Bears

Bears trade Jared Allen to Carolina Panthers for draft pick

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Bears trade Jared Allen to Carolina Panthers for draft pick

The Bears’ 0-3 start and the Carolina Panthers’ 3-0 beginning to the 2015 season converged on Monday when the Panthers traded to obtain Jared Allen, returning the veteran defensive end to his more familiar 4-3 scheme under Carolina coach Ron Rivera in return for a sixth-round draft choice.

The deal, first reported by FOX Sports’ Jay Glazer, gives Allen a chance to play for a playoff contender and nets the Bears something in return for an aging veteran who clearly was not a long-term fit with the team under coach John Fox and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio.

“We had some depth at the linebacker position and were able to reach an agreement with the Panthers to bring a 2016 draft pick to our team in exchange for Jared Allen,” GM Ryan Pace said in a statement Monday. “Whether it is acquiring additional picks or signing players, we will continue to be aggressive in finding ways to improve our football team.

“We appreciate Jared’s contributions and wish him the best in Carolina.”

Allen had made some progress converting to an outside linebacker in the Bears’ 3-4 defense, starting all three games this season. But he had yet to register a sack, had only six total tackles through three games and just three quarterback hits/pressures. He did have the Bears’ lone interception this season but did not have the consistent impact that he did in his career as a right end in a 4-3 scheme.

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

The deal concludes a disappointing tenure for one of the NFL’s all-time sack leaders and one of the more expensive contract boondoggles by the organization. Former GM Phil Emery signed Allen in the 2014 offseason to a deal that included a guaranteed $11.5 million for 2015. Allen delivered a career-low 5.5 sacks during last year’s defensive debacle and had not shown flashes to indicate he had returned to his form of past years.

The Bears also have a glut of players in the Allen mold – Sam Acho, Lamarr Houston, Pernell McPhee, Willie Young – and Allen does not contribute on special teams.

The Panthers, however, are tied atop with the Atlanta Falcons with 3-0 records. They have just seven sacks through three games, none by starting right end Kony Ealy, who was benched for disciplinary reasons for the start of Sunday’s win over New Orleans.

Allen is expected to be a situational pass rusher, with Ealy sliding inside to tackle in nickel situations. Starting left end Charles Johnson went down with a hamstring strain on Sunday and is expected to miss time with the injury.

Is Bears “D” in “football shape?” Lacking ability to finish? Fourth-quarter fades raise questions

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USA Today

Is Bears “D” in “football shape?” Lacking ability to finish? Fourth-quarter fades raise questions

During the critical fourth-quarter Oakland Raiders drive for a game-winning touchdown, one former Pro Bowl’er and NFL observer remarked to this writer that he was surprised to see a lot of hands on hips and mouth-breathing by members of the Bears defense – two common signs of being gassed.

Critiquing conditioning – or lack of – is problematic the way judging pain tolerance is. And if the Raiders score were an isolated incident, the question likely doesn’t come up.

But something is amiss. While the Bears defense remains among the NFL’s best, at least statistically, a shadow of concern is falling over the defense and its ability to close out games that it has within its reach.

The Bears held fourth-quarter leads over Denver and Oakland and allowed go-ahead touchdowns. They were rescued by Eddy Piñeiro’s 53-yard field goal in the final second. No such rescue in London.

Fully half of the eight touchdowns scored by Bears opponents in 2019 have come in fourth quarters. (The Bears themselves have not scored a single TD in any fourth quarter this season, but that’s a separate discussion.) By contrast, last season the defense did not allow a fourth-quarter touchdown in any of the final five regular-season games.

The temptation is to look only at the numbers, which are in fact positive. Even with the 24 points the Raiders scored against them in London, the Bears ranked second only to New England in scoring stinginess (13.8 ppg.) and fifth in yardage allowed (312 ypg.).

But the Bears have 17 sacks as a team; only three of those have come in fourth quarters.

Opposing quarterbacks have passed at an 81.3 rating in first halves; they are throwing at a 91.4 clip in second halves.

The defense has allowed 16 first downs in first quarters; 21 in seconds; 20 in thirds.

In 2019 fourth quarters, 34 first downs allowed.

Pulling the camera back for a wider view, extending back to include the disturbing 2018 playoff loss:

Vs. Philadelphia
Eagles drive 60 yards in 12 plays and nearly 4 minutes to score game-winning TD with :56 remaining. Cody Parkey’s double-doink overshadows fact that Bears defense forces Eagles into only two third downs and allows winning score on a fourth down.

Vs. Green Bay
With the Chicago offense sputtering all game and in need of a short field, Packers go on a 10-play, 73-yard drive that consumed 6:33 to set up a field goal to go up 10-3 deep in the fourth quarter.

At Denver
Inept Broncos offense scores 11 points in the fourth quarter to overcome a 13-3 Bears lead, driving 62 yards in 12 plays, converting two fourth downs and a two-point conversion. Denver’s second-half drives: 41 yards, 56 yards, 84 yards, 62 yards.

Vs. Washington
Bears build 28-0 lead before one of NFL’s worst offenses scores a pair of largely meaningless second-half TD’s.

Vs. Minnesota Vikings
Drive 92 yards in 13 plays for TD before Bears stiffen to stop two-point PAT and next Minnesota possession.

Vs. Oakland (London)
Raiders win game with 92-yard drive that includes fourth-down conversion on punt fake run despite Bears leaving No. 1 defensive unit in, anticipating fake.

Guess which highly-paid NFL kicker is only making 58% of his field goals?

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USA Today

Guess which highly-paid NFL kicker is only making 58% of his field goals?

Remember that time when the Bears tried out like 47 kickers and put them through a wide variety of arbitrary tests all while fan favorite Robby Gould was using the team's desperation as leverage to become the NFL's highest-paid kicker? Classic! 

It's been like three months since those totally-sane summer days, and reader, things have not gone so hot for Gould: 

Meanwhile, Eddy P is not only 8/9 on the season, but is already well on his way to becomming a fan favorite. We're already calling him Eddy P! After 5 games! 

That said, we won't truly know if the Bears made the right decision until Piñeiro beats out several Hall of Famers -- including someone credited for literally starting the NFL -- on the path to winning an offseason bracket-style fan vote.