Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Most Bears Fans Don't Actually Watch Bears Games

I don't like watching Bears games in public. One reason is because I have a tendency to cuss a lot during the games. But the main reason is that these "fans" don't even understand what the fuck is going on during the game. I've actually known this for a couple years now, but it's pretty obvious when reading the comments they leave on articles about the Bears. I figure it's because they just started watching in 2006. These are the kinds of "fans" that see a QB get sacked and always blame the QB. Now I'm not saying Rex Grossman has any pocket presence. I'm not saying he hasn't turned normal 3-5 yard sacks into ones that lose 10+ yards. All I'm saying is that these idiots are too brainwashed by journalists on ESPN who don't watch the Bears. Just because Grossman constantly gets bashed by people who are supposed to know the game. Now these writers might know the game, but when they don't live in Chicago they don't watch enough Bears games to actually understand what's going on.

I was blown away by the lack of blame the offensive line got for the Bears misery last year. It was obvious how bad they were from the very start of the season. I'm not going to say the o-line was 100% to blame, but I wouldn't say it was any less than 75%. This leaves 15% for Adam Archuleta and 10% for Ron Turner (these last 2 numbers can be swapped on a game-by-game basis). Archuleta is a skraight bum who doesn't know how to tackle. I doubt he would even be able to make the Duke football team if given the chance. Ron Turner is a joke who doesn't know enough about football to keep the most dangerous player in the league on the field. I understand that Devin Hester didn't know very many plays last year, but you think if you practice ONE play a week with him, you wouldn't have to keep running end-arounds and fake end-arounds (that didn't work a single time all year) every fucking game. Even if they couldn't teach him any new plays, they could have let him go deep on every play and it would have been more effective than the stupid Bears screens they always tried.

But back to my original point: these Bears "fans" just repeat whatever they see on TV without actually letting it get processed by their brains. These are the same people who are still calling for the Bears to trade for McNabb or draft and start a rookie QB and then think that will solve the "problem." NO! The motherfucking problem is the offensive line. It was all of last year, and it would have been this year if they kept the same personnel. Once the o-line gets taken care of (and it will at the draft) then you'll realize that they have been the problem the whole time. Stop repeating everything that you see/hear on ESPN and watch the fucking games!

One last note... what happened to all these people who said they would stop being Bears "fans" if they re-signed Rex? It happened, yet all you people are still doing is bitching. Go root for the packers or something.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Loyalty Rewarded With Securrity

No that's not a typo, you just have to know how to say it. While the Bears have yet to get anything accomplished with their three most coveted upcoming free agents (see Where Do We Go From Here? which, yes, is named after a Yung Berg song that does NOT feature Tony Loco), they have shown their gratitude to Desmond Clark on Sunday in the form of a two-year contract extension. This means that Des will be around at least until 2010. He deserves it for a couple of reasons. First, he has been one of the Bears' more productive receivers over the last few years. Secondly, and more importantly he has been loyal. When the Bears used their first round draft pick on tight end Greg Olsen last year, Des could have seen it as an insult. He could have seen Olsen as a threat to take his position. Instead, he noted the work ethic that Olsen brought to the table and became a mentor to him. Clark has been pivotal to the development of Olsen, and signing this extension means that he will continue to be. Another reason why he wasn't threatened by Olsen is because they are two different kinds of tight ends. Olsen does not have the size that Clark does, but has incredible speed. Because of this, he's not expected to be the greatest blocking tight end. Clark on the other hand, has more size and less speed. While he's not the best blocking tight end in the league, he does a better job clearing some lanes out front for the RB. The combination of Clark and Olsen worked well last year. They were one of only two pairs of TEs to each have over 350 yards receiving. This year they may be one the field together, as the Bears should use some two TE sets. Whether they will both be lining up in on the line, or Olsen is brought out wide to the slot, these two will cause some mismatches. when they're on the field together. With Grossman most likely going to be taking the snaps next year, he will look to get the ball to Clark a decent amount. He has yet to really click with Olsen, but with the Bears returning a solid pair of TEs this year, he should be looking over the middle more often than he has in the past.

The Bears also rewarded the loyalty of Kyle Orton today by signing the neckbearded QB to a one-year extension. Orton could have bitched and moaned by being replaced after going 10-5 as a rookie, but he kept relatively quiet about it. My guess is he realized he didn't actually earn those wins, but rather was along for the ride. Now while I'm not a Kyle Orton fan by any means (I mean he did go to lame ass Purdue), and I'm certainly a big Rex Grossman lobbyist, I think this extension is a good move by the Bears. It lets him know that Bears are serious enough about giving him a chance to be the QB of this team without locking him down in a long-term contract. If Grossman has the year I expect him to, he will be rewarded with the long-term deal, and Orton won't be stuck being a backup past 2009 (unless he's moved into another backup job on a different team). PAB-it-up-arm Brian Greasy is due a decent-sized salary bonus in March, which he doesn't deserve, and will likely be cut by the Bears within the next few days. So if Orton somehow outshines Grossman during camp (fat chance) and goes on to have a solid year, then he will likely be offered a longer extension. Regardless, if Grossman ends up injured again this year, I'd much rather have Neckbeard come in than a guy who looks and acts like Bill Lumbergh.

Where Do We Go From Here?

With free-agency starting this week and the NFL combine coming to a close this past weekend, what are the Bears plans? With Lance Briggs, Bernard Berrian and Brendan Ayanbadejo, all major contributors, facing free agency what are the Bears options? Word is that Jerry Angelo has made all three of them offers, not offers they couldn't refuse and will let them test the market. This doesn't sit too well with me, as Jerry Angelo isn't one to get into a bidding war and all three players are in line to receive more lucrative offers elsewhere. Angelo continues to say the right things, claiming the Bears are still in the mix with all three players. Call it a hunch but I don't see any of the three back next season, I hope I'm mistaken. If these three core players leave, where does it leave the Bears?

Briggs would seem to leave the biggest gap, and its hard to argue that given his production the last few seasons. The Bears may have the best replacement lined up for Briggs in Jamar Williams who showed he can be a very good player in this league when filling in for Briggs and Brian Urlacher at various points last season. Williams is a speedy linebacker that has no problem dropping back into coverage and going sideline to sideline. After replacing the injured Briggs in the Cowboys game last season, Williams recorded 10 tackles.

Ayanbadejo is a menace on special teams and seems to get off on blowing a wedge up or drilling a kick returner. He wants his chance to play linebacker in the NFL but the linebacker position is the biggest logjam on the roster, and he has yet to receive an extended opportunity with the Bears. If the Bears are unable to re-sign Ayanbadejo, I view the loss nearly as large as the potiential loss of Briggs. The special teams unit has been the most consistant, and losing an all-pro player like Brendan Ayanbadejo would be a huge hit.

Berrian is a homerun threat each time he touches the ball and has a very good chemistry with Rex Grossman. As I stated in my last post, losing Berrian would be a hit to the Bears offense but I believe the organization is very confident in Devin Hester and Mark Bradley and may not look to match a larger offer from another team.

The Bears have more pressing needs then what they may loose in free agency. The number one concern for the Bears is the offensive line. Its no secret that the o-line was the biggest reason the Bears couldnt match the success from the '06 campaign. The line got really old, really quickly. Pass rushers could run circles around John Tait and Fred Miller. Ruben Brown and Roberto Garza couldnt knock their mothers off the ball and while Olin Kreutz was his own mean self, he did not perform like in years past. Brown and Miller are out of next years plans and there are immediate holes to fill. G Alan Faneca will be a hot commodity in free agency and the Bears must look his direction. While he is a 10 year vet, he knows how to play the game and seems to have at least a couple more productive seasons infront of him. I believe the organization must select a cornerstone tackle in the first round of this years draft. While the number 1 tackle, Jake Long - Mich, will surely be gone when the Bears are on the clock, the pool of tackles is deep and talented. Jeff Otah - Pitt, Ryan Clady - Boise St, along with G/T Branden Albert - UVA would all make sense for the Bears. The hope is the Bears find a way to get younger and more talented up front. If not, better hope Olin Kreutz starts breaking more jaws.

What Can Brown Do For You?

Last Monday the Bears extended the contract of defensive end Alex Brown through 2010. Brown, who unfairly lost his starting job to Mark Anderson before training camp last year, is such an important part to the Bears run defense. Anderson was named the starter because of his breakout rookie year with 12 sacks in limited time. He also finished 2nd in voting for NFL rookie of the year honors. But there's a reason why he was so successful that year. Alex Brown would be in to stop the run on early downs, and the opponents would be forced to try to move the ball through the air. Anderson is a great pass rusher, because of his speed, but he does not contribute to stopping the run. He is always too deep into the opponents backfield to be effective against the run.

Now Alex Brown could have just gotten salty about being replaced in the starting lineup last year, but instead he took advantage of his opportunities. When Anderson got hurt near the end of the season Brown stepped up and contributed greatly to the defense and proved his worth. This is why Brown needs to be the starter this year since the Bears defense is known for shutting down the run, and he's a big reason why. Now Anderson is a good, young DE but is not on the same level as Alex Brown. The Bears need to have Brown in on the majority of the downs, and rotate Anderson in on passing downs to bring pressure. If Alex Brown is moved back up in the depth charts this year, the Bears defensive line can get back to where they were in 2006. Adewale Ogunleye had a great year in 2007 and with a healthy Tommie Harris this year there is no way the Bears can get embarrassed on the ground like they did by Adrian Peterson and the Vikings last year (AT HOME!). But they just need to make sure that they have Alex Brown as their main guy on the right side and get Anderson in the mix on passing downs.

Lovie Smith told the media on Thursday that he expects safety Mike Brown to be apart of the team in 2008. This is great news! While Brown has been injury plagued the last 4 years, he really is the heart and soul of the defense. When he is on the field, the defense is at the top of their game. He is a true leader on the field, even more so than Urlacher. Not only is he valuable as an on-field coach, but he's also one hell of a player. Last year in the opening game against San Diego, he recorded 4 tackles and an INT before a season ending ACL rupture (when he was tackled while returning the INT). Not only does he put up big numbers, but he plays the game the way it's supposed to be played: with heart. He fought back from an achilles injury in 2004, a calf injury in 2005, a foot injury in 2006, and now this knee injury. Maybe he has bad luck, maybe he's made of glass, but you can never question his heart. When being interviewed last year after the knee injury, you could feel his devastation knowing that he might have played his last game as a Chicago Bear (or even his last career NFL game). You can't help but feel sorry for the guy when he gives his all but just can't seem to have things go his way. Especially when he means so much for the team.

Hopefully he'll be able to bounce back from the injury and return to form. They say you're never the same after blowing out your knee, but even if he's a fraction of what he used to be, he will be extremely valuable to the Bears defense. He brings so much to the table, and I just hope he can stay healthy throughout the season. Not just so the Bears defense will be a dominant force again, but because he deserves it.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Nothing About BB Screams Franchise

70 catches, 948 yards, 5 tds. A very solid 2007 campaign for Bernard Berrian. Does that put him in the class of Steve Smith, Randy Moss, T.O., Marvin Harrison or TJ Whosyourmomma? Most definitely not. But if the Bears would of placed the Franchise Tag on Berrian for the '08 season he would of been paid nearly 8 million dollars taking up about 13% of the Bears cap space. I commend the Bears front office for not slapping the tag on a receiver that doesn't catch passes across the middle and seems to lack focus from time to time. BB is an explosive receiver who's a threat to take it to paydirt whenever he gets his hands on the ball, and the Bears offense would suffer without him. The reality is the Bears will make him a very fair offer (maybe lower because Angelo loves to lowball players) but will be outbid by a team willing to overpay for a receiver who in my opinion has yet to really prove himself to be more than a number 2 option on the outside. With the departure of Moose and possibly BB, it leaves the Bears receiving core thin. Devin Hester needs to be on the field every offensive snap because of the threat we all know he is and these moves clears the path for him to develop into a number 1 receiver. I'm excited to see Mark Bradley develop further into the playmaker the Bears envisioned when he was selected in the second round of the '05 draft. Bradley has shown flashes of ability to be a playmaker in the league but his development has been stunted due to injuries earlier in his career. A fully healthy Bradley will give the Bears a possession type receiver with playmaking ability that will nicely compliment Hester. Rasheed Davis has a knack for making the big catches over the middle in crunch time and will once again occupy the slot when the Bears go 3 wide. I anticipate Ron Turner to find more ways to get Greg Olsen the ball. Lining him up in the slot would give Olsen a free release and better show off his freakish athletic ability. Its no secret the more the Bears get their TE's involved, the better this offense looks, especially when Grossman is in the game. Mental Midget Grossman doesn't have to make a difficult read when hes looking directly into the middle of the field where the TE's occupy. Overall I believe the Bears have a talented group of pass catchers but experience is the question mark. Oh that and the shitty O-Line, lets not forget about that.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Devin The Dude Should Shine On Offense This Year

Devin Hester should be the main focal point of the offense this upcoming season. He can only get better as he'll have game experience as a receiver going into training camp this year. It also gives him another year to learn the playbook. Obviously he struggled to grasp the playbook last year, and the Bears were forced to run the same 3 or 4 plays with him whenever he was on the field. Even with a limited amount of plays to work with, Ron Turner should have done a better job utilizing him. It seemed like every game the first two plays the Bears ran with Hester on the field were the end around and the fake end around. It NEVER worked because it was so predictable. The play could be effective if they didn’t try it every game. Ron Turner is a jackass! He had the most dangerous weapon in the entire league, but didn’t know how to use it.

With another year under his belt learning the playbook, Devin Hester has a chance to become one of the premier receivers in the league. His ability to cut on a dime can get him separation from even the best cornerbacks in the league and his breakaway speed lets him easily outrun anybody on the field. The only question mark that still remains is his hands. He dropped some easy touchdowns this past season, but I’m sure his number one focus on the off-season (aside from learning the playbook) is improving his catching ability. Once his hands become more reliable and Turner realizes that Devin Hester needs to STAY on the field, he could easily be an all-pro receiver.

The only two other things that Hester needs to do this off-season are pick a new get-hype song, and a new touchdown dance (which will probably match up with whatever song he picks). If he continues to have Soulja Boy play before his kick returns I don’t think I would be willing to go to any Bears games this year. That is the most annoying song of 2007 and it continues to annoy in 2008. Now I don’t actually think he would want to have that played-out song as his anthem this year, but you never know because it was such a tradition during last season. I mean it did have thousands of old white people doing a dance and rapping along to a song that they didn’t actually understand, which is funny, but still I can not stand hearing that shit anymore. Devin, if you do use “Crank Dat” as your song again, at least let it be the Travis Barker remix which is actually bearable. But better than that I suggest using whatever this summer’s anthem will be (hopefully something by Bun B).

Rex Grossman Is Our Quarterback

The Bears made another good off-season move today by signing Grossman to a one-year, $3 million contract with up to $2 million in incentives. Most Bears fans aren't going to be happy with this move, but it NEEDED to be done. Brian Griese proved last year that he is nothing more than a career backup. He simply doesn't have what it takes. While he was better at staying in the pocket than Rex, he couldn't throw the ball more than 5 yards past the line of scrimmage. I'd much rather have someone who is a threat to go deep, even if it means more INTs. Kyle Orton showed some signs of life last year, but there's a reason why he's been buried in the Bears depth chart since going 10-5 as a rookie. We all know the only reason he got those wins is because the Bears defense was ridiculous. The only thing he really succeeded at that season was not turning the ball over too often. Orton proved himself enough last year to become the backup QB, whether or not the Bears decide to let Griese go. But the only reason he got the chance to prove himself was because Grossman got hurt. I'm all for having competition at the QB spot during camp this year, but obviously when it's all said and done, Grossman will be the starter.

There's still people who are calling for a trade for McNabb, but there's no way that could have happened (even if the Bears hadn't signed Grossman). The Eagles are not willing to give him up, and if they somehow were, it would cost WAY too much. And let's not forget the facts that he'll turn 32 during this upcoming season, and he hasn't been healthy in a while. I still think he's a good quarterback, and he'll continue to become successful when he's finally healthy this year, but it's not worth the gamble for what we would have to give up to get him. So get over it.

Of course people are going to complain about how Rex throws too many INTs. But after being benched last season, he grew up. He only threw 1 interception after returning, and even managed to run across the line of scrimmage a few times. Sure he still had a couple lost fumbles, but we can credit those the the miserable offensive line. Somehow all year people overlooked the horrible performance of the o-line and blamed the lack of offense on the QBs/RBs. It's impossible to throw the ball if you don't have any protection, and you sure as hell can't run the ball if there aren't any holes to cut through. The only holes the line managed to create were the ones that let the defense right in for easy tackles. Once the line gets taken care of, the running game will start moving, which will open up the passing game.

The signing of Grossman will also make it a lot easier to re-sign Bernard Berrian. Grossman and Berrian work really well together, and we need him back. He would be able to get open a lot this year, as we know Devin Hester is going to be a bigger focus on the offense. Having Berrian and Hester on the field gives the Bears two legit threats to go deep at any time. With Grossman's ability to throw the deep ball and the combination of having Berrian, Hester, and Greg Olsen on the field, the Bears have to chance to put up big offensive numbers this season.

Sure Rex has had some god-awful games. But when he's on, he is better than most QBs in the league (do you not remember the beginning of the '06 season?). With an improved offensive line, he won't have to worry about getting rocked every other time he drops back to pass, and he'll be able to use all of the weapons the Bears will have this year. As long as he can stay healthy this year, the Bears are looking good. When Rex Grossman plays the full season, the Bears go to the Super Bowl, CASE CLOSED.