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Lesson of Wild Card Weekend: Offensive Head Coaches Thrive with Strong Defensive Leader

| January 7th, 2014

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Presented without comment…

The top four defenses in the NFC in terms of yards allowed per game: Seattle, Carolina, New Orleans, San Francisco.

The top four defenses in the NFC in terms of points allowed per game: Seattle, Carolina, San Francisco, New Orleans

The four teams still alive in the NFC title race: Seattle, Carolina, San Francisco, New Orleans.

Okay, I guess I should make a comment…

Now before we start making the argument that defense is more important than offense, it is important to look at the offensive production numbers as well. Five of the top seven scoring teams in the NFC made the postseason tournament and making the postseason is the only way to contend for a Super Bowl title. The other two teams – Dallas and Chicago – each had a division title game in Week 17 and featured perhaps the two worst defenses in the league. You have to score to make the tournament.

But the relevance of the top four defenses in the conference being the final four teams standing can’t be understated. You have to score to make the tournament but you have to stop the opponent to advance. (Indianapolis would have had no chance to complete their comeback against Kansas City without a series of pivotal second-half stops.) The days of shutting down an opponent are most likely over. But if your defense can’t make a few key stops in the fourth quarter and pressure the quarterback, you’ll have little chance of finding yourself in the season’s final game.

The two most surprising performances of the NFC Wild Card round came from the two weakest defensive units on that side of the bracket: Green Bay and New Orleans. And their success should provide a template for the Chicago Bears moving forward.

In Philadelphia, against one of the most dynamic attacks in the sport, Rob Ryan’s game plan was spectacular. He removed LeSean McCoy from the proceedings. He muscled DeSean Jackson at the line of scrimmage and took him away until his best cover corner was forced out with a concussion. He attacked Nick Foles on first down and then settled into an 8-deep zone on obvious passing downs. It was Ryan’s masterpiece; the reason New Orleans finds themselves in Seattle this week.

Green Bay’s defense isn’t very good. Sunday they were brilliant, a lost containment on third-and-eight from forcing a far better team into no worse than overtime. All the credit belongs to their maligned defensive coordinator Dom Capers, operating without the only defender who seemed to produce against San Francisco in the past, Clay Matthews. Did the weather help? Sure. But it was only a year ago Colin Kaepernick embarrassed a better Packers unit in the division round. This year Capers gave the Packers a shot.

The Bears hired an offensive head coach. He’s still the head coach, of course, and he’s done a wonderful job assuming responsibility for the entirety of each Bears performance. (Hearing him speak about run fits each Monday afternoon was enough for me.) But Marc Trestman is never going to approach the Xs & Os on the defensive side of the ball with the same expertise and details he approaches the offensive side. Sean Payton and Mike McCarthy are the same. Sean Payton and Mike McCarthy have Super Bowl rings. But they won those rings with strong-willed, former head coach defensive coordinators.

If Trestman and Phil Emery decide to move on from Mel Tucker (no guarantee), they need to bring in a man to run the room. They need a man with a successful track record. They need a man to control the tone and tenor of a defensive locker that, if one is to believe the quotes from Lance Briggs, lacks an identity. (I take the Briggs comments seriously to a point. He could always, you know, PROVIDE that identity.)

And I don’t care about the potential coach’s schematic proclivities. 4-3, 3-4, blah blah blah. Watch these playoff games and identify how often these defenses are in EITHER alignment. (Answer: not often.) In this spread offense NFL the defense is going to spend 75% of the game in nickel and dime defenses, attempting to keep backs and tight ends from wrecking the game. And the Bears don’t have enough talent on the defensive side to cater a scheme in any direction. They should bring in the type of defensive coordinator who will mold a unit in his image.

That means a Wade Phillips – released from his contract in Houston. That means a Gregg Williams – orphaned by the Munchak firing in Tennessee. Both men enter the room with a pedigree of success. Both men have reputations for versatility and developing young talent. Both men have discernible identities on that side of the ball – something Mel Tucker seems to lack. If the Bears move on from Tucker they should move in the direction of an established leader. And they should move quickly.

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  • Doc Nitty

    Amen, Jefe. Amen.

  • CanadaBear

    Not sure Tucker will get canned. If he does, I’d rather have Bum’s boy over Williams. Horton would be my first choice but who know’s?

    • SC Dave

      Not sure either. But Emery has not been afraid to pull the trigger.

    • IBNO

      Didn’t Horton hear a who?

    • Irish Sweetness

      GW – Is that the dude from Bounty-gate ??? If it is then fuck that guy because he was a ducheyne of the highest order.

  • gpldan

    Gregg ‘Bountygate” Williams?

    Will they reminisce with Phil and Ted about they paid out $5,000 to end Carimi’s career at right tackle by blowing his kneecap up? Good times!

    • SC Dave

      The reputation of the Chicago Bears is worth more than a guy that should have been banned from the NFL for life can bring.

      • DaBearsBlog

        Oh, stop it. The 85 Bears – the ones we all love – openly admit to a bounty system. They also openly admit to hitting opposing quarterbacks AFTER whistles because they believed the goal of every game was to get the backup QB in.

        • gpldan

          How about the $15k paid out when they cracked Earl’s sternum on that cheap shot over the middle?

          Where’s the line, Jeff, where indeed is the line? Maybe using analogies of the 85 Bears isn’t where you want to be in lieu of Duerson’s later decision making.

          • DaBearsBlog

            There is no line to guys in the sport. Gregg Williams had three offers the second he was reinstated.

          • gpldan

            There is no line to guys in the sport.

            Perhaps you are correct. But, for Emery to preach ethics and integrity like he does, it’s difficult to think he picks up the phone and calls Williams. Other teams, well – we know how the Cowboys and Redskins operate.

          • Irish Sweetness

            Precisely. Fuck GW ….right in the face.

        • Irish Sweetness

          Kneel and speak in hushed tones. All hail the vebnerated defense.

          But that was nearly 30 years ago, Jefe. Different times ….

      • bearsfantillend

        Banned for life… a little harsh since the NFL knew that multiple teams had bounty systems in place. Goodell sent out a memo saying stop with the bounties, Williams was the only one that kept his going, or the only one that was stupid enough to get caught. most likely he was the one stupid enough to get caught since the Saints were already under the NFL microscope for the Vicodin scandal.

        • SC Dave

          Perhaps harsh – my opinion is that it would not have been, especially in light of what you wrote about Goddell having already directly told him to stop it.

          Whether Williams was “the only one stupid enough to get caught”, or the “only one that kept his going” after the Goddell memo, what does that say about his judgment? Is that a risk we’d like Emery to take?

          • bearsfantillend

            Sean Payton should have been banned for life the also since he did not take steps as the Head Coach to make sure the bounties were done with.

      • DaMurph

        Come on SC, Ditka put a bounty on a punter.

        • SC Dave

          And how much respect have I expressed for Ditka in all the years on this blog? If it was before 1986, then maybe Charles Martin on McMahon was EXACTLY what Ditka deserved. Lord knows that Jim was the only QB that Ditka could not ruin.

    • to be fair, carimi ended carimi’s career by being carimi*

      *also to be fair, there’s no way i can definitely say whether or not he would have turned out to be the cornerstone we hoped he would be. the man got his knee blowed up before he had a chance to get established. still, there’s a good chance he could turn out to be colombo 2.0

      • SC Dave

        Didn’t Columbo end up playing a few decent years in Dallas?

        • 5 very productive seasons. but that came after a few years of nothingness.

        • CanadaBear

          He was the asshole that leg-whipped Tommie. Harris was never the same after that. He’d have a flash play every now and then but that was it.

        • 4ever85 (AKA Butch Deadlift)

          Carimi and Columbo…Jesus…Glad we locked up Slauson and that Long, Bushrod and to a lesser extent Mills worked out (oddly enough, PFF ranks Mills pretty low out of all OTs).

          But considering Mills was a later round draft pick, I really like him (even before we drafted him).

  • gpldan

    “We all thought it was a dead ball. That’s why everyone kind of stopped. It was a big play. We need to make sure that we hear the whistle. I thought I did hear a whistle, but I don’t even know initially if anyone else knew it was a live ball. I guess the one time that you don’t [pick up], it hurts you. That’s neither here nor there. That was one play in the game, and we still had an opportunity to win.”

    — James Anderson

    Time does that to bad memories. You start adding in details that weren’t there. Now we have mystic whistles.

    • one thing about lovie defenses, they always bounced on loose balls. even after the whistle.

      • IBNO

        One thing about Lovie offenses, they always bounced the balls to the receivers.

        • i’d say they bounced the balls off receivers into defenders.

    • Irish Sweetness

      “We all thought it was a dead ball.”
      Translation: None of us did what we have been trained to do

      Players from the Lovie/Marinelli days should have known what to do. I would have been fine with them coming back as DC and DL, Singletary as LB coach. Would never happen, but the defense would have been solid.

    • Trac

      LDL wouldn’t have stood for a player making that kind of a comment. Our defense needs a leader.

  • Cutty Bader don’t give a fuck

    I was having kind of a ho hum morning. Super cold weather, Bears bounced out of playoffs, Rose-less bulls, etc.
    I started reading about the Hawks a bit and that seemed to cheer me up. Then I stumbled upon this nugget of gold and was instantly reminded of the beauty of the internet.
    lol, the beauty of the internet is that one can make comments like this:
    Paraphrased:
    McCown is the best quarterback the Bears have had since Jim McMahon.
    The guy who vomited out this comment also thinks McMahon is the best quarterback the Bears have ever had so in effect he just called McCown the 2nd best quarterback in the history of the Bears.
    #thebeautyoftheinternet

    • johnnywad

      Yeah he’s crazy. I mean that. crazy. But he’s colorful.
      Nothing to worry about anymore. Emery and Trestman saw it. Jay is going to retire a Bear. Might as well just let the nonsense slide and not get wrapped up in it. Its not going to stop until the Bears O is rolling next year and they’re stacking touchdowns.

      • SC Dave

        +1

    • Irish Sweetness

      Your paraphrasing was correct.

      I think that McCown is a better all-round QB than Cutler, yes I do, admittedly only based on what I saw of McCown this season. He didn’t stop drives because he thought could do amazing things with his arm. It’s precisely because he doesn’t have Cutler’s arm, that he looks after the ball. Ther stats also support McCown – you can’t bring in W/L because they faced different opponents, but clearly McCown is more productive and we kept drives alive under him. Jim Miller was okay, but I’d rather have Josh than Miller at QB.

      I also think that Jim was the best quarterback we’ve ever had, yes. Obviously. He has the fifth highest winning percentage of any QB ever. He won us a Lombardi (Ditka himself said we don’t win one without Mac). Stats aside, the guy was never beaten, no matter the score – he always thought there was a way back. Can you ever imagine Cutler coming back for 28 points down in a game? I’ll tell you what would happen if he tried. Interceptions galore. And when the fabled defense took the day off, Jim could overcome it. Jay can’t do that, he’s just nowhere near as smart as McMahon was. Jim called audibles BEFORE the opposing defense showed its true colors. His team-mates have testified to this – he would call a change before the blitzing safety came up to the line, he could see it in their eyes. That’s smart. That’s knowing football.

      So who have you got as the Bears’ best QB all-time? Sid Luckman? I never saw him play, but I doubt he was better than Jim. Few were.

    • Trac

      Let it go my man. Cutler has the talent to feed our hot receivers the rock, he just needs to make better decisions. Irish and you both have good points. Often times the truth is somewhere in between.

      • SC Dave

        So true. Many factors to consider, such as McMahon playing behind a *far* superior offense line with one of the greatest players in NFL history in the backfield with him. Such as that the best receiver McMahon ever had was Willie Gault, whose high season as a Bear was 42(!) catches. In fact, the highest single receiver total in McMahon’s years with the Bears was Payton, who caught 53 passes in 1983 NO ONE ELSE caught as many as 50 in the seven years McMahon was in Chicago.

        While McMahon certainly had a high winning percentage, he was fragile, playing in only 61 of 104 games (strike in 1982, and Challenger in 1987 accounted for the other 8 games). In the playoffs:
        1984 – sat out divisional game and NFC championship
        1985 – started all three
        1986 – sat out divisional game (and Ditka plays Doug Flutie – ARRRRGH!)
        1987 – lost divisional game (3 int, btw)
        1988 – essentially sat out divisional game, split NFC championship with Tomczak

        So other than 1985, he was essentially useless in the playoffs.

        • DaMurph

          Jimmy Mac receives way more credit than he deserves. We won the Super Bowl and he was entertaining as hell, but after that he was average or slightly above at best. He didnt work out which left his body more susceptible to injury, If he would have had Paytons work ethic he could have been a Hall of Fame QB.

  • NewBearInTown

    The best three DCs available that fit Jeff’s profile are Ray Horton, Wade Philips and Gregg Williams. I pick Wade Phillips and here’s why.

    Gregg Williams – Personally not a huge fan. He runs a good defense, but its not the style I lean toward. And New Orleans gave up a lot of points with him as DC. The bounty thing isn’t a deal breaker for me – I’m sure plenty of teams do it still, and I personally think it should be allowed to pay for within the rules performance. But his attitude doesn’t fit the team profile.

    Ray Horton – My first choice with one caveat. This guy ran two great defenses on terrible teams. I’d love to see him in Chicago with a good GM and a good offense to compliment what he does. The problem is, once his defense gets media coverage on a team that makes the playoffs, he’s gone. Ray Horton is a hot head coaching candidate that has been passed over two years in a row. He wants his own team. Its only a matter of time before he gets it. If we cut Tucker, and then lose Horton the next year to a HC job, that hurts the development of all these draft picks we’re about to bring in.

    Wade Phillips – He has everything that Horton has, but he’s less likely to bolt for a HC job. He runs a great defense, has the right attitude for the job, and will be totally embraced by this city and this organization. The fact that he’ll likely stick around longer to develop our new defensive talent is the reason why I would take him over Horton.

    But, with all of that said, I still like Mel Tucker. He’s getting blamed way too much for player performance that was out of his control. I think he runs exactly the kind of pressure scheme that will allow our talent to shine and meet Emery’s expectations. My biggest concern is the development of our young players. Conte’s regressing, Bostic and Greene’s failure to step up, those are my reservations. If Emery and Trestman believe those issues can be fixed, Tucker stays. If not, we move on and find a better teacher to run that side of the ball.

    • IBNO

      “My biggest concern is the development of our young players. Conte’s regressing, Bostic and Greene’s failure to step up, those are my reservations.”

      +1,000

      This is what’s most important to me. I can’t blame the collapse on Tucker, but I can blame the lack of development of young talent–which is what indicted LDL on the offensive side of the ball (hell, and most of the time at safety, too)–squarely on his shoulders.

      And the way this defense HAS to turnover with new/young players, there has to be a DC who can develop talent and get the best out of his players. A guy who can make Chicken Dinner into a Pro Bowl, not a Soup Bowl.

      • CanadaBear

        When I was watching Bostic in the Philly game, twice when there were big runs and nobody at home both Pep and Briggs were staring at him. Is that on the coach? The Player? Both? From what I could tell CD, Bostic and Greene really had trouble staying in their gaps all season.

        • NewBearInTown

          Players need to play better, but coaches need to be able to facilitate that. Those are the kind of things that fans can’t see who is to blame.

        • “Pep and Briggs were staring at him.”

          Man. Eff that. You’re the leaders of the gat danged defense. Don’t just stare at the kid. Get in his face. Point to the missed assignment. Scream the name “Leon Joe” in his face over and over and over again. Make sure he knows that he done did funk up and that he best not make the same mistake twice.

        • IBNO

          It’s a bit of both, and a bit of the ol’ “injuries to the guys up front, with replacements who aren’t keeping the OLine off the LBs”.

          Bostic and Greene habitually overran plays and got caught up in the wrong gaps, yeah. So, for one game, let’s blame them. But the second game it happened? That’s on the coaches.

          In my eyes, Bostic is salvageable–but the way Urlacher wasn’t a good fit at OLB, Bostic isn’t a good fit at MLB. Bostic plays downhill and doesn’t (yet) have the head to be the QB of the defense. Still a lot for him to learn. Greene, though, might be best off as a special teamer for a while.

      • Irish Sweetness

        I don’t expect my LBs to step up in their first year, and for Bostic to be thrown in at Mike it’s hard to expect him to be what Urlacher was (a rookie himself at Mike). Brian was a freak, a rare player, and we let him go a year too soon IMHO. WE needed him as a groom, not just as a player. A master and an apprentice. This is another level on which Angelo failed completely. Our center and Mike should have been drafted when Olin and Brian were still on the payroll – then the rooks get to sit and watch. I’ve been saying that for years regarding C/MLB. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. For another lousy three million, we not only had a great LB on the roster, but the next Mike’s teacher. Like Steve Young riding the bench behind Mac at BYU. Ahem. And before anyone chimes in saying he learned the game of football watching Joe Cool….. that’s not what Steve says.

        Apprentices learn from their masters. Bostic has no-one to learn from.

        Somebody should call Mike Singletary – even if it’s just to give a few clinics.

        • Trac

          In hindsight, I agree fully with your Urlacher comments. I remember not being too upset about the decision to let him walk due to a false sense of security. Brian could have provided much needed mentorship and a he would have been a stop gap for us this year.

          • SC Dave

            Well, they DID offer him a contract. No one else did. It’s as much Urlacher’s fault as management’s.

        • NewBearInTown

          That’s one reason we brought DJ Williams in.

          Not all vets are good teachers by the way. Remember, Lach would be fully aware that Bostic was there to take his job. Doesn’t always make for the best mentoring relationship.

          • Irish Sweetness

            But he wouldn’t be taking his job – Brian knew that nobody plays forever, and Bostic wouldn’t have lasted long playing like that. It was his swansong and they insulted him with that offer. What middle linebacker plays for 2M in the NFL?

    • Still a Doug Plank Fan

      I think I’d have to go with Phillips here of your 3 choices. REALLY tough to judge Tucker based on last season for all the reasons you stated.

      Phillips I believe would bring more stability overall. At the same time, I do worry that he’s got a LOT of time in now, and may not be as visionary as he once was.

    • DaMurph

      You forgot Jim Schwartz, his defensive pedigree with the Titans was impeccable!

      • johnnywad

        He’s already hired by the Browns

        • DaMurph

          Oh man I missed that one

          • johnnywad

            Actually, I’ll backtrack a little. Last I heard they were “expected” to hire Schwartz as their DC a few days ago. Made for a few laughs on the radio about what a loser organization the Browns is to hire a DC with no HC. Never heard confirmation. So maybe it hasn’t happened yet.

          • DaMurph

            I just know he was one hell of a D coordinator with the Titans

          • and lord knows we’ve done ok getting Lions HC cast-offs to run our D.

            no sarcasm there, by the way. i was very sad when marinelli walked out the door.

          • Trac

            Yes, Nelli was a curious hire. Don’t forget that only happened because Lovie couldn’t compete with Rivera’s testorone and canned him in favor or ba “Bitch”. Old sauce did a good job but lets not forget that we still struggled on 3rd on long while he was DC. Don’t think we made the playoffs with him as DC did we?

          • yup, in 2010. gave up the 4th least points in the league and 9th least yards. 2012 we were 3/3 in those same stats. last season? 30/30. oof.

          • Trac

            Wow, it’s crazy how time fly’s. I could have sworn he was D line coach and didn’t get promoted to DC until 2011 but you are correct sir.

          • AlbertInTucson

            A guy’s gotta make a living but the Circus that is the Cleveland Browns is the LAST place I’d want to join. 4 head coaches in 6 years makes the RAIDERS look stable..

    • Irish Sweetness

      It’s not the bounty-gate thing that would turn me off GW. He just came across as a complete asshole.

      It is difficult to blame Tucker for a season where his entire defense got shot down, but it’s the other things that weren’t there e.g swarming to the ball … and certainly never letting a ball sit on the ground like that. The tackling is another thing, non-existent in the GB game.

      • NewBearInTown

        I think that fumble was a freak play more than anyone’s fault. But at the end of the day, you’re right. There’s a certain intensity that you want to see on D that wasn’t there. I’ve heard several guys say under Lovie that “everybody runs to the ball.” That’s the mark of a high motor DE – the whole offense sweeps to the other side and you don’t give up on making a play. Whoever comes in next year, we’ll need to see that mentality come back.

        • Trac

          Actually NB, that was at least the 2nd time the Bears D lolly gagged around with a hot football just laying there this season. That is 100% on coaching. I suspect the Staff was worried about a mutiny after firing their guy. This reminds me of teachers that try to befriend their students in public schools today rather than laying the wood when necessary.

          • Irish Sweetness

            You trap more flies with honey than you do vinegar, Trac. I learned the hard way that the only way to win over unruly classes was to befriend the ring-leader first. Gain their confidence, get them on your side .. .and then you have them. Then they’re putty in your hands and will roll over when you tell them to. It’s a verifiable fact that when a student hates their teacher, they will not learn, they’ll refuse to – it’s the only arrow in their quiver.

            You bring the wood too early,never compromise … and you’ll fight them forever.

            Just my $0.02.

          • Trac

            key phrase “when necessary”. I would have been bringing the wood the first time they watched the football roll around without diving on it. I totally understand your comments but schools here are quite different than when we were growing up. Federal money now compels schools to house the wolves amongst the sheep in the U.S. Almost every school now has an on campus penal system for the unruly because bringing the wood = lawsuit now.

            Spare the rod, spoil the child.

          • NewBearInTown

            I’ve seen good teachers go both ways. There’s no universal right way to do things, you have to do what works for you. Question is, has Tucker found something that works for him if the team isn’t hustling after loose balls.

    • Irish Sweetness

      On Tucker – I think we can safely lay plenty of blame at his feet for player performance. When you see a young kid whom you notice for their complete lack of manners and rudeness – do you blame the kid who’s maybe 6 or 7, or do you think about their parents?

      When the Bears aren’t swarming to the ball, when they’re not wrapping up … yes, the players must take their share of the blame … but so too must daddy Tucker.

  • George Hotchkiss

    I can not think of one reason to keep Tucker. Probably a nice guy, and probably a good coach, but the culture was just wrong. I can not imagine last years Bears defense not picking up the fumble from the Packers game and rumbling 80 yards with it. If they didn’t pick it up Marinelli would have had them running gassers until they puked, and Urlacher would have hit somebody up side the head. That was disgraceful. That was not a Bears defense.

  • gpldan

    A mind troubled by doubt, cannot focus on victory.
    The NFL is a production business, and don’t you ever forget it.
    Kill the head and the body will die.
    We gotta do everything we can to insure we kill Frank Gore’s head.
    We want his head SIDEWAYS,
    He has NO IDEA what he is in for.
    Every single one of you, before you get off the pile, affect the head.
    Respect comes from fear, this is how you get respect in this league.
    Crabtree becomes human when we take out that outside ACL
    Another thing we say, in this room, is never apologize for the way we compete.

    – Gregg Williams

    • gpldan
      • Irish Sweetness

        Wow, that’s some video.

        Smerlas. Good memories. Tim Krumrie was good too .. but did Harry Carson imply that he facemasked the Center on every play?

        That last ‘tackle’ was absolutely brutal.

      • Trac

        Playing Football helped keep me fighting to overcome the difficulties of life when I was growing up. For me it was just 5 short years but the positives gained from my experience certainly added to my life at the time and there were even long term benefits I experienced from it later on in life. I’m glad I was able to play and enjoy the sport growing up.

        Having said that, these men play at a much different level than I ever dreamed of. The only way you save the sport with a clean conscience is to change the rules to remove the necessary contact in today’s game. I propose the NFL joins the tri-nations and makes the transition to rugby.

    • johnnywad

      Yeah that sucks. Bad JuJu

    • johnnywad

      Can you imagine Charles Tillman responding to that?

      • SC Dave

        No shit

    • SC Dave

      What a total asshole. I guess Jefe thinks that’s okay. I sure AS FUCK DONT.

    • Irish Sweetness

      Disgusting. No other word for it. That’s not football. That’s GBH. You can be tough and knock the snot out of someone without ending their career, and perhaps affecting them mentally for the rest of their lives. Charles Martin probably cost us another superbowl.

      • Trac

        But Irish, that’s football. Remember, Incognito? You know, the team leader who was just trying to befriend the kid that quit on the Dolphins. It’s just locker room banter don’t you know. This sport can be brutal and rather disgusting at times.

        • Irish Sweetness

          Oh it’s rough, for sure, Trac. But there’s ways and means. Using language like :
          “Crabtree becomes human when we take out that outside ACL …” – that’s not cool. That’s not football IMHO. That’s street violence. That’s talking about messing with a guy’s career in order to win a game of football, which is ultimately meaningless in the great scheme of things. It’s just a game. A guy not being able to walk properly, or play with his kids, or earn money doing what he loves with his god-given talent .. .that’s just not right.

          Teach your players how to hit. Scheme for the guy. Bump him on the line all game long. Frustrate him .. but flat out asking guys to injure him outside of the rules is dirty and cheap and not sporting. After a game of Rugby, all the players shake hands with each other.Amateur or professional. It’s a gentleman’s game. There’s a code. It’s just a game. Play fairly or not at all.

          If Incognito was trying to befriend that kid he was going about in a strange way. Why not invite him over to your house for dinner? Go out for a beer together the way Cutty used to go out with Girly Thor.

          “Soccer is a gentlemanly game played by beasts ; Rugby is a beastly game played by gentlemen ; American Football is a beastly game played by beasts.”

          Maybe that is football after all.

          If anyone calls and asks about Butkus, I’m not in.

  • DaMurph

    That means a Jim Schwartz

  • 4ever85 (AKA Butch Deadlift)
    • johnnywad

      Crazy awesome bastards

      • 4ever85 (AKA Butch Deadlift)

        Actually, I think it’s just a satire, HOWEVER, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if it were not lol

        • johnnywad

          I’d say 55/45 its real. My buddy’s kid would go back right now for free if he could get there. Really messed up and doesn’t give much of a shit about what happens around home.

          • 4ever85 (AKA Butch Deadlift)

            Yeah, a marine friend of mine shared that link. That’s why it took me a second to say, “naaahhh?” Just read the comments.

          • johnnywad

            Aaaaaahhh. Aside from seeing its not real, I see there are a number of gents there in the comments willing to see it through.

  • 4ever85 (AKA Butch Deadlift)

    As for the D, I already said this in the last thread, but Horton has more of the personality I would want out of my D, but yeah, if he hits it out of the ballpark with our D, he might indeed get a HC gig. HOWEVER, hiring DCs as HCs are not exactly in vogue. Lovie had to wait an entire year to even get a whiff, and even then it was Tampa that came knocking.

    Phillips would be solid and superior to Tucker. He’s got a track record, and players respond to that. They trust DCs who have had success in the league, and that’s where it all starts. But Phillips is another ‘nice’ guy. Look, I have nothing against nice guys, but I was hoping for someone a little more fiery.

    Unfortunately, Gym Shorts is that guy, but he’s such a douchayne.

    Rex Ryan would’ve been the perfect candidate, but oh well.

    Williams is beyond ‘fiery’ and ‘douchiness’ in my book. He’s not even ‘dirty’ – He’s some other term at the bottom of Dante’s Football Inferno. I LIKE rooting for the Bears, if Williams becomes the DC, quite frankly, It would make me like my team less.

    It’s like rooting for Stalin to beat Hitler. No thanks.

    • SC Dave

      Exactly!!

    • Irish Sweetness

      I guess Ryan has the Bears’ connection in that he used to steal beer out of Hampton’s car in the lot under soldier field. And it is important to like your coaches – imagine Schwartz as Bears HC, or that Jets ST coach from Hard Knocks … no schmucks please. We can say what we like about Lovie, but you couldn’t hate the guy, and Marinelli was so loveable.

      • MikeBrownhadaPosse

        I miss Yoda.

    • re: Lovie last year.

      is it that he didn’t get a sniff, or is it that he knew he had $5 million coming to him from the bears so he decided to take a year off? coaching ain’t an easy gig. i know i’d take some time off if i felt confident in getting back into the game once my current contract ran out.

      • IBNO

        Both. No one wanted to hire Lovie–offensive coaches were getting offers, not defensive. And he had $5 million reasons not to strain himself in getting a new job. Plus, it’s the NFL: every year someone’s gonna get axed.

    • Trac

      Actually 85, Lovie took the year off to put a game plan together. Don’t forget, he had a years paid vacation courtesy of Da Bears. Waiting a year was planned and very shrewd.

      • Irish Sweetness

        Smart move. Take the money and run – he probably never sees his family, grandkids during the season .. .what’s the point of having money but no time to enjoy it or your kids? They grow up fast then they’re gone.

        He comes back fresh and invigorated … I actually wish both he and Marinelli were back here on D …. we’d be disciplined … Brian might still be here … all that.

        • AlbertInTucson

          Because Marinelli did such a great job in Dallas….?
          Even HE couldn’t “coach up” a D-Line that started 17 different guys and saw a marked decline in Demarcus Ware’s play.

          • CanadaBear

            I don’t get it when the rookies get a pass and it’s all on the coach. At some point it’s up to the players to make a play. Not saying its all on the rookies but after you practice something for months on end you should probably be in the correct gap.

  • AlbertInTucson

    We just witnessed how quickly Emery moved on the big 3 FA contracts. Given that, I think if Tucker was going to be jettisoned it would have happened by now.

    • 4ever85 (AKA Butch Deadlift)

      Yes, but Emery keeps his cards pretty close to his vest.

      I think he’ll hire someone before ‘media reports’ even begin to leak. It’ll happen fast, like the signings. I would bet he’s already interviewed a few without anyone really knowing about it.

      • SC Dave

        Don’t you think that would be a little hard to keep under wraps? It seems stuff gets out awfully fast these days.

        Unless, you know, its about something unimportant like our government’s latest attempts to abridge our constitutional rights.

  • Trac

    Jeff, your post is confusing. How can New Orleans be a top four defense and one of the poorest defenses in the playoffs at the same time?

    I suspect Tucker is here for another year at least. Two reasons, Injuries and Chicken Dinner syndrome. Firing your DC after one year would suggest a blunder in hiring him in the first place. Lets face it, we are stuck with the fool for one more year.

  • Irish Sweetness

    I love me some Brandon on TV… and not just because he’s cray cray like me (apparently).

    His prediction for the superbowl winner ……. (drum roll) ……. the SF 49ers.

    Their opponents ………. San Diego.

    http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap2000000310666/article/brandon-marshall-im-delivering-my-thriller-in-2014

    Moneytalk :

    SEA and NO have the best pass defenses in the NFL, but I have seen Corey White try to play football now, and it’s Seattle’s house. Can’t touch that game.

    I like Carolina, Brandon likes SF.

    The Chargers +10 is the bet of the weekend for me, but I want to pull the trigger on the Colts +7 too, and I need your help.

    What reasons would have the Pats spanking the Colts?

    • AlbertInTucson

      Colts due for massive emotional letdown after mounting that comeback.

      • NewBearInTown

        +1. Happened during the regular season as well. Teams that win in the 4th quarter every week eventually run out of luck.

        • Trac

          Problem with that statement is that Luck is there qb. Yuk yuk.

  • Irish Sweetness

    Some stats surprised me when I was checking things out :

    Manning passed for 5,477 yards this season. (Stafford and Meg Ryan were 3rd and 4th!)

    Matt Forte was the second leading rusher in the NFL.

    Vontaze Burfict led the NFL with 171 tackles. Kuechly was 4th with 156.

    BTW – The last time the Chargers went into Denver (and won) the Chargers had 170 yards rushing and dominated on the line. The Broncos had 18 yards. The Chargers are 10 point dogs?

    • SC Dave

      Okay, so you were right about Burfict, and we should have taken a flyer on him. So far, it seems Vontaze has realized the incredible opportunity an NFL career offers and has straightened up his act.

      Good for him – it’s nice to see the early chapters of a story head the right way. Not as common as we’d all like to see.

      • IBNO

        Yeah, from what I understand, he’s kept his nose clean. But then, 30 other teams passed on him multiple times, too. Can’t beat ourselves up that Cincy took a risk and it paid off.

        • CanadaBear

          Glad to see the young man grew up. He was toxic last year at the combine. His interviews were a disaster and his times were awful. I think most GM’s knew he had great football instincts but were afraid to take a chance on him.

  • IBNO

    Schwartz is reportedly taking the Cleveland DC job (hooray, the asshole lands in the factory of sadness!), and he’ll convert them back to a 4-3. Barkevious Mingo will be useless in Cleveland. Think Emery could get Mingo for a 2nd rounder?

    Think of the Bears in a 3-4 with Chicken Dinner, Briggs, Bostic, and Mingo. Then Wooton at 3-4 DE (a good fit), then re-build the D-Line in the draft. I sincerely hope Peanut is willing to move to FS–I think it would extend his career. Then the draft targets would be DE, DT, CB, SS (probably in that order, with the 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 5th pick respectively). Peppers gets his contract either restructured or takes a walk.

    • johnnywad

      Sounds good but 1.) Will they part with/can the Bears afford Mingo? 2.). Chicken Dinner may suck at everything. We won’t know until he plays the spot I suppose, but his instincts with regard to stopping the run are terrible.

    • CanadaBear

      Just can’t get behind Peanut to FS. He’s already had trouble with both shoulders. He would be involved in way more violent collisions at FS. Why would you want to take him away from a more valued position and put him in a less valued position with the potential for more injuries? He’s still fast enough to play CB. Once he no longer can play CB at a high level, then maybe consider the switch.

    • AlbertInTucson

      Last I heard out of Tillman on the subject was that he had no interest in moving to safety at this point in his career.

    • gpldan

      I should very much like to award you 798 blog points for deeming Cleveland the “factory of sadness”.

      Bravo, please accept them in the spirit intended.

      • johnnywad

        He lifted it. Its been printed a number of times elsewhere. Sorry Bleed, these blog points are not valid. GP you must retract your points.

        • gpldan

          Oh oh, -87 points for Sports plagiarism.

          Your punishment is being forced to watch all of LaBuffs films.

          • 4ever85 (AKA Butch Deadlift)

            Can’t believe you never heard of “the factory of sadness”. What does that make the Cubs!?

  • Trac

    Where football mixes with politics:

    http://washington.cbslocal.com/2014/01/07/trademark-ruling-bad-omen-for-redskins-name-legal-battle/

    Some of you legal beagles may know the answer to this question. If the Trademark office is able to reject the Redskins trademark due to it being a derogatory name, wouldn’t that be the financial death of the Redskins Org.? Would a ruling of that nature open the door to reparations?

    • NewBearInTown

      Trademark office is about 5 steps below the final ruling on the issue. There’s an appeals board at the USPTO, then you can appeal to a district court, then the Federal Appeals Court, then the Supremes (if they take the case, and this one is politically hot enough that they might).

      But yes, if the trademark “Redskins” is rules invalid, the team would have to do something different. They could still sell all the old Redskins gear, but they wouldn’t be able to prevent a company from openly selling knockoffs. They’d still control the Indian head logo (that’s a separate trademark), they’d could arguably still control the team colors (different trademark, probably enforceable), and still control players names. Plus, they could probably get Nike and the other major brands to honor the trademark for fear of losing league contracts. But there would be plenty of Redskins gear for sale by second tier manufacturers that the Redskins would not be able to block the way other teams could.

      Its hard to predict how much of an impact that would have on sales, but I can’t imagine it wouldn’t make a sizable dent in the bottom line.

      As to reparations, not directly. That would be a totally different kettle of fish. The only real benefit there would be having a court opinion stating that the name Redskins is offensive or racist. If I’m a lawyer in a defamation case, I’m going to try to re litigate the issue anyway arguing a different standard for offensiveness, but it wouldn’t help my case to have that previous opinion out there.

    • gpldan

      I would love a breakdown of all the sources of money that pay for the skyboxes at FedEx field. When they say change it, Snyder will change.

      The other possibility is that FedEx CEO Fred Smith says change the team name – then it would be changed.

      Snyder isn’t changing it unless people make him.

      • CanadaBear

        Isn’t that the truth.

  • gpldan

    MB –

    From Autoblog:

    Steve K: It really depends on if you are looking for a fun game, or accurate physics. As a former driver instructor at a very famous driving school located at the famous Laguna Seca raceway, I can honestly say GT6, when played with a wheel, will make you a better real world driver on track. No, it’s not exact, but the thought process will be the same and the physics are, BY FAR, the best of any console driving sim/game. For some people, that’s boring. For me, if the physics aren’t good, nothing else matters anyway. I can’t stand playing Forza 5 for more than a few minutes at a time, but as a track day junkie I can spend hours lapping a car on GT6.”

    He is right.

    I picked up one of these along with a G27:
    http://www.amazon.com/Xlerator-Logitech-PS3-XBOX-360-PC/dp/B0060WNO0A

    GT6 is quite good. I used to run a Formula Ford and have done Autocross and the stock G27 profile for force feedback and pull is excellent for a game. Chicane curbs rumble the wheel, you get oversteer kick and the relative power of stock cars feels very realistic. Obviously, it’s not driving, but cockpit view at 1080 is nice on a big screen, easily 60fps solid – and the only thing is that the car sounds and the music sucks. You can load MP3s on to the PS3 and run your own music. But the engine sounds are from the PS2 era.

    The physics however, are good – as good as iRacing, which is probably the sim standard. About $300 for the whole package, and you can sit in a easy chair or a couch and put it in the closet when done.

    THere are day/night transitions that are very realistic, and rain and the mods and tire settings are as detailed as any sim like iRacing. Adjusting camber and toe works and the premium modelled cars are excellent. I used it to teach my daughter the basics of driving at Xmas.

    So, there ya go.

  • Sactowns#1

    Ok so I’m listening to ESPN 1000 and they’re debating the whole Cooperstown steroid issue. I will never understand the PED apologists. Theyre like the working poor who vote for Republicans. Is it all just to keep their dream in tact, their idea that they too could have or could still some day reach those heights? And the excuse of “everyone was doing it/does it” is a laughable justification. So you’re saying 100% of the people broke the rules? BS. I’m sure there are more than a few players who played by the rules. So you’re saying we shouldnt prosecute people durring riots? In certain areas a large number of people were breaking the law, so lets just excuse them all. Nothing pisses me off more. I played behind a guy at LB for a year who was roiding his cajones off. I started once again after he graduated but it was stupid and really obvious. He put on 20-30lbs and would have psycho fits here and there. Coaches were just like, meh. The whole thing stinks and for people on the outside to appologize for these fools makes me sick.

    • Cutty Bader don’t give a fuck

      I like your post on the steroid issue except for the part where you seem to have fallen for the exact strategy that a democratic operative formulated years ago on how to retain a power base.

    • Trac

      Personally, I don’t think that’s it at all. I think there are quite a few people that just want to be able to succeed without having to carry the water for lazy citizens or for those trying to keep the dream of utopia alive without having to lift a finger to achieve it.

    • Trac

      Sac, I responded below to your working poor comment mainly. This morning I re-read your post and mine. I think it’s crazy that you would try to tie in PED apologist to the working poor who vote for republicans, what is that? Let me be clear, I think both political parties are wretched. In my opinion, they have both corrupted this countries once great values. I do not want this to become a political wresting match, so please hear me on this. Something has gone terribly wrong with this country. I can’t help but notice that Americans are no longer unified in their citizenship, rather, we are divided by politics. That to me is extremely sad and I refuse to be led around by the nose anymore as I feel politics has become the new religion of the day that has pitted brother against brother.

  • Sactowns#1
    • CanadaBear

      Wouldn’t bother me any. I’d watch it.

      • SC Dave

        I don’t like it. It’s the next step to the NHL/NBA where half the league makes the playoffs. It further cheapens the regular season.

        On the bright side, Goddell at least understands that division winners need to host their first playoff game.

        • CanadaBear

          That’s it for me. I don’t have a problem with it. More often than not it will add a team with 10+ wins. Even if they are only 8 or 9 win teams they would have to play the #2 seed on the road. Tough game to win.

  • NewBearInTown

    Free Agent Defensive Ends: http://walterfootball.com/freeagents2014DE.php

    Free Agent Defensive Tackles:http://walterfootball.com/freeagents2014DT.php

    One or two more guys will be on the list when their teams cut them. I hope Greg Hardy doesn’t get franchised, not because I want him, but because I want him to get the monster contract that we don’t have to pay. I expect Emery to go after a second tier pass rusher rather than the next Mario Williams/Julius Peppers. I know our defense needs some TLC, but I don’t think he’ll want to tie up the salary cap so much he can’t keep the offense together in a couple of years.

    Targets in my mind are guys like Lamar Houston or Matt Shaughnessy. Would need to watch a lot more tape to find my preferred diamond in the rough. I won’t put that time in, but Phil will 🙂 I think we will find enough talent at DT on the current roster (with re-signings) that we can focus free agent money at DE or safety.

    • Still a Doug Plank Fan

      http://www.nationalfootballpost.com/NFL-Prospect-Focus-Louis-Nix-and-Stephon-Tuitt.html

      So, I was wondering if you’d read this piece yet, and what your (and anyone else’s) thoughts were on both.

      Both are projected to go in the first round, Nix somewhere where we’ll be lurking, Tuitt a couple of slots lower.

      • NewBearInTown

        I did read that piece. I have to wonder if other scouts are that down on Tuitt – that article makes me not want to draft him before the 3rd round.
        I’m not a great expert on college players until the off-season when all the youtube vids starting coming in. I watch almost no college football due to it being played predominantly on Shabbos. And I don’t roll on Shabbos! Here are my thoughts based on what I’ve read.
        If we’re the first team to draft a DT, the current discussion is between Nix, Hageman and Timmy Jernigan. Jernigan apparently was an animal 3 tech in his bowl game (didn’t see), but Hageman has previously been rated higher. Nix, unlike the other two, is more of a pure nose tackle than a 3-tech candidate.
        I honestly haven’t watched any of the three. My initial feeling is that drafting Nix would be a strong indicator that we’re moving to a 3-4 with him at nose just like when Green Bay draft BJ Raji. But then Emery could step up and say Nix’s talent transcends scheme, which would be true. One thing is for sure, if we bring back Wootton and any of our three DTs from this year (Melton, Collins, Ratliff), that is a solid rotation in the middle: Nix/Paea next to Melton/Wootton for example. That will definitely help our run defense in a traditional 4-3. If we moved to a 3-4, we could start with Paea-Nix-Wooton. Again, looks solid.
        But picking up Nix means we miss out on all of the first round pass rush talent. That’s the danger of a 3-4 conversion, there are a lot of teams looking for 3-4 OLBs. Its a seller’s market, so drafting for value becomes a bigger challenge. If we stay in 4-3, with Nix in the first, we can shoot for a DE in the second that other teams don’t want because he’s too big to play OLB and too small to play 5 tech.

        • Still a Doug Plank Fan

          Obviously, I’ve got questions about Melton, so I wonder how that’s going to wind up. I think if Tucker hasn’t been relieved by now, he isn’t going to be, which means a 4-3 again next year.

          I need to go back and look at the pass rush options. Usually, I mostly ignore the F/A and draft options because so many of them wind up being practically a coin-flip as to whether or not they are worth the money. Defensively, I’ve been puzzled as to why that side of the ball isn’t easier to dope out.

          But it seems really hard these days. So I’m going to hang in here for the offseason, see if I can learn. Thanks for the breakdown, NBIT. As always, appreciated.

          • NewBearInTown

            Every year there are free agents that get overpaid. Every year there are free agents that get underpaid because the big contracts have already all been given out to other players.
            Last year, there was also a weird trend of like $6M one off deals for hired guns to come in and pass rush. Seattle did one and I think two or three other teams did as well. It will be interesting to see what happens in the market this year.

  • MrKilljoi

    What do you think about “The Beloved” bears pursuing Sam Shields,Brian Orakpo and BJ Raji to This Defense,they are all unrestricted free agents and could provide the push that they were lacking in 2013..Comments?

    • NewBearInTown

      So you want three Green Bay retreads and that’s your path to success?

  • MrKilljoi

    And maybe just maybe Aqib Talib 🙂

  • NewBearInTown

    Lovie Smith has a roster that’s a lot better than its record looks in Tampa, but he’s going to need a strong draft. They’re only about $7M under the cap thanks to last years’ spending spree. And so many of the deals are fresh I don’t see a way to save a lot of money… except cutting Revis or converting part of his salary to signing bonuses and making that $16M cap number even more daunting in future years.
    If Lovie wants to make any significant upgrades, they’ll have to come through the draft. It’ll be interesting to see how that goes.
    His first year in Chicago, he surprised everyone by drafting nothing but defensive players. The strategy worked as several of those guys became the foundation of his Superbowl D. I don’t think we’ll see a repeat performance in Tampa this time, but he surprised everybody once already that way. We’ll see what direction he goes.
    One thing he does need, a quarterback. Even if Mike Glennon is the guy he wants to trust as the starter in 2014, he has nobody else on the roster. There will be veterans on the market, so you have to wonder who Lovie will pick up as the veteran backup to tutor Glennon or another draft pick. Some guys available include:
    – Rex Grossman (Former Bear)
    – Shaun Hill (Former Lion)
    – Matt Flynn (Former Packer)
    – Josh Freeman (Former Viking… oh wait)
    or Dan Orlovsky, last year’s backup.

    • NewBearInTown

      Oh, just noticed. Lovie’s working with a shortened list of picks. If they keep Revis, they send a third rounder. If they cut him, they send a fourth rounder.

    • Irish Sweetness

      Don’t forget Josh McCown …. the #1 rated FA QB.

    • Trac

      Was I the only one that understood what I think Lovie meant the other day when he said, “We have a place for a great corner”? In my opinion, that was an open invitation for Charles Tillman.

  • 4ever85 (AKA Butch Deadlift)

    Hearing the Score. Only 8 teams qualify for Hard Knocks next year (who don’t volunteer). Guess which team qualifies? Yup. Da Bears. Giants and Steelers are the other “Top 3”.

    Could you imagine some Cutty, Cavalri, BMarsh, Orange Dino, Long on Hard Knock? (Trestman Daughters!)

    Raiders, Cards, Jags, Rams and one other team round it out.

    What say ye – yah, or nah?

  • Barb UMihai Mar

    Well i think I wrote this exact thing on this site 20 times in the last 6 months. Mel Tucker must be fired… all you have to do is watch the game Bears-New Orleans. Sometime is the first half there is a 5 seconds portion where Tillman-Briggs-Jennings-Wright talk on the sidelines. and they are trying to understand who is to blame. They look lost. You see Peppers 15 m in the back -a captain- sitting on the bench don’t giving a fuck. The coach, the leader, the inspirational figure is upstairs doing who knows what. After the game I wrote many times that this situation is Trestman’s fault. This defense is Trestman’s defense and this looks like his weak point. He choose as a DC a guy who is not a leader and doesn’t inspire his guys. He needs that more than anything because he can’t be that guy…for him he defense is just a phase of the game.

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