Some Teams Are Just Better and Other Points of View

Bears

  • Dan Wiederer at the Chicago Tribune nails perhaps the biggest problem with the defense Friday night right on the head:

    “On the Seahawks’ final touchdown of the first half Friday night, quarterback Russell Wilson might as well have been playing against a Pop Warner team in walk-through mode.

    “After faking a handoff to running back Christine Michael, Wilson pivoted to his right and came right back to Michael with a dump pass on the right side of the field that went for an effortless 7-yard touchdown on third-and-1.

    “Michael was never covered out of the backfield and never touched on his way to the end zone. And for the Bears, that was the defense’s night in a nutshell.

    “Another third down, another blown play.”

    This sort of thing happened far too frequently. Fortunately its almost certainly all stuff that’s easily fixed. Let’s just hope that the situation isn’t too much like last year where you’d fix one problem only to have another one pop up in its place. This can’t be the first of an endless string of leaks in the dam or the team isn’t going to be making much progress this year.

  • It’s understandable that over 80% of you thought the defense looked the worst of the three phases in the Seattle game. But I think you’re giving the special teams a pass. At least the defense came close to making some plays. From the Tribune.
  • Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune quotes Bears safety Chris Conte:

    “‘I have to get back to playing at a high level,’ he said. ‘There are a lot of people that don’t believe in me and probably are not sure whether I can do it.

    “‘I want people to look at me and respect me and when they see me on the field, they say, ‘That guy is a good player.’ And when my peers play against me, I want them to think about me and respect me.'”

  • Many people have been wondering why wide receiver Chris Williams has been given a better shot at being the kick returner. The word has apparently been given to the reporters that ball security problems early in camp may be the issue. Darius Reynaud has also had his share of problems with this. From Biggs.

    “‘Every returner has them,’ Reynaud said. ‘Even the great ones. That is the past. My reason for that was not judging the ball right and trying to watch those gunners out there. By the time I got my hands up, it was falling right in my hands and dropping it. It wasn’t me running and fumbling, it was me keeping my eye on the ball. That is something fixable. That’s the past. We’re here now.'”

  • Steve Rosenbloom at the Chicago Tribune doesn’t think Bears head coach Marc Trestman was too thrilled with the signing of Santonio Holmes
  • Dan Wiederer at the Chicago Tribune quotes defensive coordinator Mel Tucker on learning to tackle without actually being allowed to tackle in practice:

    “…oftentimes in practice when you’re allowed to go and form up and fit up a runner without leaving your feet, sometimes that’s even more difficult than making a live tackle. Because you have to gather yourself. You have to have great contact balance. You have to be in excellent body-in-football position to be able to deliver the blow and keep the runner on his feet and you stay on your feet and stay off the ground. We’ve done a lot of that.”

  • Adam L. Jahns at the chicagofootball.com quotes Stephen Paea on the way defensive linemen are expected to play this year compared to last year:

    “‘We still have our gaps and responsibilities,’ Paea said. ‘But we help the other guys with the other gaps. Everybody has their own gap, but the way we design our defense now, if the running back doesn’t challenge your gap and goes to the other gap, you go to the other one.’

    “The goal is to make the linebackers Pro Bowl players by providing them with the freedom to move.

    “‘I put my hands on the center, and with the guard trying to block me, the linebacker is going to make the play versus last year where we would just go [penetrate] and the center would have a clean shot at the linebackers,’ Paea said.”

One Final Thought

Rich Campbell at the Chicago Tribune at the end of his Seahawks game story:

“In their last action before the games do count, the Bears’ first-stringers found out they didn’t measure up to the champions, and any talk of them possibly making a Super Bowl run of their own this season can stop until further notice.”

Look, I’m sorry to be a downer but anyone who thought this team was going to the Super Bowl before this game needs to get a grip. I’m a little disappointed that the Bears didn’t do better but I’m not surprised that they were out performed. Bears fans better get used to the idea that this group is going to be beaten this season by at least a few teams that are just plain better than they are.

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Quick Comments: Bears at Seahawks 8/22/14

  1. I thought I saw some good penetration from the defensive line. They just weren’t getting the results they needed from it.
  2. Russell Wilson had a lot to do with that. The key is a disciplined pass rush that traps him in the pocket. The Seahawks know that so the first think they have him do a lot of the time is drift left or right to get him outside. Its not exactly a roll out but he’s not sitting in the pocket either. It makes it tough to get a handle on him.
  3. Also on a related note, the Bears are going to be have to be able to penetrate against teams like Seattle. They aren’t physical enough up front otherwise. The Seahawk’s success in the running game pretty much demonstrated that. There were stretches where it looked like they could have run it all day.
  4. The Bears lined up Willie Young in what looked like a “wide 9″ position once or twice. That’s a formation commonly played by the Lions when Jim Schwartz was the head coach there where he was way outside of the offensive tackle. So Young’s played it quite a bit in the past. Interesting.
  5. You can pretty much chalk up the first Seahawk touchdown to Shea McClellin. He got sucked inside and Marshawn Lynch went right through the spot McClellin was occupying. Color man Jim Miller attributed the mistake to defensive end Lamarr Houston but Houston was occupying the lineman and McClellin was left free to make the play. I thought he was the one out of position. I won’t say he played badly McClellin didn’t do much with the starters in this game.
  6. Chris Conte showed up. Hopefully he’s not concussed.
  7. There were definitely some problems with defensive assignments, tonight. I don’t know enough to be able to say exactly what was wrong but way too often guys were making catches with no defensive player within 3 or 4 yards of them. That really shouldn’t ever happen.
  8. The offense was pretty much all Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey. I sure would have liked to have seen Josh Morgan and the tight ends more involved. The running game looked better and they were making some positive yards but they didn’t do it much. I think keeping Matt Forte healthy is a major priority right now.
  9. Having said that, its worth noting that Cutler was trying to get the ball to Morgan on the interception at the end of the half. He obviously thought Morgan was going to come back to get the ball on the back shoulder. I suppose those sorts of miscues are the reason he might be hesitant to keep going away from Marshall, Jeffery and Bennett.
  10. Special teams continues to be a concern. The coverage units were especially bad. I’m looking at you, Joe DeCamillis.
  11. I thought I saw some good, aggressive play from Lance Briggs tonight. He was around the ball a lot. Good to see.
  12. I thought Cutler wasn’t maybe as accurate as I’d typically like to see him. The receivers were working mighty hard to make those catches.
  13. Jordan Palmer’s accuracy and ball placement was pretty awful. Jimmy Clausen’s was better but that’s not saying much. Neither was anything to write home about.
  14. I’m starting to like what I see from Ka’Deem Carey. I noted that he came in before Shaun Draughn and played with the starters some in the first half, perhaps indicating that he’s moved ahead of him on the depth chart. He can block, he can catch and he always falls forward for a couple extra yards. Not much elusiveness there but otherwise he might be a really good one.
  15. Demontre Hurst keeps showing up in these games and making tackles. Its worth noting.
  16. Terrell Pryor has a long way to go. Tossing that ball up for grabs under pressure for an interception in the fourth quarter wasn’t a good look.
  17. Preseason game or not the Seattle crowd was still loud enough to make it a challenge.
  18. The Bears were close to making plays all over the field this game. They were missing by inches. They’re close but I guess that’s the difference right now.
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We’ll Forget It If You Let Us and Other Points of View

Bears

  • I wasn’t the only one who raised his eyebrows when the Bears cut wide receiver Eric Weems on Saturday. Rich Campbell at the Chicago Tribune reports:

    “His release comes as a bit of a surprise because he played on all four special teams units and was the Bears’ fourth-leading special teams tackler in 2013. The club is searching for core special teamers in light of their struggles this preseason.”

    I always thought Weems gave good effort on special teams and he stood out on a number of occasions last year. He wasn’t the answer as a kick returner, though, and its obvious that he wasn’t going to give them much as a receiver.

  • Teams are apparently making some adjustments to the new points of emphasis on the rules this season. Making less contact with the receivers down field seems to be the one getting them most attention. From Dan Wiederer at the Chicago Tribune:

    “To adapt to the new emphases, the Browns have spent part of the preseason with their defensive backs wearing kick-boxing gloves at practice, accessories that restrict players’ attempts to grab or use their hands in coverage.

    “Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has had his defensive backs holding tennis balls as a restraint.”

    The video which the NFL has put out to demonstrate the new rules and points of emphasis to the players can be found here. It does a good job of clarifying a number of issues.

  • Campbell and Wiederer discuss the Beas back up quarterback competition. Campbell makes the point that Jordan Palmer may have an advantage in that he’s made a particular effort to stay after practice and get comfortable with many of the receivers. Even though to most eyes Jimmy Clausen has been the better quarterback, this sounds like the kind of thing that might make the difference with a guy like Bears head coach Marc Trestman. Palmer will be first up after Cutler on Friday night.

  • This criticism of Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall seems to be uncalled for. The columnist either hasn’t done his homework or seems determined to overemphasize behavior that we all think is well behind him now.

  • Bears tickets offer the worst value in the NFL. Via Patrick Finley at the Chicago Sun-Times.

One Final Thought

Adam L. Jahns at the Chicago Sun-Times writes yet another article about how safety Chris Conte needs to put 2013 behind him.

We’d all like to do that.

We’ve heard ad nauseum about how much abuse Conte took, particularly after the last play of the last game against the Packers. Enough. It’s a painful episode in the history of the franchise that Packers quarterback Aaron Rogers called “the most satisfying of his career”. I don’t like thinking about it and I don’t like reading about it. It’s done.

If the members of the media will stop bringing it up and rubbing salt in the wound, I think we can all safely promise to forget it. Believe me, there’s nothing I’d like more.

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Who Will Be the Core?

The Tribune writers put their heads together to assess the state of the Bears roster and review the state of each position. Since the eight core special teamers who are going to play on each unit are going to be a huge part of determining who makes the team, its worth looking at who they might be. Here are my guys:

  1. Jordan Senn
  2. Dante Rosario
  3. Khaseem Greene
  4. Sherrick McMannus
  5. Danny McCray
  6. Matthew Mulligan
  7. Tony Fiammetta
  8. Trevor Scott

It’s worth noting that this leaves perennial special teamer, Craig Steltz, off of the list. Steltz missed a lot of camp with an injury. If he stays on, one of these players will come off. In my mind it came down to him, Mulligan or Scott and I think the other two offer more in terms of depth and the ability to help every week on game day at their respective positions. Mulligan can serve as an extra blocker in obvious running situations the way that Eben Britton did last year but can also serve as a receiving threat. Scott will likely make the team regardless and will rotate in occasionally as the fourth defensive end. By putting him on all of the special teams units they save a roster spot. McCray is undoubtedly far ahead of Steltz in all areas and has played before under special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis

The absence of a wide receiver in this group is also notable. One of the bubble candidates will likely have to make it as the punt and kick returner. This was why Weems would have been valuable in this position. He would have contributed on the other units. But that wasn’t meant to be. There was a point where I wondered if Josh Bellamy might make the team as part of this group. He still might but he’ll have to be what Weems basically was last year if he does. It looks like he’ll contribute little to the passing game as a wide receiver.

I also left the running backs off but both Shaun Draughn and, especially, Ka’Deem Carey are candidates. Michael Ford‘s prospects are looking dim. Reading between the lines, he probably doesn’t offer a lot in pass protection as a running back. If he makes it, it will likely be as a kick returner and the Bears probably don’t want to use a roster spot for that kind of specialist who can’t contribute elsewhere. If they did, Devin Hester would still be here.

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Concern About the Running Game and Other Points of View

Bears

  • Mark Potash at the Chicago Sun-Times quotes Bears head coach Marc Trestman:

    “‘We’ve got to work on our running game,’ Trestman said a day after [Matt] Forte lost two yards on four carries against the Jaguars. ‘We’re not concerned about it. It’s more one guy here, one guy there. We’ve just got to clean it up.’”

    Well, he might not be concerned about it but I certainly am. I’ll feel better if the Bears show us something against a physical Seattle front seven on Friday.

  • Hub Arkush at chicagofootball.com apprently shares my concern about the running game. He is worried about the back up options at runningback.

    “For my last general impression, I have to tell you I think the Bears have been trying to give the job to [Ka'Deem] Carey since the moment they drafted him. How else do you explain his 23 carries in two games compared to 25 carries for [Shaun] Draughn (4), [Senorise] Perry (9), [Michael] Ford (5) and [Jordan] Lynch (7) combined?”

    The guess here is that its because Carey and, especially, Draughn have shown that they can pass protect whereas the other competitors haven’t. This seems to be a major issue with the staff when it comes to selecting runningbacks.

  • Tony Andracki at CSNChicago.com highlights the play of Josh Morgan. Eric Weems has been a fine core special teamer but I think we’ve seen enough of him as the third wide reciever (and kick returner). It might be time to gve Morgan his shot.

Elsewhere

  • Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune makes a point about Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles that also occured to me during the game:

    “The Jaguars have been pretty consistent talking about Chad Henne being their starting quarterback this season and allowing Blake Bortles, the third overall pick, to sit and learn. But if Bortles keeps performing well, they’re not going to be able to keep him on the sideline for too long. I understand wanting to bring him along the right way and not rushing it…. Bortles (11 for 17, 160 yards) looked smooth, threw the ball well and moved the second offense. He’s going to have to get significant starting time this season. There’s nothing wrong with learning on the fly.”

    I couldn’t agree more. Henne didn’t perform badly Thursday night but I frankly thought Bortles looked every bit as good. If its a tie, its got to go to Bortles. Mike Florio at profootballtalk.com passes on the fact that Bortles will get time with the first team next week. He might be on his way.

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How to Make a Molehill into a Mountain and Other Points of View

Bears

  • Rich Campbell at the Chicago Tribune comments on the offensive production in Thursday’s preseason game:

    “How the offensive production correlated to line play Thursday supports the argument that the line’s collective health last season was perhaps the most under-appreciated factor in the offense’s success. All five linemen started all 16 games. Their continuity fostered cohesion and sharpness as the season progressed.”

    It also underscores a concern that has carried over from last year as well. The line’s lack of physical play was underscored by the poor job the Bears did running the ball Friday. It was one of the reasons why I was looking for changes up front, albeit minor ones. Instead, general manager Phil Emery opted to bet that the line would become more physical as the players grew together under Bears head coach Marc Trestman and offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer in their second year. Here’s hoping they were right. But you’ll forgive me if I have my doubts.

  • Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune doesn’t like my suggestion that Ryan Mundy might be paired with Adrian Wilson at safety:

    “Wilson and Mundy would leave the Bears without a true free safety and that is a key position for defenses against the proliferation of three-, four- and even five-wide packages. It’s also the position you want to think about when trying to cover the athletic tight ends across the league. That is why this pairing seems like a long shot to me. [Chris] Conte absolutely has a chance or he wouldn’t still be around. Let’s see how plays when he gets in preseason games.”

    His point about Conte is well taken and was pointed out to me by a commenter on Facebook after posting my blog entry. In the absence of anyone else stepping up, the job may well turn out to be Conte’s by default. Having said that, I thought Danny McCray tackled well Thursday.

  • Adam L. Jahns at the Chicago Sun-Times quotes defensive end Jared Allen on all of the penalty flags that were thrown Thursday:

    “Jaguars cornerback Mike Harris’ roughing-the-passer penalty late in the game even infuriated Bears defensive end Jared Allen.

    “‘If that is, I’m hosed,’ Allen said. ‘Because I’m going to get about 20 of those this year. At some point, in my opinion, you got to look at what’s better for the game. Are all these flags on the field better for the pace of the game? Is it a better fan experience? I don’t think so.'”

    Allen has a point. I thought the call on Harris was particularly bad. I saw no contact with the quarterback’s helmet and the hit definitely wasn’t late.

    Night games always feel long and Thursday night’s game was particularly bad with all of those penalties. If this carries over into the season, we aren’t going to be sleeping much.

  • Hub Arkush at chicagofootball.com on the Bears punting competition:

    “…Patrick O’Donnell appeared to lock up the punting competition with a clearly superior performance to Tress Way.”

    O’Donnell clearly has the edge as a draft pick and it’s up to Way to show that he’s definitively better. But setting that aside, I can’t say I’ve seen much difference between the two.

  • Scott Krinch at CSNChicago.com gives the Bears defense some credit for bending but not breaking in the red zone. He has a point. Many a Lovie Smith defense operated the same way, giving up a lot of yards but holding teams to field goals time after time.
  • I was a little surprised by this assessment from Michael C. Wright at ESPN.com:

    “The Bears want to remain patient with Shea McClellin as he transitions to linebacker, but his play against the Jaguars seemed just about on par with his shoddy showing last week. McClellin did stuff the run once early on but continues to struggle at shedding blocks and making tackles in space.”

    I thought McClellin and, really, all of the linebackers looked better Thursday night. McClellin read plays and attacked the line of scrimmage and was frequently blitzed. I had no problem with him.

Elsewhere

  • Dan Wiederer at the Chicago Tribune makes the case that Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles may be a player to keep an eye on. Bortles surprised me Thursday night. He’s much more accurate that I thought he was.

One Final Thought

Rick Morrissey at the Chicago Sun-Times asks wide receiver Brandon Marshall how the team feels about him working a side job as an analyst on Inside the NFL during the season:

“‘You need to be very careful how you write this story and talk to me because this could be the last time you talk to me,’ he said.

“Um, OK …

“‘End of story,’ he said.

“‘I’m just asking …’

“‘End of story,’ he said.

“I can see it’s going to be hell writing the authorized Brandon Marshall book now.”

Holy moly.

I read several articles on this before getting to the Morrissey column and had already concluded that it was a non-story. Now I’m interested.

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Quick Comments: Jaguars at Bears 8/14/14

Defense

  1. The linebackers, including Shea McClellin, played better to my eye. They were more agressive than last week and played down hill to attack the line of scrimmage.

  2. Danny McCray had some good open field tackles. That’s a good sign for him. Not so good for the defense.

  3. I know that no one worries about Xs and Os in the preseason. But I wasn’t very comfortable seeing all of those Jaguar wide recievers running so free and open in the Bears secondary. I hope that doesn’t carry over into the season.

  4. Trevor Scott and Cornelius Washingtone distinguished themselves.

Offense

  1. Once again, I’m not to impressed with the Bears ground game.

  2. How did everyone feel watching Alshon Jeffrey writhing in pain as a result of a cheap late hit? Your heart stop for a minute? That’s what it feels like when your season is about to go down the drain before it even starts.

  3. Looks like the Jaguars’ defense is a pretty hard hitting group.

  4. The pass protection was pretty good, I thought, just like last week.

  5. Clausen not quite as good with the ball placement this week. He did all of the right things otherwise, though. The interception won’t help him. Palmer looked about the same as last week. Both guys maybe made thier recievers wait for the abll a little too much.’

Miscellaneous

  1. Special teams were once agian not stellar. I’m looking at you, Joe DeCamillis.

  2. Let’s just say it wasn’t Eric Weems’ night. Having said that, I don’t think he has the burst to be a really good returner. It may be time to move on.

  3. It might be best if all of the returners concentrated on catching the ball.

  4. All those flags made this a long game. Here’s hoping that one way or another those doesn’t carry over into the regular season.

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Knowing Who to Believe and Other Points of View

Bears

  • Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune answers our questions. He gives his thoughts on something I know many of us are wondering, whether the Bears are going to go with more two tightend personnel groupings with what is a less than stellar wide receiver group on the team. The last point is an interesting one:

    “That is certainly one possibility, one that will depend on how the players behind Martellus Bennett perform. I received similar questions regarding the depth chart at tight end after the fine performance by Zach Miller in the preseason opener against the Eagles. That was one game and we have to wait and see how that group pans out but offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer and tight ends coach Andy Bischoff were confident the Bears had a deeper group at the position when camp opened and they might be right.”

    “Don’t discount the possibility fullback Tony Fiammetta could be more involved as well. Although it is interesting to note Football Outsiders reported the Bears averaged 4.6 yards per carry in a single back formation and 4.0 with two backs. That meshes with what personnel people have told me for some time – Matt Forte does better from a one-back set.”

  • Biggs on whether the Bears will keep a third quarterback on the roster:

    “Keeping a third quarterback hinges on how the third quarterback performs. I doubt Jimmy Clausen and Jordan Palmer both make it through so we’re looking at rookie sixth-round pick David Fales. My instinct tells me he’d probably be a candidate for the practice squad but he should get ample playing time between now and the time final decisions need to be made.”

    I would tend to agree. Some fans have told me that they fear that Fales would be claimed by another team if the Bears tried to get him through waivers to put him on the practice squad. As Biggs points out, that depends upon how well Fales performs. I’m guessing that if his performance remains at the level I’ve’ seen so far, he’ll safely clear waivers and it will be the practice squad.

  • Hub Arkush at chicagofootball.com talks about the competition at safety:

    “All of the vets at safety are career journeymen, with the exception of [Adrian] Wilson. If [Brock] Vereen can’t play Robin to Wilson’s Batman, it’s unlikely the Bears will take a meaningful step forward at the position.”

    Hub apparently doesn’t think much of Ryan Mundy but I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that he’s your starter at free safety if Wilson claims the other side.

One Final Thought

Hub again on rookie defensive tackle Will Sutton:

“Sutton looked to me to be the best three-technique tackle in this year’s draft and could make a huge impact sharing time at the three with Ratliff if he’s NFL ready. I’ve seen the lightning first step in Bourbonnais that might make him a disruptive force in opposing teams’ backfields, but now it’s time to see it in an NFL game against at least second team competition, if not the ones.”

Hub tends to be sparing in his praise. So when he does compliment a player you can generally believe its not just fluffy talk that’s meant to tell fans what they want to hear. If Hub says Sutton’s talent is for real, there’s good reason to believe it is. He’s a guy to keep an eye on.

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Typical Fan Responses and Other Points of View

Bears

  • Rich Campbell at the Chicago Tribune notes this exchange between safeties Danny McCray and Craig Steltz, who are competing for roster spots, on Tuesday at practice during kick return drills:

    “Safety Danny McCray, who lined up on the return unit opposite Steltz, yelled to Steltz about how odd it was to see him on the scout team instead of the active team in that drill. Steltz was on the first-string kickoff return unit last season, but a groin injury sidelined him for most of camp.”

    What seems odd is that McCray would mention it since he wasn’t with the team last year. Some would call that kind of trash talk being “competitive”. I call it being a jerk.

  • Adam L. Jahns at the Chicago Sun-Times quotes Bears head coach Marc Trestman on the back up quarterback competition:

    “We grade them every day. We’re watching all the tape. We’re making the corrections with each of them. It’s still a competition, and they know it. We’re repping them that way.”

    Speaking of reps it might be best for Trestman to make his decision sooner rather than later. Reps are scarce enough behind starter Jay Cutler without Jimmy Clausen and Jordan Palmer splitting them.

  • Patrick Finley at the Chicago Sun-Times describes this typical scene:

    “One day after receiving a rousing cheer when he intercepted a pass in practice, safety Chris Conte slipped on the wet grass on a pass play that resulted in a touchdown Tuesday.

    “Fans grumbled loudly enough for one veteran to suggest, a bit too loudly, that the hecklers be quiet.”

  • Finley goes on to quote Trestman after Tuesday’s playful practice:

    “I don’t know that any of us have been in winning environments where the team didn’t have a sense of humor and know how to use it at the right time.”

Elsewhere

One Final Thought

I thought this perspective on the popularity of fantasy football and the tendency of employees to spend company time looking up stats was unique. The study on lost wages comes from Chicago-based outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray and Christmas. Via Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz at the Chicago Tribune:

“With the economy still chugging along, and no chance that any measurable dip in GDP in the third or fourth quarter would be the fault of fantasy football ($13.4 billion [in lost productivity] is less than 1 percent of the $1.5 trillion in wages paid out during the same period), [CEO John A.] Challenger said companies shouldn’t crack down on the practice but instead recruit employees into company-wide leagues to build camaraderie and morale.

“‘An across-the-board ban on all fantasy football or sports websites is likely to backfire and cause a drop in morale, loyalty and, ironically, productivity,’ Challenger said. ‘The end result could be far worse than any loss of productivity caused by an hour or two of team management each week.'”

I’m not a fantasy football guy. But if the economy is “chugging along” you wouldn’t know it from where I’m sitting. More camaraderie is always welcome and seems to be in short supply these days.

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On the Use of Twitter and Other Points of View

Bears

  • I was glad to hear tight end Martellus Bennett say that he would have handled the episode that led to his suspension “differently”. And the team seems satisfied with what they see. But I would have felt better about his return had he publicly admitted he’d done something wrong. From Dan Wiederer at the Chicago Tribune
  • Adam L. Jahns at the Chicago Sun-Times quotes cornerback Tim Jennings on trying to get his conditioning back after recovering from a bad quadriceps:

    “That’s what camp’s about — execute even when you’re tired.”

  • Linebackers coach Reggie Herring on Shea McClellin. Via Rich Campbell at the Chicago Tribune:

    “‘The bottom line is he’s out here and he has had an excellent camp, a nice OTAs,’ Herring said Monday. ‘He moves as good as any of these other linebackers. He has made plays as good as any backer out here.”

    That might be technically true. But if it is, it says more about the Bears other linebackers than it does about McClellin. More to the point was this quote:

    “It’s a process. Y’all be patient. We’ll know after the first [or] second game where we’re at with him.”

    The Bears are supposed to be starting linebackers who are ready to play now. If not now, then certainly by game 1. If you don’t have one, you go out and find one. Instead, in a camp that is supposed to be all about competition, McClellin has been given a starting job that he hasn’t yet earned, probably won’t have earned by the start of the season and may never earn. Kevin Fishbain at chicagofootball.com supports my point as he feels the need to mention this fun fact in his article today:

    “It had been assumed in the winter and then leading up to camp that the two young, early draft picks would compete at the ‘Sam’ linebacker spot, and it’s still early yet, but the Bears have stuck with McClellin as the starting strong-side linebacker, and [Jon] Bostic as the starting nickel linebacker and second-team middle linebacker.”

    Good organizations start the best guys based upon how they play, not their draft status. Apparently this isn’t one of them. Not a good sign for the long-term.

  • Special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis on the possibility that Chris Williams might get an opportunity to return punts and kicks this Thursday. Via Wiederer:

    “‘You’ve got to catch the ball in a real live game and catch punts in a real live situation,’ DeCamillis said. ‘So we’ll see those things going forward.'”

    Something tells me that Williams is so far down the depth chart because he’s been dropping balls, not just as a returner, but as a wide receiver, as well.

Elsewhere

  • The Dolphins worked out former Bears quarterback Rex Grossman yesterday. Via Josh Alper at profootbaltalk.com.
  • Florida State inexplicably asked FSU fans to Tweet questions to quarterback Jameis Winston using the #AskJameis tag. Some of the more creative responses are worth reading. From Sean Newell at Deadspin.The incident is a lesson for those who want to be “edgy” and take advantage of trendy concepts like social media, but don’t really understand the fact that they have zero control over the very public results.
  • Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune addresses about the annual debate about tackling in training camp. The Bears don’t have live contact practices.:

    “Take a visit to Green Bay and you hear more shoulder pads crunching in the first 10 minutes than you do in most 2½-hour Bears practices.

    “‘It’s actually rewarding to hear you say that because sometimes you get criticism from people,’ Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. ‘It’s like, have you ever been to another training camp? How does your line develop? How does the front end of your offense and defense develop if you don’t have those [live] drills? Those combinations, they don’t just show back up where the fits are right and the feet are together and the balance and the anticipation coming off.”

    Ordinarily I would agree with McCarthy. But in fairness, I saw no obvious, systematic deficiencies in the tacking by the Bears in their first exhibition game.

One Final Thought

From Steve Rosenbloom at the Chicago Tribune:

“New NFL rule: Everything that football players do is a penalty.”

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