex Brown.

“We saw each other at the Florida spring game and we kind of linked up and put in some work at his facility down the road,” Bullard explained. “We’ve met up quite a few times, just working on little things. He’s just trying to give me a better understanding of the game, and some of the veteran things he knows that I want to incorporate into my game.”

So what kind of a teacher is Alex?

“He’s alright. I make him him jump in there. I tell him he’s not that old.”

And while Pace didn’t make the big splash in free agency as he tries to match up salary with his grades for players, Bullard has to prove he’s now better than last year’s starter, Mitch Unrein, as well as a hungry fellow former Gator, Jaye Howard, who was brought in on a “prove it” one-year deal after being cut just before the draft by Kansas City.

“As far as him being a Gator, it’s exciting. But it’s a competition. He’s gonna come in and try to win the starting job, and I’m gonna do the same. It’s just gonna have to be a friendly competition when training camp comes, and may the best man win.”

Let this, and many other Bourbonnais battles, begin.

Bears linebacker Jerrell Freeman saved a man's life at an airport

Bears linebacker Jerrell Freeman saved a man's life at an airport

Jerrell Freeman played hero at an Austin airport on Sunday.

The Bears linebacker was grabbing a bite to eat before his flight to head back to Chicago for training camp when he noticed a man choking.

Freeman said an older lady tried to perform the Heimlich maneuver on the man but didn't have enough strength. That's when Freeman stepped in, and after a couple attempts, saved his life.

“I grabbed him and tried to squeeze the life out of him,” Freeman told the Chicago Tribune. “You’ve got to push in and up. So I did that and he started throwing up what he was choking on. I asked him if he was all right and he shook his head like ‘No!’

“I grabbed him again and hit him again with it. And when I put him down the second time, his eyes got big. He was like, ‘Oh, my god! I think you just saved my life, man!’ It was crazy.”

Freeman tweeted a picture after it happened:

Freeman, 31, said he had never done the Heimlich maneuver before, but his mom is a nurse and had talked to him about it. He just did what he heard, and thankfully it worked.