We are calmly navigating Ryan Pace’s most important off-season. And while it’s impossible to know if any of these decisions are any good until September, it sure feels like he’s making the right calls.
Bears Defense Taking Final Step?
A few stats from 2017 regarding the Bears defense:
- 10th in yardage
- 9th in points
- 7th against the pass
- 11th against the run
- Troy Aikman’s ranked them 10th in the league in his Efficiency Rating – a stat I tend to find accurate.
It would be hard to argue Vic Fangio’s unit was not one of the league’s ten best defenses last season. And now they are (a) returning all relevant members of their starting lineup, (b) returning the entire defensive coaching staff, with the exception of John Fox and (c) building an offense to relinquish pressure on this unit.
If the Bears find a way to get consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks, they should be among the league’s best defenses. If the Bears develop a top pass rush, they could be the league’s best unit.
On the Trib’s Bears Coverage…
A few nights ago a fan on Twitter decided to ask Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune to be more like Adam Jahns and Adam Hoge. Well, asking one beat writer to be more like another beat writer is never going to be met with a wink and a smile.
Campbell works hard. I saw him slaving over his computer at the Billy Goat during the Tribune Sports Christmas party as Pro Bowl announcements were being made. And nobody with a brain cares about Pro Bowl announcements.
He also seems to be a genuinely good guy. We had a few on-line conversations when he first joined the beat, mostly about soccer, but those quickly evaporated for reasons I’ll never understand. (I assume David “Blue Moon” Haugh played a major role.) But if Campbell’s got any blood in his body, he’s competitive. He doesn’t want to be told he’s not as good as the primary competition at the Sun-Times.
His response to the fan was to call Jahns and Hoge “homers”, suggesting they operate as a cheerleaders and not as objective members of the media.
A few thoughts on this:
- The Trib boys believe their relationship with the Bears has deteriorated over the years because of their hard-hitting, no-punches-pulled coverage. Nope. It has far more to do with their fearless leader Brad Biggs’ direct pipeline into Phil Emery’s cell phone. (I was told Emery often shared info with Biggs before he shared it with ownership.) Many inside Halas Hall revel in the lack of access currently given the Trib fellas.
- Is there a single example of Hoge or Jahns writing a piece blindly defending the Bears organization when it is unwarranted? I don’t agree with everything they write (or say on their podcast) but I’ve never felt their approach was swayed by a desire to please those in charge.
- The Trib has made the seemingly formal decision to go negative and they are starting to pay for that with the younger fans who have spurned their paywall.
- Having a Chicago accent doesn’t make incapable of objectivity with Chicago teams. Rich seems to think it’s a badge of honor that he’s from the DC area and covers the Bears now. It doesn’t make him more credible.
It was an unnecessary moment. But I wish it was Haugh, not Campbell. Because then I’d have had a lot more fun writing this.
Taylor Gabriel Breaks Malcolm Butler
Wentz Says Goodbye to Burton
I’m gonna miss this man, @treyburton8 and the entire Burton family. It’s crazy to think how close you can get to people in just two years. I can truly say he’s one of my best friends and an amazing brother in Christ. He’s a heck of a football player, but an even better follower of Christ, father, and friend. He always challenged me and encouraged me both on and off the field and I can’t thank him enough for that…… And about his family. Man oh man that’s an amazing crew. I love watching the way they love on people and care for others; the way they raise their children; and the way they both pursue the Lord and make people around them better. Jax, Ariella, and Baby Kaia (sorry I have no pics of you😭), you kids are amazing and I’m pretty sure I enjoyed hanging out with y’all more than I did with Trey. You guys rock and can’t wait to watch you grow up! Now everybody watch this man on the Bears and know that he’s about to blowup! So proud of him and happy for him! Don’t worry, we’ll all still hangout in the off-season… someplace warm of course 😉
- This weekend was St. Patrick’s Day. I’m not Irish but I have a deeply-held love of the country. And as someone who has studied The Troubles intensely – including spending countless hours in Belfast, Derry, Omagh…etc. – an article like this in The Guardian is scary, scary stuff.
- If you don’t get the “Gabriel Wants to Rollerblade” reference in the headline, you’re welcome. It is from one of the funniest stand-up specials of all-time, David Cross’ Shut up You Fucking Baby!
- From Colleen Kane in the Trib: “As his agent fielded offers for a new contract this week, Sam Acho just happened to be in the company of Bears Chairman George McCaskey. Acho and McCaskey had traveled with the Willow Creek Community Church to the Louisiana State Penitentiary as part of a ministry to discuss prison reform. Acho’s agent suggested the outside linebacker let McCaskey know there were other bidders for his services.”
- For those who still believe the Bears were “fleeced” by the Niners in 2017, read the details of what the Jets gave up to move three spots in the draft. Here’s the weird part of the Jets move: why make it now? Are they just okay with whatever player falls to them at 3? How is that even possible? What if the Giants now deal out of the 2? Why not wait and make this deal closer to when you’re on the clock?
- Some of you have asked, so I’ll share the link: Boardwalk Theatre.