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If Bears Want to Be Taken Seriously in Rodgersless NFC North, They Must Win Sunday

| October 16th, 2017

For five minutes, our eyes left the corner. That same corner where television after television has exclusively shown Bears games at Josie Woods Pub for the last seventeen years. Our eyes didn’t go far, just about six feet west to a second, smaller television above the bottles of Boodles gin. Churchill’s gin. My gin until I woke up on an  subway train at Coney Island at five in the morning.

Aaron Rodgers was down. Last time it was Shea McClellin, in navy. This time it was Anthony Barr, in purple. Different first-round edge rushers. Same bone.



Rodgers knew the second he hit the ground. A bunch of lubricated Bears fans in an underground Village bar knew it too. Rodgers isn’t playing football again this season. And while that is terrible news for a league losing too many star players each week, there won’t be many sympathetic hearts at Halas Hall or Eden Prairie or wherever the hell the Lions’ offices are.

The Rodgers injury swings the NFC North door open but will it open wide enough for the Bears – currently two games back of the lead – to find their way through? It’s still premature for this 2017 group to consider the playoffs a possibility but the Rodgers injury likely means the division will be won with ten victories instead of twelve.

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Five Final Thoughts For Bears at Packers

| September 28th, 2017

(1) The Bears have to attack this banged up offensive line tonight, especially with both starting tackles unlikely to play. Unleash Leonard Floyd to make Aaron Rodgers wildly uncomfortable in the pocket. Rodgers will still complete the short stuff but the Bears secondary is keeping the game in front of them and, more importantly, tackling well. Quick releases mean fewer big plays. Quick releases require pressure.

(2) Tarik Cohen had 12 carries and 4 catches Sunday. That feels right. Cohen needs to touch the ball at least 15 times a game. He’s the most explosive Bears player since Devin Hester.

(3) Pat O’Donnell needs to improve upon his terrific punting performance at Soldier Field Sunday. The longer the field for Rodgers, the more likely we’ll see an offensive line breakdown from that beleaguered unit.

(4) Green Bay is bottom third of the league against the run and one of the worst rushing teams. Bears have to run it and run it and run it. And when the running game doesn’t work, run it some more.

(5) Reiterate what I yelled yesterday. With Glennon, Bears have to be perfect to win at home. What the hell do they have to do on the road, at Lambeau, in primetime?

(Bonus) Adam Jahns reported yesterday that ownership will not stand by and watch this franchise continue to lose. I was told the switch to Trubisky is coming and coming soon. One wonders if tonight is not truthfully Glennon’s last stand.

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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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Across The Middle – Week Seven

| October 19th, 2016

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We entered this season believing in John Fox for one reason above all else: Thanksgiving 2015. He needs a repeat performance to restore the faith.

As mediocre as the Packers have been this season, the Bears roster should not be able to compete in this game. They’ll likely be down their top four cornerbacks and three of their top four pass rushers. Oh, and Brian Hoyer is going to be the quarterback. The same argument was made about the Thanksgiving night game last year, but the Bears won because they played their butts off and John Fox was a large part of the reason why.

Fox has never been and is never going to be a good in-game coach. His teams are never going to be known for their discipline and his philosophies will always be simple. But Fox has survived because his players fight for him and give him everything they have. Fox needs to show he can still get that out of them this week.

I don’t know if winning the game is realistic. The Packers are ticked off and the “what’s wrong with Aaron Rodgers” questions are guaranteed to bring out his best. As important as wins and losses are, this Bears season should have never been defined that way.

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The Case Against the Green Bay Packers: Volume I (Andrew)

| August 4th, 2016

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The following is the third in a four-part series breaking down why the other teams in the NFC North won’t be contenders this season. (The Packers get two parts.)


If the Packers are blaming all of their struggles in 2015 on Jordy Nelson’s injured knee, they’re going to be in for a long 2016.

Something was broken with the Packers. Specifically, something was broken with Aaron Rodgers. If the argument is that it was entirely because Nelson was out, the only conclusion is that Rodgers is horrifically overrated. I don’t think he’s horrifically overrated, but I think there’s more to what ailed the team last year.

The Packers are built on three pillars:

  • GM
  • Coach
  • Quarterback

But the quarterback doesn’t like the coach. The coach has publicly criticized the GM. And the GM looks like a bowl of oatmeal. Oh, and has anybody talked about who the quarterback’s own family doesn’t like him?

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Bears Building Team That Could Take Control of NFC North

| May 18th, 2016

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) is sacked and hit by Indianapolis Colts inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman (50) in second half action. The Colts defeated the Green Bay Packers 30-27 on Sunday, October 7, 2012, in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Sam Riche/MCT) ORG XMIT: 1129744

Since taking over before last offseason, Ryan Pace and John Fox have completely rebuilt the Bears defense and it should result in a team that contends for the NFC North in both the near and long term.

I don’t care what happened last year. The Packers are still the team to beat in the NFC North. They have the best coach, the best quarterback and – while they’re certainly declining – I’m not ready to proclaim the Vikings or any other team the new King of the North. But what the Bears did to the Packers on Thanksgiving wasn’t a fluke and now they’re building up their talent level to do it consistently. At the very least, with a good defense, they’ll give themselves a consistent chance.

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Audibles From the Long Snapper: Around the League We Go!

| December 22nd, 2015

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Around the League We Go!

(1) Rex Ryan has many flaws as a head coach but he’d never lost his locker room until this season. His defense has quit on him and that side of the roster is going to see massive turnaround this off-season. Rex took the best collection of pass rushers in the sport and neutered them.

(2) Odell Beckham Jr. is an asshole but I love the people criticizing Tom Coughlin for not benching him. Coughlin is coaching for his playoff life and you want him to bench his best player? There’s a time to seize the moral high ground. Sunday wasn’t it.

(3) When faced with the prospect of a playoff spot, the Bucs & Bears faded. But I’d be surprised if both teams aren’t fighting for playoff berths a year from now. They both need very specific personnel upgrades.

(4) Does any player so consistently and obviously kill his coaches more than Aaron Rodgers? It seems to happen every week now. “We don’t have a clear cut direction”? The week after the head coach takes over the play calling?

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FrontRowTickets.com Game Preview: Packers. Thanksgiving.

| November 25th, 2015

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THE GAME POEM

“Turkey: A large bird whose flesh, when eaten on certain religious anniversaries has the peculiar property of attesting piety and gratitude.”

-Ambrose Bierce

THOUGHTS ON GREEN BAY PACKERS

  • Green Bay’s defense hasn’t been great this season but they are actually ranked 8th in the league in points allowed per game. They are not in the top 20 of total yards, rushing yards or passing yards surrendered so what’s the reason for this anomaly? Turnovers. Packers are +8 on the season.
  • A defense’s touchdown-to-interception ratio is a stat I’ve begun paying attention to in recent weeks and the numbers really are quite telling. The two best ratios in the league are 8-10 (Denver) and 12-15 (Carolina). The worst ratio is New Orleans’ 28-4. Packers are 13-11, right near the top of the sport. (Bears among the worst at 19-5)
  • An interesting statistical tidbit from The Guardian (of all places):

By nearly every other quarterback’s standards Rodgers is having a brilliant season but he is not quite clicking with some of his receivers and his completion rate for the last three games stands at 52.1%, 57.4% and, on Sunday, 47.1%. Over that same same spell he has still thrown eight touchdowns and just one pick – he is Aaron Rodgers after all – but the fact that the chemistry between quarterback and receivers isn’t quite there (he has the lowest completion rate of his career in 2015) may cause trouble come the playoffs.

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A Reason For Optimism: Rapid Fire Reactions to the Bears Opening Day Loss to Green Bay

| September 14th, 2015

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There is reason for optimism in the Kingdom of Bears Fans today. With a brand new collection of coaches installing a brand new scheme the Bears went toe-to-toe with a better foe and for a majority of the game held their own. Give Rick Morrissey, a guy I generally don’t care for, a lot of credit for this passage:

The Bears looked like a professional football team Sunday, no small thing after last season’s debacle, though they still walked away 31-23 losers. There are no moral victories in the NFL, but there are losses that don’t stink to high heaven. This was one of them.

It will be a long year, but maybe it won’t be the kidney stone many of us thought it would be.

Here are my rapid fire thoughts.

  • Jay Cutler threw the crucial interception. Aaron Rodgers did not. Rodgers never does.
  • On the Cutler pick, this wasn’t a typical pick. He was duped into that interception. He didn’t try to force a pass into a tight window.
  • Packers had to make every single play to win this game. James Jones was heroic. Eddie Lacy pulled in one-handers. Clay Matthews chased down sure thing touchdowns. Did the Bears have anyone on their offense do anything exceptional?
  • Catch the ball, Forte.
  • Paging Pernell McPhee. Come in, Pernell McPhee. (Side note: I earned this will become a thing if McPhee no shows a few games. Ravens have a history of letting the right guys walk out the door.)
  • With the complete absence of a pass rush it’s hard to complain about the secondary’s overall performance. Fangio didn’t get overly aggressive with blitz packages. Approach seemed vanilla but that may require a second viewing.

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Audibles From the Long Snapper: Ireland, Aaron, Underdogs, Jim McMahon on DP Show & More!

| August 25th, 2015

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DBB Administrative Announcement

I am heading to Ireland for the next two weeks. But through the magic of the internet I will be posting right up until Saturday. Andrew Dannehy will be writing previews for each of the other teams in the NFC North next week and Reverend Dave may even be weighing in from time to time.

I will return on Monday September 7th with my annual Fifty Prognostications, Pontifications & Ponderings on the 2015 NFL Season and then we’ll dive into the 2015 season.

Aaron Rodgers & I Share Common Ground

Presented without comment, from PFT:

“It’s difficult to lose a guy like that in a meaningless game,” Rodgers said, via ESPN.com. “I think a lot of players around the league probably do [dislike preseason games]. At least cut it down, maybe, to a couple.”

Okay, one comment. He’s right. Players don’t want these games. Fans don’t want to pay for these games. But none of this will change until the players go into a labor negotiation with ownership and actually negotiate. You know, ask for stuff and then fight for that stuff.

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