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Audibles From the Long Snapper: Emery Interview Tactics, Mills to Guard, Stats!

| November 5th, 2014

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PHIL EMERY DID WHAT?

Bruce Arians is a cool guy, a terrific hat wearer and his personality would have been a perfect match for the city of Chicago. (Look at how “beer and a shot Maddon” was universally beloved by Chicago media Monday.) To assume, however, that his not being hired by Phil Emery was some kind of administrative debacle is second-guessing of the worst kind. Yes, Arians won Coach of the Year. But he won that award less because of his work and more because his head coach that season was sidelined due to intense cancer treatments and he was put in charge of Andrew Luck. You know who else is going to win a lot of games as a head coach of Andrew Luck? Every single head coach with the luxury of having Andrew Luck as his quarterback.

Bruce Arians would not be any guarantee to make Cutler and this offense better. And his defensive coordinator of choice, Todd Bowles, would be no more successful with this absence of defensive talent.

Less his final decision, Emery’s approach to hiring the head coach has come under scrutiny recently and seems to have been something of a masterclass in weirdness. Think that’s too harsh? Let’s look at the two major elements revealed in various reports:

  • Arians was asked to do a mock press conference less than a month removed from doing multiple press conferences almost every single week of the 2012 season. I can understand a general manager wanting to evaluate the media savvy of a potential big market head coach but it wouldn’t take longer than nineteen seconds with Arians to understand he’d be just fine.
  • Arians is quoted as stating it was “awkward” being told he’d need to keep certain assistant coaches (including Rod Marinelli, who didn’t stay) and said in no uncertain terms it was not going to happen. Why would Emery insist on a head coach keeping a defensive coordinator who had yet to commit to the organization for the following season? Maybe before telling Bruce that Rod would be his defensive coordinator he should have asked Rod? The whole thing is, just, weird.

Also, was Marc Trestman so desperate to be an NFL head coach he would have accepted any terms? Does a man so desperate for his shot have it in his system to take over the leadership of a locker room?

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Bears at Panthers Game Preview Addendum

| October 3rd, 2014

More Sondheim. It’s an addendum.

A FEW ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS ON INJURIES

  • There seems to be a consensus among fans and media that Jared Allen will be extremely limited in the aftermath of his battle with pneumonia a week ago. But reports I’ve read stated Allen wanted to play against the Packers and was working out vigorously Monday morning. Sure, he might not play 95% of the snaps but I don’t expect him to be used situationally in Carolina.
  • Jermon Bushrod suffering a knee injury in practice would feel far more serious if the Bears were facing the 2013 Carolina Panthers and their relentless defensive ends. But Michael Ola should be a capable replacement if needed and Bears have the luxury of Eben Britton to provide security on that side of the line.
  • Bears keep ruling out Shea McClellin days before the game. He must not be close to returning.
  • Panthers have essentially ruled out Jonathan Stewart. They are turning to the street at running back this weekend.
  • Put Jeremiah Ratliff in non-medical language and maybe your perspective will change. Against the San Francisco 49ers he suffered a bruise to his brain. That brain bruise has been so debilitating that he’s missed two straight games and has yet to be medically cleared for the third with three days til kickoff. Why is Ratliff even considering playing? Why are the Bears contemplating this risk? Ratliff should not only sit this week but also next week, avoid air travel, and return at home on the 19th.

After the jump you can hear my spot on SportsTownChicago.com previewing Bears v. Panthers…

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Some Random Thoughts on the Comings and Goings of Bears Camp

| August 6th, 2014

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Presented live!

  • If there is starting to be a position of concern (not  called safety) it might be right tackle. Jordan Mills left practice Wednesday with pain in the same foot operated upon earlier in the year. His projected backup Eben Britton is sidelined with a hamstring pull and has spent most of his career battling injuries. Kyle Long and Mills taking the next step on the right side of the line was a huge part of the belief this Bears offense is about to take the next step to dominance. Will be interesting to see how Mills handles the balky hoof.
  • Two of my Tweets from yesterday regarding the Martellus Bennett suspension:

Way Bears are expertly handling Martellus Bennett is why I thought troubled player like Will Hill would have found perfect home in Chicago.

Emery/Trestman exude authority, project confidence and lead with genuine compassion. Rare in sports.

  • What Emery and Trestman need to do now is win. (Side note: I’d expect Martellus Bennett reinstated no later than middle of next week.)

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Audibles From the Long Snapper: Defensive Line Evaluation, Eben Britton & Paddy Title Odds

| March 27th, 2014

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IS 2014 DL BETTER THAN 2013 ON PAPER?

Moon Mullin opens his CSN column, which dropped late Wednesday night, with a statement:

And now for a cold splash of perspective, one which I strongly suspect Bears general manager Phil Emery understands from painful experience:

Jared Allen or no Jared Allen, the Bears’ projected defensive line going into 2014 is arguably not as good as the one positioned to take the opening opponent’s snap in 2013.

I quite literally can’t disagree with this statement more. Here’s why:

  • Everyone needs to stop with the Corey Wootton/Stephen Paea stuff. Without seeing these two players as overwhelming positives there was no way for Moon to make the statement his column makes and neither Wootton nor Paea is an overwhelming anything. They were and are below average defensive linemen who’ve been overly celebrated due to a dearth of talent along the line.
  • The Bears now have three defensive ends (Houston, Young, Idonije) better than their second best defensive end a year ago.
  • 2014 Jared Allen is an upgrade over 2013 Julius Peppers.

What do the Bears still lack? An interior pass rusher. That is why I stand by my belief that Phil Emery should swallow his mysterious medicine and draft the best defensive player in college football last year, Aaron Donald.

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