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Finding A Quarterback: There’s Something Special About DeShaun Watson

| April 5th, 2017

When you really think about the things that make quarterbacks great, you end up pinpointing traits Clemson’s DeShaun Watson has already displayed.

Being great in college doesn’t mean a player will be great in the NFL, but it’s the closest league we have to an apples-to-apples comparison and Watson was the single best player in that league last year.

Alabama was supposed to have one of the greatest defenses in the history of college football each of the last two years. They couldn’t stop Watson. His performance in the National Championship Game two years ago was impressive. And it pissed Alabama off. With one of the greatest defensive minds in the sport designing their game plan and a roster full of future NFL stars, Alabama was determined to stop Watson last year.

They couldn’t.

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Mike Glennon, the Thing?

| April 1st, 2017

A few weeks back I texted a friend, who also happens to be pretty damn high up with an NFL franchise that doesn’t play their home games in Chicago. I asked him a simple question, “Is Mike Glennon a thing?”

His response: “Pace sure thinks so. Tried to get him last offseason.”

I followed up, making sure he wasn’t fucking with me, then put that information on Twitter. It died there. I thought, “Eh, maybe nobody cares.” Turns out the fans did care but they waited until more reputable newsmen put the information out there to express it. (And yes, I’m kidding. No, I’m not a newsman.)

Ryan Pace likes Mike Glennon. He thinks Mike Glennon can be a successful starting quarterback in the NFL. And while Glennon’s arrival won’t deter the Bears from targeting the QB position at various points of the next two NFL drafts, it’s pretty clear that if you asked the front office to layout their best case scenario moving forward it involves Glennon winning a lot of games and STAYING under center.

Listen, I know I’ve been schizophrenic when it comes to this Glennon stuff.

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Finding A Quarterback: Can DeShone Kizer Hit the Mark?

| March 30th, 2017

If  the Bears can fix whatever it is that causes DeShone Kizer to be so damn inconsistent with his ball placement, they just might have a franchise quarterback.

When I watched Kizer, I never knew what I was going to get from throw-to-throw, a scary thought for a guy the Bears may be considering with the third pick in the draft. But I can’t tell if it’s an issue that can easily be fixed or one that will dog him throughout what would then be a short NFL career.

A lot of people love Kizer. I respect the opinions of some of those who do. But his inaccuracy is undeniable and when you factor in occasionally-puzzling decision making, it makes him a scary prospect.

Some like to say Kizer’s struggles were only a problem this year and there’s something to that. In 2015 he had just 2 games in which he completed less than 55 percent of his passes, compared to 5 last year.

What happened?The talent around him dropped significantly and his coach was a jackass.

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Finding A Quarterback: Patrick Mahomes Might Be The Next Brett Favre

| March 28th, 2017

I don’t think the Bears can risk using the third pick on a quarterback who needs as much work as Patrick Mahomes. But I also don’t think they can let a quarterback with this much talent get past them in the second.

It’s hard to watch the Texas Tech QB and not be reminded of Brett Favre, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to be a reincarnation of the old gunslinger.

Everybody talks about the arm and it’s every bit as good as they say. He can toss the ball 50 yards with a flick of the wrist and makes throws that most quarterbacks won’t even consider. (I’d go as far as saying he has the strongest arm in football.)

He’s more than just an arm. He also has adequate accuracy and moves around pretty well. But my favorite Mahomes trait? Instincts.

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Chicago’s Mood When It Comes to the Bears: Eh.

| March 26th, 2017

I sat on what’s probably my favorite bar stool in the world, back to the wall of Wise Guy’s Corner in the World-Famous Billy Goat Tavern. In this hallowed drinking alcove were my friends Brian, long-time member of the Josie Woods mafia, and Rick, the Trib’s chief political reporter. We talked about stuff – Illinois state budget insanity, Trump, self-driving cars and their impact on the American workforce…etc. – and then the conversation switched over to the Bears.

And then it ended.

There’s nothing to talk about.

Not living in Chicago, I can really only take the pulse of the town when I’m here for short bursts. And in December, the number of “Bears tourists” can mask the city’s prevailing winds. These are people who don’t live in the city but travel here, maybe from downstate, maybe from Indiana, maybe from Queens New York, to see the Bears because they love the Bears despite their record. They wear Bears hats and jackets. They go to the bars and want to talk about the Bears and very little else.

And they’re not here in March. My Bears hat is one of about eleven I’ve seen since last Wednesday. People are asking me for directions on the street because, hey, if I’m still wearing a Bears hat I have to be from here.

Jerry had a mane of white hair and nursed a mug of Schlitz at the Goat for the better part of 20 minutes before finally speaking to me.

“What do you think of the Bears?”

What did he do next?

He laughed. Didn’t even wait for me to respond. Just laughed.

This town is not bracing for the worst. They believe the Bears have already begun their descent into the toilet. They didn’t see anything to be optimistic about in 2016 and don’t see any reason for optimism with the current make-up of the roster. Especially when it comes to the guy throwing passes.

“What if they take a quarterback early in the draft?” I asked Jerry.

“Their draft choices never work out.”

Who was I to argue? It was going to take more than one great draft class to convince Jerry of anything. And if the Bears want to keep Jerry watching on Sundays, they better start winning football games.

Hell, forget about getting Jerry to watch. That seems like a Pizano’s deep dish pie in the sky. Just get him to stop laughing.

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Finding A Quarterback: No Interest in Mitch Trubisky?

| March 22nd, 2017

(Author’s note: Last week I wrote I didn’t think the Bears would draft a quarterback third. Forget that, they can’t possibly think Mike Glennon is the answer.)

There has been almost nothing to link the Bears to North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky, which is exactly why I think they really like him.

After sending a team of people, including Ryan Pace and John Fox, to Clemson for Deshaun Watson’s workout, the Bears didn’t send anyone of note to see Trubisky this week. There were also no reports of Pace going to watch Trubisky during the season. Really, nothing has connected Pace and the Bears to Trubisky other than a standard interview at the combine.

Hell, we even have Pace talking specifically about having a problem with what is perceived as Trubisky’s biggest flaw, experience:

“Yeah, it carries a lot of weight. I think there’s nothing that can really substitute that,” Pace said at the Senior Bowl. “It’s already a big jump from college to the NFL as it is, so the more of that you have, the more beneficial it is.”

I don’t buy it. 

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If Bears Pass On Early-Round Quarterback, They Pass On a Truly Relevant 2017

| March 20th, 2017

When a play is in development, going through the endless reading and workshop process that now defines the modern not-profit theatre landscape, it means the play is “not ready” to be seen by a paying audience. Whether or not the human file folders now running America’s once great theatres are artistically-equipped to make that decision is a topic for another column but their idea, an idea borne in the titanic mind of Joseph Papp, is you don’t have to fork over your $77 until they get it right.

If the 2017 Chicago Bears want to be anything more than in development, if they want to give their win-starved fans anything more than the roster is improving, there’s hope for the future, if they want this coming football season to be entertaining and exciting and inspiring and all those other words, they have to take a quarterback in the first two rounds of the NFL Draft.

Mike Glennon isn’t the guy. His numbers will be fine next year because Dowell Loggains’ offense managed to pull fine numbers out of Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley, both massively limited. But Glennon is nothing but a placeholder. And the Bears – even with their general manager’s “fired up” commentary at the introductory press conference – know it. Despite misguided columns from people like Chris Burke at Sports Illustrated, the Bears are paying Glennon to be a middle of the road starter in 2017 and a backup in 2018. They’re commitment to him as a player is minimal, at best.

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day From DBB!

| March 17th, 2017

“The worst thing about some men is

that when they are not drunk they are sober.”

-Yeats


Three weekend thoughts:

  • More I think about the Glennon signing the more I think the Bears have identified their quarterback of the future. Is that quarterback coming by the end of April? I’m not sure. But there is no chance Ryan Pace & Co. evaluated Glennon’s game tape and saw a player capable of leading a franchise for a decade. No. Chance. My guess? The Bears don’t take their guy at 3. They trade back in round one by the end of Thursday night and bring a QB with them.
  • A Tweet from Greg Gabriel Thursday: “Hearing that Bears could indeed have an interest in S. Thomas at #3 but not as a 5. More of a guy they would play all over, both up & down.” Remember, I’ve been saying this on the Twitter for months now. Thomas has way more J.J. Watt in him than Aaron Donald. And I hope he’s not available when Tom Coughlin picks fourth.
  • I used to work at a little arts complex called the Irish Arts Center in NYC and the former head of that place was Jim Sheridan. If you’ve never seen one of Jim Sheridan’s films, you haven’t seen the best of Irish cinema. My Left Foot, The Field, In the Name of the Father, The Boxer. You can’t go wrong with any of them. Instead of puking on the sidewalk, celebrate Ireland with one of these pictures this weekend.

Enjoy a pint of the muck and have a lovely weekend.

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