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George McCaskey plays the fool

| May 27th, 2015

There is only one man associated with the Chicago Bears who should be embarrassed by what happened with Ray McDonald.

It’s not Ray McDonald himself, who should definitely be embarrassed by his continued stupidity but is thankfully no longer associated with the Chicago Bears.

It’s not general manager Ryan Pace, who’s job depends on putting a team capable of winning games on the field.  His evaluation of players mainly applies to what happens on the field and in the locker room, and McDonald didn’t have any problems in those areas.

It’s not defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, who vouched for McDonald before he signed with the Bears.  Even more than Pace, Fangio’s input should only be taken into account for on-field product and locker room behavior.  Fangio should not be relied upon as an authority for anything involving McDonald’s personal life away from the field, so McDonald having issues in that area does not reflect poorly on Vic Fangio.

No, the man who should be embarrassed today is none other than George McCaskey, the chairman of the Bears who describes himself as the man with the final say in any personnel moves that involve character issues.

McCaskey himself has said that he initially told Ryan Pace he could not sign Ray McDonald.  According to McCaskey’s own testimony, that came after reviewing a detailed file on McDonald put together by Chicago’s security staff.  But McDonald and McCaskey then had a face to face meeting in which McCaskey was hoodwinked into believing in McDonald, so he changed his mind despite the facts of the case, and McCaskey’s knowledge of them, remaining exactly the same.

From a business standpoint, hiring McDonald was not really a bad move.  The Bears gave him no guaranteed money and cut him instantly when he messed up again.  In that regard, they didn’t really do anything wrong, even if I’m not a fan of giving an alleged serial domestic abuser his 4th chance in under 12 months when he has not voiced any sort of public remorse for his actions.

But here is why McCaskey should be embarrassed: his comments in the immediate aftermath of the McDonald hiring reek of delusion and hypocrisy.  He spoke of the Bears having “a 96-year tradition of doing things a certain way” shortly after signing a man that, by his own judgment when presented only with the facts of the case, did not fit in with that way.

He also spoke about needing to do a “certain amount of discounting” of the alleged victim’s testimony, despite the fact that he freely admitted never having tried to actually hear that testimony from the alleged victim, her lawyer, or anyone associated with her.  To McCaskey’s credit, he does say there is a level of bias to be expected from everybody involved in the situation, yet he apparently failed to apply that bias filter to McDonald’s side of the story while publicly attaching it to the alleged victim, just one of the many ways he showed a complete ineptitude in handling domestic violence situations.

Ray McDonald fooled George McCaskey into going against his better judgment.  This led to McCaskey trying to claim some absurd moral high ground while simultaneously participating in victim shaming of a woman who has allegedly suffered at least three incidents of domestic violence in the past year.  When it all blew up in only 2 months, McCaskey was left looking like a fool, and his family’s “96-year tradition of doing things a certain way” sure sounds like a hollow boast.

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Diving Into the Offseason: GM Interviews, Coaching Candidates & the Free Agent List

| January 5th, 2015

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  • Bears set to interview Lake Dawson (Tuesday) and Chris Ballard (Wednesday) for their GM position, per Adam Schefter. You know what I’d like to see from the Bears this week? Once they identify the guy they want, hire him. If Ballard is the guy they’ve truly wanted since even before they fired Phil Emery a week ago (as was suggested in multiple locations), don’t let him leave Halas Hall Wednesday without discussing terms of the contract and scheduling the press conference for Thursday morning. The firings of Emery and Trestman were decisive actions by owner George McCaskey. Let’s keep that decisiveness going.
  • Here’s what worries me about Todd Bowles: his sideline demeanor reminds me of Marc Trestman and Lovie Smith and Dick Jauron. Bruce Arians described Bowles as “soft-spoken” and haven’t we seen how sideline stoicism plays in the city of Chicago? You can call this a non-issue if you like but the lack of fire and passion from the Bears has been a major issue over the last two seasons. McCaskey should be looking for a man to change that.
  • Second thought on this. Jim Fassel coached the Giants to a Super Bowl appearance during his time with the Giants but he was a nightmare off the field and was way too lenient with his players inside the locker room. Longtime Giants owner Wellington Mara wanted to follow Fassel with the polar opposite. He went to Tom Coughlin. Giants won two titles.

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Thoughts on George McCaskey Cleaning House Following Dismal 2014 Season

| December 30th, 2014

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I didn’t have one concrete theme from Black Monday but instead several distinct thoughts. Here they are.

Thought #1 – Emotion Not a Bad Thing

Football is a game of strategy and emotion. The strategy has spawned an entire industry of newfangled NFL writers who believe the $50 they spend for All-22 access makes them the heir apparent to Vince Lombardi. (X & O writing is quickly supplanting Combine analysis and salary cap breakdowns as the most surefire way to put me to sleep.) Strategy is why coaches are paid millions, why they sleep on their couches as their families fall apart at home and why play sheets now look like Greek diner menus in Clifton, New Jersey.

Emotion is the far less dissected issue, the far simpler issue and, in my estimation, just as important.

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Events of Last Two Weeks Make Clear Bears Biggest Need is Organizational Leadership

| December 18th, 2014

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Quick timeline…

Last week Aaron Kromer admitted to an act that would have led to his excommunication from 31 of the 32 NFL coaching staffs. But Marc Trestman, ever the genteel humanitarian,  wrapped his arms around a buddy and said, “People make mistakes. How about some cocoa over at my place?”

After that decision GM Phil Emery made clear in pre-Saints game comments the actions of Kromer (a) infuriated him and (b) would have been handled differently were he to have the power to handle them. Disciplining coaches does not come under the purview of the GM, Emery told us. That’s the head coach’s responsibility.

Now comes Wednesday night and the LEAK HEARD ROUND THE LEAGUE. Jay Cutler, the handsome man paid handsomely by Emery to be his franchise quarterback, was benched by the head coach in favor of Jimmy Clausen, a wretched quarterback with only one more win than me in the NFL. No word from coaches or front office alike led to a night and morning worth of speculation about last gasps from drowning coaches, $16M in injury settlements, Ken Whisenhunt trades…etc.

From the Twitter feed of Adam Hoge:

So Kromer doesn’t get fired, but Cutler gets benched? Trestman: “That’s a completely … That’s a question that I’m not going to answer.”

Of course that is a question Trestman is not going to answer. How can he answer it? What he was going to say is these issues are completely separate and he’s right. One individual admitted to publicly stabbing a player in the back. The other individual didn’t play well. He chose to fire the one who will have no impact on his future coaching career.

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Bears Historic Awfulness Demands Historic Response From George McCaskey

| December 6th, 2014

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After the Bears lost to the New England Patriots in a fashion they should copyright, George McCaskey spoke to the media. This McCaskey, we’ve all been told, is different from the last McCaskey. His comments from an article on Pro Football Talk:

“They have every right to be [upset],” McCaskey said. “We’re 3-5. That’s a losing record. We’re winless at home and that doesn’t fit the formula for making it to the postseason. You’ve got to dominate at home. You’ve got to control your division and you’ve got to do pretty well for yourself on the road. We’re outside that formula right now and we need to correct that.”

McCaskey said he’s “very disappointed” in the 3-5 start for a team that “everybody in the building was expecting this team to contend for a Super Bowl,” adding that he is interested now in seeing how the team reacts to adversity. McCaskey said he has “every confidence” that General Manager Phil Emery, coach Marc Trestman and the players will have a successful response.

Since this statement was made the Bears have been blown out three times on national television and eked out two victories over league bottom feeders (after falling down double-digits in both contests). The postseason dreams are dead. The home form is awful. The road form is shameful. And perhaps worst of all, the Bears have become an unwatchable bore. They have drained the joy from football season by producing a product that fails to entertain, let alone excite.

With this disgraceful performance has come an opportunity for George McCaskey to grab the reigns of the franchise and faith of its fans. There is a well-founded belief that the world’s greatest art is created at times of social crisis; that great generals emerge when the battle seems lost. This is McCaskey’s time to emerge and act in accordance with what has transpired on the field.

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Audibles From the Long Snapper: Jackasses Badger Trestman’s Daughters, Gabriel & More!

| November 11th, 2014

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If you abuse one of Marc Trestman’s Daughters Because He’s Lost Some Football Games, You Don’t Deserve to Be Part of the Human Race

Deadspin reported the story on Monday about Bears fans harassing the daughters of Marc Trestman because, you know, he’s struggling as a football coach. The article’s author, Samer Kalaf, summed the entire ordeal up perfectly: “The Bears suck, but these people suck more.”

Sports are fun. They are life’s great escape. And I don’t judge anyone emotionally investing in a football or any other team because it is the one element of life where a human can be completely unselfish. We have nothing to do with these outcomes, even though we often blame the sandwich we ate or where we sat or what jersey we wore.

You’d hope these assholes harassing the Trestman girls are teenagers but unfortunately they are not. They are useless non-entities unhappy with their own existence who’ve put too much of their self worth on the wins and losses of football team. To any of those individuals who might come across this site I encourage you to grow up and get a fucking life. Marc Trestman may not last as the coach of the Bears but he’s achieved more in his last two years on this earth than you’ll achieve in all of yours.

It is people like these pricks starting fights in parking lots and giving sports fans a bad name all these years and I’m tired of it.

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