Posts Tagged ‘Chicago Bears’

NFL Football 2012: The good, the bad, and the ugly

Monday, October 29th, 2012


The Good: Eight weeks in to the NFL season and we are starting to see the contenders separate themselves from the pretenders. We’re down to one undefeated team, the Atlanta Falcons at 7-0. Interestingly though, they are rarely the team mentioned as the best in the NFL. The one loss Houston Texans tend to get more credit, along with the one loss Chicago Bears, and the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants. After a slow start, it looks like New England Patriots are getting their act together. They have three losses on the season, but appear poised to dominate their division.

The Bad: First up on this list is the Detroit Lions. A young, brash team coming off a playoff berth is in last place in the NFC North. The Lions are 3-4 and have been outscored by their opponents so far. Three games out of first and facing a tough schedule makes me think that this Lions team won’t see the postseason this year. We can’t get through the bad without mentioning Philadelphia either. The Eagles are a mess, with controversy around the QB, head coach, and the defense. With Michael Vick and Andy Reid fighting for their jobs, most of the country has already given up on them. Finally, I have to mention the New York Jets. Mark Sanchez isn’t getting it done, but the team is wary of putting in the backup, Tim Tebow, to try and lead a turnaround. Under .500 and in danger of not making the playoffs, this team needs a face lift.

The Ugly: Let’s start with the New Orleans Saints. Sure, there was plenty of controversy surrounding the team this year, and they don’t really have a head coach. However, they still have Drew Brees, and the Super Bowl is in New Orleans this year. I thought that would be motivation enough to contend for the division title and try to become the first team to make the Super Bowl a true home game. Unfortunately, they are 2-5, and their defense looks anything but super. Next on the list is the Carolina Panthers. Cam Newton is having a rough season, and the team is only 1-6. They won 6 games last year, and in the offseason, Ryan Kalil took out a full page ad in the newspaper guaranteeing a super bowl for this team. Nice try Ryan, but you tricked yourself and your fans into thinking your team could get it done this year. Instead, they are among the lowest scoring and most disappointing teams in the NFL.

Good thing there are still 9 weeks left before the regular season ends. Every team still has a chance to change their fortune.

NFL season kickoff

Thursday, September 13th, 2012


All of the predictions and preseason statistics are out the window now that the ball is in the air and the NFL season is underway. One of the major story lines of the preseason was the use of the replacement refs. I’ll be the first to admit I like seeing Ed “Hercules” Hochuli calling games, but realistically, the refs shouldn’t be a part of the outcome. In boxing, the saying goes “the ref did a great job if you didn’t notice him in the ring.” I feel much the same about football. With the exception of giving the Seattle Seahawks an extra time out last Sunday, I really didn’t notice the replacement refs too much. So that’s a plus for the NFL, but could be troublesome for the referees who are looking for leverage in their negotiations.

So that just leaves me with football to recap. After one week, teams that won shouldn’t get carried away and think Super Bowl, but teams that lost shouldn’t go out and burn their new Nike NFL jersey either. There is plenty of optimism for fans of the Chicago Bears, Baltimore Ravens, San Francisco 49ers, New England Patriots, Houston Texans and the Atlanta Falcons. Those teams won convincingly and have fans excited for the season. The next bunch of teams got the victory, but the jury is stil out. Those teams include the Philadelphia Eagles, Detroit Lions, New York Jets, Tampa Bay Buccanneers, and the Denver Broncos just to name a few. Of the losers, fans of the Green Bay Packers, Pittsburgh Steelers, defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants, and New Orleans Saints have to be scratching their heads. What went so wrong that they started off 0-1? What if they lose this weekend and start the season 0-2? Since 1990, teams that start the season 0-2 make the playoffs less than 14% of the time. That’s a massive mountain to climb, which means that there are a number of teams that will be essentially playing for their season this weekend.

Best of luck to every team this weekend. I just want to see good football (and a Bears win). Regardless of who you cheer for, we’ll keep you up to date on what’s going on this season, as well as offer you the best selection of fashionable fan gear around. If you don’t believe me, click here to shop your NFL team and see for yourself.

Bears Invading Bourbonnais

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

Bourbonnais, Illinois. The population was 15,256 at the 2000 census, and at last reported, it was estimated to have grown to 19,119 in 2009. Clearly this place is home to many people, and as of July 24, a few Bears. The Chicago Bears have invaded into town once again, and have officially kicked off their summer training camp Tuesday at Olivet Nazarene University.

One of the many questions on Chicago fans minds are, will Johnny Knox be ready to perform come season time? He’s currently on a physically unable to perform (PUP) list, and unfortunately if still listed come season time, he will be forced to miss the first 6 games. As well, what will happen with Jay Cutler and will there be an offensive line resilient enough to protect him? The Bears are content to go with J’Marcus Webb on the left side, after he allowed 12 sacks in 2011. A healthy Gabe Carimi is being counted on to bring up the right. How will the relationship between Cutler and new Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Mike Tice develop, as Tice now has the play calling duties from Martz.

Apparently, Cutler is excited about the new opportunity. As the Bears rolled into town, Cutler touted that he’s never felt so relaxed before.

“This is the most comfortable I think I’ve been going into a camp with the offense and what we are doing scheme-wise and the talent around me,” Cutler said on Tuesday.” You can say this is the most comfortable I’ve been.”

Here’s a quick glance at the (tentative) training camp schedule and mapquest directions for this year in case you’d like to get down there to watch:

July 26: 2:30 p.m. (NO PADS)
July 27: 2:30 p.m. (NO PADS)
July 28: 7 p.m.
July 29: 2 p.m.
July 31: 2:30 p.m.
Aug. 1: 2:30 p.m.
Aug. 2: 2 p.m.
Aug. 3: 7 p.m. (Soldier Field)
Aug. 5: 2 p.m.
Aug. 6: 2:30 p.m.
Aug. 7: 2 p.m.
Aug. 11: 2 p.m.
Aug. 12: 2:30 p.m.
Aug. 13: 7 p.m.
Aug. 14: 2 p.m.
Aug. 16: 2 p.m.

We’ve seen many types of Bears seasons these past few years; going too big, too small – but let’s hope this years is just right.

Help! I’ve Fallen and Can’t Get Up

Thursday, October 21st, 2010
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) is assisted by an unidentified NFL official after being tackled in the second half by the Washington Redskins defense during their NFL football game in Landover, Maryland October 10, 2010. Rogers suffered a head concussion on his last pass of the game and will have to be medically cleared before his next start against the Miami Dolphins on October 17. Photo taken October 10.  REUTERS/Larry Downing  (UNITED STATES)

Every year it seems like the NFL has a new injury situation to deal with. Last year, it was turf toe. This year, it is clearly the concussion. Some players get their “bell rung” and bounce right back, while others, like the Chicago Bears Hunter Hillenmeyer, are lost for the season. In light of last weekend’s games, when more than a half dozen players went out with concussions, the NFL (sometimes nicknamed “No Fun League”) levied heavy fines for helmet to helmet contact. James Harrison of the Pittsburgh Steelers was fined a whopping $75,000 for a hit to Cleveland Browns receiver Mohamed Massaquoi. As a result, Harrison even went as far as to contemplate retirement, and was excused from practice on Wednesday. The Atlanta Falcons cornerback, Dunta Robinson, had the most replayed hit of the weekend, laying out the Philadelphia Eagles star wide receiver DeSean Jackson. Both Robinson and Jackson may potentially miss time due to the violent collision. Going forward, the NFL has vowed to suspend players for violent contact hits and helmet to helmet collisions. Baltimore Ravens all pro Ray Lewis, has even expressed concern that the NFL game will be “diluted very quickly.”

Players keep getting bigger, stronger, and faster, but there haven’t been any improvements to the helmet or other protective equipment to offset these things. This year, the NFL roled out new policies surrounding concussions to better protect the injured player. Now, a player with a concussion must pass a series of tests and be cleared by two separate physicians in order to be cleared to play again.

The question the NFL has to ask itself is whether concussions are here to stay, or the game needs to change in order to avoid some of these injuries. This is a mess the NFL has created by glorifying the big hit. The media plays a part in it too, by highlighting these hits on TV replays. Let’s face the fact that part of the attraction to the NFL is the violence. If they somehow remove that from the equation, I fear the league may lose some stars and some appeal.

25% OFF

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

“Oh no, not another advertisement trying to sell me some more football gear.” Calm down people, it is merely a reminder that we are already finished with a quarter of the NFL season! Now that a few games have been played, the question is, where does your favorite team rank?

This is the time of year to start talking about Superbowl plans (Bears fans) or to start scouting the book toting college lads (49ers fans) for next year’s draft. Or, you may be a little concerned with the production of your team (Cowboys? Packers?) and the direction they are headed. My guess right now is that most fans are somewhere between a little bit worried and a little bit excited and that is OK.

The rest of the season has so much more to offer…We will have the return of Big Ben, the resurgent LaDainian Tomlinson, Favre to Moss, the Eagles QB situation, and some great match-ups to watch. Please remember that we have about three quarters of the season remaining and the only thing guaranteed to happen is that some fans will cheer and some will cry.

Fullback Chris Gronkowski  of the Dallas Cowboys flips after a tackle by Zackary Bowman  of the Chicago Bears at Cowboys Stadium on September 19, 2010 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Little Things and The Playoffs

Monday, January 4th, 2010

Little Things from the NFL’s 2009 Season:

88 players in the NFL had at least one carry of 25 yards or more, including New York Jets punter Steve Weatherford. Not among the 88: Philadelphia Eagles RB Brian Westbrook and Indianapolis Colts RB Joseph Addai.

Eight RB’s finished with at least 1250 rushing yards, including the St. Louis Rams Steven Jackson, who was 2nd in the NFL in rushing yards despite being on a 1-15 team.

Two Carolina Panthers RB’s, DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart rushed for at least 1100 yards.

Jerome Harrison of the Cleveland Browns averaged 143 yards rushing in the four games in which he carried the ball more than 16 times, including 286 yards against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 15.

Adrian Peterson finished 5th in the league in rushing yards with 1383, despite only topping 100 yards in a game three times during the season.

Chris Johnson of the Tennessee Titans topped 2000 yards rushing on the year; he is only the 6th RB in NFL history to do so.

Johnson averaged 5.6 yards per rushing attempt on the season. Jamaal Charles averaged 5.9.

LaDainian Tomlinson and Larry Johnson both averaged 3.3 yards per attempt.

Reggie Wayne caught 100 passes on the year. 73 of them were for first downs.

The Top 21 players in the NFL in receiving yards include three tight ends: Antonio Gates, Dallas Clark, and Jason Witten. All 21 had at least 11 receptions of 20 yards or more, except Wes Welker, who led the league in catches, 123, and was second in yards, 1348. He had eight plays for more than 20 yards.

The Blind Side book/movie subject Michael Oher, rookie RT for the Baltimore Ravens, had the fewest yards receiving in the NFL in 2009 with -8.

Oakland Raiders rookie WR Darius Heyward-Bey, 7th pick overall, played in 11 games, caught 9 passes for 124 yards and scored one TD.

San Francisco 49ers rookie WR Michael Crabtree, 10th pick overall, held out until after Week 5, then played in 11 games, caught 48 passes for 625 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Austin Collie, 4th round pick of the Colts, and Percy Harvin, 1st round pick of the Minnesota Vikings, led all rookie WR’s in receptions with 60. Harvin and New York Giants WR Hakeem Nicks led rookies in receiving yards with 790.

Ten QB’s threw for over 4000 yards this season. Seven of them are in the playoffs. Kurt Warner, the 8th playoff QB, threw for 3753 yards.

41 QB’s completed at least one pass of more than 45 yards. Kurt Warner did not.

155 players in the NFL caught a pass of at least 35 yards. Larry Fitzgerald did not.

14 QB’s threw at least 500 passes. Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler led them (and all other QB’s) in interceptions with 26. Peyton Manning was 2nd with 16. Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers had the fewest at 7.

Jon Ryan, punter of the Seattle Seahawks, completed the longest pass by a non-QB, 42 yards. He finished the year with a 118.8 QB rating.

The Cleveland Browns won four games in a row after going 1-11 in their first twelve.

The Pittsburgh Steelers lost five games in a row after winning five in a row.

The Denver Broncos won six in a row to start the year and lost four in a row to end the year to finish 8-8.

The Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints started the season 14-0 and 13-0, respectively. The Colts lost their last two and the Saints lost their last three.

The San Diego Chargers started the year 2-3 and then won their last 11.

The Tennessee Titans went 0-6 to start the year. They went 8-2 after that to finish 8-8.

BLACK MONDAY

Coaches are cleaning out their lockers today. So far Jim Zorn, who was for all intent and purposes relieved of his duties with the Washington Redskins somewhere around Week 6 or so, and the remainder of the Buffalo Bills coaching staff and have been told their services are no longer needed, wanted, or welcomed.

There is talk that Wade Phillips needs to win a playoff game to keep his job. Apparently an 11-5 season, the third playoff seed, a home playoff game, and a shutout to win the division in the season’s last game is not enough in Dallas to feel any sense of job security.

The expectations are different for Houston Texans and Carolina Panthers. In Houston, Gary Kubiak will retain his position after the organizations first winning season, going 9-7 and being a loss by either the Ravens or Jets on the season’s final day away from making the playoffs. Plus Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson led the league in yards at their respective positions.

The Carolina Panthers are keeping John Fox around… maybe? Because in Carolina, a winning season every other year is good enough. I think it is probably safe to say though that the John Fox-Jake Delhomme duo has reached its end. Delhomme threw for 8 TD’s and was picked off 18 times on the season, while backup Matt Moore started the last five games for the Panthers and threw for 8 TD’s and only 1 interception.

There are a lot of rumors flying around about Raheem Morris losing his job with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Tampa Bay was horrible, but Morris is a first year coach brought in to turn around a terrible team. You have to give the guy more than a year or two to do his job – unless of course you have Bill Cowher, his chin, and his mustache on the radar.

Maybe one case where it makes sense to fire a first year coach is in Oakland, where ironically nothing makes sense. Tom Cable allegedly hit a co-worker. That behavior is generally frowned upon. And Al Davis is Al Davis, so he may bring in a shuffleboard buddy of his who won a fantasy football league last season to coach the team.

PLAYOFFS

The Dallas Cowboys threw a donut at the Philadelphia Eagles to win the NFC East. With a win, the Eagles would have had a first round bye and a home playoff game. With the loss, they’ll travel to Dallas and play the Cowboys again this weekend. Donovan McNabb to DeSean Jackson and Tony Romo to Miles Austin are two of the more dangerous big play QB to WR combos in the league.

And speaking dangerous QB to WR combos, Chad Ochocinco/Johnson would like me to mention his and Carson Palmer’s names right now, but if I’m playing the Cincinnati Bengals I’m more concerned about Cedric Benson. Maybe the New York Jets backed into a playoff spot and maybe they didn’t, but Mark Sanchez is in the post-season and will do a very nice job of handing the ball off until he is absolutely required to throw it. Thomas Jones, get ready to see nine guys in the box against Cincinnati this weekend. Jets fans can mail cards to the Colts and Bengals thanking them for mailing it in in Weeks 16 and 17.

Following Philly/Dallas and New York/Cincy, the Arizona Cardinals and Green Bay Packers will square off in the third rematch of a Week 17 game this weekend. The Packers rolled over the Cardinals who had nothing to play for and did most of the rolling over all by themselves. There are some health concerns for Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie, Anquan Boldin, and Charles Woodson going into this game.

Baltimore travels to New England to play the Wes Welker-less Patriots. Welker tore up most of the _CL’s in his knee on Sunday. Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, Ray Lewis and company will look to put to rest Tom Brady, Randy Moss, and the Pats. Should that happen, the media will surely spark up the “Has Belichick lost it?” debate. For that reason alone, I’ll root for the Pats.

Brett Favre may or may not be on a tractor in Kiln, Mississippi this week. The Vikings can thank the Cowboys for beating the Eagles and getting them a first round bye. Favre loved Sidney Rice this season to the tune of 1312 yards and 8 TD’s. I don’t know what that tune sounds like, but it works for the Minnesota offense.

The New Orleans Saints are also waiting around for somebody to play football against. Drew Brees and his band of guys who can run fast and catch the ball will not have won in nearly a month when they take the field next.

The Colts are planning a really intense bye week in Indy. Somewhere Jim Caldwell is sitting with no expression on his face. The San Diego Chargers are taking it easy in a sunnier place where Philip Rivers can frolic on the beach and wait around for somebody to fly west to play a game.

THE NHL WINTER CLASSIC

The Boston Bruins beat the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 in OT at Fenway Park in the NHL’s 2010 Winter Classic. Check out all our Winter Classic gear in this week’s items of the week!