Patriots' Kraft: NFL labor deal 'is possible'

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Patriots' Kraft: NFL labor deal 'is possible'

Tuesday, March 8, 2011
2:26 p.m.

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

It isnt necessarily hard news but a report by colleague Tom Curran with CSNNE.com quotes New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft as saying that an agreement between the league and its players is possible.

What makes that a bit more noteworthy that other statements to (or through) the media is that Kraft has not been viewed as a clarion voice of conciliation. So possible coming from Kraft in fact does get deliciously close to news at this point...

The next few days NFLNFLPA negotiations will have their own drama and, hopefully, results. But the days and hours leading up to the deadline extension late last week had some thoroughly intriguing intrigue of their own, including the fact that the whole shaky structure of things was within minutes of imploding.

Good friend Jim Trotter, one of the countrys top NFL writers for Sports Illustrated, put together a riveting tick-tock of events that went down for SI, and Peter King worked out with Jim and the editors to have the piece run as part of Peters always-must-read Monday Morning Quarterback. Jim is as good as it gets and what makes the piece, folded into MMQB, particularly good is that he was able to keep it from being a polemic for one side or the other of lapse into anything other that solid reporting. Check it out.

And Peter makes a quick reference to Plaxico Burress, the former New York Giants wide receiver who is being released from prison in June, earlier than anticipated because of good behavior. I do know the Bears are doing their due diligence on Burress, whose TD catch won a Super Bowl, and who, as Peter throws in, may be approaching 34 but hes a year and a half younger than Hines Ward.

Peter would give Burress a training-camp shot any day of the week and I have been advocating that as well. Hes not the same guy who went into jail and were a nation of second chances. This guy deserves one.

Footsteps?

Talk is always cheap but sometimes its worth noting. Like when Detroit Lions defensive tackle ...sees no reason why the Lions cant go 16-0.

Huh?

The first rookie to make first-team All-Pro since 1951, Suh told the NFL Network that there is no question that the sky is the limit. As ProFootballTalk.coms Michael David Smith says, you have to admire his confidence, if not necessarily his sense of perspective.

But heres a thought for Bears fans: Suhs team won its last four games. That left them at 6-10 and with the distinction of improving from 2009 to 2010 by the same number of wins as your division-champion Bears. Detroit 2009 was 2-14. The Bears were 7-9 in 2009, then 11-5 last season. The Lions defeated the Green Bay Packers the second time they faced them; the Bears didnt beat Green Bay the second or third times they met the eventual Super Bowl winners.

Split with the Packers, split with the Vikings, lost twice by 5 and 4 points to the Bears. Took the Jets to overtime. Beat the 10-6 Tampa Bay Buccaneers in OT in Tampa.

Its not 16-0. But its something to think about.

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.

Three Bears necessities toward going 3-0 in Jerry's house

Three Bears necessities toward going 3-0 in Jerry's house

The Bears have won both times they've played in Jerry Jones' gargantuan pigskin palace. But that was in 2010 and 2012, the last two times this franchise finished with a winning record. The home team has lost eight straight times there. This matchup actually provides some hope for the offense (despite Jay Cutler's absence), but uncomfortable thoughts defensively, considering Danny Trevathan and Eddie Goldman will be sidelined, with safety Adrian Amos and nickel back Bryce Callahan (concussions) potentially joining them.

1. Tag Hoyer

...with a red non-contact jersey. Not possible, you say? Okay, well this scuffling offensive line needs to get in synch. And quickly. Like the Bears, the Cowboys have just four sacks so far this season. But they did deliver nine hits last week in D.C. on an already-rattled Kirk Cousins. Rod Marinelli's no-name, suspension-thinned defense has allowed fewer points than the Bears. The added concern is Hoyer's lack of work with the only player opponents must game-plan for: Alshon Jeffery, who worked primarily with Cutler throughout training camp. And who knows how much Jeffery (knee) worked at full-speed in practice this week, being held out of Thursday's workout completely. So....

2. Hand off, dump off

There is no time like now to establish the running game. There's Hoyer trying to get comfortable. There's the 4.75 yards per rush the Cowboys defense is allowing. There's the need to keep the Cowboys' offensive weapons off the field against the Bears' banged-up D. Between Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, Cole Beasley, Ezekiel Elliott, and the best offensive line in the NFL, no matter Dak Prescott looks so comfortable. And when the Bears need to mix up their attempt to pound on the ground, get Zach Miller and Eddie Royal involved with quick-hits through the air.

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3. Fill up the half-empty glass

Whether this is Dowell Loggains being unable to adjust and be creative enough to the opposition's counter moves, or a coincidental breakdown in execution, the Bears' offense has scored zero points after halftime. We signed off on Houston's talented defense two weeks ago. Three turnovers on the first four possessions lost momentum Monday night. Loggains and company need to find a way to anticipate, execute, and dictate at a much higher level over the final 30 minutes.

**Join Alex Brown, Lance Briggs, Jim Miller and Chris at 6:30 p.m. Sunday night on Comcast SportsNet for "Bears Pregame Live," leading you right up to the 7:30 kickoff on NBC. Then as soon as the second quarter ends, log on to CSNChicago.com for "Bears Halftime Live," as Jim and Chris break down the first 30 minutes and go over adjustments. And immediately after the game ends, switch back to CSN as the four guys are joined by former Bears coach Dave Wannstedt for 90 minutes of reaction, analysis, live press conferences and locker room interviews from Dallas on "Bears Postgame Live."**

Bears vs. Cowboys: And the winner is...

Bears vs. Cowboys: And the winner is...

Severe conflict here.

The obvious temptation is to succumb to the swelling despair surrounding the Bears and predict a third loss to open the 2016 season. And “View from the Moon” did in fact call this game as a loss back in April. It’s not that easy, however.

The Bears couldn’t be pants’d by two rookie quarterbacks in a row, could they? Dak Prescott got the Dallas Cowboys to a win last Sunday while Carson Wentz was preparing to undo the Bears Monday night. Prescott posted a passer rating of 103.7 in the win at Washington while the Bears were losing their game and their quarterback the next night.

But if the Bears have had their troubles at home under John Fox (1-8), the Cowboys haven’t won a home game without Tony Romo at quarterback since December 2010.

So a contrarian view has taken shape. Brian Hoyer looked awful in training camp and preseason, but Hoyer is a controlled professional in the tradition of Josh McCown, and last year with the Houston Texans put up six games with passer ratings of 94 or better (Cutler had seven for the Bears).

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I do not like the look of the Bears defense without nose tackle Eddie Goldman and with a litany of others (Willie Young, Bryce Callahan, Adrian Amos) at less than 100 percent because of early season injuries. There is little to favor the Bears, which is why bettors placed them as clear underdogs.

But the belief here is that the offense will shed its passive mindset and attack with Jordan Howard and the running game, unlike the first two games. The first two games effectively turned on turnovers, and Hoyer last year had just one game in the 11 he played where he threw more interceptions than touchdown passes, before the meltdown in the playoffs.

If the Bears keep control of the football, they will wear down a mediocre Dallas defense, which is exactly the style of game Fox and Dowell Loggains want.

Bears 17, Cowboys 16

(View from the Moon ’16 record: 1-1)