Do The Rusty Jones

I’m sure we can make this ‘a thing.’ Whether it’s a dance move or a sex position, by week 8 I bet “The Rusty Jones” will be bigger than Gangnam Style. You put your hands on your hips, make a face like you took a shot of Malort and got grapefruit juice in both eyes at the same time, and awkwardly thrust forward/down 2 or three times.

I can’t wait to see if the Bears have to apologize for this latest sideline gaffe caught on camera. It annoys me to no end that teams, players, coaches and celebrities in general constantly have to apologize for everything they do or say that offends a group of cause-heads with too much time on their hands. The media & public beg for more and deeper access into players’ lives, but then demand change based on what is exposed.

Everyone is clamoring for more cameras and angles, more players mic’d up, more locker room access, YouTube videos and Twitter accounts, shows like HBO’s Hard Knocks. But once one player does something “offensive” the media is ready to run them out of town with pitchforks unless they read some PR-issued blanket apology. Does a completely insincere apology really make people feel better? If you want to see what these players do every minute of every day, don’t get upset when you see what those things are.

It happened on the Jets season of Hard Knocks, where viewers became offended when they found out the extreme level at which Rex Ryan cusses. WHY WAS THAT SURPRISING? He’s an NFL football coach. On top of that, it was on HBO, where the rules of public broadcasting do not apply. And more importantly, why did people think they needed to change who he was? It happened again with the Giants when punter Steve Weatherford posted a YouTube video of Jason Pierre Paul throwing Prince Amukamura into an ice bath. In the background you had teammates using some profane language. THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS IN AN NFL LOCKER ROOM. And by all accounts, a toss into an ice bath and a few F-Bombs has to be the tamest thing that happened in the Giants’ locker room that day. Get. Over. It.

Either watch, follow & be entertained or ignore it completely, but everyone needs to stop trying to change who these athletes are. Did Rusty Jones make an inappropriate gesture on the sideline? Sure. But to be fair, the Bears’ were having their grapefruit-eyed way with the Jaguars for all 30 minutes of the second half. Should Rusty Jones think a camera would ever be on him on the sideline? No. He’s a trainer. And if you had the Bears mic’d up on the sideline and in the locker room post-game, I’m sure you would have caught some much more explicit and offensive descriptions of what was happening out there than The Rusty Jones.
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KAM’S

Because all 3 of us went to Illinois, this well written account of an evening at one of the dirtiest, smelliest, wildest, most legendary college bars of all time absolutely deserves a shout out.

KAM’S (click here ya idiots)

 

 

ESPN: Sparrowguy’s Favorite Sports Coverage

When you get right down to ESPN’s coverage of the Bears ‘Boys MNF game, sports journalism took about a million steps backwards. Over the years ESPN has evolved into a sports behemoth, giving us 24 hours a day access to more inside and in-depth coverage of everything sports from around the globe. But sometimes you just have to wonder what crosses the line into complete idiocy.

Thanks SB Nation for this breakdown:

http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/2012/10/2/3443374/tony-romo-lebron-james-sportscenter

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Another Win, Another Smile

As Monday night has come and gone with the Bears chalking up another win, the first thing that crossed my mind was: Will Shake please shut up about how Lovie sucks as a coach now? Probably not, but they won last night, and it wasn’t in spite of Lovie. It was nice to see the defense make Romo look like Sanchez, and even better to see Cutty get his mojo back. As long as the Bears keep winning, I don’t care how they do it.

Last week left a bad taste in my mouth with the way the offense played, but they won, so it doesn’t matter. At the end of the day, all that matters is winning, and on Monday Night Football, Lovie Smith wins. With last night’s win, he improves his record to 8-2 (5-2 on the road) on MNF. Shake continues to give you stats about how incompetent Lovie is, and I agree to some degree, but the Bears win (Lovie wins).

With last night’s win, I saw the Bears moving a step in the right direction. The things that scared me coming into this season (the defense being old; could they get pressure with the front 4?), don’t scare me as much anymore. The things that scared me after the first couple games (mainly the offensive line sucking), now scare me even less.  The defense looks as good now as it has in a long time, and with pressure from the front 4 it is easy to see why this defense works. The Bears are able to run a bend, don’t break defense like the Tampa-2 (Chicago-2 doesn’t sound as nice, but it has evolved into something that can be special) with the pressure they get from the front 4. Looking at the stats from last nights game, the Bears only recorded 1 sack, but bothered Romo enough into throwing 5 INTs. They don’t always need to put QBs on their back, just throw off their timing and make them uncomfortable. My questions were answered so far: they don’t look old and they can pressure with the front 4.

I know a couple of the INTs from last night were gifts from Romo, but I’ll look passed them and on to the offensive line. For starters, Cutler was only sacked twice last night against the Cowgirls (burned!). A stat line of: 18 of 24 for 275 yards passing and 2 TDs is just what the doctor ordered for an offense that looked incapable of anything last week against a bad Rams team. Cutty was only sacked twice in last week’s win, but it had a different feeling to it. As I watched last night, I kept thinking to myself, “It’s amazing what he can do when he’s not on his back.” This happens every year though for the Bears. Every year, they stick with a game plan that doesn’t work for a couple weeks on how to protect Jay Cutler. It usually takes until their bye week (week 7 or 8 often times), but Tice is not as stubborn as Martz. Tice found ways to help keep Cutty upright. He didn’t leave Webb out on an island against the freak of nature that is, DeMarcus Ware. They ran the ball more than they threw it last night, and that goes a long way in helping keep the defense off balance. It was nice to see Hester get involved early (just to frustrate Shake even more), but it seemed forced. Two quick WR screens to Hester that gained a total of 4 yards were probably scripted just so he wouldn’t bitch later in the game, but the running game was moving the ball, so why?

Either way, I was more than pleased with the game plan, and it was nice to watch the Cowgirls self-destruct at home on national television. Jerry Jones can suck it. Until he lets someone else be more hands-on with the team while he sits in his luxury box, they aren’t going to make the playoffs, let alone win a Superbowl. Not that any of you care, but I did take the Bears plus the number, and the over for the scoop. A little walking around money, another win from the bears, and another smile on my face. Go Bears! Bear Down!

Phatty

Know Your Role

It’s hard being one of the top electrifying players in the league and you’re not able to get your hands on the ball as much as you want,” Hester told ESPNChicago.com before practice on Friday.

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The last time I checked Devin Hester has never been an electrifying receiver. He drops balls, runs poor routes, and goes down when he comes up against a stiff gust of wind (forget breaking a tackle). This doesn’t take anything away from his NFL records in punt and kick returns for TDs, I’ve gone crazy watching him make 9 guys miss as he joysticks around before darting through a hole to pay dirt. Just please don’t confuse these successes as a parallel for being an electrifying receiver.

Electrifying for Devin Hester is returning a punt 82 yards for a touchdown when he gets a running start, has 10 blockers in front, and can make fat special teams players miss and look foolish as he hurdles them & gallops down the sideline.

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How about electrifying 100k fans in Texas tonight with an opening kickoff return for a TD on Monday Night Football? And then know your role, run some half-ass routes as nothing more than a distraction to get Brandon Marshall, Earl Bennett and Alshon Jeffrey free from double coverage. Let the electrifying catches be made by receivers who are, you know, actually receivers.

GO BEARS!

Shake

Winning (or apparently losing) The Turnover Battle

We hear over and over what a great defense the Bears have; stopping the run, getting pressure on the QB and forcing turnovers – or getting takeaways as my man Lovie likes to say.  It’s a more positive feeling for his defense with that spin, as if opposing players had nothing to do with coughing up fumbles or throwing into double coverage. It was all about our guys getting a ‘takeaway.’ Great.

Being wrapped up in the annual hype surrounding our defense’s strengths, I’ve completely overlooked the offense’s inability to take care of the ball. The other day, I heard Hub Arkush during a segment on 670 The Score talking about the Bears’ turnover issues, and during the Lovie Smith era the Bears have the 2nd most giveaways in the NFL.

It’s a disappointing number considering the regularity with which the Bears have run the ball over the last 9+ seasons, and the fact that Lovie hung his hat on being a running team (see blog name). Guys like Thomas Jones (’04-’07) and Matt Forte (‘08-present) have had stand-out seasons. Guys like Cedric Benson and the bad Adrian Peterson have not. A rational assumption would be that the number of interceptions Cutler has thrown in the past 3+ years is driving those statistics up. Surprisingly, you’d be wrong. While Cutler-era picks are higher than the previous 5 seasons, total turnovers are below 30 for 2 consecutive seasons, which has never happened before in Lovie’s tenure. Aside from a 6 fumble sophomore season, Matt Forte has taken care of the ball than any of our runners in the last decade.

Check out the numbers below, with a few key highlights:

  • Ron Rivera was running the best defense in the league in 2005 and 2006. Forcing 50 and 56 takeaways in those two years, despite giving the ball away nearly 50 times, the Bears marched to the playoffs and then the Super Bowl in Miami
  • During those seasons, the Bears had a combined record of 24-8. Dominating
  • Then Bob “Yes Man” Babic took over because Ron wasn’t nice enough to Lovie; Defensive takeaways dropped by nearly half in a 2 year span and the team faded to irrelevancy
  • Since 2007, the Bears’ record is a pedestrian 44-39
  • Cutler comes in for the 2009 campaign, where he threw a miserable 27 picks, but that number decreased by 20% over the next two years and the bears again became competitive within the NFC North

 

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Putting the Monsters Back in the Midway

With 9:06 remaining in the 4th quarter Sunday, Nick Roach registered the first regular-season sack by a Bears LB since the final game of the 2010 season.  In a league where teams throw the ball over 50 times per game on a regular basis, that’s a pretty incredible stat.  But Lovie Smith wouldn’t have it any other way.

The founding principles of Lovie’s version of the cover-2 are pressure with the front 4, dropping 7 into coverage, and taking the ball away.  The defense doesn’t work as well if he has to bring more than 4 in order to get heat on opposing QB’s.  This is why his defenses were so successful when Warren Sapp & Tommie Harris were in their prime’s.  And this is exactly why the current iteration of Lovie’s Tampa 2 was so dominant in yesterday’s win.

Scouting combine legend Stephen Paea, healthy for the first time in his young pro career, was an absolute terror.  He wasn’t alone.  Israel Idonije & Amobi Okoye turned in perhaps their best performances as Bears and #90 earned every one of those zeros on his paycheck.   Shea McClellin didn’t register one of the 6 sacks on the day, but his 3rd down speed presence on the outside helped Peppers & Melton get singled up in the middle.  The constant pressure from the tackles and ends, without any help from blitzing backers or corners, made it difficult all day for Bradford to find anyone to throw the ball to.

Granted, the St. Louie Rams line was bad before the injury bug hit.  But you can only play who lines up across from you.  On a day when the offense looked eerily similar to the 2006 vintage (that’s for another post) it was nice to have the Monsters of the Midway back and the old winning formula working.

SparrowG

The Sky is not falling

I’ve had almost 10 days to let the butt whooping that the Packers gave the Bears settle in, and I am here to tell everyone that the sky is NOT falling. I’ve listened to sports talk radio all week and have had to turn it off at times. Jay Cutler is the same QB the bears got when they traded for him. He hasn’t changed a bit, and that’s ok. When he came to Chicago, everyone was complaining about his body language, or how he wasn’t a big game QB, or that he wasn’t the savior in the first year with the team. I’m not sure the last one is true, maybe I made it up, but I continue to say, “Who cares about his body language?” He is a big game QB. Everyone in the city complained about Sexy Rexy and Kyle “Neck Beard” Orton when they were running the offense. It is what we do as a fan base.

I will continue to back Cutler whether he bumps Webb or kicks Tice in the shin. I will even back Cutler if he punches out Lovie; I might back him more if he does that. I know one other blogger who agrees with me on that. The controversy started with Cutty’s “Jay Bump” has given the fans something to talk about for more than a week, but one big thing was lost in all of this madness: the St. Louis Rams will still show show up to play at Solider Field on Sunday. The Rams pulled off an impressive win at home last Sunday against an upstart Redskins team lead by RGIII. Fisher has this team moving in the right direction with Sam Bradford moving the ball well and not turning the ball over. Before this year, I would probably say the Rams are coming into Chicago to their tails handed to them, but don’t sleep on the Rams this year. I realize they aren’t the 49ers, but they can still play. The game started at Bears -10, but has moved to Bears -7.5. I still feel that this is too big a number to cover for the Bears. With all the chaos at Halas Hall this week (DJ Moore running his mouth – “The truth will set you free.”), the Bears must be wishing they were on a shortened week like the last when the Packers showed them they are the NFC North Division Champs for a reason.

After the madness that is the 2012 Chicago Bears materialized this week, I just shook my head and moved on. While the Bears are not as good as the 41-21 beat down that they put on the Colts, they are definitely not as bad as the 23-10 debacle we saw last Thursday night against the Packers. Everyone seems to forget that the season is far from over. We, as fans, are 2 games into this very young, poorly officiated, season. I thought this Packers game was a loss from the beginning, and I drank too much Bears Kool-Aid after the first win. So, once again, the sky is not falling. Do not listen to Chicken Little. This Packers loss was just an acorn (not an a-corn for all you Tyler Hansbrough fans out there). With all this 2am rambling, I will end with saying the Bears win a close one, but do not cover 27-24 (Don’t take my word for it. What do I know?) Bear Down. Go Bears.

phatty

Dan Pompei – I can smell your bias

*Editor’s note:  Since we started this blog we’ve had many of our idiot friends say they could do a better job (which they probably could) and claim that they are better writers than us (which most undoubtedly are).  So we decided to give those friends who have a reasonable Bears thought, and can put two or three sentences together, a voice from time to time.  This post from KVS, aka Derek Norton, is the first in our “Guest Blogger” series.

In response to Dan Pompei’s lazy, mailed-in piece (found here:  http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/columnists/ct-spt-0919-pompei-bears-chicago–20120919,0,3966505.column) that appeared in the Trib yesterday, I decided to do some fact-checking of my own. 

First, let’s take a look at the “big games” Mr. Pompei selected.   Pompei writes that Cutler has gone 4-8 in his “biggest games” as a Bear, with 13 touchdowns and 19 interceptions for a 67.7 passer rating.  Yikes – that sounds bad.  But let’s look deeper.  Pompei mysteriously includes a road game in San Francisco that took place in the middle of the 2009 season – in which Cutler threw 0 td’s and 5 int’s.  That game combined with the 2 GB road games gives us a god-awful looking 2 td’s and 13 picks in just 3 of the games selected.

So let’s review – in 3 of the 12 games selected – Cutler threw 2 td’s and 13 picks.  Holy shit that’s bad.

In the other 9 “big games” – he threw 11 TD’s and 6 picks.  But yet another look at the games included reveals Pompei decided to include the infamous “lets get Cutler killed” game in 2010 in which he got sacked 9 times and threw a total of 11 passes(completing 8 of them).  And then it dawns on me that the Eagles game in week 12 of the 2010 season – which had the exact same importance as the Giants game (as well as being later in the season) – has been mysteriously left out.  What did Cutler do in that game?  4 td’s and 0 int’s in a dominant performance that cemented the Bears as the favorite for the 2 seed in the NFC.  So Pompei decided to look at 2 games of equal importance….and pick the game in which Cutler was concussed by the 2nd quarter and leave out a key conference game in which Cutler turned in one of his best games as a Bear.  I smell selection bias. For my purposes – I’m going to include the Eagles game.  See how easy that is?

So another review – in the other 9 “big games” – Cutler threw 15 td’s and 6 picks.  Wow.  That suddenly looks pretty good.  Big game player!

 What’s the overall message?  It’s easy to skew the numbers when you are trying to make them fit the narrative you are looking for (oh – and pageviews!).  What Pompei should have written is that Cutler has been wildly inconsistent in “big games” – he’s had some really good games, and he’s had some awful games.  The awful games tend to be more awful than the awfullest of awful games – and the good games are pretty goddamned good. 

KVS

Please, Please, Please. Let’s Tone It Down.

This Sunday, the once-hapless Rams come into town. Jeff Fisher brings Sam Bradford who seems to have control of an NFL offense for the first time, a secondary which gave Matt Stafford fits in week 1, and a team that staged a comeback win against anointed Redskins Savior RG3 in week 2. Lovely stuff.

On the home sideline, the Bears are looking for a collective do-over after last Thursday night’s debacle. Better pass protection from a tweaked line, 3rd down stops on defense, and doing away with mental lapses are the tip of the iceberg. Not to mention, the media will have a field day scrutinizing the sideline for a cheerier demeanor from everyone in a blue shirt.

Sunday being home game #2, let’s also address improvement from the fans. I forget which Phase we are – 6? Jay wants the fans to be quiet. Not all the time, just when the Bears have the ball, more specifically, when the Bears have the ball in the red zone.  After the Colts win (when Bob from Oak Lawn was writing new lyrics to the Super Bowl Shuffle) Jay asked very nicely to tone it down so he can get all Peyton Manning at the line. “Please, please, please. Tone it down.” He didn’t shoulder anyone in the United Club or drop a forearm shiver on Staley the Bear on the way back to the locker room. He asked nicely.

For years Bears fans have been furiously spouting criticism at Martz or Ron Turner or whoever else is calling plays for not letting our QBs audible at the line. We’ve sat around on Sundays watching our tremendously average quarterbacks get up under center, see something dreadful coming their way and do nothing but take the snap, close their eyes and hope their head stays attached with a LB coming unblocked around the end. Remember Wilber Marshall’s hit on Joe Ferguson? Things haven’t been that different in Chicago the last couple years. Finally we have an offensive coordinator in Mike Tice willing to let it rip and a gunslinger capable of making the right audible, but who is going to muddle it up? The home crowd.

Peyton Manning has had a hall of fame career being an on-field offensive coordinator. In a dome. Because Colts fans were competent enough to be quiet while their offense had the ball. Or the fans were all relatively sober because they can’t sell alcohol on Sundays in Indiana. Either way, it works. Except when Peyton threw 3 picks on Monday in Atlanta – but maybe the proof is in the pudding, the Falcons fans were LOUD, particularly when Denver had the ball.

Cutty making reads at the line is the second greatest weapon in Chicago’s history. The first was probably Christian Bale when he was running around the city for a few summers pretending to be Batman.

So rather than having 8 in the box staring at an o-line featuring 5 guys playing out of position, ready to put My Guy in a body bag, Jay can send em scrambling trying to cover self-proclaimed 6-5 (listed at 6-4) Brandon Marshall. Remember the game against the Giants two years ago? If you were 20 Miller Lites deep and don’t, it’s OK, neither does Jay. But he certainly wishes he could have changed a few up and kept his marbles in order.

So please, please, please, Bears fans. Tone it down. You might even be able to hear what Cutty has to say. I bet some of it is absolutely hilarious.

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