To borrow a Lovie Smith-ism, Sunday looks like Bears Weather.
“This is football weather,” John Fox said Friday. “I love this weather.”
While we wonder what isn’t a proper football climate — island breezes? — here are 10 more question marks as the Bears prepare for the Broncos:
1. Is Sunday just another game?
Are you nuts? Just because Fox doesn’t talk publicly about it doesn’t mean the cadre of 2014 Broncos at Halas Hall — at least 14 coaches, players and front office members — won’t take Sunday personally.
“Being part of that organization last year and being released and coming here, I play with that chip on my shoulder,” linebacker Lamin Barrow said. “I’m looking forward to this game.
“Coach Fox, Coach (offensive coordinator Adam) Gase, they might not say as much — that it’s the next game — but what better opponent to get to .500 than having a chance to beat the Broncos?”
2. How did Hroniss Grasu sleep at night?
Carefully. Since injuring his neck in practice Oct. 28, the rookie center had to sleep without pillows, and with a rolled-up towel supporting either side of his head, so it wouldn’t move.
“It wasn’t very comfortable at all,” he said. “But it’s part of the process, part of the game.”
Grasu is probable to return to game action Sunday, and said he assumes he’ll start.
3. Do Broncos eat their former coaches?
The team is 6-2 all-time against their former coaches, beating Dan Reeves (Falcons) three times, Wade Phillips (Cowboys) once and Mike Shanahan (Redskins) once. Lou Saban (Bills) won his only matchup with the Broncos, while Ray Malavasi (Rams)
4. Can the desert kid play in the cold?
Since leaving Flathead High School in Kalispell, Montana, Broncos quarterback Brock Osweiler has started exactly one game when it was freezing at kickoff. Almost exactly four years ago — on Nov. 12, 2011 — he went 28-for-44 for 351 yards and one score in Arizona State’s 37-27 loss at Washington State. It was 32 degrees.
5. One Broncos quarterback knows Chicago weather, right?
Rookie Trevor Siemian, who started 14 games at Northwestern, will be the second-stringer with Peyton Manning out.
“I’m lucky I get to go against the best defense in the league every week,” the seventh-round draft pick told reporters this week. “I think it’s given me an opportunity to go against, obviously, a really fast defense, and get myself ready that way.”
Share Events on The Cube6. Don’t we know another Bronco who replaced a veteran in his first NFL start?
Jay Cutler took over for Jake Plummer as a rookie.
“As a rookie, you don’t really know how to play NFL football yet,” Cutler said. “You don’t know how valuable the ball is. You’re just trying to make some completions and hopefully win a game.”
7. Wait, the Bears are favored now?
For the first time this season. The spread opened at Broncos -3, but Manning’s injury swung it back to the Bears as one-point favorites.
Others have the game as a pick ‘em.
If the Bears are favored at kickoff, the 49ers become the last remaining team NFL rated an underdog in every game this year.
8. Why do the Broncos sub out linemen?
Offensive coordinator Rick Dennison got the idea when he moved tackle Blake Brockermeyer around as the Broncos’ offensive line coach in 2002-03. This year, the Broncos have been rotating players at left tackle and playing three guys at two guard spots. They think it helps keep pass-rushers honest.
9. It’s homecoming for more than Bears coaches, yes?
Yup. Broncos special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis and linebackers coach Reggie Herring spent last season at Halas Hall. DeCamillis said this week that kicking at Soldier Field was rough, between the wind and the shaky turf.
10. So what’s with Gase’s beard?
It’s for luck.
“You’ve seen ‘Bull Durham,’ right?” the offensive coordinator asked. “Respect the streak.”
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