Regrets: Adam Gase Would Have Handled the Red Zone Differently

gaseRich Campbell at the Chicago Tribune relays comments that Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase made on Thursday. He discussed why the Bears threw four straight passes against the Packers in the fourth quarter on a goal-to-go set of downs that began at the 6-yard line:

“‘It’s one of those deals you wouldn’t have called them if you didn’t feel great about them,’ he said. ‘You’d like the execution to be a little better. Probably one of those calls I wish I could have had back. But at the end of the day, whatever we end up calling, we’ve talked about it. We’ve worked on it. Nobody should be surprised by those things, and we have to execute them.’

“Which pass did he want back?

“‘I don’t want to tell you,’ he said with a smile.”

It certainly doesn’t have to be done this way but standard red zone procedure at times like this is to run the ball a couple times, then hit the defense with a play action pass, often to the tight end. The Bears were running the ball well and Martellus Bennett was having a reasonably good game. This seemed like a good spot for that.

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Photos of Jason Pierre-Paul’s Hand Hit the Web. And Other Points of View.


  • Mark Potash at the Chicago Sun-Times points out that Adrian Amos had a generally solid NFL debut against the NFL’s best quarterback. I was surprised that the Packers didn’t challenge him more. But maybe they had so many other spots to exploit that they couldn’t get to them all.
  • Kevin Fishbain and Arthur Arkush do an exceptionally nice job of breaking down the Bears in this video (which, unfortunately, they won’t let me embed). They quickly hit all of the major problems to be corrected in the coming weeks – red zone offense, downfield passing, getting off the field on third down and getting pressure on the quarterback. Plenty of things to watch for and plenty of room for improvement to look forward to with this team.
  • Sunday’s most significant accomplishment? Probably the play of tight end Zack Miller, who went 1,429 days between appearing in regular-season games.
  • Dan Wiederer at the Chicago Tribune does a nice job of breaking down the Bears problems in the red zone. Look at it here, it appears that the problems were varied and its hard to put it down to one particular thing. Tough there’s no doubt in my mind that they needed to be able to run the ball more down there. Perhaps trying to get the ball to tight end Martellus Bennett, a large red zone target, would have helped as well.
  • Quarterback David Fales was added back on to the practice squad as predicted here.


  • Those who find their way into MetLife Stadium during a New York Jets game this season can now enjoy a breakfast bagel for the low, low price of $50.img253004201
  • Giants players are sticking up for quarterback Eli Manning after running back Rashad Jennings let it out that Manning had told him not to score in the final drive of their game against the Dallas Cowboys. Manning did not know that the clock wouldn’t start again after a declined penalty within 5 minutes of the end of the game. He therefore assumed that the Giants would be able to run down the clock as long as they kept possession.What really made this maneuver dumb was that had the Giants scored a touchdown, they would have made it a two score game with about a minute left. They should have taken the touchdown under any circumstances where that is the case.
  • If you’ve got a strong stomach you can see photos of Jason Pierre-Paul‘s hand here.

One Final Thought

Peyton Manning‘s teammates are calling the media reports questioning his arm strength “blasphemy”. What can I say?

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How to Replace the Irreplaceable?

Reid Hanson at Sports Dallas-Fort Worth explains how to replace the irreplaceable. Guess what he’s going to say. You can’t:

“It’s hard to understate the loss of Dez Bryant, yet that very thing seems to be happening everywhere. Numerous columns are calling the [Randy] Gregory loss bigger than the Bryant loss. This couldn’t be further from the truth.”

“With no Dez, teams can pack the box to stop the run. Opposing defenses have been daring the other Cowboys receivers to beat them for years, and yet they’ve still struggled to get open. Terrance Williams is facing a big challenge these next few weeks as defenses shift more attention to him.

“Can we rely on Williams to be a legitimate big-play threat now that defenses are more focused on him? Jason Witten will get his plays, but when was the last time you’ve seen him pick up consistent yardage after the catch (YAC)? Nope, Witten gets open and catches the ball. He also gets tackled immediately. It’s a valuable asset, but nothing remotely close to what Dez Bryant provides.”

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) is tended to on the sideline after injuring his foot during the second half of an NFL football game against the New York Giants Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)

AP Photo/Brandon Wade

That’s a pretty bleak (and pretty realistic) assessment of the situation. Dallas has a wonderful offensive line that I thought performed very well against a lousy New York Giants defensive front last week. So I was shocked to find out that the Cowboys had a terrible game on the ground.

And that was with Bryant for much of the game.

That offensive front is going to have more pressure than ever to provide huge holes to the mediocre running backs that the Cowboys have collected on their roster. Whether they can do that or not will be a major story in week two of the NFL season against the Eagles and beyond.

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Geno Smith: A Case of Misdirected Anger, Misdirected Hope

Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 9.31.55 AM

Jets quarterback Geno Smith (above, left) on getting his jaw broken in a fight over a $600 debt with another player.

“‘I’m extremely [angry],’ Smith told Newsday in the Jets locker room Wednesday. ‘But I have to keep my temper down. I can’t exhibit that in the locker room, I can’t exhibit that on a daily basis. I just feel for my family more because they enjoy seeing me out there.'”

Smith should be angry. At himself.

I had a long conversation not long after this incident with a Jets fan who was beside himself at losing Smith for the start of the season. He knows that, though far from perfect, current starter Ryan Fitzpatrick is better than Smith. But he still sees Smith as a young player with a higher ceiling who might have been better in a new offensive system this year with the Jets.

Here’s the problem with that reasoning.  Yes, Smith is younger. But his ceiling isn’t that high. The reason is simple. He’s the kind of guy who is stupid enough to get his jaw jacked because he refused to pay a $600 debt – and then not recognize that he’s entirely to blame for the problem. Case closed.

I get that its a quarterback driven league and fans have to  pray for a better quarterback situation to get their team over the hump. The problem is that they wish for it so much that they see things that aren’t there. To a certain extent, that’s what’s going on with quarterback Jay Cutler (above, right) in Chicago. But you have to move on. And its time to move on in New York.

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The Bears Roster and the Ravages of Time

Hub Arkush at puts the average NFL career in perspective with a very thought provoking column:

“What are youth and middle age in the NFL today?

“The NFL Players Association loves to promote the idea of the average career of an NFL player being 3.3 years, but Roger Goodell disagrees.

“The commissioner recently explained the union’s numbers include everybody with a contract but in fact the average career of players who start their rookie seasons on an NFL team’s 53-man roster is just under six years.

“Either way it suggests players need to peak somewhere between their second and fourth seasons.”

The names of the only two Bears players in their fourth season may surprise you: Alshon Jeffery and Shea McClellin. These are players that I think virtually all of us are used to thinking of as young. They’re not. They’re middle aged and arguably on the decline already.

Jeffery is very productive but McClellin is basically still a developmental prospect. Indeed, the Bears are likely starting him over veterans like the released Mason Foster in large part because they believe that he still has a higher ceiling. But does he really?

Hub’s purpose was to point out the players that Bears fans should be following the development of in particular as the future of the franchise – those in their first and second years as pros. These include Kyle Fuller, Ego Ferguson, Will Sutton, Christian Jones, Terrance Mitchell, Eddie Goldman and Jeremy Langford.

But to me it’s a reminder of how terribly far away this team is from building a respectable roster.

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Seattle Offensive Line a Serious Liability as Seahawks May Be in Decline

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, right, is sacked for a 4-yard loss by St. Louis Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald during the third quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Tom Gannam)

AP Photo/Tom Gannam

Sam Monson at Pro Football Focus reviews the performance of the Seattle Seahawks offensive line against the Rams. This observations match what I see:

“The Seattle offensive line combined to surrender three sacks, one hit and 12 additional hurries, and run blocking was almost as bad. It’s a testament to Marshawn Lynch’s ability that he was able to top 4 yards per carry over his 18 carries, generating 73 rushing yards, 39 of which came after contact. Of Fred Jackson’s 13 rushing yards, 11 came after contact, and the team’s other backs combined for seven rushing yards, five of which came after contact.”

“The Seahawks still scored 31 points in this game, and can rightfully point to the defense as an unusual source of blame, but Russell Wilson was under pressure 19 times in the game and the running backs often found themselves with nowhere to go. Over the course of a game these things can be overcome, but over the course of a season they will start to erode the team’s production.”

The Seahawks traded away their best offensive lineman in Max Unger in order to get tight end Jimmy Graham. The statement was clear – skill position players are more important and harder to find then lineman. The Seahawks are paying for that decision and likely will throughout the year.

Admittedly offensive lines have a tendency to gel and become more cohesive as the year goes on. If they stay healthy. And admittedly this particular offensive line didn’t get much time together during the preseason because the coaching staff spent a good part of it juggling their lineup in an effort to find their best five guys.

But I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Football games are won and lost at the line of scrimmage. The Rams have an outstanding front seven. But so will the teams that the Seahawks will face in January (if they make the playoffs at all). They’re going to face a serious uphill battle if things don’t get a lot better soon.

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Get Over Yourself, Pacman

Cincinnati cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones was fined $35,000 for ripping the helmet off of Oakland receiver Amari Cooper and slamming his head into it on Sunday.

Jones plans to appeal responding, “It’s magnified because it’s me.”

A couple points:

  1. This was the egregiously bad act of a dirty player, no matter who it is. Had it been up to me (or most people), Jones would have been ejected and suspended.
  2. It’s not magnified because its you, Adam. Now that you are (apparently) no longer spitting in the face of women and physically abusing them in nightclubs you are no longer relevant.
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Stuck in the Middle

Patrick Finley at the Chicago Sun-Times answers your questions:

“A: For who? Neither second-year player Lamin Barrow, who had been with the Bears less than a week, or rookie John Timu played a defensive snap Sunday. Barrow has played 49 defensive snaps in his pro career. That could change, sure, but starters Shea McClellin and Christian Jones are being given every chance to hold down their jobs.”

How about Mason Fos… Oh, right. Bummer.


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In a Rush to See the Bears Do It to the Passer

Steve Rosenbloom at the Chicago Tribune is excessively tough on the Bears in his Tuesday column. But one thing that he had spot on was the disturbing lack of pass rush Sunday:

“This is, what, Tuesday, and the Bears still haven’t touched Aaron Rodgers.

“Waiting. Wait. Ing.”

” I couldn’t find Pernell McPhee. Same goes for Jared Allen and Lamarr Houston.”

He’s right. The outside linebackers did a good job on Sunday against the run. But they get paid to rush the passer and they get paid a lot. Packers quarterback Aaron Rogers was not only barely touched on Sunday, they barely got close.

The Packers offensive line is good when its healthy. But they’re not that good.

The Bears aren’t going to beat many teams without a pass rush. The Arizona line isn’t exactly a strength of their team and and their quarterback Cason Palmer is a statue that won’t be running around the way Rogers did.  So there will be an opportunity to improve this coming Sunday. If the Bears don’t, it will be very disturbing. Buckle up.

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Bears Waive David Fales, Expect Him on the Practice Squad

LAKE FOREST, IL - MAY 18:  Quarterback David Fales #12 of the Chicago Bears works out during rookie minicamp at Halas Hall on May 18, 2014 in Lake Forest, Illinois.   (Photo by Brian Kersey/Getty Images)

(Photo by Brian Kersey/Getty Images)

The Chicago Bears waived David Fales on Tuesday, another indication that they are fully confident in Jimmy Clausen’s health after he sustained a concussion in the Bears last preseason game.

Its unlikely at this point that anyone will pick up Fales, a former sixth round draft pick, off of waivers.  Fales showed decently during the preseason but he’s unlikely to ever be anything other than a back up in the league.

The Bears have an open spot on their practice squad and undoubtedly have plans for Fales to fill it.  It will be interesting to see what they plan to do with the opening that the loss of Fales creates on the 53 man roster.

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