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Torn: How to Handle QB Position Between Now and September

| March 18th, 2021


This is one of the more bizarre off-seasons in Bears history.

It began with a year-end presser that sent Chicago sports radio into a tizzy and made the word “collaboration” a punchline. (The reaction to this presser was quintessential Chicago media. I’ve never heard so much unwarranted weeping into handkerchiefs.)

It then became about two star quarterbacks on the market: Deshaun Watson and Russell Willson. The excitement around the former has been muted by his evil organization’s reluctance to answer their landlines and the lawsuits now developing around the quarterback. (If you don’t think Watson’s legal troubles originate inside the Texans, you’re not paying attention. These are bad people.)

The excitement around the latter came to a crashing halt on Tuesday, with the Seahawks balking at a deal that had been negotiated for weeks and Andy Dalton signing in Chicago.

But is the Wilson deal dead? Adam Schefter sure doesn’t think so and any conversation about how the Bears need to approach quarterback between now and opening day starts with that question.



Until the Seahawks and Wilson make a public commitment to each other and the 2021 season, such a commitment does not exist. What we know:

  • Russell Wilson doesn’t want to be on the Seahawks any longer.
  • GM John Schneider was willing to let the quarterback leave.
  • Head coach Pete Carroll was not.

The Bears should keep calling, and keep increasing their offer, until that commitment is made or until the weekend of the draft.  At the same time, the team should not lose sight of Watson.

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Bears Should Be Patient as QB Carousel Spins

| March 16th, 2021


Seattle might not be ready to trade Russell Wilson today, this week or even this month. But that does not mean he will not become available and the Bears need to be ready to pounce when that time comes.

The same is true for Deshaun Watson.

Houston and Seattle really don’t want to trade their franchise quarterbacks, because no team really wants to make such a move. However, they ultimately might have to and the best chance the Bears have at getting a franchise quarterback is still through those two guys. Keep in mind, Jay Cutler wasn’t traded until April 2 because that’s how long it took to convince Denver they had to move him.

This might seem a rather scary proposition, but it also might be the club’s best option.

Imagine a world in which the Bears could keep all of their 2021 draft picks and still add either Watson or Wilson. That is looking more possible each day as other teams in the market for QBs look to make permanent moves in the draft. With that, they risk entering the 2021 season with Nick Foles as the starter, if Houston and Seattle remain stubborn.

That really isn’t the worst thing. Foles looked horrendous at times last year, but at least some of that was because they couldn’t protect him. Even Patrick Mahomes needs protection. The one game they had Sam Mustipher at center and Foles at quarterback, they scored 23 points, despite a right side consisting of Rashad Coward and Jason Spriggs.  That won’t happen again in 2021 as the Bears figure to spend an early pick, assuming they have one, on a tackle.

Foles doesn’t have to be the only option.

Jacoby Brissett is capable, will likely be cheap and would surely be an upgrade over what Mitch Trubisky has been for much of his career. Or they could take a flier on a player like Tim Boyle, who has been impressing people in Green Bay for years. Boyle has won competitions against Brett Hundley, Deshone Kizer and Jordan Love the last three years and has actually been impressive, with a passer rating better than 100 in the preseason, though that context is needed. He could be another Matt Flynn or Craig Nall, but he could also be another Matt Hasselbeck.

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Five Steps the Bears Can Take to Accelerate Their Super Bowl Timetable (Or, Get Deshaun)

| February 3rd, 2021

If it’s simply a matter of what team can offer the most, the Chicago Bears have no shot at getting Deshaun Watson. Thankfully, that’s not the case. “The player” can pick his next team and the Bears have to sell him on the Bears being that team.

As of last week, the Texans strongly insisted they would not trade Watson. But it’s the quarterback who actually holds the power, if he wants to use it. Playing hardball and forcing Watson to either retire or pay hefty fines for not reporting to training camp is the kind of move that could kill a Texans franchise already on life support. He has made it clear he wants out and the best thing the Texans can do is move on and start thinking about the future. (And it makes their sales pitch to the fans – “he wanted out” – far easier.)

While there should be at least 30 teams trying to make a move for Watson, the Bears are situated better than many think. They have almost all of their draft picks going forward and salary cap space is easy enough to create, especially with Watson only costing roughly $11 million against the cap in 2021.

We know the Bears can’t put together an offer full of top five picks but if they can appeal to Watson, the Texans just might have to take what they can get.

Five steps to do just that.


Step One. “I F@#&ed up.”

Ryan Pace has to talk man-to-man with Watson and explain the 2017 draft.

The most important thing: he can’t insult Watson. He must find a way to explain why he took Mitch, without offending Watson even more than he already has. He must tell him he’s every bit as good as the team thought, but they fell in love with Mitch. It was a mistake.

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The Full Deshaun Watson Take.

| January 22nd, 2021


This is not a column arguing the Bears are going to trade for Deshaun Watson and completely upend the narrative surrounding this organization. Most oddsmakers have the Bears fourth or fifth in the pecking order to acquire his services. This is a column arguing the Bears should make sure the Houston Texans know they are serious.

No one knows where Watson wants to play next season. There are rumors he wants Miami but those rumors circulated before the entire league started texting Nick Caserio at the gym. Listen, Miami is nice. The weather is gorgeous. The taxes are non-existent. The women don’t wear a ton of clothes near the beach. The team has a good coach and good talent. But they also have a disinterested fan base. The building is a mausoleum. If Watson wins in Miami, it’ll be met with a series of tepid hollers and lethargic golf claps.

If he wins in Chicago, we’ll be eating at one of the many Deshaun’s Dogs chains in the Chicagoland area for the rest of our lives. (“The RPO Dog has relish, pickles and onions!”) The Bears should assume they can convince Watson to want Chicago and act accordingly.

So what does “serious” mean?

Start with three first-round picks. Think of it this way. In order for the Bears to move up significantly in the 2020 NFL Draft for a quarterback, it’ll cost them next year’s first rounder anyway. So why wouldn’t you toss in an additional first to get a proven commodity at the most important position in all of sports?

If those picks are not enough, and they likely wouldn’t be, two options:

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Trubisky vs. Watson: Week 14 Game Preview!

| December 11th, 2020


Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears This Week?

I always like the Chicago Bears…

…but this is a team in complete freefall.


A Personal Note

This blog started in 2005. But 2006 was the first year things were taken seriously around here and that coincided with a magical run to the Super Bowl. From that season until Jay Cutler’s injury in the middle of 2011, it was a pleasure writing about the Chicago Bears daily. They weren’t perfect, by any means, but they were interesting.

But from then until now – with the exception of the 2018 mirage – it has been exhausting. Just think about all the mistakes this franchise has made:

  • Jerry Angelo was not a great GM but the team went to the NFC title game in 2010 and were 7-3 before their starting quarterback got hurt in 2011. The team decided THAT was the time to fire Angelo? (I wrote then that it was not and was slaughtered for that opinion.)
  • They hired Phil Emery, a candidate on very few radars. (Folks close to Ted Phillips have told me this is the most distinct regret of his time with the Bears.)
  • Emery fired Lovie Smith after the 2012 season. Lovie was 11-5 in 2010, 8-8 (Hanie) in 2011 and 10-6 in 2012. And was fired.
  • With reigning Coach of the Year Bruce Arians sitting in a hotel room, desperate to coach Cutler and the Bears, Emery hired CFL legend Marc Trestman to lead the Bears. It didn’t look like all that bad a choice in year one. Year two was a different story. Kromer rats out Jay to the media, then confesses. Jay is benched for Jimmy Clausen and Reverend Dave and I are forced to sit through it live.
  • Bears hire Ryan Pace. Pace hires John Fox. Is that the coach he wanted?
  • Pace drafts Trubisky over Watson without so much as meeting with Watson. Fox admits he was kept in the dark during this process. What’s odd about that? I KNEW THEY WERE DOING THIS THE MORNING OF THE DRAFT! But again, my connections are at the President/ownership level.
    • What both of these decisions show clearly is the Bears are not functioning as a single organization. They are separate entities, with separate intentions, trying to weld those intentions into a cohesive plan. And that doesn’t work in the NFL.

Mistake after mistake after mistake. Exhausting.


Fun Christmas Song Performances: Volume I

I’m in Christmas mode. (And I have no interest in writing a breakdown of Texans v. Bears. Honestly, who cares?) Here are some fun performances of great Christmas songs. I’ll add a few more to this list over the next few weeks.

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Santa Claus Wants Some Lovin, A Very Murray Christmas

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A Look at the QB Situations of the Potentially-Available Head Coaching Gigs

| December 22nd, 2017

Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images (Edited)

The question I’ve been asked most since getting to Chicago: “Do you think Trubisky will be a positive when looking for a new coach?” My answer each time has been a definitive yes because I truly believe it will.

But I decided that, instead of leaning on my gut, to poll my two pals in the league on the question, factoring in all of the potentially-available gigs and their quarterback situation. I’ve grouped the teams into categories.

(I’ll be referring to my friends as AFC GUY & NFC GUY.)


Colts

They get their own category because think of the waters GM Chris Ballard has to navigate. When he’s looking to hire a coach in January he may not be able to tell the candidates whether Andrew Luck, their franchise quarterback, will require an additional surgery sidelining him six months or more. He won’t be able to tell the candidates if they have a franchise quarterback in 2018 or not.

NFC GUY: “Chris is going to have to sell that job. And every potential coach will want to know if they’re considering drafting a quarterback early.”


Bucs / Titans

These are two jobs that, should they come open, will come open with a quarterback in-place. But…do you want them?

  • Marcus Mariota has questions to answer regarding his play in 2017. Because he’s been awful. Said AFC GUY: “If he’s not hurt, he’s a problem.”

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The Dannehy Draft Big Board

| April 25th, 2017

Last time I guessed what the Bears draft board looks like, I didn’t think a quarterback was on it. Now, not only do I think a QB is on it, I think it revolves around the position.

The more I thought about it, the more quarterback made sense for the Bears. It’s the biggest need on the team and there are players who are absolutely worth the third pick (especially if Jared Goff was worth the first pick last year). The signing of Mike Glennon buys them time and, if Glennon plays well, they won’t have trouble trading him for a first round pick next offseason.

Which QB the Bears may like is anybody’s guess. And people have guessed everybody. Within the span of five days, Eric Galko of Sporting News went from writing that Deshaun Watson was their favorite to tweeting that they preferred Patrick Mahomes. The next day it was reported that the Cleveland Browns were convinced the Bears were going to take Mitchell Trubisky. Nobody knows and anybody who says they do is full of it.

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Finding A Quarterback: There’s Something Special About DeShaun Watson

| April 5th, 2017

When you really think about the things that make quarterbacks great, you end up pinpointing traits Clemson’s DeShaun Watson has already displayed.

Being great in college doesn’t mean a player will be great in the NFL, but it’s the closest league we have to an apples-to-apples comparison and Watson was the single best player in that league last year.

Alabama was supposed to have one of the greatest defenses in the history of college football each of the last two years. They couldn’t stop Watson. His performance in the National Championship Game two years ago was impressive. And it pissed Alabama off. With one of the greatest defensive minds in the sport designing their game plan and a roster full of future NFL stars, Alabama was determined to stop Watson last year.

They couldn’t.

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