Word on the Street: Ditka back on the sidelines?

Word on the Street: Ditka back on the sidelines?

Monday, Dec. 27, 2010
CSNChicago.com

Mike Ditka returning to coaching

"Da Coach" will be coaching again, but just for one game. The former Bears head coach will join former 49ers and Lions head coach Steve Mariucci in directing one of the high school teams in the 2011 Under Armour All-American game.

Judging by this video, Ditka is fired up to be on the sidelines again. (chicagobreakingsports.com)
Kane returning, Morin injured

As CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider Tracey Myers reported earlier, Patrick Kane is likely to be back in the lineup in St. Louis Tuesday night, his first game since injuring his ankle on Dec. 5 against the Calgary Flames.

Kane says he has been happy with how his ankle has responded to practice the last couple of days but will give it one more test Tuesday morning before making a final decision.

On the negative side, Jeremy Morin suffered a shoulder injury in Team USA's victory over Finland during the World Junior Championships on Sunday night. While coach Joel Quenneville said he did not know the status of Morin, sources are saying the injury could be significant.

DePaul freshman earns weekly honor
Blue Demons freshman forward Cleveland Melvin earned Big East Rookie of the Week honors on Monday. Melvin went 9-for-17 from the field, scoring 23 points with four rebounds, two steals, a blocked shot and an assist to lead DePaul over Florida Atlantic.

Melvin is the second DePaul freshman to earn the award in December, following guard Brandon Young's recognition on Dec. 6. (depaulbluedemons.com)

Former Illinois WR Benn out for season

Still fighting for their playoff lives, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers learned that they lost rookie receiver and former Illini Arrelious Benn for the season - and most of the offseason as well.

Benn has been placed on injured reserve after tearing a ligament in his left knee during the second quarter of the Bucs 38-15 win over the Seattle Seahawks when he was hit by cornerback Marcus Trufant after a 16-yard reception. (tampabay.com)

Bears-49ers: And the winner is?

Bears-49ers: And the winner is?

Both teams are on track to be drafting in the top five, and the inevitable “the loser is the winner” talk has made its rounds, meaning that a defeat moves the loser higher in the draft order. The reality is that neither team will tank the game for draft position.

But the chances of two woeful teams playing well are slim. The 49ers won in Week 1 and then have lost 10 straight. The Bears are trying to avoid losing four straight for the first time under John Fox.

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Quarterback Colin Kaepernick burst upon the NFL scene in 2012 with a blowout of the Bears in his first start. He has regained his starting job in San Francisco and is still one of the prototypical mobile quarterbacks.

But the 49ers are the NFL’s worst defense in both points and yardage allowed, and they are the worst rushing defense in the league. Expect the Bears to try exploiting that and give quarterback Matt Barkley a balanced run-pass game plan.

Prediction: Bears 24, 49ers 20

Bears hoping to get Kyle Fuller back in DB mix sooner rather than later

Bears hoping to get Kyle Fuller back in DB mix sooner rather than later

Kyle Fuller was one of the seeming fixtures in the Bears’ defense as it transitioned from the 4-3 of old to the 3-4 of Vic Fangio. And he may be again, the Bears hope very soon, as he has begun practicing after months on injured reserve following knee surgery in August.

The Bears could place Fuller on the active roster as late as Saturday after he practiced all three days this week. “He made it three days in practice, no setbacks,” said coach John Fox. “He seems to be adapting pretty well. He has another practice [Saturday] and we don’t have to make a decision until 3 p.m. because of where he is on the roster. We’ll evaluate that after tomorrow.”

Were Fuller to return — restoring one projected 2016 starter to a defense that has been forced to field five different starting secondaries in the span of 11 games — he may be phased back in with a managed number of snaps, as other certain other players returning from injury have been.

But getting Fuller back projects to be an instant upgrade for a defensive backfield among the NFL’s worst at producing takeaways.

“We all play different positions so we’re kind of used to it, people moving in and out over the year,” said Bryce Callahan, who was initially ticketed for nickel duty as the No. 3 cornerback this season but has been pressed into service starting at cornerback in four games.

“It’s always good to get someone like Kyle back.”

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The Bears would need to weigh what workload Fuller could handle vs. roster needs based on only having 46 players active on game day.

“You’re always a little bit cautious because it does affect your roster,” Fox said. “But if you feel like he makes you better, that’s a move you make. Now we’re just working through him medically, durability-wise, and how much he can play.”

Jay Cutler (shoulder) was officially declared out and is headed for surgery on Saturday, ultimately to injured reserve.

Other availability questions include receiver Eddie Royal (toe), guard Josh Sitton (ankle) and safety Adrian Amos (ankle), all questionable. Linebacker Willie Young (knee) did not practice but linebacker Leonard Floyd was able to practice on a limited basis although his status in the concussion protocol will not be known until closer to game time.