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Data Entry: Projecting Contracts For Possible Receiver Targets

| February 27th, 2018

In the last two weeks, I’ve outlined both what the Bears need to add at WR this off-season and what players in free agency should fit that profile/the new offense. At the end of that work, I came up with the following two lists, suggesting that the Bears work to sign one player from each group.

Tier 1 (750+ yard receivers)

Marqise Lee, Jordan Matthews, Mike Wallace, Emmanuel Sanders (if cut)

Tier 2 (500+ yard receivers)

Albert Wilson, Kendall Wright, John Brown, Taylor Gabriel, Paul Richardson, Jaron Brown

Now I want to look at what types of contracts those players should expect in free agency to see how expensive these moves would likely be for the Bears. In order to do that, you need to compare the contracts signed by similar players (in both age and past production) who hit free agency in recent years. This gives you a general baseline for the ballpark a new contract should probably be in, though of course there are no guarantees this is exactly how it works out.

In an effort to be as accurate as possible, I also accounted for inflation, since the cap keeps going up every year. It’s jumped by about $10 million a year every year since 2015, and is expected to do the same again this year. Thus the comparable contracts were multiplied by the following scaling factors to get the predicted value, depending on when they were signed (some slight adjustments were made for greater/worse production):

  • 2015: 1.24
  • 2016: 1.15
  • 2017: 1.07

Let’s look through each target 1 by 1, with a few brief comments. Full data for production of targets and free agent contracts can be seen here. All contract information is from Spotrac.

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Data Entry: Building a WR Profile for Chicago’s New Offense

| February 20th, 2018

The Combine approaches in a few weeks in Indianapolis, and with it an obsession over everything that can be measured. Height. Weight. Hand size. Three-cone. Jumping ability. Speed. Everybody will soon be discussing 40 times like they make the difference between a good and bad football player.

Before we get a bunch of data from the Combine, let’s take a look at which measurables might matter, specifically at wide receiver.

New head coach Matt Nagy comes from the Andy Reid offense in Kansas City, so I took a look at the Combine stats of WRs the Chiefs invested in  -either in the draft or free agency  -since Reid came to Kansas City in 2012. Basically, I wanted to find a physical profile for well-performing wide receivers in that offense that the Bears might look to follow this year. This can help us identify what wide receivers at the Combine might make sense as targets for the Bears in the draft.


Building the Profile

There were 8 Chiefs WRs identified that were drafted by them, signed to a substantial deal in free agency or earned a meaningful role with the team as an undrafted free agent since Reid took over in 2012. These players were Tyreek Hill, Jeremy Maclin, Albert Wilson, Chris Conley, Jehu Chesson, Demarcus Robinson, Da’Ron Brown, and De’Anthony Thomas. I used Mock Draftable to look up their Combine data (or found data from their pro day when the Combine was not available) in every category I could find, and compared it to the average WR mark in each of these categories that Mock Draftable has compiled. Full data can be seen here.

Many of the measurables didn’t show any clear pattern, but I identified three where players consistently scored well: 40-yard dash, vertical jump, and broad jump.

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Data Entry: What Passing Targets do the Bears Need?

| February 13th, 2018

There has been and will continue to be a great deal of talk about how the Bears need to add at least one stud wide receiver to their roster this off-season. Everybody wants a Julio Jones or Antonio Brown, with good reason, and the Bears are in desperate need of an upgrade in talent at the position after a season in which they finished last in the NFL in both passing yards and touchdowns, 25th in yards per attempt, and 26th in passer rating.

The Bears are going to add more talent at WR. But what exactly do they need? Should they look for one great player, two good players, or three plus capable players?

In an attempt to answer this question, I looked at how top passing offenses split their production among targets in recent years. After all, that’s the ultimate goal for the Bears, right? They want to become one of the top passing offenses in the NFL.

Accordingly, I looked at top 10 passing teams according to Football Outsiders’ DVOA for each of 2015, 2016, and 2017 and tracked how many receiving yards each of their top 5 leaders in that category had for the season. While this DVOA stat is not a perfect metric, it is an attempt to measure the efficiency of a passing attack instead of volume, which you would get from just looking at passing yards. The full list can be seen here.


No Clear Pattern

The first thing that jumps out is that there is no single defined way to have a top 10 passing offense. Some teams did it with one clear stud and a bunch of secondary weapons. Others had two dominant targets. Some had no clear dominant target at all.

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Audibles From the Long Snapper: The Long Snapper Is Down, I Repeat…

| August 28th, 2017

Last Thoughts on Glennon

Many have spent countless Twitter hours arguing I am wrong to be rooting against Mike Glennon. I am not rooting against Mike Glennon. I hope he wins every start of his Chicago Bears career. I simply believe Mitch Trubisky – even right this very second – gives the Bears the best chance to win football games.

And the Bears should be all-in on winning football games in 2017. They have a good defense, great running attack and solid specials. If they get production from their passing attack they are going to have an opportunity to play in the postseason.

With Glennon, offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains needs to be perfect. Because if the play breaks down, the play is dead. With Trubisky, the play breaking down is simply an opportunity for a great talent to showcase his ability.

I’m just hoping the Glennon-led Bears don’t put the 2017 team in too big of a hole.

Adam Jahns does a far better just illustrating this point in the Sun-Times. Read his column by CLICKING HERE.

Long Snapper For Long Snapper

And if you want to see the most boring workout video in the history of man, look no further!

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Reflections on the Third Preseason Game

| August 27th, 2017

A few relevant things…

  • Cam Meredith’s gruesome leg injury is just another example of the complete uselessness of these exhibitions. Don’t feed me the “they can hurt in practice” bullshit. This isn’t practice. It’s a full contact game with zero value. NFL players bodies only have so many hits in them. Any coach wasting those hits in August is risking their job.
  • And there’s Jordan Howard – a chronically injured player in college – taking carry after carry in the second quarter of a preseason game.
  • Mike Glennon was precise on the game’s opening drive, making one throw (to Meredith) I didn’t think he had in him. Then he was Glennon. Throwing behind receivers. Missing touchdowns. Erratic once any play goes “off-script”.
  • Roy Robertson-Harris is a very nice player. Bears have a lot of height on their special teams units.
  • Trubisky looked like a rookie. Because Trubisky is a rookie. Now ask yourself this: when’s his next meaningful action?
  • Trubisky scrambles for first down. Trubisky avoids pressure, rolls right, hits Victor Cruz in the hands. Trubisky goes through progressions and find the open man with his third read. What exactly can’t he do? What exactly does being on the sideline help him develop? He needs to be in the huddle. He needs to take snaps. He needs to read defenses during game action. But nope.
  • Trubisky’s 45 yard touchdown pass to Tanner Gentry will be the most exciting moment from the Bears passing game until, probably, November.
  • I don’t think I overrated the Titans – who I think are going to the playoffs – but they need to get some wide receivers on the field. That entire unit is injured.

Bears have a good defense. They have a great run game. They’re a good team with a glaring weakness.

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Is Anything Worth Watching Sunday?

| December 26th, 2016

While the nation’s drinking amateurs battle their New Year’s Eve hangovers, many of us with saddle up our favorite barstool to watch the last Chicago Bears game of this depressing, injury-plagued 2016 campaign. But is the experience anything more than a mere formality?

Many will argue no. They will say nothing happening on the field in Minnesota will have any bearing on the future of this football team. And, honestly, it’s a point well-taken. But my job is to find meaning. So I’m doing my job. Here’s three things worth paying attention to when it comes to the finale.

The Barkley Rebound

#Barkleytime is coming off his first clunker of 2016 and it would be easy for fans to expect the sailing passes and poor decision making from his effort against Washington to continue. Sunday’s Barkley was the one many us expected and were shocked not to see through his first four starts.

Another dud and the bloom comes entirely off the rose. But a solid, mistake-free start could make it easy for Ryan Pace to keep Barkley in the fold moving forward. He’s shown tremendous rebound within game, often shaking off a poor three quarters to deliver a brilliant fourth. Can he rebound with a week of negativity between starts?

The Run Defense

A coach once told me “run defense is all about want to”. If that’s true the Bears haven’t wanted to in a fortnight.

Both Green Bay and Washington out-muscled the the middle of the Bears defense and took advantage of their lack of discipline on the outside. Yes, there are injuries playing a role in these struggles. But injuries don’t excuse McPhee letting Cousins around the edge, Amos taking bad angles or Hicks disappearing after a dominant period mid-season.

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Got A Christmas Present? Better Unwrappid Fire!

| December 25th, 2016

Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah to you all. Thanks for another wonderful year at DBB. I hope I can keep improving this place for years to come.


Bad game yesterday. Very bad. Here are some quick thoughts.

  • That was a full meltdown from Matt Barkley and quite frankly, I half expected it. I knew yesterday was not going to be an “on the bubble” performance. It was going to be definitive. How Barkley responds next week, on the road, at a division rival, will have a huge say in his role with the organization moving forward.
  • Bombs to Josh Bellamy when he’s triple covered?
  • Would I pay Alshon Jeffery $17 million a year? No. will anybody in the league pay him that? I don’t think so. Bears need to get a deal done, even if they slightly overpay this guy. Jeffery may not be a weekly ten-catch guy but he is always capable of the spectacular and there’s distinct value to that.
  • Cam Meredith is going to be the third receiver next season.
  • Don’t want to get ahead of myself here but Jordan Howard is starting to look like one of the best Bears draft picks ever. If they held the 2016 draft today, Howard is going in the middle of the first round.

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Bears Fall Short in Indy: Rapid Fire

| October 10th, 2016

Hard game to get emotional about. But there’s things to talk about so let’s talk about them.

  • Brian Hoyer played a terrific game for a backup quarterback. But when your team racks up 500+ yards and scores only 23 points, it’s time to start asking why. Hoyer doesn’t extend plays with his legs. He doesn’t throw the ball to the Bears best player (for some bizarre reason). And…he’s just limited. Jay Cutler wins Sunday’a game. And I happen to believe he wins it by a couple of touchdowns.
  • Hoyer dinks and dunks. His drives take 10-12 plays to get into the end zone. Those drives can be derailed entirely by one mistake or penalty. Penalties told the story of the game.
  • John Fox, through five games, is having a rough season. Challenges, timeouts, personnel decisions…etc. One has to wonder if he has any feel for this roster right now. Sadly, Fox can’t be properly evaluated until the actual team is on the field.
  • Why would you bench Bryce Callahan? Let the kid learn on the field. He was playing a solid game yesterday.
  • Terrific performance from Cameron Meredith. The fumble was bad, and cost the Bears the game, but his emergence was far more significant.

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