Must-win games ahead on Bears' schedule

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Must-win games ahead on Bears' schedule

Three straight losses have left the Bears decidedly on the outside of the playoffs looking in. They are not playing well enough of offense to offset bonehead mistakes and have gone from 7-3 and in control of a wild-card to a longshot. Only the 1979 team lost three in a row and still reached the postseason. This team will need a lot of losing help in Atlanta and Detroit.

Sept. 11, Atlanta Falcons (8-5) -- W 30-12

Jay Cutler puts up 107.8 passer rating to go with Matt Fortes 158 total yards. Defense holds Matt Ryan and Falcons O without a TD.
Sept. 18, @ New Orleans Saints (10-3) -- L 13-30

Forte nets 166 total yards but Mike Martz eschews the run, Cutler is sacked six times, five in the fourth quarter.
Sept. 25, Green Bay Packers (13-0) -- L 17-27

More Martz mystery: nine run calls for Forte net two yards, Aaron Rodgers controls the game and the ball for 37 minutes 29 seconds.
Oct. 2, Carolina Panthers (4-9) -- W 34-29
Forte runs for 205 yards, Cam Newton passes for 374 yards and Panthers rush for 169. Devin Hester punt return and D.J. Moore INT provide winning points.

Mon. Oct. 10, @ Detroit Lions (8-5) -- L 24-13

Big plays and poor plays get safeties Chris Harris and Brandon Meriweather benched. Defensive collapses overshadow dismal OL play.
Sun., Oct. 16, Minnesota Vikings (2-11) -- W 39-10

Cutler throws 48 yards for TD to Hester on third play from scrimmage and Hester goes 98 yards with a KOR while defense sacks Donovan McNabb five times, once for a safety.

Sun., Oct. 23, noon @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-9) -- W 24-18 (London)

Bears intercept four passes, get out to a 21-5 but then fade in the fourth quarter on both offense and defense, the latter against an offense missing both top RBs and others. But a W is a W.

Oct. 30, Off week

Mon., Nov. 7, 7:30 p.m. @ Philadelphia Eagles (5-8) -- W 30-24

A halftime lead, then a fall in the third quarter before 13 unanswered points in a statement win. Forte uncharacteristically loses 2 fumbles but rushes for 133 yards, Cutler throws two TD passes and defense makes stops to finish.

Sun., Nov. 13, 3:15 p.m. Detroit Lions (8-5) -- W 37-13

The offense scored seven, the defense 14 and special teams 16 and all three stood up to occasional thuggishness from assorted Lions. Pulls the Bears even with Detroit in the standings as Lions lose three of four and Bears now have four straight Ws.
Sun., Nov. 20, 3:15 p.m. San Diego Chargers (6-7) -- W 31-20

Cutler breaks the thumb on his throwing hand and long snapper Pat Mannelly lost for the season with torn ACL. Philip Rivers hands away fifth straight game as defense produces three turnovers in the second half and Bears win their fifth straight.
Sun., Nov. 27, 3:05 p.m. @ Oakland Raiders (7-6) -- L 25-20

Caleb Hanies first NFL start begins badly, with three first-half INTs and poor decisions. But 175 passing yards in the fourth quarter bring the Bears to within an onsides kickoff recovery of going for the win.

Sun., Dec., 4, noon Kansas City Chiefs (5-8) -- L 10-3

The loss of Forte to a knee injury lowlights one of the more dismal overall games of 2011 for a Bears team that had the playoffs within reach but has played its way into jeopardy.

Sun., Dec. 11, 3:05 p.m. @ Denver Broncos (8-5) -- L 13-10 OT

Marion Barber goes out of bounds to give Broncos time to tie at the end of regulation, then fumbles to cost Bears a chance at a winning FG, which Denver makes of his gift. Tim Tebow fourth-quarter passing stuns the defense.

Sun., Dec. 18, noon Seattle Seahawks (6-7) Next: BEARS

Seahawks have won four of their last five and are very much a threat, particularly with Marshawn Lynch one of the top rushers in the NFL over the last six games.

Sun., Dec. 25, 7:20 p.m. @ Green Bay Packers (13-0) Next: at Kansas City

Not even a knee injury to Greg Jennings saves the Raiders from a 30-point annihilation. Packers havent lost a game since Dec. 19 last year. Aaron Rodgers has offense in overdrive and if defense is even just slightly above average, perfection is within reach.

Sun., Jan. 1, noon @ Minnesota Vikings (2-11) Next: vs. New Orleans

Getting 28 points on Detroit without Adrian Peterson was impressive but Vikings have nothing left except start planning for next years draft. New Orleans coming in wont make life any easier.

Want to be in on Bears QB deliberations? 'Look at the film'

Want to be in on Bears QB deliberations? 'Look at the film'

Back in 1992 the Dallas Cowboys were in draft deliberations around the No. 17 spot of the first round, looking for upgrades on defense. A scout made a suggestion that they target Ohio State defensive end Alonzo Spellman, one of the most physically imposing (6-4, 280 pounds) players and best athletes in that draft.
 
Coach Jimmy Johnson responded, "Tell me about the production."
 
Came back the answer: Three years at OSU, nine total sacks.
 
"Oh, please!" Johnson scoffed, calling in cornerback Kevin Smith and leaving Spellman to the Bears at No. 22. Spellman had several respectable seasons but never more than 8.5 sacks in nine NFL seasons.
 
As investment advisers counsel, past performance is not necessarily a predictor of future results. But past performance can be, and an axiom in NFL personnel rooms is, look at the film.
 
CSNChicago.com is doing that as the NFL Scouting Combine approaches (Feb. 29) along with free agency and the start of the league year and its trading window. It becomes an increasingly relevant exercise to look at the intricacies behind some of the key players and positions the Bears will be addressing through the upcoming weeks. CSNChicago.com previously looked at the need to evaluate quarterbacks from the intangible standpoints first, then the measurables.
 
Using Jay Cutler as an object lesson for how immense physical skills have questionable correlations to immense NFL performance, a look at one aspect of quarterback "film" warrants more attention than the measurables that command a disproportionate share of attention and scrutiny.
 
Ball security.
 
It has been Cutler's single biggest issue through his eight Bears seasons, was a reason why coaches once wanted to stay with Josh McCown instead of returning to Cutler following a Cutler injury absence, and why Brian Hoyer played his way into prominence in the discussion of 2017 Bears plans. Adam Gase went from offensive coordinator to hottest head-coach prospect in no small measure because he managed Cutler into better ball security.

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But the point here is less Cutler – expected to be traded or released within the near future – than the level of ball security in the available options beyond Hoyer.
 
So, look at the film:
 
The widespread drooling over a possible trade with New England for Jimmy Garoppolo. The best thing in Garoppolo's favor is that he has been a Patriots backup to Tom Brady. Garoppolo, drawing distant comparisons to a Matt Flynn, Matt Cassel and other past experience-lite quarterback options, has thrown 94 NFL passes without an interception, which is impressive until matched against Hoyer's 200 last season without an interception, for comparison purposes.
 
But evaluating Garoppolo against the coming chief draft competition – DeShone Kizer, Mitch Trubisky, Deshaun Watson – suggests comparing apples to apples, meaning college ball security, since that's all the kids have to this point.
 
Garoppolo vaulted up draft boards (to New England's second round) on the strength of an Eastern Illinois senior season with 53 touchdown passes vs. nine interceptions, against chiefly FCS opposition. But in his first three seasons Garoppolo threw for 65 touchdowns and was intercepted 42 times.
 
Kizer? In his two Notre Dame seasons, 47 touchdowns, 19 interceptions.
 
Trubisky? 30 touchdowns last season, six interceptions. Including his two years as a North Carolina backup, 41 touchdowns, 10 interceptions.
 
Watson? 90 touchdowns, 32 interceptions in three Clemson seasons, the last two as Tigers starter.
 
Observations:
 
Garoppolo put in four college seasons, but has a little of the Trubisky/Flynn/Cassel, one-year-wonder feel. 
 
Kizer and Watson have more starting seasons, but the Watson intangible of getting his team to two national-championship games speaks to another level of "intangible."
 
GM Ryan Pace will incorporate heavy input from coach John Fox and coordinator Dowell Loggains. Coaches love ball security. Garoppolo? Watson? Trubisky? Kizer?
 
Look at the film.

BearsTalk Podcast: The risk and reward for Bears in trading for Jimmy Garoppolo

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USA TODAY

BearsTalk Podcast: The risk and reward for Bears in trading for Jimmy Garoppolo

In this edition of the BearsTalk podcast, CSN's Chris Boden, Sun-Times Bears beat writer Patrick Finley, and CSNChicago.com's Scott Krinch discuss the Bears' approach to the two-week window opening to franchise-tag Alshon Jeffery again, the risk/reward in trading for Jimmy Garoppolo or drafting a QB (and how high to draft one), Scott's 2.0 mock draft, plus the workers' compensation controversy the team found itself in last week and the club's decision to raise ticket prices.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below: