Sunday, October 31, 2010

Shanny!

WTF? Taking out McNabb and putting in Rex with less than 2 minutes? Crazy and you may have thrown away the season. On top of that, there is a good chance that McNabb won't sign a new contract in DC and will walk - that means that the 2nd round pick was wasted and Deadskin fans lilely have rebuilding to look forward to around a new franchise QB next year (if you can find one).

Rally to Restore Sanity

We went downtown for the Rally yesterday and have two thoughts.

1. It was fun.

2. It was unbelievably crowded.

We walked on the Mall but it was just a mass of humanity. We moved off a couple of blocks and enjoyed the crowd, the sights, and the overall atmosphere.

I've been to DC for a lot of major events over the years, but yesterday was the most crowded I've ever seen it.

I'd like to think people will get more engaged but I'm not sure what the lasting effect of the Rally will be - if any. For me it was great to see civil discourse and light humor about our political frustrations.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Un-American: Rand Paul Thugs Stomping Democratic Woman



This paid campaign organizer for Tea Party favorite, Rand Paul, is a real man for stomping on a woman's head. Her crime - being a liberal with a different view. Nice job jerkweed - this 100 pound lady was a real threat as she was taken down to the ground and being held down. Way to show your true "heroism."




We lost?

Celtics 88 - Heat 80. Good!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Panic in the NFL

The thing I love about the NFL is that every game matters and I do like parity so that there is competitive balance.

I was really ticked off about yesterday's Bears outcome and am still mad because the team just frittered the game away. It may come down to the Deadskins and Bears battling for a Wild Card spot and now the Bears lose the tie breaker if they tie. That sucks.

BUT, there is no need to panic for Bears fans. The Bears are 4-3 and everyone in the NFC has at least 2 losses. Sure the team needs better QB play and O-line play, but the O-line played well after the first quarter and if the young guys have any talent at all (and that is still an open question), then as they play together over the next few weeks they should get better.

The thing you have to like as a Bears fan is that the D is playing at a very high level - this is quite different than in the last three years. The special teams are very, very good. Coverage of kicks is great, and when we get a chance to return kicks our returners are dangerous. Gould is accurate and Maynard struggles to get length on his kicks but he gets good hang time and is great at placing kicks inside the 20.

There are clearly weapons on offense. If we do get some improved line play and Cutler can just get comfortable, I'm sure his mechanics and decision-making will improve.

In New Orleans people are panicking, a couple of weeks ago Indy looked susceptible, Minnesota is on the ropes, San Diego is in panic mode, what happened to Dallas, Frisco, and Denver? The point is that a lot of football is left to be played and teams have their flaws, but I see no reason to panic as a Bears fan.

We'll see what happens as the year progresses, but to me much of the problem has been self-inflicted. If Lovie is a good coach he'll get this figured out. If not, then the Bears can blow it all up and start over next year. But I am sick of Chicago fans crying about a 4-3 team that is leading the North. This is the NFL and there are teams that would kill for a 4-3 record.

Bears Lose Again

I could pretty much use the same post as last week for most of my analysis.

I was raging mad during the game and after the game at the missed opportunities, execution mistakes, and coaching blunders, but I'm not going to go through all of that.

The Bears gave away the game. You are always going to get clunker games in an NFL season. The Saints blew it yesterday against Cleveland and Baltimore struggled against Buffalo in a game they should have won easily. It happens. The difference is that good teams find a way to win and right now the Bears aren't a very good team.

That said, at 4-3 the Bears are leading the North (they have the tiebreaker against the 4-3 Packers right now). They are 2-0 in the division so there is no need to panic from a record standpoint.

The D is one of the better scoring and yardage defenses and it is playing at a very, very high level. The Deadskin's only had one sustained drive the whole game and they only gave up 10 points. They got the turnovers that would be enough to win in most cases and even scored on a pick-6.

Special teams are solid.

The O-line is a work in progress, but I have a lot of confidence in Mike Tice and thought they really did a nice job for most of the game after the first quarter. I expect the young guys to come together and play better now they they seem to have settled on a lineup.

Frankly, the play-calling was fine yesterday. A bad call on the goal line by the refs, and a failure to challenge the Cutler fumble (which was a TD) cost the Bears the game - that happens, but the bigger problem going forward is Cutler's decision-making and footwork. He kept missing wide open guys because his mechanics were terrible. He threw late to the flat with a floater that ended up being a pick-6 that should have never happened. That was on a play where if he throws it away the Bears go up 17-10 with a chip shot field goal on the the next play - probably enough to win the game given how the D was manhandling the Deadskin O.

There was an untimely fumble by Forte with the Bears at the 25 yard line in the 4th that really hurt. But like I said before these things happen. After the bye, the Bears need to beat Buffalo and then get Minnesota at home. If they win those two games (especially Minnesota) and are 6-3 then they will be fine and we can move on. At 3-0 in the division they would be in great shape going down the stretch.

We'll see what happens, but there are no gimme games for this Bears team (or the rest of the NFC for that matter).

Monday, October 18, 2010

Bears Lose

Terrible loss. I blame it on coaching, O-line issues, and an inability to read defenses on the part of Cutler. The D played OK, but did not force any turnovers, so it wasn't a great game. They had trouble with Hasselbeck's quick reads, but overall they were OK. Injuries during the game to their starting corners played a part, but they played well enough to win.

Martz totally abandoned the run after the first quarter and the Bears were left with an 80% pass, 20% run play call game in a 3 point game that was close throughout. Terrible.

The O-line could not pick up blitz reads and secondary blitzes accounted for 3.5 of the 6 sacks.

Jay Cutler is a pretty good, instinctive QB with a huge arm, but he cannot read defenses at all. With blitzes coming, he needs to pick up the hot read and throw into the blitz but he seems unaware of what is going on. Hasselbeck was harassed a fair amount but he burned the Bears with hot reads and he threw the ball away regularly.

There were two play calls that really bothered me. In the third quarter with the Bears backed up on their 10 yard line with a third and long, Martz called a 7 step drop deep pass. Cutler was sacked for a safety. Horrible call, no blitz read from Cutler, and poor blitz pickup (no blitz pickup) from Matt Forte.

That safety turned it to a 16-13 game. The Bears punted and held the Seahawks. The next drive the Bears get to the Seahawk 30 and facing a third and long again were sacked on a deep dropback. The Bears needed to run the ball, throw a quick hitter, or a screen pass just to have a chance to tie the game. They didn't.

Bears punted and then they gave up a 90 yard TD drive that basically won the game. Hester got a long punt return with 2 minutes left in the game, but the Bears did not get the onside kick. And because the Bears had squandered two of their timeouts earlier in the half they could not do anything to stop the clock.

Martz has to be committed to the run and be patient, and the Bears need to throw some quick hitter/hot reads. I expect some more shuffling on the O-line also.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Jarmon Fined for Helmet-to-Helmet on Rodgers

No surprise to me. He got a $5000 fine for the hit. Basically the NFL acknowledged that a penalty should have been called given the fine. He got away with one (which is part of the game). Deadskin fans are happy. Packer fans aren't. It happens and it will even out somewhere else.

Bears vs. Seahawks

Seattle is a different team on the road and Chicago should defeat the Seahawks fairly easily. I expect Martz to remain relatively conservative with the return of Cutler. The Bears can win by running the ball and their D is playing lights out right now.

Forte will get another 100 yard rushing day, and I expect Chester Taylor to add at least another 50. I think the final score will be 24-7 in a very solid win.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

AccuScore Playoff Forecast

Interesting changes this week in the AccuScore playoff projections in the NFC.

With the win against Carolina, the Bears (4-1) chances of making the playoffs is now above 50 percent (13 percent higher than last week). Their chances of winning the North are set at 31 percent. The interesting thing is it is just slightly ahead of the Vikings (1-3) and it is lower than the Packers (3-2).

The Deadskins (3-2) are at 18 percent for the playoffs and just 8 percent for the division. There is a lot of love for the Cowboys (1-3) who have a 47 percent chance of making the playoffs and a 33 percent chance of winning the East.

What we can say for sure is that the Dallas - Minnesota game will really change the fortunes for the winner and loser this week. Going 1-4 will be a disaster for the team that loses (probably the Vikings).

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Favre is Washed Up

For anyone who saw the game last night it is clear that Favre can still pull out a play or two because he has so many offensive weapons, but he is a major liability. He missed on so many open throws, fumbled the ball a few times, and threw the clinching, critical pick-6 interception at the end when the Queens had a chance to win it.

His stats weren't bad, but the mistakes were horrible and in the end he was the major reason the Queens lost. Their D was incredible, their special teams were solid, their running game was pretty good against the Jets tough front 7, but Favre just wasn't up for the task.

At 1-3, the Queens season is not over but if they lose three of the next four (Dallas, at Packers, at New England, Arizona), they will be 2-6 at the midpoint and heading to Chicago. That game may end up being the kill shot for their season.

I know people (I'm thinking about JSR) will talk about how Favre had an amazing 15 minutes at the end of the third quarter until the interception late in the fourth, but I see a guy who is old, beat up, inaccurate, and careless with the ball. Not much left in the tank, and certainly not enough for an otherwise talented Queens team.

Monday, October 11, 2010

LaRon Landry intercepts Aaron Rodgers in OT



Just go to the 46 second mark of the video and you can see that there is obvious helmet-to-helmet contact.

The interception should have been reversed and the Packers should have been given 15 yards.

Bears D

The Bears lead the NFL in forcing 3 and outs. They are a ball hawking D that has been able to get turnovers. They got 3 interceptions and forced 4 fumbles (although Carolina recovered all of their fumbles). I like the way this D is playing right now.

Yesterday, they held Carolina to 147 total yards and 6 points. Last week against the Giants they performed well even as their offense melted down. Against the Packers they gave up yardage, but they didn't give up points.

The Bears have been tinkering with their roster trying to generate more pass rush from folks other than Peppers. Yesterday that worked as they got 4 sacks (none from Peppers, 3 from Idonoje).

The Cover 2 scheme is working fairly well and I think the big thing is that they are making their tackles and Chris Harris and Manning are playing fairly well at the safety positions. The last couple of years, the safeties have been real liabilities, but not this year.

Peppers certainly is living up to his contract and it is nice to have Urlacher back, but overall it just seems like there aren't nearly as many missed tackles and blown assignments as the last couple of years.

Bears 4-1

Another solid defensive performance with some good special teams play mixed in. The offense rushed the ball well, but the passing game was horrible. Not really surprised with the game plan, but I was very disappointed in how bad Todd Collins was.

Collins ended up 6-16 for 32 yards, 0 TDs, 4 Ints. I didn't watch the game, but listened to the Bears radio broadcast. The Bears were able to run the ball at will, and I kept wondering why they even threw it at all. They seemed to be gashing the Carolina D and you can see that Forte had a great game: 22 carries for 166 yards (7.5 yards/carry) and 2 TDs.

The Bears changed the right side of their line with Louis and Shaffer out and Edwin Williams and Webb in. I like the move because those guys are 24 and 22 years old and they seemed to get some push in the running game. If we can get Chris Williams back at LT, I feel like the line may be able to develop into a respectable mostly younger line.

I hated the play calling for most of the game. With the Bears up 17-3, Peppers intercepted a Clausen pass and the Bears started at the Carolina 9 yard line. Two plays later they had a 3rd and goal from the 1/2 yard line. Instead of punching it in with a run, the Bears called a pass play and Collins threw an interception. They could have buried Carolina right there and asserted themselves physically, but they didn't. Frankly, they kept having Collins throw when they could have just run every down and probably done far better.

If not for the D really cleaning up a lot of the Collins mistakes this may not have gone well for the Bears.

Whatever, we are 4-1, and Seattle comes to Chicago next week in a game the Bears should win. I expect Caleb Hanie to move up to 2nd string ahead of Collins, but we'll probably get Cutler back this week. If he is still at all dinged up they should start Hanie.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Bears - Panthers

I think this is going to be a game that will be decided by who runs the ball better and who wins the turnover battle.

It is Todd Collins going against Jimmy Clausen - not exactly a high profile game from the QB matchup. The Panthers have a solid running game and so far the Bears don't. But, I think the Bears D is much better and if I had to guess who will make the mistake between the two QBs, I'd have to say Clausen. Add to this that the Bears have very good special teams, I expect a Bears win.

It is always tough to win on the road in the NFL, but this is a game that the Bears need to win after the beating they took against the Giants and the fact that Carolina does not look to be all that good - they have played some teams tough, but they have not been able to win.

In the end it will be 14-10 Bears. We'll take it and move on.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Cutler to Sit

Todd Collins is getting the start over Jay. I think it is the right move to let him get his head on straight.

Frankly, I would much prefer to see Caleb Hanie start and have Collins as the backup. Obviously I have some concerns, but on the bright side I fully expect the Bears to use a lot of short passing and commit to the running game. That is what they really need to do to build a tougher offensive mentality.

AccuScore

This week's AccuScore projections on who will make the playoffs is very interesting.

The Bears really fell off with the loss they suffered to the Giants and now have a 41% chance after being at 59% last week.

The Deadskins went from 5% to 15%

The interesting team is the Rams who went from 5% to 30%.

What you can see is how much a win or loss affects your chances in the NFL.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Christine O'Donnell ad



It is like one of those funny SNL ads. This woman is the Republican Senate Candidate in Delaware, and this is a completely serious ad. One person wrote, "Can you imagine if President Obama had an ad that started with, "I am not a Warlock.""?

This lady is crazy, but she will still get 40 percent of voters in Delaware to vote for her. Republicans don't care who they vote for as long as they say they are against gay marriage and pre-marital sex. They just have to SAY it, they don't actually have to BELIEVE it or LIVE it.

What to do with Cutler

I think Jay was suffering from a concussion early in the game. It may have been one of the early sacks, or it may have been a result of the accumulation of hits he has taken over the past few weeks. Frankly, I would not be surprised if the hit he took to the helmet at the end of the Green Bay game was affecting him. He is a pretty tough guy, but he just did not look right and held the ball far too long too often.

I would sit Jay down this week against Carolina and let his head clear up. It may force the offense to struggle, but for the longer term it is probably better. Start Caleb Hanie and try to work out the issues with the injuries on the offensive line. Push for the running game and go more conservative for the week to allow the linemen to work on run blocking and try to win the game by playing good defense.

Then bring Jay back in a week (or even two) once Chris Williams is back. The Bears need a healthy Jay Cutler to be a serious NFC contender, and putting him out there when he appears to be in a fog hurts the longer term prospects for the Bears.

MSNBC Lawerence O'Donnell Takes on RNC Michael Steele



I am amazed that Michael Steele continues to serve as the GOP Chair. He doesn't know what the minimum wage is, refuses to acknowledge when he makes serious mistakes when confronted with facts that shows otherwise, and refuses to give any concrete examples of what the Republican Party wants to do.

The guy appears to be an idiot - I don't know if he is or not, but he certainly appears to be.

The President and the Dems need to just stay on the offensive and they will maintain control of Congress.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Horrible Offensive Performance

The Bears were absolutely inept last night on offense. On a night when the D showed up and the special teams were adequate, it was ridiculous to see how little the O did.

The Giants sacked Jay Cutler 9 times in the first half and finished with 10 when it was all said and done. That was the story of the game. But, I think the reasons for the sacks were more than just terrible O-line play. Let's start with the O-line - they didn't play particularly well. The Bears could not run the ball effectively and their pass protection was weak. It starts with that. There was a lot of shuffling in the line as Garza and Louis were out and they rotated Williams in at the guard positions. I thought Olin Kreutz was very weak - he missed a couple of critical A-gap blitzes and even forgot the snap count on one play. Omiyale had at least 3 false start penalties - those are drive killers. Kevin Shaffer gave up his share of sacks. As a group the O-line was bad.

HOWEVER, the sacks were not all O-line issues. Cutler had too many misreads and too many times when he didn't let the ball fly in time. He seems to have trouble reading defenses and the clock in his head does not warn him to throw the ball away if something is not there right away. On a couple of sacks, there were guys running wide open right in front of Cutler but he seemed to be waiting for a bigger play to develop. On one play he stepped back and was sacked by an end making a wide outside path to the QB when it appeared that stepping up into the pocket would have solved the problem. On a couple of sacks he just seemed to wait and then 3-4 seconds later the ends had come all the way around - those aren't line problems, those are QB issues.

THEN, there was little commitment to the run and Martz did not make any real adjustments to address the pressure. In the Dallas game, the Bears started using some swing passes, tight end screens, and quick hitters up the hash marks to slow down the pass rush. It worked. The game plan last night did not change at all in the first half. That was a coaching error.

Heck, if they had just tossed out some short passes to the flats, quick fly patterns (there was a lot of one-on-one coverage), or put Hester in the wildcat, or just run the ball more the Giant pass rush would have had to slow up. But they just seemed to be committed to a bad game plan.

I think the Giants will challenge in the East, and I think losing on the road is no big deal. But the way the Bears lost is discomforting. I'm not sure if Cutler will be back this week, but no matter what the situation, the Bears go to Carolina and have to get that game. If they do, then things will be fine, if they lose that game and they continue to play poorly up front on offense, there will be growing questions.