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Lists, Lists and More Stupid Lists: An ATM Special Report

| May 29th, 2019

Last week we reached the part of the offseason where various media members began releasing lists ranking random NFL players, executives and pretty much anything else they can think of with the hope that it will create conversation amongst the fan bases.

While the number of lists released are too numerous to count, there were three that I found particularly interesting.


Bears Top 100

I’m not sure anybody alive is actually qualified to rank the 100 best players in the history of the Chicago Bears, but Dan Pompei and Don Pierson are as close as it gets.

I have nothing to add to players who retired before I was born and very little to say about the 1980s greats of whom I saw very little. But it still seems odd to me that Brian Urlacher wasn’t higher on the list.

Urlacher was a first-ballot Hall of Fame selection, whereas Richard Dent was really more of an afterthought and Jimbo Covert isn’t in at all — and doesn’t seem likely to get in. Yet both Dent and Covert ranked higher than Urlacher.

I’m cool with Devin Hester being second among the 2000s Bears, but Charles Tillman should’ve been ahead of Lance Briggs. Briggs was more recognized because he was Urlacher’s battery mate, but Tillman was the better player.

The biggest surprise to me on the list was Donnell Woolford coming in at 78, ahead of Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, among others. Woolford was my first favorite player and even I forgot how productive he was for the team.

In all, making an accurate version of this list is impossible, I do wonder if they tried too hard to avoid recency bias, though.


Gil Believes in the Bears

Pretty much every major media person thinks the Bears are going to drop down in the NFC North. I’d go as far as to say that most think they’ll sink to third or fourth, but not for NFL.com’s Gil Brandt.

Brandt released a list of teams he’s most confident will repeat and the Bears came in fifth — as in the fourth most likely to repeat. Brandt expressed concern about the kicker, which is certainly fair, but what I found to be particularly interesting was his confidence in defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano and quarterback Mitch Trubisky.

Brandt wrote that Pagano “has a proven track record as a quality defensive mind.” That seems to be the part everyone forgets when it comes to the Bears DC swap. Pagano has had as many first-ranked DVOA defenses as Vic Fangio and Pagano was only a coordinator for one season.

And it was what Brandt wrote about Trubisky that made my ears perk up. A year ago it was common to write that the Bears were a year away because Trubisky would need a year to learn the system. Now, those same people are forgetting what they said last year and writing the young QB off. Not Brandt:

“Quarterback Mitch Trubisky is on track to take another step forward in Year 3. Don’t forget that Trubisky only made 13 starts in college — he’ll keep growing as he continues to gather experience in the NFL, especially with the help of Matt Nagy.”


Rotoworld Does Not Like Ryan Pace

At this point, it’s kind of common knowledge that those writing for NBC-owned Rotoworld don’t like Ryan Pace. Evan Silva inferred that he understands NFL compensation pick and transition tag rules better than the Bears GM during the 2018 offseason.

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So, it really shouldn’t be a surprise  that Pace came in close to the middle of the pack in Rotorworld’s GM rankings, written by Patrick Daugherty.

The criticisms of Pace are legitimate. He missed on Kevin White, he botched the kicker situation and the Bears have lost more than they’ve won since he took over. But the author noted some other faults of Pace that are, well, questionable.

He seemed to not agree with the Mack trade noting it “left Pace short on both cap space and draft resources” and added that he “made a curious third-round trade up for a running back.” There seems to be little question that adding Mack was the right move, so I’m not entirely sure what Daugherty is going for there, but when it comes to the draft, shouldn’t we wait to see how it plays out before criticizing moves?

Daugherty also wrote that Trubisky “made only lurching progress as a sophomore.” Again, not sure how the author measures progress, but if going from seven touchdowns to 24 is lurching, I don’t know what to tell you.

Hey, whatever, if you want to argue that Pace is a middle-of-the-pack GM, that’s fine. But how do you then have John Lynch just one spot lower?

This is actually Pace’s best rating on Daugherty’s lists. In 2016 Pace was 20th, before dropping to 25th in 2017 and 23rd in 2018. You know who the second-worst GM in the league was in 2017, according to Daugherty? Les Snead, who is now fourth. Three of his top seven GMs in 2017 were in charge of teams picking in the top 10 in 2019.

What does this tell us? Some lists are pretty dumb. OK, all lists are a pretty useless exercise, even if they can be fun.

Stay tuned for training camp when I rank the 90 players on the Bears roster.

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