Nerves rise in Bears Nation after Packers beat Vikes

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Nerves rise in Bears Nation after Packers beat Vikes

Sunday, Nov. 21, 2010
2:36 p.m.

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

Looking at the Green Bay-Minnesota game (well, it was supposed to be one):

Not that the Bears and Bear fans wanted a booster shot for any NFC North nervousness but .

FOX Sports graphic showing the exact same win-loss records (23-18) for Aaron Rodgers and Brett Favre through their respective first 41 games should have sent a jolt through Bears Nation. The real meat of the graphic was in the far better TD-INT ratio that Rodgers has to this career point vs. Favre. Because Rodgers is anything but a game-manager and he still is not giving the ball away to the degree that Favre did, and does.

James Jones Nice throw point to Rodgers after a deft touch pass along the deep right sideline was a statement. And Rodgers just needed a quick finger gesture and Greg Jennings broke his route in the end zone for a TD pass from Rodgers. Then Jones connection with Rodgers for the TD before halftime just was one more illustration of the growing connection that quarterback and receiver corps.

Throw in Jennings second TD connection with Rodgers in the third quarter and the Vikings were road kill. Then Rodgers drops another into Jennings lap to push things to 31-3.

Jay Cutler may eventually have that with Devin Hester, Johnny Knox, Earl Bennett and others. Not yet.

Faulting Favre
Brett Favres choppiness on the sidelines during this game says again how bad a fit he has become is his dotage. The Vikings turnover ratio reached a minus-13 with a poorly thrown slant throw that was intercepted near the end of the first half. It was Favres fault and his mesh with his receivers appears to be only slightly better than with his coaches.

At some point, when it starts looking like everybody else is the problem, you realize that theres one constant in all these issues: No. 4.

Much has been made about reports of how players dislike coach Brad Childress, but those seriously miss the point. It is never difficult to find the five (three, six, pick a number) players who dislike the head coach or manager; you want three in the Bears locker room, theyre there.

The real issue in Minnesota appears to be how divisive Favre has been

John Randle, Overachiever? No such thing

Fun to see John Randle receive his Hall of Fame ring Sunday. The Minnesota defensive tackle was in the Class of 2010 and was one of the great Bears tormentors of the 1990s as well as one of the funnier players to line up against the local 11.

He was also 6-1, 270 pounds and an undrafted free agent that no one thought was worth much of a look. But Randle is worth a very long look for more than just his sack total and domination of so many games.

Its easy to label people like Randle as overachievers because they accomplished so much more than expected. I look at Randles instead as inspiration he achieved everything he was capable of. The ones who decided how good Randle should be, ooops.

Matt Toeaina and I talked a little about the notion of overachiever this past week and he agreed that you cant over achieve (unless youre substance-aided or such). The Bears defensive tackle, himself undrafted and pretty much uncelebrated before winning Tommie Harris starting job this year, had an amusing self-assessment:

I dont look at what Im doing as over-achieving, Toeaina said, laughing. I think what I did before this was maybe me under achieving.

Couldnt have said it better.

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: Mark Sanchez officially signs with Bears

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Mark Sanchez officially signs with Bears

On the latest edition of the SportsTalk Live Podcast, Chris Emma, Seth Gruen and Danny Ecker join David Kaplan to discuss the Mark Sanchez signing. Does this mean the Bears won't draft a quarterback in the 2017 NFL Draft? 

Later, the White Sox named Jose Quintana their Opening Day starter, but lose Carlos Rodon and Todd Frazier to injuries. 

Finally, Robin Lopez is back after serving a one-game suspension. The panel looks at the Bulls matchup against the Philadelphia 76ers. 

Listen to the SportsTalk Live Podcast below. 

Noise around QB Mark Sanchez misses bigger, far more important goal for Bears ’17 offseason

Noise around QB Mark Sanchez misses bigger, far more important goal for Bears ’17 offseason

The tumult around the Bears quarterback position this offseason – signing Mike Glennon, cutting Jay Cutler, not signing Brian Hoyer, now signing Mark Sanchez – was to be expected. (Well, not all the brouhaha around Sanchez; if there has ever been more hyperventilating around the arriving backup quarterback, it’s escaping my recollections of a quarter-century on the beat.)

All of that, and a lot of the noise around Mike Glennon is really missing a larger point. A couple, really.

GM Ryan Pace established fixing the quarterback situation as a top priority, something it has been just about since Jim McMahon left, with the exception of a few Jay Cutler years. Doing that to any meaningful degree with the castoff options available in free agency or via trades wasn’t ever going to happen. What Pace has done with the quarterback situation, however, is more than a little intriguing.

The quarterback additions and subtractions, coupled with also suggest a draft plan far from locked in on a quarterback. The signings of Glennon and Sanchez don’t mean the Bears have solved their quarterback position, but it does mean the Bears have positioned themselves with the distinct option of NOT taking a quarterback – this year.

But here’s the bigger point.

Even with the optimum quarterback solution unavailable – Pace arguably did go best-available in his and the coaches’ minds with Glennon and Sanchez, all derision aside – Pace’s goal needs to be building a team that can reach a high playoff level regardless of quarterback.

Meaning: defense. And while the 2017 free agent and draft classes did not offer must-have quarterbacks in most evaluations, there are those elite-level defensive talents, and every indication is that the Bears will look there, in the draft, and should be. It had that feeling when the Bears, with ample, money to spend, backed away from day one free-agency runs at a couple of pricey defensive backs. The Bears simply think they can do better for less in the draft.

A perspective: With a defense at its levels during the Brian Urlacher era, the Bears could reach the NFC championship game with what they have at quarterback now. They did, twice, with Rex Grossman and with Cutler. Sanchez got to AFC championship games in each of his first two seasons. The Bears reached a Super Bowl with Rex Grossman as their quarterback. They went 13-3 in 2001 with a solid-but-unspectacular Jim Miller as their quarterback. They reached the 2005 playoffs with Kyle Orton as their starter most of that year, and should have been in the 2008 playoffs with him as well. The Bears reached the NFC championship game in 2010 with Cutler.

There is a common denominator in all of these situations, and it is within Pace’s grasp, and that was an elite defense. Rex Ryan had one with the Jets and Sanchez, Grossman and Orton and Cutler had theirs with Urlacher, Lance Briggs, Mike Brown, Tommie Harris, Charles Tillman, etc.

Forget the quarterback situation for now. Nothing anyone, including Pace, can really do anything about it (other than land possibly Deshaun Watson, based on their turnout at his Pro Day).

But if Pace and his personnel staff do this right, they can lay in the foundation for something elite on defense that will transcend the quarterback, or at least allow the Bears to play more than 16 games in a season even if they do not have a great quarterback. With the Urlacher core defense, the Bears went to postseasons with four different quarterbacks.

The prime directive now for Ryan Pace is to create precisely that model again.