Tag Archives: Bears

NFL Free Agency, Pt. 2

Last week we discussed who should get paid, where they should land and who should be ignored.  We nailed Alshon Jeffrey landing with the Eagles, but what we didn’t see coming was his one-year price tag. For a young guy, only his fifth-season – signing a one-year deal worth $14 million seems to just short change his economic potential.  The Patriots made two moves, one in signing corner Stephon Gilmore, who we gave a “buyer’s beware” tag attached to his name, and then traded for Saints wide-receiver, Brandin Cooks – proof that the rich only get richer. . .

The move that made the most noise was the Cleveland Browns trade with the Houston Texans, and breaking it down, we’ll reveal why. The Texans traded quarterback Brock Osweiler, 2018 second-round pick and a 2017 sixth-round pick and in return the Browns gave the Texans a 2017 fourth-round pick, and helped relieve the weight of the Texans’ purse.  The Texans are set to save about $10 million in salary-cap space this season because of the move, and are also out of a bad marriage, which was the contract they gave Osweiler.  From the onset it looks like a landslide victory for the Texans, but for the Browns it was all about the draft picks.  The Browns have more cap room than anyone else in the league (I’m not a “cap” guy, but it’s in the area of $100 million in cap space) so even if they decide to cut Osweiler, it won’t affect their plans in the off-season – it was all about the draft picks.  It’s a pretty unconventional move, but these two had to means and desire to get it done.  The Browns would be better off just cutting Osweiler instead of actually starting him, and Osweiler will most probably land somewhere as a back-up for what he’s really worth.  .  .

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This trade opens up the quarterback position for the Houston Texans now, who many feel are one-quarterback-away from at least getting to the AFC Championship game.  Currently, their quarterback position is filled with the likes of Tom Savage and Brandon Weeden.  The “dream” scenario would be to sign Tony Romo if he was to be released by the Cowboys.  Only problem is, that still hasn’t happened.  Romo’s relationship with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, is what’s basically holding it back.  Jones does not want to trade Romo to a team that he doesn’t want to go to – which is admirable but at the same time, teams who are interested (like the Texans and Broncos) don’t want the lucrative contract that comes with the talented, yet very injury prone veteran quarterback.  In all reality, the Cowboys could still hold onto Romo and keep him on as a back-up, and knowing Jerry Jones, that’s very much so a possibility.  . . Back to the Texans though. . .  if Bill O’Brien and Houston can’t land Romo, who’s the next best option? Nick Foles? RG3? Colin Kaepernick? Or maybe, just maybe – Jay Cutler?  Previously, in the NGSC article entitled “Where Does Cutler Go Now?” five different landing spots were mentioned (one of which was ‘retirement’ which may still happen) but the Texans were never quite entered that discussion until now.  The Jets are so far the only team rumored to be interested in the veteran QB, but if the Texans can’t land Romo – are they really going to go through another year of Brian Hoyer type (who just signed with the 49ers)?  Very unlikely.  Cutler would actually make sense, and this would be his most complete team to start for in his career.

The running back position is always an interesting one in free agency.  The league just doesn’t want to pay the big bucks to that position, which seems foul, but it’s just becoming smart business.  We discussed last week how Adrian Peterson didn’t show much last year, but his name will garner him attention,  but there are a few other backs that should be interesting, if not anything else, to follow.  Isiah Crowell is a talented, strong back with a lot of upside on the field, but got into some hot water for his tasteless take on police brutality on his twitter account last year.  He is a public relations nightmare waiting to happen, even if you were to just interview him.  BUT, in terms of business a team may be able to pay him less than what he’s worth and it can benefit them.  Seattle, might be a good landing spot for him.  They are looking to bolster their running back group and are rumored to have interest in Adrian Peterson (yikes).

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A nice addition to any team would be Mike Gillislee.  Last year for Buffalo, he averaged 5.7 yards a carry and rushed for 8 touchdowns.  He’s perfect for teams that employ a split at the halfback position, although if he was asked to carry the full load, it’s doubtful he’d disappoint.  He played his college ball at Florida and the Jaguars like spending money at free agency, it could work out nicely for him to get a job in Jacksonville.

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The “30 and Over” crowd at the running back position usually get the raw end of free agency.  Guys like LeGarrette Blount, Tim Hightower and DeAngelo Williams can still be productive but if a team  takes them on, it will be at a discount price and in a clear number two (even three) spot on the depth chart.

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

Beating Vegas: Outsmart the Wise

Last week, the hot-shots at Vegas had some tricky lines but over here at Beating Vegas, we netted another winning week.  The NFL has left many scratching their heads as last year’s powerhouses like the Cardinals and the Panthers are struggling left and right, while teams like the Rams and the Vikings are proving to be the cream of the crop.  The hard-work will be accomplished here as we continue to give you winners against the spread though so keep checking for this column weekly and visit mybookie.ag so you can beat the NCAA and NFL odds. . .

Washington Redskins +3.5 at Baltimore Ravens

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The Baltimore Ravens finally played an above average team and lost their first game this season and the Washington Redskins became a .500 team with a “little” help from the referees.  In the NFL it doesn’t matter how you get your wins, but for our purposes, how you win is just as/and sometimes more important than the actual win. The Ravens have been fluttering around the league looking a notch below mediocre and coming out with victories.  Credit that to coach Harbaugh (no, the other Harbaugh. . .the one who’s actually won something in his career. . .) but as stated last week, the Ravens best weapon on offense is their kicker Justin Tucker.  Sure they should something last week with running back Terrence West, but that was more of a fault to the Raiders who couldn’t stop anything that was attacking the left side of their defense.  Joe Flacco has been inconsistent this season and the Ravens best option at wideout is the seventy-five year old veteran Steve Smith, who this week will be matched up against the Redskins’ Josh Norman (popcorn, anyone?).  The Redskins go as far as Kirk Cousins’ own mediocrity will take them.  Offensively they seemed to put it together last week – albeit it was against the Browns, but this might be the kind of game that gets Cousins back on track.  The Redskins have speed and talent at the skill positions and should easily spread the Ravens thin.  The Ravens win or lose games by single digits and the Skins always have the “talent” on both sides of the ball – it’s their execution that comes into question.  Take the talent.

The Pick: Redskins +3.5

Chicago Bears +5 at Indianapolis Colts

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This is quite possibly the most disgusting game of the week. . . eh, maybe even the year.  The Bears have been showing no signs of turning fortunes around this season and getting their first win against a Detroit team that’s been a perennial loser for two decades is nothing to celebrate.  The Colts just lost to a Jaguars team that is one of the hardest to figure out – and it seems now that Andrew Luck’s frustrations are coming to a boil.  The Colts have the worst roster in the NFL today but Andrew Luck and Frank Gore are doing all they can to keep it together – by themselves.  The Bears are so bad as a franchise they’re actually considering leaving Brian Hoyer in at quarterback even if Jay Cutler is cleared to play.  I guess the Bears haven’t seen the story of Brian Hoyer being a starting quarterback in the NFL yet. . . most of us have seen it twice, two thumbs – wayyyy down.  So why would we bother watching this trash on a Sunday?  Easy.  Gore can run through the Bears front line and Luck can air it out against one of the most trash-bag secondaries in the league.  The Colts will struggle against Bears rookie running back Jordan Howard, and the Chuck Pagano coached defense of the Colts stinks.

The Pick: The Over 47.5

Syracuse +3 at Wake Forest

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Each of these teams will struggle trying to get to six wins this season and that’s mostly because there is a gauntlet of talented teams in the ACC.  Unfortunately for Wake Forest and Syracuse they are not included in that gauntlet.  Defensively Wake Forest crushes Syracuse – if you look at the numbers, that is.  Wake allows 20 ppg compared to Syracuse’s 37 – but Syracuse has played the likes of Louisville, South Florida and Notre Dame; Wake has played Delaware, Tulane and Indiana. . . Wake’s rush defense is impressive only allowing 3.3 yards a run.  That’s nice and all, and would mean something – but Syracuse doesn’t run the ball.  Syracuse has a spread offense that averages 370 passing yards a game and completes 31 passes a game – this is tops in the ACC, a conference that has Clemson, Louisville and UNC.  This is bad news for Wake Forest who’s pass defense has allowed the fourth most passing yards in the conference and allows opponents to complete passes at about a 57% rate.  One of college football’s best kept secrets is quarterback Eric Dungey of Syracuse – he’ll have his way against Wake.

The Pick: Syracuse +3

Michigan -27.5 at Rutgers

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Michigan has hit the “finally” mark this season.  Last week they “finally” played a worthy opponent and this week they “finally” play an away game.  Lucky for Michigan their first away game is against one of the worst teams in division one football, the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers.  Rutgers ranks 268th in passing offense and 225th in total yards per game. Defensively they are dead last in the Big Ten Conference allowing 32 points a game.  Pretty impressive to be dead last in that category considering it means you have to play worse defense than Illinois, Purdue and Penn State.  Michigan has already won by more than 30 points on three separate occasions this season against teams that are bottom feeders like Rutgers.  Add to the fact that Michigan’s rival Ohio State just lit up Rutgers 58-0 last week – coach Jim Harbaugh and his boys will look to outdo their rivals by giving Rutgers a beat down for the ages.

The Pick: Michigan -27.5

Washington -8.5 at Oregon

The fact that Oregon is apparently going to sport some cool “Webbed Feet” jerseys this week, should be enough to make anyone watch this game.  From a football stand-point though, Washington, after stomping out Stanford last week, is looking to put a stranglehold on the Pac-12.  Washington hasn’t beating Oregon in over a decade and the cards should line up for them this year.  They have the number one offense (45 PPG) and defense (12 PPG) in the Pac-12 but let us look at this in depth. . . three of the offenses they’ve played were Idaho, Rutgers and Portland State – not exactly the kind of heavyweights selection committees faun over. . . Last week’s huge win over Stamford had the Cardinal missing three offensive linemen, and two starters in their secondary – add to the fact that the Stanford Cardinal have no real answer at quarterback – safe to say it was a good time to catch them.  The only time Washington faced a real offense was against Arizona, where they came away with the win, 35-28.  . . College football pundits have been talking about the decline of Oregon, but one thing you cannot deny is that they can still score points (40ppg) and rack up over 500 yards a game.  Oregon lost last week to a Washington State team that will give anyone fits, and before that lost by three points in back to back weeks to Nebraska and Colorado.  Not saying Washington will lose this match up, but Oregon is going to come out with something to prove in what could be a “let-down” type of game for Washington.

The Pick: Oregon +8.5

Four Game Teaser of the Week: Colorado/USC Over 48.5; Michigan -15.5; Notre Dame +13 and Toledo -5.

 

Good Luck and Wager Wisely!

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

Analyzing the Bears Draft

Now that we’ve had time to let it all sink in maybe we can just be real.  Maybe now we can speak realistically in terms of expectations that come with the Chicago Bears’ 2016 rookie class.   Do we really have future stars?  Did we really come away with a steal in the draft?  Truth is, only time will tell.

Chicago Bears first-round draft pick Leonard Floyd poses for a photo, after taking questions from reporters at Halas Hall, Friday April 29, 2016. He said he s very happy he landed with the bears, who have a great defensive history. (Tribune photo/Abel Uribe)

First Round Pick – Leonard Floyd OLB, Georiga

Personally, this is the guy I wanted the Bears to take and they jumped a spot ahead of the New York Giants to do it.  At 6’6″ and 244 pounds, Bears fans are hoping for something along the lines of Aldon Smith, without all the mental baggage.   In the Bears 3-4 scheme, it would be expected for defensive coordinator Vic Fangio to place Floyd, all over the field and exploit his athleticism as a straight-pass-rusher.  He gets a little lost when he drops back into zone coverage which might be a concern early, unless he picks up the NFL’s speed at a fast rate.  Regardless, he’s quick enough to recover and will be a disturbance to the oppositions outside rush attacks.  A lot of people are judging Floyd because of his size – or lack thereof – but in truth, that will either come in time, or his lack of bulk will actually become a positive in the long run.  The NFL has become a faster place, which is why Lloyd is a perfect hybrid-type of player for the Bears to have in this defense moving forward.

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Second Round – Cody Whitehair G, Kansas State

Let’s all be honest, although Whitehair is a need and will probably be a starter from day one, let’s not forget – he’s our consolation prize.  The Bears were hoping to land Indiana tackle, Jason Spriggs but the Green Bay Packers (like the snakes we know they are) jumped ahead of us and took him.  This action left us to go with the next best man on the offensive line list  which happened to be Cody Whitehair.  Whitehair is an instinctive linemen who was able to give his quarterback, Luke Falk, a lot of time in their pass heavy attack. With Grasu at center, Kyle Long at right guard and Whitehair at left guard (although he played tackle in Washington State) – the Bears might have the nucleus of their offensive line set for years to come.

Third Round – Jonathan Bullard DE, Florida

Another instinctive player, but this one is on the defensive side of the ball.   Lance Zierlin of NFL.com had him going in the second round of the draft, so right there shows value in this pick.  He’s another “lack of size” guy, but the Bears are getting what they want in this defense – athleticism and speed.  The Florida Gators have had one of the most blue-collar and grittier defenses over the last three years and it’s because of players like Bullard.  He was a sure tackler in college and should really find his way nicely.

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Fourth Round – Nick Kwiatkoski ILB,  West Virginia

Here is one of those “depth-guy” picks.  It’s not a knock on Kwiatkoski – just don’t expect him to be Mike Singletary out there. He’s a tough kid, with a nose for the ball.  He converted from safety to linebacker successfully in school and was a leader on the field.  The issue with Kwiatkoski is that he is used to just knocking guys down and not really wrapping them up and he’ll surely get gobbled up by offensive linemen more than we’ll ever see him run through them.

Fourth Round -Deiondre’ Hall, CB/FS, Northern Iowa

This was another one of those guys I really was glad to see the Bears get.  Hall has freakishly long arms at his position (34″ arms to go with his 9.5″ sized hands) and standing at 6’2″ it only adds to his full extension when he leaps.  He doesn’t have the speed or technique to become a number one or number two corner in the league and although his frame is a bit under what one would want a safety to be – his skill set is a better fit for the position.  He’s a physical player who will be a starter in this league.  To get him in the fourth round is a steal.  He’ll be the one to keep your eyes on this year.  . .

Fifth Round – Jordan Howard, RB, Indiana

He has a pretty boring name and comes from a pretty boring program, but Howard is a strong north-south rusher who you could argue – was one of the top five backs in this year’s draft.  Of course we all know running backs are not valued like they once were, but Bears coach John Fox is known to use the running game to open things up and he is also known for mix and matching his backs.  Howard was able to put up big numbers against stout competition, but he also ran behind a pretty good offensive line in college.

Sixth Round -Deiondre Houston-Carson, FS , William & Mary

I wont even pretend as if I know anything about anybody from William & Mary, but it looks like he converted from corner back to free safety and was a beast playing both positions at the FCS level.  When it comes to these small school athletes it’s just hard to gauge  how good they’ll become based on their level of competition in college.

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7th Round – Daniel Braverman, WR, Western Michigan

Last season, the Western Michigan Broncos  were  a program that put up points in bunches.  Braverman added to that with his 108 catches and over 1300 receiving yards.  The comparisons to Julian Edelman and Wes Welker have been made hundreds of times and it’s because at 5’10” and 175 pounds, the only thing he can be is a slot receiver.  Then again, Braverman proved while in college he’ll line up just about anywhere.  He has great hands, always looking to gain yards after the catch and has great footwork.  He will definitely push guys like Eddie Royal and Marquis Wilson when it comes to getting that slot position locked down – he’s also a pretty good special teams player – so Marc Mariani’s days in Chicago may be coming to an end soon.

Undrafted: Ben Braunecker, TE, Harvard

This was an intriguing signing after the draft.  Braunecker was rated by the Wall Street Journal as the best player at the NFL combine.  He destroyed the Ivy league, but that’s because he’s the biggest guy standing in a room with a  bunch of lawyers – let’s be honest.  Still though, he shows great abilities as a pass catching tight end and if we look at the tight end depth chart on the Bears it reads something like Zach Miller, Khari Lee and Rob Housler.  Although Miller showed flashes last year, to just think that’ll be him week in and week out is insanity.  Braunecker is obviously smart enough to understand an NFL playbook and it shouldn’t surprise anybody to see him make the 53 man roster this year.

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This Bears draft was intriguing.  They did away with the “traditionalist” way of football thinking and decided to go for athletes they could plug in their positions of need.  It’s clear that general manager Ryan Pace and head coach John Fox have a plan and they’re sticking to it.  This is a draft class  Bears fans should be excited about.

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

 

NFC North Team Needs

Detroit Lions: WR, DT, OT

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The Lions were blindsided by the sudden retirement of stud wide receiver Calvin Johnson.  He figured that being healthy and rich at his age was better than the stress of being a member of the Detroit Lions.  With that, the Lions had a gaping hole in the wide receiver department.  One day after Johnson’s announcement the Lions signed free agent Marvin Jones to a five year, $40 million contract.  Pairing Jones up with Golden Tate is nice, but it’s a far cry from any wide receiver duo who just lost the likes of Calvin Johnson.  . . Quarterback Matthew Stafford was sacked 44 times last season and the Lions had the NFL’s worst rushing attack at 83.4 yards a game.  The Lions also have issues on the defensive side of the ball.  The acquisition of Haloti Ngnata was “underwhelming” to say the least and the hole left in the departure of N’Dmakong Suh is evident.  The Lions need to not overpay for anymore talent, as they did with Jones and in the draft go with the credo of “best talent available.”   It might be tempting to go with a wide receiver pick early in the draft but with so many holes at both sides of the line of scrimmage they would be better off trying to get veterans like Anquan Boldin and Marques Coltson for “the cheap.”  The Lions would be ecstatic if they acquired Louisville defensive tackle Sheldon Rankings in the first round, but that’s if he lasts to the 16th pick – Detroit may be looking at Alabama lineman Jarran Reed or Louisiana Tech’s Vernon Butler.

Chicago Bears: OT, WR, CB

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The Bears addressed their linebacker needs in free agency.  More impressive was how general manger Adam Pace didn’t overpay for the likes of Danny Trevathian (the 25 year old linebacker signed for four years, $24.5 million) and Jerrell Freeman at 3 years, $12 million.  They even added to their pass rush by acquiring the talents of former New England Patriot defensive end,  Akiem Hicks.  If the Bears are looking to add to this 3-4 defense and if Shaq Lawson from Clemson is still there, he’ll be hard to pass up on.  At the eleventh pic of the draft, the Bears will most definitely miss out on the top two corner backs in the nation in Vernon Hargreaves and Jalen Ramsey, but picking up one of the “second level” corners at this spot may be a reach.  The Bears can cross their fingers that in round two that University of Houston’s, William Jackson III will be around but they might have to wait for the fourth round  on a sleeper like Will Redmond out of Mississippi State.  While all the attention is on the Bears trying to re-create the “Monster of the Midway,” this team still has to answer the call on their offensive line.  The Bears released Jermon Bushrod and would like to move Kyle Long back inside, where he is dominant at the guard position.  Tackles  Ronnie Staley of Notre Dame, Jason Spriggs of Indiana and Germain Ifedi of Texas A&M could be getting looks from the Bears if they decide on the tackle position early – if not, the Stamford product, Kyle Murphy might be someone they look at in the later rounds.

Green Bay Packers: DT, TE, DE

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If Shaq Lawson doesn’t go to Chicago early in the draft (which he most likely won’t, the Bears will surely go tackle) the Green Bay Packers might make that pick later in the first round to wreck havoc on the Bears down the line.  The Packers front seven was worked last year and was bailed out more times than not by their aggressive secondary.  It’s not in the Packers DNA to spend bucks in free agency, they usually do their damage in the draft.  Tight end is a spot they tried to fill in last year with Richard Rogers, but if Alabama tight end O.J. Howard is available it will be an easy decision for Green Bay who saw last year they needed to get more weapons for Aaron Rodgers.   The Packers surprisingly have more holes than people care to talk about as defensive tackle is a position they may have to look at in the later rounds which means a guy like Anthony Zeddle of Penn State or DJ Reader, another Clemson defensive player, could be a pick for them in the fifth or sixth round.  And hey, what about the big-fat-elephant in the room?  Yeah, saying Eddy Lacy disappointed the Packers last year would be an understatement.  Still the Packers won’t give up on him but they should look to do something in terms of depth at the running back position.  James Starks – is what he is.  A free agent signing of Joique Bell might be what this team could be looking for.  He won’t come with a high price tag and he has proven his worth in the league.

Minnesota Vikings: WR, SS, OG

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The Vikings are everyone’s “sleeper” team or the team someone you knew said to “watch out for.”  Whatever, nonsensical notion one wants to compound with the Vikings, the truth is they have a solid roster and just need to fine tune some of their points.  With the 23rd pick in the first round, the Vikings may have to look at the wide receiver spot.  They really don’t have a threat at receiver (calm down Jarius Wright and Stefon Diggs fans. . .) and Cordarrelle Patterson has proven to be nothing but a disgraceful first round bust.  The Vikings can do something interesting here though.  They can go after TCU’s Josh Doctson who has the looks to be a number one receiver in the league, or they can pull the rug out from under everyone and draft Braxton Miller, who brings the versatility they had in Percy Harvin and they thought they could attain in Cordarrelle Patterson.   The Vikings may use two or three picks in this draft to bulk up their offensive line.  If they get lucky they can land a stud like the big guard out of Stanford Joshua Garnett.  Alex Redmund out of UCLA is a late round guard who is a little bit of a project but could work out well, even as a rotational guy in his rookie year for the Vikes.  If free saftey Harrison Smith could get a running mate with him in the secondary it could prove to make this defense even better.  In the third or fourth round the Vikings can look at a guy like LSU’s Jalen Mills.  If for no other reason, he’s used to be a grown man wearing purple. . .

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

 

5 Reasons Bears Fans Should Be Rooting for The Panthers

When your team doesn’t make it to the Super Bowl, you ultimately still have to take a side.  It’s the biggest sports event of the year, why would you just watch it emotionless or even not watch it at all?  As football fans we wait all year for the football season to start and whether or not your team made it to the big show or not, you put in a season’s worth of debates, views and emotion – you have to find a place and ultimately pick a side in the Super Bowl.

For Bears fans, the expectations were low entering this season.  It’s a rebuild.  You accept the team for what they are, hope they put up a fight week to week and pull off an upset or two.  We knew as Bears fans we wouldn’t be gearing up for a Super Bowl in February, but here are five reasons why Bears fans everywhere should be excited for and rooting for the Carolina Panthers to destroy the Denver Broncos on February 7th 2016 . . .

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  1. Ron Rivera – This one is the most obvious.  Rivera was part of the one Super Bowl winning team the Bears ever had.  He one that Super Bowl under the great Mike Ditka, who at the time is one of two players to have coached and played for a Super Bowl winning team (the other being Tony Dungy).  Rivera can join that group as only the third to accomplish that feat with a win against Denver.  During the season, Rivera compared this team to his ’85 Bears team and saw the similarities through and through in terms of character and playing style.  He even mentioned how going undefeated meant something to him because the Bears missed that opportunity in their Super Bowl year.  Although this Panthers team didn’t go undefeated, they do stand a chance to win the biggest game of the year.

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2 . Charles “Peanut” Tillman –     Very few Bears players in recent years have been more appreciated and adored than Tillman.  In his prime he was one of the NFL’s toughest and best cornerbacks, he terrorized defenses with his “Peanut Punch” tactic in forcing fumbles, his charity work is recognized year to year and he is a true leader on and off the field.  Due to an ACL injury in week 17, Tillman will not be playing in the Super Bowl, but he was definitely a reason why they’ve gotten to this point.  Bears fans everywhere should rejoice and be in the corner of Tillman to be on a Super Bowl winning team – even if it isn’t for the Bears.

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3. Greg Olsen – The Chicago Bears drafted Olsen in the first round of the 2007 draft (31st pick).  When Mike Martz became the offensive coordinator for the  Bears, he deemed that Olsen would not fit into the offensive scheme.  Fans of the Bears argued that when you have a talent like Olsen, you make sure you fit your system around his talent.   In an article for 247 Sports, Brian Jones writes about this and has an interesting quote from Olsen: “There’s no worse feeling then not being able to play up to your potential.”   Olsen, even after his departure with the Bears has appeared a class act and always recognizes that the Bears ultimately gave him his first shot in the league.  Much like Peanut Tillman, Olsen is one of the NFL’s “good guys” and it’s hard to root against him.  He has excelled in Carolina and become a Pro Bowl player working with his quarterback Cam Newton.  He’ll definitely be a key in the Panthers winning the Championship come Super Bowl Sunday.

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4. Jared Allen – Allen’s time with the Bears was short.  He signed with the Bears in 2014 after being a pain the Bears side for years as a division rival with Minnesota.  Allen signed on because he fell for the “okey doke” just like Bears loyalist did.  He felt that in 2014, he was signing with a team headed in the right direction for a Super Bowl run.  .  . Then the roof caved in on what was one of the most embarrassing seasons in Chicago Bears history.  Early this season, under new head coach John Fox, the Bears asked Allen to move to outside linebacker in their 3-4 scheme and Allen tried his best to fit in, but it just wasn’t working.  The Bears did Allen a solid and traded him to Carolina for a conditional sixth round pick.   Nobody was sure how his foot injury would hold up going into the Super Bowl, but in recent reports he has been a full participant in practices and will surely be seeing snaps as an edge rusher.  His time was short, but he believed in the Bears and he was with us to help bring himself and Chicago a championship.

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5. Peyton Manning – Obviously, never was a Chicago Bear BUT — it was his Indianapolis Colts team that beat us in Super Bowl XLI.   If Manning wins this Super Bowl against Carolina, he becomes the only quarterback to start and win a Super Bowl for two different teams.  That means the Bears will be tied to this for eternity.  The MVP of that game was Manning and for all things considered when looking at his stats (25-38, 247, 1td 1int) it wasn’t as if he killed the Bears defense.  The Bears had a 100 yard effort by running back Thomas Jones, and an opening kick off by Devin Hester – but we all know that ultimately that game was decided by arguably the worst quarterback to ever start in a Super Bowl – our man, Rex Grossman.  Peyton already has a Hall of Fame career, and when his playing days are done, he’ll be on TV for the rest of our lives – he ultimately already won at the game of life – no need for us to cheer on the guy, who beat us when we last had a chance to win it all. . . .

G.W. Gras

Twitter @GeeSteelio

Beating Vegas: Entry Eight

Every week during the football season, “The Heartthrob” G.W. Gras will be giving out his college and professional football “best bets” against the spread.  The wise guys in Vegas live comfortably – it’s time we all get on their level.

Judging Last Week: Amazing times for us all last week.  If it wasn’t for Wisconsin waking up against Rutgers, it would’ve been perfect.  There’s something Patriotic about rooting for Air Force and they came through glowingly in the late game, to help recoup any losses you may have taken.  This is how luck will continue to roll this        week. . .

Arizona (+17) at USC

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The USC Trojans are trending in the right direction after the head coach change and quarterback Cody Kessler has been trying his best to silence his critics.  Kessler is throwing at a 70% completion rate with over 2200 passing yards and 18 touchdowns to his 5 interceptions.  USC passing offense is third in the Pac-12 behind pass happy Washington State and the often inefficient Cal aerial attacks. Arizona on the other hand is all about running the ball, and they lead the Pac-12 conference with 2385 rushing yards coming at 6.1 yards a clip.  In last season’s match up, USC was in control for most of the game and then gave up two late scores in the fourth quarter – coming out of it with a two-point victory.  The Trojans are at home this time around and after seeing what an athletic defense can do to this Arizona offense (only putting up 17 in a loss to Stanford and 3 in a loss to Washington), the Trojans should be able to move the ball with ease against a questionable defense and solidify a 20 point victory when it’s all said and done.

The Pick: USC -17

 

Iowa (-6.5) at Indiana

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Vegas is banking on the brainless out there who still think Indiana is “somewhat legit.”  Listen:  when Indiana lit up their first four opponents, the competition was questionable and even then, the only won by double digits once during this win streak.   They were able to put up points in the high twenties, in losses to Michigan State and Ohio State – but let’s be real – the Spartans and Buckeyes have lacked a killer instinct or motivation early in games this season.  Indiana’s defense tells the story of who they truly are.  Remember they had that thrilling one point victory to start the season against Southern Illinois?  And remember Southern Illinois scored 47 points?  Yeah, I didn’t know that was a college either.  Indiana is giving up over 500 yards a game on defense to the tune of 37.3 points per game.  Iowa on the other hand, have flown under the radar in the Big 10.  While Michigan State, Michigan and Ohio State get all the attention – it is Iowa who may very well play in the Big 10 Championship game.  Iowa is a physical team that is stronger in the trenches than Indiana is on it’s best day and has a defense that has nabbed 12 interception and holds opponents to 2.8 yards a carry.   No reason why anybody should be thinking Indiana has a chance against legit opponents.

The Pick: Iowa -6.5

Cincinnati (+9) at Houston

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If you ignore the three point win at Louisville early this season, Houston has been pretty much on cruise control for most of the year.  Even then, the term “cruise control” doesn’t quite fit.  It’s more like Jason Voorhies going through drunk teenagers at Camp Crystal Lake with a machete.  They are leaving everyone a mess after they’re done with them.  Houston does it on both sides of the ball.  The offense is averaging 45.9 points per game while the defense is holding opponents to 17 points a game.  They are one of the nations more fundamentally sound teams, who make very little mistakes and force the opposition into situations that leave little to be desired.   The Bearcats of Cincinnati have been a disappointment this season.  Quarterback Gunner Kiel has looked good since his return, but his competition has been the lowly UConn and UCF.   This Bearcat team may get worn down late, or confused early by the Houston defense – either way, Houston will continue to look dominant leading into next week’s conference showdown against Memphis.

The Pick: Houston -9

If You Must:  Temple at -17 over SMU.   This is a weird one and I’m just going with my gut.  After their close loss to Notre Dame on national television last week, a lot of people who weren’t paying attention to Temple before, certainly are now.  That’s the scary part.  There is no doubt that 80-85% of folks will be leaning towards Temple in this one and usually the correct gamble is to go against the trend.  Ugh, but I just can’t – Temple -17.

Tease of the Week: (four-gamer) Patriots -2, Chargers/Bears Over at 37, Minnesota University +35, Duke +20

Good Luck and Wager Wisely

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

Chicago Bears 2015 Preview

To call last year’s 5-11 finish “disappointing” would be one of the more obvious understatements of the year.  The Bears were supposed to have a high-flying, unique, high-scoring offense led by head coach Marc Trestman.  Instead, the Chicago faithful saw a coach that looked over-whelmed, a team that didn’t look interested in playing and a franchise that became an embarrassment to itself.  Ownership called for the heads of head coach Marc Trestman and general manager Phil Emery and replaced them with veteran coach John Fox and hired Ryan Pace, who is now the NFL’s youngest general manager.   It is up to Fox and Pace to rebuild a broken franchise and rebuild the trust between the team and it’s fans.

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A lot of people are surprised to see that Jay Cutler is still the quarterback of the Chicago Bears, but the truth is – his price tag is too much to move him or cut him.   Despite all the negativity spewed in Cutler’s direction he still managed to throw for over 3,800 yards and 28 touchdowns, while finishing with the best completion percentage of his career at 66%.   Cutler’s eighteen interceptions are a combination of carelessness, poor route running and usually playing from behind last season.  It’s been said before and it will be said again – this is Cutler’s “make it or break it” year.  The organization doesn’t seem to be one-hundred percent behind the gun-slinger QB, so it’s up to Cutler to cut down on his mistakes and surprise some folks.  He still has the arm strength and athletic ability at the quarterback position that many of the league’s so called “elite” do not.

Most see Matt Forte as a hardcore, do it all back.  It’s true – if we’re talking about fantasy football standards.  Forte finished with 1,038 yards rushing and an incredible 808 yards receiving last year but at 3.9 yard a rush, it’s apparent he isn’t the back he once was.  Forte, of late has been average at best as a pass blocker and his ability to break tackles has gotten worse over the years.  There is a lot of wear and tear on Forte so expect coach John Fox to use three backs often.  The new coaching staff seems to like sophomore back Ka’Deem Carey who is more of the bruiser back, while rookie Jeremy Langford out of Michigan State is the speedster back.  Langford ran a forty time of 4.4. and like Forte, doesn’t break many tackles, but unlike Forte – has youthful legs that haven’t been ran into the ground yet.

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The Bears traded Brandon Marshall to the NY Jets, which leaves a void in the Bears wide receiver depth chart.  Physically, Marshall provided a great blocking receiver and one of the more difficult wide outs to cover “one on one.”  Marshall’s attitude and “out spoken” nature made him dispensable to the Bears’ eyes so that leaves it up to Alshon Jeffrey to take over as the number one guy.  Jeffrey locates the ball in the air better than most, but his route running is still a question.  He has a ‘lazy’ approach to football, which will eventually land him in Fox’s doghouse; and without Brandon Marshall on the other side of Jeffrey, who knows how effective he’ll be all season long.  At the present time, it looks like the Bears will be without their first round draft pick, wide receiver Kevin White out of West Virginia.  White has everything it takes to be a top receiver in this league, but because of a shin injury, the Bears will be lucky to see him anytime after week seven (if at all).   Eddie Royal was acquired free agency and was dealing with a hip injury in the pre-season, the hope is, to rekindle the chemistry he had with Cutler back in their Denver Broncos days.  Tight End Martellus Bennett was amazing last year, but his off-season rumblings about the organization and some comments aimed directly at quarterback Jay Cutler show that he isn’t too happy with his current situation.  The Bears patience with Marquess Wilson may be running thin as he was battling a hamstring injury most of pre-season.

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The offensive line is a unit seemingly headed in the right direction but Jordan Mills needs to tighten up at right tackle.  Mills’ head just doesn’t seem to be in the game sometimes and gets beat out by quicker defensive ends pretty quickly.  Most Bears fans expect guard Kyle Long to be moved to tackle one day, but Long is arguably the best player on the roster, so there is no real reason to move him out of the guard position.  Long has two Pro Bowl appearances to match his two years he’s been in the league – there is no reason to doubt his ability to be a pro-bowler for the next 7-8 years.  The Bears drafted Oregon Duck Hroniss Grasu in the third-round of this year’s draft and although it appears he won’t be starting right away, the Bears love his quickness and awareness at the position, so if veteran Will Montgomery slips up, Grasu will be put in with no hesitation.  Jermon Bushrod has been a slight disappointment since his arrival to Chicago but is still a top-ten left tackle in the league.

Defensively the Bears are shifting to a 3-4 scheme, orchestrated by one of the more aggressive defensive coordinators in football Vic Fangio.  While with the 49ers, Fangio 3-4 attack was one of the best in the league, unfortunately for Fangio, he does not have anywhere near the talent on this Bears team as he did in San Fran.  The Bears acquired linebacker Mason Foster in March of 2015 and he did not even make the final 53 man roster in Chicago.  Surprisingly enough, veteran Jared Allen who is converting from defensive lineman to linebacker did as well as Willie Young who is recovering from an Achilles injury he suffered last season.  If Young is able to use his athleticism to his advantage he may be able to get back to racking up another ten sacks as he did last year.  Jon Bostic was the team leader with 127 tackles last season.  The Bears have a lot of depth at linebacker with Pernell McPhee and Lamaar Houston, who is looking to impress after a disappointing season last year.  For some reason Shea McClellin stays on this Bears roster. . .

Rookie Eddie Goldman will man the nose-tackle position in the Bears’ 3-4 attack.  He looks the role of a prototypical nose-tackle and was a good run-stopper while at Florida State.  Last year the Bears drafted Ego Ferguson in the second-round and it looks like they will move him from the tackle spot over to the defensive end spot.  Ferguson is a good athlete but there has to be patience with his learning curve at the position.

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With the departure of long-time Bear and fan-favorite Charles Tillman, the Bears went to free agency to find a veteran to help lead this secondary.  They found one in former New York Giants safety Antrel Rolle.  Rolle has lost a step and isn’t as effective as he once was, but the formal all-pro will bring a much needed voice into this Bears’ locker room.  Rolle’s patience will be tested as there is a lot of youth around him.  Opposite of Rolle is Brock Vereen who struggled a lot last year and if the sophomore struggles early the Bears will plug in former Penn State Lion Adrian Amos.  Amos is a good ball hawking safety but isn’t the best tackler at the position.  The wild card in this Bears secondary is second-year man Kyle Fuller.  In his rookie season Fuller quickly saw how things can turn in this league.  For the first half of the season he looked like a stud out there but then he quickly found himself out of position and even picked on by other teams.  Fuller has the support of the locker room and this organization still feels he can be a top corner in the league.

The Bears are in an up-hill battle.  With a new philosophy on both sides of the ball and new faces just about everywhere, the Bears will be learning as they go.  All eyes will be on Jay Cutler this season – but then again, they always are and it doesn’t seem to bother him either way.  The Bears start out the season in rough fashion against Green Bay, Arizona and then Seattle – things can get ugly quick in Chicago if they start out 0-3.

Predicted Record: 7-9

Predicted Pro Bowlers: Kyle Long, Jay Cutler, Martellus Bennett

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

Chicago Bears Mock Draft

Last year’s 5-11 season was nothing short of atrocious for the Chicago Bears.  They entered the season with the highest of expectations and finished the season as a laughing stock.    The Bears’ new general manager Ryan Pace has made moves in free agency to rid himself of pieces he no longer feels the need for and acquiring pieces to help build a 3-4 defense and reconstruct a feeling of optimism in the  locker room.    Taking a lot of things into consideration, here is one way the Bears could see things working out in this year’s draft.

First Round – Kevin White, WR, West Virginia

The guess here is that the Raiders will be the only team in front of the Bears who are in need of a wide receiver.  The Raiders have their young quarterback Derek Carr and it would be ideal to pair him up with either Kevin White of West Virginia or Amari Cooper from Alabama.  Cooper is the better route runner so that might give him the edge in going earlier.  White is not a bad consolation prize though.  He is the faster of the two wideouts and comes with 6’3″ 215 pound frame – pretty much identical to Bears’ wideout Alshon Jeffrey.  The Bears have needs all over the field so taking the best player on the board should be the blueprint – and in this case, it would be White.

Second Round – Shaq Thompson, OLB, Washington

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The Bears signed a few defensive players to one-year contracts in an effort to “feel out” who they would want to keep in their newly formed 3-4 defense.  This second round pick would have to be a main stay in the defensive scheme for years to come and Shaq Thompson could be that guy.  Thompson is one of the better athletes at the linebacker position in this year’s draft and there has been word that some NFL general managers have likened Thompson to make a transition to safety – which is another position the Bears would like some long term stability at as well.  Thompson has already said his “heart is at playing linebacker” but folks question if his frame can handle playing that close to the line of scrimmage in the NFL.  He is six feet tall and 228 pounds.   He has great lateral movement and instincts though, and although he is used to a 4-3 defense, he is no stranger to playing inside or outside, so the transition shouldn’t be  difficult.  New defensive coordinator Vic Fangio would love to have a swiss army knife like this to add to his attack.

Third Round – Hroniss Grasu, C, Oregon

The Bears have recently parted ways with center Roberto Garza which means there is a vacancy in the heart of the offensive line.  The Bears may roll the dice with another Oregon offensive lineman, considering their best player (arguably) is guard Kyle Long, another Oregon Duck.  Aside from the college connection, Grasu is an athletic center, who is used to a quickly paced offense, and one would guess to minimize Cutler’s mistakes, the passing attack will consist of getting the ball out of his hands as quickly as possible.  He’s not the most powerful center but his athleticism and awareness make up for what he lacks in sheer strength.

Fourth Round – Kurtis Drummond, Safety, Michigan State

The Bears signed Antrel Rolle in the off-season and it would be smart to pair the veteran with a rookie to mold.  The Bears have long been weak at the safety spot and now that they’re free of the Chris Conte Curse, they will be able to draft Kurtis Drummond in the fourth round.  Drummond is a “gamer” who does his best to keep the game “in front of him.”  He broke up eleven passes last season, but playing in the Big 10 conference against Big 10 quarterbacks, that number should be at about 20.

Fifth Round – Xavier Cooper, DT, Washington State

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If the Bears are looking for a sleeper it may be here in the fifth round.  Defensive tackle projections are usually tough, but better to miss on a fifth rounder than draft a bust in the first, right?  Anyhow, Cooper has incredible speed for the position and his hand mechanics are impressive as well as important considering he lacks the size of most defensive tackles.  Even if he doesn’t turn out to be a sleeper-starter pick – he can no doubt provide depth as a rotational player.

Sixth Round – Ladarious Gunter, CB, Miami 

Gunter is a big physical corner at 6’1″ 202 pounds.  He won’t keep up with the speediest of wide outs but he is as aggressive as they come.   Considering this 3-4 defense is a work in progress it would be good to have a corner like Gunter in the rotation because he is an above average corner in attacking the run game.   He worked his way from junior college to “The U” – and has also played some safety and has experience in playing in kick coverage.

With no seventh round pick this year, the Bears will most likely make some kind of trade to get a mid or late round pick in the draft.  Any and everybody could be on the trading block come draft day, so it should be an entertaining (gut-wrenching) day for Bears fans.

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

Grading Free Agency, Part 1

The NFL free agency period is one of the most hyped moments of the off-season.  Every team uses free agency as a means to better themselves before the draft, making their draft day decisions a little clearer.   We have seen teams in recent history like the Miami Dolphins and Washington Redskins, make huge splashes with free agent signings, only to fall short come season’s end.

Ndamukong Suh – Miami Dolphins: 

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The moment the Lions decided they no longer needed Suh, that was the moment the man known as Ndamukong became the prize of this year’s free agency frenzy.  He instantly adds credibility to even the weakest of defensive lines but the Pro Bowl defensive tackle joins a unit that was already good, but with the addition of Suh, they are noticeably elevated.  With (now) former Dolphins defensive tackle Jared Odrick leaving Miami by ways of a 5 hour drive north up to Jacksonville, this left an obvious opening for Suh.  Keeping in my that Suh is a definite upgrade from Odrick,  just how much better will this move make the team as a whole.  The Miami Dolphins have offered Suh a contract worth about $114 million and this might hurt them because the real need for an upgrade was on defense.  With no wide receivers, running backs and questions with Ryan Tannehill at quarterback the Dolphins ignored their real needs.

Grade: C

Byron Maxwell – Philadelphia Eagles

We all knew the Legion of Boom would take on a different look going into next season because Byron Maxwell was going to head  elsewhere to get paid.   Philadelphia, who has been keeping things interesting to say the least in the off-season, decided to give Maxwell the payday he wanted to the tune of 6 years for $63 million.  The Eagles defense is more opportunistic than it is good.  Maxwell no longer  will be able to “hide” behind the team-mates he was playing with in Seattle.  Even then, saying “hide” sounds as if someone is saying he “can’t” play — the truth is, we all really won’t know how good he is as a team’s number one corner until the season goes under way.   Seeing him play against Odell Beckum Jr. twice this season should show if that signing will pay off for the next 6 years.  It’s a lot of money thrown to a position in which a player’s talents are only exhibited in a system that he’s comfortable in.

Grade: B

Rodney Hudson – Oakland Raiders

Offensive linemen are the perennial Rodney Dangerfield’s of the NFL because they “get no respect.”  The Raiders are seemingly parting ways with their center Stefen Wisniewski, who is a free agent this year  and have decided to pay for an upgrade at the position with former Chief Rodney Hudson.  According to Pro Football Focus, Hudson is the third highest rated center in the league.  This is nothing but good news for Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, who the franchise is banking on to be their guy for the next decade.

Grade: B+

Pernell McPhee – Chicago Bears

Much like (but not as forgotten as) offensive linemen – defensive specialists, are also lost in the shuffle when it comes to free agent buzz.  The Chicago Bears in announcing that they are turning into a 3-4 defensive scheme, have now signed one of the best 3-4 linebackers in Pernell McPhee.  Pro Football Focus ranked him as the second best linebacker in the league amongst that scheme and did so while playing behind the likes of Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil on the depth chart.  The Bears need help in pretty much every area of the football field, but lining up McPhee with Willie Young and Lamaar Houston should make for a nice start to what the Bears want to build defensively.

Grade: B

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Frank Gore – Indianapolis Colts

Yes, the Eagles have been busy.  After trading LeSean McCoy to the Bills for linebacker Kiko Alonso, it was obvious that the Eagles were looking to shave money at that position.   It seemed it was all but done, the Eagles and Gore agreed to a three year deal, in which $7.5 was guaranteed over the first two years. Then, the Colts called. Gore is exactly what the Colts offense needed because we all know how they didn’t need to trade a first round pick to the Browns for running back Trent Richardson.  Gore is still a strong back, who can do it all: tough yardage, pass block and catch out the backfield. Quarterback Andrew Luck is without a doubt a stud, but this offense became too predictable without a viable running attack.  Gore’s deal with Indy is reportedly 3 years for $12 million – that’s a bargain in the first two years of this deal, easy.  Colts did not overspend and in the process picked up a great piece that this offense desperately needed

Grade: A

Stephen Paea – Washington Redskins

The Stephen Paea signing is such a Redskins thing to do, that it’s almost hilarious. . . if it wasn’t so tragically Redskins-ish.  Paea was a perennial under-achiever with the Bears and played pretty well in the last season of his contract.  The Redskins jumped on Paea’s contract year performance and offered him a four year deal.  It seems the Redskins organization never questioned why the Bears, who are turning into a 3-4 defense wouldn’t have looked to keep the 6’1″ 300 pounder.  He’ll be released or be a “depth guy” in two years.

Grade: D-

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Jeremy Maclin – Kansas City Chiefs

In other Eagles related news, it appears Chip Kelly and his staff in Philadelphia will not lose sleep with the departure of Jeremy Maclin.  Maclin is a good route runner, with nice speed and can upgrade a wide receiver core which didn’t record a touchdown reception all of last season.   He’s paired up once again with his original head coach Andy Reid, who he started his career with.  Last season Maclin took a gamble on himself, coming off of injury and signing a one year deal with Philadelphia resulting in his most productive season racking in 10 touchdowns and over 1300 yards with 85 receptions.  Maclin can be the guy that opens up this Chiefs offense.  Yes, even with Alex Smith at quarterback.

Grade: A

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

Is Rex the Man for Chicago?

Everything that made Rex Ryan a splash in New York, ultimately led to his demise in the Big Apple.   After seeing early success with the New York Jets, Ryan found himself on the back page of the papers for a number of reasons.  Weird tattoos, a foot fetish, foolish proclamations, embarrassing losses – you name it, Rex did it.  In his six years as head coach of the Jets he put up a 46-50 record.  Rex finished no higher than second in the AFC East and he committed that feat four times.

To some, Rex Ryan is a loud mouth obnoxious type – to others, he’s just a fun guy, with an unmatched competitive spirit.  His defensive prowess is amongst the best in the NFL.  Within his defensive scheme he’s proven he can max out a players potential – but his ineptitude on the offensive side of the ball is what got him in trouble.  Even then, is that really all his fault?  The Jets organization kept throwing a different offensive coordinator at him every two years or so and it just never worked out.

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After a competitively abysmal 4-12 season, Rex Ryan was relieved of his duties as head coach of the New York Jets.  The term competitively-abysmal is used because although 12 losses are more than “a lot” – the Jets lost by 7 or less points in 6 of those losses (including  one and two point losses to the New England Patriots).   Look at the roster Rex was given on offense though: a capable receiver in Eric Decker, a some-what jaded Percy Harvin, a dumpster fire at quarterback and a rookie tight end who’s hands were suspect.  Regardless of what he was handed, Rex  Ryan’s players never gave up on him during the year.

Enter, the Chicago Bears.

Hours after the Jets fired their head coach and general manager, the Bears did the same.  Parting ways with Marc Trestman was a no-brainer for the McCaskey family, who was said to be “furious” with and “embarrassed” by the product that was put out on the field.  In the last two months of the season, the Bears became a laughing stock and for what it’s worth, the hardest team to watch in the league.  What made matters worse for the Chicago Bears faithful was that there were actual expectations when the season began – and not those “pipe dream” or “blind fan” type of expectations – real expectations.  Needless to say, week to week of lack luster football led to the end of coach Marc Trestman.

It was obvious to anybody watching, the Bears’ team as a whole just seem uninterested in playing football or fighting for their coaches’ job.

This is why the table is set for Rex Ryan.

Rex Ryan coming to Chicago and being the man who brings the Bears back to respectability is the stuff movies are made of.  Rex’s father Buddy Ryan, of course was the defensive coordinator during the Super Bowl Shuffle Bears days and that defense has set the bar for others like the 2000 Ravens or last year’s Seahawks to match or surpass.

Rex can bring back the “nasty” that this defense has lacked for years and he can also be the guy who these players would never quit on.  Rex needs a big city for his big personality and he wouldn’t have to worry about trying to steal headlines from an inner city rival.

While in New York, Rex Ryan embraced the rivalry that existed between the Jets and the Patriots.  He loved the animosity and to some degree loved the chess match that existed between him and Bill Belichick.   Now imagine how much Rex would embrace being in the middle of the NFL’s longest running rivalry: Bears vs Packers.

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There will no doubt be a thorough process the Chicago Bears will undertake in hiring a new coach.  Coordinators like Todd Bowles, Dan Quinn and Adam Gase are the popular names being thrown out as possible head coaching candidates in the NFL – but Ryan is the guy for Chicago.  The Bears thought an out of the box, quiet hire like Trestman would be the answer – but the truth is, Trestman was never head coach material.  He could not lead men onto the field, give direction or handle the chaos that might come with the job.  Ryan has endured and embraced the New York media and has been able to rally his troops to victory in a meaningless week 17 game that would be the difference of ending the season with 3 wins or 4.

A culture change is needed in Chicago.  The funny thing is, the culture changed two years ago – now it’s time to get it back to basics.  It can start with Buddy’s son, Rex – the loud-boisterous spawn which stems from a family tree rooted in defensive genius.

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio