Football

As an introduction, this was something they had me doing at FanSided last year, but FanSided is evil and stupid so I’m going to do it here in my own playground. This is not meant to be serious football commentary in the least, but just one cockeyed fan’s view. 

Matt Nagy Might Think Mitch Trubisky Sucks As Much As You Do

Before entering whatever they call Not Mile High these days, I was discussing with Fifth Feather that as a giant middle finger to everyone after criticism of the Packers loss, Nagy might run the ball 40 times. Well, he did, and the punk rock portion of my soul wants to believe that it was a middle finger to all the press and fans that have been calling for a fullback to somehow enter this offense, it felt like more likely Nagy was terrified of letting Mitch do anything.

Mitch attempted one pass down the field all day until the final, this’ll-never-work-holy-shit drive, and that was on the first drive of the day and after a third down scramble that he nearly hit Tarik Cohen on. Had he, perhaps the whole complexion of the game changes and Nagy feels more comfortable with a lead and a more confident Trubisky. Alas, from there Mitch average 4.4 yards per attempt the rest of the day.

It was particularly galling on the Bears second-to-last drive, protecting a pretty slim touchdown lead. Four minutes left, a chance to salt it all away. The Bears did get a first down with an actual pass, if you can believe it, but then stalled out. Two consecutive plays with eight yards to gain and Mitch barely threw over the line of scrimmage, much less anywhere in the area code of the sticks.

That’s the game. You can take it right there. If your QB can’t make the throws to ice a game, then you might have a problem. This isn’t about constructing a drive for a score to win from behind (which to his credit, Mitch did). You just need a first down. Surely there’s a 10-yard route you feel Mitch can make in his sleep.

You understand on one level why Nagy wanted to trust his defense. The problem is a scalding hot day at altitude are the exact conditions that might wilt a defense that had already been asked to do a lot thanks to the offense’s conservatism/balloon handedness. And so it told. If the game’s there, take it. Don’t wait.

Perhaps it’s just going to be a process. Maybe Nagy got spooked by Vic Fangio on the other sideline, salivating to take advantage of more Mitch dumbness (there’s an image for you). Either way, this bumpy ride is long from over.

NFL Rules Don’t Make Any Sense Because They Can’t

Before any Broncos fan comes in here to start tearing up the furniture while lambasting their lot in life after that roughing the passer call, let’s be clear that Eddie Goldman got one just as soft and Leonard Floyd’s unnecessary roughness wasn’t much better.

The spirit of the rule I agree with. Protecting QBs is a good idea not just because they are the faces of the league, a team’s season goes in the shitter when one gets hurt pretty much automatically, and they are the unique player that is eligible to be contacted when they don’t have the ball, at least for a short time.

Accepting all that, it’s nearly impossible to have rules that are going to navigate that perfectly .The whole “full body weight landing” clause to roughing the passer calls is clearly meant to avoid broken clavicles, but how exactly can defenders adjust how they’re landing in half a second or less? I think we all know an intentional body splash when we see one and what’s just a normal tackle.

The officials may tell defender to aim for “half” of the QB, thus being able to spin off to the side. But that’s only going to make getting any mobile QB near impossible to wrangle, which is what I guess the NFL wants.

The NFL already has a “did it count?” problem, with every play not really official until we see no flags or reviews. We’re getting close to every drop-back by a QB needing to be vetted as well, which makes it feel like everything you’re watching isn’t happening and then questioning what truly is reality.

Football Jerseys Do Not Do Well In The Heat

There are currently three undiscovered life forms in my Tillman jersey today after a day in the sun and heat with it. I’m afraid they will eat my suitcase in the overhead compartment as I travel back tonight and will be left with nothing but a rapidly growing organism with no sense of social graces.

Football

That time again, when our Bears three-legged race gets together to share thoughts. We’re almost getting real now. 

So if we can ignore the other sideline for a minute, what did we glean from the Bears in Indianapolis? Or is it just waiting for Sept. 5 now?

Tony Martin: The tight end situation after Burton is a nightmare and I don’t even wanna think about it, and the Bears backup offensive line has problems, outside of UDFA Alex Bars who I think makes this team.

… I was saying Boo-Urns
Brian Schmitz: The only thing I learned is that Bears have found their kicker. Pineiro was good from 58; which was all I needed to see. As I’ve said earlier, this preseason isn’t really preseason for the kickers. The pressure to make kicks, much less make the team doesn’t lessen any more because the games don’t count. Pineiro stepped up big time last night and an entire city made a collective sigh. 
Wes French: “It was a really good day for him.”

Eddy Piñeiro has to be full of confidence after his perfect night, with that quote from coach Nagy the cherry on top. He nailed a 58 yarder dead center and, baring some horrific performance or injury at Soldier on Thursday, he’s won this job. 
Some negatives…backup Tackle is a problem area area between injuries and inconsistent play. There may be hope in depth guard Alex Bars – he stepped in and played better than the rest of the actual Tackles trying to make the team and versatility play in the League. He can’t backup two spots if it comes to that, though.
Brian, JF3 didn’t do you and your fan club any favors this week.
Brian: JF3 should have also retired at halftime.
I also feel like it is also important to roll into the regular season coming off a win. It doesn’t mean much, but having that slight uptick in confidence and energy does help, even if just a little.  
Tony: I’m interested in who makes the bottom of the 53 as a WR and CB. I feel like the safety spots are locked up, but does Clifton Duck make the team? FFUD favorite JF3? DOES MY DUDE SMOKE MIZZELL GET IN?!?

…who am I kidding, I miss Josh Bellamy.
Editor’s note: No one misses Josh Bellamy.
Tony: Except for Matt Barkley, amirite?
Football

That time again. Our Bears wing breaks down whatever they thought was important, and wasn’t, from the Bears’ trip to New Jersey. 

What did we learn in the second preseason game?

Tony Martin: Marvin Hall does not make this team, unfortunately. If Kerrith Whyte Jr can provide 4 phase special teams play, Hall is toast since Whyte can return kicks if Patterson can’t and will have more use in the offense. I was pumped to see what Marvin Hall could bring to the team, but he’s really just mini Taylor Gabriel and with how low-accuracy Trubisky has been on his deep throws, we don’t need two pure burners on the 53.

-James Vaughters looked good, and the backup LB competition is going to be the most fun story these last few weeks of preseason.
-Do the Bears have any serviceable tight ends behind Burton? Is Burton even going to be healthy this year?
-Kyle Long is making me nervous.
Wes French: Matt Nagy is making himself the story, and it might be that he’d stupid like a fox…or John Fox is going to be super excited to rip him when this blows up in his face. 

The head coach’s decision to keep his first unit out of the preseason almost completely is the new narrative for me. Teams have come to treat preseason about the same all around the league for years in the four game format, with starters playing maybe 1-2 series in game one, a quarter or so in game two, a full half+ in the game three “dress rehearsal” and then not at all in the final game. Recent years have seen more discussion about the length of preseason, if it’s necessary, if the risk of injury is worth it as men work to get up to game speed. 
To my knowledge, Nagy and Ryan Pace are the first HC/GM to use the padded practices (also becoming increasingly restricted) mainly on the first units and leave the preseason games to focus on the deeper aspects of the roster. There won’t be any way to tell what effect it has on those units until the season opens for real, but I have to admit I’m a fan of the process so far. More reps against tougher competition for the guys fighting for roles and roster spots will give Nagy and Pace that much more to work with when final cuts come at the end of the month. 
Maybe we’ll get the first teams for a few snaps in the penultimate game, but I say they should just lean into this exercise fully and let anyone currently “on the bubble” start next week. I want to see if Kerrith Whyte can do more than 10 yards on six carries or James Vaughters can repeat that electric performance against a very good Colts offensive line. 
Oh, and just toss Carolina a conditional pick for Joey Slye already. Fry missed his lone FG attempt, Pineiro was 2/2, but it just doesn’t feel like they believe in him. Slye is now 5/5 with two of those from over 54 yards, one of which came at Soldier Field. 
Tony: I like Nagy’s approach, not gonna lie. Keep the starters out of the preseason. Might it affect how quickly they start executing when the season begins? Possibly, but I would gladly trade a slow start in week one for the ensured total health of the starters for this team.
…Aaaaaaaand Fry got waived. Hello Canada!
Wes: Good for him.  What’re your thoughts on trading for Slye? I know they already did that for Pineiro but teams don’t just discard kickers anymore when they’ve got one. I think if there was someone worth signing off the street they’d already be here. 
Brian Schmitz: I am a firm believer that whatever the patriots do is the right thing to do, so in this case, I’m with Wes in thinking that the starters need to get a little burn in the preseason so the live bullets aren’t completely foreign to them when they line up against the pack in less than 3 weeks. 

Pat O’Donnell has had a great preseason thus far. This is important because of the subpar season Pat-O had last year. Punting is a position that is as much about confidence as it is about talent, so for a guy who may have some doubt in his mind coming it to this season, coming out and averaging over 50 per pop is a huge relief for a team that is not very good on special teams at this point. 
Sidenote: John Franklin had one of true great pass break ups these eyes have ever seen…just sayin. 
Tony: People like Slye a lot, and I can see why. Screw it, bring him in. Can’t hurt.