Bears Thursday practice
The Bears were not in a talkative mood today at Halas Hall. With two days until their night in Nashville, they were still singing the blues about their beatdown by the G-Men.
It started with the defensive captains not speaking at the podium like they normally do at 1130. And then it was a virtually barren locker room for our availabiliy after. We only spoke to Major Wright who gave very clipped answers and Marcus Harrison who emphasized the game was a setback for the defense. Wright downplayed his missed tackle on Brandon Jacobs and said he watched the film and it was just a "bad angle".
Them it was time for practice. Afterwards we threw ourselves at Julius Peppers who reluctantly stopped and looked like he was passing a kidney stone while we asked about the defense's performance Monday. When asked what the Bears needed to improve on he said "everything. We have to get better" but added he wasn't concerned about his line not getting to the quarterback.
Special teams coach Dave Toub said every mistake by his unit was made by a rookie. I have to back and watch the tape to see if that's true. I didnt realize the Bears had so many. Toub said he hates the new kickoff rule but will continue to have his returners take the ball out of the endzone to see what he has. He also expressed no concern about his unit come regular season since he'll have more veterans playing then.
Lovie Smith was stern in his assessment of the team's performance. He said red zone inefficiency and special teams were his biggest concern. I asked him if Marion Barber had supplanted Chester Taylor as the #2 RB yet and he got a little annoyed. "Marion is a back on our team who will continue to get his reps".
Our belief in the media is that the team is trying to beef up Taylor's trade value because the team wants to get something for him. Unlike Taylor, Kahlil Bell can play special teams making Taylor the odd man out and they don't want to cut him. His contract is fat but teams like Detroit, Miami or Arizona might be interested.
Then there was the normally soft-spoken Rod Marinelli getting short with a print reporter and cutting his question off. He too emphasized the team needed to get better but said he wasn't concerned about the lack of a pass rush which seems incredulous but he's the coach. He wasn't cantankerous the whole interview. Just one time.
What everyone should remember is that the Bears didn't win a single preseason game last year and wound up in the NFC title game. But there weren't the expectations around this team last year like there is now-expectations brought on by the team's depth at so many positions. They should look better out there. As Lovie Smith says in preseason the score doesn't matter. Individual play does. But except for a few individuals most of these Bears haven't gotten a passing grade.
Hopefully we'll remember the Titans game and forget this last one.