Pre Season Game 4

Lots of things to be done in the next couple of days. Today is the last pre season game for all teams, and they need to cut from 75 down to 53 by Saturday, finalizing the rosters for the season. Looks like I might miss the game tonight, so let me know in the comments who looked good and who didn’t.

I honestly think that the coaches probably know who they are going to cut by now with the exception of one or two guys. I am really rooting for our boy Jordan Lynch to make the team, but I predict he will hit the practice squad.

So Long Palmer

Well, so much for Jordan Palmer. Cut yesterday along with Michael Ford.

This makes it a bit more interesting for my guy, Jordan Lynch. He had a pretty good exhibition game and from what I read he is (predictably) working very hard and throwing himself around. I like the run where he bulldozed the hapless Eagles DB in pre season.

He will not likely make the team this year, but should be a cinch for the practice squad. He can play special teams, and be a backup running back and qb. Not a lot of guys in the NFL with that type of flexibility. That is a good guy to have on your practice squad to call up to the team if things go south and he will be playing at a very cheap price since he was undrafted.

Pre Season Game 3

Here’s hoping for no injuries. I won’t be able to watch it tonight, so chime in and let me know what you saw in the comments.

Complex vs. Simple

Here at good ‘ol FRT we tend to try to do some deeper thinking and try to peel back the layers of the onion, so to say, when it comes to football.  Anybody can post “the Packers Suck” (and there is nothing wrong with that) but we feel we should be better than that.

I have been studying the economics of the salary cap for several months now and think I probably have a better grip on it than 99.9999999% of people walking around (maybe more).  We also tend to dip a little deeper into the nuts and bolts of college and pro football, to try to look at it from different angles.  This isn’t for everyone, and even I question our sanity at times, but there it is.

Meanwhile, the vast majority of football fans look at one thing – wins.  You are either good or bad, suck or not suck.  And honestly, there isn’t much wrong with this.  While we dig deeper here to try to figure out why, I guess it doesn’t really matter.  You either win, or you don’t.  Luck and all that be damned.

I am writing this because I saw the below on Deadspin today (NSFW) from our crack (ha!) correspondent Snoop Dogg, speaking of his mess that is the Pittsburgh Steelers last night:

And you know, Snoop is right in his own way.  We were able to analyze and breakdown Ron Turner’s nonsense, but in the end all you really needed to know is that “he sucked”.

Fire the Big Ten

As fans of the woeful Illinois football team Dan and I have another theme (besides hating Ron Turner and rooting on the Bears to get actual coaches and GM’s with a plan) which is “conference loyalty”.  Conference loyalty is the concept that

1. Illini play in the Big Ten

2. So if the Illini are knocked out of the Big Ten

3. We would root for OTHER teams in the Big Ten against other conferences

This is a hilarious concept, with ZERO proof, even though it is widely discussed in the idiotic general media.  In fact, we have tons of proof of the opposite, which is pretty much everyone we know and have talked to.

There is nothing that makes me happier than a big bowl game where the over-hyped Big Ten team gets obliterated by the team from conference X, especially when it is the SEC (or the ACC).  I laugh and laugh.  I can’t get enough of it.  Although the talk is getting far scarcer with the run of absolute SEC dominance (and hey, there’s not much difference between them and FSU and Clemson, so let’s throw part of the ACC in there too), we still often self-reference that “good in the Big Ten” actually means something, when in fact it means nothing.

There was a book written about the SEC and it was reviewed in the NY Times and this is what the author had to say about the non-SEC conferences:

Q. Which is your second-favorite conference?

A. I’m not trying to come up with a sequel, but I think the Pac-12 is clearly No. 2, and after that I don’t think it’s much of a contest. When we went into this, we thought it was going to be a little bit of an in-your-face toward the Big Ten. I thought I would spend most of my time attacking the Big Ten in fun, and it’s not even fun.

I cannot improve upon that quote so they get the last word.

Weems Cut

Well, that is that.  Weems is off the team, and the Bears are taking a flyer on Santonio Holmes.  Pretty amazing how far that guy had fallen from being Super Bowl MVP just five years ago.  I haven’t seen the Holmes contract yet, but I imagine we got him for league minimum (and get the vet discount on the cap).  I will update this post when I find the contract in the next day or two.

We know that pre season games suck to watch, but as you can see, they are valuable for the coaches.  Trestman saw Weems stink up the joint and immediately canned his ass, in yet another example of decisive action by the team.  I like it, and it is a huge change from the Lovie days.

We are still really hurting at the third WR position and here’s hoping Holmes can help fill the void.  He has had locker room issues in the past, but I imagine that Trestman told him right out of the gate who the boss was.

Kick Returner Economics

I think we can all agree that the Bears special teams last Thursday weren’t…special.  In fact, they were awful.  Eric Weems has always been one of my favorite players since he taunts a lot.  I am just a sucker for guys like that, what can I say.  But he really looked like garbage last Thursday.  In his defense, it wasn’t like he had a really good chance to get it rolling, as he was getting hit around the ten yard line on some of the kickoff returns.  He still looked bad, that notwithstanding.

Having never played professional football, I can hardly imagine what it must be like to be a kick or punt returner.  Unless you go out of bounds, you are going to get smashed and wrecked every time you touch the ball.  If it were me, I would just go as fast as I could with all reckless abandon possible, for two reasons.

One, you are going to get creamed, so you may as well go for a TD while you are waiting for your “medicine”.  Two, maybe you can do some damage to a few players if you are running hard enough.  You are going to take damage anyways, so hopefully you can wreck some of the opposition along the way.

I looked at the contract of Weems and it would suck to cut him, but it wouldn’t be the end of the world.  We are looking at $600k worth of dead money, but we would save $730k on the cap if we cut him.  The math looks like this:

Salary:  $730k, Signing bonus:  $500k  Workout bonus: $100k

So his total cap hit this year is $730k + $500k + $100k = $1.3mm.  If we cut him, we eat the $500k and $100k in dead money, but would save the $730k off of the cap, making his total cap hit $600k if we cut him.  Easy?

Anyways, I don’t think the Bears will cut him since he is also a (half assed) backup receiver, but I decided to take a look at what some of the other return guys are making in the NFL.  I am going to look at their cap hit, versus their annualized salaries, as to me, the cap number is the real economic indicator.  Taking a whole summer studying and trying to understand the cap will do that to you.  I am also going off of some current depth chart projections, so some of this may change as we get closer to roster cuts.  Also realize that many of these guys are still on their rookie deals, so their numbers are artificially lower than the vets.  It is still important since we can just go out and get a crazed rookie from the SEC at any time as well.  I am featuring kick returners only (sometimes teams have a different guy returning punts).

Atlanta – Devin Hester: $1.833mm.  Hester sucked out loud last year and we were all screaming for him to be cut so I won’t be hearing any of this “I wish we had Hester back Hestering himself” nonsense.

Green Bay – Micah Hyde: $539k

Minnesota – Cordarelle Patterson –   $1.641mm

New England – Josh Boyce – $614k

San Fran – Parrish Cox – $695k

Seattle – Percy Harvin – $13.4mm

Denver – Andre Caldwell – $1.15mm

Pittsburgh – Dri Archer $546k

Dallas – Dwayne Harris – $655k

Indy – Donte Moncrief – $555k

New Orleans – Traveris Cadet – $571k

NY Giants – Trindon Holliday – $700k

Cincy – Brandon Tate – $1.024mm

So from this small sample, we can see that Weems is on the upper end of the chart, as far as cap hit goes.  The outlier is Percy Harvin, but we all saw what he did as a receiver and returner in the Super Bowl – he was awesome – so I will let that go.  With a $1.3mm cap hit, Weems is definitely not getting good value for the Bears in what appears to be a “disposable” position.  Tough to make a living being a return guy, like Hester did.  Recognize any of the names on the list besides Weems, Hester and Harvin? I recognized Patterson and Hyde because they are division rivals, but I have no clue who the rest are.  Most are used up vets that the teams are getting for a discount on the cap number or rookies.  So Weems needs to get better FAST or the Bears are on the bottom end of value at this position.

A few more thoughts.  Why the fuck not give Jordan Lynch a shot?  I have seen him play several times over the years and have no qualms in saying that he would throw himself all over the field on every play.

Lastly, I agree with what Fro Dog has been preaching on these pages for a long time.  If dumb Lovie and his dumb sidekick Mike Martz wouldn’t have put it in Hester’s head that he could be a wide receiver, I wouldn’t be writing this post and he would still be our kick returner.