We Want The Airwaves: Bears News And Notes
It's been quite a week for the NFL, but the Bears have largely been able to avoid the controversy and the league's response to it. Then came Brandon Marshall's press conference Thursday, which featured a lengthy monologue, victim blaming and ramblings about everything from rape to extortion. The Bears will never admit it, but this distraction was unnecessary and unwanted. WSCR-AM afternoon host Dan Bernstein even cited a source within the organization claiming, "The team was dismayed by Marshall's press conference and feel mislead. They advised him not to speak, but he insisted. He said he wouldn't speak long, and would be contrite about his past. They really didn't want him to speak, fearing this would happen." As for on-the-field activities, here is what's rumbling after the team's impressive victory Sunday night against the 49ers.
The list of walking wounded grew significantly Sunday. While wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery played against the 49ers despite being hobbled, Marshall was held out of practice Thursday and Jeffery had limited participation. Other Bears who did not practice include center Roberto Garza, left guard Matt Slauson, and defensive linemen Jared Allen, Jeremiah Ratliff and Trevor Scott. Safety Chris Conte, who came out of last Sunday's game after an impressive interception, was limited in practice, which points to him playing Sunday. As for the rest of the players, they will most likely be game-time decisions after the team flies to New York to face the Jets.
Ups And Downs With Jay
Cutler bounced back in impressive fashion against the 49ers, after a lackluster Week 1. Down 17 in the waning moments of the first half, he took a major hit and led his team for important touchdown before the half. He came to play in the second half, throwing precision passes and capitalizing on mistakes. Many called his game a signature win, whatever that means, but if he can have more games like last week, the Bears should stay in contention for the NFC North crown. Especially since the Packers and Lions are far from perfect.
Defensive Bounce Back
The much-maligned Bears defense turned in their best performance in arguably two years against the 49ers. Cornerback Kyle Fuller had a coming out party, with two impressive interceptions, and the defensive line created consistent pressure. The question is, can they keep it up? The depth of the line will be tested with Jeremiah Ratliff suffering from a concussion. Ratliff has played well since coming to the Bears last year and is a key component to stopping the run. The Bears also lost cornerback Charles "Peanut" Tillman for the year with a triceps tear. Tillman has been a cornerstone of this team for over a decade and his veteran presence will be missed. If the defense hopes to play at the same level they did against the 49ers, young players and backups will have to step up and fill the holes.
The Bears head to New York to face a Jets team that may not be impressive on paper, but gave the Packers all they could handle at Lambeau Field in Week 2. While their secondary is a question mark, Rex Ryan's defense can still pressure the quarterback and cause confusion. If the Bears of Week 2 show up, they should cruise to a victory. But if the team we saw against the Bills gets off the bus, look out.