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Across The Middle: Coaching Collision Course?

| September 20th, 2017

Whether this is just a rumor or if it actually happened is anybody’s guess.

The story goes that before the Bears Week 17 game in 2014, Ted Phillips and George McCaskey brought Phil Emery into the principal’s office and asked him what his plan was. Firing Marc Trestman was a no-brainer but the Bears needed to know Emery had a solid plan to replace him. Emery’s response was a guy he had worked with before: Mike Smith.

Smith had success in the past. The Falcons won at least nine games in his first five years, but they’d gone just 10-22 since then. He wasn’t sexy and wasn’t someone any other team was going to consider. Emery liked him because he knew him and he felt Smith did a good job in helping turn the Falcons around. The Bears brass never really responded to Emery. They watched the Week 17 game together and the next time they spoke was the last. Emery was fired the next morning.

If things keep going the way they’re going, Ted and George are going to have the same talk with Ryan Pace. And, like Emery, there’s a good chance Pace is going to be able to mention a familiar name. Only this time, that name will have a Super Bowl ring.

But is Sean Payton the answer?

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Bears Lose Home Opener, What’s Next? (Rapid Fire!)

| September 11th, 2017

Special thanks to Data for his post-game report yesterday. We’ll be trying to provide post-game content throughout the season.

  • Mike Glennon did everything Mike Glennon can do yesterday. And the Bears had a chance to win. Remind you of anything? It’s exactly what we were saying every week during Hoyer/Barkley last season. But when your passer is this limited, the rest of the team needs to be absolutely perfect. And the Bears are not good enough to be that.
  • If this is all the Bears are going to ask Glennon to do, not playing Trubisky makes even less sense. Trubisky can do everything Glennon did yesterday. Hell, Chad Hutchinson can do everything Glennon did yesterday. But Trubisky can extend plays with his elusiveness and extend drives with his legs. The Bears shouldn’t be playing Trubisky to develop their future. They should be playing him because he’d help them win now.
  • Didn’t foresee the Bears having no answer for Austin Hooper.
  • Not surprised at all by Tarik Cohen. The Human Joystick has been turning heads since he showed up for his first Bears practice and I’d imagine he’ll be lighting up fantasy waiver wires today. (I haven’t played fantasy football in 17 years but I suggested Cohen to a DFS player who won five grand yesterday.) Cohen is the Bears best offensive weapon.
  • Akiem Hicks is their best defensive weapon. Maybe giving guys millions of dollars the day before the opener should become a trend. That was a dominant performance.

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Five Reasons to be Excited about the 2017 Bears

| September 6th, 2017

The official start of the season should be an exciting time for NFL fans all over the country, but Bears fans are almost unanimously unexcited.

The reason for this is pretty clear. With their present quarterbacking situation, the starting of Mike Glennon, they’ll need perfection from pretty much everyone else on the roster. Have teams done it? Sure. But most teams in this situation end up picking in the top 10 of the draft.

That said, the Bears do have more going for them than a standard three-win team and there are a few reasons to be excited.

Here are five:

5. Return of Dominant Defense

It’s been a minute since the Bears have had even an adequate defense. Under Lovie Smith, they ranked in the top half of the league in scoring defense eight times in nine seasons and in the top five four times.

Since Smith was fired, they haven’t cracked the top twenty and finished in the bottom ten three times.

This year should be different.

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Dowell Loggains Needs To Be Creative with Bears Backfield Duo

| August 23rd, 2017

Tarik Cohen takes a handoff, runs right and immediately sees three defenders in his path. Instead of going down easily and waiting for his next opportunity, Cohen manages to freeze all three, and sprint by for a nine-yard gain.

Nobody can really explain how Cohen managed that run in the first quarter against Arizona. It doesn’t make sense. He should’ve been stopped for a loss. And that wasn’t the first time he’s had an improbable run this preseason. He’s already made a habit of it, just as he did in college and it’s becoming very clear that the Bears have a special player to complement their already special back, Jordan Howard.

But how they’ll manage to get the most out of both remains to be seen.

Howard didn’t play against the Cardinals and Cohen only got one carry in the first two drives before Howard exited the Bears preseason game against Denver. If the Bears are going to maximize their offensive potential this season, they’ll need to be able to use both players together.

It’s not as easy as you might think.

The player Cohen is most often compared to is Darren Sproles, who didn’t have more than 200 yards from scrimmage until his third season. Sproles entered the league with Marty Schottenheimer as his coach but one of the greatest play callers of all time, Norv Turner, took over in 2007. In their first season together, Sproles — used primarily as a return man — managed just 195 yards from scrimmage.

As great as he was, Turner never did figure out a way to get his two special backs involved simultaneously. It wasn’t until 2008 when LaDainian Tomlinson started slowing down that Turner started to use Sproles more. That season he had 672 yards from scrimmage and six touchdown. The next year, he nearly equaled Tomlinson’s production, but LT was 30 and on his way out.

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Pace Wins Training Camp, Glennon is Glennon & Jaye Howard’s Poor Debut

| August 16th, 2017

Remember when people were calling for Ryan Pace to be fired?

Sure you do, it wasn’t that long ago.

He was stupid for taking a quarterback with just 13 collegiate starts, a D-II tight end, a safety with a rod in his leg and a tiny and a small running back from a small school. Guys like Matt Miller and Jason La Canfora quoted made-up sources saying Pace was SURELY going to be fired.

It’s early, of course, but two weeks into preseason, Pace is the unquestioned winner of Bears training camp.

Adam Hoge and Adam Jahns brought the topic up on their podcast last week. Who is the winner of training camp? Jahns named UDFA and 2017 Joe Anderson Boner Award winner Tanner Gentry. Hoge raved about rookies such as Adam Shaheen, Tarik Cohen, Eddie Jackson and, of course, Mitch Trubisky. Neither Hoge nor Jahns was wrong. Those guys all look legitimate. But one guy is responsible for all those individuals being in camp, in Bears uniforms. That’s Pace.

It’s funny how much a narrative can change once football players, you know, play football.

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Trubisky And Other Impressions From A Day At Practice

| August 2nd, 2017

“Wow! Who threw that?” Is the question my wife asked in our first real exposure to Mitch Trubisky at Saturday’s training camp practice.

It was a day in which everyone wanted to talk about the fumbled snaps but even a football novice like my wife could see that there was a definite difference in what Trubisky had to offer versus that of Mike Glennon and Mark Sanchez.

I don’t mean to minimize the snap issue. If a team can’t complete the snap, they can’t run a play. But there hasn’t been a quarterback in the history of the league who hasn’t figured out how to take a snap from the center. Let’s repeat that. There hasn’t been a quarterback in the history of the league who hasn’t figured out how to take a snap from the center.

The rest of that practice should have Bears fans excited.

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Thoughts on the 2017 Bears Draft Class

| April 30th, 2017

I don’t have much to say that’s not already out there. So here are a few quick hits.

  • Whole draft will be about Trubisky. The rest of this class can turn into All-Pros and nobody will care if Mitch Trubisky stinks. That’s the nature of making a splashy move for a quarterback in the first round.
  • Said it on Twitter and I’ll say it here. People who booed Trubisky at the United Center should be ashamed of themselves. All the kid did was excel at a sport and get drafted to play it professionally. If you don’t like the selection, drive your worthless ass to Lake Forest and roll down the window. Classless bullshit that belongs in Philadelphia, not Chicago.
  • Adam Shaheen and Tarik Cohen are the kinds of picks I like. Extraordinary talents with high upside. If Ryan Pace hits on those two guys the Bears offense just became far more dynamic.
  • Eddie Jackson. Didn’t know he was in this draft. Seriously. Just didn’t know. But he was my favorite player on that Bama defense that featured three first-round picks. Hopefully his injury problems are behind him. But if he’s healthy in Bourbonnais it will be hard to keep him off the field.
  • The Bears coached guard Jordan Morgan at the Senior Bowl and fell in love with him. Depth this year. Sitton’s heir apparent would be the hope.
  • Rarely do I say this but because their last pick was in the fifth round and they only made five total, the Bears will be disappointed if 3-4 of these picks don’t become serious players. Usually you want 3-4 out of 7. Bears want 3-4 out of 5. Not easy. But doable.
  • But it’s all about Trubisky.

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