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Will Adam Shaheen Have a Role in the Matt Nagy Offense?

| May 9th, 2018

John Fox’s coaching staff was bashed for not getting the ball to rookie tight end Adam Shaheen enough, but that doesn’t figure on changing much under Matt Nagy. Shaheen played just over 24% of the snaps last year. That number should increase in 2018, provided he can beat out Dion Sims as the starting in-line tight end. But if the moves this team has recently made turn out the way they think, it’s hard to see Shaheen catching a lot of passes in 2018.

Trey Burton & Friends

He’s not much of a blocker, but the Bears signed Burton to be their top tight end. The Bears made him one of the highest-paid tight ends in the league. That’s not happening if they don’t expect him to play nearly every snap. 

Burton’s signing alone didn’t indicate a smaller role for Shaheen. The club also invested heavily at receiver by paying Allen Robinson star money, Taylor Gabriel starter money and trading a 2019 second rounder to draft Anthony Miller with the 51st pick. Not only did the Bears spend a high pick on Miller, but they reportedly tried to move back up into the end of the first round to draft Calvin Ridley.

Their aggressiveness at the position is a strong indication that they’re going to have three receivers on the field quite a bit. Not a surprise. In his time in Kansas City, Matt Nagy’s offenses rarely utilized the second tight end. Over the past five years, KC’s second tight end averaged just 5.6% of the team’s targets — 29 per season. This is about the same as the fourth wide receiver. The third receivers came in at 9.2%.

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Data Entry: Building a WR Profile for Chicago’s New Offense

| February 20th, 2018

The Combine approaches in a few weeks in Indianapolis, and with it an obsession over everything that can be measured. Height. Weight. Hand size. Three-cone. Jumping ability. Speed. Everybody will soon be discussing 40 times like they make the difference between a good and bad football player.

Before we get a bunch of data from the Combine, let’s take a look at which measurables might matter, specifically at wide receiver.

New head coach Matt Nagy comes from the Andy Reid offense in Kansas City, so I took a look at the Combine stats of WRs the Chiefs invested in  -either in the draft or free agency  -since Reid came to Kansas City in 2012. Basically, I wanted to find a physical profile for well-performing wide receivers in that offense that the Bears might look to follow this year. This can help us identify what wide receivers at the Combine might make sense as targets for the Bears in the draft.


Building the Profile

There were 8 Chiefs WRs identified that were drafted by them, signed to a substantial deal in free agency or earned a meaningful role with the team as an undrafted free agent since Reid took over in 2012. These players were Tyreek Hill, Jeremy Maclin, Albert Wilson, Chris Conley, Jehu Chesson, Demarcus Robinson, Da’Ron Brown, and De’Anthony Thomas. I used Mock Draftable to look up their Combine data (or found data from their pro day when the Combine was not available) in every category I could find, and compared it to the average WR mark in each of these categories that Mock Draftable has compiled. Full data can be seen here.

Many of the measurables didn’t show any clear pattern, but I identified three where players consistently scored well: 40-yard dash, vertical jump, and broad jump.

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Audibles From the Long Snapper: Ten Thoughts From Around the League

| October 21st, 2015

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THOUGHTS FROM AROUND THE LEAGUE

(1) Eli Manning was the best and worst player in the league on the FIRST TWO DRIVES of the Monday Night Football game. There’s never been a player like him in the league.

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(2) After the first week of the season it became in vogue to question whether Tampa Bay made a mistake selecting Jameis Winston over Marcus Mariota. In the four games since Winston has been undoubtedly the better player and Mariota has shown two features that worried many scouts: inability to absorb contact and lack of ball security. Interestingly enough, nobody has revisited this question in the national media. If Winston wants to know how he’ll be covered an an NFL quarterback, he should just call Cam Newton.

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(3) Is Cincinnati the best team in football right now? New England and Green Bay are not good defensively. Carolina and Denver are not good offensively. Cincy does everything well. They’ll still lose in the playoffs but they may be losing that game in the division round instead of wild card weekend.

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(4) You know what the worst development of the NFL season has been? The games stink.

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(5) I don’t care what the stats say. Brandon Marshall has been the best wide receiver in football this year. He’s transformed the New York Jets offense.

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A New Cutler Emerges: Rapid Fire Reaction to the Suddenly Exciting 2-3 Chicago Bears

| October 12th, 2015

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Where do we start? Oh yeah, the quarterback.

  • There can’t be more outlets – mainstream media or internet – who’ve been more strident in their belief that Jay Cutler can be a winning quarterback than right here. The last two weeks he’s shown why. If the Bears are in the game, if their defense does not allow 300 points, if Cutler is put in a position to win…he can go out and beat any team in the league.
  • Cutler’s touchdown pass to Marquess Wilson was the prettiest throw I’ve ever seen from a Bears quarterback.
  • Cutler dropping the snap, picking it up and finding Forte with defenders at his feet TO WIN THE GAME was no less impressive.
  • Jay still makes mechanical mistakes on a lot of throws, especially when there’s pressure coming from his blind side. Just needs to step into his throws and deliver the ball.
  • Matt Forte might just deserve a two-year extension. I don’t care how old he is. He’s playing like a 25 year-old.

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FrontRowTickets.com Game Preview: Bears Attempt to Get a Season Going in Kansas City

| October 9th, 2015

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BLOCK EM AND BEAT EM!

If the Chiefs, with nine sacks on the season, don’t get to the opposing quarterback, it’s over. That might be true for many teams but it’s particularly true for a team with Justin Houston, Tamba Hali and Allen Bailey. Houston has three sacks and per Gil Brandt leads the league in total pressures with 19. He’s a magnificent player. What are the solutions? Well Hue Jackson, Andy Dalton and Bengals provided them…

  • Quick passing game that’s been effective under Cutler through two and a half games. (See the single play breakdown below) The Chiefs secondary is awful so Cutler has to get the ball into the hands of his receivers and give them a chance to make plays.
  • Read option looks. Dalton is not a running quarterback but the Bengals showed enough read option, specifically to Houston’s side, to keep the rush on its heels. Can Cutler’s hamstring be healed enough to even hint at the possibility of a run threat?
  • Power run game up the middle. This should be a week where the Bears pound Forte up the gut and allow Kyle Long to release off the line of scrimmage after Houston. Houston is an excellent pass rusher but he’s a bit lost in run support. Long should be able to muscle him off the line.

THE GAME POEM

On the head of an arrow

lay a drop of blood

Darker than red

thicker than mud

To feel it

is to remember life

The sharpened blade

of this tribal knife

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Around the League Tweets – March 13th 2013!

| March 13th, 2014

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Around the League Tweets, Free Agency Ya Next Tuesday! 1 of 10. Aren’t the Oakland Raiders lucky the Cleveland Browns exist?

2 of 10. Can’t imagine Darren Sproles would have chosen Philly as an FA. Doubtful he wanted a team with a more dynamic, faster back.

3 of 10. One of my biggest surprises: Andy Reid letting Dexter McCluster leave KC w/out a fight. Struck me as pivotal weapon for Chiefs.

4 of 10. Harbaugh acquiring Blaine Gabbert & Jonathan Martin is him sending message: I can get to NFC title game w/the worst players in NFL.

5 of 10. There’s only player outside a Chicago Bears uniform I pull for to win Super Bowl: Steve Smith. Pound for pound best player in NFL.

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