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Across The Middle — It’s Finally Over

| January 5th, 2017

After the worst season in terms of total losses in franchise history, the Bears should have one mission this offseason: find a quarterback.

Two weeks ago, I cited John Fox’s record without Peyton Manning as a reason to fire him. Here’s the counter argument: Fox won almost 80 percent of games when he did have a franchise quarterback. I don’t know how much credit Fox deserves for his time with Manning (a former Broncos player once told me Manning ran the whole show), but I do know that a great quarterback changes everything.

Guys like Jack Del Rio and Mike Mularkey have job security solely because their teams have good, young quarterbacks. The Cowboys went from 4-12 to 13-3 largely because they upgraded from the likes of Brandon Weeden and Matt Cassel to Dak Prescott. Mike McCarthy was getting fired two months ago but he’s now preparing for a playoff game because Aaron Rodgers put his team on his back.

It takes more than a great quarterback. The Colts continue to prove that. But the Bears have a good system in place and the kind of supporting cast that would be favorable for any quarterback to step into.

The good news for the Bears is that this is a good offseason to find a quarterback. There are at least five guys in the draft that I like better than either Jared Goff or Carson Wentz (though none better than Mariota). There are a handful of veterans who will be available and a few more who could be.

We have an entire offseason to discuss and debate the options. Right now, my guess is the Bears are going to sign Tony Romo as a free agent then spend one of their first two picks on his eventual replacement. They’ll have a ton of plans with various options.

As fans, we just have to hope Pace guesses right.

The Great Coordinator Debate

Through Twitter, I (with Jeff’s help) managed to start a debate on Chicago’s best (and only good) radio show Waddle and Silvy regarding the Bears coordinators and I stand by what I said:

The conventional thought has been that Vic Fangio is a genius and Dowell Loggains will be looking for work shortly (the Bears had yet to announce the fate of either as of this writing), but the numbers simply don’t back that up.

The Bears finished this season 16th in offensive DVOA – which combines yardage, scoring and turnover statistics – while they were 22nd defensively. Both units were 15th in yardage, the offense was 28th in scoring and 30th in turnovers, while the defense was 24th and 32nd, tying a league record for fewest takeaways in a season (seriously).

You could say the performances of the two units were equally bad, but given the guys they had to work with, I think it’s fair to say Loggains performed better.

A Future No. 1?

Two years after trading Brandon Marshall, the Bears more than replaced his productivity with Cameron Meredith. Who woulda thunk it?

Meredith finished the season with 66 catches, 888 yards and four touchdowns (compared to Marshall’s 59-788-3). But his numbers are more impressive when you consider he missed the first four games. If you take all of the games in which Meredith played at least half of the team’s offensive snaps and averaged them out over a 16-game season, they add to 80-1,115-6. But, now consider there were three games in which Jay Cutler essentially ignored him (eight total targets), re-crunch the numbers and you come up with 96-1,268-6. And that includes the infamous Brian Hoyer/Matt Barkley game against the Packers.

I know that’s not really how it works, but I think it’s safe to say fans haven’t fully appreciated what Meredith has done. The kicker is: he’s a physical freak. Meredith’s pre-draft measurements are superior to Alshon Jeffery’s across the board and his Sparq score (used by NFL teams to determine overall athleticism) was about the same as Kevin White’s.

So, I ask: Why can’t he be a No. 1?

Charting The Bears

• Week 17 was, by far, the most boring game to chart. The most notable thing I came away with was the combined eight broken tackles by Jordan Howard and Jeremy Langford.

• The Bears offensive line held up well once again. Charles Leno allowed three hurries, but, for the most part, they kept the Vikings pass rush in check until late in the game.

Bring On The…Oh Crap..The Draft, I Guess?

What the hell, now is as good of a time as any for a completely uneducated, way too early mock draft.

1. Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett

2. San Francisco 49ers: DeShone Kizer

3. Chicago Bears: Mitch Trubisky

4. Jacksonville Jaguars: Malik Hooker

5. Tennessee Titans: Jonathan Allen

6. New York Jets: DeShaun Watson

7. San Diego Chargers: Mike Williams

8. Carolina Panthers: Derek Barneett

9. Cincinnati Bengals: Jamal Adams

10. Buffalo Bills: Corey Davis

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