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The Addition of Robert Quinn Gives the Bears 2020’s Most Fearsome Pass Rushing Duo

| March 17th, 2020


A source, a trusted source for many years, sent me a text.

“Quinn. Big money. Floyd cut.”

The lack of words was jarring but I knew what it meant. This was happening quickly. To Twitter I went!



Within minutes, Ian Rapoport broke the news of Robert Quinn signing a massive deal with the Bears. Within minutes of that, Adam Schefter broke the news of the Bears cutting Leonard Floyd.

Unless you’re one of those folks who obsesses over the salary cap, there’s simply no way to criticize the Quinn signing. He is one of the best pure pass rushers in the sport and solidifies one of the best front sevens in the game. This was an ideal free agency move for Ryan Pace because pass rush prospects – even mediocre ones – go early in the NFL Draft. Teams happily leverage future draft picks to acquire them. The Bears were unlikely to find ten sacks in the second round (or later). Now they don’t have to.

As for Floyd, for years he has frustrated many inside the walls of Halas Hall. He is a superior athlete and that athleticism has allowed him to develop into one of the best edge coverage guys in the league. But playing on the edge in NFL requires more than covering backs and tight ends. You must get to the quarterback. You must disrupt the passing game. And Floyd doesn’t do that. He’s a sloppy pass rusher, often out of control when he manages to evade blockers. In 2019, with Khalil Mack struggling through injuries for most of the season, Chuck Pagano implored Floyd to anchor the team’s rush. He could not.

The Bears still have major questions on the offensive side of the ball, and many of them will be answered in the next month or so. But the moves they made yesterday fortified their organizational strength. The 2020 vintage of the Bears will be led by their defense, led by their pass rush. Because Quinn and Mack will be the most feared duo in the NFL.

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Three Questions with a Bears Fan, Episode III: Rick Pearson of the Chicago Tribune

| March 16th, 2020

Reverend Dave and I first met Rick Pearson at the Billy Goat Tavern a bunch of years ago. Now, he’s family. He’s also one of the best political journalists in this country. He covers Chicago the way it demands to be covered. He’s dogged. He’s dubious. He’s one hell of a writer. But fuck all that. He introduced me to my favorite meal in the entire city: Nanna’s Gravy at Cafe Bionda in the South Loop. And that’s what matters.

Here’s Rick.


DBB: I’m surprised I’ve never asked you this during a Billy Goat session, but where did you watch the Bears win the Super Bowl? What was that experience like in Chicago?

Pearson: Ah, but I wasn’t in Chicago then. I was the political editor of the Rockford Register Star, a city about 90 miles northwest of Chicago and a place with a large number of Green Bay Packer fans, given its proximity to the Wisconsin border.

That, of course, gave me a chance to gloat about everything Bears, everything Chicago and I celebrated by hosting a chili party. For someone who grew up during the Gale Sayers, Jack Concannon and Bobby Douglass era (when under Douglass the Bears’ greatest offense threat was pass interference by the other team), I wasn’t sure that I would see such a glorious team, a team for the ages that could back up its swagger on the field. And it was finally a chance to enjoy the success that the friendly(???) neighbors up north often enjoyed.


DBB: You are one of the best political journalists in the country. (Yea, I said it.) But we’re entering a dangerous period for American journalism. Hedge fund takeovers of newspapers. The Athletic buying up sports writers. What do you tell the 22 year-old journalism major at Northwestern or Loyola when they ask you for career advice? Where should they go?

Pearson: I appreciate your confidence but there are several others in political journalism that I look up to and from whom I’ve learned and offered respect. But yes, we are in a tumultuous time for newspapers and journalism as a whole and I do not know where it will lead.

It was difficult attending a Bernie Sanders rally in Grant Park the other day when one of the earlier speakers, a local university professor, brought up the Chicago Tribune as endangered by hedge-fund ownership. I didn’t expect my paper to become part of a rally for a democratic socialist, especially with the long history of the Tribune and its editorial board support for Republicans.

So what do I tell the journalism major? It’s been something I’ve been doing for the last decade. First, the rules of journalism are the same no matter where you are—print, broadcast, photo, video, blog, Twitter, podcast, you name it. You write the truth, you write the facts, you write what you know, you don’t embellish and if you can, you provide the “why.”

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Free Agency Preview: Offense

| March 12th, 2020

Everybody writes their “Free Agency Preview” – telling you what they think a particular franchise should or shouldn’t do when it comes to the off-season’s player acquisition period.

I’m not going to go too deep with cap hits or contract disputes. I’m just going to make a singular statement regarding each position group that sums up my thinking on that group. These are thoughts specifically about the coming weeks. Not the draft.


QB

This position is entirely about Derek Carr.

Carr is a very good quarterback and will only be 29 years old this season. If the Bears trade for him, they will have stability at the position for the next several years and a player capable of taking them to a championship. Every other option (Dalton, Foles, Keenum) is capable of getting this team to the playoffs but would require something of a miracle run to win three playoff games.

Needless to say, what happens at this position over the next month will define the 2020 Bears.


RB

I still like David Montgomery. I still like Tarik Cohen. Spending any significant money on running backs seems silly.


WR/TE

Both Andrew and Data spent time two weeks back detailing the Bears’ need for speed on the outside. But the Bears don’t need to be spending a ton of money on a third wide receiver.

The focus here will be tight end and all eyes are on Atlanta’s Austin Hooper, with rumors of interest from Jacksonville, New England and about eleven other franchises. He’s going to make a lot of money in the coming days. And that money should not come from Chicago.

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Three Questions with a Bears Fan, Episode II: JQ of the Q Brothers Collective

| March 9th, 2020

Episode II in our series is a brief chat with JQ of the Q Brothers Collective. The Q Brothers are geniuses and their hip hop adaptations of classic works have been killing it with audiences for decades. Othello: The Remix. Q Gents. Q Brothers Christmas Carol. The Bomb-itty of Errors. All brilliant. Ever since he cold-emailed me years ago, he’s become one of my favorite people on the planet and a solid drinking partner. (Hell, he’s been to Josie Woods!) One day we’ll work together on something that goes up on a stage. One day.


DBB: The Q Brothers are a theatrical institution but you’re constantly on-stage when the Bears play. Does the score ever creep in your mind when performing? 

JQ: I usually keep my phone on mute and streaming live backstage. If I have an opportunity to freestyle and update the audience on the score, they really appreciate it. That said, if the Bears are getting crushed I usually just turn it off because I don’t want it to negatively affect the performance.


DBB: Your family’s pharmacy – Merz Apothecary – is one of the coolest fucking stores in the world. Is there a homeopathic remedy (non-booze) to handle a Chicago Bears loss?

JQ: According to the famous European herbalist and author Maria Treben – who wrote “Health Through God’s Pharmacy” (translated into 20+ languages) – we work off disappointment through the kidneys and one of the best for kidney health is goldenrod. So you could make some tea out of that I suppose. I also recommend reminding yourself that it’s football and we’re lucky to have the luxury of caring about stuff like that.

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A Thursday Links Package (Because Nothing is Happening)

| March 5th, 2020


I have nothing to write about today. But other people wrote stuff. So I’m sharing that stuff with you.

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173 Comments

Three Questions with a Bears Fan, Episode I: Reverend Dave

| March 4th, 2020

The following the first of many pieces in a new conversation series, Three Questions with a Bears Fan. There was no other choice to kick this off other than Reverend Dave. If you don’t know who he is, go back and listen to the dozens upon dozens of “sermons” and “Reverend’s Rants” he provided over the years. He’s a jerk. But he’s our jerk.


DBB: You are a Bears fan. You are also my friend. If you were offered the Bears winning the 2021 Super Bowl in exchange for my developing a non-terminal illness like scabies, would you make that deal?

Reverend Dave: You’re my friend, I would let you develop scabies in exchange for a few free Old Styles at the Goat. Scabies isn’t permanent. I would make that deal in a heartbeat. Hell, remember that moment of euphoria when Hester returned the opening kickoff in that Super Bowl? I would give you alopecia to relive that moment again, much less an actual Bears’ Super Bowl win that I’m old enough to remember.

(Later, an email.)

I just remembered! When I came back from Cameroon I had this nasty looking bug bite on my arm. My girlfriend at the time was convinced it was some terrible tropical disease and to show her it was nothing I rubbed it on her arm. Welp, I was wrong. It was ringworm. She was pissed. 

Id say her getting ringworm was worth the laugh I still get from that story. So there is little non-lethal I wouldn’t subject you to for a Super Bowl win. 


DBB: You have a child now. Did having a child make you like the Bears less? You know, because of “perspective”?

Reverend Dave: Nope. I don’t get the whole having a child changes your whole perspective on life thing. I love my daughter, she’s awesome, doesn’t mean I suddenly like cheap domestic beer or Bears football any less. There’s a much greater chance me liking my daughter less in the future. I mean, I can’t like the Bears less than the Jimmy Clausen game, but my daughter is just starting a lifetime of opportunities to do things to make me like her less. 

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Why I Decided Not to Sell DaBearsBlog.

| March 2nd, 2020


I was taught to never bury the lede, so I won’t.

Last Monday, after months of communication with some good folks, I was presented with a serious, generous offer for DaBearsBlog. The deal would have added five figures to my checking account balance, while moving ownership of this entire platform to people not me (and Noah) for the very first time. They wanted to keep me involved and pay me for that involvement. They wanted my voice to remain with the site and Twitter feed. But neither would be mine any longer.

On Friday I respectfully turned that offer down.


A Bit of Personal History.

Years ago I took a temp gig at the Corcoran Group real estate office on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. After being there a few months, and not being particularly good at the gig, Barbara Corcoran (before becoming a television star) called me into the office. “Jeff,” she implausibly said, “Would you be interested in taking over as office manager here?”

“Are you serious?” I asked. A lot of people say something like that out of a sense of jubilation or faux humility. I legitimately thought she was joking. Two days earlier, after a way-too-late night at the Dublin House on 79th Street, I’d fallen asleep twice at my desk. When I got called into the office, I thought she was canning me.

“Yes,” she said, laughing. “The job is all about making the brokers happy and the brokers all tell me they love you.”

This was true. The brokers did love me because I went drinking with the brokers almost every night. I slept on a few of their couches and in one of their beds. I’m good at drinking with people.

The Office Manager gig paid $65,000 a year with full benefits. At that time I was living paycheck to paycheck and the paychecks were small. I told Barbara I would let her know the next day and she was cool with that.

That night I went to one of my favorite bars, Druids in Hell’s Kitchen. I wanted to think about it over my favorite pint of Guinness in the city. I ran into my buddy Geoff Cohen, with whom I’d worked closely on the team that started the now-defunct New York Musical Theatre Festival. The festival was getting ready to launch a week and a half later.

“The festival is fucked,” he told me. “Two of our house managers on 45th Street quit.” I had been in the room when the festival was conceived, in the room when the shows were selected, in the room when these spaces were chosen. I felt I owned a small part of the thing.

The next morning I told Barbara I was going to house manager for NYMF and get paid $2,000 for the month. No benefits. No long-term prospects.

She looked at me and said, “I knew I liked you for a reason.”

The decision to spend those 32 days living in NYMF theatres led to every serious connection I’ve made in the theatre. It wasn’t financially prudent. It wasn’t safe. But it was true to me. It was, for lack of a better word, right.


Previous Offers.

This is not the first time someone has tried to acquire DaBearsBlog.

The Athletic wanted us in their early stages. Those inane conversations included one of their editors telling me, “You can be DaBearsBlog but you can’t call it DaBearsBlog.” I’m still not sure what that meant. Was it metaphysical?

The Sun-Times inquired. We famously made our ChicagoNow mistake. Almost every single large-scale blog network has reached out at one time or another, but none of those relationships made any sense to me. There were two earlier purchase attempts but neither, quite frankly, was as impressive as this one. I never considered them seriously. I did in this case.

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