Emissions from the Bears Nebula

by boris13c

the off season begins and the Bears organization has much work to do
Bears Helmet
The Bears enter this off season with many more questions than answers.  The main issue I have is trying to figure out what kind of team they are actually trying to be.  There is no clear pattern or cohesiveness on either side of the ball.  Granted, injuries have played a significant role in that, but still, there was always this lingering question cloud over what they were actually up to even when healthy.

Some key things the team needs to consider are :

* Alshon Jeffery, WR - there is no doubt in my mind Jeffrery is a legitimate #1 NFL WR.  Yes, he has had an injury bug, but when he is on the field, he is a game changer.  If the Bears let him test free agency, he won't be back because I doubt the Bears will would match the highest offer he gets and I do not believe Jeffery will be giving the Bears a home town discount.  So the Bears need to act decisively to keep him in the fold. If thet means the Franchise Tag as they work on a longer deal, so be it.  Just don't let him out of town.  The fact Kevin White is proving to be as fragile as glass makes having Jeffery locked up even more important IMO.

* The Quarterback - I think Cutler's time as a Bear is over.  I am simply tired of the drama and the unrealized potential.  He has top 5 talent that he manages to turn into middle of the pack results.  And even though he is the most talented QB who would be a free agent if the Bears cut him loose, that doesn't mean he would be the best QB on that list.

Several of the Chicago mediouts are clamoring for Tony Romo, and I find this utterly ridiculous.  The Bears have so many holes to fill they are not just a QB swap away from playoff harmony and success.  Romo's injury history is comparable to Cutler's, but Romo's is made more of a question mark with the fact he broke his back.  I suspect his best landing spot will be Denver, as they try to capture the magic of signing another damaged goods guy for one final hurrah as they did with Peyton Manning and his broken neck.

So Cutler gone, no Romo, so who?  Draft the guy.  Draft a guy to work with and build around.  The Bears haven't done that in seemingly forever.  And though this might be considered a weak QB draft class, there are options available.  Trade down if it makes them more comfortable drafting a QB lower than the 3rd overall pick.  But draft a QB.  Hell, maybe even 2.  Of the guys available, Deshaun Watson is my favorite to be the guy the Bears build with.

* The Defense - where to start.  The secondary is atrocious and the definite weakest link I think.  Fortunately, there looks to be some genuine quality that is going to be available in free agency, and I think the Bears need to pony up some cash to nab at least one of those guys.  My target would be Eric Berry of the Chiefs who has said flat out he won't play under the franchise tag.  So Kansas City has to either lock him up with a long term deal or dangle him for others.  If he is made available, the Bears need to pounce.

Kyle Fuller is a big troubling question mark.  Is he healthy?  Does he even want to play?  I was disappointed the Bears drafted him rather than Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, but didn't consider it a wasted pick because I had watched Fuller in college and thought he was a legitimate selection (though I thought Dix was much better and at a greater position of need).  Since then Dix has gone on to become an anchor in the goddam Packers secondary while Fuller has done very little as a Bear.  Fuller needs to show something, anything, in training camp that he is worth the time of day or the Bears simply need to admit they made a mistake and let him be somebody else's problem.

I think the front 7, if back healthy, will be solid, though replacing Pernell McPhee should probably be a consideration.  He is good when healthy, but he is fat and aging so probably won't stay healthy.

* Everything else - the draft and free agency need to reap results for the Bears this year.  I know that is the goal every year, but this is a Bears team that has a nice small core of really good younger players who simply need help around them.  I am hoping even as I type this they are hard at work at Halas Hall figuring out ways to do just that.  But they need to figure out what they are doing before getting the players to do it.  No more signing people for positions they won't have.  DE Jared Allen signed and then being moved to OLB failed miserably because he didn't have the skill set to be an outside linebacker.  So why the hell did they sign him?  They can't do any more bullshit like that.  Don't care who the big name guy is if he plays at a position the Bears don't use.

* Looking ahead - the muddled mess that is the current Bears team will take a season or 2 to be formed into something else.  Draft their QB of the future and then build towards that future.  If it turns out they are better than the expected 7-9 during the process, so much the better.  2017 is when the building blocks need to be put in place.  2018 is when we should see the expected and desired results.

Please Bears - don't continue screwing the pooch.


Weekly picks -

2016 Regular Season Total = 152-102-2
2016 Playoffs Total = 8-3

That was certainly an entertaining Super Bowl.  Many thought it was over at halftime, but the Falcons unfortunately could not figure out how to play with a lead and close the deal.  The Patriots gave them ample opportunity to do so, but the Falcons were not up to the task.  And giving Brady and friends multiple chances to come back is a guaranteed failed strategy, as Atlanta found out.

Congrats to the Patriots.  That was one helluva comeback.


Super Bowl 51
Bears Helmet
Would have been kismet if the Bears had made it to Super Bowl 51, since 51 is the number of one of their greatest players ever.  But as we all know, they weren't even close.

With the Draft and free agency to come, perhaps they can make a significant step up.  It will be Ryan Pace's 3rd year with the team, and that is when he should have his plans in place and truly begin filling the roster with those to implement his plans.

The draft is a complete crapshoot of course.  One can make some informed opinions and choices based on a player's college career, but there is no guaranteed formula.  It is a guessing game on whether those you choose can translate their skills and personalities into the pro level.  So since this is not an exact science, the most important aspect for a team in my opinion is going with players they are comfortable with and feel they can work with.  Bring them into the fold to be assimilated into your ways.  And if you chose well, reap the rewards though not always immediately of course.

There is 1 potential free agent I would love to see the Bears entice to Chicago.  And that would be Eric Berry, Safety from the Chiefs.  He has recently made it known he will not play for the Chiefs again under the franchise tag.  That should motivate the Chiefs to sign him long term as he is that good.  But if they say no thanks, the Bears absolutely need to be at the front of the line of potential suitors.

I guess we'll see.


Weekly picks -

Last week = 1-1
Regular Season Total = 152-102-2
Playoffs Total = 8-2

Super Bowl 51

This has the potential to be a pretty high scoring and competitive game (so watch it end up 13 -10 or something).  I have no dog in this fight so just want it to be a good game.

Falcons winning would be cool as it would be their first ring.

Patriots winning would be cool to see how the trophy presentation goes.

I'd like this to be the first overtime Super Bowl ... 42-42 at end of regulation like an Arena League game.

I am picking Atlanta for no reson other than it being a franchise in need of a ring.

the post season continues ... as do the goddam Packers
Bears Helmet
Watching Aaron Rodgers ruin the Dallas Cowboys gave me flashbacks to all of the times he has ruined the Bears.  Even when the Rodgers led Packers are dismissed as being "out of it" (as they were with their crappy early season results this year) something happens that lets them have another chance.  And once they get that chance and get into the playoffs, they then become as dangerous and deadly as the Black Mamba Ellie Driver hid in the suitcase of cash for Bud in Kill Bill.

The game that demonstrates this most from the Bears perspective was the final regular season game of the 2010 NFL season.  The Bears went to Goon Bay not only to fight for the best record in the NFL, but also to elimate the Packers from playoff contention.

They lost 10-3 in a game most sort of forget about.  Rodgers didn't have a great day, but the Bears offense was simply non-existent so it didn't take much to over come them (as the final score indicates).  And that game demonstrated the dramatic differences in the 2 organizations.  The Packers, facing an elimination game, found a way to win.  The Bears playing in a game where they could destroy the season of a hated rival looked disinterested.

So of course it was the Packers who came to Chicago for the NFC Championship Game later, known by many as "Knee-gate" (or maybe not since I think I just now made it up).  The game where Cutler tore his MCL and missed the second half and was widely abused as being less than a man for not toughening it out.  This was made more ridiculous due to the very largest Man-gina to ever put on pads (Neon Deion Sanders) calling out Cutler's toughness.  A Man-gina who himself displayed less toughness fully healthy throughout his entire career than any average Grandmother with a rolling pin and a purpose.

Regardless of how fair or unfair, it pretty much ruined Cutler's reputation, especially with the average meatball Bears fan.  And since the Bears coaches at the time didn't bother to actually explain that Cutler was in fact injured, it just fed the meatballs vitriol.  I still to this day don't know why the coaching staff would so casually throw their QB under the bus from a PR perspective other than the fact they were utter morons with no clue.

So now here we are 6 years later.  The Packers again in an NFC Championship game courtesy of being given a second chance by the Lions in the final game of the regular season.  And Bears fans again negatively discussing Jay Cutler, only not about injury and missed opportunity this time.  This time it is about saying goodbye.


Weekly picks -

Last week = 4-0
Regular Season Total = 152-102-2
Playoffs Total = 7-1

Championship Round

AFC - Pittsburgh Steelers @ New England Patriots

I think this is probably the best possible matchup as the Steelers are the team with the best chance to beat the Patriots IMO. I think the Steelers running the ball effectively and limiting Brady's chances will be a big key. And they have to find a way into the endzone, not have a field goal fiesta as they did against the Chiefs.

my pick = Steelers

NFC - Green Bay Packers @ Atlanta Falcons

Both defenses have shown themselves to be vulnerable to the passing game. Both offenses can rack up points like a pinball machine. Playing indoors in a dome, this could possibly become the highest scoring NFC Championship game in history. Rodgers will have his usual day, but I think this is the game Matt Ryan makes a statement that he is a QB to be reckoned with as well.

my pick = Falcons


Jerrell Freeman earns massive grade from Pro Football Focus


the post season the Bears aren't in
Bears Helmet
With the Bears season over, and the College Playoffs with a new Champion, it is time for an early guess at what the Bears might do in the draft.

The Bears have the #3 overall pick.  So what will they do with it?

"With the 3rd selection in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Chicago Bears -"

A) draft Deshaun Watson from Clemson - Pace is kind of in a quandary at QB.  Cutler has all the talent to be great, but isn't, but he has the endorsement of the ownership group, however much that means.

I'm not sure there is a college QB out there who is going to be worth spending that #3 pick on this year when there are so many other holes (especially on defense) and so many options from college blue chippers on the defensive side.  I think Deshaun Watson is the best of the available QB bunch, so if the Bears are determined to get one as a priority, I think he would be the pick.


B) trade the pick - I think the Bears can reap a boatload of picks for their #3 as someone is going to be desperate enough to want one of the QB's who should be drafted in the 2nd or 3rd round in the first round.  Mitch Trubisky is being the highly touted one at the moment, but he has 1 year of play in college to judge by and I think taking him in the first round is a reach.  Hopefully another team wanting to do the reaching will pay the Bears to do so.

So I remain on the fence.  I would like the Bears to turn that #3 into many more picks to do the most good.  On the other hand, I wouldn't be disappointed if the Bears take Watson and officially say bye to Cutler. Watson, Howard and Jeffery - the new trifecta of good.  Add a healthy O-Line, and we have something.

Or hey - rumors out of New Orleans are the Saints and Drew Brees may be parting ways.  Draft day trade to bring Brees to Chicago?


Weekly picks -

Last week = 3-1
Regular Season Total = 152-102-2
Playoffs Total = 3-1

Divisional Playoffs

Saturday January 14th:

Seattle Seahawks @ Atlanta Falcons - Falcons haven't had a team this high powered since ... ever?  I think it is time for Atlanta to shine and take that step up to the next level.

my pick : Falcons

Houston Texans @ New England Patriots - if Houston even manages to make this a game I'll be impressed.

my pick : Patriots

Sunday January 15th:

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Kansas City Chiefs - I think this is going to be the best, and most closely contested, game of the weekend.  Both teams can run, but I give an edge to the Steelers at QB (even if Big Ben does have a hurt foot).

my pick : Steelers

Goon Bay Packers @ Dallas Cokeboys - the best thing to happen would be if the stadium collapsed and took out both teams.

my pick : Packers

Jordan Howard named to NFL Pro Bowl.  He replaces
Cardinals running back David Johnson who is unable to play.

Chicago Bears Lament (sung to The Sopranos theme)
Bears Helmet
You woke up this morning
you hoped the Bears had won,
cuz watching them lately,
sure has not been fun.

They got, quarterback roulette
and you hope that one will shine,
but as you watch them fail,
you see they all should grab some pine.

You woke up this morning
all that love had gone,
Papa Bear spinnin in his grave,
during this team's sad swan song.

Things just ain't been the same
since Mike Ditka left the town,
you know there should be some ups,
to go with all these downs.

You woke up this morning
wished it was all a dream,
and what makes it hurt much more,
are the assholes in yellow and green.

When you woke up this morning
with the world turned upside down,
the fucking Packers had won,
the NFC North crown.

But at least you're breathin,
and you know you are alive,
but you need something more to cling to,
than 1985.

woke up this morning,
the Bears had shit the bed,
the season is at an end,
it surely hurts your head.


Weekly picks -

Last week = 12-4
Regular Season Total = 152-102-2

Wild Card Playoff Round

Saturday Jan 7th :

Oakland Raiders @ Houston Texans - both teams enter the playoffs in QB hell, but for different reasons.  I don't think home field advantage will mean much for the Texans.

my pick :  Raiders

Detroit Lions @ Seattle Seahawks - Detroit was my sentimental favorite until the choked at home against the Packers to lose the NFC North.  Hope Seattle beats them by 50

my pick : Seahawks

Sunday Jan 8th :

Miami Dolphins @ Pittsburgh Steelers - Dolphins also hurt by the QB injury bug, and the Steelers will be PO'd at almost losing to the Browns as they did a sleep walk through their final regular season game.

my pick : Steelers

New York Giants @ Goon Bay Packers - I don't want the Packers to win, but I don't see how the Giants will do anything about it.

my reluctant pick : Packers

" ... back when the Chicago Bears were men

they need a new Ditka to right the ship"

week 17 - only 1 more game then we can flush this turd of a season
Bears Helmet
So, I see how it is.  I post something praising Barkley even though the Bears lost to the hated Packers, and he thanks me by throwing 5 interectpions to lead an ass kicking of a loss against Washington.

Thanks Matt.  Hope Santa took a shit in your stocking.

In spite of his Cutler-esque performance (Jay once threw 4 interceptions in a game to the same Washington player), I still see enough hope in Barkley that he should definitely be part of the training camp lineup.

And that's all I'm going to write this week.  I had all sorts of notes and in depth dialogue, but fuck it.  This team at this stage is simply not work the time.

So instead :


Weekly picks -

Last week = 11-5
Season = 140-98-2

Bears @ Vikings - would love to see the Bears end on an up beat, especially since a win won't really hurt their draft position ... Vikings haven't exactly been stellar at home this year and are a very beatable team ... Barkley recovers enough to have more TD's than Int's this week, the Bears have a shot

Bears 20
Vikings 18

the rest of my Week 17 picks (home team in CAPS) :

ATLANTA over New Orleans
CINCINNATI over Baltimore
DETROIT over Goon Bay
Houston over TENNESSEE
INDIANAPOLIS over Jacksonville
New England over MIAMI
NY JETS over Buffalo
PITTSBURGH over Cleveland
TAMPA BAY over Carolina
DENVER over Oakland
Arizona over LOS ANGELES
Kansas City over SAN DIEGO
Seattle over SAN FRANCISCO

let the Bears season crash to a close

Week 16 - only 2 more weeks of angst
Bears Helmet
A few weeks ago, after yet another disheartening Bears loss, I had this to say about their QB situation :

"I say they clean the QB house as soon as the season ends.  Thanks for the good and the bad Jay.  See ya.  Thanks for being a solid backup Brian.  Seek your fortunes elsewhere.  Mr. Barkley?  Practice squad or nothing for you.  Maybe try the Arena League for a while?"

That was before Matt Barkley even took a snap, and in all likelihood, he wouldn't.

Since that time he has gotten his first 4 NFL starts.  And though the record with him at the helm is 1-3, he is not the problem.  Bears receivers dropping TD passes and routinely displaying hands like feet prevented at least 1 more sure win (against Tennessee).  And a Bears secondary who possibly couldn't keep my sorry old ass from getting deep on them has looked very much like the collection of rookies and after thoughts they are.

Against Goon Bay, Barkley passed for more yards against the Packers than any other Bears QB.  Ever.  Let that sink in a bit.  The Packers are not a bunch of schmoes.  They even picked him off a couple of times (I'm not counting the Hail Mary at the end of the first half).  But he kept on plugging.  He led the Bears to 17 4th quarter points, tying the historical mark of points scored in the 4th quarter.  And he very well could have led to the win in overtime had the Bears defense not decided to give up a 60 yard bomb on 3rd and 11 with time winding down in the game.  And he did this with a semi-pro caliber receiving corps to throw to.  Even in a loss, Barkley showed the type of character and ability we haven't seen in some time.

I am now officially on the Matt Barkley bandwagon.  In his first 4 NFL starts, Barkley has shown a calm, orderly, professional presence.  He has made throws that should have won games, but got no support from those the throws went to.  He has shown enough mobility to move around in the pocket to make something happen.  He has shown enough arm strength to be considered NFL valid.

He isn't the biggest, isn't the fastest, won't be a QB for the read option and does not have a cannon for an arm.  But he doesn't need any of that to be successful.

But even with his obvious abilities, the Chicago media hates him.  Not that I really care about the Chicago media.  Half of them seem to hate Chicago and every team in the city, and the other half don't know a damn thing about the sport they're covering.  I am very disappointed in how so many fellow fans don't seem to be willing to give him a shot.  Why is it so hard for Bears fans to simply accept quiet competence as an upgrade at the QB position?  Searching for things to downgrade Barkley for is self defeating.  No, he is not going to compare to Dak Prescott because he isn't even the same type of player.  But he is certainly someone who I think has already earned the right to be in Bears training camp next year ready to win the job.  Yes, the Bears still need to draft a QB of the future, but they don't need to reach for one with their first round pick.

Of course that all depends if the Bears think as highly of him as I do and actually give him a contract.  I think if the Bears let him go to try to catch on elsewhere, he will have more than 1 team willing to overpay for him.  And then we'll be able to watch from afar as he goes on to a successful career with a different team while the Bears have another 4 or 6 cycling through the position.

Matt Barkley, Connor Shaw, and a rookie draft pick.  That's my choice for the Bears QB corps to start 2017.


Weekly picks -

Last week = 10-6
Season = 129-93-2

Washington Foreskins @ Chicago Bears - Washington is hanging on by their fingernails to a possible playoff chance, but they no longer control their own destiny after shitting the bed against Carolina.  So they are going to be desperate.  And they have a decent enough QB who can play bomber pilot against the shitty Bears secondary.

For the Bears to win, Barkley needs to just keep doing what he is doing, but the defense HAS to step up.  If they show another weak pass rush coupled with letting receivers run free behind the secondary, it will severely weaken any chance they might have.

Earlier in the week, my pick was Washington.  But fuck it.  I'll take the Bears to finish out their home schedule on a high note.

Bears 30
Foreskins 24

The rest of my week 16 picks (home team in CAPS) :

Miami over BUFFALO
San Diego over CLEVELAND
GOON BAY over Minnesota
Atlanta over CAROLINA
Tennessee over JACKSONVILLE
OAKLAND over Indianapolis
NEW ORLEANS over Tampa Bay
LOS ANGELES over San Francisco
SEATTLE over Arizona
HOUSTON over Cincinnati
PITTSBURGH over Baltimore
KANSAS CITY over Denver
DALLAS over Detroit

Week 15 - Packer week ... time to foam at the mouth
Bears Helmet
*  The Bears came close against the Lions, but ultimately failed.  Lions QB Matthew Stafford suffered a dislocated finger on his throwing hand but still led the Lions comeback.

* Matt Barkley continues to impress.  If not for back to back holding penalties and then a dropped pass on 4th down, it would have been Barkley leading a comeback win instead of Stafford.

* Bears now face the hated shitheads from Goon Bay this week, in a game I am really really hoping the Bears are up for.

Bears GM Ryan Pace will most likely be watching Matt Barkley's performance.  There are no slam dunk first round draft picks at QB this year IMO, so taking one in the first round would be reaching for something that isn't there.  If Barkley can continue to be confident competence, he would be a next year option that gives Pace the luxury of going for a quality defender in the first round and taking a QB later.

I am really hoping Matt Barkley does pan out to become a reliable steady starter for the next few years.  The Bears have been masters at screwing up in QB selections in spite of their best efforts not to, so it would be wonderful if random dumb luck does for the team what years of trying couldn't accomplish.  Barkley became a Bear by accident and happenstance, so qualifies as the piece of random dumb luck becoming successful.  And not to whine into my beer too much, but I think it is high time the Bears had something like this go their way.  So I am really rooting for Barkley.

The injured and disheveled Bears defense continues to impress.  The big positive to what they have been fighting through is getting young replacements seasoned during this lost year so they can be solid contributors in what will hopefully be a much more successful 2017.

There have been rumors that Bill Polian, a former high quality NFL executive, might be pondering a return to the NFL.  So of course rumors of Chicago being his potential landing spot immediately began to swirl.  As of now, they remain simply rumors and speculation.  But it sure would be nice to have a top dog like that running the football side of the house, working with Pace and the Head Coach (currently John Fox) to rebuild and move forward, and keeping the football side separate from the business side.

The Bears haven't had to worry about keeping the business side separate, and it is our (the fans) fault.  Because regardless of what kind of putrid ass slurping band of rejects they put on the field in Bears blue, they still make money.  Regardless of losing games by having hated rivals put 55 points on their sorry asses, they still make money.  Regardless of having 3 years in a row added together not equaling 10 wins, they still make money.

Yeah OK, Virginia made public comments about the quality of the team and the need to improve, as did her son George, but was that just lip service?   Because the quotes from assclown Ted Phillips had nothing to do with improving the team, or even caring about the team, just concern over the profit line.  He doesn't care if fans don't show up because he has already counted their money from the tickets sold that weren't used.

Years of futility, and we're still fans.  Years of the team not caring about us doesn't stop us from caring about the team.

We're slightly demented masochists, so we deserve some of it.  But there is no way we deserve the pigshit on a platter the Bears have been serving up and calling it prime steak.

But it doesn't matter to people like Phillips what we deserve or what we want as long as we're stupid enough to keep giving him what he wants.  So a move like hiring Bill Polian and forcing Phillips to keep his hands out of the football side of things would go a long long way to securing an actual rebuilding process that can work.  If not Polian, someone similar perhaps?  Bill Parcells immediately comes to mind as a viable candidate strong on the football side who would have no trouble kicking Phillips in the ass and out of the way.   But Parcells already rejected the bears once, and has made no move to come back to the NFL in any capacity.  So I guess we'll just wait and see if the rumors end up with any validity.


Weekly picks -

Last week = 9-7
Season = 119-87-2

Goon Bay Packers @ Chicago Bears - I have a deep feeling in my gut the Bears are going to win this game (it's either that or residue from chili cheese dogs ... I choose the Bears winning).

Erin Rodgers is gimpy, and it is going to be cold. Make him run. Chase his ass, hit him whenever possible. See if one or both of his gimpy legs give out on him. I'd like to hear the sound of his hamstring popping right through my tv.

I think Barkley is going to be fired up knowing he can truly establish himself in Chicago with a win over the Packers. And he will have the helping hands of Alshon available to assist him.

Bears win and they will put a serious dent in Goon Bay's playoff hopes, and I am all for that.

A win this Sunday in Chicago can be THE shining light on a total shit season. The Bears have to reach down for any last bit of pride and integrity and make it happen.

Bears 26
Goon Bay 20

The rest of my week 15 picks (home team in CAPS) :

SEATTLE over Los Angeles
Miami over NY JETS
BUFFALO over Cleveland
Pittsburgh over CINCINNATI
KANSAS CITY over Tennessee
MINNESOTA over Indianapolis
Detroit over NY GIANTS
BALTIMORE over Philadelphia
HOUSTON over Jacksonville
ATLANTA over San Francisco
ARIZONA over New Orleans
New England over DENVER
Oakland over San Diego
DALLAS over Tampa Bay
WASHINGTON over Carolina

Barkley & Howard to the rescue

Week 14 - a rare Bears win ... over a shitty team, but hey, they won
Bears Helmet
Barkley, Barkley, he's our man ....

Matt Barkley gets his first win as a starting QB, and that should not be devalued just because it was against a 49er team that couldn't find its ass with both hands.  The weather played a role in the outcome,  The Bears and Barkley could pass in it, San Francisco couldn't.  But it did take some adjustments to do so :

"I really had to adjust my arm angle and almost push the ball out instead of flinging it because my thumb would slip out," Barkley said. "But once we got used to that — we were still calling plays and we didn't really hold back on anything in the game plan — plays were open and guys were getting open."

Chicago Tribune - http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/football/bears/ct-matt-barkley-hot-snow-bits-spt-1205-20161204-story.html

While I am not ready to anoint Barkley as the next Joe Montana, I am impressed he has the presence of mind to actually make adjustments and achieve success.  After just 2 games, he is leaps and bounds ahead of backup Bears QB's that have gone before him (hell, many starting Bears QB's too).  And he simply looks like he belongs.  Doesn't get rattled, goes through his progressions, and this week his receivers caught most of the balls he hit them in the hands with, unlike the Tennessee hands-like-feet debacle.

His accuracy is his strength.  He doesn't try to blaze balls to the receivers, but he does lead them ever so nicely.  Even in inclement weather.  He seems fundamentally sound, which also puts him leaps and bounds ahead of many who have gone before him.

This season ending 4 game stretch against teams fighting for their playoff lives will be a true test.  To pass his test, he doesn't need to necessarily lead the Bears to victory in them.  He needs to continue to show his steady competence and keep them in position for a chance at the win.  The game I want him to have his career best kick ass effort is against Goon Bay in 2 weeks to help ensure they don't make the post season.  I hate the Packers.  Despise them, loathe them, and wish them nothing but ill will and painful defeat.  Unfortunately for me, the Packers have simply laughed at thoughts like these from others as they march towards another playoff game year after year after year.  But this year, they look very average.  And there would be no better way for Barkley to endear himself to the mustachioed meatball Bears fan base than to beat Goon Bay.

Barkley is playing for his future.  If the Bears don't bring him back, he needs to have some positive game tape to lure someone into giving him a shot.  I would certainly love for the Bears to do it.  He has everything going for him to have folks rooting for him :

* injured in his last college season, he didn't have the greatest numbers and his draft stock dropped

* was drafted by a team that really had no use for a classic drop back passer, and Philly promptly jettisoned him

* got some scrub playing time in Arizona but didn't wow anyone

And now here he is in Chicago.  From the NFL scrap heap to Bears starting QB, and what could be an act of redemption.  And I think it would be a hoot for the Bears to accidentally luck into their franchise QB in this manner to further show they have no clue what they're doing when actually trying to find one.

So I'm rooting for him.  May he have a nice 10 year career, bringing a level of stability to the Bears QB position the likes of which I haven't seen in my lifetime.


Weekly picks -

Last week = 8-7
Season = 110-80-2

Bears @ Lions - Detroit looks like they mean business.  They have the lead in the NFC North, just handed a desperate Saints team a painful home loss, and appear to be pretty solid at the moment.  And they actually need this game to counter their early season loss to the Bears for the divisional tiebreakers.

I think the Bears will give them a run for their money.  I think Barkley will again play well.  But I think Matthew Stafford will play better.

Lions in a close one 27 - 23

The rest of my Week 14 picks (home team in CAPS) :

Oakland over KANSAS CITY
Pittsburgh over BUFFALO
Cincinnati over CLEVELAND
TENNESSEE over Denver
MIAMI over Arizona
PHILADELPHIA over Washington
TAMPA BAY over New Orleans
San Diego over CAROLINA
Minnesota over JACKSONVILLE
Seattle over GOON BAY
Atlanta over LOS ANGELES
Dallas over NY GIANTS
NEW ENGLAND over Baltimore

oh the weather outside is frightful,
but my passing is delightful,
so off to a win we go,
watch me throw, watch me throw, watch me throw

Week 13 - Bears WR's have hands like feet
Bears Helmet
So now it is the Matt Barkley show.  A guy the Bears obtained after Hoyer broke his arm but that no one paid a whole lot of attention to, thinking he will never see the field anyway.

But this is the Bears we're talking about.  A franchise that hasn't truly had the QB position figured out since Sid Luckman last played in 1950.  So of course Barkley played.  His first actual NFL start.  And he played well.  But he was ultimately done in by his available receivers having hands like feet.  Wilson dropped a TD pass that hit him in the hands (then he kicked the ball into the butt of an innocent security guard).  Bellamy dropped what would have been the game winning TD pass that also hit him right in the hands.  Thompson also dropped one, but his was tougher as he decided to fall down in the endzone without being touched and had the ball go off his chest as he dove forward for it.

So now of course are the chants for Barkley as the man going into 2017.  Because the only QB Bears fans seem to love is the backup QB.  At least until he becomes the full time starter and shows why he should have remained a backup.  Clowns such as Mike Tomczak, who could throw the prettiest passes in practice, and who played well in relief appearance when McMahon was hurt.  So the Bears of course trade McMahon, make Tomczak the starter, and discover he seemed to intentionally look for double coverage to throw into.  The Bears went nowhere with him running the show.

All indications are Jay Cutler won't be a Bear in 2017.  John Fox simply doesn't like or want him.  Which is fine I suppose as Jay really has worn out his welcome.  So now the game of who will replace him begins, and Barkley is a good start to that.  He will be playing for his football life in these last 5 games, either to show he should be with the Bears or as a solid audition tape for someone else.  What that means is he will be playing his ass off trying to win games, which will then lower the Bears draft pick in the first round.  Because that's just how the Bears are.  They save their winning streaks for the end of lost seasons just so they can screw up their draft position.  They've done it at least twice in recent past, so this will be no different.

The QB's slated to be free agents in 2017 are slim pickings.  A bunch of schmoes actually.  Nick Foles is a shining exception, so if the Bears truly are intent on getting rid of Cutler, Foles could be the answer.  So sign Foles, bring back Barkley and Shaw, and then draft a QB in the second round and maybe another one in the 5th.  Hopefully out of all of that, 2 useful QB options will emerge along with a rookie to develop.

Another name being thrown around as a guy "with an arm and potential" is Blaine Gabbert, but to me he just looks like a younger version of Cutler, and his "coachable flaws" have yet to be dealt with.

Guess we'll see.  This off season should be interesting.


Weekly picks -

Last week = 13-3
Season = 102-73-2

San Francisco @ Chicago - there is no reason the Bears cannot win this game other than their WR's have hands like feet.  But I think even with that they can win this.  I also wabt to see the defense bash the allegedly rejuvenated Colin Kaper-dick around like a rag doll.

The question for many will be, do the Bears want to win this game for a chance to finish the season 3-13?   This is the only game left on their schedule I think they easily handle.  Everyone else they'll be facing will be fighting for their playoff lives when they play the Bears.

I think the players who will be on the field will want to win, and I think their efforts will bear fruit.

Bears 26
49ers 18

The rest of my Week 13 picks (home team in CAPS) :

Dallas over MINNESOTA
ATLANTA over Kansas City
Philadelphia over CINCINNATI
GOON BAY over Houston
NEW ENGLAND over Los Angeles
NEW ORLEANS over Detroit
Miami over BALTIMORE
OAKLAND over Buffalo
Washington over ARIZONA
SAN DIEGO over Tampa Bay
SEATTLE over Carolina
NY JETS over Indianapolis

bye = Cleveland, Tennessee


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