Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith is making the most of the extra time away from his player. Beyond using these lockout days to go over game plans and review extensive film, Smith will be using the time to help better educate his coaching staff. To that end, former Super Bowl-winning coach Tony Dungy will visit Halas Hall tomorrow to meet with the entire group.
"We're just going to talk football for a day," Smith told Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune. "There aren't a whole lot of us still in our system who believe in it the way we do. We're pumped up about him coming."
Dungy was the head coach in Tampa Bay when Smith was linebackers coach and current Bears defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli was head of the defensive line. Dungy helped develop the Cover 2 defense Chicago currently employs. Both men have credited Dungy with their development as NFL instructors.
In addition to bringing in Dungy, Smith's head staff has conducted teaching sessions for the other coaches. Coordinator Mike Martz has demonstrated the way he teaches his quarterbacks to throw, while Marinelli has held pass-rush clinics, Pompei said.
All the extra preparation has been done toward achieving one goal: beating the Green Bay Packers.
"Everything has to be about beating our rival, as it is every year," Smith said of the Packers. "And there is a little bit of added emphasis on it this year. They are at the top of the hill.
"We match up pretty good with them," he said. "Your gauge has to be the Super Bowl champion. We beat them here. They beat us there [and at Soldier Field in the playoffs]. All three games could have gone either way. There should be some more classic matchups between the two of us. We can't wait."
Smith also questioned the amount of actual progress that can be made during player-only workouts, like the ones Jay Cutler recently organized.
"It's a good thing whenever teammates can get together and work out, but as far as really getting ready for the season, it doesn't do it," Smith told Pompei. "Why would you go through OTAs if that was the case? When our players get here, we're saying we're starting from scratch.
"No matter what guys say, it's one thing to have a personal trainer and be working out on your own; it's different when you are working out in this environment," he said. "You can't condition for football stuff without football."
Ditka says Megatron "non-catch" ruled incorrectly
WR Calvin Johnson
Former Bears coach Mike Ditka recently spoke as part of a Gridiron Greats function in Novi, Mich. He did not hold back when asked to give his interpretation of last year's Week 1 controversial call in the Bears/Lions game that reversed a late-game touchdown by Detroit receiver Calvin Johnson.
"The game in Chicago they got stolen from them," he said. "That should never have happened. I don't give a [expletive] what the rule says. That's a bad rule and it was interpreted wrong and it was officiated poorly."
Ditka was also very positive about the Lions' potential going forward.
"So you take that, you add it on to the way they finished the season," he said of Detroit's four-game winning streak. "They've got a good, young coach. They've got a good, young quarterback. They've got as good of a defensive line in football. They've got a hell of a receiver. They've got a good running back. They've got a lot of things in the mix right now."
Bears coaches did not support NFLCA brief
Bears coaches were just one of the many staffs throughout the NFL that did not support the brief filed by the NFL Coaches Association with 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, asking owners to end the lockout. In fact, Chicago's staff was not even aware the brief was being filed.
"The Chicago Bears coaching staff was not made aware of the brief filed with the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals by the National Football League Coaches Association," Bears coaches said in a statement.
"We were not contacted and had no knowledge that any such brief would be filed. The Chicago Bears have not authorized the NFLCA to speak on their behalf on issues related to the litigation involving the players and the NFL. We are very appreciative of how the Bears organization has handled the conditions of employment during the work stoppage."
The Bears are at least the eighth NFL team whose coaching staff did not approve or know about the brief filed by the NFLCA. Others include the Redskins, Saints, Jaguars, Cowboys, Rams, Texans and Chiefs.
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