423 Comments

Data Responds: Bears vs. 49ers

| December 3rd, 2017

The Bears led for almost the entire game, but pretty much everybody watching the game knew what was coming when San Francisco got the ball back down 14-12 with just over 4 minutes to go. The 49ers methodically marched down the field and longtime Chicago kicker Robbie Gould drilled his 5th field goal of the day to send Chicago to their 5th straight loss.

Offense

  • Chicago’s offense came out on the first possession and ran the ball twice in a row out of heavy sets. Anybody who’s watched Chicago this year can already guess how that ended: with Chicago in 3rd and long. That led to a sack of QB Mitchell Trubisky for a nice quick three and out.
  • Speaking of running on first down, the Bears did it 11 times in 14 chances today. Only one of those runs went for more than 3 yards; most went for 0 or 1.
  • It looks like any confidence rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky earned from the coaching staff completely evaporated after a bad game last week. They finally opened things up two weeks ago, and the offense shockingly had their best game of the year. Now they’ve had back to back terrible weeks after reverting to horribly predictable play calling.

Read More …

Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

111 Comments

Saturday Scout: T.J. Edwards, ILB, Wisconsin

| December 2nd, 2017

Player: T.J. Edwards, ILB, Wisconsin

Game: Big Ten Championship Game vs. Ohio State (#8), 7 PM CT


What They’re Saying

Here is a breakdown of Edwards’ Butkus Award-worthy season from the official site of Badgers football:

Wisconsin’s first Butkus Award finalist, Edwards has been a constant for the Badgers’ outstanding defense once again this season. The Lake Villa, Illinois, native ranks second on the team with 60 total tackles and has recorded 8.5 tackles for loss and 2.0 sacks.

Edwards’ four interceptions – including one returned 54 yards for a touchdown – are the most by a linebacker in the FBS this season.

His efforts have been key to a unit that ranks No. 2 nationally in scoring defense (13.1 points per game), total defense (246.4 yards per game) and pass efficiency defense (94.8) and stands No. 1 in rushing defense (79.4 ypg).

From Chris Trapasso at CBS, projecting Edwards to the Seahawks with the 20th pick:

Bobby Wagner has challenged Luke Kuechly as the game’s best off-ball linebacker, and he has made a compelling case to earn that title this season. To give him a young running mate, the Seahawks select Edwards, a smart, polished inside linebacker who, like Wagner, has no problem sinking into coverage to make plays.

Read More …

Tagged: , , ,

210 Comments

DaBearsPod: A (Short) Tribute to Mike Francesa [AUDIO]

| December 1st, 2017

On this week’s episode:

  • Reverend Dave opens by singing the praise of Mike Francesa and referring to Ben McAdoo as “Bob”.
  • Jeff explains the impact Francesa has had on his entire approach to watching and writing about NFL football.
  • Mike’s epic McAdoo/Eli 8-minute rant from this week!
  • Merle Haggard wonders if Bears fans will make it through December.

Tagged: , , ,

143 Comments

Week 13: Niners at Bears Game Preview

| November 30th, 2017

Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears This Week?

I always like the Chicago Bears. And my effort will remain consistent when it comes to these game previews even if the players don’t match that on the field.


Poetry

these doth be the fox’s final prances

          on the lakefront’s tortured green field

the music has stopped, and so the dances

          as a fate seems cer’tainly sealed

you shall be remembered fair fox, fair fox

          for simply, sly smirks and feeble’ish frowns

but always remember, fair fox, fair fox

          one’s allowed to go’eth on occasional fourth downs


Three Reasons the Bears Win

  • If the Bears Can’t Run It This Week, They May Never Run It Again. After the embarrassment of Philadelphia. Back at home. Desperate for something positive to happen. Facing a team that allows 130 rushing yards a game. This sets up perfectly for a Bears rebound performance, with the offensive line and Jordan Howard dominating.
  • Mitch Trubisky’s Splits. Tru is pitching to an 85.9 quarterback rating at home and a 52.7 on the road. He is 3-1 TD-INT at home and the opposite on the road. Not uncommon for a rookie to play far better football in safer confines. Expect that to continue Sunday. And I really think Tru wants to win a game in front of these home fans.

Read More …

Tagged: , , , , , ,

219 Comments

Across The Middle: Tightening Pace’s Leash

| November 29th, 2017

The Bears could’ve had the best coaches in the history of football and they still would’ve lost to the Eagles by 20 points.

Say what you will about John Fox and company — and it’s probably all fair — but the hard truth is that the Bears don’t have enough good players. A lot of that is due to injury. Losing their top two receivers and all four starting linebackers is a tough blow. But still, they should be able to put up a fight!

Let’s look at who was available Sunday against Philadelphia:

  • Markus Wheaton is paid like a starter.
  • Nick Kwiatkoski should be a starter at this point anyway. Christian Jones has played like one.
  • Deiondre Hall, Deon Bush and Hroniss Grasu should all be starters.
  • Jon Bullard was drafted to be a major piece. He shouldn’t be warming the bench behind a journeyman at this point.
  • Pernell McPhee has turned into a ghost.

I like Ryan Pace. Most fans do. I’d argue his plus decisions far outweigh his minuses but nowhere near as much as the losses outweigh the wins.

The Bears are at a crossroads.

They will, and I still believe should, allow Pace to hire the next coach. But what if they’re 3-8 next year too? Do they just hit the reset button again? How long can they reasonably expect this loyal fan base to be patient? They are currently suffering through one of the worst four-year stretches in team history.

I’ve long said the primary reason I wouldn’t want to hire Jim Harbaugh or Josh McDaniels is because they’d want to be Pace’s boss too, but I’m no longer sure that should stop the Bears. New England, Seattle, Kansas City, New Orleans all have their coaches in charge of the rosters. If Jim Harbaugh calls up George McCaskey and says he wants to the keys to the franchise, has Pace done enough for the Bears to justify saying no? Even if you look at first time head coaches the last two years, two of the big fishes were handed the keys to their franchises in Miami and San Francisco. That doesn’t include Sean McDermott, who was given what he asked for after a month or so on the job.

We have months to debate the coaching pedigrees of Harbaugh, McDaniels and everyone else, including whether or not they deserve such power. That’s not the point. The point is, how can we be so sure that Pace does? To be clear, this isn’t a call to fire Pace. I think he’s shown that he has an eye for talent. I just hope the Bears don’t let a great football mind out the door simply because Pace has a solid draft record.

Hopefully the problem is simple as needing a new coach and another off-season to build depth. I’m just not entirely sure that’s true. This is Year Three, the Bears should be much further along. Blame Fox all you want, but Pace has blood on his hands too. Here’s to hoping he can get it cleaned up.

Read More …

Tagged: , , , , , , , , , ,

328 Comments

Six Thoughts on the Bears Head Coaching Position in 2018 (Based on Actual Reporting)

| November 28th, 2017


Spent all day Monday reaching out to every single contact I have in the NFL. All four of ’em. Why? Because I was angry, frustrated, tired of writing about a losing team…etc. I figured I could only spend so much time yelling at my cats about the Bears’ misuse of Tarik Cohen so I might as well use the energy for good. Here’s what I know.

(None of this is based on guesswork. This is stuff I was actually told.)

(1) There is a roughly .01% chance of John Fox being the coach on January 2nd 2018. Ryan Pace will hire his replacement.


(2) There was consideration given to firing John Fox after the Green Bay game but ownership/Pace don’t believe there’s a good interim option on the staff. This includes Vic Fangio who, I’m told, would not be super keen on the assignment and has turned down extension offers from the team to stay on as defensive coordinator.


(3) George McCaskey idolizes how the Giants and Steelers are run and has decided to emulate their approach. He does not want to fire a coach in-season. This does not mean he would never do it. But, honestly, emulating the Giants and Steelers is never a bad thing, folks.


(4) If Fox loses this week to the 49ers, don’t be surprised if his tenure ends Monday morning. If he loses to the Browns on Christmas Eve, he won’t coach the finale. I don’t know why so much emphasis is being put on two meaningless games against awful opponents, other than their being at home, but that’s what I was told.

Read More …

Tagged: , , ,

274 Comments

Bears Must Move On From John Fox. Today.

| November 27th, 2017

Five years ago the Chicago Bears fired a head coach because they deemed 10 wins in 16 games that season were not enough. Through 30 games of his Bears tenure, John Fox has 12 wins.

On October 16th 2016 this space advocated for the firing of Fox for many valid reasons. But primary among them was the Bears seemed ready to move into a new era – with a new, young quarterback – and Fox was clearly not the man to usher the organization through that era. It wasn’t so much an indictment of Fox’s job performance as a recognition that he’d done his part to bring the Bears back to respectability post-Argonaut and the time had now come to transition from respectable to competitive.

That was 2016. This is 2017. And now it’s ENTIRELY about job performance. Because the Bears are a terrible football team.

Is it worth going through the litany of things wrong with John Fox’s approach to game day football? No. We’ve been talking about the lack of preparedness and penalties and awful mismanagement every day over the three years he’s run the show in Chicago. But the deal breaker for the organization has to be that for the first time Fox has young offensive talent to work with and develop and he, as well as offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains, are squandering that opportunity on a weekly basis.

Read More …

Tagged: , , ,

211 Comments

Data Responds: Bears at Eagles

| November 26th, 2017

Well that was ugly. This one felt like a few drubbings the 2014 Bears received after the Bears had quit on Marc Trestman. The John Fox era is officially over, though we almost certainly still have to endure 5 more games before it becomes official. Hopefully those games aren’t all this ugly.

The Bears were never going to win on the road against the best team in the NFL, but they looked completely unprepared in every possible way. They picked up penalties, had zero creativity or imagination anywhere, and were generally outschemed, outcoached, and out-executed.

I’m not going to focus much on coaching, because this staff is obviously finished, but one particular atrocity deserves special attention. Facing 3rd and 17 from their own 1 yard line, the Bears called time out to save half a yard from a delay of game penalty. That’s bad enough, but the worst is the offense had only 10 men on the field after an injury time out gave them more than 2 minutes to prepare. That’s a team with comically inept coaching.

I’m going to focus most of my specific observations on the first half, because quite honestly I didn’t pay as much attention after that. The 24-0 halftime deficit meant the game was over by then anyway (honestly, it was over well before halftime).

Offense

  • Mitchell Trubisky threw an early INT on an inaccurate throw, and it caused the coaching staff to turtle back into their worst habits. It was a long time before they let him throw past the line of scrimmage again, and even then that only came on 3rd and long. Instead, they chose to repeatedly run out of heavy sets into loaded boxes. You might be surprised to learn this was not an effective strategy.

Read More …

Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

© Da' Bears Blog