Is this the…FINAL…Friday Lynx Package? (6/30/23)

| June 30th, 2023

Something tells me the new editor (a) won’t be doing links collections very often and (b) won’t find the cat pun as funny as the current editor. Nevertheless, here are a few things worth looking at as we venture into the holiday weekend.

  • If you’re looking to ruin a BBQ soon, Pepsi is launching a condiment specifically for hot dogs.
  • Dan Pompei, for The Athletic, ranks the 15 best decisions in the history of the Chicago Bears.
  • Aurora, home to Wayne Campbell, Garth Algar and Stan Mikita’s Donuts, is throwing their hat in the rings for the new stadium. I had an affinity for the previous president, and know very little about the current one, so I will refrain from weighing in on this situation. But I can’t understand why Kevin Warren is letting this become such a public spectacle. These deals are shady. They involve greasing politicians and screwing the taxpayer. They don’t involve nightly discussion on every local news station in Chicagoland.
  • ACTUAL BEAR NEWS: Why is it every time a bear tries to devour some idiots who have trespassed on its territory, the news frames the human survival as some kind of heroic act? This article actually uses this headline, “Photographers Stand Their Ground as Bear Charges Them.” I’m sorry but, WHOSE ground? This bear didn’t walk into the photographer’s apartment and make a cup of tea.
  • The Bears are currently +425 to win the NFC North, the third worst odds in the division, only slightly ahead of the Packers. And they strike me as undervalued, not because of the team’s strength but because of the weakness around them. Every year I do multiple eight division winner parlays. I’ll have the Bears in several.

Enjoy the weekend! If you drink, don’t drive. With the availability of Ubers now, there is simply no excuse to put folks in harm’s way due to your negligence. Once the alcohol hits your lips, your hands shouldn’t hit the steering wheel. It is a rule that works.

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Announcing DBB’s New Editor-in-Chief, Robert K. Schmitz.

| June 26th, 2023

For 18 years, this website has operated with a singular editorial voice. And it is time to acknowledge that voice has gotten stale.

Maybe it was writing the 50th haiku of this calendar year. Maybe it was waking one morning, realizing I had nothing for the site, and just embedding some random tweet. Whatever the case, it has become clear to me that this site I love so much is in desperate need of a new vision and a modern approach. Enter Robert K. Schmitz, who will become our second editor-in-chief on July 10th.

I have admired Robert’s work, mostly on Twitter and YouTube, for several years. He possesses a unique voice, detailed and passionate, and has mastered multiple formats with which he delivers that voice. His tape study videos are the best I’ve seen. His engagement with fans is measured, balanced and often quite funny.  He’s not a “hot take” guy. He’s not one of these Bill Simmons rip-offs, writing columns like How the Chicago Bears are Like Your Ex-Girlfriend. He’s not someone who approaches sports with a mocking tone. For a long time, I debated bringing him onto the DBB roster, but I always thought a lateral move was beneath him. Now, it’s his show.

But I’m not going anywhere. I am simply moving upstairs. I’m a McCaskey now. The Blogger Emeritus. I will continue to operate the DBB Twitter handle. My game previews, which are about 3% football content these days, will still arrive each Friday during the season. And when I have something interesting to say, I’m still going to use this platform to say it. But the content on this site, day-to-day, will be completely under Robert’s control. In order for him to make DBB his own, I must give him full autonomy. (And I must admit, I’m incredibly excited to watch the Chicago Bears without a notebook in front of me.)

I’m 41 years old, and I’m both a young and old 41-year-old. I still have the passion and enthusiasm I had when I was a kid, especially when it comes to the Chicago Bears, to the cinema, to learning and writing. But I’m also an antiquated curmudgeon, set in my ways, unwilling to adapt. In order for DBB (the site) to maintain its relevance moving forward, it cannot continue to be led by someone who has no interest in All-22 tape or the NFL Draft. Robert’s arrival is not about me stepping away from the site. Robert’s arrival is about ensuring DBB, this passion project, continues to grow.

The future is bright around here.



Friday Lynx Package [6/23/23]

| June 23rd, 2023

We are a few weeks away from football practices starting. Some stadium drama, but not much.

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Tremaine Edmunds, Large

| June 21st, 2023

One of the more underrated elements of this off-season has been the Bears fortifying their linebacking unit into one of the best in the sport.



Chase Claypool, and the Problem of Soulless Aggregation

| June 20th, 2023

True story. About a year ago (I think) I got word from a source close to Ted Phillips that the former team president was cutting his workday short to pay a visit to Virginia McCaskey. Virginia’s family was concerned the illness with which she was suffering at that time might be the one to finally take her out. Ted, essentially a member of the McCaskey family, did not want to miss what might be a final opportunity to thank the matriarch of the Chicago Bears for giving him the opportunity to lead the franchise he loves. I wrote a column about it called In Praise of Virginia McCaskey. I never wrote “Virginia McCaskey is dying.” As a matter of fact, I deliberately did not speculate on her health, even joking about the notion of “good health” for someone in their late-90s. And yet days after my column posted, I was inundated with folks on social media criticizing me for Virginia McCaskey’s continued existence.

You see, what happened was, nobody read the post. Nobody read what was, in fact, my attempt at a living eulogy, a column I have been told Virginia read and enjoyed immensely. They simply read the first paragraph and ran with, “DaBearsBlog says Virginia McCaskey will be dead in minutes.”

I don’t know Marc Silverman (Silvy) personally, but I feel like I do, and he has been a pivotal part of the success of DBB. Here’s what I imagine happened last week. Someone in Lake Forest told Silvy that the team is frustrated with Chase Claypool’s progress. Silvy went on his radio show and shared that information. But he didn’t say, “CHASE CLAYPOOL IS A BUST AND THE BEARS REGRET THE TRADE!” He actually said there were frustrations, which there usually are when injuries are involved, and the ball was now effectively in Claypool’s court. He sounded, at least to me, completely measured and perfectly reliable. But the next thing you know, it is a nationally aggregated headline and the whole of #BearsTwitter is “forced” to respond, themselves having no earthly clue what anyone inside Halas Hall thinks about anything.

Here’s what I know about Chase Claypool. I know he was an incredibly productive receiver over the first two years of his career, averaging 60-860-5. I know Ryan Poles loved his unique set of skills enough to deliver the Steelers a second-round draft pick in the middle of the 2022 campaign. And I know that Claypool was relatively unproductive in the months that followed, unsurprising since he joined the worst team in the league and his quarterback fought through injuries over the final month. Do I think Claypool is going to be a star in Chicago? I have no idea. Do I think Claypool is going to be out of Chicago after the 2023 season? I have no idea. But I am willing to wait until he has a full off-season with a quarterback who likes him a quite a bit so that I can judge him over the course of a full campaign.

And I can tell you what someone inside Halas Hall told me about the Chase Claypool story: “They are out there running around in shorts. What is there to be frustrated about?” (This person was on vacation and accompanied their text response with a picture of blue water and a green beverage.) The subtext of this comment: frustrations with Claypool, and Claypool’s overall production, are not that important big picture. If wasting a second-round pick brings this building down, the structural integrity never existed at the start.

So why did this innocuous Silvy comment gain such traction? The answer is not complicated. The sports media landscape is now a conglomerate of aggregators; folks who do none of their own research, cultivate none of their own sources, write at about a seventh-grade level, and get paid by the click. They scavenge the internet for anything they can turn into a search result on Google. It seems a miserably hollow existence to me, but to each their own. These aggregators feed off the notion that NFL fans are the most impatient human beings to be found in the whole of the sports world. Everything has to be a scoop. Every post has to be posited as news.

These aggregators also believe fans are stupid and more often than not they are proven correct. I’ve always said about the phrase “snake oil salesman” that we only know that phrase because people bought a ton snake oil! Off the record, the folks doing this work will tell you their mandate is simply to create as many posts as possible. They don’t care about the veracity of the content because they are shielded by the notion that it is not their content. They’re just the messengers. Google Chase Claypool and here is what the aggregators will tell you.

Read More …

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Friday Lynx Package [6/16/23]

| June 16th, 2023

Another Friday. Another post with a cat pun title.

  • AP: “The Athletic, a subscription sports outlet owned by The New York Times, is laying off about 4% of its newsroom staff as part of reorganization efforts, the company confirmed on Monday.” The venture capitalist structure does not work in the media. Any media. The Athletic was never going to be able to develop a subscriber base that validated the breadth of their talent investment. Are there GREAT people working for The Athletic? Of course. They have the best Bears team in Chicago. But the numbers don’t add up.
  • Now Waukegan is throwing their hat in the ring for the new Bears stadium. Will it happen? No. Folks inside Halas Hall still believe Arlington Heights is the most logical outcome. (The team’s meeting with Brandon Johnson went well but without public money, the team isn’t building a new structure in the city.)
  • NBC Chicago: NFL.com named Justin Fields and DJ Moore a top-15 duo and I think they’ll be solidly in the top ten this season. Said one source who has been at these practices: “They are going to field the ball to Moore like he’s one of the best receivers in the league.”
  • ACTUAL BEARS NEWS: A young black bear swam onto the beach in Destin, Florida and it is a pretty remarkable video.
  • Justin Jones wishes Aaron Rodgers were still in Green Bay so he could beat him. He also decided to call their fans “shitty”. There have been a lot of incredibly dumb things said by Bears players over the years but this ranks near the top. First, the Bears never beat Rodgers. Ever. And they wouldn’t have beaten him this season either. Second, why are players taking shots at opposing fans? It is beyond childish.
  • Hadn’t noticed that Ryan Poles purchased a home in Lincolnshire for $2.07M.
  • Jack Sanborn was one of the rare positives on the defense in 2022, but early reports suggest he’ll be in a tough competition with Noah Sewell to stay on the field. Bigger point: it doesn’t matter. Sanborn is a that cliche we often hear, he’s a “football player.” He will find a way to be a contributing member of this roster.

Enjoy your weekend!

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Friday Lynx Package [6/9/23]

| June 9th, 2023

A lot going on when it comes to the periphery of the Bears these days.

  • Broadcast Data! Our man appeared on something called Bears on Tap to talk all things Bears, and he was fantastic. (How many Bears podcasts and YouTube shows are there now? 500? How do any of these folks expect to get traction in such a crowded marketplace?)
  • Yesterday I completed a three-week intensive course studying the work of British filmmaker and playwright Mike Leigh. If you’re interested in all in film studies, or just an intrigued human, our unique experiences from Leigh: Topsy-Turvy (1999), Another Year (2010), Secrets & Lies (1996) and Vera Drake (2004). Click those links to locate where the films can be found streaming.
  • This piece from Laurence Holmes in the Sun-Times is absurd, as he argues Kevin Warren has ushered in a sea change at Halas Hall re: their (verbal) pivot away from Arlington Heights. There is no sea change. Ted Phillips fought with mayors for decades on behalf of the Bears and got what the team could get. This, now, is a negotiation about tax assessments. NFL franchises want states, counties, municipalities, etc. to bend over financially, and they almost always get what they want. Holmes also includes this nonsensical phrase: “I want what’s good for the Bears. I truly do, as long as it doesn’t infringe on the pockets of unwilling taxpayers.” In what world will it not?
  • The joint statement from Warren and the new mayor after their meeting: “Today we met and discussed our shared values and commitment to the City of Chicago, the importance of deep roots and the need for equitable community investment throughout the city,” read the statement, which was credited to both Johnson and Warren. “We are both committed to the idea that the city and its major civic institutions must grow and evolve together to meet the needs of the future. We look forward to continuing the dialogue around these shared values.”
  • The early buzz out of the Bears? D.J. Moore has changed the entire offense, and raised expectations for this unit can be in 2023.
  • ACTUAL BEARS NEWS: Here’s video of a bear being rescued in Colorado after “breaking into” a food truck. I put that phrase in quotes because can we really accuse a bear of “breaking into” anything? Does it know the food truck is “closed”?
  • Jaylon Johnson missed voluntary practice sessions because he just being a dad and Twitter spent a week arguing about it. (Once again, Twitter sucks.) Johnson is part of a union. That union collectively bargained when Johnson is responsible to report to work. Why on earth would he report on additional days? Would you?

Monday: Data takes a thorough look at the tight end position, as we INCH closer to the start of training camp.

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