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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Episode 23 of the SKOdCast is Now Up

In honor of Halloween we discuss the terrifying state of the Bears defense, and the Ghost of Brian Griese.


Episode 23 of the SKOdCast Live at 6:15 PM!

Listen live as a  fully-stocked SKOdCast Crew very briefly previews the upcoming DOOMgeddon against the Packers, lots of NFL stuff, a strange sport that Travis calls "bazgetbol" and GDBF.

LINKAGE

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Progkakke Week 8

Progkakke Standings:
Iggins!: 71-36
Code Red: 67-40
Mrs. Code Red: 67-40
Erik: 62-45

Carolina Panthers (3-3) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-6)
Iggins!: I’m on board the Cam train when he plays shit teams. Panthers win.

Erik: To be fair, you’re pretty much always on board the Cam train. But yeah, Panthers.

Code Red: He's often been in front of the Cam train, if you catch my drift. Panthers.

Mrs. Code Red: I'm tempted to take the Bucs, but my two longshots worked out last week and I'm scared to press my luck. Panthers win.

Cleveland Browns (3-4) @ Kansas City Chiefs (7-0)
Erik: Poor Browns. They looked like they had something going for a minute there, and now they’re going to be 3-5. Chiefs keep it moving, but people still won’t acknowledge that they’re good.

Code Red: Who the hell have you heard not acknowledging that the Chiefs are good? Everyone I know has the exact same opinion of that team: man it's going to suck when Alex Smith costs them a superbowl. Chiefs win.

Mrs. Code Red: Going out on a limb to take the Chiefs here.

Iggins!: I'm interested in how good the Browns can be with Campbell, but against the Chiefs it's hard to see them winning. Chiefs win.

Dallas Cowboys (4-3) @ Detroit Lions (4-3)
Iggins!: This is a tough one. Two teams with records that reflect what they are so well. Just one step ahead of average at all times. I guess I have to go with the home team. Lions win.

Erik: The Cowboys seem to get better and worse depending on how good their opposition is, which is strange. But yeah this is pretty much a tossup, I guess I’ll actually factor home field into my decision and pick the Lions.

Code Red: I'm going to take the Cowboys because it's worked for me this year.

Mrs. Code Red: Lions, I guess.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Enjoy Episode 22 of the SKOdCast: One Lonely, Sad Man

Travis ALSO abandoned the SKOdCast due to a terrible injury, so I was forced to go it alone for 27 painful, awkward minutes. ENJOY (or don't):

Episode 22 of the SKOdCast Live at 6:15!

Erik is ill so you'll have to deal with Travis and I as we discuss that disaster of game against the Redskins, the Cutler Injury and his Future, The Demise of BEAR FOOTBAW (forever?!), Around the NFL, and perhaps the biggest edition of GDBF ever.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tuesday Hoopyball PREVIEW YEAH NBA IS BACK SOON

Welcome back, NBA, your sweet siren song is a welcome reprisal from the pain of the current state of the Chicago Bears! Yes, the NBA season opens next Tuesday when our Chicago Bulls take on the Miami Heat. Hard to think that game will determine anything about this season, but the Bulls ARE the only team to have a winning regular season record against the LeBron Heat. However, this preview is about the season as a whole, not the games we have Tuesday and Thursday, so hows about we talk about what the Bulls can accomplish this year?

What’s Realistic?

The overall sentiment I’ve been getting from fans and the media is… hell there is no overall sentiment. Nobody can agree! Some think the Bulls will end up as the 5th seed (behind Miami, Indiana, Brooklyn, and New York), some think the Bulls will lose to the Heat in the East Finals, some think the Bulls will win the title! Hell, I’m sure someone thinks they’ll miss the playoffs as well.

What do I think? I think we, for sure, play Miami in the East finals. Indiana is basically Chicago lite, and we kind of have their number. Brooklyn? That’s going to be the most enjoyable train wreck to watch since… well, since last year’s Lakers! The Bulls and Heat will be the #1 and #2 seeds in some order. Thibs plays his guys like it’s the playoffs every regular season game: it’s hard to imagine the Bulls not winning 60+ with Rose looking like he does.

But what happens in that series against Miami? That depends a lot on…

Hey, this is that season I’ve been talking about for the last two years!

If you read the Hoopyball column at all last year you’ll remember me going on and on about how this is the season Chicago constructs their true title team. Luol Deng’s deal is expiring. Boozer has this year and next left. The Bulls have that Bobcat #1 pick and Marquis Teague. Essentially, the Bulls have a package to send somewhere, and it is:

Where Do We Go From Here?

Well, that was fun.

If you've read even one post on this blog you can probably imagine my mental state when Jay Cutler went down after that play. In a second the entire Bears 2013 season went up in flames, most likely, and I had to learn to live with that.

I have. I have chosen to not to cling to the fleeting hope of McCown somehow keeping the Bears afloat through the Cutler-less period so that Jay can carry the team into the playoffs. I did that in 2011 and it crushed me once, so I've taken the road I usually don't travel and embraced the worst-case scenario. The Bears are more than welcome to prove me wrong, but for now here are the facts:

1) This defense is hopelessly and irrevocably lost, and that makes Phil Emery's job easier.
If the Bears defense had repeated its 2012 efforts and Jay had stayed healthy, Phil would have had one hell of a challenge in figuring out how to bring back so many of the key performers and keep this team's financial situation intact. It's a problem we'd have all have been glad to see him deal with, but that ain't happening now. I'll get to my thoughts on what they should do with Cutler in a minute but the simple fact is the defense is now a clean slate for Phil.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Bears 41, R... Washington 45: Taking a Bite of the Silver Sandwich



The Bears just lost to the Washington Racists, and that makes me very sad. However, under the circumstances, I find it hard to get too beat up about. I can’t think of many teams that could lose their starting QB, two starting defensive tackles, two starting linebackers, a starting corner and a starting safety and still pull out a win.

On the offensive side of the ball, this game was proof positive to me that Marc Trestman’s philosophy works. We lost Jay Cutler, for an estimated four weeks at the very best, and still put up 41 points against an admittedly weak defense. Our receivers still came up with big plays despite Brandon Meriweather providing video evidence of the Most Illegal Hit Imaginable on multiple plays. Matt Forte exploded for 91 yards and three touchdowns, with another 20 yards in the passing game.

Josh McCown went into the game and nothing bad happened. He fell short in a couple places where Jay wouldn’t have; most notably on the final Hail Mary when he just kind of awkwardly flailed at incoming pressure where Jay would have run out of the pocket and maybe avoided the sack. They had to limit the passing game to shorter, safer routes and it cost them some time that they could probably have used later in the game. But he threw for 200 yards, a single TD and a 119 rating.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Progkakke Week 7

Progkakke Standings:
Iggins!: 63-29
Code Red: 59-33
Mrs. Code Red: 57-35
Erik: 56-36

Seattle Seahawks (5-1) @ Arizona Cardinals (3-3)
Iggins!: Arians is getting way too much out of not enough on the Cardinals, and I commend him for it, but even taking Seattle out of Seattle won’t be enough here. Seahawks win.

Erik: Yeah the Cardinals are better than they have any right to be, but the Seahawks are just way better. Seahawks.

Code Red: That defensive line will eat Carson Palmer alive. Seahawks win.

Mrs. Code Red: Seahawks.

Chicago Bears (4-2) @ Washington Redskins (1-4)
Erik: A lot is being made of the fact that RGIII “could return to form any day now,” KYLE. But I just don’t see how the Redskins, who are literally worse at every position than the Bears, pull this one out. Bears win, 31-21.

Code Red: Being uneasy =/= fatalism. The Bears should win this one.  Bears win 38-23.

Mrs. Code Red: Bears 28-24. I'm not predicting any blowouts till they prove they can do it.

Iggins!: The Bears can outscore the [REDACTED]s, so I'm not too worried. Bears win 38-27.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-5) @ Atlanta Falcons (1-4)
Iggins!: Look, Atlanta, is you don’t win here just rest everybody for the rest of the year and trade Tony G back to Kansas City. Atlanta wins.

Erik: I would argue that they should do that anyway. I doubt Roddy White has long left in him, and Steven 
Jackson thus far has done exactly what I said Steven Jackson would do in Atlanta. They have literally zero shot at anything of value this year. Still, the Bucs are really, reaaaally bad. Falcons.

Code Red: Yeah their season is over. Tony G should go back to KC. God that would make a great story! This is the NFL, though, so it won't happen. Still, Tampa sux. Falcons win.

Mrs. Code Red:  Can't believe Atlanta is 1-4. Falcons win.

Cincinnati Bengals (4-2) @ Detroit Lions (4-2)
Erik: This is a confusing one, and I would not have expected it to be at the beginning of the year. The Bengals have tried as hard as they can to not be a 4-2 team, but somehow they’re still here. The Lions have been the team their roster says they should be about 2/3 of the time, and the Detroit Lions the remaining 1/3 of the time. I guess I’ll take the home team here. Lions.

Code Red: The Bengals validated my faith in them when I picked them over the Packers, but that was at home. In the dome the Lions are just a better team. Lions win.

Mrs. Code Red: I'm taking the Bengals because I think their defense can slow down the Lions if Calvin Johnson isn't 100%. Bengals win.

Iggins!: The Bengals can't stop great receivers for shit and their offense kind of blows lately. Lions win.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Enjoy: Episode 21 of the SKOdCast!



Episode 21 of the SKOdCast is Live in, Like, A Half Hour-ish

We discuss Eli's DERPs, Angry Bears Defense Hating God, the upcoming battle with NAME REDACTED, Goddammit Bears fans, and much more.

LINKAGE

Monday, October 14, 2013

Ten Years After Bartman: A Missed Call

I don't write much about the Cubs here. For one it's because they aren't much worth discussing these days, and for another it's because I know some very excellent Cubs bloggers who do a better job at it. Tonight, however, as you may have heard, is the ten year anniversary of the Steve Bartman game, and I felt compelled to share my own story.

Now I'm not going to relive the awful play by play of that night or recreate where I was like some kind of breakdown of the Zapruder Film, but there is one thing about that night that has always haunted me, and I'm not sure when would be a better time to admit it.

I inherited my Cubs fandom, like my Bears fandom, my Illinois fandom, and everything else I should resent him for, from my Dad. The actual nature of that Cub fandom, however, was shaped by my Grandfather. Grandpa, like me, was a perfect Cub fan because of his stubborn nature and willingness to waste years in an ultimately futile attempt to prove himself right. So I grew up spending summers helping Grandpa work in the yard as he would shout to my Grandma "Why would he do that Suzie!?" after Mickey Morandini bobbled another double play (Grandma, good sport that she is, never failed to answer "I don't know, Orvis"). 

In May of 2003, Grandpa suffered the first series of the hemorrhagic strokes that would ultimately claim his life. At the same time, the Cubs were having their best season in ages. I remember sitting beside Grandpa's hospital bed as Mark Prior struck out 16 Brewers in a single game and the two of us marveled over the phenom's ability. The Cubs, in true Cub fashion, still managed to lose that game. The doctors told us he had a few weeks left, at best, and among my many complaints with the world was that it seemed unfair that he'd be unable to see that season through to the end.

Then a minor miracle bought us a few more months. Grandpa actually went home and spent the whole summer watching Prior and Wood and discussing their efforts with me to the best of his ability. October rolled around and the Cubs were still in it. At a family gathering as my Dad and Uncles tried to warn me, with the wisdom of bitter experience, that I should prepare myself for the worst. Grandpa merely smiled and told me that they were going to pull it off. I believed him. Game 6 of the NLCS came and we all know what happened then.

As that 8th inning had approached I had grabbed the phone, preparing to call Grandpa as soon as the Cubs had clinched, imagining how fun it would be to have that conversation after all of those years of discussing failure. Once the whole thing had gone up in smoke, however, I put the phone away. "Let him sleep," I thought, "you'll talk to him some other time. No need to burden him with your anger."

It wasn't until much later, long after he was gone, that I realized how stupid of a decision that was. Tired as we was, sick as he was, Grandpa wouldn't have cared. He didn't need me looking after him. He'd gladly have taken a few minutes to make me feel better. To tell me, once again, that they would pull it off, or that they'd do it the next year. He'd have done what grandfathers do in that situation, particularly ones who've been down the Cubs heartbreak road before, and told me that the sun was going to rise the next day. I could have used that. Hell, I still can.

I'm not writing this to ask for pity. We're Cubs and Bears fans. Everyone has a million stories of disappointment and sorrow. I've never cried over a sporting event and never will. That's asking people to feel pity over a choice you willingly make to spend time and energy on a game. I've never felt self-important enough, arrogant as I am, even, to ask someone to feel sorry for me because of the Cubs.

I would, however, like to share this with people as a lesson. For all of the hours I spend on analyzing X's and O's and yelling at Brad Biggs on Twitter and debating Jay Cutler's mechanics, sports are entertainment. Games are meant to be enjoyed and shared with people who share the same rooting interest as you. For most of us, like me, that means family. I call my Dad almost daily to discuss things about NFL players he's never even heard of. I let him talk me off the ledge every time they lose because I still sometimes need the "it's just a game" talk. Talk to people who care about you even about stupid stuff like the Cubs, because in the end you only get to talk to them so many times

P.S.: I got a Cubs calendar for Christmas that year. Grandpa, just a few weeks from the end, pointed at the month with Corey Patterson's picture on it and said "he's going to be a great player." If any of you run into him again before I do, maybe don't let him know how that one turned out.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Progkakke Week 6

Progkakke Standings:
Iggins!: 53-24
Code Red: 48-29
Mrs. Code Red: 46-31
Erik: 46-31

New York Giants (0-5) @ Chicago Bears (3-2)
Iggins!: Two tough losses to good-to-great teams for the Bears, but this stretch of the schedule should let them build some momentum and really mesh as a team. Bears win 38-20.

Erik: The Giants are not good. The Thursday thing is a vague concern, because weird shit always happens in those games; but if there’s anyone more likely to have a sloppy-ass Thursday game than Jay it’s Eli Manning so I’m not that worried about it. Bears win 31-21

Code Red: Not to mention the Bears are the home team, and they win like 70% of these games. Bears 34-24.

Mrs. Code Red: Bears, 31-17. And that's giving the Giants too much credit.

Oakland Raiders (2-3) @ Kansas City Chiefs (5-0)
Erik: Well, Terrelle Pryor is apparently good. We’re just going to have to accept this and move on with our lives. Not good enough to get past that Chiefs defense, though. It’s getting frankly hilarious to hear people saying “The Chiefs’ fall is coming!” as they roll to a 6-0 start. They could lose out the season, and still have improved more than anyone could’ve reasonably asked. Chiefs.

Code Red: The Chiefs fall will come as the Chiefs fall usually does, when they meet a playoff opponent who shuts down their typically overmatched game manager QB, before then I see no problem picking them over the surprisingly not that awful Raiders. Chiefs win.

Mrs. Code Red: Chiefs, because even though the Raiders have been better-ish, the Chiefs are just...better. Minus the ish. Y'know?

Iggins!: Chiefs, the #1 defense in the league!

Cincinnati Bengals (3-2) @ Buffalo Bills (2-3)
Iggins!: Without E.J. Manuel? Hard to see the Bills winning. On the other hand, the Bengal offense is, for no reason, just plain anemic right now. I’ll say Bengals win, but will not be surprised at all to see them lose.

Erik: I’d say that even with E.J. Manuel it’d be iffy, but without him it seems damn near impossible. The Bengals offense was a disgrace on Sunday, but so was New England’s so I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if the rain or something whatever. Bengals.

Code Red: I will NEVER pick a team that is starting a QB from Duke to win a game. Duke, people. Bengals win.

Mrs. Code Red: The Bengals are a very confusing team, but I can't pick the Bills and a QB who has one career start. For the Browns. Bengals win.

Detroit Lions (3-2) @ Cleveland Browns (3-2)
Erik: I could not have said that I think this will be a good game with a straight face a month ago, but it certainly seems possible that it will be now. The Lions showed that they are absolute horseshit without Calvin Johnson on Sunday, but if he’s on the field this week that is immaterial. The Browns were looking very impressive, but I don’t know if Weeden is enough to get past that defense. Lions.

Code Red: The Browns line is still very sketchy, and Weeden has not done all that well under pressure this year. Lions win.

Mrs. Code Red: If Calvin Johnson's out I think the Browns win. Hell, I'll do it. Browns win.

Iggins!: Whoah people think the Lions will win this game? You two are crazy. The Browns defense, at home, even with Weeden, will win this game. Cleveland wins.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Bears 27, Giants 21- Eli Sux

I am going to try not to overreact to anything that happened tonight. Thursday Night Games are generally less than  pretty, and the Bears, at least on one side of the ball, managed to keep it completely clean. That's to be commended. Otherwise, I can only say I'm glad the Bears survived.

The offense was everything we had ever hoped it would be for one half and then saw several promising drives in the second half fizzle out thanks to a mediocre effort in the run game and some missed passes. Nothing on that side of the ball really concerned me, though. A handful of plays (a crappy grounding call, a couple barely missed deep balls to Jeffery) go differently and they put this one away fairly early, but a few missed opportunities are understandable when you didn't even have a real practice in the week. They still managed 375 yards, picked up 25 first downs, and possessed the ball for over 32 minutes. Most importantly, they had zero turnovers in a game where one could have killed them. Again, for a Thursday night shitpile, I'll take it.

As for the other side of the ball? Well. Things there are...still panic-inducing. It's hard to harp too much on a team that was down 6 starters by the end of the game (really hope Anderson's injury isn't serious), but when some of those players struggling are the 5 starters who were so good last year, that Is concerning. Hopefully the ten days off will let them field as close to a complete unit as possible and let them get some practice reps for the new guys. Either way, I suspect they're going to keep us awake at night the rest of the year. In the end, though, 4-2 is nothing to be upset about and they get a long respite before taking on a struggling Redskins team. Hopefully they keep getting better.

THE GOOD:

Jay Cutler: He was smart and accurate for most of the game, with the only mistakes being some missed connections between he and Jeffery, some Jay's fault and some Alshons. He finished 24/36 for 262 YDs and 2 TDs, with his second straight 100+ passer rating, and his 5th 90+ passer rating in six tries. He also ran for 20 yards, converting several 3rd downs, because that's just what he does.

Brandon Marshall: Far too much will be made of the Bears determination to get the ball to Brandon, when really Jay just threw it to his star fucking receiver because he was, y'know, open. He finished with 9 catches for 87 yards and 2 TDs.

Marty B: He caught 6 of 7 passes thrown his way for 68 yards against his old team. Considering Eli's last DERP clanged off the hands of his TE, I'm sure the Giants are wishing they'd have found some money to keep him.

Pass Protection: The Giants aren't doing a very good job of getting to the QB right now (I sympathize!), but the line not only allowed zero sacks, I can't even remember more than one or two plays where Jay seemed to be under Any pressure. Commendable.

Marc Trestman: I thought that was a pretty good game plan on offense. It's a shame some promising second half drives ended in Giants territory, but the approach was sound and I was pleased with his decision to throw for the first down on 3rd down with less than 2 minutes left. I can't imagine Lovie being so ballsy in that spot.

THE BAD:

Run Defense: I can't say I expected them to be dominant with a d-line composed of guys signed off the street and Shea Fucking McClellin, but the Giants haven't run the ball worth a damn all year before tonight. That was ugly. Hopefully Stephen Paea and Charles Tillman (whose run defense should Never be understated) are healthy in ten days. Guh.

Shea McClellin: Once Paea is back, I expect Shea to be back at situational pass rusher and Nothing else. He is literally the worst run-defending DE in the entire NFL (and no, that's not hyperbole. That's where he ranks according to PFF), and teams just run right at him for huge gains. It's time to put an end to that experiment. I've defended that pick in the past, but not anymore. He's a liability.

Tim Jennings: Yes, he had two INTs, including a pick six, but he was pretty spotty in coverage most of the night, missed several tackles, and had one dumb PI penalty and had another that was only waved off because the pass was uncatchable. Tim's a fine complementary corner, but he has been exposed everytime he's had the role of guarding the #1 of another team's offense.

Injuries: Tillman was out. Paea out. Anderson and Williams went down. Make it stop. Please. God. Make it stop.

Run Blocking: the Giants were 24th against the run before this game, and the Bears have generally run-blocked well this year, so I was shocked to see Forte get less than four yards per carry tonight, and that, more than anything else, is what slowed the offense down in the second half and allowed the Giants to hang around.

THE UGLY:

Eli Manning: Holy shit. 15 INTs in 6 games. That's just brutal. And I don't want to hear how he has no offensive line this year. He was barely pressured all night, and still DERP'd his way to defeat. He's a joke right now.

That's it for now. The Bears won, that's all that matters, and the offense keeps getting farther along each week. If the defense can just get healthy in their extra time off, things will be better going forward, but for now we may have to content ourselves with winning some uncomfortable close games.

Go Bears.


SKOdcast 20: Revenge of the SKOds will be live at 6:15 tonight!

Join us for a pregame podcast at 6:15, with topics of discussion such as "How stupid is everyone talking about Brandon Marshall?" and "Hey look, the Giants are terrible!" Plus, laugh at Kyle's antics as he attempts to conduct a podcast in a crowded sports bar because he only seems averse to piracy when it directly inconveniences me. See you there! And by there I mean here.

Morrissey Must Get a Bonus if he Uses the Phrase "Team Cancer" This Season


A little over a month ago, after preseason game three, Brandon Marshall made some pretty straightforward remarks about not being back in top shape and learning a new offense. If you'll recall, the media flocked to it like kids flock to the house that gives out full-size candy bars on Halloween. I'm pretty sure Bernstein actually uploaded a video of himself having a hands-free orgasm at the thought of Brandon Marshall hitting a woman in a nightclub. Because the guy was feeling a little slow after someone stabbed his leg with tiny knives for a few hours.

This week, a lot of reporters asked Brandon Marshall a bunch of variations of one question: How frustrated are you with your production? Because he had two bad games in a row, one of which was pretty much Jay's fault for playing like dogshit until the Lions went to the prevent. Clearly, he must be ready to explode in a fit of rage and murder everyone in the locker room.

Really, it all comes back to the same thing as the first pointless media feeding frenzy: they want him to slip. They want him to give them something to talk about. They've more or less lost Jay now, he's played their game and kept his head down. Even Morrissey can only talk about him shoving a lineman for so long. But this, Rick can talk about. And talk he does. His article is in italics, my responses are regular text.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A Guest Post by Mrs. Code Red: What's in a Name?

Editor's note: It's a little-known secret that I really don't care for fantasy football. I play it, because it's expected of me and it's hard to scrape up enough living, breathing idiots to form a decent league that I feel bad refusing to play, but frankly it distracts from my pure, unfiltered obsession with the game, and it only ever makes me feel bad as I have a tendency to NEVER WIN ANY GODDAMN CHAMPIONSHIPS. My wife, however, freaking loves fantasy football (and has a trophy won at my expense to boot) and through the process has discovered a fact about ESPN and Jay Cutler that irritates her to no end and led her to write the following piece:

What’s in a name?

In the NFL, apparently a lot. As a devoted fantasy football player, and even more devoted Bears fan, I have been continually flabbergasted by ESPN’s continued refusal to believe in Cutler’s fantasy football potential. Granted, I own him in one of my leagues and happen to be married to just about the biggest Cutler fan imaginable so I am hardly an impartial audience. But as you’ll see, the numbers are definitely on my side.

When ESPN projected Jay to score only 10 fantasy points in the season opener, it was understandable. After all, he was coming off of a disappointing 2012 season, was running a brand new offense under a new-to-the-NFL head coach, and despite the attention paid to the offensive line in the off-season, lots of questions remained about their ability to provide Cutler with the protection he so obviously lacked in 2012. I was completely willing to accept their low-ish projection and was, in fact, happy and slightly surprised when he came away from the game with a solid 16 points against a genuinely good Bengals defense. I didn’t expect entirely smooth sailing from here on out, but things were looking up for my guy.

But when week 2 rolled around, ESPN projected Cutler to score 10 points. Again. Okay, okay, fine. Maybe the first game was a fluke or the new offense just took people by surprise. He still needed to prove himself to the critics. And he did - Jay scored 17 points against the Vikings, outscoring ESPN’s projection for him by over 50%.

When week 3 came around, I was expecting another low-ball fantasy projection from the “experts” at ESPN, but even still, their 9 points against the Steelers seemed a bit too low. Sure enough, Jay had his lowest yardage totals all season and still scored 11 fantasy points.

Surely after three straight weeks of outscoring their projections, the sage minds at ESPN had to give Jay some credit before the week 4 matchup against the Lions. They did not, with a projection of 11 points. Cutler played what was easily his worst game of the season and still finished with 16 points. Are you noticing a trend?

Okay, even with the undefeated Saints rolling into town, ESPN had to expect that Jay would put up at least 11 points, his lowest total yet. But no. They projected him to score 8 points. 8 POINTS! For crying out loud, Ryan Tannehill had just scored 9 points against the Saints in a game in which he threw three interceptions. How did Jay answer? With 22 points, easily his best total to date. For you math types, that means he outscored their projection by a whopping 275%.

So where does that leave us? With the woeful Giants heading to Chicago this week, ESPN has finally put together a bullish prediction for Cutler, prognosticating a 22 points effort against what is easily the worst defense the Bears have faced all year. Way to go out on a limb. Even still, they can’t help themselves from being jerks to Cutler. In their little blurb on Cutler’s player overview card, they spend the first half of the paragraph talking about Jay’s turnover problems before a game in which they are not even projecting him to turn the ball over. That’s right. The “Jay Cutler – Turnover Machine” stereo-type runs so deep in the ESPN offices that they literally cannot stop themselves from bringing it up.

So in summary, ESPN has projected Cutler to score an average of 9.6 points during his first five games when in reality he has averaged 16.4. That’s right, their dislike of Cutler is so intense that it apparently lowers his value by over a full touchdown.

For comparison’s sake, let’s look at golden boy Tom Brady. It’s obvious that this season has not started out well for Brady, a fact that ESPN only barely acknowledges and usually does so only in terms of blaming his supporting cast. Comments like “His 52-game touchdown streak came to a close last week, but it wasn't all Brady's fault as his receivers dropped four passes, including Julian Edelman's drop in the end zone in the game's final minute,” have been used over and over to apologize for Brady’s low point totals. Despite his mediocre showings and obvious issues, ESPN has projected Brady to score an average of 17.4 points through his first five games. What has he actually scored? 13.2. That’s 3.2 points lower than Cutler has averaged. As if to add insult to injury, ESPN cited Cutler’s great game against the Saints last week as a reason why Brady should bounce back against the Saints this week. Because hell, if Jay Cutler can do it, any old idiot can!

I’m not asking for anybody to name Jay the “elitest of the elite” or anything like that. I’m not even saying that he’s a better QB than Brady in real life (although I don’t think he’s too far behind – but that’s a different discussion altogether). But it’s fantasy football – open your eyes and quit ignoring a breakout fantasy season just because you don’t like a guy’s pouty face and double chin. 

Editor's note: Jay Cutler homer-ism is strong in this family. We make no apologies. Except for Jay, of course. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Opinionating: Ten Thoughts on the Bears and Beyond

1) I'm not really disappointed that the Bears sit at 3-2. I have the same amount of confidence that, with their schedule, they can make the playoffs that I had before the losing streak. Even if they should fall short of that goal, to me the clock was somewhat reset once Lovie was fired. Lovie had run out of time, but Trestman has not. He was handed the job of fixing the offense, and so far the results are promising. Have they looked out of sync at times? Absolutely, but they're 4th in the NFL in scoring, 11th in yards, and Cutler, Forte, Marshall, and Jeffery are all on pace for phenomenal seasons. The amount of progress they've made from an utterly inept unit last year to a legitimate NFL offense in just five games should be praised, not criticized for being too slow. If the defensive collapse continues, and I see no reason to think it won't, sadly, that's hardly to be pinned on Trestman or even Emery. Give them a year to spend some time fixing that side of the ball (as they've largely fixed the offense in just one offseason) and then adjust your expectations accordingly.

2)Alshon Jeffery's development is the biggest positive for me this year, even including my happiness over Cutler finally putting up legit franchise QB numbers. To see the Bears identify and draft a talent at that position and have him actually develop the way a legit prospect should is comforting. After Jeffery's rookie campaign kind of hit a wall due to injuries after a promising start I have to admit I had horrifying Mark Bradley flashbacks.

3)Before this season I laughed at people suggesting the 3-4 defense was in the Bears future,  but with Henry Melton and others who were integral parts of the 4-3 approach suddenly regressing and having cloudy futures with the team, and with the abundance of talent at linebacker (including a possible position switch for Shea McClellin) and dearth of it elsewhere, I actually wouldn't be shocked to see the team move that direction next year.

4)It hasn't really been noticed much because of the attention paid to raw sack totals, but the tackle play for the Bears hasn't been great lately. Bushrod's struggled a lot of this year, as has Mills since week two. Hopefully that trend reverses before the Bears face another talented 3-4 defense that will really bring pressure off the edge.

5)It failed miserably, but I was really pleased to see the Bears use a package play in the red zone on Sunday. Cutler held the ball too long, causing the illegal downfield penalty on Long, but it's nice to see the Bears with an offensive coaching staff that's at least trying to embrace the newest innovation in football. Outside of all of the damn times Mike Martz attempted a bizarro version of the Wildcat, that is.

6)I love Drew Brees. Always have, always will. If the Bears are out of it eventually he will definitely have my backing in the NFC playoff field.

7) Matt Schaub is one of three QBs I can think of in recent memory who have rapidly and nigh inexplicably gone from perfectly adequate to bafflingly terrible overnight. The other two were Jake Delhomme starting with the 2008 Playoffs and Jake Plummer starting with the 2005 AFC Title game. Neither ever seemed to recover from letting their team down in a huge spot.

8) I hope Jadaveon Clowney keeps pissing all over his draft stock. I'll spread rumors of substance abuse issues myself if it drops him  somewhere into the back half of the draft where the Bears might have a shot at him. Anyone who overrates his struggles this year and passes on him will live to regret it.

9)Speaking of the draft, I wholeheartedly admire Gus Bradley's determination to tank with Blaine Gabbert, and I'm sad Gabbert's repeated injuries keep derailing the effort. That man knows what his best play is, and also knows that Gabbert's historically awful play is literally the only interesting thing about the Jags this year.

10)I won't say this often, but my God do I feel bad for Tony Romo.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Bears 18, Saints 26: We Told Him So



Well, the Bears lost to the Saints. Hardly surprising, but it was more painful that it had to be. Really, though, the pain seemed to roll to every phase in turn. When the defense was busy holding Brees to 6 points on two drives, one of which began at first and a goal, the offense couldn’t do anything. Then the playcalling just kind of fell apart. Then the offense worked, and the defense decided they didn’t need to.

Still, I said I wouldn’t be upset if they held up reasonably well against Brees in a loss and I stand by it. There were a lot of encouraging signs in this game, despite the frustration. Thanks to Green Bay spanking the Lions, the Bears are still tied for first and are looking at two pretty soft teams before the first Packers game. Without further ado,

Prognostication Bukkake Week 5

Progkakke Standings:
Iggins!: 45-18
Code Red: 42-21
Mrs. Code Red: 40-23
Erik: 39-24

Buffalo Bills (2-2) @ Cleveland Browns (2-2)
Iggins!: Two very surprising 2-2 teams here. What the hell is with the Browns? Apparently trading away over-praised A-Train was a nice kick in the ass. I like the Browns to win here as, honestly, they’ve just looked better.

Erik: Yeah they’re clearly doing something right, though if the Josh Gordon rumors are true it seems like they may be doing too much. Just… you’re good, guys. Get a new QB and a couple linemen and you’re good! Browns.

Code Red: The Browns have a good enough defense to be…like, legitimately good now. I don’t know how long this whole Hoyer thing can last, but I like them here. Browns win.

Mrs. Code Red: The Browns seem less mediocre. Browns win.

Kansas City Chiefs (4-0) @ Tennessee Titans (3-1)
Erik: While I predict an eventual return to Earth for the Chiefs, they just keep getting handed more and more wins. The Titans have been better than they had any right to be, but they’re up against a team that’s essentially just them, but better at every position here. Chiefs go to 5-0.

Code Red: Jake Locker finally plays as good as everyone was pretending he was playing and gets hurt. Figures. Chiefs win.

Mrs. Code Red: Chiefs. I keep waiting for them to lose, but I don’t think this is where it happens. Also,  Jake Locker is hurt, and that’s somehow a bad thing. Chiefs win.

Iggins!: I like the Titans, but that Chief defense is way too good for Fitzy. Chiefs win.

New Orleans Saints (4-0) @ Chicago Bears (3-1)
Iggins!: I took this one first so everyone could see I didn’t pick the Bears. I think we’ll do much better than we looked last week. Cutler should recover from whatever he had, the offense should get in tune. I think we can keep it close. But when you throw no pass rush, mediocre secondary play (if we’re being generous), and Drew Brees into a pot, you get a Saints win, 38-27.

Erik: I’m not going to mince words because I’m writing a long-winded rant about it, but here’s my take on Sunday: The QB played like shit, and we were never going to win that game. Everything starts there, and he owned it and was apparently sick. So I don’t like it, but every team loses and I’d rather it be an external factor making that happen than Jay just being bad for no reason. I don’t see how they slow down the Saints, but I wouldn’t be entirely surprised if we somehow keep up with them. But still, yeah, Saints 31-24.

Code Red: You treasonous bastards. My head may agree with thee, but I’ve sacrificed progkakke standings to loyalty before, and I’ll do it here. I do think the offense will play pretty well. Whether that will actually be enough, I don’t know. Bears win 34-30.

Mrs. Code Red: I have to admit I’m nervous, but Bears win 27-30. Think about that score for a minute. You gutless cowards!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

SKOdCast Episode 19 is Now Up!


How many excuses can we make for Jay Cutler? ALL OF THE EXCUSES. Which of us are TRAITOROUS BASTARDS? (Hint: it's not me). What situations need Greg Schiano, besides every situation ever? More dumb trades, Brett Favre's dong, and more!

Episode 19 of the SKOdCast Live at 6:15 PM.

Listen in as we discuss DOOOOM, DOOOM, AND MORE DOOOOOOOOOOOOOM.....

and probably the Bucs. 

LINKAGE

What's in a game?


The Chicago Bears are 3-1. Not a sentence I wanted to write. Not one I expected to write. Still, all things being considered, not one I’m as upset as you would think about writing. But God damn are a lot of people really upset about it.

We’re in that ridiculous part of the early season where ESPN insists upon figuring out whether teams are “for real” or not. Any team that has done well to this point now has to justify their success by winning all games, forever, always, lest they be exposed as pretenders.

And for some reason errbody keys on the Bears in these situations. But really, what about that game other than a poor showing from an allegedly ill Jay Cutler exposed the Bears as anything other than a pretty good team with flaws and a decent shot at making the playoffs, much like almost every good team in the NFL?