Mecole Hardman four months ago. pic.twitter.com/3xa9hQpldg
— Paul Pabst (@PaulPabst) February 12, 2024
As always, the day after the Super Bowl is reserved on DBB to simply celebrate the champion. Winning the Super Bowl is exceedingly difficult, and the achievement should not be underestimated.
Congratulations to Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs.
Player to Watch on the Kansas City Chiefs.
Orlando Brown Jr. is an interesting football player.
As left tackle for the Kansas City Chiefs, he has historically gotten off to slow starts but finished seasons as one of the more dominant tackles in the sport. It happened in 2021. It happened in 2022. And now he’s just weeks away becoming a filthy rich individual, with teams across the league desperate for offensive line help.
The Chiefs tagged Brown this past season. It is unlikely they would do that again. But what better opportunity for the player? Brown will square off against an historically elite pass rush with a hobbled quarterback behind him. If he keeps the pocket clean for Patrick Mahomes in February, he’ll be lining his pockets as one of the richest offensive linemen in the league history come March.
And there’s a team in Chicago that would gladly pay full freight.
The official DBB talking points when it comes to the preseason are well established. These games are glorified practice sessions. The “schemes” are vanilla. The intensity is non-existent. The value is nil. But the 2022 Chicago Bears find themselves in an interesting place as they begin their preseason calendar tomorrow. Here are a few things worth looking at as the Chiefs come to Soldier Field.
Coach Flus has said the starters will receive substantial playing time tomorrow. So, as always, the most important part of this ball game is the Bears coming out of it as healthy as they go into it. With the season still a month away, it would be difficult to argue for the importance of much else.
In a recent interview on ESPN 1000’s Waddle and Silvy, Louis Riddick, pal of Matt Nagy, indicated the team will be returning to the approach Nagy (and Andy Reid) had taken in Kansas City. That doesn’t mean what most fans think. While Nagy was hired in Chicago under the guise of being a quarterback whisperer who would finally modernize the team’s offense, the truth is somewhere in between. Yes, Nagy runs a modern offense with a modern passing game, but he got this gig by running the ball. That is exactly what he is going to try to return to.
Riddick worked with Nagy in Philadelphia and the ESPN analyst has maintained a close relationship with the Bears head coach. Riddick rarely indicates that what he’s saying comes from conversations with Nagy, but when he speaks confidently about the Bears approach, it’s a good bet that it comes with inside knowledge. He shared a number of nuggets in that radio spot last week, none more noteworthy then when he spoke about the Bears newfound commitment to running the ball.
“There’s going to be a marked difference in how that team is going to come off the ball running the football,” he said. Later in the interview, Riddick was more specific saying the Bears are going to be a “more physical running football team.”
That fits with what Nagy did with the Chiefs. In the five years Nagy was with Kansas City, they never ranked in the top half of the league in passing attempts. When Nagy took over play calling duties from Andy Reid in 2017, one of the big changes was feeding the ball to Kareem Hunt — the league’s leading rusher that year. After Nagy gave Hunt just nine carries in his first start – it should be noted they still scored 31 points as Alex Smith threw for four touchdowns — Hunt had 78 carries in the next three games before sitting out most of their Week 17 game.
Who knows what is to come from the NFL season? But there is a schedule now and here are my thoughts.
I’m very excited for this Super Bowl matchup between two of the best teams in the NFL. Here’s what I’ll be watching for on Sunday night.
There was a time, when I was a younger man, I would have taken David “Blue Moon” Haugh’s latest exercise in journalistic futility and dissected every single sentence, right down to the incorrect placement of punctuation. I would have shown you that not only was the work devoid of intellectual competence, but also another shining example of why it’s not a wise idea to hire someone for a writer’s position who isn’t good at writing. Haugh’s greatest crime is not his transparent attempts to write his blowhard nonsense into a daily spot on Around the Horn. No, his greatest crime is against the English language itself. That the same newspaper can employ both Blue Moon and the great Rick “Drinks Like an Actual Man” Pearson blows my fucking mind daily.
But I am not that younger man. If you haven’t read Haugh’s take on head coach Matt Nagy’s decision to bench his starters for the team’s fourth practice game, don’t. There will be no link provided here and don’t waste a valuable minute of your life searching it out. Instead, read a few chapters of John McCain’s wonderful book Faith of My Fathers or Neil Simon’s Biloxi Blues or some classic Royko columns being run in the Sun-Times. Hell, just read anything else.
What Matt Nagy achieved this weekend, in a practice game, was somewhat extraordinary.
Forget the result. The result means nothing. Nobody in their right mind believes the second units of the Chicago Bears are better than the first units of the Kansas City Chiefs, a playoff team a year ago. Nobody in their right mind believes Chase Daniel is a rare combination of Joe Montana’s accuracy and Steve Young’s elusiveness. Nobody in their right mind believes anything they see on the preseason field, except Denny Green of course, but was he ever in his right mind?
So what mattered?
While Dan Pompei believed Nagy’s decision to rest players sent “the wrong message” and was an example of coaching “scared”, the sideline reflected the exact opposite.
Mitch Trubisky was the game’s loudest cheerleader, especially when it came to the play of his backup. The starters erupted in support of Kevin White’s first touchdown in a Bears uniform. Players like Danny Trevathan and Tarik Cohen were seen rushing to greet their teammates as they came off the field from a successful drive. These guys were engaged and excited. Why?
Because NFL starters, especially veterans, don’t want to play in these games. They don’t want to risk their long-term financial security in physical contests that count neither in the standings nor in the stat column that ultimately determines how many zeroes are on their paychecks.