Chicago Bears: Chris Long
The Bears signed Long (6-5, 304 pounds), the younger brother of Rams offensive tackle Jake Long, off Pittsburgh's practice squad. The club had already selected starting guard Kyle Long in the first round of the 2013 draft, and he's the younger brother of St. Louis defensive end Chris Long.
So for the Bears, it's a case of same name, different bloodline.
Joe Long originally came into the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Rams in 2012 out of Wayne State (Mich.), and signed to Pittsburgh's practice squad in November of that season. He didn't appear in a regular-season game in two seasons with the Steelers.
Joe Long started in all 49 of his game sat left tackle at Wayne State, and won the Gene Upshaw Award, which is given annually to the top offensive lineman in Division II.
Further up the field, Long went after St. Louis defensive end William Hayes near the Rams’ sideline and had to be restrained by several players, including Long’s older brother Chris, a star defensive end for the Rams who left his team’s bench to try to break up the fight.
Long received a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty but was not ejected from the game. He did not elaborate on what sparked the incident when speaking with reporters in the postgame locker room, but did apologize via his official Twitter account (@Ky1eLong).
“I want to apologize to the fans for losing my cool today,” Long tweeted on Sunday. “Not a representation of the person that I am or the Bears. Shouldn’t happen.”
Long, the Bears' 2013 first round draft choice, has started all 11 games this season at right guard.
During Chicago’s 42-21 loss to St. Louis, quarterback Josh McCown absorbed a vicious hit while attempting to throw a pass to Tony Fiammetta, with Kyle Long becoming involved in somewhat of a mini-brawl with Rams defensive end William Hayes away from the play.
During the scuffle, it appeared Long kicked Hayes.
Kyle Long declined to discuss the incident after the game, saying, “Look, I’m here to talk football. So if there are any football questions you guys have, I’d love to answer those.”
He later apologized on Twitter.
“I want to apologize to the fans for losing my cool today,” Long said. “Not a representation of the person that I am or the Bears. Shouldn’t happen.”
Bears coach Marc Trestman said Long calmed down quickly.
“I looked over at him once [offensive coordinator] Aaron [Kromer] got a hold of him, and he seemed to quiet himself down,” Trestman said. “I think I’ll be able to talk more about that tomorrow, because I really didn’t see everything that happened. I saw Kyle lose his temper. I don’t know why. I was on the other side of the field.”
Given that Kyle Long appeared to kick a player during the scrum, it’s fortunate for the Chicago Bears that officials didn’t eject him. Asked why Kyle Long was allowed to continue to participate, referee Jerome Boger said, “O.K., I was one of the covering officials on that play, and what I had the unnecessary roughness call was for piling on, that he piled on onto a player who was already on the ground. I didn’t see a kick by him.”
Chris Long wasn’t forced out of the game or penalized, because there is no automatic ejection for coming off the bench in the NFL.
“It’s tough. One of your best friends and your brother,” Chris Long said. “They’re two of the strongest people I know. I’m just glad everybody got out of there O.K. It was just a heated game.”
Asked whether he helped his younger brother by pulling him from the pile, Chris Long said he was simply trying to pull an opponent away from a teammate.
“If pulling him out of the pile and yoking up is helping him ... I’m trying to get him off my teammate just like any other situation that would arise,” he said. “I don’t want us to get a flag, and one way to defuse that situation is to get everybody out of there. He happened to be the body that I saw.”
The belly laugh conjured from the memory contorts Nate Collins into a convulsing mess.
Apparently, he knew much more in April about the Chicago Bears' first-round pick than anyone else in the crowd at the United Center for Game 3 of the Bulls' Eastern Conference playoff series against the Brooklyn Nets.
Read the entire story.
On Tuesday, Bears nickel back D.J. Moore said Cutler was wrong for yelling at Webb, but he doesn't expect the quarterback to apologize because "he's always been that way."
That may be true, but does Cutler owe his embattled left tackle an apology for the outburst seen on national television? Our panel weighs in on that and more:
Fact or Fiction: Cutler should apologize to Webb and the offensive line for his outburst during the loss to the Packers.
Jeff Dickerson: Fiction. Cutler needs to apologize to the team for being unable to beat the Packers (1-6) or for failing to protect the football in many critical games, but the outburst on Webb doesn't warrant a public apology. Would it be nice if Cutler pulled Webb aside privately and discussed the matter? Of course. But Cutler really doesn't seem like that type of person, so my advice to Webb is simple: Clean up your technique and stop surrendering so many sacks. The only way to keep the quarterback off your back to keep him off his.
Michael C. Wright: Fiction. These aren’t toddlers. These are men playing a man’s sport. So while an apology from Cutler might go a long way, I wouldn’t say it’s really a necessity. The guys on the offensive line probably on some level feel they deserved a kick in the pants from the quarterback. If anything, Cutler just needs to take this as a learning experience, move on from it, and not ever do such a thing again because in the end, he was just as accountable for the meltdown as everyone else. This looks like a situation in which the team knows Cutler was wrong for what he did, and he surely knows it, too. So I’d be surprised if Bears coach Lovie Smith hasn’t already sat down privately with Cutler to address this situation. It also wouldn’t be a surprise to find out that Cutler has already spoken to the offensive line. If Cutler has or plans on apologizing to the offensive line, I just think it should be a sincere thing and not contrived.
Scott Powers: Fact. The Bears need to move on from this distraction as soon as possible. Whether or not Cutler feels his actions were justified, he needs to swallow his pride on this one and apologize for the sake of the team. Obviously, the line, especially Webb, has to improve. If it doesn’t, it should begin worrying not about Cutler’s wrath, but that of Smith and the front office.
Jon Greenberg: Fiction. The line doesn’t need Cutler to be their friend, and he doesn’t need be the cuddly quarterback. Cutler just needs to be a better quarterback and less of a jerk to his teammates in the future. Sure, he could throw in a “Sorry dude,” but he’s borne the brunt of his actions in Green Bay. I don’t think Cutler has accomplished enough in the NFL to warrant his hissy fits, but I think his teammates know him well enough to let it pass.
Fact or Fiction: Gabe Carimi should start in place of Webb at LT.
Jeff Dickerson: Fiction. Carimi hasn't taken a snap at left tackle since college. You can't just throw him out there on the fly. Rushing to place Carimi at left tackle would be, at this point, weakening two positions -- even though the former first-round pick won the Outland Trophy his last year at Wisconsin. If the Bears want to seriously consider moving Carmi over to be Cutler's blindside protector, they need to give him the proper amount of practice reps before he's ready for game action. If Webb continues to struggle, and if Chris Williams is not deemed a more capable replacement, then experiment with Carimi at left tackle during the bye week in mid-October.
Scott Powers: Fact. What do the Bears have to lose in starting Carimi over Webb? That Cutler will get possibly sacked? That may happen anyway. I don’t think you know what you have in Carimi at left tackle unless you give him more of an opportunity. The St. Louis Rams could be just the team to experiment this with. They’re tied for 27th in the NFL with two sacks.
Jon Greenberg: Fact. It wouldn’t be the easiest transition right now, and I wouldn’t make this decision until the bye week, but it’s pretty obvious that Cutler has no faith in Webb, and it’s affecting his play. Also, Webb isn’t very good. It made sense to keep Carimi at right tackle during training camp, because he was coming off knee surgery. But as long as Carimi is healthy, why would you put your less talented tackle guarding Cutler’s blind spot?
Fact or Fiction: The Bears won't lose much if Michael Bush plays for Matt Forte.
Jeff Dickerson: Fiction. Bush is a solid tailback to have in the rotation, but Forte is a Pro Bowler who can beat a team on several levels. No matter how you spin it, Forte will be missed if he is forced to sit out due to a sprained ankle.
Michael C. Wright: Fact. That’s difficult to admit considering what the Bears gave up to sign Forte to a long-term contract. But you can’t deny what Bush has done when given the opportunity. Forte definitely possesses more explosion and elusiveness than Bush, which means the Bears will likely see some drop off at running back in the screen game. But for what the Bears lose in those areas, the Bears gain with Bush’s strength, deceptive speed, and footwork in between the tackles. So without Forte, the Bears lose an explosive element of their game. But it’s not a bad thing to feature a bruiser at running back that can help you pound opponents.
Scott Powers: Fiction. Bush isn’t a bad second option, but he is in no way Forte. Bush has been a good-but-not-great running back throughout his career. He’s dependable in that he’ll get you a first down when a few tough yards are needed, and he won’t fumble and occasionally he’ll break a big run. But overall, he’s not the same dynamic player as Forte, who can change a game running the ball or catching it. He’s proven that throughout his career. Bush doesn’t provide that same element.
Jon Greenberg: Fiction. Bush is a solid running back who runs with purpose, but Forte is a special back who gives the Bears big-play ability as a runner and receiver. When Forte gets loose, he has Devin Hester-like shiftiness and straight-line speed, not to mention a wow factor. There are aspects to Bush’s game that might be superior to Forte, but No. 22 will be missed if he’s out for multiple games.
Fact or Fiction: The Rams' Chris Long will have at least two sacks on Sunday.
Jeff Dickerson: Fiction. I cannot fathom the idea of the Bears ignoring the opposition's best pass rusher for a second consecutive week. They made a critical error last week when the offense failed to give Webb adequate help on Clay Matthews -- while the Packers took the exact opposite approach and triple-teamed Julius Peppers on several occasions. The story of this game up front likely will be what Peppers is able to accomplish against a banged-up St. Louis offensive line. But if for some reason Long goes wild, then the Bears are in more trouble than I thought.
Michael C. Wright: Fact. Chose “fiction” last week when asked this same question about Matthews and got burned. So that’s not happening again this week, especially when considering what appears to be an extremely tenuous situation on an offensive line that is supposed to be improved from a year ago. Coming off somewhat of a breakout season in 2011 (13 sacks), Long hasn’t yet generated a sack this season. So surely he sees the matchup with the Bears as a perfect opportunity to finally get rolling on the right track statistically. Really, could anyone blame him after what transpired at Lambeau Field?
Scott Powers: Fiction. Yes, I was wrong about what Matthews could do to the Bears’ offensive line last week, but I don’t believe Long has that same capability. He doesn’t have a sack on the season. He may get his first sack this week -- a number of the Rams defensive linemen may improve their stats this week -- but I think he gets just the one.
Jon Greenberg: Fact. Long must be licking his chops to face the Bears after watching last week's debacle. It’s like asking if his dad Howie stole the show in the mid-‘90s classic “Broken Arrow.” Last week, I thought the Bears could keep edge rusher Matthews under two sacks with a quick-hitting passing attack and a reliance on the run. Well, that didn’t work. Matthews had 3 1/2 sacks in the Packers’ blowout win. I think the pain continues for Cutler this week. Hope Webb brings his earplugs to Soldier Field.