What is the real 'standard' for a Super Bowl?


What is the real 'standard' for a Super Bowl?

Saturday, Dec. 4, 2010
Posted: 10:17 a.m.

By John Mullin

The standard being used to measure the 2010 Bears defense has been the 2006 unit because that group ostensibly got the Bears to the Super Bowl. That's not quite right.

The considerably better unit arguably was the '05 group, the one that got the Bears to the post-season despite a rookie quarterback (Kyle Orton) and held opponents to a total of 202 points, third best in franchise history behind only the '86 (187) and '85 (198) defenses.

The '06 team had the advantage (no, seriously -- "advantage") of Rex Grossman and an offense that put up the bulk of 427 points vs. the 260 of the '05 offense. Grossman may have come off the rails at times that season and certainly after that year but he had as many 100-passer ratings (seven) in 2006 as Peyton Manning.

The '06 Bears needed overtime and 282 Grossman passing yards to get past Seattle in the divisional round. The Seahawks netted more than 300 yards of offense, 108 of it on runs by Shaun Alexander.

Drew Brees passed for 354 yards in the NFC Championship game but he and the New Orleans Saints were buried under 196 Bears rushing yards.

Brian Urlacher, Adewale Ogunleye and Alex Brown all had more sacks in 2005 than 2006 and teams averaged just 3.7 per rush against the former vs. 4.0 against the Super Bowl group.

The Bears kept winning in 2006 despite losing Mike Brown to IR in midseason, Tommie Harris to a knee injury for the last four games and playoffs, and Tank Johnson for two late games to his behavioral issues.

The Greater Unknown

Defenses in fact may be easier to compare and be subject to more accurate comparisons than offenses. Defenses tend to have fewer extreme highs and lows; if you have a good defense, you are likely going to be close in a lot of games.

But offense is another issue entirely for the Bears.

Is the 2010 Bears offense as good as the 2006 offense?

The difference between the 2006 reaching a Super Bowl and the 2005 model exiting against wild-card team was obvious: the quarterback.

Grossman posted a passer rating of 73.9 compared to Orton's 59.7 for the 2005 season (identical with Grossman's for that year).

Whether the 2010 team reaches its Super Bowl will again depend on the quarterback, one with a disturbing career propensity for throwing interceptions. Grossman threw 20 vs. his 23 TD passes but managed to get himself sacked just 21 times.

Cutler has 16 TD passes to date compared with his 10 interceptions this year. More significantly, he has thrown for nine of the scores in the last four games but only three interceptions. His passer rating is up to 90.4, a level he has never reached for an entire season.

Even more notable, Cutler was sacked four times in the first half of the Philadelphia game, yet threw zero interceptions against the defense ranked No. 1 in takeaways.

That is Super Bowl stuff.

Bad blood
Longtime pal and MLive.com Lions beat guy Tom Kowalski is not buying any of the niceties being spoken by Detroit quarterback Drew Stanton and "Killer" lays out exactly why there will be no more motivated player on the field Sunday than Stanton....

Actually there may be one other Lion looking to make a major statement as well. Left tackle Jeff Backus gave up the sack to Julius Peppers in the first half of the first game that resulted in the shoulder injury that took down quarterback Matthew Stafford and dramatically altered the course of the Detroit season, although Backus told the Detroit Free Press that he's not looking back at any of that. We'll see.

Interesting weekend
FOXSports.com senior NFL guy Alex Marvez takes a spin around the NFL with stops at each division in "a December to Remember." Alex posits that it wouldn't be surprising to see either the Bears or Packers fade in the stretch, because of their difficult remaining schedules, and that the NFC North race well could be decided before that Jan. 2 game between the two.

With the Bears at Detroit and Green Bay hosting San Francisco, it also wouldn't be surprising to see the NFC North frontrunner that loses to a seeming doormat this weekend be the one to go into the fade that Alex envisions.

John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider, and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.

Once initial shock wears off, Bears fans should learn to love Trubisky trade

Once initial shock wears off, Bears fans should learn to love Trubisky trade

On Friday morning, Chicagoans woke up, grabbed a cup of coffee and attempted to digest the boldest move ever made in Bears franchise history.

The only move that even compares in terms of overall guts is the last time the Bears attempted to acquire a franchise quarterback: The 2009 deal for Jay Cutler.

Bears fans have been freaking out since Ryan Pace shocked the NFL world and traded up a spot to select Mitchell Trubisky with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 Draft.

But there's plenty of reason to stop freaking out, take a breath and actually learn to love the move. 

Yes, I said love, which may be hard for Bears fans to swallow given this was their initial reaction:

First, football fans are always complaining about passive general managers not making enough decisive, bold moves in striving for a title.

It doesn't get any more decisive and courageous than this from Ryan Pace's perspective as he staked his whole career on this move.

This is like a trade people make whilst playing Madden — a "go big or go home" video game maneuver that if it doesn't work out, you can just reset and begin a new franchise with nothing but a few hours of your time lost.

From a pure journalistic perspective, this is fascinating and entertaining as hell.

This will be a fun ride as we watch this play out over the next couple of years. Things at Halas Hall and Soldier Field are infinitely more interesting now than they were at the end of the 2016 season, that's for sure.

[Behind the Scenes in the Bears Draft Room]

People can complain all they want about the move itself and that's understandable. The Bears did give up a ton: The No. 3 overall pick, two third rounders (including a 2018 third-rounder) and a fourth rounder this year.

That's a lot to move up one spot. But if Trubisky truly is the franchise quarterback and can elevate the Bears to new heights, those draft picks won't ultimately matter a whole lot.

At first, I didn't like the idea of the Bears trading away a bunch of picks, either. They have plenty of needs to address beyond quarterback if they're going to turn into a Super Bowl contender.

But with all the picks in the world, the Bears were never going to become a legit Super Bowl contender without finding an answer at the quarterback position and Pace and his staff believe Trubisky is "The Answer."

For anybody saying the Bears could've kept those picks and just drafted Trubisky at No. 3, that's a silly argument. We'll never know for sure, but clearly there was reason for Pace and Co. to believe another team was interested in moving up to No. 2 to select Trubisky, including the Cleveland Browns and possibly the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans as well.

Now, on to the detractors of Trubisky's overall game.

I hate the argument that he's just a one-year starter and it was at UNC, no less. He put up some serious numbers in that one year and the physical tools are there — by most accounts, he can make all the throws and his mobility is underrated.

Trubisky is still a gigantic question mark, but every quarterback coming out of college is. Not one person predicted Dak Prescott would have as much success as he did in 2016, which is why he was on the board until the fourth round a year ago.

As for Trubisky's mental makeup, the dude seems to have a serious chip on his shoulder and a passion burning inside him to be better and prove doubters wrong. Tyler Dunne's fantastic profile of Trubisky helps shed light on Mitch as a person. Trubisky's patience and persistence in sitting through seasons as a backup speaks to his character and committment to the team-first mantra.

Let's get to the whole idea of the "franchise quarterback" as it relates to the Bears.

The last quarterback the Bears selected in the first round was Rex Grossman (22nd overall) back in 2003. Grossman took the Bears to the Super Bowl in 2006, but they got there as much in spite of his QB play as because of it.

Grossman had trouble staying healthy — only once playing as many as 10 games in a season — and was out of a Bears uniform by 2009.

Cutler took over from there after the Bears gave up two first-round picks and their incumbent starting QB (Kyle Orton) for what they hoped would be "The Answer" at QB for a generation.

It didn't work out that way, of course. Cutler was never able to carry the team to the promised land, only a disappointing NFC Championship exit in 2011 to hated rival Green Bay.

But the Cutler trade was a bold move that excited fans at the time because it was a committment to going all-in.

Trubisky is the same commitment and even more of a risk, even if the cost to get him wasn't quite as much as it was for Cutler. Cutler was already a known commodity in 2009 after three years and 37 NFL starts with the Denver Broncos.

The Bears have been searching for a true franchise — in the mold of Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady or Drew Brees — that truly elevates the organization. Jim McMahon won the only Super Bowl in franchise history, but there aren't too many Bears fans clamoring for him to be included in the same discussion as Brady and Co.

[MORE - BearsTalk Podcast following Day 1 of NFL Draft coverage]

The Bears needed to go bold if they want to get back to the success that led to eight championships in the pre-Super Bowl era.

Yes, this is an unfathomable risk, but if it pays off a few years from now, the "sky is falling" mindset will be laughed off.

For now, just revel in the fact the Bears may just be the most interesting team in the NFL. For this weekend, at least.

NFL Draft Day 2 options for Bears

NFL Draft Day 2 options for Bears

The only thing more stunning than Ryan Pace’s trade up to get Mitchell Trubisky in Thursday’s first round would be if he selected DeShone Kizer with what’s now his lone pick on Day 2 of the NFL Draft.

The Notre Dame quarterback is still on the board after Trubisky, Patrick Mahomes, and Deshaun Watson were the lone signal-callers chosen Thursday (in the opening 12 picks). But it left Pace’s team still looking to address needs at several defensive positions.

Among the potential help on the defensive line are Michigan State’s Malik McDowell, DeMarcus Walker of Florida State and Jordan Willis of Kansas State, the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year who played with Cody Whitehair and on the opposing South team at the Senior Bowl in January as John Fox’s staff handled the North.

There’s still good quality at safety as the second round will begin with four selections ahead of Pace: Washington heavy hitter Budda Baker, Senior Bowl and Scouting Combine sensation Obi Melifonwu of Connecticut, as well as Utah’s Marcus Williams.

[RELATED - Bears trade to draft Trubisky a statement of Ryan Pace's nature]

If Pace is inclined to further add to his cornerback room, many projected or graded Washington’s Kevin King and Florida’s Quincy Wilson to be gone by now. Colorado’s Chidobe Awuzie has caught the eyes of several observers who watch a lot more Buffaloes football than I do.

At wide receiver, two players who performed well in Mobile for Fox’s squad were East Carolina’s Zay Jones and Eastern Washington’s Cooper Kupp, who can add to the return game after averaging 107 catches over four years in that FBS program. Two impressive Big Ten wideouts who bring different things to the table — Penn State’s Chris Godwin and Ohio State’s Curtis Samuel are available, as is USC’s JuJu Smith-Schuster.

The top three graded tight ends disappeared Thursday night. Now it’s to be determined whether South Alabama’s Gerald Everett, Bucky Hodges of Virginia Tech or Michigan’s Jake Butt are worthy of 36th overall.

Oh, and of the two offensive tackles chosen in the first round, one of them wasn’t Alabama’s Cam Robinson, nor Temple riser Dion Dawkins.