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Are the Chicago Bears Superbowl contenders? posted by Bears Fan

The Chicago Bears were one of the best teams in offense last year, where they recorded an even 8-8 slate. The team averaged 27.8 points a game which is impressive considering that their starting quarterback, Jay Cutler, missed a quarter of the year.

The Bears will be looking to make the playoffs this time but it would need Cutler to be healthy this time around. Cutler has not played the full 16-game season since 2009 and has missed 12 games in the past three years.

If Cutler can stay healthy, he should be able to perform well especially now that he has two receiver to look for. He has great chemistry with wide receiver Brandon Marshall, and he’ll also have Alshon Jeffery as a possible receiver. There’s also tight end Martellus Bennett who translated 65 passes into 759 yards last year.

The Bears will remain one of the better offensive machines in the league, but their defense will be suspect. While the Bears scored 27 points a game last year, they did surrender close to 30 points per contest. Simply put, the Bears defense was atrocious the past season.

To address their deficiencies on defense, the team signed four defensive ends—Trevor Scott, Willie Young, Lamarr Houston, and Jared Allen. But the team did lose veterans Julius Peppers and Corey Wootton.

The Bears used its first round pick last spring to draft defensive back Kyle Fuller. The explosive Fuller is versatile enough to play anywhere in the secondary although it looks like he’ll be used as an outside cornerback.

The Bears will have their hands full when they meet contenders like the Patriots, Packers, Saints and 49ers twice. But they’ll also meet some inferior teams like the Bills, Panthers, and Jets twice this year.

Continue reading "Are the Chicago Bears Superbowl contenders?"

Joe Anello

Chicago Bears 2013 NFL Draft: Rounds Two - Seven Recap posted by Joe Anello

After using their first round pick on guard Kyle Long on Thursday night, the Chicago Bears came back over the next two days and six rounds and added five more players to their draft class. Here are Chicago’s picks from rounds two through seven.


Second Round: Jonathan Bostic, ILB, Florida

After passing on linebackers in the first round, Phil Emery came back in the second and selected the 6’1”, 245 lb. middle linebacker to hopefully find a place as the eventual starter. But for now, he’ll learn the position alongside the other two linebacking spots to aid in giving the Bears depth in that unit. He’ll also contribute on special teams immediately. Bostic played in 51 games at Florida, starting 32 of them. He racked up 237 tackles in that time. Bostic ran a 4.61 at the combine, and is noted for not being as aggressive as he could be. Still, he gets to learn for a year behind D.J. Williams, who only has a one year deal with the Bears.

Fourth Round: Khaseem Greene, OLB, Rutgers

The Rutgers outside linebacker had some contact with the Bears all throughout this process, having been brought in for a pre-draft visit. Greene was named Big East Defensive Player of the Year twice! (Shared the honor in 2011 and solo’d it in 2012.) His 2012 stats at Rutgers: 136 tackles, 6 sacks, 6 forced fumbles, 5 passes defended, 2 interceptions, 12 tackles for loss. Greene ran the 10th best 40 time amongst linebackers, but also measured out with the worst vertical jump. (Whatever the crap that means for a linebacker.)

Continue reading "Chicago Bears 2013 NFL Draft: Rounds ..."

Joe Anello

Chicago Bears 2013 NFL Draft: Round One Recap posted by Joe Anello

With the way the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft had shaken out, the Chicago Bears had a glut of options available to them. Phil Emery made the call to select Oregon guard Kyle Long with the twentieth overall selection. Let’s break down this pick that left fans a bit confuzzled.

Drafted by Chicago White Sox out of high school, Long (the son of Hall of Famer Howie Long) flunked out of Florida State, where he was playing baseball. He then went to Oregon and played 11 games for the Ducks, starting four of them. In his post-pick presser, GM Phil Emery detailed that Long’s versatility was the prime reason they drafted him. He didn’t commit fully, but he stated that Long will probably start at left guard. He praised his movement skills as well.

This pick more than confused me. Defensive tackle Shariff Floyd, linebacker Alec Ogletree, and tight end Tyler Eifert, were all still on the board when the Bears sent their pick in. Floyd was mocked to be selected somewhere in the top ten, but the penetrating tackle was still around, able to help out a defensive line that could use an interior pass rusher. Instead, he went to the Vikings. Alec Ogletree, as I wrote earlier in my preview column, was the middle linebacker with all sorts of potential. But he dropped to St. Louis at pick number 30. And Tyler Eifert? The tight end that could have added another dynamic weapon to the offense? He went on the very next pick to the Cincinnati Bengals.

Continue reading "Chicago Bears 2013 NFL Draft: Round One Recap"

Joe Anello

2013 NFL Draft Needs: Chicago Bears posted by Joe Anello

The Chicago Bears own the number 20 overall pick in this Thursday’s first round of the 2013 NFL Draft, one of their five selections in the seven round mega-event. With so few selections (no pick in round three or seven), GM Phil Emery has his work cut out for him to load up new Head Coach Marc Trestman’s roster. But thanks to a successful free agency period, Emery doesn’t go into this draft with any gaping holes. Let’s get into some of the Bears’ needs they might/should address during this draft.

*If I toss out player names, they’re first round prospects unless I note otherwise.


Offensive Line

I extremely doubt that Alabama’s Chance Warmack is on the board when Phil Emery gets to make a selection. With a run on tackles being expected early, it’s likely a mauling guard out of a big school (like Warmack will be) won’t make it much farther. North Carolina’s Jonathan Cooper is slightly more likely than Warmack, even if he is considered the better run/pass blocker of the two. Phil Emery also brought in Syracuse’s Justin Pugh for a visit, a lineman that could available in round number two. If Emery loves Alabama’s D.J. Fluker at right tackle, then he’ll be there at pick number 20 as well. (Which is really a position they need help at.) But if Fluker’s their guy, trading down would be a great option to consider.

Continue reading "2013 NFL Draft Needs: Chicago Bears"

Joe Anello

Moving on from Urlacher: The Right Move? posted by Joe Anello

In a move than some fans were desperately hoping to avoid hearing about, the Chicago Bears decided to not re-sign Brian Urlacher. Despite Head Coach Marc Trestman having been quoted as early as Wednesday morning saying Urlacher “had a place on this team,” they cut ties with the veteran linebacker. GM Phil Emery made the tough call, which was illustrated in the statement he released. The details are as follows (as we’ve cobbled them together from reporters and Brian himself): Urlacher’s team pitched a 2-year, $11.5 million deal that he expected to negotiate down from. Chicago countered with a 1-year, $2 million (not all of which was guaranteed). That offer was countered with a $3.5 million contract, with another 500k in possible incentives. Chicago balked and made it clear that their offer was of the “take it or leave it” kind.

The end result? Brian Urlacher, one of Chicago’s most recognizable athletes, is now a disgruntled ex-Bear. And boy has he gruntled. (Yes. I’m using it as a verb. Who are you, the Vocab Police?)

My Take:

This was obviously a money/business move, especially given the way Brian’s responded both publicly and frequently in the past 36 hours (. But it was the RIGHT move. There’s no need to overpay for an aging player that can’t shed blockers and was your third best linebacker last season. Is it sad? Sure. Still, I can’t let personal feelings get in the way of the fact that the Bears can (and should) get better at the middle linebacker position. 

Continue reading "Moving on from Urlacher: The Right Move?"

Joe Anello

Bears Move Quickly on Day One of Free Agency posted by Joe Anello

A lot of reporters and Bears insiders didn’t think it would be an overly thrilling day for news coming out of Halas Hall. After all, Phil Emery hadn’t made a lot of moves to get his team all that far under the salary cap, coming into the first day of the league year with less than $4 million in room. But that clearly didn’t stop Emery from chasing and netting his target players, addressing two areas of vital importance for Chicago.

A Tight New End in the House

Did I phrase that right? Whatever. Nevermind. About five minutes after free agency opened at 3PM Central time on Tuesday, Martellus Bennett tweeted out that “I’m proud to say that I’ll be joining my other brother @bmarshall next season. #BEARDOWN.” While the deal wasn’t quite official yet, the intention was. A short time later Bennett’s acquisition was announced. Details have it down as a 4-year deal, worth reportedly around $20 million.

Martellus Bennett spent his first few seasons with the Dallas Cowboys as a back-up to Iron Man Jason Witten. Unfortunately, Bennett never took advantage of those few opportunities to impress the Dallas staff and he was eventually released. He signed a one-year, $2.5 million deal with the Giants last offseason and proved himself throughout the league with an excellent showing. He caught 55 passes for 626 yards and five touchdowns. And yes, those numbers are better than Chicago’s combined tight end unit.

Bennett will immediately come in and be a tremendous blocker at the end of the line for Marc Trestman’s offense. He’s also progressed into an excellent receiver on the outside, even if he doesn’t have the speed of a Jared Cook (who the Bears were rumored to be targeting at one point). His arrival will likely mark the end of a tenure for either Matt Spaeth or Kellen “Fall Down Go Boom” Davis. If released, Davis ($2.5 million salary) would have a $1.5 million hit against the cap, while Spaeth ($1.5 million salary) would only count around a $300,000 hit. At this point, I’d say Davis is gone, but it’s hard to say at this point.

Continue reading "Bears Move Quickly on Day One of Free Agency"

Joe Anello

Chicago Bears 2013 Free Agency Preview posted by Joe Anello

Have you heard? Free agency in the NFL sorta kicks off tonight! Time to legally tamper my face off! The Chicago Bears are among 32 teams looking to improve by signing veterans to their roster, but they’ve got some issues to deal with first.

Chicago was approaching this free agency period with over $12 million in space under the cap. That is, until they slapped the franchise tag on defensive tackle Henry Melton, locking him in at $8.5 million for a one-year deal. Now GM Phil Emery is faced with a tough situation with less than $4 million in room. Emery will no doubt seek to sign Melton to a long-term deal to lessen his 2013 cap hit, but the GM will also need to extend players at the end of their current deals (Charles Tillman, for example) and try to restructure some contracts in order to get the kind of space necessary to sign a couple “marquee” free agents.

So let’s assume that Emery frees up a respectable amount of cap space. Where should he direct his money? Let’s break down who should be on the Bears’ radar.

The Tightest of Ends

Possibilities: Jared Cook, Martellus Bennett, James Casey, Anthony Fasano.

Yes, tight end. Because I’m EFFING DONE with Kellen Davis, King of The Dropsies. He shouldn’t be on my team anymore.

So this could be pretty cut and dry. There are already reports linking Cook to the Bears, and frankly he’s the best one on the market. He can stretch the field and do all the things you need a solid tight end to do. You know, like block. And catch a ball. (Seriously. That’s all. Is that SO HARD KELLEN?)

Continue reading "Chicago Bears 2013 Free Agency Preview"

Bears Fan

NFL Football: What's Next For Chicago Bears Betting After Firing Their Coach? posted by Bears Fan

If you are a fan of NFL and especially if you enjoy placing bets on NFL games then you have probably found yourself consulting a search engine online for some updates or information about your favorite team. Imagine how easy it is to find results and updates if you have missed a game. A decade or more ago this was not as easy as people had to tune into a sports channel on the radio or TV or wait for the next day’s paper. This goes to show how the Internet has brought about a level of convenience that we take for granted today.

Over the last couple of years fans have not only been checking updates, they are now also placing wagers online. As the Internet has become ubiquitous, the possibility of using it to do what seemed impossible just 20 years ago is becoming a reality.

There are however problems related to the growing use of the Internet. One concern raised is money laundering and other online crimes. Gambling has often been associated with these vices both in the movies and in real life. So as online sports betting started to pick up, it was believed that money laundering would become even easier. However, it has been proven that less money laundering is likely to happen, because in the case of online sports betting, no tangible money is used. For online gambling the use of credit cards and other electronic payment systems is widespread. This limits the amount of money that can be transacted at any one time. It is therefore expensive and hard for members of the organized crime to use it for money laundering.

In addition to sports betting many of these sites also offer online casinos where sports fans can play casino games in the comfort of their own home. All the typical casino games can now be played online, like slots, roulette, and blackjack. Because of strict regulations, these sites are generally very safe and offer good support should any issues arise. You can  play here if you would like to learn more.

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Joe Anello

Bears Releasing Lovie was the Right Move posted by Joe Anello

Black Monday was an eventful one for plenty of teams around the NFL, but perhaps it was the events that took place in Chicago that surprised most pundits. The Chicago Bears relieved Head Coach Lovie Smith of his duties on Monday, ending his nine-year tenure with the team.

On Tuesday, GM Phil Emery held a press conference (a day after the news of Smith’s firing, oddly enough), outlining the reasons for the drastic change. While noting Smith’s acumen and the team’s “defensive excellence” during his reign, he explained that the offensive woes that have long plagued the Bears as well as the lack of recent postseason appearances served as the catalysts for the move.

In terms of the current Bear coaching staff, all of the assistants are still under contract. Emery detailed that the reason for this is because if the team isn’t allowed to talk to other assistant coaches to fill out the eventual HC’s staff, the Bears would at least have position coaches in place.


My take:

I’m sure Lovie is a fantastically nice guy and a joy to play for, despite his sometimes pompous dealings with the media (who don’t get treated as people, for some reason). His players and assistant coaches have a staunch sense of loyalty to him, a trait that is to be admired.

All of that being said, I want to make one thing very clear: he had more than a fair shot.

Continue reading "Bears Releasing Lovie was the Right Move"

Joe Anello

Joe's 2012 Gameday Review: Bears 26, Lions 24 posted by Joe Anello

Going into today’s match-up with the Detroit Lions, the Chicago Bears needed help from the Green Bay Packers in order to get into the playoffs. Did they take care of business? Did the Packers? It’s time to find out in this Gameday Review!


(10-6) Chicago Bears 26

(4-12) Detroit Lions 24 

The first half was all about turnovers as the Lions gave the ball away three times in the first two quarters, leading to several opportunities for the Bear offense to get ahead. After a short pass to Earl Bennett netted the Bears 60 yards and their first score, Joique Bell fumbled the kickoff return for the Lions, leading to the Eric Weems recovery. Mike Tice’s offense was unable to cross the goal line, but did get a 33 yard field goal from Olindo Mare. After a miss from Mare on a later possession, Matthew Stafford was the target of an Israel Idonije strip-sack, which was recovered by Julius Peppers deep in Lions territory. Jay Cutler threw it in Brandon Marshall’s direction twice at the goal line, but the receiver couldn’t bring it in on either occasion. The second attempt did elicit a pass interference call, setting up a Matt Forte run from the one yard line.

After a Stafford throw was picked off by Tim Jennings, Chicago had a 17 point lead close to the end of the second quarter, when the Lions mounted an 80-yard drive (their first of three) that ended in a TD pass from Stafford to Kris Durham in the endzone. Tim Jennings was in on the coverage, but safety Anthony Walters seemed to be out of position on defense. In the second half, the Lions fought back into the game with another 80 yard drive that was capped off with a Will Heller reception. That made the game 20-17, which was tighter than anyone needed to see. A couple of Mare field goals stretched the lead back out to 26-17, allowing for a breath to be taken.

Continue reading "Joe's 2012 Gameday Review: Bears 26, Lions 24"

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Shutdown Corner NFL Power Rankings: The Oakland Raiders' scary 0-16 question (Shutdown Corner%

There are many stats that sum up how miserable the Oakland Raiders' 0-6 start has been, but we have something better than a statistic for that. Darnell Dockett. The injured Arizona Cardinals defensive lineman was at his trash-talking finest on Sunday, poking fun at the Raiders fans as the Cards sealed up their 24-13 win. Cardinals DE Darnell Dockett Trolls Raiders Fans With Sign On Whiteboard — (@Post_Game) October 21, 2014 If you can't see it well, it's a hand-written message from Dockett to the fans reminding them that the Raiders are 0-6, and the worst team in the NFL. Sadly, both are indisputable facts at this point. Even worse for the Raiders, they just got past what is the relatively easy part of their schedule. And while it's ridiculously early under most circumstances to pose the question, it needs to be asked: Is 0-16 possible for the Raiders? [ Join's $2.5M Week 8 fantasy league: $25 to enter; top 21,905 teams paid ] Raiders fans are thinking that Cleveland might be a possible win, but this is a Browns team that will be playing at home and refocused after losing to the Jaguars. The Browns are a seven-point favorite, so a Raiders win can't be considered likely. But if the Raiders don't win this week, then when? Here's what's coming for the Raiders, who have the toughest schedule I've ever seen: Week 9: at Seattle Week 10: vs. Denver Week 11: at San Diego Week 12: vs. Kansas City Week 13: at St. Louis Week 14: vs. San Francisco Week 15: at Kansas City Week 16: vs. Buffalo Week 17: at Denver Oh my. Where's the win in there? The Raiders will be underdogs in every game from here on out, and probably by at least a touchdown in almost every one of those games. The home game against Buffalo might be less than a touchdown. Maybe the St. Louis game will be a tick under a touchdown. But that's about it. Odds are the Raiders get a win somewhere. It's mathematically tough for an NFL team to go 16 games without winning at least once, even if they're underdogs in all 16. And this team isn't without any talent –you'd hope all these old vets general manager Reggie McKenzie signed this offseason could get at least one win –but it still will be scary until they post that first win. I discuss the possibilities here: There's only one winless team remaining in the NFL. That's a pretty lonely place to be. And based on the schedule, it's possible the Raiders will be there for a while. Here are the post-Week 7 power rankings: 32. Oakland Raiders (0-6, Last Week: 31) The performance against the Chargers two weeks ago has to give them hope that a win is on the way. 31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-5, LW: 30) Depending on what kind of draft pick the Buccaneers could get back, it would make sense to trade Vincent Jackson. Seattleshould be first in in line if Tampa Bay is serious about dealing him. 30. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-6, LW: 32) There's a huge difference between zero wins and one win. 29. Tennessee Titans (2-5, LW: 28) They lost to a bad team. A bad team with Colt McCoy at quarterback. 28. Washington Redskins (2-5, LW: 29) Jay Gruden didn't come out and say it, but by tabbing McCoy to start next week if Robert Griffin III isn't ready, he effectively said that the team no longer thinks Kirk Cousins can be an effective NFL starting quarterback. You wouldn't bench him for McCoy if you did. Maybe Cousins gets a chance to change that perception, but that's where we are now. 27. Atlanta Falcons (2-5, LW: 25) Julio Jones has 311 yards and no touchdowns in Atlanta's last four games. The Falcons are 0-4 in their last four games. These two sentences are closely related. 26. New York Jets (1-6, LW: 26) Here's one problem with the Percy Harvin trade: Are the Jets really going to get a good look at him before deciding if he's worth that $10.5 million base salary next season? It's really tough to learn an offense when you join a team right before Week 8 of the regular season. 25. Minnesota Vikings (2-5, LW: 24) A nice bright spot: Rookie Jerick McKinnon had 103 rushing yards against a good defense. That's not going to make them forget losing a game with one second left, but it was nice. 24. New York Giants (3-4, LW: 23) Eli Manning played well. They ran the ball well enough. The defense turned a big Tony Romo interception into a short touchdown. And they still lost by 10. That can't feel too comforting. 23. St. Louis Rams (2-4, LW: 27) I can't say this enough: Calling a fake punt on your own 18-yard line to ice a win over the defending champs is an all-time great call. It was a gamble but not reckless, because it's pretty clear the Rams knew based on Seattle's punt return scheme that they'd have that pass wide open. 22. Houston Texans (3-4, LW: 20) They really had Monday night's game under control, then it got away in such a hurry. And despite a terrible second quarter they lost by just a touchdown. They can't afford to drop games like that. 21. New Orleans Saints (2-4, LW: 19) That would have been an enormous win, getting a victory at a good Detroit team with virtually nothing from injured tight end Jimmy Graham. But now it's just a 2-4 hole they're in. 20. Chicago Bears (3-4, LW: 16) The Bears' offensive ranks: 17th in yards per game, 17th in yards per play, 18th in points scored. With all those weapons to work with, that's hard to comprehend. 19. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3, LW: 21) For about 27 minutes of the first half against Texans, it looked like their season was in an irreversible slide. Maybe that turnover and scoring flurry will spark something. [read full article]

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