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Will Bears Continue to Suffer “Death By Inches”?

| May 19th, 2020

Matt Nagy went on a media tour last week. But perhaps the biggest takeaway came yesterday.

Nagy and the Bears were featured by Albert Breer in the weekly Monday Morning Quarterback spot. The interview was as in-depth as any we’ve seen regarding the changes to the team’s coaching staff and touched on working through the virtual off-season program. The most telling comment from Nagy was more of an almost throwaway line. Breer wrote:

“And it motivates Nagy himself to do better for the players. So just as he asked his coaches, and his players to be on the details that slipped last year, he’s putting just as much pressure on himself to be all over those—whether it’s staying on the details of what’s happening in the offensive meeting rooms, so he can be a better play-caller, or setting the standard for everyone as the head coach.

“That can be in a meeting, if we say guys can’t have phones in a meeting, it means they don’t have phones in a meeting,” Nagy said. “It doesn’t mean in Week 8 they start bringing them in. It means they never have them in the meeting. If they show up 9:00 or 9:01, they’re walking in as I’m walking in—no, get there early. It’s just a lot of different things. For me, that’s what I’m going to focus on. Now, for me to do that, I have to have really, really great support from the rest of our coaches, and have that trickle down to players.

“That’s what I’m excited about, getting to see that happen.”

So much of what is said during the off-season is about what’s not said. When the Bears talk about Jimmy Graham’s ability to run, they don’t have to mention it’s something they didn’t have last year. When they say Robert Quinn will improve their defense because he gets to the quarterback, they don’t have to say Leonard Floyd didn’t do it well enough. When Matt Nagy says his team is going to be more detailed and disciplined, he doesn’t have to say they weren’t a year ago.

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Is Producing Explosive Plays More Important Than Avoiding Negative Ones?

| May 18th, 2020


I did some work last off-season examining how important explosive plays are to an offense’s production, and found that there is a strong relationship between the number of explosive plays (runs of 15+ yards, passes of 20+ yards) and overall offensive performance (measured in either points/game or DVOA rank). I have updated that information to now include 2018 and 2019 data and still found a strong relationship, as you can see in the graphs below.

Correlation (R²) can be loosely interpreted as how much of the pattern is explained by that variable, which means explosive plays account for roughly 40-60% of overall offensive production, which is quite a high number, and consistent with values from the 2018 season alone. Seeing the same relationship across multiple seasons of data provides additional credibility to the relationship.

(Side note: just like in 2018, total explosive plays shows a stronger relationship with both points/game and DVOA than the % of offensive plays that are explosive, so I’ll probably just track total explosive plays from now on.)

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betway 西汉姆

| May 14th, 2020

Quick note: I know money is a major issue for many Americans right now as the unemployment numbers have exploded and entire industries have been destroyed. When I write columns like this, encouraging gambling, I hope those suffering know I am sensitive to their situation. But gambling odds provide a solid context to discuss sporting issues. So I’m going to keep writing about them for the time being.


Bet One: Nick Foles MVP (+15000)

Do I think Nick Foles is going to win MVP this season?

No.

But that’s why he’s 150-1 to win the award. (Same odds as Mitch Trubisky actually.)

Here’s why the bet is worth $1: the value logic. What if Foles starts, executes the offense and the Bears start winning? What if he proves the 2019 season can be written off to the failures of the previous quarterback, as many believe the case to be? There will be an easily-made argument for his value to the franchise.

Also, when quarterbacks execute this offense, they produce statistically. Alex Smith, who most consider a game manager, put up 4,000 yards and 26 TDs in 2017 for Andy Reid. You combine him turning around the Bears offense with a large statistical output and he’ll be in the MVP conversation.

And Foles plays in Chicago. If he plays well, it’ll be visible and there will be a demonstrative campaign for him.


Bet Two: Bears To Make the Playoffs (+160)

If the 2020 rules existed in 2019, the Bears would have finished a single game out of the postseason. If they’re healthy I don’t see how they’re not a better team in 2020.

As a matter of fact, I believe the Bears are going to be a very good team and this number will be -400 by the middle of the season.

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Establishing Realistic Expectations for Cole Kmet

| May 13th, 2020


The Bears spent their first pick (43rd overall) on Cole Kmet, a big tight end from Notre Dame who has a chance to plug a Bears’ roster hole from day one.

It should be noted, however, that tight end is a position where conventional wisdom says it’s hard to make a big impact in your rookie season due to a steep learning curve. In order to establish realistic expectations for Kmet, let’s take a look at how comparable tight ends have fared in their first few years of the NFL.

In order to do so, I looked at all 18 tight ends drafted in the 2nd round between 2010-19. I tracked their playing time and statistical contributions on offense after extrapolating to a full 16 game season to normalize the data since several players missed games with injuries.

The full data can be seen here, but I’m just going to show the range of snaps played, targets earned, passes caught, and receiving yards, which can be seen in the table below.



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Deshaun Watson’s Performance in Chicago, in December, Will Be Pace Referendum

| May 12th, 2020


Ryan Pace had no interest in drafting Deshaun Watson, the quarterback who played in two National Championship games, leading Clemson to the title in 2016. The quarterback who chucked 90 touchdowns to 32 interceptions in collage and ran for another 26 more touchdowns. No interest. This wasn’t the case of Patrick Mahomes, who tore up horrendous defenses playing for a bad team. This was a guy at the next-highest level dominating great defenses.

Watson was a stud, but Pace had no interest. He’ll surely never tell us why.

It’s not fair or accurate to say Pace didn’t scout Watson. The two actually met and spoke at the Combine. The scouting is what led him to conclude he didn’t want to draft the most prolific QB in college football. It was either something medical or a flaw Pace saw on tape. The medical questions were legitimate. Watson suffered a knee injury at Clemson and another as a rookie with Houston. He has a slender frame and tends to take a lot of hits as he plays off schedule. He has been banged up quite a bit in his NFL career. But, if it were injury-related, Pace or someone within the Bears medical staff almost certainly would’ve made that known by now.

The other reason is physical.

Watson is certainly big enough and fast enough, but there were concerns coming out about whether or not he had enough of an arm. The only modern quarterback who has had any somewhat consistent success in Chicago had a cannon. Green Bay’s nearly 30-year run of success at the position has come with guys with huge arms, and they spent a first round pick on another who qualifies.

It isn’t that Watson has a weak arm, but whether it can cut through the Chicago wind in January is another story.

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Jimmy Glenn Owned a Bar.

| May 8th, 2020


Jimmy Glenn was the biggest man I’ve ever known.

He wasn’t the tallest, though the average barber would need a step stool to cut his hair. He wasn’t the widest, though you could take the R train from one shoulder to the other. But framed in the bar that bore his name, Jimmy’s Corner, a comically-narrow boozer on East 44th Street in NYC, he seemed a human tower, his head brushing up against the chipped ceiling paint, his booming baritone filling the room like the ring announcers of the sport to which he devoted his life.

Jimmy Glenn was a big man, a towering vestige of a New York City that no longer exists. A gin joint owner like you saw in the movies. With personality. With heart. With compassion. He didn’t just want to know your name and what you were drinking. He wanted to know who you were, what you did, who you loved, what made you happy. He didn’t put out shitty sausage and peppers every day for free to bring in customers. He put out shitty sausage and peppers every day for free because he knew some people chose to spend the last fiver in their wallet on a pint and he wanted to make sure they ate too. I know. I was one of those people.

Jimmy’s dead now, another casualty of this fucking asshole of a virus. But there is talk that his son Adam will continue on with the bar. And god willing, he will, if only to preserve it’s walls, every inch covered with memorabilia and photographs marking Jimmy’s life in and around the ring. He got his tooth broken by Floyd Patterson as an amateur fighter. He operated a Times Square gym where Ali trained. He worked as a cut man for Cassidy and Correa. He managed and trained a million young fighters, many of them meeting with him in the tiny back storeroom while we drank and looked in, like Kay looking in on Michael Corleone at the end of The Godfather.

The Boston Globe‘s Bob Ryan, who I once shared a drink (or six) with in the joint on the night of a Joe Calzaghe fight at the Garden (I think), called it “the last honest bar in NYC”. It ain’t the last, not with Spring Lounge still around and the stairway down to Josie Woods open. But it is an honest bar. A real bar in a Times Square area overflowing with bullshit. Elmo is a knockoff. The Naked Cowboy has clothes on. It’s not that Jimmy’s Corner doesn’t belong where it is. It’s that everything else doesn’t.

I’d say I regret not going there more but fuck, man, I try. It’s hard to get a seat at Jimmy’s because there ain’t many and why would anyone want to leave the place? An Irish buddy of mine came over to New York and asked me for bar recommendations. I gave him one, Jimmy’s Corner. The next day I got a text, “If there’s a better bar in the world, I’ve never been in it.” And he’d been in quite a few.

If ever there was a better bar owner in this city, I never met him. RIP Jimmy Glenn. When this all passes, and they reopen these bars we love so much, yours will be the first I visit. And I’ll pay proper respect.

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betway 体育是哪国的

| May 8th, 2020


Who knows what is to come from the NFL season? But there is a schedule now and here are my thoughts.

Bears.

  • Media members used to criticize the schedule release as an event with the tired mantra, “We already knew the opponents!” But the schedule release, for many fans, sets their travel agenda for the fall. And with road games in Atlanta, Charlotte, LA, Nashville and Jacksonville, you better believe Bears fans will be traversing the country if fans are allowed in these buildings this season.
  • The Masters is scheduled for 11/12 – 11/15. And for some reason, I was gifted the Bears playing on Monday Night Football that week. I haven’t missed a Bears game since 2005. And I wouldn’t have missed the game that Sunday. But man, it would have been difficult to keep my eyes on a football game as the leaders made their way to the 12th tee box. (I’ll manage with the US Open at Winged Foot in September.)
  • Things I love about this schedule:
    • At Lions, home Giants to start. It’s hard to predict how good teams will be but neither of these teams is gonna be any good defensively. It’s a great opportunity for the offense to get off to a decent start.
    • Week 11 bye. Teams aren’t going to need the bye early this year because there’s not going to be an intense preseason period. Having the bye in late-November should allow the Bears to rev up for the stretch run.
    • At Jaguars, home Packers to finish. Jacksonville should be one of the worst teams in the league and the Bears seemingly finish on the road every single year; usually at Minnesota. Nice to finish at Soldier.
    • The Texans coming to Chicago on 12/13. Warm weather, inside team coming to Chicago in mid-December should play in the Bears’ favor.

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