311 Comments

Bears Sign Cardinals OT Bobby Massie, Move Kyle Long Back Inside

| March 9th, 2016

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Three thoughts:

  • Massie is a solid, professional tackle. He’s not elite but the Bears don’t necessarily need elite on the right edge.
  • I was excited earlier today thinking the Bears might sign Jeff Allen to play right guard. Instead they’ll start one of the best guards in the sports: Kyle Long.
  • Love that this Bears front office doesn’t run from roster deficiencies. Stubborn regimes of yesteryear would have kept Long outside and ignored a majority of the 2015 tape.

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99 Comments

Postseason Positional Analysis Part V: Offensive Line

| January 14th, 2016

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This is, by far, the hardest position group to evaluate within an organization because it is not only an evaluation of individual performance but also of the collective whole.

THE GUARANTEES

  • Kyle Long is playing somewhere along the offensive line in 2016, most likely where he played the 2015 season. While the world has panicked at Long’s struggles at times this season, the organization – and more importantly the player – have not. Long will be on the Bears for the foreseeable future.
  • Matt Slauson would rank just behind Jay Cutler as my Bears MVP for 2015. Slauson excelled at two positions, rescuing the Bears from multiple moments of desperation at center. His versatility is developing into his finest asset as the former Jet can now line up at three positions along the line.

COMING BACK

  • Hroniss Grasu will most likely be the starting center in 2016 after the Bears put him through an extensive offseason of work. He needs to get bigger. He needs to get stronger. And it will be one of the major priorities for the offensive coaching staff this spring and summer.

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326 Comments

Across The Middle With Andrew Dannehy

| January 6th, 2016

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• “Of course everybody’s frustrated, man. We were 6-10, that’s not acceptable.” That quote in itself may not mean a whole lot to most, but, to me I see it as Ryan Pace not losing track of the fact that he is in charge of a bad team. There seem to be quite a few people who have lost track of that fact. The pressure is on Pace and John Fox to make sure 6-10 doesn’t happen again and they know it.

• Going 1-7 at home isn’t OK, but five of the losses came to playoff teams and another came with a preseason lineup against a team that went 6-2 down the stretch. I’m not going to freak out about it that much.

• All of the talk about Jay Cutler’s decrease in interceptions was pretty dumb. You saw on Sunday, a lot of times, the interceptions are more about dumb luck. He’s just as good now as he’s always been.

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Preseason Bears Roster Falls To Lions (Rapid Fire)

| January 4th, 2016

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Another coin flip game, another coin flip loss. No reason to dissect every element so here are a few thoughts from inside the ballpark you might find interesting.

  • John Timu ran the defense. And I mean ran it. Called the signals, made adjustments, pursued on every play. You’d have thought he was a six-year veteran. Impressive stuff.
  • Kyle Long could barely walk at times after his early injury. He’s a tough SOB. But I kept wondering what reasons Bears could have to keep marching him out there.
  • Pernell McPhee’s criticism of Bears fans at Soldier Field is warranted. The noise produced downstairs – from goal line to goal line – is slight. Most of those people seem to have no understanding of when a home crowd is needed. They were louder for the Dunkin Donuts race on the big screen than any third down on defense.

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Across The Middle With Andrew Dannehy

| December 23rd, 2015

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• I hate to be “that guy”, but this is now three straight games that the Bears have barely bothered to show up for. We can talk all we want about a culture change and can claim it has already happened, but, to me, it’s pretty clear that John Fox still has a lot of work to do. At this point, it would be a surprise if they didn’t finish with the same record they finished with last year.

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FrontRowTickets.com Game Preview: Bears Try to End the Losing in Minnesota

| December 18th, 2015

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Sell Chicago Bears Tickets

8-8 is still on the table. 3-3 in the division is still on the table. Neither remains there if the Bears lose in Minnesota Sunday. I don’t think a John Fox team ever lacks for motivation and this one has no reason to.

THE GAME POEM

“Shall fair ladies never learn that I,
from blows me shielding, backward turned me;
nor shall ever Ingibiorg taunt me,
in Sigtuna sitting, that from sword-blows I fled.”

-From the Old Norse poem, Hialmar’s Death Song

3 THOUGHTS ON THE MINNESOTA VIKINGS

  • Blaine Gabbert, Kirk Cousins and now Teddy Bridgewater. The Bears are facing three very similar quarterbacks in a row and Bridgewater might be the most limited of the bunch. As a quarterback he does two things I don’t like consistently: (a) he doesn’t create plays with his legs when he feels pressure in the pocket and (b) he doesn’t stretch defenses with his arm. He’s a quick read/quick toss dink-and-dunker. If the Bears play soft on the outside, they deserve to have the ball moved on them.
  • Hard to evaluate the Vikings defense in recent weeks as arguably their three best defenders have been on the bench. But Linval Joseph and Harrison Smith returned to the practice field this week and there’s a very slight (very) chance Anthony Barr will give it a go Sunday. It shouldn’t be expected that any of them are 100% but their presence in the lineup can only be positive.
  • Minnesota is arguably the best kick return team in the league. (They already did some damage against the Bears this season.) The Bears coverage units can’t allow the Vikings to score on specials or play on short fields. Although, with the way the football is leaving Robbie’s foot these days, I’d expect the Vikings to have several shots to make a game-changing play on specials.

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A Reason For Optimism: Rapid Fire Reactions to the Bears Opening Day Loss to Green Bay

| September 14th, 2015

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There is reason for optimism in the Kingdom of Bears Fans today. With a brand new collection of coaches installing a brand new scheme the Bears went toe-to-toe with a better foe and for a majority of the game held their own. Give Rick Morrissey, a guy I generally don’t care for, a lot of credit for this passage:

The Bears looked like a professional football team Sunday, no small thing after last season’s debacle, though they still walked away 31-23 losers. There are no moral victories in the NFL, but there are losses that don’t stink to high heaven. This was one of them.

It will be a long year, but maybe it won’t be the kidney stone many of us thought it would be.

Here are my rapid fire thoughts.

  • Jay Cutler threw the crucial interception. Aaron Rodgers did not. Rodgers never does.
  • On the Cutler pick, this wasn’t a typical pick. He was duped into that interception. He didn’t try to force a pass into a tight window.
  • Packers had to make every single play to win this game. James Jones was heroic. Eddie Lacy pulled in one-handers. Clay Matthews chased down sure thing touchdowns. Did the Bears have anyone on their offense do anything exceptional?
  • Catch the ball, Forte.
  • Paging Pernell McPhee. Come in, Pernell McPhee. (Side note: I earned this will become a thing if McPhee no shows a few games. Ravens have a history of letting the right guys walk out the door.)
  • With the complete absence of a pass rush it’s hard to complain about the secondary’s overall performance. Fangio didn’t get overly aggressive with blitz packages. Approach seemed vanilla but that may require a second viewing.

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Audibles From the Long Snapper: Goldman, Allen, Long & Some Odd Stuff From My Email Box

| August 10th, 2015

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Reason for Optimism on Defense?

Two passages from Patrick Finley in the Sun-Times. First, could Eddie Goldman’s emergence allow the Bears to move Ratliff to defensive end?

Calling his second-round pick a “big, square body,” Bears coach John Fox praised rookie nose tackle Eddie Goldman’s performance the past 10 days.

“That’s why we drafted him where we did,” he said Saturday. “He’s had a good camp so far. We’ll get back to camp and evaluate the tape and have a better evaluation.”

Friday, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said Jeremiah Ratliff could play either nose or defensive end. If Goldman keeps playing well, it would be little surprise to see him start in the middle on opening day.

Second, are we about to see the emergence of Jared Allen as situational pass rusher? Seems he thrived at the position in Pernell McPhee’s absence.

With starter Pernell McPhee held out because of a coach’s decision, outside linebacker Jared Allen saw additional snaps at his new position Saturday.

He might have been the scrimmage MVP, too, after “sacking” second-string quarterback Jimmy Clausen and batting down one of his passes.

Third, what the hell is the Sun-Times doing with their web design? There is not a newspaper in America with a sloppier, less focused presentation. When you see designs like these it is very easy to understand why newspapers around the nation re being led into the ground.

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Bears Should Keep Kyle Long at Tackle

| June 25th, 2015

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The Bears downplayed Kyle Long playing tackle during their offseason program, but their intent is clear and they should make the move permanent.

The difficult part of moving Long to tackle is already done. He was one of the best guards in the league and the previous regime convinced him that’s where he would be best in the NFL. He stated he did not want to change positions yet there he was in a changed position. That tells you all you need to know about John Fox’s ability to communicate with players and Long’s willingness to do what is best for the team.

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Grasu Pick Not Sexy, But Substantial

| May 5th, 2015

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“His makeup is outstanding. When you talk about work ethic, team captain, leadership all those traits that we stress around here, he brings those to the table.”

-Ryan Pace

The Bears expect Kevin White to be a star but third-round pick Hroniss Grasu could be the most important piece of establishing their new identity. Taking Grasu in the third round wasn’t sexy and wasn’t expected, but it’s not unlike 1998 when the Bears spent the 64th pick on Olin Kreutz. One major difference: Grasu’s impact should be felt more immediately.

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