Good morning, and welcome to gameday, friends. In a matter of hours, we’ll know for sure whether the Bears can get over the Packer hump and into the postseason. Obviously a big day, and accordingly I have a lengthy post coming soon, detailing the opinions I have that won’t be changed by today’s game, regardless of the outcome. So here are some quick early bullets to fill the gap from my post yesterday afternoon.
- Since the inception of this site, I’ve had the pleasure of reading CBS Chicago’s Adam Hoge. He’s quickly become one of my favorite follows, and his notes column from Friday afternoon has some great info. First, regarding Earl Bennett’s ongoing absence while dealing with a family situation, Hoge notes that if he does miss today’s game (and the fact that he hasn’t practiced all week is not a good sign for his participation) it will be up to Eric Weems and Marquess Wilson to fill the void. Weems is a solid special teamer, and a decent all-around player. Wilson has some actual potential, and he’s played more on offense this year. But Wilson is a rookie; I’m not sure if that will factor into the playing time equation. It’s also possible that the Bears throw some different stuff at the Packers, and I guessed yesterday that if Earl can’t play, we might see some sets with Michael Bush and Matt Forte on the field at the same time, with Forte lining up as a receiver.
- Hoge also has an interesting scheduling note. First, he cites a source who told him that if the Bears do make the playoffs, they’d likely play on Saturday. (Which would be an NBC game.) He also notes that if the Bears lose and Detroit wins, the Bears would finish third in the division. That might not mean much now, but it would have some scheduling implications for next season. That’s not the sort of silver lining that makes up for a season ending loss to Green Bay, so hopefully it doesn’t end up mattering at all.
- Deadspin had this video, purporting to show a Bears-fan dad giving his Bears-fan daughter the cruelest gift of all: a Packers jersey. It was a prank, of course. The daughter’s reaction is just about exactly what mine would be, except I might cry more.
- Dueling media reports with regards to the Texans head coaching job. The normally rock-solid dynamic duo of Chris Mortenson and Adam Schefter (Adam is Robin) reported that the Texans and Penn State coach Bill O’Brien were closing in on a deal. CBS Sports then published a report citing their own Jason La Canfora that indicated that a deal is not that close at all, and that the Texans are still interested in interviewing other candidates, including Ken Whisenhunt. It’s rare that two national reports are so at odds; also, the normal caveats about how this could be a leverage ploy from both sides are in play here, as well. We’ll have to see how it plays out, although if both Mortenson and Schefter were both very wrong, I’d be surprised. Conspicuously absent from either report is Lovie Smith, who was reportedly the first candidate to interview for the job.
We’re mere hours away now.
Time to Bear Down.