• Zone Blitz- Gronk, Weak Zebras, and Your Week #15 Open Thread



    Date: Mon, 9 Dec 2013 2:04 PM
    From: Amy
    Subject: Re: Blitz
    To: Brian


    I want to start this week off with a rant:

    Rantaliciousness:

    Yesterday, Gronk was cleanly tackled at the knees, and may have blown out his ACL as a result. Immediately, the media began blaming the injury on the 'new rule of the NFL'. I heard Steve Tasker, Bill Cowher, Scott Zolak, and others blame the NFL, claiming that the NFL wanting an elimination of hits to the head was to blame for Gronk's injury. However, this is not accurate. In fact, it's downright stupid and everyone who says it owes every fan and player an apology.

    First of all, we know now how dangerous repeated head trauma is. Even 10 years ago there was no real appreciation of the danger. There is now. Anyone who claims that it should be allowed is a moron. We have to eliminate as much of it as we can, including the contact between lineman which is more dangerous than the huge hits we see between WRs and DBs.

    Yet, as we try to eliminate it, there are those both on and off the field that have come to one, or both, of two conclusions. The first is that we should simply allow H2H. Dikta is among many who think this - and then he wants the NFL to pick up late in life medical bills. The other people are the ones who think that the only places you can tackle are the head and knees. This is utterly ridiculous.

    Back when I was younger, and in college, I often played in full contact, for fun, football games as the only girl playing. I'm 5'4, and was about 125, typically, at the time. Yet, even though I was by far the smallest person on the field, and a girl, I tackled people. Without going to the knees! A tackler has can hit everywhere from the shoulder down, not just the knees. Tasker kept saying yesterday, after that hit 'Defenders need a bigger strike zone'. They have one! The whole freaking body! Just not the head. That's not unreasonable!

    And how do we know this? Because the vast majority of NFL, college, and high school tackles are both legal and not to the head or knees. It's not hard to do, it just needs to be taught better. While the media will, IMO, stay foolish about it for reasons that go beyond the scope of this rant, the NFL can make a quick change to emphasize better tackling. Whenever a defender goes deliberately H2H or H2Knee, fine the defensive coordinator $50,000. One or two of those and he'll teach his guys how to properly tackle.

    Now, onto the games, done in a letter from Amy Santa format for fun!

    Letters from Amy Claus (Editor's Note: More like Amy Claws ... Just playin' Amelia!!)

    Dear Carolina, punch the Saints in the mouth and you win. Be wusses and you lose. Hopefully you learned that last night. Bring it in two weeks or you may be watching the playoffs from home.

    Dear Ravens and Vikings: ZOMG! What an ending, that was a really great little last two minutes! It was fun seeing the highlights.

    Dear Pats: Can we please, please, please play a 4 quarter game? Please???? 10-3 and we have yet to play one good, all the way through it, game. On a side note, Shane Vereen is awesome!

    Dear Steelers: Nice try, but lateral plays never work in the NFL. Throw deep.

    Dear Eagles: Fly Eagles Fly. Oh, and in the off season, can you trade us Shady for like a 2, so my fave player can be on my fave team. Thanks!

    Dear Richard Sherman: Enclosed please find a towel to dry away those whiny tears. Also, there's some Adderall for your defensive teammates.

    Dear media people: Yes, the PI call at the end of Pats/Browns was a bad call. (It should have been holding). So were the three non-called DPI, one non-called OPI (leading to a TD), and the imaginary down by contact (negating a turnover and leading to a FG) that the Browns got. Jerome Boger's crew was terrible overall.

    Dear 49ers: Thank you for making Richard Sherman cry!

    Dear Dallas: Just lose, please. No one wants you in the playoffs. Chip and the Eagles are more fun.

    Dear Rex Ryan: Enclosed find a Geno Smith jersey. When you are watching the playoffs, you can cry into it, knowing that with Sanchez under center, you'd have been in them.

    Dear Houston: Please don't hire Shanny. Enough said!

    Dear RG3: I still believe! I know you'll be awesome in year 3! Cam had an off year in year 2, and look at him. Keep the faith!

    Dear Jags: Between this year and next year, finish painting you helmets. Thanks, from everyone with a TV.

    Date: Tue, 10 Dec 2013 10:45 AM
    From: Brian
    Subject: Re: Blitz
    To: Amy


    Are DBs Out of Control?

    Nicely done, Amy. I really can't argue much with what you've said. With an emphasis being placed on separating the offensive player from the ball, defenders are being taught to launch their bodies instead of actually making a tackle, which has recklessly put themselves, and the other players at risk. But the fact is, if you tackle correctly, you can still make hits that are just as effective at making the offensive player second-guess his decision from going over the middle. The best at this was Ronnie Lott, and while I hate to take a general stance such as "tackle differently", and then show the best to ever do it, the fact is, his tackling form is exactly what coaches should be teaching.



    (Hey, look. It's Cris!) I'm sure Lott had some H2H hits in his day, but if you watch every one of those hits, his head was up, he saw what he was hitting, and at the last moment, was able to protect his head if need be. If you drop your head, you put everyone at risk.

    The problem becomes that many defenders are putting themselves out of control in an effort to make a game-changing play, and a lot of that has to do with coaching. Add in the fact that offensive players are ducking into a number of these H2H hits, and to account for their reckless style of play, players are now encouraged to go low. Losing control means eliminating options. These players are out of control, and therefore, the only options they've left for themselves are "high" and "low". There really is no middle, especially when they lack the ability to adjust on the fly. Fining or suspending the DC, or even HC, along with the player, is probably the best way to encourage change.

    However, all of what I just posted is the ideal viewpoint. Rich put together a really well-done article about the Gronk injury, and the reality of the specific hit that he took. Fact is, the game is so fast, and knowing that defenders have had to alter their target area, OCs are game-planning around this in the secondary. The target area is so small, especially when we consider that the defender is aiming for a player that is often bracing for a hit, that there really is very little opportunity for a defender even if they're playing the hit correctly. Officials are now so concerned with getting docked for missing a H2H that they're seemingly calling nearly anything from the chest up. Combining out-of-control defenders with poor tackling methods, and overly cautious officiating when it comes to protecting the head, and we now have an entirely new dangerous situation. And let's face it, if an official can't tell exactly where a defender hit a receiver, even while standing on the field and watching a play unfold in front of them, then how can we expect a player to accurately measure-up a target area when they are going full speed directly at a player that's coming full speed back at them?

    The Incredible Week 14

    I hope everyone had the chance to enjoy the games from this past weekend, because we've never seen anything like that before in NFL history. First of all, the backdrop was spectacular, as multiple games were being played in the snow. The best backdrop was in Philly, where the Lions clearly had no idea how to cope with the elements. OK, that last statement is a bit unfair to Joique Bell, who was fantastic in filling in for Reggie Bush, who set the tone by injuring himself in pregame warmups. But Stafford and the rest of the Lions offense looked lost, while the defense is apparently still waiting to be invited out from the locker room for the 2nd half.

    You hit on the Pats game. I have no idea how they won, except to say that good teams tend to find a win, and bad teams tend to find a way to lose. The Browns were about as creative as they could be in losing that game, and in the end, the Browns are the Browns, and the Pats are the Pats for a reason.

    In Baltimore, with 2:05 left on the clock, the Ravens culminate a long drive, and score on a 1 yard pass to Dennis Pitta, followed by a 2 point conversion to take a 15-12 lead. Considering the previous 57:55, that lead should have been relatively insurmountable. It's not like Tom Brady was on that other sideline, and the Vikings had already lost their best player in Adrian Peterson. Plus, isn't the Ravens' defense supposed to be good? 2 plays, 68 yards (41 yard run by Gerhart), 38 seconds, Vikings lead. WALSH KICKS TO JONES? That was a gimme. 11 seconds later, the Ravens lead. 2 incomplete passes, and then Patterson goes 79 yards. 31 seconds, Vikings lead. Vikings then intercept Flacco, only to be called for DPI. Add in a 35 yard completion prior to DPI, and 18 yard completion after, and we have Flacco to Brown from 9 yards out. 5 plays. 41 seconds. Ballgame. Ridiculous.

    Oh, and the indestructible Adrian Peterson went down early in that game. Hopefully the injury isn't too serious, and thankfully it's his ankle, and not his knee again. But between losing him and Gronk from my fantasy team (home league, all of my FP teams had a bye this week), the writing was on the wall for that team this season. Game, set, match, see you next year. It's frustrating to lose due to poor performance, but injuries add the what-if element to it. Had they stayed healthy, I may have still lost anyway, and maybe that would have borne even more frustration, since I played Newton on Sunday night instead of rolling with the upside of McCown against the Cowboys defense last night.

    Lastly, how about my Steelers? To lose at home, in snowy conditions, against a team from Miami, and allow 180+ yards rushing, including over 100 and over 6.5 YPC to Daniel Thomas, who after rushing for 100 in his first career game in 2011, now has 2 career 100 yard games to his credit, is pathetic. There were glimpses of the past, like when Troy had his first TAINT in over 2 years, leaping from the 3, over a defender and the pylon, in the process. But I'm frustrated because a truly great season from Ben. For the first time since 2008, he hasn't missed a start, and prior to this game, the OL had been keeping him clean. The Dolphins were able to get to him a bit this week--Cameron Wake is one of the truly great players in the game-- but he's been truly terrific. And he's developed into the true leader that they've always hoped he'd become. It's clear from watching him that he has a mastery of the game right now, even in a system that doesn't quite best suit his skill-set. But he can't do it alone, and as good as Le'Veon Bell looks he'll eventually be, right now, the Steelers are 31st in yards rushing, 30th in YPC (3.4), and 30th in rushing TDs. And more often than not, the defense is disappointing, and is clearly not close to the dominant force we had come to expect. When you have a proven championship QB, and you're wasting one of his best seasons, it's frustrating. The Steelers have been a frustrating watch this year.

    As for the final play, I was actually in the car for that one. I caught most of the game, but with the weather getting bad around me (I'm between Baltimore and Philly), I had to tend to another commitment. I couldn't find the Steelers' call, so I was stuck with the Dolphins announcers. Jimmy Cefalo's (FROM... Penn State) call of the final play went something like this. (Completely monotone) "3...2...1... they get the snap off, Ben throws it to Sanders, back to Cotchery, Bell back to a lineman who gets it back to Ben, now Brown has it, Clemons pursues, touchdown Steelers." Then, I think it was Bob Griese who jumped in, nearly out of breath, to say that the refs were marking Brown out of bounds. But that word "touchdown" literally came out of nowhere. Cefalo could not have shown less emotion. My brother-in-law and I were in the car, in very poor road conditions, and both turned to each other and screamed "WHAT?!?!" In watching the replay about 137 times, I can't believe that Brown didn't even have to step out. I'm glad I didn't lost my home fantasy league by less than 6 points this week, because that would have been especially torturous.

    All in all, a really crappy day of football from my perspective.

    Zebras. Oh, you Damn Zebras!!

    As has been noted many times in this forum, on our site, and all around the interwebs, the officiating stinks in the NFL. The problem is, it seems to be getting worse by the week. To me, the issue with the officiating is two-fold. These guys are paid to be the best of the best, and yet they have the NFL looking over their shoulder, and doing their best to put these officials in position to fail. In an effort to make everything perfect, the NFL has decided to not only have their rule book, but they've created layers on top of the rules in the rule book. These layers lead to inconsistent interpretation of the rules, and leads to the officials second-guessing themselves. This includes player safety, when each official knows they'll be docked if they miss a call that involves anything H2H. That leads them to call everything that's even within the general vicinity of being H2H.

    Of course, everyone needs someone looking over their shoulder, but it always helps if the person doing the overseeing has their best interests at heart. Mike Pereira was the long-time NFL head of officiating, and while he was generally honest about officiating mistakes, he also protected the officiating crews, since he had experience, and was basically one of their own. He had the ability to draw on his own expertise, and yet was always able to understand where the officials were coming from. While he was sometimes an apologist for the officials, he was always available to the media, was always forthright with his explanations, and made it a point to allow us to understand every side of the debate as best he could.

    Pereira retired prior to last season. His replacement last season was Carl Johnson, but he's since moved on to become the NFL's first full-time official. In his place is Dean Blandino, a guy who is regarded as the authority on instant replay, and who evidently impressed the NFL with his vast understanding of the rule book. The problem is, Blandino, as far as I can tell, has no on field experience whatsoever. Prior to his current position, he presented at officiating clinics, edited the NFL rule book, created officiating manuals, and dealt with on-field player discipline, among other duties. With someone in charge of the officials who has never stepped foot on the field, but yet knows everything anyway, I'd guess that there's a lot of resentment from many of the officials around the league. I'll speak from experience on this one, as there's nothing more annoying than having someone who has never taught, and who has never touched a musical instrument in their life telling me what I'm supposed to be doing with my students on a day-to-day basis. It causes resentment, and a very poor work environment. I'd guess that the officials, who have actual on-the-field experience greatly resent this "outsider". This all screams of a negative work environment, especially when the guy now in charge of you is the same guy who is an expert in the exact field (Instant Replay) that has caused you to over-analyze and second-guess your own work in the first place.

    If we want the officiating to improve, then we have to stop expecting perfection. To paraphrase Vince Lombardi, we can constantly strive to achieve perfection, but while we won't get there, in the process, we'll achieve excellence. But the NFL has bowed to fan scrutiny and the media {because who knows better than average Joe fan and the media...}, clearly now demanding perfection from its crews. It's doing nothing but setting the officials up for failure. If the NFL wants officials to constantly achieve their peak performance, then they should maintain high expectations, get a head of officiating who actually understands the rigors of on-field officiating, and they should eliminate instant replay.

    Date: Tue, 10 Dec 2013 1:58 PM
    From: Amy
    Subject: Re: Blitz
    To: Brian


    I don't have much to add, but I want to talk briefly about officiating. First of all, I don't think it's as bad as a lot of people claim. Those claims come from one play, normally. I can give examples, both with the Pats. Against Carolina, the game ended on a picked up flag. While the refs were attacked for that, barring that one play, it was a very well officiated game. And, even on that play, picking up a PI flag was correct. (Now, there should have been holding called, but, that's beside the point). Vs the Browns, the media focus has been the PI against the Browns at the end. (Again, that should have been holding, not PI). The call was bad, but the media has ignored that the entire game was poorly called. You can't use *one* play as a reason to say 'the refs suck', you have to look at a whole game, or season.

    What the NFL can do is make refs full time and get rid of the bad ones. They can also sit all of them down in rooms, in the offseason, and show them lots of film about what is PI, etc. We need less judgement calls. We need to stop with playoff all star crews- refs need teamwork as much as players do. We also need to use the booth more. If the booth sees that the ref is wrong, let them buzz down anytime. If the fans at the game know a call is wrong, and the people in the studios do, and the people at home do, shouldn't the ref on the field?

    I won't even start on Pereira, but he has a major blame why officiating needs to be fixed.

    Date: Tue, 10 Dec 2013 9:32 PM
    From: Brian
    Subject: Re: Blitz
    To: Amy


    I disagree strongly that the officiating hasn't been bad. Certainly there are good crews out there doing a very good job, but by and large, there's a lot of inconsistency this year. It goes well beyond one play here-or-there, and certainly isn't limited to the Pats. And for Pereira, he has his flaws, but I think the officials trusted and respected him. Maybe it's just coincidence, but the officiating certainly seems that it was much better and more consistent prior to his leaving before the start of last season.

    Week 15 Preview

    I feel like Week 15 is book-ended by the most intriguing matchups. On the surface, San Diego-Denver feels like a Bronco whitewash, but the Chargers will be a desperate team on Thursday night, and I feel like they'll be able to at least keep the game intriguing. Rivers has been extremely efficient this year, and the Mathews/Woodhead combo out of the backfield has been very solid. The Chargers must win to keep their realistic playoff hopes alive, and the Broncos will be without Welker. Denver still wins, but it will be a much better game than people think.

    On Monday night, the Ravens travel to Detroit for the first of a brutal 3 game stretch to close the season. If the Ravens can squeeze out a win, it will be their 8th. Considering 9-7 likely would get them into the dance, grabbing that 8th win on Monday night would be huge, to avoid having to sweep New England and Cincinnati to close the season. Meanwhile, the Lions are facing a must win as well, considering they're now tied with the Bears, and only a half game up on Green Bay. They hold the tie-break advantage which is big, but they can't risk losing any more games at this point. I still think there will be a sleeper team emerge for the Super Bowl, but if Detroit can't win a home game against a pretty good team like Baltimore, then there's no reason for anyone to take them seriously, even if they're still playing in January.

    Elsewhere, Carolina will be looking to bounce back from a tough loss against the barely-hanging-on Jets. I'd expect their defense to have a field day with Bizarro Drew Brees. Also, three NFC playoff contenders will be facing sneaky-tough road tests, as the 49ers travel to suddenly-hot Tampa, Chicago travels to Cleveland, and Arizona travels to Tennessee. Finally, NBC gets Cincy traveling to Pittsburgh, in a game that looked much better 2 weeks ago. The Steelers will play hard, but need Baltimore and Miami to lose out at this point to have a shot at the playoffs. This is an interesting test for Cincinnati. A win, coupled with a Baltimore loss, clinches the North for them. It is also the final road game of the year for the Bengals. They've struggled on the road, but did play really well in San Diego a couple of weeks ago. A road win over Pittsburgh could give them a big boost as they head toward the playoffs, and possibly give them the confidence-boost needed to help them go more than 1 and done this time around.

    Now, It's Your Turn

    Amy and I take the opportunity each week to vent within this column. Often times, we vent about our teams. Your opportunity to vent about your team, or anything else that's on your mind, is in the open thread below. Please feel free to join in on the week 15 conversation.

    Comments 26 Comments
    1. Hoser's Avatar
      Mike Glennon makes me nervous.
    1. mikesteelnation1's Avatar
      Great back and forth y'all! A couple comments...

      First in reference to the "adjusted hit zone" for a tackler. As a guy who made lots of tackles as a pop warner thru highschool middle linebacker, I have to whole heartedly disagree with your sentiments Amy.

      Here's why.. first, as trumpet mentioned, you don't have the whole torso to hit. Offensive guys brace for the hit and try to get low. That means a slightly below arm pit hit possibly becomes a h2h, so I've got to aim lower to avoid the flag and forthcoming fine as a result. That means aiming at the hips. TERRIBLE idea to do that as a defender. If he does brace for impact you're getting trucked, even if he doesn't brace you're getting trucked!!!

      That brings up point 2. When tackling a much larger and stronger guy, your options are EITHER high or low. You can't tackle his core, that gets you run over 100% of the time. The hips are the middle of the pendulum, and when you're smaller and not as strong, you can't make that tackle. Especially knowing the offensive guy is going to brace for impact.

      The laws of physics coupled with the rules of the NFL are forcing low hits like the one gronk sustained his injury as a result of. We should all just get used to seeing them.

      There were no physical freaks like gronk when I played, but there were big fullbacks then, who actually got a lot of carries (saying that makes me feel so old). Being 215lbs, I aimed for the middle of their chest or the mid thigh to make the tackle. A high hard hit to topple them, or a similar low one to crumple them. Those are the only 2 choices to make that tackle. Helmet clanging happened on almost every high hit. That's a penalty and fine now. That leaves one option outside the tackle box on these big dudes, aim for the mid thigh. That means the knees get significant contact as a result.

      Amy, I can respect why you feel the way you feel, but I've got to 100% disagree. When you're playing against other football players, and the guy has you by 25% of your body weight playing real tackle football, you can't aim in the middle on a head up tackle.

      I know I just sounded like a jerk, and my apologies for that. Making a tackle in a pick up game vs regular Joes in said game , is a bad analogy. When honed athletes play other honed athletes, it's a very different matter.

      In an NFL game no one is a slouch. They are athletes for a living, not just having fun in a pick up game. While you made tackles from your slight frame, you didn't do so vs honed athletes who do it for a living, same as you would (in that situation) that outweighed you by 25% of your body weight and we're stronger.

      I'm really not trying to be a jerk, just trying to highlight why the rules and what the players think about when making a tackle are so different than what you conveyed..

      You were correct in stating many, many tackles are made that aren't too high or too low. My issue is against a much larger guy, high and low are your ONLY options. No tackling technique gets the little guy that tackle in that spot. They pick high or low. High is off the table..
    1. Rich Gapinski's Avatar
      Reports are saying that Cousins is likely to play this weekend and maybe for the rest of the season. My first podcast in a long time is scheduled for tomorrow night. To me, the reasons to do this are clear. Stay tuned.
    1. Amy's Avatar
      Mike,

      It's chill No offense taken, and I don't think you came across as a jerk at all.
    1. Patrick Sullivan's Avatar
    1. Trumpetbdw's Avatar
      Interesting matchup in Cleveland this Sunday. The Bears have allowed a 100 yard rusher in 6 straight games. The last time the Bears haven't allowed 100 to one player, they gave up 95 to Alf Morris, 84 to RGIII, and 41 + 3 TDs to Roy Helu.

      The week prior to that, they allowed 100 yards to Brandon Jacobs' corpse.

      Meanwhile, the Browns haven't had a 100 yard rusher since week 9.

      Of last season.

      Willis McGahee's corpse (in storage next to Brandon Jacobs) is questionable with a concussion.

      Can the Bears really allow 100 yards to Chris Ogbannaya or Fozzy Whittaker?
    1. Rich Gapinski's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Trumpetbdw View Post
      Interesting matchup in Cleveland this Sunday. The Bears have allowed a 100 yard rusher in 6 straight games. The last time the Bears haven't allowed 100 to one player, they gave up 95 to Alf Morris, 84 to RGIII, and 41 + 3 TDs to Roy Helu.

      The week prior to that, they allowed 100 yards to Brandon Jacobs' corpse.

      Meanwhile, the Browns haven't had a 100 yard rusher since week 9.

      Of last season.

      Willis McGahee's corpse (in storage next to Brandon Jacobs) is questionable with a concussion.

      Can the Bears really allow 100 yards to Chris Ogbannaya or Fozzy Whittaker?
      I just got a call from the Bears defense. They said: "Challenge accepted."
    1. Patrick Sullivan's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Trumpetbdw View Post
      Interesting matchup in Cleveland this Sunday. The Bears have allowed a 100 yard rusher in 6 straight games. The last time the Bears haven't allowed 100 to one player, they gave up 95 to Alf Morris, 84 to RGIII, and 41 + 3 TDs to Roy Helu.

      The week prior to that, they allowed 100 yards to Brandon Jacobs' corpse.

      Meanwhile, the Browns haven't had a 100 yard rusher since week 9.

      Of last season.

      Willis McGahee's corpse (in storage next to Brandon Jacobs) is questionable with a concussion.

      Can the Bears really allow 100 yards to Chris Ogbannaya or Fozzy Whittaker?
      Ummm...

      Yes?

      Man, I sure hope so.

      Go Brownies. Don't get eaten by the Bears.
    1. Patrick Sullivan's Avatar
      FP 2013 Pick'em Challenge

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    1. Rich Gapinski's Avatar
      Smokin' Jay is back. Named starter.
    1. Bengals1181's Avatar
      how do you feel about that Rich?
    1. Rich Gapinski's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Bengals1181 View Post
      how do you feel about that Rich?
      I'll post a much more detailed answer after my podcast tonight because, shockingly, that's a topic.

      In short, it's the right move.
    1. Patrick Sullivan's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Rich Gapinski View Post
      I'll post a much more detailed answer after my podcast tonight because, shockingly, that's a topic.

      In short, it's the right move.
      Concur, FWIW.
    1. wxwax's Avatar
      I agree too. McCown did a super job as a backup. But that's what he is, a backup.
    1. Trumpetbdw's Avatar
      McCown has been fantastic. The Bears are better with Cutler.

      Fourthed
    1. wxwax's Avatar
      San Diego is playing a perfect game so far. No mistakes, strong run, great play calls and stout run defense. They've mostly won the battle of field position, too. Great game by the Chargers.
    1. Rich Gapinski's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Bengals1181 View Post
      how do you feel about that Rich?
      This is an abridged version of about a 4-5 minute rant on the podcast, but here's why Cutler playing is important and right:

      First, a three game playoff run with Cutler is something that Trestman needs to evaluate him properly for his offense. It needs to happen at the end of the season because the team and coaches are both more accustomed to each other. Secondly, if has to be noted that McCown has not faced many tough defenses in his run.

      The Bears can "win" in several ways:

      1. If Cutler gets injured again, they will not miss a beat with McCown.

      2. If Cutler flops down the stretch, they can say he tried to come back too early and play McCown.

      3. If Cutler flops down the stretch, they can substantiate the move to McCown in the future.

      4. If Cutler does well, they make the playoffs and the success is unlikely to change the number he was already seeking for the extension.

      5. The real reason for a move to McCown would be based on the future salaries an nothing else, but they could at least sell the Trestman Offense/Overall Health angles if they let him go. The Bears will be trying to stay floating above salary cap hell for another 2-3 years from the lack of draft success under Angelo. That forced the team to spend more in free agency than they should have. Emery's first draft doesn't look that much better. This year's class looks quite good. The Bears have to try to sign Peanut Tillman (hopefully for a discount), Jennings, Melton (hopefully for an incentive-laden deal) and Cutler in the off-season. Meanwhile, they still have to consider Briggs in 2014 (probably gone) and Brandon Marshall (already hitting the cap at $9MM per). They also have to consider Stephen Paea in 2014. Jeffrey in 2015.

      6. The Bears have to know that Cutler will certainly ask for $20MM a year if they franchise him. That MAY buy them a year, but then they are definitely having the same cap problems in 2015 as they will have this upcoming off-season.

      7. Cutler has hinted at a slight discount if he is signed long term in Chicago. It remains to be seen how much that would actually be. I still don't put that number at more than a million or so, but that would be enough to sign one of those middle career veteran cap casualties like James Anderson and D.J. Williams (the forgotten Bears injury that also hurt) were this season.

      I still think it is a mistake to let Cutler go. After all, he is only 30. QBs can be effective until 37. It is quite possible that McCown will sign for a small salary again due to his relationship to the team and personally to Cutler. The Bears will have to hope that the draft is kind to them at DT, CB, S and C in order to have a tenable defense for the coming years. Peppers will be cut in the off-season to buy another $12MM to spend. They could try to get Michael Bennett and pair him with his brother in Chicago.

      All of these thoughts start with playing Cutler down the stretch.
    1. Patrick Sullivan's Avatar
      Quick hit injury update:

      Sean Lee (DAL) will be inactive due to a sprained ligament in his neck.
      Aaron Rodgers (GB) is out (collarbone).
      Reggie Bush (DET) was back at practice and will probably girl out five minutes before kickoff.
      Lance Briggs (CHI) is out, but Jay Cutler will start.
      Jason Pierre-Paul is out and will probably not play the rest of the year.

      More here: http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap200...lions-practice
    1. Patrick Sullivan's Avatar


      Cody Wallace will be $7,875 lighter in the wallet after nutraping the dolphins Randy Starks in a pile-up. Nasty.
    1. wxwax's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Sullivan View Post


      Cody Wallace will be $7,875 lighter in the wallet after nutraping the dolphins Randy Starks in a pile-up. Nasty.
      "Giving him the business."