Welcome everyone. Let's get this rolling.
Where do you see Singletery ending up? I think he should go back to coaching LB's. Any chance we see him with the Bears down the road?
I think Mike Singletary is too good a coach not to land on his feet. I've been hearing some talk that he could wind up in Minnesota as a linebackers coach.
I often watch ESPN, and it seems Trent Dilfer never has anything positive to say about Jay Cutler. He attacks Jays' interception rate constantly. For someone who through 18 interceptions with only 4 TDs in one season, I don't see how he is in a position to criticize any quaterback in the NFL. What are your thoughts?
Craig, how many passes have you thrown in the NFL? Personally, I haven't thrown any. But that doesn't mean I can't have an opinion just like Trent Dilfer. The bottom line is it's not like Dilfer has a personal agenda against the Bears or Jay Cutler. He's calling it like he sees it, and I respect him for that. The truth is Cutler does have lots of mechanical kinks in his game. At the same time, I think that without those kinks, Cutler wouldn't be able to do some of the good things he's done.
Is it just me or have you noticed how worthless Brandon Manumaleuna is. Why hasn't the Bears' staff benched the guy in favor of Desmond Clark or Kellen Davis?
JJ, I wouldn't call him worthless. But I'd agree with the thinking that the Bears didn't get their money's worth. The staff seems to think Brandon is a better blocker than Desmond Clark and Kellen Davis. None of us would know whether that's true because we haven't seen enough of the other guys to make a determination.
With the Bears trying out three wide receivers all over 6' tall recently, should I expect to be on the free agent wire after the season??
I don't think so D.A. The fact is the Bears are doing their due diligence as a staff. Nothing more, nothing less.
Guys, these bears are posers. Philly and Jets were good wins but nothing else. Why do you think da bears will put up a fight?
Sheesh, Clinton. Why even play the games? It's the playoffs man, and at this point, anything can happen.
The Bears have had several poor showings at home. Seems like an odd question, but what do they need to do with their extra week at home to be ready to win on their own field?
They need to do what they're doing right now: working on fundamentals and cleaning up some of the bad parts of their game. As the team gets into next week, look for them to start game planning, and opening up the playbook for tweaks, focusing on the things they do well while hiding/eliminating the things they don't do so well. Other than that, I don't see them needing to do much more. Because if they do, it would only add confusion, especially on offense where everyone seems to finally be getting it.
Is it just me or does anyone else get the feeling that this postseason will silence all of Jay Cutler's critics once and for all. I have a feeling that he will perform big for himself and the Bears! Your thoughts?
Sorry, Robbie G., I don't feel that way. He's gonna have to show me. From what we've seen so far, Cutler has been an up-and-down performer. But if you look at the trends, he's coming off a bad game, which means he's due for two more good games, followed by another bad one.
Since Lovie has 1 more year left do you the Bear's head office will wait until next year to extend contract? Or do you think they will do it after playoffs this year?
Chris, make him prove it before you pay him again. Remember, last time the Bears paid him early, you guys got three years of no playoffs.
What makes you say Singletary's too good a coach? Love him as a person but from what I can tell he's too bad a coach to land on his feet.
Ryan, Singletary didn't fit as a head coach. But in all his years as an assistant, his players have sworn by him. Some coaches aren't fit for running the complete show, and are better served as position coaches. Singletary is a teacher, which in my mind, makes him ideal as a position coach.
which team would you most like to see come to solider field in two weeks?
Doesn't matter to me, Jimmy. I have no vested interest in who wins or loses.
Michael, on more than 1 occasion you have talked about how the Bears receivers are coming into their own and there is no reason to add 1 either through FA or the draft. You cant tell me that V-Jax or Blackmon/Julio Jones would make a world of difference for Jay. Bears do not have a go to WR.
I still feel that way, Jack. To me, the fact there isn't a go-to guy is a good thing. Teams can't key on players. I agree that someone like Vincent Jackson would help. But throwing Julio Jones into the conversation... c'mon man. He hasn't played a down in the NFL.
Michael, i thought it was obvious that the last game Martz was given the green light to unleash what he tried before the bye week. I think we saw once and for all, this team needs balance. Martz will go back to a balanced attack, and we'll see the offense like it was after the bye and before the GB game. The GB game was purely for fun for the Bears. They just wanted to test some things out.
Brodie, I agree with you. I'd say that Mike Martz said as much yesterday in explaining the run-pass ratio against the Packers.
Michael, I am currently going to school for Sports Journalism and Broadcast at the University of Southern Mississippi. I would like to know from someone that has been there and done that, do you have any advice for me that could help. Thanks!
Read a bunch (books, poems, articles, etc). Write a bunch. In fact, write as much as you possibly can. Try your hardest to get internships wherever you can.
Watching the games this year, it seems to me that teams have beat us by constantly blitzing and confusing our o-line. I feel that the trend will continue in playoffs. What adjustments do you feel the bears o-line needs to make in order to protect Jay better?
That's exactly what I've thought, too, Om. To me, the biggest adjustment up front this team needs to make is to dumb everything down. A lot of times, this offensive line isn't physically dominated. It seems most of the problems have come as a result of blown assignments and missed communication. So Mike Tice needs to simplify the protections, and come up with a "Plan B" in terms of communications. When it was loud at Lambeau Field last week, the Bears struggled. They've got to have an adjustment in place for that type of thing.
Michael, You are wrong. Dilfer has a personal agenda against Cutler. Just because he's your colleague doesn't mean you need to cover for him. Eli Manning threw 25 Interceptions this year. One less than Culter last year is he receiving the same criticism as Cutler did from Dilfer or any of the other talking heads at ESPN including yourself?
Zib, Eli Manning has a Super Bowl ring. Cutler is having his first winning season since high school. So Cutler is gonna be criticized until he takes this team on a run. That's just the reality of it.
In my opinion this Bears team is rolling, do you think this bye is going to hurt the Bears or help the Bears?
Joe, I think this is gonna help the Bears tremendously. They'll do something similar to what they did during the Week 8 bye with regards to protections and the playbook, and the Bears offense will be better for it.
Have you talked to anyone close to the situation about placing artificial turf instead of grass next season?
Last I heard, they were still studying the situation.
Michael, does Jay Cutler have the IQ to make a read and change a play at the line when he sees a certain defensive scheme, or does he just do as he is told by Martz?
Anna, the playbook doesn't allow for audibles at the line of scrimmage. According to Mike Martz, and Jay Cutler, every option is built into each play. So regardless of what look Cutler sees, there's a place for him to go with the ball already built in. I know it sounds hokie. But that's what they've told us.
Does Jay Cutler really work hard in film session and mechanics, does he work in the offseason with his WR's to help grow some chemistry? I think these things are seperating him from the elite qb group in the NFL, thoughts?
I don't know the answer to that question for sure. But that's been my suspicion, too. I don't think Cutler puts in enough time outside of the season. But now that he's tasted success, I expect him to start doing those types of things more (especially with his mechanics) moving forward.
Who in your eyes has improved the most on the O-line and who will be in the same position next year?
I'd say J'Marcus Webb would be the answer to both your questions.
In your opinion, will there be a rookie offensive lineman starting at any position next year?
I could definitely see that happening if the Bears can't get something done with Olin Kreutz, who is at the end of his deal.
Not that I really care as long as the Bears win, but Cutler often talks to the media like a spoiled rich kid talks to the gardener. Is it like that when the camers are off?
When the cameras are off, he doesn't talk. But I've run into him a few times when we've been on the road, and he's always been cool to me. So really, that's a tough one to call. I don't have a problem with the way Cutler behaves. But obviously, I don't speak for all of us.
Is DJ Moore the long term answer at one of the corner positions? If so, who's spot does he take?
I don't think so, Ryan. His niche is at the nickel.
In the Bears first playoff game. If thier Oline line is getting handled and Cutler sacked do you think Martz will be stubborn and stay with the 7 step drop like he did against Green Bay, or actually change to the 3 step like he did in Dallas and it worked??
David, he'll make the appropriate adjustments. When you're in a one-and-done situation, I think you do everything in your power to keep your team alive.
Why does Jay refuse to throw the ball away/out of bounds? Countless times this year, he's taken a sack, when he could've gotten rid of the ball. This has taken us of out FG range at times and has also resulted in a few red zone INTs. LIVE TO FIGHT ANOTHER DAY, JAY!!!
I wouldn't say he refuses to get rid of the ball. Sometimes, he's simply not in the position to do so. I think Cutler gets rid of it for the most part when he needs to. But at the same time, I also agree that other times, he probably takes the sack when he shouldn't. It's a tough line to toe for any quarteback, not just Cutler. But you're right, you've got to live to fight another day.
I know this is looking ahead, but not out of the realm of possibility. But, how would you like Chicago's chances at Atlanta? In other words, would the Bears be a good dome team? And how would they match up with Atl specifically?
Ben, I think the Bears would be great in a dome. I also like the way they match up with Atlanta. The Falcons like to pound it up the middle with Michael Turner, and work the pass off playaction. That's perfect for the Bears because I can see them shutting down Turner fairly easily, and forcing the Falcons to try to win it through the air. Roddy White would be the only concerning weapon on Atlanta's offense for me. Defensively, for Atlanta, those guys really swarm the ball (and bring lots of nickel pressure), which would definitely give the Bears problems. Chicago's special teams would probably make the difference in a game like that. But I definitely like the way the Bears match up with the Falcons.
Is Urlacher a Hall of Famer?
Definitely, and it's not because of just the numbers, either. It's about his versatility, which has allowed this team to play that Tampa 2 so well. It's rare -- very rare -- for a middle linebacker to play the type of role in pass coverage that Urlacher assumes.
I am not doubting that Jay's performance will be one of the most single important factors to bringing Chicago the Super Bowl it deserves. That being said - I understand there are some players with "problems" regarding his attitude and whatnot. My question is - at this time in the Season, with our Trophy in sight - WHY are we doubting one of the main weapons on offense NOW. I feel like we did the same thing to Orton when this time came - and it didn't play out well. In short - Do you think if headlines like "Can we trust Jay" didn't exist - would he play better?
Rob, I promise you that Jay Cutler could care less about what's written or said about him. That's one of the things I respect about him. Lots of guys say they don't read articles, or listen to criticism about themselves, but they don't mean it. I really believe that Cutler truly doesn't give a rat's backside what anyone has to say about him. That's what I like about him.
At this point, do you think the Bears have gotten the better of the Jay Cutler trade?
Uh, yeah. No doubt about it in my mind.
why are you so critical of the bears? the 2 seed doesnt seem to impress you one bit. say what you want about the teams/QB's they had to beat to get there, dont they deserve some level of love for being the second best team in the NFC?
John, I wouldn't say I'm overly critical. The goal is to be objective as possible. Am I swept up in Bears playoff mania? No. That's not my job. My job is to objectively cover this team. And, yes, this team does deserve some respect for holding the second seed in the playoffs. I think I've written a couple of times in the last week or so that the Bears are capable of beating every team in the NFC playoffs.
If the bears were to lose D.Manning in the offseason could we finally see Peanut move to Safety or is Major Wright the answer!!! Id like to give Champ Bailey a Shot at DB here in Chicago!!
In a text message from an NFL head coach a couple of years ago, he said "Old/expensive=bad move". To this day, I think of that text when thinking of guys like Champ Bailey. As for the answer to your first question, I think the Bears would just move on with Chris Harris and Major Wright at safety if they were to lose Manning, and leave Tillman at corner.
Do you buy in to the theory that has been going around the radio dial that the Bears purposely did not show everything in their game against Green Bay and held back?
Cooler, Jay Cutler sort of started that whole thing by saying after the game that the Bears didn't change any of their hots from the week before against the Jets. If what Cutler said is true, then I do subscribe to that theory. I have no reason to believe Cutler lied to us.
Am I crazy or will the Seattle/New Orleans game be a lot closer than people thing??
You're not crazy at all. I've covered playoff games at Qwest Field in Seattle. That's a tough, tough place to play. That crowd is nuts.
hey michael and jurko.. i wanted to ask u guys what u think about everyone always getting on jay cutler for his mechanics..there have been soo many QBs that dont as they say have great footwork.throwing motion etc. brett favre never had geeat mechanics neither does tony romo or philip rivers. what i am asking is why does the media crush these guys every week.. and they always talk about jays decision making.. well id like some of the media guys to make a decision when a 300 pound guy as fast as a track athlete coming into ur face
I've said it before, yes, Cutler does have some mechanical kinks to his game. Without them, though, some of the big plays Cutler has made wouldn't have been possible. There was a throw he made for a big gain to Matt Forte against the Jets that simply wouldn't have been possible had Cutler set his feet. So you kind of take the good with the bad with Cutler. He does need to refine his mechanics somewhat. But I think people crush on him because he hasn't won anything just yet. For some reason, players get a pass with bad mechanics when they're winning or have won big games.
who has a better chance at getting to the championship...bulls or bears?
Now that the Bears will have a number one pick in next year's draft, what position do you think they will use it on. I would assume an offensive tackle.
I wouldn't take an offensive tackle at the end of the first round. When you're picking that low, you cluster a group of five players or so that you like and take the best one.
Super bowl or bust will this be the end for Lovie and Jerry if the Bears dont win it all this year ?
No way, Beto. Face it: Lovie and Jerry are back next season.
The receivers are coming along, but is there a playoff team you would not swap receivers with? And Seattle does not count as a playoff team.
Adam, you know the answer to that question. I'd love to have Maclin and Jackson in Philly, or Welker and Edelman in New England.
is it jerry's fault for terrible drafts or do we blame the scouting department?
Blame Jerry. The scouting staff compiles all the info and puts together all the reports on the players. But ultimately, Angelo makes the final decision.
Do you think the Bears will let Daniel Manning go after this year? He's been outstanding the last two-three years and is due for a huge raise. He is attracting a lot of attention as a safety and return specialist. They have to keep him and C. Harris dont they?
They've offered Danieal an extension that he turned down. I won't go into detail about how much it was, but Manning did the right thing to turn it down. He'll command way, way, way more on the free-agent market.
Do you see anyway in which the Bears get Logan Mankins in the offseason?
Eric, they'd have to give up too much for him.
to my knowledge, and evident from last year, the tampa 2 doesnt seem to be as effective without a middle LB that can run all over the field (ie Urlacher), if something were to happen to urlacher in seasons to come or if lovie manages to maintain his job after urlacher, would he change his defensive scheme?
Scott, Lovie wouldn't change his scheme. He'd just have to make a few tweaks to it. You can play Cover 2 without a great middle linebacker. Lots of teams do it. But you can't do it as well as the Bears have without a guy like Urlacher.
Don't get me wrong, I'm extremely happy the Bears are in the playoffs and did well, but I am frustrated that Angelo will still be employed. Doesn't his record on draft picks prove he's subpar? I love the Peppers signing, but how hard is it to sign the best free agent for the most money? I can do that.
Ha, ha. You need to get your resume in here, my friend. Personally, I don't really like Angelo's track record in making picks. But you can't argue success. By virtue of what the Bears have done this season, Angelo gets to stick around. That's just the way it works.
What is my Role next year??? Pisa,Iwuh and Roach are quality LB's where do I fit in??
You provide great veteran leadership, and you're a guy the Bears can plug into Urlacher's spot (if he's hurt) with minimal dropoff in production. You've got a place here.
Is our season a success if we win the division game? Or are expectations higher than just one win?
Dan, I'd call it a success.
Guys, that's my time. I've got to head to the Walter Payton Center for practice. Welcome Jurko to the chat.
Thanks Michael. Two interesting games this weekend and two others should be duds. I like Indy over the Jets; Green Bay over Philly; Baltimore over the Chiefs; and I like New Orleans killing Seattle.
Jurko, would a taller (6'-4"+) receiver make that catch Cutler had picked at the end of the 4TH quarter in Green Bay?
No. Absolutely not. That ball was grossly overthrown. Devin jumped and realized he had no chance.
Everybody raves about Hester and for good reason. But when a team is punting from the 50 doesn't that kill his value? Touchback if anything but pretty much from the 15 in he either isn't going to field the ball or he will fair catch
Good point. It is so grossly overrated the type of impact he has, because it can be taken away so easily. It doesn't always mean you're going to get better position when the punter punts for the sideline.
How importnat is Pisa Tinoisamoa?
I like him as a player. I think he's better than Roach because he always seems in position to make the play. Doesn't have to overcome the mistakes he makes with his speed, and Roach has that. More speed. But Pisa is always in the right spot, identifies plays better. Fragile at this point in his career, but obviously Roach is hurt so has some fragility issues himself.
Jurko, do you think Angelo has vindicated himself with his recent picks/bargain pick ups, including Bennett, D.J. Moore, Toenia, Webb etc.? Or does he still fall in the bottom of the GM rankings?
Falls toward the second half of the GM rankings. Chris Williams. I mean, he looks like a marginal talent, above average talent. You don't take above average talent in the first round. And he doesn't seem like a tough kid. Lower round picks he's had some finds, but it doesn't vindicate you. Can't keep missin gon first-round picks. Those are the layups.
Jurko, I'm tired of all of the media types talking about the "improved" O-line play and I know you tell the truth. This line is by far the worst in the NFL (ranked dead last in O-line rankings). I keep reading that Williams is settling in at guard, but all I see are missed blocks and penalties. Am I taking crazy pills?! Also, who on this line is worth keeping next year?
No, those aren't crazy pills, and they are the worst line in the league. You hope they develop into a more solid formidable unit, with more time together. The rate of improvement has been rampant, but they were the worst before and they're the worst now, which means there's a ton of room for improvement. Who comes back? Kreutz still your center, Garza your guard, Williams is your guard, whether you like it or not; both tackles can go. Webb and Omiyale are garbage. YOu're not going to replace five guys.
Jurko. Peace be onto you. I have a couple of issues I would hope you would be able to answer for me. 1. If a coach ever stood in front of you dropped his pants to the ground like Singletary did, would you laugh at him or would you even respect him? 2. What went down with you and the Jurko conglomerate for NYE? 3. Your favorite playoff moment? Let's hear them...
I would not respond, but I definitely would not respect the coach. Went to a friend's house for NYE. Favorite playoff moment is holding Barry Sanders to negative yards rushing. Only time that ever happened, 13 carries for -1 yards.
Any possibility Ron Rivera comes back to the Bears to replace Lovie after his contract is up?
I can't see that happening. If Chico gets the Carolina gig, he'll be there for a while.
Jurko, we know why you picked the Packers for their 1st round game...your allegiance is still with them. You probably picked them for the Super Bowl too. You're such a homer!
I see Green Bay and Chicago meeting for the NFC Championship game on the lakefront. Maybe I'm selfish, because I'd like to see that matchup in an NFC title game for the first time. I see the Bears winning.
Not sure if you follow everything football related but what are your thoughts on the Dolphins potentially hiring Harbaugh when they haven't even let go of Sparano yet?
Sparano is the head coach until told he's not. The Dolphins can do whatever they want. It's a unique way of doing it, interviewing candidates when you still have a head coach, maybe they want him to resign. If he quits, he won't get his money. I don't think he's that stupid.
We'd all like to thank the Bears for helping everyone not notice that we stink again. Too bad they can't play until the middle of May.
I didn't expect them to be this bad. I knew it would be an adjustment, but someone really overrated all the kids they have in the system if they expected them to step in. They overrated Dave Bolland. He makes $3.5M and he has zero offensive input. I also think they overrate Kane. For $5.5M, you could have kept 2 or 3 other guys. I think that's where the money should have been spent. What you could have gotten back for him was unbelievable.
Jurko. What chances do you feel the Bears have regardless of who they face next week?
I like them at home even though they had just a 5-3 record. NFC is wide open. No team is that good. I like them to get to NFC title game. Then we'll see. If they get to play at home and Atlanta gets upset, we'll be in good shape.
What do u guys think about the ravens?
More of a committment to the running game than I expected, and Flacco has become more of a game manager. I like them against the Chiefs.
I still don't get why Martz went 70-30 on the pass-run ratio in GB last week. Why would you willingly put your franchise quarterback in the position to get killed (and out of the playoffs)?
First of all, it didn't happen. Why did he start the game is what you'll ask yourself. He played him, because NFL QBs play. The mistake is throwing as much as he did. That's too bad because Forte really looked good early.
Do you think the Bears go OL in the first round or do they go CB,and in the second round do we go for that kid in Stanford the MLB/FB.which then lead to draft either a CB/OL in the third.
I think they need OL in the first round. Wide receiver in the second. Tight end in the third.
How well do you think the O-Line will play for the game? Can mike tice get these guys really motivated to protect Jay and give him some time back there?
Dont' know who they're playing. Just good enough to win would be my guess.
I feel the Bears match up the best with Atlanta (minus Seattle obviously). Thoughts?
The only team I don't want them to see is Philly. Because of the revenge factor. The Eagles feel they should have won that game. They should have gotten more out of their 7 trips in the Red Zone is their belief.
With the exception of Peppers...what was the Bears biggest acquisition this off season that made the difference with this year's success?
Remember, you also had a healthy Urlacher and Pisa back. I would say those two guys being healthy are the biggest acquisitions.
Jurko, what do you make of the surprising amount of coaches being retained? All because of the labor situation? And how does Oakland let go of Cable?
90 percent is the labor situation. 10 percent they didn't want to pay someone else more. Al Davis has got a screw loose and if he committed for one, he committed for the second year too.
The answer is that Forte is more valuable then Jay! That's why Martz made him throw so much.
Tom, RBs in general are not valuable. Unless you have a Barry Sanders or a Jamaal Charles.
What are we going to do about out backup RB position? Chestor is not getting it done, Wolfe shouldve never been drafted (at least in the 3rd)... Any ideas for next year?
Don't worry about your backup RB position. You guys are focused on the wrong things. Forte has proved he can be a featured back. There are more problems on this team than the backup RB situation.
did the Packers expose the Bears last week by blitzing and playing the receivers tough out of the gate by taking away Cutler's hot reads?
I was more impressed with what they did against the Jets than what they didn't do against the Packers.
do u think martz by design had a unbalanced game plan in the likely event that we meet gb in the nfc title game?
I'd like to think there was a method to his madness. But wouldn't you just take that team out so you wouldn't have to see them again?
If the Bears go one and done in the playoffs, is this season still a success for Lovie?
No, it would be a disappointment. You have to win a playoff game at home. If you lose in the NFC title game, I don't think anybody faults Lovie.
Even though the Bears posted a winning season, I still believe that Jerry Angelo should still be fired. His off season signings were out of mere desperation. Thankfully, Peppers proved to be worth the price. But Angelo's track record still is horrible, and I still don't trust him with draft picks and building the team for the future.
Because he's been so brutal with No. 1 picks. That's why Indy has been able to sustain its period of excellence for the better part of 12 years. They missed the playoffs in 2001, that's it.
Are you serious? Did you really just compare Barry Sanders to Jamaal Charles? Jamaal Charles is a dime a dozen. Barry is top 10 RB of all time, along with Walter. Give credit where credit is due. Without Forte, Bears are 6-10. Without Jay, Orton and Forte could still make playoffs. Cutler is basically a game manager in this system.
The closest thing I ever saw to Sanders was Jamaal Anderson from the Falcons. Not Emmitt Smith; not Priest Holmes; Jamaal Anderson. Now, Jamaal Charles from the Chiefs almost set the NFL record for yards per carry for a season. If you watched a lot of KC football, you would see that this kid is a special back. He's elusive, got great vision, can make people miss.
Do you think Tommie Harris is finally returning to form just in time for the playoffs? Or has he lost to much quickness and explosivness due to his recent injuries over the last couple years?
No. He's going to be a $1.5M player the rest of his career, and it won't be here with Chicago. He'll play for Chico in Carolina.
Guys thanks for the great questions, as usual. Tune into ESPN 1000 for the Afternoon Saloon at 2. See you next week.