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Five Quick Thoughts on the Next Few Weeks For the Chicago Bears

| February 26th, 2015

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As many of you know, this is not the place to come for draft analysis in February. I will write about the draft EXTENSIVELY for the two weeks prior to the draft. There is no more than that required if you’ve watched ALL of college football for four months in the fall.

  • Matt Forte Tweeting about a perceived lack of commitment from the Bears organization is telling. Someone in his camp got wind of the Bears mentioning him in potential trade deals. If they didn’t we are meant to believe Forte, a seasoned vet, is lashing out emotionally on social media because of erroneous blog reports. If the Bears can trade Forte – with only a year remaining on his contract – they should do so. Of course they have to get something for him but if they have no intention of retaining his services beyond 2015, what is the point of not accepting a mid-round pick for him this coming month?
  • Seems the new Bears brain trust respects the work of the old Bears brain trust. Signing of both Hurst and Louis-Jean to two-year extensions signals to me, once again, Phil Emery is no longer running the Bears for one reason: he hired Marc Trestman.
  • Josh McCown is set to make his decision on landing spot over the next few days and I’m hoping he chooses Chicago. I then hope the Bears make an announcement that Cutler and McCown will battle for the starting gig in training camp. Will Cutler win that competition? Of course. But it will send the message to Cutler that he can be replaced at any point in the 2015 campaign by a player who has the confidence of the coaching staff and respect of locker room.

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Lovie Smith Returneth: Tampa Bay Bucs at Chicago Bears Game Preview

| November 20th, 2014

They won a game. My lord of lords, they have won a game. Did they beat a rookie quarterback playing in frozen conditions for the first time in his entire existence? Maybe. Do the Buccaneers come to town with a head coach and quarterback desperate to show the Soldier Field faithful and Halas Hall hierarchy what they’re missing? Absolutely. So…

Why do I like the Chicago Bears this week?

I always like the Chicago Bears.

A SUNDAY TO LEGITIMIZE ANOTHER SUNDAY

The Bears victory over the Minnesota Vikings means nothing if they lose Sunday. These two games, the first destination on Marc Trestman’s road map to retain his job, are a package deal.

Winning both enables the Bears to play a game with at least some meaning on Thanksgiving Day in Detroit. You might argue the stench of back-to-back embarrassments against arguably the league’s two best teams is too overwhelming to overcome no matter what happens against lower level competition. That’s a fair argument but I think a misguided one. The Bears returning to national television with an opportunity to even their record at 6-6 is a significant step for an organization left for dead two weeks ago. From 6-6, with 3 of their final 4 at home, Trestman and company can begin selling a run of the table to the locker room. Whether they achieve that goal or not is relatively unimportant. Believing there is a goal to be achieved means the players will be severely motivated in December.

Losing Sunday to the Bucs, one of the league’s worst teams, will hurt Trestman terribly in Chicago. If this offense can not find motivation against their former coach they will never find motivation. And if they can’t beat the two-win Bucs at home there will be nothing the coaching staff can say in the locker room to convince players this season has any possible reward.

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Three Thoughts as Free Agency Slows Down…

| March 21st, 2014

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If you follow DaBearsBlog on Twitter, you know that I’m going to win a billion dollars soon. So…I got that going for me. Which is nice. In the meantime I’ll continue living my life among the not-so-rich.

Three thoughts…

  1. Everyone spent a month telling me that Lovie Smith was going to purge the Bears roster of all their talented players. Everyone spent a month telling me the allure of Lovie Smith would be too great for them. Corey Wootton. Minnesota. Henry Melton. Dallas. Julius Peppers. Green Bay. Charles Tillman. Home. Devin Hester. Atlanta. Major Wright. Mutual of Omaha. The only player Lovie pulled off the Bears roster was a man who owes his career renaissance to the man replacing Lovie. Is that ironic? It might be. I’m actually not sure.
  2. I don’t understand fan reaction to players leaving their favorite team. There is no reason to root against Josh McCown or Devin Hester or Henry Melton now that they’re no longer a Chicago Bear. If there was no salary cap, all of these men would remain in the navy blue and orange for years to come but running a modern organization is about making difficult decisions without the luxury of sentiment. I hope Devin Hester breaks the record Week One for Atlanta, as long as the Bears don’t open the season there. Because nobody will remember him returning kicks for the Falcons. They’ll remember him returning kicks on the Drive.
  3. A majority of the Tweets and emails I receive ask one question, “Who do you see the Bears drafting with the fourteenth pick?” Here is my answer: I don’t know. But one thing I truly believe is that no position on the defensive side of the ball is off the table. Yes there are pressing needs at DT and safety but if Emery identifies a potentially game-changing pass rusher, he’s taking him. If he identifies a potential shutdown corner, he’s taking him. I don’t think any of the moves made in free agency actually influence the draft approach, despite what Emery said in his press conference. As a matter of fact, I think Emery’s press conference statement that free agency will clue the media in to his draft approach is an old fashioned, transparent smokescreen.

Enjoy the weekend, poor people.

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Bears-Related Thoughts on the Second Day of Free Agency

| March 12th, 2014

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The Backup QB

The Bears now find themselves (possibly) in the market for a backup quarterback with Josh McCown receiving $10M and the starting job (already) from Lovie Smith and the Tampa Bay Bucs. I never expected McCown to leave Chicago because I never expected (a) anyone to offer him a starting job off 2013 and (b) anyone to pay him that much cash.

My belief is the Bears are comfortable with Jordan Palmer as a veteran backup to Jay Cutler but I wouldn’t be surprised to see the club explore options with potential like Brandon Weeden and Mark Sanchez. As for the draft, I continue to believe the Bears will kick the tires on QB but not until very late in the proceedings. The first 3-4 picks must be spent on the defensive side of the ball.

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Audibles From the Long Snapper: McCown, Peanut’s Payton Award, Longsnapper.com & More

| January 20th, 2014

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PFT: McCown Set to Play in 2014

From Florio at Pro Football Talk:

It’s unclear whether McCown will return to Chicago.  Because he signed a one-year deal under the minimum-salary benefit in 2013, the Bears can’t sign him until he actually becomes a free agent on March 11.  That now follows a three-day period during which McCown’s agent can engage in discussions with other teams.

With the Bears devoting $22.5 million in cap space to Cutler for the coming year, the Bears likely won’t have much in the budget for McCown.  Any team that views him as a potential starter would surely outbid the Bears.

Josh McCown is a different kind of guy and I don’t see him jumping to a terrible team for a few extra million dollars. Does he really want to be the caretaker quarterback in a place like Jacksonville or Minnesota, tutoring a rookie and waiting to be replaced? I think McCown has found a home in Chicago, in that quarterback room. And I also think he knows there’s a good chance he’s going to see the field in 2014 with a contender if he sticks around.

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Reverend’s Rant: An Attack on David Haugh [AUDIO]

| December 14th, 2013

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This is an absolutely classic. The best rant of 2013. I no longer discuss Haugh’s work on this site because in all honesty I haven’t read him since the season began. He’s a terrible writer with boring opinions. Why bother?

Also because JQ told me he’s a fan of the rants, you folks have to find your way to Chicago Shakespeare before December 22nd to see the Q Brothers Christmas Carol. It is one of the most fun nights I’ve had in the theatre in years and you should support these guys. They are one of Chicago’s great gifts to the modern theatre. For tickets and information, CLICK HERE.

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After Strong Work From the Understudy, Chicago’s Leading Man Returns to the Stage

| December 13th, 2013

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If you’ve never been to a Broadway show, you’ve never experienced the dread, the utter dread, which accompanies a small square white piece of paper dropping from your Playbill after you’ve taken your seat. The square usually reads something like:

At tonight’s performance
the role of King Lear, usually played by Brian Dennehy
will be played by Bryan Adams

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In the old days audience members would take the fall of the white paper as an opportunity to rush the box office and demand their lavish ticket price back. (Those rules have now been changed and understudies are posted on a board in the lobby before you enter the actual theatre. You miss the notice, it’s your fault.

But just as the name on the marquee has come to define the history of theatre (Lee Cobb in Death of a Salesman, Cherry Jones in Doubt, Carol Channing in Hello Dolly!) so have the names on the white paper defined and reinvigorated life for the avid theatregoer. On not-so-rare occasions audiences were rewarded for their patience with the gift of discovery. Some of the great names in theatre history stepped onto the stage for an ailing lead and seemed to never step off: Merman, Robards, Stritch…etc. Hell, Huffington Post did a top ten list on the subject a few years back.

But there are others elements to the understudy’s performance that should not be overlooked: the lowering of expectations coupled with the raising of compassion. Suddenly a dropped line or two from the understudy is tolerated because, you know, he or she is just out there doing their best. And the audience now celebrates a well-performed soliloquy or musical number with greater affection because that audience is now behind the performer. They are rooting for the little guy. This is his/her big moment!

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Audibles From the Long Snapper: QB Cap Numbers, Charity Event Photos, Bears/Browns Stats & MORE!

| December 11th, 2013

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ESCALATING QUARTERBACK CAP NUMBERS

Phil Emery wants to build a championship contender in 2014 and he knows that tying up too much money in a single position can drastically effect his ability to plug needs, mostly on the defensive side of the ball. If Emery franchises Jay Cutler, the cap number for next season is thought to be between 16 and 17 million. That money is a directly assault on the salary cap. Here’s a bit from a NFP post from Brad Biggs on the Aaron Rodgers deal:

Now, Rodgers is on the books for seven seasons – through 2019 – at a total of $130.75 million, an average of $18,678,571 per season. Probably the best part of the contract for the team is the salary cap numbers never get out of whack. That is good for Rodgers too because those issues can lead to restructures and players getting cut. Here are his cap numbers through the life of the deal:

2013 $12 million
2014 $17.9 million
2015 $18.6 million
2016 $19.6 million
2017 $20.65 million
2018 $20.9 million
2019 $21.1 million

When Emery said he didn’t like the idea of using the tag on Jay Cutler in 2014 it was not because he didn’t want Jay Cutler on the roster for next season. Emery knows a long-term extension with Cutler affords him cap wiggle room and opens the door for mid-contract restructures to fit players when necessary. If the Bears franchise Cutler and pay Josh McCown the 2-3 million he’s earned this season, they would have a larger cap hit at quarterback than the Denver Broncos and Green Bay Packers in 2014.

I will reiterate what I’ve said since the Cutler/McCown conversation began. I believe both will be back next year and I think the Bears will have the league’s best quarterbacks room. Or as Potash wrote in his Sun-Times piece, “It’s a new era in Chicago. Krenzel/Hutchinson is a problem. Cutler/McCown is a luxury. The Bears have bigger issues with three games to go.”

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Thoughts From Inside Soldier Field as Chicago Bears Whallop the Dallas Cowboys & Keep 2013 Alive

| December 10th, 2013

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It was a cold, cold evening at the ballpark but the Bears did everything they could to warm the hearts of their loyal fans in attendance. I Tweeted the following Monday afternoon:

Tonight: Marc Trestman & Bears offense need to give season statement win in front of national audience while preserving meaningful December.

That is exactly what Trestman and the offense did last night. They out-gained the Cowboys by by 150 yards (and really more). They didn’t punt the football. When they grabbed a serious lead they dialed up the run and their offensive line put the game away. Dallas’ defense is a wretched group but the Bears did what they needed to do: they dominated at home.

More thoughts:

  • I was going to write a full column on the Jay Cutler/Josh McCown scenario but I don’t have much to say that furthers the story. Nobody on earth would make the argument that McCown is a more talented player than Cutler. But Cutler isn’t out there. He isn’t playing. And sadly his inability to stay on the field is the biggest blight on his Bears tenure. If I’m Marc Trestman, I stick with the hot hand and McCown is announced my starter in Cleveland as soon as today. (We can debate Cutler’s long-term viability and worth in Chicago when that time comes. That time is not now.)

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