History Lesson: Bears will bounce back strong

339399.jpg

History Lesson: Bears will bounce back strong

Monday, Dec. 13, 2010
5:04 PM

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

The Bears will need a rebound after Sundays debacle at the hands of the New England Patriots. History says they will quite possibly get it, because Lovie Smith has managed to pick his teams up after very bad losses.

Indeed, the worse the loss, usually the better the comeback.

Last year they were blown out by Baltimore on Dec. 20 and recovered to defeat Minnesota and Detroit in the next two games. After the Cincinnati Bengals destroyed them in late October, they came back the next week to beat Cleveland.

In 2008, a 37-3 loss to Green Bay, then in 2007, a 27-3 win over St. Louis. A 20-point loss to Minnesota, then three straight wins. A 19-point loss to end 2006, then two straight playoff wins to reach the Super Bowl.

The Bears need very much for a repeat of the things they do after bad losses.

I think the key is identifying some of the things you did wrong quickly with the video, Smith said. I dont believe in not watching the tape and all that. You learn from games like yesterday. We did that. You want to see exactly what happened.

At times its hard to know exactly what was going on, even seeing what was happening out there at times. We were able to see what was happening out there. Most of it we didnt like. But some of it we did.

Playoffs?! Youre talking about playoffs?!

The New England Patriots are behind them and the MinnesotaDetroit Vikings are a week off, albeit without a playing venue set yet. The Bears can take a big step toward clinching the NFC North with a win over Minnesota, and that does enter into their thinking this week.

We all know the numbers and where we stand, said center Olin Kreutz. Hopefully Sunday was a learning experience.

Getting defensive

Anytime an opponent rolls over a defense for record yardage and massive point totals, that scheme comes under question. Doubts about the preferred Cover-2 scheme of Lovie Smith and Rod Marinelli will be flying around like Sunday snowflakes, even though the Bears were near the top of the NFL in fewest points allowed before Sunday.

That was a rare happening yesterday, Lovie Smith said. Theres nothing wrong with our scheme. We played a little Cover 2 yesterday. Normally, thats easy for a person to jump on, but yesterday we werent in an awful lot, to be truthful. So were not going to use that. The scheme is good; we didnt execute. The scheme has helped us get to 9-3, but yesterday, again, we didnt execute.

The bad thing.

about all the weather conditions Sunday is that they actually were perhaps more revealing about the Bears rather than less. The Chicago defense may have functioned better in better weather, for instance, but so might the New England offense, to be perfectly fair. The weather took some disguise and scheming out of play for both sides.

They outplayed us, said defensive tackle Tommie Harris. When you line up in those conditions theres not going to be much trickery.

Welkering down

Wes Welker did to the Bears about what hes been doing to lots of teams for a number of years now. Whats perhaps most remarkable is that hes, well, unremarkable as he goes about being one of the only players in NFL history to catch 100 passes in three straight seasons.

He works hard but its not like hes going to over-amaze you, said nickel back D.J. Moore. Hes just good. And combine him with that quarterback and its a pretty good combination.

Good guys

Chris Harris and Corey Graham may still be treating wounds from Sunday but theyre making time for kids on Tuesday as part of their After-School All-Stars Touchdown vs. Shutdown from 2-4 p.m. at J.Ward Middle School in Chicago. Harris and Graham donate on a per-tackle basis to after-school programs and activities for at-risk youths and will hang out with the kids Tuesday afternoon to answer questions and talk about issues.

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.

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.