- I’ve paid as little attention as possible to the Chris Kluwe situation because in all liklihood, neither side will turn out to be in the right. Kluwe sounds, and has always sounded, like he’s a little less than balanced and the Vikings never seem to handle anything right. But I did find this aspect of the report on whether Kluwe was let go do to his views on gay marriage to be interesting. From Scott Krinch at CSNChicago.com:
“Included in the report were statements from ex-Bears general manager Jerry Angelo and former NFL punter Craig Hentrich, who were hired by investigators to review Kluwe’s 2012 performance.
“Angelo said that if he held the title of general manager for the Vikings during the 2012 season, he would have ‘in all likelihood’ released Kluwe.”
- Bears radio analyst and former offensive lineman Tom Thayer is interviewed by Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune. His thoughts on how the Bears can improve in short yardage situations were interesting:
“First of all, you have to put yourself in a winning position in terms of the scheme and how you’re going to come off the block in (those) scenarios. Look at the scenario when (Nick) Fairley was able to get a jump on the snap count in Detroit because it was quiet. You have to make sure that you have devised a scheme that, no matter where he is before the snap, he is in a blockable position. That is the first thing. Make sure you go to the line of scrimmage with the understanding that 100 percent of the time you’re going to get a hat on a hat so at least you have the opportunity to succeed in short yardage.
“Then it’s the running back seeing the right hole. It’s the receiver and everybody understanding what must happen for the play to succeed.
“It’s a difficult thing to process because you don’t get a chance to go 100 percent live (in practice) and there is a lot of difficulty coming out of your stance on the goal line to make sure you are explosive going forward or pulling one way or the other. You hope your offense is around for three or four years to be perfect in short yardage and always be the aggressor. (You don’t want) the defense in a better position (than you) before the snap.
My distinct impression was that the Bears offensive line lacked physical strength in these situaitons. Not “toughness”. This might be worth a fill post.
The 2013 Bears were 4-6 in games in which they posted a 100-yard receiver. But they were 3-2 in games with Matt Forte netting 100 rushing yards. Discuss.
- Biggs interviews former NFL safety Matt Bowen. Bowen reminds us of something I’ve heard many, many times but some how always forget when actually watching the game:
- I’m used to reading articles about how good Bears negotiator Cliff Stein is (and he is). But this one by Patrick Finley at the Chicago Sun-Times has some details that better explained why:
“Stein ‘doesn’t try to embarrass you,’ a prominent agent said. ‘He tries to make you look good in front of your client. He’s all about the win-win.
“‘Some teams want to crush you. Some guys, it’s like playing tennis and they want to beat you. Cliff is more like playing in a best-ball golf tournament.’”
“Angelo tells the story with wonder and respect. Before draft-pick salaries were codified by the collective-bargaining agreement, the Bears agreed to terms with a high selection who had a relative serving as his agent.
“After other picks in his round had signed, it was clear the Bears were paying about $200,000 below market value. They knew the agent would look bad and the player would be shorted.
“‘Cliff came to me and said: ‘Jerry, we gotta do something about this. We cannot embarrass this guy. We certainly can’t make the player feel like we took advantage of him,’’ Angelo said.
“The Bears didn’t have to do anything — the agent wouldn’t represent another player — but Stein suggested the contract take on a different structure to make up the difference.”
- How do you feel about the coming Bears season? I surprised myself by scoring an optimistic 18 on this poll. So obviously its flawed. From Mark Potash at the Chicago Sun-Times.
- Mark Potash at the Chicago Sun-Times qualifies the Bears’ offensive performance last year:
“But despite that [overall] production, there were few points in the season where the Bears’ offense looked like an unstoppable machine that could score at will. They scored 30 or more points six times, but none came against a playoff team. And only the Steelers (a 40-23 victory) and Lions (a 40-32 loss) ranked in the upper half of the NFL in total defense, and just barely (the Steelers were 14th, the Lions 15th).
“The Bears were great at scoring with the wind at their back. But when times were tough they looked like a work-in-progress. When the defense and special teams fell apart against the Eagles in Week 16 in Philly — with a chance to clinch the NFC North — the offense was caught in the undertow, gaining 257 feeble yards in 54-11 loss.”
- Finley gives us a reminder:
Kiss. Of. Death.
Michael Ford, an undrafted rookie last year, and Ka’Deem Carey, a fourth-round pick, are vying to be Matt Forte’s primary backup. What are the challenges for an inexperienced running back?
“Pass protection is No. 1. If you can’t pass protect, you can’t play. It is pass protection and ball security. Everything you do afterward is extra. Everyone wants to see a running back show that speed through the hole, produce in the screen game, produce in the check-down game. But it has to start with pass protection and ball security.”
“Linebacker Lance Briggs’ contract is up after this season, but don’t count on the Bears signing him to an extension this fall. [general manager Phil] Emery reiterated his stance against discussing specific deals but said it was ‘normal for us’ not to re-sign players during the fall.”
One Final Thought
Dan Pompei at Sports on Earth on quarterback Matt Schaub‘s miserable 2013 season:
“The doubts of others have a funny way of becoming self-doubts for quarterbacks. And a quarterback who doesn’t have conviction in his ability has no chance to lead others.”