Tinoisamoa out 3rd straight game, Roach to start

Tinoisamoa out 3rd straight game, Roach to start

Friday, Dec. 3, 2010
2:26 PM

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

The Bears will be without Pisa Tinoisamoa for a third straight game after the veteran strong-side linebacker was unable to practice fully on Friday. In his place, former Northwestern star Nick Roach will start.

Coach Lovie Smith had indicated Tinoisamoa be back but he didnt come around as much as wed hoped, Smith said. Tinoisamoa missed most of last season with two knee injuries and the Bears hope to have him for the finishing stretch of 2010.

The falloff from starter to backup is virtually nil between Tinoisamoa and Roach. Indeed, including the last two games of 09, the Bears have won Roachs last four starts at Sam backer, including a shutout in Miami and wins over Michael Vick and Brett Favre (09) when the latter was deep into his statement season.

Roach has been active for every game except Dallas this year so it hasnt been a difficult year for me, he said. Ive been healthy except for a minor knee injury in training camp so I count that as a plus, being able to play in every game.

The Detroit Lions, however, are likely to be without defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch, who missed his fourth day of practice with a neck injury. The Lions already lost kicker Jason Hanson for the season with a knee injury and are without their 1-2 quarterbacks in Matthew Stafford and Shaun Hill.

Sad note, but somehow not

The passing of Cubs legend Ron Santo at age 70 from bladder cancer is one of those things that gives rise to thoughts and recollections, snapshots really, and in Ronnies case, theyre all good.

Forget what Ronnie was or wasnt as a broadcaster at the end of his career. Ron just enjoyed (unless it was Bad Cubs) the game and being at the game and if you couldnt just appreciate the emotion, that was always, to me, your loss. He got it. A good groan now and then? Hey, weve all heard worse over the airwaves.

I remember back in his playing days when his Park Ridge pizza place gave free pizzas if you were in the shop when he hit a homer. Sometimes the folks there didnt stop giving free stuff if the Cubs won, and Ronnie never minded.

Later he opened a place in downtown Park Ridge. Nice food, nice setting, nice people. Like most restaurants, it eventually went away. But Ronnie was there a lot of the time and always had time for folks, coming over to a table where my parents might be sitting and visiting.

Ronnie never big-timed people, and thats really the best measure of someone. Its always amused me when its said of an individual, Oh, really, hes nice once you get to know him. Heck, arent we pretty much all nice to people we know (except the jerks)? Ron Santo was nice to nobodies, to people who werent Hall of Fame voters, to just folks.

Too soon gone, Ronnie. Too soon. Thanks for the pleasant times. And the pizza. It was great.

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.

Good or better? Why offseason moves are making 2017 Bears better

Good or better? Why offseason moves are making 2017 Bears better

Improvement typically comes in incremental steps, not leaps. And the Bears of 2017, based on what they have done at a handful of positions, the latest being Thursday’s signing of wide receiver Victor Cruz, fit that template.

The clear organizational commitment is to build through the draft, even if injuries have undermined some otherwise apparent upgrades to starting lineups on both sides of the football. But if there is a “theme” to what GM Ryan Pace is doing to muscle up a sluggish roster, it is that the Bears are willing to take flyers on veteran players – with additions like four veteran wide receivers with injury and issue histories – that arguably point to a win-now mindset while draft picks develop and contribute.

Jaye Howard and John Jenkins. Make the defensive line “better?” Than Jonathan Bullard and Will Sutton, probably. But “good?” Mmmmm…..

The game-one tight ends last year were Zach Miller-Logan Paulsen-Gregg Scruggs. Now they’re Miller-Dion Sims-Adam Shaheen (based on a second-round draft choice). “Good?” Maybe, maybe not. “Better?” Obviously, based on Sims alone.

Mike Glennon-Mark Sanchez-Mitch Trubisky. Bears “better” at quarterback? Than Jay Cutler-Brian Hoyer-Matt Barkley, probably. “Good?” Mmmmmm…..

The decisions to sign Glennon and Sanchez to the quarterback depth chart have sparked their shares of understandable cynical skepticism. But Kirk Cousins and Jimmy Garoppolo were not available in trade, so the Pace decision was to gamble on upside with Glennon over the known quantity of Brian Hoyer (the preference of some coaches) and certainly Jay Cutler, for whom “potential” and “upside” no longer applied.

Add in the aggressive draft of Trubisky and the result was three possibilities of hits on a quarterback (Sanchez and Connor Shaw being combined here as a pair entry in the hit-possibility scenarios). All three were deemed an improvement over Cutler and/or Barkley.

The results may not vault the Bears all the way up to “good” at the pivotal position for any franchise. But “better” is sometimes all you can realistically manage.

Taking a wider-screen look at wide receiver in this context… .

Coach John Fox has cited the need for the Bears to establish the ability to get yardage in bigger chunks. Accordingly, all four of the veteran wideout signings this offseason – Cruz, Rueben Randle, Markus Wheaton, Kendall Wright –  have posted yards-per-catch seasons of 14 or longer.

All four won’t be on the opening-day roster, but all four offer the promise of major impact. Cruz, Randle and Wright have had seasons of 70 or more receptions, and Wheaton topped out at 53 in 2015 with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Randy Moss, Terrell Owens and Jerry Rice weren’t available, so “good” was hard to achieve in an offseason in which Alshon Jeffery and Eddie Royal were expected departures long before their exits. But are Cruz, Randle, Wheaton and Wright, with Kevin White and Cameron Meredith, a “better” starting point than Jeffery, Royal, White, Bellamy, etc. of a year ago?

Obviously. But players with even moderately established NFL “names” (like Cruz, Randle, etal.) are typically available for a reason; teams do not routinely give up on talent. And none of the four come without significant shadows on their NFL resumes, whether for injury or other questions.

Cruz missed most of 2014 and all of the 2015 season, and hasn’t played a full season since his Pro Bowl year of 2012.

Randle was described as a head case by scouts and was so bad that he was let go in the Eagles’ cutdown to 75 last year, followed by disparaging comments from those in and around the organization.

Wheaton flashed promise in his 2014-15 opportunities as a part-time starter but played just three games before a shoulder injury landed him on IR last season.

The Tennessee Titans thought enough of Wright, their 2012 first-round draft choice, to pick up his fifth-year option going into las season. But by week 14 he was benched for tardiness and was a healthy DNP in game 16, announcing after the game that he already knew he was not in the Titans’ plans for 2017.

The prospect of the Bears going from 3-13 to “good” borders on fantasy. But if being among the NFL’s busiest this offseason hasn’t propelled the Bears to that level, the results point to “better.” At this point, that’s something,.

How big of an impact will Victor Cruz have on the Bears?

How big of an impact will Victor Cruz have on the Bears?

The Bears inked Victor Cruz to a one-year deal on Thursday, adding another receiver to an already crowded corps.

But it never hurts to add a veteran one to a young group, especially with a new starting quarterback.

Cruz is 30 years old and isn't the same Pro Bowl-caliber player he was before missing the entire 2015 season with a calf injury, but he surely has a lot left in the tank and can serve as a great mentor for the Bears receivers.

Just how big of an impact will he have on his new team? See what the SportsTalk Live panel had to say in the video above.