Merz Apothecary Game Preview: Week Four

| October 2nd, 2020

Our sponsor this week is the legendary Merz Apothecary and they’re doing a fantastic giveaway!

Because there isn’t any theatre for JQ to do, he’s been forced to actually watch all these Bears games live and his heart is struggling to take it. So the winner of this week’s contest will receive a package of goods designed for heart health and stress relief. We can’t have the Chicago Bears killing anyone!

You’ll get Himalaya HeartCare Capsules, Carlson Fish Oil Capsules and Urban Moonshine Joy Tonic. It’s a package worth $75. This is high-end stuff.

The Contest

In the comments section below, guess the total number of yards receiving for Bears WRs Sunday. No backs. No tight ends. Just Robinson, Miller, Mooney, Ginn, Wims…etc. First correct answer wins the package so don’t duplicate someone else’s guess. (If nobody guesses the number exactly, we’ll roll the prize over to Thursday’s Bucs preview.)

Good luck!

Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears This Week?

I always like the Chicago Bears.

And while I think there will be some growing pains for Nick Foles with these receivers, my confidence level in this team is significantly higher with him under center.

Thoughts on the Colts

  • I have watched all three Colts games and I don’t really know what to make of them defensively. (I guess the same could be said about the Bears.) Kirk Cousins played one of the worst games I’ve ever seen a quarterback play two weeks ago. Then Sam Darnold topped him last week. If you think the Colts defense caused those performances you really need to look at the tape. Both guys missed wide open receivers all over the field. Both guys just seemed to casually throw interceptions. This is definitely the best defense the Bears have faced to this point but their number one ranking is inflated by these grotesque QB performances.
  • When you watch them defensively, it’s their aggressiveness that jumps off the screen. They are a group that likes to hit people. It’s the reason Matt Eberflus was being considered for some head coaching gigs last off-season and why he’ll be a top contender once Eric Bieniemy is announced as the new coach of the Falcons.
  • Mo Alie-Cox looks to be finally developing into a nice weapon for Phil Rivers at the tight end spot. He’s only got ten catches on this young season but you can see the confidence level growing each week. Bears need to be wary.
  • Stopping the run is key every week but it’s absolutely essential Sunday. If the Bears have shown a vulnerability in the passing game it’s the deep middle, underneath the safeties. Those throws require arm strength and the first three QBs they have faced have had it in spades. Rivers does not. He can not pick them apart if he’s trying to fit the ball into tight windows, 10-12 yards down the field.
  • Kicker Rodrigo Blankenship was one of my favorite players in the 2020 NFL Draft and he’s been fine kicking for the Colts. But…he’s doinked three kicks through three weeks. Imagine if the Bears had drafted him and he did this? It would have broken half the fan base.

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Two Veteran Quarterbacks (with Arm Strength Concerns) Over Five Pivotal Days

| September 30th, 2020

Phil Rivers was paid a fortune to take over a franchise that saw their 2019 derailed by an early retirement and injuries at the sport’s most important position.

Tom Brady was paid a fortune to take over a franchise that saw their 2019 derailed by a quarterback who stubbornly refused to stop throwing the ball to the other team.

Neither is the player they once were. They both do everything in their power to avoid contact. They both lack the zip required to fit the football into tight, intermediate windows. They both lack precision on the deep ball, not uncommon for quarterbacks in the twilights of their careers.

But how the Chicago defense performs against these two wily veterans will greatly determine what kind of season this team is going to have. To this point, the defense has been far more bend-don’t-break than recent vintages. They have forced the three opposing QBs – Stafford, Jones and Ryan – to execute long drives to threaten to the end zone. (With the glaring exception being the Atlanta opening drive Sunday.) Being that the unit is ranked 9th in points allowed, it’s hard to argue that strategy hasn’t worked, to a point.

These next two games, that must change. The run defense must be better because both of these quarterbacks are at their best when they get ahead of the chains. The pass rush must dominate because neither of these quarterbacks can operate with players around them. The coverage must be tight because neither of these quarterbacks can make the kinds of throws Stafford make in Week One. If you allow Phil and Tom to dink and dunk you to death, it’s EXACTLY what they’ll do.

The Bears needed to come out of their first three games at 2-1, minimum. They exceeded that, in somewhat miraculous fashion, managing to also close the book on The Trubisky Affair. Now they need a split of these next two. 4-1 (or long shot 5-0) means they’ll have ten days before a a game in Carolina they’ll be expected to win. That is exactly the kind of start that means you’re playing meaningful games in late December, and hopefully beyond.

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Thoughts From Around the NFL After Week One

| September 16th, 2020

Normally, these kinds of thoughts would be relegated to the Twitter feed once the season begins but this season is unique. With no good camp reporting anywhere, and no preseason fake games to look at it, the last five days were the first opportunity to see these 32 teams in any realistic way. So having caught at least condensed game versions of every team, some thoughts.

NFC North.

A week ago, these were the odds to win the NFC North: Vikings +160, Packers +180, Bears +380, Lions +550.

Today, these are the odds: Packers +110, Vikings +260, Bears +300, Lions +900.

These odds didn’t move because of the lunacy of Bears/Lions. They moved because Aaron Rodgers was the best player in the league Week One and the Vikings defense didn’t look like they’d practiced this summer.  (The gap closure between the Vikings and Bears is sizable for one week.) Pay no attention to the final score of the game (43-34). The Packers led 30-10 going into the fourth quarter and called off the dogs. Oh, and they scored two more touchdowns without the dogs. If Rodgers needed 60 Sunday, he could have gotten it.

NFC East.

The story in this division was a tale of two lines. Washington has a terrific collection of DL talent but it’s clear Carson Wentz and the Eagles won’t survive with their makeshift OL. Wentz was a sitting duck, sacked 8 times, and flustered throughout.

Sometimes coaches get enamored with this “next man up” bullshit and that’s clearly what happened with Doug Pederson. “Next man up” is fun to say but teams don’t have the economic freedom to create the depth necessary to execute it. The Eagles don’t have good players on their OL right now and their scheme relies upon having one of the best lines in the game. They need to embrace what’s actually happening, and change the scheme.

(The Cowboys changed coaches and looked exactly the same.)

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Approaching the Quarterback Position for 2020 Volume III: DBB’s Endorsement

| February 14th, 2020

Sign Phil Rivers.

There, I said it.

Here’s why.

(1) Rivers is only one year removed from one of his best seasons as a professional. (4,308/32-12/105) Is it possible he can no longer perform at the professional level? Sure. It’s possible. But it’s unlikely. Hell, in his “terrible” 2019 he threw for more yards in a single season than any Bears quarterback ever has.

(2) Rivers’ career is lacking only one thing: a title. It could be the thing that keeps him out of Canton. Wouldn’t he be motivated to reach deep and find it for one run, especially for a team that wouldn’t require him to put 40 on the board to win games?

(3) This offense needs some personality. It needs some leadership. It needs some pissed off, especially since Kyle Long’s demise. Rivers never shuts up on the field. He’s a pain in the ass. He’s downright annoying. But what Bears fan wouldn’t deal with that annoyance for 4,000+ yards and 10 wins?

Sign Phil Rivers.

Take a shot.

Worst case scenario, Trubisky is back on the field by Week 6.