View from the Moon: Big guys getting special notice

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View from the Moon: Big guys getting special notice

Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2011
9:33 PM
By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

Size does matter. The NFL knows it and now some of the big guys are getting special notice.

In a year of traditional cover boys like Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Peyton Manning being in the playoffs, Sports Illustrated picked New England Patriots massive nose tackle Vince Wolfork as the cover art for its Jan. 10 playoff preview issue with the headline Mass Obstruction.

One of the Bears big guys couldnt be happier, except that Sports Illustrated should be just the beginning..

There should be more fat guys on magazine covers, including myself, defensive tackle Anthony Adams declared. All of us unsung heroes, which usually are fat guys, we need more coverage.

And lets go beyond Sports Illustrated. Lets go GQ. Rolling Stone. We need to be on the covers of all those. Take our helmets off, smile. Big guys. We are the next big thing, literally and figuratively.

What you also have to like about Adams is that he knows something of the history behind his lot in Chicago. This is where William Perry made being a fat guy fun for the NFL on a Monday night in 1985 against the Green Bay Packers in Soldier Field.

Among Fridges accomplishments was catching a TD pass coming out of the backfield. And while the Bears likely will not radically alter their playbook, Adams wants the word out there that hes got some game as a receiver. The playoffs might just be that time to unleash him.

Or at least hell unleash himself on the imaginations of defensive coordinators preparing for the Bears.

Thats why we havent done it, Adams said of his deployment as a fullbackreceiver. Preseason, all that, you dont to show too many people because then theyll start game-planning for it and we dont want that.

Ive just got to make sure I report when I go in.

Shrinking margin of error

ESPN analystformer coachformer player Herman Edwards offered some succinct playoff points that bear directly on the heart of the Bears playoff chances.

Jay Cutler is one of the Bears who have never been to the playoffs. How a JMarcus Webb or Johnny Knox or Major Wright handle the pace, stresses and everything else of the postseason is important. Cutlers conduct in the playoff crucible determines all.

The most important thing is how does the quarterback handle it, Edwards said Wednesday. How does he handle the playoff atmosphere? Youre playing teams in the playoffs with double-digit wins, they do some things well that got them where they are.

Meaning that Cutler may have skirted disaster at times with performance gaffes against the Minnesota Vikings, Detroit Lions or the Dallas Cowboys. Chance of that happening now are minute.

It goes back to the quarterback, Edwards said The younger you are Cuitler is finishing his fifth NFL season, you dont want to put that much on him.. The little things that happen to you, that you maybe get away with in the regular season, you wont win those games in the playoffs.

Anything but THAT!

Wide receiver Earl Bennett and wife Rekeshia are expecting a baby arrival at any time and that gives him a little more anxiousness than thinking about the playoffs. Actually, its not the coming in general of his little one that has Bennett concerned.

Bennett has dealt with surly safeties, ill-intentioned linebackers and vicious cornerbacks but the thing that intimidates him: Hes prepared to do some diaper work with the baby but I cant change poop, Bennett confessed. Thats my only thing. I told my wife, Everything else, fine. But not that.

Well, then heres the deal, Earl. Youre going to have to negotiate.

Bennett, along with Cutler, Knox, Devin Hester and others, has grown a distinctive full beard. The group plans to keep the beards as long as the Bears play through the postseason.

The trouble is, Rekeshia doesnt like it at all, Bennett said. She doesnt like it. I told people that Im not going to cut mine for a year but well see how far that goes. Shes been trying to persuade me.

The beard for poop duty? Hmmm. I dont like Bennetts and the beards chances, but as a veteran of facial fuzz, Im pullin for ya, Earl.

Knox, Im not so sure. Cutlers beard is OK, kind of a rough-hewn thing that gives him a little chin character. Hester, pretty good too. Knox, though, has kind of Mennonite thing going, which isnt at all bad (Im a Pennsylvania guy so the Amish and Mennonite looks, very solid), except that hes a thin wisp of a guy from Texas. And he runs waaay too fast for a Mennonite.

Johnnys beard is ridiculous, Bennett said, then gave up a couple even less-fortunate mates. Devin Aromashodu and Rashied Davis, they cant grow beards.

And you have to think that somewhere, Rekeshia Bennett is smiling.

Love that time off

Center Olin Kreutz has been to postseasons, three times as a matter of fact, and each time (2001, 2005, 2006) hes had the luxury of the Bears enjoying the bye week. Kreutz was given a Veterans Day exemption from practice Wednesday, and, when you play as long as Ive played, Ill take a layoff anytime they got one, he said laughing.

CSNChicago.com and Comcast Sportsnet analyst Jim Miller, a former Bears teammate of Kreutzs, was at Halas Hall Wednesday and walked through the locker room on his way out. Did he walk? Kreutz said, laughing. He usually limps now, doesnt he?
Talking Bears

I'll visit with Mac and Spiegs on "The Danny Mac Show" on WSCR-AM 670 Thursday at 10 for our usual weekly Bears check-in.... Planning on a 4:40 p.m. appearance on "Bears Blitz" on Comcast Sportsnet Thursday, with old beat buddy Larry Mayer. Larry came on the Bears beat the same year (1992) that I did, meaning we've shared Da Coach and we both speak fluent Wannie. Larry does great work at ChicagoBears.com so should be a good time with Billy Jack and Jiggs tomorrow.

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.

Bears announce training camp schedule

Bears announce training camp schedule

The Bears released their official training camp schedule Thursday morning. After reporting to Olivet Nazarene on Wednesday, July 26, the first of ten practices open to the public will take place the following day. The Bears will be based out of Bourbonnais for the 16th straight season. Training camp will go through Sunday, Aug. 13 before the Bears break camp and finish the preseason in Lake Forest. 

All practices are tentatively scheduled to start at various times during the 11 a.m. hour with the exception of Saturday, Aug. 13, which starts at 12:05 p.m. Those times are subject to change based on weather, and a varying set of schedules that John Fox and his coaching staff have set up, as they adjust to player and training staff preferences in hopes of reducing injuries. 

Also, new this season, fans wanting to attend practices must order free tickets in advance through the Bears website. Fans will not be allowed in without a ticket, and the first 1,000 fans each day will be given various souvenirs. The practice campus will be open to the public with tickets from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Here is the full training camp schedule:

After historically low turnover total in 2016, what can Bears do to get more takeaways?

After historically low turnover total in 2016, what can Bears do to get more takeaways?

Quintin Demps set a career high in interceptions last year by not doing anything different. And that’s the message he’s sending a defense that generated only 11 takeaways in 2016, tied for the lowest single-season total in NFL history. 

Demps went from picking off four passes in both 2013 with the Kansas City Chiefs and 2014 with the New York Giants to notching just one interception with the Houston Texans in 2015. In 2016, though, Demps intercepted six passes, broke up nine more and totaled 38 tackles. 

“Turnovers are like, it’s not something that you go get, it’s something you let come to you by doing your job first and then helping out,” Demps said. “And then you’d be surprised how they come to you by doing your job and being aware of when you can help somebody out. A lot of times when you get help is when you get picks and turnovers.”

The danger for a defense coming off a historically bad takeaway is sort of a whiplash effect, where there’s an over-emphasis on creating turnovers and not enough attention paid to, as Demps said, “doing your job.” There’s a fine line between being opportunistic and undisciplined.

“I tell my safeties all the time, we gotta tackle first,” Demps said. “Tackle first, don’t miss any tackles and then the picks are going to come. I promise you that.”

The Bears felt positively after signs of being more opportunistic as a defense during shorts-and-helmets practices in May and June, though if that was because of any real improvements or because the defense is usually ahead of the offense is hard to tell at this stage of the year. 

The offseason program was valuable for the Bears’ secondary in growing trust within a group that had — no pun intended — plenty of turnover after the 2016 season. The hope is that the offseason additions of Demps, Prince Amukamara, Marcus Cooper and Eddie Jackson will solidify the secondary and lead to something better than last year’s historically-low turnover total. 

“We’re still trying to build something, but the actual, real building happens in training camp because I think then you start to see the group start to get formed and yo know who’s going to go with the one’s, who’s going to go with the two’s, stuff like that,” Amukamara said. “So I think that starts to get formed. But I think with a lot of guys now, I think what that creates is competition and guys trying their hardest to make the team.”