Word on the Street: Cutler travels to Kenya

Word on the Street: Cutler travels to Kenya

Tuesday, March 22, 2011
CSNChicago.com

Cutler travels to Kenya

Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, accompanied by his girlfriend, Kristin Cavallari, is currently visiting Kenya to do charitable work with the non-profit One Kid One World organization. As part of the trip, which Cutler has been silent about but Cavallari announced via her Twitter account, they will also be visiting El Salvador to provide children and teachers with school supplies.

Cutler has not spoken to the media since his performance was cut short by a knee injury in the Bears' disappointing loss in the NFC Championship Game to the rival Green Bay Packers.

Despite the opportunity to quiet his critics following the game, Cutler has stayed mum about his charity work this offseason. Both now and when he quietly visited sick children at the University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital.

Thats the side of Jay a lot of people dont know, Bears president Ted Phillips said Sunday. He does have a caring side to him. (Chicago Sun-Times)

Huet selling condo, drops price

Looking for a 14th story, River North triplex with a seven-person hot tub and a mini hockey rink in the solarium? Have 2.775 million to spare? You're in luck! Former Chicago Blackhawks goalie Cristobal Huet recently dropped the price of his old home after six months on the market. The triplex is still priced 350K higher than he bought it for in 2008, though. (Curbed Chicago)

Peavy plays catch

White Sox ace Jake Peavy, who is currently recovering from tendinitis in his right rotator cuff, played catch with bullpen coach Juan Nieves on Tuesday. Peavy threw from a distance of about 30 to 40 feet on the Sox practice field at Camelback Ranch. After the throwing session, Peavy said he was encouraged.

"I felt better than I did a coupledays ago," Peavy said. "So I was excited that things are certainly calming down." (ChicagoBreakingSports)

Announcer turns down Cubs PA job

Joe Caruso, a former radio announcer and current announcer for "Great Day SA" in San Antonio, Texas has turned down the opportunity to be the new voice of Wrigley Field. After reaching the "finals" for the job, Caruso said he had to turn the job down despite it being his childhood dream.

We couldnt come to terms, he said. When everything was put on the table, I had to turn it down. He said that the job turned out to be part-time and did not pay enough to warrant a move to the windy city. (MySanAntonio)

Rex Ryan defends father against Duerson's charge

Boisterous New York Jets coach Rex Ryan said the claim by the late Dave Duerson that his father, Buddy Ryan, called the former Bears safety a racial epithet "ridiculous." Rex Ryan spoke to reporters at the NFL owners meetings in New Orleans and said that he never heard his father use racially offensive language.

"I've been around my dad a long time," Rex Ryan said, "and I never heard every conversation he ever had in his life, but I never heard him ever use language like that, a word like that. My dad loves his players, respected his players." (ChicagoBreakingSports)

Three starting points for the Bears to salvage their 2016 season

Three starting points for the Bears to salvage their 2016 season

As the noted philosopher once intoned, the past is for cowards and losers. Applied to the 2016 Bears, the latter already applies, though not wanting to look at the recent past shouldn’t be taken as evidence of cowardice, just not wanting to revisit pain.

Looking to the future is the obvious only option for an 0-3 football team.

“You’ve just got to go into every week like it’s a new week,” said linebacker Jerrell Freeman, one of the few encouraging parts of an injury-speckled defense, whose 34 tackles are approaching twice those of No. 2 Jacoby Glenn (19), with four tackles for loss vs. no one else with more than two.

“Every week is a new season regardless of whether you’re winning or losing. You can’t look back, you always have to look forward. Because if not, you won’t give the next team the respect they deserve and have another bad result.”

But the fan base can be excused for expecting a next bad result simply because the Bears have given zero indications that the future will be any better than the immediate past.

That is the signal concern: Who turns this around or, for that matter, even slows the rate of descent?

No Bears team has made the playoffs in a season that began with three straight losses. The 1932 team was winless in its first three, but those at least were scoreless ties. So postseason isn’t a relevant concept anymore except possibly as some sort of punchline.

But one vintage NFL axiom is that things from a game are seldom as bad upon later review than you thought they were at the time (they’re also never as good, either, but good hasn’t shown up yet). And turnarounds do happen.

But those do have to start somewhere. Any Bears season course correction for 2016 has three possible starting points:

A defensive 'village'

The Bears do not have elite talent on defense, meaning that the solution can come only from a marshaling of forces that makes the whole greater than the sum of the parts.

John Fox teams are built on defense, and consensus had the Bears as potentially a top-10 defense before the successive miseries vs. Houston, Philadelphia and Dallas. The Bears have zero defensive star power at this point, which is a problem, by way of understatement.

Fox’s 2011 Denver team started 1-4, then reversed itself and made the playoffs at 8-8 with Tim Tebow as quarterback. (It also had Marion Barber stepping out of bounds and later fumbling away the Bears game, but never mind that for now.) But that team had Elvis Dumervil and a rookie Von Miller combining for 21 sacks. The Bears have a total of four sacks, and players representing 1.5 of those (Eddie Goldman, Danny Trevathan) are out indefinitely with injuries.

But linebacker Willie Young cut to the chase: “We have to control the running game before we can have fun in the backfield,” he said after the debacle in Dallas with the Cowboys rushing for 200 yards. “I don’t know what was going on. All I could do is ask the guys to give me all you got. One play at a time, just give me all you’ve got.”

That would be a place to start.

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Remember the 'Run and Shoop' offense?

John Shoop might have been the object of ridicule as Bears offensive coordinator. But when he took over after the defection of Gary Crowton to coach BYU, the Bears won two of their last three by running to the point of tackle James “Big Cat” Williams, nicknaming the offense the “Run and Shoop” offense. The linemen loved it initially because Shoop simply loaded up and ran the football and, most important, stayed with the plan.

The point is not to become plodding, which Shoop’s offense ultimately became. But the Bears abandoned the run at Dallas when they trailed 24-3 at halftime, even though they had the ball to start the third quarter and with one defensive stop after a touchdown could have been working to get within one score.

“It could have flipped quickly,” guard Kyle Long said. “One drive, it turns into a seven-point game, and that’s the NFL.”

The need for the Bears to run the football isn’t really worth spending time on. Obvious. The offensive line was built for running the football. But for various reasons coordinator Dowell Loggains has not had success with what was supposed to be the foundation of the offense. The Bears cannot win by being a pass-based team, regardless of whether Jay Cutler or Brian Hoyer or Matt Barkley is doing the throwing.

The Bears will not be blowing out many, if any, teams. Their best option is to wear opponents down in first halves, live with Jordan Howard/Joique Bell/whomever netting 50 to 60 yards in a first half, then turning the two- to three-yard runs of the first half into four- to six-yarders in the second.

Shoop would like that.

Get one win

Playoff chances mean nothing. How good or bad the Bears are means nothing. All that matters is winning, not games, but one game. The next game. As Fox and other players have said, the Bears have not put together one complete game yet. That is not going to happen automatically, but one play, one quarter, one half at a time.

And they know it. “You want to win games,” Freeman said. “There’s no panic. There’s a sense of urgency, that’s for sure. We’ve got to put out this fire and put it out quick, like yesterday or the day before.”

Bears make Joique Bell, CJ Wilson signings official, send Kyle Fuller to IR

Bears make Joique Bell, CJ Wilson signings official, send Kyle Fuller to IR

With injuries all over the place, the Bears had a bevy of roster moves to announce on Tuesday night.

The most notable of those were the signings of running back Joique Bell and defensive lineman CJ Wilson, as well as moving injured defensive back Kyle Fuller to injured reserve.

Bell is a five-year NFL veteran whose played in 68 games in his career, most recently over the course of four seasons with the Detroit Lions from 2012 to 2015. In his career, he's rushed for 2,234 yards and 22 touchdowns on 561 attempts.

Wilson has spent the past six seasons in the NFL and has played for Bears division rivals the Green Bay Packers and the Lions, as well as the Oakland Raiders. He's played in 78 games in his career, contributing 111 tackles, 6.5 sacks, 15 tackles for loss and a fumble recovery.

Fuller hasn't appeared in any of the Bears first three games after appearing in 32 games over his first two NFL seasons.

Additionally, the Bears announced that linebacker John Timu has been elevated to the active roster and that linebacker Jonathan Anderson and tight end Greg Scruggs have been waived.