Football

Here’s some numbers fer ya head:

                       Rush Yards    Yds/Att    TD    Rec    Rec Yds    TD

Player A               443                4.4              5          9            68            1

Player B               366                3.7               3         15           97            0

Player A is one of only three NFL RBs with 3,000+ rushing yards (3,370) since 2016, joining Ezekiel Elliott (4,048) and Todd Gurley (3,441). Howard and Gurley are the only NFL RBs with 9+ rushing TDs in each of the last two seasons.

Ryan Pace thought Player B was the better player and traded Player A for a 6th round draft pick. Moreover, Pace moved up in the draft to select Player B to replace Player A. The cost of doing so was the 87th pick, the 162nd pick, and a 2020 4th round pick.

So, to recap; in its entirety, the swap of Player A for Player B cost the Bears:

  • Player A
  • 2020 6th Round Pick
  • 2020 4th Round Pick
  • 2019 3rd Round Pick
  • 2019 87th Pick
  • 2019 162nd Pick

Player A = Jordan Howard.

Player B = David Montgomery.

Now, don’t get me wrong, David Montgomery is doing a nice job for the Bears as a lead back with a shitty offensive line. He has a very bright future, but the fact is, SO FAR this season, he simply hasn’t been as good as the Eagles Jordan Howard.

But, this really isn’t about Howard or Montgomery. This botched trade (thus far) lies at the feet, yet again, of Ryan Pace. At this point, you have to ask yourself if this job too big for the Bears GM? I think it is. With Pace as the architect, the Bears have a record of 29-34. Over this period, they have had the 2nd, 7th, 8th, 9th, 39th (2), 45th, 51st, 56th, 71st, 72nd, and 73rd picks in the draft. These picks have produced:

  • Mitch Trubisky – Ouch.
  • Kevin White – LOL. Out of football.
  • Roquan Smith – Struggling with something more than just football.
  • Leonard Floyd – Soft. Can’t put up real numbers playing opposite K.Mack.
  • Eddie Goldman – Great rookie year, not much since.
  • James Daniels – Potential.
  • Adam Shaheen – Beat it.
  • Anthony Miller – Well, we’re waiting.
  • Cody Whitehair – Solid starter on a the worst O-Line in football.
  • Hroniss Grasu – Bozo. Out of football.
  • Jonathan Bullard – Nah. Three career sacks
  • David Montgomery – Bell cow of this crew.

As you can clearly see, Pace’s early round selections have produced very little. I am far more impressed with his free agents signings; which means that someone else drafted and cultivated a player, then Pace was there to hijack him – which makes sense as Pace’s main responsibilities in New Orleans were scouting (and changing Mr. Bensen’s diaper and staying the fuck outta Mickey Loomis’ way). It’s also not that difficult to walk into an organization ran by Loomis and Sean Payton and Drew Brees and succeed. See, the Saints are widely known as having the most well-ran organization in football. The Saints have stayed competitive for a long time even when they are always drafting late in the first round.

Which brings us back to the Bears. Most likely, the Bears will not have a pick near the top of the draft in 2020, which is a good thing, as most of Pace’s limited draft successes have come towards the back end of the draft. At no time should the GM should be allowed to draft a QB, WR, TE, or D-Lineman. This is due only to his incompetency in doing so in every previous year. Pace will not be fired, and the team isn’t going to bring in an experienced talent evaluator who has had success in the draft, so what we will continue to see is the same draft results we have since 2015.

Sweet.

Football

Ali/Frazier. Jordan/Bird. Brees/Orton. Some match-ups loom larger than the game itself, as two titans of the sport go head to head in a winner take all showdown. It was week 17 of the 2007 season, with both teams eliminated from playoff contention a mere 12 months removed from their previous encounter in  the NFC Championship. Both games were won by the Bears, which in January of that year took them to the Super Bowl, and in December it dropped them two spots in the next years draft, and it would’ve been sweet if Ryan Clady was the Bears pick instead of *checks notes* uhhhh Chris Williams? Jay Cutler would’ve been much better as a Bear if they had Clady, so I’m retroactively blaming the lack of success of the next few years from an offensive line standpoint on this Week 17 Bears game.

This Bears team has a lot of the holdovers from the Super Bowl squad from the year before. You know all the big names, but it’s always the middle of the pack dudes that I love remembering, so let’s reminisce and see how these hidden gems performed that cold December afternoon.

My Favorite Forgotten Bears from 2007 (in no order):

5. Rashied Davis- (1 Kickoff Return, 5 Yards): I have a soft spot for special teams wide recievers (I might be the only person in Chicagoland that misses Josh Bellamy), and Davis was exactly that. Earl Bennett without the flash, somehow.

4. Garrett Wolfe- (4 Carries, 7 Yards, 1 Catch, 32 Yards): I was at NIU when Wolfe all of a sudden played NCAA Football on Rookie mode, and he was electric. I had no idea that I was hoping for him to be Tarik Cohen until I saw Tarik Cohen. Turns out he wasn’t very good and I was so bummed. Fun fact: this was his longest career catch. Bonus fun fact: I drafted Garrett Wolfe in my fantasy league that year, and there’s a harsh noise/grindcore band called Garrett Wolfe and no they aren’t football fans.

3. Israel Idonije- (1 Tackle): Izzy is a guy that nobody outside of Bears fans from this era remember, but those of us that do will always remember how much of a team player Izzy was. He did everything he was asked and played pretty much every spot on the defensive line, while also always being on the punt return teams. There are so many Devin Hester highlights where you can see a huge dude with a 71 on his jersey throwing a key block or escorting Devin to the endzone.

2. Mark Bradley- (1 Catch, 19 Yards) Give me all the special teams wideouts, please. All things considered, Bradley was a bust as a second round pick in the 2005 Draft, but when I looked at the other picks in the 2005 NFL Draft’s second round, they didn’t miss out on anyone that would’ve made sense. 92 career catches and 9TDs in 57 career games is not remarkable, but like I said, dude could block and he just looked the part. I’m also super biased because I crushed Madden 2006 with Mark Bradley, my favorite Bears WR in Madden after Kevin White in Madden 17.

1. Adrian Peterson- (1/1- 9 Yards, 1 Passing TD, 21 Carries 91 Yards, 1 Catch 9 Yards) The OTHER Adrian Peterson. You know, the one that’s lawful good as compared to the lawful evil Hall of Fame running back of the same name. The biggest difference between the two is the talent, but Good Peterson played with the Bears for his entire 8 year career and sure if he was starting you knew someone was hurt, but oh man he gave his all. You’d see him come in on a random 3rd and 18 and catch a 7 yard pass and then cover the punt (since he was always the punt team QB), return to the sideline only to be seen again the next time the special teams was on the field. It’s surreal to think that if your fantasy league played through week 17 that Adrian Peterson would’ve been an RB 2 that week and won your league. If this Adrian Peterson helped you win your Fantasy League in 2007 you should probably Venmo him ten bucks or something. Not because he needs it, but for the principle of the thing. He had the second most receptions on the team that year. Wow that’s ugly.

Anyways, this game was won by the Bears, with Devin Hester scoring twice, once on a long pass and another on a punt return. This was one of those Hester returns where he already has a giant hole to run through and isn’t even touched on his way to the endzone. Before I sound like I’m being critical of the Windy City Flyer or whatever his nickname was, I should establish that he is the greatest returner of all time and absolutely should be in the Hall of Fame.

That said, if you go back and watch his touchdown returns from this era, he is untouched on about half of them. I think a big reason why I have a soft spot for so many of the dudes that anchored the Bears special teams in that era is because the team kept a core together for that purpose and that purpose only and it paid dividends. Bradley, Peterson, Izzy, Brendon Ayanbadejo… those dudes opened up some massive lanes for Devin to take advantage of.

Watching these old highlight reels makes me miss having a solid special teams core like the Bears of that era. The Ryan Pace era has been an improvement in so many ways than the GMs before him, but I do miss the commitment to a group of backups simply because of what they brought to that part of the team.

I hope at some point between now and Sunday’s kickoff, you take a moment and really think about your mid to late aughts Bears players. Sit back and think about Brandon McGowan, won’t you?

Everything Else

Look at out, kids. We did it. But we can’t make you any more football-stupid than you already are.

Is there any chance this team is going to be good?

Cieslak: No. There’s a chance they win 7 games making it the worst possible outcome for a rebuilding team outside of making the playoffs and getting the absolute piss kicked out of them in the wild card game. I still ride with Jay, mostly because everyone hates him which makes me like him more and more because I’m human poison. But the injuries to McPhee and Kevin White always being hurt and Alshon Jeffery almost a lock to *get* hurt, this team is in deep trouble this year. Worse yet it doesn’t seem like this year’s draft was that good. They should try and continue to stockpile good picks and winning more than 4 games is a bad way to do that. I wish they were going to be that bad – the coaching staff is too good for them to be the worst team in the NFL.

Fels: If I squint, and I mean really hard, I could trust Fangio to come up with different schemes to keep them in a lot of games they probably shouldn’t be in. They do have actual linebackers this season, instead of the Streetwise salesmen they had last season. The secondary still blows, but I understand trying to build a front seven before as secondary as that can partially cover for that. Not enough against any real QB of course, but the Bears also have a pretty cushy schedule in that regard. We have no idea what Osweiler is. The Eagles don’t have one, The Cowboys one is hurt. Who knows what you’ll get out of Stafford with no Megatron. Looking over the whole schedule, there’s really only three or four games you’d say they have absolutely no chance in, because this is football and it’s dumb and really most teams are just this goo no one can make anything of. 

When I stop squinting, Cutler will do the best he can but once again has no weapons. The line should be barely ok with Sitton but absolutely no one can get hurt. There’s going to be a lot of games where they needed touchdowns and get field goals and lose by one score. 

It all adds up to 7 wins, maybe 8, the same thing we’ve been watching basically for the past 20 years. 

Feather: Sure. This is the NFL and there’s a reason why hillbilly red-ass Jerry Glanville said it stood for “Not For Long.” Aside from basically one team (New England), every year is dependent on who doesn’t lose 30 players to catastrophic injury. We’re at the point of the NFL timeline where I was just simulating seasons on Madden ’08 and basically every roster is filled with make believe players. 

So can the Bears be good? Why the hell not. Sam Bradford is running the ship in Minnesota. Detroit is Detroit. Sweep those 4 games and split with Green Bay and the Bears are halfway to 10. That doesn’t seem nearly as implausible as when Teddy Bridgewater had 2 healthy knees. Factor in a softer out of division schedule than normal and suddenly, we’re expecting meaningful football in BEAR WEATHER again. 

See? I’ve got you believing. Of course, they’ll probably lose three key players in Houston and everything will go right down the toilet. Football is the worst. 

McClure:The NFL is stupid and a bloodbath, so maybe, but who gives a shit? It’s a sport that does not allow for incremental growth, so there are no years to build on as we’ve seen the likes of the Cubs and Hawks go through. Every year is a crapshoot because players limbs fall off literally ever 10 seconds. Plus, it’s far more amusing when the Bears are bad. This entire city is completely emasculated when they lose, and it’s hilarious. The average football fan is even stupider than the average hockey fan, and the arms race that is the marketing of the sport has now turned everything into a life or death reflection of self worth, and this city takes that to the extreme with its ill-conceived notions of what football is supposed to be about. Just look at the last week with how weepy and maudlin even the most critical Bears observers got with the release of Robbie Gould, an overpaid and bad kicker and locker room lawyer. But because he’s white and nice to the media and keeps perpetuating the Bearsiest of Bears ideals, there are still garments being rendered a week later.