Tonight, We’ll Talk About Justin Fields and Caleb Williams One Last Time

| March 19th, 2024

See you later this evening for tonight’s stream.

Your Turn: How are you feeling today?

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Checking the Tape: Just How Good Are These Top 2 Quarterbacks?

| December 5th, 2023

Last night I dove deep into the All-22 tape from both Caleb Williams & Drake Maye’s 2023 season to see what all the hype is about — throughout the stream I talked through:

  • Where is Caleb Williams winning? Where is he losing?
  • Where is Drake Maye winning? Where is he losing?
  • How does each QB’s offensive scheme support them? How well do they play within it?
  • When plays break down, how does each player attempt to control the chaos?
  • Rants & ravings about the future of the Bears
  • And much, much more

Check it out and let me know what you think!

Your Turn: Do you even want the Bears to draft a new QB? Do you have a preference on who?

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Reviewing the Roster Around Justin Fields

| December 4th, 2023

Football happened yesterday! And just in case you didn’t check yesterday’s scores, let me give you the highlights of what mattered for the Bears:

  • The New England Patriots couldn’t score 7 points on the Chargers and thus fell at home, leaving them at #2 in the draft order.
    • The Patriots’ offense is BAD — their passing offense displays all the hallmarks of dysfunctional offense (OL protection issues, a QB that holds the ball too long, and WRs that can’t catch the opportunities delivered to them), their rushing offense is awful, and now that Bailey Zappe has officially taken over for Mac Jones it’s hard to imagine the Patriots finding a spark to rally around. Offensive Coordinator Bill O’Brien is likely out of motivational tricks, but with a winnable Thursday Night game in Pittsburgh on the horizon I hope he and Belichick can find some Patriot Magic on the short week.
  • The Arizona Cardinals topped the Pittsburgh Steelers on the road, moving to 3-10 on the season and all-but excusing themselves from the race for a Top 2 pick.
    • Kyler Murray and former 2nd round pick Trey McBride make a dynamic combination and the two stuck it to Pittsburgh to the tune of 89 yards & a score on 8 catches (9 targets). Arizona’s defense didn’t win their side of the ball so much as Pittsburgh lost it, but Zona’s offense didn’t let bad weather slow them down as they piled up a 17-3 lead and watched Pittsburgh squirm. Will Arizona win a game outside of their Christmas Eve tilt in Chicago? If they plan to try, they’ll need Kyler Murray to keep playing like he did at times today. He was fun to watch.
  • The Carolina Panthers lost on the road to a struggling Tampa Bay Buccaneers team, falling to 1-11 in a game I’m sure they’d like to have back.
    • This was a pivotal game for Carolina — most teams rebound when their coach gets fired mid-season, but with this loss the Panthers are officially eliminated from playoff contention. With a trip to the Superdome looming, how does this team keep their head against a string of opponents fighting for playoff spots?

Why do these scores matter? Simple: Arizona’s win & Carolina’s loss all but guarantee the Bears will receive a Top 2 pick in the 2024 Draft Class. Seth Walder confirms that notion below with ESPN Analytics:

If you’re a frustrated Bears fan looking for hope in the midst of a frustrating season, a Top 2 pick in this draft class represents just that.

It’s not that the Bears have to move on from Justin Fields, but having the option to do so without feeling the pressure to settle (EX: The Giants & Daniel Jones) is a luxury most NFL teams simply cannot afford. As I discussed in a column last week, a Top 2 pick is an objective good for the Chicago Bears — between sticking with Fields & drafting a rookie, there’s no “wrong” option.

That said, maybe you’ve heard all this talk of drafting a QB and want to know more about who these players are — I’ll be streaming a draft breakdown this evening of both major QBs in an attempt to pull back the curtain on Caleb Williams and Drake Maye. Join me at 8PM CST and let’s get to know the good, the bad, and the ugly of these kids’ games.


Nick and I recorded a podcast where we talked through the roster around Justin Fields with a fine-toothed comb — How much of this team will remain in 2024? Who’s playing well? Who’s struggling? Where should Chicago look to upgrade in the offseason? Check it out here:

Your Turn: How do you feel about Chicago’s roster as things currently stand?

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Notes from Bears @ Buccaneers

| September 18th, 2023

This Bears season has gotten off to the worst start possible — they haven’t just lost two winnable games, they haven’t just watched the coaching staff struggle, but the QB that carried the weight of the franchise into the 2023 season looks like the most worry-fraught version of himself imaginable. Right now, every part of this football team is ugly to watch.

Worse yet, if you listen to the early portion of the Twitter Spaces that Jeff and I recorded pre-game, it’s as if we could see this loss coming. After so much struggle in Week 1, how far could the team truly bounce back in Week 2?

It’s heartbreaking. If Chicago loses to the Chiefs next week (and certainly if they lose to the Broncos the week after), the season may be over before it fully started. So how do we assess the blame?

The Head Coach

Let’s start at the top. Matt Eberflus took over for Alan Williams as the defensive playcaller in yesterday’s game, but the results were every bit as uninspiring as they were the week before.

It’s not as if the Bears didn’t try to make changes — Matt Eberflus called quite a few blitz/pressure looks early, but Baker Mayfield and the Buccaneers offense handled the extra rushers and punished the Bears with the brutal efficiency of a bona fide NFL offense.

Now 2 weeks into the 2023 season, the Bears’ defense has allowed an almost perfect passer rating on 3rd & 4th downs — that’s unacceptable. It’s one thing to understand that Chicago’s defense lacks talent in the front 4, but to invest the money and draft picks that they did into their defense & produce so poorly on key downs is untenable for a coach that specializes in that side of the ball.

Expectations for this defense were never high, but after signing 3 new defensive linemen in Free Agency (DeMarcus Walker, Yannick Ngakoue, Andrew Billings) and drafting 2 more with Top 70 picks (Zacch Pickens, Gervon Dexter Sr) I think it’s fair to expect better from this unit than what what may be the worst results in football for the 2nd year running.

Read More …

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Who Benefits From an Improved Trubisky Deep Ball?

| July 24th, 2019

This is part of a series of collaborations between film guru Robert Schmitz of Windy City Gridiron and stats guy Johnathan Wood of Da Bears Blog. We’re excited to be working together to bring fans of both sites great content by combining our approaches.

Previously, we’ve identified the deep passing game as one area where Mitchell Trubisky struggled in 2018. He missed a lot of throws to open targets, which resulted both in a low completion percentage and too many interceptions.

However, we also showed that deep passing performance is highly variable, and thus Trubisky is likely to improve there in 2019, especially with some tweaks in his throwing mechanics that can be made to help his accuracy.

Today we want to look at what targets would benefit most from that expected deep ball improvement, should it happen. In order to do that, I used Pro Football Reference’s Game Play Finder to look at what players Trubisky targeted deep most frequently in 2018. That information is shown in the table below for all five players who were primary weapons for the Bears in 2018.

Allen Robinson was Trubisky’s most frequently targeted deep threat, but Anthony Miller got – by far – the highest portion of his total targets and yards from Trubisky on deep plays. Despite finishing 5th on the team in targets and yards, both by a healthy margin, he was 3rd in deep targets and 2nd in deep yards.

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