Chicago Bears

Mullin: Where will Bears-Vikings play next week?

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Mullin: Where will Bears-Vikings play next week?

Monday, Dec. 13, 2010
9:12 AM

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

Morning after cleaning out the notebook...

Or in this case, flushing it out...

Adecision on locale for the Bears-Vikings game next Monday night will becoming in the next couple of days as they sort through a handful ofsituations and considerations. Metrodome officials believe thecollapsed dome can be fixed in time for the game, but whether the NFLor anyone else wants to commit to that course and put 60,000 peopleunder it next Monday.... Would you?

And if the course is indeedset for the dome, what if then another snow load, even modest, isdumped on it between decision time and game time? Changing directionagain late in the week is something not ideal for anyone involved.

TheUniversity of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium is available but does nothave near the capacity of the Metrodome, meaning some ticket issues forthe Vikings, already dealing with a few. NFL officials also toldCSNChicago.com that it is far from a simple deal to set up a stadiumfor an NFL game. Things like the replay system alone are majoroutfittings.

Indianapolis and the Lucas Oil Dome is closer thanDetroit and obviously is NFL ready. But that tilts the situation evenfurther in the Bears' favor as far as fan presence.

For thatmatter, however, Detroit will be a Bears home game, based on more noisecoming from Bears fans than Lions fans in recent Ford Field encounters,and that's with the Lions fans having a horse in the race.

Stay tuned....

Optimism for Bears fans?

If you are a Bears fan looking for some cause for optimism, it might be that the New England Patriots have twice been involved in losses by a team in a regular season that subsequently went on to defeat that other team in a Super Bowl, which is where the Bears see themselves. (No, really, they do.)

One was the 2001 team that fell to 5-5 after a loss to Mike Martzs St. Louis Rams and then won the rematch in the Super Bowl. And the 2007 Patriots, who set the NFL record for single-season scoring (589 points), got past the New York Giants in the final game of their 16-0 regular season, then lost to the Giants five weeks later.

But if your uncertainty about the 2010 Bears simply received a massive booster shot with Sundays 36-7 humiliation, you probably know that the Patriots and Giants both at least showed glimpses of some positives in their regular-season losses. The Bears showed absolutely none yesterday.

And not to add to the darkness, but no Lovie Smith team has lost three home games in a season and still made the playoffs. No Jay Cutler team has ever had a winning record in December, either.

Weather or not mostly not

The silly notion of Bear weather can hopefully be forever banished from anything. Given the numbers of players from Florida, Texas, Alabama, California, New Mexico, Arizona and any number of warm places (including a coach from Texas), my sense of true Bear weather was always 95 degrees-95 humidity anyway. Frankly, training camp was more Bear weather than anything on the lakefront in December or January.

Bear weather for most fans traces to Wilbur Marshall (a Floridian) picking up a Rams fumble in the swirling snow in an NFC Championship game and gliding down the field for a touchdown. If youre as far superior to others as that team was, and the Patriots currently are, any weather is your weather.

(Very) bad matchups

No surprise then that the Bears as they are currently constituted on defense, a one-gap, speed-based group built more for fast tracks, struggled against a team like New England whereas the widebodies in New Englands 3-4 wasnt going to be moved.

I feel like if youre a fast defense, you play better on turf or a fast surface, said Texan Tommie Harris. With their defense is a 3-4 where guys stand up, stand around, so really traction coming off the ball is not a problem if you stand there.

To his credit at least, Harris added, But thats no excuse.

No, it is definitely not. And it inadvertently points fingers at the Bears offense, which allowed one of those supposed big fat guys to sack Cutler and force a fumble inside the Chicago 10.

Harris also was in effect pointing fingers at his secondary, as if it wasnt embarrassed enough already, and possibly at the coaching staff for not using more man-to-man coverage on a day when reacting to the ball was exponentially more difficult than on a dry surface. The Bears do not usually play their Cover-2 scheme more than about a third of the time, but it does have them in zone coverage, and against the New England offense, anything that gave Tom Brady and his bunch a window to throw through was potentially lethal.

And then the secondary and linebackers couldnt tackle the receivers once they did have the ball.

The craziest thing about their system is that most teams and quarterbacks do check-downs to secondary receivers and you usually can tackle them right there, said Harris, back in the starting lineup for the first time since Week Two. But Wes Welker and (Danny) Woodhead, those are YAC guys. They catch that ball and they go bananas with it.

Sometimes youve just got to admit when someone outplays you and they outplayed us.

And a couple more things...

He wasnt particularly interested in talking about stats (he never is) but Julius Peppers ran his sack total to 8 with a late takedown of Tom Brady, who was then pulled by Patriots coaches. Peppers has had sacks in four straight games...

Lost in the carnage wrought by Brady and the New England passing offense were the 124 rushing yards by a unit that has more than one running back that is arguably better than anything the Bears have.

While Matt Forte and Chester Taylor were foundering (Taylors one net yard in three carries was his TD run), BenJarvus Green-Ellis was averaging 4.1 yards on his 21 carries. Ultra-smurf Danny Woodhead averaged 3 yards and scored a TD, and old Fred Taylor, the guy the Jacksonville Jaguars settled for back in 1998 instead of Curtis Enis when the Bears wouldnt deal on draft day, calmly added 16 yards to a career rushing total 16th in NFL history...

Rodgers concussed

The fate of Aaron Rodgers and his concussion will be topics of interest to Bears fans this week. Best guess is that Rodgers will not be allowed to play after this, his second concussion of the season, suffered in the 7-3 loss to Detroit Sunday.

A class guy and a total team guy. Here's hoping that he's also a total smart guy.

Nothing to say?

It likely wont be fun to noodle over this one but well have our regular Monday chat tonight from 7-8 on CSNChicago.com. And Ill hop on with the guys at WFMB-AM 1450 SportsRadio in Springfield at 4:40 this afternoon.

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.”