Mark Potash at the Chicago Sun-Times suggests that past history may reflect future earnings:
“The biggest test remaining for [quarterback Josh] McCown is staying power. Even in [Marc] Trestman’s offense, the line between success and failure is as fine as ever in the NFL. With the Oakland Raiders in 2003, injuries to Rich Gannon and Marques Tuiasosopo forced Trestman to turn to retread veteran Rick Mirer in Week 9. Through three starts, Mirer was rejuvenated — passer ratings of 106.4, 111.9 and 93.3 with no interceptions in 69 pass attempts. He even had to remind everyone that Gannon still was the starter.
“And then he hit the wall. After completing 67 percent of his passes in his first three starts, Mirer completed 44 percent over his next five starts and lost four of them. Three days after the season, Trestman was looking for work again.
“It remains to be seen if McCown is riding a wave or has reached a new plateau in his career. But make no mistake about it, he’s in the right place, with the right coach, at the right time.”
It's not hard to figure out what Brad Bigg at the Chicago Tribune is getting at here:
“Is Joe Flacco’s performance this season a cautionary tale about signing quarterbacks to mega contracts or is he just going through a difficult year without a secondary wide receiver as Anquan Boldin was traded and tight end Dennis Pitta suffered a broken hip?”
The Ravens cause a lot of trouble in the league as they overpay players like Flacco, Ray Lewis and Ray Rice while everyone else tries to hold the line on salaries. They raise the expectations of players like Brian Urlacher and Matt Forte who are bitter when they find out that most everyone else isn't willing to shell out the same kind of money. Now the Ravens will affect the negotiations for Jay Cutler, who will undoubtedly be looking at the Flacco contract if and when he begins negotiations with the Bears in the offseason. Unfortunately for Cutler, the Bears will be looking closely at that contract as well.
Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune accurately makes this prediction:
“The Bears cannot stop the run effectively in their base Cover-2 defense. With seven defenders in the box, they are getting overpowered. Injuries certainly play a big part in it and you have to imagine the St. Louis Rams are fixing to get rookie Zac Stacy going this Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome. [Baltimore running back Ray] Rice was the fourth back in the last five games to top 100 yards vs. the Bears and in the other game Alfred Morris had 95 yards on 19 carries in a game in which the Redskins amassed 209 yards rushing.”
What's worrisome is that the Bears have largely cleaned up their fundamentals. They're tackling better and as far as I can tell their run fits are reasonably good most of the time. I don't think there's a lot more they can do about this other than live with it and try to work around it. Not good.
Quarterback Josh McCown comments on dealing with the windy conditions at Soldier Field. Via Rich Campbell at the Chicago Tribune:
“'It messes with your mind,' McCown said. '[head coach] Marc [Trestman] made a comment, ‘When it’s breezy, swing easy,’ before the game. But it was funny because it’s so true. If you just relax, and if you grip the ball harder and grit your teeth, it’s gonna move. If you can just throw spirals and stay relaxed, you should be alright. You should be able to cut the wind, to a degree. That was something that was in my mind.'”
It was pretty evident early in the game that the wind was on McCown's mind and he was having a much tougher time dealing with it than Raven's quarterback Joe Flacco. Those looking for the reason why the Bears are sticking so closely to the injured Jay Cutler as the starter probably need look no farther than his superior arm strength. His ability to deal with the adverse weather conditions at Soldier Field was one of the primary reasons they chose to acquire him in the first place.
Rick Morrissey at the Chicago Sun-Times points to what he sees as quarterback Josh McCown's deficiencies:
“But that doesn’t mean McCown is the better fit. It means he hasn’t tried to go beyond the limits of his abilities, which is smart. Someday, an opponent is going to realize he doesn’t have the strongest arm, that he works the middle often and that they might want to get up on Bears receivers a little more. I’m not sure that day is coming in St. Louis on Sunday or in Minneapolis the following week. But it will come, eventually.”
I'm not entirely satisfied with this. The arm strength is a given but McCown doesn't work the middle too often. He spreads the field. Furthermore realizing that a quarterback throws over the middle and stopping it are two different things.
And as for “getting up on the receivers” that's not going to happen. Unlike Injured starter Jay Cutler, McCown hits receivers coming out of their breaks. Furthermore, he has big receivers to throw to who can get off the line and burn a defensive back who covers too closely.
I'm not saying Morrissey's overall point that McCown isn't starter material is necessarily off base. But his reasoning is flawed.
Via Dan Wiederer at the Chicago Tribune:
“Sit down. Chill. Let it heal. Ice and stim. Take a Tylenol. Have a Coke and a smile. Just let it heal.”
Almost a week after the incident and Dan Wiederer at the Chicago Tribune is still writing about how Bear head coach Marc Trestman went for it on fourth and inches inside the Bears 35 yard line last week.
I don’t care if it worked. Believe me, no one would be lauding the decision if running back Forte had gotten tackled in the backfield for a loss – which he nearly was. I didn’t like the call then and I still don’t like it. I’m certainly tired of hearing about it. The fact that former Bears head coach Mike Ditka thought it was the right decision only supports my feeling.
Having said that, I did think this quote was interesting:
“Eight games into his tenure, Trestman’s acumen, his boldness, his proclivity for taking calculated risks have given the Bears a three-way share of first place in the NFC North.
“Said Bears general manager Phil Emery: ‘The older I get, the more I’ve realized it’s the people who are the perceived brainiacs who use that (strength), and it’s exactly how they’ll kick your butt.
“’That’s their edge. That’s Marc’s edge.'”
It’s not surprising to anyone that athletes have to have a competitive nature to win. But the more I watch football – college and professional – the more I realize how huge the degree of it actually is. The fact that good coaches have to combine high intelligence with that almost all-consuming desire to win makes for some unique personalities. Its one of the things that makes the game more interesting.
Rich Campbell at the Chicago Tribune on the Bears situation at defensive end now that Shea McClellin has injured his hamstring:
“With converted three-technique Corey Wootton likely to remain at tackle, rookie David Bass is a leading candidate to start at left defensive end. Cheta Ozougwu could figure into the rotation if the Bears promote him from the practice squad for the game.
“Bass, a seventh-round pick of the Raiders this year who was waived at final cuts, credited defensive line coach Mike Phair and assistant Michael Sinclair for his evolution through four games with the Bears.
“‘You always can improve on your fundamentals, your technique — so my first step, my first two steps, staying low, pad level,’ Bass said. ‘Using my hands — that’s huge in this league. As a defensive lineman, you get locked up with the big offensive linemen, and it becomes a big hugging match. You can’t get rid of them.’”
Campbell has been doing a good job recently of throwing in these little comments that help fans like me learn a little more about football. In this case, you know what Bass is concentrating on in order to improve his game. Let’s see how he does Sunday.