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Bears at Eagles Game Preview, Volume II: Poem & Prediction

| November 1st, 2019

“Defend”

An original poem by J. Hughes


You.

Are not.

Your worst player.

You won’t be defined,

By a single, failing individual,

But instead by the collective vitality

Of all proudly wearing orange and blue.

These are the moments where great ones ascend.

The ballyhooed defense does not break, does not bend.

And a season of prodigious promise does not prematurely end.

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Bears at Eagles Game Preview Volume I: Doing a Halloween Candy Thing

| October 31st, 2019

Everybody ranks their favorite Halloween candies. But I wanted to write about a few candies – and styles of candy – that always made Halloween feel special. And I’ve attached a correlating/current Chicago Bears thing to keep this column from being exclusively about candy. (But really, it’s about candy.)


The Bite Size Candy Bar

Why can’t we buy candy bars this size at the deli counter or in a vending machine? Not only can we not buy individual candy bars this size but the secondary option to “normal” size is an extra large version. The bite size 3 Musketeers bar is about 63 calories. That’s not healthy but at least it’s a low-impact way to meet a craving and not destroy a diet.

And of course the correlation is bite-size Tarik Cohen. Where the hell has he gone in this offense? Why is Matt Nagy not scheming Cohen into more explosive situations, instead of turning him into an unproductive dump-off machine for Mitch Trubisky? (The answer is probably Trubisky.) This Sunday, Jim Schwartz is going to bring the house at Trubisky. The screen game could prove pivotal to combating the pressure. That means Cohen.


Krackel

Ever think about Krackel? I do sometimes. Late at night. When I’m alone. It’s a delicious candy bar but it only seems to exist in that mixed bag of tiny Hershey candy bars that included Mr. Goodbar. When I was a kid my family went to Hershey, PA and I bought a Krackel bar the size of adolescent gibbon. This is special. And all-too elusive.

Where’s the pressure, Chuck Pagano? This summer it looked like you were going to release Roquan Smith at quarterbacks. Buster Skrine was signed and he is one of the best pressure corners in the league. With the Bears offense struggling to this degree it’s time to start manufacturing pressure and trying to create mistakes. The Bears can’t afford to be content with forcing punts anymore. It’s time to release the Krackel.


Smarties

The basic. Sugar. Formed into a wafer. Wrapped in plastic or something. These things would break open in your candy bag and you didn’t care. You’d scoop them off the bottom and slam them down. I have never eaten a Smartie between November 2nd and October 30th. Never once. I’m not even sure I’ve seen a Smartie during that time period.

The Bears built a bread and butter power run game. Maulers on the interior of their OL. A back difficult to bring down. The first time they decided to use it was Sunday, against the Chargers, and it was their most productive offensive element of the season. Stick with it. Develop it. Perfect it. And make the quarterback’s failings an afterthought for the final nine games of the season.

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Five Thoughts on 2018’s Final Game From Inside the Building

| January 7th, 2019

Sunday’s loss to the Eagles is going to be discussed for a long time and Cody Parkey will remain the centerpiece of that conversation. But here are five (I think) unique observations from inside the building.

  • The crowd wanted to be the loudest and most intense crowd at Soldier Field in thirty years. But oddly, the defense deflated them constantly. The Eagles converted way too many third downs, and converted them with relative ease, with Foles throwing to wide open receivers under little pressure. Third down is when the lakefront faithful reached fever pitch. Building back up to that level, on a cold windy night, was not easy.
  • There was a distinct change in Mitch Trubisky after completing the 3rd-and-11 late. His confidence seemed shaken. His receivers were not winning on the outside. He wasn’t able to create with his legs because he was clearly nursing an injury. But after he completed that pass, he took control of the game. He was brilliant down the stretch and would have been the story of the game if…well, you know.
  • When the Bears spread the Eagles out, the Eagles had no answer. I wrote last week this was not a game the Bears should plan to win on the ground. That’s a great Eagles front. When Nagy spread them out, Trubisky had open receivers everywhere. Why didn’t the Bears change their approach in the second half? Why didn’t they recognize those mismatches? This was not a banner day for the coaching staff on either side of the ball.

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Wildcard Weekend Diary: Bears Lose to Eagles

| January 6th, 2019

Saturday January 5th – 12:19 PM 

I love the Drake Hotel. It’s old. It’s beautiful. The Coq D’or is my favorite hotel bar in the world. (Go there just to have the Bookbinder soup.) When I come through those doors on Walton Street, I feel like I’m stepping into the history of Chicago. It doesn’t have the amenities of a newer hotel. But it has character. A ton of it.

This morning I decided to order breakfast to the room. Two eggs, over easy. Home fries well done. Bacon. English muffin. Orange juice. Pot of coffee. Room service at a good hotel is one of life’s delights, especially for someone who has spent years crafting an existence centered around the avoidance of pants.

I rented a movie. I hadn’t seen Can You Ever Forgive Me. $20 too steep? Probably, for a movie that I’ll be able to rent for $6 in a week or two. But I’ve been dying to see it. (You too should see it. It’s brilliant. And Melissa McCarthy gives the performance of the year.)

I did all this because Noah isn’t getting to town until the afternoon and I can’t be trusted to wander the streets and not end up in a saloon. With the great football coming later, I didn’t want to be asleep at 6:30 pm. (It would not be the first time.)

Why am I telling you all this?

Because I decided Monday’s column  (what you’re currently reading) won’t be the standard bullet-point recap of Sunday’s game with the Eagles. I’ll be in the building and I find it hard to get the full context of a game in that environment. Plus, I’ll inevitably miss stuff waiting to take a piss. And with a playoff game, there will be so much coverage for you to wade through. Why not create something different?

Instead I’m going to write a little now. Write a little more tomorrow morning. Then write something Sunday night/Monday morning. Walk you, the reader, through this experience. Emotionally, mostly. And right now my emotions are steady. I’m confident. Here’s why:

  • The Bears are the better team. They’re just better at almost every single element of the game, outside of the kicker position.
  • The Bears are a dominant defense with a dominant home field advantage. Those almost always hold up in the postseason.
  • I’m expecting an insane crowd. Unlike most games I’ve attended in Chicago, the town is not covered with Bears gear. The hotel lobby and elevators aren’t laden with fans here to see the team. Partly because the tickets are expensive, I’m sure, but mostly I think it’s because people plan trips around those Bears games during the season and they would only have had a week to prep for this. This is going to be a local crowd.
  • Nick Foles has never thrived in an environment like he’ll face tomorrow.

Let’s see how I feel in the morning. But right now, I expect great things from the Bears.

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12-4. (Reaction in Tweets)

| December 31st, 2018



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Day Game Viewing Guide From Bears Perspective

| December 9th, 2018

The most important games of the week for the Chicago Bears will be played tonight (Bears v Rams) and tomorrow night (Vikings v Seahawks). But there’s still much to keep an eye on before we hit the primetime slate.

Who should the Bears fan root for?


Browns over Panthers

Another Panthers loss would basically clear them from the wildcard fray.


Cowboys over Eagles

There’s an argument to be made for rooting against Dallas. But that’s a seeding argument. Seeding schmeeding. Fans should just want the Bears playing in January.


Giants over Redskins

This is the least important because Mark Sanchez ain’t making a run.

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