Quick Comments: Bears at Packers 10/20/16


  1. Brian Hoyer came out and looked at Alshon Jeffery three times in the first five plays.  It looked like the Packers plan was to get physical with him and the other receivers with tight man coverage.  It was effective early as it looked like the referees were going to let them play.  Hoyer eventually started spreading the ball around and things loosened up slightly.
  2. The Bears continued to try to pound the ball up the middle early on first down.  It wasn’t working and it was forcing them to throw on second and third.  It was pretty predictable.
  3. Hoyer overthrew Josh Bellamy who had a couple steps on the safety in the first quarter.  He overthrew him by a long way, reminiscent of a similar play against the Jaguars last week.  Missing big plays like that can’t keep happening.
  4. The offensive line struggled to block the run averaging 3.8 yards per carry.  Jordan Howard appeared to struggle more than Ka’Deem Carey once again.  Defensive lineman tackled Howard on 12 of his 14 carries in the last game not counting his touchdown.  The blocking for him hasn’t been good in particular.
  5. Eric Kush started in place of Josh Sitton.  He’s not very athletic and he struggled a bit, especially when called upon to block and the second level.  It’s a funny comment because Bears offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains chose to start him over Ted Larsen because of his athletic traits and mobility.  Sitton had started 81 consecutive games and 129-of-131 since becoming a starter for the Packers in 2009.  Long came out hurt in the second quarter and was replaced by Larsen, who got the last laugh as they had to play him anyway.
  6. Clay Matthews beat Charles Leno on the play that Hoyer got hurt in the second quarter.  In fairness, Leno had little chance as Matthews looped around to the inside.  Julius Peppers also beat Kyle Long on the play.  The pass protection had been decent to that point but it really started to slip late in the second quarter.  Things went south from there.
  7. Cody Whitehair had a rough game blocking the run last week.  He looked better tonight.
  8. Matt Barkley replaced Hoyer.  He saw some pressure and looked OK as he’s quite a bit more mobile than Hoyer.  He might look better in the future but he’s a third string quarterback and things are looking pretty bleak at the position right now.
  9. The Bears did not make it into the red zone all night.


  1. The Bears came out playing man coverage and rushing four with the occasional blitz.  Perhaps more than occasional.  It’s obvious that the Bears aren’t confident they can get pressure rushing four.  I suppose you pick your poison but it looked like coverage was working early in the first drive.
  2. Later in the second quarter they changed the plan and backed off the line of scrimmage and played a soft zone.  They also got a bit more pressure, especially when Aaron Rogers was holding the ball trying to make a play.  They let the Packers have the shallow throws underneath when they were in this defense, which Rogers gladly took, however.  After six games this season, Rodgers has an 88.4 passer rating — 10 touchdowns, four interceptions and 60.2-percent completions — with Jordy Nelson (who was hurt last year).

Rogers looked better this game when he was getting the ball out fast.  He generally looked reasonably accurate.

  1. Nevertheless, the strategy appeared to work.  The Bears successfully held the Packers out of the end zone for just 6 points in the first half.

    They mixed it up, back and forth man to zone from there.

  2. Nice play by Cre’Von LeBlanc to knock a touchdown pass away from Randall Cobb.  Looked like a pretty good throw.
  3. Ty Montgomery is a tough matchup.  He lines up either in the backfield or on the line of scrimmage and he’s a handful for even the safeties.  He looks like he’s particularly good catching the ball out of the backfield where he can get some space.  He also looks pretty big for 216 pounds and he runs with some power for a guy that size.
  4. Nevertheless the Bears did a good job of stopping the run in the first half, giving up only 2.7 yards per carry but the Packers ran the Bears over in the second half.  They finished with 4.5.
  5. The Bears looked well prepared to defend the misdirection play action pass where Rogers fakes a hand off and does a naked boot in the opposite direction.
  6. Pernell McPhee was added to the roster before the game.  He looked rusty.  It looked to me like they went with Leonard Floyd and Willie Young at linebacker most of the time.
  7. The Packers dominated the time of possession in the first quarter but finished the half with a field goal drive that made up some of the deficit.  Nevertheless, you got the distinct impression that the defense was going to wear down if the game continued in that vein.  It did and they did.  The time of possession finished at Bears: 20:24 Packers: 39:36.
  8. Leonard Floyd got some good pressure including a sack in the first half.  He combined with Willie Young to cause an Aaron Rogers fumble which was recovered by Floyd for a touchdown.
  9. Tracy Porter looked OK when he was out there but the other cornerbacks sometimes struggled as they committed a some damaging pass interference penalties in the first half.  It looked like they picked on LeBlanc quite a bit.  Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t.  I’d say De’Vante Bausby struggled the most, mostly with Devante Adams.


  1. Jim Nantz, Phil Simms, Tracy Wolfson were all their usual professional selves.  The only good thing about the networks putting the miserable Bears on in prime time over and over again is that they get the best of these guys.
  2. Bears special teams were pretty good.  Very good kick coverage.  Akeem Hicks blocked a meaningless field goal late in the game.  No complaints.
  3. Once again there were too many Bears penalties (10 penalties for 108 yards). Adrian Amos got called for a very obvious pass interference late in the second quarter for a huge penalty of 44 yards.  The Bears stopped the Packers at fourth and goal at the one but they started the next drive practically on their own goal line.
  4. Drops weren’t much of a factor which is unusual for the Packers.
  5. The Floyd fumble recovery was a big part of this game if only because it was the only way the Bears were ever going to score a touchdown.  Again, the Bears continue to protect the ball well.  Barkley threw two meaningless interceptions late in the fourth quarter.
  6. Thank you CBS for bringing back that John Madden Miller Light commercial right before half time.
  7. It was nice to see Leonard Floyd emerge tonight and Bears fans should hope that he continues to develop.  Whitehair also appeared to me to get back on track this week.

    I thought it was interesting that we may have seen a turning point in the Packers season tonight.  After the Bears recovered the fumble in the end zone, the Packer offense came alive.  Suddenly Rogers was dropping back and throwing the ball on time at the top of his drop like the quarterback we used to see in 2014.

    If it caries over into the rest of the season, they’ll look back at that moment as when they gritted their teeth, pulled it together and it all got better.

Posted in Chicago Bears, Game Comments, Green Bay Packers | Leave a comment

Quick Game Comments: Jaguars at Bears 10/16/16


  1. The offensive line once again did a good job protecting Brian Hoyer.  Even when the Jaguars brought the blitz on occasion they did a nice job of picking it up.
  2. Unfortunately once again I can’t say the same for the run blocking.  Except for one big run last week against the Colts, I thought the Bears struggled.  They did again today in the first half at 2.4 yards per carry.    They did however, begin to run the ball considerably better late in the third quarter and the final stat was 3.4.
  3. Once again, I thought Jordan Howard (15 carries for 34 yards) ran well today given the blocking and once again, I thought he did the best he could with the hand he was dealt.  He was joined by Ka’Deem Carey (9 carries for 50 yards) who made the most of his opportunities as well.
  4. The Bears once again struggled in the red zone this game as they were 1 of 4.  That kept the Jaguars in the game and ultimately allowed them to win it in the fourth quarter.
  5. The Bears went into this game knowing that they had to work on their run-pass balance.  The firing of former Bears head coach and now former Ravens offensive coordinator Marc Trestman graphically demonstrates why.  As he did with the Bears, Trestman frequently abandoned the run with the Ravens, sometimes even when it was working and this has generally been accepted as the major reason for his demise.So how have the Bears been doing?  Despite the fact that the Bears often have not been trailing by much for long periods late in the games they’ve played going into the Jaguars game, offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains and the offense for the year are running the football just 33.6 percent of its plays. For perspective: That falls below some of the lows in recent Bears history including the 33.7% mark that former offensive coordinator Mike Martz hit through his first six games in 2010 before head coach Lovie Smith ordered more running.Today the Bears did better, running the ball 27 times and passing 30, perhaps indicating that they are on the way back from the brink.
  6. It was generally accepted going into this game that the Bears needed to get Alshon Jeffery more involved in the passing game like he was in the late third quarter and on against the Colts (save for the final play).  Nevertheless, Loggains defended the decisions that Brian Hoyer is making to distribute the ball.”When it’s one-on-one, the ball’s going to [Jeffery]. When they double team him, the ball’s going to go somewhere else.”Loggains is right.  If you do enough damage with the other receivers, as the Bears did today in the first half, the defense will have to come off of Jeffery at least occasionally to sneak over and cover the other receivers.  This is exactly what happened on the final play against the Colts.  Hoyer simply missed it and the Bears played.  But if he hits that pass, it’s a different game.  And that pass is what they’re playing for.

    The first pass of the game was to Jeffery on a short pass to him with off coverage.  It was a sign of things to come.  Jeffery had a very good first half (6 catches for 90 yards) as the Jaguars often left him in loose single coverage rather than double teaming him every play.  He cut loose on a double move late in the first quarter that should have been a touchdown but the throw was too long.Its unfortunate that the Jaguars shut Jeffery down in the second half as he finished with just one more catch for three yards.  But Hoyer did a good job of distributing the ball again today and I’d say it still it paid off.

  7. That having been said, it must be acknowledged that Hoyer didn’t have a particularly good game.  There were a few big passes that weren’t nearly accurate enough that hurt the Bears.  Those can’t happen.


  1. The Bears, like the Jaguars, appeared to come out determined to stop the run, which they did do successfully  allowing only 2.7 yards per carry and 54 yards rushing.  Unfortunately this loosened up the play action pass and the Jaguars took advantage.
  2. In the passing game it appeared to me like once again the Bears were trying to prevent the deep throw while allowing the Jaguars to try to work their way down the field in the hopes that they’d eventually shoot themselves in the foot – which they frequently did.  There was some bad football out there today.
  3. Eventually the Jaguars found a way to get Allen Hurns open.  He was lining up in the slot late in the third quarter and consistently popping open with shallow play action routes over the middle for big chunks of yardage.
  4. The Bears knew going into this game that Allen Robinson was going to be the guy they had to stop today.  They seemed to recognize that as they put Tracy Porter on him, sometimes with loose safety help.  It didn’t work very well as Robinson beat them in the first half with three catches but for 49 yards and though they stopped him in the second half, Bortles spread the ball around to his other receivers as they did so and he did a great deal of damage with them.  Robinson also dropped a touchdown that Porter eventually intercepted or it would have been worse.
  5. I won’t say the pass rush was all that great but Willie Young once again did get a sack going one-on-one with a tight end late in the second quarter.  That’s the kind of matchup that you have to take advantage of and he did.  Young also caused a Blake Bortles fumble early in the fourth quarter.
  6. As far as the run defense goes, I thought the linebacker play was particularly stout today.  Danny Trevathon, Sam Acho, Christian Jones and Jerrell Freeman all had reasonably good games and didn’t do too badly in coverage to my eye.  (But see the comment about Allen Hurns poping open in the third quarter above.)
  7. The lack of a pass rush exposed the Bears defensive backs and most of the problems in the passing game came at their expense.  Eventually once again they had to resort to occasional blitzes in the second half – and that as much as anything is what cost them the Jaguars go ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter as Tracy Porter slipped while covering Arrelious Benn on just such a blitz and there was no one behind him. This will continue until the Bears find a way to get more pressure.
  8. Blake Bortles is frustrating to watch.  Sometimes he’ll make a great throw and he seems to be particularly effective when he’s on the move.  But he also isn’t consistent enough and he makes some very puzzling, inaccurate throws.  The loose fumble in the fourth quarter was also a baffling and very damaging mistake.There’s a lot of potential but in his third year in the league he’s not there yet.


  1. Andrew Catalon, Steve Tasker, Steve Beuerlein were your announcers.  You could tell these were guys that were used to doing AFC games because they clearly didn’t like much of what the Bears were doing.  The broadcast as far from completely bereft of positive Bears comments but most calls were assumed to be on the Bears.  For example, “That hit on Hurns was helmet to helmet!  In today’s NFL that’s gong to be called most of the time.  Trevathon will be fined.”  and “Only Sam Acho thinks he wasn’t offside on that play.” and the classic “The Bears appeared to do that to themselves” on a late Kelvin Beachum shove.    Most 50:50 plays were in the Jaguars favor until proven otherwise.Much more importantly, the quality of the broadcast was poor and all of the analysts were frequently washed out in the sound from the crowd and I really didn’t  think anyone provided much insight and I didn’t learn much from them.
  2. I thought the special teams were pretty good on both sides today.Pat O’Donnell had a pretty good game.  He started the game with a nice punt, trapping the Jaguars inside their own 10 yard line.  He did it again just before half time and pinned them inside the 15 yard line midway through the third quarter.  Connor Barth made a 36 yard field goal early in the second quarter (Alleluia!).  He also put through an important 32 yarder midway through the fourth quarter which made it a two score game.  On the other side, Brad Nortman pinned the Bears inside the 15 yard line with a nice punt in the second quarter.  As happened last week, Eddie Royal decided not to catch a punt which rolled 22 yards.  That has to stop.  Jason Myers also was content to kick the ball to the left through the endzone which is one good way to stop the return game.
  3. As noted last week, in the first half alone at Indianapolis, the Bears committed five penalties. For this reason, touchdown situations were turned into field goals.  This is how you gain over 500 yards of offense and score only 23 points.Overall, the Bears had been penalized 35 times for 270 yards this season — 31 times for 240 yards in the last four games. They had 16 pre-snap penalties.  Things didn’t get better today and they committed 10 sometimes critical penalties for 87 yards.Jerrell Freeman had a pass interference in the first quarter deep in Bears territory.  Jacoby Glenn got called for the same thing giving them first and goal.  There was a comical moment late in the first quarter when there were literally three flags on the field and it appeared to be littered in them.  A false start penalty on Cameron Meredith pushed the Bears into a third and 17 deep in Jaguars territory.  They settled for a field goal.  A holding penalty on Cody Whitehair pushed the Bears into a first and twenty late in the third quarter.  In fairness, Hoyer held the ball way too long on the play.

    A roughing the quarterback call on Willie Young  let the Jaguars off the hook and gave them a first down.  A defensive holding penalty later in the drive on the Glenn moved the Jaguars to first and goal from the two yard line.  They scored a touchdown on the next play.  A facemask penalty on Danny Trevathon also let the Jaguars off the hook again late in the fourth quarter to keep a drive alive.  It resulted in a field goal.

    Finally, a critical holding penalty on Howard pushed the Bears back to 3rd and 17 with 1:19 left in the game, pushing them a much longer way from field goal range.

    This can’t go on.

  4. I won’t say that drops had no effect on the game but they hurt the Jaguars more than the Bears.Jordan Howard dropped a pass deep in Jaguar territory in the second quarter.  For once it didn’t hurt the Bears too badly as they got the first down and then the touchdown  anyway.  KaDeem Carey dropped a first down early in the third quarter that could have gone a long way.On the other side, T.J. Yeldon dropped a first down late in the second quarter.  They eventually converted it anyway.  Allen Hurns dropped a first down early  in the third quarter as the Jaguars once again shot themselves in the foot.  They were being shut out at that point.
  5. Porter had a huge interception in the endzone in the first quarter that prevented at least three points if not a touchdown had Robinson caught it (which he should have).  Blake Bortles got loose with the football and Willie Young knocked it loose.  The Bears were clean once again and that kept them in the game for longer that perhaps it should have.
  6. <sarcasm>Hey, CBS, show us some more of that imaginative programing by pushing more cop shows, please!</sarcasm>
  7. I’m frantically trying to take notes on this game while monitoring @BradBiggs on Twitter and suddenly my phone starts going crazy with notifications from the family Slack group.  My sister was trying to get help with my nephew’s homework on a Sunday afternoon during football season.  These people have no respect.
  8. What did this game come down to?  Going into this game the Bears’ offense ranked eighth in yards (372 per game), but 30th in points (15.6).  The Jaguars’ defense ranked seventh in yards (304 allowed per game), but 30th in points (27.4) and, like the Bears have been extremely penalty prone.This game was going to come down to who managed to do better overcoming these deficiencies.  Today it was the Jaguars, as they committed half as many penalties and did a pretty good job of keeping the Bears out of the endzone.
  9. You just knew as the Bears kicked field goal after field goal in this game that they would find a way to lose it.  The frustrating thing about this season is it that it is tough to see how they’re any better than last season. That’s tough on a fan base that only has hope for the future to keep them going.  They’ll be looking for this team to get decidedly better as the weeks roll on.  It didn’t happen this week.
Posted in Chicago Bears, Game Comments, Jacksonville Jaguars | 1 Comment

Previewing the Jaguars and Other Points of View

• Next up for the Bears is the Jacksonville Jaguars. My first thought is that this is a very mineable game for the Bears. Even though Jacksonville beat the Colts in a sloppy, penalty filled game in London, they don’t appear to me to be any better. Quarterback Blake Bortles is the hope for this franchise and he had a pretty good game against the Colts. One thing to note is that the Colts flat out could not cover 6’0” wide receiver Allen Robinson. Stopping him will be a high priority for the Bears. Their pass protection is an issue and once gain the Bears front seven has an opportunity to make an impact in this game, hopefully in both halves of football this time. Also notable was that the Jaguars had a tough time handling the Colts no huddle offense. Look for that to be a staple for the Beas this game.
• As long time readers of this blog know, I have very little sympathy for players who fail to face adversity in the day-to-day competition of the game. Dolphins defensive end Mario Williams is such a player and I notice that he has a new excuse.

Last year Williams blamed Buffalo head coach Rex Ryan for his poor performance last season, claiming that Ryan played him out of position at outside linebacker.

Well, this year he’s back at defensive end for the Dolphins. How’s that going for you, Mario?

“… If we can get guys to hold the ball a little longer,” William said of the sacks. “The ball’s coming out pretty quick.

Ah. So it’s the defensive back’s fault now. I see.

Through five games, Williams has recorded seven tackles (including just two for loss), three quarterback hits and one little sack. He did not appear on the stat sheet at all on Sunday in a loss to the Titans in which there was virtually no pass rush from the defensive line.

Yes, the ball is coming out fast. But Williams knows as well as anyone that’s true around the NFL nowadays. Defensive linemen still manage to perform despite that, through talent and determination. There is an old saying that has been passed around the NFL for decades: “There are a thousand reasons for failure, but not a single excuse.” It’s getting late for Mario Williams to learn that lesson but he needs to do so.
• Some mild uproar was raised in Chicago last week as a fan who ran out on the field during a Bears game wearing a gorilla suit and a t-shirt with a protest logo on it was arrested. The bail of $250,000 was considered by some to be excessive. I’m all for the right to free speech and protest. But you have to be smart about your method for doing so. Running out on the field is not only can result in a dangerous situation for both participants and fans and as an interested viewer I definitely don’t want to see protesters trying it every game. As far as I’m concerned, the more strongly such behavior is discouraged, the better.
Jeff Fisher is 3-2 this season as head coach of the LA Rams and after a reasonable start it appears that his team is on the way back to the 0.500 mark.

Fisher’s MO is that he gets the team very high for divisional games. The problem is that getting the players too high for those games leads them to let down against teams outside the division. Fisher’s record against divisional opponents since 2012 is almost 0.500 but against non-divisional foes it drops to 15-24 with one tie. Hence big wins early in the season against the Seattle Seahawks and the Arizona Cardinals. But we’ve yet to see them try to sustain it against teams that they should be able to beat outside the division. Whether his team rises or falls this year will depend upon how Fisher and his players handle those games, something they’ve done a poor job of in the past.
• The Arizona Cardinals are 2-3 and after a poorly played win on Thursday night against the hapless 49ers they appear to be rapidly regressing after an excellent year last season.

The Cardinals were the toast of the NFL after going deep into the playoffs last year under head coach Bruce Arians. Arians’ bravado and forthrightness makes him well respected by members of the media and the team even had a special series produced by Amazon.com about them in the offseason.

Now it looks like the team is falling back down to earth a bit. The now injured Carson Palmer hasn’ t looked like the same quarterback he was last year and he seems to be continuing this year the way he left off in the playoffs last year, a 49-15 loss to the Panthers in which he looked like he allowed the pressure of the game to get to him.

Fans around the league love Arians and he’s ridden a wave of kudos. But now is when he and his staff really have the opportunity to show who they really are. Facing adversity, the question is whether they are good enough to pull the Cardinals out of their funk to finish a season well in which they started so poorly. The bet here is that they do it. But the proof will be in the pudding.

Posted in Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins, Points of View, St. Louis Rams | 1 Comment

Quick Game Comments: Bears at Colts


  1. The Bears came out running no huddle.  The Colts came out playing 6 in the box and daring the Bears to run, something which they generally struggled to do, especially in the first half.
  2. The problem is that the Bears simply could not win the line of scrimmage for a lot of this game.  The Colts dominated it in the first half and therefore were able to stop the run.  The Bears had 7.8 yards per carry at that point but take away the Jordan Howard 58 yard run and it was less than 3.  They finished with 6.6 ypc, again that’s 3.5 without the big run.
  3. Cameron Meredith (9 catches for 130 yards) really emerged this game.  He’s a big guy who was very capable of taking advantage of some terrible coverage that wasn’t by Vontae Davis.  He might be a target that will help a great deal in making up for the loss of Kevin White long-term.
  4. Alshon Jeffery  (5 catches for 77 yards) wasn’t much of a factor but the minute they got a matchup with Patrick Robinson instead of Davis, they went right to him for good yardage late in the third quarter.
  5. What was really surprising about this game is that I’m convinced that the Colts defense got worn down in the fourth quarter.  That’s quite a change for a team who is usually watching its own defense get worn to a nub.  It was very interesting because the difference in time of possession really wasn’t that great.  It was 28:20 – 24:36 Bears at the time of their go ahead touchdown with 7:00 left in the game.  I don’t know what that says about the Colt defense but it’s not good.
  6. Also not good if you are a Colts fan is the number of missed tackles all over the field this game.  They’ll be wanting to clean that up.  Along with a lot of their things.  Lots of things contributed as the Bears had over 500 yards of offense on the day.
  7. The Bears failure in the red zone despite all of that yardage was another deciding factor in this game.  They need to get better there.
  8. Brian Hoyer was not sacked.  Many are noting the improvement in the protection that Hoyer is getting over Jay Cutler.  The improvement was notable against the Cowboys in Week 3 and was very evident last week against the Lions.  However, its worth noting that Brian Hoyer also deserves a great deal of credit for this.  He gets the ball out fast, throwing with anticipation to receivers, making it very hard for pass rushers to get to him.  So credit the change in quarterback for this as well.
  9. Hoyer (33 of 43 for 397 yards) didn’t have a bad day but there were times when I thought his accuracy wasn’t there.  Receivers like Eddie Royal were going to the ground to get balls when they really shouldn’t have had to.
  10. Zack Miller (7 catches for 73 yards) has come alive with Hoyer’s ability to spread the ball around the field to different receivers.  Cutler seemed to have a hard time finding Miller when he was playing the first two games, targeting him just 7 times.  Hoyer targeted Miller 11 times in his first two games.  Miller had another good game today.
  11. I really thought Jordan Howard (16 carries, 118 yards) also had a good game as he made the most out of his runs as far as I could tell. He continues to show what he can do to give Bears fans some hope for the future.  Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune a good note about Howard in his comments after the Lions game last week.  Rookie running backs, who are neither used to the NFL grind nor the frequency of the games, have a habit of wearing down after they take a pounding over a few games. So far so good for Howard.


  1. Indianapolis also came out running no huddle.    The Bears were also daring the Colts to run, often staying light in the box and dropping 7 or 8 into coverage.  The Colts ran the ball with great success in the first half, averaging 7 yards per carry.  The Bears did a better job in the second half as that average dropped to 4.7.
  2. The reason was that the Bears were getting dominated at the line of scrimmage.  Not only were the Colts running all over the Bears but Andrew Luck, who had been under siege the first quarter of the season, was getting plenty of time in the first half.  In fairness, the Bears defense again did better getting pressure on him in the second half in part because they started rushing more than four on occasion.  Willie Young in particular was pretty effective again with three sacks.
  3. Luck is unbelievable.  Some of the throws that he makes are amazingly accurate.
  4. Allowing Luck to have forever to throw exposed the Bears secondary which was getting beat all over the field.  I understand that T.Y. Hilton is good.  But knowing that, how can you let him get that open, even in what was mostly zone coverage?  It was very frustrating to watch him make catch after catch.
  5. Also frustrating was watching Luck extend plays time after time.  He’s very mobile inside and outside the picket and that, combined with his size makes him very tough to bring down.
  6. One thing the Bears did do a good job of was keeping the Colts out of the end zone.  They managed to force Adam Vinetieri to kick field goals for most of the afternoon and that’s really what kept the Bears in the game.
  7. Jerrell Freeman had a reasonably good game with 7 tackles (5 solo) which has to be nice for him.

    How important was this game to the former Colt?  Well, according to him, no hard feelings for allowing the Bears to outbid them in free agency.

    “It’s a business; can’t take things personally”

    Of course, then this feature came out on Freeman in the Chicago Tribune on Saturday where he said this:

    “Every team I play, it’s ‘You could have had me.’ There are a lot of things I think of right before the game when I turn into something else that people don’t see.”

    So, yeah, I think it was important to him.


  1. I was shocked when Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, and Erin Andrews drew this game.  As bad as the Bears have been, to see them draw one of the best announcing teams in the NFL is an insult to the league and its fans.  All did an excellent job as usual.
  2. Special teams weren’t good.  Punt and kick coverage was particularly patchy.  The Bears allowed a good 35 yard return in the second quarter and allowed another 20 yard punt return early in the second half as well.  Connor Barth missed another field goal but appeared to luck out as T.J. Green stupidly ran into him.  Then he missed it again.  Compare to Adam Vinatieri, who is amazing, it wasn’t a good look.  Again.
  3. Drops weren’t a huge part of this game for the Bears but the Colts had a few big ones as usual.
  4. Penalties, on the other hand, were a huge factor.  Drive after Bear drive was killed by penalties as they committed 6 for 55 yards in the first half alone and finished with 10 for 80 yards.  Jordan Howard had  a very damaging facemask penalty on the Bears first drive that probably cost them 4 points as they settled for a field goal rather than scoring a touchdown.  A holding penalty on Long killed a first down early in the second quarter.  The Bears settled for a field goal.  Logan Paulsen also got caught holding and that killed a Bears touchdown. An illegal contact penalty gave the Colts a first down early in the second half.
  5. Turnovers weren’t a big factor until the end of the game as both teams did a reasonable job of protecting the football.  This was bad news for the Bears, who are under-manned and who I think are always going to need some help from the other side in winning a game.  Instead, Meredith fumbled the ball deep in Bears territory and helped the Colts to carry away a victory.
  6. The Colts’ season reached a crisis point last Sunday in London with a loss to the Jaguars that dropped them to 1-3. Afterward, players spoke openly about a need for greater professionalism and the Colts then cut Sio Moore and Antonio Cromartie.  Colts are a desperate team. Did they play like it?  Well, kind of.  There wasn’t a great deal of intensity and they still aren’t very talented but they did a very good job of limiting the mistakes that they made against the Jaguars last week.  They also protected Luck much, much better in the first half with some help by the Bears who rushed four for most of time.
  7. You understand that the Bears are a young team and that they will take time to develop.  Mistakes due to misplays we all can certainly understand.  But this game was different in that the Bears not only lost the turnover battle but, even worse, continually shot themselves in the foot over and over again with penalties.  That I don’t think fans should accept.  I expect to see better next week.
Posted in Chicago Bears, Game Comments, Indianapolis Colts | Leave a comment

Quick Comments: Lions at Bears


  1. Brian Hoyer picked up where he left off last week going to tight end Zach Miller on the first play. That connection continued all game.
  2. Bears were apparently determined to run the ball. Jordan Howard doesn’t look like much but he certainly moves the pile and finishes the run, something we heard all offseason Jeremy Langford was trying to work on but which yielded few results.  The team averaged 4.1 ypc in the first half and they rarely lost yardage.  They finished the game with 4.5.
  3. The run game opened up the play action pass, which appeared to work well as the Lions were obviously concentrating on stopping the run.
  4. Interestingly, the Bears ran Howard an awful lot to the left side. Supposedly the right side of the line was going to be the strongest in this respect with Bobbie Massie definitely having a reputation as a better run blocker than pass blocker.  But the Bears evidently believe that running behind Josh Sitton and Charles Leno is a better option.
  5. To my surprise, Darius Slay was not following Jeffery around. The Bears obviously consider Jeffery a mismatch on the other cornerbacks (and maybe on Slay as well).  So they started the game concentrating on getting the ball to him a little more than they have.
  6. The Lions were stunting a lot up front in an effort to get pressure on Hoyer. The offensive line generally did a very good job of exchanging men and handling it.  They generally picked up the blitz reasonably well, too.  They seem to be shaping up nicely as a unit.
  7. Cody Whitehair looks very solid up front now. He’s obviously settling in and showing his potential.   He’s got some power.
  8. Eddie Royal was on fire again. He seems to have a gift for popping open from the slot, which is absolutely his best position.  The Bears should never, ever put him outside again.
  9. Brian Hoyer was doing a good job of spreading the ball around. He’s also accurate and that quick release is something else.  He fits the ball very well into tight spaces.  Hoyer does two things that we never see from Jay Cutler.  He throws with anticipation and he often manages to get rid of the ball when the defense sends an unblocked man on the delayed blitz.  He was still sacked by Darius Slay on such a blitz in the first quarter, though.  So that problem isn’t completely solved.
  10. Somewhat surprised to see Joique Bell get significant snaps in this game only a week after he was signed. He got up to speed fast.
  11. There were a lot of positives about how the Bears moved the ball this game. But the bottom line is that they couldn’t turn it into points. That’s disappointing and they still have work to do finding ways to finish. 


  1. The Bears had a similar defensive game plan to the Lions. They sank back in coverage and tried to keep anyone from getting the ball deep.  The idea was evidently to let the other team make mistakes and stop themselves.  I’d say it worked for the most part for both teams.
  2. The Bears got sporadic pressure on Matthew Stafford in part because they were only rushing 3 or 4 for most of the game. Stafford did not have a good start to this game.  The Bears managed some good zone coverage, sometimes dropping as many as eight into coverage, and Stafford appeared to be a bit unhinged.
  3. The Lions spent a good deal of the game shooting themselves in the foot with mistakes and penalties. It looked to me like they were simply struggling to execute.
  4. The Bears did a pretty good job of stopping the run in the first half allowing only 2.7 ypc. The final stat was 3.7.
  5. Nick Kwiatkoski isn’t the most athletic linebacker and we aren’t going to see him roaming sideline to sideline like Brain Urlacher. He made his share of mistakes but he seems stout against the run.
  6. Despite Kwiatkoski’s play, the Bears did once again miss Danny Trevathan. The Lions took advantage of the Bears linebackers in coverage for a lot of yardage today.
  7. I thought Will Sutton held up better against the run this week. That’s encouraging with Eddie Goldman out.
  8. One thing that I’d like to see the Bears do more of is disguise their coverages. Whether it was man or zone – which they played an awful lot of today – there was never much doubt about what they were trying to do.
  9. Kudos to the Bears for stiffening and making a stand in the third quarter with the Lions having 1st and goal inside the 5 yard line. They forced a field goal, keeping the score 7-6 at the time.
  10. I think Stafford is channeling his inner Jay Cutler. His body language today every time something went wrong was deplorable.


  1. Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, Laura Okmin. Always glad to have Johnston doing a Bear game.  He often points out things that the fans can’t see and I usually learn something from him.
  2. Allowing a punt return for a touchdown with 2 minutes left in a two score game is a terrible travesty. Just awful.  Deonte Thompson with a nice return to start the game.  Eddie Royal had a good put return in the first quarter as well.  Too bad it was called back after a block n the back penalty.  The boos rained down on Connor Barth as he missed a 50 yard field goal from the left hash.  Admittedly its not a chip shot but Ryan Pace and John Fox didn’t win any friends dropping Robbie Gould for him.
  3. Logan Paulsen dropped what was admittedly a tough catch in the first quarter.
  4. Both teams had more than their share of penalties in what was a sloppy game where is seemed that each team was shooting itself in the foot every time you turned around. Deonte Thompson with a stupid holding penalty early in the second quarter.  That killed the drive.
  5. The interception right before halftime by Jacoby Glenn was huge in that it saved at least three points for the Bears. It was evidently a miscommunication between Stafford and Golden Tate, who Stafford apparently though was going to cut his route short.  Glenn was facing Stafford and saw the whole thing develop very well and got a good jump on the ball.  At least as important was the second Stafford interception, this time in the fourth quarter with the Lions moving the ball well and threatening to cut the Bears lead to one score.  Deandre’ Hall was the one in the right place at the right time this time.  Hoyer, on the other hand, did a good job of protecting the ball.
  6. I’m seeing more of Peyton Manning now than I ever did when he was playing. We seemingly can’t have a single commercial break without seeing his face.  I like the guy but I’m already getting very sick of seeing him.
  7. Oh, and the point at which I was seeing Marshawn Lynch too many times was the first time. For a guy who never talked to the media he sure does seem to be on television a lot.
  8. There were times during this game when I didn’t think either side deserved to win. With 18 penalties for 131 yards, the game was terribly sloppy and both teams seemed to take turns killing themselves with mistakes.  If you are the Bears, you take a win any way you can get it.  But the message I took away was that both of these teams have a long way to go before they are going to truly compete for the division.
Posted in Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Game Comments | Leave a comment

Quick Game Comments: Chicago Bears at Dallas Cowboys


  1. Cowboys came out in 11 personnel and that seemed to be their base most of the time.  They often stacked almost everyone inside at the line of scrimmage.  The Bears played 8 in the box to defend it but got hurt for big chunks of yardage in the passing game, especially on play action.
  2. Adrian Amos had a heck of a (clean) shot on Cole Beasley in the first quarter.  Harold Jones-Quartey also hit some people pretty hard.  Bears fans had to like the look of that.  The defense needs more of it.
  3. I’d like to say that the Bears once again had trouble getting off the field on 3rd and 4th down.  But the truth of the matter is that there were a lot of drives where they simply never got to third down.  That’s how badly they were getting beaten.
  4. I don’t think the Bears are going to get far putting guys like Leonard Floyd in single coverage on Jason Witten.  I’m like most people in that I don’t know what the answer to Witten is but that ain’t it.
  5. Ezekiel Elliot looks like the rookie of the year to me.  He’s eventually going to rack up a lot of yardage behind that offensive line.
  6. The Bears front seven really got dominated in the running game.  There was no penetration by anyone to stop Elliott and the linebackers were really getting sucked up in the play action passing game.  The Cowboys ran for 5.6 yards per carry in the first half when the game still mattered.
  7. I think the Bears missed nose tackle Eddie Goldman a great deal.  Will Sutton got pushed about quite a bit in his place.
  8. Anyone else getting tired of cornerbacks like Jacoby Glenn trailing wide receivers by two yards after getting beaten off the line of scrimmage?  Me, too.
  9. The Cowboys really picked on those younger cornerbacks.  They hardly threw at Tracy Porter, though he did give up a touchdown to Dez Bryant in the fourth quarter.
  10. Leonard Floyd continues to look active out there but he’s not having much of an impact.
  11. First Cowboy punt of the game?  It came with 5:00 left in the third quarter.


  1. The Bears also came out in 11 personnel.  The Cowboys played 6 in the box.  So they obviously didn’t respect the Bears running game much.  For the most part they were right not to.
  2. Brian Hoyer certainly does have a quick release.  But if he was throwing with anticipation, I didn’t see it.  His accuracy was OK.  He overthrew Cameron Meredith on a potential big play late in the game.
  3. I don’t know if Jordan Howard is just that much better or what but things seem to happen when he comes into the game.
  4. Also note that the Bears are rotating running backs within a series now instead of giving the running backs all of the downs in one possession, as they did last year.  Interesting that Dowell Loggains chose to change this.
  5. I swear it’s like the Cowboys knew the Bears plays at times.  Defensive players literally ran to where offensive players were going and beat them to the spot.  Is Loggains’ offense that predictable?  It appears to be so.
  6. Hoyer appeared to finally find Zach Miller late in the first half after the Cowboys defense loosened up the coverage with a big lead.  The needs to happen more.
  7. Cody Whitehair looked fine.  Kevin White looks like he might be getting better to my eye.  I liked that Hoyer kept going to him late in the game.
  8. The Cowboys did a pretty good job of limiting Eddie Royal after two good games to start the season.
  9. I thought the offensive line did a decent job of giving Hoyer time against a reputedly weak Cowboys defensive line.
  10. The time of possession at halftime:  Cowboys – 21:47, Bears – 8:13.  First downs:  Cowboys 19, Bears 4.  And I’m honestly surprised the Bears had that many.


  1. Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, and Michele Tafoya were your announcers.  Collinsworth is usually the best color man in the game but this game was so bad it even made him ordinary.
  2. Had to like the fact that John Fox apparently learned his lesson last game.  After not challenging a crucial spot then, he challenged one in the first quarter of this game and won it.  He did the same thing late in the game and won again.  Generally speaking I didn’t think that penalties hurt the Bears that badly as such things go.  A hands to the face penalty by Charles Leno spoiled a great catch and run by Kevin White in the first quarter.  It also stopped the first Bears possession cold.  Willie Young got called for a roughing the passer in the fourth quarter but there was no call on Jason Witten who literally pulled his helmet off and had it left in his hand as Young got by him.
  3. Special teams were fine.  Dan Bailey missed a kick for the Cowboys in the third quarter that kept the Bears within two touchdowns of the lead.  The Bears went with  a surprise onside kick in the second quarter.  It didn’t work.  The Bears were offside and had to re-kick.  It was typical of the night in general.
  4. The Bears didn’t drop the ball that much and the Cowboys didn’t drop it at all.  Jeremy Langford had a big drop on the first quarter on third down.  That killed a possession.  It hard to say if the events were connected but we started seeing a lot of Jordan Howard shortly after that.  White had a drop of a nearly perfect deep pass in the fourth quarter.
  5. There weren’t many turnovers in this game either way.  Glenn had a nice strip at the beginning of the second half that resulted in a turnover.  Cameron Meredith gave up a fumble in Bears territory late in the third quarter.  Brian Hoyer turned the ball over trying to make a play late.  That effectively ended the game.
  6. For those of you who were forced to watch this travesty, the Bears are also on in prime time for two consecutive weeks next month.  Enjoy.
Posted in Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys, Game Comments | Leave a comment

Quick Game Comments: Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago Bears


  • The Bears came out in 11 personnel.  The Eagles played them a straight up 4-3 with 7 in the box.
  • It didn’t take long for the Bears to give up a sack.  Logan Paulsen was left one-on-one with Malcom Jenkins on a blitz and Jenkins ran by him like a traffic cone.  Paulson didn’t even see him until he was five steps into the backfield.  The Bears had their share of trouble protecting Cutler even before this game got out of hand.  He saw a lot of pressure in his face and, at least early, unlike last week, it wasn’t usually because he was holding the ball too long.  The line struggled.
  • They also struggled to run the ball.  Eagles players were shedding blocks to get to Jeremy Langford before he could gain much yardage.  People will say that Langford needs to start gaining some yards on his own and he should.  But he generally didn’t have much chance tonight.
  • Bears have reportedly been working on screen pass.  My advice is that they work hard on it.  [head shake] Man.
  • Interesting to see a Paul Lasike sighting.  Logan Paulsen’s poor night at tight end may have had something to do with that.  If Lasike can do more than block the full back brings an interesting aspect to the offense.
  • I think the Bears may have simplified things for Kevin White this week.  He seems to have been playing faster and maybe thinking less.  Giving him the ball on a sweep around end was also a good way to use his athleticism without making things too complicated.
  • Eddie Royal is performing the way I think we all thought he would last year.  He seems healthy and when that’s the case, he’s the second best receiver on the team by far.
  • I’d like to say that Brian Hoyer actually put played Cutler in the fourth quarter after Cutler left the game.  But the Eagles had a big lead and he was working against soft coverage.  So I think we’ll all have to with hold judgment.


  • The Bears came out playing man coverage but they were playing extremely soft in coverage.  Quarterback Carson Wentz took advantage, throwing underneath of pretty good yardage. It seems evident that they wanted to take advantage of the Bears defensive backs.  They threw the ball only once in their first 7 plays by my count and ran only twice on their first drive.
  • It certainly looks dot me like the Eagles doubt about the ability of the Bears defensive backs to stay with their receiver was well founded.  Jacoby Glenn and Bryce Callahan both struggled to stay with receivers deep and were frequently beaten even on passes that weren’t complete.
  • The ball was coming out quick and pass rushers had very little chance to get to Wentz.  Nevertheless even when given the opportunity they struggled to get pressure on Wentz unless they were blitzing, especially in the first half.  Interestingly they threw some line stunts at the Eagles and these seemed to have some positive effect.
  • To Wentz’s credit, he seems to handle the blitz better than the veteran Jay Cutler, who has struggled to spot late blitzers all preseason and into the season.
  • Wentz looks like everything he’s cracked up to be.  He has good arm strength and reasonable accuracy.  But what sticks out to me is how smart he plays for a rookie.  Only four rookie quarterbacks since 1970 have won their first two starts to begin a season. Three of those four players helped their teams qualify for the playoffs, including Joe Flacco of Baltimore (2008) and Mark Sanchez of the New York Jets (2009), who led their respective clubs to the AFC Championship Game as rookies.  Philly fans must be walking on sunshine right now.
  • One problem I have with Wentz – he cries to the referees more than even Tom Brady does.  Give us all a break, young man.
  • Give the Bears defense credit.  They struggled to stop the pass but they did a decent job against the run allowing only 3.1 yards per carry.
  • Really like how fast those Bears inside linebackers play, especially Jerrell Freeman.  After a miserable year last year its nice to see some good linebacker play in Chicago again.  Generally speaking the defense does play hard.
  • The Eagles were 3 for 3 on fourth down.  You’d like to see the bears stiffen a little more on those plays.


  • Connor Barth missed a 31 yard field goal late in the first quarter.  This really hurt a young team who needed some points early after a decent drive.  John Fox and Ryan Pace staked a lot on their personal knowledge of Barth when releasing Robbie Gould despite a spotty history.  Kicks like that aren’t going to make people in Chicago anymore inclined to trust their words over his actions, past and present.  That Eddie Royal punt return for a touchdown may have been the best return I’ve ever seen from a Bear.  The little leap at the beginning to avoid the initial tackler was nifty.  It was a pleasure to watch.  On the other side, the Eagles can’t be happy  to allow such a return with a big lead.  Big plays like that are the one single thing you don’t want to allow to happen in that situation.
  • The Bears had 7 penalties for 60 yards.  that’s just too much.  They need to clean that up.
  • The Bears lost the turnover battle with three to the Eagles zero.
    • The first Jay Cutler fumble was inexcusable.  That kind of poor ball security by a veteran quarterback on the run is deplorable.  The lineman didn’t really even have to knock the ball out of his arms.
    • The interception in the third quarter deep in Bear territory was almost as bad and was far more costly.  The game was still winnable at this point.  But this was a back breaker.  Of course, if that didn’t put things out of hand, the Langford fumble in the fourth quarter did.
  • It’s mighty tough to win a football game when you are giving the ball away like the Bears did Monday night.  It also a lot tougher for a young team to lose, not because of rookie mistakes, but because the veterans let them down.  Watching Jay Cutler start the season like this, particularly the way he turned the ball over in this game, its hard not to wonder if the Bears haven’t been irreparably damaged by the loss of former offensive coordinator Adam Gase.  In any case, that ship has sailed.  There was some good play by some of the Bears tonight.  Enough to give me some hope.  But it’s apparent that the Bears have a lot to clean up before they can put it all together to win some football games.
Posted in Chicago Bears, Game Comments, Philadelphia Eagles | Leave a comment

Dowell Loggains Probably Shouldn’t Read This. And Other Points of View.

  • Two articles about new offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains here and here.  Not one word, not even one question, about how he managed to get an entire organization fired (with himself coming first) when he pushed the owner to draft Johnny Manziel against the wishes of both the coaching staff and the front office.

Fluffy, feel good nonsense.

  • And then there is the fascinating comment in Patrick Finley’s article for the Chicago Sun-Times on Monday morning?

“The Bears and Texans took back-to-back timeouts after the play with 13 seconds left in the first half. [Alshon] Jeffery, having seen the way the Texans’ safeties were rolling toward him, walked into the huddle and told Jay Cutler what was going to happen on the next play: the safety would shade to help cover him, and Eddie Royal would be open down the seam for a 19-yard touchdown.”

I also took note of this early in the first half, thinking that Kevin White might have a big game because of it.

I noticed it.  And Jeffery noticed it.  So I have one question:  Where was Loggains?  Why wasn’t he in Cutler’s ear telling him what was going to happen?  Isn’t that his job?

“They made some adjustments,” Jeffery said. “We have to make adjustments. We gotta do better.”

Good luck with that.

“The sacks and quarterback hits were the result of a really good defense and an offensive line that hasn’t had a chance to come together. But you have to wonder if Cutler would’ve been sacked five times and hit 13 times if offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains was calling plays the way Adam Gase did last year. Cutler was sacked as many as five times only twice in 2015, and the most he was hit in a game was eight times. The Bears went through a four-game stretch in which Cutler was hit only 11 times and on average in 2015, the Bears gave up 4.9 quarterback hits per game.”

The answer is “no”.  No way Cutler takes that kind of a beating last year.

Adam Gase called plays where Cutler’s responsibility was to get rid of the ball fast, taking the pressure off of the offensive line.  He also frequently made sure that the tackles had tight end help in pass protection, especially Charles Leno on the left.  That disappeared to Miami yesterday as well.

“The Bears can’t afford for Cutler to treat White the way he treated Devin Hester.”

Yeah, that wasn’t good.  Cutler was caught on camera painting at White, indicating that White had made the mistake on the route that led to an interception.  But even after the game, White obviously wasn’t sure that was really the case.

“I’m not sure,” White said. “We just got to go back and watch film. [It’s] not being on the same page. We’ll figure it out and correct it for next week.”

In fairness, Cutler softened up his comments after the game.  Nevertheless I found head coach John Fox’s reaction on Tuesday to be disappointing:

“I can’t expect people not to show emotion,” Fox said. “I don’t think any of that’s intentional. They’re just all competitors. They want good things to happen and when bad things happen, there’s probably an element of frustration with a lot of people.”

Perhaps.  But Cutler’s attempt to not assign blame after the game was empty given that he couldn’t keep himself from doing it on the field.  He’s got to control himself better than that.

Bottom line, Pompei is right.  I remember the exact same situations popping up with Devin Hester and I remember Cutler’s reaction being exactly the same.  And it was evident from Hester’s comments after he left that he didn’t take kindly to it.


After bashing Dowell Loggains for most of this post, maybe the bookies know something I don’t.  We shall see.

  • Biggs also points out that general manager Ryan Pace probably needs a Jimmy Garoppolo tracker.  The Patriots are likely to get multiple first round picks in a trade if he performs the next three games like he did on Sunday.

I’ve done everything but get down on my knees and beg Pace to draft a quarterback in the first three rounds for the last two drafts.  I’m going to do it again.

I’ve heard a lot of nonsense about not reaching for a quarterback and how Pace was justified in not paying the price to get one.  Well, tell that to the Patriots.  The invested a second round pick in a quarterback they didn’t need and spent a few years developing him.  It’s now paying off, just as it did when the Packers drafted Aaron Rogers when they didn’t need him.

Bottom line, the value for the player and the position is set by the market.  If you are consistently evaluating players below that value, you are the one who is undervaluing the position because you are the one who refuses to play the going rate.

Ryan, please, draft a damned quarterback.  And then draft another one.  And then draft another one. And do it and do it and do it again.  I’m begging you.  It’s an investment that ultimately will pay off five fold (at least) if you do it right.

Posted in Chicago Bears, Houston Texans, Philadelphia Eagles | 1 Comment

Quick Game Comments: Bears at Texans 9/11/16


  1. Bears came out in three wide and tried to mix it up.  They had 20 runs Vs. 20 passes with six minutes left in the game they started playing from behind.  The Texans played it mostly straight up with seven in the box and did a decent job of holding them, particularly in the second half when they prevented the Bears from putting anything together at all.
  2. What a first half for Alshon Jeffery.  Four catches for 105 yards in the first half alone.  Unfortunately the Texans quickly figured out that he was the offense and stymied him in the second half.  Nevertheless, this could be the first step in a great, contract season.
  3. Jay Cutler (16/29 216 yds) also had  some really nice throws but my heavens, he holds the ball a long time.  I know he’s trying to make plays but when the Texans are bringing the house you can’t stand back there forever and not expect to get killed.  The receivers were probably having a tough time getting open but it doesn’t help that he’s also not throwing with anticipation like he did last year.  In fairness, he threw some bullets in some big spots just as he always does.  But he’s regressed since Adam Gase left, perhaps yet another sign that he’s losing confidence in the team and the coaching (*cough* Dowell Loggains *cough*).
  4. The Texans didn’t blitz or stunt much but it still worries me that when they did, it worked pretty well.  This is a carryover from the preseason where they also struggled with these things.  Cutler definitely saw some pressure, especially in the second half and specially late in the second half when the whole stadium knew they had to pass. As noted, it was a lot worse when Cutler held the ball trying to make a play.
  5. Jadaveon Clowney had a good game today.  The Bears left their offensive linemen without much help pass blocking for much of the game and both Clowney and Whitney Mercilus got good pressure.  Credit the Bears offensive line for doing a good job on J.J. Watt, though.
  6. I also thought the line did a decent job of run blocking at times.  Unlike in the passing game, it looked like the Bears were helping out Bobbie Massie by giving him help from tight end Logan Paulsen.   The Bears ran mostly to the right.
  7. Cody Whitehair’s inexperience showed on a snap where he didn’t get the ball up to Cutler on a quarterback sneak.  Cutler never had a chance to get the first down fourth and less than one.  This was a case where rookie play cost them.  You have to wonder if they wouldn’t have been better giving Whitehair a game or two to get adapted to the position as suggested here.
  8. But what stuck out the most to me about the running game was the way that running backs Jeremy Langford and Ka’Deem Carey did a good job of finding daylight and running to it.  Both showed some good vision today.
  9. Kevin White was up and down.  He apparently went the wrong way on a Cutler interception.  He also had a false start, something that should never happen to a wide receiver.


  1. From the first snap this was a contest between the Houston running game and the Bears trying to stop it with seven in the box.  Overall the defense didn’t play badly but generally speaking I thought the Texans got the best of them on the ground as they dominated the line of scrimmage.  In fairness, to my eye they did better stopping the run in the second half.
  2. The Texans did all that blocking with a shaky offensive line, making the Bears performance a bit more disappointing.  Right tackle Derek Newton has been fighting a hamstring problem and Left tackle Dwayne Brown has a torn quad and was replaced by Chris Clark.  Center Greg Mancz is a back up as well.   It helps that Lamarr Miller was running well.
  3. Mitch Unrein was sliding inside on passing downs.  Leonard Floyd was also seeing time in the defensive rotation along with Cornelius Washington.  Floyd held his own but didn’t get much pressure.
  4. Generally speaking I thought the defensive backs did a surprisingly good job.  They played the Texans mano-a-mano in man coverage most of the game.  Tracy Porter did about as well as you can do on an island with Deandre Hopkins.  Notably Adrian Amos was around the ball a lot.  That’s a change from last year where Amos rarely shows dup on camera when the ball was sin the air.
  5. Brock Osweiler was up and down (22/35 231yds).  He looks accurate enough but his decision making was questionable at times.  He also stares down receivers.
  6. There wasn’t much pressure on Osweiler in the first half but I thought the Bears did better after half time.
  7. One other thing that stuck out about the Texans.  They seem to be pretty decent at getting themselves into third and manageable.  That puts plenty of pressure on a defense.


  1. I thought Thom Brennaman, Charles Davis and Peter Schrager were adequate.  Davis didn’t add much insight to the broadcast but Brennaman is one of the best in the business.
  2. Both teams had more penalties than I’m sure they’d like with some sloppy first game play (Bears: 4 for 30 yards, Texans: 6 for 69 yards).  More than the usual number of calls were questionable but it wasn’t the cleanest game on either side.  The Texan’s offensive line was jumpy early with a false start by Derek Newton and a holding penalty by Chris Clark on the same series.  Hopkins had a very damaging pass interference call in the end zone that basically resulted in the Texans settling for a field goal in the first half. Zach Miller had a pass interference call that cost the Bears about 25 yards on a nice screen pass near the ned of the first half.  Fortunately they overcame it to score anyway.
  3. Drops weren’t a huge part of this game but I note that Houston’s Will Fuller had a terrible one that probably cost the Texans a touchdown near the end of the first half.  That was his MO coming out of college.  Alshon Jeffery had a big drop that killed a drive late in the third quarter.  DeAndre Hopkins dropped a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
  4. I thought special teams were OK on both sides.  The Bears are going to have to do a better job of blocking on punts and kickoffs.  Eddie Royal had a good return in the first half.  He won’t be the speediest guy but he’ll do, I’m betting.  Notably both teams ran a lot of balls out of the end zone despite a rule change bringing touchbacks out to the 25 yard line.
  5. Turnovers were, of course, huge.  The Bears took advantage of a Tracy Porter interception to get a touchdown in the first quarter.  Kevin White showed his inexperience as he apparently went the wrong way on a route resulting in an interception.
  6. As expected, the Bears offense hung the defense out to dry as the Texans dominated time of possession (23:41 Vs. 36:09).  The number of drives was identical (12 a piece not counting the final kneel down) and so were the yards per play (4.8 Vs. 4.9).  The difference?  The Bears flat out couldn’t execute and put together a drive, especially in the second half once the Texans took Jeffery away.
  7. I’d say this was a game where the Bears youth and inexperience showed on some big plays.  Cody Whitehair held his own generally but the bad snap on the quarterback sneak in the first half cost the Bears.  Kevin White cost them an interception on a poorly run route.  These may be things that we’re going to have to live with for a while.Other than that, things were pretty much went as expected.  I had hoped that the defense might have been a little better but that was nothing compared to the poor performance by an offense that couldn’t seem to put it together in the preseason and now can’t seem to put it together in the regular season.
Posted in Chicago Bears, Game Comments, Houston Texans | Leave a comment

The Problems with Signing a Josh Sitton. And Other Points of View.

•  Kicker Robbie Gould, who was released last week by the Bears in favor of former Broncos/Saints//[name your team here] kicker Conner Barth is a great guy.  If you don’t believe it, just ask him.

Gould, who never met a camera he didn’t like or a reporter he didn’t think he could feed a comment to, couldn’t wait to run to the media last week, less than 24 hours after being let go, to tell everyone how much he loves the team that rejected him.

I’m sure many fans, perhaps the majority of fans, couldn’t wait to eat this stuff up.  But personally I find the whole thing to be hypocritical and just a little insulting to my intelligence.  I’d much rather see a player handle situations like this with quiet dignity where they eventually show the fans what they think at the appropriate time rather than going so far out of their way to shovel them crap as quickly as possible.

• I find it to be really interesting that (apparently) Cody Whitehair will be starting at center on Sunday.

Ted Larsen was listed at number one on the depth chart and that makes some sense to me.  Larsen has been snapping the ball more than any other center over the last month and, frankly, Whitehair looked pretty shaky in his only playing time at center in the second preseason game.  There is also the fact that Hronis Grasu is still waiting in the wings and he, also, is slated as a center.  By moving Whitehair there, Grasu will effectively become a third round pick who because a back up center – a high price to pay for such a position.

Having said that, it’s not that I disagree in that Whitehair might be the future.  You do want him to develop and getting playing time is the best way to do that.  But I thought under the circumstances that they might want to start Larsen for a week or two while Whitehair got his feet under him with some time in practice with new Bears coach, seven-time all pro center, Kevin Mawae.

The Bears think that center might be Whitehair’s best position in part because he’s athletic and can get to the second level to block in the run game.  But you wonder how much that’s going to help him with the massive Vince Wilfork on his nose as he’s snapping the ball all game against the Texans.

Apparently they’ve decided to throw him into the pool and tell him to sink or swim.  It might be the most interesting subplot in Sunday’s game.

• Speaking of new players along the offensive line, I was very surprised when the Bears got as aggressive as they did in their efforts to sign guard Josh Sitton.

There are a few reasons for that.

First, though the Bears said they gave Sitton a physical and it was all good, rumor has it that it’s not all good.

“We went through all that yesterday and it was a thorough process,” general manager Ryan Pace said. “Obviously we wouldn’t have signed him if there were major concerns. So we felt OK about it.”

Sitton has a bad back and, physical or not, the fact is that he’s been frequently held out of practice to rest it.  Sitton lost weight in the offseason at least partially to help avoid further problems.  The bet here is that it was a desperate attempt that had only a limited effect.  In the end, actions speak louder than words and history tells us that it’s gong to be an issue.

Compounding this problem is the second issue.  The Bears gave a good sized three year deal to a 30 year old lineman.  Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune quotes an NFC pro personnel man on this issue:

“It’s probably a good move based on their lack of depth. But he’s 30 and you hate to invest big money into aging players a la Jared Allen.”

And there they are.  The magic words.  “Jared” “Allen”.  I love Allen and I liked the signing at the time.  But there’s no getting around the fact that the Bears misjudged the situation when they let Julius Peppers go to sign him.

The last issue may or may not be significant with the Bears.  Stilton wasn’t afraid to criticize coaches in Green Bay and it caused some friction with head coach Mike McCarthy, one of the best in the game.

For instance, after McCarthy thought Sitton criticized the offensive play calling, he had this to say:

“Well, first of all, Josh Sitton needs to play guard, and that’s where he’ll play this week, he’ll play left guard.”

“[H]ow you go into games with a direction and which direction the game takes you, it happens usually every time you line up and play the game of football. So it’s my job to call the plays, and it’s the players’ job to run the plays.”

Translation:  “Shut up and do your job and I’ll do mine.”

Personally, I can’t see why a young, rebuilding team would be signing 30 year old veteran free agents anyway.  I thought the Bears were in the process of drafting and developing, not adding a few pieces to put them over the top.

It’s one thing to sign young guys like Danny Trevathon  and Jerrell Freeman.  Those are younger players who will be as much a part of the future as Eddie Goldman will.  But Sitton is different.  Pro Bowler or not, he’s occupying a spot that where the Bers need to be developing the future, not playing to win now.

Bottom line, no one knows Sitton better than the Packers, a good organization that isn’t in the habit of making mistakes.  And the Packers let him go.  If the Bears get three years out of Sitton, making him a part of a team that will, the Bears hope, be pretty good by then, I’d say they will be darned lucky.

• Rick Morrissey at the Chicago Sun-Times can’t get over the performance of the offense in the third preseason game against the Chiefs:

“I can’t shake the memory of the offense’s ineptness against the Chiefs. Every instinct and 30 years of covering the league tell me to ignore the preseason, but I saw huge issues in that game. If new Bear Josh Sitton can play two offensive line spots at once, maybe [Jay] Cutler has a chance of duplicating last season, his best as a Bear. Sitton is big, but he’s not that big.”

I can only say that I agree.  My problem with the Bears performance was that the issues weren’t all on one or two spots.  They were everywhere, which to me often means that the problem is with the coaching rather than with the players, themselves.

As Rich Campbell at the Chicago Tribune suggests, the offense may gel over time.  But I’m not holding my breath.  My gut feeling is that the Bears are going to miss Adam Gase more than they could have imagined as they exchange him for Dowell Loggains, who has yet to show that he’s even competent.  We’ll wait and see.

• On the other hand, I have great news for Bears fans hoping for a victory over the Texans.  Every single Chicago Tribune expert picked the Texans.

So basically the Bears are a lock to win.

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