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Audibles From the Long Snapper: Shea Needed, Random Thoughts & Halloween!

| October 27th, 2015

audibles

SHEA AND ANTREL MISSED

Yes, Shea McClellin is still learning a new position in the middle of a complicated defense. And yes, Antrel Rolle is on the flipside of his football playing coin. But both are pivotal when it comes to essential elements of playing defense in the NFL. Per Friend of the Blog Adam Jahns:

“Shea McClellin, obviously, getting him back in there at some point, as well as Antrel, from a leadership standpoint, getting guys lined up and understanding how to execute our defense is key,” Fox said. “We’ve got some guys that we’re leaning on right now that will just get better with time until those guys can get back in the lineup.”

If McClellin returns and the defense improves, expect him in the lineup beyond January 3, 2015.

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Money Where My Mouth Is: Three Picks for Week 3

| September 24th, 2015

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Made some overreacting mistakes to the first week of the season, especially in the Rams/Redskins game. Still can’t believe the Rams team that played the Redskins Sunday was the same that beat Seattle to open the year. Lines can be found here.

BALTIMORE -3 OVER CINCINNATI

Here’s the logic: I don’t believe the Ravens are an 0-3 team. And I think they (much like the Seahawks) will be refreshed by playing their first home game and deliver a big effort.  Ravens 30, Bengals 24.

Chicago at Seattle: TOTAL POINTS OVER 43.5

The Bears are going to have trouble scoring points with Jimmy Clausen starting at quarterback but I don’t think that means they’ll be shutout by a defense that has struggled mightily coming out of the 2015 gates. And the Seahawks would be disappointed finishing this game with less than 28 points. I say the game goes over. Seahawks 31, Bears 20

Tennessee Titans Total Points Over 21 vs. Indy

I have been unabashed in my hatred of the way Colts GM Ryan Grigson has built this roster around Andrew Luck. In lieu of offensive linemen or defenders, Grigson has stockpiled aged skill players the team doesn’t need. Luck will probably throw another pick or two and Marcus Mariota should be able to gauge the Colts for large chunks of yardage on the ground. Colts 34, Titans 30.

Season Record: 2-3-1 (-$140)

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Thanksgiving Day Football Thread

| November 28th, 2013

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I know many of you think the Packers, with Rodgers, are a greater threat to the Bears postseason hopes. But that should not matter. With the Lions owning the tiebreaker, the Bears need a one game lead on them and that might be too difficult for this defense to pull off. Root for Green Bay today.

And as always, I give thanks for those of you who’ve spent time on this site over the years. I love this site because of you.

Feel like gambling on Thanksgiving Day? Drink six beers, select a member of your family and tell them exactly how you feel about them. Or bet on sports. I make my three picks for the day after the jump.

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Maligned Defensive Line, Coordinator Save Bears Season

| November 19th, 2013

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It would have been easy.

After being steamrolled by the Baltimore Ravens for the better part of an hour, it would have been easy for the Chicago Bears to walk back into the locker room with their heads hanging lower than 40 time. Facing a lengthy weather delay it would have been easy for players and coaches alike to say, “We’re done. Too many injuries. Backup quarterback. This is as far as we can go.”

It may not have been right. But it would have been easy.

What followed the delay was something even the most fresh-eyed of Bears optimists could not have predicted. David Bass made the kind of play that has defined the career of Julius Peppers and knotted the ballgame up at 10. Peppers used the two-hour delay to fly to St. Augustine, dip his face in Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth and return with a triumphant double-digit tackle, multi-sack performance when the Bears needed him most. Mel Tucker and Marc Trestman realized their error in sliding Corey Wootton back outside and returned him to the three-technique where he has begun to flourish in recent weeks. (Put some more bulk on this kid and he can delivery Melton-like numbers.) This defensive line, marred by injury and ineffectiveness, delivered the type of performance most of us thought them incapable of delivering.

The Pizza Hut delivery man showed up with three sausage pies from Lou Malnati’s. The Schlitz keg was pouring Guinness. Dublin Guinness. Mulligan’s Guinness. It flowed sweetest with the game on the line.

Because the game was over. I challenge any Bears fans, any self-respecting Bears fan, to show me evidence they believed the Bears could hold Flacco and the Ravens on first-and-goal as the clock on the Bears postseason hopes was slowly trickling down to a bunch of zeroes. Three opportunities to find the end zone? Against this defense? With the game on the line and Human Penalty Machine Zack Bowman on the field? How could they not score?

The game was over. Then it wasn’t. Three snaps. Three excellent pushes from the defensive front. The unit that had put the Bears back in the football game was giving them one more chance to save their season; now in overtime. McCown, Bennett and Gould took it from there.

The challenges coming should not be understated. St. Louis, Minnesota, Philadelphia – one back better than the next – will give this defense and its inability to stop the run nightmares. But for one week Bears fans should salute their maligned defensive front and their overly-maligned coordinator. For one Sunday is was not the big weapons on offense that won the Bears a football game. For one Sunday it was Peppers, Cheta, Cohen, Woot, Bass and company.

For one today the Bears reminded us of yesterday.

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Rapid Fire Response to the Bears Victory over Ravens

| November 18th, 2013

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So the Bears won. After hours of delay due to a possible tornado, the Bears won. What did I think of the game? I thought it was one of the gutsiest wins in recent memory. Here are my other thoughts:

  • Josh McCown showed his limitations Sunday, unable to get the ball to the hands of his big receivers in the endzone. McCown played solidly, again, but doesn’t have much in the arm department.
  • Brandon Marshall may have played his worst game as a Bear.
  • Alshon Jeffery is a wonderful player but his drops are becoming a storyline.
  • Corey Wootton belongs inside, Mel Tucker. He’s developing into quite the three-technique.
  • I’m not sure Jon Bostic isn’t going to be a great player.
  • Nice work by Julius Peppers. He didn’t play a dominant game but he showed up.
  • Zack Bowman was awful, start to finish. How many penalties do you need to commit on special teams before you stop playing special teams?

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Baltimore Ravens at Chicago Bears Game Chat

| November 17th, 2013

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Struggled with a stomach virus this week so the content was a bit lighter than usual. Three final thoughts on today’s game:

  1. It would be hard to make an argument for the Bears 2013 postseason hopes should they lose at home today. Even though the game has no tiebreaker implications, they can’t fall deeper below the Lions in the division or the Niners/Panthers in the wild card race and expect to make up ground on the road over the next month plus.
  2. What if Josh McCown puts together another four brilliant quarters executing the offense? What if the sample size grows from six quarters to ten quarters and a nearly game-saving drive against the Lions? At what point does the conversation switch from “this guy really is a good caretaker of the offense” to “this guy really runs the offense well” or even “maybe this is how the offense should look”? Nobody has been as big a Cutler supporter as myself over the years but at a certain point data is data.
  3. If the Bears defense can’t win a match-up like this at home – no run game, turnover-prone/flaky passing game, punt heavy offense – they have very little shot to win the battles coming further down the schedule. I have three expectations from the defense today. (1) Jon Bostic continues to evolve into the Bears future middle linebacker. (2) Zack Bowman plays a few solid quarters at corner before, of course, getting hurt. (3) Torrey Smith is limited over the top by a resurgent Chris Conte.

 


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Baltimore Ravens at Chicago Bears Game Preview

| November 14th, 2013

bear ravenIt seems, win or lose, the 2013 Bears get sucker punched every week. This week they got Peanut Punched as Charles Tillman was lost for the remainder of the season to a triceps injury. The Bears will now face the Baltimore Ravens without their starting quarterback, their starting defensive tackles, two/thirds of their starting linebackers and the best member of their secondary. So…

Why do I like the Chicago Bears this week?

I always like the Chicago Bears.

BUT WHAT FOOTBALL REASONS, JEFF?

  • I think the storyline lost from the Lions game Sunday was just how brilliant Josh McCown was AGAIN coming off the bench. McCown has been the revelation of the 2013 season and I don’t think the Bears offense will struggle Sunday as a result of his starting.
  • Marc Trestman is dealing with the first real criticism of his coaching tenure after deciding to stick with Cutler last Sunday against the Lions. I think Trest responds.
  • Hard not to like to some degree what is developing in the middle of the Bears defense with Corey Wootton and Jon Bostic. Both are learning on the job but show tremendous potential. Be interesting to see where they are at the end of December.
  • Baltimore turns the ball over more than they take it away and the Bears take it away more than just about any team in the league.
  • Ravens have corners with size and can match up with the Bears on the outside. Expect the Bears to attach Baltimore underneath with an intense amount of Matt Forte. Forte will be the best player on the field Sunday.
  • I think the Bears are the better team. They are at home. And they are absolutely desperate for the game.

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DBB Q & A with Baltimore Sun’s Matt Vensel

| November 12th, 2013

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Matt Vensel of Baltimore Sun reached out to me this week with some Bears questions in anticipation of the Bears v. Ravens contest at Soldier Field Sunday. Here are his questions and my answers.

MV: The Bears are nine games into the Marc Trestman era and are a game out of first place in the NFC North despite key injuries. How have the Bears changed under Trestman and how does the hire look today?

It was a transformative hire for the organization and Trestman has modernized the Bears offense in his first year. But the building of new offensive talent and hiring of Trestman was step one in a multiyear process in Chicago. Now GM Phil Emery is tasked with doing the same on the defensive side of the ball while these players become more comfortable in the offense. Look at the great offenses in the league and you’ll notice, with the exception of Peyton Manning, the QBs have come of age in the system they are currently running. Bears need to give Cutler that opportunity and I expect they will.

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Sunday Football Thread, or Go Browns & Ravens

| October 13th, 2013

Sunday thread

 

Three things that need to happen for….

BROWNS OVER LIONS

  • Even if Calvin Johnson does play he is sure to be limited with injury and Matthew Stafford looked like a shell of himself without the best receiver in football on the field. If the Browns can get some consistent pressure they can control the pace of the game.
  • Brandon Weeden (sound it out) can’t have one of those Brandon Weeden games and throw the ball to the Lions three times. Use Willis McGahee, use the screen game and Jordan Cameron, Jordan Cameron, Jordan Cameron.
  • Cleveland’s had a top ten defense against the run this year, allowing less than a hundred yard a game. That must continue. If the Lions start gashing the Brown in the run game Stafford won’t need Johnson to move the ball through the air.

RAVENS OVER PACKERS

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