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Across The Middle: Coaching Collision Course?

| September 20th, 2017

Whether this is just a rumor or if it actually happened is anybody’s guess.

The story goes that before the Bears Week 17 game in 2014, Ted Phillips and George McCaskey brought Phil Emery into the principal’s office and asked him what his plan was. Firing Marc Trestman was a no-brainer but the Bears needed to know Emery had a solid plan to replace him. Emery’s response was a guy he had worked with before: Mike Smith.

Smith had success in the past. The Falcons won at least nine games in his first five years, but they’d gone just 10-22 since then. He wasn’t sexy and wasn’t someone any other team was going to consider. Emery liked him because he knew him and he felt Smith did a good job in helping turn the Falcons around. The Bears brass never really responded to Emery. They watched the Week 17 game together and the next time they spoke was the last. Emery was fired the next morning.

If things keep going the way they’re going, Ted and George are going to have the same talk with Ryan Pace. And, like Emery, there’s a good chance Pace is going to be able to mention a familiar name. Only this time, that name will have a Super Bowl ring.

But is Sean Payton the answer?

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Five Reasons to be Excited about the 2017 Bears

| September 6th, 2017

The official start of the season should be an exciting time for NFL fans all over the country, but Bears fans are almost unanimously unexcited.

The reason for this is pretty clear. With their present quarterbacking situation, the starting of Mike Glennon, they’ll need perfection from pretty much everyone else on the roster. Have teams done it? Sure. But most teams in this situation end up picking in the top 10 of the draft.

That said, the Bears do have more going for them than a standard three-win team and there are a few reasons to be excited.

Here are five:

5. Return of Dominant Defense

It’s been a minute since the Bears have had even an adequate defense. Under Lovie Smith, they ranked in the top half of the league in scoring defense eight times in nine seasons and in the top five four times.

Since Smith was fired, they haven’t cracked the top twenty and finished in the bottom ten three times.

This year should be different.

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The Wright Stuff: Veteran Receiver Could Have Big Impact

| August 9th, 2017

It was only one day at camp, but Kendall Wright was running circles around the Bears’ defensive backs.

Admittedly, this is not a great group of corners and safeties, but still one could see the talent that made Wright the 20th pick in the 2012 draft. And it shouldn’t be a surprise if the Bears use him a lot more than Tennessee did in recent seasons.

Part of the reason why Wright is with the Bears is because of his history with Dowell Loggains. Loggains was promoted to offensive coordinator in Tennessee late in the 2012 season. In his first game, Wright had 10 targets, then 9 the following week. The next season, the Titans made an active attempt to get Wright the ball and he racked up 140 targets, catching 94 for 1,079 yards.

(Mike Munchak’s staff — including Loggains — was fired after the 2013 season. Wright had 93 targets with Ken Whisenhunt in 2014, but that total dropped by 32 in 2015 and by 18 more in 2016.)

But there’s reason to believe Loggains will get him back on the right track.

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Ranking The Bears: The Long & Longish Shots

| July 19th, 2017

Training camp is just around the corner and the Bears have a number of young players with whom fans should become familiar. They also have a number of players who you won’t remember existed this time next year.

This is my second year doing a ranking of the roster and long gone are the likes of Kieran Duncan, Ben LeCompte and Joe Sommers. Last year’s list was topped with quarterback Jay Cutler — an argument I’d still make — but looking back it’s easy to see why the Bears didn’t win many games. This year, the bottom of their roster is much better and their top 10 is legitimately good.

At the time of this writing, the Bears have a full roster with 90 guys ready to head to camp. You don’t need to know all of them, but you probably want to. To save you some time, I ranked them all again.

You’re welcome.

90. Mitchell Kirsch, OL. UDFA from James Madison. Really hard to judge what he’ll be. Good size, average athleticism.

89. Hendrick Ekpe, Edge. UDFA who didn’t produce much at Minnesota or test very well at his pro day.

88. William Poehls, OT. Huge guy (6’7″, 334 pounds), Was a UDFA from Montana who has spent time on a couple of practice squads.

87. Titus Davis, WR. Third-year pro who has had trouble sticking with a team. Put up decent numbers at Central Michigan, but it’s hard to see him making the team. His brother Corey was the fifth pick in the draft last April.

86. Rashaad Reynolds, CB. A bit small (5’10”, 189) but jumped well at the combine in 2014. Hasn’t been able to stick after spending time with the Jaguars and Lions.


85. Daniel Braverman, WR. The next Wes Welker, right? Not quite. After what many thought was a strong training camp, Braverman didn’t make the final roster last year and nobody claimed him. When he finally got on the field, he had a tough time getting open and didn’t make anywhere near the impact many thought he would. Easily the winner of the 2016 Joe Anderson Boner Award. Could he repeat in 2017?

Jeff’s Note: Hahah.


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Camp Battle to Watch: Carey v. Langford

| July 12th, 2017

Forgotten since the emergence of Jordan Howard, Jeremy Langford and Ka’Deem Carey could be battling for an important roster spot.

As great as Jordan Howard was last year, he had to leave a number of games with various bumps and bruises. He also missed a lot of time in his one season at Indiana. Neither of these things are surprising when you consider his violent running style. The Bears need a backup who can fill in for a series. They need a backup who can fill in for a game. I’m not sure they have one who can do both.

That’s where this dilemma begins.

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Cam Meredith Can Make Kevin White’s Development Irrelevant

| July 5th, 2017

Ryan Pace exited the 2015 NFL Draft process with a really good wide receiver. Does it really matter if that player is an undrafted free agent or the seventh overall pick?

I’m not giving up on Kevin White – it is impossible to reach any conclusion on the first rounder – but Cam Meredith’s play last year has me wondering how much White’s health and development will actually play into the Bears plans and how much flak we should give Pace if he missed on the pick.

Meredith was the Bears leading receiver with 66 catches, 888 yards and four touchdowns, but the numbers are more impressive when you add context.

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Gronk Comp is Crazy, but Expect Shaheen To Be Productive

| June 28th, 2017

If you’re expecting Adam Shaheen to be Rob Gronkowski you’re going to be disappointed. But the 2017 second round pick should be able to produce for the Bears as a rookie.

No player has drawn more rave reviews than Shaheen simply because his combination of size and athleticism have been so incredibly difficult for the Bears defenders to match up with. That is an advantage he’s going to maintain throughout the early part of his NFL career.

The reports from beat writers and others is that Shaheen has been borderline dominant and hasn’t dropped a single pass. His teammates have also gone on record as being impressed by the second rounder from Ashland.

Shaheen enters the league with the nickname “Baby Gronk”. That’s not really an accurate comparison — Gronk is significantly faster —  but that label and early camp play have some fans going crazy with their expectations for him. I don’t expect him to be Gronk, but history suggests he has a good chance at being productive early with bigger things on the horizon.

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Forget Patience, Bears Should Be Preparing Trubisky To Start

| June 21st, 2017

Promises be damned.

The Bears need to start their best quarterback in 2017.

Early indications are it is not Mike Glennon.

Beat reporters aren’t allowed to report who played well and who didn’t during organized team activities and minicamp practices but they’ve had a hard time hiding the fact that Glennon has struggled. And almost unanimously, they’ve “hinted” Trubisky looks like he belongs. If that continues to be the case, the Bears shouldn’t bother wasting time with Glennon.

Although he has 18 starts under his belt, Glennon isn’t exactly a known commodity. He showed promise as a rookie — at least in terms of being able to protect the ball — but regressed in his second year. The hope was that he improved under the tutelage of Dirk Koetter, but the Bears haven’t seen that yet. They shouldn’t wait.

The biggest knock on Trubisky was a lack of experience. He can’t fix that by sitting on the bench and watching Glennon struggle. Trubisky has the size to hold up to the physicality of the NFL and the ability to play right away. If he’s able to grasp the playbooks and adjust to the speed of the action, there really isn’t a good reason not to throw him in.

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Cre’Von LeBlanc And the Problem With Rooting for a bad team

| June 7th, 2017


The Bears have been a bad team for most of my life. I have fallen victim to the same spell Cre’Von LeBlanc currently has cast upon so many Bears fans. The “he’s good” spell.

Remember Jeff’s “Joe Anderson Boner”? In that instance, fans exaggerated the okay camp performance of a complete mediocrity. Fans often convince themselves a bad player is good simply because he isn’t literally shitting his pants on the field.

LeBlanc was bad last year. Was he as bad as Bausby or Glenn? No. He wasn’t even as bad as Tracy Porter was during his mailed-in last few games. But, make no mistake, he was still bad!

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No Reason To Freak Out About Kevin White

| May 31st, 2017

Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune

It was insane.

Kevin White missed an OTA practice that wasn’t relevant enough to conclude anything about this Bears squad and both media members and fans started writing him off as a bust.

I agree with WGN’s Adam Hoge that the Bears could’ve helped the situation. John Fox could’ve been clear that White wasn’t injured; that it was just a day off for any reason he wanted to give. Fox’s vague responses can’t be trusted, so he really should’ve said something to ease concern.

But should he have to do that for people to not jump off the deep end?

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