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Thursday Links Package

| May 30th, 2019

It’s truly the only period of off-season for the NFL. Other than the rare injury at an OTA, nothing of relevance takes place until teams report to training camp. Here are some links for you to enjoy.

[Side Note: When searching for links, I was amazed at just how many blogs there are now and how shitty most of them are.]


  • “On an anger scale of one to 10, cornerback Prince Amukamara thinks he’s seen new defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano reach a three at most during the Bears’ offseason program.” Adam Jahns of The Athletic (still not used to this) on why the Bears defense doesn’t need continuity in the transition from Fangio to Pagano. It needs change. (Jahns will be back on a pod with me in the coming weeks.)
  • “I didn’t want to blow the opportunity,” the intensively private McCaskey told the Sun-Times last week in a rare sitdown interview commemorating the team’s upcoming 100th season. “I didn’t want them to think of me as some little old lady that’s just hanging around. And, ‘What’s she really doing here?’

    “I wanted to let them know how much I cared about the team, and all of them.”

    A little old lady?

    “Well,” she said, smiling, “I am.” That’s an excerpt from Patrick Finley’s excellent sit down with Virgina McCaskey on the newly-designed (and wonderful) Sun-Times website.

  • J.J. Stankevitz of NBC Sports on expectations for David Montgomery in year one: “There are some clips that you can go back and forth and watch and say man, (Montgomery) kind of reminds me of Kareem,” Iowa State offensive coordinator Tom Manning said. “And you go back to cuts from (Hunt) too and you’re like man, that’s kind of strange, it looks a little like David there in that sense. They’re different, but I do think there are some similarities.”

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Audibles From the Long Snapper: Packers/Bears, Pass Interference, Ted Phillips & More!

| March 28th, 2019


Packers at Bears to Open Season

My Thoughts:

  • I hate it. The opening Sunday of NFL football is my favorite day of the entire year and if the Bears are not playing in that early window it is ruined for me. (Hopefully the Bills are home that weekend so I can make something of the whole experience. I’ll just go up there and eat the world’s best wings and drink Blue Light.)
  • I hate it. Bears/Packers – and all important divisional games – should be scheduled for later in the season. None of these teams are playing their best football in September. I’ll continue fighting for the NFL to move all out of conference games to the first month of the calendar.
  • I hate it. Because it means the NFL is all-in on the 2019 Chicago Bears and that means the club will be all over primetime television next season.


Reviewing Pass Interference

The league had a pass interference problem, more than any other piece of officiating. Bad pass interference calls were destroying the flow of the viewing experience and in many cases deciding game outcomes. That issue reached its peak in the NFC title game on the other side, with a no-calling putting the Rams in the Super Bowl.

Will this rule change – allowing PI to be challenged – extend games? Who cares? I can handle football games being 5 minutes longer if the calls are right. (And the networks could cut down commercials with ease and nobody would notice.) Will this rule change open the floodgates to challenging all penalties? No. Challenging a hold or a shift or something menial will be as difficult to overturn as challenging a spot. And if they allowing roughing the passer to be challenged, they’d be smart.

Just check out how video replay is working in the Premiere League. They’re getting calls right. It’s wonky, yes. Nobody is quite sure how to deal with the change in flow. But they’re getting calls right. That’s all that matters.


Jahns with Ted Phillips

You should read all of Adam Jahns’ excellent conversation with Ted Phillips. But here’s a passage that shows why Ted is good at his job and has been instrumental in bringing these Bears back:

As Pace explained the positives — from Mack’s age to him playing a “need” position to his lack of baggage — Phillips said that trading for him started to make too much sense.

“I don’t need to have four committee meetings and let’s discuss it all,” Phillips said. “That’s why you have to have the right people in place.

“You have to be decisive. It wasn’t a long, drawn-out, lengthy discussion. Once I understood it all — because [Pace] never leaves a stone unturned, he’s very thorough — and when I hear it all, it’s, ‘Go get him.’ ”

And Pace did.

Jahns will be joining me for an extended conversation (podcast) in the coming week.

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Audibles From the Long Snapper: Massie Extends, McCaskey Speaks, Jahns Writes & Bear Movies!

| January 28th, 2019


Bobby Massie Inks Extension

Many folks around the Bears blogosphere (and beyond) like to DM me when players are negotiating (or thought-to-be negotiating) contracts. There are two reasons for this: (1) They know I have friends inside the building and (2) I’m rarely, if ever, going to publish the information myself before it becomes public. That is why I’m still able to acquire the information I do. But I’m usually happy to confirm stuff.

Here’s what I know about the Massie deal:

  • During the season, several people inside the the Bears commented to me that Massie was playing at an outstanding level. Offensive linemen are very difficult for the average fan (and folks like PFF) to evaluate because it’s all about assignment football. When the Bears sat down and did their post-season roster evaluation they determined Massie was going to be impossible to bring back should he hit the open market, especially with tackle-needy teams like Buffalo and the New York Jets having buckets of money to spend.
  • The money isn’t a big deal but it values Massie as one of the best right tackles in the sport. I have news for you. He was every bit that in 2018.
  • The organization’s attention has now moved to their other in-house free agents: Adrian Amos and Bryce Callahan.
    • Amos’ agents are pains in the ass and they passed on an extension last off-season, citing the PFF grades as reason the Bears were low-balling their client. Bears don’t view Amos as a top safety. And they won’t pay him like one.
    • Two things on Callahan: (1) He’s switched to Roquan Smith’s agents. (2) He’s got a chronic hip issue that he’s learned to manage over the last few years but that many inside the organization believe leads to his frequent injuries. The Bears want him back. The locker room loves him. But his health history and position make the deal tricky.

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DaBearsPod on the Bye with the Legendary Adam Jahns [AUDIO]

| October 5th, 2018

On this episode of DaBearsPod:

  • (1:24) Jeff joins Trent Condon on the radio in Des Moines to break down the first quarter. For a few of the questions, he had no answer, so…
  • (12:59) The great Adam Jahns from a hotel room in Ottawa! He weighs in on the mood at Halas Hall, the impact of Khalil Mack and the offensive futures of Jordan Howard , Kevin White, James Daniels…etc.
  • (32:17) Reverend Dave on God and the 2018 Chicago Bears. They have something in common.

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Audibles From the Long Snapper: Tru’s Team, Shaheen Excites, LongJahns & More!

| July 27th, 2018

Three Quick Player Thoughts

  • Adam Shaheen. He’s not getting a ton of attention from those circling the barren wasteland of Bourbonnais but I’m told by highly reliable folks Matt Nagy is as enamored with the potential of Shaheen as any other offensive player on the roster. The young TE had an almost-impossible transition from Nowheresville, Ohio to the NFL last season and it made harder by an offensive coaching staff uninterested in aiding that transition for a raw rookie. This staff sees big play potential from their big tight end. Immediately.
  • Mitch Trubisky. His early camp results? Up and down. Throwing too many picks but displaying all the explosiveness and ability that made him the second pick. It’ll be very interesting to see how much of this new offense Nagy rolls out in the preseason, especially with Green Bay in primetime to open the campaign. But the most important thing happening to Tru this summer is simply being allowed to BE the damn quarterback and make the important mistakes.
  • Kevin Toliver & Kylie Fitts. The Bears are a very strange roster right now, with a ton of potential up and down it. But these two players, both off to impressive starts, have the ability to elevate an already good to elite level if they make a significant impact in 2018.

It’s Cold. Put On Your LongJahns.

In Adam the Legend’s camp takeaways column, there was a passage that caught my eye:

From Allen Robinson to Marlon Brown at receiver and from Trey Burton to Colin Thompson at tight end, every skill player has gotten a chance to play with Trubisky or backup Chase Daniel. Running back Tarik Cohen has even caught passes from third-stringer Tyler Bray in camp.

At some point, the constant rotations will end. Robinson, Burton, Cohen and other starters will settle in for more advanced work with Trubisky.

But those rotations are part of the learning process for all players right now. Nagy wants it that way. Kevin White seemingly has benefitted from it. He has been targeted plenty throughout camp by Trubisky and Daniel.

“Right now, there’s zero game-planning going into this thing,” Nagy said. “It’s, ‘Everybody learn everything,’ and then what we do as evaluators and coaches is we see who does what well.

“There might be somebody that runs a route really well but can’t run another route to save his life, so we don’t do that. We put those guys in the right spots, and then we try to time it up with the quarterbacks.”

Hallelujah. Too often new coaches come to an organization with their pre-designed cargo pants and try to fit players into the pockets. They acquire a player who can do X, a player who can do Y, a player who can do Z. Matt Nagy and Mark Helfrich, along with Ryan Pace, went out this offseason and acquired a ton of offensive talent. Guys who can do a ton of different things. Now they’re allowing that talent to show them what works and what doesn’t. Rather ingenious if you ask me.

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Audibles: Enthusiasm Grows, Cutler Stars, Gabriel Catches & More!

| July 13th, 2018

Three Thoughts on the Bears

  • Mentioned it on KFAN in Minnesota earlier in the week but I can’t remember this much enthusiasm and excitement around the Bears heading into a season. This might be the most I’ve seen since 2005 – the Year of the Blog – and that season’s optimism seemed to dwindle with Rex Grossman’s summer injury. (I wrote and produced my first play that year so it took me a month to get sad.) The Bears don’t believe they’re going to be 8-8 this season. They believe they’ll be playing football in January.
  • Had drinks with an NFL GM Monday afternoon and he summed up the Bears off-season perfectly: “They did everything right. But right in the spring isn’t always right in the fall.”
  • This is more anecdotal than anything else but the player other fans and media covering other teams keep bringing up to me is Anthony Miller. There’s a real buzz about him in league circles. I’d still keep expectations low for any rookie wide receiver entering a new offense with this many pass-catching options but many others are not, including Miller himself.

Jay Cutler: Television Star

What makes me laugh is that many of us knew Cutler’s personality was incredible. It just wasn’t a Peyton-Manning-endless-quarterback-cliches-that-talking-heads-love personality. He has no patience for morons and apparently this program is chock full of them. (I will never watch a single episode of it on TV. Ten second clips are just fine.)

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Audibles: Heavy Sun-Times Edition!

| June 4th, 2018

Quick Three

  • For those people, myself included, who think this anthem protest stuff doesn’t matter…we’re wrong. I spent Memorial Day weekend down the Jersey Shore in a somewhat conservative area. I wore a Bears hat one day. It was enough to spark several conversations and the anthem protest decision by the NFL was all anyone wanted to discuss. This decision by Goodell and the ownership has managed to do the impossible: it’s infuriated folks on both sides. And NFL fans should be prepared for this issue to absolutely dominate the coverage come September because it will become a major political talking point in the lead-up to the midterms.
  • The last time I thought the Bears had a chance to make the postseason was 2014 – the most embarrassing season in the history of the franchise. Coming off an entertaining 8-8 in Marc Trestman’s first year it just felt like the team had enough on offense to sneak their way into a wildcard spot. (Unlike many others, I never believed they could compete for a title with that defense.) They completely flamed out. But there’s a good chance I’m going to pick the Bears to make the postseason again this season. There’s only two things that I can see keeping this club from double-digit victories: injuries and Mitch Trubisky struggling. Can’t predict the former. Don’t expect the latter.
  • Don’t sleep on Adam Shaheen. Folks I talk to around the Bears say the kid has looked dynamic in these early practice days and Nagy/Helfrich are using him in ways the Fox/Loggains regime never considered. Quote from a Bears source: “With Burton there, the Bears won’t ask Shaheen to do much more than get open and catch touchdowns. And he’s going to do both a bunch.”

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Thoughts on the Roquan Smith Selection From Around the League

| April 27th, 2018

Selecting Roquan Smith with the eighth pick of the first round was an absolute no-brainer for Ryan Pace. Taking my favorite player in the draft? Icing on the cake.

What did others have to say about the pick? It’s being universally praised. Two things I have heard from a source inside the Bears.

(1) The team was genuinely surprised Roquan became available. There was an assumption by Pace & Co. that Smith wasn’t going to make it by Indianapolis and the team had begun zeroing in on playmaking DB Minkah Fitzpatrick.

(2) Last three first round picks? Georgia. North Carolina. Georgia. The Bears lean heavily on their southeastern scouts and we should all take note.


From the illustrious Adam Jahns:

“I know Vic and his staff will maximize this player, and that’s what’s exciting about it,” Pace said after the first round concluded. “Vic’s been around a lot of good linebacker play, and this just adds to the great linebacker play the Bears have had as well.”

Pace called Fangio’s input “very important” on Smith.

“This is obviously one of Vic’s top players, [and] one of Matt’s top players, my top player,” Pace said. “We might have 10, 12, 15 grades on a guy, and it’s so comforting for me when I can look at that bandwidth of grades and they’re all right next to each other.

“That’s definitely how Roquan was, so it makes the pick really easy when we’re all unified like that.”

Smith fits Fangio’s mold for inside linebackers. At 6-1, 236 pounds, he’s built similarly to former 49ers star Patrick Willis (6-1, 240). And that’s just the start.

Smith’s instincts, range, speed and tenacity, and his take-charge demeanor off the field, also fuel comparisons to Willis, who was a tone-setting, five-time All-Pro in the middle of Fangio’s elite 49ers defenses. Pace said the Smith has “outstanding intangibles.”


From my two high-profile league sources:

  • A current league GM: “The perfect Bear middle linebacker.”
  • Former NFC personnel man, freelancing for an AFC team this off-season: “Told you several times over the last few weeks. This is my favorite defensive player in the draft. He’s a sure thing.” (He’s not lying. This individual’s praise is the primary reason Roquan became my favorite player in this draft.)

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Audibles: Jahns on Nagy Hiring, Tight End Stuff & Links!

| March 29th, 2018

Jahns on the Nagy Hiring

“AJ After Dark” wrote the best piece of Bears journalism since Wiederer’s piece on the Trubisky dinner in North Carolina. There were a dozen pieces of information in article worth noting but here is my favorite:

As the eight-seat jet descended, Phillips said it became the most frightening flight of his life. Pace said the plane was “thrashed.”

“At one point, I looked back, and Ted’s glasses flew off his head,” Pace said.

Said McCaskey: “What’s that Audie Murphy movie? ‘To Hell and Back’? ”

It was scary as hell.

“I was thinking to myself, ‘OK, if this thing goes down, it’s probably better that it’s on the descent because there is less fuel,’ ” Pace said.

“Ted was thinking, ‘Well, I can see the tree line, so this might be survivable.’

“George was thinking, ‘Oh, man, I should have laid out the full succession plan before we got on the flight.’ ”

They made it and were soon off to Foxborough, where Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was interviewed past midnight.

“As the plane is coming to a halt, Ted yells at me, ‘Ryan, this better be worth it!’ ” Pace said, laughing. “It was just insane.”

What do I find particularly interesting here?

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After an Exhausting 2017 Season, Some Thoughts on Football Media – Chicago & Beyond

| February 19th, 2018


(1) Everything I thought about David Haugh was confirmed when I watched him order a Blue Moon from Marco at The Billy Goat Tavern. Everything.


(2) Jason La Canfora continues to embarrass himself nationally. ESPN has Schefter and Mort. Fox has Glazer. NFL Network has RapSheet. And yet CBS, one of the league’s preeminent partners, continues to march this Human Misinformation Machine onto their New York City set every Sunday to be wrong. When JLC reported the Bears were bringing in Bill Polian last year, my source inside the Bears responded with this text: “Hahahaha.” JLC makes things up. There’s no other way to say it.


(3) For the first time in my twelve years writing DBB, I dabbled in the the “breaking news” game and I have to admit it was a shitload of fun. There is something genuinely thrilling about having information before everybody else, even when that information is as trivial as who the next offensive line coach of the Bears will be.

But sadly, “breaking news cache” seems to be all football fans care about anymore. A decent opinion doesn’t register. A good sentence or two? Fuck that! I’ve been doing the same crap on Twitter for years and I basically doubled my following because I knew Mark Helfrich would be the next offensive coordinator before Brad Biggs. And the sad part is I didn’t do anything for that information outside of have a friend. The sentences are the hard part!


(4) Is Adam Jahns my pal? Yes. But we became friendly (initially) out of mutual respect for each other’s work. Jahns tackles Bears issues with objectivity and intelligence and – most importantly – style. He can write! He is a pleasure to read! He’s the best the Bears beat has to offer day-to-day.


(5) Brad Biggs has lost his fastball. He was the best Bears beat writer for a decade, and his Monday Ten Things was the only must read of the week. Neither of those things is remotely true any more. One thing you should know: the organization hated that Phil Emery leaked so profusely to Biggs. They love that Pace does not. There are people in the building who actively root against Biggs getting stories.

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