106 Comments

Audibles From the Long Snapper: Salaam’s Passing, Fangio Rumors & More

| December 8th, 2016

You know you wanted it!

You know you missed it!

Here it comes!

The return of Audibles!

A Salaam Story

On April 22nd 1995, the day Rashaan Salaam was drafted by the Chicago Bears, I was playing Little League baseball in Kearny, New Jersey. For younger readers, the draft did not used to be a prime time affair. It was a two-day, all weekend long, NFL fanatic binge experience the likes of which the league has never duplicated. It was amazing.

There were four Bears fans in Kearny. Me. Anthony Aiello. Phil Caputo. John Cali. Yes, I grew up in a place that had a few Italians. It’s also the town where about 75% of The Sopranos was shot. (My mother did the real estate deal with HBO for the property that became Satriale’s.) Three of the four of us were at a place called Gunnell Oval – a large park area with six baseball fields – when Salaam became a Bear.

You know that scene in That Thing You Do! where the members of The Oneders run through the streets of town at the shear excitement of hearing their track on the radio? That’s what the Salaam pick was like in Kearny. We thought, none of us older than 17 at the time, this pick was going to change the franchise. We thought a Super Bowl was near.

It didn’t come to pass but I like to think I’m still that 13 year-old kid down the Oval, endlessly believing greatness is just one draft pick away.

Rashaan Salaam died of an apparent suicide at the age of forty-two. Our love goes out to his family and all the people in his life. Too many young men who’ve played this game we love have left the world too soon.

The Fangio Rumor

Mike Mulligan, not known to make shit up, shocked many Bears fans with a bit of a bombshell late Tuesday:

Read More …

Tagged: , , , , ,

425 Comments

Three More Thoughts on Bears v. Lions

| October 4th, 2016

Gave the Bears win against the Lions a second look. Had three thoughts.

#1. Bears have to be optimistic about their young, developing cornerbacks. And a lot of that credit goes to secondary coach Ed Donatell. Bryce Callahan looks like he might be the long-term answer at nickel and Deiondre’ Hall continues to flash on tape. Why Hall wouldn’t be starting now over Glenn is beyond me.


#2.  Adam Hoge Tweeted this: “My highest #Bears grade through the 1st quarter of the season: Josh Sitton. What a huge addition. Easy Pro Bowl selection right now.” Couldn’t agree more, though he’s not getting Pro Bowl votes. Sitton was dominant up front for the Bears on Sunday. While Cody Whitehair is still going through growing pains at center (but is way better than many think), the middle of the Bears offensive line is finding their rhythm.


#3. The biggest disappointment of the first quarter is Willie Young. For those who love the preseason, Young looked poised for a big season as a pass rusher. But he’s been a non-factor. And with Leonard Floyd being used far more in coverage, Lamarr Houston in the hospital and Pernell McPhee out a few more weeks, the Bears need Young to get to the quarterback. He hasn’t been close.

Tagged: , , , , ,

106 Comments

Turn the Beat Around: Lots of Leonard Floyd Talk & Other Stuff Too!

| September 13th, 2016

screen-shot-2016-09-13-at-6-28-52-am

ADAM2ADAM ON LEONARD FLOYD

Leonard Floyd didn’t have a great day Sunday, expectedly for a raw rookie. But he almost never left the field. Jahns broke down his debut after film study:

“We got a fast, relentless team, guys that can do multiple things in any situations,” linebacker Jerrell Freeman said. “We got [outside linebackers] that can go out there and play seam/flat on some receivers.

“You see the young fella out there playing great.”

But sacks still matter most for Floyd. His takedown of Osweiler in the third quarter was his best play. He didn’t have a quick jump off the snap, but he fought through left tackle Chris Clark, reached the edge and quickly closed on Osweiler.

As Fangio predicted, there were moments when Floyd was overmatched. On Hopkins’ 23-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter, Floyd was stood up by Newton.

Play fakes negated Floyd’s speed at times, but he handled his run assignments well, which included squaring up with tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz. Floyd also was involved in six tackles, but he wasn’t on the field for Fuller’s 18-yard score on a tunnel screen.

“I feel good,” Floyd said. “But I’ve got some improvements to make.”

Adam Hoge had an interesting take on the Bears decision to play Floyd about 80% of the defensive snaps.

This, of course, does not mean that Floyd was the best option to play the most snaps at outside linebacker in Week 1. In fact, I would argue that the Bears coaching staff did not give its team the best chance to win by only playing Houston on 36 percent of the defensive snaps.

But I guess it depends on how you look at it. Which is more important: beating the Texans in Week 1 or getting your raw first round draft pick the most experience possible?

I guess we now know where the Bears stand on that question.

The Bears are committed to developing Floyd. And they are willing to sacrifice early success to do so.

Read More …

Tagged: , , , ,

40 Comments

Adam Hoge’s Charles Tillman Story

| July 19th, 2016

From Adam’s Facebook page, located HERE:

I haven’t shared this story publicly, but with the news of Charles Tillman’s retirement, it seems like the right time:

My son, James, has a couple congenital heart defects that will eventually require surgery. We first learned about these defects in 2014 when James was born prematurely and spent two months in the hospital. The fall of 2014 was stressful not only because of what was going on at home, but also because the Bears were going through a drama-filled season and it seemed like something crazy was happening every day at work. As if that wasn’t enough, 87.7 The Game suddenly folded in November, creating a tumultous (and awkward) final month and a half of the season.

Meanwhile, Charles Tillman was going through his own personal hardship after suffering a season-ending triceps injury for the second year in a row. But in the middle all the chaos, Tillman got word of what was going on with James from former PR guru Mike Corbo and pulled me aside at Halas Hall to talk to me about what was going on. As you may know, one of Tillman’s daughters needed a heart transplant when she was just three-months-old, so he could relate to the fear we were experiencing after hearing doctors put the words “heart” and “surgery” in the same sentence.

It was a small gesture, but one that meant a lot to both my wife and me. The fact that Corbo took the time to set that up and Tillman took the time to talk to me about everything won’t be forgotten.

I tend to be very skeptical when I hear people say that a particular athlete is “a good guy” or even “a bad guy” because the truth is that (for the most part) we don’t really know them that well. In Tillman’s case, I think the work he does with The Cornerstone Foundation speaks for itself, but there are also many other stories like this one that show the type of character he displayed on and off the field during his career.

The 2014 season seemingly got uglier and uglier every day, but Tillman didn’t go anywhere. He was hurt and likely knew it was his last season as a Bear, but he was right there on the field every day trying to coach up his teammates, when many players would have collected their money and watched from home. From time-to-time when I saw him, Tillman checked in with me on James and that continued even after the season when he was no longer with the organization.

I’ve said this before, but watching Tillman go one-on-one with Calvin Johnson twice a year was a highlight of my time covering football. And the “Peanut Punch” was an important contribution to the game. Congrats to Charles Tillman on retirement. A great player, a great Bear and a great person.

Special thanks to Hoge for allowing me to share this.

Tagged: ,

253 Comments

Around the Beat: Samplings from the Papers

| May 9th, 2016

grasu

BIGGS ON GRASU

If Hroniss Grasu develops into a frontline center, the Bears may have a terrific offensive line in 2016. But Grasu would have to make a significant leap if that’s going to be the case. From Biggs in the Trib:

The statistics in the eight games Grasu started last season and the other eight games that were split between Slauson and Will Montgomery are similar with one glaring difference. I tallied the stats for Jay Cutler’s 15 starts, (excluding the dud of a performance in Seattle in Week 3 when Jimmy Clausen was at quarterback) and what jumps out is the Bears averaged 4.22 yards per carry with Slauson and Montgomery at center. With Grasu, they averaged 3.77, nearly a half-yard less.

If the Bears had a high level of confidence in Grasu, they wouldn’t have made three additions even while removing Slauson from the equation. When the season opens Sept. 11 in Houston, left tackle Charles Leno could be the only starter in a position he played for the team last season.

My favorite line in the piece? “One front-office guy said his team nearly drafted Whitehair about 20 picks before the Bears.” I maintain a firm belief that Whitehair is going to be a ten-year star at guard for the Bears.

JAHNS ON THE UNDRAFTED FREE AGENTS

Adam’s piece in the Sun-Times is a solidly comprehensive breakdown of all the UFAs but I’m sampling the one position they may have had been most focused on: tight end.

Read More …

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

198 Comments

Audibles From the Long Snapper: 30-for-30 Bores, 2016 Schedule Dreams, Hatman & Hoge

| February 16th, 2016

AUDIBLESNEW

Dannehy with Hatman

Having some trouble with the sound quality when transferring Soundcloud to WordPress so I’m simply embedding Andrew’s Tweet in this space. Dan Hatman is a quality follow on Twitter and his conversation with Dannehy is worth your time.

THREE THOUGHTS FROM AROUND THE BEARS

  • After a few days I can honestly say I didn’t like the 30-for-30 on the 1985 Bears. Why? (1) There was very little new information in the film. Having seen/read just about everything on the subject, ESPN offered a survey course on a subject I’ve devoted my life to. (2) The film wasn’t made very well. The focus – especially the Buddy Ryan excess – was off. The score was bizarre. The narration was poorly written and poorly cast with Vince Vaughn. (How can you not have an iconic Chicago voice attached to a project like this? Adam Jahns narrating would have sounded far better.) If you’ve never heard of this team, it’s a worthwhile investment of your time. If you know a lot about them it offers little more than a few smiles and a chance to dive once again into nostalgic waters. People who call this one of the best 30-for-30s are lost.

Read More …

Tagged: , , , , ,

151 Comments

Audibles From the Long Snapper: Hoge’s Three Points, Defense Improving & the Favored Raiders?

| September 28th, 2015

audibles

HOGE NAILS THREE POINTS

Sat down to write a column Monday morning and after a Google search realized Adam Hoge (WGN) already wrote it. He makes three suggestions to John Fox and all three are 100% correct.

1. Start David Fales against the Raiders.

2. Stop the nonsense and just have Pat O’Donnell boom kickoffs out of the back of the end zone.

3. Give Jeremy Langford more carries.

Quick thought on each.

  • Wrote the column on why Bears should have started David Fales last week. Jimmy Clausen is horrible and everyone on earth knows that. (Did you see how Pete Carroll approached him Sunday? They were daring him to throw passes!) 2015 is in the books. Every decision should be geared towards 2016 and beyond.
  • Teams are going to move the ball on the Bears all season so they’re not afraid to return kickoffs from inside the end zone. There’s no different to them between starting on the 13 or 20 yard lines. Bears can’t cover kicks currently and they shouldn’t have to. They have a protective measure on the roster. They should use him.
  • Bears need to make a decision immediately whether Matt Forte is part of their future. If he’s not, he shouldn’t be on this team. I’d take Hoge’s point a step further. I think Langford should be receiving a bulk of the carries.

Read More …

Tagged: , , , ,

213 Comments

Audibles From the Long Snapper: Opening Achievement, Embarrassing Sun-Times, Bench Ducasse & More!

| September 15th, 2015

audibles

Welcome to our first in-season Audibles of 2015!

ACHIEVEMENT OF OPENING DAY

From last week’s game preview:

The 2015 Chicago Bears have to earn back the excitement of people like me. They have to display on the field they are worthy of the passion many have displayed in good times and bad over their lifetimes. They can do that this week, against the Packers, at Soldier Field? How?

Be in the game. With five minutes left, be in it. That’s all I ask. If the Bears achieve that, a week from now I’m in.

They were spirited. They were professional. They were well-coached. Did they make mistakes? Of course. They don’t have a great roster. Were they outplayed? Of course. The Packers are a better team. But they showed signs they will be competitive each and every week, a massive departure from a year ago. Excitement returneth.

The Sun-Times Should Be Embarrassed

For those of you following DBB on Twitter, you would have noticed an attack launched at @suntimes_sports Monday. Why? Because they insist on serving fans, beside the wonderful work of people like Adam Jahns, crowd-sourced, social media horseshit like the “article” titled “Bears fans already want Jay Cutler benched after Packers loss.” It included these two gems:

@ChicagoBears @SoldierField bench jay cutler he throws too many interceptions

— Ryan (@SavnRyansPrvate) September 13, 2015

I don’t know why Soldier Field, which to the best of my knowledge is an inanimate structure on the lakefront, needs a Twitter feed or why this individual thought it necessary to share his thoughts with a building.

Romo…that was pretty clutch! If you lose interest in Dallas come to Chicago @tonyromo#BenchCutler

— Braden Fogal (@BradenFogal) September 14, 2015

“If you lose interest”? Who wrote this, a 5 year old? It’s one thing for the Sun-Times to post this idiocy but do they also have to be lazy about it? Couldn’t you find a fan or two with a coherent, adult thought?

Read More …

Tagged: , , , ,

© Da' Bears Blog