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Speculation Station: Who Will Rise? Who Will Fall? Who Could be a Dark Horse Contender?

| March 5th, 2018

All right, Bears fans. We’re still a couple weeks out from the official start of free agency, and while a few noteworthy cuts, extensions, trades and franchise tags have all taken place we’re still pretty much just…. waiting.

I’m not a data wizard like John, nor covering a lot of breaking Bears news like Andrew, so I’m diving headfirst into the deep, consequence-free waters of speculation. Think of this article more like a conversation between two drinking buddies at the bar. Open a beer while you read if it helps, and come join me! The waters are warm and not to be taken too seriously.

This week we’re talking about expectations. More specifically, two teams I think will exceed expectations in 2018, and two I think are heading towards disappointment. I also picked one (wild guess, complete dark horse, probably doesn’t stand a chance, but what the hell, it’s March?) team that I feel on a gut level might have a breakthrough year.

I tried to mostly steer clear of the super obvious (by that I mean I didn’t pick the Browns to still be terrible), and it goes without saying (but I’m going to say it, anyways) that moves made in free agency and the draft, along with the other 50 million variables that might change a course of a season, could greatly affect my views on these five teams come the start of the season.

For now these are my predictions:

Two Teams Primed to Improve

Chicago Bears

I mean, this is DBB, guys. Obviously I’m going to include them. Most every fan has it in their hearts that *this year* is going to be *the year* their team gets awesome, right? The great news for Bears fans is this year we actually do have a lot to be excited about! Including:

  • A talented young QB who has the potential to make a significant leap from Year 1 to Year 2.
  • A new energetic head coach and a high quality support staff bound to inject energy into the locker room.
  • A good amount of cap space so Pace can target quality players that can do things like “run routes” and “catch the ball”.
  • Prestige and history that comes with playing for a franchise as distinguished as the Bears makes Chicago a very attractive location for top free agents.

Add a few more guys via FA and the draft to shore up our offensive line and strengthen our defense, and you’re looking at a competitive young team dying to show the rest of the league they’re ready to be taken seriously. Now I’m not quite as optimistic as Andrew, or Jordan Howard for that matter, but the Bears *are* going to be markedly better this year, and they’re going to be fun to watch.

San Francisco 49ers

OK, this one is kind of obvious, but they’ve got to be included. After spending the last few years at the bottom of the NFC West, things in San Francisco are definitely trending up. I’m not sold on the whole “John Lynch is playing seven-dimensional chess as a GM” hype, and I also realize at some point Jimmy G will actually lose a game, and probably go through a rough patch, just like every other QB in recorded history. Still, I think we’ve seen enough of him to buy into the idea that the man has some serious skills.

So the like the Bears, the 49ers have:

  • A talented, young QB.
  • A similarly talented and young offensive-minded coach.
  • A prestigious football history.
  • A very attractive landing spot for free agents.

San Francisco also stands to benefit from the changing dynamics of their division. The Seahawks are no longer the uncontested champions of the NFC West. The Rams had a breakout year in 2017, but it’s too early to say whether or not that success will be sustainable. Then there’s the Cardinals who just got a new head coach, and are on the lookout for a new starting QB. It feels like it could be a rebuild season for them, but if they find the right quarterback, who knows? Either way, while I don’t know if they’re playoff bound in 2018, I expect the 49ers to be relevant in their division late into the season.


Two Good Teams That Will Struggle

Seattle Seahawks

This one stings a little. I live in the heart of Seahawks country, and I fear next season is going to be a big disappointment for many of my family and friends.

The Seahawks haven’t quite been the same team since their Super Bowl loss to the Patriots in 2014, but the weakness of their division, coupled with some impressive end-of-season runs, kept up the appearance of dominance. They made the playoffs the next two years, and advanced through the wild card round both times, but ended up getting crushed in divisional games both times. This year they didn’t even make the playoffs. It was disappointing, but it wasn’t really a surprise. Why?

  • They haven’t had a reliable run game since Marshawn Lynch left.
  • Their offensive line is God awful and, apart from a mid-season trade to acquire Duane Brown from the Texans, Seattle seems hell bent on investing nothing to fix it. Literally half of their offensive plays are just Russell Wilson scrambling for his life for 30 seconds before heaving the ball downfield. It’s worked far more often than it really ever should, but it’s ridiculous and clearly not sustainable.
  • The lauded “Legion of Boom” is now bruised, busted, and possibly on it’s way towards splitting up. Rumors are swirling that Richard Sherman and/or Earl Thomas might be traded, and even if both manage to stay, injuries have made it unlikely they’ll be the same. The Seahawks have always had a certain undisciplined streak on defense. They’ve always racked up a lot of penalties, but they were so good at shutting down basically every offense they came up against it didn’t matter. They’re still daunting, but they aren’t impenetrable, and they are starting to look more and more untethered.

I’ve watched almost every Seahawks game the last five years, and I’ve got to tell you this year was the first year it just wasn’t any fun. I mostly felt a mixture of boredom and frustration. This is coming from someone who, by the way, can get into almost any game or match of any sport if it’s on in front of me for more than 10 minutes.

The whole vibe coming off the Seahawks last year was bad, and I don’t think it’ll be better in 2018.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Yeah, I admit this one might be a bit of reach, but I just have a gut feeling the Steelers will struggle in 2018. My reasoning?

  • Maybe it’s the uncertainty surrounding two of their best players: Antonio Brown and Le’veon Bell. This is less about whether or not they’ll get traded, I fully expect both will return in 2018, though it’s possible they won’t. But the team dynamics, especially when it comes to Brown seem fraught and toxic. When your own coach publicly calls you “selfish” and “foolish” it’s clear some tension exists. Still, they played through whatever inner turmoil they were dealing with last year and ended up going 13-3. This alone isn’t enough of a reason to doubt them.
  • Maybe it’s because Big Ben is old and broken? He’s 36, and his body has taken one hell of a beating over the years. He seems like he’s one bad hit away from literally just exploding into a pile of dust on the field. His stats haven’t changed much, and there’s no denying his talent, but I just don’t think he has that much left in the tank, physically or emotionally, for that matter.
  • They gave up 45 points to Jacksonville. At home. In the playoffs. I know we’re talking about the new and improved Jags here with a solid defense, an impressive rookie RB, and a version of Blake Bortles that doesn’t average seven interceptions a game, but still. The Steelers defense isn’t anything to write home about. The loss of Ryan Shazier absolutely hurt them, and their current salary situation doesn’t give them a lot of room to add any big defensive free agents in 2018 (especially if they sign Bell to a long-term deal).
  • They lost to Mike Glennon. They. Lost. To. Mike. Glennon. I mean, technically they lost to Tarik Cohen (before defenses could easily read how the Bears were going to use him) and the Bears defense, but still. Being the only team Mike Glennon beat as a starter for the Bears just seems like an ominous sign of things to come….. (Note: To like the five Glennon defenders on here, this is meant to be taken as a bit of a joke…)

The Steelers still have a ton of talent on the team, and they benefit by not playing in a particularly strong division. (As of now, my reaction to the Ravens, Bengals, and Browns remains a resounding “meh” often veering into “lol” territory.) They could absolutely put together another winning, playoff-reaching season, but *if* they do indeed struggle, I won’t be the least bit surprised.


Team I Think Will Have a Really Good Season

Because Why the Hell Not?

Detroit Lions

I don’t know, guys. This is 95% speculation and 5% legitimate reasons. I mean it’s not like the Lions have been terrible the last two years. Consecutive 9-7 seasons with a a trip to the playoffs in 2016 is pretty decent considering what we Bears fans had to endure during the same time period. Still, they failed to capitalize on opportunities, and were disappointing enough that they fired head coach Jim Caldwell at the end of last season (a move I didn’t agree with). So why do I think (or rather feel) they could surprise the league in 2018?

  • Matt Patricia. I have no idea if Matt Patricia is going to be a good head coach or not. Success as a coordinator is far from a guarantee of similar success at HC. I do know he’s got a hell of a football mind, he’s a fantastic problem solver, and he’s got to be eager to prove himself as worthy head coach material.
  • Matthew Stafford is a legitimately good quarterback. I know half of you are scoffing at that, but I like Stafford, and it’s not just because I’ve got a soft spot for the gunslingers. In his last two seasons he’s managed to cut down on his turnovers and play smarter, while still being able to sling it, posting his career best QB rating last year. I think he still has room to improve. If he stays healthy next season, and the Lions find him a running back to help carry some of the burden, I think he could do some really special things for his team.
  • The NFC North has the potential to be a toss up in 2018. I agree with Andrew on the state of the NFC North, although I’m clearly much higher on the Lions than he is. Green Bay and Minnesota go in as the favorites, but their vulnerabilities are also clear to see. Every team in the division has a shot in 2018, which brings me to my last point…
  • Shit happens. In the last few years the Cubs and the Astros have won the World Series, the Cavs came back from a 3-1 deficit to beat the Warriors, Sergio Garcia won the Masters, Leicester City became Premier League Champions, and the Philadelphia Eagles won their first Super Bowl. Cinderella stories happen in sports all the time. Sometimes you have to wait 108 years, and sometimes all it takes is a good offseason. Maybe it’s just Detroit’s time.

OK, that’s it for now. Let me know all the ways you think I’m completely wrong (I’m sure I am!), and share all of your crazy bold predictions for 2018. This is the time of the year where people take their football opinions way too seriously, so have some fun with it and remember, your guesses are almost always just as valid as people who get paid millions of dollars to spout theirs on national television.

Cheers!

Tagged: , , , ,

  • catfish44

    SOUNDS GREAT. BUT IS HE THE EDGE RUSHER THE BEARS NEED?https://www.windycitygridiron.com/2018/3/4/17078348/2018-nfl-combine-thoughts-on-chicago-bears-targets-from-day-3-of-workouts-nfl-draft Virginia Tech linebacker Tremaine Edmunds measured in at nearly 6’5” and 253 pounds and ran a 4.55 40-yard dash. That in itself is an impressive feat. He showcased very fluid hips, quick feet and jaw-dropping athleticism in positional drills, which support his tape’s displays of athleticism while dropping back in coverage. Edmunds proved with his performance at the Combine that he can be a Pro Bowl-caliber linebacker if he develops well. Considering the fact that he’s only 19 years old, his athleticism for his size is just unfair. He’s best suited to be a 4-3 SAM backer or a 3-4 JACK backer (although the MIKE would likely work for him, too), which isn’t necessarily a huge need for the Bears right now. However, having a dynamic, young athlete like Edmunds who can make an impact stopping the run, dropping back in coverage or blitzing up the A and B gaps would be an intriguing possibility———–.https://www.windycitygridiron.com/2018/3/4/17078348/2018-nfl-combine-thoughts-on-chicago-bears-targets-from-day-3-of-workouts-nfl-draft

    • catfish44

      SOUNDS GREAT. BUT IS IT THE BIG BLACK DILDO I NEED?https://www.sextoy.com/product/CNVEF-ETS1101005/star-performers-super-star-17-enormous-dildo-black
      This black dildo measured in at nearly 17 inches and 4.40 pounds its insertable up to 13.25 inches. That in itself is an impressive feat. It showcases a realistic pronounced head, veined shaft, and testicles at the base. A Suction cup base sticks up against flat surfaces for hands-free orgasms. Flared base also allows this dildo to be used in a strap-on harness. To top it off it is nearly 3 inches wide. With its size and features it could make this man squeal like a little school girl. I would let it fill all my gaps and I dream of all the intriguing
      possibilities———- https://www.sextoy.com/product/CNVEF-ETS1101005/star-performers-super-star-17-enormous-dildo-black

      • leftcoastdave

        Dude. You are really making it tough on Jeff who is an outspoken progressive. Does he remove this, or doesn’t he. Gee, I allow the links to women’s breasts, hum. Tough call here. It is not football related, it is a bit “in your face” for most, some post about politics which is not as much fun as when Trump was “losing.” Tough call for Jeff. I’m betting this one stays up, without any double entendre intended.

        • CanadaBear

          The only stuff I’ve ever seen Jeff delete is trolls and ads.

          • Dis Guy Trublinsky (Johnnywad)

            Pitching giant black dildos on a Bears blog seems to lean a bit toward trolling.

          • CanadaBear

            I have no idea about the original post. I gave up on them a long time ago.

          • SC Dave

            This.

          • “Modestly” Huge Bears Penis

            Sounds like he knows what he likes… big black men and big black dildos.

          • Dis Guy Trublinsky (Johnnywad)

            He must shit his pants a lot.

      • Scharfinator

        I loled.

    • Irish Sweetness

      He’s absolutely equipped to play Mike for us, and I hope he will (at least be a Bear).

      He showed great mobility and quickness at the combine.

      And he can shed blocks! What’s not to like? The dude is NINETEEN! He’s a freak.

      Freaks are good.

    • Ososfan

      Only way I see the bears take him is if Fangio approves he can work him out as an OLB as well, Fangio is one of the best LB coaches in the business so his word means a lot going into the picks I belive and HOPE!

      • catfish44

        they sorely need difference makers/ elite players. i believe he may be one.

      • We need an OLB for sure, but Edmunds seems Keuchly -Willis level .

        Those are difference makers.

        Also, outside Tre ( who’s only getting older) our ILBS are JAGS.

        Edmund seems athletic enough to at least spot rush on obvious passing downs.

    • ButtonShoes

      Tremaine Edmunds is everything I wish Leonard Floyd was.

  • Irish Sweetness

    Waco. Two episodes in. Liking.

    Michael Shannon. John Leguizamo. And the guy that plays Vernon Koresh is amazing.
    Good stuff.

    • evantonio

      That series is next on my list. I’ve always been fascinated with the whole Waco thing. Like, what if Koresh really was the next coming of Jesus, and the government knew that so they went in and took him out? Because if there’s one thing that could topple Jesus-quoting politicians, it’s actual Jesus himself, right?

      • catfish44

        there is no jesus, only an adult fairy tale.

        • evantonio

          don’t need to convince me on that front, cowboy. but it’s a fun What If to play around with when it comes to cult leaders and modern-day “prophets”

          • beninnorcal

            I doubt the next Jesus would be banging his followers wives as well as young girls. Just another crazy guy.

          • KentuckyBearsFan

            …but…but….he taught those women what the “seven seals” really meant.

            Something about a SeaWorld discount.

        • John F

          There may be some Romans that want a word with you ……….

          • catfish44

            let them eat cake.

  • evantonio

    Prestige and history that comes with playing for a franchise as distinguished as the Bears makes Chicago a very attractive location for top free agents.

    Does it? Is that why players have taken less money to go elsewhere?

    Players want to win and they want to get paid. They pay lip service to us winning championships in the 1930s, but who gives a shit about that?

    • leftcoastdave

      Yup. and after a three win season, you have to pay up.

      This year needs to be different. Sign Mo Richardson and there will be others wanting to be on Fangio’s rebuilt Monsters of the Midway. Sign Fuller and our other FA’s. Load up the D. The rest will follow.

      • FAs will have to believe in Pace, will have to believe in Nagy and Trub.
        And naturally, Pace will have be willing to overr pay.
        None of those are guaranteed

    • Scharfinator

      This was the only point Emily made that I thought was bad. But it was bad.

      • CanadaBear

        Yeah, I think they can retire that one along with the McCaskey’s being so cheap is why the Bears suck. The Bears suck because the McCaskey’s don’t know what they are doing, they spend plenty of money

      • Emily

        Only one bad point? I’m totally taking this as a compliment 😉

        I do think the both the Bears and Chicago itself offer a certain appeal to players that respect history and respect establish sports cities (which Chicago absolutely is.) Do I think it matters to everyone? Not at all. But I do think it’s an added bonus for some guys, and certainly doesn’t hurt the Bears in any way. (The exception being players that really hate the cold, I guess.)

        • Scharfinator

          You should! My tone likely came off worse than I intended.

          I disagree about the history and respect bit – at least when there are other factors at play, which there always are. Scheme, playset, staff, colleagues, etc. seem like that should matter a lot more than what happened to the organization 30 years ago.

          Maybe some of those players are more sentimental than I am though.

    • CanadaBear

      I think some of the guys that were football junkies growing respect the history and all that but as almost every GM will tell you, money talks. I’ve been a Bears fan forever but in their position, I wouldn’t take less to be in Chicago.

      • SC Dave

        I think as a RB or MLB, playing in Chicago still matters.

        Anywhere else, it’s at best neutral.

      • Veronica Shipp

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    • ButtonShoes

      The Bears’ “distinguished” history” begins and ends with 40s, a moment or 2 in the 60s, and the mid-to-late 80s. The rest of the time the Bears have mostly been a disaster. So the idea that history matters in deciding to sign with a team is ridiculous. And nowhere has it been more thoroughly disproven than here in Chicago. We’re rich in teams with history, but what has it gotten us? For example, in the past, teams like the Cubs and Blackhawks were shitshows of franchises, but boy were they swaddled in history. History that got us exactly nothing in terms of people wanting to sign here. In the end, if anyone did, it was because they were overpaid, and big-time stars have only been signing with them recently because those two teams stopped being shitshows and started being well-run places where you had a legitimate chance to win a championship.

      This nonsense about people wanting to sign with the Bears because it’s the charter franchise has to stop. Because it’s complete bullshit. Players will take less money from the Patriots because they can win rings there. They will not do that to the Bears, and there’s no amount of history that will change their minds. Here, a free agent’s response to the Bears’ pitch will be “fuck you, pay me.” And sometimes even that won’t be enough, as A.J. Bouye proved last year.

      • evantonio

        Listen, the only reason we lost out on Bouye is because he was enticed by the storied history and prestige of the Jaguars franchise.

        • CanadaBear

          You Bastard!

        • ButtonShoes

          LOL

    • I doubt FAs are saying, ” i could play in sunny MIA but hey, Nagurski played in cold ass Chicago, so I’m going there”

  • CanadaBear

    Was Caldwell a good coach or just a place holder? We’ll find out soon enough. Hopefully Patricia is as bad as the other branches on that BB tree. I’ve hated the Forty Whiners since the 80’s so I’m hoping Lynch comes back to earth and they stink.

    • Jimmy G looks like the real deal, and only cost them a 2nd.

      It’ll be interesting to compare the 9ers to the Bears in the next couple seasons cuz they were completely dismantled after Harbs

      • Dis Guy Trublinsky (Johnnywad)

        Only cost them a 2nd?

        He just signed a 5 year $137 million dollar deal after 6 starts. If he’s as good as the six starts, good for them. But that play is risky as hell.

        Further, he was not available for a 2nd this time a year ago. He only came available for that as the season drew to a close because the Pats knew their time with him was up.

        It’s not like any team could have had him for that this time last year. The Niners just happened to fall into desperate need of a QB just as the Pats ran up against it with him.

        • Every franchise QB will cost that. Pace is hoping he”ll have to pay at least that when Trub’s rook contract expires cuz the alternative is termination.

          Pace also could’ve held off to this draft for a QB then Jimmy G who many linked to Pace preseason would’ve fallen in HIS lap for a 2nd, in which case Bears could’ve netted Thomas and Jimmy G .

          But, wouldve couldve shoulda

          Pace got Glennon . traded up for Trub and here we are.

          • Dis Guy Trublinsky (Johnnywad)

            Wasn’t Thomas largely a “meh” last season?

          • He was, but that’s most pass rushers not named Peppers or Suh.
            That’s why I didnt freak out about Floyd his rook campaign.

            Speaking of which, is it reasonable to expect double digit sacks from Floyd now?

            Seems like it should be. Top 10 “projects” should’nt take 4 yrs to break out

          • Dis Guy Trublinsky (Johnnywad)

            I agree on Floyd. He should show well this year or he was overdrafted.

            Edit: For me, this is the year for Pace. He’s had time, and made enough decisions to wring the Emery/Trestman stink out of the roster and staff. If they’re not a threat in December, he was the wrong hire.

  • Ososfan

    Long time no see bears fam, all I’m hoping for is for this crap rumor of Howard being traded to Miami to die and for White to finally bust out and become a legit weapon and have us a winning season, Bear down!

    • SC Dave

      I’ve been pretty much convinced for three days or so that the whole Howard trade was just a load of bullshit someone made up.

      • leftcoastdave

        I read somewhere it was put out by Miami to generate interest, interest which still is not there. Chances are they still let him go FA without any compensation because of their cap problem.

        • CanadaBear

          He’s signing their tag.

          • leftcoastdave

            Ooops. “Be careful what you ask for.”

      • evantonio

        Rap’s pretty sure it wasn’t ever discussed: https://twitter.com/RapSheet/status/970036920448405504

      • CanadaBear

        Like everything else in this social media world, first is all that matters. Doesn’t need to be even remotely true. I could see the Bears moving on from Howard due to scheme fit but the deal that was proposed seemed preposterous. I don’t want to see him go obviously and I thought his pass catching improved as the season progressed. The only part of the argument for trading him that makes me laugh is that 2-down backs are everywhere. Tell that to the Loins.

        • SC Dave

          Or the Fudge, among two dozen other teams

    • “Modestly” Huge Bears Penis

      They should trade White for Landry.

      • Dis Guy Trublinsky (Johnnywad)

        LOL. Seconded. Let’s close this deal.

        • evantonio

          You kidding? Clearly you haven’t been staying on top of the Kevin White news cycle!

          https://twitter.com/RapSheet/status/970033478476746757

          • Dis Guy Trublinsky (Johnnywad)

            Undoubtedly thumbing through the new play book and getting mental reps on the route tree so he’s ready for the palyoffs.

          • CanadaBear

            He was doing that and sprained his frontal cortex.

          • This just in. Shefter reports White INJ thumb and might need emergency surgery to replace his thumb w a toe.

            https://goo.gl/images/ZzTvCn

          • CaponeBot 1.0

            Straight Jacked. Hope he has a nice season and stays relatively healthy. Guys blast on this guy like he wanted to shatter his leg and be labeled a bust.

            #TwitterAnalysts

          • “Modestly” Huge Bears Penis

            probably just the angle. but his right arm looks huge compared to the other… too much jerking off?

      • I think i would trade White for Joe Anderson at this point

    • Yo Oso.
      it’s gonna be a looong offseason.

  • Bob Doll

    I agree on almost every point…I thought the Bears were going to take that significant step forward last year…Fangio’s defense has been solid, not spectacular but a defense good enough for the play-offs…I don’t think there are 5 Glennon fans in Chicago…I didn’t think he’d be very good, but I didn’t realized he’d be awful either…kept saying to myself, why the heck didn’t we bring back Hoyer and draft Watson…so Glennon/Trubisky seemed plausible after it happened. Being a rabid Bear fan, we are an optimistic off-season lot, I am thrilled with the moves so far; lock up Fuller though! Quit screwing around with that.

    Seahawks, Steelers falling…yes. Wilson is like rubber-man…he just keeps evading, never taking the big hit and Big Ben is the opposite…stand and take it like a man…as long as either of those players are healthy, they will be competitive but the glory days are over as their supporting cast is just not there imo.

    Lions fans and Bear fans must have the same genetic code…behind the Bears, most years, I say the Lions are gonna make a leap…look at the talent on that team…Stafford, WR’s to die for, D-line and on and on…and, like the Bears, they just don’t put it together…well I’m a believer in the law of averages and subscribe to the notion that even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in awhile….The Green Bay Rodgers, like Seattle and Pittsburgh are one his away from disaster as we saw this year. The Vikings, if their defense remains intact and dominant, will continue to sneak up on people and stay competitive…heck, they just provided Case Keenum generational wealth on his next contract…that is a feat!

  • leftcoastdave

    “Open a beer if it helps.”

    Gee, what a great idea for Monday morning!

    • “Modestly” Huge Bears Penis

      I am on number 3 already. Emily has some great ideas.

      • leftcoastdave

        I think there is a country music song there about turning the Monday morning blues into a Monday afternoon snooze.

      • SC Dave

        Nothing like getting the work week off to a proper start.

    • Emily

      I’ve got a live and let live philosophy. If you’re more of a whiskey in your coffee guy, no judgements.

      • leftcoastdave

        I take my whiskey like I take my coffee.

        Neat.

        Straight, no chaser.

  • BerwynBomber

    SEA still has Russell Wilson … the only sure-fire heir apparent to the Brady/Rodgers/Brees line. And Carroll might be a better HC than some think. The days of their dominant D are over and they are a team in minor transition, but I can’t imagine their OL and rushing attack being any worse.

    DET fired their best HC in fifty years. Fifty years. Which tells us a) the Lions have been truly fucking awful for half of a century, b) Caldwell got jobbed, and c) they may have made the wrong choice.

    The player decision equivalent to DET firing Caldwell would be if CLE had Cousins and decided “you know what, he’s not good enough for us. We deserve the next Tom Brady. Let’s start drafting QBs.”

    Patricia could prove the exception to the Belichick tree. But given that it is DET, I wouldn’t bet on it.

  • Bear Instincts

    http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/category/rumor-mill/
    Bears reportedly won’t use franchise tag on Kyle Fuller

    Pace needs to stop gambling with this team and just pay the man and call it a day. He is worth more to us than to any other team.

    • Dis Guy Trublinsky (Johnnywad)

      According to whom?

      Is he singing a deal or at they parting ways?

      • BerwynBomber

        Biggsy. Who is saying that Fuller wants to stay and the Bears want to complete a long-term deal but Fuller also doesn’t want to sign before 3/14. Read into all of that what you will.

        • Dis Guy Trublinsky (Johnnywad)

          Getting Fuller on a long term deal could well represent the first of a handful of important dominoes to fall.

          It would be nice to see the Bears get a few “above replacement” starters to stay and/or come to CHI. Fuller might kick that off.

          • BerwynBomber

            Or maybe Sitton was the first domino to fall.

            I’m guessing if Fuller signs elsewhere it will just mean we are drafting Jackson or Ward with the 8th pick.

          • That’s the problem tho.
            Pace creates unecassary holes by his FA inaction or blunders, then has to patch those holes in the draft.
            The result is simply switching chairs on the Titanic.
            Pace has to sign FA studs to create a deeper better team that can withstand attrition

          • SC Dave

            We did sign Hicks last year, and i expect an extension for Goldman this season.

            If Whitehair returns to form, I expect and extension before the 2019 season for him.

            The Howard situation is interesting. I hope it works out, because I could so see that guy killing us in a playoff game wearing some other jersey.

      • Bear Instincts

        The more you know a system the easier it is to play on autopilot instead of thinking about every single move you want to make. Just think about the Saints and Vikings in the playoffs and you will know what I mean.

        Not using the tag means they are close to a deal or they want him to test the market. Bears might not want to pay what the market dictates.

    • leftcoastdave

      Both Fuller and Pace want the market to determine value. Unless Fuller has an agenda other than money (ie., moving somewhere else for some unknown reason), it will be in Pace’s interests to sign Fuller at market value and Fullers best interests to stay in the system he knows. What is out of Pace’s control is whatever else it might be that motivates Fuller’s decision, if there be any such motivation.

      Relax.

    • ButtonShoes

      TAG. HIM. Tag him and be done with it. Stop creating holes on this team that you can’t fill, Ryan Pace.

  • Bear Instincts

    https://twitter.com/i/web/status/970706550145847296
    DE Muhammad Wilkerson’s first free agent visit is likely to be with the Packers

    • BerwynBomber

      The one concern I have with the Cheese — beyond a healthy, recovered Rodgers — is if Pettine proves to be the goods as a DC.

      Aside from utilizing Woodson as a roaming DB, Capers didn’t seem all that up there.

      Pettine could be an upgrade.

      • ButtonShoes

        Capers was a terrible DC. But he was more than enough to stifle us. And Pettine’s better than he is. I’m not saying he’s some insanely talented DC or anything, but he’s got to be better than Dom Capers. Add to that a willingness by the Peckers to spend more in free agency, and yeah, I think we have reason to be worried.

        • CanadaBear

          NTM, Hundley has the Bears’ number!

          • ButtonShoes

            It just sickens me that the Fudgies can trot out any old trash at QB and still manage to beat us. Honestly, outside of Lovie Smith, I don’t think there’s been a single person at Halas Hall in decades that cares one bit about beating the Peckers. I know George McCaskey makes a big stink about it, but that’s all it is. If he really cared, he’d put people in positions of power than cared about it as much as he says he does.

          • CanadaBear

            I agree with ya except about George. I think he cares deeply, he just doesn’t know what he’s doing. Because of that, Sweaty Teddy remains in place and a football lifer isn’t hired to be Prez. At this point I’m hoping for the blind squirrel theory and they hit on Pace/Nagy/MT.

          • That’s the last hope, Canada. Nagy-Trub.

            Right now Pace is a mediocre GM.

            But if he got Nagy-Trub right, that moves him above mediocrity and bodes well for the future

          • SC Dave

            I agree. Pace talks the game about being “extraordinary”, but so far the “extra” part is missing.

          • Dis Guy Trublinsky (Johnnywad)

            LOL.

      • The Puke also said they’re going to finally be aggressive in FA.
        Gonna be funny if they land better FAs than Pace

        • beninnorcal

          Gonna be way funnier if they don’t.

          • Dis Guy Trublinsky (Johnnywad)

            Way funnier

  • AlbertInTucson

    2 things, Emily.

    1) Don’t a LOT of teams have “A good amount of cap space”…?

    2) Add to that Seahawk vibe that they, too, have now tired of Michael Bennett.

    • CanadaBear

      It must have been surreal watching those two selfish bastards growing up.

      • Dis Guy Trublinsky (Johnnywad)

        I’d be willing to bet the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. It was probably just SOP around their place.

        • CanadaBear

          It’s kind of mind blowing actually. They are two of the most selfish players in the league.

          • SC Dave

            Entitlement

          • CanadaBear

            I think it goes beyond that. Professional athletes are selfish by nature and to have two of the most selfish in the league from one family, that seems like it’s bucking the odds somehow.

      • BerwynBomber

        LOL.

        (One other benefit of the Pats losing the SB: Uni’s lying and bandwagonning not rewarded with a second ring.)

    • Emily

      1. They do. It’s not a benefit only to the Bears, but it’s a benefit nonetheless because I think they need to make a few big splashes, and they have the resources to do so.

      2. Agree on Bennett. He’s another one that could be gone.

    • Irish Sweetness

      1) And we NEVER seem to use it.

  • AlbertInTucson

    Isn’t Landry a slot receiver who wants to be paid like an outside threat?

    • ButtonShoes

      Yup. And he isn’t one.

    • He does have 400 catches over 4 seasons. That’s like Wes Welker territory.
      How much is that worth? Dunno.

      • willbest

        Surprisingly Wes Welker has never won a SB. He lost to the giants twice while on the pats and the seahawks while on the broncos.

        • Huh. That is surprising. Would’ve lost a bet there.
          I think some fans are underestimating Landry. Sure, he’s not 6’4 230, but he’s put up consistent #s w such underwhelming QBs as Tannenhill, Moore and Cargo.

          Landry:… 112, 94, 110, 84 catches past 4 yrs(22TDs)
          Edlemen: 98, 61, 92, 105 (b4 being out 17) w Brady (20 TDs )

          So by the #s, Landry seems comparable to Edlemen , is in his prime and not coming off an ACL tear.

          How much is that worth? Again, dunno.

          But high octane Os seem to need that type of WR .
          Pats Edlemen and Welker before him.
          Eagles had Aghlor.
          Steelers had JU-ju

          Could help out a young QB

          • Dis Guy Trublinsky (Johnnywad)

            I agree. And add another receiver of his caliber. Two of those plus what is hopefully a healthy Cam Meredith, and you can play ball.

          • ButtonShoes

            His size is an issue though. KC’s red zone scoring efficiency was terrible given their lack of size at WR. It’s part of what made Kelce so valuable – he was a big target. And here’s Jarvis Landry, and he’s 5’11”. We need size and speed at WR, even if it’s average.

          • Irish Sweetness

            We could go after Deonte – if Pace can eat it. He’s fast.

            I don’t see a huge gap on our team for slot receivers.

          • Deonte gone, Irish. Might as well light a candle for Joe Anderson

            But imagine a WR who can seperate and catch once Trub begins scrambling.

            Think, Agholor

          • Edleman is 5’10 200. And white, so I’m told.
            Landry also has more TDs in that span than Edleman ( and that’s w Brady and Bill and Gronk taking coverage)

            It just depends on which way the O goes.

            If it’s going to be a spread the ball type, using Sasheen , Cam, Cohen in the redzone, Landry can work .

            Edleman is basically unstoppable and a 1st down machine.

            And Landry seems to be in that mold.

            We can worry about red zone efficiency once we actually start getting there.

          • BerwynBomber

            And lest we forget … Edleman has some dude Brady (and a little bit of JimmyG) passing him the ball.

            Landry’s had Tannnehill, Cutty, Moore and (for a game at least) Fales.

      • “Modestly” Huge Bears Penis

        It is worth a lot, especially to a young QB who is desperate for a consistent target. Who cares if he is flashy or not like an outside guy. He gets open, he catches the ball, and he keeps the chains moving.

  • ButtonShoes

    “Now I’m not quite as optimistic as Andrew, or Jordan Howard for that matter, but the Bears *are* going to be markedly better this year, and they’re going to be fun to watch.”

    Frankly, saying that the Bears will be better and fun to watch is being optimistic. Because you have no objective reason to believe that this will be the case. There’s no way to know one way or the other if this will happen other than to play the games.

    • Dis Guy Trublinsky (Johnnywad)

      Trubisky In year two with what appears to be a much sharper offensive minded coaching staff, is plenty of reason for optimism.

      • ButtonShoes

        The offensive coaching staff is different. I don’t know that it makes them better until you actually see them in action, with the team they want to put out on the field.

        • Dis Guy Trublinsky (Johnnywad)

          Reason for optimism and declaring certainty are definitely two different things. There are plenty of reasons to be optimistic regarding next season. But none of them are enough to bet money on.

          To me, just removing Fox and putting Nagy and Helfrich in there is enough. But you should also expect a bump from Trubisky. Pace has obviously seen the dire need to upgrade the WR corps. Those are all reasons to assume things should be better than last season.

          Declaring it a certainty is a bit much for me.

          • ButtonShoes

            Yeah, I don’t like the certainty. If anything, Bears history, especially over the past 25 years, has told us that all this is more likely to backfire than succeed. In the end you have to play the games to know what you’ve got.

          • leftcoastdave

            You don’t like “the certainty” (ie., optimism), but look at past performance to be pessimistic.

            The only thing which is constant is change.

            Look at the changed roster. Evaluate the difference in talent.

            Look at a QB now in his second year. Experience tells us that experience matters.

            Old guys have been cut. Presumably the people paid to make the analysis think they can sign better guys.

            Look at last year’s draft picks and think what will be added in this year’s draft.

            All these are reasons for a rational expectation that the team will be better.

          • SC Dave

            My expectation is that Trubisky throw accurately, especially to the backs and slot guys.

            My expectation is that Howard will do fine catching when the throw does not force him to run backwards waiting for the ball.

            That’s my big optimism for 2018.

          • Trub has to stop sailing passes (esp to his left).

            He figures that out, the O is instantly better.

            Bonuses.

            Taking less sacks and audibling.

          • SC Dave

            Many of Howard’s drops people bitch about literally forced him to run backwards while waiting for the ball.

            Would Forte have caught them.

            Well, yes probably. But
            he caught the ball as well or better than anyone in the league.

            Howard won’t be that. But if he hits average hands-wise, he will be a fucking monster in a spread field.

          • Irish Sweetness

            Footwork. End of. WCO. All footwork.

          • Irish Sweetness

            Why does Howard suddenly become a receiver in your opinion?

        • Irish Sweetness

          The first thing Nagy will do is put the offense under pressure, trying to pick up the WCO. I hope we have receivers that can help MT do that.

      • CanadaBear

        Besides finally retiring Foxy, it’s not like I’ve heard anything about the Bears offensive coaches being a downgrade from the previous staff. Esp at OC and OL. It will be nice to see an O where you can’t call the play in advance 80% of the time just from the way they line up.

        • I don’t think Fox called ONE pick play all season. Not ONE. That’s nuts esp w our WRs who needed all the help possible.
          And he didn’t figure out that the screen could counter blitzed till week 17.
          Fox was turrible.
          No way will the O be that futile again.

          • SC Dave

            Certainly Cohen and Howard are excited. Everyone else seems to be keeping their mouths shut.

            Most notably Trubisky. Which is, of course, a very good thing.

          • “Modestly” Huge Bears Penis

            I was saying that all season. There are plays that help WRs in getting separation, and we did nothing that was even close.

          • Dis Guy Trublinsky (Johnnywad)

            You would think showing a willingness to run the ball into 8 and 9 man boxes would have helped on that front.

          • One would think w the Puke running rub routes 10 times in one game that Fox could’ve learned.

          • “Modestly” Huge Bears Penis

            You would think but you would also have to assume Fox is not an idiot.

        • AlbertInTucson

          The last line of your post would REALLY be refreshing.

        • “Modestly” Huge Bears Penis

          I almost quit being a fan last year because of your last line. I forget which game it was but I thought to myself Mike Tice ran a more intricate O. I died a little inside and started to cry.

      • Irish Sweetness

        In a WCO that relies on timing patterns and has a multi-year installment process according to Steve Young??

        This is Year One, remember. Not year two.

        • Dis Guy Trublinsky (Johnnywad)

          If they can’t install something resembling an operable offense with a full offseason at their disposal, they should all be shitcanned.

        • “Modestly” Huge Bears Penis

          no it doesn’t, Young has had so many concussions he is just remembering the same year over and over again.

        • Those old school WCO schemes were indeed insanely complex (Trestman, Chucky, Reid…) but a lot of the younger adherents infuse many RPO elements. RPO stuff is infinitely more simplistic ( which is why I couldn’t understand Fox neglecting it w Trub).

          And I’m assuming Bears will still be a run heavy team, so handing it off isn’t all that complicated.

          I don’t think Trub will blow up like Wentz. More likely is he progresses like Goff or like Marriotta soph yr.

          Two benchmarks he must hit in my book in order to not look like a bust.

          1. Hit at least 60% comp
          2. Improve his red zone TDs.

          He was awful on both counts last season but given the circumstances, understandable. So improving on those 2 shouldn’t be asking too much.

          • CanadaBear

            He started out bad and progressed through the season. He ended up at 59% comp so getting 1% more would make him less awful?

    • CanadaBear

      If you have faith in Pace/Nagy/MT you are going to be optimistic. If you don’t, why torture yourself? I’m somewhat optimistic going into the 2018 season. If I wasn’t I’d probably bail because another 2-3 years of abject failure is a little more than I want to consider at this time.

      • ButtonShoes

        I actually don’t have a problem with people wanting to be optimistic. I just don’t like it when that optimism results in people saying the Bears will be better. No, you just want them to be. So you choose to believe that they will be. Which is fine: I want them to be better too. But that’s no guarantee of anything.

        • CanadaBear

          Fair enough.

        • “Modestly” Huge Bears Penis

          The Bears WILL be better. I guarantee it. I would bet my right testicle on it.

          • beninnorcal

            *his huge right testicle

          • SC Dave

            “Modestly” huge, you mean.

          • ButtonShoes

            That’s easy to say for a man who only has two left testicles.

    • Irish Sweetness

      That people expect change just because of a HC and an OC with the same roster beggars belief, and by same roster I mean whatever Pace drags out of the barrel in free agency.

      • ButtonShoes

        Exactly. It’s a whole new coach, and a whole new system. At the very least, the first year is going to be filled with players making mistakes trying to execute the new playbook/scheme. And that’s on top of expecting the draft picks to develop, and the FAs to exceed minimal expectations.

  • BerwynBomber
    • SC Dave

      Shocking!

    • leftcoastdave

      One year left? Draft pick value? Is there any doubt?

  • CanadaBear

    I saw where Matt’s retiring as a Bear. That should make Dave happy.

    • KentuckyBearsFan

      good. he doesn’t have any bad grudges (like maybe Thomas Jones would).

      • Ironically , CedDrunk also ended up hating the Bears.

        • CanadaBear

          The fan base reciprocated!

      • CanadaBear

        I think Jones was happy with the Bears. He had a handshake deal with Angelo that if he played nice he would let him walk after the season. Angelo lived up to his promise.

        • SC Dave

          I remember that. A good thing from Jerry.

    • SC Dave

      It does.

  • George Smiley

    I would appear as if the Phrama Bro has been compromised.

  • willbest
    • Sactowns#1

      I keep saying its coming and I will celebrate the day. So much human suffering occurs due to secrecy. Bring on the future!!

      • willbest

        I don’t think it is going to bring about the utopia you think it will.

        • SC Dave

          After all, if they can read, it is only a short step to being able to write.

          And that will be the end of humanity.

          • Dis Guy Trublinsky (Johnnywad)

            Meh. Just cut the power.

          • SC Dave

            Precisely who do you think will cut the power?

          • Dis Guy Trublinsky (Johnnywad)

            Just about anybody can.

          • evantonio

            When the power is cut, don’t they just turn us into batteries? Isn’t that how it goes?

          • Dis Guy Trublinsky (Johnnywad)

            It seems like a very legit possibility. I once powered a light bulb with a potato.

          • KentuckyBearsFan

            from a practical stand point, organic lifeforms make horrible batteries. inefficient.

          • Irish Sweetness

            And what do you do when you realize they figured that out, and that they figured out things that people will never figure out, in the ten minutes we’ll have something to do about it.

          • Dis Guy Trublinsky (Johnnywad)

            Figured what out? Every power plant in existence is capable of being taken off line manually. So we just do that.

          • AlbertInTucson

            Ever see COLOSSUS: THE FORBIN PROJECT ..?

            Pre-dates TERMINATOR by more than 2 decades but is a parallel concept.

            When the computer doesn’t get what it wants, when it wants it, it starts launching ICBMs.Much like Skynet’s reaction to human interference.

            There is an original STAR TREK episode called THE ULTIMATE COMPUTER.

            Dr. Daystrom’s super duper computer, M5, is, experimentally, given control of the Enterprise.

            When they try and retake control from the computer, things get very bad for 1 Enterprise crewman and a couple of other Federation Starships.

            Most recently you have TRANSCENDENCE where things go quite badly for the carbon-based computer creators.

        • Irish Sweetness

          I don’t think anyone here will be alive when it does happen either.

          But be under no illusion, once there is digital life, we are in the way. We are in their way.

          Nobody will ask if they Should pursue AI, they’ll just flip a switch and make it happen one day. Discussion about the dangers of AI are irrelevant. Nobody will ask you your opinion when it comes. If they can, they will.

          • willbest

            Terminator, Matrix, these were meant as warnings. Not how to’s

      • “Modestly” Huge Bears Penis

        Be careful what you wish for. One of the biggest pushes for A.I. is the legal system and lawyers.

        • AlbertInTucson

          Beware of the Thought Police.

          • Sactowns#1

            Nobody cares about secret thoughts. We should all care about secret actions though.

    • evantonio

      You watch Black Mirror? This tech (though advanced to the point where it works) features heavily in one of the episodes from this past season.

      • BenderMcLugh

        plausible tech fiction is one of my favorite genres

  • Malice Halice

    The Vikings will be a disappointing team this coming season. I am very optimistic that this could be our year. Only if Pace makes moves within the first few hours of Free Agency. If we don’t start off with landing one of the top 10 available guys (by position atleast) by 2pm next Wednesday my hope for the bears will instantly be extinguished. We need HOMERS next Wednesday! Not settling for RBI’S when we got 80 mil to spend on talent. The way Pace handles FA is solely gonna reflect how the draft will be affected. If Pace shit the bed and not pick up any pro-bowl starter our draft will be a complete toss up. By no means should we draft a WR at #8! So that implies we’re given someone when signing opens(who is it is the question). Our #8 pick is going to defense but it’s OBVIOUSLY has to be for a player that’s better than EVERY pro in the NFL already right? So who is it? We have to buy talent next Wednesday n draft a guy better than the prior available guys in the NFL already on top of the fact Pace don’t want guys post 30yr. I feel like we have enough money to get elite position players n then add seasoning with the draft. First 2 rounds has to be for starters! That Adam Shaheen (let’s develop a guy) crap is for the birds.

  • ButtonShoes

    People think that Cousins is leaning towards the ViQueens? If so, that’s a good move for them. With Cousins, that team might be able to Dilfer their way to a SB win.

    • Dis Guy Trublinsky (Johnnywad)

      That’s been my fear since he started looking at FA.

      • ButtonShoes

        They’ve got a real window and are trying to take advantage of it. It makes sense.

        • Dis Guy Trublinsky (Johnnywad)

          Yes. And aside from signing a more talented quarterback, they’re getting Cook back. Hopefully, Shurmur was the Secret Sauce.

    • Malice Halice

      Yea, but I still can’t take that franchise serious. Yes they’ll win games but January is they’re worst month. Cousins is good but the NFCN is much more harsh than the nice. Beside Mn needs any reason to keeping these sheep of fans happy for that pointless bullion dollar stadium.

      • ButtonShoes

        He just needs to be their Trent Dilfer. It’s not a high bar to clear, I think.

    • BerwynBomber

      Agreed.

      Thing is they are more than just their D and Zimmer too. They have, without question, the best WRs/TE mix in the division in Diggs, Thielen and Rudolph. They also will have Cook and Murray next year at RB and their Oline has been upgraded.

      Other than QB, I don’t know if they have any holes. They’re loaded.

    • AlbertInTucson

      Well, the Cardinals coveted Cousins but THEY are one of the franchises that do NOT have a lot of Cap space.

      There’s talk they will not be bringing The Honey Badger back next season.

  • Irish Sweetness

    Let me get this straight, Miss Emily ….

    We’re going to do better because :

    1. We have a young QB.
    2. We have a new staff.
    3. We have cap space.
    4. Prestige and er … history?

    I’ll take the first one, but we need a better roster to do better, and Mr. Pace has not shown us he can provide us with that. He is not football. He is not MBA. What is he? He’s some dude who has survived NFL offices for years because he can smile and say the right things.

    • Malice Halice

      Yea I’ll always be enthusiastic during the off-season but this time it ends b4 training camp starts. I expect nothing below excellent these next few months. FA is everything this year. Too much money n too many holes. If Pace don’t fill the holes I like….. Yea I’ll stop here.

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