One play before Bears offensive coordinator Ron Turner called the play-action pass to tight end Desmond Clark that resulted in a game-winning 34-yard touchdown, he noticed Packers safety Nick Collins cheating toward the line of scrimmage to stop the run.
It was easy to detect from Turner's seat high above Lambeau Field in the coaching box.
But that's not the ideal vantage point for every coach, as Bears defensive coordinator Bob Babich reiterated Thursday after practice. Babich still likes to be able to see his players' eyes on the sideline and use emotion to help him make a point.
He was asked if the mechanics of calling a game from the sideline without the benefit of a better view still suited him.
"I feel really good about it,'' Babich said. "Obviously the first half [against the Packers] I didn't enjoy it but the second half was fine. There are no changes there.''
It's an interesting contrast, and reveals part of the difference between offensive and defensive approaches on the Bears and most teams. Offense is precision-based and calls are set up plays and series in advance as Turner did from the booth in Green Bay. Defense, while complex, still involves emotion and motivation and intangibles that Babich believes he can supply better from the sideline.
Which is better? Impossible to answer. Here are some questions that aren't.
Can you suggest to the Bears management to have Cedric Benson sit down for 24 hours and watch Walter Payton tapes on how not to run out of bounds after six yards and run over people to get a couple more yards or more. I was so ticked when he ran out, and John Madden even made a comment about how he would not allow his runners do that. --Tim Furler
Criticize Benson for being heavy-legged, aloof or prone to fumbles more than he should be. But be careful suggesting he lacks toughness or seeks to avoid contact. In fact, a column in preseason addressed the need for Benson to run smarter and avoid collisions whenever possible to preserve his body from the wear and tear NFL featured backs endure. Bears coaches even discussed that with the running back.
Yes, running through the final tackler and seeking out someone to deliver a blow to before going down can make a strong statement to defenses as well as teammates. But if Benson can avoid a potential injury by ducking out of bounds and sacrificing a few feet so he can stay healthy and strong for his 25th carry later that game, it seems like smart running. Wonder how many times Earl Campbell, who needs a cane to walk these days, wishes he would have trotted out of bounds rather than take on a tackler for a measly half-yard that ultimately hurt him - and his team because it shortened his career.
Judge Benson by his numbers and his style but not by Payton. He always will be the standard in Chicago and around the NFL but, when it comes to pro running backs, he is the exception and Benson much closer to the rule.
During the last quarter of Green Bay game did you see the sideline shot of Griese talking things over with his backup? Grossman was nowhere to be seen. He doesn't even have a clipboard and headset on. Do you think he is history? --Bruce Faubel, Ladd, Ill.
Maybe soon this issue will be history. Consider Grossman's involvement in sideline discussions with Griese the most overblown topic of the week. It's true that the best thing Grossman can do is learn and absorb everything that goes on during an NFL game but TV cameras rarely tell the entire story.
Grossman has an earpiece that keeps him abreast of every play and he has had sideline conversations with Griese cameras have missed. Players and coaches say Griese and Grossman have a fine working relationship. They aren't buddies but they aren't enemies either as many people imply by criticizing Grossman for giving Griese space on the sidelines. You also are assuming that Griese wants Grossman in his ear at every turn, which may or may not be true.
Was Griese always in the picture with Grossman during timeouts, etc.? Chances are nobody can accurately answer that because "Where's Brian?'' wasn't a favorite game for fans to play during timeouts the way "Where's Rex?'' has become. It's all the rage, and mostly irrelevant.
Watch: Rex Grossman will leave the Bears at the end of the season and become another Jim Harbaugh. He doesn't have the scrambling ability but he has the arm. How come we never hear about how the Bears blew it with Harbaugh? --Chuck Fiandaca, Altamonte Springs, Fla.
Good comparison. Both were first-round draft picks with the Bears who didn't live up to expectations despite having a degree of success in Chicago. Both possess as much moxie as talent. Both one day will reflect on their NFL careers and be better for having Chicago in their rear-view mirrors. Harbaugh represents the best example Grossman can refer to if and when the inevitable day comes next winter and he and the Bears sever ties.
As much respect as Harbaugh earned in Chicago during his Bears career from 1987-93, he played well enough in his second stop in Indianapolis to gain entry into the team's Ring of Honor. Consider that: Harbaugh spent four seasons with the Colts and went down as one of the franchise's football immortals, which might say more about the franchise than Harbaugh. But when Harbaugh left Chicago, his popularity had sunk to the depths Grossman can relate to, yet a change of scenery changed his entire career and NFL legacy.
With teams avoiding kicking off to Devin Hester, will we see more teams kicking those "bloopers" to the 35-40 yard line as the Packers did? If so, how could Bears counter that and get more of a return? --John, Rochester, Minn.
If teams don't at least try what worked for the Packers to neutralize Hester, then they do so at their own peril. It makes no sense to put the ball into the arms of the most dangerous return man, statistically, in NFL history. The Packers tradeoff was giving the Bears average field position at the 35-yard line in the second half and everybody at Lambeau Field understood. The Bears aren't going to stop teams from doing that by positioning Israel Idonije or John Gilmore in spots where they are likely to catch short kicks. But it's also a risk asking players good enough to do something with the football, such as tight ends Desmond Clark and Greg Olsen or fullback Jason McKie, in those spots because of the threat of injury on special teams. The Bears offense also can help convince teams it's a bad idea to kick short by taking advantage of the good field position and getting points out of those shorter drives.
So Lance Briggs has 19 tackles against the Packers while Jamar Pippen, uh, Williams, has migraines during a must-win game at Green Bay. Is Jerry Angelo still convinced Briggs isn't worth top-tier money? --Mark Early, Arlington, Va.
First, migraines are nothing to make jokes about in an NFL era where concussions remain one of the game's most serious problems. Two teams, in fact, the Raiders and the Colts, have taken steps to address the matter by having portable CT scanners named the CereTom at their respective stadiums to check players for brain bleeding or injury. Jamar Williams' problem with a migraine headache doesn't diminish in any way the progress he has made in a reserve role this year or the confidence the team would have in him if he were to replace Lance Briggs.
The Bears' interest in re-signing Briggs would have more to do with locking up one of the game's best all-around linebackers than it would with any dissatisfaction with Williams, who is tougher than you suggest.
The O-line is just bad and for sure will be addressed in the off-season, but do the Bears have to get two new tackles, or can they try and get a new left tackle and move John Tait to the right side? --Joe B., Milwaukee
Moving Tait would be a mistake and nothing the Bears are considering. It's much harder to find left tackles than right tackles and Tait's switch to the left side before the 2005 season stabilized the offensive line. Fred Miller hasn't had the best start to the 2007 season on the right side, and perhaps his age has begun to show more than other players on the line. But his veteran status earns him longer than five weeks to conclude he has to go and the line stinks. They haven't blocked well as a unit or controlled the line of scrimmage as in the past but this season the Bears have few options. They have to get younger next off-season and sign a free-agent and draft at least one quality offensive lineman in the first three rounds of the first day.
I'm not conceding this year yet, but I am thinking about the future of the QB position. If Dallas franchises Tony Romo, isn't he worth giving up the two first-round picks to sign? He's going to be much more of a sure thing than anything they could draft in the 15-25 spot they'll probably end up drafting. And the money paid for two first-round picks would probably cover the bonus and Year 1 of Romo's contract anyway. --Michael Cross, Forsyth, Ill.
A Bears fan can dream. Expect the Cowboys to lock up Romo long-term before it reaches the point in February where they have to decide whether to stick a franchise tag on him. But if that remote possibility occurs, the Bears likely would have to throw in two first-round picks, a current starter and a floor at the new Trump Tower in Chicago to get Dallas owner Jerry Jones not to give Romo a small fortune to remain a Cowboy for life.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times