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Diving Into the Offseason: GM Interviews, Coaching Candidates & the Free Agent List

| January 5th, 2015

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  • Bears set to interview Lake Dawson (Tuesday) and Chris Ballard (Wednesday) for their GM position, per Adam Schefter. You know what I’d like to see from the Bears this week? Once they identify the guy they want, hire him. If Ballard is the guy they’ve truly wanted since even before they fired Phil Emery a week ago (as was suggested in multiple locations), don’t let him leave Halas Hall Wednesday without discussing terms of the contract and scheduling the press conference for Thursday morning. The firings of Emery and Trestman were decisive actions by owner George McCaskey. Let’s keep that decisiveness going.
  • Here’s what worries me about Todd Bowles: his sideline demeanor reminds me of Marc Trestman and Lovie Smith and Dick Jauron. Bruce Arians described Bowles as “soft-spoken” and haven’t we seen how sideline stoicism plays in the city of Chicago? You can call this a non-issue if you like but the lack of fire and passion from the Bears has been a major issue over the last two seasons. McCaskey should be looking for a man to change that.
  • Second thought on this. Jim Fassel coached the Giants to a Super Bowl appearance during his time with the Giants but he was a nightmare off the field and was way too lenient with his players inside the locker room. Longtime Giants owner Wellington Mara wanted to follow Fassel with the polar opposite. He went to Tom Coughlin. Giants won two titles.

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Position-by-Position at the Bye: D-Line

| October 30th, 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.

This is a tale of two units.

At defensive tackle the Bears have a pair of excellent starters. If Jay Ratliff did not miss time with a concussion who knows how productive a campaign he could be enjoying. But his performance in the first half against the Miami Dolphins was one of the most dominant I’ve seen by a defensive tackle in years. Stephen Paea has endured (and I’m sure it’s pained him) endless criticism on this page alone over the duration of his career but this year he’s been week-in and week-out the Bears most reliable and impacting defensive lineman.

It also seems Phil Emery found two solid tackles in the draft. Both Ego Ferguson and Will Sutton, when they’ve gotten on the field, have jumped off the screen and made plays. Are they going to be every down starters in the years to come? I wouldn’t bet against it.

Evidence the defensive tackles have been the Bears most improved unit? A year ago the Bears ranked 32nd in the league against the run allowing 161.4 yards per game. This year they are ranked 13th, allowing only 110.1 per. That is a massive turnaround and it sure can’t be credited to what’s happening behind them.

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Audibles From the Long Snapper: Paea, Prospect of Will Hill & MORE!

| June 4th, 2014

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PAEA IN THE SKY-A

Stephen Paea has been a disappointment for almost the entirety of his Chicago Bears career. In 2014 he is acknowledging that disappointment:

“You see how I played — I let my teammates down,” the defensive tackle said after the fifth of 10 organized team activity sessions at Halas Hall. “The best thing about it is, I have a second chance to do it …

“Just put a chip on my shoulder this year.”

For me Paea is the Bears fifth defensive tackle in 2014 and will see even less field time when the Bears slide some of their versatile ends (Houston, Young) inside on passing downs. You could make an argument that no player on the defensive roster outside of Shea McClellin needs a better summer.

WILL HILL WENT TO MY HIGH SCHOOL…

…but that is not the only reason I believe the Bears should be interested in the talented, pot-smoking knucklehead recently released by the New York Giants.

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Audibles From the Long Snapper: Defensive Line Evaluation, Eben Britton & Paddy Title Odds

| March 27th, 2014

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IS 2014 DL BETTER THAN 2013 ON PAPER?

Moon Mullin opens his CSN column, which dropped late Wednesday night, with a statement:

And now for a cold splash of perspective, one which I strongly suspect Bears general manager Phil Emery understands from painful experience:

Jared Allen or no Jared Allen, the Bears’ projected defensive line going into 2014 is arguably not as good as the one positioned to take the opening opponent’s snap in 2013.

I quite literally can’t disagree with this statement more. Here’s why:

  • Everyone needs to stop with the Corey Wootton/Stephen Paea stuff. Without seeing these two players as overwhelming positives there was no way for Moon to make the statement his column makes and neither Wootton nor Paea is an overwhelming anything. They were and are below average defensive linemen who’ve been overly celebrated due to a dearth of talent along the line.
  • The Bears now have three defensive ends (Houston, Young, Idonije) better than their second best defensive end a year ago.
  • 2014 Jared Allen is an upgrade over 2013 Julius Peppers.

What do the Bears still lack? An interior pass rusher. That is why I stand by my belief that Phil Emery should swallow his mysterious medicine and draft the best defensive player in college football last year, Aaron Donald.

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