Monday, Jan. 31, 2011
By John Mullin
The Bears may not be at this years Super Bowl but at least one of their number is still on the minds of some questioners around the event. And that suggests something.
Speaking to The Dan Patrick Show on Comcast SportsNet on Monday, veteran interviewer Rich Eisen from the NFL Network opined that Jay Cutler was a more in-demand interview this week than either Aaron Rodgers or Ben Roethlisberger.
Not sure I agree as far as Roethlisberger is concerned, since the background issues with him should (I said should) be of greater interest than Cutlers degree of injury or whatever people are making of the NFC Championship game situation.
But theres a touch more here than just the endless fascination or whatever it is with Cutlers departure from his last game. The reality is that the Bears have quietly become a story worth talking about this season, for all of the detractors, doubters, critics and whoever that have dismissed them.
Put another way, if the Bears didnt matter, neither would Cutler.
Check it out
A lot is going to be said and written this week about the zone blitz as practiced by coordinators Dom Capers in Green Bay and Dick LeBeau in Pittsburgh. The NFLs two best scoring defenses both operate out of a 3-4 scheme and colleague Ray Didinger out East at CSNPhilly.com does a great job running thought the particulars of what could be the story of this years Super Bowl.
If youve forgotten (and the Bears would like to), it was a zone blitz variation that dropped Packers nose tackle B.J. Raji into underneath coverage, resulting in Rajis interception and TD return for what would be the winning points in Green Bays win over the Bears in the NFC Championship game.
Just thought Id mention that.
Reason to hope?
It doesnt guarantee a successful end hovering into view in the collective bargaining agreement negotiations, but anytime people are talking, its usually encouraging.
According to a joint statement from the two sides in the process, NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell met Monday in New York to discuss a range of issues related to a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
As part of a process to intensify negotiations, they agreed to hold a formal bargaining session with both negotiating teams on Saturday in the Dallas area. They also agreed to a series of meetings over the next few weeks, both formal bargaining sessions and smaller group meetings, in an effort to reach a new agreement by early March.
Its been behind the scenes but sources have told me that Goodell and Smith talk at least once a week anyway, just the two of them. If things are moving into the public venue, consider that a good sign.
No surprise that Bears assistant coaches are in demand after a strong season. Special-teams assistant Chris Tabor already has moved on to head up special teams for the Cleveland Browns and now defensive line coach Eric Washington has taken a similar post on Ron Riveras staff with the Carolina Panthers.
The Philadelphia Eagles have asked the Bears for permission to interview defensive backs coach Jon Hoke for the job as defensive coordinator, which became open when the Eagles fired Sean McDermott two weeks ago.
Kudos to the folks at Ascension Lutheran Church in Northfield for a very nice touch on Super Sunday. The congregation is designating next Sunday, Feb. 6, as the day for its Souper Bowl and bringing cans of soup or a little cash or both to services, with the donations going to needy folks in the Chicago area.
Hopefully the forecasted snow doesnt put the plan on ice.
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.