Trapped Bears Need to Rebuild

If you haven’t been paying attention to the current state of the Chicago Bears, let me catch you up. They are currently $6.9M over the cap for 2021.

The Bears are already shorthanded for 2021. They have picks 1-3, 5, and 6, and a 7th round pick from Miami. GM Ryan Pace seems to love trading up, and giving away picks to do so. That’s great if you are in the playoffs every year, but they have not been.

In addition to missing on draft picks, Pace frequently misses and overpays on free agents as well. No bigger example than Robert Quinn coming over from Dallas and spectacularly underperforming. This has put the team in a troubling spot.

To me, the solution seems simple. Rebuild the offense and defensive lines. Draft a QB in the mid-rounds (round 3-5). The Bears look like they will need at least one linebacker, and a couple wide receivers. They are most likely 2 drafts away from being competitive.

They should have a lot more cap space in 2022, so if they can rebuild the offensive line this year, maybe they can sign a veteran QB for 2022. I would still draft a QB this year, but I would not spend a first round pick on one unless one of the top 5 QBs happen to be there when they draft at 20.

This is also why I would have launched Pace and Nagy this year, so the same guy who has failed categorically is not wasting more draft picks, and setting the Bears back further.

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The Weeknd to Headline Pepsi Halftime Show

It was announced that The Weeknd will headline the Pepsi Halftime show at Super Bowl LV in Tampa Florida on February 7th. The Weeknd is most known for his video “Blinding Lights”.

A friend posted the video for Blinding Lights on her FB page. I loved it from the first time I heard it. It got me interested in some of his other songs.

There is definitely a dark side to his music, and to me, that’s part of the beauty. We all have things in our past that define us. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows.

Back when I was driving Uber, I listened to a lot of XM radio, and they have some really cool channels. I heard this song, but never found out who sang it. Turns out it’s The Weeknd. Lyrics aside, it’s a pretty amazing song.

Hope you liked this preview. I am really looking forward to this live performance. I definitely won’t be running to the bathroom or going to get food!

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Bears Announce 2021 Opponents

The Chicago Bears have announced their opponents for the upcoming 2021 season. They actually have the divisions they play on their website for the next couple years, but now we know what additional teams. Let’s take a look.

We won’t know the “when” but we now know the “who”. In no particular order:

They will play Arizona, Baltimore, New York (Giants). Cincinnati, in addition to the division opponents: Lions, Vikings, and Packers at home

Away games are: Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, LA Rams, Seattle, Detroit, Minnesota, and Green Bay.

At fist blush I don’t see how they win more than 2 games.

I’ll just go around the horn as they have them listed.

Home: Arizona Cardinals 8-8 – Arizona has Kyler Murray and were average last year, same as the Bears. The Bears do not have Kyler Murray, and will likely not have Allen Robinson. It’s a little crazy to predict what will happen 8+ months from now, but this is what we do!

Baltimore Ravens 11-5 – Baltimore is a solid playoff team, and has a shot at going to, and winning a Super Bowl. The Bears defense is getting old, and despite spending a ton of money on it, their line was largely unproductive in 2020. This could be ugly.

New York Giants 6-10 – The Giants had a tough year with star RB Saquon Barkley getting injured early. I think the Bears have a shot at this game.

San Francisco 49ers 6-10 – San Francisco had a rough time even before starting QB Jimmy Garapolo went down. One year removed from the Super Bowl, they will a formidable opponent.

Cincinnati Bengals 4-11-1 – Cincinnati got their QB of the future, but he sadly got knocked out for the season with a knee injury. They will add another top pick in the draft. I think the Bears have a chance here too.

Detroit Lions 5-11 – The Lions still have Matt Stafford as I write this, so they have a chance. I give the Bears a coin toss.

Minnesota Vikings 7-9 – As long as they have Kurt Cousins and Dalvin Cook, they have a shot. WR Jefferson will be in his second year.

Green Bay Packers 13-3 The Bears are something like 3-9 in the last 6 seasons. Not looking great here.

Away:

Cleveland Browns 11-5 – The Bears will have to play the Browns in Cleveland. If they catch them early- well, let’s be honest. The Browns will pound them either way.

Pittsburgh Steelers 12-4 – No shot. OK, there is always a shot, but no.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 11-5 – I still don’t know how the Bears handed the Bucs one of their 5 losses in 2020. The Bears only shot is if Tom Brady decides he’s done with football.

LA Rams 10-6 – The Rams can be had, but probably not by this Bears team. Look, 2021 might not be a bad time to find a second team to root for. I’m just sayin’.

Seattle Seahawks 12-4 – I have been a fan of Russell Wilson pretty much since he came into the league. Bears will lose this one badly.

Detroit Lions 5-11, Minnesota Vikings 7-9, and Green Bay Packers 13-3: I’m saving space here. All losses.

Like I said, I don’t see them winning more than two, maybe a fluke 3rd win somewhere. The defense will be worse, the offense is already pathetic. They won’t have Trubisky to kick around, or Robinson to save them. Ryan Pace has had a tough time drafting offensive players, and Nagy has a hard time calling plays.

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“Bear Out” for what?

Still a little hot over the news that came down the other day about Ryan Pace, and Matt Nagy coming back for the 2021 season. At first I was thinking that I would send all my Bears stuff to Halas Hall, but that would be silly. Who is that hurting? Me. Then I thought, “Well, I am not watching the games next year”. Again, I’d be fooling myself. One thing I can get behind is a simple 15 minute “Bear Out”. Hear me out.

Next season, when we can hopefully go to the games, we need to boycott the first quarter. Hang out in the parking lot, have a hotdog, drink another beer- whatever you gotta do. Just don’t go into the stadium. We’ve done it before way back when Dave Wannstedt was the head coach (and GM). It ushered in change. We need to do it again.

In addition, people at home need to not tune in for the first quarter of football. It’s only one quarter. I’m guessing we won’t be missing much either way. The upside is totally worth it. Are you with me?

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Bears Gambling on Fan’s Commitment Could Backfire

Fresh off the season end presser where George McCaskey explained that GM Ryan Pace, and head coach Matt Nagy will be back for the 2021 season.

When I heard this news last night, I was incensed. This season was hard enough to watch. They are basically serving the same luke-warm garbage and telling us to be happy. I am seriously thinking of not watching them in 2021. I can’t imagine how mad season ticket holders are feeling.

The danger in 2021 is, the fans have more options than ever. From the NFL package, to live streaming games, to simply watching RedZone all day. I’m at the stage in my life where I don’t really want to “throw away” an entire season of my favorite team, in my favorite sport, but I also don’t want waste my time, energy, and emotions on a team I know is set up for failure.

The only good thing is we have time. Time to think about all the free weekends we will have. Time to think about other teams we can watch. I personally am real interested to see where QB DeShaun Watson will end up playing. Will he stay with the Texans? Will they acquiesce to his trade demands? Where will Allen Robinson end up with? I can’t see a scenario where the Bears have the money to keep him. I also can’t imagine him wanted to remain a Bear.

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For Bears It’s Two Steps Back, Again

News broke last night that the entire “band” will be back at Halas Hall, sans defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano, who was probably asked to retire. Maybe he saw the writing on the wall. Either way, he won’t be coaching the defense in 2021.

Pace, Nagy, and president Ted Philips are scheduled to talk as we speak. The news is, they will all be returning. Gone is the hope of any meaningful change after an 8-8 season.

This is particularly disturbing because they are basically saying to their fans that this is OK. If you watched the Bears this year, it’s most definitely not okay. The offense has been getting worse every year since Nagy has been the head coach. Ryan Pace’s failure to draft and develop a quarterback is front and center. His record of drafting players in the first and second rounds is pathetic. I’ll run some down just for giggles:

2015: Kevin White, 1st round. Status: Out of the league

2016: Leonard Floyd, 1st round. Status: LA Rams

2017: Mitch Trubisky, 1st round. Status: Unrestricted Free Agent (Bears declined his 5th year option)

2017: Adam Shaheen, 2nd round. Status: Dolphins

2018: Roquan Smith. 1st round. Status: Bears

2019: No first or second round pick

2020: Kole Kmet. 2nd round. Status: Bears

2020: Jaylon Johnson. 2nd round. Status: Bears

I think this clearly illustrates the struggles the Bears are having. The Draft is a huge part of a team’s success. When you don’t retain your high level picks it’s hard to maintain a) a winning product, and b) consistency. You also have to then spend money or more picks to fill those positions.

Going over their draft history, I’m not sure how I see how you would bring Pace back. Listening to George McCaskey on the radio, it seems they are standing pat, just to stand pat. You can draw whatever conclusion you want. The one I draw is that they lost a ton of money and don’t want to spend another dime before they start making money again.

If the Bears were concerned about getting back to winning, they would at the very least want someone different in the personnel department; drafting players, signing free agents, and developing talent. By making no moves, they are guaranteed to repeat the same mistakes. Again.

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Pace, Nagy stay; Pagano out for 2021

News broke around 7pm Central time that GM Ryan Pace, and head coach Matt Nagy would be back for 2021. While I am not surprised (in fact, I said as much yesterday) I am still angry. I get it. The Bears lost a lot of money in 2020 from ticket sales, concessions, and merchandise sales. Not being able to host 60,000+ fans is a hard ask.

Asking your fans to suck it up for another year of bullshit, may be a harder ask. As I fan I am incensed. I hope I hold onto this feeling, but as I type it, I know I probably won’t. If I do, I won’t be watching the Bears in 2021. I should watch whichever team DeShaun Watston goes to. The QB I wanted the Bears to select when they decided to take Trubisky #2 overall (they traded up for him, hard to forget).

You can make an argument for Nagy being allowed to select his QB, but he no doubt had Pace trade for ex-Eagle Nick Foles. Foles was pretty bad in his stint as the Bears QB last season. Maybe they will trade a couple first round picks for Carson Wentz now that Doug Pedersen has been fired as the Eagles coach. They can bring him in to be OC.

I could handle another year with Nagy/Trubisky, but to have Pace drafting is just foolishness. Further, the Bears are facing some real tough decisions against the salary cap.

Being a Bears fan has been harder lately than it should be.

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What could happen with the Bears, and what should happen

The season came to a slamming halt last night when the Bears lost to the Saints in New Orleans. When the season started, I wasn’t sure how it was going to app play out. I thought the defense would be much improved with the subtraction of Leonard Floyd and the addition of Quinn. I was wrong.

The defense seemed to regress, and the defensive line play was disappointing more often than not. Standout DT Eddie Goldman opted out due to Covid, but they got little to no production in terms of sacks this season. They definitely didn’t get their return on investment in Quinn.

What lies ahead: The Bears are going to have to make some decisions, and I think they will be up against the cap. They will most likely not be able to bring back WR Allen Robinson, QB Mitch Trubisky, and Tight End Jimmy Graham.

They have some challenges with defense as well. I don’t know what Khalil Mack’s cap number is for 2021, but he clearly wasn’t the same player this season. They need some youth on the line, and will likely be looking for some new Linebackers.

A bright spot: I think yesterday’s game illustrated that they have two really good DBs in Kindle Vildor and Duke Shelley. The defense held New Orleans to 14 points until very late in the 4th quarter.

Ugly: Once again a Saints DB was able to provoke a Bears WR into punching him. Same outcome as earlier in the season. It’s the player’s fault but you can’t ignore the coaching, or lack thereof. This will no doubt be part of the factor in the overall coaching situation.

What could happen? It’s been a rough year for many, and the Bears are part of that. Ownership is down some coin with the lack of fans in the stands. Not only did the team lose revenue, they lost all that concession money and souvenir sales. This could make an impact on what they do in the offseason. They certainly don’t want to lose more money by cutting coaches and adding more salary.

Gm Ryan Pace is signed through 2021, and Nagy signed a 5 year extension prior to the 2018 season. I think they both will be back for 2021 at the least.

We have seen owner Virginia McCaskey express her unhappiness in the past with the way things are going. She’s not getting any younger. That being said, she may still be fond of the Pace/Nagy combo.

What should happen? If it were me, I’d start all over from the top down. Ryan Pace will probably be best remembered from passing on two franchise QBs as he traded up to draft Mitch Trubisky ahead of DeShaun Watson, and Patrick Mahomes. That just can’t happen and have the results the Bears have had.

Pace has had some good signings including DT Akiem Hicks, and WR Allen Robinson. He’s had some bad ones too, including free agent QB Mike Glennon. It’s looking like QB Nick Foles is a miss too. For the most part his draft picks have been better than not. Except trading up in the first round for both Trubisky, and DE Leonard Floyd. There was also the miss on WR Kevin White who never seemed to recover from injuries.

The biggest problem I have is that Pace said he would draft a QB every year, a strategy I agree with, until you hit on one. Problem is, he’s only drafted Mitch. He’s burned more draft picks on players such as Adam Shaheen, and trading up for Mitch and Floyd. I should also mention he gave a lot of money to TE Troy Burton and signed kicker Cody Parkey who is more famous for hitting two crossbars on a miss, than he is for actually making kicks. Remarkably Cody is still in the league.

I hope the Bears realize that none of us are getting any younger. We need to win now. Pace is only 43 years old, and still may be able to turn things around. I just don’t see the progress. I do like some of the young players he’s drafted, but you have to hit on the first and second rounders if you want to play in the post-season on a consistent basis.

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No Fireworks

12-31-2020

The champagne glasses are in the cupboard

Ribbons untied on the kitchen table

Ice stacked in the freezer

Something missing inside

I won’t be kissing her tonight

Another year upon the brink

So many reasons to sit and think

Dream away space and time

Dream away inside my mind

I’ll take the long way home tonight

Follow the brightest star up in the sky

It might not lead to where I want

Perhaps a ghost to whom I’ll haunt

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Space

12-22-20

I have this heart beating inside me

I’ve tried to fill it as full as could be

The years take their toll

I’m tired and cold

I rise every morning for you

You are my everything

You give my life meaning

I try to fill my mind with information

All the memories, the birthdays and vacations

I’d like to think when I am done

I’ll feel that I have won

I will have filled up all my space

There will be room for just one more smile

My heart will be forever content

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