Football

So what do we make of this loss and the 3-2 record at the bye? On the one hand, the Bears looked bad for most of three quarters against a bad team and the game was still there to be won and they gave it away. On the other, they were missing two of three starters on the d-line, and were with a backup QB who proved last year he can get you out of one game but not much more. Just one of those days?

Tony Martin (@MrMartinBruh): For about ten minutes, I was optimistic that the Bears would’ve somehow gotten to the bye at 4-1 and had a week to get healthy and make a real push. This one stung, for more reasons than one. The defense got pushed around, that special teams sequence that gave Oakland a first down on the eventual game winning drive was awful, and the offense once again abandoned the running game.  Honestly, Daniel played well enough to win the game, but they just didn’t have enough. That first half was one of the worst things I’ve ever seen as a football fan.

I didn’t see Chuck Pagano blitz too much today, and the Bears got run on in a way that I haven’t seen in a long time. Get well soon, Akiem.
Brian Schmitz: As I wrote, I am under the impression that this team may not be as good as everyone thought they were. The offensive line is either really hurt or really bad, but they are probably both. The run game is nonexistent. But MOST importantly, the offense is getting out-schemed at every turn. That is where the truth lies.
Tony: I’m pretty sure Kyle Long is either done mentally or no longer physically effective. He is becoming an actual detriment on the offensive line. In fact, the line is one of the biggest problems with this team. No matter who is at QB, they’re being rushed and there are no real seams opening up for the running game unless David Montgomery is creating them via the cutback.
Is there any tweak to the o-line or offense over the bye that you’d like to see? Or is even possible? Obviously new personnel isn’t really an option. 
Tony: The offensive line simply needs to improve, by any means necessary in my opinion. You’d think it would be obvious to Nagy, who works with the most fearsome defensive line in the NFL, that if his offensive line isn’t holding up to switch it up to shorter dropbacks and quick hitting plays. The Bears have been beaten this year on defense when the quarterback gets rid of the ball quickly and the running game is established; I’m wondering when he game plans similarly for his own offense.
Brian: The only way to tweak the O-Line would be to put them in a better position to succeed. Which would entail more roll outs in the passing game and more outside runs in the running game. Getting outside in the run game requires your TE’s and receivers to be responsible enough to block. So basically, we are asking out skill guys to run block because the line cannot. This will assuredly end well.
Tony: Kyle Long- as Lizzo said: “I’m crying because I love you (but you probably shouldn’t be starting at guard)”
Football

Hello! This is something I did at FanSided last year. But Fansided is dumb and evil, so I’m bringing it to you, the people. It’s not mean to be serious, because you shouldn’t take the NFL and the Bears seriously.

You Can Only Get Away With A Backup Defensive Line For So Long

For one week, the Bears rolled in backups, beer vendors, and a couple janitors into the rotation against the Vikings and they were all getting to pose behind the line after making a play. They didn’t need Akiem Hicks or Bilal Nichols that week, and you wondered if they were just unearthing people like Sarumon and the Urukai. But there’s a reason Hicks is an All-Pro level player, and you’re supposed to struggle to replace him. Trying to do it for a second straight week showed that.

Without Hicks, the Raiders seemed to figure out they could throw multiple people at Khalil Mack and Eddie Goldman, and no one else was going to be able to make them stop. And that’s how it proved. We’re doing the Leonard Floyd early-season thing, where we wonder why he isn’t running wild when only facing one guy. Backups proved to be backups. It’s football, injuries happen, and they determine a lot of what will happen in January. It went well for the Bears last year, which is why it still feels like such a missed opportunity.

If Hicks’s elbow suddenly putting up a carnival tent inside his skin keeps him out long-term, it’s a huge problem. Especially for however long Nichols is out along with it. Once you get your backups on film, you give everyone a chance to see what they can and can’t do. The Raiders and Jon Gruden pretty quickly figured out what they couldn’t. At least the Bears will know what’s coming.

You Can Only Get Away With Your Backup QB For So Long

It shouldn’t have been a surprise, because we did this last year. Chase Daniel gets you out of the Thanksgiving game, as backup QBs are kind of designed to do. Get you out of a game. One. Two is pushing it. So the next week, Daniel made enough plays to keep the Bears in it against the Giants when the defense took the week off, but he also made enough plays to get you beat. He got you out of the Vikings game. Here comes a second straight game with him behind center, and boy didn’t it look the same? Enough plays to give you the lead, enough plays that put you in that hole to begin with and then lost you the game. That’s kind of what a non-starting QB in the NFL looks like. There’s a reason every rule is meant to protect starting quarterbacks. Your season is fucked if they get hurt.

There were two sacks at least that were from Daniel holding the ball too long, possibly because he’s not much taller than a fire hydrant. In more Rex Grossman comparisons, he has a nasty habit of running straight backwards when under pressure instead of stepping up, possibly because stepping up into the pocket would cut off his vision even more. He should have had three INTs, got bailed out by a roughing-the-passer call for one (and game-changing penalties appear to just be things that are going to happen every week). The other two were bad.

He didn’t get much help. It went a touch overlooked in the buildup to the season, but the Bears couldn’t really run the ball last year. We pinned it on Jordan Howard or Matt Nagy’s over-creative nature, but there weren’t many places for Howard to run. We wanted to think the more explosive and elusive David Montgomery and another year of Nagy’s schemes would get around it. Yeah, well, Kyle Long is made of more spare parts than the car they give Matt Damon at the end of “Good Will Hunting.” Charles Leno was doing his own version of Hamilton out there, and has been. Again, switching Whitehair and James Daniels…was that really so clean?

The difference in football is that you can’t solve it from outside the organization. In the other three sports, if your right fielder can’t hit or your second-line left-winger gets hurt or you need a new small forward, there’s a trade deadline for that. Football doesn’t work that way. How do you solve this internally though?

Everyone Is An Expert On Jet Lag Now

This was an argument making the rounds right around the second quarter, and it was the Bears decision to fly out to London on Thursday evening, arriving Friday morning. What it ignored was that the last time the Bears had to do this, they thwacked the Buccaneers after flying out on Thursday. Most teams fly out on the Thursday. They get a plane you and I will never see. They have experts on this we don’t. They weren’t attempting to sleep in a coach seat next to the smelly guy while sitting up. It’s fine. Whatever. They lost because they got their ass whipped, not because they were groggy. Shut up.

Football

What if maybe, just maybe, this Bears team isn’t as good as we thought? Sunday evening in London provided the Bears an opportunity to show the world that they are indeed the Super Bowl contenders that they think they are. Then, unfortunately, the game began and the oft- celebrated Bears team was punched square in the dick. Time, after time, after time. To see an opponent physically dominate the Bears on defense AND offense was a surprising as it was disappointing.

But why were they dominated? The answer is because the more I see this offense, the more I believe that Matt Nagy has been figured out. We’ve blamed Jordan Howard. We’ve blamed Mitch Trubisky. We’ve blamed the O-Line. But really, the blame needs to fall on the shoulders of the guy who is calling the plays. I get it – Nagy is cool. His players like him. He’s great with the media. That’s all great, but it doesn’t mean dick when you can’t score points with any sort of consistency. This loss and this unspectacular season are on Matt Nagy.
Should we really blame Nagy for a team that came out flat, and stayed flat? Probably not, but if you are looking for excuses, you can blame the overseas travel, the late week arrival in London, and of course, a plethora of injuries to key players. However, any or all these excuses should not have resulted in the type of ass kicking that Raiders orchestrated. Don’t kid yourself, the Raiders were the better team today and if not for some hideous turnovers by Derek Carr, the Bears very well could have been shut out.

Where did it all go wrong? It started early folks. The entire first half had the look of the Raiders playing the role of the Chicago Bears. They pressured Chase Daniel on almost every drop back and parlayed that with an epic run defense that held the Bears to a grand total of 16 rushing yards. The 17-0 first half whitewash could and should have been even worse had Richie Cognito, who is a certifiable crazy person, not committed a questionable personal foul penalty that forced the Raiders out of field goal position. The 1st half numbers tell you all you need to know about how this team started:
Points 0
1st Downs 2
Total Yards 44
Passing Yards 28
Times Sacked 3
Turnovers 1
Rushing Yards 16
Penalties 3
Time of Poss. 10:07

Meanwhile, the defensive unit formerly known as the Bears was not much better, giving up the following:
Points 17
1st Downs 14
Total Yards 208
Passing Yards 109
Times Sacked 0
Turnovers 0
Rushing Yards 99
Penalties 0
Time of Poss. 19:53

The 2nd half afforded the Bears the opportunity to cash in on some nonsensical Derek Carr decisions, but this was a game in which you were never comfortable with the way things were going. Chase Daniel looked like a backup quarterback most of the day, which is troubling since Mitch Trubisky is essentially a glorified backup at this point. Daniel finished 22-30 for 231 and 2/2. On the surface, this isn’t the worst of days. However, both INT’s came at the most inopportune of times and he also had a terribly thrown ball picked off which was negated by a penalty. One positive we can take from Daniel’s performance is that there will not be any talk of a QB controversy this week; so, we have that going for us…which…is nice.

Still, with all the shit we saw from the Bears, this team was still in position to win the game. Late in the 4th quarter, The Raiders would have to go 97 yards to score a touchdown and win. 97 yards against the leagues best defense? Not happening right? Well, you know what happened. The Bears forced a punt, but where called for running into the punter. Then they give up a fake punt for a 1st down. Then Derek Carr put on his big boy pants, made some great throws, spread the ball around to 5 different receivers, and delivered the most impressive drive a Bears opponent has had all season. Touchdown Raiders. Game. Over.

Where does this leave us heading into the Saints game in 2 weeks? Well, we are looking at a Bears team who is lucky to be 3-2 and very likely could or should be 1-4. It would be a damn shame to waste this generationally talented Bears defense on a team that can’t score points with any consistency. I am afraid that is what we are going to continue to see from this team moving forward this season.

Football

vs.

 

Bears (3-1) vs. Raiders (2-2)

Sunday, October 6th 12:00

TV: Fox

London, England

Fun Fact: Winston Churchill believed non-white people were genetically inferior to white people, while also drinking enough to make Charles Bukowski look like a 14-year -old after three Natty Lites

Top of the morning, Bears fans! As you read this, we are more or less two days away from our boys taking on the Oakland Raiders, who are technically the home team at the fabled Northumberland Development Project, which I swear is the actual name of the stadium they’ll be playing in on Sunday and not something that I made up.

Let’s lead with the obvious story: Khalil Mack is returning to destroy the hopes and dreams of the team that traded him to Chicago for a handful of magic beans and a collection of Walgreens coupons. Sure, two first round picks is a high price to pay, but Mack is worth it beyond any shadow of a doubt and we know how bad Ryan Pace has been drafting in the first round. This one is going to be personal, and I am so excited to watch him get held on every single play on Sunday. It probably won’t matter how many midfielders or whatever the Raiders send to chip him, expect Mack to rule the pitch and bend rookie lineman Kolton Miller like Beckham would (I know nothing about soccer, I apologize). Khalil Mack is going to do to the Raiders what the British East India Company did to most of the world in the era of imperialism. Expect it to be NSFW.

This game feels like classic Chicago Bears football: the defense dominates and the offense, knowing how much more exciting it is to watch them play, does their best job to keep it interesting by going out three-and-out every time they’re on the field. Outside of an impressive drive to start the game and one more drive before the half, this offense didn’t inspire much last week in the absence of Mitch Trubisky, who I am also sure will be genetically modified when he comes back from injury and throw for 500 yards a game.

These games are maddening because if the Bears had a three touchdown lead for once it would be nice to see the defense get to pin their ears back and do the things that make them so fun to watch: take chances for the big play. Eddie Jackson is an All-Pro safety, and imagining him in a game situation where he’s feeling more comfortable to jump a route or two could lead to a few more team celebration photos in the opposing end zone.

Can Chase Daniel keep this offense running as smoothly as my first car, a 95 Ford Escort with one functioning door? That might be all it takes to win with the way this defense is playing. A beat-up defense ethered Minnesota’s offense so badly last week that it literally caused team dysfunction. They’re wrecking homes at an Ashley Madison rate, and you can’t compete with that kind of efficiency. Chase will be asked to manage the game, and while that’s a major regression from what we all expected going into 2019, if it means a Bears W, I’ll take it. I’m expecting Javon Wims to catch a touchdown in this one, and if I’m wrong I’ll buy everyone reading this an order of fish and chips*.

*Not an actual guarantee, but hey I did learn that the British call french fries “chips” because it’s short for “chipped potatoes.”

Honestly, I just want to see notable Red-Assed goober Jon Gruden have a shitty day. He’s a total heel, but not in the fun heel way a la Dusty Rhodes. Gruden has X-Pac Heat (for those unfamiliar, X-Pac Heat is when wrestling fans hate a wrestler not because of effective heel work, but because they are unlikable as a human being/suck at wrestling). If I can’t get WALTER to come out and hit Chucky with a lariat, I’d hope the Bears could make him regret pretty much everything he’s done since taking over creative control of the Raiders and doing exactly two things:

1. Cutting or trading everyone that made this team interesting or fun
2. Ruining how cool it is that I got a dope throwback Raiders Starter jacket three years ago

Derek Carr is overrated, and is at best a middling QB who wants to be Tony Romo for a new generation. Josh Jacobs has potential, but isn’t there yet. Jacobs, Darren Waller, and Tyrell Williams are the best things going for this Oakland offense. This is a team that was in need of a Dolphins-esque rebuild, and they entrusted it to a fucking clown and I feel bad for the 10-15 good to great players on the roster.

This game could go a number of different ways. I can see it being anything from a 24-3 laugher in favor of the Bears, or the Raiders could shock us all and pull out a close one. When in London, nothing is guaranteed, except for Allen Robinson‘s dominance (16 catches, 213 yards, 2 touchdowns in 3 career games in London), because he’s the best Zed receiver taking the pitch on Sunday.

Prediction: Bears 27, Raiders 10

Football

Our collective is back to review what went down on Sunday and looking ahead to the trip to the Old Empire. 

Considering who was out, and though the Vikings make a habit of being a fraud, that’s a pretty impressive win, no?

Wes French (@WFrenchman): It’s a great win. It’s a win for Nagy and Pagano. It’s a win for the defense, again. It’s a win for the system to get enough points to win an ugly game. This can work, QB position be damned.

But hanging over this big win is a whole lot of uncertainty. How long will Trubisky be sidelined? If he’s out for the season is this Chade Daniel’s show or is there a move to be made? And what about Roquan Smith, late inactive but on the sidelines, and a very expensive wrecked car earlier in the morning on Sunday?
Tony Martin (@MrMartinBruh): There’s an art to winning ugly, and with a defense like this it’s gonna happen a lot. The Roquan stuff is a huge bummer, but hey on the plus side Nick Kwiatkoski flashed all game. The team looked great short handed, I’m just a little worried at how conservative the play calling gets later in the game. 
Brian Schmitz (@_BrianSchmitz) Very impressive. Especially from a piecemeal defensive unit and a backup quarterback. I loved the way Chase Daniel(s) stayed within himself and the offense and relied almost solely on quick read, quick hitters.
They only put up 16 points, so anyone erotically-asphyxiating themselves over Chase Daniel is…well I won’t finish that, but why did the offense look a touch smoother with Daniel in at QB? 

Wes: Accuracy. Daniel isn’t going to get anyone excited about, well, anything. But he can make NFL-caliber throws when given the time because he can read the field. The completion to backup WR Javon Wims down the right sideline in the 3rd quarter was completed because Daniel put it in a spot only Wims could make a play on it. You routinely see that ball sail on Mitch or end up in a 50-50 position. Daniel will run through his reads very quickly as well and put the ball on whoever he feels is the best option that play, or wait until that option develops. He does this by working mostly inside of 10-15 yards, though, so there isn’t much of a big play aspect at all with him under center.

The drawback with Daniel is that he’s essentially immobile. He will give you less than nothing in a broken play/scramble situation and he doesn’t have the arm to hit anything further than the Wims play. The Vikings are a good defense, but this thing could have been well over by the start of the 3rd Q after the Mack strip sack that set up another FG. You can go a long way in this league by capitalizing with touchdowns off turnovers. There were many points left on the field yesterday, but luckily the Bears didn’t need them.
Brian: It’s because Daniel know his athleticism can’t create something out of nothing, so he goes thru his progressions and gets rid of the ball. Nagy’s pass plays were almost solely within a 10 yard window, which of course aids in Daniel’s accuracy, which was very, very good.  
Are we expecting some sort of letdown against the Raiders in London, or the Bears to roll straight through into the bye?
Brian: I don’t expect a letdown because a.) they scored 16 points last week; its not like they came out and lit shit up and b.) I don’t think this defense is capable of a letdown; they truly want to be great and take each opportunity as a challenge. Khalil Mack will most certainly be ready against his old team and a coach he hates.

Wes: I think normally this type of game, being 10 time zones away and all, would scream let down. But I think there’s even more of a sense of urgency to get some things right on offense and roll into the bye with more positivity and get some guys healthy. Khalil Mack might be able to provide motivation for the entire team anyway. He’s already been quoted as saying this is a game he’s been waiting for since the trade. He’s going to make some lifetime fans at Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

I think any letdowns this week come in the form of long term news on the injury front and whatever is going on with Roquan Smith.
Tony: This game screams “trap game” to me, but I’m wondering of Khalil Mack can singlehandedly reverse that. I don’t see the Bears scoring much, but the defense is untouchable. If they score two touchdowns, it should be a lock. That’s a big if, though. 
Football

What surprised you more? How well Chase Daniel played, or, how bad the Minnesota Vikings are?

The answer to the first question is obvious. Chase Daniel is a serviceable NFL backup who a.) knows his own limitations, b.) plays within himself, and c.) excels in a system that favors a quick hitting, short yardage passing game over a five- or seven-step drop progression driven scheme that looks for the big play. Daniel finished his day 22-30 for 195 and one TD. Of the eight incompletions, there were four drops, which obviously makes his accuracy all the more impressive. To step in cold and operate the offense arguably better than the starter is a tribute to Daniel’s practice habits and knowledge of the offensive system. Given the investment the organization has in Mitch Trubisky, I don’t envision a quarterback controversy. However, it seems pretty clear that Matt Nagy trusts Daniel and feels more than comfortable with him running the offense.

The answer to the second part of the question above is far more difficult to answer. The Vikings prized run-game finished with 40 yards on 16 carries while the NFL’s leading rusher Dalvin Cook accounted for 35 of those yards on 14 carries. The Bears knew Kirk Cousins wasn’t going to beat them, so they tee’d off on stopping the run and did just that. Cousins finished the game with a respectable 27/36 for 233 yards. These numbers are actually more impressive than they looked as Cosuins was dodging a legit Bears pass rush all day. Cousins was sacked six times and was under intense pressure on almost every five-step drop he took. The Vikings defense yielded only 269 total yards, which wins most Sundays – except when you are going up against the generationally talented defense that is the Bears outfit.

The one player who will benefit more than anyone else by having Daniel under center is Javon Wims. Wims grabbed four balls on five targets, including the Bears longest pass play of the season, a 37-yard connection down the right sideline. Daniel and Wims developed their familiarity with each other by taking second team reps in practice as well as running some scout team offense together. A potential Wims emergence would be extremely valuable to an offense that is struggling to find a #2 receiver behind Allen Robinson.

This brings to mind my weekly mention of Anthony Miller. Miller had two catches on Sunday for 11 yards. – this is same number of catches that the ghost of Adam Shaheen had. I am at a loss when trying to figure out why Miller continues to be a non-factor in this offense. Could we have been wrong about him and his potential? Is he still not healthy? I don’t know these answers, but if Miller continues to disappear, this offense will not be able to sustain any sort of consistency.

Speaking of consistency, for the 4th time in as many games, the run game was atrocious. Nagy made a concerted effort to get David Montgomery the rock. However, 21 touches for 53 yards with a long of seven yards are not what we are looking for from a lead back. I respect and endorse a commitment to the run, but with this O-Line, I’m sure we are not going to see Montgomery in the conversation for Rookie of the Year.

While Montgomery struggled, Tarik Cohen made the most of his seven total touches, highlighted by a 10-yard catch and run for a touchdown. Cohen had a chance for a huge day, but bobbled a perfectly thrown Chase Daniel throw down the sideline which would have resulted in a huge gain and more points on the board.

We are getting force fed Cordarrelle Patterson in the run game. I get it, it’s Matt Nagy being cute. But it continues to produce absolutely nothing. Patterson is a return specialist at this point in his career, except he’s not that good in that phase anymore. Tarik Cohen needs to be taking the backfield reps that Patterson is currently getting, and if that doesn’t happen, getting Anthony Miller more involved this way is an option that needs to be explored.

Next week, the Bears take to the pitch of Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to face the Oakland/Los Angeles/Las Vegas Raiders. There is no reason we can’t expect more of the same from the Bears defense, but what will we see from Chase Daniel, who will be working with the 1’s all week in practice. Another strong Daniel outing and Chicago may just have a QB controversy on their hands.

Football

We gathered our Bears crew in the aftermath of the preseason opener to take a temperature. We won’t tell you about the thermometer application. And away we go?

Did we learn anything important from the Bears first preseason game?

Tony Martin: What popped for y’all? Nick Kwiatkoski still can’t cover the pass. I’m hoping the Bears go a different direction when his rookie deal expires.

-I sleep better at night knowing Ted Larsen is available in case of an injury on the offensive line. He was wrecking dudes out there last night.
-Kickers kicked some kicks! I’m so sick of all of this. If I have to see another message board post about getting that kicker from Baltimore I’m gonna finally admit I’m going bald and pay for Restore hair treatment (can you tell I was on I-90 today?).
-Ian Bunting looked okay at times, but did he play basketball in college? That makes all the difference.
Brian Schmitz: In an effort to suck myself off, I was happy to see my earlier prediction about John Franklin III come to fruition as he was all over the place last night. Franklin was 3rd on the team on tackles and contributed on both kick returns and kickoff coverage. He will be given a real chance to make this team and thus far, he’s looked good. 

I saw what I needed to see from David Montgomery. Seven touches for 60 yards and a TD. I’m ok with not seeing the rook again until week 1, where he should be the starting RB. 
This time of the year is backup quarterback heaven. This is where guys make teams, showcase for other squads, and most importantly, make career money as a trusted backup. Chase Daniel is everything you want in a reserve QB whom you hope will never play. Guys knows the offense and most importantly, knows his own limitations. I don’t ever want to see him on the field this year, but he’s a solid insurance policy. 
Finally, what we learned from game 1 is that the Bears still don’t know who their kicker will be. Average showings from each on Thursday were expected and unappreciated. I’m convinced the Bears week 1 kicker is not on this roster. 
Tony: JF3 looked good, but I still think he needs to be a 4 phase special teamer to make this roster. As long as you can still contribute to the open threads, I say good luck, but don’t throw out your back trying to taste your successes.
Wes French: Brian, please don’t make any permanent body modifications to go about fellating yourself for JF3’s “breakout” in preseason game one. He was impressive against some paltry competition, but I think we’ll need to see more and, as Tony alluded, especially on Special Teams if he’s going to make the cut. I’ll now flip my thinking completely and overreact to Montgomery’s performance by agreeing we should pack him in bubble wrap and make sure he gets to September untouched.

I’d go as far as to say I was bummed to learn that Baltimore dealt kicker Vedvik to division rivals Minnesota over the weekend. Fry and Piniero are leaving a lot to be desired for what has been the biggest need for Chicago. having already dealt some (potential) draft capital for not-so-steady Eddy, I’d think Pace waits out other teams and picks through those cut as preseason comes to a close later this month. 
Then again, I’ve been out of the loop for a few days, moving my life a mile away and getting sick in the process. Did I miss any glaring transactions or anything else from around the Bears/the League? I know Miller rolled an ankle but sounds like he’s a go for week one…
Tony: I’m hoping for Vedvik to have a great career in Minnesota. May he hit 100% of his kicks against Green Bay and exactly 0 against the Bears. I’m not invested in the Lions enough to even pretend to want to put an arbitrary number on this hypothetical. Seriously, the Lions are the NFL version of the cousin whose name you never bothered to learn because you only see them at holidays and you try to avoid them.

Wes, I think you’re spot on about Montgomery because the more I think about it, the more I think he should be saved for the season. However, I say that because I am super interested in how the competition for the 3rd/4th running back spot goes. I’ve been thinking a lot about it and I think the Bears are going to approach this depth chart a little bit differently, with players like Patterson being on the depth chart as either a running back or wide receiver. So, let’s say the Bears choose to keep a combined 10 of the bunch for the 53. We’ve got:
AR12
Tarik
David Montgomery
Anthony Miller
Taylor Gabriel
Patterson
Mike Davis
Riley Ridley
Javon Wims
And then one of:
Kerrith Whyte Jr/Marvin Hall/Taquan Mizzell Sr (or two if they choose to not keep a FB).
I wanna see the competition for that last couple spots heat up, and as much as I like seeing Montgomery play, I’m here for those reps!
Wes French: I would also like to see more of Whyte/Hall/Ridley/Wims in the next few weeks. I think you’re right that the personnel they have makes it a bit fluid on RB/WR roster selections, but the back end of that list is going to need to show out on special teams as well. I know I keep bringing STs up, but the offense and defense are pretty well set in terms of starters and even most backups. Anyone that has ideas on being the next man up for one of those positions is going to have to contribute via the kicking/return/punt teams in addition to showing they can step in at WR/RB/DB/LB to make this team. That makes me think a guys like Mizzell and Wims have an inside track over Whyte and Hall. The Bears did not sign Davis to play in the kicking game, and Patterson actually hurts those bubble guys with his ability to return kicks in addition to his versatility on offense. 

We haven’t talked much about the defensive side of the ball, but I think fans are sleeping a bit on the lack of depth behind the pass rushers up front. If Kyle Fitts is the best we’ve got to put in rotation after Mack/Floyd….yikes. 
Brian: You’re spot on about the defense; but I guess no news is good news. I’m extremely confident the defense will be who we think they are. 

We need to pump the brakes on Cordarrell Patterson. The guy can’t catch, which is fine, because Devin Hester couldn’t catch either, but in regards to the return game, Patterson is no Hester. I’m also suspect about his character. There has to be a reason he continues to sign one-year deals. 
Tony: I think there’s quality depth on defense since Aaron Lynch will most likely also take rotational reps, and they have solid backup ILBs even if I’m not crazy about them. The DL has a dank rotation in place, especially with Jonathan Bullard still on his rookie contract, but the secondary worries me. The depth chart after Kyle Fuller and Prince Amukamura is as bare as my fridge in college. Brian, maybe some autofellatio might lock up your boy JF3 for a roster spot. Keep us posted.
Brian: Just had to google autofellatio. 1. Gross. 2. IT is going to think I am real sicko. O well.
Wes: You brought this on yourself. I think this is a good place to wrap this one up. Until next time, take care sports fans. 
Football

Last Thursday, the Bears lost a football game that didn’t matter. However, for Eddy Pineiro and Elliott Fry it meant everything. Just about every NFL kicker and punter knows that for them, preseason games are just as important as the real games. No other position has as much riding on their future employment as specialists do in preseason games. This was not a preseason game for Pineiro and Fry, this was game 1.

After one game, the Bears kicking situation became only marginally clearer. Here is what we learned:

Because he has a stronger leg, and probably because he was the frontrunner to win the position going into the game, Eddy Pineiro was given the opportunity to kickoff the preseason opener. Pineiro blasted his first offering into the endzone for a touchback and phase 2 of the longest and most talked about kicker competition in NFL history was underway.

Kicker Scoreboard: Pineiro 1 Fry 0

After a few stalled drives and Pat O’Donnell bombs, David Montgomery continued to impress with a 7-yard touchdown run. Enter Elliott Fry for the point after; Fry was pure as the Bears tied the game at 7-7.

Kicker Scoreboard: Pineiro 1 Fry 1

Fry handled the ensuing kickoff and didn’t have the leg strength to cancel out a return. The ball was fielded at the 1-yard line and brought out 22 yards to the 23-yard line. This was a good coverage kick, however, the best way to limit the possibility of a big return is to ensure there is no return at all.

Kicker Scoreboard: Pineiro 1 Fry 0

On the next Bears drive, Pineiro’s night took a turn for the worse as he was called on to attempt a 48-yard field goal late in the second quarter. Pineiro never sniffed the middle of the uprights and was wide left on the attempt. No one would say a 48-yarder is a gimmie, but it certainly won’t get any easier to convert when its December, the turf is green spray-painted frozen dirt, and the wind is blowing 20mph off the lake. A low pressure, preseason, 80-degree Chicago night with no wind to speak of is easily the best conditions to kick in the kicker graveyard known as Soldier Field.

Kicker Scoreboard: Pineiro -2 Fry 0

An impressive 43 second drill from Chase Daniel brought the Bears to the Carolina 25-yard line, which meant Elliott Fry would come on to attempt…wait for it…A 43 YARD FIELD GOAL WITH 3 SECONDS LEFT (in the half). Fry calmly banged home his first FG attempt as a Chicago Bear – a smooth looking ball that never left center cut. The result yielding the loudest fan reaction of the night. Something you may have missed is that prior to the kick, Riverboat Ron Rivera called a time-out. When asked about this decision, Rivera said he was trying to help the Bears and their coaching staff out. This was a very cool moment and shows a lot about the character of one Rico Rivera.

Kicker Scoreboard: Pineiro -2 Fry 3

With just over seven minutes left, Eddy Pineiro had a shot at a little redemption. Pineiro easily punched through a 23-yard field goal to savage what would have been a largely disappointing night for the kicker.

Kicker Scoreboard: Pineiro 1 Fry 4

The final kick of the night was an Eddy Pineiro kickoff which failed to reach the endzone. The greater problem with this result and that Pineiro is in this competition due to his supposed kickoff power. This was not evident on this kick vs. the Panthers.

Final Kicker Scoreboard: Pineiro 0 Fry 4

I feel Fry’s game one performance was good enough to move him ahead in the kicking competition. After going center cut on his first extra point attempt, the former ‘Cock (never not funny) made his only FG attempt. Fry’s kickoffs left something to be desired but placekicking consistency will always trump kickoff strength in a league where a premium is placed on points. This a guy who made 161 of 162 extra points during his college career; there is no concern over his short-range accuracy.

The other participant in the Bears Kickerpolloza did not have nearly as good of a night. While Eddy Pineiro has a stronger leg, consistency issues continue to plague him. This was a first impression of sorts for Eddy, and unfortunately, he had the look and the performance of guy who is struggling with confidence issues.

While extra points and field goals get a majority of the attention in this kicking battle, do not overlook the importance of kickoffs and how they will affect the Bears decision on who stays and who goes. Neither kicker pulled away from the competition last night and the neck and neck race continues. If everything continues as it has, the job will go to the better kickoff man. The Bears will not carry a kickoff specialist on the 53 man roster and Pat O’Donnell cannot fill that role. So, moving forward, look beyond extra point and field goal accuracy and focus on touchbacks and kickoff placement.

So, after almost 900 words about kicking, I leave you with this…right now, I don’t see either guy being the Bears kicker in the week 1 opener vs. Green Bay.