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The McDonald Dilemma: Does Being a Sports Fan Come with a Social Responsibility?

| March 25th, 2015

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The Bears on Tuesday signed Ray McDonald.

When I heard that, when I heard the team I spend so much time thinking about and cheering for signed this man with a checkered past, my initial reaction was a simple, “Ugh”.Ugh as in how could the Bears overlook a track record of violence towards women in the name of good defensive line play. Ugh as in how could this new Bears leadership be so eager to ship Brandon “Tartikoff” Marshall to New Jersey for less than a Rutt’s Hut ripper in the name of personality problems while bringing in McDonald on the recommendation of their new defensive coordinator alone. Ugh as in how, after the NFL’s dark troubles of 2014, could the Bears so willingly enter that conversation in 2015?

(The Tribune provides a legal timeline for McDonald HERE.)

But there was an even worse Ugh. Ugh as in the realization that the first time McDonald buries Aaron Rodgers or Matthew Stafford or Teddy Bridgewater I will be the first one to applaud and forget all his transgressions.

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A Few Random Thoughts During an NFL Slow Period

| March 24th, 2015

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Thought #1. Bears should meet the $4M a year demand for Stefan Wisniewski. Per a report from Brad Biggs in the Tribune:

Wisniewski is recovering from shoulder surgery after last season when he played with a torn labrum. The former second-round pick of the Raiders has made visits to the Seahawks and Bucs, and the Rams and Chiefs are also known to be interested. No team has been willing to meet his request of $4 million per season and it could be he winds up on a one- or two-year prove-it contract. At this point, it would be a mistake to rule out the Bears.

Wisniewski is young and talented and the kind of physical presence needed to anchor a John Fox offensive line. An interior offensive line of Slauson-Wiz-Long would set a new tone on the that side of the ball.

Thought #2. Jarvis Jenkins and Mason Foster are smart, short-term solutions on defense. No, neither of these players is going to the Pro Bowl. No, neither of these players are going to make Bears fans forget Dan Hampton or Dick Butkus. But they would be a solid, professional additions to a defensive unit desperate for such. (I’m assuming Mason Foster ultimately ends up in Chicago.)

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Audibles From the Long Snapper: Bears Sign Snapper

| March 18th, 2015

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Per a report from Brad Biggs in the Chicago Tribune, the Bears will not be waiting until a few weeks prior to the coming season to sign a long snapper. They have agreed to terms with Dave Toub’s long snapper, Thomas Gafford. From the article:

Gafford, 6-foot-2, 250 pounds, spent two weeks with the Bears during training camp in 2008. The University of Houston product had two stints with the Green Bay Packers and one with the Seattle Seahawks before sticking with the Chiefs. He’s been credited with 13 solo tackles, four assists and one fumble recovery in his career.  Assistant special teams coach Derius Swinton was on the staff in Kansas City in 2012, so he has worked with Gafford.

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The Free Agency Notebook: Day 3

| March 13th, 2015

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BEARS NOTES

  • Patrick Finley does a nice job in the Sun-Times breaking down how Fox and Pace view their defensive roster’s transition from 4-3 front to 3-4. (I think this transition is the most over-discussed topic in the universe.)
  • Ron Parker and Mason Foster would be the types of signings I expected from this free agency period. Mid-range veteran talent that can play their positions at a minimal cost.
  • Why exactly would Ryan Pace need to be asked about “mending fences” with Jay Cutler? Has Ryan Pace ever said a negative word about Cutler? Pace evaluated the player, evaluated the possibility of replacing the player, listened to trade offers (if you think he didn’t, you’re nuts) and determined the best course of action for the 2015 Bears was Cutler at quarterback? How could anyone make the argument Cutler deserved more than that?
  • If the Saints are really shopping Kenny Stills – which makes no sense to me – how can the Bears not be interested? A wide receiving corps of Alshon Jeffery, Kenny Stills and Eddie Royal would make Brandon Marshall quite easy to forget.

AND SOME QUESTIONS…

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The Free Agency Notebook: Day 2

| March 12th, 2015

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COUGHLIN ON ROLLE

I sat next to Tom Coughlin on a flight once from New York to Jacksonville. The most amazing thing about him? He was as interested in me as I was in him. And it was genuine. He also knows quite a bit more about football and football players than I do. His thoughts on Antrel Rolle from the NY Daily News:

“I have never come across a player that was more interested in his team and trying to help his team get better in any way he could,” Coughlin said. “I think countless Tuesdays, Antrel was in my office with (questions about) how we can get better, what we can do to get better. Just thoughts going back and forth between coach and player in terms of how our team could improve. I don’t think I have ever been involved with a player who was more sincerely interested in how his team could improve.”

While I have issues about Rolle’s performance last season it is impossible to argue the Bears don’t need the man described above in their locker room.

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The Free Agency Notebook: Day 1

| March 11th, 2015

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IN BEARS LAND…

  • Antrel Rolle is not a great player anymore…and I’m not sure he ever was a great player. He was an alarming liability in coverage last year for the Giants. But the second he signs with the Bears he’ll improve the safety position and he is also one of the most accountable leaders in the league. (He also does a weekly radio show in NYC and delivers brutally honest assessments of his defense’s play.) The Bears shouldn’t be relying on his services two or three years down the road but he is someone who can make a few plays short-term.
  • Eddie Royal excites me. Royal is a perfect complementary receiver for Alshon Jeffery and his history with Jay Cutler will lead to an immediate comfort zone. Royal has been one of my favorites for years.
  • J.T. Thomas received a nice contract from the New York Giants. I wrote this about Thomas in August of 2013: “JT Thomas is one of those players who jumps off the preseason screen. But the numbers game does not work in his favor. Williams, Anderson, Briggs, Costanzo, Bostic and Greene are on this roster. Thomas is a long shot but if I’m the Bears I find him a role on specials and let him make plays.”

THE THREE BLOCKBUSTER TRADES

  • My first thought when Jay Glazer reported the Seahawks had acquired Jimmy Graham from the Saints was if they had him a few months ago they don’t throw that moronic slant route and lose the Super Bowl. I have issues with Russell Wilson’s accuracy from the pocket but guess what, it doesn’t matter now. If he puts the ball within three yards of Graham’s head it’ll be caught. Can’t imagine a scenario wherein the Seahawks don’t open the season as favorites to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.

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The First Day of Free Agency Open Thread

| March 10th, 2015

Nothing depresses me more than the idea of sitting in front of my computer all day, waiting for the Bears to do something so I can cobble together some barely-developed thoughts in column form. That’s what the draft is for. Instead I will be commenting on the whole of NFL free agency at DaBearsBlog’s Twitter feed. As always you can see that feed on the right rail of this page or follow me on Twitter by CLICKING HERE.

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