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Notes on the Broncos Practice Game

| August 19th, 2018

Photo by Aaron Doster, USA TODAY Sports


  • This entire game comes down to the medical status of Adam Shaheen (pictured above) and Leonard Floyd. If Shaheen is significantly hurt, the Bears will be devastated. For weeks I’ve been writing and Tweeting about the big tight end because I’ve been told no player has more excited the coaching staff with his potential. If Floyd is significantly hurt, well, that Kahlil Mack stuff is about to get serious because the Bears are lightest on the edge.
  • Back when I used to play fantasy football (my running backs were Marshall Faulk and Shaun Alexander) a game like this would have changed my entire draft approach. Why? Because it’s clear Mitch Trubisky and Trey Burton have a thing going and last night’s practice game was an opportunity for them to play pitch-and-catch against an actual opponent.
  • Why give Jordan Howard nine carries in a practice game? The numbers are definitive. These star running backs have a limited number of carries/years in their bodies. They hit a career wall at thirty years old. I’d put Howard in an ice bath until after Labor Day.
  • The interior of the Bears offensive line got pushed around a bit. But these guys are impossible to evaluate without scheme being involved. (And I don’t think this is their best five but that’s another issue entirely.)
  • Both Isaac Yiadom & Kyle Fuller were called for the “lowering the head” penalty. In neither case was the call accurate. It was obvious during the Hall of Fame Game and it’s becoming more obvious as days go by. If the NFL doesn’t suspend this rule before the season opens and revisit it, they’re making a terrible mistake. The product has suffered terribly over the last few seasons because of decisions by the front office. This will continue that trend.

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Super Bowl 50 Game Prediction

| February 5th, 2016

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Three questions for this game.

#1. I have no doubt Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware will get to Cam Newton. But what happens when they get there? Newton ain’t Tom Brady. He’s more likely to throw Miller to the ground than be sacked by him.

#2. What happens if the Panthers offense struggles early? This is a team that hasn’t faced adversity a lot this season and certainly hasn’t faced a defense of this caliber. If Carolina doesn’t score on their first couple drives, do we see Cam Newton force things?

#3. One of the untold stories of the AFC title game was how many receivers Peyton Manning missed for big plays down the field. But the biggest stat of this game may be Manning’s interception total. Can he avoid the big mistake, especially in the middle of the field? If he does, the Broncos defense will keep the game close.

Carolina Panthers 24, Denver Broncos 20

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Three Things the Bears Can Learn From the Denver Broncos

| February 1st, 2016

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GET TO THE QUARTERBACK

Wrote extensively about this earlier in the week so no reason to repeat. Here is a passage from that short piece:

And pass rush, despite what people will have you believe, is not necessarily a quantifiable statistic. Sacks are great but pressuring a quarterback into a poorly timed throw can often be far better. Sustained pressure throughout a game is a recipe for success but intense pressure in the fourth quarter, with the game on the line, is a recipe for championships.

Pass rushers, much like quarterbacks, must raise their games in the pivotal moments.

The postseason is a collection of pivotal moments. The Super Bowl is a hundred of them.

MORE THAN ONE WAY TO PLAY QB POSITION

There is an inane phrase repeated, many times in Chicago, about a quarterback being a “guy that can win you the Super Bowl”. Let’s take a look at Peyton Manning’s 2015. He completed less than 60% of his passes in a league where you could complete 60% of your passes. His touchdown-interception ratio of 9-17 will be the worst such differential attached to a Super Bowl starting quarterback in history. He has the mobility of Stonehenge. And, let’s not forget, he seems completely unable to throw the ball outside the numbers or down the field. 2015’s version of Peyton Manning checks none of the boxes for a “guy that can win you the Super Bowl.”

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Rapid Fire: Short-Handed Bears Fall at the Death to Denver, Move to 4-6

| November 23rd, 2015

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Photo screenshot from Chicago Tribune.

There’s an old maxim in the NFL repeated ad nauseum in press conferences across the league: injuries are not an excuse. In a league with a hard salary cap not allowing for depth at any position, injuries are absolutely an excuse. If the Bears were at full strength yesterday, they win. Simple as that. With Matt Forte, Alshon Jeffery, Eddie Royal, a heathy Pernell McPhee and even Antrel Rolle (see below) the Bears would now be heading to Thanksgiving at .500. This roster is not deep enough to beat good teams short-handed.

Rapid fire…
  • Marquess Wilson will be a valuable part of the 2016 Bears as their fourth receiving option.
  • Worst game Jay Cutler played this season and it unsurprisingly came against the league’s best defense with all his receivers hurt. And he STILL took the team down the field at the end and gave them a chance to win it.
  • Cutler’s beautiful throw to Langford in the end zone is an easy touchdown for Matt Forte. Those are the kinds of plays Langford must learn to make. And he will.
  • There should be no run option on the final two point conversion. It should not even be available. Not against that front.
  • What was the fourth and eight call with ten minutes to go? Jeremy Langford and Martellus Bennett both looked like they had no idea where to run their routes.
  • Adam Gase has done a fine job this year with the quarterback and handling the injuries. He’s done a poor job in the red zone.

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John Fox’s Third Act

| January 16th, 2015

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The best I’ve ever been taught the three-act structure of playwriting was by a a wonderful writer and teacher named Pat Cook at the BMI Musical Theatre Writing Workshop. Cook, recalling the lessons of a teacher from his own past, described it thus:

Act One: get the main character up a tree.

Act Two: throw rocks at him.

Act Three: if he comes down safely, comedy. If he falls to his death, tragedy.

At the risk of harping on an issue many readers of this site could care less about, this structure is being more or less abandoned by the modern dramatic writer. The three-act play is being replaced by the 65-minute “meditation” on a relevant theme. (How hard it is to be gay, violence in schools, sex scandals in politics!) Plays with beginnings, middles and ends – once referred to as “well-made plays” – are now considered old-fashioned.

oneill

John Fox is not the hot coordinator of the moment, the NFL’s equivalent of a meditation on a relevant theme. What has Adam Gase actually done? How much does Dan Quinn actually provide the ridiculously-talented Seahawks defense? Shhh! Who cares? These are the names of the moment and they excite owners and fans in the same manner any shiny toy in the window excites a child: they’re new!

Fox is not new. He is a veteran head coach, an established structure, an old-fashioned play. The Chicago Bears are his third act.

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623 Comments

Around the League Tweets – April 3rd 2014!

| April 3rd, 2014

ATL Tweets

Around the League Tweets has our Pro Day Monday. No Tweeting that day. Will instead display our ability to eliminate apostrophes & articles.

2 of 10. There must be a dearth of corners on market if Champ Bailey still has interest from teams. 2013 tape made 1 thing clear: he’s done.

[Side note: I love when people make statements like, “Bailey should retire now.” Champ Bailey is thirty-five years old. Thirty five! And the morning after he retires he’ll enter a period of irrelevancy he hasn’t experienced since he was about 10. He won’t be a football player. He won’t be a star. He won’t be receiving a massive pay check weekly. Bailey should retire whenever the hell he wants.]

3 of 10. Urlacher didn’t learn from Tiki. Fans ma love ya in team’s uniform but they love TEAM far more. Best not criticize em post-career.

[Side note: If Urlacher continues to complain about the organization, he’ll start hearing boos at Soldier Field. ESPECIALLY if the Bears win without him.]

4 of 10. Release of Desean Jackson far too convenient for the Eagles. Wanna bet they had say as to when the DJax gang piece would come out?

5 of 10. Dont know if they’ll gel but Giants quietly went about fixing their biggest issue: porous offensive line play. Big, veteran bodies.

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