16 carries for 181 yards, with two touchdown runs of 20 and 56 yards. The thing is, these numbers weren't made by Minnesota Vikings MVP running back Adrian Peterson. They were made by San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who made the game against Green Bay his coming out party in the playoffs by guiding the 49ers to a 45-31 win.
The biggest difference in the game: the Packers' inability to stop the zone read. The Packers' linebackers, Erik Walden in particular (who is now with the Indianapolis Colts), were unable to contain the 49ers' powerful running game and the dual-threat ability of Kaepernick, who beat them with his arm as well as his legs. And defensive coordinator Dom Capers was unable to adjust and get the 49ers potent offense off the field, and this game left his future with the Packers uncertain.
Coming off a season in which they ranked fifth in the NFL in total defense and 28th in total offense, the Chicago Bears have plenty of incentive to spend their first-round draft pick on a player who can help them score. However, Chicago also has two starting linebackers to replace, and they may have a shot at a potential draft steal to help do it.
As noted by ESPN, the Bears are part of a cluster of teams likely to consider drafting Notre Dame star Manti Te’o. Even with Chicago’s needs on offense, if Te’o falls to the Bears, they’ll need an awfully good alternative to make it worth passing him up.
Te’o’s stock has dropped severely in the last three months. He was hit hard by a combination of the much-discussed hoax surrounding his nonexistent girlfriend, a disastrous end to Notre Dame’s season in a BCS title game blowout and his own disappointing combine performance.
Food for Thought: Should Green Bay Have Followed Atlanta's Lead in Learning Info About the Zone Read?
16 carries for 181 yards, with two touchdown runs of 20 and 56 yards. And these stats weren't made by All-Pro running back Adrian Peterson, either.
Green Bay coaches should remember these numbers too well. After all, they were made by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who is an artist when it comes to running the zone read, having run it to perfection under former Nevada head coach Chris Ault during his time as Wolfpack quarterback. Both the Packers and the Falcons got a taste of what Kaepernick and the zone read are capable of, and how it has added life to both the passing game and the running game. The Washington Redskins and the Seattle Seahawks also ran the zone read under their rookie quarterbacks in Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson, respectively. And they, like Kaepernick, are artists in reading the defensive ends and deciding whether to keep it themselves or hand it off to their running backs, and it was a big reason the 49ers, Seahawks and Redskins were among the best when it came to running the football.
A handful of positions in the world of sports—center field for the Yankees, tailback at USC—test every individual who plays them against some of the giants in the history of the game. One such position is middle linebacker for the Chicago Bears.
Now, there will be a new would-be star in that role for the first time in 13 years. As reported by the Chicago Tribune, Brian Urlacher and the team have broken off contract talks, and the career Windy City icon has played his last game in a Bear uniform.
With the end of the Urlacher era, it’s time to reflect on the Chicago career of the most successful and popular Bear of this century. Even in the lofty company of Bear MLBs, number 54 stacks up remarkably well.
Greg Olsen’s departure two years ago left the Chicago Bears with a bare cupboard at the tight end position. With a new (and non-TE-phobic) offensive coordinator in town, Chicago also might have an opportunity to replace at least some of Olsen’s much-missed production.
As reported by the Chicago Sun-Times, the Bears are expected to make a serious push to sign free agent Jared Cook away from the Tennessee Titans. Cook was one of the few players who had been rumored as likely franchise-tag targets who was not, in fact, locked up by his incumbent team.
Although the Titans themselves and other clubs are sure to be in the mix for the Cook, he has so much going for him that Chicago has to make every effort to bring him in. The Bears don’t have much cap space of their own after franchising Henry Melton, but it’s not impossible that Julius Peppers or Jay Cutler could agree to some contract restructuring for the good of the team.