Bears Open their Checkbook and Little Black Book for Free Agent Signings

March 3, 2010


As the NFL Free Agent signing period begins on Friday, let’s take a quick look at the Chicago Bears’ [sarcasm] remarkable successes recognizing and nurturing free agent talent while compensating them fairly [/sarcasm].

In Jerry Angelo and Lovie Smith’s tenure there has been one over-arching acquisition trend: The coaching staff hiring athletes that used to play in “their system” who turn out to be no good at all.  (Highlighted in orange are some good transactions.  Note the lack of orange.)

Let’s take a look at some of their transactions since 2007…

2007
DT – Anthony Adams
S – Adam Archuleta *cut* *retired* (Former Ram (01-05) player for Lovie Smith and Gil Byrd)
DT – Darwin Walker *retired* (Former Eagle player for ST Coach Dave Toub)
DT – Matt Toeaina

2008
RB – Kevin Jones *perennially injured* (Former Lion player for Rod Marinelli)
WR – Devin Aromashodu (Former Colt player for Tony Dungy)
WR – Brandon Lloyd *cut* (Former 49er WR during QB Coach Pep Hamilton’s tenure)
WR – Marty Booker *traded away in ’06 – re-signed in ’08 – cut in ’09* (Former Bear player for Lovie Smith)

2009
Asst Head Coach / DL Coach – Rod Marinelli *0-16* (Former Buc coach with Lovie Smith)
TE – Michael Gaines *cut to make room for Gaines Adams* (former Lion player for Rod Marinelli)
DE – Gaines Adams *traded for 2010 2nd round draft pick, deceased* (former Buc player for Jon Gruden)
OLB – Tina Pisaismioa *injured in quarter 1, game 1* (former Ram player for Lovie Smith and Bob Babich)
T – Orlando Pace *waived March 2010* (played for Rams during Smith/Babich tenure)
QB – Brett Bassonez (played for Northwestern during coach Eric Washington’s tenure)
QB – Jay Cutler
G – Frank Omiyale
T – Kevin Shaffer
CB Coach – John Hoke (Former Missouri coach with Dave Toub, Harry Hiestand and Chris Tabor, ties to Lovie Smith)
S – Josh Bullokcs *benched*
DB – Glenn Earl (former player for DB Coach Jon Hoke)
LB – Cato June *signed then cut within 2 weeks* (Former Colt player for Tony Dungy)
CB – Rod Hood *signed 9/1/09, waived 9/4/09*

Senior Director of Pro Personnel Bobby Depaul *fired*

———————————————————————–

March 5th Update.

Wow.  Twelve hours into the free agent market the Bears (who lack any real draft picks this year) snagged Panthers’ Defensive End Julius Peppers, Vikes’ Running Back Chester Taylor, and Rams’ TE Brandon Manumaleuna.  So… if you’re keeping score… the trend really hasn’t changed, hopefully the outcome will.

2010 (To Be Continued…)
Offensive Line Coach – Mike Tice
Offensive Coordinator – Mike Martz (former Rams coach with Lovie Smith)
DE – Julius Peppers
RB – Chester Taylor (former Vikings player for Mike Tice)
TE – Brandon Manumaleuna (former Rams player for Mike Martz)

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This is What it Means to Be Brett Favre

February 2, 2010

Divisionaries' Brett Favre poster, comprised of kittens and puppies.

Sadly, our football column, Divisionaries for Milwaukee’s Third Coast Digest will be concluding for the season soon and Rob wrote a great re-cap of Brett Favre’s most epic fail yet.  I did too, and I decided to post it here, now:

As the third team in as many years learned Sunday, you live by Brett Favre, and you die by Brett Favre.   In a season that saw both former Favre teams make the playoffs with “lesser” quarterbacks, the Packer faithful in  Milwaukee, Rhinelander, Superior, Madison, (and yes Rob, even Neenah),  said in unison, “Toldya soooo.”

Nothing should solidify Cheesehead faith in quarterback Aaron Rodgers more than watching Brett Favre (and his double-edged throwing arm) toss an ill-advised cross-field pass in the waning seconds of regular time to the opposing New Orleans Saints in an otherwise dominant Vikings performance.

Aside from “destiny”, all things were were going Minnesota’s way.

Worse-case scenario, the Vikes would set up a considerably long game-winning field goal. If missed, all things looked good in overtime for a Vikings team that owned every statistical category worth mentioning, aside from the one that decides games the most — turnovers.  In a Favrian effort, the Vikings looked unstoppable, save for their constant knack for fumbling the ball over.

It was sadistic. It hearkened back to the decade-plus reign of Favre in Wisconsin, when fans would tolerate the troughs (on and off the field), living for the exultant peaks of his game.  It was entertaining for Packer fans probably …  finally able to watch Favre as an informed spectator, observing the near-Greek Tragedy of highs and lows play out in a game that meant nothing (directly) to Green Bay faithful.

Thought assisted generously by questionable officiating the Saints assuredly marched towards an OT win while Favre, reminiscent of his last “Pick Heard ‘Round The World” against the NY Giants, watched from the sidelines after his most-recent (and perhaps last?) boneheaded interception.

Minnesotans finally bore the weight of what it is to have Brett as your quarterback.  As unwilling soothsayer Jim Souhan of the Minneapolis Star Tribune said after Favre’s win against the 49ers earlier this year, “This is what it means to be Brett Favre. This is what it means to have Brett Favre. This is what it means to watch Brett Favre.”

Feel free to shoot me an email if you would like an extra-large poster of Puppy/Kitten Brett.  Price: Negotiable.


Favre un-re-retires: The Divisionaries Are Born

August 19, 2009

WTF.

Brett.  Seriously?  Go play for the Birmingham Barons.

So, the Football blog I’ll be writing on is called The Divisionaries.  We’ve already got some bitching going on about Favre-gate3.0.  We’ll be able to make fun of the Lions… lots.

And if a weekly post is not enough to get your fix, we’re also on twitter here: http://twitter.com/Divisionaries

And yes.  Gridiron Girl will be making appearances in the as well.


Jay Cutler, the Chicago Bears, and Scratch-Off Tickets

April 19, 2009

The completely unexpected happened a few weeks ago.  Because I’ve been slacking, I haven’t  posted anything, but, after all my bear-bashing, I’m about to eat my words and enjoy it.

Photo from Blog Down Chicago Bears

The oft-criticized Chicago Bear front office pulled off what amounts to the most important personnel move in my personal history with the team, and perhaps the biggest move in Bears history.

Though other franchises make blockbuster moves and offer ridiculous contracts nearly every off-season (Hi Jets! Cowboys! Redskins!), the Bears are traditionally a stoic, staunch, and slow-moving franchise.  Instead of grabbing hot free agents every year, the Bears opt to reward their core players with generous contract re-signings…  regrettably, as the cornerstones of the defense proved last year, sometimes that’s not the best idea (see: #21).

All that was blown out of the water earlier this week.

Bears fans have had nearly enough of GM Jerry Angelo’s big talk with no follow-through, while Lovie Smith’s unnerving poker face press responses further aggravated fans.  Meanwhile in Colorado, Jay Cutler, former Midwest-born Bears fan and 25 yearr-old Pro Bowl quarterback, was refusing to answer the phonecalls of his team, the Denver Broncos.  Cutler was rightfully peeved — the Broncos’ new sherrif in town, Josh McDaniels, had made no secret of the fact he was not interested in having Cutler under center during the 2009 season.  McDaniels had an inexplicable man-crush on a Patriots backup QB.

Photo from Football Nation

This was the highest-profile trade in recent memory and the Bears, somehow, fended off a HUGE amount of competition to lock up what could wind up solidifying the always-iffy Bears QB position.  A gutsy move that could feasibly solve the perennial Chicago QB problem for the next decade-plus.  Imagine not worrying about this issue again until after we host the Olympics!  Ha.

But there are always naysayers… here are the biggest complaints which I will swiftly refute:

Naysayer #1: “Jay Cutler is a good QB but he doesn’t have anyone to throw to”

  • Aside from the fact that the Bears have two solid tigh ends and one the best pass-catching backs in the league, I get the point — the Bears wide receiving corp(se) is  the worst in the league.  But, as my pal Jimmy pointed out, good quarterbacks create better receivers.  Good receivers don’t make great QBs.
  • Note how unimpressive past Packer wideouts become after they leave a team that had  Brett Favre throwing to them. Note how well Randy Moss fared in Oakland without a decent signal caller under center.  Note how well the pass-happy Eagles threw this year without any real stars at the position.  Note how Wes Welker played on the Dolphins compared to how well he’s played in New England.
  • Also worth mentioning: the Bears are sure to make some moves post-draft.  Aside from the draft itself, there are plenty of veteran wide receivers to pick up… Torry Holt, Marvin Harrison, The Foot-Shooter to name a few.  Granted two of those three athletes are past their prime, but they’re still  serviceable, savvy, smart, possession players.

Naysayer #2: “The Bears gave up too much to get Cutler”

  • To lock-up Cutler, the Bears gave up two first-round picks, an additional pick, and their starting QB, Kyle Orton.  On paper, this looks like a pretty steep cost.  But for anyone that’s followed the history of Chicago drafts, this is a great move.  Long-story short, the Bears DO NOT draft offensive players well… or develop them well. Trading away what might be for what already is makes perfect sense.
  • Think about it like this:  Some guy (probably in a trenchcoat) approaches you on the street… let’s call him… ummm,  Josh McDaniels.  He has five-hundred dollars neatly stacked in a pile and wants to trade you for your two “Win a Million” scratch-off lottery tickets.  Mr McDaniels (who is obviously clinically insane) would rather have your two scratch-offs than his cold, hard cash.  He’ll trade you his liquid assets for two of your unscratched lottery tickets.  Sure, your tickets might be worth lots too, but your name is McCaskey and your family has never had much luck in the lottery.  WHY DO YOU NOT AGREE TO THIS TRADE?
  • Appendix: Here are the Bears’ 1st round offensive skill position picks since 1988: Greg Olsen, Cedric Benson, Rex Grossman, David Terrell, Cade McNown, Curtis Enis, Rashaan Salaam, Curtis Conway, Brad Muster, and Wendell Davis.  It’s pretty evident you’ve been squandering them anyway, why not give them away for something tangible? Tangible and fucking awesome btw.

Naysayer #3: “Kyle Orton is the future”

  • K.O., god love him, is a solid QB, and may still wind up being a fantastic player.  But look at the facts: He is not a Pro Bowler,  Cutler is.  He isn’t 13-1 when the defense allows less than 22 points, which Cutler was last year (fyi — Bears avg points allowed last year: 21.9).  Lastly, Orton’s lack of arm strength nullified the speed that “#1” receiver Devin Hester possesses; while the words “Cutler”, “canon”, and “lazer” often appear in the same sentence.
  • It’s Science:
  • Note how "canon" spikes when Jay Cutler news spikes.

I’m thrilled to see what happens this season.  And if Cutler is a bust — so be it.  I don’t think Chicago would have ever forgiven the franchise for not pursing an all-star QB that was within their grasp, so I commend the Bears for making a huge, and long-awaited move.  I’ve never anticipated a season more than I have this off-season.  I wish it started tomorrow.


Indie Fantasy

March 26, 2009

With Fantasy Football a long ways away, and with Fantasy everything else sucking, we have created the obvious next step in “fantasy gaming”…. Fantasy Indie Rock.

Is there any better way to monitor the commodity that has become “indie” than by drafting artists as properties and tallying points?  I don’t think so.  It’s a simple formula:  Their name gets mentioned on Pitchfork or Stereogum news, you get a point. Simple as that.

So me, Curran, Kenny, Matt and Rob sat down and did our inaugural “Indie Rock Draft” this week, and began tallying points.  The scoreboard is on a Google cloud spreadsheet so everyone can make changes and update their rosters as need be.

I’ll keep you updated on it’s progress, but for your enjoyment (and so I can tag the shit out of this post), here’s how the draft went (please note, Matt came late):

Round 1

  1. Curran    Kanye West
  2. Kenny    Wilco
  3. Rob    Animal Collective
  4. Brian    Colin Meloy

Round 2

  1. Brian    M.I.A.
  2. Rob    Lily Allen
  3. Kenny    Radiohead
  4. Curran    The Decemberists

Round 3

  1. Curran    Neko Case
  2. Kenny    U2
  3. Kroll    Conor Oberst
  4. Rob    Girltalk
  5. Brian    Death Cab For Cutie

Round 4

  1. Brian    Peter, Bjorn & John
  2. Rob    Sigur Ros
  3. Kroll    Ladyhawke
  4. Kenny    Andrew Bird
  5. Curran    Grizzly Bear

Round 5

  1. Curran    Jane’s Addiction
  2. Kenny    Bruce Springsteen
  3. Matt   Jesus Lizard
  4. Rob    Dangermouse
  5. Brian    No Age

Supplemental Draft

  1. Matt    Crystal Stilts
  2. Matt    Pains of Being Pure At Heart

The strategies were interesting… do you draft small-time bands with their SXSW stock rising, do you try to take a big guess on who’s going to be announced at Lollapalooza (or the billion of other festivals doing press releases),  do you risk taking the frontman of a band in the hopes you can double-up on points for their solo AND group material, or pick-up a producer who has his hands in a LOT of recordings but sometimes isn’t mentioned in shorter news articles.  Ohhhh, strategery.

If you’re curious, here are the top-5 scorers as of yesterday, 3/25:

1. Animal Collective – 6
2. Dinosaur Jr – 5
3. Death Cab For Cutie (tie) – 4
3. Passion Pit (tie) – 4
5. *13 bands tied with 3 points each* Beach House, Billy Corrigan, Black Lips, Conor Oberst, Department of Eagles, Dirty Projectors, Grizzly Bear, Jimmy Chamberlin, Kanye West, No Age, Soundgarden, Vivian Girls, Yeah Yeah Yeahs


Chicago Bears: Door Open, Checkbook… Open?

February 18, 2009


Lots of moves going on over at Halas hall.  Plenty of time before I can start fretting about the Preseason, but I’ll quickly dish about Chicago Bears’ recent moves, and drops, and free agent opportunities.  Chris Curran, Kenny Bernat (of Ask Dr. Kenny) and Matt Kroll (of BellyFullofHell) also have some thoughts…

The Never-ending QB Rotation

Brian: Only 6 months left.  I’m going through serious withdrawal.  Hockey’s not helping… it’s like a expired box of methadone.  Combine coming up.  Bears have picked up NWU’s  Brett Basanez at QB… because that makes sense… career stats: 6 of 11, 56 yards with one interception. 0-1.

Does anyone like Jeff Garcia as much as I do?  No matter how good he makes a team, he always gets ditched for someother “project” QB.  Why 49ers, Browns, Lions and Bucs have all dropped him, I have no idea.

Curran: I thought he did well this year, i think his problem is that he is older and he is not an amazing QB.  So teams are allways going to take a chance on the possible upgrade.  he will still play well when given a chance.

the bears are just horrible with their QB choices. they get this guy from NWU and the back up QB from the Panthers?  what they hell are they going for guys with the least actual experience?  Qualifications: Nice Smile all others need not apply.

Kenny: I have basically given up on the Bears offseason. It’s more frustrating than the regular season. All this talk is about a new quarterback is bullshit. The Bears cannot, CANNOT evaluate the position at all. What they should really be doing is signing receivers left and right. But they won’t. They will just draft somebody that will probably get hurt.

At this point Jeff Garcia is probably the only decent BACKUP left. Let’s face it, he is not a championship quarterback. Other than that, he is an aging hot head that reminds me of Jeff Kent.

Bitter? The Bears have given me no choice. They hate their fans.

Waive Goodbye & Free Agents

Kenny: Today’s rumor Mill has the Bears looking at Chris Simms and Fred Taylor.

Bye bye Mike Brown and John Tait.

Brian: Hmmmm.

I don’t care how many QBs they sign so long as one of them shows up to play.

Simms looked pretty deece when he started for the Bucs a few years ago but, apparently, they got bored of him or something.  Also, didn’t Simms Sr. get pissed when a commentator called Chris “soft”.

Mike Brown, bless his heart, can’t do a season anymore. What scares me is Craig Steltz trying to make tackles in his place… did you see him get buldozed last year?

Oh yeah… bye bye Booker.   And 2/5ths of depleted Offensive Lin…

Fred Tayor would be a KILLER pick up.  A nice one-two with Forte who got really effed up after a full season with no legitimate backup.

Kenny: Simms hurt his spleen really bad. I think he ruptured it. The fact that people were giving him a hard time was probably because they were bonehead NFL fans.

I agree having Taylor as the second running back would be a much needed improvement. Just gotta form an O-LINE, which the Bears need to solve to give Orton more success this year.

Just Trade Haugh

Awesome Image Courtesy of Angy Orange

Brian: Urlacher for Boldin?

Kenny: I went off [ ] when I read that. David Haugh might be one of the wost sports writers behind Jay Marriotti. He always comes up with these theories that don’t have any merit behind them. Last year, he wanted them to trade Urlacher for Brett Favre which would have been so idiotic. When I went to Holy Cross, Haugh was a writer for the South Bend Tribune, and wrote about Notre Dame as if he made up how they were doing. The fact that he is our beat writer for the Bears is embarrassing. I invite everyone to boycott his article.

Brian: Haugh always seems to say whatever will make people talk — regardless of if it makes any sense at all.  That’s not journalism.

Kenny: I know. It’s kinda sad. I would think writing for a professional football team would be quite an opportunity and a privilege.

Dog Days

fuuuuuuuuuck no.  I will become a Browns fan if this happens…. Bears Looking At QB Options, Including…Michael Vick?

Kenny: Yeah, Vick as a Bear would be complete poison. The good news is, I don’t think it will happen. If you look at other papers across the nation, his name is being brought up as well as fodder for dying newspapers. What’s also interesting is, since Vick went to prison there hasn’t been any running quarterbacks. (And really I have always thought that their success is very limited.) Remember how much McNabb used to run? That changed when they groomed him into relying on his arm. Vince Young will be in that transition too. So if Michael “Pass efficiency FAIL” Vick is thinking about entering the league again, he might consider adjusting his game, because football evolves in some way every 5-10 years.

Brian: If Virginia McCaskey refuses to endorse cheerleaders, there’s no way she’ll allow them to pick up Vick.

Vick will wind up on the Cowboys or the Bengals… they all do.

Matt: Yeah this would be a huge mistake. Running quarterbacks were a fad; just like prison is a fad. Wait…


Orton and the Owl-Faced Goblin

January 15, 2009

Since I can’t really wrap my whole brain around the season right now, I’m just posting a few blogs based on coversation points I had with some assorted pals online; Ryan, Jim, Rob (from the blog Walker’s Point), Kenny (from Ask Dr. Kenny) and Matt from Belly Full of Hell). Here goes:

On The Never-Ending QB Controversey

Kenny: (In response to Tribune article “Kurt Warner Should be High on Chicago Bears Shopping List“) Probably the dumbest idea I have read in a long time. David Haugh should work for the Bears, because he is starting to think like them.

  1. Bringing in a 37 year old QB is pretty much playing a longshot. How did that work out for the Jets?
  2. Kurt Warner is terrible in cold games. Terr.i.ble. Last time I checked it gets Antartica cold in December.
  3. Why would we bench Kyle Orton after he has improved significantly over this past year? Because Warner has one, maybe two years at the most left in his arm? Plus his uber Christian wife has a bull dyke haircut. Which brings me to my next point…
  4. Uber slutty, tacky women or bull dyke Sunday school teacher?

or

Arms, Distance: God, I never get tired of that photo, or this one… http://www.theonion.com/content/node/34927
“Kurt Warner Cheered On By Wire-Haired Man-Goblin”

Kurt Warner Cheered On By Wire-Haired Man-Goblin

K: Kurt Warner’s wife mistaken for Jimmy Clausen — Kurt Warner thought his visit back to the Super Bowl would recreate fond memories of his former self at his best. The 1999 MVP performance. The 73-yard touchdown completion to Isaac Bruce. The game-ending tackle at the 1-yard line. Most of the attention instead has turned to Warner’s wife Brenda, who has accompanied him throughout Miami and has an uncanny resemblance to Notre Dame prized recruit Jimmy Clausen. Hundreds of Irish fans, in Miami because they thought their beloved team was selected to play in the Super Bowl, have flocked to the self-proclaimed grocery bagger seeking his wife’s autograph.
Jimmy Clausen or Brenda Warner?

A, D: Honestly, Orton is a serviceable QB, but we’ll never know how good he could be if we don’t get a decent receiver corp. One thing’s for sure though — he can NOT throw the long ball. I can’t count how many times he under-threw deep routes this year. (Sometimes, in the case of the Saints, it wound up being defensive pass interference because Hester couldn’t work back to the ball). But usually, it’s just going to wind up as an incompletion.

Ryan: I think Orton needs a fair shot… He was doing great until he got hurt and then he played the rest of the season injured. The Bears have way bigger issues than replacing a good player.