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Putting My Thoughts on the Trade of Martellus Bennett in One Place

| March 18th, 2016

Dec 22, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Chicago Bears tight end Martellus Bennett (83) carries the ball during the second quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. The Eagles defeated the Bears 54-11. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Twitter is not the avenue for nuance. Hopefully DBB can be. My thoughts on Martellus Bennett’s trade to New England:

  • I completely understand the trade from the front office perspective. Ryan Pace is a young GM in a high-pressure gig and he’s not going to employ anyone he views as not having bought into his program.
  • Nobody begrudges Bennett wanting more money as he’s one of the best tight ends in the league. But when his lack of commitment on the field was perceived as linked to financial demands, his hour glass flipped.
  • Hard to criticize a player for not trying hard but I’ve done so with Bennett multiple times this season. It was also very clear from watching the games that Jay Cutler didn’t believe Bennett fought hard enough for balls thrown in his direction.
  • The phrase “buy in” puts everything on Bennett. But did the Bears try and sell him? Did Pace ever sit Bennett down and explain how he can thrive in this system, with this quarterback? It was in the best interest of both parties to make this work.

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Audibles From the Long Snapper: Martellus Moves to Boston & New Long Snapper Alert!

| March 16th, 2016

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Few things of note worth weighing in on.

  • Martellus Bennett is now a Patriot. This should thrill a player who cares about one thing: money. Ryan Pace doesn’t hesitate to dump players who don’t fit the culture. But I will reiterate what I’ve said for months. Bears should have spent entire offseason convincing Marty to buy-in. They’re worse without him.
  • Bears signed former Broncos snapper Aaron Brewer to a one-year deal. Most interesting thought on the signing comes from the Twitter feed of former Bears scout Greg Gabriel: “Don’t think for a minute the Bears signing a new snapper wasn’t all about Gould’s misses last year. That’s ALL it was about.” Do I buy the snapper being to blame for Robbie blowing games? No. Do I doubt the team considers it a factor? No.
  • Per Jimmy Shapiro at Bovada the Besrs have gone from 50/1 to 40/1 to win the Super Bowl this year. Have to say that’s a substantial jump considering the lack of sexiness surrounding their free agent haul. Vegas clearly understands the Bears are better today than they were ten days ago.
  • Based on CJ Anderson’s comments (re: chasing more money to Chicago) one has to assume the Bears had interest in the Broncos back. My only question is…why?  Anderson is an okay back but can’t you find a bunch of him in the middle of the draft? And why would the Bears want to put money into a position there they could potentially have a young star at cost?
  • Zach Miller was always coming back to Chicago, barring a huge divide in compensation. I don’t play the source game but here’s something I know: Cutler lobbied Miller aggressively to return. Don’t be surprised if Miller isn’t rewarded on the stat sheet next season.

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310 Comments

Postseason Positional Analysis Part IV: Tight Ends

| January 13th, 2016

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Right now the Bears have three tight ends on the roster worth discussing. Without further adieu, the least exciting of our postseason positional analysis columns.

KHARI LEE

The strangest move of the Ryan Pace era was dealing a sixth-round pick to the Texans for Lee, a tight end who is an exclusive blocker. (His attempts to catch Cutler passes have been comical.) If you’re looking for cutting edge analysis of Lee’s work as an additional member of the offensive line, you might want to look elsewhere. In the meantime, let’s assume Lee will be back in 2016 to validate surrendering the draft pick for the acquisition.

ZACH MILLER

34 catches, 439 yards and 5 touchdowns.

Miller has been one of the best stories of the season and from the way both he and the Bears have spoken it would be a surprise to not see him back in 2016. The only question now is how the Bears create a fair contract to compensate Miller for his production while considering his injury history. 2 years, $6-8M.

MARTELLUS BENNETT

53 catches, 439 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Everyone has heard the talk and Ryan Pace’s silence all-but cemented the fact that Bennett has worn out his welcome in the Bears locker room. Pace and Fox are trying to establish a culture and Bennett clearly does not fit within that culture.

You know what? I don’t care.

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Across The Middle With Andrew Dannehy

| December 16th, 2015

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  • Once again, I’m not upset with the fact that the Bears lost, but how they lost. The Redskins have talent, probably as much or more than the Bears, but they were coming off of a short week and they can’t win on the road. Meanwhile, the Bears were coming off a disappointing loss and questions about why they can’t win at home. You’d think the Bears would be motivated, right? Nope. They came out flat again. Six flat quarters against the 49ers and Redskins very well could’ve cost them a spot in the playoffs. That isn’t acceptable. They looked like a Trestman-coached team for six straight quarters before turning it around in the second half.
  • In defense of the coaching staff, I don’t think they’re particularly worried about wins and losses right now. They’ve been coaching for the future for about 10 weeks.
  • My guess on the Kevin White situation: The Bears players and coaches fully expected him to be available, but Ryan Pace made the call.

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Simplified Offense Should Lead To Fewer Mistakes

| August 12th, 2015

Dec 22, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Chicago Bears tight end Martellus Bennett (83) carries the ball during the second quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. The Eagles defeated the Bears 54-11. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

When I was a sophomore in high school, my JV football coach opened practice with telling us his new philosophy was going to be K.I.S.S. — Keep It Simple Stupid. The thought was that the less we had to think on the field, the better we would play. It might have worked if he didn’t then try to install Gary Crowton’s spread offense after the team ran the Wishbone the year before. The Bears aren’t going from the Wishbone to the spread, but they seem intent on simplifying what they’ve done in recent years and the result should be fewer big mistakes.

Mistakes were ultimately what did the Bears offense in last year.

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Season on the Line: Bears at Packers Thread

| November 9th, 2014

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Three final thoughts heading into tonight’s game:

  • Martellus Bennett not playing tonight would be a huge blow to the Bears. Packers had no answer for Bennett during their first meeting and to expect his level of production from Rosario or Annen would be misguided. If only the Bears had two big, talented wide receivers to cover that production…
  • Someone needs a great game in the pass rush. Anyone, really.
  • Barring this game getting away from the Bears early, I’d be shocked if they run the ball less than 25-30 times with Forte and Carey. Packers are the worst run defense in the sport and Cutler is most dynamic in the play action attack. Defense can’t let Rodgers score on every possession if this is to be their approach.

Bear down.

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Position-by-Position at the Bye: Pass Catchers

| October 29th, 2014

Chicago Bears v Green Bay Packers

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

The biggest issue with grading this group? Once Forte is taken out of the mix there are only three players who can even receive a grade.

  • Here are two statistics I think explain Brandon Marshall’s lack of productivity. (1) Last year Marshall caught passes over 61% of the times he was targeted. This year that number is ten points lower, slightly above 51%. (2) Last year year Marshall had 70 first downs. This year he has 24 through 8 games. Marshall almost single-handedly won the San Francisco game, making acrobatic catches on one leg, but outside of that evening he’s been shell of his dominant self. Is injury to blame? Perhaps. But he is playing and he must be evaluated based upon that play.
  • Alshon Jeffery has been the most misused wide receiver in the sport this year. Are the Bears really so out of ideas that they’ve decided to exclusively run Devin Hester’s playbook for Jeffery? You know, bubble screen, end around, bubble screen, bad button hook that gets inevitably dropped…etc. When Jeffery has been used to stretch opposing defenses vertically (Atlanta, Jets) the passing game has thrived. But it seems to be an element drifting slowly out of the playbook.

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Better Offense Prevails: Rapid Fire Recap of the Packers Beating the Bears

| September 29th, 2014

Philadelphia Eagles v Dallas Cowboys

The Packers deserved to win. Their offense made fewer mistakes than the Bears offense. But this game left me hollow for a lot of reasons. Rapid fire…

  • The referees destroyed this game for me. Even when the Bears have been blown out I usually find my angles of watching, my momentum for the coming week. But the calls made is this game were the worst I’ve seen since Mike Holmgren and the Seahawks were jobbed out of a Super Bowl. On both sides! But the Bears defense is not good enough to overcome Aaron Rodgers being handed new sets of down on ridiculous, nonsensical calls. The hold on Bostic on the field goal? The late hit on Lamarr Houston? Once again, the referees were not the reason the Bears lost. But they absolutely ruined the afternoon.
  • Bears defense was horrible. Outside of Willie Young making a few nice hustle plays and blocking a kick, I can’t think of a single player on the defensive side of the ball worthy of praise.
  • Mel Tucker criticism is warranted but Aaron Rodgers made a half dozen outstanding throws. He was special yesterday.
  • This game was decided by a simple factor: mistakes. The Bears dropped a perfectly called onside kick. Cutler missed a wide open Alshon Jeffery high in the end zone. Josh Morgan should score on a screen but didn’t bother to extend the ball. Martellus Bennett runs a route at the one yard line instead of the goal line to end the first half. Brandon Marshall runs the wrong route on the second interception. Bears have a lot to clean up.

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