513 Comments

Week 5 Game Preview, Volume I: Historically Bad Passing, Top 5 Minnesotans, Viking Thoughts, Etc.

| October 6th, 2022


Last week was ugly, so…

Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears This Week?

I.

Always.

Like.

THE.

Chicago.

Bears.


Stat of the Week

Mitch Trubisky. Baker Mayfield. Marcus Mariota. Daniel Jones. These are (were) the four quarterbacks of the teams ranked directly above the Chicago Bears in passing yards per game. The Bears are currently throwing for 97.5 yards per game, more than 40 yards per game fewer than the 31st ranked team.

Last year, the New Orleans Saints were last in this statistic. They threw for 187.4 yards per game.

If these numbers don’t dramatically improve for the Bears, this could the worst passing attack in modern football history.


From Twitter on Monday

I put the following commentary on Twitter Monday, but I wanted to repost it here. It should help towards understanding how I’m going to be writing about the 2022 Bears, and their quarterback, moving forward. 

There was always going to be a contingent of Bears fans who started panicking once the team started losing ugly – an inevitability. These were the “Justin Fields will own the division” and “11 wins are possible” crowd. True believers; nothing wrong with it.

For the first year of a new program, there are definitive positives on the field. (I’ll have a piece about some of them tomorrow.) And you hope that over the next 13 games we simply continue adding to this list, building excitement / momentum for 2023.

But you have to understand that the Bears are far closer to the worst team in the league than the best. We could be looking at a group picking in the top 3 next spring. But two picks in the top 35 might be EXACTLY what this roster needs. (That’s where these fancy WRs are.)

I’m going to stay macro for the remainder of the season and cease the micro stuff. It’s not going to make me a particularly fun follow on game days but that’s where I’m at emotionally/mentally with this team and I feel it’s the smartest way to engage them.


Top “5” Folks from Minnesota (in video form)

This was NOT an easy list to compile. But I’m happy with my choices. And for all you Bob Dylan fans, I apologize. But I would rather listen to my cats scratch the couch cushions than an 11-minute Dylan mumble. So, I guess I don’t really apologize. I do apologize to the Judy Garland fans, though.

____________________

5. Mitch Hedberg

____________________

4. Terry Gilliam

Read More …

Tagged: , , , , , ,

338 Comments

Dannehy: Fair to Question Luke Getsy

| October 5th, 2022


Once again, Chicago Bears fans are left playing the “chicken or the egg” game when it comes to determining what, exactly, is the problem with the team’s offense. But there certainly is some evidence to suggest offensive coordinator Luke Getsy isn’t getting the most out of his players.

Justin Fields might be bad, but we know he is certainly capable of being much better than this. In his last four complete games of his rookie season, he passed for 975 yards and five touchdowns, with a passer rating of 85.9. Compare that to the first four of 2022, in which he has managed 471 yards, two touchdowns and a rating of, gulp, 58.7.

Fields isn’t even as effective as a rusher. In that same span, he ran for 257 yards, compared to 147 this year.

Somehow, the Bears offense is worse. They went from 27th in scoring and 24th in yardage to 31st in both. They are averaging 33 fewer yards and 2.3 fewer points per game. It is especially concerning when one evaluates Getsy’s performance in the passing game because, well, Getsy came to the team after being a passing game coordinator. It’s supposed to be his specialty.

It’s hard to see a major difference in the supporting cast; it isn’t as if the Bears didn’t have struggles at wide receiver and offensive line last year. And, while I have written several times about the difficulties Fields might have adjusting to an offense he has never played in — especially one that quarterbacks tend to struggle in — at least some of that should be offset simply by Fields no longer being a rookie.

The benefit of the wide zone offense Getsy was set to bring to Chicago is supposed to be the easy throws for the quarterback, but we aren’t seeing those. One can watch any Green Bay Packers game and see several examples of Aaron Rodgers taking a three step drop and making an easy throw for six yards. Do those not exist in Getsy’s version of the offense or is the quarterback not pulling the trigger?

Read More …

Tagged: , , , , ,

201 Comments

Thoughts From Around the NFC North

| March 22nd, 2022

The odds above are from DraftKings Sportsbook.


Green Bay Packers

  • The story of the Green Bay off-season is Aaron Rodgers. The second he decided to return to the club, he cemented their frontrunner status for not only the NFC North but for the NFC, generally. (They run side-by-side with Brady’s Bucs.) Barring injury to the signal caller, the Packers will be in the 2022 postseason.
  • Has any draft pick caused more organizational turmoil than the Jordan Love pick? Sure, it alienated one of the greatest (and emotionally fragile) quarterbacks in the history of the sport. But also, the kid clearly can’t play. If he could, the Packers wouldn’t be doing advanced calisthenics to contort around Rodgers’ emotions. If the team viewed Love as capable, they could have dealt Rodgers for multiple first-round picks, replenishing Love’s supporting cast, and likely still maintaining their contender status.
    • Stacey Dales and I had a rather contentious Twitter exchange when the Packers took Love. She “reported” Rodgers was fully onboard with the selection. But of course, he wasn’t. People like Rodgers – and I’m sure you know a few – harbor everything. They stew with every perceived slight. They don’t use it for motivation; they use to be upset. Still awaiting the formal apology from Dales.
  • Rodgers has a history of making the weapons around him better but that’ll be put to the test in 2022. The Packers will likely address wide receiver in the draft but until they do, this is the weakest collection of outside targets they’ve rostered in quite some time, with Allen Lazard as their top current option for next season.
  • And don’t count me among those criticizing Green Bay for dealing Davante Adams. They got a first and second-round pick and now don’t have to pay him $30M a season. There is no reason to believe Adams will replicate his Rodgers production with Derek Carr. Rodgers aggressively fed Adams, with the most accurate arm in the league.
  • Green Bay’s defense was solid in all the standard categories and mediocre in the advanced metrics like DVOA. But their special teams sabotaged them in 2021. Pat O’Donnell is not a game changer. Rich Bisaccia, while a great leader, is not a game changer. The Packers need to strengthen the bottom of their roster – the core of specials – and that will need to happen over the closing days of free agency/draft season.

Minnesota Vikings

  • Kirk Cousins is still the quarterback. Thus, the team has a definitive ceiling. But we should all marvel at what he’s achieved in the sport. Warren Sharp put it in one Tweet: “Kirk Cousins has a 59-59-2 record as an NFL quarterback, performs slightly above average, and has made $231,669,486 in his career.”
  • Minnesota has a new head coach but as long as they stay committed to Kirk, they are in win now mode. This became even more clear when the Vikings were unable to trade Danielle Hunter prior to his $18M bonus becoming guaranteed on Sunday. (This is why Ryan Poles traded Khalil Mack THIS off-season. When you’re trying to retool a roster, you have to clear payroll when it’s possible. There’s no guarantee that Mack would have had the same value a year from now and Poles couldn’t take that chance.)
  • The off-season approach taken by the Vikings is receiving harsh, and I believe appropriate, criticism from their media.
    • From Ben Goessling: “This week, the Vikings opted not to follow through on the considerations they’d had, however briefly, about a hard reset, instead making moves to keep veterans on their roster while clearing enough cap space to sign several free agents and perhaps satisfy the Wilf family’s stated expectation the Vikings be “super-competitive” 8in 2022.”
    • From Chip Scoggins: “The team’s salary cap quagmire has created dueling agendas that make ownership’s win-now objective a tug-of-war with reality.”
    • From Mark Craig: “The Packers are the team to beat in 2022. The Bears and Lions are eyeballing 2023. And your new Vikings regime has stuck itself somewhere in between as a team still giving full chase to the distant Packers in 2022 while staring down the probability of falling short and finding itself a year behind the rebuilds in Chicago and Detroit in 2023.”

Read More …

Tagged: , ,

190 Comments

Final Game Preview of the 2021 Chicago Bears Season

| January 6th, 2022


Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears This Week?

I always like the Chicago Bears.

And it’s only one week so why not?


What Positives Can We Take Away From the 2021 Season?

This season was not without promising developments, and some of those developments came at key positions. Let’s take a moment to accentuate the positives.

  • Fields Flashes.
    • All that should have mattered in 2021 was Fields. And we saw plenty that portends a future star in the league. There is still a long way to go for the young quarterback, but that journey could be a fun one for Bears fans.
  • Young Tackles.
    • Can Jenkins and Borom bookend this offensive line for years to come? It’s possible. And that possibility is incredibly exciting.
  • David Montgomery/Khalil Herbert/Darnell Mooney/Cole Kmet.
    • The Bears still need explosive weapons on the offensive side of the ball, but the pieces are falling into place. (And for those super critical of Kmet, ease up. He’s a kid. And in a productive offense he’s going to be a productive piece.)
  • Robert Quinn’s Dominance.
    • The Bears enter the 2022 season with one of the sport’s best pass rushes, barring a trade. (And the only way the Bears should trade Quinn or Khalil Mack is if they’re getting significant return.)
  • Jaylon Johnson.
    • Johnson has not only emerged as a top corner but his comments late in the season, questioning the integrity of the folks around him, show he possesses the leadership qualities this secondary desperately needs. But Johnson won’t realize his full potential until a second corner emerges on the other side.
  • Roquan.
    • This is – simply stated – one of the best defensive players in the league and the kind of talent you build a defensive roster around.

Read More …

Tagged: , ,

38 Comments

Vikings at Bears MNF Game Preview: West Side Story and…Bears Win?!?!?!

| December 20th, 2021


Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears This Week?

I always like the Chicago Bears.

And with the Bears depleted, and the Vikings unable to stop anyone from throwing the ball, this game could potentially be a fun watch. Right? Isn’t entertainment the ceiling now for the remainder of the 2021 season?


Tweet of the Week


Go See West Side Story

I’ve hesitated to write fully about West Side Story in an effort to avoid hyperbole. But after two viewings, I’m done with that. This is one of the greatest films ever made. What are my six favorite things about the picture, you ask?

  • The custodian and the floodlights in Maria, a number that took my breath away on both viewings.
  • Gee, Officer Krupke is a song I’ve skipped whenever watching the original film (and sort of tuned out in the theatre). In Spielberg’s masterpiece, it’s the most ingeniously staged number in movie musical history.
  • America. If you’ve seen it, you understand.
  • Ariana DeBose. Same note.
  • Rachel Zegler’s Maria is a gorgeous creation, but she is never better than in a silent sequence in the film’s first act, attempting to present both herself and her bedroom as being slept in.
  • Mike Faist. He’s not going to win the Academy Award, but his Riff absolutely deserves

Game Prediction

Minnesota fields one of the best offenses in the sport and it’s unlikely this dilapidated Bears defense will keep them under 27 points. So, the question is, can the Bears offense match that output?

Yes.

This is Justin Fields’ breakout performance as a passer.

Chicago Bears 30, Minnesota Vikings 27

Tagged: , , ,

122 Comments

FOCO Week 10 Game Preview: Vikings at Bears, Volume I

| November 13th, 2020

It’s gonna be a rough winter across the country, as we find ourselves once again in the throes of Covid-19. So when FOCO reached out to me about partnering, I wanted to find a way to incorporate their stuff into DBB and try and have some fun with these crazy times.

Above is the gaiter scarf. They sent me one. It’s warm as hell and it can serve as a mask. And it ain’t that expensive. (Like $15.) Here’s the link to the product. Christmas is coming, folks, even if we’re not spending the day with our families. (We’ll have a giveaway from FOCO in Monday’s Volume II post.)


Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears This Week?

I always like the Chicago Bears.

But this is a unique time. I have reached the point with this offense where I no longer believe they’re capable of first downs. And when they do manage a few first downs, or make a splash play, I just assume the penalties and sideline mistakes that follow will sabotage the progress and keep the offense from scoring points. There can’t be a less fun unit in the NFL, especially considering their talent on the outside.


A Little Look at Minnesota

  • Minnesota is 25th in points allowed, allowing nearly 30 points per game. But ask yourself, does that matter? Is there any scenario in which you can imagine the Chicago offense scoring 30 points?
  • Dalvin Cook has been torturing bad defenses for the last five weeks. Outside of Seattle holding him to 65 yards on 17 carries, Cook’s rushing totals have been 206, 163, 130 and 181. The Bears did the job against Derrick Henry a week ago. The test doesn’t get an easier Monday night.
  • Vikings don’t have a single player on their defense in the top 50 in sacks. This is not a team that threatens the opposing passer. (Neither was Tennessee and one of their DL ended up Defensive Player of the Week in the AFC.)
  • Stefon Diggs is having a remarkable year in Buffalo but the Vikings have a younger, more-talented version of Diggs in Justin Jefferson. He’s averaging 18.4 yards per reception, which is better than DK Metcalf and DJ Moore and probably DL Hughley. (The only player with a higher average is Nelson Agholor in Vegas but he’s got half the number of catches.)
  • Doesn’t this Courtney Cronin headline from ESPN tell the story for the Vikings? “Key to Vikings’ success: Keep ball out of Kirk Cousins’ hands?”

Read More …

Tagged: , , ,

163 Comments

Week 17: Bears at Vikings Game Preview (With Nothing at Stake)

| December 27th, 2019


Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears This Week?

I always like the Chicago Bears…

…and we’re only guaranteed 16 of these ballgames a year. The next time the Bears will take the field is nine months away. Might as well enjoy seeing the colors out there.


Three Reasons to Sit Through This Game

  • It won’t mean much to disappointed Bears fans but 8-8 will feel much better to this locker room than 7-9. They can endure this miserable campaign and know they were only a play or two away from being in the tournament ANYWAY.
    • And 4-2 in the NFC North will reaffirm the club’s belief that they are only a few moves away from being back atop the division in 2020. (Of course one of those moves needs to be at the most important position in professional sports.)
  • There are four metrics one can look at to get a good sense of a quarterback’s play: FO’s DVOA (value per play), DYAR (total value), QB rating and total QBR. None are close to perfect but I believe if you take the average ranking of the four you can get a clearer picture. Here is where Mitch Trubisky ranks in all four:
    • DVOA: 26th
    • DYAR: 26th
    • QB Rating: 28th
    • Total QBR: 28th
    • Fan of old school stats? Mitch is 32nd in average yards per completion and 27th in touchdowns. There’s not a single, discernible stat one can look to for optimism regarding Trubisky’s performance this season.
    • Verdict: he’s been better than rookies and backups this year. Nobody else. So why is this a reason to watch? Maybe it’s his last start?
  • Khalil Mack needs a sack and a half to get to double digits on the season. One has to believe he’ll be motivated to get there. And the Vikings offensive line will help. They are bad in protection.

Tweet of the Week

Read More …

Tagged: ,

101 Comments

ATM: North Might Be Tighter, But Bears Are Still Best

| June 4th, 2019

There is little question that at least a couple of other teams in the NFC North are better than they were a year ago, but the Bears were so much better than the field it doesn’t seem likely the gap isn’t still significant. In addition to having four more wins than any other NFC North team last year, the Bears outscored their divisional opponents 153-109. That’s a differential of 44 points, meaning a +7.3 point average in divisional contests.

While the Lions and Packers made significant additions via free agency and, presumably, through the draft, they were so far behind the top two teams. The Lions were outscored by the other three teams 131-118, while the Packers were outscored 162-110. In fact, the Packers needed late field goals to avoid three double-digit losses and were handled by the Lions, twice.

Of course, the 2018 Bears were a great example of going worst-to-first, losing every divisional game in 2017, with most of them not being particularly close. But the Bears spent most of the 2017 season with a rookie quarterback and made more significant roster additions than any of the NFC North teams,

Here’s a quick look at the division.


Minnesota Vikings

Best Addition: Irv Smith Jr. The Vikings have some really good offensive players, but they reminded me of the 2014 Bears, who were basically playing 10-on-11 offensively without a decent second tight end or third receiver. Smith gives them another weapon, who should allow them to play big and run the ball.

Biggest Loss: Sheldon Richardson. Playing on a one-year deal, Richardson was second on the team with 20.5 combined quarterback hits and sacks last year.

Read More …

Tagged: , , ,