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Time Has Come for Bears to End the Cutler Conversation

| March 1st, 2015

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A while back I wrote everything I thought about Jay Cutler into a single column, hoping at that time to never find need to speak on him again. I should have known better. Last week Jon Gruden opened his word hole (to call it a mouth would be an insult to mouths) and leaked out a tidbit that restarted The Great Cutler Debate in newspaper columns and on radio airwaves.

From the Sun-Times:

“I think John Fox is going to look at the body of work,” Gruden said. “They’re going to see that he didn’t get it done really with Lovie Smith or Marc Trestman, and now I’m the next head coach. I think you need to give some other people an opportunity to play. I think some of these quarterbacks get too many chances. There are good enough players out there that deserve a chance to be the quarterback of the Chicago Bears.”

“I know he has talent,” Gruden said. “But I don’t think he warrants that salary for sure. I think Chicago needs to look at getting a different leader under center.”

In all of the articles citing this quotation, it should come as no surprise to you that few if any of the journalists thought it wise to draw the personal connection between Gruden and former Bears head coach Marc Trestman. The two men not only had very obvious overlaps in their professional careers but are also known to be close friends. Did anyone really expect Jon Gruden to answer Cutler questions with, “Trestman was a nightmare. Cutler’s performance in 2014 was no worse than the rest of the organization.”

Also, who are these “good enough players” deserving the chance to be Bears quarterback? Why don’t the Browns and Bills and Titans and Jets have them? Gruden, unsurprisingly, is wrong.

The truth is I don’t care anymore.

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Five Quick Thoughts on the Next Few Weeks For the Chicago Bears

| February 26th, 2015

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As many of you know, this is not the place to come for draft analysis in February. I will write about the draft EXTENSIVELY for the two weeks prior to the draft. There is no more than that required if you’ve watched ALL of college football for four months in the fall.

  • Matt Forte Tweeting about a perceived lack of commitment from the Bears organization is telling. Someone in his camp got wind of the Bears mentioning him in potential trade deals. If they didn’t we are meant to believe Forte, a seasoned vet, is lashing out emotionally on social media because of erroneous blog reports. If the Bears can trade Forte – with only a year remaining on his contract – they should do so. Of course they have to get something for him but if they have no intention of retaining his services beyond 2015, what is the point of not accepting a mid-round pick for him this coming month?
  • Seems the new Bears brain trust respects the work of the old Bears brain trust. Signing of both Hurst and Louis-Jean to two-year extensions signals to me, once again, Phil Emery is no longer running the Bears for one reason: he hired Marc Trestman.
  • Josh McCown is set to make his decision on landing spot over the next few days and I’m hoping he chooses Chicago. I then hope the Bears make an announcement that Cutler and McCown will battle for the starting gig in training camp. Will Cutler win that competition? Of course. But it will send the message to Cutler that he can be replaced at any point in the 2015 campaign by a player who has the confidence of the coaching staff and respect of locker room.

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Thoughts on the John Fox, Ryan Pace Combine Pressers

| February 18th, 2015

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FOX

  • John Fox was noncommittal on the future of Jay Cutler. He was asked point-blank if Cutler was his quarterback moving forward and balked. It is February 18th. We are less than a month from free agency. How many teams with a “franchise” quarterback would not endorse him as the starter today? Yes it’s possible Fox does not have enough information on Cutler to this point but what exactly is he going to learn between now and free agency or the draft? Will Cutler have an opportunity to blow Fox away at OTAs? Will the Bears be willing to risk millions of dollars on that development?
  • Fox made is quite clear that if Brandon Marshall will be on the Chicago Bears in 2015 he will not be on Inside the NFL. His money quote: “Our focus needs to be on football.” This is a drastic departure from the previous head coach.
  • The Bears are switching to a 3-4 base for all you 3-4/4-3 junkies out there.
  • Fox knows he is taking over a defense lacking in talent. When pressed about building blocks on that side of the ball he struggled to mention anyone other than Kyle Fuller.
  • Fox started to get frustrated during his short presser with the number of ways the press asked him the EXACT SAME question about Cutler. This wasn’t on the Chicago media. This was on the whole of the NFL media attending this moronic event.
  • The Bears want Josh McCown back in Chicago. McCown fits to a tee the type of quarterback Fox has utilized in his first year with a team needing rejuvenation: limited ability but  great leadership qualities. If the Bears are targeting a quarterback in this draft (or a young player at the bottom of somebody else’s roster), McCown is a far better choice to help groom that young talent than Cutler.
  • Seemed to be little desire on Fox’s part to leave door open for Lance Briggs and Charles Tillman to return.

The takeaway…

On offense, Fox has to determine whether his supremely talented quarterback and receiver fit in with the locker room he’s trying to build. On defense, Fox has to find players. He doesn’t have many now.

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502 Comments

In Honor of SNL’s 40th Anniversary…

| February 12th, 2015

…DaBearsBlog salutes the Bill Swerski’s Superfans – the greatest sports sketch in the history of television and the namesake of this website. Saturday Night Live’s connection to Chicago, its deep-rooted ties to Second City, are undeniable. It is just as much Chicago’s show as New York’s. Sunday night the show celebrates its 40th anniversary and DBB celebrates about 22 of the 40 years with rapturous applause.

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418 Comments

DBB Chats Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times [AUDIO]

| February 9th, 2015

Another wonderful conversation with my buddy Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times. (Apologies for the technical feedback. Soundcloud’s problem, not mine.) In the chat we discuss:

  • Battling the national “source” guys
  • Cutler’s fans inside the locker room
  • How the Trestman era will be remembered
  • Jay Glazer’s golf foursomes
  • Possible surprises this coming off-season
  • Much, much more!

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292 Comments

Everything We Learned About the NFL This Season.

| February 3rd, 2015

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Top NFL Teams Separated By Merely a Play

Look at the fates of the NFC’s best teams in the month of January.

  • Detroit loses to Dallas after a pass interference flag is announced and walked off by the game official and then ludicrously picked up. (Has anybody yet given an explanation of this?)
  • Dallas  loses to Green Bay after a Dez Bryant catch – a spectacular catch – is deemed a non-catch by one of the more ludicrous rules in the NFL rulebook. (And in my opinion a gross misinterpretation of that rule.)
  • Green Bay loses to Seattle with a ludicrous late-game collapse featuring a tight end dropping an onside kick that hit both of his hands and his face.
  • Seattle loses to New England with the worst play-call in the history of professional football, asking a non-pocket passer to pocket pass a tight-window slant route on the goal line, at the death. (And do so with the league’s most physical runner just, you know, standing around.)

In all four of these games a serious argument can be made for the losing team deserving victory. That’s how close the league has become at the top.

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Likely Offensive Turnaround in 2015 Makes Bears and New OC Adam Gase a Perfect Match

| February 2nd, 2015

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There was a popular refrain sung on social media about midway through the 2014 season, denigrating General Manager of Christmas Past Phil Emery for building a fantasy team on offense. The connotation of this accusation seemed to be that the Bears offense was a collection of talented individuals who somehow did not work as a unit. The string quartet brought together two brilliant violins, a heartbreaking cellist and virtuoso violist but their  performance lacked cohesion.

Now, unless fantasy football has changed drastically since I last played (Marshall Faulk won me a fantasy title in my last year involved), the object of the game is production. Productive players equal fantasy points equal victories equal a nice pile of cash men can hide from their wives to use at strip clubs with oddly vague names like Sensations.

Only Chicago Bears fans, who’ve had maybe six great skill players in the organization’s history, could wage the complaint “We’ve got too many productive players on offense!”

Phil Emery made mistakes as Bears GM, most notably hiring the worst head coach in team history.

But Emery deserves nothing but praise for this assemblage of offensive talent. The Bears, the damn Chicago Bears, have two top receivers, a top tight end and two top guards. (Yes, Matt Slauson is a top guard. His absence was THE major factor in the offensive line’s decline in 2015.) The team also has one of the league’s finest backs and a productive quarterback. 2013’s offensive production was not an aberration or anomaly. It was the proper output from one of the league’s most talented units.

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Super Bowl Sunday

| February 1st, 2015

Seattle Seahawks v Atlanta Falcons

A Note on the Super Bowl

I hear a lot of Bears fans say, “I’m not even going to watch the Super Bowl for this reason or that reason or the other reason or a few different reasons than the other reason.” There’s a sadness to that sentiment. This is the Sunday wherein the sport’s history is written. What is past – regular season, wild card, divisional, title games – is merely prologue.

Fans of the thirty teams not represented in Glendale watch this game with dreams in their hearts. Everything a Bears should want from their club will be represented by the two teams battling this tonight. Every emotion a Bears fan should want to experience will be felt by one of the club’ fan bases well through the evening hours.

This is the Super Bowl.

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