Football

vs.

RECORDS: Chargers (2-5) at Bears (3-3)

KICKOFF: Sunday, 12:00pm

TV: FOX 32 

Radio: WBBM 780 AM/105.9 FM

Is it possible for both teams to be looking at the same game as a “get right” matchup? Sunday at noon we’ll find out which of these teams is worth saving, and which one needs to start “assessing the talent on the roster” (tanking). The Los Angeles Chargers show up to Soldier Field on a three-game losing streak, and the Bears come in losers of their last two, but really let’s be honest the Bears don’t look like they could beat the bye week so let’s just say both teams are damn near on tilt. Barring huge turnarounds, this game (which looked like a great matchup six short weeks ago) will have zero national attention and no relevancy to anyone but fantasy football players. That said if you have any Bears players on your fantasy team who aren’t Allen Robinson, you should quit fantasy football (as I glare at David Montgomery on my bench).

Something’s gotta give, right? Looking strictly at DVOA, the Bears on offense are -12.5%. That’s bad. The Chargers on defense are 12.1%. That’s also bad. The Chargers are 22nd against the run this year, the Bears are the 28th ranked rushing attack in football. I’m picturing one of those electric football games to take place when the Bears offense is on the field, in fact it might be an improvement if it was. At least during electric football the margin of error is so big you couldn’t blame the offense for being hot garbage.

Brian Baldinger (he of the amazingly disfigured pinky) had an outstanding Baldy’s Breakdown video of a Bears run that I think encapsulates the problem. In the video, a shotgun run up the gut with Tarik Cohen, Baldy shows how Nagy’s jet motion brings the DB into the box that ends up going unblocked and stuffing the run, when otherwise there’s nothing but green grass in front of the diminutive speedster. Can Matt Nagy scheme his way out of a wet paper bag and embrace the run, or is this game another seven rushing attempts game? Will Joey Bosa destroy Mitch Trubisky? Can the Bears contain the one Bosa brother I actually LIKE rooting for?

The answer is going to depend on how well the Bears defense and special teams play. Remember when the defense was getting to the quarterback, stopping the run, and forcing turnovers? Last year seems so far away right now. The Bears are getting turnovers, but have been exposed by Jon fucking Gruden by all people. Teams know to run away Khalil Mack now that Akiem Hicks is out. The linebackers are getting blown up on the second level, and the defensive backs are playing more on their heels instead of jumping short routes. The Chargers have the blueprint to beating Chicago, and Chuck Pagano hasn’t adjusted.

The special teams is so bad. So, so bad. Sherrick McManis is still in concussion protocol as of this writing, so punt returner Desmond King has the chance for a big day, assuming the Bears punt protection holds long enough for Pat O’Donnell to get a kick in the air. He was only credited with one block last week against New Orleans, but it should’ve been two; and the Bears starting defense was brought in against the Raiders to stop a fake punt and couldn’t do that either after a running into the kicker penalty moved Oakland up, a sequence that eventually cost the Bears the game. A good punt and kick return over the last two games doesn’t negate the pisspoor blocking and kick coverage.

Keenan Allen is a stud at wideout, and if the Chargers are trying to get Melvin Gordon back into form they’d be wise to run him early and often. The team has rushed for 106 yards over the last three games COMBINED, and a goal line fumble by Gordon sealed their fate last week against Tennessee. Mike Williams and Hunter Henry are also outstanding players, even if Henry is basically a slower Evan Engram and Williams is almost exclusively a jump-ball threat.

Oh, and Philip Rivers is still around, somehow. The man has been the starting QB for the Bolts since 2006, which was three Presidents, like 18 children, and countless bolo ties ago. His 11 TDs to six picks this season looks a lot more impressive than it really is, considering most of it has come via checkdowns. Let’s find out if the Bears can stop Austin Ekeler and Keenan Allen from dominating with the short routes that make everyone look good statistically. Rivers is basically the upgraded Jay Cutler, with constant temper tantrums and meltdowns on various sidelines over the years, but if the Bears had Rivers during those early 2010s teams, Chicago would have at least one Super Bowl trophy.

Since around November 2nd 2016, Chicago sports has begun to worship the hallowed “players only meeting”. The Bears had one of their own this week, which is either a total indictment of Matt Nagy or just what they need to right the shit. Yeah I know that’s a typo, but if you’ve been watching this team you know why I’m leaving it in.

Final Score Prediction:
Chargers 23 Bears 6, and Virginia McCaskey comes down from the luxury box and fires Matt Nagy, making herself head coach. The Bears win out the rest of the year.

Football

This is what I get? Off a bye week. After a loss. This is how you respond. Go ahead and ask yourself; can you remember a worse 3-3 football team? The Bears suck right now, and I don’t envision a scenario where they are going to get any better.

Before you go off on Mitch Trubisky and how he’s a joke of a QB, lets address the running game. A running game that really isn’t a running game. The Bears tried to run the ball seven times. Seven times in an NFL football game. Who in the actual fuck runs the ball seven times in actual NFL football game? Not in a drive, not in a quarter, not in a half, but in a game. What you ask, did the seven rush attempts yield? A grand total of 17 yards. That means 2.4 yard per carry. Not only did Matt Nagy call for seven rush attempts, he asked his lead back and prize draft pick to carry the ball two times. Again. TWO times. There is not a quarterback alive that can expect to see any sort of open passing lanes when the threat of a run is non-existent. It’s tee off time, 1-Mississippi type of rush that the Bears are facing. This is especially dreadful when you have an O-line that can’t block for dick.

When you have a terrible offensive line, you, in turn, have a quarterback who wants/needs to rush everything. This results in first read throws that are hurried, but more importantly, throws that your quarterback is not convinced he should make. Its easy, and borderline lazy, to say that Trubisky put up his respectable numbers when the game was over. But what do you want the guy to do? Stop playing? Start throwing picks? What he showed me is that he wanted to compete. He wasn’t great early, but he didn’t quit. I appreciate his effort and so do his receivers. Probably none more than Tarik Cohen, who played his ass off in route to nine catches. Cohen competed until the end, something you love to see.

Anthony Miller had five catches, but its clear there is a disconnect and unhappiness between him and Trubisky/Nagy. His poor body language was evident late in the game and he simply quit on some routes late in the game. I don’t know what’s going on with this guy, but its time he makes a name for himself on what he’s done instead of what he’s going to do.

I have never been a big Corradelle Patterson guy, but there is no question that he balled out today. Guy was everywhere and made plays in all phases. He’s going to be an Pro-Bowl special teams players and is someone that the young guys on the team can learn from.

Much like this entire Bears team, this defensive unit isn’t as good as we thought they’d be. 36 points allowed to a Saints offense that was without Drew Brees and Alvin Kamara? Get the fuck outta here. Not only did backup running back Latavius Murray run for his second 100 yard game against the Bears in two games, but Michael Thomas caught 9 balls for 131 yards against a Bears secondary that has continued to struggle this season. Saints QB Teddy Bridgewater continued to impress in a reserve role, throwing for 281 yards, but more importantly, only getting sacked one time.

This is going to be a long week for the Bears. Especially so: Mitch Trubisky and Matt Nagy. Questions are many, answers are few, and we still don’t know who this team is seven weeks into the season.

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?

Football

Once again, our Bears troika comes together to pick up the pieces after Week 2’s breathless win in Denver. 

So do we feel good the Bears gutted out a win while not playing particularly well (at least on one side of the ball) or still apprehensive they don’t look all that imposing?

Brian Schmitz (@_BrianSchmitz): In this league, wins are so hard to come by, you have to be grateful no matter how they look. BUT, this win and this team has a lot of warts. I am starting to believe that they are just not that good. They haven’t faced a good team yet, and the offensive results continue to trend the wrong way. It’s even more alarming that a quick fix doesn’t seem possible. The Bears need to get better with the guys they have, but unfortunately, these guys may not be as good as they thought.

Wes French (@WFrenchMan): Any win in the NFL is a positive, and an especially high energy finish of a walk-off 53-yard FG from a team that has this kicker-shadow hanging over them should be a boost for all involved. 

That said, the images of “Club Dub” in the immediate post-game did not look like many were celebrating. The offense was scaled back to the 1950’s, going way run heavy with mixed results and seeing the same poor ball placement from Trubisky. His pass to Robinson to help complete the comeback on 4th and 15 with 9 seconds left was only his second attempt that far down the field all game, and that first one came on the first drive. 
The defense was great until it wasn’t at the end, and everyone got a glimpse of what too many blitzes looks like from the Pagano playbook. 
A win is a win and 1-1 looks way better than 0-2, but there were not too many answers to the questions that came from the Week 1 debacle. 
Brian: Yes…Trubisky continues to struggle with accuracy issues that have played him his entire career. But as this point, how do you coach this up and improve? I’m not sure you can. Also, I’m trying to figure out if Mitch is bad because of Nagy or is Nagy bad because of Mitch?
Wes: Put me in the camp of “Nagy is bad because of Mitch” for now. 

The plays are there to be made, and you can’t fault the coaching when wide open guys are missed by five yards in any direction. The two most egregious plays were the ball short to Cohen and the one over Gabriel, both of which were going for big yards if your QB can simply throw a remotely catchable ball. I don’t know if it’s coachable or how you fix it, but this is going to be a very disappointing season if they don’t find out how to manage the offense to the point they can get to 20 every week. 
Tony Martin (@MrMartinBruh): There’s an old Bomb the Music Industry song called “Even Winning Feels Bad” and that’s the best way I can describe what we saw on the field Sunday afternoon. Oof, that was an ugly one. It felt like watching the Kyle Orton years, and I’d be devastated if this team wasted another year of this defensive core and couldn’t fix the offense. 

I agree with the overall sentiment in this thread so far that the scheme doesn’t matter if the QB can’t execute, and Nagy schemed some guys wide open and those plays were not converted. 
On the plus side: David Montgomery is going to get better and better, and the offensive line was better than it was last week (not like that’s saying much). The defense got their clutch turnover, the pressure was consistent, and Eddy drilled that kick. For every holding call, there were three more that could’ve been called and weren’t. This defense beat a team that is run by someone who knows them inside and out, and maintained some level of domination considering the offense only had the ball for 28 minutes for the entire game. Mitch ran a great 31-second drill. There is room for hope, but I’m not sold yet and I doubt I will be until we see consistent QB play. 
It’s at this point it feels like the truly optimistic would point out that the offense started out extremely slowly last year too, aside from the first half against Green Bay. But they gutted out wins against Seattle and Arizona before coming alive against the admittedly terrible Bucs. Do we think there’s no chance this could be the same situation?
Wes: There is still plenty to be optimistic about, but it’s more being optimistic that the coaching staff can find a way to carry their QB until he turns their advice into action. Trubisky is still very inexperienced at the position, but has the athletic ability to be capable enough to be in most games. He still seems to do better in hurry up situations and when he’s on the move, and while that’s not ideal it’s something they could lean on in the meantime. 

Maybe getting reps in preseason would have helped mitigate some of this bullshit, but this is where we are. Monday will be another tough road test, even though Washington doesn’t look very good. The coaching staff rubbed everyone’s nose in it by becoming a running team in Week 2, now let’s see if they can balance things out and make this look like a decent, NFL level offense. 
Brian: I don’t. I am very down on this team and I think they just may not be very good. Like six or seven wins bad. The Bears haven’t scored over 27 points since last November 11th. My concern is that Matt Nagy has been figured out and hasn’t yet figured out how to counterpunch.
Football

If Super Bowl rings were given out for pre-game hoopla, over the top predictions, and general meatheadedness, the Bears wouldn’t have needed to play another game this year – “Crown they ass” tonight and have the parade tomorrow. But always remember, the hype is just that, hype. Once the game was finally kicked off, none of the peripherals mattered anymore, and this was truly unfortunate for the Bears.

In what was a harbinger of things to come, the Bears, a 3 ½ point home favorite, limped out of the gate offensively; Managing only 98 yards in the first half and looking like a unit that hadn’t had any preseason game action to get ready for actual, live, as real as it gets, fucking games. Somehow despite their impotent offense, the Bears were able to garner a 1st quarter lead with a Field Goal. Who would have believed that a 1st quarter, 38-yard Field Goal from Eddie Pineiro would be the beginning and the end of the Bears scoring output for the night?

After the Pineiro 3-pointer, the next promising Bears drive stalled out at midfield after Matt Nagy wanted to show everyone how creative he was and ran wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson up the center’s ass on 3rd & short for a loss. If we are going to sit around and talk about how creative Nagy is and how much fun it must be to play in his system, then we must recognize when he gets too cute for his own good. This was certainly one of those instances.

A great Pat O’Donnell punt was downed inside the 10, and the defense was back on the field, which at this point in the game, was the Bears best offense. Overall, the Bears were “who we thought they were,” which is damn dominant. The Packers offense managed only 213 yards, of which 47 yards came via the run. Even future Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers was limited to 166 yards on 18-30 passing while being sacked 5 times. This is the beautiful thing about this Bears team; the defense can keep them in every game, even as the offense is still a work in progress.

Thankfully for my eyes, a very boring and borderline unwatchable first half ended on a stalled Bears drive and a failed Packer Hail Mary. At this point, the game almost had a pre-season feel to it; penalties and mistakes everywhere, missed assignments, and general fuckery overall.

The 2nd half started with more of the same from Trubisky and the offense; another 3 & Out. At this point, the game felt like Trubisky wasn’t exactly struggling, there was just has not any room for him or the running game to operate. The general lack of offensive success that we saw throughout this game was more a byproduct of a much-improved Packers defense than it was of poor execution on the offensive side of the ball.

But then suddenly, and finally, things changed. With about 4 minutes left in the 3rd quarter, something clicked in the passing game and the offense was able to establish some momentum. Trubisky hit on a few medium/deep balls (which he has struggled with his entire career) and even though the next two drives stalled out due to penalties, some continuity was finally taking place on the offensive side of the ball. Another reason to be positive at this point was that, despite being 1-11 on 3rd down, the Bears were only down by 4 points with 9:00 remaining in the 4th quarter.

A short Mason Crosby Field Goal extended Green Bay’s lead to 7 with 5:00 remaining, and soon thereafter, we reached the seasons first tipping point: facing a 3rd & 10, Trubisky found Allen Robinson for a first down inside the Packers 30-yard line. As this impressive 13 play drive continued, was it improbable to think that, even though the Bears have scored 3 points in 55 minutes, they would tie this thing up? Hopes were quickly dashed and we got our answer immediately thereafter as Mitch Trubisky hung up a corner route and was picked off by former Bear Adrian Amos to essentially end the game.

The electricity of one of the most anticipated season openers in team history had now become a deafening silence. This wasn’t just another regular season opener, it felt different, it seemed to mean more.

In the end, the Bears lost.

To the Packers.

At Soldier Field.

On their 100th anniversary.

This one stings.

It’s extremely hard to come up with any concrete takeaways after the first game of the season, however, there are a few things to question and/or consider:
• It’s fair to blame the offensive struggles on simply being out of sync, but at what point in the game or the season can we stop making excuses for a Bears offense that was average (at best) last year and flat out mediocre tonight?

• All I heard all week is how old Jimmy Graham is and how he’s a shell of his former self. Well, I’d take this dude over any Tight End on the Bears roster. Not only was he a great red zone target tonight, he was arguably the only Packers receiver who had the ability to stretch the field.

• The number of flags and stoppages kept this game from having any flow to it whatsoever. Add this to what was a very inefficient offensive performance by both teams, and it was a shitshow from a viewing perspective.

• Allen Robinson sneaky had a 100-yard receiving game; none more important than that drive saving catch on 3rd & 10 late in the game. His 13 targets were a game high.

• Anthony Miller did not produce a single catch while only being targeted 1 time. If the Bears want to be successful this year, this has got to change.

• Tarik Cohen and I had the same amount of rushing attempts and rushing yards tonight. When you talk so much about making it a priority to get this guy the ball, why is it that he so often disappears?

Football

Bad football rules because you know that it’s only a matter of time before the games start to count and I gotta say I was super geeked to watch the Bears play again. I’d say that the game tonight went about as well as the first preseason game could be expected to go, especially in the modern age when keeping starters out is the standard. Was it boring? Yeah. But it was a PRODUCTIVE boring. So, since the clock has just struck zero on 60 minutes of Bears football, I have some quick reactions I’d like to share even though I’m three White Claws deep and have to get up for work in 7 hours.

-Deon Bush was all over the field, which was more impressive than the interception he was gifted via an awful throw. If a starter gets hurt, he is a player easily above replacement level and could fill in nicely (and has in the past). I can see the Bears having a tough time deciding if they want to extend him for next year.

-Please keep David Montgomery off special teams FOR THE LOVE OF GOD. He looked so good, and the more time he gets in this offense, the better he’ll get. He and Cohen are gonna be sick together. I want Matt Nagy to unironically use those two and Patterson in a T-Formation. Can a play call be ironic? Whatever.

-Josh Woods flashed a lot in run support (and forced a fumble), but got sucked inside twice on two big runs. I’d like to see more of him this preseason and maybe he can challenge for a backup ILB spot this year.

-I love the pass interference challenge rule, but only because the one thing I want more of when watching preseason football is insurance commercials. I wrote this joke sober and I was lukewarm on it, but it’s preseason for Bears writers just like the players so I’m keeping it in and I’ll look at the tape tomorrow and make adjustments.

-Javon Wims popped off the screen again. I think this dude is legit, and will make the team. I think he’ll be used like Nagy used Demarcus Robinson in Kansas City. I can see him catching 20 passes for this team and scoring a couple times.

-Speaking of that Wide Receiver room: Marvin Hall is FAST, and yes, these are the kinds of takes I get paid the big bucks to formulate. I’m pumped to see what he can do with the first team punt return unit, if he makes the squad (I hope he does). Unfortunately, I think Taquan Mizzell Sr is the odd man out, which is a shame. Unless Kerrith Whyte really screws up or the Bears decide to keep 4 Running Backs on the 53, he won’t make it. Hopefully he catches on somewhere else because I like Smoke a lot and I think he can contribute to a roster somewhere.

Football

Fantasy season is almost upon us for 2019, and if you’re like me you are spending as much time as humanly possible reading up on as much as you can before all your targets inevitably get injured before opening day. I’ve always tried shying away from using Bears players in fantasy, since I’ve been conditioned to eternally expect the offense to always put up mediocre numbers, but also because the big money league I play in is made up of Bears fans. Someone will inevitably draft Anthony Miller in the 4th round and I’ll quietly roll my eyes and shrug it off until he goes off for 20 points when I go against him. Such is life.

That said, 2019 is probably the first year I can remember where Bears offensive players will come at a premium in fantasy football, but it’s important to have realistic expectations to make sure you aren’t reaching for guys when there’s much better options available. So, with that said, let’s take a look at where you should be willing to slot Bears players on your fantasy squad this year.

Mitch Trubisky: Consensus among the experts I’ve read is that our beloved signal-caller is a #2 QB at best, but if you look at the Bears subreddit you’d think Mitch is about to have a Jared Goff-esque breakout season. As much as I hate going with the dorks on the various fantasy sites I peruse, I gotta agree. I am not comfortable drafting Mitch to be my starting QB. He could be a premium backup or match-up play, especially if you stack him in a DFS lineup with Miller or Robinson, or even Taylor Gabriel in some sort of best-ball scoring setup, but in season-long leagues I am drafting him as the QB 14-18 and hoping I’m totally wrong.

What the hell do I do with the Bears backfield? That’s a good question. Is Tarik Cohen going to finish in the top-15 again at the RB position? I’m fearful of his durability going into this season for no real reason in particular, and the uncertainty regarding who will take a majority of carries in this offense makes the outlook super unclear. I wouldn’t be surprised to still have that uncertainty on a week-to-week basis when the year is in full swing. As of right now, I’m drafting Cohen as the best RB2 on my board (and a mid-level RB 1 in PPR formats), and David Montgomery as a flex starter, who could optimistically finish as a top-20 RB if everything shakes out. Mike Davis isn’t worth a roster spot.

Avoid Bears tight ends. I’d rather use Bradley Sowell in DFS once as a joke than draft Burton or Shaheen. Tight end is going to be a bloodbath this year, so make sure you’re locking down Kelce, Ertz, or Kittle in your first four rounds if possible. If not, you’re screwed and hoping to get NFL Red Zone highlights of Vance McDonald catching an 8-yard pass.

Okay, deep breath. Let’s try to figure out the Bears WR corps. Allen Robinson can be a top-10 wideout from a fantasy perspective, but will he? I’m not betting on it. His numbers last year are not good, even adjusted for his two games out of the lineup. Is he due back this year? He could be, and I’d be more than willing to buy low if he’s available in the 6th or 7th round. He’s a beast that will demand attention, but once again you gotta wonder if Mitch will throw his way if opposing teams try to take him out of the game (see his two-catch for 37 yards performance against Detroit). I’m taking him as a WR3 or Flex at best, which is actually lower than where I’d put Anthony Miller in PPR. Miller was TD dependent last year, but this year I’m hoping for more of a breakout season statistically. In PPR I’m drafting Miller to be a low end WR2. As mentioned earlier, Taylor Gabriel is someone I’d use in daily fantasy or best ball leagues, and Cordarrelle Patterson will be fun to watch but really only exists to vulture points from all Bears skill position players.

This offense is a mess in the best way. Sure, as a Jordan Howard owner the last two years I’ve had some conflicting emotions watching defensive players score goal-line touchdowns. On one hand its fun and it means the Bears are scoring, but as a season long, dynasty, and daily fantasy football player I just shake my head sadly. Part of me wants to not draft any Bears players with high expectations because I want to just enjoy Matt Nagy’s wild ride, but if Mitch crushes it this year there’s nothing stopping this offense from looking like those classic Saints offenses from a few years ago.

Football

…Mitch Trubisky doesn’t make a marked improvement in his game.
I am big Mitch supporter. He is one of the hardest working guys on the roster and he may be the most athletic quarterback in the league. But, (and with Mitch there is always a “but”) you are only as good as your stats, and so far, those stats have been underwhelming. Most preseason prognosticators have the Bears winning a lot games despite Mitch, not because of him. And at this point in his career, Trubisky is a 3rd tier QB.

…Kahlil Mack gets hurt
The success of the entire organization rests on the shoulders on Kahlil Mack. This goes so far beyond his individual numbers. This is a guy who makes everyone around him better – just ask Leonard Floyd, who went from bust to baller in the lone season he played with #52. To take this a step further, Mack’s play greatly affects field position, which in turn affects the Bears special teams units which affects the offense. Walter Payton was the last Bear whose individual success will determine the entire organizations prosperity.

…Playoff Matt Nagy returns
Matt Nagy’s last two playoff game performances can be described anywhere from below average to shit down your leg choke job. For whatever reason, Nagy tightens up the playbook in the playoffs and becomes as predictable as Sam Fel’s being drunk on a weekend night. Nagy is one of the best play callers in the league, but, thus far, this hasn’t translated when it matters most.

…Chuck Pagano Does Chuck Pagano Things
Chuck Pagano has been given the keys to a Lamborghini; his only job is to not crash it (What up Lance Briggs?). Pagano doesn’t even need to improve the defensive unit, just keep the status quo and they will win games. The Bears Defensive Coordinator is one of the best/easiest jobs in football – Pagano’s defensive meetings should play out something like this: “Hey you, number 52, you’re better than every other player in the league. Just be you and the rest of us will be fine.”

Tarik Cohen Is Overused
Tarik Cohen is not an every down back. And while that is a curse, it is also a blessing. The 2nd-year RB cannot withstand the wear and tear of being an every down back and scheming against him becomes easier each time you see him on the field. The Bears need a Robin for their backfield Batman, an Ice for their Fire. While it’s not fair to label him as a novelty back; he is definitely not a player who has all the tools to be your lead back when your need is a 3 yards on 3rd down.

Everything Else

Unlike Hess, Rankin, and Pullega, the “core four” still live in this wonderful city and call it home. We have not abandoned it for some horseshit covered outpost or soulless suburb. Which means, we still bleed blue and orange. We know the Bears are the soul of this city, for better or for worse (so much worse). And like everyone else, we’re pumped about Sunday and the season ahead. So in a tradition unlike any other, we share our football thoughts, carrying on the tradition of “The Committed Idonije.”

We barely saw Mitch Betta’ Have My Money in the preseason. We really don’t know what’s in store for this season. Do you think the limited preseason action will matter and what are you expecting from our boobies-loving QB?
McClure:  First of all, it’s “tittiess”, and the Mack acquisition is such a trajectory-changer that it alters the prism through how we the giardiniera soaked masses view Mitch Please. IN THEORY, Mack takes a significant amount of pressure off of Mitch and will give him shorter fields to work with and hopefully leads to protect. Not that a QB drafted at #2 overall needs to project as a dreaded Game Manager (not Laramie), but Mitch’s margins just got a lot wider, and any rust that could be in place by Nagy giving the finger to the tradition of the dress rehearsal pre-season game should be knocked off by the end of the first half on Sunday. So, cliff notes answer- no probably not.
Feather: Like our new overlord Matt Nagy said, if Mitch falters early, it won’t be because he didn’t take 20 snaps in the preseason. 

I’m very interested to see what this offense (and Mitch) will look like when the bell goes off on Sunday. Clearly, the Bears were making a concerted effort to avoid putting anything on film. And they were obviously doing something worth watching in the Denver scrimmages to have the ever-weird John Elway paying complements to Mitch. So I’m not too worried about the lack of preseason reps. 

Realistically, I just want to see A) Mitch stay healthy the whole season and B) new wrinkles continually added to Nagy’s offense as the year progresses. I don’t ask for much. Just make my Sunday’s interesting again. Please.
Slak: I don’t worry about the preseason because I’m not a loser like Hub Arkush. That said, I think they’ve kept a ton of stuff re: the playbook from the public and it should be interesting to see if it plays out in our favor. Mike McCarthy’s comments seem oblivious as he is wont to sound, but then again he’s not gonna come out and say “here’s what we’re going to do to stop the Bears.” There’s an element of surprise and I am excited because Mitch does have one thing in his favor and it’s his unpredictability and athleticism. The big question is can he throw? 
Fels: I’m a touch worried about accuracy. The athleticism is there, the offense is going to be a learning curve for everyone so I’ll take those mistakes, but the one thing I noticed last year is Mitch sometimes struggles to find a tight window (don’t we all?) Especially on a deep ball, because Fox never let him throw one last year. If he can’t hit some 40-, 50-, 60-yard bombs occasionally, then everything is going to get scrunched. If he can, sky’s the goddamn limit. MITCH BETTA’ HAVE MY MONEY.
How good is this defense gonna be?
McClure: There is no limit to how good this defense can be. Everyone and their obese uncle on twitter has posted positional parallels for Vic Fangio’s fearsome defense in San Francisco to the personnel that slots in here, and things certainly look favorable. If nothing else, this defense will look more aggressive than Lovie’s bend-but-don’t-break and takeaway the ball system, and could very well be better if everyone stays healthy.
Feather: This defense SHOULD be as much fun as the first three years of the Lovie Staff and his Smith era when Tommie Harris still had two attached hamstrings. 

As McClure said, the Mack acquisition completely changes the prism by which this unit should be viewed. Of course, Roquan Smith missing the preseason (and to a lesser extent Mack) probably means this defense won’t come out of the gates breathing fire. More likely, it’ll take a couple weeks of the Bears getting slightly torched; people losing their minds and then getting on a roll after everyone gets a good feel for each other.
Vic Faaaaaaangio. Just wanted to get that one in. 
Slak: Injuries, as always, will dictate that. Trader Vic is no slouch though and I think he’ll get as much as one can from this group and goddamn is it talented. I am really excited to see them get back to being the terrifying takeaway machine we remember from the mid 2000s. 
Fels: I don’t even want to compare it to Lovie’s, as fun as they were at full-strength. This defense has the potential to be our mid-80’s group because unlike Lovie’s, this one’s gonna come and get ya. There will be angles and blitzes and ferocity and outright terror and I am here for it. There will also be swagger, and that’s when things are going to get really fun.
Khalil’s gonna kill you…Khalil’s gonna kill you…Khalil’s gonna kill you…
 
Is Allen Robinson going to be a weapon? Does he even have to be with Taylor Gabriel, Anthony Miller, and Slak’s boy Javon Wims?
McClure:  If nothing else, Robinson has to be respected if not double covered, and with the plethora of on-paper skill position weapons this offense should have. Robinson doesn’t seem to have an excessive amount of WR Diva in him so playing decoy for a while for the betterment of the team should be alright, but eventually he’s going to need his touches to keep DB’s honest, and it will be on he and Mitch to make the most of those targets.
Feather: You also forget to mention Slak’s other boy Kevin White. I’m probably drunk on Bears Kool-aid but this really could be an embarrassment of riches if all things come together. Hell, even if Anthony Miller is the only one of the young guys mentioned who pans out that will still be a success…by Bears standards. 

The key to it all taking off, though, is Robinson. If he starts strong and draws the attention of the opposition, it’ll open single coverage on guys like Miller, Burton, Wims, etc. 
He’s such a huge target. So long as his ACLs don’t shatter on impact, I cant think of a good reason why he wouldn’t be considered a major weapon. 
Slak:  I think he will be if Mitch can find him. I love Wims because I watched a lot of Georgia football last year and I think Anthony Miller can be a super dependable guy for us. Jury’s out on Gabriel but the guy you didn’t mention is Trey Burton. I think he’s gonna be really good. 
Fels: The amount of weapons the Bears could have is kind of astonishing. And that leaves out what could be a really decent running game and a coaching staff that can maximize the fun of Tarik Cohen. They’re going to get goofy and I can’t wait. Really, All Robinson has to be is a cog.
How many things in your house did you punch in joy when you found out about Khalil Mack?
McClure: Well, not nearly as many as Slak, who sent us all a 7:30AM “WAKE UP MOTHERFUCKERS THEY DID IT” text last week.
Feather: One, myself in the face. 
Slak: I think I texted you clowns immediately. I felt higher than giraffe balls. 
Fels: This is probably too much info, but I got Slak’s text on the toilet, Now that’s an experience.
Ok, seriously, can the Bears actually be like, good this year?

McClure: Short answer “Yes” with a “Maybe”, long answer “No” with a “But”.

Feather: I feel like my answer to this is the same every year – yes. Not to be a St Louis Blues fan “this time will be different” but this season has a different feel than any in the past decade or so. There are so many things to like about this roster and there’s still that new car smell of the coaching staff that there doesn’t seem to be much wishcasting when you start trying to imagine a 9 to 10 win team.  So what we have is 100% pure, unfiltered optimism. God help us all.

Slak: t’s a really tough division – the hardest question is who finishes *last* in the NFC North? It’s loaded. Based on that, it’s going to be a tough year for any of those teams and I welcome relevance. We’re not asking for much – just let us care again. Let us love. 

Fels: I’m all fucking in. I think 10 wins is right there. Everyone barks about the schedule but you honestly have no idea what the schedule will look like come Halloween. Yeah, the division is tough, but it’s not like Green Bay or Detroit are fucking juggernauts. And you can Kirk Cousins this, beeyotch. There are three pretty winnable AFC games there, The Bucs and Giants blow. Win your division games at home and those five and there’s eight wins already. Then it’s just about picking off one or two others. It can be done. It will be done.

FOOTBALL’S COMING HOME.