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Peanut Belongs In The Hall of Fame

| July 20th, 2016

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Administrative Note: This will be the first of 300 columns with the same headline.

When the 2021 NFL Hall of Fame Class is announced, Charles Tillman’s name should be on the list.

It’s not going to happen. Tillman spent his career being thought of as just a local hero even though he played in a major media market on a team that regularly had one of the best defenses in the NFL. While Tillman was one of the best players in the NFL, he was never really recognized for it.

Charles Woodson is a lock to be on that list. Tillman was a better player.

Woodson was most known for his ability to take the ball away, but he wasn’t necessarily better at that than Tillman. Woodson had a combined 98 interceptions and forced fumbles in 254 games. Peanut had 82 in 168 games. If you were to average that out to a 16 game season, Tillman would’ve averaged nearly eight per season, compared to around six for Woodson.

Woodson had more interceptions, but even there the difference isn’t great. Woodson averaged 4.1 interceptions per 16 games, while Tillman was at 3.6. While he could take the ball away, Woodson wasn’t nearly as good in coverage as Tillman was (the Packers typically put Tramon Williams on the other team’s best receiver).

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Position-by-Position at the Bye: Linebackers & Secondary

| October 30th, 2014

NFL: Chicago Bears at Atlanta Falcons

The following is part of a series of position-by-position breakdowns at the halftime point of the 2014 season.

Shea McClellin had a breakout game and broke his hand in practice the following week.

Jon Bostic had a breakout game and his back decided it had enough.

Darryl Sharpton had a breakout game and has been relegated to situational defense since for some reason.

Lance Briggs can’t stay on the field. D.J. Williams is a useful if unspectacular player in the middle. Khaseem Greene struggles as the Bears can’t find a position for him and the sample size is far too small to evaluate Christian Jones.

The unit as a whole deserves credit for helping to improve last year’s porous run defense and some blame for their struggles in coverage. But when a team has found themselves starting their fourth, fifth and sixth linebackers in a game how fair an evaluation can one actually provide?

Grade: Incomplete

Note: The Bears won’t do this but they should go full youth movement at the position over the second half of the season. Sit D.J. Williams. Sit Lance Briggs. Find out what you have in a combination of Sharpton, Bostic, Jones. Move McClellin around and see where, if anywhere, he can be most productive. Bears have eight games to learn what they have at linebacker for the next several years. To misuse that time would be a terrible mistake.

Keep reading to learn how bad the secondary has been!

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Audibles From the Long Snapper: Briggs Couldn’t Lead a Conga Line, Jones a Nogo…

| October 22nd, 2014

audibles

IS LANCE BRIGGS OVER YET?

Per a Patrick Finley report in the Sun-Times (and many other reports), Lance Briggs left the Bears locker room during Brandon Marshall’s tirade after the team’s humiliating loss to the Dolphins:

“I just left because I could see where things were kinda going,” he said on his weekly Comcast Sports Net show, which airs Tuesday night. “And I knew that when you get emotional there are moments when, you get in an argument and both people are emotional, you’re not going to get anywhere, continuing to argue.”

So let me get this straight. Lance Briggs is the team’s most veteran presence and supposedly leader of an entire side of the ball. Instead of sharing his views with Marshall and the team or, you know, leading…he LEFT THE LOCKER ROOM?! Has any player revealed themselves to have less character over these past two seasons than Lance Briggs? From his Twitter outbursts regarding the team moving on from veterans to his refusal to speak with media for much of 2013, Briggs has become a player whose brilliant prime in Chicago is starting to fill like a distant memory.

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Audibles Deuce: Negativity After One Week, Briggs Out to Sea, Parcells & “Orientals”

| September 10th, 2014

audibles

NEGATIVITY OVERLOAD

Let me point you in the direction of two Tweets, both catching my eye in the last twenty-hour hours.

First…

Up with to look for Bears silver linings at 6 a.m. on . Think it might be a short conversation?

Second…

Does think the season is still salvageable? 9:52

Looking for silver linings? Salvageable? The Bears have played one game this season, a game where they were clearly the better team but made ridiculous mistakes, and the default response of seemingly everyone covering the club is defeatist. These sad tones or moods or whatever you want to call them osmotically transfer from newspaper pages, radio waves and television screens directly into the hearts and minds around the Chicagoland.

I’ve come to terms with the media covering the Bears. They prey upon the inherent desire of Bears fans to go negative by feeding the negative beast. But I applaud the fan who believes. I applaud the fan who’ll be sitting on a bar stool or couch Sunday evening believing the Bears will beat the 49ers and set their 2014 back on the right path. I applaud the fan who understands, win or lose, watching the Chicago Bears play their 16 guaranteed games a season is still one of life’s greatest joys.

Many don’t realize until it’s too late in life but what I’m about to say is true. Being negative is easy. Being jaded is a cop out. It is the people who put themselves out there and believe – in their lives, careers, sports teams, anything – who experience the great joys in life.

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On Masters Week, Nine Holes Bears Must Fill to Succeed in 2014

| April 8th, 2014

masters

I love golf. And while most golf fans are down on their knees with their mouths in the lap of Augusta National, I am more reserved. I think Augusta is, for the most part, the most self-indulgent sports entity in creation and The Open Championship is my favorite tournament. But I still get excited for the first major championship of the season and it seems a convenient way to put a column together.

Here are nine issues, nine holes, still facing the 2014 Bears.

Hole #1 Tea Olive

The Bears don’t currently have a good safety on the roster. Is it possible Ryan Mundy will thrive at the strong safety position after showing limited flashes in both Pittsburgh and New York? Yes. But ask yourself this question: if Mundy were a budding star, why would the two best run organizations in the sport, both with proud lineages on defense, let him walk out the door?

And while Chris Conte has been the subject of ridicule, he’s a capable free safety if his run-stopping assignments are limited. His lack of availability for the bulk of training camp won’t help build his confidence heading into the 2014 season. I see his days in Chicago numbered.

Hole #2 Pink Dogwood

The Bears will have to win a game or two with Jordan Palmer playing quarterback. History says what history says and history says Jay Cutler will get banged up at some point during the season. Today, that would mean Palmer steps under center.

Side note: I could have written the same thing, with Josh McCown’s name a year ago and it turned out not to be a hole. But McCown at least has a MINOR track record in the sport. Palmer does not.

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Chicago Bears at Philadelphia Eagles Game Preview

| December 19th, 2013

kyle long

Relevant games in mid-to-late December are the most fun time to operate this site for two reasons: (1) Traffic numbers go through the roof and (2) Fans barely need the final whistle of Sunday’s game to begin thinking about the following Sunday’s game. Once the Detroit Lions pulled a Detroit Lions and lost to Baltimore, Bears fans became ravenously obsessed with the Philadelphia Eagles in primetime. And it is the most difficult match-up as the Bears defense will face all season.

So…

Why do I like the Chicago Bears this week?

I always like the Chicago Bears.

  • Here is the statistic I think will tell the story Sunday: touchdown percentage. That’s not a stat, you say? Sure it is. Philadelphia will have every opportunity to keep the ball away from Chicago by merely handing the thing to LeSean McCoy over and over again. Whichever team scores more touchdowns per possession wins. (I think no less than 4 TDs wins game.)
  • There are two possible approaches for Trestman Sunday night. (1) Spread the Eagles out and attack a terrible secondary. (2) Rely on the run game and boys up front to keep the ball away from Chip Kelly’s offense. I would put the ball in the hands of Marshall, Jeffery and the Bennetts quickly to force these weak tacklers to tackle. Once that approach finds some success the run lanes will be girthy.

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