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Pittsburgh Steelers at Chicago Bears Game Preview

| September 21st, 2017

Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears This Week?

I always like the Chicago Bears. But that hourglass has been flipped.

When Trubisky?

There are three possibilities, as I see it, for the Mitch Trubisky era to begin in Chicago.

Possibility #1: Monday night, October 9th – Vikings at home

Under this scenario, Mike Glennon eats the hardest four-game stretch of the Bears schedule (and subsequent 0-4 record). The Bears would then have 11 days to prepare Trubisky for the Vikings and they’d be able to create an event atmosphere at Soldier Field that night.

Possibility #2: Sunday, November 12th – Packers at home

Under this scenario, Mike Glennon gets the entire first half of the Bears schedule. This would certainly require him playing better than he has through two games. Then Trubisky gets the bye week to prepare for a debut against the team’s oldest rival at Soldier Field. Would the fans get pumped up enough by his first start to fill the building? I think they might.

Possibility #3: Mid-game

I texted both of my league connections, both high-ranking personnel guys with other franchises, and asked how they felt about bringing in a rookie quarterback in the middle of the game. The two responses were “wouldn’t do it” and “fine with it”.

Here’s what I’ll say about the idea. I would not bring Trubisky into a blowout. You don’t want him on the field down three scores, having to drop back every play. But if the Bears are down 13-10 Sunday to Pittsburgh at the half and Glennon has looked like Glennon, I wouldn’t hesitate for a moment to bring Trubisky into the game.

Notes on the Pittsburgh Steelers

  • QBs faced through three weeks of the season: DeShone Kizer, Case Keenum, Mike Glennon. By comparison the Bears will have faced Matt Ryan, Jameis Winston, Ben Roethlisberger. The Steelers will more than likely start one of the most hollow 3-0’s in NFL history.
  • A player I knew nothing about who absolutely jumps off the screen is LB Anthony Chickillo. The former Hurricane is in his third season and has been all over the field through two games. How do the Steelers always manage to produce these f’n linebackers? Chickillo is also a terrific pass rusher and the Bears better be wary of his location at all times Sunday.
  • T.J. Watt has been something of revelation but exited the Vikings game with a groin injury the organization doesn’t believe to be serious. If Watt doesn’t play, it’s a huge bonus for the Bears. But will that mean James Harrison can actually get on the field for the Steelers this season?

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Across The Middle: Coaching Collision Course?

| September 20th, 2017

Whether this is just a rumor or if it actually happened is anybody’s guess.

The story goes that before the Bears Week 17 game in 2014, Ted Phillips and George McCaskey brought Phil Emery into the principal’s office and asked him what his plan was. Firing Marc Trestman was a no-brainer but the Bears needed to know Emery had a solid plan to replace him. Emery’s response was a guy he had worked with before: Mike Smith.

Smith had success in the past. The Falcons won at least nine games in his first five years, but they’d gone just 10-22 since then. He wasn’t sexy and wasn’t someone any other team was going to consider. Emery liked him because he knew him and he felt Smith did a good job in helping turn the Falcons around. The Bears brass never really responded to Emery. They watched the Week 17 game together and the next time they spoke was the last. Emery was fired the next morning.

If things keep going the way they’re going, Ted and George are going to have the same talk with Ryan Pace. And, like Emery, there’s a good chance Pace is going to be able to mention a familiar name. Only this time, that name will have a Super Bowl ring.

But is Sean Payton the answer?

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40-Something Thoughts, Predictions and Various Ramblings on the 2017 NFL Season

| September 3rd, 2017

Much indebted to Mr. Klein. A good and honorable man. And if CK wants to use the word elegancy you let him use it. He’s that kind of guy.

To the league we go! One thought on each NFL franchise, a bunch of thoughts on the Chicago Bears and a Super Bowl prediction!

  • The Bears are going to be a good team with a bad quarterback until they wake up and stop playing the bad quarterback. If Mitch Trubisky doesn’t get 8 or more starts in 2017, then 2017 will be a wasted season. Sadly I’m starting to think he won’t.
  • Think about Brock Osweiler, cut by the Browns at the end of this preseason. He’s 26 years old. He’s made $40 million. And he’s only been sacked 52 times in his entire career! So Osweiler made more than $769,000 per sack taken.
  • Fewest points in a 16-game season is 140 from the 1992 Seattle Seahawks. I say the Jets challenge that. You tell me how the Jets mount a single 80-yard touchdown drive this season.
  • Asked the Official Lady Friend of DaBlog, Ms. Sarah Scully, what she thought about the Los Angeles Rams. She responded, “I don’t.”
  • Andrew Luck is one of the best players in the NFL. And now Chris Ballard has a couple years to rescue Luck from the middle of the ocean, where he was abandoned by a pill-popping owner and the quite possibly insane Ryan Grigson. Colts finish last in the AFC South.
  • Two quarterbacks who have no business being on their current teams: Tyrod Taylor (Buffalo) and A.J. McCarron (Cincinnati). If the Bills hadn’t brought Tyrod back there’s a good chance he’d be on the Chicago Bears right now, sparing the fan base from the nightmare of Glennon. McCarron is better than all of the quarterbacks on the Jet, Jaguar, Colt (sans Luck) and Niner rosters.
  • Defensive Player of the Year: Leonard Floyd, Chicago Bears. (Yep. 12-15 sacks.)

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Punting on 2017 a Tough Sell for Fox

| August 30th, 2017

There is no question that John Fox actually believes he can win with Mike Glennon. That’s Fox’s reality. But in actual reality, even when Glennon is at his best, he will limit what the team can do offensively. The coaches know it, the fans know it and — worse yet — the players know it. If the Bears struggle with Glennon, Fox could lose the locker room. Once that happens, he’s gone.

Glennon deserves credit. It looked as if he needed to play well to keep his job and he did. But Glennon playing well still only gave the offense 10 points against an awful defense. It would’ve been 14, but he missed an easy throw for a touchdown.  Glennon is always going to miss throws. His ball placement is terrible. At his best, he’s just a guy who won’t kill you. He’s never going to make the kinds of plays that win games.

The rest of the Bears are good enough that they’ll win seven games that way if they stay completely healthy. They’ve already lost their top receiver and have a quarterback who can’t use either Kevin White or Markus Wheaton on anything aside from bubble screens and quick slants. More realistically, the Bears will end up with five or six wins if Glennon starts all 16 games. Fox probably isn’t keeping his job if they only win five or six games and he sure as hell isn’t keeping it if he loses the locker room along the way.

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Data Entry: #PlayTheKid

| August 29th, 2017

The Bears should be preparing Mitch Trubisky to start against Atlanta in two weeks. Anything else is a foolish waste of time. I will admit that I was well behind Jeff in coming to this conclusion, but I have reached it all the same. Allow me to break down my reasoning.

Best QB on the Roster

For those arguing Glennon should play now, I have one simple question: what has Glennon done better than Trubisky this preseason? The only positive answer I can come up with is getting the team lined up properly and in time.

What has Trubisky done better than Glennon? Get through progressions quickly, make accurate throws from the pocket, escape pressure, make accurate throws on the run, throw past the chains on 3rd down, avoid turnovers. Basically, Trubisky has been better at everything you want a quarterback to do after the snap.

At worst, you could say the two QBs are even right now. That could be a somewhat reasonable argument to make based on Glennon playing against better defenses and looking progressively less bad every week. But here’s the thing: if it is anywhere close to even right now, you play the uber-talented rookie with superstar potential over the mediocre veteran with serious physical limitations. That should go without saying.

I’ll happily take the 2-3 delay of game penalties a game (that will be gone in a month) in exchange for the 5-6 big plays Trubisky makes a game that Mike Glennon could only dream of.

Ideal Situation for a Young QB

The blueprint for working a quarterback into an offense from an early stage is clearly established. Surround him with a solid offensive line to protect him, a strong run game, and a stout defense. That way he won’t be leaned on to put up 30 points and win a shootout every week, but instead can manage games at first as you slowly increase his responsibilities. That was the formula that worked for Tom Brady in New England, Ben Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh, and Russell Wilson in Seattle. All of those guys started as complementary pieces and eventually emerged after several years as centerpieces who were expected to make the guys around them better.

Now look at the Bears’ roster in 2017 and notice they check every single one of those boxes.

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Reflections on the Third Preseason Game

| August 27th, 2017

A few relevant things…

  • Cam Meredith’s gruesome leg injury is just another example of the complete uselessness of these exhibitions. Don’t feed me the “they can hurt in practice” bullshit. This isn’t practice. It’s a full contact game with zero value. NFL players bodies only have so many hits in them. Any coach wasting those hits in August is risking their job.
  • And there’s Jordan Howard – a chronically injured player in college – taking carry after carry in the second quarter of a preseason game.
  • Mike Glennon was precise on the game’s opening drive, making one throw (to Meredith) I didn’t think he had in him. Then he was Glennon. Throwing behind receivers. Missing touchdowns. Erratic once any play goes “off-script”.
  • Roy Robertson-Harris is a very nice player. Bears have a lot of height on their special teams units.
  • Trubisky looked like a rookie. Because Trubisky is a rookie. Now ask yourself this: when’s his next meaningful action?
  • Trubisky scrambles for first down. Trubisky avoids pressure, rolls right, hits Victor Cruz in the hands. Trubisky goes through progressions and find the open man with his third read. What exactly can’t he do? What exactly does being on the sideline help him develop? He needs to be in the huddle. He needs to take snaps. He needs to read defenses during game action. But nope.
  • Trubisky’s 45 yard touchdown pass to Tanner Gentry will be the most exciting moment from the Bears passing game until, probably, November.
  • I don’t think I overrated the Titans – who I think are going to the playoffs – but they need to get some wide receivers on the field. That entire unit is injured.

Bears have a good defense. They have a great run game. They’re a good team with a glaring weakness.

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Forget Holding Down Job for 2017, Mike Glennon Now Has Two Quarters to Earn the Opener

| August 24th, 2017

When Mike Glennon was asked if he’s now embroiled in a competition for the starting quarterback job, he didn’t hesitate. He didn’t ponder the question for a few moments and deliver a vague, locker room friendly response. You know, something like “Everybody is out here competing for their job every day. Quarterback is no different.”

Glennon didn’t do that. He looked forward and somewhat defiantly said, “No.”

Is Mike Glennon good at playing quarterback? No. But he’s not stupid. Hell, I don’t know the guy, he may very well be stupid, but he’s not oblivious to what’s happening around him. The only argument for keeping Mitch Trubisky on the bench was the sort of unprovable “he’s not ready”. That argument died yesterday. By giving Trubisky time with the ones in practice and announcing he’ll play with them again Sunday, John Fox made it abundantly clear he believes Trubisky is ready to play in the NFL. Coaches value practice reps the way the narrator of Looking Glass’ Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl) valued the sea. “Brandy,” that man says, “You’re a fine girl. What a good wife you would be. But my life, my love and my lady is the sea.”

Coaches don’t go handing out first-team reps to projects. They are the single most important evaluative element of the off-season.

Listen, these were never going to be navigable waters for Glennon. The talent gap between he and Trubisky is simply too wide. Glennon’s best hope to hold down the starting job for 2017 season required several factors. He needed to perform well in practice. (He hasn’t.) He needed to move the offense well in the preseason. (Not even close.) Subsequently he needed to let a notoriously conservative head coach take a conservative route with his rookie quarterback by providing a stable option at the top of the depth chart. (Nope.)

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Bears Decision To Bury Trubisky Last Night is Inane, Irresponsible & Indefensible

| August 20th, 2017

There was no giddy-up in this 2017 Chicago Bears season. There was no reason to believe this year’s model would be a significant improvement over 2016’s clanky, too-often-in-the-shop lemon. Then, in the first preseason game, a normally useless affair, the sun rose over a dark night sky. The narrative changed in an instant. There it was. There was the future. And that future was – dare we believe what are our eyes doth see – bright.

Last night the organization that drafted Mitch Trubisky went out of their way to shield their fans from that big, beautiful sun. Darkness returned. Mitch Trubisky didn’t get time with the first-string offense. Mitch Trubisky didn’t get time with the second-string offense. Mitch Trubisky was buried on the depth chart – behind two quarterbacks he’s infinitely better than – in a decision that was equal parts inane, irresponsible and indefensible.

INANE

Dear Ryan Pace,

Mike Glennon.

How much more do you need to see?

He hasn’t been any good in the games he’s played in the NFL. He hasn’t been any good in camp practices for the Bears. He hasn’t been any good in the two preseason games he’s started. When do you expect he’s going to suddenly become good? Is it going to happen between now and the start of the season? That’s not much time, Ry.

You had to see what we all saw last night. A running game getting bulk yardage and an offensive line dominating the line of scrimmage. Only one thing was missing. A capable quarterback. And you made the boldest move of the NFL Draft to acquire one! What the hell are you waiting for?

I know, I know you gave Glennon a boatload of cash. That was silly. But you’re in the clear on that now. Trubisky has given you a mulligan. There won’t be a single newspaper column criticizing you for making this move. You know why? Because nobody wants to see Glennon play a single snap for this franchise.

Trust your eyes. Glennon is awful. Make the move.

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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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