Bears

Under Center Podcast: Trubisky, Watson and Mahomes forever connected

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Under Center Podcast: Trubisky, Watson and Mahomes forever connected

The "Pace Bowl" has come and gone and football fans everywhere are better for it, except Bears fans. Laurence Holmes is joined by Ben Heisler (@bennyheis), host of the Awful Announcing podcast, to discuss the 51-31 Chiefs-Texans shootout featuring Patrick Mahomes vs. Deshaun Watson and the draft that will forever connect the three quarterbacks.

(1:32) - What it was like to watch Watson vs. Mahomes live

(4:30) - It's weird trailing by three touchdowns is nothing for the Chiefs

(7:30) - How does scoring 31 points get you blown out?

(10:00) - Does It bother Mahomes that Bears over looked him?

(11:40) - How far is Trubisky from Watson and Mahomes?

(15:30) - What did Ryan Pace see in Trubisky that he didn't with the other two signal-callers?

(21:10) - Where does the "Pace Bowl" game rank?

Listen to the episode here or in the embedded player below.

Under Center Podcast

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Bears and Ryan Pace praise "underrated" (and highly paid) Leonard Floyd

Bears and Ryan Pace praise "underrated" (and highly paid) Leonard Floyd

I would make an argument that Leonard Floyd is the most divisive player on the Bears right now. Before you point out the obvious, you should remember that everyone's opinion on Trubisky is concretely set in stone. 

Floyd gets a lot of love from the All-The-Tools gang while garnering equal amounts of hate from people who swear by Pro Football Focus. He's an incredibly athletic, situationally-useful edge rusher who just can't really get to the passer. Is there value in that? Of course! How much? I don't know. But it's probably not $13 million. That's how much Floyd, who had a career-low 3 sacks last season, is going to make in 2020. It's a lot of money for an edge rusher who actually shows up in the box score. And it's certainly a lot of money for an edge rusher who doesn't. And it's surely a number the Bears are well-aware of.

RELATED: Will Ryan Pace's actions speak louder than his words

You would think this predicament might open the Bears up to some sort of contract restructuring or even a trade. Every second of media availability at the combine is just a chance for general managers to set smokescreens and it certainly doesn't sound like the Bears are trying to move on. 

"I think Leonard wants to be more productive as a pass rusher," Pace said on Tuesday morning. We want him to be more productive there too. He's close in a lot of areas when you look at the pressures and those things. He just needs to finish a little better on the quarterback. But I think when you're evaluating him, you have to factor in everything. His run defense. His ability in coverage."

"We consider him our "Sam" outside linebacker, so we value what he can do in coverage and think sometimes that goes a little underrated for what he does in that area, for a guy that's of his stature. Not many outside linebackers can drop in coverage like he does. So, that's a factor."

Maybe that's what the Bears WANT us to think! Maybe Pace is playing chess while we're all playing checkers. Or maybe he has a problem knowing when to cut bait with a high draft pick who hasn't panned out.

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Heading into Year 3, Matt Nagy is still searching for the Bears' identity

Heading into Year 3, Matt Nagy is still searching for the Bears' identity

Matt Nagy met with media on Tuesday, so naturally the horrid state of his offense was brought up. When pressed on what's going to change, Nagy said some things that fans will probably like hearing.

"We know, offensively, we struggled in a lot of different areas but we're about fixing it," Nagy said. "If we're okay with what we did last year, then we're in the wrong place. And we're not. So, we gotta fix things."

And then he followed that with some things they may not:

“Yeah, I’ll be calling the plays," he added.

"As we go through this offseason here, we need to figure out offensively what is our identity. I think more specifically, too, in the run game. We struggled there. So, we got to figure out what our identity is and that's going to be an objective for us. And then last year you heard me say sometimes it takes five or six weeks. I feel like,, personally, that's always the case but there's a sense of urgency for us going into this year. It needs to happen sooner."

Though the notion of who's calling plays has become something of a strawman for 2019, the Bears have already addressed it plenty. Gone are offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich, offensive line coach Harry Hiestand and tight ends coach Kevin Gilbride. (Helfrich and Hiestand were reportedly heavily involved in the team's run plan.) In their places, respectively, are Bill Lazor, Juan Castillo and Clancy Barone. They even brought on John DeFilippo to be the new quarterback coach after promoting Dave Ragone. 

"For me, as a head coach, what I’m trying to do is, I want to become the best possible head coach I could be," Nagy said. "And by doing that, having guys around me that I can delegate and give things to is important … we don’t have the run-game coordinator title but we have guys in Juan Castillo, Clancy Barone that have a great background in that. Bill Lazor can oversee, really, everything. We’re all having great ideas."

RELATED: Will Ryan Pace's actions speak louder than his words?

And while the Bears are fully embracing the idea of (too?) many cooks in a kitchen, there's still only one chef. This will still be Nagy's offense, for better or worse. With that said, after watching his professional mentor, Andy Reid, adjust the Chiefs' game plan all the way to a Super Bowl win, the art of the adjustment hasn't been lost on Nagy. 

"Coach Reid, in Philadelphia, ran a true West Coast offense," he said. "Not running that anymore. He’s been changing. So being able to change to your personnel—When we had Alex Smith, he brought in a lot of the RPO stuff. And now he’s got Patrick and they’re doing their things. So, to each their own. And it worked. But that also took a little bit of time, right? I remember coming in in 2013 in Kansas City and the year before, they were 2-14. It took time. Now seven, eight years later, it’s a Super Bowl. There’s a foundation there of players that has been created over time and that offense is not the same as what it was when I was there two years ago. That’s fun."

Here's hoping that Bears' fans have that kind of patience...

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