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The Callback

| December 5th, 2016

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It almost didn’t happen.

Matt Barkley’s callback was scheduled for noon Sunday but weather conditions were making it unlikely he’d be able to perform. Behind the table we were resigned to waiting another week, for a game in Detroit, to see whether 4th quarter #Barkleytime vs. Tennessee was real or just a figment of our quarterbacking imagination.

Then he arrived. A minute and fifty-six seconds before we broke for lunch, Barkley walked in. New sheet music. Less adventurous than the earlier Being Alive. He handed the pianist a jazzy, cooled up arrangement of Let it Snow.

And he sang it note perfect. Note. Perfect.

     Reader: Hey Jeff.

     Jeff: What’s up?

     Reader: Enough with the metaphor.

     Jeff: Okay.

Matt Barkley has now started two games in the NFL for the Chicago Bears. And if he were a Bears fourth-round pick and not a 26 year-old “journeyman”, fans would be discussing whether Ryan Pace stole a long-term starter in the middle of the draft.

Nobody was more critical of Barkley’a prospects pre-Tennessee than I was. “He can’t play” I wrote time and again. Guess what? I was wrong. He can play. And there’s a chance he can really play.

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Matchup That Matters: Jags at Bears

| October 13th, 2016

“On offense we have had a lot of third and long situations. Third and 11-plus. It is not just third and 11. These are third and 20s, third and 23s. Far too many in that area. It comes back to controlling things we can control. The foolish penalties. Penalties overall. False starts, pre-snap, more pre-snap issues for us.”

Jaguars coach Gus Bradley, News4Jax


Bears Players & Jags Players

vs.

Penalties

Some, including the head writer, editor and founder of this site, argued Jay Cutler would have beaten the Colts a week ago were he playing quarterback. But more important to state is this: Brian Hoyer would have easily won the game if not for bad penalties in key moments by the Bears offense. Penalties on Long, Howard, Paulsen…etc. cost the Bears points and this club is not good enough to give away points.

Jacksonville is the fourth most penalized club in the sport and are only fourth because they’ve played one fewer game than the three teams ranked ahead of them. (For a complicated penalties chart, check this out.)

This game will come down to mistakes; which team makes more and which team makes them at the costliest moments. That’s what happens when subpar teams play. And these are two subpar teams.

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Bears Fall Short in Indy: Rapid Fire

| October 10th, 2016

Hard game to get emotional about. But there’s things to talk about so let’s talk about them.

  • Brian Hoyer played a terrific game for a backup quarterback. But when your team racks up 500+ yards and scores only 23 points, it’s time to start asking why. Hoyer doesn’t extend plays with his legs. He doesn’t throw the ball to the Bears best player (for some bizarre reason). And…he’s just limited. Jay Cutler wins Sunday’a game. And I happen to believe he wins it by a couple of touchdowns.
  • Hoyer dinks and dunks. His drives take 10-12 plays to get into the end zone. Those drives can be derailed entirely by one mistake or penalty. Penalties told the story of the game.
  • John Fox, through five games, is having a rough season. Challenges, timeouts, personnel decisions…etc. One has to wonder if he has any feel for this roster right now. Sadly, Fox can’t be properly evaluated until the actual team is on the field.
  • Why would you bench Bryce Callahan? Let the kid learn on the field. He was playing a solid game yesterday.
  • Terrific performance from Cameron Meredith. The fumble was bad, and cost the Bears the game, but his emergence was far more significant.

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