Bears Notebook: Is Vick sackable? Oh yes

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Bears Notebook: Is Vick sackable? Oh yes

Thursday, Nov. 25, 2010
1:34 PM

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

Bears practice ended Thursday with a group celebratory roar as Lovie Smith sent his players to their home Thanksgiving training tables rather than Halas Hall fare.

We have so much to be thankful for, Smith said. Our football team, it seemed like this day, you dont have to give anyone a pep talk. Everybody is excited, cant wait to get the practice in and then get home and eat a little bit and enjoy some time with family.

And if Smith knew which of his charges was the teams No. 1 trencherman or gourmand, he was about to give the player up. As far as which Bear was likely the biggest eater:

You look at the size, and thatll give you a start, Smith said. I would say one of our offensive linemen, without singling out one.

Dirty guy I?

Philadelphia guard Todd Herremans was assessed a 5,000 fine for a chop block against New York Giants defensive tackle Chris Canty. Herremans admitted that he was unaware that Canty was engaged with Eagles center Mike McGlynn but Canty was not mollified.

Canty told Herremans after the game, Theres no place for that, no excuse for what you did, according to the Newark Star-Ledger. Herremans maintained on CSNPhilly.com that deep down he knows himself not to be a dirty player.

Dirty guy II?

With Mother Nature hosing down Soldier Field a bit on Wednesday and Thursday, the state of the turf will be closely watched. The temperature at game time is expected to be in the mid-40s, not the sub-zero wind chill that helped take the heart out of Michael Vick in the Bears 16-3 pasting administered in 2005. No more rain is forecast before Sunday.

Regardless, Philadelphia coach Andy Reid is more than familiar with directing offenses in Chicago. Reid was an assistant with the Green Bay Packers during the 1990s when Brett Favre and the Packers were dominating the Bears, often in Soldier Field. His Philadelphia teams are 5-0 in Soldier Field, plus once in Champaign during the Bears transplant season, so inclement doesnt necessarily favor the Bears.

I dont know if this is a good thing or a bad thing but I feel like Ive played there a million times, not only with the Eagles, but with Green Bay, Reid said. The turf is a little soft but what you lose in footing, when you land its a good cushion, so youve got to look at the positive and the negative of it and make sure you keep your shoulders over your toes at all positions and make sure youve got a good base.

Sackable? Oh yes.

At last, an indisputable bit of evidence that the whole football world may be concerned about Michael Vick, but there also is something, or someone, that Vick is truly concerned about.

The New York Giants didnt beat Vick and the Eagles but New York defensive end Justin Tuck did sack Vick three times in last Sundays game. And Julius Peppers was named NFC defensive player of the week after his three sacks of Miami quarterback Tyler Thigpen so.

I know what Julius can do, Vick said. I played against him about six years straight in Atlanta, always had competitive games and hes always a guy Ive tried to stay away from. So it doesnt surprise me that hes turning his game around right now. We knew it was just a matter of time.

Sick bay

The Bears continue to hold a health advantage with an unusual full-participation by all players at practice Thursday. The Eagles are still practicing without cornerback Asante Samuel (knee) and defensive end Juqua Parker (hip), and they had an added concern with run-stopping defensive tackle Antonio Dixon (abdomen) and starting right guard Nick Cole (knee) limited in practice.

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.

Bears numbers don't indicate 3-13, yet still lie

Bears numbers don't indicate 3-13, yet still lie

In doing some post-season wrapping up of my Nerdy NFL Notebook as we begin turning the page to the 2017 season, part of it involves compiling where each team finished in big-picture team offensive and defensive categories: overall ranking (total yards), as well as team rushing and passing ranks on both sides of the ball.

So if the Bears wound up ranked 15th overall in total yards gained and allowed, they should've finished…oh, 8-8, right? It adds to the deception of some of the deeper issues that focus on a lack of playmakers, which tied into their inability to make plays when it matters most. In John Fox's 9-23 start, 18 of those games have been decided by six points or less. They've won just six of those games. 

Offensively, the Bears ranked higher in total offense than five playoff teams: Kansas City (20), Detroit (21), Miami (24), New York Giants (25) and Houston (29). They wound up 17th in rushing offense, better than four teams who advanced: Seattle (25), Green Bay (26), New York Giants (29) and Detroit (30). And their 14th-ranked passing offense ranked better than the Giants (17), Kansas City (19), Dallas (23), Miami (26), Houston (29).

On the other side of the ball, they'd be even better off before allowing 109 points over the final three losses. Their total defense ranked better than Detroit (18), Green Bay (22), Kansas City (24), Atlanta (25), Oakland (26) and Miami (29). After being gashed for 558 rushing yards the last three games, they fell to 27th in the NFL against the run (better than only 30th-ranked Miami). But the seventh-ranked pass defense, despite collecting a measly eight interceptions (among only 11 turnovers), was better than nine playoff teams: Miami (15), Pittsburgh (16), Kansas City (18), Detroit (19), the Giants (23), Oakland (24), Dallas (26), Atlanta (28) and Green Bay (31).

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

What do all the hollow numbers indicate? A lack of complementary, opportunistic football, playmakers on both sides of the ball, a minus-20 turnover ratio, and a lack of quality and continuity at the quarterback position — to name a few. All of those playoff teams have more impact players (or kept more of their impact players healthy) than the Bears in 2016.

While some of the numbers aren't that bad to look at, and some even raise an eyebrow, there's still a deep climb from the most significant numbers: 3-13.

Bears' best rookies will have another learning curve

Bears' best rookies will have another learning curve

There's a sense of irony and, to a certain degree, concern about what changes the Bears' coaching staff has undergone.

Think of the best of Ryan Pace's 2016 rookie class: Leonard Floyd, Cody Whitehair, and Jordan Howard. They were brought along under the position group tutelage of outside linebackers coach Clint Hurtt, offensive line coach Dave Magazu and running backs coach Stan Drayton. The latter was the first to depart, shortly after the season ended, to return to the collegiate ranks on Texas' new staff.

He's been replaced with former 49ers and Bills offensive coordinator Curtis Modkins (also serving as that position coach in Detroit, Buffalo, Arizona and Kansas City). Howard certainly adapted to the NFL game well, more than anyone expected, as the NFL's second-leading rusher. One would think Drayton played a part in that.

Longtime John Fox assistant Magazu was also let go after the season despite the impressive move of second-round pick Whitehair to center the week of the season opener after Josh Sitton was signed following his release by Green Bay. Whitehair was sold as a "quick study" following his selection out of Kansas State, where he was a four-year starter at three different positions (but not center).

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

Like Howard, he wound up making the All-Rookie team, but whether he remains in the middle of the line or not, he'll be getting his orders now from Jeremiah Washburn.

Rounding out the trio of All-Rookie selections was Floyd, who was brought along by Hurtt. He impressed Fox enough to be kept around from Marc Trestman's staff, and moved from defensive line to outside linebackers.

That's where he assisted Willie Young in morphing to a foreign role, yet still managing 14 sacks over the last two seasons. The Bears have yet to name a replacement for Hurtt, who's joined the Seahawks in taking over one of their strengths in recent years, the defensive line.

These three were already good, and the jewels of last year's draft. But if they're to grow and ascend into impact contributors if and when this team becomes a regular playoff contender, it'll come from new faces, new voices in their respective classrooms and position groups.