Lovie Smith says bye week comes at an ideal time for Bears
BY ADAM L. JAHNS firstname.lastname@example.org October 8, 2012 8:00PM
Chicago Bears v Jacksonville Jaguars
Updated: November 10, 2012 6:22AM
Two more days of practicing in fall — maybe, winter-like — weather and some Bears can search out warmer climates if they please.
It’s a bye week for the team.
“I am a fan of bye weeks. I think it’s needed,” coach Lovie Smith said Monday. “It’s good for the team. I know the team looks forward to that break. We love football, but it’s OK to take a little break, get away from it, and be a football fan for a week.
“For us, [it’s] an ideal situation. You want to go into your bye week on a win playing good football and then get ready for the next [week]. We know the next time we come back it’s straight through. Guys realize that. But we all want to enjoy this week off.”
With how well things are going though, some Bears sound as if they prefer to keep playing for the time being. Their 41-3 shellacking of the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday left them yearning for more.
‘’Guys are playing well — [there’s] no other way to put it,’’ defensive end Julius Peppers said. ‘’We’re playing well. We’ve got to continue. The bye’s not coming at the best time. It is, but it isn’t. We’re playing well [and] we want to continue riding this wave. But it’s a good opportunity to rest up and get guys healthy.”
The Bears have won three in a row by a combined score of 98-27. With linebacker Lance Briggs and cornerback Charles Tillman racing their way into record books, the defense has accounted for more points (35) than opponents have scored in the last three weeks.
There also are plenty of positive things quarterback Jay Cutler, running back Matt Forte and the much-maligned offensive line have going.
The Bears will practice Tuesday and Wednesday before breaking up until Monday. Their next game is Oct. 22 against the Detroit Lions on “Monday Night Football.”
“You never want to take those 10 days with a loss,” Cutler said. “We’re headed in the right direction.”
As Peppers said, injured players — or simply banged-up ones from the first five games — get time to heal some wounds.
“Earl Bennett, Evan Rodriguez, guys like that should be good to go next time we play,” Smith said.
Bennett has missed two games with a left hand injury, while Rodriguez has a knee injury.
“It’s always perfect when given the opportunity to heal up all the bumps and bruises and get those cleaned up,” defensive end Israel Idonije said.
Last year, the Bears were off in Week 8 and returned to defeat the Philadelphia Eagles 30-24 on “Monday Night Football.” Historically, the Bears also have done well after their week off under Smith, going 5-3 in his tenure and 5-1 in the last six seasons. But it should be noted that all three of the losses came after bye weeks before Week 7, like this year’s.
The Lions had their bye week in Week 5, but unlike the Bears, they went into their off week reeling after three consecutive losses. The Lions play at Philadelphia on Sunday.
“We sit pretty good,” Tillman said. “We’ll enjoy the [win over the Jaguars] and hit the reset button.”