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The Positional Quick 3: Defensive Line

| June 21st, 2018

I’m traveling in Dingle, Ireland years ago and I’m exhausted. This was my first day ever in Europe and I couldn’t keep my eyes open at 4:30 in the afternoon. My uncle turns to me and says, “Have a quick three. You’ll be fine.” I drank three Guinness in the span of a half hour. Seven hours later I’m dancing to a shitty Irish house DJ with Jenny Pye, a local lass who dreamed of being an EMT in New York City.

I’m very tired of this 2018 off-season. And incredibly eager for the season to begin. So I’m taking the quick three approach to each position group as we head into the summer. Not grading the groups or anything. Just making some points.


Defensive Line

  • Akiem Hicks and Eddie Goldman are the core of everything this defense wants to do. When they’re on the field, they become the focal point of opposing offensive coordinators because they are both capable of ruining a game. Hicks is the flashier talent but Goldman is just as valuable. They Bears can’t be an elite defense without both.
  • There is cautious optimism inside the building that a light went on for Jonathan Bullard at the end of last season. But I’d warn fans against sharing that optimism. Coaches ALWAYS believe they can get through. They never believe a player is incapable of taking the leap. Bullard flashed down the stretch in 2017 but can he be a disruptive force for sixteen games? We shall see.
  • Roy Robertson-Harris and Bilal Nichols will play and play an awful lot if Bullard does not impress this summer. Nichols is the player to keep an eye on. From a source inside the organization: “Fangio fell in love with this kid on day one. He’s got a chance to be a star.”

Tomorrow: Linebackers

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Who Could Be the 2018 Breakout Bears: Defense

| June 20th, 2018

When the Bears officially re-introduced defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, he kept telling reporters the most important thing the Bears need to do is get improvement from their returning players. This is something that certainly isn’t a given.

By nearly any measurement, the Bears had a top-15 overall defense last year. They were far from perfect — the inability to take the ball away still being a major issue. But they were more than good enough and are bringing back most of the roster.

Still, the team has some young players who could make a big impact in 2018. Here’s a look at five defenders who just could have breakout seasons like Kyle Fuller and Adrian Amos had for the team a year ago.


Deon Bush

It’s hard to expect a lot from a guy who played about 8% more snaps on defense than I did last year, but Bush still has some promise. Fangio singled him out during minicamp practices and there were reports of the young safety showing great range and getting his hands on the ball during those sessions. The reports were enough to reconsider Bush as a possible playmaker.

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Data Responds: Bears at Bengals

| December 10th, 2017

Is this real life?

The Bears dominated on both sides of the ball, scored 30 points for the first time in over two years, and generally rolled over the dormant Cincinnati Bengals.

I know Cincinnati is bad and banged up, but so are the Bears, and this was a lot of fun. More importantly, this as led largely by young players for the Bears, which bodes well for the future. Let’s take a look at what happened.

Offense

  • The Bears came out and threw it on their first 2 plays! The first resulted in an awful Jordan Howard drop (drink), while the second was a beautiful play action rollout to Josh Bellamy for a 1st down. This unsurprisingly caught the Bengals’ defense off guard, and they backed off the defense into standard 7 man boxes instead of loading 8-9 up. As a result, the Bears ran it the next two plays for about 40 yards and a touchdown. That marked the first time this season that the offense scored a touchdown on their first possession of the game.
  • Before I get too down on Howard, how about giving it up for a great game from Chicago’s stud running back? He had his 12th 100 yard rushing game in 26 career starts and passed the 1,000 yard mark for the 2nd year in a row, making him the first running back in Chicago history to start his career that way. That’s pretty remarkable when you think of the great running backs who have played in Chicago.

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Data Responds: Bears vs. Panthers

| October 22nd, 2017

Well that was fun.

Chicago’s defense scored not one but two touchdowns and shut Carolina’s offense down, staking the Bears with an early lead that held up for the entire game. Even though the offense never really got anything going, this was the Bears’ easiest win in a long time.

Offense

  • The Bears were up 14 points before the offense was really asked to do anything. That shifted an already conservative game plan even farther to the safe side, making them even more predictable. As a result, they went three and out with regularity, picking up only 153 yards and 5 first downs on the game. This forced the defense to spend too much time on the field and get tired; credit them for holding up under those conditions.
  • Credit to the coaching staff for not sitting on a 14-3 lead with just over 3:00 left before halftime, like we all expected after watching their conservative approach this season. They came out and let Mitchell Trubisky throw deep to Tarik Cohen on 1st down, resulting in 70 yards and 1st and goal from the 5 yard line. They were unable to finish for the touchdown, but a field goal (plus a little rest for the defense) on that drive was key.
  • The second half offense was just plain offensive. Prior to the final drive that ran out the clock, the Bears had the ball 5 times, picked up 3 total yards, and went 3 and out five times. At least they didn’t turn the ball over, I guess, and they were able to run out the last 3:36 of clock with two 1st downs on the ground. Read More …

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Non-Glennon Reflections on the Second Preseason Game

| August 21st, 2017

There will be little mention of Mike Glennon and Mitch Trubisky in this post beyond this: everybody is now seeing what I’ve been telling them to see for six months. Mike Glennon isn’t any good. It doesn’t require stats. It doesn’t require nuance. It doesn’t require Bill Belichick’s football acumen. If you open your eyes and watch him play quarterback you become deftly aware of his limitations. They are many. He’s just not any good.

On the rest of the game…

  • Tarik Cohen is brilliant and it’s very clear the Bears are going to be using him in a larger role than just third-down back / kick returner. I’d still be concerned about someone his size taking too much contact over a sixteen game schedule but ten carries a game is now in play.
  • Who gets cut first: Roberto Aguayo or Daniel Braverman? Both are exceedingly useless.
  • Listen, preseason lovers. If these games are as important as you tell me then Roy Robertson-Harris is going to make the final 53. No player was more impressive in Arizona.
  • Why is everybody so concerned about Kevin White’s preseason performance? (1) He’s playing with Mike Glennon. He has no shot to be successful. (2) Bears don’t care what he does in these August games. They need him healthy in September.
  • Bears are going to be cutting a decent tight end. Both Brown and Braunecker are not bad players but how are they cracking through Sims/Miller/Shaheen?
  • Bears seem unclear about their kick returner. Cunningham was on kickoffs, Deonte Thompson scored off a missed field goal, Tarik Cohen and Eddie Jackson have both seen action on punt returns. Not sure what it all means.

That’s it.

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Turn the Beat Around: Lots of Leonard Floyd Talk & Other Stuff Too!

| September 13th, 2016

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ADAM2ADAM ON LEONARD FLOYD

Leonard Floyd didn’t have a great day Sunday, expectedly for a raw rookie. But he almost never left the field. Jahns broke down his debut after film study:

“We got a fast, relentless team, guys that can do multiple things in any situations,” linebacker Jerrell Freeman said. “We got [outside linebackers] that can go out there and play seam/flat on some receivers.

“You see the young fella out there playing great.”

But sacks still matter most for Floyd. His takedown of Osweiler in the third quarter was his best play. He didn’t have a quick jump off the snap, but he fought through left tackle Chris Clark, reached the edge and quickly closed on Osweiler.

As Fangio predicted, there were moments when Floyd was overmatched. On Hopkins’ 23-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter, Floyd was stood up by Newton.

Play fakes negated Floyd’s speed at times, but he handled his run assignments well, which included squaring up with tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz. Floyd also was involved in six tackles, but he wasn’t on the field for Fuller’s 18-yard score on a tunnel screen.

“I feel good,” Floyd said. “But I’ve got some improvements to make.”

Adam Hoge had an interesting take on the Bears decision to play Floyd about 80% of the defensive snaps.

This, of course, does not mean that Floyd was the best option to play the most snaps at outside linebacker in Week 1. In fact, I would argue that the Bears coaching staff did not give its team the best chance to win by only playing Houston on 36 percent of the defensive snaps.

But I guess it depends on how you look at it. Which is more important: beating the Texans in Week 1 or getting your raw first round draft pick the most experience possible?

I guess we now know where the Bears stand on that question.

The Bears are committed to developing Floyd. And they are willing to sacrifice early success to do so.

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