Moon: Bears will be ready for upstart Seahawks

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Moon: Bears will be ready for upstart Seahawks

Monday, Jan. 10, 2011
4:40 PM

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

Julius Peppers cut to the chase, and he did it a lot better than the New Orleans Saints did.

The Bears defensive end watched as Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch broke a 67-yard touchdown run to end New Orleans' playoff hopes. What struck Peppers was how many Saints did not do much more than watch as well.

Lynch broke more than a half-dozen tackles and as far as that ever happening against Peppers and the Bears defense, No, he said simply. He repeated the statement with purpose. No.

I watched that play and it was a great play by Marshawn. He ran really hard on that but I saw a few guys miss tackles, get up and start watching. That doesnt happen around here. We get up and run to the ball. Somebodys going to get up and run to the ball.

The effort that he displayed was amazing. It was also a lack of effort on the other side by a couple of guys, and I dont think that well have that problem this week.

The Saints didnt play playoff football, which is somewhat surprising. They were out-coached, throwing 60 passes in a game that didnt require that, and they were out-played.

As for the Seahawks, the style of win over New Orleans may be a decided factor in the Bears favor. The Bears can speak from experience that it is often more difficult to come back from a good win than a bad loss, and the Saints game was arguably the Seahawks Super Bowl. To return to that level emotionally is unlikely, not from the perspective of game day, but from that of devoting every hour to the kind of preparation needed for that kind of win.

They mean it

The Bears came together for their usual pre-practice huddle Monday and broke with a yell that doubled as a mission statement: Champs!

Think its just clichd rah-rah, usual stuff? Think again.

Tim Jennings was a member of the Indianapolis Colts for the first four years of his career, including the Super Bowl game against the Bears as a rookie. But he wasnt sorry to see the Colts lose to the New York Jets on Saturday in the AFC wild-card round and not out of any sort of ill-wishes toward the team that didnt re-sign him last offseason.

I had a little sigh of relief, Jennings told CSNChicago.com, allowing himself a look ahead to where the Bears expect to be. Weve still got Tom Brady to worry about but its a relief to have one great team out of the playoffs.

Theres a couple more, but I didnt want to see Peyton in the Super Bowl.

Serious wager

Wide receiver Devin Aromashodu was wearing a stylish blue-and-orange sweatsuit with a large Auburn across the front. Not far away, defensive tackle Matt Toeainas shoes were sitting in his locker stall with the distinctive O for Oregon.

Their respective alma maters meet Monday night in the BCS championship game. I cant talk about our wagers, Aromashodu said. Hell have to wear this Auburn top for a day and weve got some other stuff.

Toeaina was willing to admit that Auburn had some chance against his Ducks. To a point.

Its a tough game to call, Toeaina said. But Im planning on bringing in one of the six Oregon jerseys I have and let him take his pick.

E-chatting

We can pick this up in our regular Monday on-line chat from 7-8 p.m. tonight on CSNChicago.com. And in the interest of disclosure, I had the Saints defeating Seattle on Saturday, but by less than the 10 points the Saints were favored by (thought New Orleans would win by 7). I did not see the Colts falling to the Jets on Saturday, either. I thought the Colts would win by 3.

I did, however, go with both road teams Sunday, with the Baltimore Ravens over the Kansas City Chiefs but by 3, not the 23 that the Ravens won by. And the Packers really werent that difficult a 4-point pick over Philadelphia.

For this week: Home teams hold serve. The Pittsburgh defense makes the Steelers a touchdown better than the Ravens. Tom Brady will work extra hard in the film room to ensure his Patriots spank the Jets and Rex Ryan. The Atlanta Falcons will have to score late to get past the finally-gassed Packers. And the Bears

Chicago 34 Seattle 20

Bears approaching 2016 with change in attitude

Bears approaching 2016 with change in attitude

BOURBONNAIS, Ill. – When John Fox succeeded Marc Trestman as Bears coach early last year, at the top of his to-do list was changing what was a palpable losing culture that had come to hang over the organization and Halas Hall. That involved changes of personnel, practices and even to the point of placing an emphasis on winning preseason games, not simply treating them as evaluation exercises.

This year, attitude adjustment is the least of his concerns. Besides the improvements even amid a season that ended 6-10 but was within a pair of missed field goals of going past .500, the additions of critical players have brought with them exactly what Fox wants, beginning with inside linebacker Danny Trevathan, bringing a Super Bowl ring from the Denver Broncos.

“I’ve experienced a lot of new attitudes here the past few years,” said guard Kyle Long. “This is above and beyond my favorite attitude that we’ve adopted.

“People throw the word ‘culture’ around, [but] it’s just taking pride in what you’re doing. You don’t get paid to play. You get paid to win. I’ve heard John Fox say that a million times and I’m sure I’ll hear him say it 2 million times this year.”

Culture means nothing unless it translates into wins because of a collective mindset. Trevathan, linebacker Jerrell Freeman, defensive lineman Akiem Hicks, offensive linemen Ted Larsen and Bobbie Massie – all came from going to the playoffs at least twice in the past four years, Freeman and Trevathan three times.

The change was particularly evident during offseason sessions when members of the defense worked at a practice level that initially irritated some on offense, with coaches even joining in the chirping.

“I’m all about attitude and hustle and just playing ball,” said Trevathan. “I don’t care what happened before. You can always make up for it, just go 100 miles per hour and have fun.

“This game is short. Your attitude carries over to the team. There’s a lot of time when a team’s down you put your head down. I hate that. Even if we’re down we’re going to fight until the end. That’s what it’s all about, having that band of brothers and that attitude and going to, I won’t say ‘war,’ but going out there and battling together.”

[SHOP: Gear up for the 2016 season, Bears fans!

One word that surfaced from multiple players during offseason sessions was “hungry.” That was not something that was heard even as recent as last season despite the change in coaches. Without that as a starting attitude, mediocrity was not surprising in recent seasons.

“I think with this group the thing that kind of stands out is just how good a group a group of guys it is, and how important football is to them,” said quarterback Jay Cutler.

“I think you look at OTAs and you look at minicamp and you saw how competitive offense and defense and even special teams were. There weren’t any days where guys were laying off of it. Every single day, guys were getting after it trying to get better, and the competition level I felt was extremely high for being in OTAs and minicamp. Whether that’s gonna translate to wins, I guess we’ll have to wait and see.”

Bears open 2016 training camp with Pernell McPhee, two others on PUP list

Bears open 2016 training camp with Pernell McPhee, two others on PUP list

The 2015 Bears training camp began with rookie wide receiver Kevin White hampered by what would eventually become a season-ending stress fracture of his leg. The 2016 Bears will have White back in uniform but they will start training camp without one of the linchpins of their defense, placing rush-linebacker Pernell McPhee on the physically unable to perform list after he had offseason surgery on his left knee and did not participate in on-field work through final OTA’s and minicamp.

Additionally, the Bears announced that recently signed guard Amini Silatolu, coming off ACL surgery surgery, will also open camp on PUP, along with wide receiver Marquess Wilson, who injured his foot during organized team activities last month.

McPhee, the primary free-agency signing by GM Ryan Pace last offseason, was third on the Bears with six sacks but played a decreasing percentage of defensive sacks as last season wore on. He was deactivated for the St. Louis and Washington games, returned but played no more than 27 snaps in any of the final three games.

[SHOP: Gear up for the 2016 season, Bears fans!

The Bears worked to have him drop upwards of 10 pounds after playing last season at his then-customary mid-280s. That part of the program for McPhee was a success.

“He came in [at] a really good weight right now, really good shape right now,” Pace said. “We just got to acclimate himself into football activities so he’ll work with the trainers. … I know he’s been working hard over the summer so that’s very encouraging. And really in the OTAs, he wasn’t doing a lot of football stuff. He was doing stuff more on the side with our strength and conditioning coaches.”

McPhee is unlikely to play in preseason games although the Bears will not make that decision until closer to the start of games.

Bears QB Jay Cutler: 'You can't' replace Matt Forte

Bears QB Jay Cutler: 'You can't' replace Matt Forte

Jay Cutler spent his first seven seasons in Chicago with Matt Forte lined up behind him, but his eighth one will be a little bit different.

The 33-year-old quarterback reported to training camp in Bourbonnais on Wednesday knowing Forte isn't on his side anymore and knows it will take a collective effort to help ease the loss of a two-time Pro Bowler.

"You can't," Cutler responded when asked how you replace Forte. "Just his knowledge and him being here for so long and experience on the field, experience playing with me. Most times I didn't have to tell him something, I just look at him and he knew exactly what I was thinking, so you can't replace him.

[SHOP: Gear up for the 2016 season, Bears fans!]

"We've got a good group of young backs that we're going to develop and we're going to put as much time as we can into those guys, and they'll get there. It's a good group, it's a talented group, so we're still excited about what we have."

With the departure of Forte, Cutler knows he's become one of the most experienced players on the team, particularly on the offensive side of the ball.

"I was looking at the roster weeks ago and I feel like there's been a major shift in experience, especially on the offensive side," Cutler said. "I'm at 11 (seasons in the NFL) and then you look down, there's a couple 9s, a couple 8s and then mostly it's five and under, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

"I think a new town, new guys in the building is new energy, new attitude, so I've embraced it, I've enjoyed it. I think the coaching staff has done a great job of getting all these young guys up to speed. It's a good group right now."

Check out the video of Cutler's interview from training camp above.