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Finding A Quarterback: Patrick Mahomes Might Be The Next Brett Favre

| March 28th, 2017

I don’t think the Bears can risk using the third pick on a quarterback who needs as much work as Patrick Mahomes. But I also don’t think they can let a quarterback with this much talent get past them in the second.

It’s hard to watch the Texas Tech QB and not be reminded of Brett Favre, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to be a reincarnation of the old gunslinger.

Everybody talks about the arm and it’s every bit as good as they say. He can toss the ball 50 yards with a flick of the wrist and makes throws that most quarterbacks won’t even consider. (I’d go as far as saying he has the strongest arm in football.)

He’s more than just an arm. He also has adequate accuracy and moves around pretty well. But my favorite Mahomes trait? Instincts.

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What to Watch for At 2017 Combine

| March 1st, 2017

The NFL’s annual meat market kicks off this week and here are a few things to watch for:

The Quarterbacks

In case you haven’t noticed around here, this off-season is about one thing: finding a quarterback. This week is going to be the Bears first real chance to sit down and talk football with the top four guys: Deshaun Watson, DeShone Kizer, Mitch Trubisky and Pat Mahomes.

The Bears know who Brian Hoyer is, have a good feeling about Jimmy Garoppolo and are at least relatively familiar with all of the other veteran options. Their pro personnel department has done their work. They don’t know the quarterbacks in the draft simply because they haven’t had the opportunity to study them beyond their game tape.

Does Watson have enough meat on his bones? What does Kizer attribute his inconsistency to? Is Trubisky really short?  Does Mahomes have any clue when it comes to reading coverage? These are some of the questions the Bears need to ask.

The most important part is going to be the interview process. The Bears need to find out what makes these guys tick. They won’t publicly broadcast that information, but we’ll hear the buzz. The Bears could fall in love with a quarterback here and that could change everything.

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Finding A Quarterback: The Draft

| February 23rd, 2017

Editor’s Note: Andrew wrote this so we’re posting it as rumors swirl around the Bears QB position.

The best way to solve a quarterback problem is through the draft, but nobody has perfected that art. Or even come close.

Ron Wolf is probably the best there has ever been at evaluating quarterbacks. He traded a first round pick for Brett Favre, drafted Mark Brunell in the fifth round, Aaron Brooks in the fourth and Matt Hasselback in the sixth. He also drafted Jay Barker, Kyle Wachholtz and Ron McAda. The Patriots hit the jackpot with Tom Brady, but they have a long, long list of quarterbacks who didn’t pan out. The Cowboys wanted Connor Cook and Paxton Lynch over Dak Prescott.

For what it’s worth, my favorite quarterbacks the past few years have been Carson Wentz, 2016; Marcus Mariota, 2015; Derek Carr, 2014; EJ Manuel, 2013; Andrew Luck, 2012 and Jake Locker, 2011. What can I say? I like guys who have big arms and can move around.

That said, I haven’t spent anywhere near as much time on the quarterbacks in the draft in the past as I have this year. Time will tell if that’s a good thing. I can say that I like all three of the top quarterbacks more than I liked anybody in the draft last year, but not as much as either Mariota or Jameis Winston.

Before I break down the top quarterback prospects, here are a few things I’m taking into consideration.

Anonymous Scouts are Liars Or Fake

Every week somebody writes a story quoting an anonymous scout. They’re full of crap. 99% of anonymous scouts are people trying to pass off their opinion as someone else’s.

The Offense Doesn’t Matter, To An Extent

The line between a pro-style offense and a spread is more blurred than ever. Pretty much every college team runs a spread or, at least, something that used to be considered a spread. The Bears and most other NFL teams run a lot of spread concepts. The league wisely adjusted to what the colleges were giving them.

All of the top quarterbacks in the draft this year play a sort of spread system and all of them will have to have their reads simplified in the NFL. If their coaches don’t simplify it for them, the coaches will be fired. The Cowboys made things easy for Prescott, the Seahawks kept the training wheels on Russell Wilson for nearly three years and Cam Newton still runs a college offense. How did Adam Gase get Jay Cutler to limit his turnovers? He simplified the offense.

That said, there’s never been anyone who has played in the “Air Raid” offense and been a successful NFL quarterback. The player has to show at least some ability to read defenses or make adjustments.

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Finding a Quarterback: Mike Glennon and the Art of Quarterbacking

| February 7th, 2017

Early in Jay Cutler’s career with the Bears, he led the Bears to a win on Monday Night Football. This wasn’t enough to satisfy ESPN’s Steve Young who went on a crazy rant about the so-called “art of quarterbacking” simply because he didn’t like the way Cutler played.

It was the kind of pretentious bullshit that makes Young and Trent Dilfer hard to listen to. They want everyone to play the quarterback position a certain way –  the way that makes guys like Marc Trestman ejaculate – and everyone who doesn’t is just wrong. Cutler didn’t play that way. They still can’t stand it.

Personally, I only care about getting the job done. It was rarely pretty and the stats weren’t glorious, but Cutler was effective on that night as he has been in most games. You don’t get points for beauty in the NFL but there’s still a certain something a quarterback has to have.

Jay Cutler has it. Mike Glennon does not.

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Charting The Bears: 2016 In Review

| January 17th, 2017

Before the season began I decided to try to do something a little different by charting some of the things you don’t regularly see in box scores and the end result was some really interesting numbers that may change the way you feel about certain players.

The most time-consuming part of my weekly job on DBB was charting the little things that you don’t see. As most hardcore football fans know, completion percentage doesn’t always tell you if a quarterback is accurate, Pro Bowl voting doesn’t always tell you if an offensive lineman can block, sacks don’t always tell you if a player is getting pressure on the quarterback and interceptions don’t tell you if a guy can cover. There’s more to the game, a lot more and I tried to discover some of that here:

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Across The Middle — Week 17

| December 28th, 2016

After two seasons and a combined eight wins, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looked out for the best interest of their franchise and the development of quarterback Jameis Winston by firing Lovie Smith and replacing him with offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter. A year later, the Bears are in a similar position as the most important thing going forward is the ability to find and develop their next quarterback.

I made the case against John Fox last week. Even without looking at his win-loss record without Peyton Manning the last eight years, it’s hard to trust him to develop whoever the next QB is going to be. Dowell Loggains is a good offensive coordinator, who could easily succeed with a rookie quarterback. But, if he does the Bears will lose him to another franchise. While Fox has hired a number of good offensive coaches, he’s never been a part of a team that developed a quarterback.

But, who else are you going to get? As simple as my criteria may be, it isn’t so easy to fill.

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Across The Middle — Week 16

| December 21st, 2016

It’s been a long time since I’ve allowed the Bears to piss me off as much as they did on Sunday, but there I was angry as hell and less confident in the direction the team is headed than I’ve ever been. I don’t think John Fox is a bad coach. But if the Bears are ever going to compete in a division with Aaron Rodgers, they need more than a coach who isn’t bad.

I understand the limitations Fox has with this roster. The Bears have more players on injured reserve than any other team. They were without their starting nose tackle, both starting inside linebackers and were down to their fifth cornerback. And that’s just the defense. (But Fox also brought in his own training staff, one he insisted limit the soft-tissue injuries.)

They have been in every game — which absolutely is a credit to Fox — but they are not able to win because of the same mental mistakes every week. At a certain point you have to wonder how much of it is an issue with the players and how much is an issue with preparation.

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Across The Middle — Week 15

| December 14th, 2016

If you follow a losing team long enough, the crappy seasons tend to all blend together. But if the 2016 Chicago Bears want to be remembered, they can make it happen this week by beating the Packers.

The Bears have been a losing team for most of my life, but there are a few teams I remember fondly. I remember the 2003 team because Charles Tillman ripped a pass out of Randy Moss’ hands and cost the Vikings a playoff berth. I remember Brian Urlacher running all alone down the field after intercepting Brett Favre in a 35-7 Bears win in 2007. I remember the 2015 Bears beating all odds by beating the Packers on Thanksgiving when Favre was being honored at halftime.

Those are the bad teams I remember positively and this year’s team has a chance to join them.

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Across The Middle — Week 14

| December 7th, 2016

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The Bears have a 26-year-old quarterback who is playing well but it shouldn’t change any of their offseason plans.

I’ve been as impressed with Matt Barkley as anyone but if the Bears like a quarterback enough to take him in the top five — thus grading him as a franchise quarterback — they shouldn’t let Barkley change their plans.

After seeing Barkley continually complete passes deep down the field to the likes of Deonte Thompson, Cam Meredith and Josh Bellamy in a blizzard, I won’t rule anything out for these last four games. He could very well be the latest star quarterback who was just waiting for his shot. And if he is, he’ll keep his job. If he isn’t, the Bears should have another talented young quarterback waiting in the wings.

The Bears passed on Aaron Rodgers and didn’t try to sign Drew Brees as a free agent because they had Rex Grossman.  They passed on Russell Wilson and Derek Carr because they had Jay Cutler. You can bet the Chargers don’t regret taking Eli Manning — who was later traded for Phillip Rivers — instead of Sean Taylor, Kellen Winslow or Roy Williams solely because they had Drew Brees in 2004. There’s a reason the winningest franchise of this era keeps taking quarterbacks high, even though they have Tom Brady.

If Ryan Pace is on the clock this April with a quarterback who he has graded as a franchise quarterback, he simply has to take him. If Barkley ends up being a star, that’s just a bonus.

The Disconnect

Maybe I’m reading too much into some pretty basic comments but it seems there is a disconnect between the coaching staff and the front office.

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Brandon Marshall Fine Continuing NFL’s Disgraceful Treatment of Mental Illness

| December 1st, 2016

The following piece originally ran on DBB on May 19, 2014. Two years later the NFL is finally allowing players to showcase their personal causes on the field. It’s probably the best thing ever published in this space, non-game related.


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Josh Marks liked to cook. He was good enough at cooking and handsome enough to land a spot on the television program MasterChef. He finished second. At twenty-six years old and with a seemingly limitless future before him, Marks took his own life Friday. In a CNN article Marks’ family recount the young man’s struggles with mental health issues, with the family lawyer going so far as to say “It is overwhelming to think that with proper, intensive treatment, Joshua may still be with us.”

He was found dead by his mother in an alleyway on Chicago’s south side.

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