Chicago Bears

Mullin: 1934 'Sneakers Game' repeat?

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Mullin: 1934 'Sneakers Game' repeat?

Saturday, Dec. 18, 2010
3:33 p.m.

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

Now that it appears the Bears will indeed be playing outside at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis against the Vikings, it is time to turn to matters of true import.

Likeshoes.

The Bears have been on the wrong end of icy conditions in big games at memorable times in the past. They are planning on a different outcome this time, with the field at expected at worst to be nothing short of a sheet of ice by the second half next Monday night, possibly sooner.

I just dont want to be on Skating with the Stars, said defensive tackle Anthony Adams.

A number of players told CSNChicago.com that they indeed are preparing for the Minnesota game with non-cleated, sneakers-style footwear.

Some are considering more extreme measures, if only in fun.

Snow boots, said linebacker Lance Briggs. You know, the boots with the tennis rackets on the bottom. Those are the ones right there. Cross country skis, yeah.

Bears players wore sneakers in the Green Bay game last Dec. 13 in Soldier Field. Cleats wont dig into the grass, the surface, Adams said. Its like being on skates.

Footwear is the individual players choice and a key is understanding that what feels OK in warmups may not work once the play begins in earnest.

Its going to be different once the double-team hits you. Its different from just running around, when two O-linemen are trying to press you out of the gap.

The Bears were victimized in the famous 1934 Sneakers Game, the NFL Championship game in New York. With both teams sliding around on an icy field during the first half, the Giants equipment man went to nearby Manhattan College, borrowed nine pairs of sneakers. The Giants went from trailing 13-3 to a 30-13 victory.

The Bears dont envision that scenario for themselves.

Well have the proper shoe on, coach Lovie Smith said, clearly not unhappy to see a week of talk about cold, indoorsoutdoors, ice and now shoes is winding down. I think were too deep into this now. Every surface we have, well have the proper shoe on for that. We have guys looking for that. You work through to find the perfect shoe each week and this is no different than that.
Sick bay

Linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa, who practiced fully on Friday, was limited on Saturdays work at Northwestern Universitys practice field and is listed as questionable.

All-Pro guard Steve Hutchinson will miss his third straight game with a broken thumb and hell have a seat next to the man he helped persuade come back for the 2010 season, Brett Favre. The quarterback is officially out with his shoulder injury, as is safety Tyrell Johnson (concussion).

Hutchinson is an all-pro lineman for them, Lovie Smith said. But he hasnt played in a few games so they have moved on a little bit without him. But I dont think youre ever as good a football team as you would be with a player like that. Seems like this time of year except for maybe the Chicago Bears were not missing a lot of guys most teams are missing some of their players.

Running back Adrian Peterson practiced for the first time this week, albeit on a limited basis, and is listed as questionable, although no one expects the franchise running back to miss the game. Defensive end Ray Edwards (ankle) also practiced on a limited basis and is questionable, as is safety Jamarca Sanford (concussion).
Homecoming

Defensive end Corey Wootton had to endure some good-natured ribbing Saturday as Bears buses pulled up and delivered players to Northwestern Universitys outdoors practice fields. The Bears moved practice there in order to get a days orientation to artificial turf similar to that in TCF Bank Stadium and also to work on it outdoors rather than just another day on artificial turf but indoors at the Walter Payton Center.

It was fun being back where I played for five years, said Wootton, a Northwestern grad selected by the Bears in the fourth round of the 2010 draft. Guys were kidding me, though: Oh, Coreys homecoming. But it was nice.

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.

Bears-Steelers: Best case, worst case and prediction

Bears-Steelers: Best case, worst case and prediction

The best case scenario

The Bears play like they did in Week 1 against the Atlanta Falcons, only without those two blown coverages and drops near/in the end zone. This means Mike Glennon doesn’t turn the ball over and tries to stretch the field a bit with Markus Wheaton back. And if Glennon can successfully complete some deep balls, perhaps it opens up more opportunities for Jordan Howard to get to the second level of the Steelers’ defense and break off a couple of explosive runs. 

Here’s where it’s worth noting Ben Roethlisberger’s home/road splits from 2016, too:
Home: 70.8 completion percentage, 20 TDs, 5 INTs, 116.7 rating
Road: 59.4 completion percentage, 9 TDs, 8 INTs, 78.4 rating

If last year’s road Roethlisberger shows up, the Bears could have a chance to keep things close, as they did against Atlanta. It’ll come down to whichever team makes the fewest mistakes, and if the Bears can eliminate turnovers on offense and special teams and avoid allowing big-chunk plays on defense, they could have another chance to win at the end of the game. And if they do, they can’t afford more drops near or in the end zone. 

The worst-case scenario

This starts with Glennon turning the ball over and, like last week, the game effectively being out of reach by halftime against a team eyeing a playoff run. Pittsburgh is likely to load the box against Howard and the Bears running game until Glennon proves he can stretch the field, and if he can’t, it could be another long day for last year’s second-leading rusher in the NFL. 

The Bears’ defense may have success rendering ineffective Le’Veon Bell — who’s averaging only 3.2 yards per carry in two games — but the Antonio Brown/Martavis Bryant/JuJu Smith-Schuster trio presented a difficult challenge for the secondary. That challenge will become even more difficult if the defense has to deal with sudden-change and short-field situations. 

Prediction: Steelers 31, Bears 16

Bears: Where does Kyle Fuller fit with Prince Amukamara back?

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USA TODAY

Bears: Where does Kyle Fuller fit with Prince Amukamara back?

Prince Amukamara (ankle) is expected to make his 2017 regular season debut against the Pittsburgh Steelers after being a full participant in practices Thursday and Friday (he wasn't listed on Friday's injury report). But that leads to the question: What does defensive coordinator Vic Fangio do with Kyle Fuller?

Fuller acquitted himself well in starts against the Atlanta Falcons — in which he helped limit Julio Jones to four catches on five targets — and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bears signed Amukamara to start opposite Marcus Cooper, but Fuller has at least earned the opportunity to keep his job — or a job — on Sunday. 

And it's worth noting that both Fuller and Amukamara are in contract years, so both should be motivated to not lose playing time going forward. 

“I was pleased with the waay Kyle played overall,” Fangio said. “There's obviously some plays he'd like to do over and play them a little better, but overall I thought he did a good job. I like where he's at right now.”

Fangio didn’t play Fuller as a nickel corner in 2015. But if the Bears want to get their best defensive players on the field could Fuller force his way into a nickel role with Amukamara and Cooper as the outside guys? 

That’s an especially pertinent question given Pittsburgh’s explosive trio of receivers: Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant and JuJu Smith-Schuster. 

“No matter where a receiver lines up, it’s not going to be a down to take off,” Amukamara said. “We’re always going to have to have our ‘A’ game.”