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FrontRowTickets.com Game Preview: And So Begins the Final Four…

| December 11th, 2015

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(Battling a demon virus this week so the game preview is abbreviated.)

Robbie Gould let the wind out of the sails of Bears fans last Sunday, shanking a game-winning chip shot worse than early 2015 Tiger Woods. But I’d expect the crowd to be fired up for the Redskins Sunday – a team that desperately needs the game.

THE GAME POEM

On the last bar stool to the left he sat,

For fifteen years in an orange and blue hat

A power lifter and reverend to his right,

And an endless amount of draught Coors Light

Fifteen years goes by in a blink

With the same stool, same people, same drink

Yesterday it was a title he’d choose

Now he’d like em to win as many as they lose

THOUGHTS ON THE WASHINGTON REDSKINS

  • Washington is every bit as bad a road team as San Francisco, losing all five of their road games by a combined 162-86.
  • Injuries across the defensive front (Stephen Paea, Jason Hatcher…etc) have severely limited the Redskins pass rush. On Monday night against the wretched Matt Cassel the ‘Skins managed just a single sack and (by my count) no additional hits. If they couldn’t muster a rush in that must-win, prime time affair, you’d have to be surprised to see them come after Cutler consistently Sunday.
  • Kirk Cousins at home and Kirk Cousins on the road are vastly different individuals.

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A THOUGHT ON THE NAME “REDSKINS”

It’s a football team. Why not just change it? Seriously, who gives a shit? I find the whole idea of these teams having mascots at all ridiculous. Oh, it’s the Chicago BEARS! They’re a bunch of a guys. Why are they bears?

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Across The Middle With Andrew Dannehy

| December 9th, 2015

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• The loss to the 49ers was flat out Trestmanesque and absolutely unacceptable. I’m not mad because they lost. I’m mad because their performance, regardless of the outcome, was not acceptable. Coming off of a big win with extra time to rest and prepare against a bad West Coast team playing a noon game, there was absolutely no reason for that game to have even been close, much less a loss. As much credit as we all gave John Fox after the win over the Packers, he deserves a ton of blame for this loss. He didn’t have his team focused and ready to go.

• I get that Robbie Gould is the whipping boy. He has to make that kick, but I  also don’t really care that he missed it. They didn’t deserve to win. That said, I don’t put 100 percent of the blame for the miss on Gould. Look at the last two attempts, both of the snaps were awful (more on that later). So, lining up for a game-winner he’s thinking about where the snap is going to be and if Pat O’Donnell can even get it down for him to kick it in addition to doing his job. He still has to make the kick and that’s no excuse, but he didn’t lose the game. They were asking him to win one that they really had no business winning.

• Gould certainly isn’t as much to blame for the loss as Adrian Amos. Nobody cares if he thought Gabbert was going to slide, hit him anyway. A penalty there doesn’t lose the game. Then, in overtime, everybody else on the defense knew what the 49ers were doing, what was Amos thinking? He’s been awesome this year, but that was a horrendous game.

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Where Should Bears Fans Focus During These Final Four Games?

| December 7th, 2015

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There are four games remaining. And while the playoff dreams have faded there is still plenty for Bears fans to watch over this final month of games.

Chase for .500

An argument could be made there’s no difference between finishing 6-10 or 8-8, if the result means missing out on the postseason. But that argument won’t be made here.

8-8 is something. It’s a valuable season. It’s a foundation on which to build a successful program. John Fox can walk into the offseason program and say, “We won eight last year. All we have to do is win two more and we are in the tournament.” And with their schedule including the NFC East and AFC South, two more wins can be expected.

Also, winning three more games than a year ago is substantial improvement (as if that weren’t evident already). Three games are nearly 19% of an NFL season. Fans should embrace The Quest For .500.

Solidifying the Offensive Line

Three of the final four games are outside in the cold. What does that mean? It’s time to find out if the Bears have the kind of offensive line that can boss an opponent in the run game. They showed signs of doing just that against San Francisco.

Four of the five linemen are projected starters in 2016. Only right guard, currently occupied by Patrick Omameh, is possibly up for grabs. Will be interesting to see how they develop as a group down the stretch.

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A Chip Shot From .500 (Rapid Fire)

| December 7th, 2015

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This was the type of performance many expected from the Chicago Bears this season. Ugly. But did anyone expect the Bears could play a game this poorly and still be in position to win? Well, they should have won. Rapid fire…

  • Is it time to worry about Robbie Gould? It certainly could be. He didn’t just miss two short field goals that would have won this game. He dead shanked them both. The coachspeak approach will have fans yelling “Bears didn’t lose this game because of the missed field goals” but you know what? They did.
  • Welcome to the NFL, Eddie Goldman. That was a dominant performance.
  • When did Willie Young become the Bears most dominant edge rusher again?
  • Kyle Fuller is a special player when the play is in front of him.
  • No clue what Fox and Fangio thought the Niners offensive approach would be but they looked thoroughly unprepared for all the things I saw in amateur tape study early last week.
  • The point above may be unfair, mind you. A lot of that responsibility would have been on the linebackers and the guys in the middle have looked lost in coverage.
  • 36 yards is now an extra point! Robbie essentially missed an extra point to win a game. Inexcusable. Gould has been a good one but I hate kickers.

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FrontRowTickets.com Game Preview: Welcome to the Brock!

| November 20th, 2015

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The Bears now have a chance to find .500 by beating Brock Osweiler at home. A win would thrust them into playoff consideration and create Must See TV on Thanksgiving night at Lambeau. And so the season continues for one of the most entertaining Chicago Bears teams in recent memory.

THE GAME POEM

In Denver I ate a hot dog once

It was bigger than expected

The stuff they piled on was fine

The dog itself neglected

Don’t sell me on your franks, dear sir

Because they’re wrapped in bacon

The wiener is the thing, kind sir

The other shit is fakin’

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Across The Middle with Andrew Dannehy

| October 7th, 2015

• Sitting in the Kapow Terrace in the north end zone, my favorite part of watching the game in person was watching Cutler go through his reads and the way he moved in the pocket. The touchdown pass to Martellus Bennett was 100 percent Cutler. The way he manipulated the defense was brilliant. That’s why the fourth quarter interception didn’t make sense. He was one step ahead all game and all he needed to do was go to his next read and he would have found Eddie Royal all by himself, likely for a touchdown. He had done it all game, why not on that play?

• All three of Cutler’s interceptions this year have been on passes attempted to Bennett. Is that coincidence? Bennett’s lackadaisical attitude on passes headed his way has to drive the coaching staff nuts.

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Position-by-Position at the Bye: Special Teams

| October 31st, 2014

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

Special teams must be taken element for element…

  • Robbie Gould has been steady.
  • Pat O’Donnell has shown flashes of being a superior punter. He’s a rookie so growing pains are expected and he needs to develop his short-punting game. But that leg, especially late in the year at Soldier Field, will be a weapon for this organization.
  • Mistakes have been rampant and mistakes, like it or not, get pinned on the coaching staff. In the case of the Bears, mistakes are far more the product of a constantly, in-flux bottom of the roster. No play summarized the error-prone ways of these Joe D units more than the brilliant P.O.D. punt covered about three seconds too early and subsequently returned for a touchdown in Carolina. It was a flash of brilliance, a terrible mistake and ultimately a lack of attention to detail causing the club six points.
  • At some point is the coaching staff going to convince the kick returners to stop taking the ball out of the end zone? I would hazard a guess this season’s collection of useless kick return men have cost the Bears upwards of a 100 yards of field position.
  • Santonio Holmes’ greatest contribution to the season has been not fumbling punts.
  • Strangely enough the Bears kickoff return against average is top ten in the league. Their punt return against average is bottom ten.

Grade: C

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