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Audibles From the Long Snapper: Training Camp Begins Edition

| July 26th, 2019

It’s starting to get real.


Finley: Focus on Running Backs

The Sun-Times scribe wrote an excellent “five questions” preview for Bears camp. It was so good I scrapped the idea of writing of my own. (I shouldn’t have been alone.) Finley takes on the big, obvious questions (Trubisky improvement, health, kicker…etc.) but it was his focus on the backfield that caught my attention. I urge you to go and read the entire piece HERE.

4. How much did they upgrade at RB?

In his three NFL seasons, Jordan Howard posted more rushing yards than all but two players: Ezekiel Elliott and Todd Gurley. Still, he wasn’t a fit in Nagy’s offense.

The Bears got little back when they dealt him to the Eagles in March: a sixth-round 2020 pick that could improve to a fifth-rounder. They believe their two new running backs — third-round pick David Montgomery and signee Mike Davis — can fare better than Howard.

The Bears will search for the right timeshare in the preseason. Tarik Cohen will continue to be the Bears’ dynamic, do-everything weapon. Nagy and Pace praised Davis’ offseason work, but the well-rounded Montgomery is the likely favorite to lead the team in rushes.

“It’s hard to always predict the number of carries in this offense by a running back,” Nagy said. “Who knows? Maybe one guy is hot and he gets 20 carries in this offense. It really hasn’t happened yet, but it can happen.”

My theory: Montgomery is going to be the horse running back in this offense by October.


Bannon: Halas Should Never Have Been

One of the most surprising developments in my Bears news consumption over the years has been how little time I spend with anything coming out of the Tribune. But this excellent piece from Tim Bannon deserves your attention. It’s just…amazing. Here’s the first few paragraphs of the article.

George Halas was late.

The 20-year-old had a summer job with Western Electric, and on Saturday, July 24, 1915, he planned to join his coworkers aboard the SS Eastland to cross Lake Michigan for the telephone company’s picnic in Michigan City, Ind.

But by the time Halas reached the Chicago River dock, the Eastland was overturned.

Roughly 2,500 employees and their families had boarded the ship, and at 7:25 a.m. it began listing and swaying from side to side.

A large crowd of horrified spectators watched as the Eastland — a few feet from the bank of the Chicago River between LaSalle Drive and Clark Street — turned on its side. It was in 20 feet of water, deep enough to drown 844 people trapped or trampled below decks.

It is the deadliest day ever in Chicago and the greatest peacetime inland waterways disaster in American history.


Fishbain Tweets


Eddy Pineiro Highlights (I’m Trying…)


LINKS!

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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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Audibles: Defensive Continuity, Campbell & the Trib, Gabriel Wants to Rollerblade…More!

| March 19th, 2018

We are calmly navigating Ryan Pace’s most important off-season. And while it’s impossible to know if any of these decisions are any good until September, it sure feels like he’s making the right calls.


Bears Defense Taking Final Step?

A few stats from 2017 regarding the Bears defense:

  • 10th in yardage
  • 9th in points
  • 7th against the pass
  • 11th against the run
  • Troy Aikman’s ranked them 10th in the league in his Efficiency Rating – a stat I tend to find accurate.

It would be hard to argue Vic Fangio’s unit was not one of the league’s ten best defenses last season. And now they are (a) returning all relevant members of their starting lineup, (b) returning the entire defensive coaching staff, with the exception of John Fox and (c) building an offense to relinquish pressure on this unit.

If the Bears find a way to get consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks, they should be among the league’s best defenses. If the Bears develop a top pass rush, they could be the league’s best unit.


On the Trib’s Bears Coverage…

A few nights ago a fan on Twitter decided to ask Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune to be more like Adam Jahns and Adam Hoge. Well, asking one beat writer to be more like another beat writer is never going to be met with a wink and a smile.

Campbell works hard. I saw him slaving over his computer at the Billy Goat during the Tribune Sports Christmas party as Pro Bowl announcements were being made. And nobody with a brain cares about Pro Bowl announcements.

He also seems to be a genuinely good guy. We had a few on-line conversations when he first joined the beat, mostly about soccer, but those quickly evaporated for reasons I’ll never understand. (I assume David “Blue Moon” Haugh played a major role.) But if Campbell’s got any blood in his body, he’s competitive. He doesn’t want to be told he’s not as good as the primary competition at the Sun-Times.

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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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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: Around the League, Three Bears Thoughts, Boomer on Catches, Cutler Update!

| November 16th, 2015

AUDIBLESNEW

Around the League We Go!

  • Through nine games, Jeremy Langford has only 100 yards less from scrimmage than Melvin Gordon.
  • Someone in the Browns organization needs to walk down to the head coach’s office and tell him playing Josh McCown is no longer an option. I’ve never believed Johnny Manziel’s ability would translate to the pro game but losing down the stretch with McCown does the team zero good. (Manziel was quietly good in that Steelers game yesterday and Manziel isn’t quietly anything.)
  • Tom Brady is full of magic. That’s the only way I can explain it.
  • Giants should be 8-1. They’ve only played one poor game all season. I wouldn’t want to be walking into the Meadowlands in January once this group puts it together. (They are also +12 in turnovers this season. They are secretly good.)
  • The NFL got what they wanted by changing the extra point rule. They made kickers way too relevant on Sundays. (And they’ve delayed at least 7-10 of my piss breaks.)

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Audibles From the Long Snapper: Shea Needed, Random Thoughts & Halloween!

| October 27th, 2015

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SHEA AND ANTREL MISSED

Yes, Shea McClellin is still learning a new position in the middle of a complicated defense. And yes, Antrel Rolle is on the flipside of his football playing coin. But both are pivotal when it comes to essential elements of playing defense in the NFL. Per Friend of the Blog Adam Jahns:

“Shea McClellin, obviously, getting him back in there at some point, as well as Antrel, from a leadership standpoint, getting guys lined up and understanding how to execute our defense is key,” Fox said. “We’ve got some guys that we’re leaning on right now that will just get better with time until those guys can get back in the lineup.”

If McClellin returns and the defense improves, expect him in the lineup beyond January 3, 2015.

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Audibles From the Long Snapper: Opening Achievement, Embarrassing Sun-Times, Bench Ducasse & More!

| September 15th, 2015

audibles

Welcome to our first in-season Audibles of 2015!

ACHIEVEMENT OF OPENING DAY

From last week’s game preview:

The 2015 Chicago Bears have to earn back the excitement of people like me. They have to display on the field they are worthy of the passion many have displayed in good times and bad over their lifetimes. They can do that this week, against the Packers, at Soldier Field? How?

Be in the game. With five minutes left, be in it. That’s all I ask. If the Bears achieve that, a week from now I’m in.

They were spirited. They were professional. They were well-coached. Did they make mistakes? Of course. They don’t have a great roster. Were they outplayed? Of course. The Packers are a better team. But they showed signs they will be competitive each and every week, a massive departure from a year ago. Excitement returneth.

The Sun-Times Should Be Embarrassed

For those of you following DBB on Twitter, you would have noticed an attack launched at @suntimes_sports Monday. Why? Because they insist on serving fans, beside the wonderful work of people like Adam Jahns, crowd-sourced, social media horseshit like the “article” titled “Bears fans already want Jay Cutler benched after Packers loss.” It included these two gems:

@ChicagoBears @SoldierField bench jay cutler he throws too many interceptions

— Ryan (@SavnRyansPrvate) September 13, 2015

I don’t know why Soldier Field, which to the best of my knowledge is an inanimate structure on the lakefront, needs a Twitter feed or why this individual thought it necessary to share his thoughts with a building.

Romo…that was pretty clutch! If you lose interest in Dallas come to Chicago @tonyromo#BenchCutler

— Braden Fogal (@BradenFogal) September 14, 2015

“If you lose interest”? Who wrote this, a 5 year old? It’s one thing for the Sun-Times to post this idiocy but do they also have to be lazy about it? Couldn’t you find a fan or two with a coherent, adult thought?

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Audibles From the Long Snapper: Emery Interview Tactics, Mills to Guard, Stats!

| November 5th, 2014

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PHIL EMERY DID WHAT?

Bruce Arians is a cool guy, a terrific hat wearer and his personality would have been a perfect match for the city of Chicago. (Look at how “beer and a shot Maddon” was universally beloved by Chicago media Monday.) To assume, however, that his not being hired by Phil Emery was some kind of administrative debacle is second-guessing of the worst kind. Yes, Arians won Coach of the Year. But he won that award less because of his work and more because his head coach that season was sidelined due to intense cancer treatments and he was put in charge of Andrew Luck. You know who else is going to win a lot of games as a head coach of Andrew Luck? Every single head coach with the luxury of having Andrew Luck as his quarterback.

Bruce Arians would not be any guarantee to make Cutler and this offense better. And his defensive coordinator of choice, Todd Bowles, would be no more successful with this absence of defensive talent.

Less his final decision, Emery’s approach to hiring the head coach has come under scrutiny recently and seems to have been something of a masterclass in weirdness. Think that’s too harsh? Let’s look at the two major elements revealed in various reports:

  • Arians was asked to do a mock press conference less than a month removed from doing multiple press conferences almost every single week of the 2012 season. I can understand a general manager wanting to evaluate the media savvy of a potential big market head coach but it wouldn’t take longer than nineteen seconds with Arians to understand he’d be just fine.
  • Arians is quoted as stating it was “awkward” being told he’d need to keep certain assistant coaches (including Rod Marinelli, who didn’t stay) and said in no uncertain terms it was not going to happen. Why would Emery insist on a head coach keeping a defensive coordinator who had yet to commit to the organization for the following season? Maybe before telling Bruce that Rod would be his defensive coordinator he should have asked Rod? The whole thing is, just, weird.

Also, was Marc Trestman so desperate to be an NFL head coach he would have accepted any terms? Does a man so desperate for his shot have it in his system to take over the leadership of a locker room?

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Audibles From the Long Snapper: Woodson, Jersey Sales, Tucker & Trestman Quotes

| September 30th, 2014

Player Trades In-Season Are Rare But…

The Oakland Raiders are dreadful while Charles Woodson is playing every snap at an apparently high level. From an ESPN mailbag:

Woodson, who turns 38 next month, has been one of the Raiders’ best and most reliable defensive players. He has played every defensive snap. That is remarkable for a player of his age. When the Raiders brought him back in 2013, they were just hoping for some leadership and situational help on the field. But Woodson is giving him so much more. He is ending a Hall of Fame career on a high note. It’s really cool to witness.

Does he really want to wrap his career on a 2-14 Raiders team? If you’re Phil Emery, and you know what you’re fielding at safety, why not make an offer? Woodson would not only be the Bears best safety by a wide margin but also has a brilliant knowledge of the divisional opponents and leadership the secondary is now lacking with Peanut’s absence.

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