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ATM: Bears 2020 Quarterback Power Rankings

| March 10th, 2020

With the off-season set to begin, and the Chicago Bears seeking veteran competition, here is a ranking of the realistic options. For the sake of this argument, we’re assuming Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Teddy Bridgewater, Dak Prescott, Cam Newton and Phil Rivers get starting gigs elsewhere.


1. Derek Carr, Raiders

Likely price: 2020 second round pick, three years of $20 million cap hits.

Carr is the best option. It isn’t even close.

While the Raiders haven’t won a lot of games in Carr’s time as the quarterback, they have regularly been in the top half of the league in passing yardage and touchdowns. Carr isn’t Patrick Mahomes, but he’s a good quarterback who may only become available because Jon Gruden’s favorite quarterback is always the one he doesn’t have on the roster.

The Raiders will likely only trade Carr if they’re able to sign someone to replace him.


2. Nick Foles, Jaguars

Likely price: cap hits of $16-$22 million for three years.

There are three very huge selling points with Foles.

  • We know he can win a Super Bowl.
  • He knows the offense and the coaches.
  • Trading for him might bring an asset back.

There is a general thought that if the Jaguars want to trade Foles, they’re going to have to sweeten the pot with a day two draft pick. The downside, of course, is that he’s going to get paid like a starter for at least one year with $12.5 million dead cap after 2020, should the team move on.

Foles’ other big downside is that he has struggled to stay healthy throughout his career. He’s definitely better suited to be a high-end backup than a 16-game starter. If he wins the job, could the Bears be confident turning back to Trubisky should Foles be injured?

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ATM: Is Ryan Pace’s Former Crush Marcus Mariota the Right Target?

| March 3rd, 2020

Ryan Pace’s first draft quarterback crush could be the guy who saves his job.

The young GM had been on the job for just a few months and the rumor mill was swirling. The thought was that he wanted to package Jay Cutler with the seventh overall pick for the second pick and the chance to select Marcus Mariota. When asked about the possible trade, Pace didn’t say much. He also didn’t deny it.

The Titans balked and took Mariota. The Bears stayed at seven, took Kevin White and stuck with Cutler for two more years. It’s safe to say they might both have been worse off than if they had just done the deal.

On the surface Mariota doesn’t seem like much of an upgrade over Trubisky.

  • Mariota has a career passer rating of 89.6, averaging 7.5 yards per attempt and throws touchdowns on 4.4 percent of his attempts.
  • Trubisky’s rating sits at 85.8 with 6.7 yards per attempt and a touchdown percentage of 3.8.
  • The Titans have gone 29-32 in Mariota’s starts and their offense exploded in 2019 after he was benched and another former first round disappointment Ryan Tannehill led them to the AFC Championship game.
  • The Bears have gone 23-18 with Trubisky.

But the raw numbers don’t really tell the story of Mariota. Or Trubisky, for that matter.

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What Inaction Means at the Trade Deadline (Spoiler: Not Much)

| October 30th, 2019


The Bears did nothing at the trade deadline Tuesday.

Neither did the Packers, Lions, Vikings, Chiefs, Raiders, Broncos, Chargers, Bills, and pretty much every other team. (The Rams sent Aqib Talib to the Dolphins for some reason.) This was an old school trade deadline. A clunker. A dud.

There were some rumors early in the day. There was a bit of talk surrounding the Bears dealing Taylor Gabriel – a player who has not been shy about sharing his understandable displeasure with the quarterback. (My unscientific estimate has Trubisky costing Gabriel about 200 yards and 2 touchdowns this season.) There was even a bit of talk about Ryan Pace possibly floating a late-round selection to Tennessee for Marcus Mariota – a player I don’t love but was a Pace favorite in the draft evaluation process. But Mariota’s contract rendered that borderline impossible.

The Bears didn’t make a move because there was no reason for the Bears to make a move. At 3-4, and with a quarterback who can’t play, the organization knows they are a longer than long shot to be playing football in January. With a stacked conference, ten wins may not be enough to make the playoffs. If that’s the case, the Bears would have to go 8-1 the rest of the way to be in the tournament. And let’s be honest, they’re very likely to lose this week. Who the hell would pick Mitch Trubisky to win on the road at this stage?

Also, trades at the deadline require unloading draft capital and the Bears don’t have much. The value picks they have in 2020 – two second round selections – may be necessary to navigate for Trubisky’s replacement come April. Either way, nobody would complain about the team flooding their offensive line with both of those selections in an effort to protect the veteran starter they’ll be signing in March.

The Bears didn’t get desperate yesterday because desperation is futile. The season is over. The team knows it. And now the focus shifts squarely onto whether Trubisky’s career is even remotely salvageable.

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ATM: These Eleven Games Will Define Mitch Trubisky

| October 16th, 2019


Reality came quickly for Marcus Mariota, as the former second pick overall was benched Sunday for Ryan Tannehill. His tenure as the starting quarterback of the Tennessee Titans seems to have come to an end after four seasons and change.

Mariota’s story should serve as a warning for Mitch Trubisky who, for better of worse, has eleven games to show the Chicago Bears if he’s the quarterback of their future. If the Bears are smart, they won’t wait any longer than that, or waste any more time, to make their judgment about the most position in all of sports.

Like Trubisky, Mariota was expected to make a big leap in his third season, after throwing 26 touchdowns in his second. He was expected to become the franchise quarterback nearly everyone – which included Ryan Pace – thought he was destined to be.

But Mariota never took off. His third season was a bust with (13 TDs/15 INTs). His fourth season showed some promise (11/8), but included numerous injuries and ultimately most of his success came running the football. The most complimentary way to describe his start to 2019 was ineffective.

Perhaps Mariota will rebound, most likely somewhere else? History tells us he won’t.

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Audibles From the Long Snapper: Ten Thoughts From Around the League

| October 21st, 2015

audibles

THOUGHTS FROM AROUND THE LEAGUE

(1) Eli Manning was the best and worst player in the league on the FIRST TWO DRIVES of the Monday Night Football game. There’s never been a player like him in the league.

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(2) After the first week of the season it became in vogue to question whether Tampa Bay made a mistake selecting Jameis Winston over Marcus Mariota. In the four games since Winston has been undoubtedly the better player and Mariota has shown two features that worried many scouts: inability to absorb contact and lack of ball security. Interestingly enough, nobody has revisited this question in the national media. If Winston wants to know how he’ll be covered an an NFL quarterback, he should just call Cam Newton.

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(3) Is Cincinnati the best team in football right now? New England and Green Bay are not good defensively. Carolina and Denver are not good offensively. Cincy does everything well. They’ll still lose in the playoffs but they may be losing that game in the division round instead of wild card weekend.

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(4) You know what the worst development of the NFL season has been? The games stink.

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(5) I don’t care what the stats say. Brandon Marshall has been the best wide receiver in football this year. He’s transformed the New York Jets offense.

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Podcast: Scott Wright of NFLDraftCountdown.com [AUDIO]

| April 16th, 2015

Scott Wright spends every day of his year on the NFL Draft do I turn to him for the information I lack time and interest to gather on my own. On the pod we discuss:

  • Scott’s decision to give the Bears Amari Cooper over Vic Beasley in his latest mock draft.
  • Some of my favorite players in this draft, including Nick O’Leary, Shaq Thompson, Shane Ray, BJ Finney (who I think I call Kinney) & Phillip Dorsett.
  • The Marcus Mariota Thing.
  • Mid-round safety prospects.
  • Scott’s undervalued prospects.

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Bears need to learn from mistakes made with Cutler

| April 8th, 2015

The trade the Bears made for Jay Cutler six years ago didn’t go as planned, but they’re as much at fault as he is.

With a new general manager, a new head coach and Cutler turning 32 years old, they’re likely going to have a new quarterback in the near future, but they can’t repeat the mistakes they made with Cutler.

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