Chicago Sun-Times

At least Lovie didn't say that the Bears get off the bus running

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bus.jpg

The bus is either in the junk yard to be sold for parts, or it's on the side of the Interstate somewhere, stripped down by a band of thieves.

The bus I am writing about is the one that Lovie Smith used to announce the Bears got off of running.

Thankfully, we haven't heard that refrain of late because, you know what, it's not accurate anymore. The Bears don't get off the bus running. They get off the bus throwing the ball. The Bears rank 30th in the league rushing with only Arizona (which has a promising rookie in Beanie Wells) and San Diego (which has a future Hall of Famer in LaDainian Tomlinson) below them. The difference is those teams have passing attacks that are winning for them.

But Smith, for some reason, still insists the Bears are a running team. Matt Forte has shown flashes at times this season, but the combination of Forte and the offensive line simply have not gotten the job done. Smith was asked about Jay Cutler's career-high five interceptions on Thursday at San Francisco and whether or not the lack of a running game contributed to the flurry of turnovers. Hey, you could say they get off the bus throwing interceptions, often in the red zone.

"Jay's our quarterback,'' Smith responded. "A lot goes into when you turn the ball over with an interception. Of course the quarterback will get blamed for it all. All of those weren't his fault. The running game will help that a lot. We need to get our running game going. We've said that all along. When you're a running team, the run will set up the pass. That hasn't happened for us yet but we'll stay committed to it. We'll try to run this week. Hopefully, some of that can change.''

Maybe that is one of the fundamental problems for the Bears this season. They don't have an identity. Has Smith miscast them as a running team? Are his expectations something that is unrealistic? Should the Bears look at themselves as a passing team and work to find ways to improve in that area? Just look at the numbers. The Bears have run the ball 201 times. They've passed it 340 times, putting them on pace for 604 attempts. That would be the second-most in franchise history behind only the razzle dazzle Gary Crowton brought to the offense in 1999.

The Bears are averaging only 85.2 yards rushing per game. That has them on pace for 1,363 yards rushing, which is just about what they produced during 2007, another post-Super Bowl XLI disaster.

If the Bears truly are a running team, well, they're worse off than anyone imagined.

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31 Comments

Brad: that's cold Man, you could have a least put some flat tires on this thing, we are still near .500.......LOL

The Bears could be a decent running team if they played the college boys in the Big Ten, they might be able to finish in the top 5 in rushing, maybe? They even might be able to have better than a .500% record, maybe?

But they probably would get outcoached, game in and game out. Those college coaches are smart.

most teams have two running backs that can produce ours are a midget named wolfe and a special teams player named adrain peterson who is nowhere near the talent of the other one up in minny. we need a powerback to compliment forte.. once again bone head angelo and lovie.. watched the steelers and bengals sunday and realized just how bad the bears really are..every team had multiple threats we have none!!!

Brad,
An excellent and accurate picture... But the bus should be Blue and Orange. What troubles me most by Smith repeating his refrain that "the Bears get off the bus running" is it just is not true. Or if it is true, it is a sad commentary on his own image of the Bears Offense. Frankly, I'd rather he stop talking nonsense.

Week Ten and still no identity?! This coaching staff are a bunch of confused, overpaid idiots! Keep on losing and changes will have to be made, money owed or not!

Achilles - you are exactly right. So many people talk about how "reliable" Adrian Peterson is, and rave about his special teams play. But he provides NO real option in the running game. If he did, even this staff would have tried him by now. He is also an 8 year vet at a position that usually lasts 4 years.

We need to get a new FB, and at least one new RB.

Hasn't Lovie said before or maybe it was Angelo "that the Bears consider the short passing game part of the running attack"? It may have been a writer but I believe its been said. So by that insane logic he may believe what he is saying.

He may be talking about the running game because the Eagles front four is beat up. In fact that whole defense is beat up. Also they may be starting Shaffer, with Pace possibly being "concused?" Shaffer is a good run blocker, so who knows, they do match up well with the Eagles, they can play zone against them, but if the Eagles defense shows up it will be a long day, Shaffer or Pace vs. Cole is not a great matchup.

As for the running game, its clear that Forte is not a power runner or a speed runner, he has no second gear and is to upright to be an effective power runner. He really is a 1 cut back and needs to play with a zone line. He is a nice third down option though. But really you can't be a running team when you pass the ball 50 times a game.

Their is hope for the future though, this offseason will probably not have a salary cap and their are a lot of good FA's this year, well if they make it to FA. But the Bears could rebuild the line with some good young talent. After all Angelo prefers to build the O-Line with FA's. Its just he prefers old FA's for some reason. He is probably drooling over Chad Clifton as I type, bad knees, mid 30's, now thats how daddy does it.

Its hard to imagine Turner getting the boot this year just cause I doubt anyone good would want his job. "Oh please can I come coach your talentless team?" It going to take like 5 pretty solid FA's to fix this offense. 2-3 linemen another RB, and a legit bigtime reciever. You probably won;t get a starter for the line with a 3rd round pick either, maybe a back though. The Bears are pretty much screwed for the next 4 years. Getting older not younger and a talent level that is dropping, and thats 4 years if they start hitting on their picks. If they keep doing what they have been doing, your talking about not begining to fix anything until 2014.

Angelo and his scouting group need to go. Fool doesn't believe in good recievers or offensive linemen.

By the way Hester in an interview today said its not like teams have dominated them, the boy is thick.

By the way an intresting note, their is no chance Phillips will ever be fired, the Bears where just valued at 1.1 Billion dollars. The Bears are the second most expensive game to attend in football, the Pats being number 1. Whats sad is the Bears are only a top 10 value ranking 9th in the nfl in value. However their true numbers are almost as good as it gets. The Bears will make around 298 million this year and their total expenses are about 179 million, so they can afford some FA's. No cap next year, and you know they will be raising the ticket prices next year.

http://www.forbes.com/lists/2009/30/football-values-09_Chicago-Bears_301335.html

chitown bear: it not cold at all.Its time to stop playing nice and sticking up for lovie..He is a horrible head coach.Ron Turner is a bad coach.The O-Line coach RB coach and QB coach All need to b fired!J.Angelo just spent all of our draft picks.we have no decent pick at all. they spent all this money on tommie harris ,Fail on nathan Vasher Fail.O Pace Fail.Olimaye ,Fail.Gaines AdAms sec rd pick for what? Fail.Owners Fail for not liteing a fire under Ja and Lovie after 3rd loss.Any of u who supports this team from here on out is not a friend of mine..U are either nieve.or have no common sence. We pay these peoples salaries! DO you understand that!I work hard to buy jerseys and go to games for what this? I DONT THINK SO>>>

The Bears Players need to be Coaches,Coordinators,and new playbook.Their play is so predictable.I could beat'em easily on Madden games on my playstation.I'm not surprised on those interceptions,even me i know were the ball's going.Defense did a good job,hopefully they'll do d'same on Eagles.

Reasons why I like the picture.

It is a double-decker where the offense can sit up top and view all the open holes in their offense without talented players and the defense can sit at the bottom and see all the holes the opposing team's offense is viewing and why they are easily run over or thrown to the open receivers in the Tampa Two Defense.

I think the picture is perfect for this sorry team.

chitownbear, it is on flat tires because of the sorry play-calling on offense and defense by the coaches. In other words those are the coaches at the bottom and this baby ain't going no where unless a wrecker comes to tow it away.

There are a couple unemployed coaches out there that have Super Bowl rings...Shanahan and Cowher just to name two. Just sayin...

It is hard to run the ball when your offensive line consists of 3 left tackles and the smallest center in the NFL. This line was not built to drive block.

Angelo's acquisition of Cutler and Omiyale has undermined a coaching staff that prefers power running, play-action and balance.

For goodness sake, let Kreutz coach the line in his pads and replace the interior linemen with 330 pound maulers.

"Throw the rascals out" seems to be the tenor of this blog's comments. I can't agree. I've said before that players, not coaches, play the game. I still think the Bears have the talent and depth to beat almost any other team and expect them to show that the rest of the season. Their offensive line has some younger guys still developing, and with that development better pass protection and a better running game are likely to to be evidenced.I refuse to throw up my hands in despair just yet. Optimism is getting more difficult to maintain, but the alternatives of gloom and depression hardly seems productive.

Anon & Mike in ft. wayne.....LOL....you boys obviously pick and choose which post you read, I thought Brad's picture of the Bus with no tires was funny, but if you want to take me on, know what you are talking about.....Here is a clip of my previous post regarding my position on Angelo and Lovie...."Realistically though Kevin A., we have already started the youth movement, we were not thinking it would actually result in the team getting worse while it was happening. The real reason Lovie and Angelo are on the launching pad right now is that THEY told us we were contenders, THEY sold the future for the present by brining in Cutler and trading for Gaines Adams. Lovie and Angelo expected breakout season's from Olsen, Bowman, Hester,Manning and improved performance from Brian, Harris, Ogunleye and the O-line by bringing in Pace, Omiyale and strating Williams. At this point in the season these moves have not worked for various reasons. I will always love my BEARS, and I appreciate Lovie and Angelo getting us back to the Super Bowl, but they must be held accountible for the decisions that they made, they are correct we STILL have a chance at the playoffs, and if by some miracle they pull it out it will be one of the great coaching jobs in Chicago Bear history, but it can't happen without a WIN this Sunday, this is the biggest game of the season and their tenure....I'll be watching and rooting for you Lovie and Angelo, but not because of you, because I love my TEAM......Go BEARS".......

Mow back to you two, your frustration as BEAR fans is duly noted gentlemen, but remember the NFL not only stands for Not for Long or No fun league, it also stands for Never Forget Lessons, the BEARS as a franchise do not have the greatest history when it comes to selecting coaches, for all those who want change remember it could also get worse.....some of the long-term bloggers know what I mean by this statement. Yes, Cowher, Holmgren, and Shannahan are out there, but that doesn't mean we will get them. I'm a realist when it comes to Lovie and Angelo, they have done better than anyone we have had other than the Founder and Ditka, but they have made some choices that have not panned out....These guys thought they were ready to WIN this season, that's why we have Cutler, if you think these guys would put their jobs on the line by making this deal thinking anything else then your'e crazy.....as I said before they picked these guys and put them on the field, they will be judged on the Wins and losses and the players performance, so if you want to call me a Lovie homer so be it, but I've seen much worse in Chicago and last night, Mangini(remember mangenius) yells and screams and put his players in pads and they stink, Marvin Lewis was on the choppping block, they stuck with him and the Bengals are going to the playoffs, last year Marvin was this year Lovie......it not just the coaches its also the players...each year is different. A coach is only as good as the players he has around him, Lovie is .550 because that is how players on his team perform!

"the razzle dazzle Gary Crowton brought to the offense in 1999."
Am I only the one who threw-up a little in my mouth when reading that?

Paul Manter: "Their offensive line has some younger guys still developing"
You mean like Shaffer, Kreutz, Garza, and Pace? Or do you mean the guys like Omiyale and Williams who've completely shiat the bed this year? I would say that of all the o-line guys Chicago has Beekman is the most mediocre. Kreutz is probably done he's just not getting it done any more. Pace the same.

mike in ft wayne: "The O-Line coach RB coach and QB coach All need to b fired!"
Slow your roll mike. Have you seen the patchwork pieces of crap players Chicago has had at o-line the last couple of years? I think Harry Hiestand is a farking miracle worker. Last year's o-line was bad but held up pretty well all season long. Look at this season. Garza is one year older and on the downside of his career. Pace is done as is Kreutz. Omiyale and Williams are getting okey-doked and manhandled all year long. Coaching cannot make up for BAD.

And where the heck has Johnny Knox been lately? Was it me or wasn't he scoring like a TD a week then barely made it on the field against San Fran? Brad am I wrong on that one? They dropped Manning back twice to return kickoffs and Knox once. Then I rarely saw him on the field on offense.

Paul, I, too, am a Cub fan and eternal optimist. But, you have to look at all the guys Angelo has brought in that Lovie and Turner couldn't make anything out of. Coaches have to develop talent and design schemes. When was the last time you saw a new play from the R. Turner offense? His idea of being creative is throwing an 8 yard out on first down (incomplete). Then he tries the same run up the middle on second down (gain of 1) to shorten the 3rd down try. Then, throw a 6 yard pass so they can punt. I am not convinced Angelo is the problem. Shaffer was a good lineman and Omiyale was pretty decent in Carolina. Williams was a nice prospect. Cutler was a star. Between stupid coaching and unimaginative scheme, they are all ineffective. And Kreutz isn't big enough to play center in the NFL anymore. It's time to move Williams to LT and put the bulk on the right side so they can at least run right. Has this even occurred to them. They decide what to do today based on what they did yesterday, whether it worked or not. Gee, I think I'll bang my head against the wall today because I bumped it yesterday. If it was up to me I'd keep Angelo and can Lovie and the staff. Get a good young offensive mind-- who is Sean Payton's OC anyway? Couldn't do worse.

And where the heck has Johnny Knox been lately? Also, why hasn't Devin Aromashodu played? This is why the bus tires are flat?

You got a kid running back kick-offs for TDs, catching at least one TD per game and getting you good field position by going over the middle. All of a sudden he disappears from the offensive scheme.

We got Aromashodu collecting dust on the sidelines. BIG RECEIVER!! OKAY, AT LEAST TALL RECEIVER! Why not use him? If we have become a passing team, it is time to use three-four receiver sets!!

And Hester running straight up the field is not the same as Randy Moss doing this with the Pats.

Oh what the heck, just watch the games until half-time and if the Bears are getting blown out, at least you can take the wife to a late lunch or an early dinner on Sundays.

Just read Fred Mitchell's article re Dan Grossman's assessment of the Bears and the QB situation. First, thanks to Fred and the Tribune for running this.

Second, this should be just the start of a "throw the bums out" movement by the fans, the bums being the Angelo/Smith cabal.

I can't argue with a single thing Dr. Grossman said.

My favorite quote: "You don't bring your quarterback in and say: 'We're going to get off the bus running. But on third-and-10, you've got to come through for us now!' "

You don't build an O line with other team's backups and over-the-hills. You don't try to build a receiving corps with converted DBs (thanks to Troy Aikman for noticing). You don't pour all your money into the defense, and while you're at it make wrong choices there too, caving in to spoiled pampered brats and further enabling them.

The culture stinks. It's ancient. It's rotten. As Dr. Grossman pointed out, the NFL has been a passing league for about 20 years now, but it seems to have passed the McCaskey's by.

This story could end very badly, with either Cutler's body or ego badly injured, perhaps beyond repair. But the folks at Halas will make sure he gets the blame. Just like so many others.

How long will the peasants stand for this?

Hey, don't knock OUR Adrian Peterson. He may not be up to Minnesota's AP but when he's allowed in, he produces. The carrys are limited but his average is twice Forte's.
He also led the nation in rushing yards in college.

Forgot to mention it but, where did you get the picture of the London double decker? It's sure seen better days.

By Anon on November 17, 2009 12:08 PM
"And where the heck has Johnny Knox been lately?"

Its called game film, the league catches up with players quickly.

You girls want a real scary thought? Well their is a lot of talk that Turner will be the fall guy this year. Right? Well the question after he is fired is who will replace him? Now, a lot of us would want someone with talent who knows what he is doing: Mooch, Kyle Shanahan, etc. But that is not the history of the Bears, given the Bears history of hiring stupid coaches, and a history of hiring college coaches who have been fired, could the Bears next offensive coordinator be Charlie Wies?

You all can go ahead and get sick now.

Oh and speaking of stupid coaches guess who just got fired in Buffalo?


I think the likely reason Johnny Knox has become invisible is because he was impacting the Devin Hester experiment -- the one where the Bears' braintrust (and I'm using that term loosely) are convinced that Hester is a #1 receiver and they are doing everything in their power to prove it.

You know, it's all part of the Bears 2009 Experimental Package -- proving among other things that:

Frank Omiyale can be a starting left guard
Orlando Pace can still be a starting left tackle
Williams is a right tackle
Kruetz is a center
Lovie is a coach
Turner can diagram plays
Angelo can distance himself from the mess on the field
The Bears get off the bus running
Throwing four picks in one game is not enough
Greg Olsen is Cutler's BFF -- at least off the field
Tommie Harris still has some punch
Wale Ogunleye can talk trash but can't take it out

chitownbear, your a true die hard, one of the few on this board, and I appreciate that. And don't get me wrong, I want to see the Bears win. I'm not rooting for the Bears to loose so Lovie and co can get fired. I would love for the Bears to win out. Now, will the Bears win out...probably not.

My issue with Lovie is the fact he sticks to his scheme on defense almost to a fault. And the sad fact of the matter is, Chicago simply doesn't have the personnel to make it go anymore. The really great coaches adapt to their personnel, Lovie doesn't seem to do that. Every single game its live or die by the Tampa 2, die more than live. I realize the injury to Urlacher didn't help matters, and Tommie Harris not playing at 100% hurts also. Thats not Lovie's fault, injuries happen, its football. What Lovie needs to do from here on out is tweak his defense to fit his current personnel. Thursday night vs the 49ers was a great start, the defense looked much better, if they can keep that up from here on out, Lovie did his job, hopefully they can.

Also chitownbear, I agree with you that Chicago is in a kind of youth movement right now with players like; Cutler, Forte, Olsen, Williams, Beekman, Bowman, Roach, Afalava, Hester, Knox, Bennett, Harrison, Gilbert, Kellen Davis and even rookie guard Lance Louis etc etc. I like the young personnel on this team right now, thats why I'm such a big Jerry Angelo fan. Angelo hit with players like Cutler, Forte, and Olsen. He muffed up with the Pace signing, the Kevin Jones extension, and trying to make Omiyale a left guard. These 3 personnel moves killed Chicago this year on offense. What Angelo needs to do from here on out is work on bringing in some more young linemen to continue to build that o-line. A young left guard is need #1. Also, Angelo needs to clean house with his runners, Peterson, Wolfe, and Jones have got to go. A free agent runner should be signed along with a draft pick at the position. Again, I like the young personnel on this team, they'll get better and so should the team as a result. I'd like to see Chicago stick with Angelo until his contract runs out in 2013. If he [Angelo] can get this o-line on track, the team will be a winner again GO BEARS!!

By Jerry Angelo Jr. on November 17, 2009 10:03 AM
"It is hard to run the ball when your offensive line consists of 3 left tackles and the smallest center in the NFL. This line was not built to drive block."

"Angelo's acquisition of Cutler and Omiyale has undermined a coaching staff that prefers power running, play-action and balance."

Are you kidding with this? Oh wait you named yourself after Angelo, that says it all.

First off Cutler is one of the best play action QB's in the NFL, but play action only works when you can run the ball. You know that right? The running game is not Cutlers fault, the running game is on the line, Forte and Turner. Believe me Cutler dreams of having a power running game, or do you think he likes being blitzed all day and hammered none stop? You see you counter the Blitz with the run. The Bears are having to pass the ball because they are constantly behind and because the line can't run block. So they are trying to force Cutler to do everything with little talent and no help. You realize they keep trying to run the ball and they keep getting stuffed, right?

Your blaming Cutler for the running game, what next the defense? Thats just crazy talk. By the way Kruetz is not the smallest Center in the NFL but he has played more games than just about any of them and its time for him to retire. He is not close to being what he once was, but that doesn't make him small. He can still get out on a screen better than most but his drive blocking is gone. By the way the offensive line is not Cutlers fault either although I am sure you are going their, neither are Angelo's draft picks, Turner has been here for years and the offense has been bad, and the defense has been bad now for 3 years. So while Cutler has not played well, their are extenuating circumstances that have nothing to do with him. Not a lot of QB's play real well when they are pressured 18-20 times a game. Manning has been sacked 8 times and pressured about 40 times this season, I am using Manning as an example because their running game is about as good as the Bears running game, but that line can pass block and he has better weapons. Not to say Cutler is as good as Manning, just saying with the right scheme, and players you can make it work one way or the other, running or passing. Poor drafting and bad coaching have led the Bears to this, not Cutler.

The Bears offense is not good at anything and that all starts with the line. A lot of problems, like disapline, point to coaching, lack of talent points to the GM. Remember its Lovie who doesn't want Cutler rolling out, he wants Cutler to stay in what I can only assume is a pocket that he imagins in his head. That right their is bad coaching.

Agreed Kevin A: Lovie is stubborn, but he has made changes to the personnel mostly at safety over the years that have gotten him into trouble, getting rid of Harris before we really knew Mike Brown was done and/or knowing that Payne gets caught too easily with play action fakes so pass plays go down the middle. Yes, last weeks scheme against the niners was solid, but can we duplicate this effort for the next seven weeks, and this will only keep us in games not win them, I'm not so sure.

Creighton, I see the same thing about our players and the game film has given teams ways to exploit the weaknesses of the young players, my earlier example on Payne being one. Remember the ATL game, when Roach got faked out on the TD to Gonzalez, and Knox who has not caught any long balls since earlier in the year-teams already know what routes he's running and sit on them when he's in the game, Olsen being taken away by Woodson everytime we play the slackers. All issues that the players and coaches need to be held to the fire about........But please don't scare me Creighton with the Weis reference,,,,you and I both know that can happen.......although I sure hope it won't....LOL

Philly is another winable game, especially with Westbrook banged up ! Hold Donovan to under 325 through the air and a 3 TD , 1 pick day from Jay and I'll be a happy camper, sunday night. Anyone else got suggestions on how we beat Philly!.......

Hey Jerry Jr., let me get this straight. The best way to undermine a coaching staff is to bring in a franchise QB.

I'll bet Tony Dungy still hates Bill Polian for drafting Peyton Manning. Think of how many SB's he might have won without number 18.

I mean who are you crapping. Are you sure you're not an illegitimate McCaskey/Ditka child?

I include Ditka because I am sick sick sick of the slavish kowtowing to a mediocre coach blessed with a great D. This guy was the epitome of the Bears franchise failure to recognize the value of a franchise QB and the passing of the torch in the NFL from a running league to a passing league. Remember: this deutsch bank couldn't wait to run McMahon out of the league on a rail. His outbursts with T-Zah and Harbaugh illustrate a "leader" who relishes dressing down his onfield leader whenever he could.

Have you noticed how many "defenses for the ages" win multiple SBs? The 85 Bears won one, and that's on deutsch bank Ditka. And the 00 Ravens? One also. But the the QB rich Niners won five. The "Smiths" is what Ditka called them. He couldn't hold Bil Walsh's jock strap when it came to coaching winners.

I'm sick sick sick of the Bears franchise history of ignoring or wasting the potential of QBS. It's a QB's league and until we get an ownership and GM and coaching staff that knows this, we will never get anywhere.

I wish like hell we could clean house and bring in a Mike Holgren, Bill Cowher or Mike Shannahan.

Move the team to LA, we need somebody to Boo

Teams with a 300-yard passer are 42-17 this season.Yes lovie is way too predictable.and maybe i went overboard with rb coach o-line coach or Qb coach but i will stand firm on my views on Lovie and Turner.Way too predictable on Off and Def.too many losses by 6 points or less.Too much Tampa-2.And Ja Just threw away picks.Gaines Adams come on what has he done we need o-lineman not someone elses problem at DE.Listen i am still a fan yes but i will not stand for anyone saying wait till next year anymore.we r in a depression and i work my but off to see games and buy jeseys and memorabilia.we pay thier salaries and i voiced my opinon and that is fire lovie smith and ron turner.Wont change either.

Everyone Who posts in this blog including you bradd.Yur the best!!!lol should read neil hayes article on the bears and "we dont deserve this".Hes totally right the biggest prob w/ bears is tier owners.ive known this all along but i chose to put it out of my mind till now.u chicago fans are way too dedicated.Do dare says cubs?Start doin what clev fans did protest! someone find all the luxury box holders and ask them if they even care? most of them are rich and probably dont even watch the games.This storied Franchise is been pathetic.Just read Neil Hayses article!!!

Start wearing bags to the games, like the Ain'ts in the old days. That would be a start. Stop buying jerseys and don't go to the games hungry or thirsty. If the opposing team scores on its first three drives, leave in droves.

I'm not going to tell any fan not to go see his fav team, though that would be the ultimate. I think the shame of a blacked out game would make the McCaskeys squirm.

If the Bears had an owner like Cuban or the steelers owner or even jerry jones.although i cant stand the cowboys....Th e Bears would b in the superbowl or playoffs every year!this city's fans are the ultimate place for a storied franchise. too bad it's fallen so far...too bad we have Owners who arent looking like they care or are willing to say hey we make a mistake and we'll fix it..no they dont even talk.i dont think ive ever heard virgina's voice?Well i hope soon er or later someone hears our voices.Presumeably...the Mc Kaskeys......shouting out from from the fort!!!

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on November 16, 2009 6:38 PM.

Did Pace suffer a concussion or not? Left tackle suited up today was the previous entry in this blog.

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