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.

Did Patriots owner Robert Kraft crush Bears' hope for Tom Brady?

Did Patriots owner Robert Kraft crush Bears' hope for Tom Brady?

The Bears are one of the first teams mentioned when speculation about where New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady could play in 2020. The Bears are the most quarterback-needy club that also has a chance to make a Super Bowl run with a player like Brady under center, so it's logical to assume the soon-to-be free agent will at least entertain the idea of playing home games at Soldier Field next year.

Much of what happens with Brady will come down to how the Patriots view the 42-year-old (he'll be 43 at the start of next season). If all things are equal, and New England makes him a fair offer to come back, it's likely Brady would return to the only franchise he's ever played for. And if owner Robert Kraft's recent comments are sincere, it's more than likely that he will.

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Kraft, who was in New York City on Tuesday, was asked by TMZ reporters whether the Patriots will re-sign Brady this offseason. His response? 

"We plan to," Kraft said.

Well, there you have it, right? If the Patriots plan to re-sign Brady, then the Patriots are going to re-sign Brady; assuming, of course, you believe what Kraft is saying in January before New England's decision-makers have had enough time to assess their quarterback situation with, and maybe without, No. 12 under center.

Brady is coming off of one of his worst seasons as a pro, which is saying something considering he's been playing for two decades. His completion percentage was the lowest it's been in six years, his yardage total was the second-lowest in the last 10 years, and his 24 touchdown passes were the fewest he's thrown in a season since 2006. 

It's natural to wonder whether Father Time has finally caught up to him. Maybe, however, his down year was a result of lacking talent at wide receiver and tight end. Regardless of the reason, his 2019 campaign has called into question where he'll be in 2020.

But there are those three words Kraft said — 'we plan to' — that can't be ignored. At the very least, Bears fans can't get their hopes up. The Patriots tend to get what they want, and if they want Brady back in 2020, they'll have him.

Bears showing strong interest in Dayton TE Adam Trautman

Bears showing strong interest in Dayton TE Adam Trautman

Add Dayton tight end Adam Trautman  to the growing list of tight ends the Bears have met with at the 2020 Senior Bowl.

After confirming Purdue's Brycen Hopkins and Vanderbilt's Jared Pinkney spent time with Bears scouts (in the case of Pinkney, nearly 35 minutes), Trautman told NFL.com's Chase Goodbread that Chicago's scouts have expressed a strong interest in his skill set.

"They're interested in me," Trautman said of the Bears. "They tell me they like what they see."

RELATED: Top 30 free agents of 2020 NFL offseason

Trautman had one of the best lines of the week when he said he prefers driving opposing defenders into the ground against their will over scoring touchdowns, and at a well-built 6-foot-5, 251 pounds, he has the perfect physical makeup to project as a guy who will do that on the next level. He needs development in that area of his game (run blocker), but his 'want-to' is half the battle.

Trautman wasn't the best tight end this week, but he was far from the worst. He's been consistent, and for a team like the Bears who are searching for a tight end who can be relied on as a second-level target for whoever is playing quarterback in Matt Nagy's offense, Trautman's consistency will be viewed as a plus.

Trautman had 916 yards and 14 touchdowns for Dayton in 2019. Scouts wanted to see whether he could handle the jump in competition at the Senior Bowl, and he's answered that question with a resounding yes.

He projects as a Day 3 pick with upside to develop into a starting quality tight end.