I always like the Chicago Bears.
And this is a game, at least one on paper, the Bears are expected to win. Do I expect them to win? Stay tuned.
That’s the game.
The Bears should be able to move the football against the Bengals, especially at home. (They were able to comfortably move the ball for much of the game in Los Angeles, against a far superior unit.) But moving the football is only as valuable as the points generated and the Bears, especially with Dalton at quarterback, lack explosiveness in the red zone.
The Bengals have one of the more explosive collections of pass catchers in the game. Ja’Marr Chase is going to be a top receiver in the league sooner than later. Tee Higgins is built like a tight end but runs like a wideout. Tyler Boyd is the sort of crafty inside guy that will give the Bears fits all year. Sure, the Bears are three-point favorites but the Bengals seem like a matchup nightmare for this Bears secondary.
I was on a golf course when Reverend Dave called me. I didn’t answer. People don’t call me, so I figured, “This is either Justin Fields is now the starter or something bad.” A few moments later I got a text from another friend. “Gutted” was all it read, and this is not a person known for their emotional responses to anything. A few moments later a text thread began between my two oldest friends – two guys I have known since I’m four years old. The thread began with a clip montage of Norm Macdonald on Conan.
And I knew.
I don’t want to talk about why Norm was one of the funniest people to ever set foot on this earth, or what he meant to me. I feel like Norm, of all people, would fucking hate that. So I’ll just share some of my favorite Norm stuff.
Norm Macdonald Live.
The silliest, craziest talk show ever produced.
Norm at the ESPYs (1998)
Norm with Conan.
Norm MacDonald’s moth joke is maybe the funniest five minutes of television ever: https://t.co/tXXuzoq6FK
— Adam Steinbaugh (@adamsteinbaugh) September 14, 2021
Man what a legend Norm Macdonald was.
His legendary appearance on Conan where he roasts Courtney Thorne Smith for doing a movie with Carrot Top was legendary. pic.twitter.com/Gi2NP2gQky
— Danny Deraney (@DannyDeraney) September 14, 2021
What follows will be a stream of consciousness blog, written in real time as I watch the the Bears and Bengals practice against each, in pads, with referees and paying fans. There will be no editing after the fact and, honestly, very little done while I’m writing.
6:48 PM (All times presented in Eastern Standard)
One thing matters tonight: health. Here’s hoping every Bears starter that jogs onto the field, jogs off the field. The Bears starters could look terrific or look like total shit. Who cares? The season is still a full month away. Mitch Trubisky just met this entire receiving corps, with the exception of Kevin White. One would hope their chemistry would be drastically improved in September.
I drink. A lot. But I also take off chunks of time, famously the first two months of every year. I haven’t had a drink in a week and it’s very funny to watch how my sweet tooth develops as a result. (There is so much damn sugar in booze.) Today I saw M&M peanuts at the grocery store and it was like the most beautiful girl in the world offered me a handy in the candy aisle. (Good name for a song – “Handy in the Candy”) I couldn’t resist. As I write this, I’m eating them like popcorn.
I never knew Cincinnati was referred to “The Queen City”. Maybe in the second half I’ll google why. I’ve never been to Cincinnati. I can’t for the life of me think of a reason I would go to Cincinnati, unless Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park wanted to produce something of mine.
And the Bengals’ play-by-play guy just referred to the Bears as “the 0-1 Chicago Bears”. Do broadcasters really do that? They use win/loss record in the preseason to label the opponent?
KICKOFF! Taquan Mizzell is back to return. So I see the Bears are very concerned with tonight’s game.
Trubisky throws a bullet into the hands of Kevin White and he drops it. On the play, Trubisky got “roughed”. That’s what you want, your starting QB and the future of the franchise taking cheap shots from the league’s dirtiest team. In a practice game.
Trubisky just took off on third down and I literally screamed “NO!”
People seem to think I want them to hate the preseason too. I literally don’t care what anybody does for enjoyment, as long as its within the boundaries of the law. I watch Golf Channel 10 hours a day. I don’t expect other people to do that. I have multiple Fiddler on the Roof cast recordings in my car. I don’t care if you share my opinions. But that ain’t gonna stop me from sharing them.
John Timu. Apparently got slower.
I have golf on my actual TV and they run commercials constantly for a local casino called Empire City. Here’s what I don’t get: why? The ad is just people walking out of the casino building with a pile of cash. They don’t advertise what’s special about their place. They just advertise that you can walk in without a lot of money and walk out with way more. Why does this require advertising? Everybody knows what a casino is. Just flash the address.
Taquan draw on first down. Exciting shit.
The question I’ve been asked most since getting to Chicago: “Do you think Trubisky will be a positive when looking for a new coach?” My answer each time has been a definitive yes because I truly believe it will.
But I decided that, instead of leaning on my gut, to poll my two pals in the league on the question, factoring in all of the potentially-available gigs and their quarterback situation. I’ve grouped the teams into categories.
(I’ll be referring to my friends as AFC GUY & NFC GUY.)
They get their own category because think of the waters GM Chris Ballard has to navigate. When he’s looking to hire a coach in January he may not be able to tell the candidates whether Andrew Luck, their franchise quarterback, will require an additional surgery sidelining him six months or more. He won’t be able to tell the candidates if they have a franchise quarterback in 2018 or not.
NFC GUY: “Chris is going to have to sell that job. And every potential coach will want to know if they’re considering drafting a quarterback early.”
These are two jobs that, should they come open, will come open with a quarterback in-place. But…do you want them?
The John Fox era is coming to an end in Chicago. All those “what-if” scenarios about the Bears winning out after dominating the Bengals can be put to bed after Saturday’s beatdown at the hands of the Lions. So for my first post on DBB I’m going to look back and reflect on the three best and three worst games of the John Fox era.
Since we’re trying to stay positive in Bears fandom, I’ll start with the good. As of writing this John Fox only has 13 wins as Bears coach; three of which came when Mike Glennon, Brian Hoyer, and Matt Barkley were under center. So really I’m looking at 10 games here. Slim pickings, but you work with what you’ve got.
#3. November 15th, 2015
Chicago Bears @ St. Louis Rams: Chicago 37, St. Louis 13.
This win marks the second biggest margin of victory of any Bears win under Fox. It followed a thrilling comeback win in San Diego against the Chargers the previous week, making it the second time that season the Bears managed to string two wins together in a row. (They have never managed three in a row under Fox.) Jay Cutler went 19/24 with 3 TDs, no turnovers, and a career high passer rating of 151.0. It was decisive, dominant, and damn fun to watch. It put the Bears at 4-5, which after a 0-3 start was a happy surprise. You could see the improvement in the team, and more importantly, you could see that they were buying into John Fox’s message and methodology. It felt like it could be the beginning of more good things to come.
#2. October 31st, 2016
Minnesota Vikings @ Chicago Bears: Chicago 20, Minnesota 10.
Coming into this game things weren’t great for the Bears or John Fox. Rumors that week circulated that Ryan Pace had hired outside consultants to evaluate day-to-day operations and that Fox was potentially one bad game away from being fired. Jay Cutler was returning from a thumb injury with many under the opinion he had fallen out of favor with Fox, and had Brian Hoyer not gotten hurt the previous week against the Packers, might not have returned as a starter at all.
(1) I simply didn’t see it coming. I pride myself on having a good feel as to how the Bears will play on a week-to-week basis and I thought the stage was set Sunday for an overwhelming Bengals victory. Instead the Bears, with a lame duck coach, undermanned offense and injury-plagued defense, delivered their best performance of the season. They were simply great in all three phases and that is a credit to John Fox.
(2) Trubisky. Cohen. Howard. Shaheen. Whitehair. Jackson. If you want to know why Ryan Pace isn’t going to be fired, watch the tape of this game. The GM is building a young nucleus through the draft; something the Bears have not done in nearly twenty years. This job will be the best open gig in the NFL come January.
(3) Mitch Trubisky’s last two games. 37-47 (79% completed), 373 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs and quarterback rating around 115.
Okay, so I’m not going to overreact to these two games. I didn’t overreact to some of his struggles so I’m not going to overreact to his terrific play the last two weeks. But the thing that should excite Bears fans is the number of players on this roster who are quick to tell media, immediately post-game, how great a leader Trubisky is. Folks, that’s not normal. Rookies don’t command huddles very often. Rookies don’t impress veterans with their attitude and composure very often. This kid has all the intangibles of a great quarterback.
#Bears right tackle Bobby Massie on if he senses Mitchell Trubisky’s command:
“Oh, hell yeah. Mitch will tell us, ‘Shut the f*** up’ in the huddle. Mitch has got some balls. He’s going to be a good quarterback.”
— Adam Hoge (@AdamHoge) December 10, 2017
We have received hundreds of dollars in donations for the holiday drive above. Hopefully that will continue. $2 buys a composition book and with AREENA matching, it actually buys two. You can donate HERE.
I always like the Chicago Bears. And with the USMNT out of the World Cup, I don’t have another team to root for. But hey, Tiger Woods may be back.
i hear the fox whisper, whisper to me
i hear the fox whisper, behind the oak tree
come help me he says, with anxious dismay
i’ve lost, oh i’ve lost, oh i’ve lost my damn way
once i could run
now i can not
once i defended
myself from this lot
once all my plans and ideas seemed to work
now here i stand, an omnivorous jerk
his whispers receded, he wandered away
where he was headed, no one could say
i’ll always remember, this time with the fox
but now there may be less than eight in the box
Administrative Note: We’ll resume our postseason positional analysis columns on Monday with running backs, Tuesday with wide receivers, Wednesday with tight ends & Thursday we’ll wrap up the offensive side of the ball with our analysis of the line. (Defense will come after the division round.)
Am I willing to embrace the notion of Brian Hoyer winning a postseason game? No, I’m not. Am I willing to cast my support unabashedly for Andy Reid in a postseason game? No, I’m not. But since I picked the Chiefs to make the Super Bowl in August I might as well continue seeing red. And on a football note, the Chiefs don’t look to throw the ball downfield so their short passing attack should be able to neutralize the Houston’s greatest asset: Watt, Whitney and the pass rush. Chiefs 20, Texans 13
Here’s what I keep hearing from folks analyzing the wildcard round: nobody wants to play the Pittsburgh Steelers. Here’s my follow-up question: why? The Steelers controlled their road to the postseason and lost to Marc Trestman and Ryan Mallett! (And the game wasn’t particularly close.) Then in Week 17 the Steelers were horrible against Cleveland, with Big Ben throwing ugly picks to second-rate linebackers. If Austin Davis weren’t starting for the Browns and they didn’t decide to fumble away the second half, the Jets would be in the playoffs. So is Pittsburgh just going to turn it on? Bengals 24, Steelers 22