Chicago Bears at Atlanta Falcons Game Preview

| October 9th, 2014

There are a lot of reasons not to like the Chicago Bears after their disastrous fourth quarter in North Carolina. There are a lot of reasons to think the media/fan negativity is entirely warranted. This team may continue struggling to mount drives. They may continue to make horrible special teams errors. They may continue giving up yardage in huge chunks. So with that…

Why do I like the Chicago Bears this week?

I always like the Chicago Bears.


(1) Having seen the success the Panthers had late, will Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan continue his attempts to compensate for his ineffective front four by utilizing extra personnel to pressure Cutler? Against the Giants, this left gaping holes in the middle of the field and Eli Manning dissected the Falcons. Expect Matt Forte to settle underneath the Falcons secondary and provide check downs for Cutler all afternoon.


(2) Can Desmond Trufant recover from his dismal performance against the Giants with the wide receiver talent increasing Sunday? Trufant is constantly left on an island with receivers, specifically in the red zone. If I am Jay Cutler this is a week to unleash the vertical passing game and allow Marshall and Jeffery to make plays even when they seem to be covered.


(3) Do the Bears have any hope of stopping Julio Jones? The answer is unequivocally no. The Falcons line up  Jones everywhere and run him on as creative an array of routes as you’ll see designed for a premier wide receiver. He’ll run a go from one side, a slant from the other and a shallow cross from the slot on three consecutive plays. Will the Bears deploy Kyle Fuller on Jones for the entirety of the game? Doubtful. Jones is too good to isolate in man over the full sixty minutes. I’m having a hard time not envisioning a 10-catch, 140 yard performance.

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Better Offense Prevails: Rapid Fire Recap of the Packers Beating the Bears

| September 29th, 2014

Philadelphia Eagles v Dallas Cowboys

The Packers deserved to win. Their offense made fewer mistakes than the Bears offense. But this game left me hollow for a lot of reasons. Rapid fire…

  • The referees destroyed this game for me. Even when the Bears have been blown out I usually find my angles of watching, my momentum for the coming week. But the calls made is this game were the worst I’ve seen since Mike Holmgren and the Seahawks were jobbed out of a Super Bowl. On both sides! But the Bears defense is not good enough to overcome Aaron Rodgers being handed new sets of down on ridiculous, nonsensical calls. The hold on Bostic on the field goal? The late hit on Lamarr Houston? Once again, the referees were not the reason the Bears lost. But they absolutely ruined the afternoon.
  • Bears defense was horrible. Outside of Willie Young making a few nice hustle plays and blocking a kick, I can’t think of a single player on the defensive side of the ball worthy of praise.
  • Mel Tucker criticism is warranted but Aaron Rodgers made a half dozen outstanding throws. He was special yesterday.
  • This game was decided by a simple factor: mistakes. The Bears dropped a perfectly called onside kick. Cutler missed a wide open Alshon Jeffery high in the end zone. Josh Morgan should score on a screen but didn’t bother to extend the ball. Martellus Bennett runs a route at the one yard line instead of the goal line to end the first half. Brandon Marshall runs the wrong route on the second interception. Bears have a lot to clean up.

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Three Thoughts After Two Games

| September 16th, 2014


Thought 1

The Bears are 1-1 through two games. Exactly where everyone thought they’d be. But if they had achieved this record in the conventional manner – beating Buffalo at home and losing to San Fran on the road – the team would currently be shrouded in questions regarding their status as contenders. Instead they endured a media storm of criticism and responded by playing their most complete half of football in the Jay Cutler era. Now they are being showered with praise on the pages of the dailies and on radio airwaves. They should be 1-1 after two games, no question, but how they’ve reached that mark should inspire them through this difficult stretch of the 2014 schedule

Thought 2

I have often stated Charles “Peanut” Tillman is my favorite Chicago Bear of the modern era. And I can’t remember a more difficult-to-watch sequence in my football viewing than Tillman, tears pouring down his cheeks on a Santa Clara sideline, coming to the brutal realization a second consecutive season and perhaps career had been ended by a flukish injury.

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Audibles From the Long Snapper: McCown, Peanut’s Payton Award, Longsnapper.com & More

| January 20th, 2014


PFT: McCown Set to Play in 2014

From Florio at Pro Football Talk:

It’s unclear whether McCown will return to Chicago.  Because he signed a one-year deal under the minimum-salary benefit in 2013, the Bears can’t sign him until he actually becomes a free agent on March 11.  That now follows a three-day period during which McCown’s agent can engage in discussions with other teams.

With the Bears devoting $22.5 million in cap space to Cutler for the coming year, the Bears likely won’t have much in the budget for McCown.  Any team that views him as a potential starter would surely outbid the Bears.

Josh McCown is a different kind of guy and I don’t see him jumping to a terrible team for a few extra million dollars. Does he really want to be the caretaker quarterback in a place like Jacksonville or Minnesota, tutoring a rookie and waiting to be replaced? I think McCown has found a home in Chicago, in that quarterback room. And I also think he knows there’s a good chance he’s going to see the field in 2014 with a contender if he sticks around.

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A Day Removed From Disappointment, Offensive Success of 2013 Far Easier to Acknowledge

| December 31st, 2013


Their two quarterbacks threw for 4,450 yards and 32 touchdowns. Their star tailback accumulated just a squidge below 2,000 yards from scrimmage. Their wide receivers established themselves as the best starting duo in the sport. Their offensive line was fourth best in sacks allowed and provided support for the league’s second-leading rusher. (And they did this with a pair of rookies on the right side.) The finished the second 9th in total yards per game and 2nd in points scored – only trailing the insane juggernaut that is Peyton Manning’s Denver Broncos.

While most fans are unable to see the sport of football with any appropriate context, let me provide some. Marc Trestman is a first year head coach with a first year staff. One year was all it took for Trest to establish one of the league’s most prolific offenses right here in the city of Chicago.

These things only get better. Playbooks expand. Offensive lines grow more comfortable. Quarterbacks operate with a developing fluency. Fans around these parts may not understand this concept because Chicago has not – since George Halas roamed the sideline – operated with any discernible offensive system. (I could make a serious argument the T Formation of song was the last time the Bears operated uniquely on offense.) I would expect Matt Slauson and Jay Cutler to be re-signed prior to the start of the league year. I would expect Josh McCown signed, sealed and delivered rather quickly after the league year begins. The 2014 Bears offense should be expected to improve upon 2013’s landmark production.

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Hey Chris Conte, Catch the Ball: Rapid Fire Recap of the Bears Division Title Game Loss

| December 30th, 2013


You spend a week playing out the scenarios in your mind; how will Team A move the ball, how will Team B fair on third downs…etc. And then you sit in stunned silence as a fumbled football sits on the field and 20 of the 22 NFL players involved in the play pay it no mind. One guy picks it up. The quarterback and sideline tell him to run. Touchdown. We’ll call it The Boykin Fiasco. It is the play everyone will remember for years to come.

Here’s a bunch of thoughts from the afternoon.

  • NFL should be embarrassed by the way this game was officiated. What did Clete Blakeman see under the hood that the rest of us did not see on the downed punt at the one yard line? How on earth can the officials call Shea McClellin for unnecessary roughness at that point in the game? I Tweeted it yesterday and I mean it: an official had to WANT to throw that flag to throw it.
  • Ultimately the game came down to costly mistakes on the defensive side of the ball. The Boykin Fiasco. Whatever coverage that was on the Packers final play. Chris Conte flat out dropping a game ending interception.
  • Julius Peppers flying at Aaron Rodgers on that final play was such a terrible mistake. How do you lose contain there? Oh I know how. You’ve been doing it all season long. (I forgot for a moment the Bears have an awful defense.)
  • I was wrong about one thing: If Matt Flynn played yesterday, the Bears win the game easily. Rodgers used his legs quite a bit more than I expected.
  • Heck of a game, Matt Forte. Put the team on your back.

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Responses to the Brandon Marshall/Mental Health Awareness Column

| October 16th, 2013

NFL: New York Giants at Chicago Bears

Yes I am spending a third day at the DBB focused on the piece I wrote Monday regarding Brandon Marshall’s green cleats, the NFL fine and the league’s embarrassing mental health record. If you haven’t had an opportunity to read a rare piece of journalism from this part of the internet world, please CLICK HERE and do so.

Why a third day? Because I believe it wrong to succumb to the 24-hour news cycle and let a piece I am proud of and truly believe in be swept into the “yesterday’s news” category. And the responses I’ve received from a wide range of individuals leads to believe the column had a nice impact. So, really, what’s one more day? Could I really make a larger impact with this week’s installment of Audibles From the Long Snapper? (This week’s game preview will be posted first thing Thursday morning.)

Responses have been wonderful and what follows are some of the responses I’ve personally received. Please feel free to send along yours to jeff@dabearsblog.com.

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Marshall Column Addendum: Cameron Worrell on Concussions [AUDIO]

| October 15th, 2013


Yesterday in my column about about the NFL fining Brandon Marshall, I wrote:

What if the word concussion did not exist? What if the NFL was forced to label the injuries sustained in football games as what they are: traumatic brain injuries. Would there be traumatic brain injury-related symptoms? Would they put traumatic brain injury in parentheses like hip or ankle?

Limited: Matthew Stafford (Traumatic Brain Injury)

Last year I did an interview with Cameron Worrell that I hadn’t intended as a discussion on concussions. But that’s where the conversation went. What he revealed was quite frightening and I think it is a perfect addendum to yesterday’s piece.

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