105 Comments

Ranking the Entire Bears Roster: Top of the Heap (1-10)

| August 6th, 2019

As I got down to the top of this list, the one thing that really stood out to me was the quality here. The Bears have three players who are without question among the top two or three at their positions. In the three years I’ve done this list, I don’t know that they’ve ever even had one.

The Bears also have four all pros on this list and two other players who are 25 or younger and could easily be all pros this year.


10. Kyle Long, OG

He’s not young anymore but Long is still a mauler when he’s on the field. The Bears have only been able to get about half of their snaps with Long in recent seasons, but they’ve been significantly better when he has played.

9. Danny Trevathan, LB

One of the most underrated players on the Bears. Trevathan sets the tone with his leadership, while also flying around the field. Covers a lot of ground in the passing game and against the run.

8. Allen Robinson

According to the early camp reports, we didn’t see the real A-Rob last year. After an early season ankle injury, Robinson caught 40 passes for 612 yards in his final eight games. Expect to see more this year.

Read More …

Tagged:

54 Comments

Ranking the Entire Bears Roster: Key Contributors (11-39)

| August 5th, 2019

This is the meat of the rosters, players who should see the field quite a bit.


39. Nick Kwiatkoski, LB

Can really be a liability against the pass, but he has good instincts and is a solid special teams player. The Bears could live with him playing on first and second downs if needed.

38.  Jonathan Bullard, DL

Has never even approached his potential, but hasn’t been awful either. Holds his own and you occasionally see his burst but not consistent enough to play on a deep defensive line.

37. Chase Daniel, QB

Great for the locker room and he showed last year the Bears can win with him. He’s not capable of being a starter, but the Bears have had a lot of starting quarterbacks who were worse than Daniel.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Never a truer, sadder statement.]

36. Joel Iyiegbuniwe, LB

Played some special teams last year, but the hope is he can beat out Kwik this year. Didn’t have to play with much discipline in college so the NFL was a big jump. Now it’s time to see if he can play.

Read More …

Tagged:

80 Comments

Ranking the Entire Bears Roster: The Relevant Non-Starters (40-59)

| July 30th, 2019

The rankings continue. To read part one of this three-part exercise, CLICK HERE.

Some of these guys will be battling for the final few roster spots, but none — outside specialists — are competing for starting spots.

59. Tyler Bray

There really isn’t a lot to say about Bray. He knows the offense and is good for the QB room. He’s just not good on the field. He’ll get some playing time during preseason, but won’t make the roster.

58. Tanner Gentry, WR

The preseason hero of 2017 has made it on the team the last two years, but this is likely his last stand. Gentry has potential and should get another shot elsewhere should he fail to make the squad.

57. Dax Raymond, TE

The UDFA tight end who everybody seems to like. A good athlete who looks like a natural receiver. He just could make the final cut as the fourth tight end.

56. Cornelius Lucas, OT

Huge dude (6’9″, 328), who has played some in the league. Not an ideal third tackle, but he can play in a pinch.

Read More …

Tagged:

95 Comments

Ranking The Bears: The Long Shots (90-60)

| July 23rd, 2019

With training camp getting underway this week, it’s time to get to know the entire roster.

Because I didn’t want you to have to go through the entire roster, I went ahead and did it for you. For the third straight year, I’ve ranked everyone – from the guys who are never going to make it to players who are among the very best in the entire league. What made this year more challenging is the pure depth the Bears have on their roster.

While this list is made up of guys who very likely will never have an impact in the league, there are several who I could easily see surprising.. That just wasn’t the case in years past. The Bears are good and that shows even at the very bottom of the roster.

90. Elliott Fry, K

If he can go 14-for-14 in the minor leagues, surely he can make kicks in the NFL, right? God I hope so.

89. Eddy Pineiro, K

I’ve been told he has a huge leg. Would’ve won the Raiders job if not for an injury, so that has to be worth something, right?

(Note: If the two kickers continue missing as much as they did throughout the spring, this is a very accurate ranking for them. What good is a kicker who can’t make kicks in practice. Good thing they have time to get better.)

88. Josh Wirtel, longsnapper

I have no idea if he’s in camp for the hell of it or if he’s actually going to compete with Pat Scales. I also had no idea he existed until three minutes ago.

87. Blake Blackmar, OL

One of the biggest dudes on the team at 326 pounds. Didn’t test well in the pre-draft process, which likely makes him a longshot on a team that requires athletic offensive linemen. Maybe there’s something they saw on tape?

86. Jordan McCray, OL

Veteran offensive lineman who has never appeared in a game. We see these guys every year and every year they don’t last.

85. James Vaughters, LB

Veteran who bounced around with the Packers, Patriots and Chargers, with stops in the CFL. Likely just a camp body.

84. Jameer Thurman, LB

After entering the NFL as a 194-pound linebacker, Thurman bulked up to 230. Was a standout in the CFL, but he’s unlikely to do anything in the NFL.

83. Daryl Banfield, DL

Tested out as a decent athlete at the FBS combine, running a 5.15 40-yard dash with a  33-inch vertical and a 115-inch broad jump. But he had hardly any production at Brown, finishing last season with 25 tackles — 12 of which were solo — and zero sacks. Had just 3.5 sacks in his collegiate career.

Read More …

Tagged: ,

78 Comments

How Old Is Eddie Jackson: A Deep Dive Into The Best Safety In The Game

| July 16th, 2019


As I sat down to write this investigative piece, a yellow hummingbird rested outside my window and began pecking away.

Tap, tap tap…

Every time I moved the keys…

Tap, tap tap…

The bird looked in at me. I stopped to acknowledge it only to see a serious look on its face. Perhaps this was a sign that someone, somewhere didn’t want me to uncover what I was about to come across.

Should I stop? No, the truth is too important.

How old is Eddie Jackson?

It’s a simple enough question, right?

Google tells you Jackson is 26 years old. The best and most accurate database in the history of the world, Pro-Football-Reference, says the same. So does the NFL’s official website.

Case closed, right?

Wrong. Jackson is 25 years old.

Read More …

Tagged: , , ,

113 Comments

ATM: Bears Need More From Floyd

| July 9th, 2019

When Khalil Mack wasn’t on the field, the Bears had one of the worst pass rushes in the NFL. That is a direct reflection on former first-rounder Leonard Floyd.

Perhaps the biggest argument for Mack’s Defensive POY candidacy last year was how much the Bears struggled to get after the quarterback when he was limited or not on the field at all. In the four games Mack was playing hurt or not playing at all, the Bears managed a combined 24 quarterback sacks and hits, applying such pressure on just 14.6% of the drop backs (not counting quarterback runs which are often the result of good coverage). That rate would’ve been the second worst in the entire league, ahead of only — surprise, surprise — Oakland.

In all, the Bears pass rush wasn’t bad last year. When Mack was on the field, they hit opposing quarterbacks at the fifth-highest rate and finished 15th overall. Floyd was third on the team in both sacks and hits, but spent too much time doing his best Sam Wheat impression.

Nine times last year, Floyd didn’t even touch the opposing quarterback. Some of those struggles can be contributed to a preseason hand injury — he didn’t record a QB hit or sack in six of the team’s first seven games. But he still had three such games in the team’s final seven and half of his sacks came in one game — both largely the result of pressures by Mack.

Read More …

Tagged: , ,

66 Comments

ATM: Expect A Heavy Workload For David Montgomery

| July 2nd, 2019

Give Matt Nagy credit for saying he wants to use a committee approach when it comes to the running back position, but don’t be surprised if rookie David Montgomery is the bell cow before long. While the Bears have generally been trying to keep their depth chart a secret (and not allowing media members to report on the topic) it seems the rookie has already been getting playing time with the first team, a rarity for any mid-round running back.

Montgomery will still have to earn the job. Running backs, especially those in the 220-pound range, generally don’t show much until the pads come on; it’s impossible to display power and contact balance when the defense can’t hit. But by all accounts, Montgomery has looked the part, opening eyes the same way Tarik Cohen did two years ago, per Adam Jahns on the Hoge & Jahns Podcast.


Montgomery’s currently tied fifth favorite to be Offensive Rookie of the Year. Third among non-QBs.


The Bears signed Mike Davis and it seems that he has gotten most of the reps with the first team offense this offseason. But in the most recent clips released by the team on their website, you can see Montgomery sneaking out of the backfield with Mitch Trubisky playing quarterback. Maybe those are just misleading shots, but they didn’t exist at the start of the offseason program, when even Ryan Nall was shown with the starters in one of the clips.

If Montgomery has already been as impressive as most have said without the pads, the general expectation is that he’ll be even better once they start hitting. After all, his strength is supposed to be his ability to play through contact.

Read More …

Tagged: ,

98 Comments

ATM: Trubisky Has Earned Optimism

| June 25th, 2019

The Vikings kept bringing the heat, and Mitch Trubisky kept beating it.

Minnesota was playing for everything in Week 17 and all they needed was a stop and a score. They brought the heat and Trubisky dissected them, despite playing without his top three wide receivers.

After a Vikings touchdown made the score 13-10, the Bears young QB took over.

Third and five, the QB runs for 12.

Third-and-six, Javon Wims for 16.

Third-and-six again, Burton for nine.

Third-and-seven, Wims for nine and a first down at the eight.



Two plays later, Cohen runs in a touchdown before Trubisky drills a pass into the chest of linebacker Nick Kwiatkowski for the two-point conversion.

Ball game.

Trubisky’s 2018 season has been dissected over and over and those doing the dissecting have always been able to find enough evidence to come to their pre-reached conclusion. The season was enough of a roller coaster for Trubisky that almost anybody can find evidence to prove any opinion correct. What isn’t debatable, however, is the mastery Trubisky showed at the end of the season, specifically that final regular season Sunday against one of the three best defenses in the league.

Read More …

Tagged: ,

65 Comments

ATM: Appreciating Josh McCown

| June 18th, 2019

Josh McCown announced his retirement yesterday after a 15-year career in which he played for seven teams, including the Bears from 2011-2013, with his final season being the one that extended his career and left fans wondering “what if?” It’s too bad most Bears fans couldn’t appreciate McCown’s time with the Bears.

But we all remember the Dallas game.

Monday Night Football.

Eight degrees with a wind chill of negative-nine.

Mike Ditka’s jersey being retired.

McCown — who half the fans were still calling McNown — balling out in a 45-28 Bears win.

[Editor’s Note: I was there. I didn’t thaw out until Friday.]

It was the most fun many of us ever had watching a Bears offense. They scored on all eight of their drives before ending the game by taking a knee. McCown, specifically, was special, going 27/36 with 348 yards, four touchdowns and another rushing. He spread the ball out too, as four players had five or more catches.

McCown’s performance was as special as we got until this past season when Mitch Trubisky torched the Buccaneers for six touchdowns.

And yet, we couldn’t enjoy it.

Read More …

Tagged: ,

121 Comments

ATM: 5 Reasons To Think Defense Will Still Be Great in ’19

| June 11th, 2019

All offseason we’ve heard about how the Chicago Bears defense is going to drop off in 2019. But there are plenty of reasons to think that won’t happen. Here are five.


#5. Great Defenses Tend to Stay at Least Really Good

Even if there is a drop off, it isn’t likely to be enough to thwart the Bears season.

Look back to 2012 and you’ll find Seattle ranking in the top five in DVOA for five consecutive seasons, including two first-place finishes, despite having three different defensive coordinators. They led the league in scoring defense four straight years before finishing third in 2016.

Then there’s Denver, which went from fourth in 2014 to first in 2015 and 2016 with two different defensive coordinators.

You know what both of those defenses had in common with the 2018/19 Bears? Really good players. If something were to happen where the Bears wouldn’t have really good players, maybe there would be a drop off, but there’s no reason to think that will be the case.


#4. They Might Have More Talent

My favorite tidbit that came from The Bears 100 celebration was the quotes of Josh Lucas, the team’s director of player personnel. Specifically, it was what Lucas said about new safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in comparison with the guy he replaced. From Mark Potash of the Sun-Times:

“The way Ha Ha fell to us was just complete icing on the cake,” Lucas said. “For Ha Ha to want to be a part of us, and sign the deal he signed … and we’re not saying this now because he’s here and Amos is in Green Bay. We have consistently graded Ha Ha as a better player than Amos for four years. For that to happen really solidified the pro side of it.”

There certainly is also reason to believe the team feels it upgraded with Buster Skrine over Bryce Callahan, especially considering the time Callahan tends to miss.

(And don’t think it’s just the Bears who don’t think Amos is all that great. The Broncos, now headed by former Bears Vic Fangio and Ed Donatell, chose to sign Kareem Jackson to play safety instead of Amos.)


#3. Chuck Has a Strong Rep

Using the failures of the Indianapolis Colts against Chuck Pagano is like using Wade Phillips’ multiple head-coaching failures against him. Some guys are just meant to coach defense and Pagano is one of them. This will be just Pagano’s second season as a defensive coordinator, but since the start of 2000, he has as many seasons coordinating the league’s top DVOA defense as Vic Fangio does.

Read More …

Tagged: , ,