Jimmy Kempski at phillyvoice.com collects the average age data for each of the 32 teams based upon the final 53 man rosters. Surprisingly the Bears ranked 23rd on this list. You would think that a team that is in a rebuilding phase should be in the top 10.
I think in the Bears case the reason why there’s still a relatively old team is because they’re looking for a different type of player compared to the average rebuilding team.
The Bears seem to have attacked the problem of adding “young” talent by looking for players who aren’t rookies, but are veteran players who have been around but who are still young and who may be ascending. Good examples are Matthew Adams (year 5), Khari Blasingame (year 4), Dane Cruikshank (year 5), Justin Jones (year 5), Dante Pettis (year 5), Byron Pringle (year 5), Equanimeous St. Brown (year 5), Armon Watts (year 4) and Trevon Wesco (year 4).
They have their share of young guys, too. Lamar Jackson (year 2), Alex Leatherwood (year 2), and Ihmir Smith-Marsette (year 2), for example. But general manager Ryan Poles seems to be looking for a different type of player?
When you think about it, this makes sense given Pole’s background as an offensive lineman in the league who was always trying to prove himself. Poles probably saw himself as the type of player that he’s looking for now. That is, a player who has now come a long for a few years and just needs a chance in order to show that he can succeed.
I’ll give credit to Poles. Its a different approach in a year where adding talent via the traditional route of the draft and free agency just wasn’t viable. And it may work. But there’s usually a reason why guys like this aren’t starting with their original teams. It’s going to be interesting to see how it works out.
Four time all pro Mitchell Schwartz evaluates new Bears offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood‘s technical flaws. Schwartz says that Leatherwood has problems with both his foot work and his hand work. Via Ted Nguyen at The Athletic.
According to Schwartz, Leatherwood appears to be taught to “drag on the three-technique defensive tackle,” meaning holding his left arm out to keep space in the B gap and help the right guard.
“His attention is a little too much on that in a few of those clips,” Schwartz said. “It also looks like he’s taught to stay more under control and not set so deep so he doesn’t get beat inside and stays inside/out. But too many times he’s underplaying the block, not understanding his position relative to where the QB is and where he should be, and then puts himself in a position to easily give up the edge.”
The picture painted by this article and the examples of bad play that are embeded within it is not pretty. Leatherwood looks like a man who has been completely discombobulated and has lost his way. You don’t have to be an expert to see that he’s off balance, sometimes actually lunging, with footwork that is obviously way off.
The Bears look to have a job on their hands getting this player up to speed. He looks like he needs to be compeletely broken down and built back up, starting from the basics. The good news is that they have the time to be patient and do that. The bad news is that he’s on the 53 man roster and he’s backing someone up. So let’s all pray more than usual for good health while Leatherwood gets it together.
- Nate Tice at The Athletic visited Bears camp.
Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy was most recently the Packers’ quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator, which comes through in the cadence the Bears quarterbacks and offensive staff use in individual drills. While a quarterback’s cadence might not seem like a huge deal, Bears coaches’ heavy emphasis on varying up cadence makes sense given Getsy’s history with Aaron Rodgers, who has weaponized cadence better than any quarterback ever.
It’s an interesting observation by Tice, one that will probably want to keep an eye on. There were signs that Fields might already be drawing defensive linemen offsides more than usual during the preseason. Hopefully it continues and becomes something significant in his game.
- Jason Fitzgerald at overthecap.com lists the teams with the highest percentage of draft picks out of the league since 2018. Guess where the Bears rank.
Imagine how bad this would be if you coiunted the picks former GM Ryan Pace traded away for picks that are no longer on the team.
One Final Thought
Rick Morrissey at the Chicago Sun-Times comments upon the retirement of Bears President Ted Phillips.<
“There are two disparate views of Phillips, who will be retiring in six months. There’s the view of him from ownership, which thinks he’s the consummate professional, if not a member of the family. And there’s the view of him from Bears fans, who think he’s an interfering paper pusher who, if asked to tell the difference between a football and a foot fetish, would request more time.
“There is no in-between here, no nuance. It’s one or the other: great businessman or an embodiment of all that is wrong with the Bears.”
“He’s what happens after prolonged exposure to the McCaskeys. He never should have been one of the faces of the franchises, and he should have begged to stay far away from microphones. Instead, he answered questions, and despite his insistence that he wasn’t involved in the football operation, it became obvious after a while that he certainly was. The Bears had gone through so many coaches and GMs that what you saw was what you got: McCaskey and Phillips by themselves with no one to rely on other than a consultant or two who had time traveled from the 1950s.
“Phillips didn’t know football, but he was thrust into a position in which he was expected to help hire coaches and GMs. Then he started to think he did know football. That’s the Bears right there.
It’s always puzzled me as to why Bears fans hate Ted Phillips so much. The Bears claimed that he wasn’t involved in day-to-day football operations and I tend to believe that. And there can be little doubt that George McCaskey had final say on everything else.
However, having said that, the last paragraph does pretty much say at all. McCaskey needs help making football decisions for this franchise. He needs a team president who knows football and can help him run it. Instead he had Phillips, a guy who knows about as much about football as he does.
The McCaskeys are wonderful people. You can tell. The kinds of people that you would like to have live next-door. But Phillips just wasn’t the kind of guy who could give him the advice he needs on a regular basis when it comes to making broad, long term football decisions. Not consultants who are in and out in a few months. Someone who knows the lay of the land, who has watched the Bears every week and knows what they need. Perhaps we can hope that he’ll get it from the next hire. But I’m not holding my breath.