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Week Five Game Preview: Bucs at Bears on Thursday Night Football

| October 7th, 2020


How much does a pirate pay for corn?

Buck an ear.


Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears This Week?

I always like the Chicago Bears.

And I think the offense will get better in the weeks to come. Do I think they’ll be at full stride tomorrow? No. But I think signs of progress will be evident, as they work towards getting the new quarterback up to speed.


On Brady’s Bucs…

As always, you can go look at the statistical rankings and draw your own conclusions on Tampa’s strengths and weaknesses. I watch the Short Cuts of all their games on Sunday Ticket and try to give you in-game insights.

  • Tom Brady’s approach isn’t particularly different than it was in New England. Every once in a while he’ll take a deep shot (Scotty Miller is his guy down there) but his bread is still buttered by the quick toss, intermediate stuff to tight ends and small white receivers and a diverse collection of screens. When Brady’s in rhythm, he’s unstoppable. When he’s pressured out of that rhythm, he’s been giving the defense opportunities to make plays on the football.
    • It could be a product of age, but Brady’s arm strength seems to come and go over the course of a game. He had no zip on the football early against LA. He was flinging it in the third quarter.
    • Mike Evans has become a possession receiver. And a good one.
    • The injury report will have a massive say in what this offense looks like tomorrow night. Most of the skill guys in Tampa are on their report.
  • Ronald Jones power runs are the tone-setters for this offense but Jones has been a real asset in the passing game lately. Will be an interesting test for Roquan Smith, coming off arguably his best game as a Bear.
  • Defense can be attacked vertically, especially on early downs. If the Bears think they can take the same approach they took Sunday and try to bully the Bucs on first downs with the run game, they’ll find themselves behind the chains all day long. (The Chargers had zero success with early-down runs.) When the Bears find themselves chasing down and distance, they need to expect Todd Bowles to bring pressure and attack that pressure with the screen game.
  • An element of the Bucs passing game that the Bears must be ready for is the tight end verticals. O.J. Howards is out for the season but don’t be surprised if that injury doesn’t increase Rob Gronkowski’s role in the game plan.

In Honor of the Buccaneers, My Five Favorite Big Screen Pirates

(5) Steve the Pirate, Dodgeball

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(4) Captain Hook, Hook

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(3) Pirate King, Pirates of Penzance 

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(2) Smee, Disney’s Peter Pan

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(1) Dread Pirate Roberts, The Princess Bride

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Week 8: East Rutherford, New Jersey Jets at Chicago, Illinois Bears Game Preview

| October 26th, 2018

Chicago, IL – December 26, 2010. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images


Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears This Week?

I always like the Chicago Bears…

…and this is the first must-win of the 2018 campaign. If the Bears are going to mount a serious challenge for the NFC North they have to be 5-3 after eight games. That record will more than likely give them the division lead at the halfway point with five division games remaining.


The Game Haiku

From Ed, the chants come.

J-E-T-S Jets! Jets! Jets!

Silence, ladderman!


The Asshole From the Haiku


Why the Bears Will Win!

  • Prolific Bears Offense.
    • Chicago has scored 48-28-31 in their last three.
    • Jets defense has allowed 30+ in three of their last four games, and are bottom third against the run, pass, overall and in turnover differential.
    • This is a game that should allow Matt Nagy, Mitch Trubisky and the entirety of the offense to flourish. Especially at home.
  • Sam Darnold vs. Bears Secondary.
    • The Jets are decimated by injury at wide receiver, with Robby Anderson being their only viable outlet on the outside.
    • This week they signed Rishard Matthews after needlessly cutting Terrelle Pryor a week ago. When you’re trying to find contributors on the waiver wire after Week 7, things aren’t where you want them to be.
    • The Jets drop a million passes, often into the hands of defensive backs.
    • Darnold leads the league in interceptions with ten. Kyle Fuller is tied for the league lead with three interceptions.
  • Bears NEED the Game. It is only their seventh game of the season but all one has to do is listen to comments from coaches and players to realize they feel a sense of urgency right now. Matt Nagy said the Bears are “in a valley” and need to get out. Roquan Smith and Mitch Trubisky – the young leadership of this team – wouldn’t accept “close” a week ago and both stated unequivocally it is time to get a win. The Bears are a touchdown favorite at home to a rookie quarterback. Good teams don’t lose in that scenario.
  • Text From My Brother: “If the Bears throw it to back in the flat or the tight end over the middle, we can’t cover it.” Yea, I think the Bears can do these two things.

Why They Won’t

  • Bears Rush Defense. Both New England and Miami got every yard they needed on the ground, with the Dolphins flat out dominating the line of scrimmage and pounding Frank Gore into the second and third levels. The Jets are one of the rare run-first teams left in the league. Everything they do offensively flows from the two-headed monster of Isaiah Crowell and Bilal Powell. With Powell on IR one would expect rookie Trenton Cannon to play a larger role at Soldier Field. The Bears can’t let the Jets keep the game in second/third-and-short.
  • Todd Bowles Loves to Blitz. It’s how he made a name for himself as a defensive coordinator, matching Bruce Arians’ offensive aggressiveness on the defensive side. Bowles will want to send pressure at Trubisky from every direction and try to force the young QB into mistakes. Bears will need outlets ready. (They don’t need to look much further than last week’s tape to see how Flip/Cousins handled this.)
  • Special Teams. The three best return men in football will now be facing the Bears in three consecutive weeks and the Jets’ Andre Roberts is a top five kick and punt returner. The Bears allowed the Pats to score on specials; a cardinal sin. But with the Jets, they can’t allow Roberts to flip field position. Make the Jets play on long fields and the Bears will find themselves on short ones.

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Spotlight on the Coaching Candidates: Todd Bowles

| January 12th, 2015

wrong-bill

TODD BOWLES

The Bill Parcells coaching tree has been the most profitable of the modern era, yielding six Super Bowl titles since 2000. The reason? Parcells teaches his coaches to coach the whole field, not just their specific positions or unit. He breeds men who can run the room a la Bill Belichick, Tom Coughlin and Sean Payton.

From a Sheil Kapadia piece for Philly Mag:

While Parcells was making a name for himself as the head coach of the New York Giants, he faced Bowles, a safety out of Temple, twice a year.

“I noticed that he was making their secondary calls and adjustments and and all those things as far back as those days,” Parcells said during an interview with Jon Marks and Brian Baldinger on 97.5 The Fanatic.

Later in the piece, Bowles discussed the impact Parcells has had on his coaching career:

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Diving Into the Offseason: GM Interviews, Coaching Candidates & the Free Agent List

| January 5th, 2015

bowles

  • Bears set to interview Lake Dawson (Tuesday) and Chris Ballard (Wednesday) for their GM position, per Adam Schefter. You know what I’d like to see from the Bears this week? Once they identify the guy they want, hire him. If Ballard is the guy they’ve truly wanted since even before they fired Phil Emery a week ago (as was suggested in multiple locations), don’t let him leave Halas Hall Wednesday without discussing terms of the contract and scheduling the press conference for Thursday morning. The firings of Emery and Trestman were decisive actions by owner George McCaskey. Let’s keep that decisiveness going.
  • Here’s what worries me about Todd Bowles: his sideline demeanor reminds me of Marc Trestman and Lovie Smith and Dick Jauron. Bruce Arians described Bowles as “soft-spoken” and haven’t we seen how sideline stoicism plays in the city of Chicago? You can call this a non-issue if you like but the lack of fire and passion from the Bears has been a major issue over the last two seasons. McCaskey should be looking for a man to change that.
  • Second thought on this. Jim Fassel coached the Giants to a Super Bowl appearance during his time with the Giants but he was a nightmare off the field and was way too lenient with his players inside the locker room. Longtime Giants owner Wellington Mara wanted to follow Fassel with the polar opposite. He went to Tom Coughlin. Giants won two titles.

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