Moon View: Packers title bad news for Bears

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Moon View: Packers title bad news for Bears

Sunday, Feb. 6, 2011
Posted: 5:41 p.m. Updated: 9:29 p.m.

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

Bears coach Lovie Smith very methodically stresses the value of takeaways (he would, being a defensive coach n all). He felt the sting of them when his 2006 Bears team lost a Super Bowl after an interception of a Rex Grossman pass was returned for a touchdown, and he was able to see it come to pass in Super Bowl XLV.

And it helps explain why the Bears are expected this offseason and draft to strengthen a defense that already is among the NFLs best but which the organization wants to raise even to a higher level.

Green Bay put 21 points on an elite Pittsburgh defense off turnovers -- 14 from interceptions, seven after a Rashard Mendenhall fumble. The Packers were a combined 7-0 when they held a positive turnover ratio. The Bears threw three interceptions vs. Green Bay, one for a TD to D-tackle B.J. Raji, or it would have been the Bears playing for the Lombardi Trophy instead of the Packers. The Bears were 7-0 in 2010 when they held a positive turnover ratio. ...

The Bears are likely to be looking up at the Green Bay Packers for the foreseeable future, because Green Bay accomplished far more in its significant draft positions than the Bears. The Packers passing game also proved good enough to get the better of the NFLs elite defenses, without the benefit of run-pass balance. So unless Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, Jordy Nelson and James Jones are leaving anytime soon, which theyre not, the Bears have won their last NFC North division title for a few years. ...

Add to the overall worry about the Packers ascendancy the fact that they won a Super Bowl as a No. 6 seed, meaning that they won three road games to reach the Super Bowl, then put 31 points on the NFLs No. 1 scoring defense to win a Super Bowl. This may have been the end of the 2010 season but the future is in the Green Bay youth as well as its cohesion. The Green Bay quarterback and offensive line get running back Ryan Grant back in 2011 and this is significantly bad news for the Bears. ...

If the Packers won a Super Bowl with 14 players going on IR and the reigning defensive player of the year (Charles Woodson) going out with a shoulder injury for the second half, what will they be like when they lose six offensive starters for the year?

QB legends

Aaron Rodgers played exactly the way he did all postseason, specifically, better even than he did in the regular season. As good as Bart Starr and Brett Favre were, Rodgers plays his best in the biggest games and the shock will be if he does not have his teams in Super Bowls or in conference championship games with the regularity that the Joe Montana, Steve Young, Terry Bradshaw and the other greats did.

Rodgers was the MVP of the Super Bowl and somehow it was a pick you could have made with reasonable assuredness before the game was even played.
Hurtin' Pack
When two great defensive teams get together, the chances of turnovers deciding the game increase exponentially. So it has been for the Green Bay Packers, who turned 2 interceptions into 14 points in the first half.

Ironically perhaps, Green Bays two defensive linchpins (Clay Matthews, Charles Woodson) did not figure prominently into either takeaway. The growing problem for the Packers, however, is the quietly increasing number of injuries, between wide receiver Donald Driver, DB Sam Shields and DB Woodson.

Good call

Lovie Smith was criticized after the NFC Championship game for deferring after winning the coin toss, giving the Packers the ball to start the game. The criticism was ill-informed, because the fact is that Aaron Rodgers produces far fewer points on opening drives of first halves than in the ones to start a second half.

Notably perhaps, then, the Packers won the toss and also chose to defer. They know Rodgers is better after a half.

No losers

Israel Idonije was a finalist for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award but Minnesotas Madieu Williams was accorded the honor. There are no losers for this award, though. The world is a better place for all of the honorees.

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.

Brian Urlacher and Alex Brown to join Comcast SportsNet's Chicago Bears coverage team

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Brian Urlacher and Alex Brown to join Comcast SportsNet's Chicago Bears coverage team

Bears legend/eight-time Pro Bowl linebacker Urlacher to be featured in new weekly Bears show beginning Thursday, September 15

Former Bears defensive end standout Brown to join network’s “Bears Pre/Postgame Live” coverage team beginning this season

COMCAST SPORTSNET ALSO ANNOUNCES ITS COMPREHENSIVE ON-AIR/DIGITAL 2016 CHICAGO BEARS/NFL SEASON COVERAGE LINE-UP

“Pro Football Weekly” (Season Premiere): Friday, September 2 at 5:00 PM

“United Bears Recap” (Season Premiere): Monday, September 5 at 7:00 PM

“Bears Huddle presented by Verizon” (Season Premiere): Wednesday, September 7 at 4:30 PM

“Bears Blitz presented by XFINITY” (Season Premiere): Thursday, September 8 at 4:30 PM

“3 and Out” (Season Premiere): Wednesday, September 7 at 6:30 PM on CSN+

“Real Fantasy” (Season Premiere): Friday, September 9 at 4:30 PM

 “BEARS PREGAME LIVE presented by Meijer” (Season Premiere): Sunday, September 11 at 11:00 AM

“BEARS HALFTIME LIVE presented by BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois” (Live stream Season Premiere): Sunday, September 11

“BEARS POSTGAME LIVE presented by State Farm” (Season Premiere): Sunday, September 11 at 3:00 PM

“SportsNet Central: Inside the Huddle w/Dave Wannstedt, presented by Ankin Law” (Season Premiere): Sunday, September 11 at 10:30 PM

RETURN: “The Lance Briggs Show (Season Premiere): Tuesday, September 13 at 11:00 PM

NEW: “The Hard Count with Brian Urlacher, presented by RESTORE” (Season Premiere): Thursday, September 15 at 10:30 PM

“Chicago Huddle” (Season Premiere): Friday, September 16 at 11:30 PM

CSNChicago.com to deliver 24/7 Bears coverage all season long featuring Bears “Insider” John ‘Moon’ Mullin

Details on new “Bears Classics” specials coming soon

Chicago, IL (August 30, 2016) – Comcast SportsNet, the regional home for the most comprehensive on-air and digital coverage of the Chicago Bears, has announced Bears legend/eight-time Pro Bowl linebacker BRIAN URLACHER, along with former Bears defensive end standout ALEX BROWN, will be joining CSN as part of the network’s massive line-up of Bears programming for the 2016 NFL season.

Urlacher, who spent all 13 seasons of his storied career in a Bears uniform, which earned him numerous honors including NFC Defensive Player of the Year and eight Pro Bowl nods, will be featured in a brand new weekly Bears show this season entitled The Hard Count with Brian Urlacher, presented by RESTORE airing Thursday nights at 10:30 PM beginning September 15.  Urlacher will be joined by host Mark Schanowski and fellow analysts, former Bears quarterback Jim Miller and former Bears head coach Dave Wannstedt, to discuss the team’s next game and break down the match-up from a defensive, offensive, and head coaching standpoint.

Brown, who spent eight of his nine NFL seasons with the Bears amassing a career total of 45.5 sacks, joins CSN’s signature Bears game day coverage as a studio analyst on BEARS PREGAME LIVE presented by Meijer and BEARS POSTGAME LIVE presented by State Farm, beginning with the team’s 2016 NFL season opener on Sunday, September 11 against the Houston Texas.

“We couldn’t be more pleased and excited to have two enormously popular and well-respected former Bears join our team beginning this season,” said Kevin Cross, Comcast SportsNet Chicago Senior Director of News & Original Content.  “The addition of Brian and Alex to our overall Bears coverage team, featuring numerous NFL experts, once again showcases our year-round commitment and desire to deliver the most comprehensive coverage of the Bears to our viewing audience.”

In addition, Comcast SportsNet Chicago has also announced its complete on-air/online line-up of Bears and additional pro football related programming/coverage for the upcoming season.  Please note the following on-air and online details:

BEARS GAME DAY PROGRAMMING… 

BEARS PREGAME LIVE presented by Meijer – Beginning Sunday, September 11 prior to the Chicago Bears 2016 NFL season opener against the Houston Texans at 11:00 AM CT, Comcast SportsNet kicks off its Bears game day coverage with Bears Pregame Live presented by Meijer.  Now in its fourth season, this one-hour pre-game show – the ONLY live, local Bears pre-game show on Chicago television – provides fans with the very latest game day news, player updates, a detailed X’s and O’s game preview breakdown and analysis, along with numerous on-field pre-game reports.  Bears Pregame Live is hosted by Chris Boden featuring expert analysis from former Bears linebacker/seven-time Pro Bowler Lance Briggs, former Bears quarterback Jim Miller, the new addition of former Bears defensive end standout Alex Brown and CSNChicago.com Bears “Insider” John “Moon” Mullin.  Plus, SportsNet Central’s Bears beat reporter Kip Lewis will provide additional pre-game coverage from the field with up-to-the-minute game day information. 

BEARS HALFTIME LIVE presented by BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois – Also returning for its fourth season, debuting Sunday, September 11, will be Bears Halftime Live, a special “live-stream” exclusive that fans can view on CSNChicago.com & ChicagoBears.comBears Halftime Live features Boden and Miller, who will breakdown the first half of every game focusing on the key plays/game moments that had the greatest impact during the first 30 minutes of action, along with their thoughts on precisely what the Bears need to focus on for the remainder of each contest. 

BEARS POST GAME LIVE presented by State Farm – Immediately following the Bears-Texans NFL season opener on Sunday, September 11 (approx. 3:00 PM on CSN), Bears Postgame Live presented by State Farm returns as THE destination for fans to hear from the experts who played the game, along with their always-entertaining, no-holds-barred take on the day’s events.  Bears Postgame Live presented by State Farm is a 90-minute post-game show hosted by Boden and features detailed post-game analysis from Briggs, Miller & Brown.  In addition to the spirited banter from the stars of the show, Bears Postgame Live also showcases the live post-game press conferences with coaches and players from both teams.  Lewis & Mullin will also provide immediate post-game interviews with Bears players inside & outside the locker room.  Bears Postgame Live presented by State Farm can be seen on Comcast SportsNet following every Bears game this season with replays airing regularly throughout the season on Sunday nights and Monday afternoons. 

WEEKLY BEARS/NFL PROGRAMMING…

UNITED BEARS RECAP – Comcast SportsNet is the place for Bears fans to watch the official team press conference featuring head coach John Fox.  Hosted by Boden and former Bears offensive lineman/veteran Chicago sports personality Dan Jiggetts, United Bears Recap will go to Halas Hall each week to hear from the Bears head coach, along with additional Bears players/coaches.  The show will also air game highlights and viewers can also look forward to additional United Bears Recap content on CSNChicago.com.  The one-hour United Bears Recap makes its 2016 debut on Monday, September 5 at 7:00 PM with a special “season preview” edition with weekly premiere airing to take place on Mondays at 4:30 PM throughout the entire Bears season.

BEARS HUDDLE presented by Verizon – Every Wednesday at 4:30 PM beginning September 7, Comcast SportsNet will provide Bears fans with a preview of the team’s next opponent on Bears Huddle.  This one-hour show, hosted by Boden and Jiggetts, features weekly interviews with Bears offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains and Bears quarterback Jay Cutler.  Additional content via team updates and interviews will be provided by Lewis and Mullin.  To go along with numerous game highlights, Bears Huddle will also provide a multitude of key stats for all categories and will feature in-depth player match-up analysis for every upcoming game.  Fans can also interact with the show on Twitter by utilizing the hashtag #BearsTalk.

BEARS BLITZ presented by XFINITY – Every Thursday at 4:30 PM beginning September 8, Comcast SportsNet will provide Bears fans with even more in-depth game previews and analysis on Bears Blitz.  This one-hour show also features the same talent line-up and similar show format as presented in Bears Huddle and will include interviews with Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and additional Bears players.  Fans can once again interact with the show on Twitter by utilizing the hashtag #BearsTalk.

THE HARD COUNT with BRIAN URLACHER, presented by RESTORE – CSN proudly presents the network on-air debut of one of the most popular players in Bears history as The Hard Count with Brian Urlacher, presented by RESTORE premieres on Thursday, September 15 at 10:30 PM.  Featuring the eight-time Chicago Bears Pro Bowl linebacker and former NFC Defensive Player of the Year, Urlacher will be joined each week by host Mark Schanowski and additional panelists, which include former Bears standout QB/Bears Pre-Post Game Live analyst Jim Miller and former Bears head coach Dave Wannstedt.  This new, weekly, half-hour program provides fans with a complete preview of the Bears’ next game, featuring the prospective from a defensive (Urlacher), offensive (Miller), and coaching (Wannstedt) standpoint.  Highlighted segments from the show include a social media fan interactive segment with select questions to be answered by Urlacher and the crew, along with additional special feature segments.   Weekly premiere airings of The Hard Count with Brian Urlacher, presented by RESTORE will take place regularly on Thursday nights at 10:30 PM.

THE LANCE BRIGGS SHOW – Bears fans can also look forward to the return of The Lance Briggs Show, featuring host Pat Boyle and seven-time Chicago Bears Pro Bowl linebacker Lance Briggs.  This half-hour program provides fans with a complete preview of the Bears’ next game, including a discussion about all the key plays from the team’s previous contest.  Highlighted segments from the show include a social media fan interactive segment with select questions to be answered by Briggs, along with the popular, two-minute “Hurry Up” segment with Boyle firing off a multitude of questions to Briggs.   The season premiere of The Lance Briggs Show on Comcast SportsNet airs Tuesday, September 13 at 11:00 PM.  Weekly premiere airings will take place regularly on Tuesday nights at 11:00 PM with repeats to be shown at varied times on Wednesday afternoons.

SPORTSNET CENTRAL: INSIDE THE HUDDLE (featuring Dave Wannstedt) presented by Ankin Law – Debuting Sunday, September 11 at 10:30 PM and airing every Sunday night at 10:30 PM during the Bears/NFL season, SportsNet Central: Inside the Huddle presented by Ankin Law features the in-studio appearance of NFL expert/former Bears head coach Dave Wannstedt, who will discuss the day’s game in detail and offer his thoughts on what the Bears did right or wrong in that particular’s day’s game.  Plus, the half-hour show will showcase full NFL highlights from all the day’s key match-ups.  In addition, all season long, SportsNet Central’s team of anchors and reporters will provide the very latest Bears/NFL updates nightly at 6:30 PM, 10:00 PM, 10:30 PM and midnight.

PRO FOOTBALL WEEKLY – Entering its 29th season on television, Pro Football Weekly is a half-hour program hosted by SportsNet Central’s Pat Boyle and features an expert panel led by Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Hampton, NFL expert/former Bears head coach Dave Wannstedt and PFW founder Hub Arkush.  The program’s in-depth preview analysis and unique format make the show a preferred vehicle for football fans desiring the most thorough coverage of the NFL.  This hard-hitting program features the latest NFL news reports, opinions and insider information.  Pro Football Weekly makes its regular season premiere on Friday, September 2 at 5:00 PM with regular weekly debuts airing on Fridays at 4:30 PM while replays can be seen Saturday afternoons/evenings at varied times and Sunday mornings at 10:00 AM.

3 AND OUT – Debuting Wednesday, September 7 at 6:30 PM on CSN+, NBC Sports Regional Networks’ football analysis and debate program 3 and Out returns for its fourth season on CSN Chicago, which will also air on Comcast SportsNet regional sports networks across the country.  Hosted by CSN Mid-Atlantic’s Chick Hernandez, this fast-paced, weekly 30-minute program features hard-hitting opinions via CSN New England host of “Felger & Maz” Michael Felger, along with former Pro Bowlers Brian Mitchell and Bill Romanowski.  For specific weekly air times, fan can check their local listings or visit CSNChicago.com for weekly scheduled airings.      

REAL FANTASY – CSN is known for its award winning NFL analysis.  Now, drawing on their unprecedented local inside access and nationwide via NBC Sports Group resources, CSN brings you the information you need to win your Fantasy Football league with Real Fantasy.  Debuting Friday, September 9 at 4:30 PM, Sebastian Salazar of CSN Mid Atlantic, Josh Norris of Rotoworld and Kay Adams of NFL Network draw on CSN and NBC personnel & perspective to bring you information beyond stats and depth charts, letting you know who to sit and who to play, who to keep and who to trade, AND how to WIN week in and week out.  Real Fantasy will air on Friday afternoons throughout the NFL season at varied times; viewers are urged to check their local listings or visit CSNChicago.com for weekly scheduled airings.

CHICAGO HUDDLE – Back for its fourth season on Comcast SportsNet, Chicago Huddle is hosted by former Bears longsnapper/17-year NFL veteran Patrick Mannelly, who will be joined each week by Bears linebacker Jerrell Freeman, defensive back Tracy Porter, along with special appearances from other Bears standouts during the season. Taped at Chili’s in Vernon Hills, Chicago Huddle provides fans with an in-depth, weekly Bears review/preview/interview show throughout the entire 2016 campaign.  The season premiere airs on Friday, September 16 at 11:30 PM with replay airings at varied times on Saturdays, along with Sunday mornings at 10:30 AM. 

SPORTSTALK LIVE presented by The Chevy Silverado – Comcast SportsNet sets the table with lively sports talk every Monday through Friday night at 5:30 PM on SportsTalk Live presented by The Chevy Silverado.  Throughout the 2016 NFL season, SportsTalk Live host David Kaplan and a panel of local pro football experts (including former Bears longsnapper Patrick Mannelly every Monday), along with guests from local sports talk radio and national media, will breakdown the games and preview the match-ups that lie ahead for the Bears and other key games from around the NFL.  In addition, SportsTalk Live will also feature a number of special guests from the world of football all season long, including appearances from players, coaches, celebrities and many more.

CSNCHICAGO.COM Comcast SportsNet Chicago’s website, CSNChicago.com, delivers comprehensive 24/7 Bears and NFL coverage all season long via its “Bears Talk” platform featuring the following digital and social media highlights this season:  

  • Bears Pulse a one-stop social media hub that reveals the latest trending topics and player buzz from Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.  Plus, “Bears Pulse” aggregates all Bears player tweets, along with fan tweets that utilize the hashtag #BearsTalk.
  • John “Moon” Mullin – CSNChicago.com’s resident Bears “Insider” returns for his eighth season on the beat.  Fans can follow Mullin at Twitter @CSNMoonMullin for the latest team/player news and inside access 24/7.  Mullin will also file daily stories/video reports, which include his popular “View from the Moon” segments, and will make regular on-air appearances throughout the season on Bears Pre/Postgame Live, SportsTalk Live and SportsNet Central.
  • CSNChicago.com digital BearsTalk contributor Scott Krinch (@scottiekrinch) and Tony Andracki (@TonyAndracki23) will also be providing game day reports, analysis and features.
  • BearsTalk, presented by Max Madsen – CSNChicago.com’s high-velocity, real-time, comprehensive Bears news section featuring original commentary, news reports, trades and rumor via contributions from Mullin, Boden, Lewis, and other in-house experts as they lend their knowledge and expertise to the latest happenings in the NFC North, as well as league-wide. BearsTalk is under the banner of NBC SportsTalk, NBC’s successful digital franchise on NBCSports.com that includes ProFootballTalk, HardballTalk, ProBasketballTalk, ProHockeyTalk, CollegeFootballTalk and GolfTalkCentral. SportsTalk was extended to CSNChicago.com through the creation of BlackhawksTalk, BullsTalk, CubsTalk, WhiteSoxTalk and BearsTalk, which contains interactive content and continually updated insights from the network’s digital and on-air talent.
  • FacebookFacebook Live “Bears Warm-up” – A half-hour prior to every edition of Bears Pregame Live, host Chris Boden, along with analysts Alex Brown and Jim Miller, will hold a special Facebook Live segment on CSN Chicago’s official Facebook page: Facebook.com/CSNChicago. Bears fans will have an opportunity to have their questions answered by submitting their game day inquiries via the “comments” section on the live stream.
  • TwitterBears Talk (@CSNBears) is THE Twitter source for Bears breaking news, updates, rumors, trade and much more 24/7.  Fans are encouraged to use #BearsTalk to voice their opinions and interact with CSN reporters and analysts.  Additional must-follow Twitter handles include @CSNBoden (Chris Boden), @CSNkiplewis (Kip Lewis), @15miller (Jim Miller), Alex Brown (@alexbrown96) and @LanceBriggs (Lance Briggs).
  • CSNChicago.com’s Bears content will also be distributed via its digital network of partnerships including NBCSports.com, NBCNews.com, Yahoo! Sports and Xfinity.com.

In addition, Comcast SportsNet will be airing four, brand new BEARS CLASSICS documentaries this fall/winter.  More specific details and air dates for these specials will be announced separately in the coming weeks.

Injuries figure into Bears most recent roster cuts

Injuries figure into Bears most recent roster cuts

Health issues ran through the Bears’ most recent roster cuts that brought the player total to its required 75 by Tuesday.

Center Hroniss Grasu (knee) and quarterback Connor Shaw (leg) were played on injured reserve. Linebacker Roy Robertson-Harris, ill for much of training camp and forced to leave practice early Monday with sickness, was placed on the reserve/non-football injury list; and linebacker Lamin Barrow was waived/injured.

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Notre Dame linebacker Jarrett Grace also was waived.

The Bears must cut down to 53 players by Sunday night.

Injury clouds may be disappearing over (some) Bears

Injury clouds may be disappearing over (some) Bears

The daily litany of injuries and practice limitations through training camp and to this point of preseason have been stories. But they typically do not take on real significance until about this time of the football year, when teams swing onto final approach for their first regular-season game.

Against that backdrop, the Bears’ injury forecast was trending the right direction on Monday when No. 1 tight end Zach Miller and No. 1 nickel receiver Eddie Royal, both out for extended periods going through the team’s concussion protocol, were practicing without the don’t-hit-me red practice jerseys they were in as recently as last week.

Right guard Kyle Long, down with a shoulder injury since the New England game, was not in practice pads Monday but trotted over to a nearby goalpost at one point during practice, got into his stance and delivered a couple of linemen “punches” to the padding.

All three are vital components of a struggling offense in desperate need of impact players at any position.

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Rookie linebacker Leonard Floyd, held out of the Kansas City game on Saturday with hamstring soreness, was in uniform as well. Cornerback Kyle Fuller, who had knee surgery two weeks ago, was out running laps around the practice field, although he remains a longshot to be active for the Sept. 11 opener in Houston.

The situation was less encouraging for linebacker Pernell McPhee, who continues to do only controlled running and cutting along the sidelines as he works back from knee surgery in January. Chances of his return for the start of the regular season appear next to nil.

“We’ve got some avenues that we’re going to have to decide here as we cut down [the roster] to the 53 and some time from now, so I don’t like making those decisions now,” said coach John Fox. “But we’ll continue to evaluate him. There are options. He did start [training camp] on PUP [physically unable to perform]. We have a lot of options and we’ll do what’s best for us and him.”

The team has kept details of McPhee’s procedure and injury in-house. But teammate Willie Young, whose 2014 season ended with an Achilles injury of his own, offered a perspective that hinted at how serious McPhee’s injury may have been.

“It’s a credit to him, because to bounce back from any what used to be career-ending injuries is a challenge,” Young said, adding, “but he’s on course, I would say.”