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Pace Wins Training Camp, Glennon is Glennon & Jaye Howard’s Poor Debut

| August 16th, 2017

Remember when people were calling for Ryan Pace to be fired?

Sure you do, it wasn’t that long ago.

He was stupid for taking a quarterback with just 13 collegiate starts, a D-II tight end, a safety with a rod in his leg and a tiny and a small running back from a small school. Guys like Matt Miller and Jason La Canfora quoted made-up sources saying Pace was SURELY going to be fired.

It’s early, of course, but two weeks into preseason, Pace is the unquestioned winner of Bears training camp.

Adam Hoge and Adam Jahns brought the topic up on their podcast last week. Who is the winner of training camp? Jahns named UDFA and 2017 Joe Anderson Boner Award winner Tanner Gentry. Hoge raved about rookies such as Adam Shaheen, Tarik Cohen, Eddie Jackson and, of course, Mitch Trubisky. Neither Hoge nor Jahns was wrong. Those guys all look legitimate. But one guy is responsible for all those individuals being in camp, in Bears uniforms. That’s Pace.

It’s funny how much a narrative can change once football players, you know, play football.

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Trubisky And Other Impressions From A Day At Practice

| August 2nd, 2017

“Wow! Who threw that?” Is the question my wife asked in our first real exposure to Mitch Trubisky at Saturday’s training camp practice.

It was a day in which everyone wanted to talk about the fumbled snaps but even a football novice like my wife could see that there was a definite difference in what Trubisky had to offer versus that of Mike Glennon and Mark Sanchez.

I don’t mean to minimize the snap issue. If a team can’t complete the snap, they can’t run a play. But there hasn’t been a quarterback in the history of the league who hasn’t figured out how to take a snap from the center. Let’s repeat that. There hasn’t been a quarterback in the history of the league who hasn’t figured out how to take a snap from the center.

The rest of that practice should have Bears fans excited.

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Data Entry: How the Bears Should Handle Mitch Trubisky

| July 28th, 2017

Ryan Pace and John Fox have quite literally gambled their careers on Mitchell Trubisky, so now the question becomes how they should handle his rookie season to give him the best chance of success going forward.

With that in mind, I looked at how teams handled the rookie seasons of the quarterbacks drafted in round 1 in the last 20 years. There were 55 QBs in the sample, but I removed the 6 drafted in 2016 and 2017 because it is too early to draw any conclusions about their career outcomes. This left me with 49 round 1 QBs between 1998 and 2015.

I loosely grouped each quarterback into either a hit (developed into at least a solid starter for several years) or a miss (failed to establish themselves as a solid starter) and then looked at two different factors: how much they played in their rookie year and how well they played relative to their peers around the NFL as a rookie (full data can be seen here). Let’s look at each factor and see if any trends can be observed.

Rookie playing time

The amount of playing time 1st round QBs saw as a rookie varied wildly. Some players didn’t see a single snap their rookie seasons, while others took every snap, with many players scattered at various points in between. Overall, I couldn’t determine much of a trend to indicate players who played more would turn out differently than players who sat and learned.

  • 8 of the 9 players who started every game their rookie season turned into solid starters – with poor David Carr being the lone exception.
  • But 8 of the 9 who started 13-15 games did not. I don’t think those extra few games make that much of a difference, and trends are scattered below that, with too much noise to make any conclusions.

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Why This Summer is Different From All Other Summers

| July 26th, 2017

For those who have frequented this site over the last decade plus, you understand a few things about how I treat training camp and the preseason. The basics:

  • Nothing reported from camp practice is important because no team is going to show their fans / media anything relevant. The NFL has become the most secretive league in sports. Teams aren’t going display even an ounce of actual strategy while some rival scout sits with the public in the stands (which happens often).
  • Preseason game reps are the most overrated thing in football. Whether fans want to believe it or not, most franchises know about 45 of their final 53-man roster before the first preseason game is kicked off. The guys who can make an impact and grab those final 8 slots are going to make that impact on the practice field, not in preseason games. (The practice field fans and media DON’T see, where the actual playbook is used.)

This training camp is different. This preseason is different. Because all eyes will be on one player: Mitch Trubisky.

An argument could be made that the Bears fan has never, not one time in the team’s history, been through this process. Since 1951 the Bears have selected four quarterbacks in the first round. The Jims (McMahon and Harbaugh) were of a different time; the level of scrutiny they faced before playing actual games was minimal. Cade McNown was handed the starting quarterback job as a rookie. Rex Grossman was never going to play as a rookie, with that message stated by the organization repeatedly post-draft.

Mitch Trubisky is better than Mike Glennon. Right now. Today. He is the better quarterback. The Bears know this. And while you will hear all the normal platitudes about patience and development and bringing the kid up to the speed of the professional game (including Trubisky pledging allegiance to the backup role) there isn’t a person associated with the Chicago Bears who isn’t rooting for Trubisky to blow them away this summer and make it impossible to keep him on the bench come September.

That would go for any rookie quarterback. But it goes double for a guy drafted in such a bold, unpredictable manner. If reports start emanating from Bourbonnais that Trubisky is the superior performer and if he looks the part once the fake games start, a tsunami of fan support will overwhelm Halas Hall. Bears fans are an impatient lot but they see the right pieces forming up and down the roster under Ryan Pace. The calls to Waddle & Silvy and The Score will be relentless and passionate.

Just ask yourself this: are you willing to sit and watch the Bears slog their way to 6 or 7 wins under Glennon while the better player holds a clipboard?

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Audibles From the Long Snapper: Lots of Trubisky, Little Bit of Toub

| June 26th, 2017

This is truly the NFL’s off-season and I’m digging it. As you’ve seen, I’m not forcing any content on you. Whatever I find interesting, I’ll share. Once camp starts, the grind starts.

Breer on Trubisky

Albert Breer, writing for The MMQB, breaks down the progress of young quarterbacks across the league in his recent column. Here’s the piece on Trubisky:

The Bears rookie’s strides through May and June came in learning a lot of the basics. Through no fault of his own, Trubisky arrived with relatively little knowledge of defense in general or coverage in particular, and so he’s gotten a crash course in those areas and has made strides there. The other area of improvement came in the basics. At North Carolina, Trubisky got play calls from the sideline, didn’t take a single snap from center and never huddled. Early in OTAs, that was apparent. By the end, he was getting the hang of calling plays in the huddle and taking snaps. And he’s impressed with his accuracy and his movement skills—he doesn’t just run 4.6, he plays at 4.6, which should ease his growth once he gets on the field.

I’m still not convinced Trubisky won’t be the starting quarterback in September.

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Forget Patience, Bears Should Be Preparing Trubisky To Start

| June 21st, 2017

Promises be damned.

The Bears need to start their best quarterback in 2017.

Early indications are it is not Mike Glennon.

Beat reporters aren’t allowed to report who played well and who didn’t during organized team activities and minicamp practices but they’ve had a hard time hiding the fact that Glennon has struggled. And almost unanimously, they’ve “hinted” Trubisky looks like he belongs. If that continues to be the case, the Bears shouldn’t bother wasting time with Glennon.

Although he has 18 starts under his belt, Glennon isn’t exactly a known commodity. He showed promise as a rookie — at least in terms of being able to protect the ball — but regressed in his second year. The hope was that he improved under the tutelage of Dirk Koetter, but the Bears haven’t seen that yet. They shouldn’t wait.

The biggest knock on Trubisky was a lack of experience. He can’t fix that by sitting on the bench and watching Glennon struggle. Trubisky has the size to hold up to the physicality of the NFL and the ability to play right away. If he’s able to grasp the playbooks and adjust to the speed of the action, there really isn’t a good reason not to throw him in.

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DBB Weekend Show: A Shit Ton of Adam Jahns Edition! [AUDIO]

| May 25th, 2017

On this episode of the Weekend Show:

  • Adam Jahns on his recent interview with Peter King on the Niners draft room, Trubisky’s near-term future, the rookie class, the fluctuating secondary and injuries on the offensive line. (It’s long. He talks about more.)
  • The Reverend returns!
  • I’m involved.

Have a happy Memorial Day, one and all. No new content (barring some unforeseen shit) until middle of next week as I will be on the road!

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Trubisky’s Presence Is Good For Glennon

| May 24th, 2017

As the Chicago Bears go through OTAs this week, much of the focus is on Mike Glennon’s feelings. But the reality of the situation is this: Glennon needs to play well for himself more than the Bears need him to play well.

Right after the Bears traded up for Mitch Trubisky, some of Chicago’s most prominent media members focused on how the team’s presumed starter not being happy could have a negative impact on the Bears 2017 season. The problem with that logic is that it ignores what kind of impact Glennon playing poorly and pouting will have on his own career. Regardless of who else is on the Bears’ roster, this is Glennon’s big audition. He needs to play well and be professional or he’ll never get another chance. He knows this. If he doesn’t, he’ll spend the season on the bench.

The base case scenario for Glennon is that Trubisky is every bit the player the Bears think he is but John Fox chooses to stick with the veteran. Glennon then puts together a productive season and the Bears move him to a contender for a high draft pick.

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Turn the Beat Around: A Trubisky Dinner, Kyle Long on the Move & More!

| May 23rd, 2017

The Chapel Hill Story

An excerpt from Dan Wiederer’s magnificent piece in the Trib:

As Pace does with all such get-to-know-you dinners, he asked Trubisky to pick the restaurant and make the reservation. It’s a minor request. But it often can be revealing of a player’s reliability.

Pace also ordered Trubisky to keep the meeting top secret, so as not to tip off anyone — not any Tar Heels coaches or teammates, not any other NFL execs or agents, not even a campus meter maid — to the Bears’ interest.

Trubisky took the directive and pieced things together.

Before Pace and his cohorts arrived on campus, the Bears GM had a text. Dinner at 7 p.m.

The venue: Bin 54, a top steakhouse in North Carolina’s Triangle region. And to keep the gathering covert, Trubisky made the reservation for six under an alias: James McMahon.

“I thought that was cool,” Pace says.

Read the entire article. It is the best work Dan has done since coming to Chicago.

Kyle Long on the Move?

Brad Biggs was first to report the Bears intend to shift Kyle Long from right to left guard, as one of the team’s few offensive stars rebounds from injuries. The positional move leaves little to be discussed. Right guard, left guard, who really gives a shit? But it was one paragraph in the piece that stood out to me:

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