Football

I don’t like talking too much about myself in these articles, because really who cares? This isn’t one of those cooking blogs where people tell a 500-word story about themselves and then tells you how to make “authentic” Thai Iced Tea or whatever (it’s not? – ED). With that said, I need to preface what I’m about to say by telling you a tiny bit about me.

The meagre five-figure salary that Fels pays me to write for FFUD only covers so much, so I moonlight as a high school teacher. I work with low-income, high-risk kids that have been expelled from their home schools for whatever reason. It’s been this way for the last five years. I love my job, and I’m good at it. In 2017, I won a “Heroes in the Classroom” award for my work, which was from some company called Symetra and sponsored by the Bears. I scored tickets to a game, got my dumb face on the jumbotron, got a signed football from Leonard Floyd, went to Halas Hall and got a custom jersey with my name on it. Pretty cool shit, all things considering. It’s one of the coolest moments of my life. The wonderful human being who nominated me for that award knew how much of a Bears fan I am.

Okay, now that I got that out of the way, let’s talk about Jameis Winston. Not only is he a league-average quarterback at best, he’s an awful human being. So, imagine my disappointment seeing so many Bears or national blogs linking Winston to Chicago this upcoming offseason. There are a ton of things this team needs, but Jameis ain’t it, man.

(Side note: I like this Bears team. They’re scrappy, they like each other, and for the most part the team has good character guys on the roster now. For the most part over time up until the present day, I’ve had okay feelings about rooting for most players on the Bears, though some players have done some pretty rough stuff and still gotten money from the organization after.)

I’ve always wondered how Steelers fans still root for Ben Rothlisberger, or Chiefs fans root for Tyreek Hill, and I always feared this day would come- even if the Bears don’t sign Jameis, they are bound to sign someone who has been potentially involved with some publicly-known assault allegation. How does that make you feel? It leaves me feeling incredibly conflicted.

Goddammit I love football so much and it would be so… hopeless(?) to boycott the franchise. If they sign Jameis I couldn’t watch the Bears the way I always have, I’ll feel completely disconnected from the team I have grown to love football because of. I know, it’s so bleeding-heart and it doesn’t make any difference to their bottom line, but I can’t do what I do professionally and with my entire heart while also rooting for a team that employs someone who did what he did in Tallahassee in 2012, and then again to an Uber driver in 2016.

How could I go into my classroom on a Monday morning and try to empower young women to advocate for themselves knowing the day before I was cheering on a man who has repeatedly taken agency away from women? The short answer is I can’t. The long answer is I can sit on my couch at noon on Sundays and make excuses: maybe act like people are just making baseless accusations, or say that my boycott wouldn’t matter anyways so who cares, or even just say fuck it and watch it knowing I’m a hypocrite.

This article is my promise to myself that I won’t make any excuses. If the Bears sign Jameis, I’ll start writing about something else during the week. Maybe I’ll be the fantasy football guy, or I’ll write different reviews of the same Truckfighters album every week, whatever. I won’t make excuses. I’ll just watch RedZone instead. I won’t make excuses.

Look, I know I’ve lost 99% of you reading this by now, but if you’re still there: I’m not judging you. Football means a lot of different things to a lot of different people, and your reasons to continue to watch people like Tyreek Hill or Ben Rothlisberger or Ezekiel Elliott are yours and not for me to critique. For me, though? I can’t be a “Hero in the Classroom” and also support the type of people that I want to protect my students from. If the Bears sign Jameis Winston, I can’t continue to hold onto that award.

That stupid certificate and jersey and football are the coolest things I own, but I don’t feel okay having them around if they evolve to be representations of an organization that gives millions of dollars to someone who has done what he has done.

I don’t know what I’ll do with that stuff if the Bears sign him. I won’t burn it like so many MAGA dorks and their Colin Kaepernick jerseys, because that’s so dramatic and silly. Maybe I’ll put it all in storage, or just throw it out. If I put it in storage, maybe I’ll revisit it someday. I don’t know how these things work, really. Do I like “get over it” when the Bears cut Jameis after he throws for 40 interceptions in 2021? Do I hold a grudge forever, and just cut off that part of me for good? I don’t know.

These questions are so big to me, this whole thing has me fucked up. I don’t know what to do or feel, and I just hope I don’t have to make that moral decision this spring. Since I know for a fact that Virginia reads my articles: Please don’t sign Jameis. Please.

I’d feel the same way if Jameis was the QB who would take the Bears to the Super Bowl, for what it’s worth. Winning is always “the most important thing” but employing people like that doesn’t feel like winning no matter what happens on the field. The game is all about winning, but life is bigger than the game. Showing people that the organization won’t give millions to people who have proven to be a danger to women is bigger than the game. Recognizing that people care who plays for the Bears is bigger than wins and losses, it’s bigger than the game.

You and me, as individuals, no matter who you are reading this- we’re bigger than the game. Our safety is bigger than the game. Respecting people’s bodily autonomy is bigger than the game, as is not rewarding those who don’t respect it.

 

Football

Tony Martin: Today’s matchup post is going to look a little different than usual- since this year has been anything but normal, we are having to seriously discuss how to spend our Sunday afternoons. I just started a new job, I’m still in grad school, and I still play in multiple bands- that time of the weekend would be perfect to spend it on anything other than shitty football that I’m emotionally invested in.

Yet I know for a fact that I’ll be parked on the couch this Sunday, watching the lifeless Bears play against the Giants. I’m not sure if I’m watching to see if they have something to prove or if I do it out of sheer tradition. I feel like if there was a Dawn of the Dead style zombie apocalypse, instead of lurking to the mall you’d find my dead ass sitting on the couch with a half cashed bowl and a LaCroix within arms reach of my rotting arms, waiting for the Bears to come on.

What do the Bears have to prove over these last few games? Is this just a talent evaluation process by now? It could be. I’m thinking they need to assess what options they have at so many different positions- both sides of the line, tight end, linebacker, kicker, and the defensive backfield. At this point, let’s see what this team has going forward. A lot of what Pace and Nagy should be focusing on where the holes in this leaky sink are coming from, because even though Mitch is the most glaring problem, the reason we are where we are is deeper than bad QB play. If Kyle Orton can win games as a starting QB, so can Mitch, but the franchise needs to build and play to his strengths. A great game plan can help mitigate a lot of deficiencies if done right.

This team absolutely has a playoff core, but Pace/Nagy need to spend the offseason figuring out what the identity of the franchise actually is and then building towards it. The end of last season covered up a lot of the problems with this roster from an identity standpoint on offense. They had a bruising running back and then a scatback, an all-star caliber wide receiver and a bunch of undersized speedsters, and a tight end that was not worth the money. All they did was replace the running back with a much better prospect that fits the offense, but they get away from running as soon as they fall behind, even if it’s by something as small as a first half field goal. Now might be the time to find those things to build upon, but it’s going to be boring as shit from a fan perspective to see it.

To wrap this part up, I’ll tell you what I’m looking for as the Bears play us off (insert Bill O’Reilly impression here):

-Is there an NFL-caliber tight end on the roster?
-Is Anthony Miller consistent enough to warrant a spot as the starting slot WR?
-Which defensive linemen could create pressure on their own in the absence of Khalil Mack?
-Does Leonard Floyd still play for this team?
-Eddie Goldman somehow has a grade of 74.3 so far from PFF- how much of 2018’s 88 rating from PFF was aided by the presence of Akiem Hicks?
-Do the Bears look to extend any of the following players: Danny Trevathan, Haha Clinton-Dix, Aaron Lynch, Nick Williams, Nick Kwiatkoski, or Roy Robertson-Harris?
-Are the Bears interested in taking a harder look at Javon Wims or Ryan Nall?

 

Wes French:Tony, I have to admit – If there is a Dawn of the Dead style scenario, I’d like to come find that couch and help you finish off your party favors. Barring a Hollywood situation on Sunday, though, I think I’m checking out on the Bears for a week.

It’s the Sunday before what’s basically a holiday week – yeah, I’ve got to work a few days at the beginning, but am I REALLY working? Fuck no. And the fact the Bears don’t really seem to be working the last month+ makes me unsure about investing another 3-4 hour block of my weekend, especially against a putrid trash heap like the New York Giants. I guess this might be the BEST time to check in, since the Bears should be able to get a W against the rookie-QB led G-Men, but the last time we had that narrative was all of two weeks ago against Detroit and that game was about as entertaining as a wet fart. Plus we’ll get that same wet fart four days later, bright and early before we’re all stuffed.
Am I interested in another slog between trash teams trying to sort out how exactly to best use the players they employ? No, no I’m not. Tony outlined plenty to look for in terms of WHY you may want to check in to this game on Sunday, and beyond the Bears sorting themselves out for a hopefully more spirited run in 2020 I could see you being mildly interested in who this Daniel Jones character is playing QB for NYG and wanting to see the sometimes electric Barkley do what he does. Outside of those two, the Giants have nothing to hold the interest of anyone but the diehards in the Big Apple and even those dummies are probably on to other things by week 12 of a 2-8 season. The Giants are pretty terrible and deserve no one’s attention, and in the immortal words of Local H – And Fuck New York, Too.

So what else should you be doing on Sunday? I’m going to play hockey and casually catch a nice dose of Red Zone with NINE noon games. Why the NFL can’t sort themselves out enough to have a better division of games through the day (there are only TWO late afternoon contests, but one is DAL @ NE) remains a mystery, but I digress. There are some strong teams on bye this week (KC/MIN), but while the schedule at first glance looks like a mirror of Bears/Giants, I’d say we’re in for a noon slate of some wild football with goofy fun matchups galore: 
– SEA @ PHI: The best game on paper at noon, Seattle looks to keep the Eagles down as they chase the 49ers for the NFC West/#1 seed. The Eagles are maddening, but always capable of a breakout performance and still have a shot at their own shitty Division
– TB @ ATL: Human Turnover Machine/Piece of Shit Jameis Winston goes into Hotlanta, quietly one of the best defensive units in the league since Week 5; I’ll guarantee at least 3 INTs and a DEF TD
– DEN @ BUF/ OAK @ NYJ: On the surface, the Bills and Raiders should cruise, but the Broncos have proved a difficult out and the Jets are scoring in bunches of late. The Bills and Raiders also remain the Bills and Raiders, so place those bets cautiously
– PIT @ CIN: A once fierce rivalry reduced to Mason Rudolph against Ryan Finley. I’ll be honest, this one excites even less than the Bears, but it does produce a decent opportunity for the Bungals to get their first win…it could totally be worse, Bears fans
– CAR @ NO: This sees two teams heading in wildly opposite directions, with the Panthers looking like they might be onto their third QB of the season and just about dead in the NFC at 5-5. Saints are aiming for NFC’s top spot. Divisional games can be weird, though
– MIA @ CLE/DET @ WSH: These two matchups pit four of the leagues worst franchises (of late, at least) against each other, and while on the surface the matchups look shit you should NEVER discount a game between the worst of the worst. How will Cleveland respond after the brawl to end last week’s game? Can Miami make it 3 wins in 4 after starting 0-7? Will the Lions continue to be the tonic that aids young/under-performing QBs for Dwayne Haskins and the Racial Slurs???
TUNE IN TO FIND OUT
Football

Holy shit do I want to hate Carson Wentz, who I would like to first off assure you is NOT Prince Harry. I typed out and deleted a whole paragraph on how his Christian charity and religious work makes me uncomfortable, so let’s just ignore his personality as best we can and break down the Marcus Mariota to Jared Goff’s Jameis Winston (holy shit what a jumble of mediocre quarterback names).

Carson Wentz was the 2nd overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, and has had a somewhat star-crossed career in his time as the Eagles QB, similarly to how a certain member of the royal family is on one hand a darling of the British media while also having a history of wearing Nazi regalia. He came in as a rookie and put up middling numbers, played at a Pro Bowl level in 2017 before suffering a season-ending injury in week 14 before watching “Giant Penis” Nick Foles take his team to the mountaintop and win the Super Bowl against New England. Wentz came back partway through the 2018 season and again played well statistically. He’s doing the same this year, but just like last season his team isn’t holding up their end of the bargain.

Let’s take a quick look at his Next Gen Stats from NFL.com from last week:

A lot of short passes or passes behind the line, which makes a lot of sense against a stout Buffalo defense during a game that featured steady high winds. Wentz makes good use of screen passes, which the Bears are actually decent at defending, but he also makes good use of the deep ball when he needs to, which the Bears are shit at stopping. It’s worth keeping track throughout the week to see if speedsters DeSean Jackson and rookie burner Miles Sanders are suiting up on Sunday.

Wentz is an outstanding game manager when he isn’t being asked to do too much. He’s like the Duke of Sussex, he needs just a little less responsibility than one would ask of a proper King. He also excels in making plays with his feet, as he has underrated mobility and can buy time for players like Alshon Jeffery to break off routes and find open spots downfield. He’s getting sacked at the second lowest rate of his career according to Pro Football Focus (a sack on every 5.7 dropbacks), so you know he’s a threat there as well.

How do you beat Carson Wentz? That’s a good question. Even with injuries, Wentz has plenty of weapons in the aforementioned Alshon Jeffery, Zach Ertz, and Dallas Goedert, not to mention Jordan Howard anchoring the rushing attack and a decent offensive line. Wentz is impressive against the blitz, and if given too much time will make things happen with his feet.

He spreads the ball around very well considering the injuries he has dealt with this season with his skill position teammates. As mentioned before, he has two tight ends that can run any route asked of them, a wide receiver that can win at the point of the catch, and if Sanders is healthy he has 3 running backs that can catch passes (I am including Jordan Howard, thank you very much). This is not an offense that you can key on one player and isolate, the Eagles can beat you in a number of ways through the air.

If the Bears want to successfully beat Carson Wentz, they need to pressure him into throwing his occasional bad pass. He will literally pull a Mitch if given the chance and just leave you with a head-scratcher. Wentz tends to have a ball or two sail on him, and the Bears need to capitalize. If somehow Chicago jumps on an early lead, Wentz can get erratic. If the game goes how we all expect it to go, Wentz will put up outstanding numbers.

The Eagles can beat a team in a number of different ways, and this is a far different team than the one the Bears faced this previous January. Holding them to 16 points would be a big surprise and could make this game winnable, but Wentz has too many weapons and the Bears offense isn’t inspiring anyone to make us think opposing QBs will be feeling any situational pressure when on the field. If Carson takes the field and is pressing to make a play, the Bears will be able to take advantage, but ask yourself first if you can actually see that being the case when you envision the game on Sunday.

Good luck on Sunday Bears fans, because I’m setting the line at 2.5 for “mentions by the announce team of the ‘double-doink’ and Eddy Pineiro’s miss last week”.

Prediction:
Take the over for the announcers
Eagles 24 Bears 10
Carson Wentz is NOT actually Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Earl of Dumbarton

 

 

…or IS HE?