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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Opinionating: Ten Thoughts on the Bears and Beyond, Week 4

1) If he keeps up his absolutely stellar play, James Anderson may be one of the best free-agent signings of the last decade for the Bears, considering the pittance Emery is paying him. Perhaps the biggest difference between Tucker's scheme and Lovie's (although the similarities are apparent as well) is the large role Tucker has assigned to Anderson. With all due respect to two pretty solid players in Nick Roach and Hunter Hillenmeyer, I can't imagine either being able to do the kinds of things in the pass-rushing and pass-coverage departments that Anderson is excelling at right now.

2) The biggest difference between 2012 Jay Cutler and 2013 Jay Cutler? I suppose you could go with his maturity, as Dan Pompei says in this very good article. Statistically, though, it's in his accuracy downfield. Cutler right now is leading the league in completion % on passes thrown more than 10 yards in the air at 58%. Last year that number was just 39%. Although Trestman is calling more short passes for Jay than previous Bears coaches, it's been Jay's effectiveness downfield that has prevented defenses from sitting on those routes and preventing the offense from moving the ball.

3) That hole that Forte had on his 55 yard run is maybe the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. No analysis or anything. It was just awesome.

4) Did Lovie Smith do some kind of pump-fake drill every summer that Mel Tucker doesn't? Because I'm pretty sure that every single Bears defender has had their lunch money stolen on a pumpfake at some point this season. Hell, even Pro Football Focus mentioned it.

5)I have the normal amount of "Detroit Sucks" bravado and moments of panic-inducing "oh God what if they actually lost to Detroit?" thoughts this week, but one thing I am undeniably excited to watch this weekend is Kyle Long vs. Ndamukong Suh. Suh will win his share of matchups, but for once I believe the Bears have two guards who have a fighting chance against him. Besides, Long is just undeniably fun to watch. I don't know how you can say that about an offensive lineman, but the dude likes to hit people and I like seeing him do it.

6)I feel bad for Josh Freeman. I don't exactly think that he, like Steve Young, is a transcendent talent who will become a Hall of Famer when he escapes Tampa like Young did. There is some talent there, however, and it's always rough to see a guy just play without any confidence because his own coach hates him. I also can't imagine anyone who would trade for him in-season. Some teams that may look into a veteran option at QB next year *cough*Vikings*cough* will consider bringing him into camp, but the mid-season QB acquisition rarely works. Byron Leftwich's turn in Atlanta comes to mind.

7) I wonder how many weeks I can go without admitting how utterly fucking wrong I was about Ryan Tannehill being a Gabbert-like disaster. At least one more!

8)That Chiefs defense is downright terrifying. Any great 3-4 has to have three key ingredients: a play-making, wide-ranging safety (Eric Berry), a holy terror of an rush linebacker (why, hello, Justin Houston) and an immovable object at the nose (Dontari Poe). The Chiefs have all of that now, plus loads of depth at LB and DE. It's going to be so depressing watching another limp-armed journeyman QB with delusions of grandeur spoil this team's chances.

9)As dumb as it looked on draft night, I think it's fair to say the Jets deserve credit for taking Sheldon Richardson and Dee Milliner and not reaching to draft a QB when the arguably best QB in this draft fell to them in the second round anyway. With a front seven that is now loaded with young, premier talent (first round picks in Richardson, Muhammed Wilkerson, and Quinton Coples), they're slamming the door shut on opposing run games and placing Geno Smith in positions where he doesn't have to do much to win or at least keep the game competitive. If Geno can avoid the turnovers that doomed Rico Mirerez, he could enjoy similarly undeserved credit for riding a talented defense to a wildcard spot in a weak division.

10) There was a time when I was a big, stupid kid and hated on Peyton Manning out nothing more than pure jealousy. Those days are long past. If you don't enjoy watching what that man is doing (unless you're one of his poor victims, in which case hate away), then I'm not sure you really like football.


D$ said...

I disagree with the Pompei piece. The biggest difference between '12 and '13 Jay Cutler is that he is finally surrounded with competent's amazing what an NFL QB can do when he's not running for his life every play and then having to force throws to covered, wrong route running 5ft 10inch "receivers" and Kellen Davis.

Erik said...

Talent is a lot of it, but you can also see a difference in his belief in the system. A year ago, Jay Cutler would never have committed to a conservative offense that accomplished nothing for two quarters with the other guys rapidly closing the gap. He would've audibled, forced it to Marshall deep, and thrown a pick.

Blame for that goes to both Cutler and the people who didn't understand how to build an offense around him.

Code Red said...

I think, as the world's biggest Cutler apologist, that it's OK to admit that Cutler had some changes to make as well. A lot of his bad habits were naturally caused by his lack of faith in his coaches, his line, and his receivers, and justifiably so. But bad habits are still bad habits, and I think Pompei did a good job of showing how Trestman is changing them. The important thing is that Emery and Trestman set out to fix everything around Cutler AND to fix Cutler himself.