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dll2000

Glass Half Full 2020

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Posted (edited)

So in 2019 I was super positive on Bears.  I made a case all offseason that they were SB contenders.  Not favorites, but contenders with a shot. 

That was if everything went right.  I had a series of bullet points.  Almost none of them, except Robinson being improved, hit.  BUT, they all could have.  They were not ridiculous or just wishy washy points.  A lot of problems were human caused and could have gone either direction if a butterfly had not been killed in January in Taiwan.   

After attending a camp practice, my internal opinion really soured.  They just were not hitting on any cylinders offensively and it carried into season.  Obviously I was dead wrong on most of my points.  

Now after 2019 most people are down on Bears.  Opposite of last year.   But I don't like pessimism.  I was going to say, I am not a pessimistic person, but that would probably be a lie.  At least partially.  I can be very pessimistic, I just don't like to be.

So here is why Bears can be better than the poor expectations they are getting in 2020 and can actually be quite good:

QB:

I think whoever wins QB competition in 2020 is going to be better than the QB play we had in 2019.  But Dan, it could be MT and he is same guy that sucked in 2019!  Nobody is same year to year.  If MT, against the odds, wins the competition it means Nagy thinks he is better than Foles and has improved enough to keep the job.  He would be staking his own future on a guy that stunk in 2019 and that would speak volumes.   If Foles wins the job, it is a defacto improvement over MT because Foles won the job over MT.  Presumably a somewhat improved MT too.  Either way the QB position should be an improvement over what we saw last year and likely an improvement over 2018 QB play as well.

OL:

A large reason the QB play was so bad last year was poor line and TE play. I don't know or care what analytics say about how well or poorly the O line did, I can see that they missed way too many assignments, got flat beat often and did not create adequate running lanes for run game.   I include TE in that mix.   I think Ifedi at RG will be an upgrade over a broken Long, Larson, or the inexperienced 2019 Coward (its not impossible Coward wins RG job with a hard working offseason - but likely it goes to Ifedi).   I think Daniels will be light years better than he was in 2019.  I think Whitehair will be better than he was in 2019.  Leno and Massie, I don't have a ton of faith in.  They lack talent of the other 3, but, I think or more accurately hope, they won't be worse than 2019.  So that is 3 of 5 that should be better.  

Just eliminating mistakes alone would be a huge improvement.  I think they will do that.  Maybe not in terms of penalties, especially not with adding Ifedi who has a bad rep for penalties, but in terms of assignment mistakes.

I will say that Foles needs a good pocket to show his deep accuracy.  That is a serious worry.  But this is a glass half full post.  

RB:

As O Line goes so goes the RBs.  Montgomery and Cohen should look much improved if O line is playing better.  I think they are both talented football players, although Cohen had a down year in 2019. 

WR:

Robinson showed what I was saying in last years offseason.  This guy is low key one of better WRs in the league when healthy.  He is still just starting his prime and has never had good QB play.  We may not have seen the best Robinson yet.

Miller has been victimized by bad throws eliminating his big plays (which he would feed on) and also his multiple shoulder injuries.  I think he is an emotional player that has been a bit beaten down by the lack of success he desires and envisioned for himself coming into he league.   If we can get him going I think whole league may be surprised by how good he can actually be.  On other hand, if he keeps getting setbacks he may fall off.   He could be largest beneficiary of improved downfield accuracy.

Having Ginn I think at least makes teams keep someone deep at all times when he is on the field.  I would have to go back and look, but it seems teams stopped respecting Gabriel last season as a serious deep threat to get behind them.  I don't know if it was him or because they didn't fear MT's deep ball, the O lines ability to protect or a little of each.

TE:

Say what you want about Graham being over paid or over the hill he is still an upgrade at U or Y over anything Bears have had last 3 years.  Harris appears to be a modest upgrade at Y. And Kmet is a promising high level rookie athlete at Y as well.   Holtz came in late and performed okay, and least brought something.   Horstead showed flashes to me in both preseason and in season that he can be a legit talent in this league as an exciting receiving TE.  My hope is they don't ignore his development. 

TE position isn't wowing you at this time, but it IS an improvement.  A significant one, over 2019. 

DL:

Obviously loss of Hicks was a huge blow.  Williams performed really well to start, but kind of tapered off.  Bilal regressed some with his injured hand after his promising rookie season.  Goldman played too many snaps while banged up throughout year to be as effective as he would like.  A healthier Bilil and Goldman and having Hicks back brings the DL up to near elite status once again.  At least while they remain healthy.  

RRH can make dynamic plays on occasion too, but needs more consistency.  We need Abdullah or Jenkins to step up bring something to table this year.   Abdullah has looked good at every opportunity in preseason games, Williams just looked a bit better and kept him down.  Lets hope he grabs his shot this year.

Edge:

If Quinn can play in a 3-4 like he played in Dallas last season and Mack is Mack then Edge just improved a great deal.  A great deal.   Bears have not had 2 great edge rushers in years.  In 2018 it was Hicks and Mack.   The legit question is are Bears going to let Quinn play with his hand in dirt off edge like he likes.  And if he doesn't can he be as effective? If yes, the Floyd/Quinn swap is potentially, low key, largest upgrade on the team and underrated in terms of team impact.  

Back ups are back ups and I am not expecting much from them except to spell the starters here. 

ILB:

Trevathan and Smith on paper are best ILBs duo in the league.  But Smith was up and down last year because of his 'personal issues' and Trevathan is somewhat injury prone.  Glass half full, they dominate, because they have talent to do so.

CB:

Losing Prince is big, but they drafted, by all accounts, a highly talented replacement.  Toliver has not shown a large drop off in play from Prince when he is in there and Burns is an elite athlete that has not found his grove in league yet.  2018 Prince may be better than whoever starts in his spot in 2020, but the younger guys this season may have beaten him out regardless if he was here.

Fuller needs to keep playing at level he is at and hopefully improves.  

Skrine played well enough last year at NCB to be satisfactory.

S:

Jackson regressed a little in 2019 not having the defined simple role in Pagano's backfield that he had in Fangio's.  Hopefully he gets back to elite playmaking that has marked his career and Pagano lets him do what he does best.

Gipson should give about same as what HHCD did and I think Bush can start in this league as a SS given opportunity. 

Coaching:

Nagy says he screwed up in 2019.  He says they should have played preseason and he messed up in other ways too he didn't want to be specific on.  That to me is good news.  That this guy is self evaluating and trying to fix past mistakes in team preparation.

He says they are going to compete at positions and play the preseason and use it to get better.   That could mean more injuries, but obviously it is something that needs to be done to see where guys are legitimately at against live competition.  Rather than finding out on game day.

I think it helps that he has added more of HIS guys to staff now.  Guys he doesn't have to teach or get on same page with.  Guys he has history with and with shared mentors.  That will make a large difference.  

Heistand has an amazing rep in O line circles, but last year was a horribly coached unit.  No way around that.  You have to believe O line coaching will be an upgrade.  Coach will not be saddled with a broken Long all offseason and into beginning of year either.  

Pagano is a smart defensive coach and he has now had a full year and offseason with these guys.  I think that familiarity will pay dividends.  I think it also helps that he has had a year with Nagy now and probably has his trust and can be more free and relaxed and outspoken on various matters and add his voice as a former HC.

Go Bears!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

Edited by dll2000
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I’m glad ARob is playing well now. I was his biggest hater year one. 

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, dll2000 said:

Nagy says he screwed up in 2019.  He says they should have played preseason and he messed up in other ways too he didn't want to be specific on.  That to me is good news.  That this guy is self evaluating and trying to fix past mistakes in team preparation.

Yes, it's good that he learned but the thing that bothers me the most about this is that it took him 2 years to realize that not playing his starters in preseason was a mistake. In 2018, he didn't play them like they he should have and it took the offense 4-5 weeks to start to gel and that should have been a eye opener right there.

I'm hoping Pagano sticks with not changing a whole lot of what Fangio had already implemented and keeps making only minimal changes. 

Edited by JustAnotherFan

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8 hours ago, dll2000 said:

If Quinn can play in a 3-4 like he played in Dallas last season and Mack is Mack then Edge just improved a great deal.  A great deal.   Bears have not had 2 great edge rushers in years.  In 2018 it was Hicks and Mack.   The legit question is are Bears going to let Quinn play with his hand in dirt off edge like he likes.  And if he doesn't can he be as effective? If yes, the Floyd/Quinn swap is potentially, low key, largest upgrade on the team and underrated in terms of team impact.  

A lot to unpack from the OP, and I'll do more on it later. Very good topic. I'll start with this, for today.

Quinn will be an OLB. As I said before, he's not big enough to be a 3-4 DE. And the Bears would be stupid to have signed him as one, after releasing Floyd. I don't like the 3-4, and I wish the Bears didn't run it, but we are where we are. The linemen in a 3-4 are just too specialized, and if a good one gets hurt? Hey, we all saw what happened last year! Right? 

Quinn will be fine as an OLB, though. Mack will bounce back from last year, and Hicks should be healthy. Quinn will be fine. 

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On 5/19/2020 at 12:29 PM, dll2000 said:

I think whoever wins QB competition in 2020 is going to be better than the QB play we had in 2019.  But Dan, it could be MT and he is same guy that sucked in 2019!  Nobody is same year to year.  If MT, against the odds, wins the competition it means Nagy thinks he is better than Foles and has improved enough to keep the job.  He would be staking his own future on a guy that stunk in 2019 and that would speak volumes.   If Foles wins the job, it is a defacto improvement over MT because Foles won the job over MT.  Presumably a somewhat improved MT too.  Either way the QB position should be an improvement over what we saw last year and likely an improvement over 2018 QB play as well.

I said it in another thread (forget which)--what we're going through with Mitch is kind of unprecedented. At least, as far as I'm aware of. I'm pretty convinced that, weird or not, Mitch has fallen off a cliff he simply can't climb back up, and he'll probably be a second stringer forever. But...as the situation is unprecedented, you never know. Foles will be a fine Plan B, though. And will almost certainly be better than 2019 Mitch, and likely even better than 2018 Mitch.

On 5/19/2020 at 12:29 PM, dll2000 said:

Gipson should give about same as what HHCD did and I think Bush can start in this league as a SS given opportunity. 

I disagree with this point, actually. I think Gipson is more a traditional thumper type than HHCD ever will be. I think HHCD is more like Jackson, and that Pagano kind of flipped the two back and forth last season. Now, that doesn't totally explain Jackson's disturbing dropoff last year, but it has to factor into things. 

In my previous post, I said I was certain Quinn will be an OLB, and that he'll perform just fine. One thing I forgot to mention is that if the rookie Trevis Gipson has a decent season, has a positive impact--that, combined with a return to form by Mack, changes an aspect of the defense that was a question mark from week to week last season into something formidable. The old adage is "you can't pass if you're on your ***", and I betcha the Bears are going to be knocking a lot of opposing quarterbacks on their ***** next season...

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8 hours ago, Heinz D. said:

I said it in another thread (forget which)--what we're going through with Mitch is kind of unprecedented. At least, as far as I'm aware of. I'm pretty convinced that, weird or not, Mitch has fallen off a cliff he simply can't climb back up, and he'll probably be a second stringer forever. But...as the situation is unprecedented, you never know. Foles will be a fine Plan B, though. And will almost certainly be better than 2019 Mitch, and likely even better than 2018 Mitch.

I disagree with this point, actually. I think Gipson is more a traditional thumper type than HHCD ever will be. I think HHCD is more like Jackson, and that Pagano kind of flipped the two back and forth last season. Now, that doesn't totally explain Jackson's disturbing dropoff last year, but it has to factor into things. 

In my previous post, I said I was certain Quinn will be an OLB, and that he'll perform just fine. One thing I forgot to mention is that if the rookie Trevis Gipson has a decent season, has a positive impact--that, combined with a return to form by Mack, changes an aspect of the defense that was a question mark from week to week last season into something formidable. The old adage is "you can't pass if you're on your ***", and I betcha the Bears are going to be knocking a lot of opposing quarterbacks on their ***** next season...

I haven’t watched safety Gipson much.  I head an interview of him where he describes himself as more a free safety than a box safety. 

Edge rookie Gipson I think is a project.  Who knows though.  Maybe he will surprise.  Pace seems to always be able to pull a mid round surprise. Maybe it’s him.  

 

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56 minutes ago, dll2000 said:

Edge rookie Gipson I think is a project.  Who knows though.  Maybe he will surprise.  Pace seems to always be able to pull a mid round surprise. Maybe it’s him.  

He has the measurables. It's not out of the realm of possibility that with his teammates, and Pagano as coach, that he actually makes a mark next year. 

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2 hours ago, dll2000 said:

I haven’t watched safety Gipson much.  I head an interview of him where he describes himself as more a free safety than a box safety. 

Edge rookie Gipson I think is a project.  Who knows though.  Maybe he will surprise.  Pace seems to always be able to pull a mid round surprise. Maybe it’s him.  

 

 

1 hour ago, Heinz D. said:

He has the measurables. It's not out of the realm of possibility that with his teammates, and Pagano as coach, that he actually makes a mark next year. 

On images and highlights his arms look LONG. If he can use those to his advantage + tutelage from Mack, you never know. In year 1, I'd gladly take 4+ sacks from the guy.

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New ESPN projections: https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/29196114/2020-nfl-season-projections-chances-make-super-bowl-win-division-land-top-draft-spot-more

13. Vikings, projected 8.6 wins, chance to reach playoffs 54%

15. Packers, projected 8.1 wins, chance to reach playoffs 43%

21. Bears, projected 8.0 wins, chance to reach playoffs 41%

28. Lions, projected 6.6 wins, chance to reach playoffs 17%

They note the Bears have the third easiest projected schedule, so that may be why theyre ranked 21 but essentially have the same projections as the Packers. 

Overall I feel pretty confident that Foles is going to bring improvement so most projections are on the low end. At least this one isn't as outlandishly low as some of the others.

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ESPN projections are click-bait and are about as useful as any one of us coming up with projections. 

Notice how ALL of their rounded projections last year ranged from 6-10 wins on average for each team? 

Now, if any of us were to be asked to project this season for each team but the lowest they can be is 6 wins and the highest being 10 then I'm pretty sure we could all get a job with ESPN for this article every year.

 

Tm W 2019 ESPN Projections Dif +/-
New England Patriots* 12 10.4 2
Kansas City Chiefs* 12 10.4 2
New Orleans Saints* 13 10.1 3
Los Angeles Rams 9 10.0 -1
Philadelphia Eagles* 9 9.3 0
Chicago Bears 8 9.1 -1
Indianapolis Colts 7 9.1 -2
Cleveland Browns 6 8.8 -3
Los Angeles Chargers 5 8.8 -4
Green Bay Packers* 13 8.6 4
Houston Texans* 10 8.6 1
Baltimore Ravens* 14 8.5 6
Minnesota Vikings+ 10 8.5 2
Pittsburgh Steelers 8 8.5 -1
Atlanta Falcons 7 8.4 -1
Seattle Seahawks+ 11 8.3 3
Dallas Cowboys 8 8.3 0
Tennessee Titans+ 9 8.0 1
San Francisco 49ers* 13 7.7 5
Carolina Panthers 5 7.7 -3
Jacksonville Jaguars 6 7.5 -2
New York Jets 7 7.2 0
Denver Broncos 7 7.0 0
Detroit Lions 3 7.0 -4
Buffalo Bills+ 10 6.7 3
Oakland Raiders 7 6.5 1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 7 6.4 1
New York Giants 4 6.3 -2
Washington Redskins 3 6.2 -3
Cincinnati Bengals 2 6.0 -4
Miami Dolphins 5 5.6 -1
Arizona Cardinals 5 5.5 -1
Edited by JustAnotherFan

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Correlation between ESPN Projected Wins and Actual Wins: 0.634

I guess the best you could say is they're "directionally accurate". Anyone paying attention to the NFL could probably produce similar results.

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53 minutes ago, abstract_thought said:

Correlation between ESPN Projected Wins and Actual Wins: 0.634

I guess the best you could say is they're "directionally accurate". Anyone paying attention to the NFL could probably produce similar results.

Probably. Please tell me that goofiness isn't behind their pay wall...

Edited by Heinz D.

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My glass half full prediction is that the offense is straight up good. 

Our TE position was the worst in the league last year. Graham is overpaid but him and Kmet are HUGE upgrades from UDFAs

Miller will have a healthy season finally. We all know Ginn is old but he will be 3rd WR and probably the 5th or 6th option behind the RB's and TE's

Ifedi will be a competent OG

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On 5/27/2020 at 6:52 PM, MonserinNC said:

My glass half full prediction is that the offense is straight up good. 

Our TE position was the worst in the league last year. Graham is overpaid but him and Kmet are HUGE upgrades from UDFAs

Miller will have a healthy season finally. We all know Ginn is old but he will be 3rd WR and probably the 5th or 6th option behind the RB's and TE's

Ifedi will be a competent OG

Agree on all fronts. There is absolutely no way we're going to see a repeat of last year. Now...how good of an offensive does that mean? We'll have to wait and find out. 

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On 5/27/2020 at 7:52 PM, MonserinNC said:

My glass half full prediction is that the offense is straight up good. 

Our TE position was the worst in the league last year. Graham is overpaid but him and Kmet are HUGE upgrades from UDFAs

Miller will have a healthy season finally. We all know Ginn is old but he will be 3rd WR and probably the 5th or 6th option behind the RB's and TE's

Ifedi will be a competent OG

Everything went wrong last year and we still won 8 games against a tough schedule. With an improved roster and a new staff on the offensive side I can see 9-10 wins. 

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