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DaBearsBlog On Vacation This Weekend

| January 13th, 2017

DaBearsBlog is celebrating a birthday in New Orleans this weekend. Should anything of note happen in Bearsland, I’ll be sure to put something up. Otherwise I will be spending my weekend on the 15th at English Turn, cozying up on the front corner stool at Napoleon House and gorging on Willie Mae’s fried chicken.


Picks for the weekend:

3-1 picking winners last weekend. But a miserable 1-3 ATS.

Falcons -4.5 over Seahawks

Patriots -15.5 over Texans

Chiefs -1.5 over Steelers

Packers +4.5 over Cowboys (Dallas 30, Packers 28)

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Scouting the National Championship: Allen, Williams, Watson

| January 9th, 2017

There are three players in tonight’s national title game between Clemson and Alabama worth paying special attention to from a Bears perspective.

Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama

By the time the draft arrives, Allen will be the consensus pick to the Bears…if he makes it that far. Daniel Jeremiah is in love with Allen, well-reported in his piece for NFL.com:

I reached out to five NFL personnel executives to find out who Allen reminds them of at the NFL level. Here’s a look at their responses.

Executive 1: Richard Seymour
“Allen isn’t as long or as tall as Seymour, but I see him as the same type of player. He’s very talented.”

Executive 2: Sheldon Richardson
“This is a tough one. He reminds me a little of Sheldon Richardson. Similar size. However, Richardson had more juice and Allen is stronger.”

Executive 3: Ndamukong Suh
“I haven’t come up with a great comparison for him. I do see some similarities to Suh when he was at Nebraska.”

Executive 4: Brandon Graham
“He is a really good player but I don’t view him the same as some of the top interior guys like (Geno) Atkins and (Aaron) Donald. He’s a tweener, similar to Brandon Graham when he was coming out of Michigan. Good player, not an elite player.”

Executive 5: Gerald McCoy
“He’s a tougher, grittier version of Gerald McCoy.”

Summary: That’s one vote apiece for Graham, McCoy, Richardson, Seymour and Suh.

Conclusion: I’ve struggled to come up with my own comparison for Allen. I compared him to Jurrell Casey after studying him this summer, but I no longer think it fits. He’s more powerful than Casey and I think he’s more versatile, too. In my opinion, he dominates college games similar to the way Suh dominated games at Nebraska. However, I think Suh had rare strength and power. I don’t put Allen in that class. I look forward to watching the rest of Allen’s season and hopefully I’ll be able to settle on a comparison with more time to study him leading up to the 2017 NFL Draft.

A defensive line of Allen, Goldman and Hicks in 2017 would make the Bears front an absolute force. Not the flashiest bunch by any means but strong, tough and borderline immovable.

Mike Williams, WR, Clemson

You know who Mike Williams reminds me of? Mike Williams. Seriously, can we stop with all these wide receivers named Mike Williams? It’s confusing.

Read More …

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Wildcard Sunday Open Thread

| January 8th, 2017

Miami +10 over PITTSBURGH

28-13 Steelers late. Matt Moore brings the Dolphins down the field for a solid backdoor cover.

Steelers 28, Dolphins 20

New York +4.5 over GREEN BAY

Three reasons:

  • Green Bay’s win out has been wildly overrated. They are a few weeks removed from blowing a 17 point lead to Matt Barkley. Packers are here because the NFC North was an unmitigated disaster in 2016.
  • Not sure people realize how good this Giants secondary is. There’s not a pass catching threat on the Pack that will give them problems, as long as they don’t allow Rodgers to run around and buy time.
  • It’s the tournament. You’ve seen what Eli does in these games, right?

Giants 17, Packers 13

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251 Comments

Wildcard Saturday Open Thread

| January 7th, 2017

The Picks For Today

Oakland +4 over HOUSTON

You’ve heard the stat all week. Connor Cook is the first quarterback to make his first start in the postseason. And he’s doing so against one of the league’s best defenses. The gambler in me is screaming, “TAKE THE TEXANS!”

But I’m not doing it. Because I don’t think Brock Osweiler is any good and this seems like the perfect stage for him to formally end his Houston career. Not saying the Raiders win the game. Saying they keep it close.

Texans 16, Raiders 13

SEATTLE -7.5 over Detroit

Lions stink. And Devin Hester!

Seahawks 27, Lions 14

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421 Comments

DBB Weekend Show: All Adam Jahns Edition! [AUDIO]

| January 5th, 2017

ON THE WEEKEND SHOW!

  • Adam Jahns for a half hour, discussing what the postseason press conference means about the future of the Chicago Bears. Special focus on the quarterback position, Alshon Jeffery, Kyle Fuller, injuries to the 2015 draft and how to approach the secondary starting in March.
  • Picks for the Wildcard Round: Raiders +3.5, Seattle -8, Miami +10, New York +4.5.
  • Lots and lots of Shea McClellin talk!

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“This Won’t Happen Again”: Pace & Fox Address Media

| January 4th, 2017

Ryan Pace and John Fox addressed the media today. The following are my thoughts:

  • Both Pace and Fox set the perfect tone for a 3-13 press conference. They acknowledged the injuries but made clear the results of the season were unacceptable.
  • Pace sure sounded like a GM zeroing on the quarterback position this offseason. Made very clear that his decisions at that position this offseason will greatly impact the future of the organization. As Pace said, “Everything is on the table”.
  • Bears only have 19 players on the roster from previous regime. That’s kind of amazing.
  • Alshon Jeffery discussion was tepid. Pace did not sound like a GM willing to commit major resources to a player whose production – though excusable – has plummeted.
  • “Ball security is critical” -John Fox. It was obvious from the head coach’s comments that he does not want a QB who throws the ball to the other team.
  • Pace was on the money with his evaluation of the Bears secondary. They need to add playmakers with better ball skills.
  • Pace is “not giving up on Kyle Fuller”. His commentary on Fuller was some of his most passionate. Fuller will be given every opportunity to compete for this team in 2017.
  • Fox’s way of saying injuries cracked me up: “consistency of games available”.
  • Pace believes Jonathan Bullard needed this year to learn to play defense a different way. He expects a leap next year.
  • Both coordinators are staying.

I really like Ryan Pace. But this is a massive offseason for the young GM.

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Five Things We Learned From the 2016 Season

| January 2nd, 2017

It’s so easy to look at the record, 3-13, and pronounce the Bears an awful team with no hope. But that simply isn’t what took place this season. The Bears were in year two of a rebuild, lost $60M worth of players to IR and played 6 of their 16 games with Matt Barkley at quarterback. Bill Belichick wasn’t getting this group to the postseason.

So what did we learn from this difficult campaign?

  • The Bears found their offensive identity. The 2017 Bears will be defined on offense by a bully interior of their offensive line and the best power back they’ve had in recent memory, Jordan Howard. Expect every decision made on that side of the ball this offseason to complement this approach. And don’t be surprised if the Bears look to add another back to the rotation who can provide more than a spell for their workhorse.
  • The team does not have one reliable player in their secondary. The Bears won’t come into next season with seven new guys in their secondary. They’ll continue to develop players like LeBlanc, Hall, Callahan, Amos and maybe even Bush and HJQ. But the team must make secondary the primary focus of the spring and add several – not one or two but several – valuable assets to this unit.
  • Pass rush, pass rush, pass rush. Leonard Floyd looks the part. Pernell McPhee should be healthy come September. But the Bears must add to their pass rush. Whether that means finding rushers for the defensive line or zeroing in on a top edge guy in the draft, the only way for this team to increase their turnover total is to increase the pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
  • Ryan Pace deserves our faith. Look at Pace’s additions this offseason: Sitton, Whitehair, Howard, Floyd, Freeman, Trevathan, Hicks, Massie. Every one of them a significant improvement. Hell, even Hoyer and Barkley kept the Bears competitive as backups. The Bears had their best offseason in terms of personnel additions in years. Now they face two huge questions this time around. Is Alshon going to be brought back? Who is playing quarterback? Pace deserves a chance to answer both.
  • John Fox may not. Fox will get 2017. But he will get no more excuses.

The arrow is pointed decidedly up. But just as one great offseason can move the organization in the right direction, a bad offseason can derail the train as quickly. The next five years of Bears football will be defined by what Ryan Pace does between now and Bourbonnais.

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903 Comments

John Fox Will Return, or Bears at Vikings Game Thread

| January 1st, 2017

From Rap at NFL Network:

The second-year turnaround did not happen for John Fox. The Bears coach, who twice in his career has turned in triumphant rebuilds in his second season, will try to win just his fourth game today against the Vikings.

But, according to those who know him well, Fox will have the opportunity to make his mark in the third season. In addition, much of his staff is slated to return, as well.

The losses have collected for Chicago, a frustrating two seasons. The result is not what anyone has wanted. But in making the decision to stay the course, the Bears appear to be looking at more than box scores.

The Bears have hung tough with teams in playoff contention, such as the GiantsLions, and Packers. They’ve done so with their fourth quarterback of the year, Matt Barkley who likely would be out of the league if the Bears hadn’t put him on their practice squad to start the season.

They have a whopping 19 players on Injured Reserve, including many, many starters.

In addition, their 2016 draft class will be the foundation of the rebuild, a class that has drawn praise from opposing executives.

All of which makes for an interesting evaluation of Fox, his staff, and the year: They’ve been forced to play young players and watch them develop. The culture, despite the losses, is a positive one. And they believe the future is bright. Could they follow in the footsteps of the Raiders … or Cubs?

It’s not perfect, of course. There could be some position coach changes, and they need a quarterback. But it will likely be Fox at the helm when it happens.

Completely unsurprising. And fair. But Fox will have to win games in 2017.

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First & Final Game Preview of 2016: Bears at Vikings

| December 30th, 2016

No Weekend Show this week as I’m under the weather and my voice is dogshit. Thus, we return to an old standby…THE GAME PREVIEW!

Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears This Week?

I always like the Chicago Bears.

Any Football Reasons, Jeff?

Sure. Four:

  • Mutiny in Minnesota. Not sure I’ve ever heard stories like the ones coming out of the Vikings game against Green Bay last weekend. The head coach created a defensive approach, taught it to his players and then a corner decided, “Eh, fuck it.” Then they told the press all about it! We knew something was wrong in Minny when Norv jumped ship mid season. I don’t think anyone knew it was this wrong.
  • #barkleytime. Yep, I’m making the prediction. Matt Barkley will rebound from the awful performance against Washington and play his way to Bourbonnais.
  • What is the fatal flaw of these Bears? Their secondary. What quarterback threatens the secondary less than Bradford? I’m not sure. Bradford wants to dink and dunk his way to glory and that plays right into the hands of Fangio’s defense.
  • There was a time when the Vikings rush defense looked like the league’s best. But there was also a time when the Vikings were good. Now they’re a midpack rush defense, facing a juggernaut back 60 or so yards from the Bears rookie record. Jordan Howard dominates.

Football Friday & Saturday (The Future)

Players to watch in the bowl games over the next two days:

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Audibles From the Long Snapper: Five Guys In Need of a Solid Sunday

| December 29th, 2016

In only four days, it ends.

WHO COULD USE A SOLID SUNDAY?

  • Matt Barkley. #Barkleytime has something. Call it moxie. Call it guts. Call it chutzpah. Does he have the physical tools of an Aaron Rodgers or Jay Cutler? No. But he’s certainly shown over his first five starts that he has enough to make it as a quarterback in the NFL. Barkley can go a long way towards cementing his inarguably successful 2016 by rebounding from his poor performance a week ago. And it would be hard to see him not playing a prominent role in Bourbonnais if he played well Sunday in Minnesota.
  • John Fox. Don’t think there’s any chance of his being fired because injuries (especially at QB) and suspensions (to 2 of the Bears 5 best players) will give him a free pass into 2017. But neither Fox nor Ryan Pace want to see the head coach finish this season being walloped twice. While not winning, the Bears fought almost every single week and kept most games close. Fox needs to show his team still, even as the season concludes, wants to fight for him.
  • Jonathan Bullard. Let’s be honest, Bullard has had a nothing rookie season. When the coaching staff is playing Mitch Unrein instead of you, it probably means you’re Mitch Ungood. But Bullard flashed against Washington – his first flashes all year – and a second consecutive decent performance could help the rookie’s confidence as he heads into a pivotal offseason for his development.
  • Charles Leno. The Bears starting left tackle received a glowing endorsement from Pace last offseason and has performed well overall in 2016. But he had unquestionably his worst performance of the season against Washington, allowing Preston Smith to walk around him as he carved the man’s bust for Canton. If Leno wants to hold onto his starting role in 2017 he might not want to leave Pace with the taste of two howlers to close out the campaign.
  • Adrian Amos. Injuries have been the biggest disappointment of 2016. Amos is the runner-up. The safety was never expected to display dominant ball skills but his struggles in run support (poor angling, inefficient tackling…etc.) have left many believing the Bears need two new players at the position in 2017 to become an elite defensive unit.

Enjoy!

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