BS Draft Picks

I don’t know why I even bother but Yahoo! has their own list of NFL draft pics.  BTW every time I think of the NFL draft I remember that “Onion” line saying

one week into the regular season man gives up on baseball and thinks of the NFL draft

Here is the list.  And let me tell you about why this list is crap…

Because Johnny Football is 19th in the draft.

Let me tell you something – no team has ever gone anywhere (without a few stupid exceptions that I won’t bother with, and they were 1 year “wonders”) without having a good to great QB.  I understand that defense is important and that the OL is important (you can’t do squat without an O-Line, as the Bears proved year after year) but you are DEAD without a great QB.  Period.

Who the heck knows if Johnny Football is going to be a great QB.   If someone says they know, they are lying.  But I’ll tell you one thing, for sure, in MANY scenarios he is better than MANY starting QB’s in the NFL after a couple seasons under his belt (hell, Christian Ponder STARTED in the NFL) and we as Bears fans have seen the “carousel of misery” that is caused by a bad QB spot.

The QB is unquestionably the most important position in the NFL.  Unquestionably.  Period.

If you have a chance to make your team significantly better at the QB position, and you don’t take advantage of that, then you are an idiot.

Hell.. if he really is available when the Bears pick I’d take him and in two to two and a half years when Cutty is hurt for good he could take over.  That is BEST case for Cutty, BTW.

Or some of the other good QB’s coming out of the draft.  I don’t know, I’ll leave that up to our Bears executives.  For once they seem to know what they are doing.

As far as Russell Wilson, the Super Bowl champion QB, he is the THIRD HIGHEST paid QB on the roster.  HA HA HA man did the new NFL collective bargaining agreement screw most of the players.

This is another reason to draft a QB… their value is incalculable if they are successful.  Not that Seattle would ever conceive of it, but what could they trade him for now?  A lot more than a #1 in the draft, that’s for damn sure.

Shea Transitioning to LB

We will always be big fans of Shea for ruining Rodgers last year.  Lets review that footage  one more time, just for kicks.

shea gif

Man I could watch that a thousand times.  Anyways.

I received a few emails from a friend this week that were pretty interesting as regards Shea.

We all know that McClellin was always too small to be on the D line and his moments in the sun were few and far between in that spot.  But it appears that he has received marching orders from the Bears staff (now that we have a stable of D linemen in stock) to lean up, and move to his more natural position at LB.

Here are a couple photos that Shea’s trainer put up on Twitter a few days ago.

The first is from the back.

shea 2

Looking tough.

And from the front – you can see the transformation from pudgy lineman* (who was still too light to compete with NFL tackles and guards) to slim and ripped linebacker.

shea

I am digging the plan.  It is clear that the coaching staff sat down with Shea and planned this – he is a LB, and needs to act and look like one.  It will be interesting to see this defense next year.  I predict massive improvement.

*of course pudgy is a relative thing…

New College Coach Rankings

Carl loves lists.  Well, I found a pretty good one.  Here is a list of all of the Division One college football coaches.  Of course Nick Saban is number one, but I have a couple others I wanted to take a quick peek at.

Out of 128 teams, the Illinois head coach Tim Beckman sits at 98.  Woe is us.  For the Illini, there is literally NO LIGHT at the end of the tunnel.  Our schedule looks like this next year:

 Aug. 30 Youngstown State Memorial Stadium
 Sept. 6 Western Kentucky Memorial Stadium
 Sept. 13 at Washington Seattle, Wash.
 Sept. 20 Texas State (Foundation Weekend) Memorial Stadium
 Sept. 27 at Nebraska Lincoln, Neb.
 Oct. 4 Purdue Memorial Stadium
 Oct. 11 at Wisconsin Madison, Wis.
 Oct. 18 OPEN
 Oct. 25 Minnesota (Homecoming) Memorial Stadium
 Nov. 1 at Ohio State Columbus, Ohio
 Nov. 8 OPEN
 Nov. 15 Iowa (Dad’s Day) Memorial Stadium
 Nov. 22 Penn State Memorial Stadium
 Nov. 29 at Northwestern Evanston, Ill.
 Dec. 6 at Big Ten Championship Game Indianapolis, Ind.

I like how they put the Big Ten Championship Game on there JUST IN CASE, as if we have any shot whatsoever at making that contest.  I imagine Vegas wouldn’t even give you odds on that bet, since it would have to be infinite to one.

We MIGHT win four games next year, three of them out of conference, and one in conference.

I was talking to Carl about coming up for the Wisconsin game, but we are going to get annihilated at Camp Randall, and Nebraska comes here again this year, which is a GIANT party, vs. the 27 fans the Illinois football team brings up with them.  Last time Illinois was up here, there were literally more Illinois people on the SIDELINES than in the stands for the game.

The program is completely and totally broken, and we are in the chicken/egg circle;  we suck because we can’t get recruits because we suck because we can’t get recruits, etc.

Of course, all of this is fixed if we would start acting like a real semi-pro Division One program and start making up classes and grades and paying the players ca$h and fixing their crimes but we don’t seem to have the balls to want to do that.

So Beckman will put up another stinker of a year, he gets canned, and we hire a new coach.  And this beat will go on since being the head coach of Illinois isn’t exactly a job that anyone wants – rather, it is a stepping stone to something better, or some place for a coach to collect a few more paychecks before they go to that great big bench up in the sky.  But enough of that rant.

What you have all been waiting for is where our old friend Ron Turner was ranked.  If you haven’t peeked already, can you guess out of 128 college football coaches where he sits?  Bingo!  ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY EIGHTH.  Dead fucking last.

I had to laugh when I read this about the FIU spring game:

Early enrollee quarterback Alex McGough stole the show in the intra-squad scrimmage, showing surprising polish and poise in Turner’s pro-style offense, out-playing presumed starter E.J. Hilliard.

McGough completed 10-of-19 passes for 131 yards and a touchdown Saturday, often against the first-team defense, but it was the efficiency compared to his counterparts — Hilliard and fellow freshman Bud Martin (Dillard) — that made him stand out. By the end of the scrimmage, he was playing solely with the first team.

Hilliard completed 9-of-18 passes for 74 yards.

“I thought he had a very good spring, especially for a kid who was just a senior in high school,” Turner said of McGough. “Very smart. He’s picked it up really fast.”

Saturday’s performance by McGough wasn’t expected, and it’s even more surprising considering that the freshman, who started for three seasons at Tampa’s Gaither High, didn’t play in a pro-style offense before coming to FIU.

“I love it,” McGough said of FIU’s offensive scheme. “It’s what I think I fit best in, and it shows. … I thought I had a really good day.”

McGough’s performance was enough that Turner declared the FIU quarterback job wide open going into preseason camp — and McGough won’t lack confidence going into that battle.

“This game really helps me,” McGough said. “I have a chance.”

Oh you have a chance alright.  A chance to have your career ruined by the worst college football coach in America.  I am sure that this kid’s poor parents sit around at night with their heads in their hands and wonder what they have done to their child.

Bulls Playoffs

I don’t know much about basketball but do enjoy watching the Bulls from time to time, especially since they are one of the few teams that regularly play defense.  Dan and I go back and forth about how rigged the NBA games are and his highlight was the opening round playoff series between the futile Bucks and Miami where it seemed clear that the fix was in (not that Miami needed it, but still…).  It sucks that Derrick Rose is out again for the entire playoffs but at least we won’t have to continually hear reporters ask about it over and over again.  That guys’ career is cursed which makes sense since he plays in Chicago.

This video is hilarious and highly recommended.  A guy made an 11 minute video of James Harden standing around uselessly on defense while his guy blows past him or catches a pass and scores.  Harden is of course an offensive juggernaut which explains how is one of the highest paid NBA players but he wouldn’t suit up for a minute on the Bulls where they actually try to play defense 24×7.

Bears Draft and Johnny Football

I don’t have much insight on what the Bears will actually do in the draft and I don’t think Yahoo! sports does either but here is a mock draft from the Bleacher Report.  They have the Bears picking up a Defensive Tackle with the first pick to shore up our line.

After last years’ pick of Long in the first round I have a feeling that the Bears will surprise either by picking up someone that they can’t believe is still available when their pick comes up or someone who grades out on their system that isn’t as high on other teams’ radar.  All the recent free agency moves and changes have also radically altered the defenses’ strengths and weaknesses; I’ll bet Emery & Trestman think they know what’s up but for me now it is a 100% new defense on the field as far as I’m concerned.

Quarterbacks

One item that I find kind of crazy is how far down Johnny Football is in most of the drafts.  My gut (which is very often wrong) is that when we look back we will find that the other QB’s in the draft that seemed to be “safe” picks weren’t so safe after all.  It seems to me that the QB position is changing and there are fewer of the “pure” drop back passers and you can see it with Seattle and San Francisco and many others.  I am not talking about an option QB but someone who actually can give you a real scramble when you need it and is an actual threat for those yards.  You had the most “classic” of all QB’s in last years’ Super Bowl and you can’t judge based on one game but we saw how that turned out.  Johnny Football is that kind of passer with the ability to run if he has to and size hasn’t mattered to Russell in Seattle either…

But what Dan would say right away is that who the QB is – is much less important than where they are drafted.  For instance, if you were drafted as an offensive player in the “old” pre-Trestman Bears, your career was pretty much dead.  You weren’t going to develop, every year your scheme would change (or sometimes it would remain in a consistent and failing state), and doom was mostly guaranteed.  Some franchises like Cleveland are just cursed, and getting drafted there is a certain way to get smashed every down and likely start your career on a very low note, one that is difficult to recover from.

I find it amazing sometimes that NFL teams go with conservative picks like the prototype QB from a smaller or non winning school when the NFL is just a ruthless business and management will be jettisoned for failure.  All of the teams except for the Pats take knowing chances on injured guys (Manning), criminals (Marshall), and guys who don’t fit the mold in an attempt to get an edge and find value.  You have to take chances to survive and win.  I’ll just put the Pats in some other category of using these and every other tactic and some I’m sure I don’t even know about to stay ahead.

April Baseball

I was reading a brief Onion snippet (love the Onion) which said something to the effect of “Area Man already bored of baseball and thinking of the NFL draft”.  That’s me.  Baseball is now starting off in a huge funk in Chicago both with bad teams and horrendous weather.  We are just picking up where we left off after an awful 2013.  The Cell was deserted and in Wrigley they come for the beer.  When you look at how exciting and innovative the NFL is and then compare it to the 4 hour long windy rainy likely extra inning debacle that is April MLB it is hard to compete.

Value of Positions

While Dan knows 1 million times more about football than I do, like a broken watch, I am right a few times each millennium.  When the Bears were signing Forte a few years back I said that running backs, even good ones, were mostly valueless and could be replaced by whatever juiced-up lunatic is coming out of the top SEC teams each year.  Dan sent me an email from “Over the Cap” saying that now kickers and running backs had essentially the same forward-looking value for NFL teams.  That is a giant surprise given the history of the NFL but not such a big one when you look at how the game is evolving today.  Running backs have value but are easily replaceable, so they don’t have much individual value, at all.

On the other hand, when I look at tall wide receivers I can’t believe teams even try to go out there with smaller WR’s.  The advantages that they have over smaller secondaries is tremendous.  I don’t think that this is just physical – you need the right (head case, usually) guy but the edge it gives you is visible to the naked eye and even me, the dumb sports fan.

As for the rest of it, the Bears stand as the best example of the importance of an offensive line.  Last years’ Bears offense went from worst to almost first and I would give a huge portion of the credit to actually getting a decent offensive line.  The improvement was just astounding.

The New Bears

Wow Emery and Trestman have been busy this off season.  As you all know, I am full on board with their moves and after seeing that dramatic offensive improvement last year (second best scoring unit in the entire league), am excited to see our defense improve this year and getting back to the playoffs.

I am impressed with the patience and smarts Emery has shown in unwinding the Angelo era of awfully structured contracts.  The biggest and easiest example to show is the “trade” of Peppers for Allen.  Pep’s contract was a disaster to the cap for the Bears, and as I mentioned in a previous comment, it is likely that ANY TEAM would have had to cut him after this year – even if he had 25 sacks.  Which he didn’t.  Allen’s contract is for 4 years on its face, but the dead money and cap hit go away after 2 – so essentially Allen finishes his career as a Bear after 2015.  Unwinding Angelo’s nightmare takes time, and I think Emery knows and understands how current moves affect the future of the team.

With that, a quick summary of what has happened in the last month or so:

Gone:  Pepp, Hester, Major Wright, Corey Wootton, Michael Bush, Earl Bennett, and TQWSNBN.  Of course Lovie, in his inherent wisdom, gave TQWSNBN $5 million a year and instantly names him the starter.  I simply cannot wait to watch that qb put up a total shitshow in Tampa, proving that Trestman and Kromer are the real reason he was successful, not some random fantastic year an old qb had (of course Lovie believes the latter).

Who’s on the roster:  We re-signed Tillman, a good move I think.  He has a solid year or two left in him and is one of our keys in the secondary.  We also picked up Lamarr Houston, a solid D lineman from the Raiders.  We desperately need depth at this position and I wouldn’t be surprised to see us draft one or two SEC maniacs to fill up these spots.  Tim Jennings got a new deal.  Jared Allen is here, of course as mentioned above.  We also have Willie Young, re-signed Izzy Idonije for a year and still have Shea in there for situational downs.  I am no fan of Shea, but he will always have a roster spot for me for injuring Rodgers.  We also brought in a slew of veteran corners and safeties to address our shortcomings there, and also signed Hixon to replace Hester for runbacks.

We re-upped Cutler, and I am happy with it.  There will be arguments all over the place on this one, but not one person has yet to show me what “plan b” was that made any sort of sense at all.  Until that happens, I am happy.  We have a good quarterback – we just need to keep him upright.

I am excited to see what is up the front office’s sleeve for the draft.  We don’t have a backup qb yet so I imagine we may draft one there and certainly we should see a d lineman or two.  If it is even half as good as last year’s draft, we will be in excellent shape for 2014.

All in all, Trestman is very happy with Emery for sticking to the script and it appears that everyone is working together and making good moves for the betterment of the team, and doing the moves in a prudent manner as regards the cap so we can remain competitive, instead of having one year of greatness and then hitting the skids (many NFL teams have to “give up” some years due to past years cap mismanagement).

Alright, esteemed commenters, lets hear it.

Jared Allen

I’ll leave figuring out whether we overpaid for Jared Allen up to Dan but I am pretty damn excited to see him coming over to the Bears.  Our defense sucked last year and I’m OK with getting rid of just about everyone and starting over.

This is a big move by Emery and Trestman and their recent moves have mostly turned out well.  I am very hopeful that they know what they are doing although a 4 year deal with a guy who recently discussed retiring is kind of interesting.  Like Dan would say a 4 year deal doesn’t mean 4 years in the NFL if we get 2 to 2 1/2 good years out of him it will be a hell of a bargain.

Also smart for him personally to come to Chicago it is a big media market and he will be a hit here since Urlacher left and Cutty isn’t exactly the most charming guy around.