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Why This Matt Barkley Shit is Upsetting People

| December 20th, 2016

Since creating America’s favorite hashtag – #Barkleytime – nearly a month ago, the conversation surrounding the future of the Bears at quarterback has changed. Punches have been thrown. Followers have been blocked on Twitter. Marriages have ended up in front of a mediator.

The framed, autographed Dick Butkus jersey…?

He can have that.

Matt Barkley arrived at Soldier Field.

He played three quarters against the Tennessee Titans that left fans clamoring for the days of Jonathan Quinn, Medicine Woman and CFL legend Henry Burris. He looked ill suited to the speed and difficulty level of the league. He was every bit the non-professional folks like me said he would be.

Then, something changed. Barkley put together a dynamic and rousing fourth quarter. He threw the ball effortlessly through the Titans zone and when the Titans left zone, relatively quickly, he required little more effort.

Three more games have been played and aside from the start of the third quarter against Green Bay this past Sunday, Barkley has looked every bit like an NFL starter. So why, why, why are fans and media types so reluctant to acknowledge what is happening on the field? Why has Barkley’s performance caused so much debate in Bears circles?

The answers are not simple.

Answer #1. “He’s Matt Barkley. We Know What He Is.”

Problem is, we don’t. Nobody does. John Fox: “He’s probably turned a lot of peoples heads.”

Barkley was drafted by Chip Kelly at Philadelphia, in the fourth round, into a system he had zero chance of fitting. Chip canned. Barkley gone after seeing a few mop-up snaps in losing efforts.

Bruce Arians brought Barkley to Arizona and Barkley struggled to find consistency in the preseason. Arians, this summer:

Have you seen progression with Barkley?

“Up and down. He’s like a yo-yo.”

Arians is not a young coach and the Cardinals (with someone else around here) believed they were title contenders this season. He was never carrying three QBs on Sundays and Drew Stanton is one of the game’a most reliable backups.

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Jeffrey on Jeffery: Alshon Returns From Suspension

| December 13th, 2016

Alshon Jeffery is a terrific wide receiver. He is a true number one option on the outside. But he’s not Odell Beckham. He’s not Julio Jones. He’s not a game-changing talent. And that makes his future with the Bears difficult to discern. More thoughts:

  • The ability to use the tag a second time is why I believe Alshon will return to Chicago next year. It allows the Bears, with their copious cap space, to keep a talented a player in the mix while not committing long term financially. It also gives Jeffery another opportunity to prove to the NFL he’s worthy of A.J. Green money. (His attempt to do so in 2016 failed miserably.)
  • PED suspension will have no negative impact on the front office. If anything, Alshon’s absence proved Cam Meredith – while an intriguing talent – is not ready for primetime.
  • If the Bears move on from Jeffery – a mistake in my opinion – wide receiver becomes a focal point of the offseason. Without Jeffery the Bears would be far more reliant on a healthy and productive Kevin White than they want to be. I wouldn’t rule out the team looking at Clemson’s Mike Williams in the first round.
  • Jeffery also has the opportunity to make the case for #barkleytime this week. Barkley’s had one viable excuse for not being 3-0 as Bears starter: his wide receivers don’t belong on a pro football field. Jeffery is such a massive upgrade I wouldn’t be surprised to see Barkley throw a few jump balls to him Cutler-style to take adavtange of his size and hands.
  • But let’s not pretend this is an easy decision for Ryan Pace. I get the sense Pace recognizes Jeffery’s ability but is not enamored with him as a player. GM’s hate spending money out of positional necessity but with the state of the Bears receiving corps, Pace simply may not have a choice.
  • One has to believe Pace has already made the decision on Jeffery’s future and these final three games will have little impact.

One thing is certain. If Jeffery returns in 2017 he needs to be more available. With the power run game in place, Jeffery’s ability to win over the top on play action could provide him the stage for his most productive season. Of course, it depends on who is playing quarterback.

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Penalties, Mistakes, Officiating Cost Backup Bears a Road Victory

| December 12th, 2016

It was a not a good game. It was difficult on the eyes. And there were a lot of reasons for that. Rapid fire…

  • It is difficult to enjoy a football game, as a fan, when you assume every long run and every good play made in the secondary is going to be accompanied by a flag. You’re simply never able to live in the moment of a football game. Yesterday the refs were a disgrace. Inconsistent pass interference calls. Hands to the face on the wrong team. Phantom holds late to literally cost the Bears a chance to tie or win the game. Officiating is going to be a big story come January and it will cost a team in he playoffs.
  • Worst example was the Stafford bomb downfield. Bears rushing three and dropping eight. Line judge throws flag, clearly for holding on the Lions. (She was staring at the line of scrimmage.) Refs convene and decide she had called holding ON THE DEFENSE! This means the refs believe one of the three rushers for the Bears held a Lions offensive lineman. Why? The only time defensive linemen hold is to prevent OL from getting to the second level. They didn’t identify who did it because, as you might imagine, it never happened. Farce.
  • How on earth are we supposed to evaluate #barkleytime with this crop of receivers “catching” the ball? Barkley didn’t do anything spectacular Sunday but when the game was put on his arm, he delivered. Again. His teammates and the refs let him down.
  • Seeing Barkley with Alshon Jeffery this week is going to be very interesting.
  • Barkley’s throw to Cam Meredith for the touchdown was a thing of beauty. Which are the throws Barkley can’t make?
  • Josh Bellamy plays wide receiver in the strangest manner I’ve ever seen. He has great hands but refuses to use them. He has no sense of where the boundaries are. He never knows when to jump or not jump for the football so his default seems to be JUMP! But he’s always open so how can Barkley not throw him the ball?

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DBB Weekend Show – Week 14

| December 8th, 2016

On the Weekend Show:

  • Jeff discussed the importance for this coaching regime to put together a good division record down the stretch.
  • Dave Birkett on all things Lions, including whether this is a mediocre team winning a bad division or a good team ready to compete for a trip to the Super Bowl. (He also points out their specials as Detroit’s secret weapon.)
  • Ged Hourigan, Irish degenerate, tells a fake story as he steps in for the Reverend on the sermon.
  • The pick? Objective this could easily be a Lions blowout victory but two things stand in the way of that: a surging Bears defense and #barkleytime.
  • Music from Joni Mitchell and John Cale!

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Pathetic Receivers Rob Bears Fans of Memorable Moment: Rapid Fire

| November 28th, 2016

I have never seen anything like it. It didn’t matter which Chicago Bear Matt Barkley threw the football to, the ball was going to be dropped. And with the game there to be won, Barkley delivered not one or two but THREE touchdown passes that went through the hands of his pass “catchers”. Josh Bellamy’s drop on first-and-goal drop will be the poster image for this entire, painful 2016 campaign.

More thoughts:

  • Someone needs to explain to me how Matt Barkley went from looking nervous and unprepared to Pro Bowler in a matter of moments. Was it the coverage? Was it an offensive scheme change? Barkley’s first NFL start should have left us with The Matt Barkley Game, a contest we never forget.
  • The Bears dropped ten passes. Ten. And Barkley still eclipsed 300 yards on the day. What could his numbers have been?
  • Barkley now becomes intriguing next week and moving forward. It’s unlikely he’s going to make Ryan Pace after his draft plans but he may provide the kind of young, affordable backup organizations need.
  • Titans second half possessions: FG, FG, punt, punt. Bears second half possessions: INT, punt, TD, TD, eleven dropped TDs. We’ve complained about second half meltdowns this season. This was second half dominance.

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