View from the Moon: Patriots can run as well?

View from the Moon: Patriots can run as well?

Friday, Dec. 10, 2010
Posted 4:37 PM
By John Mullin

The Bear defense will be without Pisa Tinoisamoa for the third time in four weeks after the veteran starter at strong-side linebacker was declared out of the New England game.

Im dealing with it day to day but stuff happens so you try to make the best of it, said Tinoisamoa, who had arthroscopic knee surgery last month. I feel great but Ive still got to wait on it, just having had surgery Patience isnt one of my best assets but weve got to be smart with this.

He isnt biding his time for them necessarily, but Tinoisamoa said that he does not want to come back prematurely and then be unable to play in the playoffs. In the meantime, Nick Roach was able to practice Friday, back from the hip injury he suffered in the Detroit game, and Roach is expected to start Sunday.

He got better as the week went along, coach Lovie Smith said, so hopefully hell be able to go on Sunday.

If Roach is unable to play, Rod Wilson would start. Wilson filled in at Detroit after Roach was injured.

Wait, you mean they run the ball, too?

With the hype and fascination surrounding Tom Brady and the New England passing offense, it has been easy to overlook a Patriot running game comprised of BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead, who have combined for 1,054 rushing yards, 4.6 yards per carry and 14 rushing touchdowns.

The problem they pose for defenses is that Green-Ellis is a pile-driver and Woodhead, at 5-7, 195 pounds, hides behind piles and catches passes, 28 as a matter of fact.

Green-Ellis is a one-cut, physical, get-downhill type of back who fits their scheme real well, the type of guy who gets more yards after the first hit, linebacker Lance Briggs said. Hes in the 220s so the guy can run through tackles and thats probably his biggest asset.

Woodhead was a little more difficult to type-cast. Briggs was asked about him this week and clearly didnt know all the names he was about to see. Tough guy, he said, stammering a bit for someone who never does. help the team.Hes a big team player, he concluded, laughing.

Briggs coach understands. Both of their running backs are good players, Lovie Smith said, but you can see why you might get overlooked.

No regrets

Bears kicker Robbie Gould has no hard feelings over being cut by the Patriots late in training camp 2005 by a New England team that had Adam Vinatieri at the time. And the man who was forced to let Gould, one of the most accurate kickers in NFL history go doesnt look back wistfully either.

I think any time you look back, there are always things that you can look back on and think that you might have been able to handle it a little bit differently or done something a little bit differently, Bill Belichick said. But I dont really spend a lot of time worrying about that. We did what we did. Robbies a good player. Hes had a great career and hes an outstanding kicker. We knew he was good when we had him here, but again, its one of those situations where you have to make some decisions and you make the ones that you think are best for your team.

Checking in

Good friend Alex Marvez from is at Halas Hall Friday working on an interesting look at the Bears, particularly the defense. Alex and I go back quite a while and he was an outstanding beat writer covering the Denver Broncos and then the Miami Dolphins before FOX grabbed him.

Alex checked in with us during training camp from Bourbonnais (from where partner Jay Glazer also named the Bears as his darkhorse pick for the NFC in 2010) and itll be good to hear what he thinks of the team he saw in its formative time vs. what its become.

By the way, The Glaze had the Bears come up in his recent chat, and whether they are a legitimate Super Bowl contender. As ever, The Glaze cuts right to it.

John "Moon" Mullin is'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.

Hall of Fame to honor Butkus, Dent, Hampton, Sayers at Bears-Vikings game

Hall of Fame to honor Butkus, Dent, Hampton, Sayers at Bears-Vikings game

It will be a special evening for a handful of legendary Bears on Monday night.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame will honor Dick Butkus, Richard Dent, Dan Hampton and Gale Sayers with a Ring of Excellence in a halftime presentation during the Bears-Vikings game at Soldier Field.

The Ring of Excellence is one of three symbols that represents Pro Football Hall of Fame status. The Gold Jacket, the Bronzed Bust and the Ring of Excellence will all be on display during the presentation.

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

Each former Bear will wear their Gold Jacket and the four Bronzed Busts will be temporarily removed from the Hall of Fame for the ceremony.

Monday marks the second of three seasons in which the Ring of Excellence will be presented to the Hall of Famers.

Check out photos (provided by the Chicago Bears) of each ring below:

Vikings handling of Sam Bradford offers object lesson for Bears transition to next QB

Vikings handling of Sam Bradford offers object lesson for Bears transition to next QB

Call it variations on a theme. The Bears on Monday night will face not only the Minnesota Vikings, but also Sam Bradford, the latest quarterback opponent that hints at possibilities in the Bears’ own future far beyond what was once the norm.

That norm is what can reasonably be expected from a new quarterback, one coming into a new system, new environment, even a new league, and having near-immediate success. Quarterback changes can involve upheaval of staff, personnel and even franchise identity, as the Bears can confirm based on their last eight years with Jay Cutler.

The experiences in Dallas, Minnesota and Philadelphia point to the kinds of quarterback transitions the Bears may be in search of after the 2016 season.

Bradford arrived in Minnesota via trade just eight days before the season opener, yet has proceeded to post the best results of his career: for completion percentage (67.5), interception percentage (0.6 percent; 7 TD’s vs. 1 INT), yards per attempt (7.4) and rating (100.3, vs. a previous best of 90.9).

More important, without the Vikings’ starting left tackle (Matt Kalil) and running back (Adrian Peterson), Bradford has the Vikings leading the NFC North and tied for the NFC lead at 5-1.

“[The Vikings] had the misfortune of losing their quarterback, they go out and make a bold move to get him and they haven’t missed a beat offensively,” said Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. “He’s been getting better and better.”

This all holds particular relevance for the Bears, who saw Brian Hoyer step in and deliver four straight 300-yard passing games, something he’d never done in his career and no quarterback in Bears franchise history had done. Cutler’s personal best was two straight, for purposes of comparison.

The Bears are expected to have a new quarterback in some form or other next year. In the meantime they have been victimized by two rookie quarterbacks already this season (Carson Wentz, Philadelphia, and Dak Prescott, Dallas). The experience of Bradford, Prescott and Wentz, all new in 2017 to their situations, suggests chances of dramatic improvement over the Bears’ recent history with Cutler, for example.

“A good quarterback can influence the guys and make guys around him better,” Wentz said. “So it’s one of those things where the quarterback usually gets too much credit and too much of the blame as well. It’s just kind of the nature of the position.”

Prescott and Wentz were 2016 draft choices and had offseasons and training camps with their respective teams. Bradford had none of that, yet began his year throwing 130 passes without an interception.

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

How that happens may be illustrative for the 2017 Bears. The Vikings traded for Bradford, a one-time starter for the Rams and Eagles. But because of the late-offseason timing of the deal, necessitated by the season-ending leg injury for Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, Bradford had to be eased into the new offense.

“I think that’s honestly one of the bonuses of coming during the regular season,” Bradford said on Thursday. “Obviously it would’ve been nice to have some practices in training camp. But once you get into the regular season, it’s not like you have the whole playbook in each game plan. Each game plan is very specific for that week’s opponent, so it’s considerably less than would be in your training-camp installs.

“So I think that helped a little bit. But as far as it being cut down, the volume wasn’t so much cut down as how the plays were called, naming some concepts with some things I was familiar with. That really helped me.”