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

| October 17th, 2017


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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Audibles From the Long Snapper: We Got the Beat Edition

| June 5th, 2017

Lamarr Houston: Forgotten Man?

Many figured Houston would not be part of the Bears plans in 2017. Patrick Finley opines otherwise in the Sun-Times:

The Bears think Houston still can be a pass-rushing threat three seasons after then-general manager Phil Emery signed him to a five-year, $35 million contract. They signaled that by not signing or drafting any significant outside linebackers this offseason.

After rehabbing in New York during the offseason, Houston has participated in OTAs. He said his recovery is on schedule, though he hesitated to predict when he would be at full strength.

‘‘All you can do is work day by day and try to get better,’’ he said. ‘‘I work to be impactful, and I work to be the best at what I do.’’

Outside linebacker Willie Young, for one, can’t imagine how he would have handled tearing both his ACLs in a span of three seasons.

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Turn the Beat Around: A Trubisky Dinner, Kyle Long on the Move & More!

| May 23rd, 2017

The Chapel Hill Story

An excerpt from Dan Wiederer’s magnificent piece in the Trib:

As Pace does with all such get-to-know-you dinners, he asked Trubisky to pick the restaurant and make the reservation. It’s a minor request. But it often can be revealing of a player’s reliability.

Pace also ordered Trubisky to keep the meeting top secret, so as not to tip off anyone — not any Tar Heels coaches or teammates, not any other NFL execs or agents, not even a campus meter maid — to the Bears’ interest.

Trubisky took the directive and pieced things together.

Before Pace and his cohorts arrived on campus, the Bears GM had a text. Dinner at 7 p.m.

The venue: Bin 54, a top steakhouse in North Carolina’s Triangle region. And to keep the gathering covert, Trubisky made the reservation for six under an alias: James McMahon.

“I thought that was cool,” Pace says.

Read the entire article. It is the best work Dan has done since coming to Chicago.

Kyle Long on the Move?

Brad Biggs was first to report the Bears intend to shift Kyle Long from right to left guard, as one of the team’s few offensive stars rebounds from injuries. The positional move leaves little to be discussed. Right guard, left guard, who really gives a shit? But it was one paragraph in the piece that stood out to me:

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Turn the Beat Around: Lots of Leonard Floyd Talk & Other Stuff Too!

| September 13th, 2016



Leonard Floyd didn’t have a great day Sunday, expectedly for a raw rookie. But he almost never left the field. Jahns broke down his debut after film study:

“We got a fast, relentless team, guys that can do multiple things in any situations,” linebacker Jerrell Freeman said. “We got [outside linebackers] that can go out there and play seam/flat on some receivers.

“You see the young fella out there playing great.”

But sacks still matter most for Floyd. His takedown of Osweiler in the third quarter was his best play. He didn’t have a quick jump off the snap, but he fought through left tackle Chris Clark, reached the edge and quickly closed on Osweiler.

As Fangio predicted, there were moments when Floyd was overmatched. On Hopkins’ 23-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter, Floyd was stood up by Newton.

Play fakes negated Floyd’s speed at times, but he handled his run assignments well, which included squaring up with tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz. Floyd also was involved in six tackles, but he wasn’t on the field for Fuller’s 18-yard score on a tunnel screen.

“I feel good,” Floyd said. “But I’ve got some improvements to make.”

Adam Hoge had an interesting take on the Bears decision to play Floyd about 80% of the defensive snaps.

This, of course, does not mean that Floyd was the best option to play the most snaps at outside linebacker in Week 1. In fact, I would argue that the Bears coaching staff did not give its team the best chance to win by only playing Houston on 36 percent of the defensive snaps.

But I guess it depends on how you look at it. Which is more important: beating the Texans in Week 1 or getting your raw first round draft pick the most experience possible?

I guess we now know where the Bears stand on that question.

The Bears are committed to developing Floyd. And they are willing to sacrifice early success to do so.

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Around the Beat: Samplings from the Papers

| May 9th, 2016



If Hroniss Grasu develops into a frontline center, the Bears may have a terrific offensive line in 2016. But Grasu would have to make a significant leap if that’s going to be the case. From Biggs in the Trib:

The statistics in the eight games Grasu started last season and the other eight games that were split between Slauson and Will Montgomery are similar with one glaring difference. I tallied the stats for Jay Cutler’s 15 starts, (excluding the dud of a performance in Seattle in Week 3 when Jimmy Clausen was at quarterback) and what jumps out is the Bears averaged 4.22 yards per carry with Slauson and Montgomery at center. With Grasu, they averaged 3.77, nearly a half-yard less.

If the Bears had a high level of confidence in Grasu, they wouldn’t have made three additions even while removing Slauson from the equation. When the season opens Sept. 11 in Houston, left tackle Charles Leno could be the only starter in a position he played for the team last season.

My favorite line in the piece? “One front-office guy said his team nearly drafted Whitehair about 20 picks before the Bears.” I maintain a firm belief that Whitehair is going to be a ten-year star at guard for the Bears.


Adam’s piece in the Sun-Times is a solidly comprehensive breakdown of all the UFAs but I’m sampling the one position they may have had been most focused on: tight end.

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Audibles From the Long Snapper: Making Scoreons Happen, Prestigious Jobs, Marshall & More!

| January 22nd, 2015


DBB Coins a New Term

From Twitter, yesterday:

Many like to use the phrase “meatball” to describe a certain kind of fan. In Chicago I am going to refer to those people as “Score-ons”.

It is on all of us to make this phrase happen.


Because I tend not to forget and choose to hold others accountable, from the opening of a New Year’s Eve piece in the Tribune by Brad Biggs:

In announcing the massive housecleaning Monday at Halas Hall, President Ted Phillips called the Bears’ head coaching job prestigious.

He stands nearly alone in that opinion in light of a Tribune poll of NFL front-office employees and coaches who ranked the Bears barely above the Raiders in terms of attractiveness.

Quarterback concerns left the Jets at the bottom, but the Bears job wasn’t considered much better even with Jay Cutler, the passer in whom they have invested so much money and whom Chairman George McCaskey said he is a fan of personally and professionally. Elsewhere, Cutler is classified as a coach killer.

The Bears landed an in-demand (young) GM, a head coach who has been to two Super Bowls, the best defensive coach on the market and an offensive coordinator who interviewed for just about every head coaching vacancy. Rumors have it that if the Bears job were prestigious, Vince Lombardi would have climbed out of his grave and agreed to a five-year, $35 million contract.

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