Category Archives: Fire Carl from Chicago

Some Idiot Thinks the Bears will win 10 Games in 2017

This Bears blog picked up that Sports Illustrated had the Bears picked for 10 wins in 2017, noting that the 2016 team was decimated by injuries.  First of all, as a Bears fan, I want them to go 16-0, but here’s what I actually thought of that prediction…

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA YOU MUST BE OUT OF YOUR MIND

The Bears have gaping holes across their roster.  While I don’t have a crystal ball, it seems highly likely that they will drop Cutty soon (mid-March when the NFL “season” starts for 2017), and then they will have NO QB.  We won’t count “St. Pick” Barkley or Hoyer who is a career backup who picks up enough stats in garbage time to look competent.  Sure, they could get a QB by trade or the draft, but it seems like we will have one of the weakest starting QB’s going into the season of any team.  See how that went for the Raiders or Texans, two teams 10x better than the Bears who were booted out of the playoffs promptly when they encountered teams with good QB play.

Sure they have some good defensive guys on their roster (usually hurt), but their secondary is a disaster and if they were actually trying to play competitive football this would be a gaping hole.  If you swapped out the Bears secondary for guys on the practice squad of a typical team I don’t think we would see a dramatic difference, and that’s bad.

On offense – with Jeffrey probably gone (or hurt / suspended if he happens to be with the team) – we have terrible receivers and tight ends.  True, we have a decent O line and running back but with no QB, receivers, or tight ends that’s not a formula for winning football.

Oh and let’s not forget that the Bears aren’t exactly a coaching / drafting powerhouse.  Almost all of our top draft picks have been busts and the last thing we innovated was the T Formation.

If anyone is giving you the over / under on a 10 win season for the Bears, damn you’ve got to take the under on that, being a Bears fan notwithstanding.

A Worse Game Day Experience Than Soldier Field

Recently I went to see a Chargers game in San Diego. First off, let me just say that city is beautiful and the weather is awesome and it would be great if I could live in a climate like that year round. But I can’t so let’s start with the hating.

Not only is their stadium a colossal dump, their beer prices are just crazy. These are worse even then Soldier Field.

chargers_beer_prices

Hey but at least they have cheerleaders. One of our favorite threads here is how much we hate the stoooopid drum line at the Bears and how we need to bring back cheerleaders.

san_diego_cheerleaders

Their “big screen” was hilariously tiny. I think Dan’s TV is bigger than this. And when the field was in shadows you couldn’t even see the screen. This place is a time machine.

chargers_big_screen

The team has alienated their fan base by threatening to move a thousand times and spending zip on the stadium so that it gets so old that they have to have a new one. A couple days after I left San Diego they voted down funds for a new taxpayer-funded stadium so I guess this will just continue until they find a town dumb enough to subsidize some zillionaire owner since San Diego won’t do it. But just my luck – I sit behind literally the last local guy who cares about the Chargers and he is all Bartman-like with headphones on and stands most of the time.

chargers_bartman

One more time – get rid of the drum line and get cheerleaders – nice calendar.

chargers_calendars

Bears 2015 Season Ends

The Bears stumbled their way to a 6-10 record this year and Halas Hall has all of the typical pressers lined up today. I have already received a “we love you” email to the season ticket holders from the office. I will be interested to hear what Pace has to say, and to see how George handles things as well. We never hear a lot from George (and never from ma) so I am always intrigued to try to read into his words, tones and inflections.

I honestly think that everyone will put on a happy face. Sure, we were 6-10 but the end of this season isn’t like last year where the wheels were completely off the cart. We were at least competitive in most games. I understand that this isn’t good enough and I am sure everyone at Halas Hall understands this as well.

The Bears new office staff and coaches have instilled a new attitude and I for one am happy about it. Where in the past idiots like Jay (I refuse to call him Jeremiah) Ratliff could go off on staff and get away with it, now if you try to pull that sh1t, you hit the bricks – nice and simple.

I also feel that we have some talent to work with. That, along with being in fine shape as regards the cap should lead to one or two splash signings in the off season. I really wanted Muhammad Wilkerson from the Jets for our 3-4, but he broke his leg yesterday.

I will on occasion be putting up updates when news comes out as to staff and/or personnel changes. I will likely consolidate the small news, and put up a separate post when something big comes out such as when Gase gets hired away.

One last piece of business – time to check our predictions for this year:

Dan from Madison 7-9
GFV – 8-8
Carl from Chicago – 6-10 (nice!)
Fro Dog – 6-10 (nice!)
Nesby – 11-5, wild card (lol)

We were all pretty close (besides drunken Nesby, of course) but I think that is the first time that anyone nailed the predictions on the head. Congrats to Carl and Fro.

Season Over

I think it is pretty obvious to everyone (with the possible exception of Nesby), that this season is basically over for the Bears after two games.  Does anyone think there is really any chance for the Bears to make the playoffs this season?

We called this here on these pages some time ago.  It was painfully apparent even before the Jennings release that Fox and Pace were completely tanking this year, and making roster moves to clear the decks, and start over in a year or two.  I expect more failure next year.  Nobody will ever admit that, but the Jennings release cemented this theory for all but the most obtuse and hard headed.

And frankly, I don’t have a problem with it.  Don’t be surprised to see more moves that look goofy in the coming season.

In the comments of the last post, an interesting discussion of sorts has started about Bear fan apathy.  Astute commenters GFV and dvxprime have noted the lack of traffic here and the lack of fan concern elsewhere.  This is partially right, and partially wrong.

We typically chug along at 20 hits a day here.  After game one and two, that total more than tripled.  While 70 hits is totally small beer, triple the traffic after TWO games is interesting.  In the last weeks of the Trestman and Smith eras we were getting over a thousand hits a day, and the idiots that traffic brings.  Those were good times.  But I digress.

I think people won’t be googling “Fire John Fox” and “Fire Ryan Pace” en masse for a while.  Most realize that to start over, you have to clear the decks and in the salary cap era, it takes several years to unwind the mistakes of the past and move forward.  This will be no different.

Trust me.  Pace and Fox don’t like to lose, and neither does Ma or Boy George.  They will be cringing when they see a half full stadium in December.  But it is what has to be done.  So get ready for more losing.

So Long, Year 2014

Warning: Long read!

I’ll try to go in chronological order, as much as possible. I got the impression that the 2014 season began with a lot of optimism about what kind of a season the Bears would have. And there didn’t seem to be too many people that were disbelieving.

Granted, there were plenty of raised eyebrows with the Cutler contract, but persuasive alternative choices at the time that the deal was done weren’t overpowering arguments. It was in January that this website sought out reasoned analyses as to what choices the Bears had besides to sign Cutler, come up with the name of an experienced available QB, or opt to draft and pray for a QB.  Having read what was written, I didn’t see a viable alternative to signing Cutler. As has been necessary to repeat, however, the price tag was an altogether different animal.  But, let’s not forget that QB contracts after Cutler’s deal was done, as a whole, have included less guaranteed money than they did before Cutler’s contract.  The point being, negotiators of the Cutler contract could still point to more, rather than less, guaranteed money, as indications of what Cutler, even as merely a quarterback with a pulse, should be getting in light of what QB contracts before his contract had escalated to include.

There was probably not enough emphasis and attention paid to certain developments that would come back to haunt the Bears. While the site certainly  didn’t endorse things like Briggs leaving town to open his BBQ place and B. Marshall going on The View (?) to sign his contract, stinking horseshit  like these events didn’t draw the hot flaming ire that we now hold for them.

As for the actual start of the season. the majority of us figured that the Buffalo game would be a win for the Bears. Instead, it would prove to be an omen. The win against the 49ers was an unexpected win. But again, the Buffalo loss and the San Francisco win had us doing some meaningless mental gymnastics,  trying to rationalize a loss to Buffalo with a win against the 49ers. Not something a good team does to people’s expectations.

It was after the 38 – 17 home loss to the Packers that, more than confusion about the Bears consistency, but the season’s true ugliness began to show. It was then that we had to realize that with Jay’s lifetime record against the Packers and our remaining schedule, things were grim.

Dan made the call on Jared Allen’s invisibility as early as September 23,  when the team was just 2 – 1, stating that Allen “has to start getting sacks.”And, as the season progressed into a lost cause, Allen’s practice and polish in front of the TV cameras seemed to allow him to avoid and escape being cornered  as the rat he was this season. Pneumonia my left nut.

As to the team, Dan posted “Conditional Critical” as early as October 9, a few days after the Carolina game.

I think it was around the Miami game on October 19 that most of the readership  started to fully admit that the Bears were not who we hoped they were. Of course, it was the week after the Miami game that the Patriots put up 51 points and any and all hope seemed to absolutely turn into delusion.

The site has been exploring damage control since at least October 20, when the “What is to be Done?” thread appeared.  Interestingly, a comment back from that thread is as follows:

“…start showing the high priced vets the door via trade and begin grooming a qb.”

It was on November 10 that Dan floated “Put A Fork In IT” on the site,  following up by declaring that from that point on, he would be giving the remainder of his tickets for the season away. Actions, people, speak volumes.

The site didn’t really rake Lamaar Houston over the coals too badly, though the (expletive deleted) more than deserved it.  The guy was so completely and utterly a sorry excuse for a Bear he seemed to be creatively exploring new ways to be a distraction.

“Stop Harassing Marc Trestman’s Daughters”  had to be published by the gentlemen in charge here at the site.  Apparently, there are people in the population at large who call themselves fans with too little honor and self-respect than to terrorize offspring about their father, who is a public figure, though the children are not.

The website included a podcast and a poll in 2014.  As well as several pieces about the U. of I.  The talk about the Bears cap situation has been interspersed throughout the year  and Dan has made this one of the few forums, if there are any others, devoted to the Bears where the readers  have gained some understanding about this thing called the cap because someone took the time to focus on it, in an environment that is conducive to learning.

As for the content of the majority of the posts throughout the year, it seems to be that the love of the Bears out of a sense of history and faithfulness remains strong. As is true about at least a few players, like Forte, Bennett, Long, and Paea, most of the time. But, as far as liking every single player or coach that puts on the uniform of the Bears, well that has been impossible.

Black Monday came and the Bears told Phil Emery and Marc Trestman that they would be parting ways from the Bears  before 9:00 am. George McCaskey  and Ted Phillips held a press conference stating that they’ve retained Ernie Accorsi, an expert consultant, to guide them in reaching out to a new GM and HC.  Perhaps Accorsi will be given a lot of weight. Perhaps McCaskey and Phillips think that they need to continue to think the way that they have been thinking.  Certainly we’ll all be doing a lot of reading in the coming weeks about the new blood, whomever it may be.

So Long Lance and Looking To The Future

The way that I get most of my news about Bears personnel is watching the transactions wire.  You can see it here.

Rather than taking what is speculated upon in the press or “scooped” by unreliable reporters, you can always look at the transactions listing with confidence.  It is like math; the transactions listing is always black and white and doesn’t have an opinion.  It is an open book for all to see and a teller of truth.

The most recent transaction was to place Lance Briggs on IR, which basically means that his season is over, and by extension, his career with the Bears.  Lance got paid $4.75mm this year, plus a $500k roster bonus and $250k workout bonus.  He is one of the highest paid linebackers in the league.  But…he is 34, and now has 11 seasons under his belt.  He will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year.

The only way I can see Briggs coming back with the Bears is if he takes a veteran minimum type of contract, but I doubt that will happen.  In fact, I am 75% sure that Briggs will just hang it up.  He has had a fantastic run and I imagine his body must be begging him for a break.  Time for him to pick up a cush job endorsing some used car lot and making appearances on the Score for some extra bucks.  While we are talking about moving on, I thought I would look at the Bears current roster and discuss the future a bit.

But before we get there, look at the transaction right before Briggs being put on IR.  Brian de la Puente goes on IR as well.  Damn our O line is just not deep enough, again.  Anyways…

Here are the guys that I am 100% sure will be back with the team next year in no particular order:

Defense***:

Jared Allen, David Bass, Jon Bostic, Chrstian Jones, Brock Vereen, Kyle Fuller, Ego Ferguson, Will Sutton, Stephen Paea, Tim Jennings, Cornelius Washington (be prepared to see him possibly go on IR as well)

Offense:

Martellus Bennett, Jermon Bushrod, Alshon Jeffery, Kyle Long, Jordan Mills

Specials:

Robbie Gould, Pat O’Donnell

You will note some interesting names off the list, first and foremost being Cutler.  While he did just sign the deal, there are always things you can do to get out of the deal, and/or soften the blow on the cap – if the Bears can find a trading partner.  But this goes back to what the long term vision of the upper management is.  If they decide to ride this current staff out with their contracts, expect to see Cutler and Trestman back at Soldier field next year.  If they decide to blow up things sooner, rather than later, you might see the following:

Cutler shopped, and Forte offered a new deal, or cut.  Forte’s scheduled pay for next year is $6.65mm salary, plus $1.05mm roster bonus plus $100k workout bonus.  If the Bears release him, it is only a $1mm dead money hit.  With the market for running backs tanking the way that is has been with so many busts around the league, Forte has a decision to make.  Take a restructure, or get cut.  That is, if the Bears management is thinking soundly.  Don’t get me wrong – I love Forte.  But that position just isn’t worth this sort of money when you can liekely get a crazed SEC lunatic RB in the draft, pay him 20% of what Forte is making and get likely 85% of that production on the field.  Then, use the new draftee up, cut him before the rookie deal is up, and get a new one.  That is the new reality of the running back position – and Carl called this years ago to his credit.

I am also not 100% sure that Marshall will be back even though he just signed an extension this year.  This is another guy with a million miles on him – and you could see that he was a step behind this year.  His contract next year shows a $7.5mm base, with a $200k workout bonus.  BUT the dead money associated with cutting Marshall is HUGE, at $13.125mm.  So because of that, he may be traded, but if Marshall puts his foot down, he will be on the roster.

Cutler will be in year two of his deal, and he can’t be cut, as he would have almost $20mm in dead money associated with that, but he could be dealt.  And I have no clue how the negotiations go in these situations where there is an existing contract.

Of course, this is all assuming that upper management wants to blow the whole thing up.  If they do, they will need a year, and possibly two to unwind all of the cap room that we would need to field a good team once again.  And realistically, the Bears could decide that internally and just not tell anyone.  Trestman, if nothing else, will work his ass off to do what he can with what he has.  You can say a lot of bad things about Trestman, but you cannot challenge his work ethic, or professionalism.

I imagine the Bears have already run some sort of regression to project what sort of costs are associated with blowing up everything now, or running everything into the ground one more year and then blowing it up.  At least that is what I would do, if my team were in this situation.  Just using a wild assed guess, I would bet that the numbers would show that running it down for one more year and getting out from under some of the current player and coaching contracts would be the way to go.  I think this is what they did with Lovie.  The only problem with this strategy is that if you end up making the playoffs, it makes it pretty damned hard to “Fire Everybody” as we like to call this humble space.  And you never know in the NFL.

Looking at the coaches, we obviously need to jettison Tucker and de Camillis, along with a bunch of the other D coaches and it will be interesting to see what happens to Kromer.  That is Trestman’s guy from way back in the day, but Emery might make a call on that.  Trestman runs the offense anyways, so exactly what Kromer’s job is could be a topic for debate.  I highly doubt that ownership would eat two years of Trestman’s deal, but stranger things have happened.  Past experience, however, shows that the Bears don’t exactly like to do that sort of thing (see Lovie).

I would prefer not blowing up the whole thing and just being good with what we have, but that doesn’t look to be in the cards, sadly.  As I have been saying, this will be one of the most interesting off seasons in recent memory.  There are a lot of things in play with personnel and coaches.  I remain positive, since the NFL changes extremely quickly.   But I am also a realist and understand that so many things that look simple – aren’t.  As I tend to say, individual events don’t necessarily happen in a vacuum – but keep a side eye on that transactions page I mentioned in the beginning of this (now way too long) post.  It may share with you a lot of the untold story of what Bears coaching and management is thinking if you read between the lines.

*** Most of the above discussion has been about our offense because I honestly think we have a core group of guys on defense that could be a force someday, with the right coaching.  Our last few drafts have been outstanding and with a little better positioning, or maybe a better scheme, we will be just fine.  Obviously, a new defensive coordinator next year will be a huge help getting these guys in the right place at the right time.

Complex vs. Simple

Here at good ‘ol FRT we tend to try to do some deeper thinking and try to peel back the layers of the onion, so to say, when it comes to football.  Anybody can post “the Packers Suck” (and there is nothing wrong with that) but we feel we should be better than that.

I have been studying the economics of the salary cap for several months now and think I probably have a better grip on it than 99.9999999% of people walking around (maybe more).  We also tend to dip a little deeper into the nuts and bolts of college and pro football, to try to look at it from different angles.  This isn’t for everyone, and even I question our sanity at times, but there it is.

Meanwhile, the vast majority of football fans look at one thing – wins.  You are either good or bad, suck or not suck.  And honestly, there isn’t much wrong with this.  While we dig deeper here to try to figure out why, I guess it doesn’t really matter.  You either win, or you don’t.  Luck and all that be damned.

I am writing this because I saw the below on Deadspin today (NSFW) from our crack (ha!) correspondent Snoop Dogg, speaking of his mess that is the Pittsburgh Steelers last night:

And you know, Snoop is right in his own way.  We were able to analyze and breakdown Ron Turner’s nonsense, but in the end all you really needed to know is that “he sucked”.