This free agency has been quit eventful so far. Lots of players being cut and new players being added to new teams. One of the biggest acquisition this year is the New England Patriots letting Wes Welker go and the Denver Broncos adding him as a receiver. This comes as a shock because the Broncos got him for 2 years worth $12 million. Welker had 768 career receptions, 8,580 yards and 38 touchdowns with his career with the Patriots. Now he has the chance to play with Brady’s rival Peyton Manning. Running backs Steven Jackson, Reggie Bush, Rashard Mendenhall and Shonn Green all signed with new teams. Steven Jackson signed with the Atlanta Falcons for 3 years worth $12 million. Reggie Bush signed with the Detroit Lions for 4 years worth $16 million. Rashard Mendenhall signed with the Arizona Cardinals with $2.5 million and Shonn Green with Tennessee for 3 years worth $10 million. Then wide receiver Dwayne Bowe signed for 5 years worth $56 million in Kansas City.It has only been a couple days into this free agency and lots of signing. There will be more big signings the more time passes. The Chicago Bears signed 2 new players, former New Orleans Saints Jermon Bushrod left tackle for 5 years worth $39.9 million. They also picked up former New York Giants tight end Martellus Bennet for 4 years worth $20 million. This is the time for the teams to rebuild their teams and prepare for them to make their run to the Superbowl.
Some Bears players took the news hard. Devin Hester, who blamed media and fans for Smith’s firing, was visibly crushed as he cleaned out his locker at Halas Hall following a brief team meeting in which Smith addressed his players.
“We already knew what the news was,” Hester said. “Just hearing it from him. The media, the false fans, you all got what you all wanted. Majority of you all wanted him out. As players, we wanted him in. I guess the false fans outruled us. I thought he was a great coach, probably one of the best coaches I have ever been around. He brought me in.”
Jay Cutler was more pragmatic, saying that “change isn’t always a bad thing.”
“I think Phil (Emery) and George (McCaskey) and everyone involved, they’re going to do whatever’s necessary, offensively, defensively, special teams wise to put a good product out there next year and make this team the best they can,” Cutler said.
Since Smith took over in 2004, the Bears have ranked higher than 23rd in offense only once. They have ranked 28th or lower four times.
Smith tried four offensive coordinators during his Bears career. His first thought was to run a similar offense to the one he was familiar with when he was defensive coordinator of the Rams, so he hired Terry Shea.
The Bears finished last in the league in offense behind quarterbacks Chad Hutchinson, Craig Krenzel, Jonathan Quinn and Rex Grossman, and Shea was dismissed after one season.
Smith then turned to Ron Turner for his second stint as Bears offensive coordinator. Turner lasted five years in what was the heyday for Smith’s offense.
It was during this period that Smith’s stubborn allegiance to Grossman became an issue. “Rex is our quarterback,” he said over and over again.
Those days Smith often talked frequently about how the Bears “get off the bus running,” and the team achieved its offensive identity by pounding the ball with Thomas Jones, then Cedric Benson and finally Matt Forte.
After starting the season at 8-1 the Chicago Bears play today with everything on the line. The Bears kick off against the Detroit Lions @ 12. Not only do Chicago fans have to cheer for the Bears but they have to do the unfathamoble and cheer for GREEN BAY PACKERS! Yes thats correct Bears fans everywhere cannot hate on the cheeseheads this week as they need to win in order for the Bears to see another week! How can it be that the Bears went from For sure division winners to Wildcard to In the Hunt? Thats what happens when you depend on the defense too much. If the Bears manage to choke up this season completely then you better believe there will be NO MORE LOVIE on the sidelines… Out with the old in with the new! At the end of the day GO BEARS & Packers (I guess).
Lance Briggs said Thursday that he’s proud of his Bears teammates who were voted to the Pro Bowl and didn’t complain about getting snubbed from the annual all-star game.
Leading the Bears with 118 tackles and having returned two interceptions for touchdowns this season, Briggs seemingly deserved to make an eighth straight trip to the Pro Bowl
Lance Briggs has returned two interceptions for touchdowns this season.
But while Briggs plays in a 4-3 defense, the three outside linebackers who were voted onto the NFC team are all premier pass rushers in 3-4 schemes: the 49ers’ Aldon Smith (19.5 sacks), the Cowboys’ DeMarcus Ware (11.5) and the Packers’ Clay Matthews “It’s one of those things,” Briggs told reporters. “There weren’t any traditional outside linebackers in the Pro Bowl. That’s just the way it goes. It’s a vote.”
Five Bears were selected to the Pro Bowl: Cornerbacks Tim Jennings and Charles Tillman, defensive end Julius Peppers, defensive tackle Henry Melton and receiver Brandon Marshall.
“I’m proud of them,” Briggs said. “Everybody that got voted into the Pro Bowl is deserving. It’s a real treat to be able to play next to those guys.”
Award winner: Peppers was selected NFC defensive player of the week after recording three sacks in last Sunday’s 28-13 win over the Cardinals in Arizona.
“He just plays big,” said defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli. “He’s a special player. Sometimes you’ll come out of a game and you’re [thinking], ‘Well, he’s had this many plays or tackles,’ and then you watch the film and you go, ‘Whoa.’
“Every week it’s powerful what he does. It commands respect. When you add a few other rushers in there for him and he can get a single, he’s special.”
In increasing his season total to a team-leading 11.5 sacks, Peppers has become the first Bears player to reach double figures in back-to-back years since Rosevelt Colvin in 2001-02.
Health news: Middle linebacker Brian Urlacher (hamstring), safety Chris Conte (hamstring), running back Armando Allen (knee) and linebacker Blake Costanzo (calf) did not practice Thursday as the Bears continued to prepare for Sunday’s must-win game in Detroit.
Melton (chest), Tillman (ribs/elbow) and running back Matt Forte (ankle) were limited.
Coach Lovie Smith said that the Bears will need Melton against a Lions offense that leads the NFL in passing yards and ranks second in total yards.
“Every pass rusher that we have on our team against a group like this we’ll need,” Smith said. “Hopefully he’ll be able to go.”
Smith said that Forte is making a lot of progress and looked good while taking limited practice reps.
“We’re hopeful for him, which we thought all along,” said the Bears coach. “I know he’s been pretty optimistic about playing, so hopefully that will be the case.”
War of words: It came as no surprise Thursday when Lions veteran center Dominic Raiola responded to the comments that Melton had made about him a day earlier.
In labeling the Lions a dirty team Wednesday, Melton said that Raiola is “old and he just talks. … He’ll throw some cheap shots in there and then he’ll say some bad words.”
The Detroit Free Press reported that when Raiola was asked for his response, he said: “Who? Who? Exactly. You got a defense full of superstars, and you don’t hear from the guys that carry weight in my book. Urlacher, Briggs, Tillman, [Israel] Idonije, older guys, Peppers, the guys that have been there.
“We’re talking about guys who carry weight. This guy? Not in my book. It’s tiresome, especially from a guy like this, a guy that didn’t even play the past two weeks. I don’t know what to say anymore. In my book, he’s a clown.”
Bears further depleted by injuries to Forte, Conte
By Larry Mayer
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