View from the Moon: A Super Bowl in March?

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View from the Moon: A Super Bowl in March?

Sunday, Feb. 13, 2011
7:18 p.m.

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

A Super Bowl in March? It could just about happen.

CSNChicago.com spent some time with an NFL player rep talking over some of the dizzying details of the collective bargaining agreement negotiations. The result was a few new perspectives on whats on the table, and what the upshot could be.

One was simple calendar math and the Super Bowl. If the 18-game season being sought by the NFL owners comes to be, you add two weeks to the season for those games. Fold in a second in-season off week and now youre adding three weeks. Owners are offering Labor Day plus the second off-week, but thats pretty much what the players already have most years.

The 2010 Super Bowl was played Feb. 6. Last seasons was on Feb. 7. Add three weeks to that and you are just about into March.

What also happens is that offseason programs usually begin in March, meaning that recovery time, whether from offseason surgeries or just general healing, loses almost a month.

A nasty domino chain.

The consensus does seem to still be that nothing will settle by Mar. 4 and probably not until right up against the season itself. The NFL walking out of a negotiating session last week isnt definitive in any respect except that people looking to get something done arent walking out of meetings.

Staff stuff
Offensive line coach Mike Tice was expected to be in play for job openings this offseason after the job he did through the Bears 2010 season. The Tennessee Titans, under new head coach Mike Munchak, have interest in Tice as offensive coordinator, as first reported by the Chicago Tribune on Sunday.

The Bears would need to give permission for Tice to interview, given that he has one year remaining on his Chicago contract and that this is not for a head-coaching job.

This puts the Bears, and Tice, in an interesting situation. Lovie Smith is a supporter of staff getting opportunities, and assistants Chris Tabor (special teams) and Eric Washington (defensive line) already have moved to new gigs.

But Tice is a core member of the current Bears staff and had considerable support to become the Bears offensive coordinator before the decision was made to hire Mike Martz. If the Bears arrow continues to point upward, Tice very likely has a future in Chicago. He was an integral part of the in-season turnaround by the offense and already has considerable clout in game-planning.

Oh, and Munchak was the Titans offensive line coach before Jeff Fisher left this offseason.

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.”