Monday, July 28, 2014

Your 2014 Bears Training Camp/Roster Breakdown: The Offense

FOOTBALL IS BACK. Sure, we're a few weeks away still from a meaningless exhibition game that will serve the purpose of angering all of the wrong people in all of the wrong ways, but people are out there, RIGHT NOW (depending on when I post this) hitting each other in football pads. We have almost made it through the tyranny and oppression of that terrible no man's land where no sports are played except for something called baseball, which I'm told is a pastoral game not unlike cricket. Football has come to save us all, as it always does, until the terrifying, heart-attack inducing reality that is football season actually sets in and my wife spends every Sunday trying to cool me down as I sweat like an Illinois governor at an ethics hearing and my skin turns redder than than Krypton's sun. 

So now it's time to do the breakdown of what is, honest to God, the strongest unit on the Bears this year: the offense. There's going to be some breathless, erotic analysis coming here so I warn you, you may want to loosen the pants. I certainly did.

#6 Jay Cutler, #8 Jimmy Clausen, #2 Jordan Palmer, #12 David Fales
There's a lot of talk this year about Cutler maturing, finally being at peace with himself and his surroundings, taking on the true responsibilities of leadership and well, OK. Here's the thing: all of that may be true. Hell it probably is true. He's got a lot to feel comfortable about as he's finally entering year two of a system he likes (and that he knows actually fucking works), he's got everyone back on offense around him, and in a nice change of pace that's actually a really awesome thing. But there's probably not much of a difference personality-wise in this year's Cutler than in last years. The people writing those stories just know that Jay was doing damn well last year before he got hurt, and there's nothing but injury that's going to stop him from having the best year a Bears quarterback has ever had at the minimum (and probably a hell of a lot more than that). They just don't want to be caught hanging onto their manufactured Jay Cutler bullshit from years past when it happens.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Season Two, Episode Seven: You asked, we (kind of) answered!

There is a freshly decanted episode of Start Kyle Orton in the study if sir or madam is so inclined, and I've taken the liberty of drawing you a bath.

You gave us questions, we picked some of them, we further modified some of those ones that we picked, and then we answered them! And it only took me like two weeks to post, which is very nearly a record.

Download this episode (right click and save)

Friday, July 11, 2014

A very special non-football shoutout to Rated M for Marathon

ATTENTION READERS AND/OR LISTENERS. This weekend, I am participating in Rated M for Marathon, a 72-hour marathon of superhero video games to benefit Child's Play. Child's Play provides books, toys and games to children in long-term hospital care and domestic abuse shelters. Join as at twitch.TV/ratedMFormarathon, where our dignity is for sale! Currently, we are doing shots for dollars. Every ten dollars allows you to force me to do a double shot. We are also singing, reading fan fiction, and being tazed. Our dignity is for sale!

Now back to your regularly scheduled HOT SPORTS TAKES.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Engage Subliminal Programming Alpha

Attention SKOdcast listeners: The moment is upon us. The first official test of the Start Kyle Orton Football Pedantry Hypnotism Initiative™begins now. Fortunately for you, we just want you to request topics or questions for discussion in this week's episode instead of, say TOPPLE THE GOVERNMENT.

So if you would all kindly post your requests to this article, leave one in the SKOsbox to the right, or else get at Kyle on the Twitter that graces the top of our page, or else e-mail us at (full disclosure: I don't actually know if Travis ever checks that e-mail), we'll endeavor to hit as many as we can.

And now I'm hearing sirens. Did you guys... the government thing was a joke. No, stop! Stop! ENGAGE COMMAND OVERRIDE NECKBEARD-THREE-SEVEN. Oh, of course that's the part that didn't work.

Ex-Bears Quarterback of the Day: Rick Mirer

Twelve years before Jay Cutler, the Bears traded a different first round pick to a different AFC West team to acquire a strong-armed mobile quarterback. The man was to be the 9,787th attempt at finding a savior at the most important position, and he was also supposed to the person who saved Dave Wannstedt's ass. He failed epically at both.

This man, of course, was Rick Mirer.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Skodcast Season Two, Episode Six: In Which Kyle Dies

 There is a new episode of the Skodcast with which to massage your cochlea, if that's the sort of thing you're into. And you read it right, Kyle does indeed die at the end of this episode. From now on it's just Travis and I, and we're mostly going to grunt at each other over Skype while playing video games.

But for now, feast your offseason-addled brains on our riveting discussion of Jimmy Clausen, the tandem evolution of the nickel corner and slot receiver roles, and probably a bunch of other shit I dunno. These things are like an hour long, I'm not going to listen to the entire thing before I do the write-up.

Download this episode (right click and save)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Ex-Bears Quarterback of the Day: Shane Matthews

The offseason is long, and dreary, and hell, I even watched soccer this week. To liven things up it's time for another sure-to-be-quickly-abandoned Start Kyle Orton Recurring Feature. This one focusing on the principle this entire site was founded on: discussing mediocre Bears quarterbacks.

Today, it's time to re-visit the man whose arm strength made Christian Ponder look like Brett Favre (if Brett Favre's throwing arm had actually been replaced with a cybernetic throwing arm that was even stronger): Shane Matthews.

How He Came to Be a Bear:
After a record-breaking career at the University of Florida (where all of his records were like, immediately broken by Danny Wuerffel), Matthews went undrafted because, well, dat arm. The Bears signed him as a UFA and he spent 1993-1996 as the third string quarterback, starting zero games and throwing just 17 passes, all in his final year. He then spent 1997 and 1998 with the Panthers before the Bears brought him back for the 1999 season.

Matthews was expected to compete for the third string job with Jim Miller and Moses Moreno, as longtime Bears starting QB Erik Kramer was expected to start until first round pick Cade McNown was ready. Everything about that sentence depresses the living shit out of me. The Bears unexpectedly released Kramer in June, however, and entered training camp with Matthews competing directly with McNown for the starting spot, which Matthews won, because the opponent was Cade McNown.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Back from the Depths: Phil Emery, Marc Trestman and the Re-Building of Jay Cutler

I keep going back to the game between the Bears and Cardinals in December of 2012. Following two disheartening losses to the Vikings and Packers (where Jay had been underwhelming at best) that dropped the team out of the playoff hunt, the Bears desperately needed a win against the Cardinals and some help in order to stay alive. During the game against the lifeless 5-9 Cardinals, Jay completed less than half of his passes for a measly 146 yards and looked lost. This wasn't a young, reckless, frustrated QB responding to breakdowns in protection by firing fastballs into double coverage. It wasn't even Jay forcing deep balls downfield in a futile attempt to make a play. It was just a quarterback who looked erratic, inaccurate, and lost.

Phil Emery saw the same thing. Jay Cutler was lost, and Phil had a choice to make. Keep the head coach and coordinator who was supposedly so estranged from his own quarterback that the two barely spoke and lose the quarterback forever, or replace them and dedicate one more year to trying to reclaim the talented young passer who threw for over 4500 yards and made the Pro Bowl in his last year in Denver.

As we know, Emery made the choice to roll with Cutler, and the result was a 2013 season that was, despite being cut short by injury, Cutler's best in many ways. He set career highs in passer rating, had the highest completion % of his Bears career, the second highest yards per game average of his career, and the highest TD%. Emery saw enough in Cutler's progress in 2013 to reward him with a long term contract extension. With Cutler the Bears starter at quarterback for the foreseeable future, it's worth looking back at Emery's plan and seeing how he and Marc Trestman turned Jay back into a viable starter.

1) Find the Coach: There were different reasons why the previous offensive coordinators that handled Jay in Chicago had all failed. Ron Turner's scheme was vanilla and outdated, and incapable of producing without a dominant run game.