Category Archives: Chicago Bears

19

May

Which NFC North Team Added the Most Value in the 2014 Draft?

Ted Thompson build the 2010 winner through the draft. How will the 2014 draft grade out?

The Green Bay Packers have been the team to beat in the NFC North. Have their rivals closed the gap?

The NFC North has largely been the Packers’ division as of late, and the remaining three teams have been playing catch up. Many draft experts have claimed that the 2014 drafts by the Bears, Lions, and Vikings have closed the gap between them and the Packers.

Even our own Cory Jennerjohn wrote a nice piece saying our rivals are ganging up to stop the Packers.

Let’s take a quasi-objective look at how well the NFC North rivals did during the 2014 draft.

Who acquired the best draft value? Did they in fact close the gap below the reigning Packers?

Once again, I’ll use the Draft Trade Value Chart and CBS Sports draft prospect rankings to compare each team. I’ll assign a value of each prospect by taking their CBS Sports ranking and giving them corresponding points from the Draft Trade Value Chart. For example, the #1 ranked prospect will always be 3000 points and the #10 ranked prospect will always be 1300 points regardless of when they were picked. If Jadeveon Clowney (#1 prospect) fell to the Packers at 21, he’d still be worth 3000 points.

Draft Trade Value Chart. Image from SBNation.com.

Draft Trade Value Chart. Image from SBNation.com. Click to enlarge.

Green Bay Packers

Chicago Bears

Detroit Lions

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16

May

Cory’s Corner: NFC North is ganging up to stop Packers

Kyle Fuller (17) was one of the best cornerbacks in the draft and the Bears took him 14th overall.

Kyle Fuller (17) was the second cornerback off the board, taken 14th overall by the Bears.

Taking a peek at the rest of the draft picks in the NFC North, it’s apparent where the priorities lie.

Of the Packers nine picks, four of them were offensive skill players. Green Bay went with defense to open up the draft but then quickly reloaded Aaron Rodgers with capable weapons.

While Green Bay’s defense wasn’t exactly dynamite last year, the addition of Julius Peppers is going to change the pass rush and pass coverage.

The Bears knew exactly which way they had to go after suffering through the humiliating 48-yard Rodgers bomb to Randall Cobb — defense. And that’s exactly what Chicago did. The Bears only picked two offensive skill positions and they waited until the fourth round to pick their first one.

While everyone was dogging Detroit for making the questionable first round selection of tight Eric Ebron, the Lions responded after that. They addressed their defensive and offensive lines, secondary and linebacking corps. Just like Chicago, Detroit only picked two offensive skill positions.

That brings me to the worst team in the NFC North last year. The Vikings have a lot of holes — namely at quarterback. But after taking Teddy Bridgewater at the end of the first round, Minnesota only took one more offensive skill position but really stressed its pass rush after losing Jared Allen to Chicago.

So what does this all mean? Everyone, as they should, respects the heck out of the Packers’ offense. They are sick and tired of watching Eddie Lacy run through them and Rodgers pass over them.

Which is why it’s pretty comical that when the other teams in the division collectively loaded up to stop the formidable Green Bay offense, the Packers simply shrug and add even more offense.

And that is why Ted Thompson will always keep you guessing. You may think you have an idea of what direction he is going to go, but he was throwing curveballs for two days — after the obvious Ha Ha Clinton-Dix pick to kick things off.

Obviously the X-factor is Peppers. Without acquiring Peppers prior to the draft, Thompson would have likely beefed up the defensive line or probably traded up to make sure that Ryan Shazier or C.J. Mosley secured the defensive front seven.

25

April

Packers Face Familiar Start

Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson

The Packers face the defending Super Bowl champions and two divisional opponents on the road in three of their first four games this season

The Green Bay Packers now know not only who they will be facing in 2014, but when.  The NFL announced its full schedule on Wednesday, amidst much anticipation from media and fans.

My first thought in looking at the official and non-leaked schedule was “here we go again”.  For the third straight season, the Packers face a tough opening quarter to their season.  As each team plays 16 games, I’m referring to the first four games.

In 2012, the Packers opened the season with the San Francisco 49ers and Chicago Bears at home, the Seattle Seahawks on the road and the New Orleans Saints at home.

Green Bay fared well over that stretch, considering that the loss to Seattle should have been a victory, and a hard-fought one at that.  They emerged 2-2 after the smoke cleared.

In 2013, the Packers again drew the San Francisco 49ers in game one, on the road.  They then faced the Washington Redskins at home, Cincinnati Bengals on the road and the Detroit Lions at home.

On paper and right now, that doesn’t seem like a tough bunch of games at all.  But before the 2013 season started, the matchup against the Redskins and a potentially healthy quarterback Robert Griffin III loomed larger.  Cincinnati has never been an easy place for the Packers to play and the Lions were a division rival looking to end a 20-year drought at Lambeau Field.  The Packers managed a 2-2 mark against those teams but, much like the season prior, should have fared better.  Had it not been for their late collapse against the Bengals, the Packers would have been a healthier 3-1.

In the case of the 2012 and 2013 seasons, the Packers faced a tough slate and came out having been competitive in every game and with a chance to win.  Hopefully in 2014, the Packers can be just as competitive and finish those games that they have a firm hold of.

7

April

Ted Thompson Must Not Care Much About the Center Position

Packers Center J.C. Tretter

Packers Center J.C. Tretter

It seemed to me to be a no-brainer. The Packers have no one on their roster with more than minimal NFL experience as  a center.  Before yesterday, there were 19 players on the NFL Free Agent Tracker listed at the center position. Surely Ted would be looking to bring in an inexpensive player with real experience at center in case the JC Tretter conversion doesn’t work out.

Well, Ted has done nothing yet and now there are 18 centers on the market, with arguably the best of the bunch now off the board.

The NFC  North Division rival Bears signed former Saints starting center Brian De La Puente on Sunday. De La Puente was a guy I had on my radar as the best target for Ted Thompson to bring in as cheap veteran insurance. Only I had no idea how cheap.

The Bears signed De La Puente for a veteran minimum contract ($735K for a player with 4 years experience) with a $65,000 signing bonus and only $100,00 in guaranteed money. That’s quite a bargain for a player ranked as the fifth best center in the NFL over the last three seasons, according to ProFootballFocus.com.

Still young at only 28yrs old, De La Puente turned down the Lions and the Saints to join the Bears and his old offensive line coach Aaron Kromer. While that makes sense, it is odd that he joins a team where he is expected to be a backup, not a starter. Certainly a team like the Packers could have offered him a better opportunity to win a starting job.  But apparently, that offer never came.

With how inexpensively De La Puente came, one can’t say the Packers (Ted) were being cheap, a common refrain heard from many critics. So that leaves several other possibilities:

1) The Packers are dead-on convinced Tretter is their center of the present and the future.

2) The Packers are planning to draft a starting center.

2) Ted Thompson just doesn’t value the center position that highly.

Let’s take a look at the first option. I recently wrote about the state of the center position for WTMJonline.  Here’s an excerpt from that article:

21

March

What To Make Of Julius Peppers’ Contract

The poster boy of why total contract value is overrated.

For all you Packers fans that were hoping for a big name free agent splash, Ted Thompson would like to introduce you to one Julius Peppers, a guy you might have seen around on the Bears and the Panthers before.  Some of you (including a fair proportion of our dear commentors) will never be happy because Peppers has never played in a 3-4 scheme, no one really knows exactly what his role will be outside of rushing the passer, has a long injury history and he’s 34 with a motor that’s starting to get cold (you do know that experienced and old usually go hand in hand right?).  Well if you want to know what the Packers are going to do with Peppers, this isn’t the article for you. What this article will be looking into is not how Peppers will fit on the field, but how Peppers fits in the Packers salary cap.

As I’ve mentioned before in my previous article, the media and fans often fixate on the total value of the contract, which is probably the least important piece of information.  One only has to remember how Donovan McNabb’s 5-year $88 million contract with the Redskins turned out to be more $3.75 million which he actually earned.  Ironically, this is also probably the best example to use for Pepper’s contract with the Packers.

Julius Pepper signs 3-year, $30 million contract with the Packers (courtesy of Over The Cap)

2014: $1 million base salary, $2.5 million prorated signing bonus

2015: $8.5 million base salary, $2.5 million prorated signing bonus, $1 million roster/workout bonus

2016: $7 million base salary, $2.5 million prorated signing bonus, $1 million roster/workout bonus

29

December

Packers vs. Bears – Game Day First Impressions, Unfiltered: GB 33 CHI 28

Chicago Bears v Green Bay PackersGreen Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears:  2013 Game 15

Unfiltered game day blog post of comments, observations and first impressions.

GAME NOTES:

Aaron Rodgers sitting out again is of course the top story line. The Packers seem to go out of their way to prove that injury decisions are not influenced by winning or losing.

Does Matt Flynn have another week of magic left in that feeble arm?

The Steelers are playing much better of late and are a team that won’t be affected by playing in snow and/or cold weather.

Today’s game is the first time the teams have met since Super Bowl XLV.

 

Today’s captains for the Packers will be C/G Evan Dietrich-Smith (offense), S Morgan Burnett (defense) and CB Micah Hyde (special teams).

 

Inactives for today’s game:

Green Bay PackersGreen Bay Packers
13 WR Chris Harper
20 CB Jumal Rolle
52 LB Clay Matthews
59 LB Brad Jones
65 G Lane Taylor
73 C/G JC Tretter
98 DE C.J. Wilson

Starting lineup changes: 57 LB Jamari Lattimore starts for Jones, 55 LB Andy Mulumba starts for Matthews, and 96 LB Mike Neal will start for 53 LB Nick Perry, who is active.

Chicago Bears
2 QB Jordan Palmer
76 T Joe Long
78 T/G James Brown
79 T Jonathan Scott
80 WR Earl Bennett
82 WR Chris Williams
94 DE Cornelius Washington

Chicago Bears

 

 

Mike McCarthy Pregame Show on 620 WTMJ:

One game:  Everything you do throughout the whole preseason, regular season, the ups and downs, all comes down to one game. Means our whole season.

Reprieve by Bears loss: : Obviously it was a lift – it was  microcosm of our season -it’s been so up and down.

Rodgers rust?: I can’t really worry about it. He’s practiced for 3 weeks. We have great faith in him as the leader of our offense. We feel they may try to be aggressive with us.

Cobb: We’re going to ge him in on some plays and see how it goes. Not practical for Randall to play 50 plays today.

Lacy: Eddie will start the game and we’ll see how he goes. We feel good about our one-two punch with he and Starks. Khalil Bell will also get some chances today.

Cutler. Very talented…can make all the throws.  The man’s played a lot of football…he gets better and better with each opportunity in this new offense.

29

December

Packers vs. Bears Week 17 Game Predictions from ALLGBP.com

GAME PREDICTIONS
Week 17: Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears
Name Record To-Date This Week’s Pick Score Prediction
Kris Burke 8-7 Green Bay Packers 27-24
Sure the Packers get Randall Cobb and Aaron Rodgers back but they can’t play defense. Alshon Jeffrey and Brandon Marshall go crazy as two pitiful defenses face off. It’ll probably come down to last drive so I say Green Bay by the skin of their teeth
“Jersey” Al Bracco 7-8 Green Bay Packers 31-22
 Is there anything better than this? Packers-Bears in an “elimination death match?” With all due respect to Rodgers and Cobb, Cutler at QB for the Bears is just what was needed from GB’s perspective. He doesn’t throw the end zone jump balls as well as McCown. That really hurt the Pack in the first game.
Notes
Adam Czech 9-6 Green Bay Packers 31-27
Packers fans are all fired up and cocky about the return of Aaron Rodgers and Randall Cobb. I got news for you folks: Sunday is going to be a damn tough game. Chicago’s WRs are huge and should have a field day against a Packers defense that tends to disappear in big games. However, I still think Rodgers makes the difference and the Packers pull this one out.
Marques Eversoll 8-7 Green Bay Packers 35-24
Aaron Rodgers is going to be Aaron Rodgers. And as long as Eddie Lacy is playing, the Chicago defense is in for a long afternoon. Sam Shields and Tramon Williams will need to bring their A-game.
Thomas Hobbes 7-8 Green Bay Packers 21-20
If I stuck with the Packers when it was Scott Tolzein, no way am I not picking them with Aaron Rodgers under center.  However, the biggest key will be Eddie Lacy and the running game.  If Rodgers can keep the defense honest (how the tides have turned), Eddie Lacy will have a shot at shredding a historically bad run defense.
Cory Jennerjohn 11-4 Green Bay Packers 27-21