Lovie Smith said he was focused on fixing the Bears Monday more than studying the Dallas. Don't worrry, he will no doubt be up until the wee hours tonight and Tuesday dissecting the Cowboys.
So, we'll focus on the Bears and Sunday's game one more time before moving forward.
The punters, the blitz problems, Moose, Hester, big play, the exact location of Mark Bradley and the health beat, all below.
-- It could be the Bears hang on to Dirk Johnson for the week to ensure they have a backup plan in case Brad Maynard’s groin injury prevents himself from playing again. Smith said Johnson’s left thigh contusion was much better Monday morning, and having Plan B is probably more important than bringing back CB Ade Jimoh immediately for a crash course on the defense.
``Brad felt comfortable he could punt yesterday,’’ Smith said. ``We’ll always go the extra yard with injuries, but I assume we’ll have Brad available just like we’ll have Dirk available.”
-- Smith on blitzers coming free vs. Rex Grossman in the first two games:
“It’s a very complicated answer,’’ Smith said. ``It is. Certain plays it could be the quarterback, it could be the line, it could be a combination of things. I’m just going to say we as an offense didn’t execute at the time and we have to do a better job with it. It’s really kind of as simple as that, just a combination of things.”
Grossman has been sacked six times and several have been against a free rusher, a man the quarterback is often responsible for. The QB has to get the ball to his hot read or get rid of it.
-- Muhsin Muhammad has only two catches through two games, and has been on the injury report each Friday with an ankle problem.
``He was healthy for the game, so no, I wouldn’t say [the ankle injury is responsible for his slow start],’’ Smith said.
It marks the first time since the final two games of 1998 that Muhammad has had only two catches in consecutive games.
-- Where does Devin Hester stand all-time in terms of touchdowns for a returner? He’s got six in 75 returns (the NFL does not count the runback of the missed field goal at the Giants last November as a kick return). That is a touchdown every 12.5 returns, tops in league history.
Next? Gale Sayers at one every 14.8 returns followed by Travis Williams at one every 16.4. The late Williams played for Green Bay and the Los Angeles Rams from 1967-71. As a rookie, he set a league record that still stands by averaging 41.1 yards per kickoff return.
-- Smith on why the Bears have not been able to beat blitzes with the big play. That’s when a defense opens itself up to deep play, and it hasn’t happened. Grossman’s longest completion is 24 yards.
``We do need to get the ball downfield a little bit, yes,’’ Smith said. ``In training camp we saw a lot more production from our offense. I’m saying the same thing. But I still think it’s a work in progress and our entire team is right now. After two games, I don’t think we’ve had a chance to show you exactly where we are right now. As I talk with the team about steps you take … last week we talked about our running game. You guys haven’t asked anything about the running game so far, so evidently you’re saying that we’ve made progress with the running game.
``I’m saying we did, and I’m saying that we’re going to make sore more progress with our passing game this week. Hopefully we can get [tight end Greg] Olsen back before long. That should give us a boost also. Devin Hester, the first game didn’t have the production he had returning kicks. We took a step with that. Hopefully we’ll take another step with some of the things that we can do with him and with the rest of our offense this week.”
-- Asked about Mark Bradley's role, Smith said he No. 5 on the depth chart. Translation: don't expect to see him doing much any time soon. More on his disappearance in Tuesday's edition.
-- Health beat. Smith reported the team came out of the game in pretty good shape. DE Alex Brown (right ankle), TE Desmond Clark (right knee) and RT Fred Miller (neck stinger) all left the game but returned. They were in decent shape Monday at Halas Hall.