Chicago Bears

Cutler upset by injury; Bears stand behind him

370246.jpg

Cutler upset by injury; Bears stand behind him

Sunday, Jan. 23, 2011
Posted 3:58 p.m. Updated 11:51 p.m.

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

What the Bears came out of Sundays game with the Green Bay Packers wasnt the NFC Championship. It may have been something more important, something that may be their ticket back to more of these in the seasons to come.

They spent most of this season rolling around in the lack of respect they perceived in the media and the general public. They seemed to kind of like it, actually.

Now they have a lack of respect from some of their peers. And that they kind of dont like. No seem about it.

WATCH: Lovie Smith irritated with Cutler doubters

And if the questioning by what they consider to be know-nothing civilians helped pull them together a little, then having other NFLers go on Twitter with doubts of Jay Cutlers knee injury looks like it just about has them welded together.

Maybe they should just shut up, center Olin Kreutz said. Thats just ignorance. They should turn that bad word Twitter off.

Brian Urlacher was asked what he thought about players around the league tweeting during the game that Cutler needed to man-up. Not much doubt about what he thought.

Nothing like jealous people at home watching, Urlacher sneered. Players around the league, you said, right? Yeah, I love jealous people when theyre watching our game on TV while their season is over.

WATCH: Urlacher sounds off

"Jay was hurt, I don't question his toughness. He's tough as hell. He's one of the toughest guys on our football team. He doesn't . He doesn't complain when he gets hit. He goes out there and plays his off every Sunday. He practices every single day. So, no, we don't question his toughness."

Shame on some people

The Bears have some experience when it comes to suspecting a teammates want-to in matters of pain. Cedric Benson went out of Super Bowl XLI with a knee injury that even some members of the medical staff questioned at the time.

Heres a perspective: Kreutz missed a game in 2002. For an appendectomy. He was back the following week.

In the world of the tough, they call Kreutz sir.

Kreutz suspects that Cutler may have a torn knee ligament. Kreutzs medical credentials may be open to question, but not his eyesight, and he has seen ligament injuries. So he wasnt surprised that Cutler couldnt make it.

Kreutz doesnt amaze easily. Cutler amazed him.

Kreutz wasnt surprised that Cutler was out for the game, not when I saw his knee shaking like that, Kreutz said, shaking his hand rapidly back and forth., I didnt think he was going to be able to finish the half. When he came back out and tried again, that amazed me

I saw it shaking like this, and I thought, oh man.
Cutler stung

Cutler seemed visibly stung by peers questioning his injury. He stood by his locker and answered questions after the game and it wasnt the same terse Jay Cutler who for two years has treated media sessions like dental appointments. He stood there with a knee injury that may require surgery.

READ: Torn MCL for Cutler?

Pretty impressive, actually. He shouldnt have had to put up with that crap.

Urlacher and Lance Briggs are among Bears who have made disparaging comments about Cutler. But as Briggs told me some time ago, Its because hes a quarterback. Theyre all less-than manly.

So what played out Sunday night was an NFL locker-room version of Animal Houses, Hey, they cant do that to our pledges. Only we can do that to our pledges.

What Cutler became this year was a quarterback. Not necessarily a really good one yet. But he became more than a passer, a guy with a gun and a ready-fire-aim mindset.

What he also became was their quarterback. Kreutz and his sidekicks have his front. Urlacher has his back.

Looking ahead to 2011, not a bad thing for Cutler to take away from an NFC Championship game, all things considered.

Comeback Caleb

Cutlers injury (and Todd Collins incompetence) didnt siphon off any glow from the relief job Caleb Hanie did. If anything needs to be questioned there, its why Hanie, who out-performed Collins in the Giants and Panthers games, was then summarily dropped below Collins on the depth chart because of Mike Martzs comfort level with old veteran guys as backups.

Last thought on how seriously good Hanies performance was:

Hanie may have known some the Green Bay offense better than his own. The No. 3 quarterbacks job is to run the scout team through the plays of the upcoming opponent, meaning that he spent more time last week being Aaron Rodgers than he did Caleb Hanie. I asked Hanie when the last time was that he ran Bears plays.

The bye week, he said with a little smile. He wasnt talking about the one between the regular season and the divisional-round game against Seattle. He was talking about the one in October.

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.

You can hold your fantasy football draft at Soldier Field this year

soldier_field_fantasy_event_slide.jpg

You can hold your fantasy football draft at Soldier Field this year

The CSN Fantasy crew is taking its talents on the road.

CSNChicago fantasy analysts Slavko Bekovic and Scott Krinch will join a Chicago Tribune panel of fantasy football experts for a Draft Party at Soldier Field on Thursday, Aug. 24.

It's the ultimate event to kick off the 2017 fantasy football season.

Sponsored by Jewel-Osco, fans will have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to host their fantasy drafts at Soldier Field, complete with insight and analysis from a panel of experts that includes Bekovic, Krinch, Rich Campbell and Phil Thompson from the Chicago Tribune, Bears broadcaster Jeff Joniak and The Score's Hub Arkush. Derek VanRiper and Kevin O'Brien from RotoWire will also be on hand to provide analysis.

The general admission tickets for fans include access to the Soldier Field press box. VIP tickets will give fans access to the private suites around Soldier Field for their drafts. All fans will receive complimentary food and beverages plus photo opportunities on the field and giveaways.

Head to ChicagoTribune.com/draftparty and follow @ChicagoSports and @CSNFantasy for more information.

The CSN Fantasy crew provides analysis all season long, from weekly podcasts and video segments to written articles that include a focus on the waiver wire as well as start/sit for each week.

Why the Bears are feeling optimistic about their 2017 defense

Why the Bears are feeling optimistic about their 2017 defense

BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- The general vibe given off by defensive end Akiem Hicks and linebacker Jerrell Freeman -- the two Bears defenders made available to the media on Wednesday -- was of low-key optimism. 

A Bears defense beset by injuries last year ranked 24th in points allowed and only managed 11 turnovers in 2016. But Hicks and Freeman both see bigger things for this defense after general manager Ryan Pace retooled it with a number of veteran free agent signings. 

Specifically, Hicks believes the Bears' defense has enough been-there, done-that players to be the catalyst for victories. 

“Sometimes, it’s like a second nature, something that you have inside you,” Hicks said. “You just want to be in that situation. But it’s also something you can develop through a lot of reps. You know what I mean? A guy who comes in and has 5,000 reps over his career, he’s going to be able to get in that situation and play it with just a little bit more confidence than a guy in his first, second or even third year. 

“Because once you’ve gotten to a point where you’ve gotten enough snaps, you’ve seen everything. You felt disappointment, you’ve felt that feeling of victory at the end of the game when you’re walking off. I think that’s what bringing veteran guys to a team does. They’ve seen it all already.”

The Bears added four possible-to-likely starters to their defense in free agency: defensive end Jaye Howard, safety Quintin Demps and cornerbacks Prince Amukamara and Marcus Cooper. Those four players have a combined 24 years of NFL experience, and the Bears only have one rookie (safety Eddie Jackson) competing for a starting role. 

Couple the expected Year 1 to Year 2 growth of Leonard Floyd and the potential for a healthy Eddie Goldman with those veterans, and the Bears see enough players with the right mindset to build a sturdy defense. 

“I hope everyone on my defense wants to be the best player at their position,” Freeman said. “That’s the mentality I would want, and that’s the mentality I would want the rest of my defense to have. Getting better, lead a defense to one of the top defenses, just help my team in any kind of way to get some wins.”