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…


Vikings and Bears NFC North Run-off

December 9, 2008

I’m not going to waste time talking about the Bears and Vikes games last week, but I AM going to focus on what happens now — with three games left apiece.

So far, all we know is that the Bears D is not good when playing other good teams.  They only appear to be good when playing games they’re expected to win.  It’s no coincidence their recent wins have been against the lousiest of the league — Jacksonville, Detroit, St. Louis — they remind me of a pouty Rec League group that plays in the lower levels just to feel good about themselves.

Lance Briggs said earlier this year that when the Bears defense wanted to play well they would play well.  Hmmm.  Well, sidestepping the most obvious question, (“As a professional athlete player, when do you NOT want to play well?”) question #2 is, “Do you find it odd that in games the defense SHOULD have been amped up, you actually played worse?”  Failures such as:

  • A chance to beat an undefeated Titans team.
  • A chance to claim first place in the NFC North by beating the division rival Packers at Lambeau.
  • A change to reclaim first place in the NFC by beating the Vikings in prime time

Were they not pumped up about these games?

THESE are the games you have to win, THESE are the games you win if you deserve to be the Division Champs — Tough games, DIVISION games.   It’s because the Bears can’t win to save their own hides that having to root against the Vikings is just maddening. 

If the Bears won games they were supposed to, we shouldn’t have to watch the scoreboard to see if Detroit is going to beat them (Or Arizona, or Atlanta, or New York) in the next few weeks.  Larry Mayer’s ChicagoBears.com Chalk Talk made it painfully clear what needs to happen for the Bears to make the playoffs:

There are two ways for the Bears to win the NFC North: They go 2-1 and the Vikings go 0-3, or  the Bears go 3-0 and the Vikings lose at least two of their final three games. Minnesota can win the division with two victories regardless of what the Bears do.

So, if I must, here’s who they both play in weeks 15, 16 & 17.

  • Vikes (8-5): Arizona* (8-5), Atlanta** (8-5), New York* (11-2)
  • —  combined record (27-12) .692
  • Bears (7-6): New Orleans** (7-6), Green Bay (5-8), Houston (6-7)
  •  — combined record (18-21) .462

(*Clinched Playoff Birth, **Wild Card Race)

So,  at first blush, The Vikings have a more difficult schedule. But you have to consider both Arizona and especially New York have nothing left to play for, so their only real difficult game is Atlanta.  Based on Mayer’s comments, I find it very unlikely that Minnesota — with the playoffs on the line, will manage to lose to the Cards and Giants; both disinterested teams.

Chicago, though their win% looks favorable, has to first play a New Orleans team with a matching record, healthy Reggie Bush, and a serious bone to pick with two losses in the last two years against the Bears — one a NFC Divisional Playoff upset.  Next up, Green Bay — historic rivals who, no doubt, would love to spoil a Bear playoff run.  Finally, you have a Houston team which the Bears should not even THINK about until they have beat both Green Bay and New Orleans and the Vikings have lost to Atlanta.

So… speculate all you want, they don’t deserve to win the division.  Why?  Because they’ve had TWO chances to do so within a month, and they’ve failed.  WHY DO WE WANT TO MAKE THE PLAYOFFS ANYWAY?

To get blasted by whomever we play?  To give the Bears Franchise an excuse not to make any major shake-ups in the off season? To get a higher draft pick?  Seriously, why?


Packers versus Bears

November 18, 2008

Using the term “versus” denotes that one team plays another, I should change this headline to “Packers Pwnd Bears”

My God, my brain cannot function in ways to comprehend how badly the Bears were beaten yesterday. In a 37-3 route, the Pack CRUSHED the Bears in every possible way. As my frontal lobe cannot put together words, I’ll just copy-and-paste some comments in email conversation I had this morning with friends from both Chicago and *gasp* Wisconsin

  • On behalf of the Packers, I apologize… I didn’t expect that and I won’t gloat, beyond the SCOTT STAPP text I sent.

  • You gotta give the Pack credit for playing a great game all-around, and running 200+ on a team that usually “shuts down” the run.
  • That was the most pathetic Bears game I’ve ever seen. (Well, recently)
  • I missed Rex Grossman’s magic
  • I did see Mike Brown’s hit on Ryan Grant. I was surprised Grant was able to come back in the game, it looked monster
  • Did you see the Slo-Mo of Grossman warming up and the ball flipping backwards out of his hand?!?! Hilarious!
  • I say for the remainder of the season, STAY with the run-stopping… make teams beat you through the air. We may be one-dimensional, but as of last week our one-dimension had us leading the division with our only losses coming to two division leaders (one undefeated), and two playoff-bound teams – all of which by a touchdown or less
  • That’s a good point…Even the first game against the Colts was against a very rusty Manning.
  • I think as much as the defense is regressing, the offense needs to do something. Either Orton’s ankle is still bum or Grossman is watching game tape from the early 00’s Bears and boycotting passes longer than 10 yards.
  • Shoop time baby!
  • Orton’s definitely still hurt (sidenote: the Aaron Kampman cheap-shot didn’t help)… maybe 70%.
  • Was Kampman’s hit late? I only a saw a replay of it, but I couldn’t tell if he was diving for Orton and hit his ankle or if Orton hurt his ankle again when he was trying to move away from Kampma
  • The ball was well out of Kyle Orton’s hand, the play was over and Kampman was on the ground… and he reached AROUND Orton’s good leg to get a shot at the bad one. I’m trying to find video.
  • Ew. That sounds like a fine to me!
  • The Bears were just lousy. I don’t mind (as much) losing a well-fought game, but that was just embarrassing.
  • If you listened to the radio last night, oh man, people were pissed.
  • It turns out that the Bears defense IS terrible, and the whole “good at stopping the run” thing was just a way of hiding the fact our entire defense is subpar.
  • We could “stack the box” against teams with average QBs (Matt Ryan, Kerry Collins, Gus Ferotte, effing Dan Orlovsky) but when you play a team with good WRs and a good QB like the Packers, we had to play honest, and it really showed how fucking miserable this teams defense is.
  • The crazy thing is that we were all oblivious to how bad the team was, when ALL those teams with mediocre/rookie QBs – Falcons, Titans, Vikings, Lions were all throwing well against us, even though only two wound up being losses.

Squibgate

October 14, 2008

I’ll be brief.  In the final quarter of an otherwise yawn-fest of a game, the Atlanta Falcons beat the Chicago Bears with a field goal with 1-second left after Kyle Orton led the Bears in multiple late-quarter drives.  As a Bears fan, I will be succinct, but I must ask:

  1. Why a squib vs a regular kickoff?  Is Robbie Gould a good squib kicker — it didn’t look that way. 
  2. Are we supposed to have the best Special Teams coverage in the league?  Isn’t a game with 11 seconds left a time to expect them to perform.
  3. Was there a fear of avoiding a real kickoff because of what happened against the Vikings last year, when Adrian Peterson returned a kickoff into Bears territory that lead a Minnesota 3-point victory?
  4. Why stick to the Cover-2 when a short pass or running the ball would’ve ended the game?
  5. How do you allow a reciever to get even CLOSE to a sideline when the team has no timeouts with 6 seconds left?
  6. With all this recent referee criticsm, isn’t it bullshit that Atlanta’s game clock operator gave their offense a 1-sec or so cushion on the secon-to-last snap? (The same second that allowed Elam to kick the winning field goal).  A similar question was fielded in Larry Mayer’s Bears Q&A “Chalk Talk” yesterday:

Can the Bears file a formal protest of Sunday’s loss based on the clock operation in the Georgia Dome? It appeared that the clock conveniently started late on both on the Bears’ squib kickoff and on Atlanta’s 26-yard pass play that set up the field goal.

Will S.
Chicago

Well, whatever.  They say good teams find a way to win — what does that say about a Bears team whose every loss has been 3 points or less? I’m going crazy just thinking about this.  Also note: Jason Elam blew a gimmie field goal earlier in the quarter, and we blew a 4th and goal attempt so… we can’t complain, the Bears had plenty of chances to score and shouldn’t have allowed it to come down to the last second.

Relive the terror (or the glory if you’re reading this in Atlanta / Green Bay).
 


NFL Power Rankings and No Love for Team X

October 1, 2008

Leave it to Bristol Connecticut-based ESPN to release a Week 5 Power Ranking that puts the entire NFC East Division in the top ten: New York Giants (1), Dallas Cowboys (3), Washington Redskins (6), and the Philadelphia Eagles (9), while their troubled .500 Patriots still get to linger near the NFL elite.

Obviously, the Giants look hella-good right now but prime-time darlings, the Cowboys, are over-rated as usual. The Redskins did well in Week 4 by beating Dallas but in my opinion, that should devalue “Americas Favorite Team” more than improve Washington’s standing. Keeping Philly in the top 10 after their loss to the Bears is also strange — granted they were sans Brian Westbrook, but that injury situation won’t be resolved before the next kickoff.  What’s more, shouldn’t the Eagles loss to an out-of-conference 1-2 team sink the East’s much-vaunted elite status?  Guess not.

 ***

Let’s do some abstract math. Let’s call a team, “Team X“. Mind you, this is all hypothetical…

Here is how Team X had fared so far:

  • Week 1: Beats #17 Ranked team (away)
  • Week 2: Loses to #7 Ranked team by 3 (away)
  • Week 3: Loses to #10 Ranked team by 3 in OT (home)
  • Week 4: Beats #9 Ranked team (home)

By these stats alone, where would you rank Team X? A team that has beaten the #9 and #17 teams, and has narrowly lost to the #7 and #10 teams. Well, certainly not at #18th (ranked BELOW the two teams they have defeated), right? RIGHT?!?!?! 

 ***

Purely coincidentally, Team X is exactly where the Chicago Bears find themselves in these rankings. As a local fan, this is very off-putting. The Bears are a 2-2 team, ranked 18th, which seems about right until you compare who sits above and below them…  They remain in the lower tier of .500 teams, just above the Jets (19), and Cardinals ( 20), with the 49ers (22) and Falcons (24) bringing up the rear.  What’s MORE questionable in the rankings is the SEVEN two-win teams ahead of them, and even a sub-.500 club, the 1-2 Colts (17), still ahead of them. 

What’s going on? You lose two games by the margin of a field goal to two top-10 teams (Bucs, Panthers) then you beat the Eagles and you wind up below ALL FOUR of them in the rankings?! It makes very little sense outside the NFL Buzz Bubble.

Meanwhile NFC North Rivals, the Favre-less (and now Rodgers-less) Green Bay Packers sit at #15 in the power rankings. The Pack went 2-0 early after two divisional games, beating the sputtering Vikings and lowly Lions. Then they lose to the Cowboys (who narrowly beat the Eagles), and then lost decisively to the Buccaneers, winding up at 2-2.

Would you not think that (*ahem*) Team X should be ranked above them? Considering Team X‘s wins came at the hands of lesser opponents and their losses were to teams that are on-par with those Team X has played. No?  Well then, you must live around Bristol.

***

For instance, the dude over at BeatPaths has a different way of visually-representing NFL Power Rankings which is easy to read, and even, dare I say, borders on functional art.  I’m really enjoying this site:

BeatPaths’ Post Week 4 Visual Ranking:

2008-4-Nfl-Clean

The site ranks team SOLELY on record, eliminating and subjectivity, and ranking teams directly based on two criteria: Number of wins & number of losses. It goes futher by color-coding the teams by divison, so if you’ll note, the NFC East is strong (but not ESPN strong), and the AFC North is being dragged down by the horrible play of both Ohio teams.  Meanwhile, the mediocre NFC North is just that — at about 5th/6th Tier with both 2-2 teams sitting alongside most other 2-2 teams.

These rankings are based on “beat paths” (strings of teams which successivly beat one another), and “beat loops” (groups of teams which have both won or lost to eachother).  

The divisional aspect comes into play because only teams in the save division play eachother twice in the regular season, “beat loops” in which teams split their divisional  help give us insight on how competetive each individual division is.  Click here for more details.

Also, the peeps over at BeatPath were inspired to do there thing because they have the same issues I have with subjectivity:

Seems like all the other major power ranking lists out there are in this category. A sportswriter or a committee applies their subjective judgment to all the teams and ranks them however the hell they want. You’ll see huge changes in the lineup every week because of the upsets. The main flaw with these lists is that they aren’t scientific, have huge variance in week-to-week performance, and aren’t really reflective of the overall quality of a team.

 Rah-rah, BeatPath.  Please meet my “Add To Favorites” button.


Bears Begin Rebuilding Decade

March 4, 2008

(Originally found on URChicago here.)

Plans to visit the Super Bowl every 11 years or so is underway for the Chicago Bears franchise. With savvy off-season non-moves, they’re well on pace to make the playoffs again by 2017 – their scouts are scouring adolescent Pop Warner prospects as we speak.

Bears management have opted not re-sign our top two receivers — Bernard Berrian and Muhsin Muhammed. On the official Bears depth chart, this leaves Rashied Davis and Mark Bradley as the two guys that are supposed to catch balls by Grossman or Orton (whoever’s preseason play is less disappointing). Scared Yet?

Maybe the Bears are going to focus on the good ‘ol strategery of “running and defense” — an antiquated philosophy the Bears have always held dear. This plan of attack last year led to the third-worst rushing offense and the fifth-worst total defense in the NFL.

You’d think the Bears would have some interest in Pro Bowler to-be, Michael Turner. You’d think. He was a premier free agent — a classic, bruising, power running back… you know, the type that Cedric Benson was supposed to be. Turner had expressed interest in playing for Chicago and was prettymuch waiting for an offer. Bears looked the other way, Turner signed with the Falcons and so far, the Bears’ biggest off-season move has been a large, exaggerated, collective shrug.