Mullin: Will Bears file protest over field conditions?

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Mullin: Will Bears file protest over field conditions?

Thursday, Dec. 16, 2010
11:00 AM

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

The talk with Mac and Spiegs on WSCR-AM 670s The Danny Mac Show was whats still on a lot of minds a lot of places: where the Bears-Minnesota Vikings will in fact play Monday.

Vikings coach and former Bear Leslie Frazier told Larry Mayer of ChicagoBears.com and me that the thinking is 80-90 percent sure that itll be at the University of Minnesotas TCF Bank Stadium, which is head-shaking on so many levels. The franchise wants to give its fans a home game, yet temps that night are predicted in single digits, which speaks more to wanting max revenue from a home game rather than fan comfort.

The guys had just seen a tweet from Jeff Zulgad on the Minneapolis Star-Tribunes Access Vikings that the Bears may file a protest over field conditions, which are indeed a factor given the frozen state of the state up there.

One venue that we batted around, not for this game but maybe someday, is the prospect of NFL football again in Los Angeles and could the Vikings move there as a couple groups are trying to make happen. The Los Angeles Vikings isnt a team name; its an oxymoron, like Utah Jazz (another team that moved but didnt change its last name). Utah and Jazz dont compute, and neither do L.A. and Vikings. Well see.

Mac cut to a Bears issue, though, that wont go away and thats the need for the offensive line to take another next-step vs. the Vikings, wherever they play. The Bears needed to run the ball against New England and 47 yards on 14 carries is not good enough for a team that expects to play more than 16 games.

The guys also noted that the combined point production from the four NFC North teams last weekend was 20: seven each by the Bears and Lions, three each by the Packers and Vikings.

I threw out that going almost unnoticed under all the talk of Bears clinching next weekend is that the Packers are teetering precipitously close to missing the playoffs entirely. A loss in New England would be six for the team many picked to be playing in the Super Bowl. Right now either Atlanta or New Orleans, winners of seven and six straight, respectively, is getting one wild card. And Philadelphia and the Giants have four losses right now. Those two play each other this weekend but the Giants go to Green Bay yet this season and that could matter a lot for the Packers chances.

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.

How Bears are using veteran videos to school rookies on NFL way

How Bears are using veteran videos to school rookies on NFL way

This week marks the end of the beginning, or the beginning of the end, depending on how you want to look at organized team activities (OTA’s), the third stage of the NFL offseason culminating in the mandatory minicamp June 13-15. Teams are allowed a total of 10 OTA sessions, giving coaches a final look at players before the break until training camp convenes in late July.

The sessions also mark the first time that the players, who were finishing college semesters this time a year ago, will be introduced to the REAL NFL, the professionals already part of the August fraternity to which the draft picks and undrafted free agents aspire.

Well, maybe it's not the true first time some of the rookies will “meet” the pros.

During the brief rookie minicamp, offensive line coach Jeremiah Washburn did as all the coaches do: show his position group the film of them going through their drills. In the interest of accelerating the young players’ learning curve, however, Washburn went a step further.

[MORE: Bears QB coach Dave Ragone doesn't mind his type of turnover]

He followed the rookie film with the same drills being run by the pros, meaning the rookies could see how Kyle Long, Charles Leno, Josh Sitton, Cody Whitehair and other vets did those same drills.

The difference was startling – as Washburn intended. The kids were being shown a new meaning for what they might have thought was “maximum effort.”

“That’s one thing coach ‘Wash and coach Ben [Wilkerson] have really been pushing to us — just making sure we’re doing everything to maximum effort, and always finishing near the ball,” said rookie lineman Jordan Morgan. “I feel like that’s stuff you hear at every level of football, but more so now, especially, it being the NFL.”

Rules limit the amount of work allowed vs. opposition, meaning how much Morgan might learn by going against a Leonard Floyd, Eddie Goldman or Pernell McPhee. But learning the every-play intensity at the NFL level may be difficult to comprehend for players who’ve obviously seen it done this hard before.

“The way the veteran guys run [the drills] is the way you’re supposed to do it,” Washburn said. “There’s a style of play, a work ethic you have to put into this. You can’t just get away with things because the guy in front of you is as good or better than you are.

“Scheme-wise, that has not been a problem, the way it has been with some rookies I’ve had in the past. It’s the day-to-day intensity and focus you have to put in for 16 weeks. That is a big adjustment.”

The NFL is replete with examples of college players arriving with elite physical abilities but not taking effort and learning intensity to the professional level. The Bears used the No. 8 overall pick of the 2001 draft on wide receiver David Terrell, who’d dominated on raw ability at the college level but never developed beyond a mid-level wideout.

Washburn saw something similar while coaching offensive line for the Detroit Lions.

“I had a rookie guard in Detroit who ate Hot Pockets and played video games at night,” Washburn recalled. “His rookie year he got by, played OK, but then had a big slump his sophomore year and said, ‘I gotta change my ways.’

“He absolutely changed everything and now he’s an absolute pro.”

If Bears rookies do anything video with their nights, Washburn intends for those videos to be the ways the pros do it

Why Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh will be 'pulling hard' for the Bears this season

Why Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh will be 'pulling hard' for the Bears this season

Jim Harbaugh is a former Chicago Bear, but that's not the main reason why he'll be rooting for the Monsters of the Midway this fall.

Harbaugh, the current Michigan head coach and former head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, used to coach alongside current Bears assistants Vic Fangio and Ed Donatell in the Bay Area.

Fangio, the Bears' defensive coordiantor, and Donatell, the Bears' defensive backs coach, held those same positions for all four of Harbaugh's seasons leading the Niners.

[BEARS TICKETS: Get your seats right here]

Harbaugh voiced his support for his former assistants Monday, speaking with CSN's Pat Boyle at the Golf.Give.Gala golf outing in St. Charles.

"I know (the Bears) are going to have a heck of a defense," Harbaugh said. "Because I know they've got Vic Fangio and Ed Donatell and a tremendous coaching staff. So I'll be pulling hard for them."

Harbaugh also was asked about new Bears quarterback Mike Glennon, and you can hear his comments in the video above, as well as comments from Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer on another new Bears quarterback, Mitch Trubisky.