A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Nov. 29:
Frank Omiyale. The veteran offensive lineman played the past three seasons with the Bears, starting 31 games at left guard, left tackle and right tackle. With the injury problems the Bears are having on their line, there’s a pretty good chance he’d be starting this week against the Seahawks.
Except that Omiyale signed with the Seahawks in free agency in March.
“It’s not a big deal, but I’m excited to see some of the guys,” he said today of returning to Soldier Field as a member of the visiting team. “Other than that, we’re trying to win a game. So that’s what this week is all about.”
The Bears already have won eight games and lead the NFC North. But the line that will start against the Seahawks on Sunday vaguely resembles the unit that helped the Bears win seven of their first eight games.
Gabe Carimi, who had been benched for his play at right tackle, will start at right guard because Lance Louis was lost for the remainder of the season with a knee injury in last week’s game against the Vikings. Former Seahawks first-round draft choice Chris Spencer started at left guard against the Vikings for Chilo Rachal, but today Spencer was ruled out for Sunday because of a knee injury he got against the Vikings. So the line which lines up against the Seahawks could include – from left tackle to right – J’Marcus Webb, Edwin Williams, Roberto Garza, Carimi and Jonathan Scott.
“I ain’t got nothing to do with that,” Omiyale said with a laugh.
In the Seahawks’ 6-5 start, Omiyale has started one game at left tackle and played briefly at left and right tackle in two other games. But most of his action has come on special teams, and he had a key block on Leon Washington’s 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown that gave the Seahawks a fourth-quarter lead in last week’s loss to the Dolphins.
“It’s been good for me to come here,” he said. “I’ve definitely enjoyed my time here. It’s a great bunch of guys; hard workers. Great coaches. So, yeah, it’s been a good situation.”
Jeremy Bates. In 2010, he was the Seahawks’ offensive coordinator. This season, he is the Bears’ quarterbacks coach. In 2011, he was at his home in Colorado, watching and waiting.
“I just took a step back and watched the game from a fan’s point of view a little bit,” Bates told the Chicago Tribune this week. “There is so much knowledge to be gained. I don’t want to do that again. It was a frustrating year. But things happen and you just have to find the positives.”
That’s also what the Bears consider adding Bates to their staff was.
“He’s had a great impact,” coach Lovie Smith said of Bates, who had worked with QB Jay Cutler when both were with the Broncos. “Jay Cutler has played good football for us and, of course, Jeremy is tutoring him. He’s been a good addition.”
Brandon Marshall, the Bears’ leading receiver in his first season with the team, also was with Bates and Cutler in Denver.
“Jeremy is probably one of the most talented football heads on the offensive side of the ball in the NFL and I’m just so thrilled to be back with him,” Marshall said. “Not only is it good as a receiver to play with a quarterback that understands how you approach the game, but when you have a coach that also sees the game the same way as you and also understands how to coach you, how to challenge you, how to get you going when you’re not, it makes you that much better.
“He’s one of those coaches that is a friend. Not only a coach, but a friend at the end of the day that I would definitely say is the reason I am successful.”
The official report, as issued by the team:
Did not practice
DE Red Bryant (foot)
LB Leroy Hill (ankle)
RB Marshawn Lynch (back)
DE Greg Scruggs (oblique)
Bryant and Hill were sidelined for the second consecutive day, so Jason Jones and Malcolm Smith replaced them with the No. 1 defense. But Lynch and Scruggs took part in all phases of practice after being limited on Wednesday.
For the Bears:
WR/KR Devin Hester (concussion)
OG Chris Spencer (knee)
Did not practice
WR Alshon Jeffery (knee)
LB Brian Urlacher (coach decision; not injury related)
LB Lance Briggs (ankle)
RB Matt Forte (ankle)
TE Kellen Davis (ankle)
CB Charles Tillman (ankle)
DT Stephan Paea (shoulder)
OG Edwin Williams (shoulder)
Hester and Spencer were ruled out for Sunday’s game today, each with injuries they got in against the Vikings last week.
STAT DU JOUR
The Seahawks just missed putting together a November to really remember with Sunday’s loss to the Dolphins. A victory would have pushed their November record to 3-0, and marked only the fourth time in franchise history that they went unbeaten in the 11th month. Here’s a look at those previous Novembers to remember, and the close misses:
Year Nov. record
“Turnover Thursday” gives way to “No Repeat Friday” as the players will hold their final full practice before the team flies to Chicago for Sunday’s game.
YOU DON’T SAY
“If you just look at the turnover ratio and how important it is each game, you can see why we put so much of an emphasis on it. That’s just who we are. That’s the core. That’s our DNA. In the sense that you’re talking about defensive football, I just feel like it’s not a good defensive game unless we can take the ball away. We do practice it. We preach it. And guys are seeing the results of what it can do.” – Bears coach Lovie Smith on his team being plus-13 in turnover differential because they have a league-high 33 takeaways