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Biggest Expectation for the 2014 Bears: Progress

| August 29th, 2014

ducky

These things are called duckies.

When a city boy is going whitewater rafting in the Rocky Mountains he expects to be in a large raft with several other individuals and have minimal influence on the proceedings. Sure he’s happy to drop a well-timed refrain of Pocahontas’ Just Around the River Bend or lightly tap somebody on the ass with his oar. But he really doesn’t want a major role in the maneuvering of the watercraft.

Not in a ducky. A ducky, pictured above, is more an inflatable kayak. I piloted one of these devices, if you’d like to call what I did piloting, down the Roaring Fork Valley. Because I was terrible at this and managed to hit every rock available for contact, I spent much of my journey with the kayaked guide at the rear of the field. (If this were a race I would have been the guy receiving thunderous applause for merely finishing.) The guide, called Ryan because everybody in the Aspen area seemed to be named Ryan, was a die hard Denver Broncos fan. We had time to speak.

The Denver Broncos broke offensive records a year ago. They were the most exciting team in the sport by a significant margin. They won the AFC seemingly uncontested. Then they botched a snap in front of the world’s largest television audience and the happiness kite drifted from the young child’s hand into the cloud-lined sky, never to be seen again. To hear this shaggy marijuana machine in a kayak talk of his beloved team’s 2013 campaign, you’d think they shamed the state of Colorado and all members of the Elway family with a 3-13 record.

They finished second in the NFL. Better than thirty other franchises. Only worse than one. And that’s the harsh reality of the NFL. Only one team, only one city, only one fan base leaves the season firmly satisfied. Nobody derides the club that loses the World Series or Stanley Cup Finals or NBA Finals (unless LeBron James is on that team). They give large trophies to the runners-up at golf and tennis major championships and grand slams. Supporters of the English Premiere League’s second-place side don’t pout in kayaks.

The loneliest loser in all of professional sports is the team failing on Super Bowl Sunday. So how does one set fair expectations for an NFL season?

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DaBearsBlog Takes Ice Bucket Challenge [VIDEO]

| August 29th, 2014

DaBearsBlog has performed the Ice Bucket Challenge and donated to ALS. Normally you call out two or three people on Twitter but to hell with that. There are a lot of loyal commenters to this site – gpldan, MB, Trac, Canada, AlbertinTuscon, the rest of you.

So I am calling upon ALL OF THE BLOG REGULAR COMMENTERS TO TAKE THE ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE.

Make a YouTube video of your bucket pour and I’ll post them all to this site once the URL is emailed to me: jeff@dabearsblog.com.

The dumpers: Bears plastic cup, Richard Dent & Walter Payton pint glasses, Bears flat-brimmed cap full of ice water, actual ice bucket, cold shower finale.

The hair: long.

The face: hungover, bloated and unshaven.

Enjoy the unofficial end of the summer while dunking your heads with ice water. Full slate of content coming next week in the lead-up to the opener.

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220 Comments

Final Practice Game Day Thread

| August 28th, 2014

Stoke's Peter Crouch has received support that he is worthy of a place in England's World Cup squad

What, if anything, can be gleaned/enjoyed this evening?

  • Do the Bears currently have a kick returner on their roster or are they going to be scouring the waiver wire this weekend for some speed? (I’d like to see Senorise Perry given a good run back there tonight.)
  • Hey, you get to watch Jordan Lynch carry the ball for the last time before he’s buried on the practice squad for the 2014 season!
  • David Fales can follow Matt Blanchard and Caleb Hanie as fourth preseason game darlings: quarterbacks who thrive against third-string defensive units.
  • Pat O’Donnell is playing.

I will be watching the game live tonight and responding on Twitter. You can follow me on Twitter by CLICKING HERE or just watching the right rail of this page.

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364 Comments

Fifty Prognostications, Pontifications & Ponderings on the 2014 NFL Season

| August 25th, 2014

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Last year’s column saw my predictions ONCE AGAIN surpass the 50% mark though down slightly from the previous year’s 67%. But as my daddy always said, “If you’re right half the time, that’s better than being wrong a bunch.”

Here are 50 prognostications and thoughts for the 2014 NFL season. Every team gets their moment. The Bears get more.

1. If Jay Cutler stays healthy he’ll throw for 4,000 yards but come up short of his career high 4,526. 

__________

2. In a deliciously dramatic moment, Devin Hester will break the all-time return record not against the Chicago Bears but against his former head coach Lovie Smith on week four’s Thursday Night Football installment.

__________

3. If the Broncos beat Seattle the third week of the season I give them a more than plausible chance to go undefeated. The offense is a machine. The defense is going to be terrific.

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4. Bears tied the Jacksonville Jaguars for fewest sacks in football last year with 31. (Carolina had 60 last year. That is DOUBLE!) This year they move to mid-table and finish the season with 45.

__________

5. Kelvin Benjamin will win offensive ROY because of this depth chart:

Panthers WR

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6. I completely agree with Brandon Marshall’s assessment on Jay Cutler. If he stays healthy he is going to have an MVP-type season this year. But there is no way the writers will give Cutler the MVP. None.

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7. Never rent an apartment from a guy calling himself Tom Benson! From Scambook:

The so called Tom Benson claims to be the doorman of an apartment complex that is situated just across from the Crowne Plaza. He mentions that he is the doorman and that the owners are away for vacation but that they rent the home. He then goes on to send you pictures and says that he will even offer a free airport shuttle. This is an illegitimate offer and the Department of Homeland Security has already investigated this crime. I sent out a money transfer, only to then quickly cancel. I was lucky and I hope that this helps other people as well.

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8.  Sammy Watkins (and all NFL fans) will wake up midseason and wonder aloud, “Why did he have to end up in Buffalo?” Bills will be forced to get Watkins the ball on bubble screens and underneath when they realize EJ is both afraid and unable to get him the ball over the top.

__________

9. Every season a team goes from worst to first they tell me. This season that will not happen. I repeat: this season that will not take place.

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10. Tampa Bay will have them some…

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Whew…It was just a preseason game

| August 23rd, 2014

  •  In 2013, the Detroit Lions beat the New England Patriots 40-9, the St. Louis Rams led the Denver Broncos 20-10 at halftime and Seahawks star Russell Wilson threw two interceptions as his team struggled to move the ball, heading into halftime tied 3-3 with the Packers. Those were all the supposedly important third preseason games. See what I’m getting at there?
  • Seattle is better than the Bears right now. They’re better than everybody right now. Who was the best team three weeks into preseason last year? Not Seattle, New England or Denver. The season is long, a lot will happen between now and January.

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Thoughts Entering the supposedly important Third Preseason Game

| August 22nd, 2014

I’ve already written about the importance — or lack of importance — of tonight’s game in the grand scheme of things, but there are a few things that are worth watching:

  •  If, when and how long does Santonio Holmes play? Are they going to throw him in with the starters as the third receiver right away? Does he still have to beat Josh Morgan out? Then, of course, how does he look? Will we see some of the explosiveness he showed early last season or in his days with the Steelers? Holmes has a chance to be a big part of what the Bears do this season. The Bears need to find out if he’s up to the challenge as soon as possible.

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“Who the hell takes the third game in the preseason like it’s bullshit?”

| August 22nd, 2014

When former Arizona Cardinals head coach Dennis Green went on that rant, he created a rallying cry for those who put a lot of stock in preseason, but it’s still debatable if he’s right.

I’ll agree that the third preseason game is the most important of the preseason games, but the main goal is still just to escape healthy.

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Who are McClellin and Bostic?

| August 21st, 2014

As the Chicago Bears prepare for their third preseason game they’re still trying to figure out if two of General Manager Phil Emery’s highest draft picks can play.

Although they’re both still young, there wasn’t much evidence at all that either Shea McClellin or Jon Bostic were going to be good football players. But last week’s game against Jacksonville was interesting and was enough to once again raise the question: Who are these guys?

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Washington buying more time with Bears

| August 20th, 2014

Just when I was ready to write Cornelius Washington off as nothing more than a workout warrior, he showed actual skill on the football field last week, something that could be a big long-term benefit for both he and the Bears.

When the Bears drafted Washington, one of their scouts referred to him as “avatar” because of his freakish athletic ability. That ability didn’t always show up on the field at Georgia and there was no sign he could play for the Bears last year. We still don’t know if he’s ever going to be a decent defensive end, but he has the look of a standout special teams player. If he continues to standout in the third phase, it will give the Bears more time to develop him as a defensive end.

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