Dave Skretta at the Topeka Capital-Journal reviews the Kansas City Chiefs players that are set to see free agency.
There are some interesting names here. Sean Smith is a 28 year old physical cornerback that would look good in a Bears uniform, Jeff Allen might look good at right guard and, frankly, even Chase Daniel, who learned to be an NFL quarterback from Sean Payton with Ryan Pace‘s Saints might be a possibility.
The Chiefs probably aren’t going to be able to re-sign all of these guys. It will be interesting to see who shakes loose and whether the Bears will have any interest.
Mike Florio at profootballtalk.com on how the Seahawks heve been forced to handle Marshawn Lynch during a difficult season with a difficult player:
“The tiptoeing tone apparently was set at the top of the organization, with as one source explained it [head coach Pete] Carroll avoiding the issue of talking to Lynch and instead relying on others to communicate with him. While much of the problems flow from the way Lynch has handled others, the Seahawks perhaps haven’t handle Lynch in an ideal way, either.”
This is where it all leads. Time after time I’ve heard from fans in the NFL that “talent trumps all” and that players like Martellus Bennett should be kept on the team despite their difficult ways. This is where it all ends up when you do that too often. With a player that the head coach has to tip toe around just to keep him happy and get him on the field.
Time after time the Seahawks have kowtowed to Lynch, allowing him to get away with, for instance, sulking out on the field during half time rather than going in with the team. Allowing him to fail to live up to the terms of his contract by failing to speak to the media – by actually defending him on it.
Heaven forbid that the Bears ever let it get to this point themselves. Thank heavens that the indications are that they won’t.
Wes Hodkiewicz of the Green Bay Press-Gazette interviews Green Bay head coach Mike McCarthy. He asks him about reversing his decision to give play calling duties to offensive coordinator Tom Clements during the 2015 season.
“Those are conversations that will start Wednesday. I’ll tell you I will be calling the plays from here on in. How we structure our staff that’s really what lies ahead.”
“What I was trying to accomplish [with the initial change] with being a balanced team, I felt that was accomplished with defense and special teams. Obviously, we didn’t get it done on offense. The structure was obviously a part of the failure on offense. That will be closely evaluated.”
“Without going into total details … [the offensive problem] wasn’t about Tom or Tom calling plays. Tom is a valued assistant coach and has been my whole time here. I fully anticipate him being back. We have a staff structure that’s under total evaluation.”
It’s been pointed out many times that the Packers were missing wide receiver Jordy Nelson and that was a big loss. But it’s now obvious that their difficulties on offense went way beyond that. Clements was another part of the problem. Otherwise McCarthy wouldn’t be continuing to call plays.
Offensive play calling is an art that I’m convinced some people possess and some don’t. Some of it has to do with planning but I think a lot of it is simply thinking fast on your feet and remembering to call the plays that you planned to go with. The guess here – and past experience with some of the more poor offensive coordinators the Bears have had bears it out – is that you get used to relying on the same plays over and over again over the course of a season. They’re the ones you tend to call when you’ve only got a few seconds to make a decision. That makes you predictable.
But in this case the problem may go beyond play calling. Part of the purpose for giving up play calling duties, as McCarthy pointed out, was to get McCarthy out of the offensive room so that he could spend more time with the defense and special teams. That degraded the offensive performance, something that was obvious to everyone as the Packers made mistake after mistake on the field. The crisp execution that the Packers are known for disappeared and suddenly, for instance, receivers couldn’t get on the same page with quarterback Aaron Rogers.
This lesson shouldn’t be lost on Bears fans as they watch the team transition from Adam Gase to Dowell Loggains at the offensive coordinator spot. Even the best offenses in the NFL can fall apart if you don’t have the right guy running the unit. Calling plays and getting everyone to perform as a unit where players are always where they are supposed to be are two of the biggest jobs that any offensive coach has. It’s a job that Clements couldn’t do. Let’s hope that Loggains does better or we’re going to see a Bears offense that performed in a commendably clean manner for most of the 2015 season regress.
Its not a surprise but Green Bay would like to move linebacker Clay Matthews back outside full time next year.
“In order to do that, the Packers might have to make it an offseason priority to acquire another starting-caliber inside linebacker. When general manager Ted Thompson did not address that position until the fourth round of last year’s draft, when he took Jake Ryan, it ensured Matthews would play mostly inside again.”
What all of this means is that the Bears, who arguably need two starters at the inside linebacker position, will be competing with the Packers for the same players. The Bears pick far higher in the draft order (11th) but they likely have their eye on one or two prospects, for instance, in the second round that the Packers will be considering with the 27th overall pick.
The situation reminds me of the 2010 draft when the Packers traded up in the third round to get ahead of the Bears to select safety Morgan Burnett. The Bears were left to select Major Wright four picks later. Burnett established himself as a starter with the Packers, and has just competed his sixth season with them. Wright is long gone along with the parade of other safeties the Bears selected in the Lovie Smith era.