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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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Notes from Day Three of Bears Camp

| August 1st, 2016

Bears Offense

• Context is the most important thing when it comes to evaluating training camp, but it often gets lost in the shuffle.

That was my biggest takeaway from Bears training camp Saturday morning as I watched the team run through routine drills before a few sessions of 11-on-11 scrimmaging. Daniel Braverman is too crafty for the Jacoby Glenns of the world to stand a chance, but does that mean he’s really standing out? He has stood out in the way that he’s caught more passes than any other player in camp, that he’s clearly better than Kieran Duncan and Derek Keaton, but the constant reports about him excelling are misleading because of who he is competing with and against.

There is an inherent problem with moving Braverman up the depth chart: Is he better than Marc Mariani? I don’t think he is and Mariani towers over Braverman (you don’t understand the size difference until you see them standing side-by-side. Mariani is significantly bigger). I expect Braverman to continue to stand out against the bottom of the depth chart guys and that should earn him a roster spot. I’d warn against anyone suggesting he’s going to earn actual playing time this season, however.

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Ka’Deem Carey Enters Camp as the Ultimate Wildcard

| July 13th, 2016

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Ka’Deem Carey is entering his third training camp with the Bears. And he has just as good a chance to start as he has to be cut.

While neither of those outcomes are particularly likely, they are realistic. There aren’t that many players in the league facing similar circumstances. Two years into his career, it’s impossible to know what Carey’s role will be.

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Forte’s Exit Leaves Hole at Running Back

| February 18th, 2016

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There is no question Matt Forte lost a step and little disagreement about the Bears decision to let him go. But the reality of the situation is that by exiling Forte the club has created a big hole at the running back position. Forte, even after injury and the emergence of Jeremy Langford, was getting nearly 60 percent of the carries and was the team’s best back by every conceivable measurement.

Langford is most known for his speed and explosiveness but Forte led him in runs of fifteen yards or more by the staggering total of 10-3. Ka’Deem Carey is known for running hard and breaking tackles but — according to Pro Football Focus — Forte averaged more yards after contact (2.24-2.05) and broke a tackle once every 9 touches. Carey did once every 9.2 touches.

Even if you were to combine Langford and Carey into one back, they weren’t as good as Forte. Langford averaged 1.76 yards after contact and broke a tackle once every 17 touches and Carey has never had a run longer than 15 yards. (He’s had runs longer than 10 yards just twice.) Forte also averaged about a half-yard more per carry overall than the other two combined.

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Postseason Positional Analysis Part II: Running Backs

| January 11th, 2016

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Ryan Pace went out of his way to salute the Bears running backs room in his postseason presser and why wouldn’t he? Matt Forte, Jeremy Langford and Ka’Deem Carey were arguably the most versatile and dynamic backfield in the league.

Forte can do everything. Langford looks like he’ll be able to do everything. Carey was the ideal third back, most useful in short yardage and down around the goal line. (He also contributed on specials.)

Six weeks ago I would have said the Bears were crazy to re-sign Forte at his age and somewhat declining skills but my tune has changed significantly. Why? A few reasons.

(1) Bears are building a power run offensive line and having two top of the line backs was how John Fox found success in Carolina.

(2) Short passing game is essential to this offense and Bears may not be ready to allow Langford to exclusively assume that role as he’s been far too inconsistent catching the ball in big spots.

(3) Forte is still really good and there’s no reason to believe he’s going to fall off the cliff in 2016. Bears shouldn’t break the bank and bring him in on a long-term deal but two years at $5M per is reasonable and fair.

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FrontRowTickets.com Game Preview: Welcome to the Brock!

| November 20th, 2015

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The Bears now have a chance to find .500 by beating Brock Osweiler at home. A win would thrust them into playoff consideration and create Must See TV on Thanksgiving night at Lambeau. And so the season continues for one of the most entertaining Chicago Bears teams in recent memory.

THE GAME POEM

In Denver I ate a hot dog once

It was bigger than expected

The stuff they piled on was fine

The dog itself neglected

Don’t sell me on your franks, dear sir

Because they’re wrapped in bacon

The wiener is the thing, kind sir

The other shit is fakin’

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Thoughts on the Fourth Preseason Game:

| September 4th, 2015

On the offensive side…

• It’s gonna be a little difficult to cut David Fales now. After a slow start, Fales looked pretty good. Of course, you have to consider who he was going against, but he threw the ball well and moved well out of the pocket. He probably isn’t going to be a starting quarterback, but it’s hard to find even adequate backups and Fales has that potential. What do they have to lose by keeping him around? Is there really that big of a difference between Fales and Jimmy Clausen?

• Not playing Zac Dysert until late in the game makes sense if the Bears know what they have and he has a roster spot locked up. If not, why sign him in the first place?

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What To Watch For In The Most Meaningless Game

| September 3rd, 2015

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Remember last year when David Fales hit Santonio Holmes and Holmes made a move before scoring a 32-yard touchdown? Holmes looked like an NFL wide receiver when, in reality, he was just a veteran playing with a bunch of young players. It didn’t translate, just as nothing from the fourth preseason game does. Veterans usually look good because they’re going against rookies and we can’t tell if one group of rookies stinks or if the other is good.

But here is some stuff to watch for:

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Five Things I’d Like To See as the Bears Progress Towards the Regular Season

| August 10th, 2014

(1) I’d like to see the Bears interchange Eric Weems and Josh Morgan on the first team offense this week. (I had forgotten about Morgan’s most boneheaded moment in Washington until I did a bit of searching.)

(2) I’d like to see Chris Williams rebound quickly from his hamstring pull but I fear that won’t be the case. Hamstring injuries and speed receivers can be a dicey proposition but his skill set is a perfect complement to Bears star receivers.

(3) I’d like to see Jordan Palmer and Jimmy Clausen given a shot with the first-team talent. How much can we really learn from these two quarterbacks dodging defenders behind the second offensive line and throwing passes to Michael Spurlock? History tells us the Bears will need their backup quarterback at some point during the regular season. It would be good to know which is most comfortable with skill players.

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