Bear PAWS: Both Bears and Rams at a crossroads

Bear PAWS: Both Bears and Rams at a crossroads

Who doesn’t appreciate a good idiom, right? You know, idioms - expressions that aren’t meant to be taken literally - like someone having “cold feet.” The person doesn’t literally have feet that are actually cold, he or she probably has second thoughts and serious doubts about committing to something. “To the nine” is an English idiom meaning, “to perfection,” or “to the highest degree.” Unfortunately, for the Bears and Rams, a combined 9-9 win/loss record has a meaning that is now more mediocre than perfection.

Some of the best idioms are football sayings like, “running backs are a dime a dozen.” Clearly the Bears prescribe to this concept, just ask recently released running back Mike Davis… hello, Ryan Nall.

Another popular idiom, “he dropped the ball,” could apply literally to Rams QB Jared Goff, due to his 9 fumbles this season. I don’t want to be guilty of being a “Monday morning quarterback,” so before Sunday’s game arrives, let’s use P.A.W.S. (Predictive Analysis WIth Statistics) to better understand how the number 9 is patterned into this week’s game.

The Los Angeles Rams are struggling at 5-4 and whether or not it’s due to a “Super Bowl hangover” is debatable. What is certain, however, is how irresponsible and careless quarterback Jared Goff has been with the football. His disregard for ball security (9 interceptions/9 fumbles, 3 lost) has led to diminished scoring chances for the Rams, while undoubtedly contributing to several of their losses.

On the season, the Rams are giving up 21.2 points per game; however, over the last 3 games, that average plummets to 12.3 points per contest. Goff didn’t have any turnovers in two of those games, and both of those matches were convincing wins.

Examining the last few games further, we see that Los Angeles is 9th (42.9%) in the NFL in red-zone scoring percentage involving only touchdowns. Coincidentally, the Bears are allowing red zone touchdowns at a 44.4% clip, ranking right behind Rams at 10th in the league.

Obviously, keeping teams out of the end zone is necessary for winning, but for Chicago with their anemic offense, it’s vital. Chicago averages 18 points a game -- the 6th-worst scoring offense and a source of frustration for players, coaches and fans.

Offensive frustration aside, Chicago’s defensive unit keeps them in striking distance as evidenced by the -0.6 scoring margin between points allowed and points scored. Defensively, Chicago has only given up 9 passing touchdowns, placing them 6th in that category league-wide. Currently, the Bears rank 9th in yards allowed per game at 327.3, and over the last 3 contests that average has dipped to 320.3 yards.

Having led with the “good news,” I feel compelled to share the fact that Chicago, on the road, is giving up 374.8 yards per game.

Plainly put, the Bears offense needs to improve dramatically if Chicago is going to make a push for the postseason. Out of thirty-three quarterbacks rated, Mitch Trubisky’s 85.2 QBR is 9th-worst and the team’s 9.3 yards per completion is dead last. Ironically, Goff’s QBR ( 82.7) is worse than Trubisky’s, but Jared and the Rams are 9th in passing yards (2,516).

Despite the turnover turmoil Goff has caused his team, the Rams are still extremely explosive on offense and that scoring prowess makes them dangerous to Chicago.

Faced with injuries to key players and plagued by inconsistent play and questionable coaching decisions, both Chicago and Los Angeles are looking up through a “glass ceiling” (love those idioms) regarding their playoff positioning. In order to go to the postseason dance “dressed to the nines,” the Bears must show up offensively with a game plan Trubisky can confidently execute.

In order to compete Sunday, Chicago must:

● Win on 3rd down in LA, where over the last three games the Rams rank 5th, allowing only a 30.4% conversion rate.

● Continue to feed David Montgomery at the goal line, where his 9 carries there rank 3rd overall in the NFL

● Pressure Goff into more turnovers (Rams have 16 TOs, which is 7th-worst in NFL)

The Rams and Bears are at a “crossroads” of sorts, but neither team can put the “cart before the horse” if they are to contend for the playoffs.

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President Trump believes NFL season should start on time

President Trump believes NFL season should start on time

The sports world is one of many industries forced to a halt by the coronavirus outbreak. As uncertainty continues to loom over professional American sports leagues, the commissioners of a number of leagues had a conference call with President Trump on Saturday.

It’s worth noting the NCAA was not included on this call. All leagues represented were fully professional.

Since the call concluded some info has come out about what was discussed. Trump appears optimistic about sports in the later summer and early fall.

Obviously, there are many currently unknown variables that go into that scenario becoming a possibility.

Adam Schefter and Adrian Wojnarowski have more info on what was discussed on the call. According to their reporting, NBA commissioner Adam Silver talked about the desire to restart once public health officials allow it:

Silver told those on the call the leagues were the first to shut down and that he and the NBA would love to lead the way in starting the economy once there was an "all clear" from public health officials, sources familiar with the call told ESPN.

The NBA and MLB are considering alternate plans for how to resume their seasons, although there is pessimism within the NBA about resuming this season. The NFL has more lead time before its season would begin. The first game of the NFL preseason is set for Aug. 6 and the regular season is currently scheduled to start in September.

Sports Talk Live Podcast: Bears' QB competition confirmed by Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace


Sports Talk Live Podcast: Bears' QB competition confirmed by Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace

It's a Friday edition of SportsTalk Live. Host David Kaplan is joined by David Haugh, Patrick Finley, and KC Johnson.

Bears general manager Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy confirm that there will be an open competition for starting quarterback between Nick Foles and Mitch Trubisky. The guys wonder how open it will actually be. Meanwhile, Nagy says he can sense Trubisky is a fierce competitor. The panel wonders if competition will elevate his play and make him better.

The Bulls have officially begun their search for the new executive to lead their basketball operations. Bulls Insider KC goes through the potential candidates. Haugh and Finley wonder how the COVID-19 pandemic will affect their search and ability to land a big name. And what about Jim Boylen's future? KC says it will ultimately be up to the new person in charge but reminds everyone how much Boylen is liked by the current front office.

Later, former NFL coach Dave Wannstedt joins Kap on the show from Florida. Wanny dissects the Bears quarterback competition and explains why the pressure will always be high on Mitch no matter what. They also talk about new tight end Jimmy Graham's impact on the offense and pass rusher Robert Quinn's impact on the defense. And what's Wanny up to during quarantine? He tells Kap the shows he's binge-watching and gives his review of "Tiger King". 

0:00- There will be an open competition for the Bears starting quarterback job. Does either QB have an advantage? Will competition make Mitch a better quarterback? Also, how much better does Robert Quinn make the defense?

8:00- The Bulls have begun their search for the new head of their basketball operations. KC goes through some of the candidates. Plus, the panel discusses what this means for Jim Boylen's future, John Paxson's role in the search and his future role in the organization.

16:00- Dave Wannstedt joins Kap on the show. He talks about Mitch's chances to win the QB competition and his chances to keep the job throughout next season. Plus, they talk about Jimmy Graham's role in the offense, Robert Quinn's impact on the defense and Wanny gives his honest review of "Tiger King".

Sports Talk Live Podcast