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Audibles From the Long Snapper: Telling Stats, McPhee’s Defense, Around the League & Travel Distances!

| October 6th, 2015

audibles

THAT DARNED STAT

  • Bears are currently 7th in yards allowed per game (309) and 5th in passing yards allowed (189.8). Considering the lack of consistent pass rush and deficiencies in secondary personnel, these are remarkable statistics.
  • The ten teams leading the league is total rushing attempts are a combined 13-27.

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  • Turnovers remain the most important stat in the sport. Not a single team in the top 12 in turnover differential is under .500.

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Does Question Mark at Quarterback Mandate Bears Choose Head Coach With Experience?

| December 30th, 2014

shanny

You hear it all the time, mostly from panicked fans tired of losing.

“WE NEED TO REBUILD!”

In the NFL that term has very little meaning. Teams that are rebuilding have one of two distinct characteristics: no head coach or no quarterback. Just look at the twenty teams not in the postseason this year.

New York Jets – neither, Buffalo Bills – no QB/possibly no coach, Miami Dolphins – jury out, Cleveland Browns – no QB, Tennessee Titans – no QB, Houston Texans – no QB, Jacksonville Jaguars – jury out, Oakland Raiders – no coach, Kansas City Chiefs – borderline playoff team/extremely limited QB, San Diego Chargers – borderline playoff team/jury out on coach.

New York Giants – football’s all time anomaly, Philadelphia Eagles – won 10 games, Washington Redskins – neither, Chicago Bears – no coach/possibly no QB, Minnesota Vikings – jury out, San Francisco 49ers – no coach/possibly no QB, St Louis Rams – no QB, Atlanta Falcons – no coach, Tampa Bay Bucs – neither, New Orleans Saints – who knows what happened there.

Rebuilding in the NFL means bringing a young quarterback along and putting as much talent around him as possible. This is far easier to do when the coach leading the way has a track record of success.

Not a single team in the non-contenders category is confident in their coach and quarterback. The Giants and Saints, the two franchises not in the playoffs with Super Bowl winning coaches and quarterbacks, enter every season with one definitive goal: another Super Bowl title. The three teams with both in place NOT in the postseason, Philly, KC and SD, will be right on the cusp of the postseason every year. (I’m crediting Philly with having a QB because I believe they have multiple characters capable of executing Chip’s system successfully.)

The Bears have a top running back, top tight end, two top receivers, a couple of top offensive linemen and some young & veteran talent spread across their defense. But their quarterback position is now a significant question mark.

Putting a head coach in place who has never been a head coach and pairing him in the years to come with a quarterback who has never been a professional quarterback is not a recipe for long-term success. It is a recipe for becoming the Jacksonville Jaguars. The historical track record of getting this combination right is not even in the same zip code as good.

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Chicago Bears at New York Jets Game Preview

| September 18th, 2014

Jonathan Hughes is a die hard New York Jets fan. On Sunday, as the Jets sprinted ahead of the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field, I sent him a text message.

Jeff: J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS!

Jon: Best start in ten years. Both sides of ball.

I haven’t spoken to Jon since.

Now the Bears travel to the New Jersey swamplands, in the shadows of my hometown, smells that define my childhood, air pollution that will inevitably land me at Sloan Kettering.

Why do I like the Chicago Bears this week?

I always like the Chicago Bears.

WHY ELSE?

  • Jets may field their worst collection of corners in recent memory. Antonio Allen vs. Alshon Jeffery? Self-proclaimed great corner but actually terrible player Dee Milliner vs. Brandon Marshall? Hell, Darrin Walls or Kyle Wilson will struggle with a motivated Santonio Holmes. (Not to mention Martellus Bennett and Matt Forte will be a nightmare for the Jets in the passing game.) Once the Packers realized the Jets had no chance to cover their wide receivers they went on the attack and were borderline unstoppable. If I’m the Bears my approach from the onset is getting the ball in the hands of the weapons on the outside and forcing the Jets corners to make plays.
  • Jets will approach this game by believing they can run the football right up the gut of the Bears defense – especially if Jeremiah Ratliff is inactive with a concussion –  and they’ll give that game plan ample time. Chris Johnson was their high profile acquisition this off-season but Chris Ivory has been the far more productive back and I expect them to test Jon Bostic’s gap discipline all night long. Bears had a few breaks Sunday night, causing their run defense to look better than it actually was.
  • Rex Ryan is considered by many to be the most dynamic blitz schemer in the NFL and I don’t have the time or wherewithal to dispute that opinion. You know they’re coming. And you know they’re coming from every direction. But when Ryan blitzes he often either (a) leaves his corners on an island or (b) puts his safeties (Dawan Landry, Calvin Pryor) in the uncomfortable position of either defending over the top or covering tight ends they have business being matched up against. When Ryan’s group doesn’t hit Cutler, Cutler will rip them to shreds.

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