Three Questions with [REDACTED] About the Potential of the 2022 Chicago Bears

| July 19th, 2022

[REDACTED] is not some source I have cultivated through years of letter writing (yes, that’s how I started doing it) and emails. [REDACTED] is a guy from my neighborhood who just happens to be very high up in an NFL organization. We found ourselves together in our local this weekend and I took the opportunity to ask him some questions. I didn’t record him, but I did take notes. These answers are constructed from those notes.


DBB: Bears fans on Twitter seem obsessed with proving Justin Fields is good. What does the league think of him after his rookie season?

[REDACTED]: I was talking to [ALSO REDACTED, BUT HE INTERVIEWED FOR BEARS GM JOB] the other day and he might be Fields’ biggest fan. But man, even he can’t get a handle on the 2021 tape. The word he used was “nonsensical”. One of our pro personnel guys recommended we throw out his rookie year and start over with him in September. I think Bears fans would be wise to do the same.


DBB: You have been part of two organizations at this stage of their process. Twice you’ve come into a franchise and started a “rebuild”. But in both instances, you guys got to select your quarterback. How does having a first-round QB here already change the dynamic for Ryan Poles?

[REDACTED]: It doesn’t. They will evaluate Fields like they would any young player, and that evaluation started the second they walked into the building. Ryan could have taken the Minnesota job, convinced them to move on from Kirk, which wouldn’t have been that hard, and drafted his own quarterback next year in a great quarterback class. He didn’t. He thinks Fields can be his guy. I agree with him. But he has the luxury of being able to move on from Fields too.


DBB: What is the biggest concern for a team like the Bears in 2022? What will the front office be worrying about?

[REDACTED]: Great question.

DBB: Thank you. You want another Guinness?

[REDACTED]: Yea, one more.

DBB: Brogie, back up [REDACTED]!

Brogie: Ah, back your arse up!

[REDACTED]: The fear is everyone not buying into “the project” and that usually means older guys. Robert Quinn knows he’s not part of the long-term there and that’s why you’re hearing rumblings about him wanting out. Locker rooms can get away from you fast. The best course is just clearing out as many guys as you can when you arrive. You want a roster in that first year where all 53 think they are on the ground floor; that THEY are building something. Poles has done that pretty well. You get a young, hungry team that believes in their coaches and what they’re doing, you’ll end up winning more games than you expect. 



How Good is the Bears GM Gig: Three Questions with [REDACTED]

| January 11th, 2022

A neighborhood friend of mine has been in the upper echelon of several NFL organizations, including in his current role. I texted him three questions regarding the Bears GM opening. His answers are below, corrected for grammar (with his approval).


Question One: Generally speaking, how good is this job?

Great. In the last month, about twenty personnel guys around the league have asked me what I thought was happening with Ryan. That’s why I finally asked you. [I believe this was the first time he ever asked me for information.] The job comes with a lot of scrutiny but if you win, that’s your legacy. And because they sadly have not won often, the job has more long-term value than say Pittsburgh or Green Bay.


Question Two: Is Justin Fields viewed as an asset?

I’m a fan. And I know a lot of other guys are too. Just knowing you don’t have to deal with that position for a couple years while you build a roster is something that candidates will find very attractive.


Question Three: Without studying the Bears, where would you start?

I think the Bears have a lot of players that are “good enough” at key positions. But they need more blue chippers. How many do they have on that offense? Montgomery. Mooney has potential. That’s it right now. You need like five of those guys on both sides of the ball these days. The Bears have never, really for decades, been a team you line up against and fear them putting 40 on you. That has to change.

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Three Off-Season Approach Questions with [REDACTED]

| February 15th, 2021

The NFL personnel man I refer to as [REDACTED] has been a friend of mine for more than a decade. He’s not a cultivated source. He’s a guy in a high-profile NFL gig and his family lives in my neighborhood. He’s also one of my most valuable resources in the league. So I asked him three questions.


DBB: I won’t ask you to weigh-in on the Houston situation, or any other front office, but give me your general response to the Deshaun Watson availability.

[REDACTED]: Unthinkable. But based on what is happening down there, totally predictable. I will weigh-in on Houston. Nick (Caserio) aside, those are not good people running the program. Deshaun is above all a truly good person. He sees the caliber of individual leaving the organization and the caliber of individual staying and he knows which groups he belongs in.

As for the trade itself, I don’t envy Nick’s position. Three first round picks are nice but they’re not Deshaun, you know what I mean? You can hit on all three and not equal the value of a player of his status and ability. And none of the quarterbacks rumored to be in the packages back to Houston are half the player he is. Nick almost has to take this further along so he can convince his fans he had no other choice but to trade him. He has to exhaust his options.


DBB: Many Bears fans believe Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy are in a “lame duck” season. I’m not one of those people, but it seems to be the general perception. You’ve been in a front office, in that spot. Can you describe the experience?

[REDACTED]: Yeah, it sucks. 

First thing, and I have told you this previously, nobody I spoke with believed Ryan or Matt was getting fired. And if they were, both would have been hired again within 12 hours if they wanted. I would have pushed hard for us to bring Ryan in but he’d more than likely go back to Sean. 

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Three Bears/NFL-Related Questions with [REDACTED]

| September 2nd, 2020

[REDACTED] is a fella I’ve known for a long time and he’s made some appearances on this here site previously. He’s a neighborhood friend, who just happens to be a high-profile member of a professional football organization. His brother is somebody who can drink as much Guinness as I can. (And that ain’t easy to do.) It’s been a crazy summer but I finally got him to respond to an email.


DBB: I think the Bears have one of the best defenses in the league. So here’s my hypothetical question. Aside from injuries, if they’re not a great defense, why?

[REDACTED]: I got nothing, Jeff. They’re not great opposite Fuller or Jackson on the back end but with that front they don’t have to be. Nobody can afford eleven All-Pros on either side of the ball but that defense is pretty close. Without Goldman, they need Hicks to stay healthy or the middle of their defensive line could become an issue against the run.  

DBB: Do you think Ryan Pace will start Mitch Trubisky to protect his own ego?

[REDACTED]: Once they declined the fifth year, they made their feelings pretty well-known around the league. But we do feel ownership over the guys we draft, especially the guys we draft early. He and Matt will be looking for signs from Trubisky whereas they won’t be with Foles. They know what they’re getting there. But our folks just think Trubisky doesn’t process the game fast enough and that deficiency doesn’t reveal itself until Sundays. 

I drafted a back once. Fought like hell in the organization for him. We took him relatively early and in camp we thought we found the next Barry Sanders. His first action was later on in our second preseason game and he was lost. Third preseason game was worse. Kid never got off the practice squad. I still defend the pick. I mean, I was clearly wrong about him but I defend picking him.

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Three Questions With [REDACTED] – Another Club’s Front Office Executive

| November 6th, 2019

I had a conversation with my friend, referred to in these parts as [REDACTED].

I had specific questions. He gave me great answers.

These are transposed as best I could. (He has approved their publication.)

How does Matt Nagy keep this season from completely imploding?

He wins. He has to win some games, no matter what he’s getting from the quarterback. I can’t describe for you what it’s like in a losing building. Every day is just sad, man. I was with [REDACTED TEAM] and I remember the owner’s personal secretary telling me she cried herself to sleep the night before because we blew a game late. I felt awful. 

They’ve got a good team. But losing wears down even the really good players. Everybody stops believing the effort is worth it.

Is Mitch Trubisky in the NFL five years from now?

I told you before the draft how much I liked Trubisky. And I wasn’t alone. And I haven’t seen a lot of his tape this season. But our pro personnel people say he’s playing scared. And when the problems go that deep mentally, it’s usually not something players recover from. Most of the times it happens to DBs or linemen and it’s pretty anonymous. When it happens to a quarterback, man, that’s hard.

One of my scouts told me everything needs to be perfect around Trubisky for him to produce. That’s not a winning strategy.

Everybody in Chicago speaks highly of him. So he’s a guy I can see settling into a backup role for years and being an asset to that room. He’s just not a front line NFL starter. So yea I think he’ll linger in the league.

What were your expectations for the Bears in 2019? What are they for 2020?

What have I always told you? We have no idea. 

But I don’t understand how they’re running that offense and getting zero from the tight ends. And I’m not sure they have the right athleticism on their o-line to run it either. But I’ll be very surprised if they don’t sign a high profile veteran quarterback in the off-season. And if they sign the right one, they’ll be right back in the mix. Because supposedly the defense isn’t playing very well and they are still one of the five or six best in the game.



An NFL GM’s Response to Yesterday’s Trubisky Column (Via Text)

| October 25th, 2018

I sent yesterday’s piece to a friend of mine who happens to run an NFL franchise. He read it, or at least he says he did. (I don’t think he actually takes time to sit down and read my stuff but I do know he reads my Tweets! You’d be surprised by how aware organizations are by what happens on Twitter re: their teams.)

Here are three texts he sent me that I think should present fans with an even-keeled, deeply knowledgeable, “no horse in the race” approach to the development of this young quarterback, Mitch Trubisky. I’ve cleaned up the grammar since he texts like an uneducated second-grader. (Now I’ll find out if he reads these.)


“I looked at Mitchell as a year three starter. Loved his talent set. Knew he needed time.”

This is the first time [REDACTED] has ever mentioned this to me but it’s not surprising. He’s always enforced with me how important the plan to develop Trubisky would be and was deeply skeptical of the previous regime’s ability to do so. [REDACTED] thought Pace should have fired John Fox the second he intended to draft a quarterback.


“I haven’t watched beyond the highlights but our pro guys like what they see. Reminds them of early Cam Newton, both positive and negative.”

I’d thought about this comparison but never wrote about it. The two both had limited collegiate experience. Cam struggled mightily with throws downfield early in his career. There was a lot of arm strength and very little touch. Newton also used his legs to get out of trouble instead of stepping up in the pocket and navigating his progressions. He grew out of those issues. Mitch will too.


“Matt’s the real deal. He’ll get him there.”

[REDACTED] doesn’t bullshit me about coaches. Some of the funniest texts I’ve ever received are him killing high profile coaches in the league. (His shit on college coaches is even funnier.) [REDACTED] trusts that Trubisky will get where the Bears need him to be because he’s being led by Matt Nagy. [REDACTED] loves him.

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