Chicago Bears

What the Bears can take away from wild-card weekend


What the Bears can take away from wild-card weekend

The Bears were not playing in the wild-card games this weekend but that should not exclude advancing some points of understanding:

Ten of the NFLs top 14 quarterbacks in completion percentage not yardage, not rating had their teams in the playoffs. That includes San Francisco, where Colin Kaepernick and Alex Smith had a combined 66.3 percent, which would have been good for No. 4. In all four of wild-card games, the teams whose quarterback had the higher completion percentage in that game advanced (Joe Flacco, Baltimore; Matt Schaub, Houston; Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay; Russell Wilson, Seattle.)

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The specific on why that matters is because incompletions are totally wasted downs and teams that win do not have quarterbacks who net nothing from large numbers of snaps.

Jay Cutler was 21st at 58.8 percent. Why this projects as possibly significant is that GM Phil Emery has established living with Cutler for at least a year. But head coaching candidates include:

Tom Clements from Green Bay (Rodgers, 67 percent);

Rick Dennison from Houston (Schaub, 64 percent);

Mike McCoy from Denver (P. Manning, 69 percent);

Pete Carmichael from New Orleans (Drew Brees, 63 percent);

and Bruce Arians, who worked with Andrew Luck (54 percent) through a rookie learning season but whose most extensive work was in Pittsburgh with Ben Roethlisberger, who had only one year (59.9) below a 61-percent completion percentage.

RELATED: Thoughts on Dennison, Trestman and why no Lovie?

Cutler has not had a success rate higher than 60.5 as a Bear and was sub-59 percent the past two years. That is not what some of the better candidates are used to or will put up with

Thinking on the run

The Bears and some quarters of their public may want a radical change in approach to offense. Ummm, not so fast.

Six of the NFLs top rushing teams made it into the playoffs. They may not all have gotten off the bus running but they came off the bus making defenses think about their running. Three of the four teams advancing had 100-yard rushers, the fourth team being Green Bay, which is a special case but still ran 31 times vs. 36 pass plays.

The top two run teams (Washington, Minnesota) lost but Seattle (No. 3), San Francisco (4), New England (7) and Houston (8) are in the quarterfinals, as is Baltimore (No. 11).

The Bears were No. 10 in yards and averaged 4.2 yards per carry, same as Houston and New England.

Pernell McPhee placed on PUP list to start Bears training camp for second straight year

Pernell McPhee placed on PUP list to start Bears training camp for second straight year

After expressing optimism earlier Wednesday that he wouldn't have a player begin training camp on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, general manager Ryan Pace's first major free agent signing will be held out when practices begin Thursday morning.

For the second straight camp, linebacker Pernell McPhee will be sidelined by a knee problem that's plagued him his first two seasons with the Bears. He'll still be able to attend meetings and receive treatment in Bourbonnais and can be activated at any time. 

A year ago, McPhee was coming off knee surgery and was on injured reserve the first six weeks of the season. He'd spent this off-season getting his weight down to decrease stress on the knee, but when physicals and conditioning tests were held Wednesday, the team determined to hold him out. McPhee was actually recovering from offseason labrum surgery, but their announcement only specifically mentioned the knee.

With several other players coming off injuries and being limited during OTAs and minicamp, it's not certain Wednesday night's announcement means McPhee will be the only player starting camp on PUP. Among others, Kyle Long, Zach Miller, Eddie Jackson, and Jeremy Langford were easing their way back from surgeries. Josh Sitton was another, and John Fox revealed Wednesday Sitton won't join the team until Saturday after his wife gave birth.

With McPhee sidelined, two other outside linebackers coming off surgery, Willie Young and Lamarr Houston would be set for more practice time at the position, along with Leonard Floyd, Dan Skuta and Sam Acho.

Thursday's opening practice is scheduled for 11:15 a.m. at Olivet Nazarene and will not include pads.

You can hold your fantasy football draft at Soldier Field this year


You can hold your fantasy football draft at Soldier Field this year

The CSN Fantasy crew is taking its talents on the road.

CSNChicago fantasy analysts Slavko Bekovic and Scott Krinch will join a Chicago Tribune panel of fantasy football experts for a Draft Party at Soldier Field on Thursday, Aug. 24.

It's the ultimate event to kick off the 2017 fantasy football season.

Sponsored by Jewel-Osco, fans will have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to host their fantasy drafts at Soldier Field, complete with insight and analysis from a panel of experts that includes Bekovic, Krinch, Rich Campbell and Phil Thompson from the Chicago Tribune, Bears broadcaster Jeff Joniak and The Score's Hub Arkush. Derek VanRiper and Kevin O'Brien from RotoWire will also be on hand to provide analysis.

The general admission tickets for fans include access to the Soldier Field press box. VIP tickets will give fans access to the private suites around Soldier Field for their drafts. All fans will receive complimentary food and beverages plus photo opportunities on the field and giveaways.

Head to and follow @ChicagoSports and @CSNFantasy for more information.

The CSN Fantasy crew provides analysis all season long, from weekly podcasts and video segments to written articles that include a focus on the waiver wire as well as start/sit for each week.