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Another Quiet Monday Within A Quiet Summer Offseason

| June 3rd, 2024

Twitter embeds aren’t working on the site today, and I have no idea why. We’ll just have to make do.

Over the weekend, Caleb Williams walked into a Chicago bar and led a ‘Green Bay Sucks’ chant. Coming off of glowing OTA reports last weekend, it seems the young QB is quickly embracing what it means to paly for the Bears.

Is it a bit corny? Sure, especially given the team’s recent record against the Packers. But is it fun? Absolutely.

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A deep dive into the TEs, part 4: 3rd down, red zone, slot

| May 31st, 2024

This is the final installment of a 4-part series looking at Chicago TEs Cole Kmet and Gerald Everett.

  • In part one, we explored how each player has been used in the past, and how this might match up with how offensive coordinator Shane Waldron has deployed his tight ends.
  • In part two, we examined how frequently and effectively Kmet and Everett were asked to block in both the run and pass games.
  • In part three, we saw how they fared as pass catchers in terms of overall efficiency, against man and zone coverage, and in different depths of the field.

Today we’ll wrap up the series by continuing to focus on their impact catching the football, especially on 3rd/4th down, in the red zone, and out of the slot.

3rd + 4th Down

Let’s start by looking at 3rd and 4th down, when stakes are high and players need to produce a first down to move the chains and avoid a punt. The table below shows how frequently and effectively Kmet and Everett were targeted in these high-leverage situations in 2023. Data is from Pro Football Reference’s Game Play Finder, ranks in parentheses are compared to the 26 NFL TEs with 50 or more targets, and ranks in the top 25% are highlighted in green, while those in the bottom 25% are highlighted in red.

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A deep dive into the TEs, part 3: efficiency, man vs. zone, target depth

| May 30th, 2024

This is part 3 of a 4-part series looking at Chicago TEs Cole Kmet and Gerald Everett.

  • In part one, we explored how each player has been used in the past, and how this might match up with how offensive coordinator Shane Waldron has deployed his tight ends.
  • In part two, we examined how frequently and effectively Kmet and Everett were asked to block in both the run and pass games.

Today, we’re going to switch gears to focus on the tight ends as pass catchers. We’ll look at overall efficiency, how they performed against zone and man coverage, and how frequently and effectively they were targeted at different depths of the field.

Basic Efficiency Stats

We saw in part 1 that Kmet and Everett both have starting TE volume in the passing game, but volume stats don’t tell you the whole story; we also need to look at how efficient players are with their targets. The table below shows that data for Chicago’s TEs, as well as their ranks compared to 26 TEs with at least 50 targets. Values in the top 25% are highlighted in green, while those in the bottom 25% are in red. NFL best, average, and worst values among those 26 players are also included to help contextualize the data. All data is pulled from Pro Football Reference’s Game Play Finder.

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A deep dive into the TEs, part 2: blocking

| May 29th, 2024

This is the 2nd installment of a 4-part series looking at Chicago TEs Cole Kmet and Gerald Everett. In part one, we explored how each player has been used in the past, and how this might match up with the way offensive coordinator Shane Waldron has deployed his tight ends. Today, we’re going to focus on blocking, which is an often overlooked part of a tight ends’ role.

Pass Blocking

Let’s start by looking at how frequently and effectively Chicago’s TEs pass blocked. The table below shows some basic pass blocking stats from Pro Football Focus (PFF) for Kmet and Everett in 2023, and their rank compared to 45 NFL TEs with at least 25 pass blocking snaps. Ranks in the top 25% are highlighted in green, while those in the bottom 25% are highlighted in red.

A brief explanation of some of the stats:

Side note: sorry if there are formatting issues for the tables. You can view them in full by clicking on them. 

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A deep dive into the TEs, part 1: usage

| May 28th, 2024

After handing Cole Kmet a big extension last offseason and signing Gerald Everett to a solid contract in free agency this year, the Bears have two starting-caliber tight ends on the roster. Both players were heavily utilized in the passing game in 2023, which can be seen in the table below showing their basic receiving production, with ranks compared to other NFL TEs in parentheses.

Kmet was among the top 10 TEs in every stat, while Everett generally ranked in the 15-25 range, which would put him as roughly an average to below average starter. Their pay checks also reflect the expectation that both players are expected to play starting-type roles, as they currently rank 9th (Kmet) and 21st (Everett) among TEs in average yearly salary. Since both players will be playing important roles in Chicago’s offense in 2024, this week’s series is going to take a detailed look at how each of them could be useful. We’ll split this into four parts:

  • Part 1:
    • How new OC Shane Waldron has utilized his TE in the past
    • How this compares to Kmet and Everett’s usage
  • Part 2:
    • How frequently and effectively they blocked
  • Part 3:
    • How efficient they were overall as pass catchers
    • How they performed against man and zone coverage
    • How frequently and efficiently they were targeted at different depths of the field
  • Part 4:
    • 3rd and 4th down production
    • Red zone usage
    • How frequently and efficiently they produced in the slot

Waldron TE Usage

Let’s start with a look at how new offensive coordinator Shane Waldron used his tight ends during his 3 seasons in Seattle. The table below shows information about how much his tight ends played, how frequently they were targeted in the passing game, and where they lined up. TE1-TE3 status for each season is based on total snap counts, and alignment information is pulled from Pro Football Focus (PFF).

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DBB Special Report: My 100 Favorite Bars – Open or Closed – in the World (Post-Covid Addendum)

| May 24th, 2024

In July of 2019, I published a listing of my 100 favorite bars – open or closed – in the world. Since that time, a pandemic happened, and my passport expired, so I have not traveled much. Nevertheless, today I present an addendum to that list, a collection of bars that have emerged in my life over the last five years; the five toughest years the bar business has faced.


#10. McGovern’s Tavern, Newark NJ.

After receiving some good and relieving news during a meeting at Rutgers-Newark, the future home of my academic studies, I retreated back to this bar I’d spent many days in as a younger lad. My intention was to have a beer or two and take the 3:00 PM train home. I ended up on the 8:05. In that one visit McGovern’s restored its place in my drinking life, even if the exterior bears no resemblance to the old stays. (See the picture directly below.)


#9. Gantry Bar and Kitchen, Long Island City NY.

During Covid, this was the first bar that allowed us to come inside and drink at the counter. For people who consider the barroom the centerpiece of their social life, this was an amazing moment. Gantry’s location – almost exactly at the halfway point along the NYC Marathon route – made it the perfect spot to experience my favorite day in the city all year. (Shoutout to Ashling O’Dwyer, the person I’m most excited to have encountered during the Covid era.)


#8. The Bar at Hollow Brook Golf Club, Cortlandt Manor NY.

There is an artistry to the golf club bar, and the great ones feel like extensions of the round you’ve just played. At Hollow Brook you can sidle up the bar for a cold pint and watch the pros on television or turn around and watch the hackers come up the 9th through a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows. (There’s also a patio to enjoy, but I’ve never sat on it.) Like most great golf club bars, you start thinking about far before your final putt on 18.


#7. Pic-a-Lilli Pub, Atlantic City NJ. (Closed October 2022)

I celebrated my 40th birthday in Atlantic City and “the Pic” had the best wings I’ve ever eaten outside of Buffalo. That was January of 2022. But the end of that year, the bar was no more, and another Atlantic City landmark was gone.

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