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Epyon

Moving forward to 2019 (take stock of the 2018 roster)

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Posted (edited)

I'm not one to sit here moping around about a bad kicker.... It happened, it's over.... all we can do now is try and get back to the postseason next year... So let's be objective and discuss where we go from here...

We don't have a ton of salary cap space, nor a bunch of draft picks.... and we honestly had some almost unprecedented luck with injuries this season.... meaning our offseason is going to be under a ton of pressure to do the work it needs to do with limited tools, and it's unreasonable to assume we'll have anywhere near as easy of a time next year as we did this year.

Our roster needs are going to be heavily impacted by what we do with FA first.... so that obviously has to be part of the discussion.

 

Problems to address:

Offense: I think this is the biggest area of concern honestly... because I'm skeptical any of these things get fixed by simple scheme familiarity or Mitch having more experience.

1. Offensive line. It's not getting the push we need it to be getting and the run game isn't a strength right now.

-RT-Massie is a FA this year and probably our weakest link....

-RG-Kyle Long, despite being a "face of the franchise" is overpaid, frequently hurt, and (without a rewatch) was the guy on the line I noticed get beat last night.

2. WR:  We have the most receiving talent I've ever seen on a Bears roster.... and people just weren't getting open vs a bad Eagles secondary. I have no roster moves to make off of this, as our worst rostered WR is Bellamy, who honestly seems to fit well in this system... and a promising future guy in Wims.... but I do still feel like this needs to continue to be an area we look at making investments.

3. Running back: Our running game this season has for the most part been a liability... and it's a top down problem atm...

-Howard is a significantly more talented running back than what he was able to show this season, but I am really skeptical whether or not he's a fit for this offense. It's a terrible thing to say, because I really think he can walk onto a better situation and be one of those kinds of players that the media slams the Bears for getting rid of.... but I'm not at all convinced his future is here.

-Mizzell has been used as a key fixture in the offense, for reasons I cannot possibly fathom. I legitimately cannot fathom a single instance where he's made a "splash" play, and I genuinely don't understand his role on the team right now..... beyond being worse than Cohen in every conceivable fashion... and frequently getting snaps/reps/ touches that should have gone to Cohen.... I've heard speculation that Mizzell is simply a placeholder for a as of yet unnamed RB draft pick.... Well that pick needs to happen, because Mizzell isn't working at all. Cohen should be getting those snaps or we need to someone to put on the field lined up elsewhere to take them.

 

Defense:

1. Corner

-Amukamara is aging and frequently eating DPI calls. Tolliver is the next man up... the question is whether or not that is enough.... Questionable that this is addressed this offseason, but it needs to be something accounted for.

2. OLB: Outside of Mack, do we really have anything here?

-Floyd is coming up on needing to be paid, and I'm not really sure he's worth being paid the amount of money he'll probably command.

3. Strong Safety

-The elephant in the room defensively is whether or not Amos is worth paying... and I'm not sure that he is.

ST

1. FG Kicker:

-Even with Parkey's contract situation... I don't see any way you can keep him here next year.

2. Punter

O'Donnell had an excellent punt yesterday, and it might be the first time I've ever been able to say that... I can't imagine he's the best we could do.

Edited by Epyon

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Starting Players

RT

SS

NB

K

P

Primary Depth

OLB

Future Development

CB, Prince will be a cap cut in 2020

OG, Long

 

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8 hours ago, Epyon said:

I'm not one to sit here moping around about a bad kicker.... It happened, it's over.... all we can do now is try and get back to the postseason next year... So let's be objective and discuss where we go from here...

I am. B| But I feel much better today than I did yesterday. It still sucks.

Good write up. I agree with most points. However. 

8 hours ago, Epyon said:

1. Offensive line. It's not getting the push we need it to be getting and the run game isn't a strength right now.

3. Running back: Our running game this season has for the most part been a liability... and it's a top down problem atm...

-Howard is a significantly more talented running back than what he was able to show this season, but I am really skeptical whether or not he's a fit for this offense. It's a terrible thing to say, because I really think he can walk onto a better situation and be one of those kinds of players that the media slams the Bears for getting rid of.... but I'm not at all convinced his future is here.

1 and 3 kind of go hand in hand.

I disagree. The OL was the best unit on the entire offense and the most consistent to boot.

More times than not, Nagy's play-calling and personnel selection put the OL behind the eight ball even before the sball was snapped by choosing to only line up under center with Howard on the field and running it up the gut seemingly every time.  This tips the defense and tells the opposing safeties to move up as a last line of defense, while the LBers only have to stay at home in their gaps with no worries and the DL only have to win their one-on-one battles at the POA in order to stop it. It became too obvious. 

FYI, 76% of all runs were from under center, the most in the league, while ofcourse only 24% of all pass plays were from under center (least amount). To put those into better perspective, the league averages among them were 68/32, respectively, while very similar offenses (KC and PHI) were 67/33 and 64/36, respectively.

On the other end of the spectrum though, Howard may have been worse if had Nagy ran him from the Shotgun too often because this plays against his strengths as a downhill runner. 

Nagy needs to rethink his strategy a bit.

9 hours ago, Epyon said:

RT-Massie is a FA this year and probably our weakest link....

-RG-Kyle Long, despite being a "face of the franchise" is overpaid, frequently hurt, and (without a rewatch) was the guy on the line I noticed get beat last night.

I thought Massie did a pretty good job overall. Much better than I expected before the season. I for one am all for an extension while still going OL in the draft.

Long, I agree. If Pace and Nagy are serious about going younger then they have to start looking to replace him. A 30 year old big man with a 40 year old body is not going to hold up for much longer. Wouldn't mind keeping him for another year or 2 though IF he his willing to take a restructured deal.

Sidenot: Gotta give Hiestand alot of credit for his work with Whitehair on his botched snaps. Physically, Whitehair has always been solid but mentally he was a wreck last year. I mean, you still seen a few botches this season but it was not practically (and damn near literally) every game like it was.  

9 hours ago, Epyon said:

2. WR:  We have the most receiving talent I've ever seen on a Bears roster.... and people just weren't getting open vs a bad Eagles secondary. I have no roster moves to make off of this, as our worst rostered WR is Bellamy, who honestly seems to fit well in this system... and a promising future guy in Wims.... but I do still feel like this needs to continue to be an area we look at making investments.

Agreed on all accounts here. Not creating any space has been an off and on with them too throughout the season. Gotta alot of hope in WIms. And I thought I would never say this but bellamy might be the most improved skill position player on the team. Had only 2 drops all season, made some solid catches, good blocks on the outside and was never a real liability -- albeit somewhat limited snaps.

It's too bad WHite never came through like we thought he might have a chance to do.

9 hours ago, Epyon said:

-Mizzell has been used as a key fixture in the offense, for reasons I cannot possibly fathom. I legitimately cannot fathom a single instance where he's made a "splash" play, and I genuinely don't understand his role on the team right now..... beyond being worse than Cohen in every conceivable fashion... and frequently getting snaps/reps/ touches that should have gone to Cohen.... I've heard speculation that Mizzell is simply a placeholder for a as of yet unnamed RB draft pick.... Well that pick needs to happen, because Mizzell isn't working at all. Cohen should be getting those snaps or we need to someone to put on the field lined up elsewhere to take them.

Mizzell is a future HoFer.

10 hours ago, Epyon said:

-Amukamara is aging and frequently eating DPI calls. Tolliver is the next man up... the question is whether or not that is enough.... Questionable that this is addressed this offseason, but it needs to be something accounted for.

Between this and Callahan's injury history, we have to go CB in the draft and hope Tolliver continues to develops. 

That said, I would like to keep Prince for another year. All things considered he was never a real liability out there. He's a physical back who is not afraid of contact -- for better or worse.

10 hours ago, Epyon said:

2. OLB: Outside of Mack, do we really have anything here?

-Floyd is coming up on needing to be paid, and I'm not really sure he's worth being paid the amount of money he'll probably command.

You get rid of Floyd then we're back to being in need of another pass rusher, which is what this defense is predicated on.

10 hours ago, Epyon said:

-The elephant in the room defensively is whether or not Amos is worth paying... and I'm not sure that he is.

I'm on the fence as well but I'm not sure we find a better replacement either. In his defense, much like Prince, he was not a noticeable liability either. In fact, he helped Prince alot this season too. Both played on the left side all season. So which one benefited from who? I'd say Prince before Amos.

10 hours ago, Epyon said:

1. FG Kicker:

-Even with Parkey's contract situation... I don't see any way you can keep him here next year.

2. Punter

O'Donnell had an excellent punt yesterday, and it might be the first time I've ever been able to say that... I can't imagine he's the best we could do.

Agreed on both accounts.

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Posted (edited)

Nice post.  My thoughts below:

OL: Even though he played well at times, Massie was the weak link of the line this season and he's a pending FA, so unless he's willing to take a team friendly deal to return then I see the Bears moving on and giving a guy like Rashaad Coward a shot, along with drafting a lineman in the mid-late rounds to compete with him at RT.  Other than that Bears would be wise to re-sign Witzmann as depth as he did fill in decently for Kyle Long and improved as the season went on.  The rest of the o-line is in tact, and aside from maybe asking him to restructure his contract, I don't see the Bears moving on from Long.  Pace should also look to extend Whitehair now before he costs more next year at the end of his deal.

WR: I believe Bears are in a good spot here.  I don't expect Kevin White back after he was unable to crack the starting lineup for most of the season and the writing is on the wall that he is looking for a fresh start somewhere else.  I would re-sign Bellamy as depth despite him not being a fan favorite.  Other than that I expect Wims to be more of a regular part of the rotation next year as he has flashed a few times in the limited playing time he received.  Expect another depth signing or late draft pick as camp bodies, but I really like ARob, Miller, Gabriel and Wims as the top-4 guys.

RB: I'm not convinced that Howard is finished in Chicago. He'll only be making $720k in the last year of his rookie deal and will be highly motivated in 2019 to earn that paycheck.  The Bears also don't have anyone respectable behind him that can handle a heavy run workload.  I can see the team investing a mid/late pick into the position but I still think Howard is the starter heading into 2019.  Unless the Bears can get good value for Howard in a trade and have a good plan for his replacement (not Kareem Hunt who I love btw) then don't be stupid and potentially make a situation worse than it is.

OLB:   Thank God we have Mack otherwise we might be in trouble here.  I still believe in Leonard Floyd and I expect the Bears will exercise his 5th year option because he can be highly effective when he gets 1 on 1 blocking, but other than that the cupboard is pretty bare and Aaron Lynch is a FA who we might not be able to re-sign due to the cap.  Let's hope Fangio stays so that it's more likely that Lynch re-signs on a team friendly deal.  The depth here is a little weak. Irving is just a guy and the jury is out on Fitts.  Not sure Bears can do much to really improve this spot in the offseason other than hoping one of the younger guys steps up and improves.

CB:  I think Bears are in a decent spot here provided that they can re-sign Callahan to a fair deal (see Robey-Coleman contract).  Fuller and Prince both had outstanding seasons and I expect them to carry that momentum over into 2019 again.  Liked enough out of what I saw from Tolliver to be comfortable with him as depth, but the team could use another young player here.  Pace has done well in finding late round gems at this position and Donatell has done a fantastic job coaching them up.  Let's hope that continues.

S:  I really like Amos but it might come down to how much of a discount is he willing to take to return.  The good news is that the safety market last off season was generally quiet and the demand to over pay for safety play has seemed to go down in recent years.  On the other hand I was pretty impressed from what saw out of Deon Bush late in the season, but I don't know if he can replace Amos' physicality back there.  This is the one spot besides RT where I can see a new starter in 2019.

K:  I don't care how much it costs to get rid of the guy, Parkey needs to go.  He had multiple opportunities to get his kicking right as the year went on and couldn't overcome his issues.  It seems to be a mental thing that I don't think you can trust will just magically get better.  Sucks for the guy but hey at least he made his $.  Moving on is probably best for both parties.

P:  O'Donnell is just far too inconsistent for me to want to pay him on a multi year deal.  Ultimately I wouldn't be surprised if Bears brought him back but I think they need to start scouting some young punters who will be cheaper and probably just as effective if not better than this guy.

 

 

Edited by topwop1

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I think the Bears can afford 1 6-7/season contract, so it will come down to how much Callahan requires to re-sign and how much Amos demands.

If Callahan is cheaper coming off the injury, then he and Amos can be back together.

More than likely they have to choose between the 2.

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18 minutes ago, WindyCity said:

I think the Bears can afford 1 6-7/season contract, so it will come down to how much Callahan requires to re-sign and how much Amos demands.

If Callahan is cheaper coming off the injury, then he and Amos can be back together.

More than likely they have to choose between the 2.

If they're forced to choose between the two then my gut tells me they will go with Amos because he'll likely be cheaper and has only missed 4 games in 4 seasons whereas Callahan has missed far more time and is a year older.  Also Amos was a draft pick whereas Callahan was undrafted.  A lot of times teams are more willing to part ways with UDFAs.  See Cam Meredith last year.

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12 hours ago, Epyon said:

 

Problems to address:

Offense: I think this is the biggest area of concern honestly... because I'm skeptical any of these things get fixed by simple scheme familiarity or Mitch having more experience.

1. Offensive line. It's not getting the push we need it to be getting and the run game isn't a strength right now.

-RT-Massie is a FA this year and probably our weakest link....

-RG-Kyle Long, despite being a "face of the franchise" is overpaid, frequently hurt, and (without a rewatch) was the guy on the line I noticed get beat last night.

These are excellent points.  Been making them myself.  

12 hours ago, Epyon said:

2. WR:  We have the most receiving talent I've ever seen on a Bears roster.... and people just weren't getting open vs a bad Eagles secondary. I have no roster moves to make off of this, as our worst rostered WR is Bellamy, who honestly seems to fit well in this system... and a promising future guy in Wims.... but I do still feel like this needs to continue to be an area we look at making investments.

Disagree here.  Receiving core is as good as it is going to get.  Aside from Robinson they had a disappointing last game, but you can't judge it off one game.  I think they were banged up and healthy back ups would have done better as they showed previous week in MN.  

12 hours ago, Epyon said:

3. Running back: Our running game this season has for the most part been a liability... and it's a top down problem atm...

-Howard is a significantly more talented running back than what he was able to show this season, but I am really skeptical whether or not he's a fit for this offense. It's a terrible thing to say, because I really think he can walk onto a better situation and be one of those kinds of players that the media slams the Bears for getting rid of.... but I'm not at all convinced his future is here.

-Mizzell has been used as a key fixture in the offense, for reasons I cannot possibly fathom. I legitimately cannot fathom a single instance where he's made a "splash" play, and I genuinely don't understand his role on the team right now..... beyond being worse than Cohen in every conceivable fashion... and frequently getting snaps/reps/ touches that should have gone to Cohen.... I've heard speculation that Mizzell is simply a placeholder for a as of yet unnamed RB draft pick.... Well that pick needs to happen, because Mizzell isn't working at all. Cohen should be getting those snaps or we need to someone to put on the field lined up elsewhere to take them.

Howard has shown beyond a shadow of a doubt he can be a good back in this league in his first two seasons and in flashes this year.  Problem is either he is not a fit or he isn't being used properly.

Agree 100% on Mizzell.  Shown me nothing.

12 hours ago, Epyon said:

 

Defense:

1. Corner

-Amukamara is aging and frequently eating DPI calls. Tolliver is the next man up... the question is whether or not that is enough.... Questionable that this is addressed this offseason, but it needs to be something accounted for.

Corners are hard to find.  Prince was above average.  They got so lucky finding Tolliver.  Or skill whatever.  They have him.  He probably has one more good year in him.  They need to figure out where Tolliver fits.  He needs reps.  

12 hours ago, Epyon said:

2. OLB: Outside of Mack, do we really have anything here?

-Floyd is coming up on needing to be paid, and I'm not really sure he's worth being paid the amount of money he'll probably command.

Floyd was really good down the stretch.  He was hurt early in the year.  Not sure he is worth big money good.  I think you pick up his 5th year which is big money, but doable for a season.  Leaning against a resign.

12 hours ago, Epyon said:

3. Strong Safety

-The elephant in the room defensively is whether or not Amos is worth paying... and I'm not sure that he is.

Tough call on Amos and Callahan (not mentioned).  I think DBs are often a product of their front.  Philly DBs are not good and they played well with Philly pass rush.

12 hours ago, Epyon said:

ST

1. FG Kicker:

-Even with Parkey's contract situation... I don't see any way you can keep him here next year.

Answer is probably bring in competition and see how he does.  You may have to live with him given that contract assuming he isn't broken.  If he is broken you have no choice, but to move on. 

12 hours ago, Epyon said:

2. Punter

O'Donnell had an excellent punt yesterday, and it might be the first time I've ever been able to say that... I can't imagine he's the best we could do.

I agree.  A lot of people love him and he has really nice placement sometimes.  But I can recall several times he had opportunities on a short field to pin teams and didn't and several more where Bears were really backed up and he didn't boom a kick to get them out of trouble.

I think we can do better at punter. 

 

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34 minutes ago, topwop1 said:

If they're forced to choose between the two then my gut tells me they will go with Amos because he'll likely be cheaper and has only missed 4 games in 4 seasons whereas Callahan has missed far more time and is a year older.  Also Amos was a draft pick whereas Callahan was undrafted.  A lot of times teams are more willing to part ways with UDFAs.  See Cam Meredith last year.

Best ability is often availability.  Guys that can't stay healthy are a liability fair or unfair.

Why I am not big on Kyle Long.  You can't pay people big money to watch the game from sidelines or training room.  

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4 minutes ago, dll2000 said:

Best ability is often availability.  Guys that can't stay healthy are a liability fair or unfair.

Why I am not big on Kyle Long.  You can't pay people big money to watch the game from sidelines or training room.  

Agreed but this team is far better with Long, even if he has only been available on average for 76% of games his entire career.

Plus he would cost the team $3M in dead cap if he were to be released this off season.  IMO they are better off keeping him for 2019 at his $8.5M cap hit because the options to replace him aren't any better, especially with a lack of draft capital this coming draft.

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4 minutes ago, topwop1 said:

Agreed but this team is far better with Long, even if he has only been available on average for 76% of games his entire career.

Plus he would cost the team $3M in dead cap if he were to be released this off season.  IMO they are better off keeping him for 2019 at his $8.5M cap hit because the options to replace him aren't any better, especially with a lack of draft capital this coming draft.

You can't take an average.  Injuries are cumulative and become increasingly hard to avoid and come back from.

It makes sense to keep him on paper, but you are gambling he is going to play.  Plus, Witzmann after his first start or two was IMO playing as good as Long was early in season or played in Eagles game.  Long had a good game against MN.  He played horrible in Eagles game.  

Long is costing big money, isn't playing great much of time, and highly likely to miss games.  Trade him for anything and move on.

 

 

 

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Massie is tough.  Guy isn't that good, but OTs are really hard to find.

Easy to say let's not sign him, but question becomes who replaces him?  You have to have that answer.  Plus depth.

 

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12 minutes ago, dll2000 said:

You can't take an average.  Injuries are cumulative and become increasingly hard to avoid and come back from.

It makes sense to keep him on paper, but you are gambling he is going to play.  Plus, Witzmann after his first start or two was IMO playing as good as Long was early in season or played in Eagles game.  Long had a good game against MN.  He played horrible in Eagles game.  

Long is costing big money, isn't playing great much of time, and highly likely to miss games.  Trade him for anything and move on.

 

 

 

He did not play horrible.  He let Fletcher Cox beat him soundly on one specific play, but Cox is one of the elite DTs in the game and is a perennial All Pro.  Plus this was only Long's second game back from what appeared to be a pretty bad foot injury.  The entire o-line had a mediocre game Sunday, but that was to be expected going up against that d-line, which is one of the best in the NFL aside from the Bears.

If you trade Long as you say then you better have a way better contingency plan than just Witzmann who was pretty up and down.

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Posted (edited)
23 minutes ago, topwop1 said:

He did not play horrible.  He let Fletcher Cox beat him soundly on one specific play, but Cox is one of the elite DTs in the game and is a perennial All Pro.  Plus this was only Long's second game back from what appeared to be a pretty bad foot injury.  The entire o-line had a mediocre game Sunday, but that was to be expected going up against that d-line, which is one of the best in the NFL aside from the Bears.

If you trade Long as you say then you better have a way better contingency plan than just Witzmann who was pretty up and down.

It was more than one play.

You can't talk like you 'have' Long even if you keep him.  Odds are better than not that he will be out for several critical games and less than 100% when he does play.

You also have to factor in that he isn't likely to practice much.  That hurts team continuity and communication. 

When he does play you aren't likely to get all pro Long.   You mostly get just another guy.  A really expensive guy.  

 

Edited by dll2000

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Taking a look at how the starters performed overall, I can't think of one player who was a clear and cut constant liability all season, except for Parkey. 

Honestly, am I missing something? Or is this the first time in Bears history where they are going into the off-season without a single player we would all collectively agree and point to and say...."he was garbage, he has to go and be replaced immediately". Couldn't have even said the same in '06 or '12 IIRC because we still had problems at WR, S, OL and QB

 

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22 minutes ago, JustAnotherFan said:

Taking a look at how the starters performed overall, I can't think of one player who was a clear and cut constant liability all season, except for Parkey. 

Honestly, am I missing something? Or is this the first time in Bears history where they are going into the off-season without a single player we would all collectively agree and point to and say...."he was garbage, he has to go and be replaced immediately". Couldn't have even said the same in '06 or '12 IIRC because we still had problems at WR, S, OL and QB

 

Biggest surprise  of non-rookies was Bellamy who had a better season than any of us expected and seemed to be a team leader.  Did great on special teams and had some really nice catches.    

Biggest disappointment was Howard and running game.  Not sure that was Howards fault.  

I honestly think Fangio, for all well deserved credit he is getting, under performed for him and this team.  I think he coached better with less talent previous two seasons and is capable of better coaching.  I think he could have done more to cause havoc and confuse opposing QBs and O lines with athletes he had at his disposal and went vanilla and 'safe' more often than not.   We were in prevent and/or rushing 3 in a lot of big situations this year.  Having 10 players out there and not calling TO in playoffs is inexcusable.  He knows Nagy isn't watching defense and trusts him with that.  

Not saying he did bad.  He did great.  I just think he could have done better. 

I think offense would have been better had Shaheen not had that untimely injury.  I think that really messed with what they were envisioning offense to be in offseason and what we saw throughout training camp.   Not that Shaheen was great, but they were going to run a lot out of 2 TE and set up everything else out of that.   You especially saw it when they practiced in Denver.  Those were key practices and showed how offense was envisioned to be run at least for beginning of 2018.   It was going to be their jab punch that set up all the other punches.  That just messed up the whole time learning time table that Nagy had set up.  Get these reads done and down and move on to that.  He was forced to move to 3 WR sets and go almost exclusively from there right before seasons started.

Every year is different.  

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