Word on the Street: Urlacher, Briggs back out of Pro Bowl

Word on the Street: Urlacher, Briggs back out of Pro Bowl

Monday, Jan. 24, 2011
CSNChicago.com

Urlacher and Briggs back out of Pro Bowl

Bears' linebackers Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs will not be participating in the Pro Bowl. Urlacher will be replaced by Washington linebacker London Fletcher.

The Carolina Panthers announced that Jon Beason will take Briggs' place.

It is unknown if Julius Peppers or Devin Hester will participate in the Pro Bowl, (ChicagoBreakingSports).

Peppers, Hester named to AP All-Pro team

Bears defensive end Julius Peppers and kick returner Devin Hester were named to the Associated Press' NFL All-Pro team. The Bears were the only team in the NFC with more than one representative on the team.

This is the third time both players have been honored. (Chicago Breaking Sports)

Bulls acquiring Rip Hamilton?

Although Rip Hamilton never gets off the bench, the veteran guard willbe dealt by the Feb. 24 trading deadline. Fox Sports Ohio reports that deal could possibly involveDenvers Carmelo Anthony. Chicago, Dallas and Portland are also said tobe in the running for Hamilton. (Fox Sports Ohio)

Cutler and Cavallari eat out after NFC loss

Following the Bears' loss to the Green Bay Packers, quarterback Jay Cutler and girlfriend Kristin Cavallari dined at Mastro's Steakhouse. Cutler was not on crutches at the restaurant, but according to a source, "he limped a tiny bit." Eleven other people joined the quarterback and reality star in Mastro's private upstairs dining room.

Cutler was not the only Bear eating out after the NFC loss. Greg Olsen and J'Marcus Webb had dinner at Hub 51, after which Webb went on to Bull & Bear later that night. Danieal Manning dined at Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar.

Several teammates, including Chester Taylor, Garrett Wolfe, Major Wright, D.J. Moore, Kahlil Bell and Corey Wootton hung out at Lumen in West Town. (Chicago Tribune)

Bears' Idonije finalist for NFL Man of the Year Award

The Bears will not be in the Super Bowl, but Bears defensive lineman Israel Idonije is scheduled to be headed to the North Texas area as a finalist for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, which will be handed out during Super Bowl Week.

It was announced Sunday that Nnamdi Asomugha of the Oakland Raiders, Madieu Williams of the Vikings and Idonije are the top candidates for this year's award, (ChicagoBreakingSports).

Ozzie passed on Jenks for Sale

On the last day of SoxFest 2011, Ozzie guillen said that as the 2010 season drew to a close, he passed on the opportunity to pitch closer Bobby Jenks so he could get a few more looks at the young talented hurler Chris Sale. Guillen said that Jenks told him he was ready to return to action in the last few days of the season.

"In the meanwhile, I wanted to see (Chris) Sale to see if he could handle the situation," Guillen said, "I think (Jenks) was a little upset about it. What's the difference?" (ChicagoBreakingSports)

Shani Davis takes 3rd

Chicago native Shani Davis took third place in the Sprint Speedskating world championships on Sunday. Lee Kyou-hyuk of South Korea finished in first place, with his fellow countryman Mo Tae-Bum finishing second overall. Davis skated well on the final day of the event, winning the 1,000-meter race, but was at a severe disadvantage after finishing a disappointing sixth in the 500-meter event on Saturday.

"He had to skate four solid races this weekend," Davis' coach Peter Mueller said. "If he had skated as well today as he did yesterday he might have had a chance, but Lee is very hard to beat." (USA Today)

DL Akiem Hicks sees Tom Brady qualities in Jay Cutler

DL Akiem Hicks sees Tom Brady qualities in Jay Cutler

BOURBONNAIS, Ill. – Akiem Hicks has spent the better part of his four-year NFL career intent on annihilating quarterbacks. The defensive lineman also has spent those four years in the presence of two of the greats of this or any NFL era – Drew Brees in New Orleans and Tom Brady in New England.

He has seen some of what makes them great. And since joining the Bears last March, Hick has seen similar traits in his current quarterback – Jay Cutler.

“They have those intangibles,” Hicks told CSNChicago.com on Thursday. “All the stats that you see – the 4,000-yard seasons, the 50-touchdown [seasons] – they also have things that people don’t get to really get to see all the time. It’s something when you’re close to it and see it all the time… . Tom Brady, for instance. This is a real leader.

“And I see the same qualities in Jay Cutler – somebody who knows how to motivate his guys, knows when to get on his guys’ heads, all that. You see it all the time in practice and then it translates into the game. Guys believe in them more.”

Brady has won twice as many Super Bowls than Cutler has playoff games. The two are rarely mentioned in the same sentence.

But Hicks’ assessment of Cutler is not the first by a teammate to focus on the “L” word – Leadership. As Hicks says of Brady and Brees, outsiders do not see what teammates say. And that is the bigger point.

Bears camp shorts: Jay Cutler pick-free, QB's running, 'free hugs'

Bears camp shorts: Jay Cutler pick-free, QB's running, 'free hugs'

BOURBONNAIS — During a “team” session in Wednesday’s first practice of Bears 2016 training camp, cornerback Tracy Porter made a perfect break on a route by wide receiver Eddie Royal. The defensive back battled Royal for the ball, which then fell incomplete.

It was as close as anyone on the defense came to intercepting a Jay Cutler pass.

That wouldn’t really command much attention were it not that Cutler opened camp last year going 11 practices before throwing an interception in a drill, 7-on-7 or full-team session. It proved a foreshadowing of perhaps the single most important step forward by Cutler.

Obviously this is practice; it doesn’t count any more than preseason games do. But to dismiss any step toward ball security as insignificant is perspective-lite. The Bears track practice stats as part of their analytics for a reason, and “you play the way you practice” is a bromide of long standing for a reason. Had Cutler been throwing multiple picks every practice, the hand-wringing would have been epic.

[MORE: Kevin White not looking like a rookie as Bears open training camp]

Cutler did follow his improved ball-security camp by opening the season throwing interceptions in his first two games. Against Green Bay. Against Arizona. Against the No. 7 and No. 3 interception defenses in the NFL last year. He eventually threw four interceptions over his first six games — tying the lowest pick number through the first six games of any year in his 10-year career. The other year he had just four was 2011 — the year Cutler posted the best interception percentage (2.2) of his career. Last season was his second-best (2.3).

Reducing Cutler’s interceptions was THE primary specific targeted by Adam Gase and Dowell Loggains last offseason. What began in training camp carried over into the season.

- Jeremy Langford was haunted by a couple of costly pass drops last season, and improved receiving was a priority all offseason for the second-year running back. On Wednesday he consistently showed excellent receiving skills, wresting one catch away from linebacker Danny Trevathan.

[SHOP: Gear up for the 2016 season, Bears fans!

- Rookie Cody Whitehair stepped in at left guard with the No. 1 unit while Ted Larsen was dealing with a calf injury. On Wednesday, Larsen and Whitehair each were working at both guard and center as the Bears develop both versatility and competition levels at the interior-line spots….

- The Bears won’t be running heavy doses of read-options but that isn’t exempting quarterbacks from working on their running techniques along with backs and receivers, cutting, running and being buffeted by blocking dummies under the vociferous directions of running backs coach Stan Drayton.

- Think a little courtesy doesn’t help? A young boy stood along the ropes on Wednesday holding up a large sign, “Free hugs 4 Bears.” Yes, he did give out a couple of hugs and got some autographs and smiles in return.

Kevin White not looking like a rookie as Bears open training camp

Kevin White not looking like a rookie as Bears open training camp

BOURBONNAIS — Call it a linebacker’s worst nightmare. Twice.

First it was outside linebacker Lamarr Houston, who found himself with wide receiver Kevin White on a pass route that made the wideout — he of 4.35 speed in the 40 — the coverage responsibility of a 274-pound defender whose specialty is going after quarterbacks.

White streaked away from Houston and caught Jay Cutler’s pass for a win for the offense.

Two snaps later it was inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman, whose first NFL interception was of a Cutler pass while Freeman was a member of the Indianapolis Colts, and who suddenly became the latest Bear defender to understand that with White, “if he’s even, he’s leavin’." To his credit, Freeman never lost sight of White, but neither was the overmatched linebacker more than a minor annoyance on the route that ended with another completion from Cutler.

“You know I think having our receivers out there healthy and able to practice, whether it’s Kevin or Alshon [Jeffery] or even Eddie Royal,” head coach John Fox said. “I think you feel the difference when they are out there playing.”

[MORE: Rough first camp day for Kyle Long, Bears No. 1 draft pick Leonard Floyd]

(Motion seconded by Messrs. Houston, Freeman.)

White was not done looking like anything but an inexperienced young player who’d missed his rookie season and virtually all of training camp with a stress fracture to his left leg. He made a twisting grab of another Cutler toss in the 7-on-7 drill, and later worked himself open on a broken play, making a sliding catch to save a pass from Cutler on the run.

Cutler and White spent time together in the offseason, away from football, and one result is the receiver understanding what his quarterback needs and demands.

“If he wants me at 9 yards, at 10 yards, come back down the line or run back to him, that’s what I have to do,” White said. “We’re continuing to do that.”

[SHOP: Gear up for the 2016 season, Bears fans!

White was practicing late last season before the Bears opted to leave him shut down after their season all but ended with the disappointing losses to San Francisco and Washington. The lost season set him behind on his learning curve, particularly given his relative inexperience playing at the highest level at West Virginia.

But the Bears also gave White’s injury time to heal rather than rush their No. 7-overall draft choice onto the field. The time off allowed more than just the stress-fracture surgery to mend.

“I had a whole year to recover, mentally and physically,” White said. “If we’d had had this talk last year, it would have mentally been a little rough as far as getting on my routes and trying not to run with a limp. And obviously taking a hit.

“But I’ve had a whole year to get it right. I thank the organization for giving me the time, and so I’m ready mentally and physically.”