Miami, Fla. — Jones, Benson respect Indy’s run defense
The last time the Indianapolis Colts faced a running back tandem as prolific as Chicago Bears runners Thomas Jones and Cedric Benson, Jacksonville rushers Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor scampered for nearly four football fields worth of yardage on the Colts.
The Jaguars amassed 375 rushing yards in a 44-17 victory at Alltel Stadium, but that was on Dec. 10. The Colts’ run defense was shaky the remainder of the regular season, but Jones and Benson aren’t going to be lulled into a false sense of security since the Colts have improved their run defense in the playoffs.
“When you watch film against any team and you see running backs getting holes, you lick your chops, just in general,” said Benson, who rushed for 647 yards during the season and 105 in the playoffs. “But they have stepped it up in the playoffs. We don’t doubt it will be stepped up even greater on Sunday.”
The Bears have been effective running the ball in the postseason, rushing for 120 yards at 3.5 yards per carry against the Seahawks in the NFC Divisional round, but improving in the NFC Championship Game, helping to keep the Saints offense off the field with 196 yards at 4.5 yards per carry in the victory, with Jones rushing for 123 yards.
Jones noted that the Colts’ run defense changed dramatically when Colts safety Bob Sanders returned from injury.
“He makes a big difference in their defense,” said Jones, who had 1,210 rushing yards during the regular season and 189 in the playoffs. “They do a really good job of doing their stunts and blitzes. They’re making plays, they have great players on defense.”
Urlacher says football is ‘ultimate challenge’
For most of the season, there’s a checklist outside the Bears practice facility at Halas Hall that implores the Bears to “play angry.”
Some Bears have cited it as a motivational tool, but Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher pays no mind.
“I don’t even pay attention to it. I don’t play angry, I have fun when I play,” Urlacher said. “If you need something right now to get you motivated, then I don’t even know why you play football because it’s the ultimate challenge right there.”
Urlacher also weighed in on the last Bears Super Bowl team, the iconic 1985 Bears who had one of the best defenses in NFL history.
“During the season it seems like every day [the media] wants to compare us to them,” Urlacher said. “We don’t compare. They won a Super Bowl and we have a chance to do that, but look at their numbers – they were amazing. They were dominant. We’ve had games we were dominant, they were dominant all season.”
Urlacher said he doesn’t think about his place in the pantheon of Bears middle linebackers. Hall of Famer Bill George pioneered the position with the Bears in the 1950s, followed later by Hall of Famers Dick Butkus and Mike Singletary.
“I’m happy to try and fill the shoes of the guys who played before me, but I’ve never felt a burden. Our fans love defense and luckily I get to play defense in one of the best stadiums in football,” Urlacher said.
Bears weigh in on Manning’s hand signals
Several Bears weighed in on Colts quarterback Peyton Manning’s gesticulations at the line of scrimmage before he snaps the ball.
Is it real or a ruse to confuse the defense?
“He is questioned all the time because a lot of people say it is just for show. But they have a lot of guys running free through the defense, so it is not for show,” Bears defensive end Alex Brown said. “You have a guy running through the defense and everybody is like, ‘Wow, why is he so wide open?’ It’s because Peyton changed the play.”
Bears linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer isn’t so sure some of Manning’s hand signals aren’t intended to confuse.
“You’re not going to figure out what they all mean, but a lot of times, you can figure out what some of them don’t mean. I think on a lot of them, he’s just trying to get you off your game,” Hillenmeyer said. “He holds his hands up for the ball just to try to get the defense to show what — if they’re running pressure, where they’re coming from. It becomes a little bit of a chess game with your guys looking to disguise and them trying to get you out of your routine.”
NFL names officiating crew for Super Bowl
The NFL has announced the officiating crew for Sunday’s Super Bowl game with the Bears. Tony Corrente, a 12-year league officiating veteran, will be the referee. He will be joined by Carl Paganelli (umpire), George Hayward (head linesman), Ron Marinucci (line judge), Jim Saracino (field judge), John Parry (side judge) and Perry Paganelli (back judge).
A five-man backup crew of Jeff Triplette (referee), Butch Hannah (umpire), Carl Johnson (line judge), Buddy Horton (field/side judge), and Rich Reels (back judge) was also named.
Billy Joel, Prince will provide entertainment
Billy Joel and Prince made appearances at the Super Bowl Media Center on Thursday, with the latter providing a mini-concert that lasted approximately 15 minutes.
Joel has been tapped to sing the national anthem prior to Sunday’s game. It will be his second time handling those duties. Prince, meanwhile, will be the halftime entertainment.
Miami, Fla. — Jones, Benson respect Indy’s run defense
- CNHI News Service Originals
Donnelly forges bonds, reaches across aisle
When Indiana’s freshman senator joined a small group of Senate centrists two weeks ago to quietly begin forging a plan to end the shutdown of the federal government and keep the U.S. from defaulting on its debt, he was convinced it was what his Hoosier constituents wanted him to do.
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Colts arrive ready to get down to business
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