Category Archives: Fire George McCaskey

OTC on the Bears’ offseason

We love “over the cap” – a web site that attempts to explain how NFL teams operate and how they leverage the economics of NFL contracts to construct teams and increase (or not) their chances of success.  It is also ironic that the main guy running the site is a Jets fan because the Jets generally fail to take his advice and do everything wrong.

In a disturbing but seemingly accurate summary of the Bears’ offseason and turnover on their roster…

19. Bears

Snaps Lost Quality Snaps Lost Quality ST Lost Avg. APY Lost Avg. Rank
22.3% 14.3% 9.8% $2,622,083 17.5

This has to qualify as one of the oddest offseasons of all time.  The Bears were relatively average in their turnover despite having a terrible team last season and went out and signed an expensive free agent quarterback and drafted a top QB but sold off their best receiver.  This has all the makings of a front office giving a head coach enough rope to hang himself so that their hands are clean when they fire him next season. When final rosters are set and we revisit the snaps gained and lost I expect everything to cancel out except for Glennon. If Glennon fails expect wholesale changes in 2018 with Fox being the fall guy for 2017. I don’t know if that’s the way to run the team or not.

It is hard for me to improve on that, especially

I don’t know if that’s the way to run the team or not

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Things, For The Most Part, Stay Intact

I have watched a few bits and pieces of the end of season pressers today and have read some things (I plan on watching the full pressers later). Nobody is making excuses for that shitshow of a season, but everyone also seems positive, which surprised me a bit. Well, good for them, I guess.

Also surprising to me was the fact that it doesn’t appear, at least as of this writing, that anyone major as far as coaches and front office will be leaving Halas Hall anytime soon (subject to change without notice). This tells me that George has confidence in the plan (whatever it is) and the people.

I wish I had more to add, but I really don’t. For now, the masthead stays intact. We will see what Pace/Fox have up their sleeves when free agency starts. I may add another post or two after I carve out some time to watch the full pressers.

Let’s Talk About the Chicago Bears

Here we are, 1-6 – soon to be embarrassed on national TV (yet again) and we will be sitting at 1-7 to start the year. So let’s talk about the Chicago Bears.

There is so much to unpack here and so much history. I will begin with the boss, George McCaskey.

There are a lot of jokes that go around making fun of the McCaskey family and how they run things. But the fact of the matter is that they have not been stingy with the cash at all. Over and over they have spent untold millions of dollars on this team, trying to make it better. I question keeping Ted Phillips around, however. In what possible world can Ted be considered “successful”? But what is successful to the McCaskeys? Making money? They certainly do that. If it is simply a question of making money, well, more power to them. Nobody has to go to the games (keep an eye on the stands as the weather gets cold and things get more and more bleak). But my gut tells me that they really do want to win. So why is Ted around?

When Ted and George hired Ryan Pace, I felt really good about it. Fresh face, renewed energy, a new way to look at things. An interesting departure from stodgy Phil Emery. But what a mess. It doesn’t appear that Pace has any clear direction. Granted, our whole team seems to get injured every week (and who’s fault is that, anyways?) but we have seen hundreds of guys in Bear uniforms in just a year and a half since the Pace/Fox era started. Our drafts these first two years haven’t been stellar (jury still out on some players, I will give Pace that). But what is the plan? Is there one? The Bears have to be looking long term at this point and form some sort of plan and stick to it. Too many moving pieces.

John Fox. He seems completely clueless. Maybe it is just me. This was Pace’s big hire and he doesn’t really seem to be “with it” in pressers, or on the sidelines or…anything. I am pretty unimpressed so far.

Cutler. He’s gone after this year so everyone can stop blaming everything on him (see how well Hoyer and Barkley did in Cutler’s absence just like Pickles last year). So what are we going to do for a qb? Early draft pick? Could work, might not. Brady was a 6th rounder. The first rounder in Philly, against all of my predictions, seems to be doing well. The number one pick from last year’s draft hasn’t played a down yet. You just never know.

Our offensive line is adequate, but that doesn’t get you into the playoffs and adequate gets your qb killed. Over and over. Even Seattle is having a tough time keeping Wilson upright and Green Bay is also finding out what living with an adequate line is like. Rodgers is definitely not himself this year.

The receivers outside of Jeffrey are unremarkable and in need of an upgrade. Kevin White is a complete and total bust.

Our defense actually seems to be coming along. I know it takes time to learn a new system, but many players have played the 3-4 on other teams so it isn’t like it is as big of a deal as a new offensive coordinator. Our front seven (especially once we get McPhee back) is more stout than I have seen in a while, but our corners and safeties bite. Many injuries on that front as well.

Speaking of injuries, what the heck? Why are we so cursed? Our starting center blew his knee up on FAMILY NIGHT. That is insane. I don’t know if this is bad luck, or poor training, but it just seems like we are always the walking wounded. I have no real explanation for this as I assume that most of the trainers (maybe I am assuming too much) have some sort of NFL experience and know how to train guys up for the long season.

So where does all of this armchair quarterbacking leave us? I really don’t know. Will upper management give Pace and Fox another year? I think that is the real question. I don’t know how much pressure there is on these guys but the owners have to feel tired of seeing their franchise being a laughingstock for so long. If the pressure is too great, there will be sacrificial lambs first (coordinators) then probably Fox, then Pace will go. It is in all of their best interests to show at least a little flash of brilliance (ha) at the end of this year to give Ted and George some sort of confidence in what we have here.

In the end, I am sort of clueless. I know that all of these folks are working as hard as they can, but nothing seems to be clicking. Again.

Tanks Fer Nuttin’

Being a season holder for the Bears has very few perks, especially in the nose bleeds since I refuse to pay a PSL. Ever. One of the perks is the stream of correspondence I get from the team. After the season I got the usual “we love you” and “greatest fans ever” letters from the Bears brass. Oh hey, and I just got another letter from none other than “Smooth” Ted Phillips.
ted
I will summarize the relevant parts.

Sorry we lost a bunch of games. We will get better with Pace and Fox. Passionate fans blah blah.

We waived the processing fee for your next invoice (this is good!).

Upgrades to your online experience (bfd).

No mention of the coming chaos with them ripping up the South Lot.

Here is the meat of the letter though.

One significant change for 2016 is we are introducing variable pricing to season tickets, and for the second straight year, we are not increasing your annual ticket cost. You will see a substantial pricing difference between preseason and regular season games. Preseason ticket prices will be reduced by 40% for all STHs. The ticket prices for our eight regular season home games will see an approximate 10% increase per game. However, the total 10 game ticket cost remains flat. We believe this two tier ricing approach better reflects the value for each game.

I have read this a hundred times and I still can’t believe that it is something they did.

NFL season ticket holders have been screaming for ages that they have to buy the pre season for ANY amount of money. So the Bears lowered the price of the pre season games (that I still have to buy) but hiked the price of the regular season games to make up for it. And I am still ON AVERAGE, paying the same amount for the pre season game as I did last year. Tanks Fer Nuttin’, Ted. Next time, just kick me in the balls instead of sending me a letter to explain how you are “de-valuing” the pre season games.

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.

Improvement – But is it Enough For You?

At this time last year we had a complete and total train wreck of a season coming to a crash ending, with the players hating the coaches and a ton of embarrassing events across the organization. When last year came to a close, everyone got canned besides some of the very top brass.

So what do we have this year? Well, we are at least one win better going into Sunday’s game, and imho, we have a new direction. I have not seen any of the bickering or sniping of the coaches that I saw last year. When Jay (I refuse to call him Jeremiah) Ratliff went bonkers he immediately got cut – that wouldn’t (and didn’t) have happened last year. We ditched Brandon Marshall I assume because of his locker room antics (who is having a nice year in New York) and ate a ton of money to get rid of Jared Allen for poor on field performance. It has been a continuing theme that no matter what you think or hear, the ownership is NOT afraid to spend money on this team. But you can’t just go out and buy superstars in the NFL. It takes time.

Will you give these Bears another year or two go get their act together? Was the effort we saw this year on every play enough to keep you around? It is enough for me. John Fox has gotten more out of this bunch of guys than anyone in the NFL could have. The effort is there. We just don’t have the talent. Like I said earlier – you can’t just import talent. You have to draft it and bring in the right guys from free agency that work well in your system. McPhee was a solid contributor and a great fit. We need more like this but it will take time.

I, for one, notice a huge difference in how the team is handling itself and the general attitude put forth from Halas Hall. We aren’t there yet, but it is early in the re-build. I will give them another year or two (tops). Here’s hoping I am right.

Shutting It Down

Per the great math nerds over at NFL Playoff Status, the Bears have an approximate 1% chance of making the playoffs this year. That puts a lot of interesting things into play.

Before I go there, let’s not make excuses. Fox has said and admitted that we are what we are. Even George and Ted have said that. So no injury or poor play excuses. We are what we are. And that is not a playoff team.

With that out of the way, there are a ton of roster moves that have been recently made, with many more to come. The reason is that there is no real chance that we will make the playoffs as stated above. Time to shut guys down, and give others a tryout in real game conditions (this is valuable).

Marquess Wilson and Antrelle Rolle have both been shut down and are on IR along with the Black Unicorn (who will probably not be seen again in a Bear uniform). Word on the street is that Pernell will join them on IR and that is also a good move. Ziggy Hood just got cut and there are a slew of practice team guys that will see the field over the next three weeks. Our seventh overall choice in the 2015 draft Kevin White has been shut down. For his performance this year, Kevin White received a $10,305,852 signing bonus (prorated on the cap over four years) plus $435,000 salary. Now that’s value!

The Bears have had a bunch of guys in for tryouts as well.

This is all good and a normal part of any rebuilding program. Nobody in their right mind expected this team to do much this year anyways. I would hope that our core players such as Long, Jeffrey, and McPhee (and maybe one or two others) will start seeing fewer plays.

Oh yes one other person is shut down. Dan from Madison is taking a week off with the family for some much needed rest so I won’t be watching the game on Sunday. I have the thread set up so you guys can chime in on what you see against the Queens. Have a Merry Christmas and I will see you after the holiday.