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Bears Breakdown After Week 3: Defense Good, Offense Bad, Fans Conflicted

| September 26th, 2018

In many ways it’s a great time to be a Bears fan, but a lot of us aren’t feeling entirely joyful. Through three games I find myself filled with a mix of optimism and frustration. I’m also annoyed by my own frustration because last year I would’ve killed for the Bears to be where they are now.

So what’s my problem?

Chicago is 2-1 and in first place in the NFC North. That’s great! They have an elite, lights out, game-changing, championship-winning caliber defense. That’s great, too!

They also have an offense that is struggling, and no one is struggling more than the future of the franchise, Mitch Trubisky. Or as Adam Hoge said on the latest Hoge & Jahns podcast while recapping Sunday’s game, “the defense looked like it could win a Super Bowl, the offense looked like it didn’t belong in the NFL.”

That’s… not so great.

Shortly after the Bears 16-14 win I got on Twitter and posted five initial thoughts about the game and where the team is at this point in the season:

  • Without this defense they are 0-3.
  • Trubisky had a bad game.
  • So did Matt Nagy.
  • A win is still a win.
  • I’m gonna ignore points 1-3 for now and celebrate the fact that the Bears are 2-1 and leading the NFC North for the first time in years!

Three days later, and I feel the same way. The Bears are in a good position, regardless of how the offense has struggled, and I still believe that Trubisky will get better as the season progresses. And yet, the frustration lingers for two main reasons:

  • I expected Trubisky to be better at this stage
  • I had no idea the defense would be *this* good

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ATM: The Bears Don’t Suck

| September 25th, 2018

It’s dangerous to make any grand proclamations three weeks into a season. But the Bears win over the Cardinals was a great indicator that, at the very least, they don’t suck.

Whether they’re actually good or not is still to be decided. While it was widely regarded as a game the Bears should win, winning in the NFL is difficult, especially for a young team flying nearly across the country on a short week. Travel difficulties are very real in the NFL. We see even the best teams struggle with them. This was a schedule test, one the Bears passed.

The offense is horrendous.

There’s no arguing that.

But the defense is incredible.

Khalil Mack isn’t just great, he’s a generational talent. The other big addition, Roquan Smith, flies around and finishes with a boom. They’re fast, they’re physical and, for the first time since Lovie left town, they attack the ball.

Obviously, for the Bears to graduate from a team that merely doesn’t suck to one that is actually good, the offense needs to be better. They do deserve credit for three scoring drives in the second half. And, really, they should’ve had two in the first half, but Cody Parkey missed what should’ve been an easy field goal.

Still, good teams score touchdowns and that’s the next goal for the Bears.

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It Don’t Have To Be Pretty: Bears in First Place After Three Weeks (Rapid Fire)

| September 24th, 2018

The Bears have played three games. So have the Packers, Vikings and Lions. After those three games, the Bears have the best record in the NFC North.

  • Style points don’t matter. The first two months of the season are about accruing wins and positioning yourself for a potential postseason run. The Bears won a football game on a road. This fan base isn’t allowed to use the word “but”. A win is a win is a win.
  • Several times during this game I turned to my buddy Maciej and said, “Why do we have Khalil Mack?” It’s all I can think about during these games. He is a force. The Cardinals were using 2-3 players on him per play and he still ended up with two sacks and a crucial forced fumble. Without Mack, the Bears are 0-3 right now.
  • Sherrick McManis. Bryce Callahan. Bilal Nichols. The Bears aren’t just good on defense. They’re deep.
  • Matt Nagy was lost Sunday. There’s no other way to say it. As a play caller, he had zero feel for the flow of the game and Wilks/Holcomb had the better of him all day long. The Bears have been incoherent on offense through three weeks. There is no discernible system/strategy. The play calls feel random.
  • Trubisky has to be better. It’s hard to evaluate his play without access to the game tape but he seems indecisive and uncomfortable. That’s a lethal combination.
  • Why do all the team’s deep shots have zero chance? Are these being called? Does Trubisky have the option not to throw them? Very difficult to analyze without that information.
  • And stop telling me the Bears are running the Chiefs offense. I watched Chiefs/49ers yesterday. The Chiefs have wide open receivers all over the field. Patrick Mahomes rarely throws a ball into congestion. The Bears never seem to have anyone open. And they never complete a pass to a receiver moving up the field. The receiver’s back is always to the defense, limiting any YAC possibility.
  • Enough with the bubble screens! Seriously! Enough! This isn’t the Pac-12. Those plays might work against Kevin Sumlin’s Arizona but they’re not working against a professional defense.

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Week Three: Bears at Cardinals Game Preview

| September 20th, 2018

Weird part of this Denny Green video is he wasn’t wrong. The Cardinals absolutely dominated the Bears in this game, offensively and defensively. It took some of the flukiest developments ever for this result to happen. How fluky? The game actually has its own Wikipedia page.


Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears this Week?

I always like the Chicago Bears.

To paraphrase the great Lou Brown from Major League, the Bears won Monday night. If they win this Sunday that’s called a winning streak. And they’re the heaviest favorite they have been on the road since probably the mid-2000s. I just don’t see any way this group loses this game.


Game Haiku

Hitting Sam Bradford

Will lead to the dink and dunk

And Glendale glory!


Why the Bears Will Win?

  • Run Game. Arizona is allowing over 136 yards a game on the ground and Matt Nagy acknowledged this week the Bears need to give the ball to their workhorse back more. (Yes, I’m going to make this a primary bullet point every single week because I truly believe this coaching staff will wake up and realize Jordan Howard is their best offensive player AT SOME POINT. Oh, and once the power game starts working you’ll see a different, more comfortable Mitch Trubisky.)
  • Arizona is averaging 114 yards passing through two games. Yes, that’s an actual statistic. 114. That’s 26 yards less than Buffalo and the Bills started Nate Peterman – the worst statistical QB in the history of the league – for one of their two games. The Arizona QB rating through two games? 55.6. Touchdowns? Zero. This is one awful passing attack.
  • Third-Down Conversions. The Bears are tenth in the league, converting more than 40% of their third-down opportunities. (They’ve already significantly improved on this stat from a year ago.) Arizona is dead last in that stat, somehow managing to only convert 20%. Arizona is also mind-bogglingly allowing opponents to convert their third downs half the time, exactly 50%. The Bears should have little problem staying on the field on offense / getting off the field on defense.
  • Road Game? Is there any doubt there will be more Bears fans than Cardinals fans in University of Phoenix Stadium? Hell, they just opened a Lou Malnati’s in Scottsdale! This could become a demoralizing affair for the home side.

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Non-Glennon Reflections on the Second Preseason Game

| August 21st, 2017

There will be little mention of Mike Glennon and Mitch Trubisky in this post beyond this: everybody is now seeing what I’ve been telling them to see for six months. Mike Glennon isn’t any good. It doesn’t require stats. It doesn’t require nuance. It doesn’t require Bill Belichick’s football acumen. If you open your eyes and watch him play quarterback you become deftly aware of his limitations. They are many. He’s just not any good.

On the rest of the game…

  • Tarik Cohen is brilliant and it’s very clear the Bears are going to be using him in a larger role than just third-down back / kick returner. I’d still be concerned about someone his size taking too much contact over a sixteen game schedule but ten carries a game is now in play.
  • Who gets cut first: Roberto Aguayo or Daniel Braverman? Both are exceedingly useless.
  • Listen, preseason lovers. If these games are as important as you tell me then Roy Robertson-Harris is going to make the final 53. No player was more impressive in Arizona.
  • Why is everybody so concerned about Kevin White’s preseason performance? (1) He’s playing with Mike Glennon. He has no shot to be successful. (2) Bears don’t care what he does in these August games. They need him healthy in September.
  • Bears are going to be cutting a decent tight end. Both Brown and Braunecker are not bad players but how are they cracking through Sims/Miller/Shaheen?
  • Bears seem unclear about their kick returner. Cunningham was on kickoffs, Deonte Thompson scored off a missed field goal, Tarik Cohen and Eddie Jackson have both seen action on punt returns. Not sure what it all means.

That’s it.

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Bears Decision To Bury Trubisky Last Night is Inane, Irresponsible & Indefensible

| August 20th, 2017

There was no giddy-up in this 2017 Chicago Bears season. There was no reason to believe this year’s model would be a significant improvement over 2016’s clanky, too-often-in-the-shop lemon. Then, in the first preseason game, a normally useless affair, the sun rose over a dark night sky. The narrative changed in an instant. There it was. There was the future. And that future was – dare we believe what are our eyes doth see – bright.

Last night the organization that drafted Mitch Trubisky went out of their way to shield their fans from that big, beautiful sun. Darkness returned. Mitch Trubisky didn’t get time with the first-string offense. Mitch Trubisky didn’t get time with the second-string offense. Mitch Trubisky was buried on the depth chart – behind two quarterbacks he’s infinitely better than – in a decision that was equal parts inane, irresponsible and indefensible.

INANE

Dear Ryan Pace,

Mike Glennon.

How much more do you need to see?

He hasn’t been any good in the games he’s played in the NFL. He hasn’t been any good in camp practices for the Bears. He hasn’t been any good in the two preseason games he’s started. When do you expect he’s going to suddenly become good? Is it going to happen between now and the start of the season? That’s not much time, Ry.

You had to see what we all saw last night. A running game getting bulk yardage and an offensive line dominating the line of scrimmage. Only one thing was missing. A capable quarterback. And you made the boldest move of the NFL Draft to acquire one! What the hell are you waiting for?

I know, I know you gave Glennon a boatload of cash. That was silly. But you’re in the clear on that now. Trubisky has given you a mulligan. There won’t be a single newspaper column criticizing you for making this move. You know why? Because nobody wants to see Glennon play a single snap for this franchise.

Trust your eyes. Glennon is awful. Make the move.

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Second Preseason Game Day Thread

| August 19th, 2017

Three thoughts for tonight:

  • Jordan Howard isn’t playing. And Jordan Howard shouldn’t be touched by another defender until that defender is wearing the uniform of the Atlanta Falcons. Running backs only have so much wear and tear in their bodies. Howard’s style – tough, bruising, absorbing contact – will have less than most.
  • In the absence of Howard, will the Bears start Tarik Cohen? He was first off the bench a week ago. I think they’re making a mistake if they try to use this kid as an every down back. Kick returner. Third down, scat back. 3-5 carries as a change of pace.
  • This is truly a rough spot for Mike Glennon tonight. He will be under an immense amount of pressure and facing one of the feistiest secondaries in the sport. It just seems the stars are aligning for Mitch Trubisky to take this gig. (And in case I haven’t made it clear, that’s in the best interest of the Bears organization moving forward.)

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Can Jay Cutler Become The Next Carson Palmer?

| June 8th, 2016

BearsADVMain

It’s the time of the season when major media outlets waste time and space by ranking players. And Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer is regularly ranked amongst the best quarterbacks in the NFL, despite not even being on the radar two years ago.

Which begs the question: Can Jay Cutler do the same?

The question isn’t can Cutler be as good as Palmer. I’d argue he currently is and always has been the betteir player. Even after Palmer’s last two monster seasons, they’re comparable statistically. The consensus amongst mainstream media members, however, appears to be that at 36 years old with a number of major knee surgeries and a brief retirement, Palmer is somehow better than he used to be.

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Welcome to 2004: Rapid Fire Reaction to a Week 2 Disaster for the Chicago Bears

| September 21st, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 6.24.01 AM

We wanted to see improvement. We wanted to have hope. No improvement. Hope gone. Season over? Reactions…

  • Up until the interception, Jay Cutler may have been playing his best game as a Chicago Bear. He had remarkable awareness in the pocket, made smart decisions and didn’t throw a single inaccurate pass. He also seemed to thrive with the read option concepts Adam Gase installed. Then a poor throw is compounded with the ridiculous decision to try and make a tackle. Now he’s got a “hamstring” injury. Those who hate Jay Cutler can hate him all day long but they should recognize this team this will be non-competitive without him.
  • But wasn’t this Jay Cutler’s Bears career in a nutshell: flashes of brilliance, terribly pick-six, injury.
  • Jimmy Clausen’s performance reminded me an awful lot of Shane Matthews in the 2001 playoffs. Jim Miller throws a pick. Gets injured trying to make a tackle. Matthews forgets how to play football.
  • Clausen’s appearance also brought out the worst in Adam Gase. His play-calling once the backup entered the game fell off a cliff. Abandoning the run, stretch runs when only inches are needed…etc. John Fox has to step in during these sequences.
  • Bears may have nothing in David Fales. They KNOW they have nothing in Clausen. Start Fales if Cutler can’t go.
  • Kyle Fuller. Not good.

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