Where’s John Fox’s left hand?
Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears This Week?
I always like the Chicago Bears. And it’s goddamn Packers Week!
A Thought on Pace & Fox
This has been an ongoing Twitter conversation, picked up by Jahns and I on the podcast midweek. But it’s worth restating what I know as the Bears embark upon the second half of their schedule.
- Ryan Pace has no intention at this stage of firing John Fox at the end of the season, barring a collapse.
- Pace and Fox have built this roster together. They are a team. And Pace is owning the struggles on offense.
- Don’t forget about how the Mike Glennon Fiasco impacted this team.
- The Bears never intended to play Mitch Trubisky in 2017. Never. They were willing to put him on the field once the playoffs were mathematically out of reach but their true intent was to keep him on the bench until 2018. (This, to me, is insane. But it is what it is.)
- Because of that, Trubisky didn’t take a first-team rep in earnest until October. It is very rare for a rookie quarterback to be thrust into this position after four weeks and clearly Fox is not comfortable with it yet. Yes, it should be expected for them to “open it up” more in the second half but don’t expect this team to start throwing forty passes a game anytime soon. They don’t believe that’s the right approach for Trubisky at this stage.
- For those who think Pace is “looking for his Sean McVay”…it’s just not that simple. The Bears have built a terrific defense and power run game. They’re not looking to drastically change their identity.
- Pace likes Dowell Loggains. And if you read this terrific piece by Jahns, you’ll understand that what is being called currently on offense is coming from the head coach, not the offensive coordinator.
- There are some “media” out there positing that wins/losses won’t matter for Fox down the stretch. That’s not just wrong, it’s insane. Fox’s job is to win games, not beauty pageants. And while Trubisky’s development is important it was never part of the 2017 plan. The Bears won 3 games a season ago. If they win 7 or 8 this year, the organization will view that as a significant improvement and Fox will face a make-or-break 2018.
Tweet of the Week
94% of Americans (93% of gun owners) want background checks on every gun sale. Retweet if you do too.
— Senator Dick Durbin (@SenatorDurbin) November 6, 2017
Three Reasons the Bears Win
- Brett Hundley vs. Bears Defense. Mike McCarthy will script out Hundley’s first fifteen plays and the Packers will look decent. (This has happened in both of his starts.) But if they get behind the chains, Hundley is unable to recover because, well, he’s not good. He can be dangerous if the Bears let him extend plays outside the pocket or move the chains with his legs. But the Bears didn’t let Cam Newton do that. They’re going to be hustled by Hundley?
- Leonard Floyd vs. RT Justin McCray. Floyd has five sacks in his last five games and will be facing a player in McCray he should dominate. This has all the makings of a 2 or 3 sack performance from Lloyd, who’ll be feeding off a fired-up Soldier Field faithful.
- Tarik Cohen vs. Injured Packers LBs. The Saints and Lions, facing Dom Capers blitzes the last several weeks, exploited the Packers aggressiveness with well-timed screens. Don’t use Jordan Howard on these, Bears. Put the ball in Cohen’s hands at the right time, against the right defense, and he’ll score from distance.
Three Reasons They Don’t
- Mitch Trubisky vs. Those Blitzes. The most difficult thing for a rookie quarterback to handle in his first go-round in the NFL is reading defenses, and specifically recognizing blitz looks. Capers knows he’s not able to pressure opposing quarterback with his front – the Packers have only 13 sacks on the season – so he will try to confuse Trubisky. Considering the Bears insist on putting the kid in third-and-longs repeatedly, expect Trubisky to take time getting comfortable against the team’s oldest rival.
- Connor Barth vs. His Inability to Kick Field Goals. Barth is 3-for-7 on FGs longer than 40 yards. That’s not a bad percentage. That’s a percentage that should have gotten Barth fired over the bye week. Why are the Bears sticking with Barth? Nobody has a good answer. Just like the Bears are getting better by having Trubisky make his mistakes on the field, they’d be far better off long-term if some rookie kicker was shanking 42-yarders.
- John Fox’s Bears vs. The Bye. Bears are 0-2 coming off the bye under John Fox, losing those games by a combined score of 59-30. And if you go back to the last year under Trestman, the Bears are down 114-44 coming off the bye.
Graphic by Brad Perniciaro at Cheatsheet War Room.
An SNL Star Character is Born
With that, my five favorite SNL characters ever:
(5) Stefon. The perfect creation of Bill Hader and John Mulaney, Stefon Meyers was never funnier than when he broke Hader down like this great Halloween appearance.
(4) Brenda the Waitress. If you’ve never seen Jan Sweeney and Alec Baldwin in one of the greatest sketches ever written, watch it here.
(3) Gus Chiggins. This Will Ferrell character – an old prospector inexplicably placed in a military meeting of some kind – never actually aired. And the reasons are simple. First, the sketch and character are insane. Second, nobody on the damn stage could keep a straight face. But you should watch it here or on the Best of Will Ferrell DVD.
(2) Harry Caray. Nothing. Nothing. Seriously nothing on SNL has ever made me laugh more than Ferrell’s deranged and brilliant Caray impression. Space, the Infinite Frontier is a show I wish existed.
(1) The Blues Brothers. Quite simply the coolest thing to ever come from this television program. Am I a biased Chicagophile? Yes. But I also think that when characters leave SNL and create great movies, that’s still a check in SNL’s column. (Here’s my favorite number from the film.)
Don’t Be Surprised If…
…Brett Hundley doesn’t finish this game for the Packers.
Pertinent Packers Links!
- Are Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy on the hot seat now in Green Bay? McCarthy is a good offensive coach and terrific play-caller. He should be fine. Thompson? The Packers are going to be losing way more than they win without Rodgers for one reason: the roster outside of 12 isn’t very good.
- This is a really interesting piece from ProFootballDoc in the San Diego Union-Tribune about the status of Rodgers’ clavicle. There’s actually an argument made in this column for Rodgers returning around Christmas. But will it be worth it if Hundley doesn’t win enough games?
- From some guy in some newspaper in Chicago: “For the first time since Jim Harbaugh beat Mike Tomczak 27-13 on Dec. 8, 1991, at Soldier Field, the Bears will start the better quarterback in their matchup against the Packers. Brett Favre took over as the Packers’ quarterback in 1992.”
- A fan with cerebral palsy achieved his dream Monday night at Lambeau Field of attending 500 NFL games. Remarkable storytelling from Jim Stingl in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
- Funny blog post (that I agree with) at Total Packers has these great sentences: “As we have always said, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is garbage. He is even more garbage this year and even casual fans are starting to notice that his status is largely made up.”
Photo of the Week
Post-marathon Guinness for Official Lady Friend of DBB.
Can’t remember ever writing this sentence. But if the Bears lose to the Packers Sunday at Soldier Field, it’s because the Bears played a poor game. The one advantage one would think the Packers have – facing a rookie quarterback – is mitigated by the fact that Trubisky has more game experience than the Green Bay signal caller.
Chicago Bears 23
Green Bay Packers 13