Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Look, I hate the Vikings. But I kind of like to hate the Vikings, and so I also have this weird kind of love for them. Which is why I'm a little bit pissed off to learn this morning that they are having a hard time selling out their playoff game. This is their first divisional title in eight years, and even if it weren't that something of a milestone, it's the fucking playoffs! Sure, your coach is kind of a dumb-ass and he's hitched his wagon once again to the floundering Tarvaris Jackson, but your team is in the playoffs! Selling tickets for that game should not be a problem. Maybe Vikings fans really don't deserve to keep their franchise...

Monday, December 22, 2008

There's kind of two levels of being a football fan. On the one hand, you want your team to play well. You want them to be getting better. You want them to play solid games in which they beat their opponents for entire games. You want them to dominate.

But on another, more sublime level, that doesn't really matter. I know the Bears didn't play all that well tonight, and I spent most of the game really depressed and angry about what I was seeing. But in the end, it was all worth it. No amount of solid play could've felt better than watching the Packers final kick get blocked. Frankly, almost nothing in the world feels better than moments like that.

This is a Bears team with a lot of flaws, and they're pretty much the same flaws they've had for the past several years. It's a little bit frustrating. But, at the same time, what happened tonight (just as I heard Alex Brown saying in a postgame radio interview) maybe even topped the Arizona game in 2006 in terms of pure excitement, in the end.

It is irrational, stressful, and sometimes totally devastating--but when Alex Brown gets his hand on a chip shot field goal to send the game into overtime, when I find myself jumping into the air and screaming (in public!) at the ball's broken careen, when the most improbable shoestring of hope I let myself foolishly cling to pays off, when the coin toss bounces off of Urlacher's head and Orton and then Forte each make the exactly one play they really need to make, when Robbie Gould comes out and calmly continues to live up to his name's symbolic standard--Praise Payton I fucking love being a Bears fan!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Weep On, Blonde Minnesotans

Today was a good football day for our team. And I'm going to continue to thoroughly enjoy the feeling of having seen the Vikes look inept and clueless until it's time to go to bed.

But when I wake up, that's going to be in the past. Tomorrow, we have to beat the Packers. I don't even remember much of our last game against the Packers--and I don't care to. Tomorrow I expect my team to come out and play their best game of the season. I don't just want a win (I mean, I'd settle for that, but), I want there to be no doubt at the end of the game that the Bears belong at the top of the NFC North. I want a game that I want to remember.

For now, though, this is just beauty:


Magic hasn't worked before, but it's bound to work some time. In preparation for the Vikings/Falcons game today, I've put this photo up as a kind of fetish to ward off a Vikings victory. This photo was taken (there's a StarTribune story about it) after the Vikings loss to the Falcons in the NFC Championship game in 1999. That was the year (the 1998) season the Vikings went 15-1. It was horrible--but in the end, that loss almost made it worth it. I wasn't paying a whole lot of attention to football at the time--the Bears were awful and the Vikings went frickin' 15-1 bleurgh--but I do remember the night before the game I had a dream that the Vikings lost by a field goal. Sure enough, it came down to Gary Anderson missing one, which sent the game into overtime and ultimately led to one of my favorite all-time Vikings choke-jobs. I seem to remember jumping up and down on the couch when they lost, but I'm not sure if that could be accurate--I was seventeen at the time, a senior in high school, surely I was too big to be jumping up and down and the couch... Regardless, that was how I felt.

Interestingly, the Vikings last three games this season are all against the teams who defeated them in my three favorite moments of Vikings failure. Last week, the new version of the Arizona Cardinals failed to live up to the standard of the 2003 Vikings, who scored two touchdowns after the two-minute-warning to send the Vikings home without an appearance in the playoffs. That was sweet. This week, it's the Falcons, who, as mentioned above, ended the run of the 15-1 Vikings team, the team that set all sorts of offensive (pun intended) records. Next week, it's the Giants, who, in 2001, hosted a favored Vikings team for the NFC Championship and absolutely obliterated them.

As of this moment, I'm still feeling good about the chances for a Vikings collapse. It's really the least they deserve for that fucking goddamn horn-call they play all the time...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Good News

Vikings to go with Jackson at starting qb. I know he had a good game against Atlanta, and had an alright game the week before. But, c'mon. With two of the toughest games on their schedule coming up, Childress has made his decision. He will not be going with the QB who, tho certainly not an example of awesomeness, did open up the Vikes offense enough that they're in the position they're in. Instead he'll be going with his pet project, who has never yet come close to succeeding on the professional level before the last two weeks, when he "led" the team to victories over the worst team in the history of the NFL and a thoroughly uninspired Arizona Cardinals team. This is why I feel, as a Bears fan and a Vikings hater, as long as Childress is the coach, there's always hope the Vikes could pull off another splendid choke job. This is a decision based on nothing but what Childress sees as a chance to restore his reputation. Everyone knows he's an idiot for investing so much time in Tarvaris Jackson, but he will not give it up. Seriously, I hope the Vikings blow these last two games, and even more I hope the major reason is because of Childress's egotistically stubborn insistence on going with Jackson. I don't get to go home for Christmas, so I'm asking Christmas for this one Christmas present. Please please!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


I'm far from ready to look towards 2009, but there is the possibility that come Monday that is exactly what will be happening. Though this is distressing, there is at least one very bright piece of news today.
Albert Haynesworth will be an unrestricted free agent starting 2-27-2009. It's not likely that the Bears will have the most pull in the league, and he's already on one of the best teams, but I have to imagine the prospect of playing for Lovie Smith in a 4-3 next to Tommie Harris and with Lance Briggs isn't totally dismissible.
The Bears will have at least 17.5 million available at the start of free agency and I assume much of that could be used to form a pretty enticing offer. Unfortunately this would probably eliminate the Bears chances of getting Anquan Boldin, but I'd take the best D in the league over a balanced team.
The Bears still clearly need to rethink their offense or at least their wide-outs, but anything like what B. Lloyd was offering before his injury would be good enough to be top 20. And 91 and 92 would immediately take over as the Monsters of the NFL.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Smith's Defense

There've been various rumors floating around over the past few weeks that Lovie has been getting himself much more involved in the defense lately. I found this snippet from Biggs' article telling:

Babich was solely responsible for the position, but coach Lovie Smith is very involved now, too. Manning goes to Smith's office, where he gets one-on-one film sessions with the man who learned the Tampa-2 in Tampa. They meet before walk-throughs every day.

''Mainly, I am with coach Smith,'' Manning said. ''He's just like a regular coach when it's just me and him. We're there for a good hour, and we get it down.''

It could just be that Lovie knows how important the nickel position is to the defense and felt he needed to do something about how, earlier in the season, practically every time there was a big play given up by the defense you could see Manning was obviously out of position.

But I have thought the defense has started to look a little better over the past few weeks, and that and the other little hints all see to point to Smith having decided to take a much more active role in that capacity. What that means about Babich's future remains to be seen, but it's hard to imagine that even with Lovie's tremendous loyalty he would want to keep a defensive coordinator whose responsibilities he feels he has to take over.

And Smith's seemingly increased role in the defensive coaching certainly bodes well going into a game against a team whose offensive strength plays so strongly to our earlier-season defensive weakness. That is, if we can keep up our dominant run defense, and our passing defense improves to slightly above average, we could be set for this game.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Jared Allen. Great guy.

"When I first got hit I thought it was done," Allen told KFAN's morning show. "It didn't feel too well. After the pain subsided then the anger took over. All I could think of was, 'I'm not going to let them cart me off this field.' I have a rule [that] I'm going to have to be dead before you cart me off that field. Then I got up and I was so mad, I figured if my season is over that dude's season is over as well. I'm taking him with me. Luckily it worked out all right, and I was able to come back and play."

I admit, I'd feel a little differently if it were a member of the Bears saying this. But whatever. Jared Allen should get fined for saying something like this. Hell, he should maybe even be suspended. He just admitted he went at a guy with the intention of ending that guy's season! How is that possibly an okay thing?

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Is there still hope? (I don't know)

Once again, the Bears came out and looked, for the most part, like the better version of themselves. Turner pretty much shut down the offense for the second half, maddeningly, for no good reason. But the defense kept Jacksonville out of the entire game, and for most of the game looked pretty dominant. And before Turner decided that he'd rather be napping than calling the game, the offense looked effective. So, hurray.

And then the Vikings barely managed to beat the Lions. Stupid Lions. Stupid, stupid Vikings. Of course, they lost Frerotte to a back injury. They lost Allen to a knee injury. They still might lose the Williamses to their suspension this week. Which means, best case scenario:

Over three games in which the Bears play first New Orleans at home on Thursday, then GB (who's lost three in a row and is done for the season) at home on a Monday night, followed by a trip down to Houston (who will be done for the season by then as well), while the Vikings have to travel to Arizona (who, with their great passing offense, will be fighting to still be in the race for a first-round bye), then host Atlanta (w/their strong passing offense, who will still be hoping to make first place in their division), and finally host the Giants, (who, with Eli Manning apparently deciding to live up to his namesake and with the type of defense that makes me jealous, have been the best team in the league for much of the season, but with their loss today and with Burress gone and with Jacobs getting hurt, might possibly be playing for home-field advantage going into the playoffs, but at least showed last year they're not the type of team who will shut it down going into the playoffs), the Bears have to win two more games than the Vikings--either we have to go 3-0 and the Vikings lose two of those games, or we could possibly still even make it if we win two games and the Vikes lose all three. And, frankly, I think either of those possibilities are quite likely. I mean, they certainly could happen. And if there ever was a team you needed to count on to choke, that team is the Vikings.

So, here's hoping. Choke, you suckers.


I have to admit, at this point I've pretty much lost all my faith in this team. I'm on my way out to watch the Jacksonville game, and I have absolutely no idea what to expect. Frankly, I don't really expect that I'm going to be watching a Bears victory today. I think the Bears should be able to win, but it's been a long time since I've seen the team I think the Bears should be. The team the Bears actually are has gone 2-3 over the last five games, with both of those victories coming over two of the absolute worst teams in the league. Two of the losses have been against the Vikings and the Packers, and in both games they got absolutely creamed. There's nothing about the team I've seen over the last five weeks that makes me expect very much. Depressing.

So I feel like I pretty much don't care about the game today, for the first time all year. Which is a pretty lame feeling. The Bears could win today, I think--I mean it's pretty likely they'll win today. And in all likelihood they'll still be effectively two games behind the Vikings with only three games to go. I normally try to be optimistic, because I think it makes being a fan more fun, but I just don't have the energy to put that optimism up for this team anymore. I'm still hoping for another epic collapse by the Vikings to put my team into the playoffs. But unless the Bears actually manage to finally turn their season around in the final four games, unless they go 4-0 and actually look good doing it, I don't see any reason to feel like they deserve to make it to the playoffs.

But, then, who am I kidding. There's still a chance we could get the NFC North title! And I fucking want that. C'mon, you slags! Show us what you got!

Friday, December 05, 2008

fucking bullshit

The federal judge delaying the suspensions today is ridiculous. The language of the bargaining agreement is very clear and the players took a supplement that was neither listed as ok or not ok due to lack of regulation, thus taking said supplement is an unnecessary personal risk and deserves to be punished. The stay of suspension is clearly just a move to help the Vikings make the playoffs and not lose a bunch of money. Its fucking stupid!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Nothing is sitting well about last night.

Because of last night, I hate the Vikings more than I ever have. It's hard to really hate Adrian Peterson, because I just really appreciate good running backs, but now he's on my shit list. I can never be happy about anything he does ever again. In fact, I hope he never has a good game for the rest of his career (fat chance... but still... one can hope). Much easier to hate is Jared Allen and his dumb-ass calf-roping celebration. St. Clair has done a good job all year--except against Jared Allen. Which is all the argument you would ever need for not even considering him to start the position next year. Chris Williams better be everything he's advertised to be--and he better fucking shut Jared Allen down. I never want to see that stupid calf-roping celebration again. I hope Allen sprains his arm doing it some day...

Beyond all that. Getting burned by Berrian is just about the most pathetic thing to have happened all season. He is just not that good of a receiver, and karma should be punishing the Vikings for paying too much that skinny fucker. Why wasn't Tillman shoving Berrian around at the line all night? That's all you have to do and he becomes completely worthless. Ugh.

Anyway, I know that our chances to make the playoffs are not completely shot yet, but, at this point, we certainly don't deserve to make it to the playoffs, but if the Williams guys get suspended (which they fucking better--if they don't, the league is just making an exception for them because of recognizing how important they are to the Vikings; but the rules, even if they're dumb, are explicit; Metcalf got suspended for the same reason for four games) and if we can just take care of business against some mediocre teams (hardly a foregone conclusion given how we've played all season), well, there's a still a pretty darn good chance of us making the playoffs over the Vikings--which, at this point, is all I really want. Yeah, we'll get creamed in the playoffs by whatever legit team we play, but I don't care; I just want us to go to the playoffs over the Vikings. Because I hate the Vikings. And they don't deserve to go to the playoffs ever.

I've already started thinking about what the team needs to do to get better for next season. But I don't wanna be thinking about that yet. There'll be plenty of time for that in about five or six weeks...

Saturday, November 22, 2008

My coach's message for Sunday

In order to show that the Bears struggles aren't totally schematic, this Sunday it is necessary for the inactive list to receive a bit of a shake-up. These players need to make way for new guys to have a chance to make a mark.
QB Haine - but if the Bears show up and dominate he should see some 4Q time
CB Hamilton
DT Toeaina
LB LaRoque
LB McClover (inj)
WR Booker (inj)
DE Anderson/Baldwin - if 97 doesn't make some plays it should be his last active game for awhile
LB Roach - it's more important to play receivers against a bad D, send the message that being on the field isn't good enough, Bears defenders are expected to make things happen.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


This is the most exciting and frustrating tidbit I've seen this season: "Entering the Green Bay game, the Bears were the No. 1 defense in the league against the pass when they blitzed. Opponents had a passer rating of 52.0, according to STATS Inc., and seven of the Bears' 12 interceptions have come on blitzes."
If Brad Biggs knows this why don't the Bears coaches? I had noticed that the four man rush gets beat all the time but this stat is mindblowing. If you're team is really good at blitzing and really bad at not blitzing then maybe it makes sense to do a lot more blitzing!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

In troubled times of psychic distress, I often turn to poetry.

I can't sing!
Flames are all over the choir.
Blistered little ciphers of words
and numbers are leaping from
my skull like kids. O fear
clutching at sky..."

--V. Mayakofsky

That's about what it felt like today, watching Green Bay beat us 37-3. I can't remember the last time I saw my team get a good ass-kicking like that--and I don't want to remember.

At least--and that's a very desperate at least--it was only one game. It doesn't matter how badly we got beaten, we're still 5-5, just like the Packers and the Vikings, and we still have the easiest schedule of the three teams remaining. I'm gonna guess (and hope, so strongly that I might start sweating blood) that this Bears team is not as bad as they looked today. And I don't care if we back in, I just wanna get to the playoffs.

I want Lovie running the defense!

Such is my state of upset that I must make a second post praying for the elimination of Bob Babich from ruining my Sundays. Mike Brown wants a new coordinator, at least that's how I choose to interpret this quote. ‘‘Obviously our defense isn’t what it used to be. Everyone wants it to be what it used to be, and it’s not. Once we come to grips that our defense isn’t what it’s supposed to be, we’ll all be better. Our perception is that we have a good defense. The reality is we don’t.’’
Lovie is the only member of the staff who might be able to save the season and honestly I'm really sick of seeing him stand on the sideline not doing anything. It's fine if he's not a yeller and doesn't spend the game getting in people's faces, but he doesn't manage the clock and he doesn't keep Turner from making ridiculous, obvious play calls. What does he do on Sunday?
San Diego's defense played better this Sunday after Rivera took over, there is abounding evidence that changing defensive coordinators can instantly, dramatically improve a team. Chicago needs to become the next example. Lovie absolutely has to take control of the defense for the rest of the season. If the Bears turn it around they could have a shot at making a run, if they don't it will be time for change. I'll take tried and true execution over new ideas for the sake of change any day but there is no execution on the defensive side of the ball. It is time to try some new ideas.
If the defense doesn't improve there is no choice but to turn the focus to Orton and build the coaching staff around him, possibly from the top down. There is no creativity in Chicago's coaches right now. The offense ALWAYS looks better when Orton has more control because he can diagnose problems on the spot and isn't limited by a script. Turner is incapable of adjustments. With Turner, if it isn't working it isn't going to work. The only reason I'm not worried about the offense is Orton.

Observations, desparingly.

After watching every play of that humiliating display a few things are evident without "watching the tape." The Bears got their assess kicked in every way. The Packers didn't even look that good, the Bears just looked completely and totally inept.
Bob Babich should be demoted back to LB coach or anything that keeps him out of game-planning and play calling. This defense is loaded with talented players and they didn't all just forget how to play. They are not being put into situations to make plays. Lovie needs to run the defense. I can't tell what he does as head coach anyway, he certainly isn't exercising any power over clock management. And what the fuck is Ron Turner's deal? How can you be a coach that long and not understand the most basic strategies of time management?
Along with the coaching change, shich should remind everyone on the team that playing well now is more important than having done so two years ago, Mark Anderson should be inactive and Daniel Manning, Nick Roach and Brad Maynard should lose their respective places. If Hillenmeyer isn't good enough anymore give Williams a shot. Roach hasn't done anything in three games. Likewise Steltz should be seeing some regular action by now. The coaching staff needs to start rewarding players who are actually making plays instead of "staying the course."
On offense this means that B. Lloyd should play every snap as the No. 1 wideout. The switching around shit is stupid. Coaching is supposed to be about maximizing ability first, then versatility.
It's also probably time to give Bennett a game and rest Booker for a week at least, he just isn't offering anything at this point.
On top of this Manning should be the new full time kick returner. Keep Hester on punts and try to actually utilize him on offense instead of just playing him on it.
Finally, since the pass rush has sucked all year why don't the Bears try putting Harris and Idonije at end sometimes. Give teams different problems to deal with instead of just sticking with the same tired formula. It certainly couldn't hurt this defense.


Just as a sort of fetish, I'm posting this picture of Kyle Orton and his neckbeard. This will provide the power for us to BEAT THE PACKERS!

UPDATE: Packers 37 Bears 3 Alright, jeez, fine... I won't dabble in the occult anymore!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Virtuoso, nearly

David Haugh has once again surprised me, accidentally doing something good he managed to lead me to B. Lloyd top single which I find totally listen-to-able as a Bears fan. Though I'm fairly certain Haugh is a country music fan and he's under the impression that B. Lloyd sings instead of raps, I'm willing to give him the pass this week for his willingness to say he actually wants the Bears to win. Sitting a healthy Lloyd makes no sense and who knows what was really going on last week, but with Orton and Lloyd back this Sunday, and for the stretch run, the Bears can really catch fire. Lloyd looked like he could be the latest 4-5 year wide receiver to finally turn dominant before his injury. I'd love to see him and Orton together for a few years forming a dominant tandem. As an extra bonus it would be hilarious to see what asinine columns DH could come up with if the Bears star receiver had a moderately successful music career on the side. Maybe he'd just quit as all he holds dear crumbles around him. It's just too good not to happen!


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Regardless of what the Bears line may think, the problem starts up front. This is the reason Baldwin was promoted from the practice squad and will likely take Mark Anderson's active roster spot on Sunday. Too many times opposing QB's get a free look 12-15 yards down field and find an easy comeback completion. The Bears line isn't getting enough pressure, not sacks necessarily, but pressure that impairs a QB's timing, throwing lane or at the very least comfort. The truly damaging plays are these easy yards on 2nd and 3rd and long, and they usually come when the LB's are back in their zone. This is certainly not the only problem though.

The Bears secondary is playing too soft this year. The corners need to get better jams and start jumping routes instead of allowing easy completions. Take a few illegal contact penalties but don't let offenses get so comfortable. They need to get their arms in and break up some passes. And Nathan Vasher isn't the problem and Corey Graham isn't the answer. Graham started two of the last four games in which they have gotten torched. Vasher has more passes defended and the same interceptions. Graham is a better fit at nickel where he can help more in the running game which is his best attribute.

The LB's are also getting beat far too often. For this D to function the LB's need to be breaking up passes and getting interceptions instead of running behind TE's after missing reads. The final first down Sunday was a pretty obvious call and a terrible play by Roach?.

Which leads finally to play calling. The defense is obviously far too predictable. The execution has been spotty, but every offense seems to know exactly what to call every time the defense has a chance to really turn the game.

All in all though the defense isn't horrible, they're just not great. They need to start being great in the red zone though. The rest of the field doesn't really matter, if they don't give up any TD's I'm sure Orton will win every time. On top of that all they need is a couple big third down plays or turnovers and they'll be the toast of the town.

When the defense has something to prove they usually get it done. They wanted to stop the run last week and they should have won. If they want to stop the pass in Green Bay I have faith that they will get it done. Rodgers is good but if they keep the pack out of the end zone this will certainly be a win.

Monday, November 10, 2008

I honestly don't think I could sleep before I write this if I tried.

I've spent most of today trying to figure out why every qb looks like a world beater against the Bears defense right now and what can possibly change this trend before Aaron Rodgers looks like 90's Favre this Sunday.

The Titans game was a bit of a fluke. Even with Collins' 289 passing yards I think the Bears had the proper defensive strategy. They almost stole two handoffs and had the Titans totally confused the vast majority of the game, it just happened on the wrong half of the field the whole time. If Orton was behind center clearly the Bears would have put up more than 14 points and the field position battle would actually have been a battle instead of a slaughter. Unfortunately Grossman was back and without a defensive of special teams touchdown there was just no way the Bears were going to win that game.

My main criticism is that all phases of the Bears coaching are simply not creative. They have yet to actually utilize the biggest threat in the league in Devin Hester and the play-calling on both sides of the ball is very predictable. When Orton is back the offense will be fine. But what could it hurt to throw in a few direct snaps or an end around option, something to get Hester more open space. This is needed on special teams as well. Hester is struggling right now. The punt early in the third that he caught on the 10 and stood still while trying to juke and wound up getting tackled easily was ugly. He is clearly pressing and running a reverse or a cross field throw could be another sensible option. The man has talent, it's up to the coaches to do something to help him rediscover his brilliance.

On pass defense there are at least a couple simple answers to help start to salvage the situation. First off, if teams are going to throw short timing patterns the corners need to be jamming every release and actually getting their jams. The Bears have three quality corners, lock them up man-to-man and rotate them to keep them fresh if needed, but stop giving up 12 yard slants every three plays! Also if not for two obvious (one so obvious it was actually flagged) offensive interference plays Vasher would have had two picks and things wouldn't look so bleak. Secondly, why don't Bears linemen ever block passes. Brown used to be especially adept at this but this year it seems they never get their hands up. Also, why is Mark Anderson still playing. The Bears should just activate 5 DT's with Brown and Ogunleye and let them play some end.

Beyond this it's mostly just execution. The safeties are playing a little too safe too often. I like the linebackers on the line but they need to be quicker about picking up their reads. And the corners need to start jumping some routes. The Bears haven't given up a 50-yard reception all year but they've given up the most completions and third most yards. That boils down simply to soft coverage.

I also have to note that DH got one point right, one kind of right, two totally wrong, with one worthless point in his five step fixit column. Also letting Orton decide his fitness makes sense and I'm sure it came after medical clearance, so rest easy Haugh Orton isn't going to ruin his season.

Yeah, I'm still on this...

And another thing! Yet another reason to stop putting the loss to the Titans at the feet of the defense: holding the opponent to 21 points would have been enough for a win in all but two of the Bears' previous games. In other words, the Bears had scored more than 21 points in six out of their eight previous games. Both of those games were losses. And furthermore! Yesterday was the lowest number of points the Bears have scored all season. Yes, of course, the defense could have played better. But it was because of Grossman's inability to maintain the production of the offense that the game was lost. "Though Chicago’s porous pass defense was probably more responsible for Sunday’s loss," writes Larry Meyer on the Bears site today. Bzzt! Wrong!

Blame Grossman

"It looks like the continuing deficiency of Chicago's defense will get quarterback Rex Grossman off the hook in the Windy City postmortem this week. Grossman didn't deserve sole blame for the Bears' 21-14 loss to Tennessee, but usually he is a victim of the pile-on factor."

Thus Kevin Seifert at ESPN's NFC North blog. Thing is, this is one of the few times in Grossman's career when I think he really deserves more of the blame than the press is giving him. I know it looks bad that the defense gave up 289 yards to Kerry Collins, but that was on 41 passes, and over the course of 14 drives. Tennesse's longest drive of the game was 56 yards, their first drive of second half, when TN came with their half-time adjustment in place of only passing--it was a six play drive, five of which were passes.

Other than that, the Titans only scored on two other drives, the first of which was a four play, twenty-two yard drive. What set that drive up was three consecutive drives by the Bears of three plays or less, alternating with three six-play drives by the Titans. The Bears ran eight plays over those three drives, five of which were passes, all of which were incomplete except for an interception (it should've been challenged and overturned, but it still would've been an incomplete pass). The Bears moved the ball a total of seven yards during those three drives. Then Chris Carr pulled off his 29 yard punt return, and the Titans only had to go, like I said, 22 yards to score.

My point is this: The Bears defense played really well that game. Their pass defense was not as dominant as the run defense, to be sure. Their pass rush certainly could've looked better, and the defense did completely break down for that TD drive at the beginning of the third quarter. But other than that, the defense kept the Titans from scoring on all but three of their fourteen drives. The Bears, meanwhile, scored on their first drive, and then went 10 drives without scoring. Of those drives, 7 drives were three plays or less. The most plays the Bears strung together after their first, 14-play drive, was seven, which they did three times--once for 25 yards and a punt, once for 30 yards and a blocked field gold, and once for 68 yards and a TD. The two scoring drives were both about seventy yards, but the longest drive for the Bears other than those two was the 30-yard blocked punt drive. In other words, it was entirely the offense's fault that we lost this game, and the difference between the offense this week and other weeks was Rex Grossman. That was one of the least productive outings by a quarterback I've ever seen. The defense, meanwhile, probably had one of their best games of the season. Any time your opponent runs fourteen drives and you only allow them to score three times, that's a good thing. If Grossman had put together only one and a half more drives, nobody would be complaining about the defense's performance--but Grossman wasn't even close.

Of course, the memory of that MN game and the TB game probably hurt the perception of the defense as well. But those games were either a long time ago or with a completely gutted secondary. None of which is to say that the pass defense doesn't need to improve. Teams have obviously figured out where you can throw the ball against the Bears zone. Those are short, underneath routes, and the defense needs to shut them down more quickly so they result in fewer first downs. Some kind of adjustment needs to be made. But the defense simply wasn't the reason for the loss yesterday. The defense came out yesterday and put together one of their best games of the season, and it only wasn't good enough because of Grossman's terrible performance. They simply don't deserve the pile-on they're getting in the Chicago press this week.

Sunday, November 09, 2008


Well, that was about as soft a loss I think it would be possible to take. The best team in the league comes to town and you play them pretty close with your second-string QB looking as second-stringy as possible. And they're not even in this conference. It's frankly hard for me to find a whole lot to be upset about in this game, except that it thoroughly convinced me that Rex Grossman is never going to be a good QB in this league. Probably I should've already knew that. Just pray, intensely and to whatever extra-universal structure might be out there, that Kyle Orton's ankle is really healing as quickly as the Sun-Times insists, and that he'll be back with us next week. If Neckbeard would've been out there today we would've won this game. I'm positive. No way Orton lets eight consecutive drives go by without getting a TD or two and some Field Goals.

A lots gonna be said about how the defense let Kerry Collins throw for so many yards--and, yeah, it is a little worrisome that every week it seems like some QB is coming out and having his best game against us. But I don't think it's time to freak out yet. Part of the reason Collins put up so many yards is that our defense completely eliminated the running game for the Titans. That's my little attempt to look at the silver lining. But, yes, something does have to be done to improve the pass defense. It's becoming clearer every week that the only real weakness the team has is it's pass defense. There isn't a single game we've lost that wasn't because of the pass defense. At this point, we're almost like the Vikings defense of last year--nobody can run on us, but people can go up and down the field on as, practically at will, by passing. I'm optimistic this will be fixed, though. We have plenty of good personnel in our defensive backfield, so it's not like we're doomed to have a bad pass defense until we can get some new players. And Lovie has had good pass defenses before. Something needs to be tweaked to get our pass defense to work better, no doubt. But there's time for that change to be made. There's less time every week, but there's still time. I believe it will be done.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Brian Billick takes a look at Chicago's two tight end alignment. NFL.com has some pretty cool video stuff, sometimes. Watch out for the ad before the video, tho: if it's that Casio camera add with the gymnastic babies, just mute it, cover yr eyes, and wait till it's over. It might be the must unsettlingly bubbly/creepy commercial I've ever seen.

Also, just because I'm feeling good about it, I'd like to remind myself that before the season started, when everyone was bemoaning the state of the Bears' receiving core (to the point that the Outsiders even ran an article explaining how the Bears receivers would likely be historically bad this year), I predicted that it didn't really matter much about the Bears receivers because the leading receiver would likely be Olsen. (I'd link to my prediction, but I cant find it... Maybe I actually didn't post that... but I thought it! Believe me!) Well, that wasn't exactly right, but it wasn't really because the receivers have been significantly better than I'd thought they'd be--it's because Forte is the best receiving back in the league right now (with the possible exception of Reggie Bush, but I'm choosing to ignore him). But right now, three of Bears' top five receivers are either Forte or a tight end, and of those top five, Olsen currently has the highest yards/catch at 12.8--a full yard higher than the next highest.
Do Trib reporters even watch Bears games?

Kickers have missed only two of 597 extra-point attempts this year. Extra points have become so routine that the NFL should consider doing away with them. The PAT adds nothing to the game.

That's Dan Pompei on the Trib site today, not even one week after a Bears game in which a missed extra point arguably had a pretty significant impact on how the end of the game played out.

Monday, November 03, 2008

More hate for the Chicago boys

It's articles like these that cause me to feel like vomiting so frequently each week.

Apparently Greg Couch has officially taken the Mariotti mantle and he doesn't plan on entering the scene quietly. He takes the electronic space, I can only hope to god that this was never printed in ink, of the first article I've noticed by him this year to say that Devin Hester is washed up. On behalf of Devin and anyone who has any idea what it means to actually support the Chicago Bears, FUCK YOU COUCH! He even has to balls to suggest that 23 is resigned to his fate. Hey Greg, remember when the blocking sucked on that return and Devin tried to take everyone on and lost yards and everyone was like "this isn't college, you just need to hit the hole and break the ones that are available"? I do and you suck! Just wanted to say that again. 23 was very close on at least one return before being stopped illegally Sunday and totally slipped on another one, so I don't think he can really be admonished. He will break one this year and I hope on that day Greg Couch suffers from the worst fucking case of hemorrhoids.

DH is just being his normal self. Paraphrasing: Steltz looks good and I've questioned multiple times if Manning is solid but come this Sunday the Bears coaches, who I assume don't actually go to practice, should start still injured Manning or just signed Holt. Oh, and Babich was on the sideline again, heh he's such a dork. I would've already won the Super Bowl this year if I were in charge. Hehe. And lets put turf in Soldier Field again because I DON'T LIKE MUD! And I think a veteran who has never seen the playbook is probably a better backup QB option than this Haine guy who has been on the team all year.
Douche also recycles my KGB idea which I think is funny because I saw it first and I gave a legitimate way for the Bears to pull it off. Haugh wants two new signings without noticing that a player would have to be jettisoned to bring each one in.

Finally, Thank you Brian Urlacher. You're not as big a factor this year but I still love and cherish you as my MLB. I am so glad that you are asking fans to stop booing the replacement QB who brought this city to Miami and hadn't thrown a pass yet this year but still won the game last week. Seriously Chicago fans WTF!? Rex is clearly on his farewell tour here, you could at least show him some love before he rides off. We'll have plenty of time to boo him next season when he's throwing bombs to BB and living off of simple, effective play action again.

Turn that Frown Upside Down

Alright, I'm well aware that the number of Bears fans who read this blog is the same as the number of Bears fans who write on it, but on some purely metaphysical level, in light of this little snippet from ESPN's NFC North blog,
3. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers has more mobility than most opponents give him credit for, but he was no match for the speed of the Titans' front seven on Sunday. It seemed that every time you looked for Rodgers after a play, he was on his back. He was sacked four times, hurried five others and had eight passes tipped. Assuming he doesn't get faster as his career progresses, Rodgers probably should work on releasing the ball quicker.
I would like to send out this plea to all Chicago Bears fans who are going to be in attendance at the game this week:

DO NOT FUCKING BOO REX GROSSMAN THIS WEEK! The Titan's have a very good pass rush, probably the best in the league right now, and handling a pass rush has always been the thing that Grossman fails at the most. So show the guy a little support! He's going to need every bit he can get! Look, we all know, and that includes the Bears coaches and Rex Grossman himself, that Grossman is not going to be our "starting" ever again. He's a replacement right now. He's going to start one game at Soldier Field. Hold back on yr booing for one fucking week! It won't do anything except make him play worse. What, do you think they're going to put Hanie in? That would be just completely stupid. It made a little bit of sense to boo when Grossman was stinking it up out there and the coaching staff seemed unwilling to consider another possibility that just to continue playing him. But those days are done. Kyle Orton's job is absolutely secure. There is just no reason to boo Rex Grossman. So stop it! Srsly...

That said, I do think there's a chance we can win this game this weekend. The coaching staff has shown three times this season (Indy, Philly, the first Detroit game) that when they really hunker down and put together a game plan, they can look really good. Now is the time to do that again.

Frankly, I think what Ron Turner needs to do is try to take advantage of the fact that we have a different starting quarterback this week. There's plenty of film out there of Grossman, but none of him playing with this offensive unit. Grossman has different capabilities than Kyle Orton, and what he's good at, he's shown in the past, he can be very good at. So go out there with the most Grossman-focused offense you can think of. It only needs to work for about a half. That should be enough time to catch the Titans defense off their guard and to put up a few touchdowns, and if the defense comes out knowing that they have to stop the Titans the entire game--and surely this defense has to have one good game in them--we can take this game from them. The point is not to dominate the Titans. The point is to surprise them, get a lead, and then hold on long enough to leave the field with more points than them.

Please please please.

Orton's down but he and the Bears are not out

The first first thing I want to suggest is that every Chicago Bears fan who can grow a beard should not shave until Kyle Orton lines up behind center again. This is simply the best way to express our solidarity in wishing for a quick recovery, and maybe all our beard power can unite and hasten his return.

The injury Kyle suffered marked an emphatic end to by far the worst quarter this Bears team has seen. They gave up 23 points, Devin Hester fumbled, Tillman and Vasher were both beaten for touchdowns, Mike Brown limped to the locker room, and Orton was carted off the field after failing to convert on an ill-advised scramble. But something happened at half-time that gives me a lot of hope. The Bears decided that it was finally time for the season to begin, and with their backs against the wall they answered all their Chicago critics and booing fans by beating the Lions 14-0 in the second half.

This team's goal is to win their division. That is all they talk about and throughout the year is has looked like it's all they're playing for. They weren't the team that let up in each of the NFC South games. They came out of the locker room and made sure that they walked back into it undefeated against the North. I'm not exactly sure what this means for the showdown with Tennessee, but I do know that it gives me hope for the game in Green Bay.

I don't want to ignore Lovie's advice and get too far ahead of myself though. If Rex Grossman starts Sunday, I say if because if it isn't a break then it's mostly a matter of pain-threshold for Orton and I don't question his toughness, he will have the chance to make millions in that game. I can't even imagine the prospect of spending a week preparing to win the lottery. This isn't a normal ticket, Rex actually controls the outcome of the drawing. If he puts up points and beats the toughest, undefeated defense in the league, March 1 will not come soon enough for his agent. Sunday's second half looked like the '06 Bears. Hester would have had his first return of the season if not for a horse-collar tackle, the defense was dominant and Forte played well enough to give any quarterback a chance to succeed. I hope we see more of the same this Sunday.

Sunday, November 02, 2008


I don't normally worry too much about this sort of thing, because I think the "expert" analysts, mostly former jocks, make a much bigger deal out of it than it really is. But something bothers me about his photo. There's Rex Grossman emphatically spiking the ball after what turned out to be the game winning touchdown. There are John Tait--one of the biggest leaders on the team--and Greg Olsen--who's emerged during Grossman's time on the bench as the most important receiving threat on the team. They're both just watching Grossman celebrate all by himself. They're just kind of staring at him. They're not even smiling. If Orton is really going to be out for four weeks--if he's even only out next week--we need the team to be behind him. But the way he always has seemed to have just been hanging out by himself on the sideline every time we've seen him so far this season, and in light of how strongly the team has embraced Orton, I wonder if the team figures Grossman's already halfway out the door--and good riddance. I hope my suspicions are incorrect, or that they have no actual impact on the playing of the team, because we can't afford to have something like that trip up our season just at the crucial time that the playoff run begins.

Also, did you notice in Smith's press conference, he didn't seem to really be willing to commit to Grossman being the starter in Orton's abscence? It would be bizarre and stupid, I think, for them to throw Hanie in right now, and I can't imagine that's actually what's going to happen, but it just seemed odd to me how waffly Lovie seemed about Grossman being the starter for now...

All I want, regardless of anything else, all I want is for the team and the coaches to come together and pull out a victory against Tennessee next week. Either Green Bay or Minnesota is going to be 5-4 after next week, and I don't think we can afford to be tied with either of them at any point for the rest of the season.

Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss

Okay, there are a lot of reasons to feel not especially ecstatic about that game, but when you boil it down, if that's the type of thing you feel like doing, but we needed the offense to score two touchdowns in a half in order to pull into sole possession of first place in the NFC North, and the person who was responsible for both of those touchdowns was Rex Grossman. He looked about as completely thrilled/angry to be spiking the ball in the end zone, I'm sure the emotion behind that spike was directed more at the home crowd than anyone else. And, yeah, he earned the right to that spike. I hope Orton isn't hurt too badly, but I have to say at this point it seems pretty unlikely that we'll see him behind center again before the 2009 season. I think Rex Grossman is certainly a capable back up, who's probably got a few spectacular quarters left in him, but Kyle Orton's emergence was the best thing to happen to this team in the past two years, and if he's gone for the season it's hard to really see any reasons to put a lot of faith in this Bears team.

Which sucks, because I walked to the bar to watch the game this morning--all of five hours ago--fully ready to finally believe in this team. There's still reason for hope, but no reason for belief.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Speaking of Numbers

Lots of Bears fans around the internets have been bemoaning the decline in production of Matt Forte, which seems pretty stupid to me. Over the past four games, the focus of the offense has definitely been the passsing game, and Forte's been the best receiving back in the league by a considerable margin. So even though his rushing production hasn't been as much as it was early in the season, it's not like he's been unproductive overall.

But even putting aside his tremendous value as a receiving back, he's still been doing a lot of important things on the ground. The major NFL statistics that everyone pays attention to are pretty much worthless, and this is one of those cases. Forte's running production has dropped mainly because the Bears offense has been using the run game tactically, for immediate advantages (like first downs), rather than to do much of the actual moving of the ball. I'd felt like Forte had continued to be incredibly productive in that respect, but I hadn't really bothered to look into whether or not my perception had any evidence for it. "He has picked up 37 first downs this season, tied for the fifth most in the NFL, and his 17 first downs on third down are tied for the most in the league," says the article on the Bears website today.

Not that it will shut up any of the whiners out there. But we've got a really solid back in Forte, who does far more important things for our offense than just racking up yards. I expect over the second half of the season, now that Orton is being discussed as an actual threat, we'll see less of teams stacking up against the run, and as a result Forte's yards-only production will probably go up, and everyone will be happy again.


The Green Bay Packers released defensive end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, the franchise's all-time sacks leader on Saturday. KGB only has a handful of tackles and half a sack this year making him expendable in Green Bay. I'm not really a big fan of picking up divisional castoffs, given that I think the Bears are better than the rest of the division at every position, but in this case I think it would be a good idea for Chicago to take a look. KGB haunts many of my pre-Lovie Bears memories and he has a sweet moniker. Mark Anderson has three tackles and no sacks this year. He's just not getting the job done, and with Williams healthy it makes sense to release Fred Miller and bring in KGB to compete with Anderson. Metcalf is off for a couple more weeks so the Bears are going to have to dump him, or more likely, Miller at that point anyway. Why not use the suspension to try and improve the team instead of just waiting for it to end?

Friday, October 31, 2008

The douche returns in DH

It's been awhile since I took the time to point out how truly worthless DH is as a Bears writer, but the first answer in today's column cannot go uncriticized. I don't play football but I know enough to know that this is a fucking stupid idea. It's hard to get two good corners in the NFL, its harder to keep them both healthy for a season. The Bears are in a privileged situation to be able to try and use Graham or Vasher at nickel, I remember Lovie saying Vasher was ideally suited to nickel during his rookie season. It makes sense to get them all on the field since they're all good against the run but taking any depth away from the corner position would be a huge mistake. Let corners play corner and stop trying to think of ways to fuck up a good thing.

With Corey Graham emerging and Charles Tillman and Nathan Vasher expected to return from injuries this week, the Bears have three cornerbacks they trust. Any chance of moving one to free safety now or in the future?

It's a good big-picture question. Teams never can have enough good cornerbacks, but Graham's quick development provides them a luxury. He has played well enough at least to split snaps with Vasher at right cornerback. Moving forward, it might make more sense to consider moving Graham instead of Tillman to free safety. They have similar size but Tillman's a proven, Pro Bowl-caliber cornerback and those are hard to find. Graham has shown the smarts and savvy to make such a switch to free safety worth examining either next off-season or even in the second half if Mike Brown doesn't come out of his mini-slump. On the other hand, if Tillman shows any sign of decline after his sixth season then he always could extend his career by changing positions.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

what do the numbers say?

When it comes to sports stats I don't think there's anything more important than points. This is an area that other sports seem to understand better than football. There are indicators as to how a team is scoring but the important point is the points. Footballoutsiders in particular undervalue points in their analysis. There is just no credible way to rank the 4-3 Eagles as the top team in the league. But thats an aside.
When looking at the numbers the Bears are well on top of the division and there's no real reason to think that will change. Chicago ranks second in the NFL scoring 28 points a game. I knew they were good this year but that is still surprising. Green Bay isn't far behind at fourth with 27.7 a game. But the maligned defense offers another surprise. Chicago is 13 not great but not at all bad giving up 21.4 a game. Green Bay again isn't too far behind at 22.7, but Chicago's 6.6 scoring advantage versus GB's 5 is I think significant at this point. Minnesota by the way is at -1.9, they're not going to the playoffs.
Moving beyond points there are three important indicators that the Bears are on a better path than the packers. Chicago has created 16 turnovers, two more than GB's 14; the Bears also have two more sacks than the pack. As well Chicago is only relinquishing 86 yards a game on the ground. Green Bay on the other hand is giving up 141 yards rushing a game. That doesn't bode well for a cold weather team entering November. The Bears are a more dangerous defense for opponents who won't be able to rely on keeping the ball on the ground and shortening the game in cold weather when mistakes become more common.
Ultimately these are very close teams but I agree with Lovie, in November you start to see true separation in the NFL and the Bears look a lot better going into the second half than Green Bay does.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Bring Back Bullet Bob!

The Bears entered the bye week with one pressing question, "How do we play defense if our front-four aren't creating pressure?"
The run defense has been fine with the exception of the 54-yard TD by Peterson, but he's the best in the league so that can be allowed for. The problem is that virtually every time the bears play a cover-2 zone they give up a big completion. I hope Harris is healthy following what I believe to be a more significant knee injury than the team has let on. If 91 is back, they don't even have to answer this question. But if he can't be as dominant as in the past what is the adjustment?
The Bears started the season basically playing 10 on the line, covering every gap and jamming every receiver and leaving Mike Brown as the true safety. They've gotten away from that and it has cost them. Even with injuries and inexperienced players, this defense is too good to play a shell. Briggs and co. are attackers and ball hawks and it just doesn't suit them to lay in wait. This is an easy formation to blitz out of, and the secondary should have enough experience at this point of the season to be able to play the system with any of their personnel. On this point, I think the signing of Terrence Holt could prove to be an inspired move. He provides true cover for Brown and fills the absence left by McGowan. Without Manning, Graham or Vasher available for the nickel spot, Babich seemed to think that he didn't have the physical presence and athleticism required to play the system. Thus he reverted to the soft-2. Holt provides that option and Steltz is far enough along that he should be ready to provide further options.
I don't know if it was just Samurai Mike's press conference Sunday, but I want the Burnt and Blue to come on the field and "hit people in the mouth, No. 1." I trust the Lovie 2 once they've already destroyed the other team, but until that point of complete demoralization the Bears need to be attackers.
The other fun point the bye week gave me a chance to ponder is that there is an actual chance, not a great one but certainly not beyond the realm of hope, that the Bears could clinch the division with their 8th win on Nov. 30. It requires that the Packers lose to the Vikings and that both teams lose all their difficult games in the next 5 weeks. But given the current situation, especially if the Williamses get suspended together after the GB game, it is a realistic enough possibility that I'm willing to hold onto hope.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Kevin and Pat Williams, colloquially known as "the Williams brothers," are so cute! They even get suspended together! Too bad they couldn't "rope" fellow lineman Jared Allen into taking a banned substance with them...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I hate bye week.

So if you go to the Bears website right now you'll see a featured article with the headline, "Bye week comes at ideal time for Bears." Really? Nice reporting.... Seriously, is there ever a time when a bye week happens, and the team is like, "this is a terrible time to be having our bye week. this sucks..." I doubt it.

But, whatever. It's not coming at an ideal time for me. Wtf am I supposed to do?! There's no Bears game this weekend! And this year, since the NFL in its infinite wisdom decided to make it the bye week for the whole NFC North that matters, there's not even a Vikings game for me to watch and cheer on the Vikings opponent. Same for the Packers. Triple fucking lame.

Which is why I have to send a serious "thank you" out to whoever it is that owns the 49ers for firing Mike Nolan. I mean, I kinda liked the guy and all, but since he's fired it means that this week is the first head-coaching game for Mike Singletary! I may not be able to maintain this level of enthusiasm beyond this week.... I dunno... but for now, there's actually a reason for me to watch non-NFC North football, the one time in my whole life that there's not an NFC North game going on. Go Mike Singletary! You (or at least Tecmo you) were my hero for some very important formative years! I'm glad you ate Mike Nolan and took his job! 'Bout time! Go 49ers!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Squib is a Four-letter word.

It seems I just can't shut about yesterday's game... There's lots of talk out there about how stupid it was for the Bears to squib at the end of the game, therefore, the argument goes, Lovie Smith is a terrible coach and should be fired. Then there's defenders of the decision, a defense most articulately described in Rahula Strohl's thing today. I think both sides are wrong.

King Kaufman's little ditty about the squib kick being a horrible decision comes closest to being right, I think, although he still comes to the conclusion that Lovie Smith is an idiot. What I think is right about Kaufman's article is that a lot of it is an argument about how stupid squib kicks are in general. That, I think, is the crux of the thing. I honestly cannot think of a time a squib kick makes sense. I just don't understand what is supposed to be gained by squibbing the thing. Usually teams to it do prevent a big return, but (I don't have stats here or anything, so I don't know for sure) it seems like more squib kicks end up with the other team taking over somewhere around the thirty-five or so than traditional kicks do. The squib is just one of those things that for some reason is a given in the basic coaching handbook. If you are trying to prevent a big return: squib it. And it just seems completely wrong to me. And dumb. It's not Lovie Smith himself who's extremely dumb for making the decistion. It's a decision most coaches would have made in that situation. It's just a stupid thing to do in general. It's a general stupidity that Lovie Smith was only symptomatic of yesterday. That's what I think.

The only case I can think of where squibbing it marginally makes any kind of sense is when people squib to avoid Devin Hester, but that's because (at least until this year) by squibbing to the Bears, you were just basically calculating that giving up field position was better than the (likely) possibility of Hester burning you for six. I don't think any returner aside from Hester (and I'd even be willing to entertain arguments there) has ever been so dangerous that the squib is strategically better. (Or tactically better? I can't remember the difference between tactics and strategy right now... sad...)

It wasn't that the squib didn't work or that it was a bad decision in that specific case. Squibs are always a bad decision. I hope the Bears never do it again.

Why me? What now?

Yesterday's loss is the type that leads me to all kinds of useless soul-searching. Especially useless because by soul I mean "the Chicago Bears," and I'm not even on the fricking team or in any way capable of effecting them at all. I can only imagine what it might be to be like on the team. (Actually, I can't... I'm not really sure how professional football players think about being on teams... for one thing, I think they just don't or rarely ever do love their teams the way fans do. Part of maturing as a football player seems to be coming to the realization that it's just a job... which is, like, so completely different from being a fan... anyway...)

Of course, everyone is calling for Lovie Smith's head, because that's what Chicago fans do any time the team loses. Thing is: we're very much still in control of our chances to make the playoffs. All we have to do is win more games than Minnesota or Green Bay, and I think that seems way more likely than the opposite happening in either case. Minnesota is pretty much disintegrating. Their offense is horrible. Against a Detroit Lions team that made Kyle Orton look all-world, they only managed to win because of a really questionable pass-interference penalty on the Lions. And that was even with the Lions spotting them two points when Dan Orlovsky forgot where he was and wandered out of the back of the end zone (quoth Orlovsky, "You're an idiot.") The Vikings are 3-3 but two of their wins were more the result of the other team sucking than their own goodness. Meanwhile, the Bears are 3-3, and all three of their losses involve bizarre fourth quarter collapses that are very much out of character. It seems unlikely they will continue to be in character for the whole season.

Meanwhile, Green Bay is basically using a pre-season lineup on defense. They'll probably stick with us longer than Minnesota just because of Aaron Rodgers being pretty legit, but they ain't gonna win more games than us.

That said, we do need to make some basic strategic changes, and here's what I think they are:

-Attack with the offense! Attack with the mid-range passing game, right out of the gate. That's the part of the offense that has been most consistently successful over the past several games, and it's becoming more obvious that the offense works best when it's put in the hands of Kyle Orton. Matt Forte is a really good running back, and it's not that he couldn't handle the load--it's just that the offense works better when it's going through Orton. Wait until we're up by two scores to start eating up the clock. And attacking works: every game we've started out by attacking on offense, (see especially the Philly game, the Detroit game) we've been in control of the game. Then we went out against Atlanta yesterday and just kind of hoped they'd make a few mistakes or something. We didn't really attack on offense until some time midway through the third quarter. The receivers are starting to run routes well and Orton is really starting to click, and the offense is capable of so much more, right now, than just being the side of the ball that tries not to lose. I have to admit, I do like the general trend toward attacking that the offense has taken, but so far it's seemed to be limited to aspects of the game plan against certain teams. Like, we'll attack, but then we get back to our base offense. We need to change what our base offense is.

-On defense? Jeez, I dunno, actually... it's hard to tell what's going on with the defense. It seems like the main problem is that they only play well when they're completely jazzed out of their minds. When they just sit back, like yesterday, letting the offense come to them, it just keeps coming. We need to switch to the always high-risk/high-reward defense of 2006 and (especially) early 2007. Whenever we lay back in a "safe" defense, we get destroyed. It has not worked, ever. Not once. So, Babich, Lovie, whoever it is that needs to be getting this done: get the defense angry before games. And set them loose. There is so much talent pretty much everywhere on this defense, but that doesn't mean that they're good enough to beat teams without trying, which is what seems to be the thinking.

So, I guess, basically that's the theme. When this team goes out clearly on a mission to take the game from the other team, it wins. When it goes out figuring it's just going to win and waits for it to happen, it loses.

Now I feel a little better. And we're going to beat the Vikings this weekend. I have no doubt.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Orton is good.

Okay, so lots of that game sucked--mainly the defense. Obviously the defensive game plan was to stop the running game and then sit back and wait for Matt Ryan to make some rookie mistakes. That never happened, but the Bears didn't adjust their game plan accordingly. And we got burned for it, culminating in probably the stupidest collapse I've seen since the Vikings gave up two touchdowns in thirty seconds to the Arizona Cardinals to miss the playoffs, way back when... Jeez, I remember watching that at mom's house in Aberdeen. Like five years ago? That was Jauron's last year... Anyway, apparently, that's sort of like what our defense is this year.

But, there's room for optimism:

Orton is good. He's showed that the more you lean on him, the better he plays. There's not going to be some carpet getting pulled out revealing him as a bad QB, like happened with Grossman. He's good. He's solid. He's really smart and knows how to run the offense. The Bears have not had something like that going for them in a really long time.

So what's up with the defense? It sucks right now, but there's time to turn it around. If they can even regain some of their intensity and form, by the end of the season we're going to be a really good team. I mean, we've never had an offense waiting for a defense to catch up. Ultimately, I think that bodes well. This is a defense with a ton of guys who are capable of playing better, and have shown in the past that they can play significantly better. So, likely, they will.

But they need to start working on it right quick here.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Nor rhetorical.

From our favorite whipping boy, David Haugh:

2. I know Tommie Harris opened himself up to criticism by injecting God into his explanation for why he was suspended and hasn't played well this season. It risked making spirituality sound like a trait necessary for all good defensive linemen, like a quick burst and low center of gravity.

But it would reek of insincerity only if this were the first time he had talked openly about Christianity. It wasn't. The guy known to wear Psalm 91 on headgear and bandages has referred to the role God plays in his life since the day he was drafted in 2004.

If fans or media members weren't mocking Harris when he proselytized all those times he commanded a platform for playing well, why now when his play has changed but the tone of his rhetoric really hasn't? As much as Harris shared, more revealing was the reaction to what he said.

What exactly is he talking about? Did I miss all the mockery the Chicago media was spitting out? Not that I suspect the Chicago media of being in any way noble, but I just didn't notice any making fun of Tommie Harris for his talk of his faith, either in the traditional media or in any of the too-many blogs I read... So, wtf is Haugh on about here? Did he just make up this idea just so he could disagree with it and seem extra noble? Or is he talking about some behind-the-scenes snickering that didn't actually make it into print, but he didn't realize it? Is this something that all those yelling-guys shows on ESPN picked up on and mocked (I don't watch them so I wouldn't know)? Or did he just assume that all this stuff was going on and decided to come out against it so he would have a full ten things to say he thought about?

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Oh Tommie Harris we love you get up!

Harris apologized to teammates and asked fans to forgive him for bringing negative attention to himself.

As a person, Tommie, sure, I forgive you. Done. As a Bears fan, tho... For the first time in two weeks I'm going to wear my Tommie Harris jersey to watch the game. Give me a reason to be proud to wear it. Be the Tommie that was so good you made Arizona forget to block Brian Urlacher because they couldn't figure out how to deal with you both. Be the Tommie Harris that beat the snap to Philip Rivers on the goal line in San Diego last year. Be the Tommie Harris that made me decide I had to make yours my first Bears jersey. Seriously, I'm nuts about you. But I feel like you've been gone for a long time... Be the man I know you are, Tommie. It's as easy as that. You won't even need to be forgiven.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

A few roster notes on the first post from my room!

Id first like to say, Welcome back Hass! Though I've never seen him play a minute of meaningful football I like Mike Hass and I'm glad he's in Chicago but sadly I can't really cheer for him to take any roster spots because I like all of the Bears receivers this year.
The other recent addition Marcus Hamilton is, I believe, a good signing for this defense. It allows for more safety flexibility and he proved that he's good enough to step in if the Bears reach that point.
The most interesting note of the week though is that Nick Roach is good enough to challenge Hunter Hillenmeyer and Jamar Williams for playing time. When the hell did this happen? It's great that another player is doing well enough to ask the question, and Hillenmeyer responded with a great game against Philly, but I'm annoyed that as an avid fan and roster junky things like this consistently happen and I'm sprung for a loop. I wish that the Chicago media was more consistent in relating this information or that the Bears coaches were less finicky in their player dealings. I get annoyed watching it so I bet it sucks for the players.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

One of Chicago's finest

I bet the first people to read Haugh's article today were members of the Chicago Bears. Obviously they would look to the press to get their coaches' thoughts to them because they don't work with them. That's right, D-bag actually believes that the key to the Cubs and White Sox seasons so far is that their managers called the players out in the press. And since we know Lovie doesn't blast his players through the tribune we can pretty much assume that none of them know they fucked up on Sunday.
I really don't know if Haugh has ever played a sport, I assume he has, but from my experience players tend to have a lot of respect for a coach who led them to a title game. And I'm sure Peanut feels worse than any of us about the play because he let his teammates and coaches down. Players play for their team and since they see them everyday I doubt they rely on the media to get them inside information.
Also Haugh notes that Daniel Manning caught like 12 passes in college and maybe the Bears should turn to him at wide receiver, because thats what an innovative coach who actually cared would do.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Screw you, Panthers.

I seriously hate the Panthers. No single team has caused me more grief as a Bears fan over the past few years than the Carolina Panthers. I just never want to admit that they're any good... but then they keep beating my team!

Our offense needs to be better. There were a number of breaks that went the other way in the second half, and some of those holding calls were absolute bullshit, but our offense can't stall that many times with the game on the line. I think it can get there, but we can't afford for it not to.

And now, an attempt at optimism: We've played four halves of football so far this year against two very good teams. Of those four, we've completely dominated three, and got whooped in one. Overall, I'd say that bodes pretty well for the rest of the season. We're going to be better than 8-8.

A few Sunday morning predictions

Just cuz I'm in this kind of a mood:

-Either the Vikings or the Colts are going to be 0-2 in about four or five hours. It's not going to be the Colts.

-The Bears are going to have an easier time rushing than everyone expects. The word around the league has been that Carolina "stopped" LT2 in San Diego last week. They didn't, really. They played well, but San Diego's offense only stumbled when they went to the pass, and they pretty much stopped running in the second half. Which isn't to say that Carolina completely stopped SD's passing game either: just that they never actually had to stop LT2 because SD didn't rely on him. The Bears would do well to try to rush to the outside more against Carolina than they did against Indy, because Carolina looks like it has a slower defense, but the Bears will have some success running wherever they do if they're rushing offense last week was any indication.

-There will be some interceptions in this game. Carolina's CB's are always looking to intercept first, and it's likely that they'll get one off of Orton. Meanwhile, Delhomme, the offensive spark that he is, was wildly off target fairly often against San Diego last week, and likely that'll happen a few times today, and the Bears' opportunistic defense has the speed to take advantage of mistakes like that. I expect the Bears to have the lead in this category, but I'll be really impressed if Orton manages yet another game without an INT.

-I expect this game to be closer than last week's. I'd be surprised--although totally impressed and excited--if the Bears' coaching staff came up with a game plan as effective as the one they had last week against the Colts. They'd been preparing that game plan for months--possibly even as long as since their Super Bowl. So here's hopin'! But I expect Carolina to get a few things across.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Whatever I don't care whatever

Wow. This is quite possibly the most unintentionally hilarious column I've read coming out of the vaunted Chicago sports press. Rick Morrissey defends his dismissal of the Bears by admitting that he doesn't put a whole lot of thought into his columns. What a colossal douche bag. "I just get paid a whole lot of money to write columns about these teams. Why would I actually try to pay attention to what's going on with them and figure out whether they'll be good or not? That would be so stupid! I can just look at what all the other writers at ESPN and stuff are saying!" Seriously, only as a member of the Chicago sports media can you not only admit that you just spout negativity unthinkingly, but you can actually use it as a defense when you're wrong. What a great job!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Is it a QB? Is it wearing a Bears Jersey? Then it's worse than it's performance!

Here's a quotation from today's Every Play Counts over at ESPN (from the FO guys):

The dominant defensive performance allowed the Bears' offense to play conservatively. The Bears' struggles last season were largely due to the revolving door of mediocre quarterbacks. Kyle Orton played adequately Sunday, but the key was he was never forced to make plays outside his comfort zone.

Forte's big 50-yard touchdown gave the Bears an early lead, and from that point, Orton took very few chances. He worked on underneath throws and completed two big passes to his tight end, providing enough offense to let the Bears coast home with a victory.

It's funny, because there's nothing actually bad about a QB taking very few chances when his team has the lead for basically an entire game. However, when writing this about Orton, it is somehow still a criticism. "The key," dude writes, "was he was never forced to make plays outside his comfort zone." Subtext: Kyle Orton is terrible and if he would have had to actually throw any passes the Bears would've lost by a hundred points. And check out the pointless shot the FO guys take at Orton over in their Quick Reads article, "The next time you hear the words "Kyle Orton" and "game manager" in the same sentence, ask that person how Orton conjured up nine defensive points and a fourth-and-1 stop." That's right, Kyle Orton is not even worthy of the most back-handed compliment you can give a QB. Seriously, the Bears can't even look like one of the best teams in the league on opening day, playing a nearly perfect game, without still being criticized.

I mostly just think it's funny. I fully expect that Orton is going to have a solid season. But he's probably not going to be spectacular, and being spectacular is the only way he's going to escape being considered the default worst QB in the league.

Meanwhile, quoth Ron Jaworski at the beginning of last night's Monday Night Football game between the Vikings and the Packers w/r/t Tarvaris Jackson (paraphrased),
You know the only number that matters with this guy? 8-4: his record as a starter last season.

Tarvaris Jackson should thank his lucky stars that he doesn't take the field every week wearing the Bears' navy blue. (Kyle Orton's current overall record as a starter: 13-6).

DH recognizes his present mistake, but still can't help but feel that his past self was totally on

First, I totally echo your point about a good football day not felt for a really long time. The last time I remember feeling like this was the play before Mike Brown broke his knee while being illegally held on a touchdown. The Bears domination died that play last year and they never looked like a playoff team after that week performance.

This year they do look like a playoff team. The defence is back though I still don't totally trust the safties other than Mike Brown. And Kyle Orton is the kind of QB that this team has been looking for. He's smart and accurate and has a sweet neckbeard. Also, the importance of Matt Forte and Kevin Smith cannot be understated. But, obviously no one could have possibly seen this coming, "To predict anything but a struggling season based on what the Bears showed in August would have been like a doctor looking at an X-ray of a broken bone and telling the patient not to expect pain." But I'll give Haugh credit "The beauty of the NFL is that nights like Sunday happen."

Wait, actually anyone who knows football and put more than an ounce of thought into the Bears shouldn't be too surprised. Peyton and Dungy recognized it. The Bears have moved all the way up to 15 in ESPN's power rankings after dominating what's probably the best team in football. This is why the BCS doesn't work, you can't have a bunch of idiots ranking things and then expect a fair result. The Vikings by the way, have dropped from superbowl contenders to 16 based largely on performing exactly as they could have been expected to.

Sunday, September 07, 2008


Not much important to say, but that was a good team we played tonight, and we didn't just steal a win that we need to hurry up and get out of town with; we completely dominated the Colts for basically the entire game. Even when the Colts were up 3-0 it felt to me like we were winning.

Everyone's going to be talking about how surprising it was, but I honestly don't understand how people who were really paying attention to the Bears could be surprised to see them coming out and looking like a very solid team. Not like a Bears victory should've been assured by any means, because that was a very good team out there we were playing against, but we had a defense coming out on the field complete and healthy for the first time since mid-2006, so what reason was there to think they weren't likely to be very good? I didn't expect the offense to really control the game like that. That's about the only real "surprise" that I can see--though even that shouldn't be as surprising as everyone's going to act like it was.

But, whatever. I cannot wait until next week already. Seriously, the Panthers? Without Steve Smith? My only worry is that there could be a bit of a letdown coming off of this huge week when everyone was picking against them, but then again, the defense will be playing against Moose, who apparently built up a certain amount of bad blood against these guys. That may have been a mistake on his part.

For now, I just feel so good. I feel like making exaggeratedly masculine noises at everything in sight. This was a wonderful, wonderful football day. I haven't had one of them in what feels like a really long time.

Thursday, September 04, 2008


Football doesn't actually start tonight. I don't care that the Giants and Washington are actually playing the first meaningful game of the season--it's not really the start of football. Football doesn't start until Sunday. I might watch some of the game tonight, or I might not... It is seriously difficult for me to stomach East division games (in either conference) because of the exaggerated importance these teams take on in the (mostly East-coast, natch) press. Washington is one of the most boring teams in the league, who've been consistently mediocre since the early nineties. Also their team name is unforgivably racist. Fuck them.

Also, just because I have to complain about this, DH's new Trib article is probably the grossest column written by someone not named Mariotti in Chicago that I can remember. It literally uses the fact that the Colts said nice things about the Bears to both call the Colts either liars or idiots and then to reiterate his tired thing about how the Bears are actually one of the worst teams in the league, full of overpaid stars who can't play anymore. What the shit is wrong with the Chicago sports press? Seriously, the 49ers have been one of the worst teams in the league for long enough now that you could reasonably call it recent memory, but the sports press in this city, while certainly not ignoring that fact, also doesn't go out of its way to crucify the team or the management or the players. Same for the atrocious Giants. Meanwhile, unless the Bears have the best record in the league, ESPN and other parts of the national sports media either ignores them or uses them as a punch line--deserved or (mostly) not--and the Chicago media itself seems to feel like it has to one-up everybody in pointless negativity and grousing. The Bears are one of the most popular teams in the league. Their games consistently sell out in minutes. Why the hell is it so hard to find decent coverage of them?

But, whatever. Three more days until the first game! I'm consistently slipping off into daydreams about that game... I might just decide to go to sleep until Sunday evening...

Friday, August 22, 2008

We Suck!

After reading the Bears' analysis of their defensive performance last night, I'm excited that their 'we suck' moment came in the pre-season this year and not in Week 3. The defense is going to be good, they have to be. And now I think more than ever they've finally forgotten about '06 and realize that they have to earn all the respect they will get starting in Week 1 '08. These players don't want to be good, they want to dominate and run the table as the top ranked defense through the entire season. Anything less will feel like a failure to this group, and these players just do not fail.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Cure for the (orange and) blues.

G-ddamn it is depressing reading the coverage about my team this year. All of the coverage focuses on the offense and how it looks like it won't be very good this year. The thing is, I don't remember a time when the Bears offense was any good, and I still managed to be excited about the team before. And I'm pretty sure I remember lead-ups to seasons that weren't as insanely pessimistic as this year. But, ask anyone, the Bears have the worst quarterbacks in the league, the worst offensive line ever, and they'll be lucky to win a single game this season. Well, fuck that...

Here's how you get excited about the Bears this year. Yesterday, while I was floating around in a Dramamine haze somewhere above Utah I began to wonder how good the defense can be this year. Ever since Lovie took over the team, with the exception of the first half of last season when most of our defensive starters were injured, the defense and special teams have been the reason to watch the Bears. Even during Smith's first season as coach, with Terry Shea setting the all-time low for offensive ineptitude (and how could anyone even think that this year's offense could approach that year's... Shea didn't even know what players he had out on the field half the time!) the defense was pretty special. It was even better three years ago, and when combined with the explosion of Devin Hester onto the special teams scene, we made it to the Super Bowl. Sure, during the Super Bowl run the offense came up big a few times, but that offense wasn't going to take any other team even into the playoffs. The defense and special teams were so good at times that it almost seemed like a mistake for the other team to even try to run an offense...

Which gets me to this year. I think there's a great chance the defensive and special teams units will be even better this year than they were in '06. Hester is now a special teams veteran who's been in the system for two full years already, and teams are even more afraid of him than they were in '06. On top of that, it appears that we're going to have the healthiest defense going into the beginning of the season that I remember us ever having, and our defensive line is likely to be significantly deeper and stronger than the '06 version. Add Dvoracek, Anthony Adams, Marcus Harrison and Israel Idonije to the four freaks from that year (Ogunleye, Harris, Brown, Anderson) and we've got a potentially terrifying d-line rotation. Add a healthy Mike Brown to that mix and... well, I started thinking: Is it possible for a defense and special teams combo to be so good that opposing teams actually decrease their chances of winning a game the more times they touch the ball? And how would that register, statswise? If a team plays against us this year and goes three-and-out more often than not, and then if it has to deal with trying to punt to our special teams unit, the offense won't even have to move the ball forward before they eventually start out in field goal range. And if you add to that the possibility of touchdowns on punt returns and touchdowns on interception runbacks, well, there could conceivably be stretches of games where the other team would've been better off actually allowing our offense to hold onto the ball by giving up a few first downs now and then and hoping for their own defensive break...

Okay, yeah, that's maybe stretching it, but that's what I'm hoping for this season: more than one game where our opponents actually find themselves lowering their chances of winning the game by trying to run their offense, to the point that they're chances of winning actually decrease the more touches their offense gets. If the Bears can pull that off, I think I'd be even more excited about it than making the playoffs. And I think this is the year we can do it!

Monday, August 18, 2008


I'm not gonna lie: I frickin' love beards.

And now we got one running our team!

Never mind that the Bears are not going to win a single game this season (in spite of a defense and a special teams unit that will both be significantly better than those fielded by the team in '05, when a significantly worse Orton managed to win ten of fifteen) these Bears are going to please me in a different but nearly as satisfying way: aesthetically. In fact, with Grossman riding the bench, I can't think of a single starting member of the Bears whose appearance doesn't please me. But none so much as Captain Neckbeard.

Dripping Sarcasm

It's not even the third week of the preseason yet, and I already know the season is over. We are going to be absolutely awful this year. We will probably lose every game. Lovie Smith obviously has no idea how to coach a professional football team. He took over four years ago spouting all this optimistic stuff about beating Green Bay, winning the division, and making it to the Super Bowl, but all he's done since taking over a team with a 76-102 record over the previous eleven years is compile a 38-30 record. The dummie's only one the division twice, and he only went to the Super Bowl once. Nice try. Go play tennis or something, where it actually matters if you win more games than you lose. Obviously, the Bears are not going to be a good team until they get a new head coach.

But first things first: the Bears are going to be awful this year because their starting quarterback is either going to be Grossman or Orton. It doesn't matter how good you make the rest of your team: history has proven that it's just impossible to win games with these guys leading your offense. The team is a rather dishearting 12-6 in games that Orton has started, and an even scarier 19-11 with Grossman starting at QB. And they didn't even win the only Super Bowl game they got to play in after letting him fuck everything up for them for a whole season. This whole quarterback thing is extra frustrating, too, because there are all these great QBs sitting around not playing for anybody. Like... um... Daunte Culpepper, and... just tons of guys. It just sucks. There is no way the Bears even stand a chance of winning a game as long as they have Kyle Orton or Rex Grossman starting for them at quarterback, and as long as Lovie Smith is staring calmly at the field from the sidelines, "coaching".

Sunday, August 17, 2008


For once, I totally agree with David Haugh. The only thing that's been proved up to this point in the preseason is that Grossman isn't going to win the starting QB spot. The offense needs to come together and start really getting ready for the regular season, and they can't do it while waiting for Grossman to finally figure out how to bring his game every time he's out on the field. The decision needs to be made. There's really no point in delaying it.

Oh, and, if anyone needs a reminder of how meaningful pre-season is: right now, as I'm typing this, New England's getting blown out by Tampa Bay, like 27-3 or some shit.