Bears

Since Mike Ditka, Bears coaching hires both good and bad – sometimes very good, sometimes very bad

Since Mike Ditka, Bears coaching hires both good and bad – sometimes very good, sometimes very bad

As the Bears begin their search for the coaching successor to John Fox, names will be swirling. Which the Bears decide upon will likely be the most notable Chicago sports event of the year, even though that year still has 364 more days to run.

It will be a move that comes with some interesting history.

The organization has been made sport of for any number or missteps, some amply justified, others maybe not so much. Hiring Bears coaches, while marked by erratic swings, has not been by any means a complete drumbeat litany of calamity.

After Mike Ditka was dispatched in 1992, Dallas defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt was arguably the most sought-after candidate for top sideline jobs. The Cowboys were coming off Super Bowl obliteration of the Buffalo Bills to cap off a resurgence in which Wannstedt was the No. 1 sidekick of coach Jimmy Johnson and had only once suffered through two straight losing seasons in a career ranging from college assistant to NFL head coach.

Then-Bears President Michael McCaskey pursued and edged out the New York Giants to land Wannstedt, who achieved some early success before his job-ending collapse from 1996-98.

McCaskey enacted a collapse of his own in the mishandled attempt to hire Dave McGinnis, a botched moment that effectively cost McCaskey his job. The Bears ultimately hired Dick Jauron, who managed as many playoff appearances as Wannstedt (one) but little else.

The move to Lovie Smith produced a division championship in year two (2005) and a Super Bowl appearance in year three, and ultimately produced a win total (81) trailing only George Halas and Ditka.

Missed playoffs then brought an end to Smith’s tenure despite a 10-6 record in 2012, whereupon Smith was fired by Phil Emery, who brought in Marc Trestman to start a two-year stint of dysfunction that got both Emery and Trestman fired.

The organization then turned to Fox, like Wannstedt once upon a time, perhaps the top candidate on the open market. His record of success included taking Carolina and Denver to (losing) Super Bowls, but had never experienced consecutive losing seasons through 27 years of NFL coaching at any level.

Fox’s time ended, as Wannstedt’s did, with three straight losing seasons for the first time in his career.

Akiem Hicks reveals what makes him so good against the run

Akiem Hicks reveals what makes him so good against the run

Akiem Hicks finally earned the recognition he deserved in 2018 with his first trip to the Pro Bowl, and playing on the NFL’s No. 1 defense provided the national attention he should have received in his first two years with the Bears.

He’s a solid interior pass rusher, but where he dominates is in run defense, leading the NFL in run stops last season according to Pro Football Focus.

When Hicks beats an offensive lineman at the line of scrimmage to make a big tackle in the backfield, it’s a work of art, and he revealed the secret to those flashy plays on NFL Game Pass.

He broke down the film of a play against the Green Bay Packers where he beats center Corey Linsley because he knew right guard Jordan McCray was going to pull to the left.

“I read it before the snap happens. I know that McCray is going to pull just based off his stance,” Hicks said. “I know his stance for every play that he’s going to do. I’m going to be at least 75 percent right.”

Hicks looks at how much weight an offensive lineman is putting on his hand, how far apart his legs are and how much bend is in his hips.

“If you do your due-diligence as a defensive lineman and prepare like a professional during the week, you’re going to know,” Hicks said.

Any little deviation from a normal stance is an indicator to Hicks of what the play is going to be, and that pre-snap knowledge keeps him a step ahead of the blocker in front of him.

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Vegas sets Mitchell Trubisky’s pass TD total at 26.5

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USA TODAY

Vegas sets Mitchell Trubisky’s pass TD total at 26.5

If Mitchell Trubisky has the kind of break out year in his second season under Matt Nagy that Bears fans are hoping for, he should have no problem cashing an OVER 26.5 passing TDs ticket for bettors who want to back him.

Per Bet Chicago, Caesars is rolling out division props and they set Trubisky’s touchdown pass total for 2019 at 26.5 and his pass yard total at 3,744.5.

While both those marks would be career highs for Trubisky, this number will surely be seen as a slight by the hometown fans and continue to add to the polarizing nature of the quarterback formerly known as the Pretty Boy Assassin.

In Chicago, and if you’re team Mitch, this number is ridiculously low and you’re probably already pounding the over.

Outside of Chicago, and with some analytical support, there’s a lot of doubt about Trubisky’s future as a viable option as an NFL starter, so I’d guess the Pro Football Focus crowd is probably gonna take the under.

We rolled out some props of our own on the Under Center podcast last week including:

Will Mitch Trubisky pass for 10 or more touchdowns than Craig Kimbrel has saves? (Including playoffs for both)

26.5 regular season passing touchdowns probably gives Kimbrel the edge, but it’s right in range. 

And that Trubisky – Kimbrel prop prompted this bold response from our own Bears insider JJ Stankevitz:

I don’t think I’m in the 40 club with my guy JJ, but the OVER certainly feels like the move here. At least it better be if the Bears are gonna make any sort of NFC North title defense.