Chicago Bears

Mullin: Little optimism that 2011 will start on time

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Mullin: Little optimism that 2011 will start on time

Thursday, April 14, 2011Posted: 10:55 AM
By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

I was hoping for a little more encouraging answer from somewhere on the panel to my question of Given that a labor settlement is generally expected at some point, whats your pick for the month when we have football again?

The overall issue before the Chicago Chapter of the National Sports Marketing Network on Wednesday was The impact of a Work Stoppage on Sports Business: What Can We Expect and How Do We Prepare? Terry Lefton, editor-at-large for Sports Business DailySportsBusiness Journal, served as moderator for the group.

And the best anyone expected was from Comcast SportsNet Chicago colleague and two-time Super Bowl winner Howard Griffith, whose thought was late August, maybe September. What that would mean is no Bears in Canton, O., for the Hall of Fame game on Aug. 7 and probably no training camp in Bourbonnais.

Judge Susan Nelson has mandated federal mediation but Howard suggested that personalities, specifically NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and players chief DeMaurice Smith, may be more of a factor that is being noted.

Not that either is a problem per se, but both are in their first negotiations with the other side and nobody wants to be the one to go back to his side and say, Well, I got a deal but its not quite the deal we wanted.

(Were not going to spiral off too far here into the latest on the labor matter; I hate writing about it and Im guessing that you hate reading about it. But some particularly interesting thoughts came up at the get-together.)

Mike McCartney, director of football operations at Priority Sports and a former member of front offices with the Bears and Philadelphia Eagles, represents a number of top NFL players and predicted that when free agency does arrive in whatever form its going to be this year, Its going to be crazy.

McCartney, whose prediction of when the impasse breaks was pegged to whether Judge Nelson stops the lockout and the decision is upheld on appeal, also offered that I dont think were ever going to get to an 18-game schedule.

Probably the most pessimistic forecast was from agent Kristen Kuliga of K Sports & Entertainment LLC out of Boston, who voted for October as the seasons starting point. Kristen was very concise on details of the proceedings to this point, and she did candidly note that players do not like the lockout situation but they also arent particularly put out to be missing the offseason programs mandated by some teams.

Bob Dittrich, VP of Client Services for MillerCoors, threw out something a lot of you are only too aware of. What happens with fantasy leagues, now such a big part of the game? Nobody knows whos going to be on what teams, he said.

The hard part in all of this is trying to gauge who may blink first, where a crack might occur. I was told as far back as last season by an NFC team higher-up that he had never seen the owners as unified as they were and appear to still be. And as former Chicago Tribune colleague David Haugh said Wednesday, Its a lot easier to keep 32 billionaires together than 1,900 players.

Strictly speaking

Catch CSNPhilly.com colleague Ray Didinger with Mike Florio on ProFootballTalk Live this morning after 11 a.m.

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.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: How close is Mitch Trubisky to starting?

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SportsTalk Live Podcast: How close is Mitch Trubisky to starting?

David Haugh (Chicago Tribune), Mark Carman (WGN Radio) and Jim Litke (Associated Press) join Kap on the panel.  Mitch Trubisky gets some reps with the 1st team in practice and he’ll play with the 1’s to start the second half on Sunday.  If he plays well, should he be the starting QB?

Kris Bryant’s hand is not broken after getting hit with a pitch in the 9th. Should he have even been in the game with the Cubs up 7? Plus that guys discuss who won the Cavs/Celtics deal.

How Mitch Trubisky and Mike Glennon reacted to the Bears’ change in first-team QB reps

How Mitch Trubisky and Mike Glennon reacted to the Bears’ change in first-team QB reps

Mitch Trubisky was asked, toward the end of his meeting with the media on Wednesday, if he feels like he’s ready to be a starting quarterback in the NFL.

“That’s not up to me,” Trubisky said. “That’s a good question. You almost got me.”

Trubisky sounded confident but stuck to talking mostly about “control” after getting first-team practice reps for the first time in his nascent pro career. He didn’t entertain questions about if he, after playing well in two preseason games, created a quarterback competition with Mike Glennon, who’s struggled in those contests. Sunday, for Trubisky, is less an opportunity to unseat Glennon as the team’s starter — or Mark Sanchez as the backup — and more of a chance to better himself against the best competition he’ll have faced in 2017.

“I think it’s more of how I can make myself better each day, how I can be the best version of me and how I can make the people around me better,” Trubisky said. “That’s one of the things I can control and I’m just focused on what I can control: my effort, my attitude. Come out here, practice hard, get better every day and in due time, you’ve got to earn a spot. Every spot is earned. That’s what we’re trying to do, just create competition on both sides of the ball to make this team better.”

Trubisky added that he’s not changing how he’ll practice and play now that he’ll play with the Bears’ first-team offense on Sunday.

“Just keep taking the same approach I have been doing — I mean, that sounds good to me because I’m not going to change what I’ve been doing, I’m just going to come out here, work every day, it doesn’t matter what group I’m going with,” Trubisky said. “But yeah, they just want to see what I can do with a different group, I guess. So go out there, perform, do my job and get the playmakers the ball.”

Glennon had a similar message, though coming from a different place. He said he knew from experience in Tampa — which drafted Jameis Winston to supplant him as the starter in 2015 — this could be a possibility, and learned how to approach it then.

“Really to control what you can control,” Glennon said. “Outside of that, it just doesn’t do you any good to worry about other things. Just any of that. All I can do is prepare for Tennessee and treat it just like anything else.”

Glennon (and coach John Fox) said “nothing’s changed” regarding his status as the Bears’ Week 1 starter or his approach to having a top-picked quarterback stringing together good-to-impressive games behind him on the depth chart. The best thing Glennon can do on Sunday is accomplish what he sets out to do, which he hasn’t done yet in a game but could — at least temporarily — quiet the noise.

“I think ultimately, be kind of the commander on the field,” Glennon said of his goals for Sunday. “Get the ball in the playmakers’ hands. Get a lot of completions. Protect the football. And put together a few scoring drives.”