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Data Responds: Bears vs. Vikings

| October 10th, 2017

In rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky’s debut, the Bears got the ball to start, and marched right down the field. Trubisky looked sharp on several impressive throws, including one huge third down completion to Tre McBride that set Chicago up on Minnesota’s 9 yard line.

Except a holding penalty by center Cody Whitehair brought the Bears back to 3rd and 20 out of field goal range. One screen pass later, they punted, costing themselves at least three points.

That would lay the foundation for a frustrating first half of missed opportunities, when a long list of penalties (some more dubious than others) led to Chicago getting no offensive points despite passing midfield on four drives.

Unsurprisingly, those missed opportunities came back to haunt them in the second half, as a late Minnesota field goal led to a 20-17 win.

Coaching

  • They get their own section again, which usually means bad things. And we’re starting here, because it was terrible.
  • John Fox took too long to decide whether to go for it on 4th and 2 in the first quarter, which forced the Bears to call a time out. Out of the time out, they took too long to get the play in, resulting in a delay of game and punt. That was an ugly sequence that was 100% the fault of the coaches. Then in the 2nd half, they had to burn a time out when the Vikings had 1st and 19 due to confusion with defensive play calls.
  • The Bears were also incredibly sloppy early on, with several early penalties negating big plays and/or putting them behind the chains. Some of the calls didn’t seem particularly great by the officials, but overall they need to get out of their own way and stop beating themselves. That’s the mark of a poorly coached team.
  • Dowell Loggains also had a terrible game. He fell into predictable patterns we’ve seen through four games, with obvious runs on 1st down and too many horizontal passes. They ran out of heavy sets and threw out of shotgun, with not enough variability mixed into those sets. This routinely set the Bears up in 3rd and long situations, which is not where you want a rookie quarterback (or any offense, really) to be. To his credit, Loggains did have a beautiful play call on a game-tying 2 point conversion in the 4th quarter, but overall he had a rough night.

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Three Final Thoughts for Vikings at Bears

| October 9th, 2017

(1) There’s no reason to downplay the historic nature of tonight’s game. The Bears intend for Mitch Trubisky to be their starting quarterback for the next decade plus and tonight he will take his first snaps in a Bears uniform. At home. In front of the entire country. While I will urge fans to be patient with the results, especially over these first twelve games, I don’t begrudge anyone’s giddiness tonight. Tonight is what’s fun about loving a team.


(2) My fiercest criticism of Vic Fangio through four weeks is his use of Leonard Floyd. I understand the schematic rationale for dropping him into coverage at the rate the Bears do but they’re getting very little rush off the edge. Floyd is their best edge rusher and if the Bears don’t make Sam Bradford uncomfortable tonight, he’ll have no problem stockpiling yardage to this terrific receiving corps.


(3) Markus Wheaton might be the most interesting player to watch tonight not named Trubisky. The Bears signed him for his speed, explosiveness and big play ability. When they signed him they believed they stole a player with tremendous upside. Now they’re giving him an accurate, strong-armed quarterback who can take advantage of his skills. Let’s hope this week was enough time for the two to get on the same page. (Prediction: Trubisky takes a shot to Wheaton deep…early.)


 

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DaBearsPod Week 5: Hope & Tom Petty [AUDIO]

| October 6th, 2017

ON THIS EPISODE:

  • Two beautiful songs from Tom Petty. “Southern Accents” sung by Johnny Cash and “Walls” from the film, She’s the One. (Is the latter a great song? I don’t know. But it reminds me of one of the greatest bars in the history of the planet and makes me happy. RIP Tom. RIP McHale’s.)
  • Jeff discusses Mitch Trubisky and…hope.
  • Reverend Dave tells you how he almost died once because he’s a fucking idiot.

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Vikings at Bears Week 5 Game Preview

| October 5th, 2017

Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears This Week?

I always like the Chicago Bears. But I EXTRA like the Chicago Bears this week!!!


Four Thoughts on Trubisky’s First Start

  • It’s difficult to imagine how nervous this kid is going to be. First start. Monday Night Football. At home in front of a crowd that is desperate for him to be great. Dowell Loggains has to ease Trubisky into this game and then turn him loose. It is the most important game of Loggains’ time in Chicago.
  • Since it’s his first start, don’t be surprised if the Bears constantly roll him out to the right side, eliminate half the field and “flood” options to that side – someone in the flat, someone deep and someone running an intermediate route. This will give Tru five quick options: over the top, middle, flat, toss it OB, run.
  • When Trubisky doesn’t understand what he’s seeing after the snap – and it will happen – his instincts are going to be to run with the football. Bears have to coach that out of him. Throwing the football into the fourth row will be better for Trubisky long-term than taking a hit to gain five yards on second down. If he sees daylight on the other hand…
  • Two positions are going to benefit from Trubisky starting: wide receivers and offensive tackles. The wides will now have a few extra seconds to find holes in the secondary due to Tru’s mobility. The tackles can now slide the edge rushers up the field without fear, knowing the QB won’t be afraid to take a few steps up into the pocket and deliver the ball down the field.

Monty Hall, Dead at 96

Many people who attend New York University study serious things. I did not. I did a lot of work on game shows. Yes, at the Department of Cinema Studies you could actually write thesis papers on game shows and Bob Fosse and re-use papers you and Noah Brier wrote on “ALF & American Television”.

Monty Hall was a great game show host. Here are my top ten game show hosts of all-time. I like to think very few people could even make a list like this.

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Across The Middle: Bears, Back to Life

| October 4th, 2017

I grew up on Bears vs. Packers.

As most DBB readers already know, I grew up in Wisconsin, right near the Minnesota border, and had to sit on the sidelines while Packers and Vikings fans battled it out. But the two times a year the Bears played the Packers were the best two weeks of the season. They were my Super Bowl simply because I knew the Bears had no shot of getting to the actual Super Bowl.

I’ll admit there were times when I cried after the Bears lost to the Packers. One of the happiest days of my life was the Walter Payton game. The 2010 NFC Championship was one of the worst. The Bears beating the Packers meant everything to me.

Last Thursday’s game meant nothing. I didn’t have any hope. Something wasn’t right in my Bearsmosphere and I’m damn glad they fixed it.

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Audibles From the Long Snapper: Mitch, Mitch, Mitch & More!

| October 3rd, 2017

A Note on Mike Glennon

Despite the belief of many, I never had a dislike for Mike Glennon the person. I simply had no faith in Mike Glennon, NFL quarterback. And I am not in the business of sucking up to the Chicago Bears organization around here. They got their Glennon evaluation horribly wrong and I said that from the moment they inked the deal. Said it when many others were rushing to give them the benefit of the doubt. But I’m elated to never write about him again.


Tweet of Monday

There were several players in the defensive meeting rooms comparing what they saw from Trubisky in practice to what they were seeing from Glennon in games. They were incredulous at times. Didn’t add up. That’s how you lose a locker room.

Read all of Adam Jahns’ thoughts on the decision to start Trubisky HERE.


Around the League Thoughts

Watched a lot of football Sunday. Some thoughts:

  • Pats have allowed 42, 20, 33, 33 in four games. How did Belichick let this defense get so downright awful? Couldn’t they use Chandler Jones? Or Akiem Hicks? In the same way front offices are hurting the careers of Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees, it’s remarkable how Tom Brady has bailed out Belichick’s evaluative missteps. Pats should probably have one win at this point.
  • There was a point during Houston v. Tennessee where I thought the NFL was changing before my eyes. Watson and Mariota were essentially playing a college game and damn was it exciting. Then Mariota got hurt. Why? Because the style they were playing is not sustainable in this league.
  • George Godsey and Bill O’Brien called a masterpiece for Deshaun Watson, catering the offensive game plan to what he does well. What I loved is how they used Watson’s running ability primarily down around the goal line, not out in the open field. Shorter runs in smaller spaces will limit the explosion in the hits he takes.
  • In a year it was thought the Jets would go 0-16 and draft their quarterback of the future, it’s a bit ironic that the Giants may scoop them and find Eli’s replacement.
  • I know why the Giants offense stinks. But why can’t they cover anybody?
  • Nick Folk can’t be the Bucs kicker next weekend. He almost single-footedly cost Tampa an easy win Sunday, leaving a touchdown of easy kicks on the table with dead shanks. If I were Tampa, I’d call the Niners and offer a mid-round draft pick for Robbie Gould. Bucs can win the NFC South. Why risk that with a shaky kicker?
  • Dallas can’t play defense.
  • Baltimore can’t play offense.
  • Not sure there’s ever been less athleticism on display at the quarterback position than Carson Palmer v. Brian Hoyer.

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Three Thoughts on the Decision to Start Mitch Trubisky

| October 2nd, 2017

Mitch Trubisky will start against the Minnesota Vikings on Monday night, October 9th. And so begins the future of the Chicago Bears. Three thoughts:

(1) There was no other acceptable decision for the Bears organization at this time. Their Mike Glennon plan was a colossal failure and they could not turn the reigns over to a journeyman like Mark Sanchez. The locker room and fan base were at wit’s end. If they had any intention of making 2017 a season of value, Trubisky had to start Monday night.

(2) Offensive staff, especially Dowell Loggains, were fierce advocates for the move of late. It wasn’t entirely about Mike Glennon’s limitations, either. The injuries to both Cam Meredith and Kevin White required changes to the team’s offensive approach and those changes did not fit Glennon. This crop of receivers need time to win their one-on-one battles. Trubisky’s legs can give them that time.

(3) This will not be a smooth and easy twelve games for Trubisky. He will make mistakes, just like all rookie QBs do. But those mistakes now have value. Interceptions now have value. Losses now have value. And as Bears fans, we must not hope that come January we’ve seen enough from the kid to have excitement and anticipation for the 2018 campaign.

(3a) Thank the lord.

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