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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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DaBearsPod 1/26/18: “Mr. Breaking News” Adam Jahns For 40 Minutes! [AUDIO]

| January 26th, 2018

On this episode of DaBearsPod:

  • Adam Jahns goes “inside baseball” on breaking the Matt Nagy story, discusses the team’s approach to strength & conditioning in 2018, evaluates Kyle Fuller and Kevin White’s prospects for the coming season and much, much more…
  • Reverend Dave misses losing the big game.
  • Wee bit of music from The Fall!

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206 Comments

Audibles From the Long Snapper: Rare Friday Edition!

| December 29th, 2017

No podcast this week, as travel got in the way. We’ll have the 2017 season wrap-up pod in the next week or so if I can get Jahns to answer his cell.


Ted Phillips the Boogeyman!

Ever since Ian Rapoport reported Ted Phillips was “making phone calls” to gauge availability of head coaching candidates, Bears Twitter – including our own Andrew Dannehy – have been obsessed with Phillips’ role in the coaching search. Now Rap’s former bench mate, Albert Breer, had this dandy in his “Black Monday” column:

Chicago Bears: The writing has been on the wall here for a while. The expectation is that John Fox will be gone. What’s less certain is whether or not general manager Ryan Pace gets to pick the next coach, and whether or not the coaches pursued by the Bears dictate Pace’s fate.

(1) Ryan Pace is 100% picking the next head coach.

(2) The NFL sends each organization a list of prospective head coaches. Those coaches don’t always know they’re on that list. What teams do is call agents and ask if their clients are interested in becoming head coaches so that once the decision to fire the head coach is officially made, interviews can be lined up immediately. This is called due diligence. Teams also call agents of college coaches to gauge if they’re interested in coming to the NFL.

(3) Ownership, which Ted represents, can do this reconnaissance work while another coach is under contract. For a GM it is strictly verboten. The GM is a partner with the head coach, especially in an organizational structure where they both report to ownership.

(4) If this story was “George McCaskey is making calls” nobody would have cared. But McCaskey doesn’t make calls. That’s why he pays Ted Phillips and why Phillips is incredibly well-respected in the league.

(5) Do I think the Bears would want to know if Ron Rivera may become available? Of course. They want to know every good coach that is going to be available. But the apple of their eye is Stanford coach David Shaw.


Jahns on Shaheen

From AJ After Dark’s column in the Sun-Times:

But the Bears do feel good about Shaheen’s development. Loggains said he’s had a solid rookie season. Most of Shaheen’s 12 catches were either contested or diving grabs (two for touchdowns).

In time, the team believes that Shaheen will do more. The Bears still only have six packages for him.  All of his catches also have come when he is a prototypical in-line tight end.

“We know that he’s going to be a good, all-around tight end because of his size, speed, his athleticism,” Loggains said. “In the offseason, the biggest jump he is going to have to take is in the run game. But he came in and affected the game in his opportunities in the red area the way we thought he would.”

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DaBearsPod Christmas Episode 2017 [AUDIO]

| December 15th, 2017

On this week’s special Christmas episode:

  • Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer discusses her annual holiday drive and trying to help people see the government as a positive force in their lives.
  • Adam Jahns of the Sun-Times discusses the meaning of the final month of the season, John Fox’s future, Mitch Trubisky’s development and joins Jeff on a deep dive into Kevin McAllister’s insanity.
  • Bill Murray from Scrooged! and Christmas music from everywhere!

You can still donate to Commissioner Gainer’s cause by VISITING THE ORIGINAL POST.

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DaBearsPod Week 10 Featuring Adam Jahns of the Sun-Times [AUDIO]

| November 8th, 2017

On this week’s EARLY episode:

  • We skip the monologue and get straight to a State of the Union phone conversation with Adam Jahns of the Sun-Times. He discusses all things Bears but with a major focus on John Fox’s status with the organization moving forward.
  • Reverend Dave complains about the broadcast teams assigned to the Bears, from Africa.
  • Seinfeld clips are inexplicably mixed in!

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Audibles From the Long Snapper: Jahns, Hoge, Trubisky & Coats!

| October 24th, 2017

A Few Jahns Takeaways

AJ After Dark knocked out his 14 Takeaways Monday afternoon and the final three stood out to me:

12. I also only counted two play-action plays — one being Trubisky’s overturned touchdown run and the other resulting in a sack in the third quarter.

Bears have to throw on early downs. It doesn’t matter how they do it but they can’t keep running into run looks and expecting better results.

13. Running back Tarik Cohen was on the field for only seven offensive snaps. He dropped two passes to go with his 70-yard reception and a 10-yard catch that was negated by a penalty.

If Bears are not going to play Kendall Wright, Cohen has to become the centerpiece of the outside passing game. Treat him like a wide receiver if you must. But keep him on the field.

14. Despite the offensive struggles, there is a positive vibe around the Bears. Players know Trubisky will get better; defense can be special.

I do worry how much Mitch Trubisky will develop and improve if he’s not given a chance to take part the game outside of special occasions.


Gameday Tweet That Cracked Me Up


Trubisky “Embarrassed”?

Adam Hoge of WGN writes about Trubisky’s response to only throwing seven passes, even while the team registered a second straight win:

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Audibles From the Long Snapper: Biggs, Jahns & Moon on Mitch & More!

| October 17th, 2017

BIGGS ON TRUBISKY TOUCHDOWN

It was a terrific play by Trubisky but the rookie QB actually made it more difficult than it needed to be. I noticed this live and Brad Biggs made the sixth of his ten things:

6. Dion Sims’ 27-yard touchdown came on a nice play by Mitch Trubisky, who was getting hit as he delivered the ball and didn’t see the touchdown. Sims was uncovered off the line of scrimmage. The Ravens had some pre-snap confusion and that allowed Sims to release from the line and head downfield with no one on him. Strong safety Tony Jefferson was late arriving and it was a really good play for the Bears. It’s nice to see Sims making some plays downfield and after some dropped passes in previous weeks, he needs to step up with plays like that. Trubisky said he took a while to get to Sims because it wasn’t his first read. I’m interested to see this again on the All-22 tape, but live I thought Sims was open immediately and if that’s the case, the quarterback needs to sense that immediately. Especially in this case as the Bears were facing third-and-7 and the goal was to move the chains and avoid having to attempt a field goal.

It’s all about experience. But it doesn’t necessarily help the rookie’s development when he’s only dropping back to pass on obvious passing downs, twenty times a game.


Jahns on That Very Topic

In the new AJ After Dark piece in the Sun-Times, three things to note.

  • Adam emphasizes this offensive approach is coming from Fox, not Loggains. Independently, I have confirmed that. Because this is not the way Loggains wants to use Trubisky.
  • Jahns argues the Bears need to let the kid do more.
  • Quotes from Bears players re: Trubisky should get every fan excited. Here’s a passage from the piece:

Coach John Fox’s game plan — not offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains’ — became more apparent with every handoff.

Fox wanted Trubisky to manage his first start on the road. Trubisky, though, did one better — he managed to win it.

When the Bears finally needed Trubisky to be special, he was. On the move, he delivered an 18-yard completion to receiver Kendall Wright over the middle on a third-and-11 play from the Ravens’ 41-yard line in overtime.

Being on the road in overtime — Trubisky called it a “hostile environment” — didn’t overwhelm him. It was a big-time throw from Trubisky after his role was purposely kept small in regulation.

“At the end of the game, we were all dead tired,” guard Kyle Long said. “Mitch is the one picking us up, making sure we get the gusto to finish.”

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