198 Comments

Caleb Williams’ Pro Day Went Well

| March 21st, 2024

The Bears showed out in force for Caleb Williams’ USC Pro Day. Their contingent included Ryan Poles, Matt Eberflus, Ian Cunningham, Shane Waldron, and even Chicago’s newest WR…

What does it all mean? Probably what it looks like — Chicago is gearing up to select Williams #1 overall in late April.

And just in case the Bears had any concerns, Williams left the contingent without anything to be concerned about on the field. Each of Caleb’s throws looked easy and the ball leapt off his hand. It’s easy to wax poetic about a throwing motion like his, but we can save that for another day — for now, excitement seems to be building for the 22-year-old Washingtonian. If getting excited is your thing, don’t be afraid to get swept up in the fervor.

Your Turn: What’s your take on Williams these days? Did anything change after the Pro Day?

Tagged: ,

422 Comments

6-Time Pro Bowler Keenan Allen is Now a Chicago Bear

| March 15th, 2024

Late last night, the Chicago Bears acquired Chargers all-star WR Keenan Allen for their 4th round pick (#110) in the 2024 NFL Draft. I’ve got some quick thoughts on the move:

  • Turns out that hole in the Bears’ cap created from Jaylon Johnson & D’Andre Swift’s deals had a purpose
  • Obviously this is a move focused on 2024, but I don’t mind the emphasis on next season. 2024 is a massive year for the entire Bears’ organization — in all likelihood, they’ll attempt to develop a rookie QB while competing for a playoff spot. If, therefore, the biggest critique of this move is that Chicago paid too much draft capital & 2024 salary dollars for an offensive leader that should spur the rookie’s development, I think we’ll all survive. Frankly, I think it’s refreshing to see the Bears over-address the young QB’s supporting cast for once.
  • Regardless of which Quarterback ultimately starts for the Bears next year, Keenan Allen should be a stabilizing force in the Bears’ down-to-down passing offense. He specializes in option routes, short-yardage routes, and playing within structure — all of which Caleb Williams and Justin Fields struggle with, meaning Allen could provide a strong guiding hand.
    • If we’re splitting hairs, I think timing routes will likely remain an issue for Justin Fields whereas Caleb Williams’ college tape shows signs of inconsistency more than an outright inability to play within structure, but this isn’t a Caleb Williams breakdown. Regardless of starter, Keenan should help sharpen a short-passing blade that was quite dull throughout 2023.

My overall grade? I like it. The fun factor is ~10/10. I’ve also already assumed that Matt Eberflus begged Poles to let him draft a 1st round defender anyways, so if this move is Poles’ way of making sure Chicago has weapons for a key 2024 season? I dig it.

This does make me wonder what the Bears’ plan is at WR going forward, but we can cross that bridge later. I’d love to draft a 2nd or 3rd round WR to develop throughout the year (Keon Coleman, Roman Wilson, Ricky Pearsall, etc), but I don’t know that the Bears will prioritize that. Also, is Keenan getting extended past 2024? I could see it, but he’ll be 33 next season. We’ll have to wait and see.

For now… Chicago added a 6-time Pro Bowler that’s a god amongst chain-moving WRs. He pairs perfectly with DJ Moore’s ability to threaten all levels of the field as well — those two should be monsters in 12-personnel.

I’m excited to see how this plays out — what an exciting time to be a Bears fan! What will Poles do from here? We’re just going to have to wait and see,

Bonus: Breaking Down Keenan Allen’s Route Running

Below I threw in some of my favorite clips from a light film study last night — check it out and let me know what you think.

Read More …

Tagged: , , , , ,

344 Comments

All-22uesday Review: Taking An Early Look At Chicago’s Free Agent Class

| March 13th, 2024

Bonus:

Kevin Byard, D’Andre Swift, Gerald Everett, and Jonathan Owens are now Chicago Bears! But how good are they? What do they bring to the team? And who remains unsigned that Ryan Poles may target? Robert & Nick review all this and more on the latest episode of Bear With Us!

Your Turn: Who’s left out there that you’d like to see signed?

Tagged: , , ,

507 Comments

Free Agency Open Thread: With Kevin Byard Signed, Who’s Next?

| March 11th, 2024

According to a PFF metric called “True Cap Space” (shown below), your Chicago Bears have the 3rd most cap space to make use of over the next few days.

Does that mean we’ll see splash signings? I really don’t know — Ryan Poles’ cagey approach to the Bears’ Free Agency plans has left me grasping at straws when looking for future moves. But with cap space like this to burn, I’d be surprised if Chicago doesn’t have at least one major signing by the time Monday’s dust has settled — who will it be? Let’s find out together.

As if he’s anticipating a big week, Ryan Poles got the Bears’ Free Agency party started early with the signing of former Titans and Eagles safety Kevin Byard — my brief thoughts on him are listed below, but we’ll have more on each of the signed Free Agents later throughout the week.

Read More …

Tagged: , ,

217 Comments

Ryan Bates, Jaylon Johnson, and the Final Days Before Free Agency Frenzy

| March 7th, 2024

The latest episode of Bear With Us is out — give it a listen below!

In it, we talk through:

  • Thoughts on Ryan Poles trading for Ryan Bates
  • What does Jaylon Johnson’s franchise tag mean for his long-term extension?
  • More discussion surrounding what to do at Pick #9 (or #5, as recent mocks have suggested)
  • Nick’s list of potential Free Agents that tick all his Bears boxes
  • And much, much more

Check it out and let me know what you think!

Your Turn: What moves do you want to see made in the upcoming Free Agency window?

Tagged: , , , ,

321 Comments

We Have A New Bear!

| March 5th, 2024

There’s a new Chicago Bear in town! As yesterday evening wound down, Ryan Poles sent a 5th round pick to Buffalo to get IOL Ryan Bates, the same Ryan Bates that Poles tried to sign to an RFA tender just two offseasons ago.

Bates brings with him athleticism (check RAS below) and experience at all three interior positions, most recently working at Center. Does that mean he’s Chicago’s future starting Center? Or is he a depth handcuff for Teven Jenkins (health) and Nate Davis (health & poor play)? We’ll find out next year, but either way I think the move works.

Cost wise, a 5th round pick isn’t nothing… but it’s not worth making a meal over either. The Bears’ latest 5th round pick (Noah Sewell) played a grand total of 27 defensive snaps as a rookie last year, a reminder of how hard it is for late-round rookies to contribute on the field quickly.

Assuming that Bates is slated for either the OL’s premiere backup role or a starting position at Center, this move suggests to me that Ryan Poles has prioritized the upcoming 2024 season — given Bates’ cheap 2-year contract, I can get behind that. Regardless of whether the front office rolls with the incumbent Justin Fields or a newly-drafted rookie QB, Chicago has lost the privilege of betting the health of their line’s interior on an inconsistent right-guard, an oft-injured left guard, and what is currently a gaping hole in the line’s center.

Read More …

Tagged: , , ,

344 Comments

Reviewing The Combine’s Best Potential Chicago Bears

| March 4th, 2024

The latest episode of Bear With Us is out — give it a listen below!

In it, we talk through:

  • Standout performances from throughout the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine
  • Which players do (and don’t) fit the Bears? Why?
  • Robert’s reasoning for why either Rome Odunze or Malik Nabers will be available at #9 Overall
  • Thoughts on Caleb Williams’ medical info decision, general impressions from the weekend
  • And much, much more

Check it out and let me know what you think!

Read More …

Tagged: , ,

188 Comments

How Does the NFL’s Increased Salary Cap Affect Chicago? Plus, NFL Scouting Combine Rumors

| February 29th, 2024

The latest episode of Bear With Us is out — give it a listen below!

In it, we talk through:

  • The effects of the 2024 NFL Salary Cap’s ~$13 Million rise over expectations
  • What the NFL Scouting Combine’s rumor mill does (and doesn’t) mean for the Bears
  • Takeaways from Ryan Poles’ Combine press conference
  • Comparing & contrasting Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, Justin Fields, and the rest of the Bears’ QB options
  • Which defenders we’re most excited to see run, jump, and drill in this weekend’s events
  • And much, much more

Your Turn: Who are you excited to watch in this weekend’s drills?

Tagged: , , ,

91 Comments

Reviewing The Tape: Drake Maye & Caleb Williams

| February 27th, 2024

A few months ago I walked through Caleb Williams’ Notre Dame game & Drake Maye’s Georgia Tech game — it’s a great stream if you’re looking for a review of the presumed top 2 QBs in the 2024 NFL Draft Class.

I’m working on a few draft breakdowns this week, so we’ll be back with more content tomorrow. In the meantime, check this out if you missed it.

Tagged: , , ,