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Is Anything Worth Watching Sunday?

| December 26th, 2016

While the nation’s drinking amateurs battle their New Year’s Eve hangovers, many of us with saddle up our favorite barstool to watch the last Chicago Bears game of this depressing, injury-plagued 2016 campaign. But is the experience anything more than a mere formality?

Many will argue no. They will say nothing happening on the field in Minnesota will have any bearing on the future of this football team. And, honestly, it’s a point well-taken. But my job is to find meaning. So I’m doing my job. Here’s three things worth paying attention to when it comes to the finale.

The Barkley Rebound

#Barkleytime is coming off his first clunker of 2016 and it would be easy for fans to expect the sailing passes and poor decision making from his effort against Washington to continue. Sunday’s Barkley was the one many us expected and were shocked not to see through his first four starts.

Another dud and the bloom comes entirely off the rose. But a solid, mistake-free start could make it easy for Ryan Pace to keep Barkley in the fold moving forward. He’s shown tremendous rebound within game, often shaking off a poor three quarters to deliver a brilliant fourth. Can he rebound with a week of negativity between starts?

The Run Defense

A coach once told me “run defense is all about want to”. If that’s true the Bears haven’t wanted to in a fortnight.

Both Green Bay and Washington out-muscled the the middle of the Bears defense and took advantage of their lack of discipline on the outside. Yes, there are injuries playing a role in these struggles. But injuries don’t excuse McPhee letting Cousins around the edge, Amos taking bad angles or Hicks disappearing after a dominant period mid-season.

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Got A Christmas Present? Better Unwrappid Fire!

| December 25th, 2016

Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah to you all. Thanks for another wonderful year at DBB. I hope I can keep improving this place for years to come.


Bad game yesterday. Very bad. Here are some quick thoughts.

  • That was a full meltdown from Matt Barkley and quite frankly, I half expected it. I knew yesterday was not going to be an “on the bubble” performance. It was going to be definitive. How Barkley responds next week, on the road, at a division rival, will have a huge say in his role with the organization moving forward.
  • Bombs to Josh Bellamy when he’s triple covered?
  • Would I pay Alshon Jeffery $17 million a year? No. will anybody in the league pay him that? I don’t think so. Bears need to get a deal done, even if they slightly overpay this guy. Jeffery may not be a weekly ten-catch guy but he is always capable of the spectacular and there’s distinct value to that.
  • Cam Meredith is going to be the third receiver next season.
  • Don’t want to get ahead of myself here but Jordan Howard is starting to look like one of the best Bears draft picks ever. If they held the 2016 draft today, Howard is going in the middle of the first round.

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DBB Weekend Show – Christmas Episode!

| December 21st, 2016

On the Christmas episode of DBB’s Weekend Show:

  • Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer talks about devoting special interest to the women and children in the County’s criminal justice system this holiday season and beyond. To help out this worthy, please visit the website (www.bridgetgainer.com/holidaydrive) or see the image below.
  • O Holy Night by Trombone Shorty from Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
  • A brilliant clip from Scrooged
  • Reverend Dave pays a visit to the Christmas Story house
  • Q Brothers Christmas Mixtape!
  • (Secret Christmas cover)
  • A Tom Waits “Christmas” finale (with explanation)

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Why This Matt Barkley Shit is Upsetting People

| December 20th, 2016

Since creating America’s favorite hashtag – #Barkleytime – nearly a month ago, the conversation surrounding the future of the Bears at quarterback has changed. Punches have been thrown. Followers have been blocked on Twitter. Marriages have ended up in front of a mediator.

The framed, autographed Dick Butkus jersey…?

He can have that.

Matt Barkley arrived at Soldier Field.

He played three quarters against the Tennessee Titans that left fans clamoring for the days of Jonathan Quinn, Medicine Woman and CFL legend Henry Burris. He looked ill suited to the speed and difficulty level of the league. He was every bit the non-professional folks like me said he would be.

Then, something changed. Barkley put together a dynamic and rousing fourth quarter. He threw the ball effortlessly through the Titans zone and when the Titans left zone, relatively quickly, he required little more effort.

Three more games have been played and aside from the start of the third quarter against Green Bay this past Sunday, Barkley has looked every bit like an NFL starter. So why, why, why are fans and media types so reluctant to acknowledge what is happening on the field? Why has Barkley’s performance caused so much debate in Bears circles?

The answers are not simple.

Answer #1. “He’s Matt Barkley. We Know What He Is.”

Problem is, we don’t. Nobody does. John Fox: “He’s probably turned a lot of peoples heads.”

Barkley was drafted by Chip Kelly at Philadelphia, in the fourth round, into a system he had zero chance of fitting. Chip canned. Barkley gone after seeing a few mop-up snaps in losing efforts.

Bruce Arians brought Barkley to Arizona and Barkley struggled to find consistency in the preseason. Arians, this summer:

Have you seen progression with Barkley?

“Up and down. He’s like a yo-yo.”

Arians is not a young coach and the Cardinals (with someone else around here) believed they were title contenders this season. He was never carrying three QBs on Sundays and Drew Stanton is one of the game’a most reliable backups.

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Seven Quick Thoughts on Bears Loss to Packers

| December 19th, 2016

Travel day. Not a lot of time to write. But here are my quick thoughts.

  • Matt Barkley looks every bit an NFL quarterback. And this makes 3 of his 4 starts where he took the team down the field with the game on the line and made plays to win or tie em. If Barkley’s teammates were better, he’d be a main story in Chicago.
  • Guy in Billy Goat yesterday: “Barkley’a good but he can’t throw the long ball.” Amazing what people believe despite their own eyes.
  • Bears secondary never had a chance against Aaron Rodgers but – on the final play – why does a safety even have a decision to make? There should be two guys standing 25 yards off the line of scrimmage.
  • Packers had a massive third quarter because of Bears mistakes. Bears had a massive fourth quarter because they dominated the line of scrimmage.
  • Jordan Howard is a star.
  • Love Alshon Jeffery’a post game passion,  expressed in this column by Adam Jahns. This is what the team needs: desire to win. They are fighters. What separates fighters from winners? Talent.

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My Alshon Jeffery Reporting

| December 17th, 2016

The following is everything I know about Alshon Jeffery’s current status and future with the Chicago Bears. It is based on conversations with individuals in three different organization, none the Bears, and some local confirmations.

  • The Bears want Alshon in Chicago long-term and they firmly believe he wants to be in Chicago long-term.
  • The Bears made Alshon an offer last year well over the $10 million per year I had suggested earlier in the week. Alshon’s team rejected that offer and it frustrated people inside Halas Hall.
  • A “scout” with another organization told me, “If the numbers we heard are true, I can’t believe Jeffery’s people didn’t make him sign.”
  • Some around the league believe Jeffery’s lack of production and suspension in 2016 will humble him and make this deal and easy one for both sides to do come this offseason.
  • The Bears will have a breaking point with this. They won’t be bullied into overpaying Jeffery.
  • I don’t have numbers I can confirm as to what was offered or what will be offered now. My guess is Alshon will end up with a contract totaling in the $60 million range with about half of that guaranteed.

What’s important to note is that I believe I’ve been wrong about how the Bears value Jeffery. I’ve argued they don’t see him as a top tier receiver. At least as of early 2016, they did. I think this deal gets done.

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DBB Weekend Show – Week 15 [AUDIO]

| December 15th, 2016

ON THIS EPISODE OF THE (Abbreviated) WEEKEND SHOW:

  • Jeff challenges Greg Gabriel’s belief that Matt Barkley is not a professional-caliber quarterback, using quotes from Gabriel’s own column.
  • A clip from the classic L.A. Story.
  • Reverend Dave believes Josh Bellamy is the Andie MacDowell of the 2016 Chicago Bears. (He get it there, trust me.)
  • Prediction. Bear weather. And the team that’s better at running it (Bears) and stopping the run (Bears) wins in -20 wind chill. 13-10!

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