Chicago Sun-Times

Bears will be on the lookout for Pittsburgh's Hines Ward

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If the Bears defensive backs have that feeling like they wish their heads were on swivels come Sunday afternoon, they can thank their own wide receivers coach.

It was Darryl Drake who helped mold Ward into the player he is today, one of the most ferocious downfield blockers the league has known for the last two decades, while at Georgia.

"The player you see out on the field today has a lot to do with coach Drake,'' Ward told the Sun-Times. "He motivated me. I got recruited as a quarterback and I didn't know anything about wideout. I played two years under him and all and all, he taught me the game itself, how to block, how to be a complete player and I owe it all to him.''

The two remain close and have already talked about the Bears' meeting with Pittsburgh at Soldier Field.

"When I got him,'' Drake said. "He was a 163-pound wide receiver. That kid could have been [Troy] Polamalu too. One of the best high school safeties I've ever seen.''

The defensive backs know they need to be on the lookout. Just because Ward has a rule named after himself now--the Hines Ward rule--doesn't mean he's not going to be seeking to knock someone sideways. The NFL has cracked down on blindside blocks, the kind he specializes in. Now, a blindside block with the helmet, forearm or shoulder in the head or neck area of the defender is a penalty and will likely draw a fine.

``You're going to be aware of someone when they make rules out there for him,'' said cornerback Zack Bowman, who will be making his first career start. ``He can lay some hits. Look at what happened to Keith Rivers last year. You always have to respect a guy like Hines Ward. He can catch, run good routes, and he can also block. You always have to respect a guy like that.''

When Lovie Smith wants to establish whether or not a team has toughness, that is the area he looks at.


``I think you can tell two things about a football team, a lot of times, if it is really a tough team when your receivers block and your cornerbacks tackle,'' said Smith, a former defensive back. ``Just looking at their receivers and the blocks that Hines Ward has gotten in his career, as a football lover, you have to like that. As a competitor, on the other side of the ball, you want to play against a guy like that that you know is ready to mix it up and be physical.

"We're not warning our guys on anything. We play physical football too.''

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24 Comments

Darryl Drake is a good receivers coach. Not just because of how he helped develop Hines Ward in college, but for the job he has done in Chicago. A lot of fans get on Drake, I say, for what he's had to work with, he's doing a pretty good job. Think about it, for the 6 seasons he's been in the windy city, Drake's never had a 1st rounder to work with, and only one 2nd rounder in Mark Bradley. And Bradley was injury prone, not the fault of the coach. What has he had to work with, a couple cast-off cornerbacks, some over the hill free agents, and mostly 3rd round & lower wideouts. Not an easy task.

I like the direction Chicago's current receivers are headed in. I like what I saw in Earl Bennett sunday night [7 catches for his 1st start], he's got a bright future. You also gotta like how Devin Hester is developing, Hesters one of the former cornerbacks Drake has developed into a wide receiver. If Bennett and Hester keep playing like they did the other night, their both headed for some pretty good seasons. Also, youngsters Johnny Knox and Devin Aromashodu both look like they have potential, especially Knox. The kids 6 foot, runs a 4.3 40, and can flat out stretch the field. As a rookie from tiny Abilene Christian, he's already gotten on the field and made some plays, give him a year, he could be a heck of a find for Angelo & co. Now GO BEARS!!

I'll be surprised if the Steelers can run the ball effectively on the Bears defense. They will try, but probably won't be able to do it. That means big Ben will be running around throwing it. The Bears corners and safetys need to establish early on that they are ready to knock heads with Hines Ward. Ward has lost a step, but can still get the job done with his junk yard dog style of play.

I'm not too worried about Tillman, but Bowman better lace 'em up.

I have noticed Hester blocks good as well.

Cmon! Fans at THE game, YELL FOR CUTLER!! Give our QB SUPPORT BIG TIME!!!
et those so called Coaches know we are behind Da Bears QB!!! All the way.

Drake has been a good receivers coach that has had to field a team of cast offs and late round selections. Look what he did for Bernard Berrian before he took off and ran for more money. The secondary will be tested big time here and I really wish we had taken the opportunity to shore up the secondary during the draft and free agency. Well if they were ever up for a big time test they will have it on Sunday. Big Ben extended a play 9 seconds which is difficult for anyone in this league to cover so all hands will have to be on deck. I truly hope these fans are not foolish enough to boo Cutler for his performance in Lambeau like they did Grossman it won’t do a thing for the team and with the loss of Urlacher will place additional pressure on the defense. I guess I’ll know Sunday. Go Bears.

I'd like nothing more than to see Hines Ward looking out of the ear hole of his helmut after being hit by Peanut. Ward has taken plenty of cheap shots on DB's not watching out for him. It would be great if the Bears give him some of his own medicine

I have watched Hines Ward for years, and the guy is a clutch player of the first rank. If the bears coaching is on the ball, every time the Steelers are in a third and long situation, the Bears should hound Ward, because one way or another the play will involve him in a key role. Were I a Steeler coach, I would closely cover Bennett on passing downs because he clearly was the first guy Cutler looked for against the Packers. I hope Cutler and the Bear coaches caught that and are not that predictable against the Steelers. I would think looking at tight ends and for Forte should take priority in this game because there will not be much time for Cutler to find a receiver down field.

mrmick,

You are sorely mistaken about Hines Ward. How can you say a blindside block is a cheap shot? Up until this year it was perfectly legal, he was just playing hard nose old school football. Would you say the same thing of a guy like Ronnie Lott or Steve Atwater leveling a receiver while the receiver is looking at the ball attempting to catch it. No I think not. Don't get me wrong I'd love to see Peanut win the battle with Hines Ward this weekend, but give Ward credit where credit is due. Don't try and say that Ward is a dirty player.

Creighton, there's only two days remaining before the home opener. Don't forget your promise.

By Creighton on March 25, 2009 11:48 PM

"In fact I am so sure that Angelo will not get him [Cutler] that if he does, I will be outside Soilder Field in a hot pink panties that say spank me, singing the Crackers Happy birthday to me while holding up a sign that reads Brando rules and I suck...First home game and I will also paint myself Orange and Blue and get a tattoo thats says Angelo is the man on my forehead."

http://blogs.suntimes.com/bears/2009/03/rocky_mountain_high_bears_repo.html

Now where exactly are you planning to be at Soldier Field Creighton? We need to know just in case fans mistake you for a stolen elephant from the lobby of the Field Museum or for Rosie O'Donnell making a surprise visit to Chicago. Mr. Biggs, if you're going to cover the Creighton story please be advised to pack a barf bag. It won't be pretty.

Man up, Creighton. Man up.

Blind side blocks.... Ward specializes in them! The true definition of a cheap shot artist! Talented receiver no doubt. Good blocker? You bet. However, I don't have much respect a guy that specializes in hitting someone from the blind side. There's no honor and skill in that. I agree with mrmick... "I'd like nothing more than to see Hines Ward looking out of the ear hole of his helmut after being hit by Peanut. Ward has taken plenty of cheap shots on DB's not watching out for him. It would be great if the Bears give him some of his own medicine". Dave, you are wrong brother.... while it may be legal it is still a cheap thing to do. Ronnie Lott was a cheapshot artist and so was Atwater. Hard hitters true, but still cheap shot artists all the same. I say square up and hit them but hitting a guy that isn't expecting it isn't hard-nosed football and it isn't skill at all. Take the guy on and battle it out.

Dave,

Just because it doesn't break the rules doesn't mean it's not cheap. You can block a guy without hurting him. Ward has made a career out of trying to hurt people, so he can intimidate other people, to get the edge.

It's cheap.

Catch the ball, score a touchdown, and beat them. That's how the game is supposed to be played.

I don't care! Hit Ward and hit em hard!! Then hit em again!!
Hit em when the play is run to the opposite side!!

Yeah OK mrmick, Mike S. and daveiswrong. You guys call Ward a dirty player but I'm sure if he played for the Bears you'd be saying things like:

"Ward just plays the game like it's meant to be played!"

"That rascal Ward is just old school!"

"Sure he gave that guy a concussion, ruptured his spleen, and forced him to live a life where the only thing he can eat is puréed food. But Hines Ward just loves the game of football."

Heck, I'd love to see Hines Ward in a Bears uniform leveling Al Harris or Charles Woodson. Anyone disagree???

Kevin:

Some good comments about the Bears receivers and Drake. I have to agree that there is quite a bit of potential with this group and Hester seems to be getting better year by year as a receiver.

Knox and Bennett also are potentially good young talent which I hope develop into top level NFL receivers. The Steelers D will test this group on Sunday, I cannot wait to see the game. It should turn into a passing game because both teams will probably have a tough time running the ball. Without Palomalu the 15 yards and more passes might be open more frequently. It will be the soft underbelly of the Steelers defense which I hope that Cutler and the receivers take advantage of during the game.

I have been pretty critical of the receiver play (Green Bay game) and experience of the receivers, I have never questioned their potential however and I would love to see them really stand out to help win the game.

Nothing would make me happier than to have this wide receiver group prove that they can win it all without a proven NFL vet receiver as part of the cast. I just hope that when and if the playoffs come that they will be clutch under pressure as will be needed for the team to win a SuperBowl.

That catch in the endzone by San Antonio Holmes in the last seconds of the game to win the Super Bowl and the Plaxico Burris clutch catch against New England the year before were not done by rookies. If the Bears get to the SuperBowl this year, I hope that these young guys will be as clutch as the two vet receivers mentioned above.

Bears 21 Steelers 17

Go BEARS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I guess the NFL should institute the rule you can't blitz a qb and hit him from the blindside too. As by Mike S. and Daveiswrong's definition, those hits are cheapshots.

Football is meant for people to hit each other. They get millions of dollars to play a game. They know the risks involved and choose to play. You do what you have to do to win the game as long as it is within the rules. It is rather sad that probably the greatest safety of all time (Ronnie Lott) by your definition is a cheapshot artist.

You guys saying Hines Ward is a cheapshot artist have no idea what you're talking about. You hit as hard as you can as long as it's legal, period. If you can't handle that, try ping pong.

Hines Ward is my favorite receiver, though he's on the downside of his career. He's the kind of player who helps win championships, not only with his play but also with his attitude and smarts. If only the Bears had him or someone even close.

Hines who?????????

Long time Steeler fan here,

Hines has been around a long time, why hasnt anyone else been able to ear hole Hines by now 10 yrs later? Hines is too football smart to put himself in a position to get hit like that even though he goes over the middle. The fact that all of you fans make a big deal about a wide receiver who hits cornerbacks is laughable. Wards motto is that i will hit you first before you get me, so look out panda bears when Ward comes looking for you!

I forgot,

The secret to Hines big blocks is that he puts the db's to sleep for a while, then football fans guess what, the steelers have plays put in for Hines to light someone up, its not by chance, its planned.

Since hines was a quarterback and student of the game he knows where everyone is and where they are going and what play we can run for him to knock someones head off..So again cub bears, dont get Hines upset or lookout, wham!!

I also want to say to Bear's fans that Steeler fans do respect the team and the fans, from Ditka, 85', butkus, outdoor stadium, etc.

We also had to put up with years of a lack of quaterback, whenever a team misses on a franchise quarterback it hurts for years to come,
I would say that the bears drat picks have been weak, especially on offense.

In 2003 the bears took with the 14th pick Michael Haynes, with the steelers grabing Troy p, at 16.
In 2005 the bears pick another bust in Cedric Wilson at number 4, leaving Shawne Merriman go at #12.

Watch for the Steelers version of hester on Sunday, his name is Stephan Logan..

Good Luck.

Ward is on his way to hall of fame & his hits make the other team aware & create a distraction/edge.Its legal & it works.ask the Ravens,they think they're a bunch of tuff guys but 2 of them got knocked out in the AFC title game,1 on a stretcher.Physical football,imposing your will,thats all.So bears fans,sit back relax & cover your eyes because Ryan Clark may come callin too :o)

Hey looser stealer fans. Ward is a p#### and an average recevier at best. You really think Hienz Ward will get into the HOF? For what? Blocking real good? HAHAHAHA!!!

Oh yeah let me introduce my self to you clowns. I am Creighton, king of all bears fans. Everyone on this blog knows and respects me sense I know more about the Bears then anybody. I also know some things about the Stealers and I know how bad there oline is and I know that Big Ben is going to come crashing down. I do like Rashard Mendenhall though and wished the Bears drafted him instead of Matt Forte.

Oops did I just bring it? I think I did. And guess what I have 164 freinds on facebook. Are you loosers jelous or what?

hi creighton. looking forward to seeing you in some HOT PINK PANTIES tomorrow at the game!! we are gonna look for a chubby knee growing it up singing a song talkin about brando this and i manned up that. what do you think the final score of the game tomorrow will be creighton? no matter who loses, you are the winner!

unless you back out of what you said you'd do way back in the off season about the cutler trade. then you are in fact not the winner.

Hines Ward is a fine football player. Just the kind of guy that makes me wish we still had a guy like Butkus to make him think twice...

Like 3:05 right here...

http://neswsports.com/2008/08/05/dick-butkus-video-highlights-tribute/

These comments have degenerated a bit to pure silliness. I think Hines Ward will definitely go to the Hall of Fame,and have mixed emotions about "cheap" blocks. I don't recall throwing many of those myself, but as a defensive back I loved to see how far I could knock a halfback into the seats when he was running down the sideline in my area.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on September 18, 2009 5:06 AM.

Bears-Steelers injury report, Thursday, Sept. 17 was the previous entry in this blog.

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