253 Comments

A Day Removed From Disappointment, Offensive Success of 2013 Far Easier to Acknowledge

| December 31st, 2013

x

Their two quarterbacks threw for 4,450 yards and 32 touchdowns. Their star tailback accumulated just a squidge below 2,000 yards from scrimmage. Their wide receivers established themselves as the best starting duo in the sport. Their offensive line was fourth best in sacks allowed and provided support for the league’s second-leading rusher. (And they did this with a pair of rookies on the right side.) The finished the second 9th in total yards per game and 2nd in points scored – only trailing the insane juggernaut that is Peyton Manning’s Denver Broncos.

While most fans are unable to see the sport of football with any appropriate context, let me provide some. Marc Trestman is a first year head coach with a first year staff. One year was all it took for Trest to establish one of the league’s most prolific offenses right here in the city of Chicago.

These things only get better. Playbooks expand. Offensive lines grow more comfortable. Quarterbacks operate with a developing fluency. Fans around these parts may not understand this concept because Chicago has not – since George Halas roamed the sideline – operated with any discernible offensive system. (I could make a serious argument the T Formation of song was the last time the Bears operated uniquely on offense.) I would expect Matt Slauson and Jay Cutler to be re-signed prior to the start of the league year. I would expect Josh McCown signed, sealed and delivered rather quickly after the league year begins. The 2014 Bears offense should be expected to improve upon 2013’s landmark production.

The biggest reason for optimism? This offense hasn’t even BEGUN to reach their potential! Point-for-point:

  • Jay Cutler thrived at times but still failed to limit the turnovers that have kept him from joining the upper echelon of QBs. What Josh McCown proved is that often the check down is not only the safe play but the smart one. Cutler needs to learn this.
  • Mills & Long had solid seasons on the right side but they were far from dominant. What happens when these two men have a year under their belts?
  • Alshon Jeffery’s flair for the spectacular was the most distinguished feature of the 2013 offense. But the star, second-year player had too many drops in pivotal situations.
  • The offense, as a group, did not truly put together four great quarters outside of the Monday Night Football affair with Dallas. And even that game didn’t make the turn until Jeffery’s miraculous end zone grab. The mark of the great offenses in the NFL is their cutthroat approach at home (see: New Orleans, Green Bay, Denver, New England…etc.). Once they have an opportunity to bury the opponent in their own building, they do it.
  • Trestman went through a year of learning experiences on the job. Will he be so reluctant to pass up points in his second year as head coach? Will he be so reluctant to rely on his quarterback/receivers in short yardage scenarios?

The success on offense is reason for optimism. But so are the failures. The Bears offense can get a lot better. Look for it to happen as soon as September.

Tagged: , , , , ,

  • Trac

    Ok, some of you are down on my bitterness directed towards the end results of the 2013 season.

    Here’s my #1 reason behind my comments: THE SHELL GAME CONTINUES and I’m sick
    of making excuses. My approach from here on out will be simple and I require positive tangible results first, pats on the back 2nd.

    8-8? The way we achieved 8-8 doesn’t cut it in my book.

    • gpldan

      We had a 10-6 team with the talent we had. Our rookie Canadian league coach cost us two games with his inexperience.

      OTOH, it’s his offense he installed with Kromer that actually moves the ball and takes advantage of the big wideouts.

      OTOH, too much of the offense depends on the jump ball moves that BM and AJ provide. Trestman let the Packers come to town and snatch the playoffs from his first season like a little bitch. His cerebral detachment is a bore and a bit too Lovie like. He seems at times to think that everything is academic exercise.

      Football is played to win every season. You don’t allow chances to slip away, with so many players to sign, with so many players likely moving on this offseason, you have no guarantees of future success – so allowing the playoffs to slip away in such a bitch of a game is bad mojo.

      I called the game Groundhog Day for the Bears, and I stand by it. I think it bodes poorly for future Bears success, I think we may get 2 more years of underperforming against the talent.

      I also think Bruce Arians gets this team to the post-season, even WITH the injuries sustained.

      They say a good GM should bat .400 in the draft, that it is a lot like baseball, and Glitchy batted something like .187 in the draft. So we can put the book away on Chicken Dinner, maybe look to trade him to a 3-4 team that can make use of him, and see what Emery does this year in the draft.

      I am still not convinced that in a highly competitive landscape where Chip Kelly’s experiment actually worked, that we have the right GM and right coach in Chicago. And, like you, I am getting somewhat sick of 2nd tier management of the club.

      • Trac

        Brilliance. Pure brilliance. See, I stand by my comments earlier in the year on how smart you are. I’m disappointed on all the oohs and ahh’s of Marshall and Jeffrey’s catches overshadowing the plain truth that Trestman just plain blew it this season. Live by the sword, die by the sword I guess.

        • johnnywad

          Which comments Trac? 19-0? Let’s be a little more realistic from time to time shall we?

          • Trac

            Johnny, I thought you knew me by now. That was all hyperbole. C’mon peoples!

      • johnnywad

        What should Trestman have done differently to no let the Packers win Sunday? The Jeffery fumble, the fucked up dead ball touchdown and Chris Conte having the play call wrong lost the game. NONE of that is on Trestman. Beyond that, you and Trac have expectations for a first year coach that are just silly. And no, the loss on Sunday is not some 20 year curse or Groundhog’s Day or some other bullshit. 3 seasons ago the Seahwawks were a joke and won their division at 7-9. The same division the vaunted Niners were in. This year they’re a 1 seed. Were they great in Pete Carroll’s first year? Nope. Second? Nope. So WTF? Why are your expectations of Ttestman so much higher than what either of those two teams have done? The early returns are solid.

        • Trac

          Regardless of the reason Johnny, we folded to a team at home with a rusty qb after being gifted a chance to win the division by the lions. Trestmans approach this year though inspiring at times, was not enough to overcome our shortcomings and he deserves to take heat for the shoddy game management at times. The Vikings game cost us the division.

          • Irish Sweetness

            Any one of eight games we lost cost us the division… like .Parcells said, You are what your record says you are. I’ll give Phil three seasons before passing Judgement on him. Trestman can’t tackle for us on defense.

      • Irish Sweetness

        Chip Kelly worked us, that’s for sure.

    • Irish Sweetness

      Did we lose about 10 players form the defensive side of the roster? Did we lose our defensive captain in the off-season? I’d say 8-8 wasn’t bad figuring that in. One good defensive draft with a couple of nice FAs. Sky’s the limit – injury Gods permitting …

  • Trac

    By the way Jeff, “Potential’ is fools gold.

    • bearsfantillend

      wow, such a Debbie Downer.

      • Trac

        I’m still pissed. Really, it’s more than that. If Emery fixes the D before next season rolls around I’ll be ecstatic but as far as this years season goes, it sucked royally.

        • Viva

          Good that it did not suck peasantly.

          • MB30SD

            I love it when it sucks pleasantly.

            …then it puts the fucking lotion on its skin or it gets the hose!

          • Irish Sweetness

            It’s good to be sucked by a peasant.

            Sorry.

          • Viva

            My guess is that it would not suck to be blown by a royal.

  • Viva

    I don’t know if I would refer to potential as fools gold, Trac. Either a guy/team who has gone through a screening process is deemed to have it or not (a lot or a little).

  • Viva

    I would assume that it is a very rare thing indeed for a person who is thought to have zero potential to ever earn an opportunity to even compete for a job in this league.

  • Trac

    I think we should give Cutler his deal but only if Emery is willing to trade down in the first three rounds. We need fresh new meat. Lots of it!

    • Rodgers Dead

      trade down to get more middle and late round college talent. WTF???

      • Trac

        That’s how belacheat rolls. It’s gonna take years of being consistent in the draft and trolling for chicken dinners will not cut it.

  • MB30SD

    I’m not interested in addressing and/or quelling the nervous grousings of the philistines Jeff… the O will only get better if everything remains, we avoid injuries, and maybe we pick up a center. I’d personally say that as the first year in a new regime, system, playbook, and oline we did very well. I’m excited.

    No…. I want to talk about how we fix this “defense”. Hopefully a little better injury luck this coming year alone will put the D in a much better position. losing 6 starters and 4 pro bowler team leaders ON ONE UNIT for almost the entire year simply can’t be understated as anything less than completely and totally devastating as a team… devastation that was plainly evident on the field and in our final record.

    So, let’s get down to business and talk about fixing the D… we already have so you’re a little late to the party.

    First order of business in my mind: Get a young, hungry, aggressive DC that wants to make a name for himself by creating something special. Someone that is excited, focused, creative, and angry. You start there, and you build up.

    How about a draft thread Jeff… none of us care about the playoffs… e,mail NB and do a joint post. You don’t even have to talk names yet, how about just positions of need in FA and at each round? Let’s do this!

    • Jokey

      If the D sucked because of injuries, is that a personnel problem?

      • gpldan

        Teams that are routinely decimated by injury have issues, no?

        – Nervous Philistine

        • MB30SD

          mmmmm… yes?

          By definition it’s an issue. But I guess you can say the same about pit, the packers, san diego, etc…

          I think for some reason ours were just focused on one side of the ball.

          That all said, I’ve thought we need to do something different with our trainers/conditioning coaches. Are they they same? I assume they changed with the trest regime… anyone know?

          IN any case, we all know we need a D-focused offseason to get us young again after keeping many of the lovie/ja era players.

          • Trac

            Age is a big reason. You gotta replenish my man. To fill with goodness.

      • Jokey

        ok, injuries plus our Peppers/CD problem. And Conte, but he’s the only non free agent db and is staying.

      • MB30SD

        yes and it’s also a coaching problem.

        (see paragraph 5 above)

    • Irish Sweetness

      Building a D starts with the line, just like on O. Got to have at least one premier DT and DE. You want a superbowl run, then they all have to be very good on the line.So we start from there – what do we have? I’d say Wooten to start and Nate Collins to ride the pine with paea. Get rid of Melton and Pep. That means we need two good-great DTs and a premier DE. We could get lucky and get two of those with the first two picks if we hit. I say we go after Michael Bennett and draft defense heavy. Can’t polish turds.

  • gpldan

    While most fans are unable to see the sport of football with any appropriate context, let me provide some.

    For those new to the blog, this is the point where you want to put your waders on.

    • bearsfantillend

      that is probably one of the most brutally honest and truthful statements Jeff has made.
      It is apparent that most fans do not take their teams successes or failures in context. Fans want someone to blame or praise. Fans need that scapegoat or that hero. That is why we hear idiotic statements like ‘Cutler should be gone’, ‘we should have hired Arians’, ‘we should fire Trestman’, ‘we should fire Emery’, ‘Why would you kick a field goal on 3rd down?’, ‘The coach has some big Tresticles’, ‘McMahon would have won us those games’.

      Football is a violent sport, Football is a team sport.
      With those two statements being said, you have to realize injuries severely impact a team, and some injuries to specific players or specific units of the team, are going to dramatically impact the TEAMS ability to win. Injuries happen in a violent sport. And some injuries are hard to overcome. As Bears fans we know this all too well, one year we were 7-3 and Cutty goes down we end up 9-7. Games are won by a combination of Offense, Defense, and STs, and the players that are on those units. If one of those units is ravaged by injuries it is going to be hard to win games, no matter who the coach is. THAT IS THE DEFINITION OF CONTEXT.

      For years Bears fans have complained about the O, now that we have an outstanding O, we complain, about the injury riddled D, but yet still find a way to blame the O and Offensive decisions made by the coach. Like how could he go for it on 4th down, or why did we kick the field goal? We went for it on 4th down because our injury riddled D SUCKS. We kicked a field goal because we have one of the most accurate kickers in football. Are the decisions correct? if they worked YES and the coach is a genius and has huge ‘Tresticles’. If they don’t work, the coach is to blame and should be fired. These are the decisions that every coach makes on a weekly basis based on all the information he has. McCarthy had the chance to tie the game by going for a 2pt conversion with 11 mins left in the 4th Qtr, he went for the extra point. If GB would have lost by 1 pt, GB fans would have been irate since there was a chance to tie the game.

      • IBNO

        I think the biggest thing accomplished by the new regime is that the Bears no longer have a pants-shittingly bad offensive line.

        That, in and of itself, is a huge improvement. If Emery can do the same for the D Line this off-season, we won’t be whining about the defense any more.

        • bearsfantillend

          agree, D Line is the key to success for the defense.

        • SC Dave

          Exactamundo

      • Irish Sweetness

        Football USED to be a violent sport.
        Any brief period spent on youtube looking at any football play whatsover from the 80s going back in time, and the difference is obvious. Any single play you could watch and you’re thinking “that’s a flag … that’s a flag …. ooof! JESUS! THAT’s a flag ….”

        Hey .. ‘Tresticles’ .. .that might stick ….

        • bearsfantillend

          I think Shady came up with ‘Tresticles’

    • 4ever85 (AKA Butch Deadlift)

      I almost want to say Jeff is condescending, but then I turn on the Score and callers are demanding Trestman be fired, that we should make a move for Cousins, that Lovie should be re-hired, and that Lach should have been kept…among other insanity…so in that CONTEXT, Jeff is Ghandi.

      • Trac

        Cousins and Lach? Absolutely. Cousins is an option(a very limited one), Lach could have helped, no?

        • SC Dave

          Urlacher was the one who chose not to sign.

          • bearsfantillend

            He also did not have many options in FA. Realized that he was not as good as he once was and no one wanted a old broken down MLB with an ego.

          • Irish Sweetness

            For two million ? It was a slap in the face for a defensive captain – he’s not just some plug-in player. It was a big F-U-C-K-Y-O-U. And there was no negotiation. It was despicable and dumb, and those of us against it weren’t being homers, we left ourselves short to injury. We had DJ and nobody to step in. DJ should have been signed to back up Lac. Draft Bostic for the future if needs be, but the personnel were not in place on defense to last through a season. Injuries happen therefore you should be prepared to have backup-starters, not projects.

            How in the name of God is cementing the heart of your defense for one more year not worth five million dollars? Pep gets 18 million this year – not 8 – eight-teen. Trading for Cutler and signing Peppers were two huge gambles. Neither of which has paid off yet, and Pep never will. The people who knew him best let him go. Keeping him on meant we didn’t sign Lac or anyone else of note on defense.

            Even if they re-structure Peps contract, he just isn’t the force he was, and the bears D-line is not a sentimental home for legends. Cut Pep and Melt loose and we can really go shopping.

        • burntorangenavyblue

          Cousins? Really?…..We already have Cutler AND McCown….

          Lack is poison and obviously does not like new regime. With the injury bugs he’s had the past few years, he’d more than likely would have been on the side-line and what good would that do? Even when he did play the past few years, Urlacher was terrible at shedding blocks and lost a lot of speed on the field. With over half of the starters on D out, what leadership could he provide to the many of the players who were already fundamentally flawed with their game-play?

          • Trac

            Just flappin the gums b.o. Still punchy from that devastating game Sunday.

          • burntorangenavyblue

            It’s all good

    • Trac

      Yes, typical elitist bullshit. Too strong?

    • Irish Sweetness

      That should be a blog t-shirt. That line was a classic.

  • MB30SD

    this is so true btw.

    http://o.aolcdn.com/dims-global/dims3/GLOB/resize/550×600/http://www.blogcdn.com/www.mandatory.com/media/2013/01/50-degrees-san-diego-wisconsin.jpg

    went to the Holiday Bowl last night. was around 50 and I was freezing and complaining the whole time, Oh and ASU sucks.

    • gpldan

      It’s 1 degree here and I walked a mile in it through downtown.

      I have a name for the non-fumble TD: The Immaculate Misconception.

      What do you think?

      • MB30SD

        fuck. that. noise.

        I like it!

      • BearFanInDE

        GP – I prefer The Immaculate Vadge Deception

      • BearFanInDE

        How ’bout The Immaculate Vadgeption?

        • gpldan

          I like it!

    • Shady

      I saw that Elysium movie last night, holy hell was that a pile of frozen horse hockey. I know why you liked it though, all the SA accents. I love accents, but the SA has to be one if my least favorites. Please don’t take offense ’cause I like the SA people I’ve met, but I can only tolerate it in great movies like Blood Diamond. But with a brutal storyline like this Elysium garbage, I can’t handle it. So sorry boychuck. The only redeeming things about that flick were the kick ass futuristic weaponry and the fact *spoiler alert* Matt Damon dies.

      • bearsfantillend

        that movie sucked.

      • Trac

        I’m from Suid Afrika and I agree with you on the accent. You are referring to the Afrikaans and weak Afrikaans accent. I myself was of British decent and was never mistaken for the Dutch trash(Sorry MB) when I still had my accent. Tea and crumpets anyone?

      • MB30SD

        Hahahahaha… I didn’t go in thinking it was going to be an oscar contender mate. I knew what it was and strapped in for the fun.

        I do love me some Sharlto copy though… he was so awesome in District 9. I get it… I grew up with it and it’s normal to me. ‘Sides that American chicks LOVE it. WIsh I had kept it, but I was too young when I came here and now I just talk like all the other ‘mericans. Oh well.

        And it’s boychick.

      • Irish Sweetness

        Enders game was brutal. Above average script for that kind of thing. I didn’t like Elysium as much as I liked Oblivion. Can’t beat good twists, and two is just spoiling us.

  • BillW

    Trac and I agree. A day later jeff its easy to see the bears were worse this year than last year. Doesn’t matter why in the end. They were.

    And it’s ironic to say the least that after the extreme vulgarity I was subjected to by MB that he agrees with me. Tucker has to go. Period.

    I just took it one step more. If he doesn’t get fired then I have little confidence in emery trestman ever getting the defense to the level they need.

    Injuries happen. We lost out in past seasons because of Cutler injuries. This year it was defensive injuries. Next year we will have injuries too. ALL TEAMS do. You overcome them by COACHING. Salary cap makes it unrealistic to have solid backups everywhere. All teams have to plug in players not quite ready and not quite as good as you hoped.

    I’m sorry but I am never going to be a Happy Hoper who thinks the Bears just had bad luck. The brain trust has to WORK the problem. Let’s see what Thursday brings. If they excuse Tucker then we are in for another frustrating year.

    • gpldan

      the extreme vulgarity I was subjected to by MB

      It’s too bad you don’t remember Crown in his prime. You have more butthurt than Brittney Spears in a NFL hotel. This isn’t the Lady Diana fan club, it’s DBB. If you don’t like it, punch back.

      • tobijohn

        Not to mention Da Coache’s Moustache. BTW, where has he been?

      • 4ever85 (AKA Butch Deadlift)

        Rule #254. NO EXCUSES! Play like a champion!

      • burntorangenavyblue

        If it is a fumble and no refs blew the whistle, is there a signal or marker that a refs throws to spot where the fumble happened or whatever? Cuz I thought I have seen at times a ref throw some blue or maybe black marker to wherever the ball or fumble may have been spotted?

    • Rodgers Dead

      no team can suffer that many key injuries on one side of the ball and still excel. I’m not going to list them all but let’s just say that the number of impactful defensive injuries was between 6 and 7 starter/rotation players. That is crazy.

      • Rodgers Dead

        also, Bill , i’m sorry but you can’t overcome EVERYTHING with mere coaching. We had backups of backups of backups playing D line. 2 starting LB’s went down.
        It does impact why their record was 8-8 even though I feel that we could have been 10-6 regardless or maybe even 11-5. The fact remains that the D was decimated and we lost key games because we couldn’t stop anyone when it counted.

        that D was going to suck even if a hall of fame DC was on the sidelines.

        • SC Dave

          Or get first downs when we needed them. It’s a team game, and there is plenty enough blame to go around.

        • BillW

          We had a lot of backups playing. And probably a few backups of backups. I don’t think we had any backups of backups of backups.

    • SC Dave

      I’m with ya, Bill.

      Our defensive guys with their vaunted “potential” did not get noticeably better. Others regressed terribly from last season. You really have to wonder about Hoke (DB) and Tibesar (LB), and Phair (DL). I know we had Hoke already – did the others come with Tucker?

      It’s just like the old days except on the other side of the ball.

      That dolt Drake did not seem to teach anybody anything – Earl Bennett in the hands of a real coach should have been in the Pro Bowl by now. Johnny Knox should have been taught to finish routes – Devin Hester to run them. Pep Hamilton did not help Jay Cutler fix his mechanics, and for all the talk about Tice, the OLine never got any better either.

      Good staffs and good teams make marginal players serviceable, and serviceable players solid. The Bears have not done on both sides of the ball at the same time. And that’s why Bears fans are always making excuses instead of celebrating playoff victories.

    • IBNO

      All teams don’t have injuries. The 2006 Bears didn’t. Aside from Cutler, last year’s Bears didn’t.

      The defense was historically bad, yes. And it wasn’t playing up to last year’s level before it was gutted by injuries. But is Tucker to blame more than the players themselves? Are we saying that Marinelli was THAT good (look what he did for Dallas before you answer)?

      I’m not saying Tucker isn’t to blame. I’m saying that there is plenty of blame to go around. Coaching didn’t turn Conte and Wright into complete bumbling morons. Coaching didn’t decimate the defense with injuries. Coaching didn’t turn Peppers into a farting old man who showed up for 1/4 of the plays/games.

      I think Tucker’s (and Trestman’s) mistake was trying to “stay the course” with Lovie’s system and terminology, rather than making some incremental changes to account for 1) the aging of the players and 2) the aging of the system. The Tampa-2 is dead.

      But yes, absolutely, the amount of injuries the Bears sustained on defense this year was BAD LUCK. Three Pro Bowlers, including the defensive captain who calls the plays. For almost half the season, the Bears started three LBs who weren’t on the team last year. If it weren’t for a late signing of a cast-off (Ratliff), the Bears would’ve had to pull some schmoe out of street clothes just to have enough bodies for a DT rotation. There were epic, devastating injuries to the defense. Great teams can overcome such setbacks and compete. The 2013 Bears were not a great team.

      Get some new blood in the secondary and the line. Get Tucker out or get a new scheme in. Get Melton rehabbed and 100%, and yes, get Peanut back. Get the defense to be “OK” in most respects, and the offense–primed for greatness–will take up the slack, and we’ll be having a much different conversation this time next year.

      • BillW

        Then what do YOU think turned Conte and Wright into bumbling idiots?

        • MB30SD

          they were always below average. A very good DL and two out of three HOF and PB LBs.

          I said it last year, the talent of the 6 (arguably 7 since roach was actually pretty solid) guys plus two pro bowl corners pretty much gave them not a whole lot to do but make damn sure nothing got behind them… it still happened often.

          Both our safeties need to be gone or in back up roles next year. period.

          • Irish Sweetness

            No way we replace them in the draft with high picks though. Line comes first, and with a better line and LB play, the safeties look better automatically. We need to build a DL to be reckoned with. A house stands on its foundations.

      • 4ever85 (AKA Butch Deadlift)

        “The Tampa-2 is dead.”

        Tell that to the Panthers. It’s not dead. Just doesn’t work without a solid DT and DE. Our 3tech went down and Pepp is no longer a difference maker at DE.

        a HOF LB was gone, another PB, and you get our D.

        • Johnathan Wood

          people don’t realize the full extent of injuries to the D this year, going back to camp.

          Ellis walked out on day 1. Expected to be top DL backup in Idonije’s role.
          Hayden injured in camp. Expected to be slot CB (12th starter, in essence)
          Tillman hurt week 1, in and out of lineup until lost mid-season
          Melton lost week 3
          Collins lost week 5
          Williams lost week 6 or 7
          Briggs went down right after the bye and wasn’t himself when he came back the last 2 weeks. Looked out of shape to me.

          So for those counting at home, that’s 3 of your top 4 DTs, your top 2 LBs, and 2 of your top 3 CBs. That includes your defensive captain and your best player at all three levels, all three of whom are Pro Bowl players (one of them All Pro).

          Name me one defense that could lose all that and not suck.

          • MB30SD

            thiiiiiiiis

          • NewBearInTown

            Don’t forget Paea was also out for a game or two during the worst of the DT disaster. A lot of teams had the same issues with injuries, but not a lot of teams had that many injuries to one position. Atlanta had a rash of injuries to its receiver group, and that showed on the scoreboard. New England also was without its two tight ends, but they knew that going into the season and planned accordingly. We didn’t know we would lose all of our interior D-Line until it was too late to make any serious moves to fix the problem.

            Really, I think Tucker should get some credit. Most of the pressures that we managed this year were due to well designed blitzes. The front 4 accomplished almost nothing without help.

      • Saren Arterius

        The Bears haven’t consistently run the defense everybody knows as the “Tampa 2” in like 2 or 3 years. Marinelli used lots of Cover 3, single high, man, etc. depending on the opponent and only used that Tampa 2 alignment on 3rd downs. This year they all but abandoned it in late September and just started blitzing a lot (poorly).

        • Irish Sweetness

          And it should have been called the Chicago 2 because you needed a Brian
          Urlacher in order to run it. He dropped back a lot further than normal
          MLBs in Cover 2. Apparently those
          guys are only worth two million. and suddenly we don’t have a LB that can drop back 30-40
          yards anymore and our defense went down the swanny – long before the injuries.

          We only ever ran Cover 2 about 30% of most games unless we were significantly up. It was bandied about by repeaters who think it’s cool to say “damn cover 2!”, it became like the “conspiracy theorist” epithet designed by a neo-con think-tank to discredit anyone who could think for themselves. People should look at the scores we allowed this year before bashing Lovie’s Cover 2 … especially because it was Brian’s cover 2 …..

          • Saren Arterius

            If Urlacher was still capable of dropping back as effectively as he could earlier in his career he’d still be playing. The tape told the ugly truth though, he was pretty much a bystander in 2012.

      • Bruce Conrad

        Some of Tressman’s rookie mistakes would not matter if we were not last in league in sacks, no fumble recoveries in over a half season, allowing first play of game 10-20 yd runs. That’s called not having your defense ready. That’s coaching. Bad D coaching. The QB whisperer did just fine in his first year as Head Coach. Hell, he replaced the entire coaching staff. You can’t get it 100% right with that many changes. Now, I never buy the “injury” excuse. It’s coaching that has to make the difference. Tucker has to go.

  • SC Dave
  • BerwynBomber

    Another big salary coming off the books will be Hester’s. He had the third highest annual salary on the team (behind Peppers and Cutler) at 10M a year.

    • Barb UMihai Mar

      Stop the crazy, mate.

    • SC Dave

      Hester made $2.9M in 2013. The link below indicates a shade of $1M in dead cap space invested in Devin at this time.

      http://www.spotrac.com/nfl/chicago-bears/devin-hester/

      • BerwynBomber

        Good catch. I was only looking at average salary/non-guaranteed money. Man, the Peppers contract looks like a killer in terms of its escalation.

        • Barb UMihai Mar

          It’s not a catch. It’s a known basic fact.

    • Irish Sweetness

      Peanut on 3.5 is mystifying. Like Dent earning 60K in ’85.

  • Barb UMihai Mar

    Again with the offense ? You don’t win shit if you don’t have at least a solid defense or a defense that can make a difference in bursts. This year the D was so bad that there’s no world for it. And it all starts with Trestman. He is the main culprit. Offense, offense, offense…fuck that. We’re 8-8 with a far worst team that last year. I like Trestman, but i hope Emery will take charge, fire Tucker and hire an defensive coordinator himself. We need a Bears DC that can make shit happen and lead them.

    • Irish Sweetness

      We can’t really blame Trestman for the defense – it hasn’t got anything to do with him and it’s not why he’s here. Emery takes that shot on the chin.

  • Sactowns#1

    2 things- A) stop with all the Conte hate. That guy threw his body at men the size of AJ Green with wreckless abandon all season. The man had 89 tackles, more than any of our LB except Anderson.
    B) D-line, D-line, D-line is the BIGGEST priority in the offseason. If our D-line could stop the run at ALL this season looks completely different. If our D-line could get to the QB AT ALL this season looks completely different. Lets not over thinnk this… Dline is the one and only answer to righting this ship and making a run for the SB.

    • BillW

      Conte had 89 tackles because the backers were so bad. Not because he was good

      • bearsfantillend

        Conte had 89 tackles because the d-line could not contain the run and allow blockers to get to the 2nd level taking the LBs out. so he was the only one left to make the tackle.

        • BillW

          Better assessment than mine

    • Johnathan Wood

      Conte was not good this year, but he was not as god-awful as people make him out to be. He will likely be back in Chicago next year, and may even be starting (though I would guess he’ll have to earn it in camp).

      Let’s not forget this same safety duo played all year last year when the Bears had one of the top 3 defenses in the NFL, and we all thought going into this year that they had a very solid young safety duo. Neither player is a difference maker, but both are capable of not hurting you if playing as part of a solid unit.

      You are 100% right that it all starts with the DL. If you have a dominant DL you will have an above-average defense no matter how bad your secondary is. Just look at CAR. Top 3 NFL defense right now despite having a secondary that is not good, because their front 7 is amazing.

      • Johnathan Wood

        with that said, I would LOVE a legitimate playmaker at safety.

        • SC Dave

          And this too

      • SC Dave

        This.

      • Irish Sweetness

        I wanted to sell our drafts for Suh and Kuechly. Build it right up the middle. Can’t fuck with it.

    • MB30SD

      1. are you serious sac? I don’t even want to hear this bullshit. He gets paid handsomely to do it… just like every other single football player in the nfl. He had that many tackles because he was the last on back there when no one one the DL or LBs tackled anyone. With his angles he should have made 40 more tackles that he totally wiffed on but should have made if he was decent.

      I agree with 2

  • gpldan

    The 2010 Packers lost:

    Morgan Burnett
    Jermichael Finley
    Mike Neal
    Ryan Grant
    Justin Harrell, their impact #1 pick
    And they lost Woodson in the Super Bowl.

    But a 2nd year guy named BJ Raji stepped up inside, and they sent Williams, Collins and Woodson to the Pro Bowl.

    For our final game, we didn’t have:

    Melton, whose performance inside in the pre-season was iffy, he got tagged because nobody thought he was worth the big payday and in pre-season he didn’t show it.

    Collins – who arguably was replaced by Jay Ratliff inside.

    Peanut – Hard loss, given that he could run yet Bowman played well in support of him.

    DJ Williams – Again, arguably a non-factor since the Bears spent most of the game in Nickel with Briggs and Anderson and Frey. Bostic had few snaps in that last game.

    Now – on to the underperformers:

    Peppers – who, despite a monster deal, has checked out on this club.
    Paea – The inevitable leg injuries have reverted his form to Flatbreading.
    Wooten – forced to play 3-technique so that…
    McClellin – A bust at DE forced to start by a pig headed GM who won’t be wrong about his #1 pick.

    Everyone else was a starter at the get-go. The only reason we relied on David Bass to take so many snaps is that Washington wasn’t the beast he looked to be in pre-season, Mo’ Chetta seems to have not panned out, and Wooten was busy playing tackle.

    Did I miss anything? Pringles crumbled a bit, but mostly played healthy. 3rd year starter, 3rd round pick.

    During the game, we lost Mills, but Britton stepped in and played well.

    So why did we lose? No pass rush. Pep was inconsistent and Paea was getting rolled up on.

    But, if we want to argue about all this BAD LUCK, then put it in context and understand other clubs have injuries, and the 2010 Packers had more than most – but the depth they assembled allowed them to keep rolling. So we’re still paying for Glitchy’s .187 batting average and picking guys like Paea.

    Emery’s batting average is closer to .350, but this Bears team had enough out there to win that last game, and they didn’t – and the play that beat them Conte was lost on a mis-communication.

    So, Haugh is right: Lose Tucker.

    They won’t. Tucker’s defense is that he wasn’t allowed his playbook or his terminology, and that will carry the day for him.

    • BerwynBomber

      That Pack team had two All-Pros who held their D together throughout most of the year — Woodson and Matthews. And yes, as you mentioned young guys like Raji and Williams stepped up too. If we would have had Briggs and Peanut playing the whole year at a high-level, who knows? It would be interesting to see what our run D looked like, stats-wise, from the time Briggs went down in the middle of the Washington game compared to the time that followed. But admittedly the D looked sketchy all year: our Woodson and Matthews might have been a combination of Urlacher, Briggs, Pep and Peanut. And once Brian retired and Pep and Peanut slipped, we were screwed.

      • Johnathan Wood

        IMO Bostic played pretty well when first inserted for Williams. His play took a definite turn for the worse after Briggs went down. Bears had 2 leaders on defense this year–Tillman and Briggs–and they both ended up missing a good chunk of the year.

      • Irish Sweetness

        Once Brian GOT retired …..

    • Johnathan Wood

      Melton got a concussion in the first quarter of the first preseason game and didn’t practice again until the week of their first real game.

      He was therefore out of sync and out of shape, and it showed in the first two games. You have to believe he would have rounded back into form after a few weeks had he managed to stay healthy.

      • gpldan

        Good point,, Melton did get his noggin cracked in the 1st PS game.

        • Johnathan Wood

          Even with Melton no-showing the season (he was awful for three games before going down, though slightly less awful in the 3rd game), Hayden KOd before the season started, DJ Williams not hitting his stride until after Melton had gone down after likewise missing the whole preseason with injuries, and Tillman hurting his knee in the first half of week 1, this was not a bad D at the start of the year.

          They gave up 21, 16, and 23 points in the 3 games Melton played in (remember 14 of the 30 MIN points in week 2 were from DST). We’ll call this a D playing with average injuries (remember, one projected starter-Hayden in the slot-is out and 3 others are playing at less than full strength from injuries). That’s 20.0ppg.

          TINY sample size, but that puts them somewhere around the lower end of the top 10 scoring defenses if it holds for the whole season.

          • Trac

            Injuries had nothing to do with our Defense standing around with a live ball on the ground Sunday. Bad coaching, plain and simple. It starts at the top.

          • Johnathan Wood

            you will never hear me defending anything about that play at all. The actions by the Bears right there were absolutely inexcusable.

  • BillW

    Can we please stop using luck in our assessments? Can’t rely on being lucky with injuries.

    Let me use this example. We lost the most important part of our offense for several games. Bad luck yes. But was it GOOD luck McCown did well or was it coaching that turned a journey man qb into a solid performer?

    Where is the Tucker equivalent of that? Lord knows he had more chances to prove his coaching ability and yet not one can be cited as a Tucker sucess story

    He has to go and if trestman doesn’t see it then he is a great oc not a good hc. Similar to lovie

    • Johnathan Wood

      Zach Bowman played the best football of his career this year. There’s that.

      • 4ever85 (AKA Butch Deadlift)

        Our corners didn’t do to badly this year considering how awful everyone else played.

        Hoke did a hell of a job. Bowman was never consistent, to get him to that – good coaching there.

        • SC Dave

          I agee for the most part, tho the cbs had trouble holding tbe edge in the run game. Another aspct of peanut’s size

      • Irish Sweetness

        Nah, he made the PB years ago ….

  • NewBearInTown

    I think some of the teams struggling to sell tickets are just because its the playoffs and the scheduling is last minute. Even a team like the Colts didn’t know if it was playing on Saturday or Sunday, so a lot of people had to make sure they could actually be at the game before buying. I suspect a lot of buying will happen this week.

    Also, Cincy, Indy and Green Bay will all be playing in very cold temps. I think Indy has a dome, but you still have to drive to the game. That’s got to make your buddy’s leather couch and 80″ flat screen more attractive.

    • BillW

      Bears forced psl holders to buy tickets. Though they don’t charge your cc unless they played the game. Still had to pay the 8 service charge or lose our psls

      • SC Dave

        Wow, what a crock of shit.

    • BerwynBomber

      Is the sellout date for broadcasting issues Tues the week of the game?

      • NewBearInTown

        Wednesday I think. Though the league extended it to Thursday because of the holiday.

  • 4ever85 (AKA Butch Deadlift)

    For me, it’s pretty simple.

    Our Defense stunk, but who’s to blame, the chicken or the egg? Inj handicapped Tucker, but a lot of the defensive players didn’t seem to progress and even seemed to regress, and that’s usually a side of bad coaching. I’m sure BOTH inj AND Tucker are to blame, we just don’t know the exact percentage – 60%/40%?

    So, FIRE Tucker but ONLY if a slam-dank no brain upgrade is available (someone along the lines of Rex Ryan). Replacing Tucker with a hot under-the-radar name wouldn’t surprise me either given how Emery rolls, but I’d be much more comfortable with a proven commodity like DC Horton, not some position coach in a good D (like Carolina’s?).

    It’s like you have this crappy job, but you don’t want to leave it unless you get an offer from a bigger firm. Sure, you can go for that scrappy upstart, but that might last 6 months, then you’re out of a job and pinning for previous crappy job.

    • gpldan

      Is Leslie Frazier a slam dunk?

      • 4ever85 (AKA Butch Deadlift)

        I don’t think so. The Vikes were solid on D last year (but how much of that was AP rushing for 2,000 and keeping opposing Os off the field). He’s also shown a penchant for drafting S (that S from Notre Dame Harrison is pretty good), but I’d have to really check out how their D fared this year (that’s what the offseason is for).

        My initial judgment would be that he would be a SLIGHT upgrade, but maybe that’s because of my Jagism (prejudice against anything associated with Jags).

  • Saren Arterius

    Bringing up last year, in terms of this year, doesn’t really mean anything at all, and IMO, looking at the number of wins and stopping there without applying any broader context to it is pretty lazy. We weren’t playing last year’s opponents, and last year’s team wasn’t playing this year’s opponents.

    There were *significant* differences, and problems that the team hadn’t been able to fix for years or even decades became strengths.
    -Adding Marshall in 2012 was already a major coup but the WR production outside of him while Jeffery was injured and inexperienced was abysmal.
    -The TE position was just pathetic.
    -Any game against a team with a strong pass rush or with heavy blitzing (Houston, SF, Green Bay, etc.) was an automatic loss (which would inevitably be blamed on Cutler) due to the horrendous, bordering on non-existent pass protection.
    -When Martz was gone, Forte’s ability as a receiver was completely ignored.

    I am not at all defending Tucker (who I would like to see fired) or excusing the worst defense I’ve ever seen, but directly comparing this year’s defense to last year’s, when last year’s had Melton (with no need of his backup, who was also hurt), Tillman, Briggs, Urlacher, and Hayden is pretty asinine.

    • Johnathan Wood

      the Bears took a step back this year in terms of overall production.

      BUT they are closer now to being great than they were at any point under Lovie. That’s why he was fired. His teams were consistently competitive, occasionally very good, but never really approached greatness (and were never going to).

      Emery stated his goal is to win championships. That was not happening under Lovie. We don’t know yet if it will under Trestman, but they have the offense to do it. Which is more important than D in today’s NFL. You need a good D to win a Super Bowl, but you also need an offense capable of winning you games.

      • Saren Arterius

        Overall, sure. The overall direction of the franchise isn’t headed in that direction though – it’s headed forward. The dreaded day of reckoning with the defense finally happened. It was just a lot more painful than anyone expected.

        • Johnathan Wood

          I agree. the D rebuilding has been coming for years, and now it’s here. If they are even average at that this will be a good team for the next few years, maybe great if they can piece a solid defense together.

          Here’s the one thing that worries me a little bit, but it’s a more long-term thought: Matt Forte is the best player on this offense and the guy that makes it work. He’s also getting up there, has a lot of mileage on his legs, and is likely done as a starting running back when his contract expires in 2 years.

          So their offense should remain at this top-shelf level for two years, at which point they have to find a new lynchpin (and deal with Marshall’s age as well, although that is less of a concern with Jeffery and maybe Wilson in the fold).

          In my mind, that gives them a 2-year window to get the defense good enough to win a Super Bowl. I had hoped it would be 3 years (that the D would stay strong this year), but that didn’t happen.

          • Johnathan Wood

            of course, that doesn’t mean the offense will suddenly suck when Forte is gone. I’m just saying it should be among the 3-5 best offenses in the NFL these next 2 years, and we don’t know what level after that. Too far off to project. But it’s not like we have an Aaron Rodgers at QB where we can say “as long as we have this guy, our offense is studly for the next 8 years.”

          • Irish Sweetness

            If we were truly in re-building phase we would have traded Forte. You can’t do both. You can’t re-build and keep all your best players. You need picks to rebuild.

            Luckily on O all we need is a center. Ford is a fine running back, perhaps better than Forte at running it .. and Mr. Toliver is on the PS just in case ….6’5 .. oh yes.

      • 4ever85 (AKA Butch Deadlift)

        exactly. As crazy as it sounds, the D was actually outperforming the O in the first half of the Pack game. They were actually stopping the run, making tackles, and creating turnovers.

        Our O sputtered. In the 2nd half it became a shoot-out, but if our O would have stepped on the Pack early when our D was stopping them, the game would’ve been over by half-time.

        Alshon fumble here, Marshall drop there. Can’t have those in big games.

        • SC Dave

          Best summary of the game ive read. But there was still The Fumble.

          • NewBearInTown

            Tucker will learn from the Fumble like everyone else. I’m not firing him for that.

          • Irish Sweetness

            Worst defense in the NFL should have the DC fired on principle, regardless of injury talk.

            “Why did you crash your plane?”

            “It was cloudy.”

            “Clear out your locker.”

            There are always injuries … so we have rosters of other guys to go in … they suck .. they’re not ready .. who’s fault is that? Rocket science …. football … not equal.

          • Irish Sweetness

            The less-than-immaculate Incomplete Pass.

      • Irish Sweetness

        Hold up on the O taking over .. when did offenses take over the D in SB runs?

        Last six years – NYG and PIT win it twice -are they offense-based teams? The Ravens. Uh-uh, until further notice, defense wins champs.

        I like Emery’s vision too. That’s what bothered me from Day one about Lovie .. his goal was to beat Green Bay. That was it. No Lombardis? No playoffs? Just win two games a year? Couldn’t even do that. As Chris Rock would say … what a low-expectation-havin’-m*therf*cker!

        • Johnathan Wood

          but those Giants, PIT, and BAL teams all had offenses that could win games (and did make key 4th quarter plays to win playoff games and the Super Bowl).

          Baltimore’s offense was better than their defense in the playoffs last year. It takes a complete team to win a Super Bowl, and it was clear that was never coming under Lovie.

    • Irish Sweetness

      I met Saren on a recent jump to Zeta Reticuli , big Bears fan, told him to drop by …

  • Johnathan Wood

    Regarding the offense, you make some great points. There are a TON of reasons to think this unit will be significantly better next year, including
    -2nd year in scheme
    -3 young starters who should all get better this offseason (Jeffery, Mills, Long). This will be especially noticeable in the OL, which was ok this year but they had to play call around often. If Long/Mills make the next step (they should, especially with a full offseason working with the best OL coach in the NFL), the offense opens up a lot because you can send more guys out on routes.
    -no old guys who should get worse except Garza, who was already their worst starter and may not be back
    -one enticing rookie who may be ready to contribute next year in Marquess Wilson (also the possibility of adding a 2nd TE who can be a passing target)

    But the one thing that could change next year is health. The offense stayed remarkably healthy this year. Outside of Cutler, nobody missed a start due to injury. This covers all starters and contributors–about 15 players. Sure, Earl missed the last game, and Mills got hurt in game 16. They were insanely lucky with health on offense this year, and the odds of that repeating are slim to none. So depth may be tested. This worries me most at tight end and running back. I think Forte and M. Bennett are the two most irreplaceable guys in this offense.

    • Saren Arterius

      Given his salary I think Bush is probably gone and they’ll look to bring in someone else.

      • Johnathan Wood

        I agree that is highly likely. Either that or a pay cut.

        He’s due $3.8M against the cap, would be $2M in dead money if they cut him. If he agrees to a $1M pay cut (with performance incentives to earn that back, similar to what Earl did last year), I could see them keeping him around.

        • 4ever85 (AKA Butch Deadlift)

          I think he needs to be gone period. Didn’t even want him this year, really.

          I just don’t think he adds much. We got Ford. We need another big masher who hits the hole hard and doesn’t pussy foot to complement Forte.

          Add a mauling C, and we’re ready to roll on O.

          • Johnathan Wood

            I agree with these sentiments. I’d rather go with a rookie RB in the later rounds as a backup who can be around for cheap for several years. Just saying that I could see a scenario in which the Bears decide it makes sense to bring Bush back with a pay cut. For what it’s worth, I hope they can also convince Earl to take that same pay cut this year and be back. Can never have too much WR depth.

            And I want Garza gone and replaced with best C available in round 3. Nestled on a veteran OL that knows what they’re doing (and again, with the best OL coach in the NFL) is a great place for a rookie C to learn the ropes.

          • gpldan

            Go back and watch Ford run in pre-season. Kid has talent.

          • Johnathan Wood

            I really want to see Ford get some carries behind something other than a 3rd string offensive line that has 2 people hitting him behind the LOS every time he touches the ball.

            One of the things that pissed me off in the PHI game was that they gave garbage-time 4th quarter carries to Bush instead of Ford. And that Marquess Wilson was inactive, meaning 4th quarter WR snaps went to Weems (although that’s more understandable, as they couldn’t have predicted the blowout and didn’t anticipate needing Wilson).

          • MB30SD

            exactly. wrote the above before i read this… my bads.

          • MB30SD

            You know ford is one guy I wanted to get some reps this year. I think we should have put him in for the 3rd and 4th quarters in the dallas game and the philly game. Why not at those points.

          • Irish Sweetness

            Yup, he ran like Walter on occasion, a little stockier, but you could see it.

          • SC Dave

            I think if Peppers is gone they should pay Earl more than $1M.

          • NewBearInTown

            Earl is due $2.5M in 2014. He earned $1.5M this year and could have earned another million if he had 8 catches for the season. He’s our established third best receiver and a great utility man and special teamer, but he’s not someone who needs to be paid a lot of money to stick around.

            I just hope we keep him around and get a speed guy with similar special teams value for around the same price. That would give us one of the best WR groups in the NFL for less than $20M a year… pretty solid investment.

          • SC Dave

            http://www.spotrac.com/rankings/nfl/

            These four guys are eating a lot of salary (Pep, BM, Cutler, Melton)

          • MB30SD

            keep the middle two.

          • NewBearInTown

            Peppers will not be back.

            I believe Marshall should get signed to an extension this year to avoid a contract fight in 2015 or (worse) a fight with both starting wide receivers in the same off-season. We don’t need the cap space, but an extension would allow us to push some of that $9.1M into the future.

            Melton is a FA and won’t be franchised again, but the ACL might make him marketable. I suspect there’s a certain amount of money available for the D-line to be upgraded. If Emery wants him, he’ll pay him.

            Cutler is actually cheap when you look at what other teams are paying their franchise QBs. His cap number will go up.

            Keep in mind, we have a lot of free agents, but we have like $60M to work with.

          • tobijohn

            Any noteworthy DT/DE FAs out there that have a good chance of being available?

          • NewBearInTown

            I’m looking for lists, but nobody has made a good list yet. Need to wait till after the Superbowl when cap casualties start getting cut and we see which players will actually hit the open market.

            One guy that will get lot of attention: Henry Melton

          • Irish Sweetness

            DL free agents 2014

            http://www.footballsfuture.com/2014/fa/dl.html

            Jared Allen [DE, Minnesota Vikings] – Allen will be on the market
            for the first time since he became available for trade in Kansas City
            many years back. Maturing in Minnesota, the trade worked out about as
            effectively as it could have for the Vikings. Though Minnesota has as
            many decisions to make this offseason as any team, Allen is as likely as
            any to return to the organization he represents. By not re-signing
            him, Minnesota would put on the market arguably the “hot” free agent of
            the offseason.

            Anthony Spencer [DE/OLB, Dallas Cowboys] – After using the
            franchise tag on Anthony Spencer twice, the same outcome will not repeat
            itself next offseason. The Cowboys will finally have to agree upon a
            long-term deal, something they haven’t gotten done the past couple
            years, or cut ties with an edge player who has come into this own in
            back-to-back contract seasons. His transition to Monte Kiffin’s Tampa 2
            scheme will play a large factor in the organization’s internal
            decision-making process.

            Michael Johnson [DE, Cincinnati Bengals] – Johnson has taken
            noticeable strides in each of his first four years in the league with
            improved numbers to show for it as well. Though his youth, length, and
            athleticism will make him an attractive candidate in the free agent
            pool, the Bengals have flexibility with their own cap room. After
            re-signing Geno Atkins, solidifying their defensive line for the future
            should be a top priority.

            Henry Melton [DT, Chicago Bears] – Melton’s career has taken an
            interesting path, but after 13 sacks over the past two years, he’s
            established himself as one of the top interior pass rushers in the
            league. His quickness is a tough match-up for opposing interior
            offensive linemen. The Bears recognized his value a year ago, slapping
            him with the franchise tag. Though the two sides now have to wait until
            the end of the year to resume long-term negotiations, it probably won’t
            take long for talks to resume as soon as it becomes legal.

            Justin Tuck [DE, New York Giants] – At age 30, Justin Tuck enters
            a contract season with a reputation that right now perhaps exceeds his
            production over the past two seasons. Battling various injuries, Tuck
            will need to post a monster season to enter into the echelon of
            contracts his talent suggests he deserves. The Giants trust their
            system and any reason to suggest Tuck’s production may drop over the
            duration of his next contract could see him suiting up in different
            colors next season.

            Randy Starks [DT, Miami Dolphins] – Randy Starks will hit the
            free agent market for the second consecutive year. Rather than reach an
            extension, the Dolphins gambled on Starks, franchising him with
            expectations that they could maybe sign him to a better deal at the age
            of 30. Starks has been among the most productive interior linemen in
            the league for a couple years and figures to play a big role in free
            agency next year.

            Greg Hardy [DE, Carolina Panthers] – After an 11-sack 2012
            campaign, Greg Hardy enters a contract year with a defensive line as
            talented as any he’s been a part of. This should afford him plenty of
            one-on-one opportunities to get after the passer and anything short of a
            repeat or improvement of last season will be a big disappointment.
            Hardy and the Panthers have preliminarily discussed long-term contracts.

            Brian Robison [DE, Minnesota Vikings] – With the talent on the
            defensive line, it took Robison a little longer than average to
            establish himself as a strong starting defensive end. However, with
            16.5 sacks over the past two seasons, he’s viewed in Minnesota as an
            integral piece of the defense. Of course Jared Allen will maintain
            priority over Robison, but the Vikings should look to bring back both of
            their defensive ends.

            Lamarr Houston [DT/DE, Oakland Raiders] – Entering the final year
            of his rookie contract, Lamarr Houston figures to play the role of the
            elder statesmen in Oakland. Though he’s never been a sack artist per
            se, his pressure numbers and all-around ability indicate value not
            confirmed in the everyday statistics. Entering this year, he’s lost
            weight, which may help him close on the quarterback improving his
            numbers. Houston is a favorite to re-sign with Oakland.

            The Rest:

          • Irish Sweetness

            db free agents 2014

            2014 NFL Free Agent Defensive Backs
            By: Roshan Bhagat

            Top Cornerbacks:

            Charles Tillman [Chicago Bears] – Tillman has set the set
            standard for forcing turnovers from the cornerback position over the
            past few years and is a rare case of a Pro Bowl caliber player elevating
            his game after the age of 30. He has the versatility to play a slew of
            different assignments, but has been an especially excellent fit in
            Bears defense reliant on 2- and 3- deep concepts. Despite his age, the
            Bears will have to let him play out the next couple years in Chicago,
            right?

            Tarell Brown [San Francisco 49ers] – The Niners have built their
            defense around big, physical players. On the perimeter, it’s no
            different. Currently, he and his new agent are still in talks to
            recover some of the $2 million he lost in the strange offseason fiasco
            in the uncertainty of a clause regarding voluntary workouts. If nothing
            is reached on that front, it could be an impediment to a new contract.
            On the other hand, it could be built into his next contract.

            Sam Shields [Green Bay Packers] – Shields is just the latest
            Packer to work his way up from the undrafted ranks to become one of the
            better starters at his position in the league. He entered the
            organization as a very fast, but very raw player and immediately seized
            the nickel corner role. After an up and down start to his career, he’s
            settled into the Packers top boundary corner. The organization will
            wait and see if he can perform to last year’s level again before signing
            him to a long-term contract.

            Brent Grimes [Miami Dolphins] – Grimes could be one of the hotter
            commodities next offseason if he can prove to have fully recovered from
            an injury that cost him an entire season. In Atlanta, Grimes had
            ascended toward the top his position with toughness and great ball
            skills. The Dolphins offered him a one-year contract and must work for
            his next payday.

            Tim Jennings [Chicago Bears] – Jennings is another Bears corner
            who has come into his own over the past year and a half. He lacks the
            size of a prototypical corner, especially as wide receivers continue to
            upsize, but he has the tenacity and instincts to play the position in
            Chicago’s zone-heavy scheme. He has learned from Tillman to force
            turnovers and has been a big asset on the opposite side for the Bears
            defense.

            Nnamdi Asomugha [San Francisco 49ers] – The 49ers should allow
            Nnamdi to return to his comfort zone playing more man coverage this year
            than in his time in Philly. Though it seems he’s certainly dropped a
            peg from his elite days, he will have the opportunity to compete for a
            starting job and equivalent salary this offseason if he can prove to fit
            within the framework of the Niners defense.

            Aqib Talib [New England Patriots] – After a strong campaign with
            the Patriots after the trade from Tampa, Talib settled in nicely into a
            role as the Patriots top cover corner. The team has struggled to draft
            at the position for years, making the move seem even stronger. With
            another clean year on and off the field, the Patriots will be
            frontrunners to retain Talib on a longer contract.

            Safeties:

            Jairus Byrd [Buffalo Bills] – There have been early season trade
            rumors about ByrdÑa leak suggesting that he wanted out followed by Byrd
            dispelling those rumors. Whatever the case may be, it’s obvious he’s
            unhappy playing on a franchise tag. The safety position is one where a
            second tag at 120% the value of the previous year isn’t totally
            prohibitive, so it’s something to keep an eye out for next offseason.

            TJ Ward [Cleveland Browns] – Though the Browns have apparently
            yet to approach Ward about an extension in the last year of his rookie
            contract, talks figure to begin immediately at the commencement of this
            season. On the field, Ward has been a top tier safety with the biggest
            concerns stemming over some injury concerns. Under aggressive defensive
            coordinator Ray Horton, Ward figures to have a big season.

            Donte Whitner [San Francisco 49ers] – After losing Dashon
            Goldson, the Niners seem to have found a suitable replacement in Eric
            Reid based on his debut. Whitner isn’t quite as explosive or the
            playmaker Goldson was and won’t command nearly the same monetary
            commitment making his re-signing a likely one in the summer.

            Antoine Bethea [Indianapolis Colts] – Bethea has been nothing but
            a consistent player in the secondary for the Colts defense that has
            seen plenty of turnover over the years. In the past 7 seasons Bethea
            has but 12 interceptions (he added his 13th in week one this year), 2.5
            sacks, 5 forced fumbles, and 3 recoveries. However, he has been elected
            to the Pro Bowl twice and dressed for 81 consecutive games. At a
            position that has suffered through a drought of talent for nearly a
            decade now, Bethea’s reliability is a major asset.

            Ryan Clark [Pittsburgh Steelers] – While Troy Polamalu has
            bounced in and out of the starting lineup with his reckless play causing
            an endless list of injuries, Ryan Clark has been a dependable member of
            the Steelers secondary that has helped contain aerial attacks. Playing
            a number of roles in the secondary, Clark is a solid utility man that
            can help shore up leaks in the backend.

          • Irish Sweetness

            Brandon earns his corn, because he makes it easier for Alshon to get noticed. Pep and Cutty have NEVER earned their corn. Not to date.

          • Irish Sweetness

            Angelo drafted Dan LeFevour over Starks, remember that? Starks was actually top of the Bears draft board at the time. Angelo’s gut feeling was to go with the other guy .. and as always … he was wrong. Sixth round – it was Angelo’s ballpark too. BADA-BINGGG!!!

          • Saren Arterius

            Well to be fair Bush is kind of like Forte-lite, but Trestman and Kromer use him like he’s some kind of bruiser, and while he hits the hole harder than Forte that’s still not really what he is. He’s not really being used to maximize his potential here statistically.

          • MB30SD

            DIs!

        • NewBearInTown

          With a million dollar pay cut the only reason to cut him is the roster spot. Keeping him or cutting him would be cap neutral.

          What that means is that he will stay unless we have two candidates we want to try out in the regular season. Even if we get the next Marshawn Lynch to pair with Forte, we’ll still need a #3. Bush is going to be better than anyone else we can keep on board as a backup.

    • MB30SD

      great point Mr. wood. I hadn’t really thought about that. If the D just hits normal injury levels next year, we have to expect the same for the O.

      While we had abhorrent luck on D, it was replaced by insanely good luck on O.

  • gpldan

    The Glitch Effect – fun with stats
    Draft position is not important as we gauge overall draft

    We will continue the baseball metaphor and do strike, on-base type – and get average and slugging %

    2011

    Carimi – Strike Out
    Paea – Single
    Conte – Single
    Enderle – SO
    JT Thomas – SO (special teams play is BS)

    2/5 w. two singles

    2010

    Major Wright – Double
    Corey Wooten – Triple
    Josh Moore – SO
    Dan LaFavor – SO
    JMarcus Webb – Fuck give it a single, he did start for a season.

    3/5 w. a single, double and triple

    2009

    Jarron Gilbert – SO
    Juaquin Igesias – SO
    Henry Melton – Triple
    DJ Moore – Single
    Johnny Knox – I’ll give the kid a double as I feel bad for him.
    Marcus Freeman – SO
    Al Afalava – SO (yes I know he played, but fuck did he suck)
    Lance Louis – Single
    Derek Kinder – SO

    3/8 with two singles and a triple

    2008

    Chris Williams – Single from the Cookie Monster
    Matt Forte – Home Run
    Earl Bennett – Double
    Marcus Harrison – SO
    Craig Steltz – A double reduced to a single for cracking Peanut’s ribs
    Zack Bowman – Single (we did cut the guy once)
    Kellen Davis – Two Strike Outs
    Ervin Baldwin – SO
    Chester Adams – SO
    Joey LaRoque – Who? SO
    Kirk Barton – SO
    Marcus Monk – SO

    5/13 with three singles, a double and a homer

    2007

    Greg Olsen – Triple
    Dan Bauzin – SO
    Garrett Wolfe – SO (his mugshot strikes him out)
    Michael Okwo – SO
    Josh Beekman – SO
    Kevin Payne – SO
    Corey Graham – A double we couldn’t hold onto
    Trumaine McBride – Arguably a single, I’m calling him a SO since he was a 4th.
    Aaron Brandt – SO

    3/9 with a single, double and triple

    2006

    D Manning – Triple we couldn’t use correctly or hold onto
    Hester – HR
    Dusty Dvorcek – SO
    Jamar Williams – I’ll give him a single since we traded him for Chris Harris back
    Mark Anderson – Probably a double since the Pats made something of him, but a SO for us, so I’ll call it a single
    JD RUnnels – SO
    Tyler Reed – SO

    4/7 with a single, double, triple and HR

    2005

    CedBen – Must I call this? SO
    Mark Bradley – Looked so much like a ground rule double, but in reality a pop fly out.
    Kyle Orton – Double – we probably shoulda held on there
    Airese Currie – SO
    Chris Harris – Since he was a 6th rounder, you gotta say he was a double at least
    Rodriques Wilson – SO

    2/6 with two doubles

    2004

    Tommie Harris – HR
    Tank Johnson – A trunk shotgun wielding single
    Bernard Berrian – Remember him? One good year and then a Vikings payday. Single.
    Nate Vasher – Triple
    Leon Joe – I think he fought Frazier in Manilla. SO
    Claude Harriott – French F1 driver Glitchy drafted for fun
    Craig Krenzel – Buckeye Trash. SO
    Alfonso Marshall – 7th round trash. SO

    3/7 with two singles and a homer

    2003

    Michael Haynes – That one hurt. SO
    Sexy Rexy – What do you call him? How about a double.
    Charles Tillman – HR
    Lance Briggs – HR
    Todd Johnson – SO
    Ian Scott – Single
    Bobby Wade – SO
    Justin Gage – Impact player…. for the Titans. Single.
    Tron Lafavor – The robotic clone of Dan. SO
    Joe Odom – Knocked out by Balboa in Rocky II. SO
    Brock Forsey – The pain! Make it stop! – Dr. Smith. SO
    Bryan Anderson – SO

    5/12 with two homers, a double and two singles

    I’m too lazy to do the average and slugging. Eyeballing it, it looks bad.

    • BerwynBomber

      Excellent work. Jogs the memory: yep, I remember Berrian. And freaking Brock Forsey. Btw, I’d be inclined to give C. Graham a triple considering he was a 5th rounder.

    • MB30SD

      I give JA a dogshit 0 maings. Yeah he had a few good picks, but even a blind squirrell (please post your link to your shirt design), and he basically is directly the cause of our breakdown this year. When your ex GM has been gone 3 years and he’s still fucking you out of the playoffs you KNOW he was abject dogshit.

      I am going to breat a FB page and/or twitter page just to let him know he is the direct reason the bears have been so mediocre for so long. The fucking nerve that cunt has slogging draft and personnel advice on the innerness. what a total and utter embarrassing, infuriating joke.

    • NewBearInTown

      You do the averaging and it actually isn’t bad. Probably around .400, which is what you want to see according to 4ever85. If you stop and think about it, he actually did quite well drafting for the defense especially in the first half of his tenure (Briggs, Tillman, Tommie and Chris Harris, Manning, Hester, Wootton).
      The issues with Angelo are:
      1) Outside of Forte, he didn’t draft any outstanding offensive talent in 9 years.
      2) Other than Harris way back in 2004, there were no big hits in the first round other than trading for Cutler.
      3) Given the “high floor” approach, you’d expect more singles and fewer strikeouts in this list.

      • Irish Sweetness

        4) He was a useless cunt with a sickening grin that just begged you to kick his face in.

    • Irish Sweetness

      No love for Lance? He was our best lineman I thought …

      • NewBearInTown

        Have to agree with Irish. Lance was a solid double or even triple given draft location. Can’t blame Angelo that Jared Allen ruined Lance’s career with that cheap shot.

  • Cormonster

    That was the worst Bears loss I’ve ever witnessed. I’m just mellowing a little today. Last year’s Packers loss pissed me off, but I knew that spelled the end of Lovie, so it was worth losing. The Championship loss was disappointing, but GB was the better team and we almost came back with Hanie.

    Call it sour grapes, but the officiating sucked. How did the refs miss the delay of game at such a critical point in the game? I was in the upper north end zone and it was obvious the Packers were lining up late. When the play clock hit zero my cousin yelled “delay, delay” at least twice before the ball was snapped. It wasn’t like the Packers snapped it a fraction of a second after the play clock expired, it was at least a full second. How can we see this way up in the stands, but not one official noticed it? Just inexcusable.

    Then on the long drive home yesterday I listened to asshats on the Score like Mac, Spiegel, and Hub say it didn’t affect the outcome of the game. What the Fuck planet do these guys live on? The Packers likely punt from the 18 yard line at that point, and it completely changes the game. The late hit on McClellin was also a terrible call. Every Packers fan I’ve talked to admitted it was a bad call. It extended their drive and resulted in a field goal. How did that not change the game?

    It’s hard enough to win with this defense without having to play against the officiating too. NFL officiating is so bad it’s borderline criminal. The Big Ten has a better system and far better officials. I watch a lot of those games and rarely is there any controversy. They have an independent replay booth that can stop and challenge every play. The NFL needs to look at this as a model, because right now the ref’s are a joke ruining the integrity of the game.

    • BerwynBomber

      The only rationalization for me regarding the missed play clock on the Kuhn conversion was that I thought we received a damn favorable spot on the play before when Lacey ran into the line. But yeah, the Shea/roughing penalty was complete bogus, although ultimately I don’t know if it mattered much unless you think Crosby would have missed from that spot as, I believe, they were still in FG range despite the sack.

      • Cormonster

        I need to watch the game on TV, but haven’t got myself to do it yet.

        • BerwynBomber

          I could be wrong but I thought the Pep sack/Shea play put them around our 25 and it was a half-distant thing, but I am certain that drive only netted them an FG. The other bad call against us was the reviewed touchback on the early Podelish punt. The weird thing too is that such close reviews usually go to the home team when raucous crowds are involved.

          • Cormonster

            It was a wild crowd and loud. In our section nobody sat for 90% of the game.

    • beninnorcal

      What about the ‘touchback’ early in the game that even the announcers called BS on? GB would’ve started on their own 1 yd line

  • johnnywad

    The Packers have won exactly one playoff game, (albeit the Supwr Bowl) since knocking the Bears out of their last playoff run with Caleb Hanie at the controls. One. This with a surefire HOF quarterback in every game until our Special Ed DE Shea knocked him out in November. Anybody here think they win this weekend? How long do we leave them on the pedestal? Tired of the Packer fellatio. They’re not the standard. The Bears are on more of a Seahawks type trajectory with the new regime. We’ll be better than the Pack on a routine basis sooner rather than later.

    • MB30SD

      I need to see what emery does to the D this offseason. As much as I like debating trac and canada on this, I am 100% a wait and see guy. If Emery produces the same type of off season he did last year and makes our D a very frightening unit… the good way this time, I will firmly be in his corner from then on out.

      Making the D seattle-like and I might offer phil somea that there felatio you talked about.

      Two very bad bad men at safety and two of the best, biggest, most aggressive corners in the game… once we get ’em, we just have to keep ours off the juice.

      • Johnathan Wood

        I would much much MUCH rather Emery focus on building a big, bad DL that is gonna make opposing QB’s lives miserable. Everybody talks about Seattle’s secondary, but their defense sucked in the playoffs last year.

        Why was that? Their best pass rusher got hurt, quarterbacks could sit in the pocket, and all of a sudden that big bad secondary wasn’t so big and bad anymore. It all starts in the trenches.

        • MB30SD

          I am def with you john, but you have to have guys back there that are at the very least decent, average, solid, even safe… you can’t have guys like our two who just look clueless. Runners are going to break through the line, deep passes are going to happen.

          You need safeties that live up to the name of their position, and ours can’t even just do that. I’m not asking for ronny lot and cam chancellor (actually I am, but I’m tying to be realistic) back there, just a manning/chris harris level pair.

          I really don’t think it’s too much… or silly of me to expect emery to install good to great players in both units.

          • Johnathan Wood

            When Chicago had a great DL last year, everybody said these same “terrible” safeties were a solid young duo. Nobody viewed safety as an issue coming into the year this year.

            Neither Conte nor Wright are difference makers, but both have shown they can be competent starters when surrounded by good players. If you put them behind a good front 7 they’ll be fine.

            I’m not gonna complain about upgrading the safeties, but upgrading the DL is 100x more important to me.

          • MB30SD

            you weren’t around. I always thought they were below average babysitters.

            I said it last year many times… if we didn’t have the bad ass front 7 we did, those two would be worthless.

            Guess who’s looking like nostradamus this year my man.

            Bottom line, you can say whatever you want, but I saw what I saw and without a front 7 crushing people and destroying the run game, those two got exposed badly for what they are… a career corner from a bad pac-12 team playing safety for the first time in his life in the NFL, and a dude who’s bound to kill himself on his very next hit.

            We need solid back there… again, doesn’t have to be the legion of boom, but they need to be able to not let anything behind them, tackle, and know how to take a normal angle. I mean, it’s kind of the core of their job description, right?

            …so I don’t get all the love and all the desire to keep them. At all.

          • Johnathan Wood

            I’m not advocating keeping them. I don’t want Wright back, and I want a FA signed to compete with Conte in camp for his spot (no use in cutting an experienced player with a cheap contract for next year at this point).

          • MB30SD

            I think we’re both saying the same basic thing john. Build a Dline that’s commensurate with the one we had last year… and get real safeties – they don’t have to be HOFers, although I’d prefer it.

            I’m fine keeping conte on the cheap for emergencies…. but if an emergency happens I want someone else in there before we go to him. He should be our 3rd and only possible option left.

          • burntorangenavyblue

            I’ve felt that our safeties have been not very good the past few years, it’s just that their true abilities of at least “containing” is not even remotely there anymore despite the terrible d-line effort. When I see players such as them only going for the big hits and not wrapping for the tackle, I know they are not for the team because that leads to extra yards and/or them hurting their teammates or themselves when trying to lay wood.

          • SC Dave

            That’s true of ALL players that just go for the big hit flying around like missiles. And for some reason, lots of fans actually WANT guys like that on their team.

    • Johnathan Wood

      It will depend on which team can successfully build a good defense. That is what sets the NFCW apart. All four teams have good defenses featuring often dominating pass rushes.

    • Trac

      Yes but I would argue we have lost 3 playoff games in a row to them. Remember when Lovie didn’t scheme for the game that we had a chance to knock them out of the playoffs in when they won the SB? That game and this last one were playoff games in my mind.

    • BerwynBomber

      Technically, the Cheese won two. They knocked Minny out in WC round last year.

  • MB30SD

    UCLA is beating the living shit out of V Tech right now. badly.

    They’re just crushing them in every phase. That D is actually pretty bad ass. both of their ILBs are badasses.

    • Cormonster

      That was an ass whipping. You gonna watch Wisconsin vs South Carolina tomorrow? I’m interested to see how Wisconsin stacks up against a good SEC team.

      I was surprised WI running back Melvin Gordon is returning for his Jr season. Some sites have him as the top back in this draft. My hometown boy averages over 8 yards a carry. Does the jet sweep a lot.

      • MB30SD

        I haven’t even looked at the line up yet my man. Have the kids this year. We’ll see.

        LOVE UCLA’s new unis and they have some nfl ready players. stoked on mora, he’s a damn good coach. he’s totally turned that program around in 2 years. My bro went to ucla for undergrad and I went and partied with him and his frat my last 2 years in HS and in college. Love that school.

        WIsh I would have gotten in, but didn’t. kids with 4.2s were getting turned down from my school and I def didn’t have a 4.2… and wasn’t big/fast enough to get recruited at MLB.

        • Cormonster

          Their defense is definitely better than I’ve seen in a long time. They had some lapses, but at least they are more physical than I’ve seen in a long time. At least that’s what I saw in limited viewing.

          • MB30SD

            yes. O is pretty decent too.

            They lost 3 this year, stanford (a very very good team), Oregon (the wheels came off, but still oregon), and they lost to ASU which was a little bit of a let down game. They didn’t really show up to that one sadly and should have won it.

            but they’re better than they have been in what 10-20 years now. They’ve been turrible for so long I can’t even remember.

            obviously with college, takes a couple up years before your recruiting starts picking up again after being so bad for so long, so I’m expecting very good things as long as mora’s there and the recruiting catches up with the talent and results on the field.

            Of course, taking recruits out on the town in Westwood with all the hot LA wool ain’t such a bad recruiting tool either. Man I love that place.

          • Cormonster

            20 years ago I was partying in Pasadena at this moment. Wisconsin made an improbable run to the Rose Bowl, first time since 1963. I had just graduated a few weeks earlier, and me, my brother, and a buddy went to the game against UCLA. JJ Stokes was unstoppable, and UCLA was the far superior team, but they continually turned the ball over. My favorite game of all time that I attended. Wisconsin had a bunch of no name walk ons starting on D.

            That game turned their entire program around and they were able to recruit. Before then, they were a laughing stock in the Big Ten.

            Wisconsin beat UCLA in the Rose Bowl in 1999. A late pick by McNown for 6 sealed the deal. It was on a sideline route and clearly he didn’t have the arm to get it there. I was totally pissed when the Bears drafted McClown. It was obvious he didn’t have the arm strength.

            Not trying to be a dick. You just triggered some memories. I would like to see UCLA have a solid program again.

          • MB30SD

            not a dick at all… those memories are precious maings. always hang onto and revisit them

        • BerwynBomber

          Oh, man. I hate those unis — everyone goes dark or black now. Stick to your traditional colors. I thought I was watching Oregon St for a moment. But yeah, agree about Mora. He’s the goods as a college coach and a dude who, one day, might HC in the NFL again.

          • MB30SD

            LOVE that look. Love solid colors. HATE white anything. it just looks so weak. It’s the reason I first started loving Clemson in the late 80’s. they were the only ones with the full solid color unis… even if they were bright orange.

  • Trac

    Draft strategy anyone? I used to hate trading down but we will have the luxury this year of doing so and getting real value based on where we sit. Selecting 14th will almost surely give us “options”.

    • Johnathan Wood

      top 2 rounds need to be the 2 best defensive players available.
      Would love a C in round 3.
      After that you draft for best player more than need.

      I am never opposed to trading down if the price is right. Hated that they didn’t trade down last year in round 1. 2 picks after theirs ATL traded up for a CB, gave up their 3rd round pick. You have to think that same deal was on the table for CHI, and they still likely would have gotten Long at pick 29 or whatever it was.

      • Johnathan Wood

        it’s important to remember, however, that a lot can change between now and the draft. I expect Emery to address pretty much all their needs to some extent in free agency and make it so the Bears aren’t forced into drafting any one position early. He did this last year with Slauson, Williams, Anderson, etc.

      • Trac

        I do have a legit concern that Emery will never trade down to draft his diamond in the rough and that he’ll continue to go for the dark horse picks.

        • IBNO

          Agreed. I think Emery might think he’s smarter than the average Bear when it comes to sniffing out dark horses. Exhibit A: Alshon.

          • BerwynBomber

            Or PE has a good nose for WRs: witness the Marshall trade too.

          • Irish Sweetness

            That was a penalty kick. Marshall was a no-brainer and the only reason he is a bear is because of Jay. We should have signed him the same time we signed Cutler.

    • MB30SD

      Let’s start with need boys:

      1. DL – a couple DEs and maybe a DT
      2. BOTH safety positions… I’d rather draft a SS after having picked up a known bad ass in FA
      3. Center
      4. Assorted DBs and maybe a LB if one’s available

      • IBNO

        Like Johnathan said below, first 2 rounds is BPA defense. There is no position on that side of the ball that couldn’t be upgraded–except maybe ILB.

        MB is right about safeties in the draft; top-flight FS prospects are rare. I have no clue who might be available in FA, but if there’s a decent FS in FA, get him, then look to SS in the draft.

        I see the draft being a royal clusterfuck this year with all the QB prospects that teams are going to seriously blow their wads trying to get. It’s even money that the Bears are offered a stupidly-good deal when their pick comes up in the 1st, because some team with a late 1st-round pick needs a new QB (*cough* Cleveland’s pick from Indy for Richardson *cough*).

        • NewBearInTown

          Jairus Byrd could hit the market. He wasn’t happy Buffalo franchised him last year and he might want to play for a contender. Donte Whitner also could be available, but I think he’s a SS.

    • Irish Sweetness

      Rd 1 : DT/DE
      Rd 2 : DT/DE
      Rd 3 : C

      If they want to play tradesies after that then so be it.

  • tobijohn

    Just one man’s opinion but this from John Mullin:

    “Major Wright: Through most of the season Wright was playing poorly. He corrected a number of problems late but the Floridian is expected to explore free agency.

    Chris Conte: A number of years ago, Bears personnel heads decided that quarterback Cade McNown had “taken on too much water in Chicago” and found a trade partner (Miami) to give him a fresh start. Conte’s year, particularly its finish, positions him for a similar conclusion by Halas Hall.”

    • MB30SD

      yes major, you go and explore that free agency thing.

      (a task made much easier when your current employer doesn’t want you back)

      • tobijohn

        I have a pretty good idea what value you put on him MB but I wonder what could realistically be had for Conte? 5th? 6th?

        • MB30SD

          after this year… a coke and a smile.

          i seriously doubt anything. NB?

          • NewBearInTown

            Maybe mid-season to a needy team. If we want him, he’s worth more on the roster than a 6th round draft pick. If we don’t want him, teams will know it and just wait for him to get cut.

            Best chance would be a player for player trade. We give Conte to a team that wants a safety and get the equivalent back at another position. A player like Mincey in Jacksonville (was good, bad year, probably cut anyway) would have been an example, but he got cut.

            How many trades do you really see in the NFL? Especially with the new CBA, draft picks are just too valuable.

          • CanadaBear

            Totally agree with Mullin. The fans were already starting to go all Sex Cannon on Conte. They will be brutal next year. Not to mention Conte’s confidence is completely shot (for good reason).

          • tobijohn

            Well, The Bears in 2001 traded McNown (#12 pick in the 1999 draft) and a 2002 seventh round pick to the Dolphins for a 2002 sixth rounder and a conditional 2003 seventh rounder, so you may be right – a Coke and a smile…

          • MB30SD

            will I be flogging a dead horse totally and completely if I say that’s all he’s damn well worth?

          • IBNO

            Flog it, brother. Conte is so awful, a 7th-round pick for him would be a steal.

            Hell, bring back the Hawaiian Beaver; he could do better than Conte.

          • MB30SD

            Thank you sir. A clear mind. Nice to see.

  • MB30SD

    taking a break from all the heavy back and forth discussion, here’s a good gallery

    http://mmqb.si.com/2013/12/30/nfl-photos-of-the-year-2013/

  • Cormonster

    Anyone think TE Fendi Onabun can make the team next year? The Bears obviously like his potential. The dude gets wide open, but drops almost every pass. If he can learn to catch, he could be an explosive weapon.

    • MB30SD

      I get it, but that’s like saying… chris conte can get dressed in his uniform and make it onto the field, but he can’t cover or tackle. Wait….

      He’s Kellen Davis 2.0 maings. Let’s just move on.

      • BerwynBomber

        Yep, he’s more “specimen” than football player.

      • SC Dave

        You’re really getting to be an assclown on the Conte thing. Why don’t you just shut the fuck up – it accomplishes nothing and frankly, is boring as hell.

        • MB30SD

          ; )

    • NewBearInTown

      He only makes the team if we can’t find someone younger or better. Not likely given how many young TEs are floating around.

  • MB30SD

    So after watching the holiday bowl in personal last night, which I really think makes team difference much more glaring than when watched on tv… and after seeing the bruins crush the hokies… it’s becoming evident to me how team differences play a huge roll.

    Bowl games do one thing… put two totally different teams that have never played and don’t know anything about each other one the same field at the same time.

    ASU players were HUGE and slowish, which texas tech was visibly smaller and MUCH faster at almost every position. Interesting to see teams built to combat other teams in their conference, but become totally mismatched when throw in with another team from a totally diff conference.

    ASU just got smacked down because they weren’t built to handle all the speed TT brought. Something other teams in their divisions are probably exactly built to counteract.

  • Maddbearfan

    Listen: I’m pissed too that we lost to the Packers…AGAIN…but it was the same ole thing…missed oppurtunities….dropped passes..missed interceptions… the Packers didn’t do much better, but they did a bit better than us, and got lucky. It happens.
    All in all it was a fun yr of football. Trestman, showed some interesting stuff with his play calling and some real stupid shit too. It’s a learning curve.
    We beef up the defense it should be a good yr next yr.

  • AlbertInTucson

    The DOAK WALKER AWARD winner, Williams from BC, squared off today against the guy who SHOULD have won it, Arizona’s Kadeem Carey, and it was no contest.

  • Still a Doug Plank Fan

    Happy New Year to everyone of you. It’s been a riveting up-and-down year as a fan, and as always, coming in here makes it so much better.

    Thanks everyone for keepin’ it lively and fun as hell. I hope y’all have a ridiculously great 2014.

    • tobijohn

      And the same to you. A Tobin tradition, I play this song every New Years:

      • Still a Doug Plank Fan

        Thanks man. I cranked it up – 1st time I’ve ever heard it. Perfect post-loss tune; that shoulda been playing loud in the locker room last night.

        Very cool.

      • MB30SD

        ray davies. good sheite TJ.

        This was always one of my favs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eEep67akIn4

  • AlbertInTucson

    Happy New Year Bear Bloggers! Have a safe one! Thanks for the place to vent, Blogfather!

    • Maddbearfan

      Same to you and yours Albert…have a happy!

  • NewBearInTown

    Happy New Year to the bloggers. Its been an exciting and frustrating couple of years to be a Bears fan, but things are looking up. I’m excited for the playoffs this year – Carolina and Kansas City in particular are playing the kind of awesome football that I love to watch.
    I have about two pages of notes I want to post about Bears current free agents, but I’m waiting another day or two when the commenting slows down. Lots to discuss this year and I expect Emery to give us a lot to talk about in the off-season.
    Looking forward to posting about all of it.

    • BerwynBomber

      Look forward to the post NBIT. And yeah, I’m psyched about the playoffs too. Only game I’m not a ton interested in is SD/Cincy — mainly because SD got in because the refs saved their bacon at least twice and it should have been the Steelers. Having said that, watch SD/Cincy turn out to be the best game of the weekend.

      • SC Dave

        Hardly evens things out for the refs giving the Steelers Super Bowl XL…

    • Irish Sweetness

      Free agents … Emery ….. the shadow government’s conspiracy to conceal our inter-stellar visitors from us …. all coming up. Football, aliens, and tits.

      It’s been 27 years since our last league. We’re used to this. At least we’re not Detroit.

  • BerwynBomber

    Well, Johnny Football’s going out with a bang. Quite the shootout here.

    • burntorangenavyblue

      Yeah, the amount of nut gargling ESPN is doing on him though is sickening

      • MB30SD

        not a fan.

  • BerwynBomber

    Happy New Year guys. Thanks for the letting this rookie cut his teeth here at DBB.

  • MB30SD

    Happy New Year my blog brothers.

    Don’t know what mental state I’d be in without this place and especially you regs over the last 4 years. Not sure where I’d be without the ability to come to the one place in my life where I can (somewhat) anonymously be a total immature obnoxious idiot.

    Cheers gents, I hope your 2014 provides you and your families with everything you wish for… thanks for being here for me.

    • SC Dave

      ” I can (somewhat) anonymously be a total immature obnoxious idiot.”

      I have resembled that remark. Happy New Year, MB!

      • MB30SD

        thanks dave. you too.

    • Still a Doug Plank Fan

      Last season, I think without a place to vent, we’d have read about you in the news as the guy who shoved various bike parts up Mike Tice’s rectum.

    • Viva

      HAPPY NEW YEAR!

  • Still a Doug Plank Fan

    Celebrating the dynamic…occurred to me last night that the whole Cutler/Marshall relationship has really fostered a whole new offense in more ways than one.

    Marshall needed Cutler to bring him back to earth, so to speak, then as this season progressed and there was the sudden QB “controversy”, Marshall went to the mat for Cutty; and that AFTER he had taken Jeffery under his wing in Florida to deliver one HELL of a monster on the other side.

    In short, that relationship formed in Denver is really starting to pay some dividends, isn’t it? Makes me think we’re going to see an unbelievable show next season, and makes me wonder who the next “student” of those guys will be.

    That all has to be highly infectious in the locker room, don’t you think? Interesting to, because when Cutler got here and up until last year, it was considered Urlacher’s team, with Briggs as his co-leader. The D ran the show, set the tone. Now? It’s a Wide Receiver the press is chasing after every game.

  • NewBearInTown

    Okay, first of NBIT’s somewhat longwinded thoughts for the off-season.

    Coaching – I don’t anticipate Tucker or Joe D getting fired.

    On Joe D – Jeff points out that the coverage units did improve over the course of the season and the overall stats compared to the league were actually favorable. We’re all a little spoiled with Toub, but Hester had some great runs that wouldn’t have happened without solid blocking and Joe D can’t be blamed for Podlesh kicking a 30 yard punt. We’ll have a new punter this year and Joe D will be given another chance to build more consistency.

    On Tucker – There are a few major things you need from your coordinators. (1) Gameday playcalling; (2) Implementing a system that works given the players on the roster and the competition you face; (3) Development of young talent; (4) Maximizing use of player skills; and (5) Morale.

    (1) Tucker’s gameday playcalling has been stellar in my mind. His blitz packages are responsible for nearly every pressure we generated this season because the front 4 did nothing without help. He did as instructed and came in playing a Cover-2 base, but the lack of any premier talent to fit that base (DT injuries, rookie MLB, below average safety play) forced him to adapt. He did adapt. I can’t fault him at all for the playcalls and that includes bringing the zero blitz against Rodgers on that 4th and 8. It takes guts to call that play and Tucker did it.

    (2) Again, Tucker wasn’t the one to choose the cover-2 base. But he created a pressure system that compensated nicely for lack of natural pass rush. He does get some blame for not finding a way to stop the run for the entire month of November (perhaps he should have set the linebackers up better to support the middle of the line), but I don’t think that’s a reason to fire him after one year.

    (3) Tucker has not done a great job of developing talent. I don’t see McClellin showing significant improvement this year. I don’t see Bostic or Greene taking huge steps as the season progressed. We can’t know what’s happening in the locker room, but I think cutting Tucker would probably be a product of Emery not believing he could trust Tucker to bring along those guys and the 5 or so more rookies we bring in this year.

    (4) Similarly Tucker can be faulted for not maximizing use of player’s skills. Biggest example in my mind? Major Wright (who will not be back) is not a particularly smart safety, but he brings the wood with the best of them. We saw Wright getting fooled by misdirection a lot this season; you would want Tucker to have found a way to compensate for that. On the flip side, Corey Wootton (who also might not be back, but who I’d really like to see us sign) was moved from DE to DT as needed and really got a chance to grow in both spots. You also have to give props to James Anderson and DJ Williams – Williams in particular came from a 3-4 to play middle linebacker in our system and looked genuinely solid. For (2)-(4) I’d like to see Tucker get an off-season with a blank slate, a fresh batch of rookies and a defense that isn’t completely decimated by injuries. When that happens, we’ll see what he can do.

    (5) As to Morale? Tucker had the unenviable position of replacing essentially Lovie Smith. Smith was is a master of that defense, he is the only professional coach a lot of those players had ever had, and they loved him. You want to replace that guy? But the defense never gave up. They looked outmatched, they didn’t stay in their gaps, they made some bonehead plays (the Fumble), but they kept showing up. The Green Bay game is the best example. The defense got beat by Aaron Rodgers; it happens. But they didn’t lie down.

    Biggest reason I think we keep Tucker and Joe D though? Continuity. Look at what’s happening in Cleveland right now after Chud got fired. Players are frustrated, fans are frustrated and you can’t help but feel like the team is going right back to rebuilding mode. The Bears are in a total rebuild of their defense this off-season, but the narrative remains “win now.” Everybody wants to win now, get better, fix some things and get ready for next season and be good enough to support the new offense. The best way to preserve that narrative is to give a vote of confidence to the coaches.

    • Irish Sweetness

      Our ST was pretty awesome against GB no? Two significant Hester runs combined with two picks would have meant lights out last year.

      I think on 4th and 8 season on the line, you can’t sit back and let Rodgers have a shot, had it been a sack, Tucker’s a genius. well, no … but you know what I mean.

    • Still a Doug Plank Fan

      As I’ve come to expect from you, that analysis is damned good. Thanks for posting it.

      Question though. Why would Wooten be gone? Didn’t we make that mistake with D. Manning? That’s the puzzle I’ve never been able to solve when it comes to F/A, cap space, etc. We seem to wind up losing players that are high quality at a time when we can’t really afford to see them go.

    • Johnathan Wood

      I think the frenzy calling for Tucker’s firing have some fair points. I think the fans saying he deserves one more year have some fair points.
      I really don’t care which way this one ends up this offseason, but can’t help remembering one thing: it never went well when the Bears jumped offensive coordinators every year or two. That change continually set them back. You need to find a guy and stick with him.

      • Still a Doug Plank Fan

        Yes. At every coaching position.

  • AlbertInTucson

    How about the contributions from Eben Britton this season, including stepping in nicely for Mills on Sunday?

  • Bruce Conrad

    Jeff, Things can only get better, if we learn from the past and don’t rely on only one side of the ball. Ironic, isn’t it, that we are polar opposite of recent years. Agree, this was more fun to watch than any team in decades. But Tucker has to go. We do all know Tucker has never had a winning defense in the NFL, right?

    My brother has been a football coach all his life. He says missed tackles, not wrapping up, bad run fits are all coaching. Now we have two unemotional coaches, Tres and Tucker, on the side lines. That spells underachievement. Somebody has to throw the clipboard over there! I say bring on Singletary as D Coordinator! Been a life long Bears fan since my Dad took me to see Illini games with Butkus. I still wear #51. Let’s give Singletary the second chance he deserves to coach in the NFL and put the fire back in the D! Can’t you just see those wide eyes glaring on the side lines now! Tucker has to go.

© Da' Bears Blog