Tag:Julius Peppers
Posted on: September 28, 2010 12:19 am
 

Packers-Bears reaction

Chicago pulled out a victory to get to 3-0 on the season. Chicago WR R. Davis celebrates after the game (AP). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Before the season began, I was pretty sure Chicago was overrated. I had never been impressed with the consistency of QB Jay Cutler. I didn’t think RB Matt Forte could be effective. I was weary about offensive coordinator Mike Martz. The defense would be fine – actually, I expected it to be very good – but I didn’t think the offense could keep the team in games.

Through three games – all Bears victories, including a less-than-impressive win in the season-opener against Detroit – there are still plenty of questions for the offense. But then again, the defense has been very good, and Cutler has done well enough to lead Chicago to the top of the NFC North division.

“It’s fun,” Cutler told ESPN’s Suzy Kolber after the game. “That’s all you can ask for. The defense did a great job. We still felt the whole game we were killing ourselves. But we came up big at the end of the night.”

OK, let’s talk about the real reason Chicago won or – more appropriately – how the Packers lost this game.

Green Bay outgained Chicago 379-298, but the Packers blew it for themselves. They tied a club record that had stood since 1945 with 17 penalties for 152 yards. Many of them, especially late in the game, were undisciplined and, frankly, stupid. Frank Zombo had a helmet-to-helmet hit on Cutler that wiped out an interception. There was the bad personal foul penalty by Nick Collins, and there was a horrendous pass interference by Morgan Burnett to give Bears possession deep in Packers territory.

If Burnett’s pass interference was horrendous, the play of Green Bay’s special teams was atrocious. Bears returner Devin Hester ran back a punt return for a touchdown and should have had another (speaking of which, why in the hell are you kicking to him in the first place?). Bears DE Julius Peppers blocked a Mason Crosby FG attempt. Green Bay got nothing with their return game. And let’s not even get into that last-second kickoff return of desperation that featured about 15 forward passes (the flags were gone, and after the officials would finish throwing their hats, they were going to have to start throwing their whistles).

“You can’t play football like that,” Mike McCarthy said in the postgame presser when asked about the penalties.

That’s true, Mike. But let’s not let the coaching staff off the hook here. After James Jones’ fumble with a little more than 2 minutes to play gave the Bears possession near mid-field, for some reason – even though it should have been abundantly clear to whoever was speaking in McCarthy’s ear that the call was good – McCarthy threw the challenge flag.

It was pretty obvious after looking at one replay that the fumble recovery was legit. Yet McCarthy challenged and lost a timeout. It helped his squad lose the game (hey, at least the Packers would have had more time after Robbie Gould's field goal).

This was a game Green Bay should have won. This was a game the Bears should have lost.

And you know what? I still think Chicago is overrated.

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Posted on: September 16, 2010 9:33 am
 

Hot Routes 9.16.10: Video killed the NFL star

Got a link for the Hot Routes ? Follow us on Twitter (@CBSSportsNFL) or drop it in the comments.
  • We've been discussing how "locker room spies" are beneficial to their new team (although Eric Winston told me he doesn't think Kyle Shanahan will make that big of a difference) and the Giants have the best one of all in Jim Sorgi, who was Peyton Manning's backup for quite a while. (Of course they also have, you know, his brother Eli Manning, but he doesn't know the Colts offense.) Sorgi, however, doesn't think it'll matter. Because it's Peyton.
  • One of Brian Bassett's readers noticed that Kris Jenkins had a tough time making it up the stairs at Cortland. Provided this account is true, well, it kind of makes it seem like he shouldn't have even been on the field for Week 1. Or we should have seen another injury coming.
Posted on: September 12, 2010 2:45 pm
Edited on: September 12, 2010 3:00 pm
 

Stafford injured as Lions struggle into halftime

Posted by Will Brinson

The good news for the Chicago Bears is that Julius Peppers appears to care (he sacked Matt Stafford near the end of the half to land the Bears a field goal) and that Matt Forte appears to be closer to his first season than his second (he took a screen pass 89 yards to the house). The good news for the Lions is that Jahvid Best appears to be "for real" (he has two touchdowns in the first half) and they appear, as a team, to be better than last year (they're winning at halftime).

The bad news was that Mike Martz' offense managed to produce three turnovers ... against the Lions. The really bad news, though (at least for the Lions), is that Stafford suffered a shoulder injury on the sack by Peppers and was seen on the sidelines without his pads or jersey on.

Needless to say, the Lions will be careful with him, but considering that last year he managed to get back on the field and win a game with a shoulder injury, the news that he could be out for the second half is not good at all.

A strong showing by Jay Cutler, whose numbers are quite deceiving at halftime, in the second half could go a long way towards making Chicago fans feel less worried about their team this year. And likely towards keeping Lovie Smith and Martz' pants a little cooler.

Update (2:49): Shaun Hill entered the game for Stafford and the Lions' starter's return is officially listed as "questionable" -- he kicked the bench in frustration when being told that he wouldn't return.

Update (3:00): The NFL tweets that Stafford is OUT for the game and will not return, leaving the Lions hopes in Hill's hands.

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Posted on: July 28, 2010 11:37 am
 

The potential impact of Julius Peppers

A couple stories today on the Bears defense and what the addition of DE Julius Peppers to the right side of the line will mean to this year’s squad.

LB Brian Urlacher is excited about Peppers. He tells the Chicago Tribune that with Peppers harassing the opposing quarterback, that will allow Chicago’s Cover-2 defensive scheme to work more effectively.

"The year before the Super Bowl and the year of the Super Bowl, we were good,'' Urlacher told the paper. "We ran so much Cover 2, and it worked. We had pressure on the quarterback. We had a lot of picks. … We have the talent and the ability to play more man coverage. But here's the thing: Cover 2 works. When we do it right and when we have pressure with our front four and we're breaking on the ball like we've been doing all this spring, it works. There is no doubt in my mind that we will have pressure on the quarterback this season.''

Urlacher said he expects the Bears to blitz less, because it’s assumed Peppers and Mark Anderson will get plenty of pressure by themselves off the edge – they replace Alex Brown and Adewale Ogunleye, a combined 12.5 sacks in 2009, from last year. Defensive tackles Tommie Harris, who probably won’t see as many double-teams because of Peppers, and Anthony Adams also will be expected to help.

Theoretically, that means the Bears could drop as many as seven defenders into pass coverage.

ESPN Chicago’s Jeff Dickerson, though, wonders about how effective Anderson can be opposite of Peppers.

From his story:

New starter Mark Anderson registered only 3.5 sacks, a far cry from his breakout rookie year in 2006 when he had 12. To further complicate matters, Anderson has been in this position before. He was elevated to first string in 2007, but was unable to effectively play both the pass and run, and eventually lost to starting position back to Brown. What has Anderson done to restore the Bears' faith in him? Why was Brown deemed expendable? These are question only Anderson can answer by his performance on the field. The Bears do have plenty of depth at defensive end in the form of Israel Idonije, Jarron Gilbert and rookie Corey Wootton, but it may be unfair to expect any of the reserves to put up high sack totals.

In the end, much of how the Bears defense will perform comes down to how Peppers plays. If he returns to his form the past two years – where he’s combined for 25 sacks – as opposed to 2007 (when he had just 2.5), he should have the ability to shoulder many of those burdens.

--Josh Katzowitz

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Posted on: July 21, 2010 8:36 pm
Edited on: July 21, 2010 8:50 pm
 

Which NFL players make the most total money?

Sports Illustrated has published its list of the highest paid athletes in sports. Peyton Manning leads all NFL players with a salary of 15.8 million and endorsements of $15 million, totaling – can you guess? -- $30.8 million. Manning ranks ninth amongst all athletes.
P. Manning
In a sign that the NFL rookie salary system has truly spiraled out of control, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford ranks second in the NFL in total earnings. Stafford is hauling in just $750,000 in endorsements, but his rookie contract is paying him $26.9 million.

Third is Eli Manning, with $19.5 million salary (part of the contract extension he signed last August) and $7 million endorsements. Manning ranks 13th amongst all athletes, which is 30 spots higher than he ranked a year ago.

SI writes:

Our findings consisted solely of salary, winnings, bonuses, endorsements and appearance fees. We consulted players' associations, tour records, agents and news reports. Our endorsement estimates for 2010 came from Burns Entertainment & Sports Marketing, other sports-marketing executives and analysts, and agents. Salary figures were based on current or most recently completed seasons (the upcoming 2010 season for the NFL).

Here’s the rest of the NFL’s top 10 (most of these players recently signed long-term contracts with rich bonuses).

4. Philip Rivers, $25.6 million salary, $250,000 endorsements, $25.85 million total

5. Terrell Suggs, $24.9 million, $75,000, $24.975 million total

6. Albert Haynesworth, $24.6 million salary, $150,000, $24.75 million total

7. Brett Favre, $17 million, $7 million, $24 million total

8. Darrius Heyward-Bey (yeah, seriously), $21.43 million, $150,000 endorsement, $21.505 million total

9. Jason Smith, $20.57 million, $75,000,$20.645 million total

10. Julius Peppers, $20 million, $75,000, $20.75 million total

-- Andy Benoit

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Posted on: June 24, 2010 8:16 pm
 

Lovie likes his squad

Coming off a 7-9 season – causing some observers to wonder whether Bears coach Lovie Smith should be replaced – the Bears have restocked their organization for what they hope will be a Super Bowl run.

As the Chicago Tribune writes, the front office expects results. And it wants results now.

From Tribune reporter Brad Biggs:

Three things have changed since the offseason began with President Ted Phillips announcing general manager Jerry Angelo and Smith were returning but that the "status quo wasn't acceptable."

First, Smith cleaned house with his offensive coaching staff. Next, ownership opened the vault like never before, dropping $55 million guaranteed in free agency. Finally, there was significant turnover in the front office.

All moves have Smith at least coming across as impervious to the win-or-else situation in which he finds himself as he maintains his goal is not merely to compete for a playoff spot but rather to win the Super Bowl.


In response to a third-place finish in the NFC North, Chicago added DE Julius Peppers on defense, and on offense, the Bears have married QB Jay Cutler and new offensive coordinator Mike Martz in what they hope will be a harmonious relationship.

"We know what a good football team looks like," Smith said. "And this is a good football team."

He’d better hope that’s the case. Otherwise, his seat might begin to feel warmer.

--Josh Katzowitz

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