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Because I’m Not Done Talking About Mitch Trubisky…

| May 10th, 2017

Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Bears traded up in the 2017 NFL Draft to get their future. If Ryan Pace & Co. are right about Mitch Trubisky, the Bears are looking at a decade plus of sustained, consistent success. If they are wrong, Bears fans are about three years away from another change in leadership.

Yesterday I had a friend on the golf course repeat the completely debunked “fleeced” narrative to me. You know, the one about how Genius John Lynch took all of Gullible Ryan Pace’s money over a street corner game of three-card monte. Fleeced, they say. FLEECED?!?! The Bears gave up some mid-round picks in order to attain theirs (and basically the entire league’s) most highly-rated quarterback in the draft. They didn’t trade Jordan Howard, Kyle Long and two future firsts. They didn’t even go so far as to give up a pristine, beautiful, perfect second-round selection. They gave up some thirds. A fourth. And got their guy.

[For those who haven’t read Peter King’s piece from inside the Niners draft war room, please read it. His reporting was terrific.]

What has been completely lost in the Trubisky conversation/debate is this: the kid is a great prospect. Not good. Not interesting. Great. In my mind, he was light years above the others in this quarterbacking crop and significantly better than either of the top quarterbacks from a year ago.

[For those who think this is me defending the Bears, Trubisky was my second favorite player in this draft. I have a blog where I write things. This is on the record HERE.]

Trubisky has size, speed, elusiveness, arm strength, intelligence, guts and – perhaps most importantly – he’s all football, all the time. The Tarheel signal caller may not pan out as one of the league’s best quarterbacks but it won’t be because he hasn’t put in every single second required to do so.

Oh, and that guy described above? He’s on the Bears now! He’s on the Bears because they have a general manager who knew Mike Glennon is nothing more than a guy who could have carried the water for a year should the team had been unable to attain a quarterback in this year’s draft. They have a general manager who recognizes ‘good enough’ at quarterback in the NFL is never good enough.

When Jerry Angelo made the boldest move in modern Chicago Bears history – giving up a pile of picks to acquire Jay Cutler – it changed the franchise for the next decade. Did it work out? No. For a myriad of overly-analyzed and debated reasons the Bears didn’t win enough games with Cutler at quarterback. Was it the right move to make? Unquestionably.

The second boldest move in modern Chicago Bears history happened Thursday night, April 27th, about fifteen minutes after the 2017 NFL Draft commenced. In the long-term it could provide the Bears their Aaron Rodgers and cement Pace’s legacy in Chicago. In the short-term it has lined the mirror and handed a rolled up $20 bill to Bears fans and media. A quiet coffee shop of an off-season program and Bourbonnais summer has become 2 AM at Limelight in the 80s.

For years we heard defensive coordinator Greg Blache tell us sacks were not important when it comes to pass rush. When while wide receivers were dominating the game, we watched Angelo ignore the position year after year after year. Now the Bears are led by a man aware of his surroundings and unafraid to dramatically alter them in an attempt to improve. It’s called guts, folks, and the Bears GM has ’em.

He’s taken the risk. Now we all hope to reap the reward. And in the meantime, there’s a buzz about the Bears again.

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Even on his way out, Jay Cutler Is Unappreciated

| March 12th, 2017

Editor’s Note: This will likely be the last column about Jay Cutler to appear on this blog after the last 9 years of intense conversation and debate. I’d like to thank Jay for everything he gave this organization. He played the toughest game on earth, played it broken half the time, and then had to deal with a city and media that never gave him a fair shot. I wish him nothing but success moving forward. -JH.


Brad Biggs just couldn’t help himself, couldn’t hide his bias. In a story that was supposed to be about praising new Bears quarterback Mike Glennon, the Tribune reporter decided to take two shots as Cutler as he prepares to leave town – questioning his leadership and production.

The Bears didn’t win enough games with Cutler. He didn’t put up monster statistics. But Cutler was a good quarterback for a team that has never had good quarterbacks and now we all have to go back and see how the other half lives.

Jay Cutler will exit Chicago without any appreciation for how he played for the Bears.

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Four Thoughts on the Cutler Trade Leak

| February 22nd, 2017

Took the evening to sleep on Jeff Darlington’s news break that the Bears have opened discussions around the league about trading their starting quarterback of the last eight seasons. Here are three thoughts.

  • The last line of Darlington’s story is wrong: “Ultimately, the Bears have now proven willing to move on from Cutler without a replacement in place.” I don’t think this is the case at all. I believe Cutler’s fate in Chicago was sealed by Brian Hoyer’s efficiently unspectacular mid-season performances and if Hoyer had not gotten hurt, Cutler was never getting back on the field. The Bears are confident BH will be back (and probably starting in September) should they venture into the rookie pool for a QB.
  • 2010-2013 and 2015. Look at those seasons for Cutler. Production was not a problem. Injuries were. Much of the current Cutler hatred is wrapped up in the travesty that was the 2014 season. For some reason, Cutler is the only person who has paid a long-term price for a year where the Bears had an historically-awful defense and a head coach with his head 3 feet below water.
  • Best spot for Jay? Houston. Worst spot for Jay? The Jets. Where will he end up? I’m betting the latter.
  • This now guarantees the Bears will get someone young for the QB position. Does that mean first round? Second round? Third round? Jimmy Garoppolo? Who knows. But someone is coming into the building with the potential to be the future at the position.

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Finding A Quarterback: Ranking the Veterans

| February 21st, 2017

While some have argued that this is a bad year to need a quarterback, I strongly disagree. Over the last few weeks, I have spent countless hours watching and breaking down all of the popular veteran options the Bears may turn to in hopes of fixing their quarterback position this off-season. Below you will find a ranking of those players, not just in terms of talent but with cost and long-term viability figured in.

9. Mike Glennon

Some are reporting that Glennon is going to get big money to start somewhere. I’m not sure I believe that. He’s not accurate, mobile or particularly smart with the ball. He was Josh McCown’s backup.

8. Matt Barkley

It’s long been forgotten but Barkley did a lot of good things with the Bears last year. He just can’t keep throwing interceptions at the rate that he has throughout his career. I can’t help but wonder what a full off-season with this offense and coaching staff could do for him. He shouldn’t be brought back as a starter, but there are a lot of teams with worse backups.

7. A.J. McCarron

Maybe the biggest problem with McCarron is the cost. The Bears would have to give up a draft pick and then sign him to a new contract. This is fine if he’s a good, starting-caliber quarterback. I just don’t think McCarron is.

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Finding A Quarterback: The Roster

| January 10th, 2017

When Ryan Pace was asked what he was looking for in a quarterback he might as well have said “not Jay Cutler.”

We’ve come a long way since last season’s season-ending press conference when Pace talked about building around Cutler. The best quarterback in the history of the franchise missed 11 games and was their least productive quarterback last season. Pace made it pretty clear that his days with the team are numbered.

When asked what attributes he looks for in a quarterback, the young Bears GM specified availability and ball security, Cutler’s two biggest weaknesses. Cutler was intercepted on 3.6 percent of his passes last year and his career average of 3.3 percent is worse than everyone on earth but Ryan Fitzpatrick. Cutler has also missed 23 games due to injury over the last six years. The fact that he missed so much time this season, with separate injuries, at 33 years old, doesn’t work in his favor.

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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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Across The Middle — Week 13

| November 30th, 2016

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The fall guy for the 2016 Chicago Bears is most likely going to be Dowell Loggains and really, it’s too bad.

The Bears are 11 games into a miserable season and next-to-last in points per game, which could tell you the Bears have a terrible offensive coordinator. But I am just not sure that is true. The Bears should’ve won and should’ve scored at least 34 points last week with their JV offense.

This is a results-based industry, I get it. But isn’t there something to be said about having the Bears in the middle of the pack in yards with the majority of their snaps being taken by Matt Barkley and Brian Hoyer? No, they didn’t score with Jay Cutler either. But Cutler has been hurt all season. And, come to think of it, the only coaches who have scored a lot of points with Cutler are Mike Martz and Marc Trestman. Even the great Mike Shanahan never finished better than 16th in scoring with Cutler has his quarterback.

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Across The Middle — Week 12

| November 23rd, 2016

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So, now what?

Over the last two weeks the Bears have lost 10 starters to injury or suspension, including six on offense. Some of them will come back, but the starting quarterback won’t and his backup is already gone. Matt Barkley is going to make it next to impossible for the Bears to win or evaluate any of the other offensive players. So the Bears have six games left in which they can’t accomplish anything.

I know some fans are happy that the Bears will “tank” and end up with a high draft pick, but this won’t be any fun. I would love for every game to be meaningful, instead we’re wasting six weeks of our NFL fan lives, which will make the wait for next year even more excruciating.

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