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The 26Shirts Game Preview: Week Two

| September 18th, 2020

The current shirt from 26Shirts is my concept and design and you can see it over on the right rail (or down below on mobile). Proceeds going to great cause. You can read all about that, and place your order, by CLICKING HERE. It ain’t just tee shirts, either. The hoodies, light and sweatshirt-style, are both very cool.


Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears This Week?

I always like the Chicago Bears, despite this Allen Robinson situation.

Would I like to see Robinson in Chicago long-term? Of course. Would I be rushing to give him $20 million a year without knowing who my quarterback is in 2021? Nope. No I would not.

Nevertheless, Robinson’s case is only supported by positive play and that’s what I would expect moving forward.


Breaking Down the New York Giants

Offense

  • Everything with this offense feeds off the running game and Saquon Barkley. If the Giants are getting four or five yards a carry with their star running back it opens up their entire playbook and makes them a very difficult group to defend.
  • If the run game isn’t working for the Giants, they’ll try to compensate for deficiencies at the offensive tackle spots with quick, mid-range slants to Sterling Shepard or by mismatching their tight ends on opposing linebackers and safeties. This is a difficult way to move the ball because it requires 10-12 plays, mistake free, for points.
  • Darius Slayton is the deep threat and the Giants will take their shots if Daniel Jones is given consistent time in the pocket. Eddie Jackson can’t let Slayton get over the top.
  • Pressure, of course, is always key, but specifically against Jones. When Jones is drop-and-toss he’s strong-armed and accurate. When he sits deep for an extra second or two (and often pump fakes) he gives defensive backs opportunities to make plays on the ball. He’s also one of the game’s more prolific fumblers.
  • If you blitz Jones, you better have eyes on Barkley. He’s a home run waiting to happen on every screen. And Barkley is one of the worst blocking backs in the sport so his only viability in the passing game is in space.

Defense

  • This is not a particularly talented group but they compensate with (a) hustle and (b) disguise. If their opener is any indication, they’ll keep Trubisky guessing right up until the snap.
  • Two players to account for on this defense: Lorenzo Carter and Blake Martinez. They are the engine.
  • The Bears will once again be seeing an underwhelming collection of corners. James Bradberry can play but Corey Ballentine and Darnay Holmes are liabilities with the ball in the air. Trubisky can’t be afraid to give his receivers opportunities to make plays. If he’s waiting for Robinson and Miller and Mooney to get open in space, he’s waiting too long.

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Practice Notebook (8/21/20)

| August 21st, 2020


With a week of practices almost in the books, I’ve actually started doing some “work” around here again, texting folks around the club to find out what’s happening. Here are some of their thoughts, and a lot of mine, in these early days.


The Lady’s Got Potential

Several people around practices have noted improvements in Mitch Trubisky’s footwork but let’s hit the breaks a bit. Does anybody care what a quarterback’s mechanics look like in practice sessions? Mitch can set his feet and throw at Halas Hall, I’ve no doubt about that. But can he set his feet and throw when those Smith boys from Green Bay are coming around the edge? If his mechanics are improved it’s undoubtedly a good thing. But nobody will know how improved until they start keeping score.


A New Argentina

Jimmy Graham was the best player on the practice field this week. Cole Kmet made his presence known immediately. There’s no reason to get overly excited about practices but it sure seems like the most improved position on the 2020 Bears will be tight end. Kmet is a stud. His early success won’t surprise me at all. Graham? As someone deep inside the organization told me this spring, “Ryan believes Jimmy is going to have a big season in this offense. So does Jimmy.” Soon, there might be some other believers around the league.

[Side note: I haven’t played fantasy football since Shaun Alexander was in the league but Jimmy Graham is someone I’d be looking at were I to play this season.]


The Art of the Possible

Note from a scout friend: “I think Tulane kid.. Mooney is going to be really good.“

Darnell Mooney can fly and the Bears think they stole a real player in the fifth round. Will he have major impact this season? Well, the truth is he doesn’t have to. With Teddy Ginn on the roster, the rookie can grow into the season and watched a seasoned speedster go about his work.

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ATM: Don’t Sleep on Jimmy Graham Signing

| March 24th, 2020

Although the Chicago Bears signing Jimmy Graham was largely seen as one of the strangest free agent signings of the early period, don’t be surprised if he makes a big impact. Too many are judging the big tight end on his raw stat line in 2019, without looking at context. Even more people are using lazy narratives. Yes, Graham’s statistics were down. The 38 catches and 447 yards he had in 2019 were both the second-lowest totals of his career. But Graham’s decreased production was more about a lack of opportunity.

Outside of maybe quarterback, no position was more impacted by the scheme change the Packers underwent last year than tight end. TEs have certainly had success in the style of offense Matt LaFleur runs but they’re also asked to block more. If there is one knock on Graham that has followed him his whole career it’s that he’s a horrendous blocker. As a result, he went from playing 74 percent of the snaps in 2018 to 58 percent in 2019. Blocking tight end Marcedes Lewis saw an increase from 18 percent to 45.

Graham caught 63.3 percent of the passes thrown his way in 2019, which is in line with his career average, as was his 11.8 yards per catch.

The narrative that has been spun is that Graham can no longer run.  While he’s certainly not as fast as he was when the New Orleans Saints essentially used him as a wide receiver, he can still get down the field. According to Sharp Football, the Packers had 12 explosive plays from the tight end position, accomplishing them at the eighth-best rate in the league (the Bears were 32nd with one explosive play from the tight end position). Of those 12, Graham had nine and had the ninth-best rate at the position.

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New Orleans Saints at Chicago Bears – Monday Workday & Monday Night Football Thread

| December 15th, 2014

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Some Final Thoughts…

1 – Have read in multiple places the Bears now have an opportunity to utilize Marquess Wilson more prominently in the game plan due to the absence of Brandon Marshall. Poppycock. Wilson should be utilized in the exact same manner he would have been were Marshall healthy. Bears are already making a terrible decision by changing the positions of Jon Bostic and Christian Jones in the name of, to paraphrase Trestman, “less disruption”. All three should spend the final weeks of 2014 playing the positions they are projected to play in September of 2015.

2 – Josh Bellamy should start tonight for the Bears and Cutler should target him. When I watched Bellamy play against Cleveland this summer he handled first-round pick Justin Gilbert with ease. (I was so convinced by Bellamy I expected him to spend the year on the Browns roster.) I think he’s a pro.

3 – So now every time the Bears run the ball unsuccessfully, media and fans will question whether the blame belongs to the blockers and back or if Cutler should have checked out. That is the damage done by Aaron Kromer. That is why its inexcusable he is still a member of the coaching staff. (Do you think Tom Coughlin would still have Kromer around? John Harbaugh?)

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