147 Comments

In Bourbonnais: Training Camp Observations

| July 28th, 2018

I made it out to Bears training camp today, and thought I’d share a few thoughts and observations. Obligatory note: keep in mind it was only one practice, and players have good/bad days.

Offense

  • I got a great up-close look at TEs doing blocking drills. Dion Sims is a much better blocker than any of the other guys. The TE coach was working with Shaheen a ton, but he struggled to mirror.
  • When TEs and RBs did blocking 1 on 1s against linebackers, it was ugly. The defense won almost every one of those battles. That’s not good considering the Bears don’t exactly have a great stable of pass rushers, and Floyd didn’t even participate.
  • Tarik Cohen’s blocking in particular was ugly. On his first rep, he got bullrushed by some UDFA OLB I’ve never even heard of. On his 2nd rep, he dug in to try to prevent that and Nick Kwiatkoski ran around him without being touched. I don’t expect Cohen to be a great blocker, but that was ugly.
  • I’ve heard a lot of good things about Dion Sims as a pass catcher in the first week of camp, but man is he slow. He lumbers out there running routes and doesn’t have that extra gear to separate.
  • The 1st string offense as a whole really struggled today. The defense dominated them. Part of that could be because Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, and Trey Burton were all not playing for a decent amount of those drills, meaning Sims, Bellamy, and Fowler saw a lot of targets. I can only hope that we don’t see that repeat itself during the season.
  • The offense even struggled in 7v7, when there is no pass rush and it’s supposed to favor the offense. Check downs almost every time.

  • Part of that was on Trubisky. To me it looked like he was clearly thinking too much out there. Chase Daniel was noticeably quicker through progressions, which makes sense given that he’s known the offense for years while Trubisky is just learning it.
  • Trubisky wasn’t throwing much to his main targets, so the timing wasn’t quite there with the WRs either. They have a long way to go before the season starts, but it seems more mental than anything at this point.
  • Credit to the 2nd string offense though. They looked pretty good against the 2nd string defense. I think that highlights the depth the Bears have on offense as well as the injuries the defense has at linebacker.
  • Kevin White played a lot today. I’ve heard a lot of good things about him in camp, but wasn’t very impressed. He didn’t really create any separation when going against Prince or Fuller
  • Josh Bellamy is always open, but you never know if he’s actually going to catch the ball. Nothing seems to have changed there.
  • There’s been a lot of attention paid to Jordan Howard’s hands this offseason, and he got several dumpoffs sent in his direction today. He didn’t drop any of them.
  • Kyle Long had to be pulled from full team drills and calmed down 2x. Once he dove on Prince Amukamara after the whistle in a non-tackling situation, and another time he put Akiem Hicks on his ass.
  • Anthony Miller looked like the best WR on the field today, but we didn’t see much of Taylor Gabriel or Allen Robinson.
  • Speaking of Gabriel, he sat out the last 85% or so of practice and didn’t have his helmet for it. He seemed to be limping a little and favoring his right leg; to me it looked like maybe his calf was bothering him. He didn’t leave to go to the training tent though, so hopefully it was nothing serious.
  • I saw most of the injured players who didn’t practice out there in shorts watching, but there was no sign of Hroniss Grasu, and a guy who’s been there every day told me he hasn’t been seen since getting hurt. That plus the fact they signed another C suggests to me his injury is serious.
  • Centers Cody Whitehair and James Daniels both had bad shotgun snaps over the QB today. The new C they just signed last night, Jack Allen, was working on shotgun snaps on the sideline with a coach during team drills.
  • Michael Burton was very involved as a pass catcher today. He caught a number of dump-off passes in full team drills. Guys I talked to who have been at more practices said they hadn’t seen him with 1s much on offense before that.
  • The offense had some issues getting lined up multiple times. Trubisky had to move guys to the other side, or they had to ask other players where they were supposed to line up. You can tell they’re learning a new offense.
  • In general I’m not too worried about the O at this point. They were rotating so many personnel packages through, new offense, their main veterans (Long, Robinson, Burton, Gabriel) all sat out a bunch. It’s very much a work in progress, and it showed.

Defense

  • If the offense had a bad day, then the defense had a good one. That’s the double-sided coin of intrasquad practices. If you want to focus on the positives, the defense was great today. You could really tell it was a veteran unit that was in a familiar system, and all the players were in sync with each other.
  • Sam Acho had himself a day. It felt like he was living in the backfield all day, he didn’t lose a single rep in 1v1 drills that I saw, and he stuffed a few run plays too.
  • Prince Amukamara in particular looked really good to me today. He had a few INTs, which continues a theme from camp. I really hope that carries over to actual games.
  • Cre’Von LeBlanc also had a couple interceptions and a deflection, and general good coverage in 1v1 drills.
  • I also thought it interesting that Bryce Callahan got some time outside on the 2nd string (in addition to his normal starting nickel role).
  • UDFA Michael Joseph from DuBuque spent a good amount of time on the 2nd string too. He didn’t get thrown at much, so it’s tough to say how he did.
  • Bears D also had a really interesting look on the goal line with 4 DL, 2 OLB, and only 1 ILB. That must be their jumbo package, essentially worked out like a 6-man DL.
  • Rookie OLB Kylie Fitts didn’t practice again today with an arm injury. That’s a bummer, because he drew some praise from coaches earlier this week and I wanted to get a look at him. The Bears need all the edge rush help they can get, so anything from him would be a big plus.
  • That’s all I have on the defense. I spent more time focusing on the offense since that’s the new scheme with more new parts.

Special Teams

  • There’s not a ton to say here, as they only spent maybe 5 minutes on full-team ST drills, and the ST only drills were a field away from where I sat.
  • One thing I did notice was how strong Cody Parkey’s leg is. He was drilling 40-45 yarders with room to spare (albeit by himself without rushers), and the kicks looked like they would have been good from 60. That’s nice to see after suffering through two years of Connor Barth.
  • The one chance at a FG that Parkey got was wide right from 52 yards. Rookie punter Ryan Winslow was holding; fans who have been at all the practices said Parkey has struggled with Winslow holding but hasn’t missed when Pat O’Donnell holds. Consider that an early leg up for O’Donnell in the punting competition.
  • Tarik Cohen served as the punt returner in the one drill they did. I assume he’s going to be the guy there again this year, barring something unexpected.

Podcast Plug

I hung out at practice with some of the guys from Da Bears Bros, and did a podcast with them afterwards. Give it a listen to get some of their insights, as well as a few things I probably forgot to mention on here.

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  • KentuckyBearsFan

    I don’t think anyone really expects Tarik to block.

    It would be like expecting Hester to block.

    The man with the ball just needs to go.

    • Yep, but all RBs need to block from time to time or it really limits their role. Or have Cohen run blocking if he’s gonna play WR at all and not telegraph a pass play.

      • KentuckyBearsFan

        you ‘re right. it basically limits his role, unless the rest of the offensive line can make up for it.

        I kind of like that Kyle Long is back and angry and needs time-outs.

      • It’s a catch 22 for D’s if they blitz w Cohen back there. Cuz if he gets a screen or dump off when they do, it’s off to the races.
        Trub will get murdered in the process tho

        • SC Dave

          Then dont run the play

    • SC Dave

      I expect EVERYONE on offense that;
      – is not actively running a route before the throw
      – does not have the ball in his hands
      to fucking block, damnit!

      No divas! No slackers.

  • willbest

    I hope you are giving it to us straight rather than sugar coating it. Cause, that is not a particularly glowing review of Bears 2018

    • The first string offense looked bad, but to me it was more sloppy than anything.

      Reviews of other practices have said O has good and bad days. Today was definitely a bad one. I wonder if those are days they’re installing new stuff.

      Like O supposedly had the leg up yesterday. Maybe they then put in new plays today.

      At start of practice they had full O running plays against a back 7 put together of assistants who were just walking. They were told what coverage to run so that too offense could get looks of that play against, say, cover 2.

      That’s like what you do when you’re first learning a play. And it was really funny to see the assistants all look at their assignment sheets to see what they were supposed to do when the defense was called out.

  • Love hearing the Bros stuff. I linked them yesterday.
    4 down DL and 3 LBs is a 4-3, right?

    I don’t think that’s anything new. When McPhee was here he would sometimes put his hand on the ground and the D would be a 4-3 under.

    Not surprised about Shaheen struggling w blocking. At ITT tech he simply overpowered , and blocking tech takes time for all TEs at the NFL level.

    Long is always a bit of a hothead. As long as he doesn’t throw out his shoulder body slamming Fuller, should be ok

    Disappointing to hear Daniels bad snap. I expect it from WH, but not him. I read that they’re playing Daniels at OG and C. If he keeps making bad snaps, maybe they’ll keep him at OG (which would be disappointing since he was projected to be a good C by most scouts)

    The D should be ahead of the right now, no doubt.

    But all these INTs might begin to concern in a few weeks.

    Prince is a good CB (when he’s healthy)

    • Daniels played exclusively C today, but that’s probably because Grasu is out so he was with both 2nd and 3rd teams.

      Most of the INTs were 50/50 balls where the defender just won. Again: starting CBs vs Bellamy, Fowler and White.

      • I really hope Daniels starts at C.

        Yeah, it’s nice that they’re flexible and all that, but I still think the Oline would be better longterm with Daniels at C, and WH at OG.

        Do you remember Morgan?

        Did he just play at OG, or did he do some OT?

        Dewitt mentioned that he put Goldman on his ass in one drill. That is not easy to do.

        • I didn’t see as much of the lines today. It just happened to be that the little guy drills were in front of where I sat.

          But I don’t think Morgan played any OT. Coward, the converted DL, is playing OT though.

          • Oh wow, forgot about Coward. Converted DL. Let’s hope he can become another Big Cat.

          • leftcoastdave

            They’re trying, and wouldn’t it be grand?

          • A few people I know on Twitter who have some sources say the coaches really like him and have been impressed. He seems like an ideal PE candidate for this year, IMO. I also think Javon Wims is a great PS candidate.

        • SC Dave

          Morgan is Long insurance. With Kush

          • I think Morgan is honestly pretty far down the pecking order for interior OL.

            Long and Whitehair are the top 2
            Then Kush is working with the 1s right now
            Then Watford seems to be next, because he filled in when Long was out
            Then Daniels
            Then Morgan

            You usually keep 4-5 of these guys, so right now I’d say Morgan is on the outside looking in. Obviously still plenty of time to change that though.

          • Yeah, I think he’s a longshot too. Heard good things about Watford too.

            I’m more looking at Morgan at RT than at OG, but supposedly he has cement feet, which is why they don’t want to expose him out there.

            Still, kinda rooting for him. I don’t think I could put Goldman on his ass even with a bat lol

            Morgan will likely end up on the practice squad.

    • And yeah, I guess that’s technically a 4-3 look. But they had the OLBs both on the line outside the tackles, so it looked more like a 6-1. Only 1 LB off the LOS

    • And DaBearsBros have been at pretty much every practice so far. Going to HOF game too. They’re definitely dedicated to the in-person stuff. Makes sense this time of year. They have a leg up on credentialed media who have to follow Bears rules.

      I got to watch practice with three of their guys and somebody from Windy City Gridiron. That was a lot of fun, and we all got more out of it than we would have individually.

      • Yeah, they’re young, but dedicated. And just fun to listen to. One of the more in depth podcasts. Just hope they don’t shut him down like that other guy who used to drink beers (forgot his name). Think they’ll get far.

        Like in the last podcast, I think it was Dewitt who was decipher the called formations – Rhino, Elephant, etc.

        Interesting. Although, not sure the Bears would want that info out there lol (though not like NFL DCs don’t know formations and packages by heart)

        • SC Dave

          Yeah, the Packers have a ‘fan’ recording everything. Just like every other team

        • Cormonster

          Your boy Roy

          • CanadaBear

            I had a chance to see Ry Cooder at a music fest on the Island but it was $110 for the day. I cheaped out. By the time it was all said and done (probably an overnight, nice dinner and brunch) I’d be North of $500 by a fair bit.

          • Cormonster

            Yeah, out of town concerts can get pretty pricey sometimes. Now that I don’t drink, I do the late night drive more often, which allows me to afford more shows.

          • CanadaBear

            I gotta admit I prefer to stay overnight. Not a big deal driving other than lots of animals. If we would have come back that night we probably would have pulled into the driveway around 2:30 ish. Yeah, I’m an old bastard.

          • SC Dave

            Fuck that… sleep in a bed and contribute to the velocity of money..

          • Doc Nitty

            My buddy in Portland just informed me that I will be seeing Pearl Jam with him at their homecoming on August 10th. First show for me this year I’m ashamed to say. Oughta be a grand time! Eddies known for rocking a Walter Jersey when they play in Chitown, which I think is hella cool. When grunge started I was sure Eddie would be my generations Jim Morrison and take an early exit. Turned out he’s the only singer from that scene who hasn’t died in a tragic rock n roll kinda way. Still rockin and still kickin ass. Mad respect for that guy.

            Hey, while I got you here, perhaps I could interest you in knight to f3? Or maybe you’d prefer the simple and safe pawn to d3? The Queens Gambit has been quite popular this time of year, maybe you’d like to give that a try?! Really, there’s a whole host of moves available to you and I’m betting you’ll have a bunch of fun no matter which one you decide on! Whadya say?

          • SC Dave

            Doc/Corm… you guys ever tried this?

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chess960

          • Doc Nitty

            Worth a try. My gut reaction is that the randomization would turn it into a game of luck.

          • leftcoastdave

            I caught him up in the twin cities sometime between 74 and 83, although those years were a wonderful blur. He is great.

          • CanadaBear

            Never saw him live. I would have been more interested in seeing him in an indoor venue instead of with my closest 15,000 friends. Love his Tex-Mex stuff.

          • leftcoastdave

            Texas Tornados. If you don’t already know them, you will love them.
            Hey Baby, Que Passo?

          • CanadaBear

            Oh yeah. I saw them on ACL back in the day and have their first CD. Killer band. I always liked Freddy Fender, Doug Sahm and Augie Myers even before they were in this band.

          • SC Dave

            Yeah… he was good

          • yeah, there ya go!

            I loved his beer recommendations too, but the NFL cracked down on him showing vids, and there went his show.

            Fucked up. I mean, he was basically advertising the NFL for free.

            But of course, they want their cut.

  • A few other things I forgot to mention:

    Trey Burton is a really smooth route runner. He impressed me today.

    They ran a couple looks where White motioned into the backfield next to Trubisky in shotgun. He then ran a flare to the flat both times. Every catch White made today was underneath stuff. They mostly used him for that or sent him deep to clear it out for somebody else underneath.

    Javon Wims and Tanner Gentry both made great catches on go routes to win jump balls. They look very similar in that that’s about all they do well right now. But Wims is bigger and faster.

    • leftcoastdave

      I’m curious what you got to see of Shaheen. He looks to me to be much thinner around the middle which means he has leaned out and muscled up. I also read where he is unstoppable in the red zone.
      Did he get much play?

      • He ran a fantastic route to burn Kwit in 1v1s. Out and up, really sold the out part.

        • leftcoastdave

          I’m glad to hear he’s running good routes. What I have seen on tape looked less than stellar which surprised given the fact that he has leaned out and is carrying much less Chipolte baby fat.

        • Is he only running flare/flat routes, or are they giving Howard diff types of routes to run?

    • CanadaBear

      The stuff about KW is disappointing. Not that I was counting on him but … This sounds like the same old crapola when they were force-feeding him the ball for those few games. UGH!

      • It was all underneath stuff for everybody today.

        • CanadaBear

          That makes me feel a little better.

      • SC Dave

        White is gray at best.

  • Doc Nitty

    Not trying to be a downer but judging from the column and reports from you all, to me it feels like same ol Bears. QB int’s, D dominant, WRs outmatched, People confused about where to go and what to do on O…. I know it’s a new system and all that, but in past years we were making excuses for that kind of shit too. Basically we’ve been hearing these kind of reports since the beginning of the Brett Favre era. I want to be gung ho but I can’t help but feel like I’ve seen this movie before. It doesn’t usually end well. God I hope I’m wrong.

    • SC Dave

      Same old Bears… you forgot the bomb at RB.

      At least we have JH

      • leftcoastdave

        Not same old, but amen to JoHo.

        • SC Dave

          Lcd, doc has been around for a whIle. Between Sayers, Payton, Anderson, Jones, (sorta), Forte, and Howard, if there is ONE thing the Bears have had same old, it’s RB.

          Well, and moreso i suppose, MLB.

          3-4 kinda kills the latter tho

          • leftcoastdave

            Same old, except for a 21’s century O, a move TE, a real receiving corp and now three quick as a hiccup dudes who can break any given play to the house. Other than that, same old?

    • I have no idea if this time will be different, but any team 1 week of practice into a new offense is going to look like this.

      If it helps, the 2nd string looked much more cohesive because the QB has been in this offense for years and knew what was going on more. Trubisky will get there with time. Then we’ll see how good he is.

      Right now he’s very visibly thinking about what he should do instead of just playing. That slows you down, messes with fundamentals (aka inaccurate passes), etc.

      One other glimmer of hope today: at the end of the practice, they did a 2-minute drill situation, starters vs. starters. O got ball at their 20, had to move into FG range. The 1st try was a disaster (sack, incomplete, snap over QB’s head for a 4th and 35 punt). 2nd try they were able to move down to the 35 and let Parkey try (he missed, like I mentioned above). In that drive, I was watching the play clock. They went no huddle and got every single snap off by 25 seconds left, so within 15 seconds. That’s impressive to me this early in a new system. It shows me there’s SOME stuff they know how to do already. They’re just trying to build on that.

      • leftcoastdave

        Reading down this far on comments, I was thinking exactly what you said at the end, ie., the first install is there and now they are going deeper into the book. I’m hoping that is the case, given what I have seen of earlier film and press reports. Also I would assume that the main thrust remains the passing game, not JoHo pounding the rock which, as SC Dave and I both love to harp on, will remain YUGE this year with JoHo becoming the number one rusher in yards per attempt and yards after contact. Bet on that, as I believe Nagy will after teaching up Tru on how to unload the box.

        • CanadaBear

          Glad to see all the hard work Jordan put in on his receiving skills (or lack thereof) is paying off in camp. I think only the old guys weren’t that worried about him getting better at that. The guy is talented, dedicated and driven, why wouldn’t he improve?

          • SC Dave

            So this. And if the ‘pinpoint accuracy’ Nagy talks about becomes reality, the league should have a giant fear boner over JH

      • Doc Nitty

        That is some first-rate state of the art silver lining finding right there, my friend. So in an effort to assuage my inner cynic, you point to nice time management On a sequence of plays that featured a sack, an incomplete pass, a disastrous botched snap, a punt, and a missed FG?

        Thank you. I do feel better. And we all learned something valuable. We learned that you should rule out suicide counselor as a career choice….

        Sad Guy: “I can’t go on. I have syphillus, the IRS is on my ass, and I just learned my wife cheated on me in a gangbang with all my best friends that broke out at Arby’s. What’s the fucking point?!

        Data: ”I understand that your weary and tired of the struggle, but isn’t it true that your wife made the kids wait in the car and took off her wedding ring during her little indiscretion? See now…to me…that suggests there’s still love there!”

        Sad Guy: (loud boom followed by eternal silence)

    • CanadaBear

      Hey Doc, I’m going to Ride Idaho next Friday. It starts in Post Falls. Is there any place you might want to meet up. I’m taking the Port Angelos ferry and will be going trough Tacoma to get to I-5.

      • Doc Nitty

        Fuck. You could basically take a slight detour , not lose more than 20 min off your travel time, and cruise by my hood and see my peeps! (Don’t know what happened just now, I got excited and inadvertently channeled my inner homie.) We could possibly meet up for beers (me), virgin refreshments (you) and/or have a bite to eat. Or whatever you have the time/stomach for. Hell you could even meet my mom. I’m not sure when but I have to pick her up in Auburn that day which is on the hiway you’d take to link up with I-90. Let me find out when that is but either way, I don’t see why we couldn’t make that happen. Another complication is that I’ll have seven kids (under 13 yrs old (ergo…snot nosed kids)) under my charge. (You may just want to steer clear actually)

        But yeah, let’s figure this out. When does your ferry arrive and when do you need to be in Post Falls exactly? And how can I give you my deets? Any chance MB has your number? Otherwise I’ll have to come up with a riddle so you can get my number without the inter webs also knowing.

        • CanadaBear

          I’ll probably be leaving Port Angelos around 9 AM on Friday. I don’t really have to be in Post Falls until Sat afternoon. My only real concern is getting a cold from one of the kids!!!!!!!!!!!!! Totally up for getting together (and meeting your mom). My E-mail is mikey_527@hotmail.com. Let me know when you’ve seen this and I’ll delete it.

          • Doc Nitty

            Delete Delete Delete!

        • If you and Canada have Twitter, that’s one way to exchange info.

          Also, get a room!

          • leftcoastdave

            “If this rig’s a rockin’ . . . “

          • CanadaBear

            My lack of a cell phone kinda makes Twitter a non-starter. Not to mention, Twitter, SMH. If we get a room, there will be no kissing and telling. It should be fun. Doc and I have threatened to meet up for years!

          • Doc Nitty

            I’m getting clammy in the palms.

    • Nah. Few points to keep in mind.

      1. It’s still fucking early. A few practices aren’t the be all. I think most of us played sports. Sometimes there’s good practices, sometimes there’s bad (usually ends in crab crawls).

      2. It’s a brand new and infamously byzantine O. Reid’s WCO might be bigger than a bible.

      3. Trub only had 8 college starts, and 10(?) starts in an O that was like college. So he’s playing checkers right now while the D is playing chess

      4. All kinds of new faces on O. Arob, Miller, Gabriel, Burton, Fowler, Daniels…gonna take time to gel.

      5. The D is the opposite. They’re gonna be WAY ahead of the O at this point. They’re basically returning the same starters in yr 3 of the same scheme.

      6. 7 on 7 drills telegraph the play, namely, it’s gonna be a pass, so the secondary doesn’t have to play the run (Not having to tackle Howard is a huge advantage)

      That being said, I expect this O to be extremely shaky all PS, TBH.

      I mean, look at Wentz his rookie yr. He looked kinda avg, and most thought Dak was the better QB at that point.

      Then Wentz blew up.

      There’s gonna be growing pains, so we should just open up a beer, and expect it.

      • SC Dave

        Thumbs up for that last sentence.

        • leftcoastdave

          I just took that advice.

          A pint of canned Henninger from Trader Joes.

  • SC Dave

    JH is the fucking bomb and the sky is the limit.

  • “Modestly” Huge Bears Penis
    • willbest

      Seems silly that they can’t put something in writing to only cut him for PEDs, domestic violence, attacking other bears personnel, etc

      • “Modestly” Huge Bears Penis

        No it’s Smith’s fault, how dare he try to cover his ass and insure his money. What a greedy bastard! He just needs to sign and get his greedy ass to practice.

  • KentuckyBearsFan

    Shit…Roquain.

    You sign your first contract and you get rich.

    You follow it up and it’s a truck full of gold bricks.

    • willbest

      I don’t know, seems like a legit beef to me. Who knows how rule is going to be implemented. Bears should take the risk since we’ll they vote on these things and the players don’t.

      http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/football/bears/ct-spt-bears-roquan-smith-contract-holdout-helmets-20180728-story.html

      Keep in mind Danny got suspended for a hitting Adams, while Adams was still fighting for yards. And now they are going to make it even worse.

      Considering he is supposed to lay wood, there is a good chance he will get suspended. That is $300k a game to him.

      • KentuckyBearsFan

        okay, avoiding getting the last year of the contract voided is enough reason to miss the first preseason game.

        I’m blaming this holdout on Pace now.

  • Irish Sweetness
    • Johnnywad

      Roquan isn’t even an employee yet.

      • Irish Sweetness

        Fkn agents. SMH.

  • David Rodewald

    Tarik Cohen is not going to be taking on any blitzing linebackers anytime soon, he may do some chipping on his way out for a quick pass play, he is to small, the bears already know this, its to early for any kind of expectations anyway, still a lot of fat to trim off the roster, the bears will improve as the preseason moves forward.

    • The Bears aren’t going to have a choice.
      If Cohen is in, and the DC sends a blitz, Cohen will have to block if it’s a passing play.

      The NFL are like jackals. They test and expose weaknesses.

      And given the amount of blitzes they sent at Trub last season, I expect the NLF to blitzkrieg the Bears to open up the season.

      • leftcoastdave

        Which could be a lot of fun. You know Nagy will be gaming for this and if Tru can hit his hot reads the D will pay. Nagy is already on tape saying Tru called out of a couple of plays on Friday because of the D showing pressure.

        • Maybe It’s because I haven’t paid attention to a rook QB in a looong time on a weekly basis, but I don’t recall Ds blitzing a QB that much ever.

          It was blatant and obvious. Ds wouldn’t even try to disguise it or go away from it.

          The Ds basically said, “We’re gonna dick slap you, and you’re gonna like it, Fox”

          It took them till literally the last game to figure out that Benny in the screen game could counter blitzes.

          I would’ve been embarrassed as the HC/OC

          There’s NO WAY that can continue.

          • CanadaBear

            WTF are you talking about? Foxy and Nathan Lane are gone.

    • Irish Sweetness

      I agree David. And Nagy did say that Howard could play all three downs …

      Tarik had 3 touchdowns last year. 3. Where does he get looks? If he comes in, it’s a pass, or a small-back run. He can’t do pass-pro. He’s a situational guy who might get us 5 TDs.

  • KentuckyBearsFan

    The Bears need to buckle. Roquan is right.

    If he’s not signed in the next 10 days I’m going to start yelling “Paaace!!!” like Shatner did with Khan.

    • CanadaBear

      Pace needs to find a common sense answer for this problem. I think Smith is being overly cautious but I can’t blame him. I don’t see this being that big of an issue this year but who would have ever guessed how bad the NFL fucked up the catch rule?

      • KentuckyBearsFan

        The NFL’s rulings with penalties are so arbitrary that I would be overly cautious.

        • CanadaBear

          100%. NTM the Beloved rarely get the benefit of the doubt.

          • KentuckyBearsFan

            well…it’s just a contract dispute.

            The player is in the right. But you have a dynasty franchise that doesn’t want to set precedent….at least not too *obviously* yet.

            I think the Bears will come to terms and the holdout shows the rest of the NFL how important of an issue this is.

          • “Modestly” Huge Bears Penis

            The Rams and the Giants (a dynasty franchise) have done it in contracts already.

            https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2018/07/29/saquon-barkley-todd-gurley-got-the-language-roquan-smith-wants/

            So there is already a precedent set. The Bears are just being stubborn now.

          • Johnnywad

            How does this jive with Pace being a patsy dunce?

          • “Modestly” Huge Bears Penis

            Not saying Pace is not an idiot, but my assumption is that contract details such as these are not something he can just sign off on unilaterally. He most likely has to get sign off from George and Ted. I assume they have set guidelines on contracts that Pace is following and any variation to those guidelines need approval. With that being said, this could have been easily avoided, all Pace had to do is say if we don’t do this we will look like chumps when the reasons for the holdout gets out to the public.

          • leftcoastdave

            I’d like to see some trade balloons floated, perhaps to Oakland for Shaq Lawson who is not speaking with the return of Oz as head coach.
            Butch, would that make you happy?

          • Johnnywad

            Or maybe there’s more here than what we know.

          • Irish Sweetness

            Oh, the bean counters run things at Halas. Clearly.

          • SC Dave

            The Giants are a dynasty franchise? You must mean ‘hereditary’?

          • “Modestly” Huge Bears Penis

            Just using Kentucky’s term, I figured he meant it by one of the original franchises.

      • SC Dave

        Give him what he wants, leave him on the bench all year, and tell him it didn’t matter.

        Pace is used to top ten picks not playing, after all.

        • CanadaBear

          I find that option distasteful but you do bring up a valid point. Honestly if RS got suspended for lowering his helmet but was balling out, the Bears would still pay him for the games he was suspended and keep moving forward (they did it last year for DT). Of course, if he sucked ass and got suspended it might be a different story!

    • What, you’re telling me the same guy who paid Glennon, Sims, Royal, Demps, Barth…who let Meredith walk for free, cut Slauson/Sitton, and allowed the Puke to make a run at Fuller and ultimately write his contract, may not be the best negotiator?

      I’m shocked I say, Shocked!

      http://www.relatably.com/m/img/most-shocking-memes/54990303.jpg

      That being said, I’m not about to go full CedDrunk on either party.

      I’ll give it another week, and after that, the situation is going to become a distraction and sour whatever good news comes out of camp.

      • SC Dave

        Only distracting if Trevathan stays injured.

        • Irish Sweetness

          Currently we’re picking two ILBs from Anderson, Timu and Kwiat. Not sexy.

        • It’s already distracting, SC. Just wait. It’ll get 10X worse by the end of the week.

          Like I said, Chicagoans are not understanding or forgiving when it comes to this stuff.

          From the sound of it, Jeff is ALREADY getting bombarded by ALL CAP tweets about how horrible Roq is.

          And camp is only 5 days in.

      • Johnnywad

        You crack me up:

        You simultaneously want the team rebuilt into a fresh, young, angry group.

        But also want to keep old, beat up dudes nearing the end of heir career hoping to cling to maybe one or possibly two more decent seasons.

        Oh and sign quarterbacks converted to wide receivers with 4 touchdowns in their career and one knee.

        Good stuff. We all want it both ways. You just can’t have it.

        The receiving Corps is fine without Meredith. On paper, it’s better with him gone.

        The line should be pretty solid too, and we got what appears to be a mailer in the draft at Center or Guard or both because he made room.

        Growing pains.

        • I’m TIRED of rebuilding. I wanna WIN.

          It takes a mix of cast members to win. Sometimes you need vets in there, esp if they’re still good (like Sitton). It doesn’t matter to me if Meredith was a converted punter. He PRODUCED. And he looked good doing it. What happens if Arob matches Cam’s production this yr? That would essentially mean he paid another WR (with his own INJ concerns) like 10 times as much for the same production.

          Not saying that will happen, but it could.

          I’m no Dr, so Pace tells us it’s medical, OK. But Do I feel good trusting the Bears medical staff?

          Heck no.

          And could we have kept him for buttons instead of paying Sims $8M or whatever he’s getting instead?

          Absolutely.

          And for me, drafting a C/OG early makes little sense. This is just a philosophical stance by me because I believe in positional draft value.

          This league is FULL of mid-rd C/OGs. Slausons always pop up, esp if a team has an Oline guru like we supposedly do

          (Just watch. Kush/Watford/ etc will step in for a game or two, and there won’t be much of a diff between them and Daniels)

          One of my gripes against Pace is that he lives in fantasy land. He wants all his players to be like 26, and thinks they’ll never get INJ or straight bust without vet contingencies in place

          The OLB is a perfect example of that. He assumes that Floyd will finally become a PBer, and that china-dolls Fits/Lynch will stay healthy, and Acho miraculously turn into a thing.

          That’s too many IFs for me.

          Go out and sign Houston b4 someone else does – just in case – BEFORE shit hits the fan and he has to give up a pick in a desperate trade.

          • Johnnywad

            “What happens if ARob matches Cam’s production?” ……. Well, for starters he’s going to be catching balls from Drew Brees, a Hall of Famer in an established offense. Nobody. Literally nobody thinks Cam Meredith will EVER be an ARob receiver. Not even you. And we got ARob because Pace has managed the cap really well for three years. All those deals you don’t like above, they were all team friendly on the calendar so he could do what he just did. But you give zero credit for taking flyers on guys while he’s trying to re-establish a young core that can win for a while. Josh Sitton isn’t going to be good when/if this team is a perennial contender. So why bother?

            Another thought on Cam. If he had signed him, and his leg isn’t right, which is more likely than not, you’d be bitching about Pace signing an injury prone player. Gotta be more objective.

            Pace isn’t living in fantasy land, he’s basically giving the Bears Chemo. He inherited a team with NO defense, no quarterback, and no coaches. Four Bears remain from the Emery tenure. But for some reason, you’re laser focused on the mistakes like Glennon and Barth. For some reason you fail to realize that he’s completely rebuilt a defense from scratch. In it’s third season with a basically retired coach and one pure rusher, they mustered 10th in the league and 7th in sacks. Yet, you give Pace zero credit. He’s been trying to land a quarterback since he got here. That ain’t easy. 25 teams in the league are trying to land a quarterback and can’t seem to do it. Is Trubisky the answer? Who knows? But at least he’s taking serious bites at the Apple. And while he was close to the top of the draft, he struck hard on what he believes to be the guy. His career will be remembered for that decision.

            As for Pass Rush, you act like he’s got a grocery list and he can just go get whatever he wants each year. He could have grabbed one last year. But a QB is more important. So when you’re sitting at 3, you swing. The defense is no longer the problem. It will likely be in the top ten again this year. Yet, incessant bitching about no pass rush. All that despite the fact the entire offense was retooled and a whole new staff was brought in. One that looks to be a really good gamble for now.

            Despite all that, you’re still pissed about Glennon, which means nothing, Barth, who’s gone, Sims, Royal, etc. they’re either gone or inconsequential. He’s nearly rebuilt the whole team, got his quarterback, got his coach, and already has a D to lean on and money left.

            You focus on only the mistakes as though no other GM, even the good ones, make any mistakes. We all know they all do.

            As for being tired of rebuilding, who isn’t? If you think somebody could have come in and turned this into a playoff team in season #3 given the starting point, you’re nuts. They might not even get in this year. But if they get in for the next ten seasons after that, then he was the right hire.

            All the gnashing of teeth over the fact he couldn’t flip the switch and win games right out of the gate is silly. That team was a fucking dumpster fire. Now it isn’t.

          • Irish Sweetness

            We could have kept Cam and not gotten Gabriel. I don’t see why they don’t try and use Tarik as a slot. He’s not making it as a 3 down running back, so just get the ball in his hands.

            But with Cam, it might have been medical, and there’s something they know that NO don’t.

            But that’s Drew Brees, and if Cam is open …. we might all be picking him up in FF.

          • Johnnywad

            Why would you keep Cam, with a torn ACL, MCL and miniscus? He has 4 career touchdowns. I will never understand this camp.
            1.) Gabriel doesn’t play the same position and is healthy.
            2.) Miller’s played wide receiver his whole life and appears to be really good at it.
            3.) Miller and Gabriel both are boasting two good knees.

            Even IF Cam plays well, and he may with Brees, why not just move on and get younger, healthier players with a better pedigree? I’m at a loss here. We (collective we) behave as though Meredith was some fucking All Pro receiver.

            Just for fun. (I know they don’t play the same position, but touchdowns are touchdowns) Adam Shaheen barely saw the field last year and had 3 TDS on 12 catches. Yet, for some reason, Pace is an idiot for drafting him. Cam Meredith has 4 TDS in a whole season, (career, after changing positions) on 66 catches, less than a thousand yards and a completely destroyed knee. So Pace let’s him walk. Apparently he’s an idiot for this too. Despite a complete upgrade of the WR Corps.

            It defies any sort of logic I’m familiar with.

          • The SAME brain who made all those boneheaded decisions (like Glennon, Barth, not signing certain FAs, the Slauson/Sitton/Cam decisions, keeping Fox too long) is the SAME brain still in charge.

            That’s a major red flag.

            That’s like going out with a girl who did time for arson. Yeah, bad decisions MIGHT be in the past, but that decision making brain is still in her.

            That’s what worries me about Pace now and going forward.

            Though Ted Thompson has shown that a good HC/QB combo can somewhat cover for GM incompetency.

            And I never said Cam would be Arob (though maybe he can). He’s a PROVEN #2.

            And Miller cost a 3rd AND 2nd RDer. So he at least has to produce like Cam to even begin to justify that trade up.

            Plus, no reason Bears couldn’t have had Arob, Cam AND Miller

            If Cam’s knee is done, no biggie. Move on. Doesn’t cost shit this yr. Could’ve paid for the flier by trimming a lil fat (as if we’re even against the cap)

            The Saints know a lil something about WRs and winning. They had no problem with taking a small risk on Cam.

            Everyone also assumed the D would maintain under Mel Tucker “same system, same guys, he’s just gotta not fuck up” Well, he fucked up.

            Shit happens every season, and that’s why a team has to try to improve as much as possible.

            Hicks could rip his hammy tmrw. Floyd could tear a pec. Goldman can break an ankle.

            Then what?

            Will that D still be top 10? Of course, then everyone will blame INJs, but that’s why GMs have to load up on pass rushers.

            Even a kid knows that outside QB, pass rushers affect the game the most, and that just happens to be the position the Bears are weakest in.

            Maybe everyone stays healthy. Maybe Floyd finally becomes more than a B-side player. Maybe Fits or Lynch explode unto the scene.

            But again, that’s a lot of IFs.

            And how long are we gonna give Pace now?

            What if they do win 6 games?

            The excuses will be the same “INJs” “Oh, first time head coach scheme” etc etc

            Most GMs don’t get a 3 yr get out of jail free card.

            We can see the roster. It’s a bunch of “potential” – It’s always “potential” under Pace, and it’s always last place and a top 10 pick.

            That could all change. It’s not like I’m not pulling for it to all magically come together.

            But looking at it objectively, just doesn’t jibe.

            I fee exactly about Pace as I did about Cutler right before he flamed out.

            I’m a Pace agnostic. I’ll wait and see, but I’m not about to stay quiet on his horrendous choices just like I didn’t give a pass on Cutler just because I hoped he was the answer.

            Let’s just hope Pace doesn’t turn out the same.

          • Johnnywad

            This would be SO much easier over beers.

            I think where we differ the most is that you see this as a straight linear process. And it just isn’t, at least to me.

            I wouldn’t want ARob AND Cam this year. To me, it seemed like a better bet to move on. I like what he’s done with that group.

            If the offense takes three years, and I don’t think it will, why would you keep Sitton and Slauson? They will most certainly, without question be done by then. He’s getting younger and healthier there.

            And yeah, if Hicks and Floyd tear something, we’re gonna struggle. For one, that’s life for every NFL team. And two, Pass Rush is a little thin. As I said recently, that’s likely the next issue to be addressed. But he had to focus on the offense for the moment. Had to. There isn’t enough to go around because of where they’re coming from.

            As for the brain issue. The same brain that drafted Russell Wilson had just paid Matt Flynn to be a starting NFL quarterback. Had Wilson not been essentially a found lottery ticket, how bad would the Seahawks have been?

            The mistakes Pace has made have not been catastrophic ones because he’s had the long game in mind for the most part.

            And bringing it back full circle to Smith, this contract issue is likely a bit more important than we know. So Let’s see what comes of it. Secondly, is missing a week or two of training camp and the Hall of Fame game, really going to matter if he’s a ten year starter with the skills that the football universe seems to think he has? No.

          • CanadaBear

            You’re talking out of both sides of your mouth. Either Sitton is still good and he should have been kept or Sitton/Slauson can be found easily because the league is full of them. Which is it?

      • “Modestly” Huge Bears Penis

        Let’s get it straight, he let Meredith hobble free, I bet they even let him keep the crutches they gave him to use.

        • Johnnywad

          LOL. Even if the guy goes on to have a nice season, the move made sense. As brutal as the business is, there’s no way I’m extending him a contract when I can just go draft his replacement with two good knees. His history in the league just isn’t there. He may well prove me wrong, but given the choice right now, I’d take Miller as our #2. Completely unproven, but two very nice and healthy knees.

  • KentuckyBearsFan

    it’s ridiculous and pretty funny.

  • “Modestly” Huge Bears Penis

    I like this one “I just want the Roquan thing to end so I can stop getting emails about it using ALL CAPS!”

    The inner troll in me wants everyone on the blog to email Jeff in ALL CAPS asking about Roquan. And continue to do so a week after Roquan signs.

    • willbest

      How does that differ from your outer troll?

      • AlbertInTucson

        Dilly! Dilly!

      • Johnnywad

        This one’s on the inside.

  • leftcoastdave

    TRADE HIM TO OAKLAND FOR SHAQ LAWSON!!!

    • I don’t know. I’d have to figure out WHY Lawson has unperformed to date.

      “Lawson, the No. 19 overall pick in 2016, has earned just six sacks and
      24 tackles in 21 career games. The 24-year-old ended last season on
      injured reserve with an ankle injury”

      http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000937993/article/bills-gm-shaq-lawson-hasnt-lived-up-to-draft-status

      And given that Pace shied away from Landry due to inj concern, doubt he’s bold enough to even entertain that trade.

      Plus, can’t trade away someone who isn’t even under contract.

      • leftcoastdave

        My bad, I meant Kalil Mack with Oakland.

        “Although it’s not clear how negotiations are going right now, the Athletic’s John Middlekauff didn’t paint a pretty picture last week. According to Middlekauff, things are “ugly” and “tense” right now between the two sides because Mack’s camp doesn’t think the offensive-minded Gruden truly values defense.”

        He’d be expensive, but I thought it would make you happier about our edge situation. Hell, with Kwik showing up bigley and E A Booie Way ready to step in, send the damn message by at least starting to talk.

        • CanadaBear

          I would guess that KM would cost at least a 1st rounder and a good player in return.

          • leftcoastdave

            Don’t agree. He’s become more of a problem to Gruden than Smith is to da Bears. He wants a long term deal and they exercised their fifth year option on him and will have to pay $13m to an unhappy player. They also drafted Arden Key in the 3rd round this year so it is not such a big need for them. I think we get more back in a trade for the rookie, but it will cost us the price of a long term contract with Mack. We pay out more money, we need a second or third back.

            What price prime Edge beef? We good enough in the middle to take that deal to step the D up to top five?

          • CanadaBear

            I don’t know, KM is an elite player. No doubt the money would be steep but the Beloved have some room there. I just don’t see Chucky trading an elite player without getting a ton in return.

          • leftcoastdave

            Hey, dump a headache for the number 5 pick at the beginning of his career?
            Would be a great message for both organizations to send if a deal could get done.

          • SC Dave

            Number 8, but who’s quibbling.

          • Johnnywad

            We’re already calling Smith a headache? He may be the best LB to play for the Bears since 54. Likely so in fact. Let the kid work out his contract. It’s funny how quick people are to spend other folks money.

          • leftcoastdave

            I was referring to KM as the headache. Context.

          • Johnnywad

            Ah

          • KentuckyBearsFan

            Oakland. no other team would overpay the coach and underpay they’re best player.

          • Irish Sweetness

            He’s the guy you need for a super bowl squad. He puts you in there. Akiem can be the other.

            Then the kids feed off him ….

        • The Raiders would have to be insane to trade him. He would likely cost us two first RDers AND become the highest paid D guy, though w Trub’s rook contract , could pull it off (though highly improbable)

        • Irish Sweetness

          Are we paying ANYONE big money – could we afford him? I’d give up a couple of picks for him for sure. Or a first rounder and a corner.

      • leftcoastdave

        You can trade his rights, no?

        • AlbertInTucson

          Yes.

  • SC Dave

    Hey Canada, you’re always doing the music thing and while it may not be up your alley, check out a dude named Jonathan Byrd (no, not the golfer).

    7th generation North Carolinian (as he likes to point out) and a fine representative of elements of musical style that my 24 years in SC have led me to appreciate.

    • CanadaBear

      I liked the stuff with the band and the backup singers the best. He certainly strikes me as authentic. For some reason he reminds me a bit of Dave Alvin but JB is a much better singer.

      • SC Dave

        He’s a great songwriter; check out The Ballad of Larry if you haven’t heard it yet.

        The stuff from The Law and the Lonesome is very good. But yeah, the team with Johnny Saylor (iirc) adds another dimension.

        If they ever show up out your way, I’m pretty damn confident you’d love the show.

        New horizons, bro. It’s what life is all about.

        Well, that and pathetically awaiting a return to greatness of a particular football team.

  • JAB

    If the defense wasn’t winning the battles in camp against a new offense, then I’d be worried about the defense. I do think the O is going to struggle early on until they get their rhythm. I just hope we don’t have to watch any more stacked boxes against the run.

    • Johnnywad

      Correct. You may be one of a half dozen people to realize that.

    • Irish Sweetness

      Three years to install the offense. That’s what it takes according to Steve Young.

      The offense won’t be hummin early season. Unless it’s the other meaning of humming.

      • JAB

        I don’t necessarily agree with that. The eagles completely rebuilt their team from what Chip Kelly did and won by year two. As long as they actually show some improvement to throw the ball down field and open up the running game, they could be good.

        • Johnnywad

          Completely rebuilt? Check the rosters from 2015 to 2017.

          Carson Wentz and some coaching. That’s what happened. But to say they completely rebuilt the roster is a stretch.

          • BerwynBomber

            I”m thinking he meant a totally new offensive system given the post to which he was responding.

      • Johnnywad

        Been a long time since Steve Young played ball.

        • Reid’s WCO is supposedly even more complex than Walsh’s 90s version

          Only thing that will be “simpler” will be the RPO stuff, but I don’t expect that to be more than 10% of the O.

        • SC Dave

          And sadly, his memory might be a little off.

        • CanadaBear

          NTM, how many concussions?

  • BerwynBomber

    Excellent notes, JW. Objective. Which is sometimes lacking in these DBB articles.

    Not worried about Bisky’s slow processor yet either. Only time will tell if he can upgrade it.

    Otherwise, sounds like most of Pace’s FA moves and draft picks are supporting the initial praise for them (and we don’t even have Smith there yet).

    Should be a fun year.

    P.S. I kinda feel sorry for White. He seems kinda like a dumb kid who has had some tough luck with injuries. But I don’t see anything ever really happening with him. Even healthy his ceiling might only be average.

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