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Why Jim Harbaugh Should Be Next Bears Coach: Twitter Thread

| November 29th, 2021


[Note: This thread was written prior to Harbaugh and Michigan’s victory over Ohio State.]

The Bears have done things one way for a long time, allowing their GM to be the head of football operations.

But maybe it’s time to change that thinking.

Maybe it’s time to make the head coach the alpha at Halas Hall.

This is happening across the league. Belichick, of course, but also Sean Payton, Kyle Shanahan, Pete Carroll, Andy Reid, etc. Some of the more successful organizations are no longer led by a personnel man, but by a football coach.

My guy is Jim Harbaugh.
• 44-19-1 as an NFL HC.
• History of hiring great staffs (Roman, Fangio, etc.)
• Coached vs Fields, would understand his game.
• Will embrace power run game as base of offense.
• Thrived with Kaepernick; will utilize Fields’ legs effectively.

I don’t care about Harbaugh’s college career. College is about recruiting and every time I watch Michigan play they’ve got some awful thing at QB.

Did he win a title at Michigan? No. Did he once again win WAY more than he loses? Of course. He’s a great football coach.

And Harbaugh, while very Parcellsian in his ability to ruffle feathers & wear out his welcome, has a million friends in the NFL. Pairing him with great evaluator – Jeff Ireland, perhaps – would be easy.

Both Harbaugh & Ireland have told friends Chicago is their dream job.

Harbaugh would give the Bears a football face. He’d be the front man for the program. The buck would stop with him.

And the Bears would win.

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Bears at Lions Thanksgiving Game Preview, Vol. III: Predictions!

| November 24th, 2021


There are only two possible outcomes for this game.

Outcome #1. The Bears win and nobody cares. (Maybe some young players flash and that will be exciting, but honestly, who cares?)

Outcome #2. The Bears lose and it becomes impossible for Matt Nagy to coach the team for the remainder of 2021. (Honestly, I’m not sure Nagy or Pace will still be employed Friday if this is the result Thursday. When I floated the scenario to someone in the building they responded with the simple, “Buckle up.”)

Three predictions:

  • David Montgomery has 24 carries for 147 yards and 2 touchdowns.
  • Robert Quinn adds another 1.5 sacks to his ledger, bringing his total to 11.5 on the season.
  • Matt Nagy avoids a midseason firing with an ugly win in front a national audience. And he will hear about it loudly from the Soldier Field faithful on December 3.

Chicago Bears 20, Detroit Lions 16

 

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Bears at Lions Thanksgiving Game Preview, Vol. II: Game Thoughts, Pearson Recipe & Various Nonsense!

| November 23rd, 2021


Four Thoughts on the Actual Football Game

  • Detroit is the second-worst run defense in the league, allowing north of 140 yards per game. Hard to imagine David Montgomery not dominating behind a terrific run-blocking offensive line.
    • Projection: 24 carries, 147 yards, 2 touchdowns.
  • The Lions have the worst collection of offensive talent in the league. And they are only scoring 1/3 of a point less per game than the Bears. (The Lions are outgaining the Bears, which is a particularly sad notion.)
  • T.J. Hockenson had a bit of a comeback game against Cleveland, with eight targets and six receptions. It won’t take long in Detroit’s tape study to see what Mark Andrews did to the Bears Sunday, and increasing Hockenson’s role from the first meeting. (4/42)
  • Largest stat disparity of the season: Bears have 31 sacks to tie for the league lead. Lions have 15, one clear of the Falcons in the basement.

Rick Pearson’s Jazzed-Up Green Bean Casserole Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 packages (16 ounces each) frozen cut green beans, thawed
  • 2 cans (10-3/4 ounces each) condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
  • 1 can (8 ounces) sliced water chestnuts, drained
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 6 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika
  • 4 ounces process cheese (Velveeta), cubed
  • 1 can (2.8 ounces) French-fried onions

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Bears at Lions Thanksgiving Game Preview, Vol. I: Establishing QB Tiers for Christmas Movies

| November 22nd, 2021


Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears This Week?

I always like the Chicago Bears.

But I’m not even sure what it is I’m liking this week. If Justin Fields doesn’t play, there is nothing to be gained on Thursday. But it’s Thanksgiving. And it’s football. And we’ll all be watching…I think.


Thoughts on A Quick Turnaround in 2022

Robert Quinn, the team’s MVP in 2021, and Khalil Mack, the team’s best player, are returning in 2022. Roquan Smith is the best ILB in the sport, Jaylon Johnson is a top corner, and the Bears have shown a propensity for finding talent at the interior DL positions. They need corners, but they’ll have off-season assets to acquire them.

While many malign the offensive line, the group is having a decent 2021, especially as a mauling/run-blocking unit. If Teven Jenkins solidifies the left tackle spot, the pass protection should be dramatically improved as well. If you believe Fields will only get better – and I do – the Bears need to concentrate their efforts on adding weapons, weapons, weapon on the outside. Again, the assets are there to do so.

(And for you schedule junkies, the Bears have two road games in the Meadowlands next season, against certainly still-bad Giants and Jets teams.)

But it will all come down to the coaching hire. Terrific quarterback play can cover for bad coaching (Aaron Rodgers won Mike McCarthy a Super Bowl) on the offensive side of the ball, but the Bears currently suffer from a lack of leadership. There is no commitment to the game day plan because there doesn’t seem to be anything resembling a game day plan. They don’t need to hire an offensive mind, or a defensive mind. There are plenty of coaches out there that can call plays. Find the guy who stands in the front of the room and inspires his players to perform at their best.

They find that guy, they win ten games in 2022.


Christmas Movie Quarterbacking Tiers

Every year, from Thanksgiving to Christmas, I gorge on Christmas movies, usually updating my viewing experiences on the Twitter feed. This year, I decided to tier the films, with a little note added when explanation was required, and with a little football flair. This is a solid guide to season for you and your family. In each category, the films are listed in no particular order.

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The Prospects (Thanksgiving)

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Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Home for the Holidays

Mouse on the Mayflower

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The Elite QBs 

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These are the top shelf Christmas movies, and I’ll be watching most of them at least twice over the next month.

Home Alone

Elf

The Muppet Christmas Carol

Scrooge (Albert Finney)

A Very Murray Christmas

Scrooged

Miracle on 34th Street (original)

The Ref

Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas

Love Actually

The Night Before

Bad Santa

The Year Without Santa Claus (1974)

The Santa Clause

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Klaus

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Bump: George McCaskey Should Fire Matt Nagy.

| November 22nd, 2021

UPDATE 11/21/21. There is no reason to recap Sunday’s train wreck loss to the undermanned Baltimore Ravens. This is over for Matt Nagy. Time to make it official. Waiting no longer makes sense.

This piece originally ran after the Tampa game.


Nate Tice, son of the the legendary Mike Tice and one of the better young NFL analysts got me through Monday with a Twitter thread.

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Not having any desire to sit through Sunday’s debacle again, it was nice to see Tice confirm what I had believed in real time: that Justin Fields had zero chance to succeed in Tampa. This was Cleveland redux and the entirety of the blame falls onto the shoulders of the head coach. The game plan made no sense. The offense, now in fourth season, makes no sense. And we are now at that moment in the development of this young quarterback where the most important question has been answered. Matt Nagy is not now, and will never be, the right man to maximize the ability of Fields.

A source close to ownership texted me Monday morning that Halas Hall was “fed up” with the head coach. They should be. But being fed up is not enough. George McCaskey should fire Matt Nagy. Today, next week, on the bye, whenever. But Nagy shouldn’t make it to the end of the season. If only for the symbolism alone, a message to the fans that this simply isn’t good enough.

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What the Next Six Days Will Tell Us About the 2021 Chicago Bears Moving Forward

| November 19th, 2021


There are three possible outcomes for the Chicago Bears over the next six days. (I’m ruling out ties, which I may come to regret by the end of next week.) Each outcome brings with it a very specific emotional trajectory for the remainder of the 2021 season.

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Outcome #1 – The Sweep

Emotional Outcome: JUICE!

If the Bears win their next two games, they move to 5-6 and put a significant amount of juice into the remainder of the regular season. The six seed in the NFC is a 5-4, quarterback-less Saints team. The seven seed just made Cam Newton their starter.

The juice would start at Soldier Field, on December 5th, against the Arizona Cardinals. Justin vs. Kyler. A fired up building on the lakefront. Christmas only 20 days away!

It is highly unlikely Matt Nagy can still earn his way back onto the sideline for 2022, but the only way that conversation can start is by winning these next two, while Justin Fields progresses.

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Outcome #2 – The Shutout

Emotional Outcome: MAKE IT STOP.

The McCaskey family is opposed to firing coaches in-season, with Marc Trestman pushing them as close to the line as they’d ever come. That year, what prevented them from making the move was their desire to clean house – removing Trestman and GM Phil Emery – and they thought it best to make both moves once the season ended.

But if the Bears fall to 3-8, including a loss on Thanksgiving to an awful and untalented Lions team, the outcry may be too great to ignore. Nagy will have lost the fans, and the locker room. With a new, two-week, regular season interview period open for head coaches, ownership may see no reason to leave Nagy in the job for a meaningless month.

And that’s all the remainder of the schedule would be: meaningless. The results would not matter, not even artificially. All that would matter is a few highlights from Fields and the development of young talent like Darnell Mooney, Cole Kmet, Larry Borom and – hopefully – Teven Jenkins. December and early January become de facto preseason games.

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Outcome #3 – The Split

Emotional Outcome: EH.

Isn’t this what every fan expects? Be relevant, or be terrible. The problem with the Bears under Nagy – since the end of the 2018 season – is they’ve been neither.

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