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Finding a Quarterback: The Upside of Tony Romo

| January 19th, 2017

Five passes.

That’s all we have to judge Tony Romo on from the 2016 season. Five passes. But they just might be enough.

Ryan Pace and John Fox are feeling the pressure to win now and they may have a chance to sign a quarterback who was considered among the best in the league for a decade. Even with Romo’s injury history, it’s something Pace and Fox are going to consider.

The thing about those five passes is they were all really good. They were sharp and on the money. One was a 15-yard spiral on third-and-11. Another was a deep pass that would’ve been a touchdown if not for an interference penalty. Romo finished his only drive of the season with a beautifully accurate touchdown pass, displaying a touch that very few quarterbacks have. Romo looked very much like the guy who probably should have won the 2014 MVP award.

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Super Bowl Fifty Gambling Prop Guide

| February 4th, 2016

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These odds are courtesy of the great Jimmy Shapiro, who emails the world weekly with various odds.

BET 1: JOHN FOX

How many times will “John Fox” be said during the Broadcast?

Over     1          (-140, 5/7)

Under   1          (EVEN, 1/1)

(Note: From kickoff to final whistle, halftime does not count.)

This seems like it might happen regularly during the broadcast but really why would it? Once the game begins, unless Fox is visible in the crowd, why would the announcers think to mention him? I’ll take the UNDER and feel safe with no worse than a push.

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BET 2: RETIREMENT

Will Peyton Manning announce his retirement in the postgame interview?

Yes      +500  (5/1)

No        -1000 (1/10)

You’re getting 5 to 1 odds on him doing it so you have to take YES. If the Broncos win and Peyton Manning is speaking to Jim Nantz on the stage in a sea of confetti, can’t you see him dropping a reference or two to his “last game”? I can. Don’t load up here but it’s worth the gamble.

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BET 3: SUPERMAN

How many times will Cam Newton do the Open Shirt Superman motion during the game?

Over     2.5        (EVEN, 1/1)

Under   2.5        (-140, 5/7)

 (Note: From kickoff to final whistle, halftime does not count.)

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Three Things the Bears Can Learn From the Denver Broncos

| February 1st, 2016

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GET TO THE QUARTERBACK

Wrote extensively about this earlier in the week so no reason to repeat. Here is a passage from that short piece:

And pass rush, despite what people will have you believe, is not necessarily a quantifiable statistic. Sacks are great but pressuring a quarterback into a poorly timed throw can often be far better. Sustained pressure throughout a game is a recipe for success but intense pressure in the fourth quarter, with the game on the line, is a recipe for championships.

Pass rushers, much like quarterbacks, must raise their games in the pivotal moments.

The postseason is a collection of pivotal moments. The Super Bowl is a hundred of them.

MORE THAN ONE WAY TO PLAY QB POSITION

There is an inane phrase repeated, many times in Chicago, about a quarterback being a “guy that can win you the Super Bowl”. Let’s take a look at Peyton Manning’s 2015. He completed less than 60% of his passes in a league where you could complete 60% of your passes. His touchdown-interception ratio of 9-17 will be the worst such differential attached to a Super Bowl starting quarterback in history. He has the mobility of Stonehenge. And, let’s not forget, he seems completely unable to throw the ball outside the numbers or down the field. 2015’s version of Peyton Manning checks none of the boxes for a “guy that can win you the Super Bowl.”

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Across the Middle With Andrew Dannehy

| November 18th, 2015

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• I honestly don’t know what to make of the Bears win over the Rams. I want to feel great about it, but I’m scared. Are we sure the Rams aren’t just terrible? It reminds me of last year when the Bears beat Atlanta 27-13, largely because Atlanta’s receivers couldn’t catch. This time it was largely a matter of the Rams quarterback not being able to throw. The Bears deserve credit because they were supposed to be among the worst teams in the league and they’re clearly not. But we won’t really know if this team is good until after Thanksgiving.

• The Bears defensive line hasn’t gotten enough credit for keeping Todd Gurley in check. I found it interesting that they played Jarvis Jenkins almost strictly as a pass-rusher – only eight snaps against the run, He was replaced by Mitch Urein and Bruce Gaston.

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Audibles From the Long Snapper: Around the League, Three Bears Thoughts, Boomer on Catches, Cutler Update!

| November 16th, 2015

AUDIBLESNEW

Around the League We Go!

  • Through nine games, Jeremy Langford has only 100 yards less from scrimmage than Melvin Gordon.
  • Someone in the Browns organization needs to walk down to the head coach’s office and tell him playing Josh McCown is no longer an option. I’ve never believed Johnny Manziel’s ability would translate to the pro game but losing down the stretch with McCown does the team zero good. (Manziel was quietly good in that Steelers game yesterday and Manziel isn’t quietly anything.)
  • Tom Brady is full of magic. That’s the only way I can explain it.
  • Giants should be 8-1. They’ve only played one poor game all season. I wouldn’t want to be walking into the Meadowlands in January once this group puts it together. (They are also +12 in turnovers this season. They are secretly good.)
  • The NFL got what they wanted by changing the extra point rule. They made kickers way too relevant on Sundays. (And they’ve delayed at least 7-10 of my piss breaks.)

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Three Hopes for the NFL Schedule Release

| April 19th, 2015

The NFL will announce the 2015 schedule at some point this week, setting travel calendars for many of the sport’s fans this fall and winter. Personally, I love the announcement as much as any day in the off-season. It’s like building a brilliant travel itinerary. Sure, the fun is actually executing that itinerary but creating the itinerary itself makes the trip real. Seeing the Bears 16 games laid out makes the 2015 season suddenly real.

Here are my hopes…

HOPE #1 – Return the Bears to Sunday at Noon

I know the Bears are a huge television draw and the NFL has more prime time slots than Law & Order in the 90s. But two years straight the Bears have gone almost a month late in the season without playing on Sunday afternoon.

When the Bears don’t play on Sundays, Sundays are worthless to me. Sure you get the chance to watch a few other clubs closely but I do that on Mondays and Tuesdays anyway. Sundays are about routine. Sundays are about ritual. Some folks like to go to church. I like to go to Josie Woods and pray the Bears don’t embarrass themselves.

HOPE #2 – Send the Bears to San Diego in December

You think a lot of Bears fans show up to Nashville and Dallas and Charlotte? Try scheduling the Bears in paradise once the winter has rolled into Chicago. I’ll have my hotel room booked an hour after the schedule is released.

Side note: the Chargers should have petitioned the NFL for this. They already are amongst the league’s worst fans and with word leaking the team has its eyes on LA, it isn’t going to get better any time soon.

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