5 Comments

Happy Memorial Day Weekend from DBB!

| May 25th, 2018

I’m not a photographer. But I like to take pictures. That probably describes 99% of the population right now. I thought I’d share a few images from a few years back – a visit to Normandy I took with my lady friend (pictured below). Enjoy the weekend. Stay safe. Don’t drink and drive. Content returns Tuesday, barring any breaking news.

Tagged: , , ,

267 Comments

NFL’s New Anthem Policy is Another in a Long Line of League Blunders

| May 24th, 2018

When players started kneeling for the national anthem, the reaction broke down into three separate categories:

Category One

“Good for them, exercising their first amendment rights and using the only pulpit they have to protest injustice.”

Category Two

“How dare they not stand for the anthem! It’s disrespectful to the flag and troops! The troops!”

Category Three

“Who gives a shit?”

Well, people did give a shit. One specific group of people, a loud group currently led by the President of the United States and his incoherent, grammatically-challenged Twitter feed. (Besides the stupidity and lies found on that feed, I’m always fascinated by the words Mr. Trump chooses to capitalize. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to it. He just randomly chooses a words and CAPS.)

Suddenly, the sideline became the big story.

State Television – Fox News – started blaming the kneeling players for the league’s declining TV ratings every single night on every single show. Oddly, the company pushed this narrative while preparing a $3.3 billion offer for the league’s Thursday Night Football package, which they acquired in January. It’s almost like those folks had an ulterior motive behind what they were incorrectly stating about television ratings. Almost like they were trying to devalue the package.

[Side note: I worked for Nielsen for several years in their television department. No issue has been more incorrectly reported than the TV ratings issue. But here’s what you need to know. TV ratings are declining across the board. NFL football ratings are declining at a much slower rate than the rest of the medium. It has actually INCREASED the value of the commodity. And now with sports gambling, look out.]

A lot of other shit went down too. Bob McNair and the “inmates”. The Steelers debacle at Soldier Field. Whatever the hell Jerry Jones and the Cowboys did that one time. But it was this ratings debate – the economic one – that seemed to truly bother Roger Goodell at the home office on Park Avenue. With the NFL, it’s always money.

Read More …

Tagged: , ,

38 Comments

Getting to the Quarterback Key To Goldman’s NFL/Earning Potential

| May 23rd, 2018

Eddie Goldman was one of the first key defensive additions for Ryan Pace and Vic Fangio as they rebuilt the unit. But his staying and earning power could depend upon his ability to get after the quarterback.

First, nobody questions whether or not Goldman is a good player. He is a very, very good player. But the Bears have to decide exactly how much they value a run-stuffing defensive tackle in a passing league. But Goldman, according to media reports, is primed to become one of the league’s higher-paid defensive linemen. In order for that to happen, he’ll have to convince the Bears they don’t need to take him off the field on passing downs.

Goldman has shown the ability to get after the quarterback.

  • As a rookie he managed 4.5 sacks and regularly generated pressure up the middle.
  • In his second season he added 2.5 quarterback take downs in just five games.
  • His total dropped to 1.5 in 2017, despite playing significantly more snaps.

Read More …

Tagged: ,

51 Comments

Like ‘Em or Not, These Are the Chicago Bears For the Foreseeable Future

| May 22nd, 2018

Since Ryan Pace showed up in 2015, there has been nearly complete roster turnover, with only Kyle Long, Charles Leno, Sherrick McManis, and Pat O’Donnell remaining from the previous regime. Every single offseason has seen significant changes, with a host of prominent players leaving and a sizable new batch of faces coming in.

Consequently, Bears fans are used to offseasons of sweeping change. But that pattern should end in 2019. To understand why, let’s look at who is already under contract on both sides of the ball.


Offense

Key players under contract: QB Mitchell Trubisky, RB Jordan Howard, RB Tarik Cohen, WR Allen Robinson, WR Taylor Gabriel, WR Anthony Miller, WR Javon Wims, TE Trey Burton, TE Adam Shaheen, LT Charles Leno, LG James Daniels, C Cody Whitehair, RG Kyle Long

Notable free agents: RT Bobby Massie, Eric Kush

Possible Cap Casualties: RG Kyle Long, TE Dion Sims

Chicago’s offense is young and locked-in for the next two years. Nobody on this list except Kyle Long is over 28 years old, and over half of these players are still on rookie deals. 2018 should see the best offense the Bears have had since 2013 (not exactly stiff competition) and there’s every expectation at this point that the same group returning basically intact in 2019 should be even better.

Read More …

Tagged: , , ,

57 Comments

Audibles From the Long Snapper: Enthusiasm, Pass Rush & Much More on the Gambling Front!

| May 21st, 2018

Some General Bears Thoughts

  • The first year of Trestman came with a lot of enthusiasm around the offense but nobody foresaw the defense plummeting to the bottom of the league. (There was also a segment of the fan base that refused to be excited about anything involving Jay Cutler.) This year there is just as much enthusiasm around the offense with an expected top-ten unit on the other side of the ball. There is real excitement around this club right now. They better win games.
  • When DBB started there were like two other Bears bloggers. Now there are about 100. And I honestly don’t follow or read what 99% of them do. But I’d love to see the out-and-out lying stop. Stop pretending you have sources. Stop pretending you’re “told” things. Stop linking the team every seemingly-available player in the league so you can get ten more clicks. It took ten years of me grinding before anybody associated with the Bears (or the league) would even answer an email. Sadly, the lying shit reflects poorly on this site because we got the fucking word “blog” in our title.
  • Nobody should underestimate how little this team has in the pass rush department. It will keep them from being a dominant defense. Leonard Floyd is their only reliable rusher on the roster and he’s (a) inconsistent and (b) averaging 11 games played over his first two seasons. What happens to this defense if Floyd misses five games in 2018?

Finley: Defense Believes in Offense

From his piece this week in the Sun-Times, profiling Prince Amukamara’s decision to return to the Bears:

“I want to win a championship, and having Mitch here, that’s always the start,” he said after the Bears’ second organized-team-activity practice Wednesday. “The quarterback’s always the start, and just having Mitch and seeing his improvement and his effort . . . I’m sure some people saw, but even when Mitch was the backup, Mitch was staying after practice and always working hard. And you love seeing that in a quarterback, especially a backup.

‘‘I’ve always just saw greatness in him ever since then. I think this year he gets to really show it.”

Amukamara isn’t alone. Receivers Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel, who signed this offseason, hope Trubisky can get them a “third contract, or help them get their first ring,” Amukamara said.

“I think if guys came here to win, then, yeah, the quarterback should definitely be the first thing that you look at,” he said.

NFL players want to do two things: make a lot of money and win. And the hierarchy of those two things is a player-by-player thing. For wide receivers choosing where to land in free agency, the quarterback can enable both. That’s why Robinson and Gabriel chose Chicago.

Read More …

Tagged: , , , , , ,

92 Comments

A Reader (and Gambling Expert) Responds to My Legalization Column

| May 18th, 2018

Hi Jeff,

As a longtime fan/reader/listener of dabearsblog, I would like to offer up my experience and perspective on the recent change to sports betting laws in your country, and what results that may actually lead to in states across the U.S.A.

Sports betting has been legal in Canada for years, and in most provinces since the 90s, when offered by a provincially licensed/regulated entity.  But how it has been treated from province-to-province differs a fair bit, and the ongoing struggles to get certain sports/offers approved continues.  Following from your recent article, I would have some differing views on what the future may hold, but some points I agree with and have some further context:


“What a full sports book does is open up hundreds upon hundreds of bets per game…The active sports books around the country will take this action and the most creative ones will make the most money.”

This pre-supposes a lot.  States will want their say, and each could and will likely be very different in what they allow.  Will they have a private operator model, or will it be through the state-owned lottery…or some hybrid?  In Canada the models are very similar (with some nuance online), but in Europe there is a lot of variety.  Regardless of the operating model, what they allow to be offered in law may differ starkly.  In Canada, there are only two provinces (of 10) that today offer in-game (“live”) betting.  While most offer prop bets, the type & quantity allowed differ a fair bit.  Still not allowed throughout the country:  single-event betting.  It is still in our criminal code that you cannot bet on a single sporting event – thus, we must force parlays of at least two events.  Some states may be very conservative, if history holds.

Read More …

Tagged: ,

105 Comments

Thoughts on the Legalization of Sports Gambling in NJ & Beyond

| May 17th, 2018

Sports gambling was always going to happen in the United States. And now that the Supreme Court decision has come down, sports radio airwaves have been lit up with takes ranging from willfully naive to pointlessly puritanical. As someone who has illegally gambled for the last twenty years, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the issue. Here’s some of that thinking.

  • Chris Christie is a scumbag but he deserves a lot of credit for this decision. As governor of NJ he understood the only way to beat the lobbying powers of the major sports leagues was to sink taxpayer money into the legal fight. He did. And now the great state of New Jersey is going to be the first to reap the windfall when a sportsbook opens at Monmouth in the coming weeks.
  • Most people know sports gambling, especially when it comes to football, as full game point spreads and over/unders. What a full sports book does is open up hundreds upon hundreds of bets per game. The barroom bookie doesn’t take action on first touchdown scored or third quarter first downs or catches by the backup tight end. (They take almost no action at all on golf, NASCAR…etc.) The active sports books around the country will take this action and the most creative ones will make the most money.
  • This will all be done digitally, of course. That’s where the most money will be made. But I’d imagine you’ll see some storefront sports books, especially in major cities. Think of the old ESPN Zones – a million TVs, seven bars…etc. But now everyone in the joint will be able to walk over to a teller and place bets.
  • I’ll be shocked if this leads to some epidemic of gambling addicts. Anyone who wants to gamble for the sake of gambling can do so right now. What do people think DraftKings and FanDuel are? There are race tracks all over the country. Scratch-offs and the lottery are gambling for dimwits. Are there scratch-off addicts? I’m sure. But nobody ever writes a newspaper article about them. There are betting parlors in every mid-sized Irish village. They’re surviving just fine.

Read More …

Tagged: ,

69 Comments

If Bears Want an Elite Defense in 2018, They Will Need Multiple Rookies to Contribute

| May 16th, 2018

The Bears did not invest many high draft picks on the defensive side of the ball last month, outside of top selection Roquan Smith. But there’s a good chance the team will need multiple rookie defensive players – all acquired day three or later – to play prominent roles in they want to be an elite unit in 2018.

  • Smith is a given. His ability to cover all parts of the field is something the Bears haven’t had since Brian Urlacher and, like Urlacher, the general expectation is that Smith will be one of the top rookies in the league.
  • Kylie Fitts is going to have the easiest path to the starting lineup. Sam Acho and Aaron Lynch have proven to be nothing more than journeymen and Fitts has the ability to be a top-tier pass rusher. If not for a series of injuries in college, he would’ve been selected significantly higher in the draft. While much of the focus is on pass rush, Bears scout David Williams said the team thinks Fitts can play the run from Day One and has upside as a pass rusher.
  • Another Bears scout, Chris Prescott, was confident in Bilal Nichols:“You’re talking about a guy you expect year one to come in and probably immediately backup at all three positions,” Prescott told the team website. “I think this is a guy who can come in and help you right away.” Nichols has the size and strength to take on blocks in the NFL and combines that with rare athleticism for the position. Nichols is bigger than current projected starting defensive end Jonathan Bullard and nearly as athletic. With Roy Robertson-Harris being smaller and not likely able to take on blocks in the team’s base defense, Nichols could be Bullard’s primary competition for a starting job. Even if he doesn’t start, Nichols will probably take the role Bullard had last year, playing 25 to 50 percent of the snaps weekly.

Read More …

Tagged: , , , ,

42 Comments

The Bears Are Young. How Did Ryan Pace Do It?

| May 15th, 2018

When Ryan Pace showed up following the 2014 season, he inherited the 3rd oldest roster in the NFL. The Bears were both old and bad – the worst possible roster combination. In 2018, they will be one of the youngest teams in the league.

The progress has been slow. They moved from 30th the year before Pace came to 19th in 2015 to 10th in 2016, but then stepped back to 22nd in 2017 thanks largely to a number of ill-fated free agent moves (hello, Mike Glennon, Markus Wheaton, and Quentin Demps!). We won’t know the exact numbers until rosters are cut down, but the Bears’ average age in 2018 is going to be somewhere around 25 years old, which will likely place them as one of the 5 youngest teams in the league.

Looking at their 90-man roster right now, there are only 4 players who will be 30 when the season starts: backup QB Chase Daniels and 3 guys who are primarily special teamers (Sherrick McManis, Patrick Scales, and Sam Acho). On the flip side, there will be a host of key players who are under 25, include Mitchell Trubisky, Jordan Howard, Anthony Miller, James Daniels, Cody Whitehair, Eddie Goldman, Roquan Smith, and Eddie Jackson. To put into perspective just how young the Bears will be, the 26 year old Leonard Floyd will be above average for a starter.

Read More …

Tagged: , ,

123 Comments

Tweet: Trubisky at Rookie Camp

| May 14th, 2018

Two thoughts on this:

  • This might feel like a slight gesture but it’s not. For the rookies in this camp, many desperate to make ANY roster, seeing the starting quarterback out there inspires them. It shows them this is not only important to them but important to the entire franchise. And it makes them work that much harder.
  • It’s a brilliant move by Mitch as this becomes HIS team. Every rookie at this camp will notice him. Every rookie that moves along with the Bears will remember his presence. Leadership is important, especially at the quarterback position. This is leader stuff.

Tagged: , ,

© Da' Bears Blog