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Article on Bears' offensive struggles provides some notes on Rams D

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  • Article on Bears' offensive struggles provides some notes on Rams D

    Offensive struggles reemerge
    By Jason Klabacha
    Date: Aug 6, 2004

    Toward the end of Friday’s afternoon session the Bears offense went up against the Rams defense in an eleven-on-eleven drill. The results left more then a few questions in mind.

    While the Bears offense has looked good for the most part against the Rams defense, during a string of plays the unit looked as bad as it did last year.
    On the first play of the drill Damione Lewis pushed Olin Kreutz back into Rex Grossman, which took the quarterback down. Trying to prove his moxy, Grossman got up and despite the fact that the play had been blown dead heaved the ball 50 plus yards toward Bobby Wade.

    The Bears then went to the ground game, but Thomas Jones coughed up the ball and Tommy Polley recovered the fumble. There is a concern that Jones’ upper body is too muscular and fumbling could become an issue.

    The worst moments of the practice came when DE Bryce Fisher consistently beat Qasim Mitchell off the snap and reached Grossman with ease. Luckily contact is off limits or Grossman might have been seriously injured.

    "The negatives, well my glass is half full most of the time," Lovie Smith said recently. "Those negatives, we’re trying to concentrate on the positive as much as possible. We have a better idea now where we are with those, but all we’ve done right now is get ourselves in position to start competing against someone else. Then things will really start to clear up."

    For all involved, the faster a decision to move John Tait to the left side the better. Granted he’s gotten some reps at the position, but he was back on the right side today.

    "John is our best. We gave him a lot of money. That's what we were saying when we gave him that money. We think he's a pretty good football player and of course you need your best tackle at the left tackle position."

    Considering Tait hasn’t been a full-time left tackle since 2001, it would benefit him to know that will be his position going into the season so he can get in as many reps as possible.

    "The more practices I'm there the more comfortable I feel in that position," Tait said. "In my mind I'm preparing myself to play left tackle. Now if that doesn't happen that's fine because I can flip over to right no problem. But if I were to play more at right and all of the sudden I have to be thrown over to left then that's kind of a bad situation to be in and I just want to be ready."

    After reviewing Mitchell’s performance on tape the coaching staff should be that much closer to making the switch. A poor showing in Saturday’s scrimmage could be the final straw for Mitchell.

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  • RamWraith
    Grossman brings his 'A' game
    by RamWraith
    By Kathleen Nelson
    Tuesday, Dec. 12 2006

    Beleaguered Bears quarterback Rex Grossman made a national TV audience wonder
    what all the fuss was about. He pulled his weight and then some in leading
    Chicago to a 42-27 victory over the Rams that clinched a bye in the first round
    of the playoffs for the Bears.

    Grossman completed 13 of 23 passes for 200 yards with two touchdowns. Most
    important, he committed no giveaways for just the second time in two months. He
    described his performance as "efficient and decisive. I was able to relax.
    There was a lot of pressure on me to perform well. So I had to do it. I wanted
    to respond because of the way the coaches have backed me."

    For good measure, Grossman added a 22-yard run good for a first down.

    "That was fun to do," he said. "I don't do that very often, but I consciously
    went into the game thinking that I might have to make a play with my feet."

    Though the Bears (11-2) have won consistently this season with Grossman at
    quarterback, Grossman has been wildly inconsistent. His passer rating, a
    measure of consistency and efficiency, exceeded 100 in four of the Bears' first
    seven games. At that point, some experts considered Grossman a candidate for

    Since October 16, though, Grossman's passer rating has fallen below 50 four of
    seven times. The worst was a rating of 1.3 in the Bears' victory over the
    Vikings last week. Grossman completed just six of 19 passes for 34 yards with
    three interceptions, earning the lowest rating ever for a winning NFL

    Yet Bears coach Lovie Smith stood by his man through numerous inquisitions.
    Reports from the Bears' practice indicated that Grossman and Brian Griese split
    reps with the first unit Thursday and Friday, but that Grossman got about 65
    percent of the work Saturday.

    "Rex Grossman went through a lot this past week," Smith said. "His game has
    been dissected by everyone that knows anything about football. With a lot of
    pressure on him, I thought he really stepped up to the plate, played
    outstanding ball, did exactly what we expect him to do."

    Grossman got ample help from the backfield. Starter Thomas Jones gained 76
    yards on 11 carries with one touchdown, while "backup" Cedric Benson gained 64
    yards on 16 carries.

    "There was a lot of difference this week," Grossman said. "We ran the ball well
    and set up a lot of play action. That's the blueprint we've been trying to set
    since training camp."

    Jones, the older brother of Cowboys running back Julius Jones, topped the
    -12-12-2006, 05:33 AM
  • Fat Pang
    Bear necessities
    by Fat Pang
    I was browsing through the team reports on Fox sports website and stumbled across this as I was looking through the NFC North report on Green Bay. It got me thinking.

    In the five drafts that Bears general manager Jerry Angelo has conducted, he has used two first-round picks on defensive linemen, one second-round pick, one third-rounder, two fourth-rounders and three No. 5s. The Bears also traded Pro Bowl wide receiver Marty Booker in 2004, plus a third-round choice in 2005 to acquire defensive end Wale Ogunleye from the Dolphins.

    All that investment in their front four is starting to pay off big time for the new team-to-beat in the NFC. The Bears have allowed fewer points per game than any team in the NFL --- a total of just 29 in four games. That's their lowest total for the first four games of a season since 1937; and it's the line that has more to do with the Bears' stinginess than anything.
    In their last eight regular-season home games, the Bears have allowed just 2 touchdowns.

    Their most recent victim, the Seahawks, were the highest-scoring team in the league last season, but they managed just a pair of field goals Sunday night in a 37-6 loss.

    The foundation of the Bears rise to divisional and conferential promise has been their defence. A club that has traditionally been famed for their defence, not least of which being the 'Monsters of the Midway' of '85 vintage, the Bears are experiencing a resurgence of frightening proportions. 29 points allowed through 4 games is the kind of pace that will beat their clubmates of '85 by some margin in terms of the points allowed in a season.

    Ron Rivera has rightly been touted as the reason for the Bears current success. Throw in Lovie, a man well schooled in the Tampa 2 and the brains behind the Rams defensive resurgence as a first year co-ordinator and you can be sure that the scheme in Chicago is a good one.

    Schemes alone, as we all know, don't get it done on their own however and it's clear that the Bears have the talent to go with the scheme. What's more, it's all up front, and of course that's where it all starts.

    At this point some mods might be forgiven for thinking that this could be an offering best placed in 'NFL talk' rather than 'Rams talk', but look closely at the article quoted above and tell me whether you can spot the ultimately disappointing common theme.

    It struck me that in investing high draft picks in their defensive line, the Bears were following a plan that had been similarly tried with the Rams during Lovie's tenure here. Lewis, Pickett and Kennedy were all 1st round picks that were to be instrumental in solving the Rams defensive woes. Furthermore, like the Bears, the Rams invested heavily in players at other spots. Shepherd, Thomas, Allen,Polley, Crouch,Groce, Fisher, Butler are all names that feature heavily in any conversation regarding the relative...
    -10-05-2006, 01:06 AM
  • Nick
    Grossman benched, Griese starting
    by Nick
    Griese to replace Grossman at QB for Bears Wire Reports
    Posted: 24 minutes ago

    The NFL Network's Adam Schefter has confirmed that Brian Griese will start at quarterback Sunday for the Chicago Bears.

    Griese will replace Rex Grossman, who threw three interceptions as the Chicago Bears fell to the Dallas Cowboys 34-10 on Sunday night and did not get a vote of confidence from his coach a day later.

    "Will Rex Grossman start Sunday?" coach Lovie Smith asked on Monday, repeating the question. "Well, our evaluation process is going on right now, and if you come out to practice Wednesday, you'll have a better idea of who will be starting at all positions."

    Smith gave his usual answer when asked Sunday night about Grossman -- "Rex Grossman is our quarterback" -- but his tone was different on Monday, fueling speculation Brian Griese might start Sunday against Detroit.

    Grossman's supporters would have a hard time arguing against the move, considering he ranks 23rd in the league with 500 yards, has a 45.2 passer rating and is 47-of-89 (52.8 percent) with a league-leading six interceptions and just one touchdown.

    But is Griese the answer?

    A Pro Bowl pick with Denver in 2000, he has passed for 16,564 yards, but has also been released three times -- by the Broncos, Miami and Tampa Bay.

    "I have confidence in our entire football team," Smith said. "Brian is a part of that. After you have a loss like that, we all feel bad. We should."

    And Smith realizes something needs to change -- quickly.

    At 1-2, the Bears are certainly not living up to those soaring expectations after last season's Super Bowl appearance. Besides Grossman's struggles, injuries are mounting.

    They lost former Pro Bowl safety Mike Brown and starting nose tackle Dusty Dvoracek to season-ending knee injuries in the opener at San Diego. And on Sunday, Bears were falling like dominoes.

    Linebacker Lance Briggs (groin), cornerback Nathan Vasher (groin) and defensive tackle Tommie Harris (knee) all left the game with injuries. Offensive lineman Ruben Brown suffered what was announced as a game-ending ankle injury, although he returned near the end.

    "All of these injuries we're evaluating right now," Smith said. "I can't give you anything else."

    As for the evaluation at quarterback, Grossman's troubles are well-documented and they explain why the Bears let him enter this season with an expiring contract rather than an extension.

    He was the NFC Offensive Player of the Month last September. Now, he may not be the starting quarterback when September ends.

    There certainly is blame to pass around, but the focus is on the quarterback.

    The Bears were hoping Grossman would play...
    -09-25-2007, 04:31 PM
  • r8rh8rmike
    Benson Believes Bears Tried To Blackball Him
    by r8rh8rmike
    Benson believes Bears tried to blackball him
    By ANDREW SELIGMAN, AP Sports Writer
    1 hour, 19 minutes ago

    LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP)—Cedric Benson(notes) believes the Chicago Bears did all they could to prevent him from signing with another team.

    Released in June 2008 after two alcohol-related arrests, Benson will come face to face with his former team when the Cincinnati Bengals host the Bears on Sunday. Although he insisted he’s not out for revenge and won’t try to send a message, Benson clearly has some bad feelings for the Bears.

    “I heard all the rumors that were said coming out of Chicago,” Benson said. “Even the Bengals told me all the things, that they would call and inquire about me and get nothing but negative things. Just that I didn’t work hard, that I was I guess a prima donna or I didn’t work hard on the field, just wasn’t focused, just anything negative that they could say, it was said. I’m sure that contributed largely to me not getting picked up right away.”

    Bears coach Lovie Smith insisted, “He was not blackballed by anyone in our organization.”

    Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said Smith even gave a good review of the running back, but Smith’s endorsement aside, Benson believes he had little support in Chicago. He wasn’t particularly popular with his teammates, either, and he believes the reason he remained unemployed until Cincinnati signed him on Sept. 30 last season was that alleged smear campaign by the Bears.

    Now, he’s the league’s third-leading rusher, which is quite a turnaround for someone who fizzled in Chicago after being drafted fourth overall in 2005. Instead of taking his place alongside Walter Payton and Gale Sayers, Benson rubbed teammates the wrong way and never fit in with the Bears.


    “Some questions that you all ask are very interesting because I don’t have the answers,” said Benson, who has 531 yards. “I think there was once upon a time where I would like to have known the answer. But now it kind of doesn’t really matter anymore. But I couldn’t pinpoint it. I remember there being a lot of talk about the holdout and things like that, but that’s quite ridiculous in this business because there are holdouts involved. It’s not just football, there’s the business of contracts involved. I’m sure there was once upon a time where many players on that team had a holdout or something along those lines.”

    Benson was the last first-round pick to sign in 2005 after a standout career at Texas and missed training camp that year, setting a bad tone for his three seasons in Chicago. Complicating matters: incumbent Thomas Jones was a popular figure in the locker room and the two never really meshed.

    He once told the Chicago Sun-Times that Jones, who eventually was traded to the Jets, punched him in the face during a practice drill, and Benson wondered why the Bears even drafted...
    -10-21-2009, 08:34 PM
  • RamDez
    Rams' Martz calls Bears' hamstring epidemic just a 'bad run'
    by RamDez
    Rams' Martz calls Bears' hamstring epidemic just a 'bad run'

    August 7, 2004


    MACOMB, Ill. -- Mike Martz angrily has defended his friend Lovie Smith for the outbreak of hamstring fever that has surrounded the training camp of the first-year Bears coach.

    What has been missed is that no one has called Smith's practices too grueling. Instead, it has been questioned whether the major weight loss emphasis, combined with the increased running, has led to some of the problems.

    ''For crying out loud,'' Martz railed. ''That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard. I guess all these people who write that must be medical doctors. You think? You've got to be kidding me. I mean, this is just a bad run. Maybe they're not used to practicing that hard. Who knows? I know we've been through it. We've had six, seven, eight guys [sidelined with pulled hamstrings].''

    Running back Adrian Peterson sat out of both practices Friday as his hamstring tightened up. According to Smith, wide receiver Justin Gage and reserve safety Bobby Gray will be back from their hamstring injuries this week and should be ready for the exhibition opener Thursday in St. Louis.

    FILLING IN: With Peterson and Anthony Thomas (ribs) out and Dwone Hicks gone from the team, fullback Jason McKie has stepped in and worked as a halfback. What is most interesting is that he was chosen over Rabih Abdullah, who had a failed experiment as a third-down back last season.

    ''I'm just helping out right now,'' he said. ''But I'll do whatever they need me to be.''

    McKie never has been a true halfback, having been the fullback in a Wing-T offense at Gulf Breeze (Fla.) High. He did carry the ball in short-yardage situations at Temple. Even more telling, however, is that he has been used on special teams as the off-side returner. The 5-11, 240-pounder has good speed but isn't elusive by any means.

    ''The way our returns are designed, we're straight ahead,'' special-teams coach Dave Toub said. ''We want to catch the ball and get up the field right away. That kind of fits his running style.''

    Toub said rookie Bernard Berrian has a ''good shot'' at replacing Jerry Azumah as the main kick returner. Ahmad Merritt and Nate Vasher are also in the mix.

    BAD OMEN: If the afternoon practice Friday was a sign of things to come, the Bears' offense is going to have a real struggle with the Rams' defense in the scrimmage this morning. Neither the first nor second team could pick up a first down in the two-minute drill, with offensive coordinator Terry Shea calling a run on first down both times. The Rams seemed to make twice as many big plays as the Bears.

    NO WRONG: Smith did not think anything was wrong with allowing Azumah to practice in
    -08-07-2004, 01:57 PM