60 Comments

5 Reasons Bears Will Be Better Than You Think: Part III

| July 26th, 2015

fangio

The final installment of Andrew Dannehy’s optimistic training camp preview.

#2 Vic Fangio.

There has been so much talk about the offense, but it doesn’t matter unless the Bears get their defense figured out. Fangio isn’t a miracle worker. He’s also not Mel Tucker. The difference between the two can’t be overstated.

We’ve seen teams take huge jumps in the standings by adding new defensive coordinators. Just last year, the Vikings went from having the worst scoring defense in the league to the 11th-best because of Mike Zimmer. We’ve seen similar results from the likes of Wade Phillips and Dom Capers and Fangio himself helped the 49ers go from middle of the pack to elite.

The Bears secondary is still a disaster — at least Chris Conte is gone — but their front seven should be pretty good. All the talk about changing schemes is stupid. Fangio is a good coach who will find a way to make it work. He did last year in San Francisco when most of his talented players were on the sideline.

They won’t be elite next year, but don’t be surprised if they jump into the top-20, that really should be enough for them to win more games than they lose.

#1 The Relationship Between the Coach & QB.

The Bears have a good coach and a good quarterback. Teams with both almost always end up being good.

Fox isn’t Belichick and Cutler isn’t Brady, but they’re both good and have proven as much over a long period of time. When Fox has had a capable quarterback, his teams have been pretty good.

When Fox had Jake Delhomme and Peyton Manning, his team’s won over 64 percent of their games. Before Delhomme’s final season with Carolina — in which he went 4-7 as a starter — the Panthers had won 62 percent of his starts. The Bears won won about 61 percent of Cutler’s starts with Lovie Smith, including 67.5 percent in Lovie’s last three years.

That alone would indicate the Bears are going to be AT LEAST 7-9, which has been close to the most optimistic projection for them. Add in the other factors and you could easily see them win two more games and go 9-7 or even 10-6. And, who knows, if everything goes right, we could see a 12-4 team.

Editor’s Note: The Bears are not going 12-4.

Back to reality, if Cutler plays like he has throughout his career and Fox does the kind of job he has done in two previous steps, the Bears are going to be pretty good.

Of course, everything could go wrong — it seemed to last year — and the Bears could be a disaster. But camp is just starting and there are five reasons to think the Bears are going to end up being pretty good.

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  • Bobby Douglass

    Wow, first?

    Last year was the first year ever I did not have a single Chicago Bear on my fantasy roster. Not even Robbie Gould. I’ve been playing since 1989.

    These optimistic articles may ruin my fantasy season.

    • Huge Bear’s Penis

      lol i had Cutty as my QB for most of the year on my fantasy team. I was the highest scoring team in our league, unfortunately lost in championship game mainly because i had to play Alex Smith at QB because of Cuttys benching.

    • FQD1911

      you have been playing since 1989? that is damn impressive

      • Bobby Douglass

        My first league was a 24 team league, split into two conferences. Each conference drafted separately, so, for example, there were two Neal Andersons, two Joe Montanas, etc. The owners were all over the world, drafts were done by email, and we used USA Today for the scoring. It was pretty cool.

        • http://t.co/MsJnMxjrmd POX!!! (AKA, ButchDeadLift)

          You should join my all Da Blog league this year.
          It’s usually 12 team, auction, two-qb, massive bonuses (and penalties) with an inj reserve spot.

          It’s fun.

          The draft alone is worth it. You know you’re in a Bears FF league when Cutler goes for as much as Rodgers (I’ll give you guys a hint who always buys him. Rhymes with Wonny Jaffle).

          Last year we had NBIT, Artoo, Ender, GP, Johnny, Tobi (hey, what happened to Tobster?), MBP, Frank, Sac, Scharf, moi (Damn you Johnny football!!!) and Shady the Champ (you bastard).

          Gonna prolly get it up and running again soon, if you’re interested. If I do, It’ll be around the 3rd PS game when I open it up.

          • NewBearInTown

            I look forward to that league happening again, though this year I suggest we forgo the punter. I thought it would be fun last year, but ESPN doesn’t track punter stats as well as it does for other players and the total scoring variation is pretty minimal. Maybe try the head coach option?

          • http://t.co/MsJnMxjrmd POX!!! (AKA, ButchDeadLift)

            haha, oh yeah, I forgot, the Punter! Yeah, maybe it was a one time thing in honor of our new “stud” P.

            Although I could give like 12 points for coffin corners to make a bigger impact, but that would seem too much of a wild card (punters shouldn’t determine w/losses).

            What’s the head coaching option?

            I’m tempted to go with drafting an entire team’s HBs or something since so many run committees, but that’s perhaps a bit too drastic.

            I’ll most likely stick to the same format with a few tweaks like with P or head coach.

            I sorta run a hybrid with a lil PPR and standard, that’s for sure sticking. And I try to even it out between RB/WR/QBs.

            Last year was fun cuz everyone stuck around to the bitter end (even Artoo!) and a lot of ppl were in the hunt till the last two weeks.

            There were also a lot of trades, which is always fun.

            I’m gonna maybe see if the Blogfather wants to sponser it by giving away a shirt or something to the champ (though I know he hates #FF, most of our teams have been regs since forever).

          • Bobby Douglass

            One league did a head coach; your coach wins, you get X points. I loved it, others hated it.

          • Bobby Douglass

            I’ll keep an eye out. I usually avoid auction leagues, but who knows? I may have some extra time crop up.

        • Johnnywad

          There was email in 1989?

          • Bobby Douglass

            Whippersnapper, get off my lawn.

  • BearDown100393

    [And, who knows, if everything goes right, we could see a 12-4 team.

    Editor’s Note: The Bears are not going 12-4.]

    Thanks for the laugh. I sprayed coffee everywhere.

  • AlbertInTucson

    Interesting graphic.

    “LOVE WILL KEEP US TOGETHER” ?

    Guess not.

    Toni Tennille dumped Darryl “The Captain” Dragon at the beginning of last year.

    • BearDown100393

      “Love Will Tear Us Apart” would’ve worked better.

  • chitownproud85

    If we have a competent, competitive team this year, I’ll be happy. Last year was soul crushing, and at this point, any “optimism” is straight in the shitter. I fully expect us to be better, and we will actually STAY IN a lot more games, but I’m not expecting to win a ton more. I think tacking on wins for a coaching change is feasible, but not more than 2-3, and I feel even those numbers are optimistic. Its still about the players on the field, and whatever you might say, our best(2nd best at worst) offensive player now wears a different jersey. All this crap about locker room stuff and all that, it may have been true, but on the field, Marshall was a beast and performed feats that we as Bears fans have pretty much flat-out never seen in our colors. We might benefit from him being gone in the long run, but the dude could flat out ball. Our defense was atrocious and will literally be starting a completely different system/setup, though I acknowledge that it is likely to be a “hybrid” and will attempt to work with players strengths. Somewhere around 8-8 feels just right. Improved? yes. Competitive and competent? Absolutely. Good? Cmon now.

    • http://t.co/MsJnMxjrmd POX!!! (AKA, ButchDeadLift)

      I liked Bmarsh too, but can’t have the MadHatter being the king of Wonderland.

  • DocNitty(BallsStillOrnamental)

    Let’s see the next article be “five reasons the bears will likely still suck”. Then we can compare the two and figure out which list makes the most sense.

    Camp starts today, baby. TODAY!

    • AlbertInTucson

      Deadspin handles that department with it’s annual WHY YOUR TEAM SUCKS feature.

      • AlbertInTucson

        From WHY YOUR TEAM SUCKS 2015 – ATLANTA FALCONS…

        “Matt Ryan is Jay Cutler in disguise. The only difference is Chicago fans seem to be somehow less delusional about Jay Cutler’s suckage.”

        • http://t.co/MsJnMxjrmd POX!!! (AKA, ButchDeadLift)

          I think our more sober judgment stems from two sources, both unfortunate:

          1. Being intimately acquainted with suckage at QB for nearly the our entire history.
          2. Being intimately acquainted with elite QBs in GB.

          Between the 2, I think Bears fans can accurately assess QB play, barring homerism.

        • BerwynBomber

          I’d take Ryan over Cutler in a heartbeat. Not necessarily a knock on Cutty but Ryan’s career PR #s are about 10 points higher and he is younger.

          That said, Ryan seems to have a bit of ceiling, which is the lower end of the top ten; on average he is a 10-16 guy.

        • http://t.co/MsJnMxjrmd POX!!! (AKA, ButchDeadLift)

          haha. Glad to know we’re not the most morose mofos out there.

          “The Mike Smith Era was just a lot of dick punching.”

          http://deadspin.com/why-your-team-sucks-2015-atlanta-falcons-1720824337

  • http://thebeargarden.blogspot.com/ Perno

    Fuck it I’m going 10-6. I’m a homer and Kool-Aid drinker. Let’s do this!

    • Huge Bear’s Penis

      what a pessimist!!! 18-0 all the way.

      • http://t.co/MsJnMxjrmd POX!!! (AKA, ButchDeadLift)

        psh. 23-0.

        We’ll win all PS games, and somehow win the Pro Bowl Game too. If we were in the HOF game, I’d predict 24-0.

        • TheBigCheesy

          The HOF game is not an extra game. The participants in that game only have 3 preseason games left after that one…

  • Trac

    DaBearsBlog @dabearsblog

    “I wonder how many people could have been fed or clothed or housed with the money NFL & Brady have paid lawyers over this absolute bullshit.”

    Jeff da Greek!

  • http://t.co/MsJnMxjrmd POX!!! (AKA, ButchDeadLift)

    Here’s the bigger question: if Cutler continues his Bortles turnover rate, will Fox have the balls to bench him? (thus diminishing his trade value)

    I hope to god that Gase really does make the run the focus of attack, while limiting Cutler and keeping his reads as basic as humanly possible (adding in a few bootlegs wouldn’t hurt either). Heck, Cutler’s mobile. Maybe from time to time run an option. If Kelly ran it with the statue Foles, why not Cutler (besides him being a bit less sturdy)?

    As much shit as I talk about Cutler, I do want him to succeed in this new regime cuz I’m a Bears fan and franchise QBs don’t just fall off trees

    (hey, I randomly found this article to remind us of this fact

    http://www.chicagonow.com/chicago-tough/2011/12/the-10-worst-bears-quarterbacks-since-1986/

    Still, history has taught us that he is who he is. He’s the qb version of “Even Steven”

    • Huge Bear’s Penis

      bootlegs…. i am pretty sure a lot of us have been bringing that up for years because of Swiss cheese of a line we had, never understood why it was not utilized.

      • BerwynBomber

        Limits the passing field, increases risks of hits to the QB, and sometimes tempts the QB to throw across his body/across the field — think Cutty pass to the Bill’s D-lineman in the opener last year.

        Best thing Gase can do for Cutty is take away his ability to audible. History has shown Cutty plays best for coaches who did that.

        • http://t.co/MsJnMxjrmd POX!!! (AKA, ButchDeadLift)

          All this is true, but Cutty proved he’s good at bootlegging. It can also freeze up the defense (thinking it’s a run) and Cutty can unleash his arm to White streaking down field on a GO route.

          Or, if the D puts a safety over the top, then Martellus can get open underneath, and if he catches it in stride, YAC.

          I don’t advocate going heavy bootleg for all the reasons you mentioned, but it should definitely be included in the arsenal.

    • http://www.upitpuppet.com/ evantonio

      Eli is also very turnover prone. But he won 2 Superbowl MVPs (which i don’t understand – the Giants D held history’s most prolific offense to 14 points, and Eli gets MVP for that game? pshaw).

      I’m not saying our D is there, but I’m saying a team can win with a TO-prone QB who puts a few good games together.

      • http://t.co/MsJnMxjrmd POX!!! (AKA, ButchDeadLift)

        That was my hope too before last season. That Cutler would somehow turn it on ala Flacco, Eli.

        But he just doesn’t have “it”. Look at how he shits the bed vs GB (usually pressure filled games where he SHOULD elevate like Eli/Flacco). He had ONE good game, and one decent game, and the rest he looked overwhelmed vs GB. And the same goes against other elite teams (in non-garbage time).

        I hope he proves us all wrong, and he elevates his game when it matters, but I don’t see it.

        Jay just seems to up-down from game to game. One game he can throw 4 TDs and look like a stud. The next he can throw 4 picks and look like an apathetic fuck.

        Heck, even Sexy Rexy put a whole month together and won offensive player of Sept or something like that.

        Ironically he was more consistent under Martz before the thumb. Can Gase tap a lil into that? Not sure. Martz’ system is very different from most schemes out there.

      • BerwynBomber

        But Eli was clutch as hell in those post-season years. If you were go back and look at his stats, he really lifted his game during both those runs. Even in the second one, when he was getting absolutely clobbered by the SF D in the NFCC.

  • EnderWiggin

    With White on the PUP list, does that mean he can’t come back until week 6? Or is this just a preseason thing to keep us above the slotted 90 persons?

    • http://t.co/MsJnMxjrmd POX!!! (AKA, ButchDeadLift)

      It’s a preseason thang. I’ve been reading a lot of players on PUP for like a day or two, so the teams can bring in another dude to fill in the slot.

      Sometimes I think teams do it just to be cautious and/or bring other guys in. It’s not as if White is going to get cut anytime soon.

      • EnderWiggin

        Still. It really sucks that White would miss ANY time.

        • http://t.co/MsJnMxjrmd POX!!! (AKA, ButchDeadLift)

          Yeah, hope he’s not like a ferrari, needs to be finely tuned, if not, it’s in the shop.

          As great as Julio Jones is, he seems to always be dealing with some sort of nagging inj. Hopefully, White isn’t one of those.

          And White esp needs as many reps as possible since he’s a bit raw. But Fox has the luxury of being able to rely on Alshon/Bennett/Royal/Forte, and he has a history of breaking rooks in slowly, so this might just be Fox’s way of being cautious while sniffing around the 99cent bin to see if anything good turns up.

    • SC Dave

      So ya’ll still want to trade Alshon? The stuff I read on this blog sometimes… smh

      Not that you advocated it, Ender, but its been a topic here as recently as this week

      • EnderWiggin

        Ya’ll not including me! I believe he’ll get extended sometime around the bye. Maybe sooner.

        • SC Dave

          I hope so. I think.

      • http://t.co/MsJnMxjrmd POX!!! (AKA, ButchDeadLift)

        I threw it out there. It’s about team ID/Philo moving forward, Dave.

        How many teams have won a SB recently with a “stud” WR (yet alone TWO)?

        If Alshon gets paid around the Dez Bryant range (a smidgen lower, MAYBE), wouldn’t you want that $ to perhaps go to a defensive stud like Mo Wilkerson? (Keep in mind, we still have White dirt cheap, a theoretical #1WR).

        It’s def something to think about.

        I like both Alshon and Forte, but if they both get paid, what’s gonna be left over for that defense or even Oline?

        The old maxim is right for the most part: football is won in the trenches, and SBs are won on D.

        • SC Dave

          Are people really that keen on losing a great 2nd round pick for a totally unproven, and more-likely-to-bust-than-make-the-Pro-Bowl draft pick?

          Astonishing to me. It’s like all the shit about trading Forte for a 4th rounder. Do people *really* expect to get anywhere near Forte’s value (even nearing age 30) with a 4th round pick?

          • http://t.co/MsJnMxjrmd POX!!! (AKA, ButchDeadLift)

            It’s give and take, SC. Let’s say we do trade Alshon, and conservatively get a 2nd (we’d likely get a late 1st).

            OK. So the new regime obviously concluded that White is indeed a stud #1WR. He was a consensus top #2 WR, some thought a top #5 prospect overall. Let’s be optimistic and say he is that. So, we still have a #1 WR (perhaps a better one than Alshon).

            So we have that taken care.

            Next, we free up $ we would’ve invested in Alshon (while still having White dirt cheap). We can use that $ anywhere you want next year. Maybe Bushrod bombs and we need a LT. Maybe some guys on D don’t pan. Heck, you want a top Safety, with the Alshon $$$, we can BUY a top S next off-season.

            Now, we still have a 2nd.

            Are we gonna luck out and get another Alshon? Probably not.

            HOWEVER, with that 2nd we can do a lot in the draft.

            You’re tired of Cutler?

            Well, maybe we can trade Cutty for a 1st. Suddenly, we have two 1sts and two 2nd rounders to move up and land a franchise QB.

            Or, let’s just say we stick with the 2nd. Tons of talent always falls to the 2nd, OR, we can use it to trade up in the 1st to draft a guy like Watt or Keuchly.

            Honestly, I would do it. I like Alshon, but now that we have White, for better or worse, I don’t think we need him anymore.

            What’s the point of having all-stars on O if Cutler is the QB? (or worse than Cutty).

            Again, it’s been proven time again – win the trenches. Run the ball. Control the clock. I don’t think a team has had two stud WRs win the SB since the Martz Rams, and Cutty ain’t no Warner.

          • Huge Bear’s Penis

            remember the Cap keeps increasing each year, so there will be a little more money to go around and chances are Cutty is not going to be on the team in a year maybe 2. so most likely paying a QB on a rookie salary scale instead of 18-20 mill.

    • AlbertInTucson

      I believe if he’s on the PUP at the start of the season, then he can’t come back until week 6.

      • AlbertInTucson

        And the more they say “It’s no big deal” the more concerned I become.

        • BearDown100393

          Gabe’s knee was “no big deal”.
          Chris William’s low back was “no big deal”.
          J-Webb’s untied shoe lace was “no big deal”.

          • SC Dave

            Yeah, and while we’re at it, let’s trade Alshon.

  • TheBigCheesy

    “That alone would indicate the Bears are going to be AT LEAST 7-9, which has been close to the most optimistic projection for them. Add in the other factors and you could easily see them win two more games and go 9-7 or even 10-6. And, who knows, if everything goes right, we could see a 12-4 team.”

    And then maybe you throw in a little luck, and wham! – 13 and 3! And then maybe their opponents get banged up at the wrong times and you’re looking at 14-2. And then maybe the packers have to forfeit week 1 because they didn’t file some paperwork in time and they are 15-1. And if they can win 15 games, what’s one more? Bang! 16-0!!!!

    • SC Dave

      There you go, Cheesy! I knew you were a closet Bears fan all along.

    • http://t.co/MsJnMxjrmd POX!!! (AKA, ButchDeadLift)

      Hey, Cheezy, you play FF?
      If the peanut gallery gives a “yay”, maybe you can join our FF league.

      In some ways, you can do us a favor by drafting all those GB cocksuckers off our rosters. You can probably get Vadge, Fat Eddie and Jordy/Cobb for relatively cheap in our league.

      • Shady

        That was my strategy last season.

        • http://t.co/MsJnMxjrmd POX!!! (AKA, ButchDeadLift)

          That is why you are, Shady.

    • BearDown100393

      Aaron’s balls look deflated. Calling Roger now.

      • TheBigCheesy

        Aaron actually over-inflates his balls. Hadn’t you heard?

        • http://t.co/MsJnMxjrmd POX!!! (AKA, ButchDeadLift)

          overcompensating for his small…hands.

          • TheBigCheesy

            He has abnormally large hands.

  • BerwynBomber

    So the #1 reason the Bears will be better than we think is because of … Cutler???

    Oh man, here we go again …

  • AlbertInTucson

    So, we had Brady whining on Facebook and Kraft whining into microphones & cameras today.

    All the crying about “evidence” or lack thereof aside, who in their right mind thought trashing the cellphone in question AND announcing that fact to the world was a good idea?

    That act was the equivalent of publicly telling the NFL, it’s commissioner and 31 owners not named Robert Kraft to “Go pound sand up your ass.”

    Did no one in the Brady/Pats camp foresee the inevitable reaction to THAT response?

    A lot of folks are painting this as Goodell’s Ego vs. Brady’s & The Pats when it is really Goodell and a BUNCH of owners who are tired of what they perceive as the Patriots playing fast and loose with the rules.

    And as we all know, perception IS reality.

    Better chance: Brady gets the suspension tossed OR merely succeeds in delaying the process so he winds up serving his time in a later, more crucial, part of the season?

    Herm Edwards surmised today that WHEN, and not IF, the suspension is to be served would soon HAVE to be a topic of conversation between Belicheat and his #1 minion.

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