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If Bears Go Offensive Head Coach, Shurmur the Conservative, Uninspiring Choice

| January 4th, 2018

Three days into another boozeless, eight-week run, I have started to develop a bit of a sweet tooth. (This grows and grows as the eight weeks progress.) My go-to thirst quencher in this regard is the gelato from the fine folks at Talenti.

And they have flavors. Double Dark Chocolate is my favorite. Toasted Almond is incredible. Coffee Chocolate Chip makes your heart sing with the sweetness of an early-90s animated Disney heroine. Caramel Cookie Crunch takes you down a wild forest road where the squirrels whistle your favorite song and woodchucks protect your children as the family sleeps.

They also have Vanilla Bean. It’s steady. It’s reliable. It’s not going to make you pause that episode of Billions (starring Chicago Bears fan Chris Denham) you’re watching, turn to your girlfriend and say, “This is incredible!” But it’s not going to upset you.

Pat Shurmur is Vanilla Bean.


Resume.

Shurmur’s career is interesting.

  • He spent ten years in Philadelphia under Andy Reid, coaching tight ends, offensive line and quarterbacks. Two things about this. (1) How many coaches are in charge of three position groups during one stint with an organization? That kind of versatility is why Shurmur profiled as a successful head coach. (2) He coached Donovan McNabb to the most prolific passing resume in Eagles history.
  • He left Philly to join Steve Spagnuolo’s staff in St. Louis. 2009 did not go well, with the team winning one game being quarterbacked by Marc Bulger and Kyle Boller. After drafting Sam Bradford – the last QB to get super rich on draft day – the team improved to 7 wins with the rookie putting together a solid (if conservative) 60%, 3,512 yards, 18 TDs, 15 INTs.
  • The following season, before being hurt, Bradford’s numbers plummeted. (53.5%, 2,164 yards, 6-6.) His offensive coordinator that season? Josh McDaniels.

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Flip the Script: Bears Should Hire Eagles Quarterbacks Coach

| January 1st, 2018

At the end of the 2013 season, when Phil Emery was looking for Lovie Smith’s successor, I wrote a column endorsing Kyle Shanahan for the job. That column was met with across-the-board rejection from not only readers but friends in the media and around the league. My argument was simple. I thought Shanahan was going to be a great head coach soon enough, knew he had a terrific relationship with Jay Cutler and wanted the Bears to grab him before he became a hot commodity. Sure enough, a few years later, Shanny went on to create explosive offenses in Atlanta and become the hottest coach on the market in 2017.

John Eugene DeFilippo is that guy right now.


Resume.

Let’s just go through Flip’s career and see what he’s accomplished because it’s rather remarkable for someone who is only thirty-nine years old.

  • He began his NFL coaching career on Tom Coughlin’s staff with the New York Giants. Never a bad thing to get your first exposure to the league under one of its greatest coaches.
  • After two traumatic seasons in Oakland (‘The Kiffin/Cable Years’) he was the rookie year QB coach for Mark Sanchez in Jersey. Sanchez, coming off one year starting in college, struggled through that season but then turned everything around in the postseason. With Trubisky trusting and relying on Sanchez, Flip could probably convince him to stay on as QB coach and now the Bears would be building a similar coaching coalition to what exists in Philly.
  • Flip left the Jets, where he was splitting duties with former Bears OC Matt Cavanaugh, and returned to the college ranks. His work at San Jose State was apparently pretty damn good but who is really doing a deep dive into what’s good and not good at San Jose State?
  • He returned to the pro ranks, coaching both Derek Carr as a rookie and coordinating the Browns for a year with a quarterbacking trio of Josh McCown, Johnny Manziel and Austin Davis. That trio completed 60% of their passes for 4,156 yards, 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. That trio. Did that.
  • He’s been the QB coach for Carson Wentz and been primarily responsible for the Wentz transition from lost rookie fading down the stretch to MVP candidate. And let me tell you this. If Nick Foles takes this team deep into the playoffs, Flip will have the suitors stacking up.

The Leap.

Listen, is the jump from position coach to head coach a big one? Yes. But two things. (1) Andy Reid did it once. (2) Flip has already been a coordinator, even if only for one year, even if only for the Browns. And Flip also sounds an awful lot like a head coach. His players agree. From current Eagles backup Nate Sudfeld:

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DaBearsPod Week 12: Featuring Paul Domowitch of the Philly Inquirer [AUDIO]

| November 24th, 2017

On this week’s episode:

  • Jeff discusses the next big decision facing Ryan Pace – who nurtures and develops this collection of young offensive talent.
  • Paul Domowitch of the Philly Inquirer breaks down the Eagles, his cantankerous Twitter personality and how much a difference Alshon Jeffery is making in Philadelphia.
  • Reverend Dave drank too much tequila once.
  • Kristofferson & Cash! Thanksgiving!

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Week 12: Bears at Eagles Game Preview

| November 22nd, 2017

Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears This Week?

I always like the Chicago Bears. Even when they have almost no chance of winning.


Updating Trubisky’s Development

Mitch Trubisky’s performance Sunday was a solid one, especially the final drive of the game. But just as he addressed (a) throws across his body while on the move and (b) taking too many sacks, now he must address an issue that popped up against the Lions. That’s not trusting his pocket.

In fairness, I get it. Trubisky has been harassed in that pocket for a month. Every time he drops back he’s expecting defenders, quickly. Sunday he didn’t get them. But his footwork and mechanics did not reflect that. On throws where he had plenty of time to set his feet and deliver the football, Trubisky rushed his process and delivered an errant toss.

Sunday against the Eagles might not be the day to expect a comfortable pocket. But this is an issue to watch down the stretch.


Song of the Week


Thanksgiving Food Rankings

#3. Pumpkin Pie. You give me warm pumpkin pie with cold vanilla ice cream and you might as well undo my belt for me.

#2. Turkey Gravy. I’m not sure I like turkey. I mean, it’s fine, but if I liked it so much I would probably eat it on one of the other 364 days, right? I don’t even consider turkey on those days. But turkey gravy? I’d inject it right into my veins in a Baltimore vacant if I could. Why can’t turkey gravy be the cure for skunk spraying instead of tomato juice?

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Across The Middle – Week Three

| September 21st, 2016

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As I rewatched the Bears with my son in my arms, I looked down at him, he looked up at me and I knew he was thinking: “Why should I sign up for this?”

At this point, it’s a legitimate question: Why should anyone be optimistic about the Bears? And at this point, it’s hard to find an answer. I’d like to tell you it wasn’t as bad as it looked on Monday night, but that would be a lie. It was every bit that bad and probably a little worse.

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What the Hell is Going On?

| September 20th, 2016

How does a night like last night happen? How can a football team have this little preparation, this little vision, this absence of an identity? Rapid fire, in question form:

  • What is the offense? Do they have any intention of being able to run the ball effectively? Why would a team with issues on the edge of their offensive line force their quarterback to repeatedly drop deep into the pocket?
  • What was wrong with Cutler before the fumble? Why is every third pass being tossed directly into the ground?
  • Where’s the pass rush?
  • How many players can get hurt in one game? Eddie Goldman?!?!
  • A thirty-one yard field goal? And you do that? In your debut at Soldier Field?

Sad part is there’s not a lot to dissect. Last night was the most disheartening Bears loss in quite some time. They don’t look like a team with any hope of 8-8. They look like a team destined for the number two pick.

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Three Final Thoughts on Bears v. Eagles

| September 19th, 2016

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Thought One

Jay Cutler isn’t a game manager. He’s a slinger. Let him sling it tonight.

Thought Two

Better run game wins. I think Jeremy Langford is about to have a breakout performance on the national stage.

Thought Three

Wildcard of the night: Darren Sproles. He still has the burst in the return game and the Bears can’t afford to give Wentz short fields or, worst case, points from specials.

 

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