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Summing Up the Bears Blowout Loss to Tampa in Seven Sentences

| November 14th, 2016

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Jay Cutler delivered one of the most bewildering and terrible performances from a Chicago Bears quarterback in recent memory; a memory including the likes of Jimmy Clausen and Caleb Hanie. Cutler’s decision making was putrid, accuracy was non-existence and concern for the football borderline criminal. As the game drifted away, others also aided and abetted this sporting crime, but the loss sits squarely and without bobble on the shoulders of one man: Jay Christopher Cutler.

One should not make leaps about Cutler’s future in Chicago off one performance – good or bad. But this was performance was SO bad, it will be impossible for many to resist. I can’t blame them. If Brian Hoyer were healthy Sunday, he’d have been on the field by the second quarter.


Administrative note: I’m off to France for a bit but the content will continue! Data, Andrew and myself from abroad will be here daily, playing out the string.

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Match-Up That Matters: Bears at Bucs

| November 10th, 2016

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The Bears travel to Tampa for a match-up of two pretty evenly-matched teams. What will tell the tale?

Bears Rushing Attack

vs.

Tampa’s Poor Rush Defense

Three thoughts:

  • The Bears ran the ball with toughness and determination against a terrific Vikings defense with backup guards. From all reports, Josh Sitton and Kyle Long will return to the lineup Sunday. Long and Sitton aren’t just their two best offensive linemen. They are two of the best players on the team and leaders on the field. Their return should be worth 25+ additional yards.
  • Bucs are allowing more than 117 yards per game on the ground at 4.1 yards per carry. If Bears stay committed to the run,  and we know they will, they should have tremendous success on the ground.
  • Only one back in the league has a better yards per carry than Jordan Howard. (That would be the revelation that is Jay Ajayi in Miami. Reason #31 you don’t break the bank for CJ Anderson.) Howard isn’t going to beat a healthy Ezekiel Elliot for Rookie of the Year but I expect him to make a formidable argument over the second half of the season. That starts in Tampa.

If the Bears run it well, they win. I think they will…and do.

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FrontRowTickets.com Game Preview: Bears & Bucs Play Out the String (Christmas Edition!)

| December 24th, 2015

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Sell Chicago Bears Tickets

THE GAME POEM

THOUGHTS ON THE TAMPA BAY BUCS

  • Bucs offense is simple. They want to hand the ball off a zillion times to Doug Martin and then make plays down the field to Mike Evans off play-action. If their running game is shut down it greatly limits their effectiveness to move the ball/score points.
  • Earlier in the week I paired the Bucs and Bears as two teams that weren’t ready to put themselves in the thick of a playoff chase. Four weeks ago the Bucs were 5-5 and positioned well to make a run at the 6th seed. Since then they’ve lost to a Luck-less Colts, a Saints team playing out the string and were roughed up last Thursday night by the Rams until mounting a late comeback. This is a team with a lot of weapons and a bright future. But they’re not there yet. The question will be whether Lovie can get them over the top in 2016.
  • Tampa’s rush defense is very good, allowing 30 less yards per game on the ground than Chicago. If the Bears think they’re going to control this game on the ground it’s unlikely. The way to attack Tampa is to isolate a couple familiar fellows at the backend of their secondary (Conte, Wright…etc.) and throw the ball down the field. The question will be whether any of the Bears receivers can get any separation.

NEW CHRISTMAS CLASSICS

Each year, from Thanksgiving until Christmas, I (like many) indulge in the joy that is the Christmas movie. And it surprises me that movies and television shows still find their way into the rotation. This last year produced two new additions.

A VERY MURRAY CHRISTMAS

It’s television the way television used to be made in the days of soundstages and cigarette holders and Dean Martin. Everything about it is a throwback and it’s still completely original. The highlight? George Clooney popping out repeatedly from behind Christmas trees to deliver the chorus of Santa Claus Wants Some Lovin’.

DIFFICULT PEOPLE, “DIFFICULT CHRISTMAS”

The best new comedy on television in 2015 was Julie Klausner’s Difficult People and the final episode of the season, the Christmas episode, might have been the best. The highlight? Klausner getting fired from her job as a gift wrapper for reciting the story of Capturing the Friedmans to a customer.

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Ugly, Ugly, Ugly: Bears Beat Bucs & Inch Closer to .500

| November 24th, 2014

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Going into halftime I was fully prepared to write a “Marc Trestman Must Be Relieved of His Duties Today” column. That’s how lifeless the Bears were for thirty minutes. How thoroughly unmotivated they seemed. They would have enraged a surprisingly large and vocal crowd but the Soldier Field faithful were too bored to express anger.

Then they went into the locker room. Then they came out of the locker room.

I don’t know what Marc Trestman said to his football team. I don’t know the contents of Martellus Bennett’s MLK-inspired halftime tirade. But I do know Trestman had a tangible opportunity to display leadership. He had a chance to show the entire organization he was not only a capable leader of men but a capable leader of these specific men, in this specific locker room. And in Lovie Smith’s old locker room, Trestman delivered. If the Bears had played two second halves yesterday they would have beaten Tampa by 35 points.

Do these two wins mean a lot for the Chicago Bears? No. But they were the first essential destination on the Trestman road map to remaining the Chicago Bears head coach. Now the Bears play a month of games against NFC playoff teams (even though I don’t believe the Lions will ultimately make the postseason). Now the results are measuring sticks. Now the results matter.

More thoughts on Sunday’s win over the Bucs…

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Lovie Smith Returneth: Tampa Bay Bucs at Chicago Bears Game Preview

| November 20th, 2014

They won a game. My lord of lords, they have won a game. Did they beat a rookie quarterback playing in frozen conditions for the first time in his entire existence? Maybe. Do the Buccaneers come to town with a head coach and quarterback desperate to show the Soldier Field faithful and Halas Hall hierarchy what they’re missing? Absolutely. So…

Why do I like the Chicago Bears this week?

I always like the Chicago Bears.

A SUNDAY TO LEGITIMIZE ANOTHER SUNDAY

The Bears victory over the Minnesota Vikings means nothing if they lose Sunday. These two games, the first destination on Marc Trestman’s road map to retain his job, are a package deal.

Winning both enables the Bears to play a game with at least some meaning on Thanksgiving Day in Detroit. You might argue the stench of back-to-back embarrassments against arguably the league’s two best teams is too overwhelming to overcome no matter what happens against lower level competition. That’s a fair argument but I think a misguided one. The Bears returning to national television with an opportunity to even their record at 6-6 is a significant step for an organization left for dead two weeks ago. From 6-6, with 3 of their final 4 at home, Trestman and company can begin selling a run of the table to the locker room. Whether they achieve that goal or not is relatively unimportant. Believing there is a goal to be achieved means the players will be severely motivated in December.

Losing Sunday to the Bucs, one of the league’s worst teams, will hurt Trestman terribly in Chicago. If this offense can not find motivation against their former coach they will never find motivation. And if they can’t beat the two-win Bucs at home there will be nothing the coaching staff can say in the locker room to convince players this season has any possible reward.

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DaBearsBlog Poll: Lovie Smith’s Return

| November 19th, 2014

If you have not read Adam Jahns’ excellent piece in the Sun-Times on Lovie Smith’s impact on the Chicago Bears defense, CLICK HERE AND GO READ IT NOW. An excerpt:

For Tillman, Smith motivated through positive reinforcement. He referred to Tillman as an All-Pro cornerback in defensive meetings even though he wasn’t at that point in his career. It happened whenever the Bears faced the Detroit Lions and star receiver Calvin Johnson.

‘‘He’d be like, ‘They got their best player. We got our best player. I got all the confidence in the world in Peanut,’ ” Tillman said. ‘‘It was the confidence that he had in his players. You really felt it.

‘‘I believe in speaking words into existence. Part of being a coach is motivating your players, and it definitely got me going. My confidence was that much higher.’’

There’s even better stuff in the piece. Part of me wishes something like this had been written while Lovie was still the coach.

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Forget Trade: Bears Should Commit Resources to Support Cutler Over Next Two Seasons

| November 18th, 2014

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So Adam Schefter reports the Bears can save some money by trading Jay Cutler this spring and the football world goes into a tizzy. Would the Bears do it? Who are the possible trade partners?? Jets? Bills? Rams? Rochester Jeffersons? Where will Camden go to school? How will Kristin cope with a city change? How many people will turn up for Waddle & Silvy remotes with Jimmy Clausen?

Take a breath. Two things.

First, I don’t believe for a second the Bears have interest in trading Jay Cutler. Phil Emery has displayed loyalty to Shea McClellin, his first draft pick, in the face of a city-wide firing squad against the former Boise State star. You really believe he would excommunicate a quarterback he just guaranteed $54 million?

Second, if the Bears traded Jay Cutler it would be pure, unadulterated stupidity; a short-sighted, cave-to-the-crowd mistake by an organization that has completely lost direction.

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