What the Bears can learn from NFL wild-card weekend

What the Bears can learn from NFL wild-card weekend

The NFL is nothing if not a copycat league, with successful innovations or stratagems invariably being replicated by others. So with the opening playoff weekend of the playoffs finished, did situations unfold in the four games that can provide useful object lessons for a Bears team that may not yet have talent to pull of certain things but certainly can learn from them?

Absolutely. Even allowing for a degree of oversimplification, consider:

Playoff Lesson 1: Teams without their No. 1 quarterbacks lost by double digits.

The Miami Dolphins may have earned new coach Adam Gase serious consideration for AFC coach of the year by reaching the playoffs. But forced to start Matt Moore instead of Ryan Tannehill (No. 12 passer rating, No. 6 completion percentage), the Dolphins were beaten 30-12 by the Steelers. Moore lost 2 fumbles and was intercepted once.

The Oakland Raiders dropped down from MVP candidate Derek Carr to rookie Connor Cook, who threw 3 interceptions on his way to a 30.0 passer rating in his first NFL start.

Bears Lesson 1: Don’t get down to your fourth quarterback.

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

Playoff Lesson 2: Every winning team out-rushed their opponent and ran the football at least 25 times.

The Green Bay Packers ran just 25 times in their rout of the New York Giants, which was more than the Giants did, and also, any team with Aaron Rodgers as its quarterback is by definition an outlier anyway.

Bears Lesson 2: Run the football 25 times.

Or at least start with that as a minimum. Obviously game and scoreboard situations can unravel any plan, but the Bears ran the ball 25 or more times in seven of their 16 games. They won three of those games; in one (Jacksonville) the defense gave up 17 fourth-quarter points and a 13-0 lead; in one (Giants) the quarterback (Jay Cutler) threw a late interception on a potential winning drive; and in two (Washington, Minnesota II) the Bears turned the ball over a combined 10 times (see Lesson 1).

Playoff Lesson 3: 10 of the 12 playoff teams drafted their No. 1 quarterback.

Houston acquired their quarterback (Brock Osweiler) in free agency. Kansas City traded for theirs (Alex Smith). All the rest drafted the quarterback who eventually led them into this season’s playoffs.

Of those 10 drafted quarterbacks, only Oakland’s Derek Carr (2014 draft) and Dallas’ Dak Prescott (2016) have been with their teams less than five years. Of those 10 quarterbacks, more than half were drafted when their teams already had a starter in place (e.g., Tom Brady behind Drew Bledsoe, New England; Aaron Rodgers behind Brett Favre, Green Bay).

2017 NFL Draft Profile: Alabama OLB Tim Williams

2017 NFL Draft Profile: Alabama OLB Tim Williams

As part of our coverage leading up to the 2017 NFL Draft we will provide profiles of more than 100 prospects, including a scouting report and video interviews with each player.

Tim Williams, OLB, Alabama

6'3" | 244 lbs.

2016 stats:

31 tackles, 16 TFL, 9 sacks, 2 FF


Second round

Scouting Report:

"Alabama has the type of talent and scheme on defense that can make life much easier for everyone along the front seven, but Williams has explosiveness and pass-rush talent to create his own havoc as a pass rusher regardless of what is around him. Scouts say he is lighter than his listed weight and needs to prove he can play with increased toughness in order to reach his potential. Williams' career might be as a pass-rush specialist, but he's talented enough at that endeavor to become a dangerous rush linebacker in the NFL." — Lance Zierlein, NFL.com

Click here for more NFL Draft Profiles

CSN to look back on the history of the Bears Draft on the next installment of Bears Classics


CSN to look back on the history of the Bears Draft on the next installment of Bears Classics

‘Bears Classics’ presented by Xfinity to debut Wednesday, April 26 at 11:00 PM CT -- Exclusively on CSN

Narrated by Chicago Bears/Pro Football Hall of Fame legend DICK BUTKUS

Chicago, IL (April 24, 2017) – CSN Chicago and the Chicago Bears will debut a brand new installment of its partnered Bears Classics presented by Xfinity Emmy award-winning documentary series when the network will take a look back at the 81-year of the pro football draft and the Bears picks that turned out to be franchise-changers for the years that followed.     

Debuting Wednesday, April 26 at 11:00 PM CT exclusively on CSN, Bears Classics will chronicle the most notable Bears draft picks in the team’s history.  It all started back in 1936, in Philadelphia.  That year, a group of executives from a young and prospering professional sports alliance gathered for a meeting.  Their mission was to conduct a fair and thoughtful process of choosing the best and brightest college players in the land to join the pro teams that represented the National Football League.

Now, 81 years later, The NFL Draft will return to where it all began in the “City of Brotherly Love.”  For 32 teams and for hundreds of young men, it's a life-changing time that can make or break careers. And for a nation of avid fans, the Draft has become a phenomenon of spring with all the drama of a Sunday Kickoff in the fall.

This hour-long installment of Bears Classics, subtitled The Chosen Ones, takes a look back at the top picks of the NFL's first franchise, highlighting the legendary players and executives who shaped the success of Chicago football.  Among the notable drafts highlighted include 1965, when future Hall of Famers Dick Butkus and Gale Sayers were both chosen by the Bears in the 1st round, along with the 1983 Draft, which proved to be a day when the team acquired several impact players of their Super Bowl championship team just two years later. 

This edition of CSN’s Emmy-winning Bears Classics documentary series will once again be narrated by Chicago Bears legend/Pro Football Hall of Famer Dick Butkus.  Butkus played for the Bears from 1965-1973 and is credited for redefining the middle linebacker position.  He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979.  CSN’s Sarah Lauch is the Executive Producer of Bears Classics, Willie Parker is the Producer, and Kevin Cross is the network’s Senior Director of News & Original Content.

In addition to the documentary narration by Butkus, among the numerous players/media/execs interviewed in this edition of Bears Classics include exclusive interviews with the following individuals:


Bears Running Back (1986 Draft, 1st round pick)


Bears Defensive End (1983 Draft, 8th round pick)


Bears Tight End (1961 Draft, 1st round pick)


Bears Safety (1976 Draft, 10th round pick by Miami)


Bears Running Back (2008 Draft, 2nd round pick)


Bears Quarterback (2003 Draft, 1st round pick)


Bears Defensive End/Tackle (1979 Draft, 1st round pick)


Bears Defensive Tackle (2004 Draft, 1st round pick)


Bears Punt Returner/Wide Receiver (2006 Draft, 2nd round pick)


Bears Quarterback (1982 Draft, 1st round pick)


Bears Defensive End (1962 Draft, 7th round pick)


Bears Running Back (1965 Draft, 1st round pick)


Bears Linebacker (1981 Draft, 2nd round pick)


Bears Linebacker (2000 Draft, 1st round pick)


Bears General Manager (1983-86)


Bears Linebacker (1980 Draft, 1st round pick)

Please note the following quotes from CSN’s premiere airing of Bears Classics: The Chosen Ones, debuting Wednesday, April 26 at 11:00 PM CT:

MIKE SINGLETARY (on not being drafted by any team in the first round): “I said ‘Lord, if you want me to play this game, let me get drafted by the Bears,’…and five seconds after I said that, my girlfriend came to the door and said ‘Mike, Mike, Mike, the Bears just drafted you’…it was like ‘Wow!  That was fast!"

MIKE DITKA (on making every play count): “You took the moment and you cherished it, and you played as hard as you could for as long as you could.  And that's the way I looked at football… I never took it for ‘oh boy, this is going to be here for a long time’ because you never really know.” 

JIM MCMAHON (on leadership): “That's the nature of the position, you have to assume a leadership role.  If they're not going to listen to you, you're not going to be very successful.  But I was lucky enough to play with those guys…they listened to me. They figured I knew what I was doing."

BRIAN URLACHER (on how to play the middle linebacker position): “Just a guy who can cover…a guy who can play the run, play the pass, a guy who likes contact.  You’ve got to understand the defense, you’ve got to know where everyone’s supposed to fit, also I guess a decently smart guy, because he has to know where everybody else fits in."

RICHARD DENT (on playing on the defensive line with William “The Refrigerator” Perry, who was the Bears first round pick in the ’85 Draft): "He made my job easier, and I tried to make his job easy.  Meaning that ‘Look William, I’m not going to let anybody hook me, so you don’t have to run from that a-hole to the b-hole or c-hole…you can just sit here and anchor.  Because I’m not letting nothing around me…and you’re not letting nothing inside of me."

CSN will also re-air this episode of Bears Classics on Thursday, April 27 at 11:00 PM and again on Sunday, April 30 at 7:00 PM.  In addition, fans can also get interactive prior and during every airing of Bears Classics with their thoughts, memories and comments by utilizing the Twitter hashtag #BearsClassics.  Plus, CSNChicago.com will provide additional, online exclusive interviews and commentary write-ups from CSN’s team of Bears experts. 

2017 CSN BEARS/NFL DRAFT COVERAGE PROGRAMMING NOTES:  In regards to coverage of this year’s NFL Draft, CSN will provide viewers with three upcoming special editions of In the Loop Prime presented by State Farm this week (featuring hosts Chris Boden, former Bears standpoint Alex Brown, and veteran Bears/NFL expert Hub Arkush). 

  • On Wednesday (Apr. 26) at 10:30 PM, fans can look forward to In the Loop Prime: Bears Draft Preview for a detailed overview of the entire draft field and thoughts on who the Bears will likely take with their first round (3rd overall) pick. 
  • On Draft Night (Thu, Apr. 27) at 10:30 PM, CSN will carry In the Loop Prime: Bears Draft Recap featuring live reports from Halas Hall, along with live reaction from Philadelphia from the Bears top pick and a number of additional key picks throughout the league. 
  • Then, on Sunday (Apr. 30) at 10:30 PM, CSN will carry In the Loop Prime: Bears Draft Review, which will assess the entire draft from both a Bears and overall league perspective, along with featured interview with Bears management with their reflections on the draft. 

In addition, CSNChicago.com will provide 24/7 Draft coverage throughout the week with numerous stories and featured interviewed from “Insider” John ‘Moon’ Mullin and its team of NFL experts.  For a deeper dive into the roster of this year’s top draft choices, fans are urged to visit CSNChicago.com’s “Road to the Draft” section: CSNChicago.com/2017-nfl-draft.