The 2023 (Essential) Off-Season Positional Checklist

| January 11th, 2023

The Chicago Bears can improve at just about every position on the field, as Data acutely discussed yesterday. They likely need a new center, additional corner, off-ball linebacker help, etc. But to be a consistent playoff team, you need the essentials, and the Bears are seriously lacking in those departments.

[  ] Backup Quarterback

This is the least of the essentials, but still essential. Justin Fields is going to play football the way he plays football, and that style comes with risk. There is risk for every quarterback but even more so for those who can wreck games with their legs. Trevor Siemian is a solid option off the bench but his entrance into a game forces the Bears to alter their style of play and that seems counterproductive. This is not a position where the Bears should spend huge financial resources; you’re more than likely to struggle no matter who your backup quarterback is. But I’d like to see them take a late-round shot in the draft on a running quarterback with arm upside. (Stetson Bennett in the 7th round.) If nothing else, they should never be in a position where someone like Nathan Peterman is starting football games for them.

[  ] Pass Rush

Does this really require explanation on a football (and sometimes cinema) blog? If you can’t rush the passer, you can’t win in the modern NFL. Hell, if you couldn’t rush the passer, you couldn’t win in the old-timey NFL either. A scout friend of mine said this of Alabama’s Will Anderson, “I wouldn’t trade back if there’s a chance I can get this kid. He changes a franchise.” Is that nonsense? Probably. The college-to-NFL projection is conjecture. (I think I am about to coin a term: projecture.) But if Anderson does remind NFL folks of Khalil Mack and Von Miller, that’s a projecture worth the risk.

[   ] Interior Defensive Line

The run defense in Chicago this season was a bit on the pathetic side, and this is a historically a position that can be addressed in free agency, as teams redirect their resources to flashier roster spots. The name you’ll likely hear? D.C. DT Daron Payne. At only 25 years old, and with a load of talent, he fills the prescription. If the Bears wanted to flood the position, they could also look at the underrated Dalvin Tomlinson in New Jersey or Taven Bryan in Cleveland.

Read More …

Tagged: , , , , ,


ATM: There Is No Mystery QB

| March 4th, 2021

Our ears perked up and our minds began to wonder: Who is the quarterback the Chicago Bears are trying to get that we don’t know about?

The secret: The player doesn’t exist.

Both Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace made obvious reference to there possibly being something in the works that has not been reported in the media. The fan base and media reacted exactly as the Bears intended. The hope is that other teams – namely Seattle – would too.

The popular name circulated has been Matt Ryan, but Atlanta would have to eat $44 million in dead cap if they traded Ryan and the return certainly wouldn’t be significant enough to justify that. Once they put themselves in position to pull off that trade, the price would likely be comparable to what the Eagles got for Carson Wentz; maybe less considering Ryan’s age. They’re in an obvious position to try and win now, while building for the future. They have pieces to make Arthur Smith’s first season a success and then focus on the future. Trading Ryan for not much while eating a ton of cap space doesn’t make sense.

Read More …

Tagged: , ,


Super Bowl Preview: It Comes Down to QB, Take the Chiefs

| January 30th, 2020

If I’ve learned anything as a Bears fan these past few years, it’s the importance of choosing Patrick Mahomes.

The most important position in football, and arguably all of sports, is quarterback. A great one can lift an average team to considerable heights, while a bad one can bog down an otherwise elite squad in mediocrity.

Neither the San Francisco 49ers nor the Kansas City Chiefs have a bad quarterback, but only one team has a great one, and Patrick Mahomes gives the Chiefs the edge in Sunday’s Super Bowl match-up.

I expect the game to be a close one. The Niners are a very good team, with a dominant defense and strong run game. They should be able to limit some of the explosiveness of Kansas City’s offense. They breezed through their first two playoff games en route to the Super Bowl, however both the Vikings and Packers were better on paper than they ever were on the field.

In comparison the Chiefs had a more tumultuous path, going down 24-0 to Houston before scoring 28 unanswered points in the second quarter, and never looking back. And while it’s probably true the Chiefs caught a break in getting to play the Titans at home instead of traveling to Baltimore like initially predicted, you have to respect how they were able to completely neutralize Derrick Henry and the Titans’ versatile offense in ways that neither the Patriots or the Ravens could.

Kansas City’s defense isn’t as good as San Francisco’s, but they can get the job done, and I think they will benefit from a mistake or two by Garoppolo. The moment will get to him. He’s not a bad quarterback, by any means, but he’s not a star. He’s not Mahomes.

Mahomes is extraordinary. Gunslinger. Escape artist. Pleasure to watch. It’s possible he has an off day, because even the best do. But I wouldn’t bet on it.

Take the Chiefs.

Tagged: , ,


Three Things the Bears Can Learn From the Denver Broncos

| February 1st, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 1.34.19 PM


Wrote extensively about this earlier in the week so no reason to repeat. Here is a passage from that short piece:

And pass rush, despite what people will have you believe, is not necessarily a quantifiable statistic. Sacks are great but pressuring a quarterback into a poorly timed throw can often be far better. Sustained pressure throughout a game is a recipe for success but intense pressure in the fourth quarter, with the game on the line, is a recipe for championships.

Pass rushers, much like quarterbacks, must raise their games in the pivotal moments.

The postseason is a collection of pivotal moments. The Super Bowl is a hundred of them.


There is an inane phrase repeated, many times in Chicago, about a quarterback being a “guy that can win you the Super Bowl”. Let’s take a look at Peyton Manning’s 2015. He completed less than 60% of his passes in a league where you could complete 60% of your passes. His touchdown-interception ratio of 9-17 will be the worst such differential attached to a Super Bowl starting quarterback in history. He has the mobility of Stonehenge. And, let’s not forget, he seems completely unable to throw the ball outside the numbers or down the field. 2015’s version of Peyton Manning checks none of the boxes for a “guy that can win you the Super Bowl.”

Read More …

Tagged: , , , ,