Bears Building Team That Could Take Control of NFC North

| May 18th, 2016

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) is sacked and hit by Indianapolis Colts inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman (50) in second half action. The Colts defeated the Green Bay Packers 30-27 on Sunday, October 7, 2012, in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Sam Riche/MCT) ORG XMIT: 1129744

Since taking over before last offseason, Ryan Pace and John Fox have completely rebuilt the Bears defense and it should result in a team that contends for the NFC North in both the near and long term.

I don’t care what happened last year. The Packers are still the team to beat in the NFC North. They have the best coach, the best quarterback and – while they’re certainly declining – I’m not ready to proclaim the Vikings or any other team the new King of the North. But what the Bears did to the Packers on Thanksgiving wasn’t a fluke and now they’re building up their talent level to do it consistently. At the very least, with a good defense, they’ll give themselves a consistent chance.

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Around the North with Andrew Dannehy: Green Bay

| January 29th, 2016


It’s going to take more than the return of Jordy Nelson to cure what ails the Packers.

The fact they played the Cardinals close led to a lot of confusion about what kind of team they were. But in their last four games, the Cards beat the Packers twice and were blown out by the Panthers and Seahawks. The Packers finished 5-7 and were a Hail Mary away from going 4-8. They were blown out by Denver, Carolina and Arizona. They just aren’t that good of a team and I’m not sure if they can recover.

Nelson was underrated. Now he’s teetering on being overrated. He’s 31 years old and coming off of a major knee injury. He’s good. He’s not Calvin Johnson.

The truth is this. Despite some miracles, Aaron Rodgers didn’t play very well.

We’ve all heard the rumors that Rodgers doesn’t like coach Mike McCarthy. He wasn’t happy when McCarthy took the playcalling over again, demoting his buddy Tom Clements and limiting his ability to audible. Rodgers took shots at McCarthy weekly and it was largely unnoticed.

But it isn’t just Rodgers who doesn’t seem to be getting along with his boss. It was reported a few weeks ago that McCarthy is “fed up” with General Manager Ted Thompson not going after free agents.

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Around the North with Andrew Dannehy: Minnesota

| January 28th, 2016

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The following is part two of a three part wrap-up of the division from DBB contributor Andrew Dannehy.


The common theme with the Vikings is they’re an up-and-coming team but that could be more perception than reality.

The Vikings remind me a lot of the team they had almost a decade ago when they won the NFC North with a 10-6 record. Adrian Peterson was great and their defense was really good, but they didn’t have a quarterback and without a quarterback it’s hard to see them staying on top for long.

The 2008 team upgraded with Brett Favre, which was enough to win them the NFC North again and make them Super Bowl contenders, but I don’t see such an upgrade available to them this time around and they don’t seem to know they have a problem.

Teddy Bridgewater doesn’t make a lot of crippling mistakes. But he also can’t consistently make plays down the field. Will he improve? It’s certainly not a guarantee. Coming out of the draft, he was billed as a “finished product” and didn’t make a noticeable improvement from his rookie season to his second year. If he’s Alex Smith, that’s fine. But quarterbacks like Alex Smith don’t win championships.  Moving indoors next year should help hide his arm limitations.

Bridgewater is not their only issue.

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Around The North with Andrew Dannehy: Detroit

| January 27th, 2016

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There was a changing of the guard in the NFC North this season, with the Vikings overtaking the Packers, but the future of the division remains in question. The following is part one of a three part wrap-up of the division.


The Lions 2015 season was considered a disappointment but it really shouldn’t have been. When they went 11-5 in 2014, they won close games at an unsustainable rate and lost their best player in free agency before this season (Suh). They finished 2015 with a 7-9 record – right around where they should’ve been.

They had to keep Jim Caldwell. It isn’t just that the Lions were one desperation heave from finishing 7-1. The Lions might have been the best team in the division over the final eight games. They finished 6-2 with a point differential of plus-54, both best in the division.

The issue was they didn’t hire their new GM (Bob Quinn from the Pats) until late and the head coach candidates were winding down. Even if they fired Caldwell and replaced him, the new coach would have a challenge filling out his staff. Keeping Caldwell was the only logical choice, but it could hurt them in 2016.

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Across The Middle With Andrew Dannehy

| January 6th, 2016


• “Of course everybody’s frustrated, man. We were 6-10, that’s not acceptable.” That quote in itself may not mean a whole lot to most, but, to me I see it as Ryan Pace not losing track of the fact that he is in charge of a bad team. There seem to be quite a few people who have lost track of that fact. The pressure is on Pace and John Fox to make sure 6-10 doesn’t happen again and they know it.

• Going 1-7 at home isn’t OK, but five of the losses came to playoff teams and another came with a preseason lineup against a team that went 6-2 down the stretch. I’m not going to freak out about it that much.

• All of the talk about Jay Cutler’s decrease in interceptions was pretty dumb. You saw on Sunday, a lot of times, the interceptions are more about dumb luck. He’s just as good now as he’s always been.

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NFC North Preview: Minnesota Vikings

| September 2nd, 2015


There are many around the league who are quietly optimistic about the Vikings this year. OK, so they’re not quiet at all. They’re actually quite annoyingly loud. It’s kind of weird considering that, in terms of DVOA, they were better than just Jacksonville, Tennessee, Tampa Bay, Oakland, Washington, New York Jets and, of course, the Bears. But they went 7-9 last year with a young roster and the expectation is that they will improve in their second year under Mike Zimmer.

Why They’ll Win The North:

There’s no question that Zimmer immediately changed the culture in Minnesota. Leslie Frazier seems like a nice guy, but there was no personality to him or any of his teams and he has a girls name. The players liked Frazier, but they accepted losing rather easily. Zimmer doesn’t put up with any bull shit. He’s a psychotic competitor and the Vikings seemed to take on that personality at times last season.

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NFC North Preview: Detroit Lions

| September 2nd, 2015

NFL: Detroit Lions at betway平台

When I spoke with Detroit Lions fan Jeff Risdon last week, I was surprised by his optimism. Risdon is usually pretty down on the Lions, but he sees them as a team that will win 10 or more games and make the playoffs for the second straight year. Hell, he might be right, if the Lions catch a few breaks they just might be legitimate contenders for the NFC North title.

Why They’ll Win The North:

They almost did last year. Go back to their Week 3 game against the Packers and you’ll see they flat out bullied them. Aaron Rodgers left the game whining about Green Bay’s scheme — the same scheme that has had them among the highest scoring team in the league for almost a decade. The Lions had them stumped. They met again in Week 17 when the Packers were at their best and the game still came down to the fourth quarter.

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NFC North Consensus: Packers first, Bears last

| August 27th, 2015


While Jeff is getting drunk and golfing in Ireland, I have been put in charge of doing NFC North Previews for DBB. To help get knowledge on some of the other teams, I called up a pair of colleagues and they had the same thought about the NFC North standings this year: The Packers will finish first and the Bears will finish last.

While my attempts to record podcasts with both failed, I spoke with Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Jeff Risdon of RealGM and ESPN 961 and they both were in agreement on how the division would shake out.

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Another Team at betway平台 Game Thread

| September 28th, 2014

Packers' Rodgers is sacked by Vikings' Allen during the first half of their NFL football game in Minneapolis

Three Final Thoughts

(1) Unless Cutler goes 31-37, 385 yards and three touchdowns and the Bears lose a shootout, the quarterback will be the story today. Sometimes the NFL is not about Xs and Os. Sometimes its just about about one guy putting a team on his back and saying, “We’re not losing today, fellas.” That is what Cutler needs to do today.

(2) Bears need Jared Allen. They need his presence and they need his production. If he misses the game due to illness or is limited due to weakness, the Bears will need heroic efforts from Young and Houston.

(3) Mike McCarthy likes to be creative with his special teams calls against the Bears, especially at Soldier Field. Bears should be careful every time the Packers line up to kick/punt and be wary of the Packers overloading the Bears right side when P.O.D. is dropping back.

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Rivalry Renewed: Green Bay Packers at betway平台 Game Preview

| September 25th, 2014

Jaws8 little boy eaten 1975

Why do I like the betway平台 this week?

I always like the betway平台 .

(But this week just a bit more.)

A Thought on Aaron Rodgers

For the first time in his tenure with the Green Bay Packers, The Golden Boy hath lost his shine. His gold is more a beige. The Beige Boy.

It started a year ago with Greg Jennings criticizing Rodgers on the way out the door, causing national NFL media types to start a letter-writing campaign in hopes of having Jennings ex-communicated from the league. Aaron Rodgers not a good leader? Aaron Rodgers not a great teammate? How dare anyone insinuate such a thing!

(Side note: Outside of Devin Hester, who couldn’t play the position he was asked to play, how many players from Jay Cutler’s huddle have made such accusations?)

On opening night of the 2014 campaign there was Aaron Rodgers verbally ripping his fifth-round rookie center in front of a national audience. After the Packers loss to Detroit, one of their most woeful offensive performances in years, he ripped the individuals responsible for adjustments. (Some call these individuals “coaches”.) From Packers.com:

“We didn’t make enough adjustments to score enough points,” Rodgers said.


“Adjustments, yeah. We didn’t make enough adjustments,” Rodgers said.

“Their goal was they were going to limit the number of one-on-one coverages and roll the coverage to Jordy. We need balance. We have to run the ball better, more effectively. We haven’t done it in the first three games,” Rodgers said.

So it’s the coaches and their adjustments. And it’s those responsible for running the ball. So everybody on the offense except for…him? You think this was harmless? Mike McCarthy did not and took veiled shots back when he met the media:

“I’m not really up here to talk about scheme,” McCarthy said at his Monday news conference. “One thing I always talk to our players about all the time is scheme is not a crutch. The fundamentals and the things we do from an execution standpoint were not good enough, clearly, on offense.”

There is blood in the water for the first time in the Aaron Rodgers era in Green Bay. If the Bears don’t pounce on them at home like Alex Kintner, they are not ready to seize the moment and control of the NFC North.

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