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Getting Real: 3 Things Bears Must Do to Keep Fans Optimistic in 2018

| July 31st, 2018

Here at DBB, we’ve been high on optimism for the Bears’ 2018 season pretty much since Matt Nagy was hired back in January, and we’re not the only ones. Both local and national media are feeling the enthusiasm and energy emanating from Halas Hall, and with good reason!

We’ve laid out all those reasons why we should all be psyched about the direction the Bears are heading in previous, and I fully stand by those predictions. At the same time, I’m not the hardcore Pollyanna that I’ve likely come across as in my last few articles. There’s a limit to my enthusiasm, and there are some actual markers of change the Bears are going to have to hit this season for me to continue to do things like  compare Trubisky to Roger Federer and Serena Williams.

This isn’t an exhaustive list, but I’ve laid out three things the Chicago Bears MUST do to justify continued optimism into the 2019 season. This isn’t a dream scenario list. This is a bare minimum list for me to not sink into a pit of deep, deep despair.

For the purposes of this list I’m not factoring in the possibility of serious injury to top players. Not because it couldn’t happen, but because a) it’s morbid b) it’s largely out of the team’s control and, c) it would cause me to have a very different perspective on the season moving forward.


First.

They have to finish at least .500.

Football is a rare sport in that literally every game matters. You look at baseball, basketball, or hockey and it’s absurd to think that one game would change the way fans view an entire season. But football teams don’t play 162 games in a season, they play 16, and there’s a significant difference between a team going 7-9 and 8-8. Even if that’s only in perspective.

The last time the Bears had a a winning season was 2012. In 2013 they went 8-8 and, well, we all know how things have gone since then. The Bears don’t have the easiest of schedules – of course that’s not always the most straightforward metric to measure a month before a season actually begins. Still, I’m sick of rooting for a losing team. The Bears absolutely have enough talent to earn as many wins as losses.

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On Greatness, Desire, Tennis, and Trubisky

| July 23rd, 2018

We’re almost there, guys.

The Chicago Bears have started training camp, and the first preseason game follows in a few weeks! It’s great news for all of us at DBB, considering the most exciting thing that’s happened in the Bears’ universe over the last two months is Jay Cutler killing it on his wife’s new reality show.

Data and Andrew have done a fantastic job breaking down players, stats, and expectations for the 2018 season, and frankly my attention has been focused on other sports. And since at the exact moment of writing this article we’re still left with not much more than anticipation for the upcoming season, I’m going to spend a little bit of time reflecting on my other favorite sport: tennis.



Right now I imagine some of you would prefer I’d just write about politics again, but fear not, this is still DBB, and I promise to work the Bears in…eventually! Just indulge me for a bit. It’s summer, the days are long, and we still have time to meander.

While I fell in love with football as a small kid, I didn’t come to follow tennis until much later. It was 2008, and I was sick at home in the middle of a boring September afternoon, flipping through the channels. I came across the US Open. I figured I’d give it a try.

Tennis isn’t the most intuitive of sports, so I spent the first few hours bemused as to how a score could possibly go from 15 to 30 to 40 to game over, and just how many games do they have to play, anyways, and also what the fuck is a “let”?

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NFL is Playing Politics of the Worst Kind

| June 1st, 2018

“Stick to sports.”

Every sports journalist or athlete who has ever expressed a political opinion has probably had this insipid phrase thrown their way. It’s become quite a common refrain, particularly after the media took note that Colin Kaepernick wasn’t standing for the national anthem a couple years ago.

Like most snarky retorts it’s not meant to be particularly clever or thoughtful. It’s meant to shut down conversation and put someone in their place.

It’s also bullshit.

Not only is it ridiculous to expect a person, let alone a public figure with a large platform, to solely talk about their profession and nothing else 24/7, it’s also disingenuous because often the person saying “stick to sports” doesn’t mean they don’t want someone talking about politics. They just don’t want someone expressing a political viewpoint opposing their own.

Last week’s decision by the NFL to amend their national anthem policy was not made in an effort to “stick to sports”, or appear nonpartisan, as some have claimed. The decision was explicitly political. They implemented this rule in the hopes it would appeal to the political and social leanings of those they view as their core audience: namely, conservative white people.

Let me get two things out of the way before I go any further.

  1. Yes, I am aware not all people who are against the protests are white and/or conservative, and that many conservative-leaning white people are fine with or supportive of players protesting. But in general, white conservatives have been much more disapproving of the protests than liberals and people of color.
  2. This is not a First Amendment issue. Let me repeat that, just so we’re all clear. This is not a First Amendment issue. Private organizations have the right to restrict what their employees say and do during company time. I am well aware of this, so no need to point that out in the comments.

Moving on…..

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Four Games To Look Forward to in 2018

| May 10th, 2018

Greetings, Bears fans! Happy to be back!

A lot has happened since I went on hiatus. Some free agency moves have been made, the draft is done, and guess what? I’m officially excited about football again!

Truly, I don’t know how anyone, besides those who thrive on constant negativity (or those aiming to write for the Tribune), could consider this offseason anything short of a huge success for Chicago. The only move Ryan Pace made that I even slightly disagreed with was not matching the Saints offer for Cam Meredith, but honestly letting him walk is small potatoes compared to all the great additions made in 2018.

Of course there’s still the potential for roster moves and shake-ups (and God forbid, serious injuries) between now and the start of the season. Still, we have a much clearer idea of who the Bears are and what they’re going to look like, and damn it if they aren’t looking pretty, pretty good.

I figured I’d put all this unbridled enthusiasm to good use by making my return to DBB to discuss the four games I’m most looking forward to in 2018:

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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.

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Backing It Up: Should the Chicago Bears Draft Luke Falk as 2nd String QB?

| February 15th, 2018

The Chicago Bears have found their answer at starting quarterback, but that doesn’t mean they’re completely set at the position. It remains to be seen who else will be in the quarterback room with Trubisky this year, backing him up.

We know for sure one guy who won’t be there: Mike Glennon. Glennon’s a fine backup, and I’m sure he’ll land somewhere in 2018, but it won’t be Chicago. Then there’s Mark Sanchez, who undoubtedly proved an excellent mentor to Trubisky, and is someone I’d like to see stay with the organization in some capacity. I just don’t know if I want him out on the field if Trubisky gets injured. (Actually, I’m pretty sure I don’t.)

So what are the Bears to do?

Certainly there is never a shortage of veteran backups looking for a landing spot and the hot rumor has Matt Nagy looking at Chase Daniel this March. But there’s also another option: a rookie quarterback later in the draft.

When Ryan Pace was first hired as Chicago’s GM he was quoted as saying he wouldn’t be opposed to drafting a quarterback every year. Well he didn’t take any in years one and two, so maybe he’s due for another QB in year four?

One quarterback prospect expected to go in the later rounds, who has gotten a fair amount of press coverage due in part to making a positive impression on multiple teams during Senior Bowl week, is Washington State University quarterback Luke Falk.

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Five Things the Bears Can Learn From the Patriots

| January 25th, 2018


1. Everything
2. Everything
3. Everything
4. Everything
5. Everything

This was the easiest piece Jeff has ever assigned me!

Seriously, though. The Patriots are back in the Super Bowl for the eighth time in the Brady/Belichick era, and unless the Eagles play absolutely lights out and/or Brady gets legitimately injured and Hoyer has to play, they’re likely going to be lifting up their sixth Lombardi. Love them, hate them, every single football fan would kill to have their team be even half as successful as the Patriots have been these past 16 seasons. So with that in mind, what lessons can our beloved Chicago Bears take from the Patriots as they seek to build their own winning franchise?


1. Consistency is Key

In the 16 years they’ve been paired together as starting QB and head coach, Brady and Belichick have:

  • Made it to the Super Bowl 50% of the time.
  • Been 1st in their division 14 of 16 seasons.
  • Only missed the playoffs twice, and one of those years Brady was out for the entire season.
  • Never had a losing season.

Now it’s impossible to say exactly what their career trajectories would’ve looked like had they never been paired together (obviously Belichick already had success as a coach pre-Brady, and Brady is clearly the GOAT), but you can pretty much guarantee they wouldn’t have achieved this insane level of greatness separately.

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The Psychology of Uncertainty & Being a Bears Fan

| January 18th, 2018

Human beings don’t react well to uncertainty. We don’t know how to handle it. We hate it so much in fact that, given the choice, we actually prefer to *know* that something bad is going to happen to us as opposed to being unsure. A study in 2015 showed that most people would rather know for certain that they’re going to get an electric shock than to not be able to predict it. The uncertainty caused a bigger stress response than knowing without a doubt that they were going to get hurt.

At this point you might be thinking to yourself, “Well, that’s fascinating Emily, but what the hell does it have to do with the Chicago Bears?”

Well if I had to think of one word to describe how I’ve felt about the Bears the last few years, the word would be “uncertain”. Not in terms of devotion, mind you. I’ve always been pretty ride or die with my sports teams. When I say uncertain I’m talking about having no real idea what to expect from them on any given Sunday since 2012.

Again I can already hear some of the comments. How could you possibly be uncertain about the Bears? They suck! They’ve sucked since 2006! The Cutler era was terrible! They’re basically the Browns! And I get why it feels that way. I totally do. But it isn’t accurate. For a quick comparison:

Last Won Their Division
Bears 2010
Browns 1989

Last in the Playoffs
Bears 2010
Browns 2002

Last Winning Season
Bears 2012
Browns 2002

Number of Wins the Last Three Seasons
Bears 14
Browns 4

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The 3 Best & Worst Games of John Fox’s Bears Tenure: Part II (Worst)

| December 19th, 2017

Now onto the worst games…

Honestly this was a lot harder to narrow down because the John Fox era has sucked something fierce. There are many, many games that you could make a case for, but after careful consideration I present to you the three worst games under John Fox.

#3. November 13th, 2016

Chicago @ Tampa Bay: Buccaneers 36, Bears 10

You remember that really dominant win against the Vikings I discussed yesterday? How the Bears had a bye week, and therefore plenty of time to get healthy and plan for a Tampa Bay team that was mediocre at best? Yeah, they ended up getting the crap kicked out of them in what was possibly Cutler’s worst performance as a Bear. He turned the ball over four times, including both a pick six and a fumble in the end zone that led to a safety. Jordan Howard also lost a fumble making it five turnovers on the day against a team that had previously struggled at getting takeaways.

The defense didn’t fare much better, allowing Jameis Winston to throw for 312 yards and two touchdowns. Oh and this was also the game that Kyle Long tore up his ankle and was lost for the rest of the season (not to mention a good chunk of this one). A lot of the blame for this loss falls on Cutler, but the Bears had two weeks to prepare a game plan to beat the freaking Buccaneers and maybe turn the second half of their season into something worth watching. Instead they come out and lay a giant goddamn egg, spoiling whatever bit of goodwill they had built up in beating Minnesota two weeks before.


#2. September 28th, 2017

Chicago @ Green Bay: Packers 35, Bears 14

You didn’t really think we were going to get through this without mentioning the Mike Glennon era, did you? While it only lasted four games, it felt like four lifetimes.

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The 3 Best & Worst Games of John Fox’s Bears Tenure: Part I (Best)

| December 19th, 2017

The John Fox era is coming to an end in Chicago. All those “what-if” scenarios about the Bears winning out after dominating the Bengals can be put to bed after Saturday’s beatdown at the hands of the Lions. So for my first post on DBB I’m going to look back and reflect on the three best and three worst games of the John Fox era.

Since we’re trying to stay positive in Bears fandom, I’ll start with the good. As of writing this John Fox only has 13 wins as Bears coach; three of which came when Mike Glennon, Brian Hoyer, and Matt Barkley were under center. So really I’m looking at 10 games here. Slim pickings, but you work with what you’ve got.

Best Games

#3. November 15th, 2015

Chicago Bears @ St. Louis Rams: Chicago 37, St. Louis 13.

This win marks the second biggest margin of victory of any Bears win under Fox. It followed a thrilling comeback win in San Diego against the Chargers the previous week, making it the second time that season the Bears managed to string two wins together in a row. (They have never managed three in a row under Fox.) Jay Cutler went 19/24 with 3 TDs, no turnovers, and a career high passer rating of 151.0. It was decisive, dominant, and damn fun to watch. It put the Bears at 4-5, which after a 0-3 start was a happy surprise. You could see the improvement in the team, and more importantly, you could see that they were buying into John Fox’s message and methodology. It felt like it could be the beginning of more good things to come.


#2. October 31st, 2016

Minnesota Vikings @ Chicago Bears: Chicago 20, Minnesota 10.

Coming into this game things weren’t great for the Bears or John Fox. Rumors that week circulated that Ryan Pace had hired outside consultants to evaluate day-to-day operations and that Fox was potentially one bad game away from being fired. Jay Cutler was returning from a thumb injury with many under the opinion he had fallen out of favor with Fox, and had Brian Hoyer not gotten hurt the previous week against the Packers, might not have returned as a starter at all.

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