Showing posts with label Erik. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Erik. Show all posts

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Seriously, Steve, another one?

I come at these columns pretty hard. I use a lot of words, and most of them are derogatory. But only Steve Rosenbloom has ever actually made me physically angry in a column before. And he's managed to do it twice in one week.

Now there are a lot of dumb things that get said about this football team by a lot of different people. Steve, though, is just an asshole. He's petty and mean, and when he can't find facts that justify that attitude he just plain invents fantasy scenarios to get angry about. Because he is a bad writer, he can't come up with 1,000 uninterrupted words that anyone would willingly read unless he's made them irrationally angry, whether it's at the team or at Steve himself.

I won't feign resignation this time, as soon as I read the headline I wanted to rip this pathetic pail of putrid and possibly plagued poop to pieces.

That alliteration is the last happy thing that will happen in this post. All the other pictures are of heads exploding.

Monday, March 10, 2014

This is just sad, even for the offseason.

Ahh the offseason. What's a football columnist to do without any football happenings? Make a total ass of himself. That's the answer.

This column by the Tribune's Steve Rosenbloom started from a reasonable enough standpoint for the kind of obvious waffle that fills up the time between the Super Bowl and free agency. Shea McClellin was a bust at DE, and now the best he can hope for is to compete to maybe earn snaps at linebacker.

But you can't write 1,000 incensed words about that at this point, so Steve had to try to take it a step further. Clearly, the lack of success on Shea's part is indicative of some horrible failure on Phil Emery's. Let me tell you, the result is not pretty. Usually I just kind of surf the Chicago newspapers until something catches my eye, but we actually got requests that I put this loathsome piece of shit out of its misery. And so, with a heavy heart, I dug out my italics.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Is Jay Cutler's Job in Danger? No. No It Is Not.

I know we get down on Bears fans for being dumb a whole lot, but I really don't think I've heard anything dumber in my time overreacting to fan and media opinions than the idea that Josh McCown should be the Bears' long-term starter.  Nevermind that he's older than Cutler and half as talented, the mere fact that he has only even played more than 10 games in a season once at the age of 34 should be a dead giveaway.

Mark Potash of the Sun-Times disagrees with that idea, as well. But not as much as he should, apparently, because he let this nonsense see the light of day. "Josh McCown's Success Makes Jay Cutler Expendable" may be the single biggest concentration of stupidity in a single sentence ever written by a Sun-Times reporter, and it wasn't even somebody named Rick!

I had intended to do this column in customary point-counterpoint style, but there’s just not enough substance there to bother with. It’s just a few tepid arguments that kind-of-support the headline, it’d be like fighting a handicapped man. And not like that guy from Eagle vs. Shark that kicked the shit out of Jemaine Clement. 

Pictured: Not Mark Potash

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.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

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.

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,

Thursday, October 3, 2013

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?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Bits and Bites: Week 1

Welcome to this week's edition of Bits and Bites,  where I'm being crushed to death by the number of people who somehow don't think the Bears' victory on Sunday counts. But we'll get to that on the podcast, I'm sure, so I'm not going to dwell on it. Instead, I bring you the glorious gift of stupid.

First, we have the time-honored tradition of Week One Power Rankings.  Mike Florio over at Pro Football Talk had a really baffling set this week, but his Bears entry stands out as particularly stupid. He has them ranked 12th, which actually isn’t that bad. I would’ve put them ahead of the Lions and Saints, but certainly 12 is nothing to sneeze at considering it’s been one game.

It’s his description that got me. His one-sentence take on the Bears is this: “We won’t really know about this team until it encounters adversity and Jay Cutler shoves someone.”

I’m just going to tackle the first part of this statement calmly and logically and try to calm down before I get to the end.

“We don’t know” is absolutely a fair statement to make. They looked solid, they showed improvement in the most important areas against an opponent seemingly built to test their offseason improvements, but in the end it’s a single game and you can’t really know anything about a team’s seasonal prospects based on one outing.

But in what way is an 11-point second-half deficit against a stingy defense not “adversity?” Especially considering the offense had shown little inclination to pick up the pace, and Dalton had just executed an effortless TD drive. If that doesn’t count, what exactly does count as an adverse circumstance?

They got in the hole, made some adjustments, stayed calm under fire and fixed the situation. I won’t say they’ll never perform less admirably under pressure, but certainly Sunday built my confidence that they can deal with adversity.

But that’s not what Mike means. Because the last part of that sentence is there. “Until it encounters adversity and Jay Cutler shoves someone.” See, to Florio, “adversity” simply means “any scenario that gets me to see what I want to see.” They could play 14 flawless games, and in the 15th Jay could shout at a lineman and the entire football media world will say “SEE WE TOLD YOU ABOUT DIS JAY CUTLER FELLA HE’S NOT A GOOD LEADER.”

“We won’t really know about this team until we see something that allows us to confirm what we are already going to say about this team” would’ve been an accurate statement. Note the not-entirely-subtle assertion that Jay Cutler will shove someone, it’s just a matter of time and “adversity.”

He did it one time, to a player that we were all angry at. That is pretty much the only thing Jay Cutler has ever done to earn his “hothead” reputation.

On Monday night, Philip Rivers pushed a referee while arguing about a clear-cut call and earned a familiar chuckle from Jon Gruden and his usual moniker of “a real fiery competitor.” Jay Cutler shouted at a man who allowed him to be repeatedly teabagged by Thor, and people are still pointing to it a year later.

Mike Florio says “we won’t really know about this team,” but what he means is “I already know, and no matter what happens on the field I’m sticking to my only real prediction: Jay Cutler is a bad quarterback.”

Up next is former offensive lineman Jamie Dukes, who gave a very confusing interview in which he said the offense “looked like the same old Bears” in a bunch of different ways and then not-very-subtly implied that Lovie Smith got fired and couldn’t find another job because he’s black.

The whole thing was dumb, but here’s the line that really stood out: “I didn’t see anything ‘wow!’ offensively, where a unicorn popped out of someone’s head and they did something miraculously. It was the same Bears.

First, this team totally has a unicorn.

And furthermore, what?

I hesitantly assume that Jamie didn’t actually believe that Unicorns and exploding heads would feature prominently in Trestman’s offense. But that statement, coupled with the performance that he declares to be “the same old Bears” begs the question: What in God’s name was he expecting?

In a week when everyone is too busy stroking themselves while thinking about Chip Kelly to notice that the blur is just a spread where you call the plays really fast, it’s understandable that Trestman’s system isn’t exactly making waves. That does not mean that anything less than a total overhaul of the system is just doing the same old thing.

I mean yes, the quarterback still threw a ball to men who caught it with their hands and ran toward the end of the field. Yes, some men still attempted to hit him, and still more men pushed them away from him to help him throw. It seems to me like there are certain basic characteristics that can really only change so much before you’re playing a different sport.

But the offense that won Sunday’s game looked incredibly different from the offense under Lovie. They ran 30 plays out of the shotgun, targeted five different receivers, frequently checked down, used an I-formation with a lead blocker multiple times, and ran at least one package play.

I’ll admit, there was a certain deflating familiarity about the way they started the game on offense by scoring and then kind of fizzling for the rest of the first half. But here’s the thing: they fixed it. They made adjustments, stuck to the game plan, kept their heads cool and came back.

Lovie’s teams rarely, if ever, stayed cool and came back from a second-half deficit. Pretty much all the comeback wins that team got were either hard-won by the defense or came down to some Jay Cutler Fourth Quarter Magic, not a series of methodical 80-yard drives to get back on top.

See, offensive innovation, for this team, isn’t about reinventing the wheel. It’s not about using players in creative ways or running schemes that confuse the defense. It’s about taking the good things that we have and using them in safe, sensible ways to find the weaknesses in a defense and pick them apart. If that sounds like something Lovie’s Bears would’ve done to you, you might be the sort of person who implies that a nine-year head coach who missed the playoffs five times in six years was suddenly canned because his boss woke up racist one morning.

And of course we save the best for last. From seasoned dumbass and axe-grinder Hub Arkush comes this totally insensible piece of what seems to be English: One area that should get better and will have to is that we did not see the multiple weapons we expect to on a regular basis in the new Marc Trestman offense. Of Jay Cutler's 32 passes against the Bengals aimed at a specific target, 30 went to Brandon Marshall, Martellus Bennett, Matt Forte and Alshon Jeffery. The only other wide receiver Cutler tried to find was Earl Bennett on his one catch of the day.”

I normally wouldn’t do a full paragraph here, but it just keeps getting better and better as he keeps talking.

I thought it looked plenty diverse, even without going to the numbers. He threw the ball to everyone on this team I currently trust to catch it, except for Marquess Wilson. Who else on this roster could he have gone to? Eric Weems? Tony Fiametta? Does he have to throw one pass to every eligible ball-carrier to satisfy Hub’s need for offensive diversity? Maybe so.

And then Hub does bring up the numbers. Jay threw the ball 32 times to six receivers. In terms of targets, you had Marshall with 10, Jeffrey with eight, Forte and the Black Unicorn with six apiece, and Earl and Bush with one apiece. In fairness, Bush’s was that weird throw that got picked off, but it seems like he was the intended target and either he ran the wrong way or Jay though he was going the other way when he wasn’t.

People who can’t think have said the fact that Marshall got more targets than anyone else is worrying in itself. If him getting two more targets for a total of 31% of Cutler’s looks makes you worried, you do not understand what a number one wide receiver is.

The number of targets Marshall got is not the important thing here; it’s the situations in which he didn’t get targets that we should look at. Jay never forced one into double coverage for an easy pick because the pocket collapsed. He checked down to Jeffery and Forte, he used Marty B and Alshon as primary receivers on a number of plays, and he allowed Brandon to either draw doubles or punish the Bengals. The Bengals finally stopped doubling him and it cost them the clinching TD.

I have literally no idea how Hub could think targeting six, or even five receivers with such an even distribution of targets is anything other than “using multiple weapons on a regular basis.” It’s almost like he just has an axe to grind with the Bears over some ancient perceived slight and he’s going to see the worst in them whether the numbers agree with him or—

Oh. I get it now.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

A New Challenger Approaches! (It's Tom Musick)

For a long time now, it's been pretty obvious how my usual media targets break out. Hub is sensationalist and needlessly critical. Bernstein cares more about snark than content, and it backs him into corners. Morrissey is just an asshole.

And then there's Telander. Everyone else's ridiculous assertions and criticisms are generally gross overreactions, but they at least have their origin in something real. Telander just kind of picks the least sensible direction and charges at it drunkenly.

For that reason, Telander has long been "the Stupid One" for me. After so many years of great coverage, after so many years of watching this team he loves struggle and suffer and fail, he just turned his brain off when it came to anything after 1985.

But now, a new darkness is spreading. I've already done one article from Tom Musick about something that was just ass-flappingly stupid. And I thought "Y'know it's training camp. It's dumb, but the guy has to write about something. He did it poorly, but he had to do it."

Not true. This is clearly going to be an ongoing thing. Because this baffling collection of phrases, entitled "Trestman's 'Great Value' Promise Checks Out," exists.

In accordance with the Old Ways, Tom's statements will be in italics.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Bits and Bites, Preseason Game 2

I apologize for the tardiness of this article, near as we are to the third game of the preseason. But I’ve been very busy this week and Kyle kept posting shit all the time. An orderly posting schedule is important to me, so I’ve left it this late.

Anyway, there were a lot of things to talk about concerning the Bears-Chargers game last week, and since the SKOdcast got moved we haven’t really talked about them much. I knew I’d find gold in the media reaction to the game, but when I got there I found something that I have never found before: there are too many stupid columns for me to do them all. Three stuck out in particular.

So I thought this was a good time to bring out an idea I had tossed around last year but never really moved on. There’s really one particular argument that irks me about any given story, and then I go back and make fun of the rest of it. But I figured I’d just take that one argument from those three columns and talk about it at greater length. Kyle must be rubbing off on me.

And so, without further ado, the first edition of Bits and Bites.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Chicago Sun-Times, the Gift That Keeps on Giving

You know when I said in last week's column that the hack writers would come out firing, I didn't realize that I was going to be handed a twofer by the Intrepid Ricks of the Sun-Times.

Not to be outdone by Telander's vague ramblings and misapplied talents, Morrissey stepped up to the plate to remind us all that you can never be sad if you just don't hope for anything. Don't let the title "MORRISEY: Bears look like an 8-8 team" fool you. This column is not about the Bears. This is about Rick Morrissey's inability to feel joy until at last an intrepid adventurer returns the Casket to its ancient home.

As is our custom, Rick will be in italics.

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Further Adventures of Ace Reporter Rick Telander: At This Point, It's Almost Impressive

As the sun rises on a world that is once again warmed by the presence of football, so too do we who talk about the Bears rise from our ancient slumbers. Rejuvenated by the healing rays of training camp, we seek out fresh news. Even throughout the offseason, I'll admit that I checked the big sites almost daily in the hope of fresh news. Seeing as you're reading this, I assume that you too care about Bears news.

And so we turn to the reporters. Those who can swing by training camp every day. Those with access to players and coaches. And they come out of their caves firing; making wild conjectures about the most simple training camp occurrences and laying down bold predictions for the entire season based on an errant pass or stiff exchange between players.

This year is no exception. In fact, furious over the death of his beloved Pro Football Weekly, our ancient nemesis Hub Arkush launched his very own website more or less dedicated to overreacting to Bears news. And I fully intended to bring you a fresh offering from him today.

But as is his wont, Rick Telander just will not go down without a fight. Where there is baseless conjecture to be made, they say he will never fail to appear. In our direst need for totally irrelevant and almost certainly inaccurate coverage, he comes forth into the light. And so, Hub must wait. For Telander has spoken.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Ghost of Lovie Smith, Apparently

I apologize for our lack of content in recent weeks, but after the draft there just isn't much to talk about until actual football starts happening again. Fortunately for me, this doesn't stop the good folks of the Chicago sports media from trying.

Before I start this one, I want to say that I actually respect Dan Bernstein. His radio stuff is pretty good, despite his sometimes inflammatory opinions, and he always offers sources and numbers to back his shit up on air. Plus, his defense of Jason Collins and gay rights in general on the day Collins came out was truly inspiring. He seems like a standup guy and a solid radio host. Unfortunately, whenever he sits down at a keyboard, terrible things happen.

Today's drivel is titled "Briggs' Response Shows Bears' Identity Challenge." And let me tell you now, it is extremely difficult to follow. The essential thrust of the column, if it has one at all, is that Lance Briggs' refusal to answer questions about Brian Urlacher not being signed means half of the team doesn't respect Marc Trestman and will play poorly.

And so, with a heavy sigh, I turn on the italics.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Rick Morrissey's Second Apparently Weekly Mental Collapse

Let me first take this opportunity to gloat over the fact that I, and not Rick Morrissey, was totally right about the Bears' first-round pick. However, I can do better than that today because Rick apparently is determined to crank out an even stupider column this week. And he just may have succeeded! 

This week's cannon fodder is entitled "Heredity Made Long Easy Choice for Bears." If you couldn't gather from the title what it's about (in which case, thanks for reading, Telander!), Morrissey is boldly claiming that the only thing Emery saw in Kyle Long was his dad's last name. As ever, his disjointed thoughts are in italics. 

I don’t want to minimize the work that Bears general manager Phil Emery and his staff did in preparation for the draft, the hours they put in and their lack of anything resembling a personal life the last year or so. 

“But I’m going to.”

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

SKO vs. Telander 4: The Pastening

When the news came out that Brian Urlacher was leaving Chicago, I was sad for a number of reasons. First, a player who had been synonymous with the idea of “Bears Defense” for a decade was leaving us to (maybe) play for someone else.

And second, because nobody at the Sun-Times was flailing around like a lunatic about it. Even Morrissey wrote a sensible, well-measured column about how this was the right decision, no matter how painful it was.

But then, like a light out of the darkness, came Rick Telander. Riding his high, high horse and holding a jar of the finest French paste aloft, he seemed to say, “Fret not, Erik. For just as I prophesied in August that the Bears could, and should, cut Urlacher for maybe having a hurt knee, so too shall I now overreact in the complete fucking opposite direction because I have the short-term memory of an earthworm.”

And lo, Telander did open his mouth, and forth spilled italics.

Friday, January 11, 2013


As the dust settles over the post-Lovie-Smith Chicago landscape, the new coaching situation is still very much in the air. As we said in last week’s For the Record, our pick would be either McCoy or Arians. I’d also be okay with Trestman, who Jimmy Johnson apparently thinks already got the job. How do you know that? Hey, I’m asking you a question. Answer me, thing in the mouth-face.

But despite the fact that they interviewed Mike Singletary (which I’m choosing to believe was only because this city can’t wipe its ass without first asking the opinion of an ’85 Bear instead of the horrifying alternative that they actually might hire Mike Singletary to be their head coach) and a handful of Special Teams guys, including Toub, I think it’s obvious that an offense-minded, decidedly not-Lovie-Smith Chicago coaching staff is on its way in.

Now, despite what Iggins! would have you believe, I was the only one of our merry band whose surety that Lovie would get the axe never wavered. Red called me that Sunday night and explained for like a half hour all the reasons he was certain Lovie was safe, a sentiment that was echoed around the Internet by people who like Lovie Smith. We’ve always been pretty firmly in Lovie’s camp, and I still don’t think he necessarily deserved to get fired, but I understand why he did.

That needlessly long introduction aside, what I wanted to do here was break down a couple of the arguments people had for keeping Lovie around and why, sadly, they weren’t enough to save his job. Because I hate things that are different, the arguments will be in italics and my responses will be in regular ol’ Times.

For the Record: Man We Hate The Life of Pi Edition


So, nobody gets into the baseball HoF. One of a myriad reasons that I hate baseball, I swear that article will happen eventually, is the old, meathead curmudgeons that vote for their stuff. Ron Santo couldn't get in alive. But dead? GET THAT CORPSE IN HERE. I hate these people. And now they won't put in Barry Bonds because he did roids, or Clemens because he did roids. What do y'all think of it? I'll save my full opinion because I want to hear what the both of you think first.

You cheated. Yes, you could argue that it's negated by the fact that everyone else was cheating, too, but you still cheated. The "steroid era" thing just encourages more people to do it.

Barry Bonds is a great hitter, there can be no doubt there. He still hit the baseball better than anyone else who was using steroids at the time. But he cheated. If Pete Rose can't get in for gambling on his own team to win, you should not be able to get in despite actual cheating.

The Pete Rose thing is a different conversation, but suffice it to say I think he needs to be in the Hall. I have two streams of thought here:

1) I don't think steroids should be illegal. Much as I don't think you deserve to be babied or that the rules of football need to be changed just because you could get concussions, I don't think steroids are cheating. Everyone who does them knows the risks. You get ragey, your testes shrink, you get gross acne, potentially you grow boobs, and you shorten your life. If you do them you accept this. These guys are sacrificing a lot to get even a tiny edge. I just don't have an issue with that. If you're willing to accept the consequences, more power to you. HOWEVAH...

2) It is against the rules. Whether steroids should be illegal or not, it is clearly written down that you can't do them. So you cheated, dick, and you're a bad person for cheating. Rules suck sometimes, but if there were no rules life would be BS. Ever play a board game "just for fun"? It sucks! Because there's no point. Same here. So I understand why someone might not vote for them.

Of course, on the other hand, baseball has punishments in place for this type of deal. 50 games-150 games-Go find a new job. At the time, they did not have those kinds of punishments in place. And there is no steroid punishment that says CAN'T BE IN THE HALL OF FAME. So, I feel like you have to vote on everyone eligible and vote for the best guys. Bonds is eligible. Clemens is eligible. Sosa is eligible. If you can tell yourself they were worse than Craig Biggio, vote for Biggio. But if you can't you have to vote for them.

I think he should, too, but the rules are the rules and have to be enforced equally.
I don't think that last bit is entirely fair. If you don't think anybody that year is worthy of being down the hall from Ernie Banks, you shouldn't have to vote in a subpar candidate while you're there just because voting was open. The HoF thing isn't about it being a rule that you can't get in if you did steroids. It's that you didn't turn in a Hall of Fame performance, your PEDs did. Sure, a guy like Barry Bonds probably has the natural talent to get there with slightly less impressive numbers, but we'll never know because that's not what happened. You can't vote based on what probably would have happened had he not been using for the better part of his career