Audibles From the Long Snapper: QB Cap Numbers, Charity Event Photos, Bears/Browns Stats & MORE!

| December 11th, 2013



Phil Emery wants to build a championship contender in 2014 and he knows that tying up too much money in a single position can drastically effect his ability to plug needs, mostly on the defensive side of the ball. If Emery franchises Jay Cutler, the cap number for next season is thought to be between 16 and 17 million. That money is a directly assault on the salary cap. Here’s a bit from a NFP post from Brad Biggs on the Aaron Rodgers deal:

Now, Rodgers is on the books for seven seasons – through 2019 – at a total of $130.75 million, an average of $18,678,571 per season. Probably the best part of the contract for the team is the salary cap numbers never get out of whack. That is good for Rodgers too because those issues can lead to restructures and players getting cut. Here are his cap numbers through the life of the deal:

2013 $12 million
2014 $17.9 million
2015 $18.6 million
2016 $19.6 million
2017 $20.65 million
2018 $20.9 million
2019 $21.1 million

When Emery said he didn’t like the idea of using the tag on Jay Cutler in 2014 it was not because he didn’t want Jay Cutler on the roster for next season. Emery knows a long-term extension with Cutler affords him cap wiggle room and opens the door for mid-contract restructures to fit players when necessary. If the Bears franchise Cutler and pay Josh McCown the 2-3 million he’s earned this season, they would have a larger cap hit at quarterback than the Denver Broncos and Green Bay Packers in 2014.

I will reiterate what I’ve said since the Cutler/McCown conversation began. I believe both will be back next year and I think the Bears will have the league’s best quarterbacks room. Or as Potash wrote in his Sun-Times piece, “It’s a new era in Chicago. Krenzel/Hutchinson is a problem. Cutler/McCown is a luxury. The Bears have bigger issues with three games to go.”

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Thoughts From Inside Soldier Field as Chicago Bears Whallop the Dallas Cowboys & Keep 2013 Alive

| December 10th, 2013


It was a cold, cold evening at the ballpark but the Bears did everything they could to warm the hearts of their loyal fans in attendance. I Tweeted the following Monday afternoon:

Tonight: Marc Trestman & Bears offense need to give season statement win in front of national audience while preserving meaningful December.

That is exactly what Trestman and the offense did last night. They out-gained the Cowboys by by 150 yards (and really more). They didn’t punt the football. When they grabbed a serious lead they dialed up the run and their offensive line put the game away. Dallas’ defense is a wretched group but the Bears did what they needed to do: they dominated at home.

More thoughts:

  • I was going to write a full column on the Jay Cutler/Josh McCown scenario but I don’t have much to say that furthers the story. Nobody on earth would make the argument that McCown is a more talented player than Cutler. But Cutler isn’t out there. He isn’t playing. And sadly his inability to stay on the field is the biggest blight on his Bears tenure. If I’m Marc Trestman, I stick with the hot hand and McCown is announced my starter in Cleveland as soon as today. (We can debate Cutler’s long-term viability and worth in Chicago when that time comes. That time is not now.)

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Last Month of Season Lacks Significant Merit Without Cutler on the Field

| December 2nd, 2013


The Chicago Bears allowed the Minnesota Vikings to thoroughly dominate them for the final fifteen minutes of Sunday’s pivotal NFC North match-up. Because of that dominance the Bears now find themselves needing to make up two games on Detroit in the standings over the final month of the season if they wish to play a postseason game, at home, against either the San Francisco 49ers or Carolina Panthers. The playoffs are now unlikely. More than unlikely. But with or without playoff implications, the final four games of this 2013 season are not without significant merit. But an overwhelming amount of that merit depends upon Jay Cutler playing quarterback.

Sunday’s numbers for Josh McCown probably looked thrilling to the fantasy-obsessed, casual NFL fan. 63.5% completion percentage. 355 yards. 2 touchdowns. Quarterback rating through the roof. But it doesn’t require Ron Jaworski holed up at NFL Films headquarters in New Jersey with five pots of coffee and a bag of the devil’s dandruff to see McCown’s limitations at quarterback cost the Bears the ability to sustain drives and in the fourth quarter cost them the ability to put the Vikings away. McCown’s success had less to do with McCown and more to do with a superhuman performance from Alshon Jeffery.

McCown is a wonderful backup quarterback and I expect him to be a tremendous presence in the Bears quarterback room for the next few years. But every game he plays, every snap he takes, every throw he attempts hinders the development of the Trestman offense in Chicago.

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Audibles From the Long Snapper: Statistics, Barnwell on “That Play” & Tasering Wives

| November 7th, 2013



Some guy named Pete who has been anointed over at PFF Tweeted the following:

Shea McClellin: 2nd-worst @PFF grade of any 4-3 DE in Wk 9. But 2 loud sacks, so naturally NFC Defensive Player of the Week.

PFF attempts to qualify the performance of a player over the course of an entire game and thus weighs a run stop on 2nd and 3 in the first quarter equally to a run stop on 3rd and 1 with the game on the line in the fourth quarter. This is essentially what the baseball metrics folks do. They believe players play to their numbers.

But football is a situational sport. If your analytics tell you Shea McClellin played poorly Monday night, you have to acknowledge in the text of that piece the limitations of your analytics.

I responded via Twitter:

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Reviewing the Bears First Half, Previewing the Second

| October 23rd, 2013


Most would consider the eighth game the halfway point of a sixteen game season. Those people are what I refer to as math-dependent. The Bears have played seven games and now must wait fifteen days before playing again as they lick their injury wounds. Hell, the team is off this entire week. If ever there was a line of demarcation signally HALFWAY, this is it.

So what follows are responses to the first half, thoughts on the second half and the normal awards, predictions and general folly that have filled this space lo these eight years. You’re not going to see everything below but you’ll see the things on my mind. I’ll leave it to you from there.

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To Salvage 2013 Season, Bears Must Turn to Trestman & McCown

| October 21st, 2013


The Bears offense has emerged as one of the best in football in only seven weeks. Seven weeks was all it took to seemingly erase a decade of offensive futility. Yesterday it took a devastating injury to the starting quarterback  for that fact to become apparent. As Josh McCown stepped into a high-pressure, low-probability scenario, Bears head coach Marc Trestman dialed up smart play after smart play. He put the football in the hands of his Emery-assembled weapons and they rewarded him with a near-flawless second half. For Jay Cutler’s tenure in Chicago, an injury to the lead signal caller meant an offensive implosion and consistently dreary output. Yesterday they rallied – on the field and on the sideline.

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