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Lovie Returns to Soldier Field (Again): Week Three Game Preview, Volume I

| September 22nd, 2022


He has a beard now. A glorious, white beard. It terrifies young babies. So…

Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears this Week?

I.

Always.

Like.

THE.

Chicago.

Bears.


Lovie vs. Opposing Quarterbacks

In the first two weeks of the season, Lovie’s defense has faced Matt Ryan and Russell Wilson, both times as substantial underdogs. Their passer ratings?

Ryan: 83.1

Wilson: 66.5

That ranks the Texans seventh in the league in opposer passer rating, a pretty decent stat when evaluating a pass defense. For those thinking this is a “get healthy” week for Justin Fields, that just isn’t the case.

But Houston is allowing 163.5 on the ground so don’t be surprised if the game plan for the Bears in Week 3 is relatively similar to what we’ve seen so far in September.

Knowing Lovie, expect the Texans to sell out to stop the run and dare Fields to sit in the pocket and beat them. If Fields has a good afternoon, the Bears could have a big offensive output.


Other Early Stats that Could Matter

  • Lovie’s teams always get off the bus running the ball but through two games the Bears have actually run it substantially more, to the tune of 64-46 total carries. (Fields runs a lot. Davis Mills runs less.) Bears are also averaging a yard more per carry.
  • Keep an eye on third down defense. Texans are allowing conversions on exactly a 33.3% of attempts. The Bears are allowing conversions on 50%. Small sample size, sure, but those numbers projected out are devastating for the Bears.
  • Both the Bears (28.6% conversion) and the Texans (25% conversion) are in the bottom six in the league in third down offense.
  • Underrated stat: total plays per game. Houston is averaging 63.5 (T-15) and the Bears are averaging 48.5 (31). If the Bears want to improve their offensive performance, it would be helpful to run some offensive plays.

Additional Notes (Links) from the Houston Press

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Dannehy: Passing Game Failures are Everyone’s Fault

| September 21st, 2022


If Week One was a giant victory for the Ryan Poles and Matt Eberflus era, Week Two was a terrible defeat.

There is a lot of blame to go around for Chicago’s failures against Green Bay. It starts by looking at the rosters. When you compare Green Bay’s defensive front to Chicago’s offensive line, and their secondary to Chicago’s receivers, it is a total mismatch.

That said, it isn’t like the Bears have a bare cupboard. The fact that Justin Fields has fewer than 200 passing yards through two games is, well, shocking.  Nobody will say Fields was great as a rookie, but in his last two games in 2021 he had more than 500 passing yards and three touchdowns. We can talk all day about the players the Bears don’t have, but they do have two who should be good options in the passing game in Darnell Mooney and Cole Kmet. Both were able to produce last year and can’t even get the ball thrown their way this year.

Was Matt Nagy that good or is Luke Getsy that bad?

That isn’t to absolve Fields, Kmet, Mooney or any of the other players. We’re simply learning that they aren’t good enough at this point. That also shouldn’t be a surprise. If you go back to the early reports from camp, they were all about how much the Bears were working on their running game and not their passing game. How could anybody expect mediocre — if we’re being generous — talent to produce against elite talent when they haven’t even put the time in on the practice field?

The NFL season is guaranteed to have 17 tests and the Bears have gone through two of them. The team’s front office and coaching staff is well aware that they aren’t going to be contending for the Super Bowl this year. They knowingly took the slow path to success and, unfortunately, that means there will be games like Sunday night.

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Peanut Belongs In The Hall of Fame

| July 20th, 2016

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Administrative Note: This will be the first of 300 columns with the same headline.

When the 2021 NFL Hall of Fame Class is announced, Charles Tillman’s name should be on the list.

It’s not going to happen. Tillman spent his career being thought of as just a local hero even though he played in a major media market on a team that regularly had one of the best defenses in the NFL. While Tillman was one of the best players in the NFL, he was never really recognized for it.

Charles Woodson is a lock to be on that list. Tillman was a better player.

Woodson was most known for his ability to take the ball away, but he wasn’t necessarily better at that than Tillman. Woodson had a combined 98 interceptions and forced fumbles in 254 games. Peanut had 82 in 168 games. If you were to average that out to a 16 game season, Tillman would’ve averaged nearly eight per season, compared to around six for Woodson.

Woodson had more interceptions, but even there the difference isn’t great. Woodson averaged 4.1 interceptions per 16 games, while Tillman was at 3.6. While he could take the ball away, Woodson wasn’t nearly as good in coverage as Tillman was (the Packers typically put Tramon Williams on the other team’s best receiver).

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Across The Middle With Andrew Dannehy

| December 30th, 2015

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• My biggest disappointment from this season has been the fact the Bears hadn’t been able to establish an identity, but that might have changed on Sunday. The Bears dominated the line of scrimmage against a team that ranks in the top 10 in both rushing offense and defense. If they can run and stop the run with the best, they’re going to win quite a few games.

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“Things Must Change”

| August 18th, 2015

John Fox has assumed command of the 2015 Chicago Bears without running away from the defensive disasters of the previous two campaigns. He is not taking a “those weren’t my teams, I don’t worry about them” approach. He is now the head coach of this proud franchise and seems to have accepted with that role all of the organization’s history as his own. From Adam Jahns’ piece in the Sun-Times:

The strongest message is on the binders of the defensive players: ‘‘Things must change. Be part of the solution, not the problem.’’

What must change is the passivity that has defined Bears defense for longer than a decade. Lovie Smith, while certainly an able-minded defensive coach, frustrated fans with his soft, Tampa-2 approach. During his tenure the Bears defense always seemed willing to allow the opposing offense to dictate the terms of play, waiting for mistakes instead of creating mayhem. Mel Tucker attempted to execute the same concepts, only with older and oft-injured versions of once great players.

51-23.

55-14.

On two nights in front of the nation, this decade of passivity reached its version of rock bottom. It is from those depths from which Fox must operate. And his acknowledging the existence of those depths is the first step in what will surely be a lengthy recovery.

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Catching the Packers Starts With Defense

| April 23rd, 2015

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It was a long time ago that Lovie Smith was introduced as the Bears head coach and stated his first goal was to beat the Packers. Over a decade later, John Fox and Ryan Pace are walking into a similar situation and, if they’re going to catch the Packers, they have to do exactly what Smith did by building their defense.

The common reaction from Bears fans when the NFL schedule was released was that the team was going to start 0-1 and ruin Thanksgiving by losing to the Packers. Such early negativity is a little ridiculous but there’s reason for it. If the Bears are going to change the course of their franchise and undo much of what Phil Emery and Marc Trestman did, it starts with the defense.

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Audibles From the Long Snapper: Cutler in 2015, Rodgers on Kromer, Lovie Love, Conte the Immortal & DBB Tailgate Info!

| December 19th, 2014

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#6 IN 2015 DOESN’T MEAN #6 FOREVER

Cutting or trading Jay Cutler makes no sense – fiscally or footbally (deal with it, I am using that as an adverb). The Bears should absolutely be looking for the future at the position but in the meantime you don’t throw away the type of production Cutler provides from the quarterback position. Fans and media seem to believe keeping Cutler and looking to the position in the coming drafts are mutually exclusive concepts. They are not. But if the Bears decide to make a move away from Cutler without a replacement in place they could be doomed to another decade of nightmares at the position.

RODGERS WEIGHS IN ON KROMER

Mike Silver spoke with Aaron Rodgers regarding Bears offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer and all that stuff he did. (To read the entire worthwhile piece, CLICK HERE.) An excerpt:

“I would have a major problem if somebody said something like that,” Rodgers said Tuesday during an interview at Lambeau Field. “I think anybody that plays the position, you can’t help but empathize with Jay for that situation. You talk all the time about being connected, being a unit, believing in each other. But if you have unnamed sources, people out there cutting you down, and then you find out it’s the person calling the plays — that would be really hard to deal with, to look at him the same way.”

Though Kromer reportedly apologized to Cutler — and the quarterback later said he “wasn’t angry” with his coordinator and that the team was in a “better place” following the meeting in question — Rodgers was far less forgiving.

“I felt for Jay that he was having to deal with that,” Rodgers said. “And I was surprised that the coach came out and admitted that it was him. I think, in general, unnamed sources are pretty gutless. But then he comes out and admits it was him. I don’t think he deserves any credit for that, but it was interesting that he did.”

I have listened to all the reasons Aaron Kromer still has a job on Marc Trestman’s staff. Not one of those reasons is good enough. But this is what happens when your head coach is not a leader of men. He forgives treasonous behavior to avoid disruption.

Here is a text I received from a former Bears player when I asked him how he’d respond to the Kromer admission: “I would never take a word he said seriously again”. Sounds like the perfect coach for the 2014 Bears.

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Lovie Smith Returneth: Tampa Bay Bucs at Chicago Bears Game Preview

| November 20th, 2014

They won a game. My lord of lords, they have won a game. Did they beat a rookie quarterback playing in frozen conditions for the first time in his entire existence? Maybe. Do the Buccaneers come to town with a head coach and quarterback desperate to show the Soldier Field faithful and Halas Hall hierarchy what they’re missing? Absolutely. So…

Why do I like the Chicago Bears this week?

I always like the Chicago Bears.

A SUNDAY TO LEGITIMIZE ANOTHER SUNDAY

The Bears victory over the Minnesota Vikings means nothing if they lose Sunday. These two games, the first destination on Marc Trestman’s road map to retain his job, are a package deal.

Winning both enables the Bears to play a game with at least some meaning on Thanksgiving Day in Detroit. You might argue the stench of back-to-back embarrassments against arguably the league’s two best teams is too overwhelming to overcome no matter what happens against lower level competition. That’s a fair argument but I think a misguided one. The Bears returning to national television with an opportunity to even their record at 6-6 is a significant step for an organization left for dead two weeks ago. From 6-6, with 3 of their final 4 at home, Trestman and company can begin selling a run of the table to the locker room. Whether they achieve that goal or not is relatively unimportant. Believing there is a goal to be achieved means the players will be severely motivated in December.

Losing Sunday to the Bucs, one of the league’s worst teams, will hurt Trestman terribly in Chicago. If this offense can not find motivation against their former coach they will never find motivation. And if they can’t beat the two-win Bucs at home there will be nothing the coaching staff can say in the locker room to convince players this season has any possible reward.

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DaBearsBlog Poll: Lovie Smith’s Return

| November 19th, 2014


If you have not read Adam Jahns’ excellent piece in the Sun-Times on Lovie Smith’s impact on the Chicago Bears defense, CLICK HERE AND GO READ IT NOW. An excerpt:

For Tillman, Smith motivated through positive reinforcement. He referred to Tillman as an All-Pro cornerback in defensive meetings even though he wasn’t at that point in his career. It happened whenever the Bears faced the Detroit Lions and star receiver Calvin Johnson.

‘‘He’d be like, ‘They got their best player. We got our best player. I got all the confidence in the world in Peanut,’ ” Tillman said. ‘‘It was the confidence that he had in his players. You really felt it.

‘‘I believe in speaking words into existence. Part of being a coach is motivating your players, and it definitely got me going. My confidence was that much higher.’’

There’s even better stuff in the piece. Part of me wishes something like this had been written while Lovie was still the coach.

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