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)

Bears numbers don't indicate 3-13, yet still lie

Bears numbers don't indicate 3-13, yet still lie

In doing some post-season wrapping up of my Nerdy NFL Notebook as we begin turning the page to the 2017 season, part of it involves compiling where each team finished in big-picture team offensive and defensive categories: overall ranking (total yards), as well as team rushing and passing ranks on both sides of the ball.

So if the Bears wound up ranked 15th overall in total yards gained and allowed, they should've finished…oh, 8-8, right? It adds to the deception of some of the deeper issues that focus on a lack of playmakers, which tied into their inability to make plays when it matters most. In John Fox's 9-23 start, 18 of those games have been decided by six points or less. They've won just six of those games. 

Offensively, the Bears ranked higher in total offense than five playoff teams: Kansas City (20), Detroit (21), Miami (24), New York Giants (25) and Houston (29). They wound up 17th in rushing offense, better than four teams who advanced: Seattle (25), Green Bay (26), New York Giants (29) and Detroit (30). And their 14th-ranked passing offense ranked better than the Giants (17), Kansas City (19), Dallas (23), Miami (26), Houston (29).

On the other side of the ball, they'd be even better off before allowing 109 points over the final three losses. Their total defense ranked better than Detroit (18), Green Bay (22), Kansas City (24), Atlanta (25), Oakland (26) and Miami (29). After being gashed for 558 rushing yards the last three games, they fell to 27th in the NFL against the run (better than only 30th-ranked Miami). But the seventh-ranked pass defense, despite collecting a measly eight interceptions (among only 11 turnovers), was better than nine playoff teams: Miami (15), Pittsburgh (16), Kansas City (18), Detroit (19), the Giants (23), Oakland (24), Dallas (26), Atlanta (28) and Green Bay (31).

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

What do all the hollow numbers indicate? A lack of complementary, opportunistic football, playmakers on both sides of the ball, a minus-20 turnover ratio, and a lack of quality and continuity at the quarterback position — to name a few. All of those playoff teams have more impact players (or kept more of their impact players healthy) than the Bears in 2016.

While some of the numbers aren't that bad to look at, and some even raise an eyebrow, there's still a deep climb from the most significant numbers: 3-13.

Bears' best rookies will have another learning curve

Bears' best rookies will have another learning curve

There's a sense of irony and, to a certain degree, concern about what changes the Bears' coaching staff has undergone.

Think of the best of Ryan Pace's 2016 rookie class: Leonard Floyd, Cody Whitehair, and Jordan Howard. They were brought along under the position group tutelage of outside linebackers coach Clint Hurtt, offensive line coach Dave Magazu and running backs coach Stan Drayton. The latter was the first to depart, shortly after the season ended, to return to the collegiate ranks on Texas' new staff.

He's been replaced with former 49ers and Bills offensive coordinator Curtis Modkins (also serving as that position coach in Detroit, Buffalo, Arizona and Kansas City). Howard certainly adapted to the NFL game well, more than anyone expected, as the NFL's second-leading rusher. One would think Drayton played a part in that.

Longtime John Fox assistant Magazu was also let go after the season despite the impressive move of second-round pick Whitehair to center the week of the season opener after Josh Sitton was signed following his release by Green Bay. Whitehair was sold as a "quick study" following his selection out of Kansas State, where he was a four-year starter at three different positions (but not center).

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

Like Howard, he wound up making the All-Rookie team, but whether he remains in the middle of the line or not, he'll be getting his orders now from Jeremiah Washburn.

Rounding out the trio of All-Rookie selections was Floyd, who was brought along by Hurtt. He impressed Fox enough to be kept around from Marc Trestman's staff, and moved from defensive line to outside linebackers.

That's where he assisted Willie Young in morphing to a foreign role, yet still managing 14 sacks over the last two seasons. The Bears have yet to name a replacement for Hurtt, who's joined the Seahawks in taking over one of their strengths in recent years, the defensive line.

These three were already good, and the jewels of last year's draft. But if they're to grow and ascend into impact contributors if and when this team becomes a regular playoff contender, it'll come from new faces, new voices in their respective classrooms and position groups.