Bears

Everyone on the Bears is mad about Allen Robinson's Pro Bowl snub except him

Everyone on the Bears is mad about Allen Robinson's Pro Bowl snub except him

You could tell that Matt Nagy badly wanted to give his full, unadulterated thoughts on Allen Robinson’s Pro Bowl exclusion. Nagy’s tone immediately shifted when he was asked about it, and the anger on his face grew with each stunted attempt to find diplomatic words. 

“You really want to know?,” Nagy finally asked, after more than a few moments of tense silence. “Yeah. I'll just say this: A-Rob. He – A-Rob is a pro. I'll just leave it at that. A-Rob, he's special. A-Rob, he's unbelievable. Unbelievable. That word snub. A-Rob is unbelievable and needs to be in the Pro Bowl.” 

That’s been the company line since Sunday night, when the NFL announced the Pro Bowl rosters. Robinson’s been the best player on the Bears’ offense all season, and his inclusion had become something of a foregone conclusion.

Instead, the NFC is sending New Orleans’ Michael Thomas, Atlanta’s Julio Jones, and Tampa Bay’s Chris Godwin and Mike Evans. All four – from the same division, no less – are worthy inclusions. That doesn’t make those around Halas Hall any less angry for Robinson, who put up stats worthy of playing in the sparsely-attended Orlando showcase.

“He's a Pro Bowler in my mind,” Mitch Trubisky said. “He's done a lot for this team and he's played his tail off all season long. I mean, I don't know what goes on with the voting and all of that but he's had a heck of a year and I'm very proud that he's one of our leaders and a great teammate.” 

By all accounts, 2019’s been the second-best season of Allen Robinson’s six-year career. Going into Week 16, his total yards (1,023), touchdowns (7), and yards per game (73.1) are all pacing only behind his stellar 2015 season – the only other time he’s made a Pro Bowl. Assuming he stays involved over the next two games, he’ll set career highs in Catch% (63.8) and first downs as well. All this for an offense that ranks 23rd overall in DVOA and, if you can believe it, won’t be sending anyone to the game. 

“It’s unfortunate, certainly, for him individually,” offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich said. “I know he would be the first guy to say it’s team first over individual first. That’s the type of guy he is, the type of leader he is, and if we had put together a few more wins, it’s probably a no-brainer. It’s a tough deal for him, but at the same time, I know he’s all about the team.” 

Helfrich is right in a sense – the only person who *wasn’t* visibly upset about the ‘snub’ was Robinson himself. He had mentioned throughout the season that being named to the Pro Bowl was a bigger deal for his family than him personally, and, quite frankly, with the amount of players who decide against playing in the game, it’s not unlikely that Robinson ends up there anyways. He thinks he played well enough to merit consideration, but you won’t catch him sweating it, either. 

“Oh yeah, definitely. I believe I did – I thought I made plays when my name was called,” Robinson said. “But again, that’s not something I’m going to lose sleep over or anything like that.” 

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Bears 17, Packers 13: Whose arrows are up and down after spoiling Favre's retirement

Bears 17, Packers 13: Whose arrows are up and down after spoiling Favre's retirement

Well, that probably felt good. 

The Bears were apparently none too pleased about being scheduled as the Packers' opponents on the night that Brett Favre was getting his number retired at Lambeau Field. In front of a packed crowd, on the (so rainy) holiday nightcap, the Bears outlasted Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in what'll surely be the most rewarding win of the upcoming 6-10 season. Here's whose arrows are up and down in the 17-13 win: 

ARROW UP – The Bears, just in general 

Good for the (4-6) Bears! They were still technically In The Hunt, but this wasn't a particularly strong team and boy is it disrespectful to be scheduled on Favre's big night. Things never break the Bears' way in this rivalry, and especially not in Green Bay. On a nationally-televised, holiday game no less? The Bears never, ever win this game. It wasn't "a good example of football" or "fun to watch," but the luxury of winning is you don't have to remember the details. 

ARROW DOWN – The passing game 

Cutler threw for 200 yards, and would have had a good bit more if there weren't so many drops. The constant, unrelenting rain that came down throughout this game obviously made the football hard to catch,  but the Bears dropped more than a couple balls. Alshon Jeffery was guilty of a couple, and Jeremey Langford's drop on 3rd and 2 in the 2nd quarter stood out as especially egregious. 

ARROW UP – Pat O'Donnell 

Eight punts for my man Pat. Eight! He racked up 323 yards while averaging 40.4 yards per punt on a night when special teams can get messy. The Packers faced tough field position all night – starting eight of their 12 drives within 20 yards of their own end zone – and O'Donnell was a big reason why. 

ARROW DOWN – Run defense 

To be fair, Eddy Lacy is huge. Lacy ran for 105 yards on 17 rushes, his longest rush of the night going for 29 yards. He was also useful out of the backfield for Green Bay, catching four balls for 34 yards – 25 of them coming on a touchdown in the first quarter. According to Pro Football Focus' grading system, this was the run defense's worst performance (36.5) of an otherwise okay season (74.1). Shea McClellin (27.7) and Christian Jones (33.8) were graded particularly poorly, though McClellin finished second on the team in tackles. 

ARROW UP – The secondary

Kyle Fuller was targeted twice in 78 snaps, and didn't allow a reception. Tracy Porter got a rare interception off Aaron Rodgers, and would have had two if not for a penalty negating the play. Bryce Callahan had an up-and-down game, but the corner had his moments and played well in coverage on the final play of the game. 

Brian Urlacher on Robert Quinn: 'I didn't love the signing'

Brian Urlacher on Robert Quinn: 'I didn't love the signing'

The best way for the Chicago Bears to take full advantage of the Khalil Mack era is to give him a competent pass-rushing running-mate who can consistently win the one-on-one opportunities he's certain to face.

Former first-round pick Leonard Floyd couldn't do it, and that's why he's no longer a Bear. It's also why Robert Quinn, who totaled 11.5 sacks for the Cowboys in 2019, was signed to a five-year, $70 million contract in free agency.

But was it money well-spent? According to Hall-of-Fame linebacker Brian Urlacher, the answer is no.

“This isn’t a knock on the player, [but] I didn’t love the signing of Robert Quinn,” Urlacher said on ESPN 1000’s Waddle and Silvy show . “I liked him, he had a great season last year, really good football player. I just – you paid Khalil [Mack] all this money, he gets all this money. Akiem Hicks is a badass in the middle, making all this money. I understand you get rid of Floyd. But do you need to spend that much money on another guy up front?

“I would think you could find someone to put pressure from that side. Khalil is getting two guys no matter who is over there anyway, and with Akiem back, it’s going to be different. Once he’s healthy, we all saw how much he meant to their defense when he wasn’t in there.”

Urlacher's points are certainly valid, and a healthy Hicks should give Chicago's defense the extra juice it was lacking for most of the second half of last season. But there's also a flaw in Urlacher's reasoning. If having two 'badass' pass-rushers is great, then adding a third can result in something truly special.

Quinn has the potential to be the final piece that the Bears' defense needs to go from great to truly elite. He's registered five seasons with at least 8.5 sacks.

Did the Bears pay Quinn too much? Did they go all-in on a player who's battled injuries before last year's resurgence? Maybe. But it's a risk worth taking, especially considering how dominant this team can be if Mack and Quinn stay healthy in 2020.