Yes, those crickets you are hearing are the ones at Halas Hall and the NFL offices right now. The league is, for the most part, shut down and has been for several weeks since the mini-camp ended.

There really isn’t much to report on the Bears front. They cut a few guys you have never heard of, but outside of that, not much. The whole league is pretty much on vacation right now. Even the blowhards at the networks are struggling for NFL news. I noticed the other day that they were recycling the dumb deflategate stuff – again.

So, until camp starts, there will likely be not too much to report on these pages. Enjoy the summer and see you then. I will drop a post in if something major happens.

Our “Vacated Trophy” Tour Is Coming up to North Carolina

The Illini are clearly not a major player in college athletics.  We have had just a few teams that were exciting over the last few decades…

– the “Flying Illini” of 1988-9 where we ended up losing to Michigan (here’s the 25th anniversary site)

– the 2004-5 Illini men’s basketball team (no nickname) who made it all the way through the NCAA tournament to the final and lost to North Carolina

– the 2007-8 Illini football team who famously beat Ohio State to ruin their season (that day was one of my single favorite sports memories I watched it with my sister in her house in Champaign and went crazy) and lost to USC in the Rose Bowl

So that’s it. And while I am always hopeful it doesn’t seem like the Illini are going to mount some sort of big comeback anytime soon, especially since the state is broke and we aren’t going to do the sort of epic things necessary to win in “division zero”.

But even by the standards of the NCAA (which are abysmally low), it turns out that the 2004-5 Men’s basketball team in North Carolina had a giant scam academia process where many of the players signed up for no-show classes where you had to “write” a single paper to get credit (really just a couple of paragraphs that maybe a 4th grader could have done) for many of the classes.

Bloomberg – the giant financial company – did a big expose of the scandal here, and of course you can see it all over on awesome Deadspin.

I’m not going to get into the scandal because it is boring.  What I want to do is to get this trophy “vacated” (that’s the NCAA’s favorite word) so that Dan and I can go down to North Carolina (good barbecue) to get a photo next to “our” trophy, since it is as close to a winner as we are going to get in our lifetime. Come on NCAA, it is just a word, do it!

Illini Vacated Trophy

While we are at it let’s go visit that Rose Bowl trophy at USC can’t be long before some giant scandal comes out from the Pete Carroll era…

Are the Bears the worst in the NFL?

I sure as hell hope not since I will be attending 8 home games and maybe even 1-2 useless pre season games.

According to USA today (surprised they even exist, btw) the Bears rank 32 out of 32 teams according to their power ranking poll.  WOW.  That’s below the Browns, the Raiders, and Tampa Bay… and also the usual suspects like Tennessee and Jacksonville.

What do you think?

Bears News and Notes

Well, now that the draft is over, it is the “quiet” time for NFL stuff. However there have been a few things going on up at Halas Hall that I would like to round up in this post.

The draft went well for the Bears, according to most “experts”. We definitely addressed some needs and didn’t make any dumb moves or trades. All of the draft picks have been signed. This used to be a huge deal, but with the new CBA of a few years ago, there really isn’t much negotiation for these guys any more. If three of the six catch on and contribute in any meaningful way, that will be a huge success as the draft is always a crap shoot. Look at Jacksonville, who had the number three overall pick in the draft. They chose Dante Fowler, who has already mangled his ACL and is out for the year.
Others have beaten the draft all to hell so I won’t spend too much time on it here.

The Bears signed tackle Paul Cornick (another former Bronco player) on May 5, and then cut his ass on May 7 due to a “failed physical”. That term “failed physical” is tossed around pretty nonchalantly in the NFL and could really mean a million things. I am guessing he was trying to hide an injury or something that got vetted out in the physical.

The Bears signed an assload of undrafted free agents (UDFA’s) after the draft – 15 of them to be exact. If we can get just one of these guys to catch on it would be a huge success. Of note is the QB Shane Carden from East Carolina.

These highlight youtube videos of college football players crack me up. You can find them for almost every player of note. I think that the kids who are media majors have to make them for the school for one of their classes.

So for QB I think it will look something like this:
Run Cutler into the ground at least one more year since we will suck anyways, and maybe run him into the ground for his final year in 2016 too. Keep Jimmy “Pickles” Clausen for when Cutler gets hurt. That leaves the third string position to be fought out by Carden and Fales. I am guessing that one of them will make the practice squad and/or they will keep them as an inactive on the roster.

One thing I would like to bring into this post that is draft related was the choice of Jeremy Langford from Michigan State. This is a sure sign that Forte will have to take a massive pay cut as he is aging, or he will be gone. There is no more de-valued position in the NFL right now than running back.

The Black Unicorn appears to be on the trading block. As of this writing, the Bears have five or six tight ends on the roster so it does look like this is the end for him. He is smart, though for complaining and bitching and trying to get a new deal done NOW. With the new offense, it is almost a lock that Bennett will get fewer touches this year, and his stats were excellent last year – he was one of the very few proven performers for the Bears all year long. With an aging player, your stats declining is a BAD THING when it comes extension time. But he has attitude issues, and that doesn’t look like it will fly with a guy like Pace. So we will likely get a 4th or 5th rounder for him but oh well, that’s the NFL for ya. This is my favorite moment from last year, when he welcomed Kyle Fuller into the NFL in camp:

I am sure that the Bears owners and higher ups all almost vomited when they saw their first rounder get slammed to the ground.

The Bears have declined to pick up the fifth year option of Shea McClellin. This is an interesting moment in a recent presser from Pace – it almost appears as though he is doing everything he can not to just say to the reporter “are you nuts?” at the 4.55 mark in this press conference. I have a feeling that Shea will get cut before the season. We will always have this to thank him for:
shea gif
Ha ha ha I could watch that a million times.

As an aside, if you have never watched a Ryan Pace presser, you should. He is a refreshing change from the old, stodgy, typical GM. He is young, healthy, intense, and engaging. Will he be successful? Time will tell, but I like how he has come in and essentially blown up the place. Speaking of…

…Pace has fired many of the Bears scouts. It appears that he is just totally cleaning house and bringing in all new people from the players to the staff. I see no reason why he shouldn’t.

That’s about it for now. As I said, we are now heading into the quiet time for the NFL and there won’t be much to yap about but I will try to occasionally put up a post like this that consolidates a lot of the small news and notes that apply to the Bears.

Your Draft Week Open Thread

There isn’t a much more hyped event that offers nothing of value than the draft. I have to hand it to the NFL – they have done a good job at getting people excited about it, and it is a testament to how nuts the USA is about football that they garner huge ratings for the draft. And it is in Chicago this year, so we should see some good examples of Drunk Bear Fans milling about.

I won’t be watching past pick seven on Thursday night (that is, if the Bears don’t trade up or down), however I will take a look at who the Bears picked up later next week. For now, here is an open thread for you.

EDIT – d’oh I just looked at the forecast for this weekend. I will not be watching one second of the draft – need to get outside and thaw my frozen ass out.

Why Baseball Sucks

Baseball never learns.  No one needs a 162 game season and then myriad rounds of playoff games.


Here’s a screen shot from the Cubs game at Pittsburgh.  There are like 5 fans there in the first place (because it is Pittsburgh and it isn’t the hated Steelers).  But then those 5 fans flee because IT IS SNOWING.  What do you think happens when you play a NIGHT GAME IN APRIL.

Really – I don’t care how much they are paying for TV rights – baseball will by dying soon at this rate.  They need to compress the season down to like 100 games and shorten the playoffs.  None of this will ever happen, however, because there is no incentive to reduce short term revenues (and the amount of Coors Light they can serve) by not having 162 interminable night games.

No learning for baseball and I don’t care.  Waiting for football season…

More Roster Moves

The Bears are quickly jettisoning guys who Pace/Fox don’t want, and signing the guys who they do want.

The Bears re-signed our favorite Irishman, Sherrick McManis to a one year deal. He does a really good job on special teams so I am good with that. We also picked up Jaquizz Rodgers, a signing intended to give Forte a rest now and then or to give a different look. I haven’t seen the deal yet but I am hoping we got him on a vet minimum and receive the discount for that on the cap. We also signed linebacker Sam Acho from the Cardinals. We have a LOT of lb’s under contract now and camp will be great to sort out the wheat from the chaff.

Gone are safety Anthony Walters and Roberto Garza. Garz was a great advocate for the Bears – he was active in the community and gave us a lot of years of good service. To replace him we picked up former Broncos center Will Montgomery.

It is interesting to note that a lot of our pick ups have been from NFC South teams or Denver – the NFC South is likely the division Pace knows the most about being from New Orleans. The Denver pickups were an easy one – Fox obviously knows his old players.