Archive for the ‘Chicago Bears’ category

Daily White Sox Review

April 3, 2008

Bree_Olson

April 3: White Sox 2, Cleveland 1

The Good: Pitching, pitching, pitching. Jon Danks threw a solid game, going 6.2 and allowing just one run. Dotel came on to get the Sox out of a jam in the 7th, Scott Linebrink pitched a perfect 8th, and Bobby Jenks locked it down for the save. Offensively, the Sox lived by the long ball with home runs in the Juan Uribe (who avoids my wrath for a day) in the 6th and Mr. Clutch, Joe Crede in the 8th. Sox get their first win and I can avoid wasting the rest of the day at work wondering why the hell I feel like this team is going to suck just because they got swept right off the bat.

The Bad: Well, outside of those two homers, the offense was pretty dead. But a lot of that had to do with Jake Westbrook, who many say is going to have a breakout year. The outfield defense was a problem for the second game in a row, as Jermaine Dye looks like a DH playing right field. Carlos Quentin got his first action of the season and promptly went 0-for-4.

Final thought: Winner, winner, chicken dinner. So things could be worse. 1-2 going into Detroit looks a lot better than 0-3. It should be an interesting series, especially with Contreras facing a struggling Tiger offense tomorrow. Also, enjoy one of my new favorites in the adult industry–Bree Olson–in the banner pic and here (very NSFW). Searching for her at work might get me fired.

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And the Bears are Already 0-1

March 31, 2008

Roger_Goodell 

Roger Goodell announced the NFL’s first weekend will feature a Thursday night season opener between the World Champion New York Giants and their division rival, the Washington Redskins. There will also be Monday night matchups between the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings as well as the Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders.

Oh, and the Sunday night game will feature the Bears going to Indianapolis to open the Colts’ new home field, Lucas Oil Stadium.

If I had to pick the worst situation for the Bears to open 2008, it might be this. Maybe opening at New England in its first meaningful game since last year’s Super Bowl loss would be worse. Hard to tell. But a matchup of one of the most powerful offenses going up against the Bears’ offense–with starting skill position players Rex Grossman, Cedric Benson, Marty Booker, and Brandon Lloyd–seems like a choice tailor-made for embarassment. Add in the emotion and excitement sure to be felt by the Colts……and this one is going to get real ugly, real quick.

Thanks, commish. Good to get that tone set early with a solid 52-0 drubbing.

BREAKING NEWS: Bears Continue to Astound With Its Receiving Corps

March 7, 2008

ESPN Radio 1000 here in Chicago is announcing that the Bears have locked up wide receiver Brandon Lloyd to a one-year deal.

Brandon_Lloyd

Despite having two more receptions than me in the NFL last season, Lloyd will enter training camp as the Bears number two receiver. A graduate of the college football powerhouse Illini, Lloyd had two ‘eh’ seasons in San Francisco before signing a deal with the Redskins before 2006. With the Hogs, Lloyd caught 25 balls for 379 yards and 0 touchdowns in two seasons.

Lloyd has shown the ability to make some ridiculous catches and has decent speed, so perhaps he realizes some of his potential in 2008 and has a decent campaign in a contract year. Or maybe he sucks. One thing is for certain…….Bears opponents are quaking in their boots at the thoughts of facing the aerial attack of Grossman/Orton to Booker/Lloyd/Hester/Bradley.

Someone get me a puke bucket.

Impressive move, Jerry

March 5, 2008

Marty Booker and Chris Chandler

I knew as soon as people started throwing Marty Booker’s name around that we would end up signing him. I don’t know how much money he’ll get for the two year start, but I’m assuming it will be less money than keeping Moose and I know its about 50 times less than what the Vikings offered Berrian. And for some reason, that doesn’t make me feel any better. We added another aging wide receiver who was the best on his team last year with 50 receptions for 556 yards and 1 TD. But that was with the Miami Dolphins. And after having a decent 2006 season with 55 receptions for 747 and 6 TD’s, that wasn’t much of an improvement. It was 5 fucking touchdowns and 2.5 ypc LESS.

The good thing to come out of this is that they are making great strides to improve an ever-aging offense line and bolster our running game, since, you know, we’re supposed to run off the bus and everything. God they better have the best draft day I’ve ever seen.

Marty Booker, Mark Bradley and Rashied Davis? “There’s a timeout……on the field” will be savior next year so that people don’t see me crying in my seat. And that ticket price increase better be for draft day and not for extra security to throw my drunk ass out of every game next year.

Another Plus: They retracted the offer that was on the table for Brendon Ayanbadejo.

(Anyone think the amazing Chris Chandler in the picture above if you were confused looks like a relative of Kyle Orton?)

Why Should I Be Sad to See Him Go?

March 5, 2008

Favre_hate 

The announcement of Brett Favre’s retirement yesterday came as a shock to most. To me, it came as a relief.

No, I am not going to miss watching him play. He didn’t play for my team. In fact, he played for the biggest rival of my favorite team. And while I respect Favre’s play and never disliked him, you have to understand what it was like to be a Bears fan during his tenure with the Cheeseheads. It wasn’t fun.

Favre’s career record against the Bears was 79-5 (not really). From the time Favre made his first start against Chicago in 1992 until he made his last in 2007, the Bears had 24 different starting quarterbacks, including Peter Tom Willis, Moses Moreno, Henry Burris, and Steve Stenstrom (really).

He once beat the Bears with two broken arms. In 1993, he played an entire game in Soldier Field without a helmet, and threw four touchdowns. On four different occasions against the Packers’ rival, he threw a touchdown pass to himself. And he had sex with my momma.

The guy’s Hall of Fame highlight reel could be made up solely of his 32 career games against the Bears. Here are three games forever burned into my memory as a Bears fan:

3) November 12, 1995–Basically playing on one leg (and enough Vicodin to kill a horse), Favre throws for 336 yards and 5 touchdowns to lead Green Bay to a 35-28 victory in a must-win for the Bears. My team later misses the playoffs by 1 game. Favre’s does not.

2) September 29, 2003–The NFL decides it would be great theatre if the Bears open new Soldier Field on Monday Night Football against the team they’ve beaten once since 1994. The league gets exactly as it deserves–a shitty game–as Favre and the Pack jump out to a 17-0 first quarter lead en route to a 38-23 lead behind 3 Favre touchdown passes.

1) September 11, 1995–I watch from my dorm room, freshman year of college, with about 20 other die-hard Bears fans as our team battles the up-and-coming Packers. The Bears lead until Favre connects with Robert Brooks on a 99-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter. After the play, Favre takes off his helmet and runs down the field as if he’s Amy Winehouse and he just saw a crack dealer in the south end zone. Bears lose 27-24.

Sure, the memories were a little better the last few years as the Bears played inspired ball against Favre and Green Bay. But as someone who grew up as a Bears fan and watched almost every Bears-Packers game since 1992, I’m not sad to see him go. One more time, for old times sake…….

……Green Bay sucks, and Brett Favre swallows.

“Losing Berrian hurts the Bears’ offense more than keeping Briggs helps the defense.”

March 3, 2008

Bernard Berrian

I’m not so sure about that, Mr. Haugh.

On Saturday, Bernard Berrian left the Bears (as expected) and went to our division rival, the Minnesota Vikings. He signed a 6 year contract worth $42 million dollar with $16 million in guaranteed money. The Vikings seem to feel that Bernard will round out their offense nicely by complementing the monstrous running game of Adrian Peterson. Its also amusing to me that Berrian will be playing with Bobby Wade, another ex-Bears wide receiver who had a somewhat decent season with the Vikings last year. I think Brad Childress may get off on plucking players away from his NFC Central rivals. And I think David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune might want to rethink his article on Mr. Berrian and Lance Briggs and the resulting effect it will have on the Chicago Bears in 2008.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m a little bit worried about both Muhsin Muhammad and Bernard Berrian not being in Bears uniforms next year. I like both of them, both on and off the field, but we need to examine the Lance Brigg’s deal before we make anymore judgments. Lance Briggs signed a 6-year deal worth $36 million with $12 million in guaranteed money. And if you would have asked me before this weekend who would have gotten more money by splashing around in the free agency pool, I don’t think I would have ever said Berrian. Its interesting that both Berrian and Briggs are represented by agent Drew Rosenhaus. After Brigg’s comments about the Bears placing the franchise tag on him last year and not signing a similar deal then, it makes me think that A.) teams didn’t feel that Briggs was worth it, or the more likely B.) his outbursts and the Lamborghini incident may have cost him some potential suitors.

I am definitely happy that Briggs is a Chicago Bear and can settle back into concentrating about next season and upping his play. With Urlacher’s back and neck issues, Brigg’s is a very, very good safety net for the defense. And Urlacher, Briggs, and Hillenmeyer is one of the best LB corps in the league as far as I’m concerned. Who cares if Brigg’s didn’t get out of Urlacher’s shadow. He played lot better than Brian last year and I know he will produce in 2008. But to say that losing Berrian “hurts more” than keeping Briggs is just not true. Neither Muhammad or Berrian are going to be superstar wide receivers in the league. Muhammad is too old and Berrian, while very good, hasn’t shown me that he should be paid what the Vikings gave him on Saturday. Now of course everyone will start throwing around “but Rex and Orton were throwing to him, thats why” and “he was the best option the Bears had and they blew it.” Let’s talk about superstar wide receivers for a second. Did Steve Smith play well last year with the Panthers? He had 87 catches for over 1,000 yards with 7 TD’s. And this was with David Carr, Matt Moore, and god knows who else throwing to him because of Jake Delhomme’s injury. Look at what he’s done with Delhomme on the field in previous seasons.

As for Berrian, look at his 2006 stats. Grossman had a monster first half of the season. We were passing and running the ball very effectively and Berrian managed 51 receptions for 775 yards and 6 TD’s. Granted he was out for one game and didn’t start another, but I don’t think Bernard will be better than a #2 receiver on a team, even though he was #1 here. Herein lies the problem. Like I said before, I’m concerned with who the Rex or Kyle will be throwing to come training camp and preseason. Mark Bradley will be expected to take on a much larger role and will most likely be in the #1 spot. It’ll be interesting to see what Mike Hass and Brendon Rideau can do with more playing time. Hass impressed me with his play last year in the preseason. And if all three of them are on the field, we’ll have a wide receiving corps that are all over 6′ tall and 200+lbs. We also have Rashied Davis who needs to step up big time. I’d like to see him fill in as a slot receiver and catch the balls that Muhammad was dropping over the past two seasons. And Greg Olsen and Desmond Clark is a TE tandem worth talking about in 2008. I’m going to predict that Olson will have a monster year.

And I’m leaving out one very important aspect of the Bears offense for next year: Devin Hester. I’m sure that the organization is getting him more acquainted with the playbook and with running his routes. Just based on the several spectacular catches he has made at crucial times in the game, I hope he can develop into our long range threat and start at WR. I honestly would have loved to see him and Berrian, running routes on opposite sides of the field. Both have great speed and can take opponents down field with them, but I’m more interested in seeing Hester develop as a receiver. That being said, there are bigger problems with the offense even with Berrian and Muhammad leaving.

This team is supposed to start running off the bus. To do that, we need to fix the O Line. I’ve eluded to this three of four times over the past couple weeks, but there’s no way that our offense will be better than they were last year if we don’t fix major problems in that area. And we need to establish a running game. I was hoping we would grab Michael Turner and bring him back to his hometown, but the Falcons just signed him to a 6 year contract worth $34.5 million. I’m definitely not looking forward to competition between Cedric Benson and Adrian Peterson. I like Adrian and think he’s a great fill-in back and receiving downs back. But he’s not a full-time RB. Cedric hasn’t proved anything besides that this organization keeps throwing money at talented college RB’s and can’t catch a break (Rashaan Salaam, anyone?). However, I know that Benson’s running game will have to improve with a more well-rounded O Line that actually gets some push, some blocking upfront. They need to create holes to give him his confidence back. When Benson’s broken away, he’s showed that he can move well down field and gave yardage, but the problem is he never moves very far past the line.

Fixing the O Line and establishing a solid running game will let our offense get back to where it was in 2006. Grossman and Orton can find receivers, but they need time and protection. If the running game is making teams respect them, then any of the wide receivers we have now should be able to get open downfield. Olsen should be open for our little 5-10 yard pass over the middle just about every down. Use him like the Falcons used Alge Crumpler for so many years. He has the talent to become a great TE in this league. And a respect for the running game and passing game will mean that Hester and the other inexperienced WR’s will start getting open downfield. Even if Hester is used as a decoy, Bradly and Co. should be able to step up and make some plays when needed.

So Mr. Haugh, I think keeping Briggs for less money than it would have taken to re-sign Bernard was a very smart move in solidifying our defensive unit. We need him to blitz and shut the opponents running game down and with Urlacher slowing up a little bit, this was a great move in my opinion. Shit we didn’t really offer him much more than what we wanted him to sign for last year before slapping the franchise tag on him. I don’t think Berrian is worth $42 million, but I’m glad he got his pay day. Let’s see what Hester, Bradley, and Olsen can do in starting roles on the offense. It starts with fixing that O Line and establishing the run. Thats what this team has always been about anyways.

UPDATE: To check out up-to-the-minute free agency moves, go to NFL.com’s Free Agency Tracker.

So Far, So Good?

March 3, 2008

Bears logo 

So the first wave of NFL free agency is over. Teams that have immediately made their mark, for better or worse, include Cleveland (re-signing Derek Anderson and Jamal Lewis, the additions of Donte Stallworth and Corey Williams); Philadelphia (signing of Asante Samuel and the acquisition of Chris Clemons); and New Orleans (signing of Randall Gay, re-signing of Devery Henderson and Mark Simeneau, and the trade for Jonathan Vilma). Other big additions included Alan Faneca going to the NY Jets, DeShaun Foster headed to San Francisco, Kawika Mitchell going to Buffalo, and the Jacksonville Jaguars re-igniting their passing attack with Cleo Lemon, Troy Williamson and Jerry Porter!!! *(*–Now Watch Me Jock does not guarantee said re-ignition.) 

But what about the Bears?

Honestly, I’m guardedly optimistic about what they have done so far. This isn’t to say that I’m pleased about where they stand at the moment; Mark Bradley does not foster giddyness in a season ticket holder as a team’s number 1 option at receiver. Neither does having 3/5 of an offensive line. But if you take a look at the moves the Bears have made thus far, things could be worse. Seriously.

Bernard Berrian, WR: Signed with Minnesota for 6 years, $42 million. While the Bears receiving corps is presently in shambles, I wouldn’t have wanted Berrian for this money. He’s a solid receiver, and maybe he will be a number 1 option in the future. And the fact that he’s going to a division rival doesn’t thrill me. But then again, its not like I’ll be worried about Berrian twice a year. There is already another guy on that offense that has my undivided attention, and its not Tarvaris Jackson. But that $7 million a year, including $16 million guaranteed, would be better used to sign a less expensive free agent receiver and/or re-signing guys on the defense like Brian Urlacher later this year or Tommie Harris next year.

Lance Briggs

Lance Briggs, LB: Re-signed with Bears, 6 years for $36 million. This is a steal. Briggs was the best player on the defense for some of last year, and while he might not be as great as he thinks he is, when healthy he is the perfect outside linebacker in the Bears’ Cover 2 scheme. And the fact that the Bears got Briggs for only $6 million a year with a relatively paltry $12 million up front shows that the linebacker knows he is best in the scheme, next to #54 and behind a top-five defensive tackle like Harris. With this surprise re-signing, the Bears know that at least its defensive front seven will be decent if healthy.

Muhsin Muhammed, WR: Signs with Carolina after being released by Bears. I would of driven Moose to the airport and carried his luggage to security. The guy came to Chicago after a ridiculous 2004 in which he accounted for over 1400 yards and 16 TD, signing a lucrative free agent deal to become the playmaker the Bears needed on offense. During training camp that year, he spoke to the local media at length about being the leader and big play maker the offense has needed since……shit, I don’t know……Walter? Neal Anderson? In three seasons, Muhammed accounted for 164 catches and 2183 yards with a grand total of 12 touchdowns. Sure, his quarterbacks weren’t great, but by the middle of his second season in Chicago, it became painfully aware that Moose had shot his wad in 2004 and now was nothing better than a 2 or 3, possession-type wideout. Also, his claim to be a leader was nothing but bullshit, as he consistently threw his quarterback–whether it be Rex Grossman or Kyle Orton or Brian Griese–under the bus during and after games. Good riddance, Moose.

Rex Grossman and Kyle Orton, QB: Re-signed to one year contract extensions. Obviously, the knee-jerk reaction, especially nationwide, was one of surprise that the Bears would re-sign these two, especially Grossman. But if you look at things objectively–instead of taking the easy way out and blaming everything on the quarterback–you’ll notice that both of these quarterbacks are good enough to compete if the team surrounding them is strong. Its true that I am a Rex backer, but to be honest, I would rather see Orton win this job out of training camp this year. I think Orton has showed to be less mistake-prone in his starts, and while Grossman’s ceiling is higher, I think Orton is a better fit for this team. Especially now, with the lack of offensive punch on this roster. Another reason these were good signings is that there were no better options. Unless the Bears were going to make a ridiculous offer to Derek Anderson, what free agent quarterback that is/was available is far and away better than these two? Todd Collins? Cleo Lemon? No. Better to just stick it out with these two, release or trade Griese, and see what happens in 2008.

Alex Brown, DE: Re-signed to 2-year deal. I love this move, as Brown solidified himself as the better all-around defensive end when compared to Mark Anderson, the second-year man who took his job in 2007. Its obvious that a 3-man rotation at defensive end, with Anderson playing primarily in passing situations, is the way to go.

Javon Walker 

So what do the Bears still need to do? Its obvious they need a free-agent wide receiver. Bradley and Devin Hester are third and fourth options, at best, on a decent offense. Javon Walker is looking for a new home and should be affordable considering he is coming off two injury-plagued, subpar seasons. Bryant Johnson has spent his first three seasons as the third receiver in Arizona, working the slot behind Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin. Is he ready to be a primary target? Probably not, but he’s a sight better than Bradley. Other free agent options include DJ Hackett, Marty Booker, Brandon Lloyd, Justin McCareins, and Nate Washington (forget about Randy Moss, people). At least one, if not two or three, of the guys mentioned in this section better have a Bears jersey on in 2008, or its going to be an ugly season.

The two areas I expect to be addressed in the draft are offensive line and running back. Unless one of the big three running backs (Darren McFadden, Rashard Mendenhall, Jonathan Stewart) fall to the Bears at #14, expect the team to go with an offensive tackle. As long as the Bears go with an offensive lineman or two (or three) in the draft, along with a running back somewhere and perhaps a signal caller on the second day, the team is in about as good of a position as it can be.

Its probably going to be an ugly season, but try to seperate the dispair you feel when looking at the team as currently constructed and the feeling when looking at the moves the team has made thus far. Like I said, so far so good.