Chicago Bears

Lovie Smith, poet laureate - who knew?

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Lovie Smith, poet laureate - who knew?

Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2010
12:37 PM
By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

Lovie Smith doesnt spout a lot of iambic pentameter from the podium but indications are that he is nothing if not a student of poetry.

How better to sum up the Smith Way since he arrived in 2004 to head up the football play than the lines from Rudyard Kiplings If (which I believe are or at least were at one time inscribed over the players entrance to Centre Court, Wimbledon):

If you can meet with triumph and disaster

And treat those two imposters just the same;

Well, the Bears have met triumph (Philadelphia, Green Bay, 8-3) and disaster (NY Giants, Seattle, Washington) and Smith is indeed treating those imposters just the same. Always has.

Weve beaten a lot of good football teams, just like we did Sunday, Smith said almost dismissively about the suggestion that the Eagles win was finally a statement about how good his Bears really were. No more than that.

Greg Olsen has seen Smith operation for going on four years now and his mentality of he doesnt let the ups get him too high, and he doesnt let the downs get him too low, I think is huge.

Not everyone always thinks so.

The amusing reality is that if youre even-dispositioned, at least outwardly, and your team is winning, youre a calming influence. Youre a Zen master. Youre serene.

If youre the same way and your team is losing, youre dull. You lack fire. You dont get your team up. Ask Dick Jauron, who was an enlightened hands-free leader when his team was 13-3 and dull when his team was.

Ask Smith, too, the titan of tranquility with a rookie quarterback getting him to the playoffs in 2005, the caliph of calm behind Rex Grossman and the mercurial 2006 Super Bowl year. And the earl of understatement when he forgot how to coach in 07 and 09. Same guy. Clearly hes a mope when his teams dont win.

Smith doesnt have a runaway look-at-me gene even if he does have a listen-to-me (when I tell you were good) chromosome, but show me a coach who doesnt. If anything, Smith gets some points for not being overly sensitive or remotely guided by what people think of him.

Of course, it the Bears lose in Detroit, itll be a disaster. May he treat that imposter just the same as beating Philadelphia.

Blame gaming

Longtime Lions beat guy Tom Kowalski has a solid take on the edginess and finger-pointing that has crept into the Detroit locker room and huddle in the wake of the losing streak there and in particular the demoralizing blowout suffered against New England.

Tom has been around Lions teams ranging from the playoff teams of Barry Sanders to the 0-16 group and he says that coach Jim Schwartz has to arrest any dissension before it reaches the dreaded players-only-meeting stage. If that happens, the Lions are in freefall and the Bears could be looking at a truly fragmented NFC North rival for the second time in a month (Minnesota).

Duly noted

With one more win in 010, Jay Cutler will have his first winning season as a starting quarterback since high school...

If youre a sayer of nay regarding the Bears because of a perceived weak NFL (Im not sure why its somehow supposedly weaker as a league this year than any other year but thats for another discussion), you might be missing the bigger picture. Youre watching history. According to @NFLfootballinfo, through 12 weeks there are 19 teams within one game of first places in the standings and thats the most in NFL history...

Check out former agentNFL exec Andrew Brandts look at the labor situation on National Football Post. Its the first in a series and Andrew gives some very readable, understandable perspectives on how things got to where they are and what forces are at work in the situation...

The Dec. 12 Bears-Patriots game is being moved from noon to 3:15 p.m. but for those of you asking, the Dec. 26 Bears-New York Jets game is confirmed in its noon slot. The Jan. 2 noon game at Green Bay, however, is still subject to flexing and if that is a deciding game in playoff scenarios, best guess is that it gets moved to the more prominent national slot.

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.

Can Markus Wheaton fix what ails the Bears’ offense?

Can Markus Wheaton fix what ails the Bears’ offense?

Markus Wheaton was a full participant in practice on Wednesday and wasn’t on the Bears’ injury report Thursday, signaling that the 5-foot-11, 189 pound speedster will make his Bears debut Sunday against his former team, the Pittsburgh Steelers. He’s not the solution for the Bears’ offense, but he could be part of it. 

For an offense that’s woefully lacked someone who can reliably stretch the field, Wheaton can at least provide the threat of going deep. Two years ago, while with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Wheaton averaged 17 yards per reception. Mike Glennon’s longest completion this year went for 22 yards. 

“It definitely adds another dimension,” Glennon said. “It’ll be great having Markus back.”

But Wheaton only played in three games last season (four catches, 51 yards) and, at his best, averaged 48 catches, 696 yards and four touchdowns a year from 2014-2015. Is it fair to expect Wheaton to be a big part of the Bears' offensive solution given he hasn't played much recently, and was limited to only a handful of reps in training camp and preseason practices due to a pair of freak ailments?

Maybe not, but with the Bears 0-2, he's the best hope they have at a skill position. 

Wheaton needed an emergency appendectomy the first weekend the Bears were in Bourbonnais — “I thought I had to poop,” Wheaton said, maybe providing too much information, before realizing the excruiating pain in which he was in was something worse. Shortly after returning to the practice fields at Olivet Nazarene University, Wheaton fractured his pinkie finger in gruesome fashion (he said the bone was sticking out) when he was awkwardly grabbed while trying to catch a pass. 

That Wheaton broke a finger wasn’t only significant for his ability to catch passes. Consider what his former quarterback — Ben Roethlisberger — had to say about what makes Wheaton an effective deep threat:

“He’s got a very good ability of using his hands,” Roethlisberger said. “When you’re trying to stretch the field, you’ve gotta have some little techniques to help you get open because DBs can run as much as receivers can. So you gotta be able to use your hands to swim, kinda, get some swiping, get the hands off, I thought that he really had some good technique when it came to the deep ball and getting away from DBs.”

Roethlisberger and Wheaton shared a good rapport in Pittsburgh, with the quarterback clearly communicating to the receiver what he expected timing-wise in his routes. It’s been a challenge to develop something similar with Glennon given the lack of practice time, but Wheaton said putting in extra work after practice has helped. 

If Wheaton and Glennon can get on the same page, perhaps that can lead to at least some deep ball attempts. The Bears have to find a way to prevent opposing defenses from stacking the box and focusing on stopping Jordan Howard, who only has 59 yards on 22 carries this year. 

“We're going to face overpopulated boxes, we know that,” offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains said. “There's going to be seven, eight guys in the box every time and we have to execute better and it comes down to that.”

According to NFL’s Next Gen Stats, only three of Glennon’s 85 pass attempts have traveled 20 or more yards beyond the line of scrimmage. The only completion of those was Sunday’s garbage-time touchdown to Deonte Thompson, which was caught near the back of the end zone. 

The threat of Wheaton going deep won’t be enough, though. Glennon still has prove he can complete those deep balls — the last time he completed a pass of 25 or more yards was on Nov. 2, 2014 (though he’s only attempted 96 passes since that date). 

But Wheaton feels ready to go and is confident he can do his job — which, in turn, could, in a best-case scenario, help his other 10 teammates on offense do their jobs, too. 

“It’s been a long time coming,” Wheaton said. “I’m excited and hopefully this is the week.”

Kris Bryant is all aboard the Mitch Trubisky bandwagon

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AP

Kris Bryant is all aboard the Mitch Trubisky bandwagon

Count Kris Bryant among the Chicagoans who are calling for Mitch Trubisky to start at quarterback for the Bears.

OK, that may be a bit extreme as Bryant simply said he would supporting giving Trubisky a "shot", but still:

After a rough game for incumbent starting QB Mike Glennon last week, most of Chicago has been clamoring for the No. 2 overall pick to get some snaps under center.

Why wouldn't the crown prince of Chicago baseball get in on the noise?