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Across The Middle — Week 14

| December 7th, 2016

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The Bears have a 26-year-old quarterback who is playing well but it shouldn’t change any of their offseason plans.

I’ve been as impressed with Matt Barkley as anyone but if the Bears like a quarterback enough to take him in the top five — thus grading him as a franchise quarterback — they shouldn’t let Barkley change their plans.

After seeing Barkley continually complete passes deep down the field to the likes of Deonte Thompson, Cam Meredith and Josh Bellamy in a blizzard, I won’t rule anything out for these last four games. He could very well be the latest star quarterback who was just waiting for his shot. And if he is, he’ll keep his job. If he isn’t, the Bears should have another talented young quarterback waiting in the wings.

The Bears passed on Aaron Rodgers and didn’t try to sign Drew Brees as a free agent because they had Rex Grossman.  They passed on Russell Wilson and Derek Carr because they had Jay Cutler. You can bet the Chargers don’t regret taking Eli Manning — who was later traded for Phillip Rivers — instead of Sean Taylor, Kellen Winslow or Roy Williams solely because they had Drew Brees in 2004. There’s a reason the winningest franchise of this era keeps taking quarterbacks high, even though they have Tom Brady.

If Ryan Pace is on the clock this April with a quarterback who he has graded as a franchise quarterback, he simply has to take him. If Barkley ends up being a star, that’s just a bonus.

The Disconnect

Maybe I’m reading too much into some pretty basic comments but it seems there is a disconnect between the coaching staff and the front office.

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Bears Offensive Coordinator Adam Gase To Be Named Dolphins Head Coach

| January 9th, 2016

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UPDATE 11:44 AM ET: Gase is now officially the Dolphins head coach. He’ll be formally announced at a 3 PM press conference.

Adam Gase is set to be named the new head coach of the Miami Dolphins and the Bears will now looking for a new offensive coordinator. Will it be the logical, in-house promotion of Dowell Loggains or a Foxy favorite like Ken Whisenhunt?

Many options are available to the Bears but remember one thing: very little will change. John Fox knows what offense he wants to run. The Bears ran it in 2015. They will run it in 2016.

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326 Comments

Across The Middle With Andrew Dannehy

| January 6th, 2016

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• “Of course everybody’s frustrated, man. We were 6-10, that’s not acceptable.” That quote in itself may not mean a whole lot to most, but, to me I see it as Ryan Pace not losing track of the fact that he is in charge of a bad team. There seem to be quite a few people who have lost track of that fact. The pressure is on Pace and John Fox to make sure 6-10 doesn’t happen again and they know it.

• Going 1-7 at home isn’t OK, but five of the losses came to playoff teams and another came with a preseason lineup against a team that went 6-2 down the stretch. I’m not going to freak out about it that much.

• All of the talk about Jay Cutler’s decrease in interceptions was pretty dumb. You saw on Sunday, a lot of times, the interceptions are more about dumb luck. He’s just as good now as he’s always been.

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Preseason Bears Roster Falls To Lions (Rapid Fire)

| January 4th, 2016

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Another coin flip game, another coin flip loss. No reason to dissect every element so here are a few thoughts from inside the ballpark you might find interesting.

  • John Timu ran the defense. And I mean ran it. Called the signals, made adjustments, pursued on every play. You’d have thought he was a six-year veteran. Impressive stuff.
  • Kyle Long could barely walk at times after his early injury. He’s a tough SOB. But I kept wondering what reasons Bears could have to keep marching him out there.
  • Pernell McPhee’s criticism of Bears fans at Soldier Field is warranted. The noise produced downstairs – from goal line to goal line – is slight. Most of those people seem to have no understanding of when a home crowd is needed. They were louder for the Dunkin Donuts race on the big screen than any third down on defense.

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Across The Middle With Andrew Dannehy

| December 30th, 2015

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• My biggest disappointment from this season has been the fact the Bears hadn’t been able to establish an identity, but that might have changed on Sunday. The Bears dominated the line of scrimmage against a team that ranks in the top 10 in both rushing offense and defense. If they can run and stop the run with the best, they’re going to win quite a few games.

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A Chip Shot From .500 (Rapid Fire)

| December 7th, 2015

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This was the type of performance many expected from the Chicago Bears this season. Ugly. But did anyone expect the Bears could play a game this poorly and still be in position to win? Well, they should have won. Rapid fire…

  • Is it time to worry about Robbie Gould? It certainly could be. He didn’t just miss two short field goals that would have won this game. He dead shanked them both. The coachspeak approach will have fans yelling “Bears didn’t lose this game because of the missed field goals” but you know what? They did.
  • Welcome to the NFL, Eddie Goldman. That was a dominant performance.
  • When did Willie Young become the Bears most dominant edge rusher again?
  • Kyle Fuller is a special player when the play is in front of him.
  • No clue what Fox and Fangio thought the Niners offensive approach would be but they looked thoroughly unprepared for all the things I saw in amateur tape study early last week.
  • The point above may be unfair, mind you. A lot of that responsibility would have been on the linebackers and the guys in the middle have looked lost in coverage.
  • 36 yards is now an extra point! Robbie essentially missed an extra point to win a game. Inexcusable. Gould has been a good one but I hate kickers.

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Across the Middle With Andrew Dannehy

| November 18th, 2015

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• I honestly don’t know what to make of the Bears win over the Rams. I want to feel great about it, but I’m scared. Are we sure the Rams aren’t just terrible? It reminds me of last year when the Bears beat Atlanta 27-13, largely because Atlanta’s receivers couldn’t catch. This time it was largely a matter of the Rams quarterback not being able to throw. The Bears deserve credit because they were supposed to be among the worst teams in the league and they’re clearly not. But we won’t really know if this team is good until after Thanksgiving.

• The Bears defensive line hasn’t gotten enough credit for keeping Todd Gurley in check. I found it interesting that they played Jarvis Jenkins almost strictly as a pass-rusher – only eight snaps against the run, He was replaced by Mitch Urein and Bruce Gaston.

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160 Comments

Audibles From the Long Snapper: Around the League, Three Bears Thoughts, Boomer on Catches, Cutler Update!

| November 16th, 2015

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Around the League We Go!

  • Through nine games, Jeremy Langford has only 100 yards less from scrimmage than Melvin Gordon.
  • Someone in the Browns organization needs to walk down to the head coach’s office and tell him playing Josh McCown is no longer an option. I’ve never believed Johnny Manziel’s ability would translate to the pro game but losing down the stretch with McCown does the team zero good. (Manziel was quietly good in that Steelers game yesterday and Manziel isn’t quietly anything.)
  • Tom Brady is full of magic. That’s the only way I can explain it.
  • Giants should be 8-1. They’ve only played one poor game all season. I wouldn’t want to be walking into the Meadowlands in January once this group puts it together. (They are also +12 in turnovers this season. They are secretly good.)
  • The NFL got what they wanted by changing the extra point rule. They made kickers way too relevant on Sundays. (And they’ve delayed at least 7-10 of my piss breaks.)

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Across The Middle With Andrew Dannehy

| November 4th, 2015

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• Before getting into football talk, I want to thank everyone who for their kind words after the passing of my father. It was obviously a difficult week, made more difficult by the Bears.

• We all want to believe the Bears are a drastically different team because they have John Fox leading the way instead of Marc Trestman, but in their last two games they have played almost exactly like they did under Trestman. I get there is a lack of talent, but they have just as much as the Lions and the Vikings, there’s no excuse for them to lose either of those games the way they lost them.

• If the Bears and the Vikings were to swap quarterbacks, the Bears would have the first pick of the draft and the Vikings would win the Super Bowl.  Don’t listen to what you read on Twitter, Bridgewater is bad. Meanwhile, there aren’t 10 quarterbacks in the league who are better than Jay Cutler right now. There may not even be five.

• So, why did Adam Gase decide to take Cutler out of the game for most of the first half? Look at the Bears first six games and they were at their best when Cutler was moving around and making things happen. I get that he didn’t think they could block the Vikings’ front four, but by continuously throwing slip screens, he gave them no chance. As soon as he stopped doing that, the Bears started moving the ball. It isn’t difficult to figure out.

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Bears Lose to Vikings & Playoff Visions Fade: Rapid Fire

| November 2nd, 2015

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Predictably boring. And for the fourth straight game the Bears were essentially dead even with their opponent, got a wonderful performance from their quarterback and the game was decided at the death. Rapid fire…

  • Feel bad for Jeremy Langford. If he catches the ball, Bears can do no worse than overtime and knowing Cutler’s season, they probably win in regulation. Other than that moment Langford looks like a real back with a great burst through the hole.
  • Tom Brady aside, Jay Cutler is the best fourth quarter QB in the sport right now. (Brady is the best everything.)
  • If the Bears faced a better quarterback yesterday Mike Wallace might have had a career game. How wide open does Teddy Bridgewater need him to be?
  • So how is Pernell McPhee’s sack on Bridgewater NOT a penalty? Isn’t that 100% always called now? He could have broken his leg.
  • Fact that McPhee continues to produce with no help is astounding. How good is this guy gonna be when the opponent has to block someone else too?
  • I think Alshon Jeffery is going to get his money.

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