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Bears to Donate Million Dollars to Local Charities

| May 23rd, 2019

One of the great things about the partnership between Ted Phillips and George McCaskey has been their committment to charity. And never has that been more apparent that their new initiative. From Larry Mayer on Da Site:


In honor of their 100th season, the Bears will donate a total of $1 million, divided into increments of $100,000 to 10 different charities nominated by fans.

All charities located within the Bears’ market will be eligible to benefit from the Community All-Pros program. Applications can be submitted online  at chicagobears.com/communityallpros from now through May 31.

“Part of the impetus for the Community All-Pros program is we didn’t want to just look back on the last 100 years, we wanted to look forward,” said Bears chairman George H. McCaskey. “We’re looking forward to it. We want the fans to be involved in the decision-making process and in the nomination process itself.”

All 10 charities will be nominated by fans across Illinois and the defined Bears home market. Nine charities will be selected by a Bears’ internal committee and announced in mid-July. The 10th charity will be narrowed down to three choices by the internal committee before it is opened to fan voting in October; the final charity will be announced the week prior to the last 2019 regular-season home game.

Each charity will be honored at a Bears’ 2019 home game. Fans are encouraged to share this information with charities they are invested in.

“We’re really excited about it,” McCaskey said. “We think it’s a great way to kick off the second century of the Chicago Bears.”


So fill out an application in the link above before the end of the month if you have a worth charity you want supported!

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Audibles From the Long Snapper: Packers/Bears, Pass Interference, Ted Phillips & More!

| March 28th, 2019


Packers at Bears to Open Season

My Thoughts:

  • I hate it. The opening Sunday of NFL football is my favorite day of the entire year and if the Bears are not playing in that early window it is ruined for me. (Hopefully the Bills are home that weekend so I can make something of the whole experience. I’ll just go up there and eat the world’s best wings and drink Blue Light.)
  • I hate it. Bears/Packers – and all important divisional games – should be scheduled for later in the season. None of these teams are playing their best football in September. I’ll continue fighting for the NFL to move all out of conference games to the first month of the calendar.
  • I hate it. Because it means the NFL is all-in on the 2019 Chicago Bears and that means the club will be all over primetime television next season.


Reviewing Pass Interference

The league had a pass interference problem, more than any other piece of officiating. Bad pass interference calls were destroying the flow of the viewing experience and in many cases deciding game outcomes. That issue reached its peak in the NFC title game on the other side, with a no-calling putting the Rams in the Super Bowl.

Will this rule change – allowing PI to be challenged – extend games? Who cares? I can handle football games being 5 minutes longer if the calls are right. (And the networks could cut down commercials with ease and nobody would notice.) Will this rule change open the floodgates to challenging all penalties? No. Challenging a hold or a shift or something menial will be as difficult to overturn as challenging a spot. And if they allowing roughing the passer to be challenged, they’d be smart.

Just check out how video replay is working in the Premiere League. They’re getting calls right. It’s wonky, yes. Nobody is quite sure how to deal with the change in flow. But they’re getting calls right. That’s all that matters.


Jahns with Ted Phillips

You should read all of Adam Jahns’ excellent conversation with Ted Phillips. But here’s a passage that shows why Ted is good at his job and has been instrumental in bringing these Bears back:

As Pace explained the positives — from Mack’s age to him playing a “need” position to his lack of baggage — Phillips said that trading for him started to make too much sense.

“I don’t need to have four committee meetings and let’s discuss it all,” Phillips said. “That’s why you have to have the right people in place.

“You have to be decisive. It wasn’t a long, drawn-out, lengthy discussion. Once I understood it all — because [Pace] never leaves a stone unturned, he’s very thorough — and when I hear it all, it’s, ‘Go get him.’ ”

And Pace did.

Jahns will be joining me for an extended conversation (podcast) in the coming week.

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Final Notes on the Bears Coaching Staff

| January 22nd, 2018

Administrative Note: I’m doing one of those AMAs over at Reddit tonight at 6 pm CT. I don’t quite know how it all works so please stay tuned to DBB’s Twitter handle (on the right rail here at all times) for updated information. I have never been on Reddit or looked at one of these AMAs so I have no idea what to expect. But they asked so why the hell not?


We’ll be moving on to roster stuff and free agency soon enough but I wanted to put a punctuation mark on the coaching staff sentence after making a few phone calls and piecing things together.

  • Dave Ragone being kept on as QB coach was a difficult decision for Nagy but ultimately conversations with the Bears 2017 quarterbacks swayed him. I’m told the Bears had serious talks with former Raiders offensive coordinator Todd Downing about the position but determined this relationship – quarterback and quarterbacks coach – would benefit from continuity. Downing, they believed, was itching to get back into the coordinator’s chair as quickly as possible.
  • The Bears want Mark Sanchez back. Mark Sanchez wants to come back. But Sanchez has not given up on being a substantial NFL contributor and there is a belief that he simply does not fit the offense the Bears are going to be running under Nagy/Helfrich. The Bears would be open to bringing Sanchez back as third quarterback should they move on a Chase Daniel-type as backup. It’s a waiting game on one of Mitch Trubisky’s most trusted sounding boards.
  • Many criticized Ted Phillips’ involvement in the coaching search. Early in the process he was the primary information gatherer on potential coaching candidates. Per a source, one of Phillips’ first calls was to Dave Toub on Matt Nagy and Toub gave a substantial, effusive endorsement of the Chiefs offensive coordinator. That endorsement went a long way with ownership and is a major reason the Bears landed their first-choice coach quickly.
  • Per source, money was never an issue for Vic Fangio. Coaching staff was never an issues for Vic Fangio. Relationship with the new coach was not all that high a priority for Fangio, either. I’m told concretely that Fangio just wanted to be closer to California, closer to his lady and friends. And once he realized that wasn’t going to happen, he never really considered coaching anywhere other than Chicago.
  • From the Twitter of me:

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Some More “Inside” Information on the Hiring of Matt Nagy

| January 11th, 2018

There’s a lot of information available about the hiring of Matt Nagy, with nobody writing a more detailed piece than Adam Jahns. But here’s some info that, until now, wasn’t available.

  • Chris Ballard and the Colts thought Nagy was going to be their next coach. Wanna know how close Ballard and Nagy are? Their kids are on the same youth sports teams in wherever-they-live Kansas City. These guys aren’t just colleagues. They are friends.
  • When Ryan Pace asked Nagy what he was thinking for the defensive side of the ball, Nagy responded that the team should do everything in their power to retain Vic Fangio. He supplied 5-6 other names he believed would be good choices but was effusively in favor of Fangio finishing what he started. The Bears were impressed.
  • Matt Nagy’s agent is former Bear Trace Armstrong. Armstrong’s rookie contract was negotiated by his agent, Tom Condon, and the Bears’ Ted Phillips. Phillips, Condon and Armstrong have maintained a close relationship for years. Phillips is a big reason that Nagy chose the Bears over the Colts. As I was told, Armstrong argued strongly to Nagy, “You NEED to be in Chicago. These guys are great.”
  • Nagy walking into the room with offensive line coach Harry Hiestand in his pocket was one of the most impressive moments of the entire interview process for the Bears. Hiestand is the best OL coach in the country. Bears knew that firsthand.

That’s all I got. Now Nagy will build the rest of his staff and away we go.

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Audibles From the Long Snapper: Rare Friday Edition!

| December 29th, 2017

No podcast this week, as travel got in the way. We’ll have the 2017 season wrap-up pod in the next week or so if I can get Jahns to answer his cell.


Ted Phillips the Boogeyman!

Ever since Ian Rapoport reported Ted Phillips was “making phone calls” to gauge availability of head coaching candidates, Bears Twitter – including our own Andrew Dannehy – have been obsessed with Phillips’ role in the coaching search. Now Rap’s former bench mate, Albert Breer, had this dandy in his “Black Monday” column:

Chicago Bears: The writing has been on the wall here for a while. The expectation is that John Fox will be gone. What’s less certain is whether or not general manager Ryan Pace gets to pick the next coach, and whether or not the coaches pursued by the Bears dictate Pace’s fate.

(1) Ryan Pace is 100% picking the next head coach.

(2) The NFL sends each organization a list of prospective head coaches. Those coaches don’t always know they’re on that list. What teams do is call agents and ask if their clients are interested in becoming head coaches so that once the decision to fire the head coach is officially made, interviews can be lined up immediately. This is called due diligence. Teams also call agents of college coaches to gauge if they’re interested in coming to the NFL.

(3) Ownership, which Ted represents, can do this reconnaissance work while another coach is under contract. For a GM it is strictly verboten. The GM is a partner with the head coach, especially in an organizational structure where they both report to ownership.

(4) If this story was “George McCaskey is making calls” nobody would have cared. But McCaskey doesn’t make calls. That’s why he pays Ted Phillips and why Phillips is incredibly well-respected in the league.

(5) Do I think the Bears would want to know if Ron Rivera may become available? Of course. They want to know every good coach that is going to be available. But the apple of their eye is Stanford coach David Shaw.


Jahns on Shaheen

From AJ After Dark’s column in the Sun-Times:

But the Bears do feel good about Shaheen’s development. Loggains said he’s had a solid rookie season. Most of Shaheen’s 12 catches were either contested or diving grabs (two for touchdowns).

In time, the team believes that Shaheen will do more. The Bears still only have six packages for him.  All of his catches also have come when he is a prototypical in-line tight end.

“We know that he’s going to be a good, all-around tight end because of his size, speed, his athleticism,” Loggains said. “In the offseason, the biggest jump he is going to have to take is in the run game. But he came in and affected the game in his opportunities in the red area the way we thought he would.”

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Across The Middle: Next Coach Needs To Be A Winner

| December 27th, 2017

When the Bears hire their next coach, they better make sure he knows what it takes to win.

When looking at the 10 active head coaches with the highest winning percentage and 10 who lasted three years or fewer in their head coaching stints, the difference was clear. Of the 10 coaches with the highest winning percentages:

  • 7 had won at least 20 more games than they lost prior to taking their current jobs.
  • 9 had major championship game experience.
  • 9 won championships at some point in their lives.

Out of the 10 coaches who flamed out quickly, the best had won 14 more games than he lost and only two had previously won Super Bowls.

Two coaches that make this study a bit more inexact are Pete Carroll and Andy Reid. Carroll had six years as a defensive coordinator, going 49-47 and he was 33-31 as an NFL head coach prior to coming to Seattle. But his work at USC was exemplary, going 97-19 with two championships. Reid is the only coach in the top 10 who had no experience as a coordinator, but he was part of the great Green Bay Packers teams of the mid 90s, where he won a Super Bowl. Any way you slice it, you’re looking at two coaches who had quite a bit of success before they hit it big with their current teams.

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

| December 18th, 2014

patton

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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