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Excluding Cleveland: How Quickly Do Perennially Bad Offenses Actually Turn It Around?

| June 5th, 2018

Chicago’s offense has been consistently bad for the last four years, ranking in the bottom ten in points scored each of those seasons. It’s been especially awful the last two years, when a host of QB issues have left the Bears 28th and 29th in that same category.

But hope springs eternal, and dramatic changes this off-season have fans dreaming of a high-powered offense. Gone is the old-school John Fox, replaced by offensive-minded Matt Nagy. QB Mitchell Trubisky enters his second season, as do Tarik Cohen and Adam Shaheen, and the dreadful skill position groups have been overhauled with the additions of Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, Trey Burton, and Anthony Miller.

Just how big of a leap can this offense take in 2018? Optimists are quick to point to the 2017 Rams, who went from consistently bad offenses for years to the NFL’s top scoring unit in 2017 on the heels of a new offensive coach, overhauled WR group, and growth from 2nd year QB Jared Goff. Is that big of a jump an outlier, or something that happens regularly? I dove into the numbers to find out.

Crunching the Data

I looked at where every NFL team ranked in terms of points scored each year for the last decade (so 2008-17), then looked at teams that matched recent trends for the Bears. I looked at three different groupings this way:

  • Bottom 5 for 2 years
  • Bottom 10 for 3 years
  • Bottom 10 for 4 years

Once teams who fit that bill were identified, I looked at the offense the year after those bleak seasons to see how it performed.

Before I get into the results, I should note that I decided to exclude the Cleveland Browns from this. Their offense has ranked in the bottom ten every single year for the past decade – a truly remarkable feat of consistency – and this meant that they drowned out other samples. Full data can be viewed here.

[Editor’s Note: What you just read is the saddest paragraph published on this site in the fourteen years of its existence.]

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The Psychology of Uncertainty & Being a Bears Fan

| January 18th, 2018

Human beings don’t react well to uncertainty. We don’t know how to handle it. We hate it so much in fact that, given the choice, we actually prefer to *know* that something bad is going to happen to us as opposed to being unsure. A study in 2015 showed that most people would rather know for certain that they’re going to get an electric shock than to not be able to predict it. The uncertainty caused a bigger stress response than knowing without a doubt that they were going to get hurt.

At this point you might be thinking to yourself, “Well, that’s fascinating Emily, but what the hell does it have to do with the Chicago Bears?”

Well if I had to think of one word to describe how I’ve felt about the Bears the last few years, the word would be “uncertain”. Not in terms of devotion, mind you. I’ve always been pretty ride or die with my sports teams. When I say uncertain I’m talking about having no real idea what to expect from them on any given Sunday since 2012.

Again I can already hear some of the comments. How could you possibly be uncertain about the Bears? They suck! They’ve sucked since 2006! The Cutler era was terrible! They’re basically the Browns! And I get why it feels that way. I totally do. But it isn’t accurate. For a quick comparison:

Last Won Their Division
Bears 2010
Browns 1989

Last in the Playoffs
Bears 2010
Browns 2002

Last Winning Season
Bears 2012
Browns 2002

Number of Wins the Last Three Seasons
Bears 14
Browns 4

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Why I’m Going to Bears v. Browns Tomorrow

| December 23rd, 2017

New York Times theatre critic Frank Rich once wrote of the infamous Broadway bomb Moose Murders: “FROM now on, there will always be two groups of theatergoers in this world: those who have seen ”Moose Murders,” and those who have not.” I’m beginning to wonder if the same won’t be said for those attending Bears v. Browns at Soldier Field tomorrow.

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve and I’ll be spending three plus hours of it on the lakefront, in a cold and windy stadium, watching a dead-on-arrival home side play the only team in the sport significantly worse than they are. So the only relevant question is…why? Why would a human being do this?

I’m not a huge fan of attending live football games. The television timeouts are excruciating. The bathroom lines are worse. And while I like drinking beer and watching a ballgame I don’t like paying double-digits for an MGD while trying to navigate thousands of jagoffs who’ve been slamming booze in a parking lot since the wee small hours of the morning.

However, with a good seat, that unlike tomorrow usually costs A LOT of cash, you can experience elements of the game that are impossible to gauge on television. The size and speed of the players. The shear violence of the impacts. The game moves at a different pace live than it does with the distance of a two-dimensional, 52″ rectangle.

But there is one real reason I’m going: Mitch Trubisky. I want to see him live. I want to see how he conducts himself in pregame workouts. I want to see how he interacts with teammates on the sideline. I want to see how that fastball of his looks in person. Anybody who reads this site or follows me on Twitter knows I have not been as excited about a young player since starting this site in 2005. And I don’t want to have gone his entire rookie campaign without having seen him with my own eyes.

So I’m going. Bears v. Browns. Christmas Eve. Maybe it’s to see Trubisky. Or maybe it’s because I never saw Moose Murders.

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227 Comments

Money Where My Mouth Is: Three Picks For Week Two

| September 17th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-09-14 at 1.58.08 PM

I’m putting $100 on each of these bets all season. Will be keeping my total down below. (For those of you who are not gamblers, if you lose a $100 bet you actually lose $110. If you push a $100 bet, you lose the $10 vig.)

Tennessee +2 at Cleveland

Anti-Manziel pick. When I watch Johnny Football on an NFL field he reminds me of a young kid wearing his father’s suit. His lack of awareness inside the pocket is usurped only by his lack of understanding that the men sharing the field with him are faster and smarter than just about every player he faced at Texas A&M. Titans 23, Browns 16

St. Louis -3 at Washington

Washington v. Miami was the worst game played last Sunday. Neither deserved to win. Now the Redskins, without Desean Jackson, face the most ferocious defense in the NFC? Rams win on the road. Rams 20, Redskins 7

Jacksonville +6 vs Miami

Line is too high. Simple as that. Dolphins 24, Jags 21

 

Record Through One Week: 1-1-1

(-$20)

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220 Comments

Final Practice Game Day Thread

| August 28th, 2014

Stoke's Peter Crouch has received support that he is worthy of a place in England's World Cup squad

What, if anything, can be gleaned/enjoyed this evening?

  • Do the Bears currently have a kick returner on their roster or are they going to be scouring the waiver wire this weekend for some speed? (I’d like to see Senorise Perry given a good run back there tonight.)
  • Hey, you get to watch Jordan Lynch carry the ball for the last time before he’s buried on the practice squad for the 2014 season!
  • David Fales can follow Matt Blanchard and Caleb Hanie as fourth preseason game darlings: quarterbacks who thrive against third-string defensive units.
  • Pat O’Donnell is playing.

I will be watching the game live tonight and responding on Twitter. You can follow me on Twitter by CLICKING HERE or just watching the right rail of this page.

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300 Comments

Alshon Jeffery’s Knack for Spectacular the Signature of Offensive Renaissance in Chicago

| December 16th, 2013

jeffery

“Whenever there’s nothing to do, yes there is. Throw it up to Alshon.”

-Michael Irvin, NFL Network

11:08 remaining in the 4th quarter. 24-17 Browns. After a pair of dud plays on first and second downs the Bears were facing third-and-eleven. If they fail to convert they’ll be punting the ball and the momentum to Cleveland. They might also be punting away their 2013 season. Cutler takes the snap, meanders in a pocket for a few seconds…

There’s nothing to do.

Yes there is!

Throw it up to Alshon!

Touchdown.

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Bears, Cutler Pull Away from Browns Late: A Recap of the Rapid Fire Variety

| December 16th, 2013

otoole

Today’s post is dedicated to the memory of Peter O’Toole. For theatre folk, the O’Toole Hamlet is lore. That performance we all wish we saw.

Strange game. Nonsensical game. But these were my thoughts watching it live.

  • Jay Cutler was awful in the first half, prior to the final drive of the half. He made a poor decision on the first interception and a series of overthrows subsequently. But the way he regrouped and played late was a testament to his guts. It was impressive. And his honesty in the post-game presser was downright refreshing. I thought all week this was the most pressure-packed game of Cutler’s career. He played that way for thirty minutes. He was wonderful for the other thirty.

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Chicago Bears at Cleveland Browns Game Thread

| December 14th, 2013

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Why do I like the Chicago Bears this week?

I always like the Chicago Bears.

  • A lot of column space has been dedicated to Josh Gordon this week and rightfully so but Jordan Cameron should frighten Bears defenders far more this week. If the Bears don’t pressure Jason Campbell, Cameron will dominate the middle of the field.
  • Who is the running back to beat the Bears for triple digits this week? Edwin Baker was signed Tuesday. Does he have a shot? Chris Ogbonnaya and Fozzy Whittaker are not good but that hasn’t stopped opposing backs yet. (Has Brandon Jacobs even played since running over the Bears?) Or might this be the week/circumstances that allow the Bears defense to make a few tackles?
  • It’s difficult to assess just how good the Browns defense is but I watched their tape against Jacksonville and it was none-too-impressive. I don’t care about field position. Chad Henne’s Jags can’t put up 32 on you.
  • Weather: Field was covered in snow Saturday and snow is expected all day Sunday. But unless there’s a howling wind in Cleveland, I don’t see conditions have much of an effect on play.
  • So Jay Cutler is a human being and one would think he’ll attempt to showcase the distinct skill that separates he and Josh McCown: arm strength. I say Bears try to beat Browns over the top a few times, weather permitting.
  • Jason Campbell wants to check the ball down. But he’ll only do so if the Bears manufacture pressure. Without it, they’re susceptible to Gordon/Cameron.
  • Hester is breaking this record. And he’s doing it in the next three weeks.

Chicago Bears 27, Cleveland Browns 16

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