Bears once offered Olin Kreutz $15 an hour to serve as O-line consultant

The Bears offered Olin Kreutz a job to serve as player consultant under Harry Hiestand for just $15 an hour. Seriously.

The Chicago Bears have garnered a reputation for being a cheap organization. As Mike Ditka once said about the great George Halas, “(Halas) throws nickels around like manhole covers.”

Well, this story from former Bears center Olin Kreutz isn’t going to help the franchise shed that reputation.

Kreutz appeared on 670 the Score Friday, where he explained that former Bears offensive line coach Harry Hiestand wanted to bring him aboard in 2018. Kreutz said the Bears offered him a position as a player consultant to work with the offensive line for a mere $15 an hour.

Seriously.

“That’s the way they do business,” Kreutz said on 670 the Score. “Those are the things that have to change.”

Recently, there’s been a discussion among former Bears players about wanting to be heard by the organization as a means to get the team on the right track.

Players like Kreutz, Charles Tillman, Alex Brown, Jerry Azumah and Patrick Mannelly have all expressed a desire to meet with the front office and share their thoughts on the organization.

One of the criticisms of Chariman George McCaskey and the Bears organization as a whole has been their inability to impact positive change. It doesn’t help that McCaskey and President/CEO Ted Phillips aren’t “football guys.”

So why not listen to some “football guys,” aka some former players who have some insight to provide that could help get this organization back on the right track?

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Throwback Thursday: Bears defense stifles Rams on SNF at chilly Soldier Field

On this edition of Throwback Thursday, we’re taking a look back at one of the high points of the Matt Nagy career — Bears vs. Rams in 2018.

Every Thursday throughout the 2021 regular season, Bears Wire will take a look back at some of the most memorable moments in Chicago Bears history that occurred on or near that given day.

December 9th, 2018: Bears defeat the Los Angeles Rams 15-6 in frigid weather

Matt Nagy had a memorable first year as the team’s head coach, winning 12 games to capture the NFC North division title. Of those 12 wins, however, the victory over the eventual NFC champion Los Angeles Rams might be the most impressive one. And for that, a lot of credit should go to former defensive coordinator Vic Fangio for neutralizing one of the most explosive offenses in the league that year.

The Rams visited the Bears for a Sunday night showdown in chilly temperatures. It was a far cry from the warmth of Los Angeles for the Rams and it showed, though they did get off to a hot start in the game. Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky threw his first of three interceptions on the opening drive, setting up the Rams in the redzone. But they felt the stifling Bears defense immediately and had to settle for three points.

Chicago responded with their own field goal drive, facing a Rams defense that was nearly as formidable as Fangio’s unit. The two teams were locked at 3-3 until Rams quarterback Jared Goff threw an ill-advised pick to linebacker Roquan Smith, setting the Bears up in prime scoring position. They would net another field goal to take the 6-3 lead, only to see the Rams match it and tie things up again. It was a defensive slugfest with neither team getting anywhere on offense. Interceptions by both teams finished out the half.

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Bears needed to do something to break the stalemate and got a boost from both offense and defense. Los Angeles got the ball to start the second half and the Bears defense flexed its muscle. After dropping running back Todd Gurley for a five-yard loss, the Bears took down Goff in the endzone thanks to nose tackle Eddie Goldman to get a safety and the lead. Now it was the offense’s turn to wake up.

Trubisky connected with receiver Allen Robinson three times on the ensuing drive, while also getting contributions from running back Jordan Howard. They would score the game’s only touchdown when Nagy called “Santa’s Sleigh”, a trick pass play designed to go to lineman Bradley Sowell. He scored to make it a 15-6 ballgame, which would be enough to hold onto the win the rest of the way.

All in all, the Bears picked off Goff four times and limited the Rams to just 214 total yards on the day. Fangio put on a clinic on how to stop Sean McVay and his offense and the Bears got their ninth win of the year. Unfortunately, the Bears have played the Rams three more times since, all on the road, and have lost each one. Perhaps things change if the two teams meet again on the lakefront in the next year or so.

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Rams QB Jared Goff has been terrible against the Bears defense

Rams QB Jared Goff has played his worst football of his career against the Bears, which is certainly promising for Monday night’s game.

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The Chicago Bears are set to meet the Rams in Week 7’s edition of Monday Night Football. Even though the Bears are a 6-point underdog, they haven’t had a problem stopping Rams quarterback Jared Goff when given the chance.

Expect Monday’s game to be no different.

In their previous two meetings, Goff has completed 31 of his 62 passes for a 50% completion percentage. In their first meeting, Goff went 20-of-44 passing for 180 yards, 4 interceptions, a fumble, and a 19.1 passer rating. In their second meeting, Goff went 11-of-18 passing for 173 yards, just 1 interception and an improved 69.9 passer rating.

He has played his worst football against the Bears in his career, and let’s not forget that 0-7 record during his rookie season.

Overall, it shows how dominant this Bears defense is. They’ve kept offensive guru Sean McVay in check both meetings. There’s no reason why they can’t do the same thing in their third meeting.

Goff has started this season with 10 passing touchdowns, 4 interceptions and a 4-2 record. That offense isn’t quite as good as they were in 2018, just yet. The Bears need to take advantage of that this week.

On the other side of the ball, the Rams defense won’t be easy to just roll past. They’ll give Nick Foles and the Bears offense some challenges. It’s just comforting to know how dominant this team is against Goff. That should play a key factor in their game Monday night.

Allen Robinson still isn’t over the double doink heard round the world

Bears fans, WR Allen Robinson feels your pain two years after Cody Parkey’s infamous double-doink missed field goal.

In a century of Chicago Bears football, there’s been a lot of heartbreak that fans have experienced over the years. But there’s nothing quite as painful as the double doink heard ’round the NFL world.

Even two years later, the mere thought of a football doinking off the upright or the mention of “double doink” brings those emotions flooding back. And fans aren’t alone in their heartache.

Sports Center asked people to name a sports moment that made them feel like the infamous Michael Jordan meme. And Bears receiver Allen Robinson couldn’t even finish his response…although it’s easy to infer “the double” refers to Cody Parkey’s infamous “double doink” missed field goal in the final seconds of Chicago’s wild card playoff loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in January 2019.

While it’s easier to laugh it off now, it still hurts thinking about what could’ve been had Parkey connected on that 43-yard field goal. The narrative surrounding quarterback Mitchell Trubisky would’ve been completely different. The Bears would’ve gotten stud safety Eddie Jackson back from injury in time for the divisional playoffs. And perhaps the Bears could’ve made a run for the Super Bowl.

Alas, we’ll never know. But it’s the not knowing that makes it difficult every time the “double doink” is mentioned.

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Allen Robinson has third-most contested catches among WRs since 2018

Lost in the poor QB play in Chicago has been the impressive play by Bears WR Allen Robinson.

Lost in the poor quarterback play in Chicago has been the impressive play by receiver Allen Robinson, who in two seasons has proven to be the No. 1 receiver the Bears have been missing.

While Robinson has shown the ability to get separation and make easy catches, he’s even more impressive when it comes to challenging defenders that contest passes at the catch point.

According to Pro Football Focus, Robinson ranks third in the NFL in most contested catches since 2018, which was his first season with the Bears. Robinson’s 40 contested catches ranks just behind Atlanta’s Julio Jones and Detroit’s Kenny Golladay, who both have 43.

In 2019, Robinson was the lone bright spot on Chicago’s abysmal offense. He had 98 catches for 1,147 yards and seven touchdowns — the first 1,000-yard season for a Bears receiver since 2014.

And the kicker is, he did it with questionable quarterback play amid a struggling offense where defenders knew he was getting the ball.

Robinson, who is entering the final year of his three-year deal with Chicago, has made it clear that he’d like to remain with the Bears for the long-term. General manager Ryan Pace has confirmed there have been internal discussions regarding an extension for Robinson, and locking up Robinson should be a priority for the Bears.

Pace has a knack for extending players prior to the start of the season, including  Charles Leno Jr., Akiem Hicks, Eddie Goldman and Cody Whitehair. Robinson could — and should — find himself on that list soon enough.

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Ranking each Bears’ free agency class under Ryan Pace

Bears GM Ryan Pace has had major hits and huge misses in free agency. But how does each of his FA classes stack up against one another?

There’s no doubt that NFL free agency is one of the most exciting time of the year for football fans. It’s the first major opportunity for teams to find new talent, shuffle their roster, and make the necessary changes to contend for a playoff spot in the season to come.

However, while a free agency class can take a team to the next level, another can cripple them financially and pull them down to the bottom of the division. When it comes to the Chicago Bears and general manager Ryan Pace, they’ve experienced both situations.

Pace, now in his sixth season leading the Bears, has had major hits and huge misses in free agency. But how does each of his free agent classes stack up against one another? Below is a ranking from Pace’s worst to best free agent groups between 2015 and 2019.

5) 2017 free agent class

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Key hits – CB Prince Amukamara

Key misses – QB Mike Glennon, S Quintin Demps, TE Dion Sims, WR Markus Wheaton

What a group, huh? When free agency officially opened, Pace inked Glennon, Demps and Sims to three-year deals right off the bat, possibly becoming one of the worst “big three” ever assembled in sports. Glennon, signed from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, was given the opportunity to start but only lasted four games before rookie quarterback and first-round selection Mitchell Trubisky took the reins.

Demps, meanwhile, truly only had one memorable play as a Bear which took place in week one when Atlanta Falcons tight end Austin Hooper stiff-armed the veteran to the ground on his way to an 88-yard score. Demps went on injured reserve just two weeks later. Both only lasted one season in Chicago.

Sims at least made it through two seasons, but was lackluster at best. Other signings such as receiver Markus Wheaton, who caught three more passes than I did for the Bears and cornerback Marcus Cooper, who’s most memorable moment in Chicago was showboating after an interception, turning a pick-six into a pick-three.

The only true standout from the class was cornerback Prince Amukamara, who was a consolation prize for the Bears after other corners such as A.J. Bouye and Stephon Gillmore spurned them for other teams. Amukamara became a solid starter for an eventual playoff team and turned his tryout into a bigger contract. But overall, this class was a colossal failure for Pace.

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It’s been 1 year since Cody Parkey’s double doink heard ’round the world

It’s been 1 year since Cody Parkey’s infamous “Double Doink” dashed the Bears’ playoff run and set into motion a bizarre kicker competition.

Bears fans would certainly like to forget the final play of last year’s wild-card playoff game, where Chicago hosted Philadelphia in a contest that was decided by a 43-yard field goal that has haunted the Bears ever since.

Sure, Bears fans would like to forget. But they’ve yet to been given the chance as Cody Parkey’s infamous “double doink” will forever be ingrained into the minds of the NFL world. (Much like I’m reminding you now.)

It’s hard to believe that it’s been one year. One year since Parkey’s missed field goal ended the Bears’ playoff run. A missed field goal that led to a circus-like kicker competition that ended with rookie Eddy Pineiro as the last kicker standing. A kick that ended a magical season that feels so far away removed after a disappointing 8-8 season.

Warning: Some viewers may find the following video disturbing. Viewer discretion is advised.

But it was Parkey’s infamous “Today Show” appearance the day after his double doink missed field goal that sealed his fate with the Bears. Matt Nagy described Parkey’s actions as “me not we,” and he was released by the Bears on March 13.

While the Bears look like they’ve found their kicker in Eddy Pineiro — at least for now — it doesn’t take away from the sting still still comes at the mention of a “double doink.”

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Ranking the top 20 Bears games of the decade

On the eve of a new decade, we’re counting down the Bears’ best games of this past decade — including some real blasts from the past.

Between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2019, the Chicago Bears played 164 games, including three playoff games, compiling a record of 78-86. Surprising playoff runs in 2010 and 2018 were sandwiched around lengthy stretches of mediocrity from 2013-2017, and fans were treated to a below-average product for much of the decade.

Still, there were quite a few bright spots for the NFL’s charter franchise during the last 10 years, including memorable games that provided thrilling victories. As a disappointing 2019 season concludes, let’s look back on some of the better games and moments the ’10s had to offer.

To kick off the next decade as we enter 2020, here are my top 20 Bears games from the 2010s.

20. 2019, Week 14, Cowboys at Bears

Bears 31 – Cowboys 24: Easily the best game of an otherwise disappointing season, the Bears offense came alive in primetime against the Cowboys, with quarterback Mitchell Trubisky accounting for all four touchdowns with his arm and legs in arguably his best game as a Bear. On defense, despite not creating a turnover, the unit frustrated the Cowboys offense all evening with QB pressures and excellent play from their secondary. The matchup was a pseudo-playoff game, with the Bears keeping their hopes alive for one more week in a complete-team win.

19. 2018, Week 8, Bears at Bills

Bears 41 – Bills 9: While the Buffalo Bills weren’t a powerhouse in 2018, the Bears defense still made their offense look completely inept in a blowout. Forcing four turnovers, including three interceptions from quarterback Nathan Peterman, the Bears scored twice on defense thanks to outside linebacker Leonard Floyd’s pick six and safety Eddie Jackson’s fumble recovery, and limited the Bills’ offense to just 264 yards. The reason this game isn’t higher on the list is due to the Bears offensive performance, as they gained just 190 yards.

 

18. 2011, Week 1, Falcons at Bears

Bears 30 – Falcons 12: No, this wasn’t the Bears-Falcons matchup that saw the debut of quarterback Mike Glennon, this was the first game following the Bears heartbreaking loss to the Packers in the NFC Championship game. Led by quarterback Jay Cutler, who threw for over 300 yards and two touchdowns, the Bears won convincingly against the reigning NFC South champions and held the Falcon offense to just six points. This game also featured an impressive performance from Hall of Fame linebacker Brian Urlacher, who had an interception and a fumble recovery for a score. The defense had a total of three takeaways and started the 2011 season with a bang.

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