Bears

15 on 6: Eliminating turnovers a high priority

15 on 6: Eliminating turnovers a high priority

Friday, Sept. 17, 2010
9:09 AM

By Jim Miller
CSNChicago.com

No Bears fan is going to enjoy a return home from Dallas if the Bears turn over the football four more times against the Cowboys. No statistic is more relevant to wins and losses than turnover ratio.

"It's a turnover game, and the turnover ratio is always big on who wins the game," Bears coach Lovie Smith said. It certainly will not be a victorious return flight and if it is, go out and buy one ticket for Powerball, Mega Millions and stop in on your grandmother's weekly Bingo match at the local VFW because it will be a special year for the Bears if it happens.

Ball security

It is a tough habit to break, but two hands on the ball is the mantra in the pocket. Jay Cutler had one of these costly turnovers when shuffling up in the pocket versus the Lions. A lot of QBs drop back with two hands on the ball, but they separate from the ball with their left hand (right arm thrower) once they hit the top of their drop. The separation gets worse when they move, shuffle or invariably escape the pocket to make a play. The irony is what is the better play: 1. holding onto the football and take the loss, or 2. slide with bad mechanics and cough it up to your opponent. Pretty easy decision from any head coach of what he would prefer. Drill work and constant emphasis during film study of practice or game with coach and player are key to breaking this habit. It can be done, as I myself, rid myself of a costly bad habit.

Can Cutler hold up?

I had an interesting conversation yesterday on my Sirius NFL Radio show with former NFL general manager Pat Kirwin. He had crunched the numbers. Cutler was sacked 10 times in the preseason or once every 4.7 attempts. He was sacked four times in the opener and on average, getting hit on one of every six throws. If you calculate pass attempts in a Mike Martz system for the year, it will come in at more than 500 attempts. At that pace, Cutler could go down close to 80 times. Protection has to be paramount from here on out for the Bears to even sniff postseason play. Without Jay, the season is lost. Martz may have to compromise down-the-field throws to run-after-catch throws until the offensive line can offer premium protection.

Jim Miller, an 11-year former NFL quarterback, is a Comcast SportsNet Bears analyst who can be seen each week on U.S. Cellular Bears Postgame Live. Miller, who spent five seasons with the Bears, analyzes current Chicago QB Jay Cutler in his "15 on 6" blog on CSNChicago.com and can be followed on Twitter @15miller.

Bears, Top 10 draft scenarios get one last look, and a change at No. 8

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Bears, Top 10 draft scenarios get one last look, and a change at No. 8

This member of the NBC Sports Chicago team has gone through the blizzard of mock drafts that are a rite of NFL spring, although with perhaps less clarity and certainty than in any draft season in 25 years of doing this.

Usually the requisite detective work of the job produces at least a fix on a player, or not that, then one position – in ’94, the Bears were going edge rusher (John Thierry) to replace Richard Dent; in ’95, they targeted running back (Rashaan Salaam) to upgrade from Lewis Tillman; in ’99, a quarterback (Cade McNown); in ’05, a back (Cedric Benson); in ’16, an edge rusher (Leonard Floyd); last year, a quarterback (Mitch Trubisky).

No, those were not all successful mock-draft calls (this reporter called Deshaun Watson last year). No, the point is that getting a sense of what’s behind the curtain has gotten exponentially more difficult as the Ryan Paces of the business have become so well practiced at maintaining veils and cones of silence over their intentions.

So late on the night before the draft, your humble and faithful narrator is continuing to scratch in the dirt for edible morsels (there’s no shortage of chaff, not so much wheat). Some things that come through the dust… .

Tremaine Edmunds remains the call for the Bears at No. 8. And I don’t like it. Not Edmunds; I like him more than Roquan Smith, my previous mock pick, for reasons of grade, player skillset, and need.

But the scratching around has uncovered that prominent voices in the Bears’ draft room are pushing for Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward at No. 8. Multi-year deals with a combined $36 million guaranteed for Prince Amukamara and Kyle Fuller notwithstanding, the Bears did immense work on Ward (Combine meeting, Ohio State pro day, pre-draft visit), who visited five teams drafting in the top 12 in addition to Pro Day evaluations.

The night before the 2018 draft, the order of Bears “probables” now stands at: 1) Ward, 2) Smith, 3) Edmunds, trade up for 4) Bradley Chubb (the Bears were one of only three teams to have him in for a pre-draft visit, 5) trade up for Quenton Nelson. And 6) trade down for Marcus Davenport (see below).

“4-gone” a Bears wish-list? Maybe not

Four quarterbacks going off the board within the seven picks before the Bears are on the clock at No. 8 has been cast as the best of scenarios for the Bears. And it would mean that the Bears, who don’t number a quarterback among the players in their cluster graded as worth that No. 8, would be in position to draft the de facto fourth-best player of the draft, certainly among non-quarterbacks.

But would that “4-gone” be the best of all possible Bears cases? Not necessarily.

One NFL insider suggested to NBC Sports Chicago that the Bears would be better off if THREE of the four top QB’s were gone and one was still there at No. 8. The Bears, claiming to have a cloud of guys that would comfortably allow them to trade back and still get an elite player, would then likely be fielding a call or calls from Miami, Buffalo and anyone else desperate for a quarterback.

As in: Josh Allen has fallen, still there at 8, and so are, say, Marcus Davenport, Tremaine Edmunds, Roquan Smith, Denzel Ward, any one of which would be a solid pick at No. 8. The Bills at No. 12 want Allen, Ryan Pace’s phone rings, and Pace slides back to 12, gets Buffalo’s No. 3 to replace the one he surrendered in the trade-up last year for Mitch Trubisky, and still gets one of the elites he would’ve drafted anyway at No. 8.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: What should Bears do at No. 8?

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SportsTalk Live Podcast: What should Bears do at No. 8?

On the latest SportsTalk Live Podcast, David Haugh (Chicago Tribune), Hub Arkush (Pro Football Weekly/670 The Score) and Chris Emma (670TheScore.com) join Kap on the panel.

The guys discuss Ryan Pace’s options with the NFL Draft just a day away. Plus, Porter Moser gets an extension at Loyola, Kyle Schwarber continues to rake and Michael Kopech continues to dominate at Triple-A.

Listen to the full SportsTalk Live Podcast right here: