Bears

How Moon's 10-6 prediction on 2015 Bears schedule came to be

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How Moon's 10-6 prediction on 2015 Bears schedule came to be

Chatting with ProFootballTalk.com legend Mike Florio on NBC Radio’s “PFT Live!” Wednesday morning was a good chance to noodle over how a call of 10-6 could possibly be made for a Bears team coming off a two-year death spiral that ended with five straight losses and its 5-11 final count. (One good friend in the business suggested that I made my picks while in a marijuana shop. Let the record show that I have been in Florida most recently and absolutely nowhere near Colorado or Washington. Just in case you were wondering.)

The topic of the day, the week really, is the Bears’ schedule. Florio wondered if there was a wave of civic angst over the Bears getting such a difficult start to the season, with Green Bay, Arizona and Seattle their first three games. While that’s a load of a work order for a team starting out with a new head coach, my take is that the norm for thinking on the Bears is that there’s so much negativity still raging from last season, that most folks don’t think it matters when the Bears would play the Packers, Cardinals or Seahawks; they’ll lose anyhow.

Mike threw out that it might be better for a team beginning over with a new coaching staff and new players to open with easier games and build some cohesion and momentum. My take was a little different.

[MORE BEARS: Bears open 2015 with three straight teams from ’14 playoffs]

The Bears are putting out an enormously changed team, particularly on defense. With someone as accomplished as head coach John Fox and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, the absence of film on the “new” Bears may be to their advantage. They won’t reveal a lot in preseason, so let Aaron Rodgers figure it out starting on Sept. 13.

I’ve gone against the easy flow that says the Bears under Fox will be every bit as bad as the Bears under Marc Trestman.

I just don’t see it. Both qualitatively and quantitatively, I just don’t see it.

“Coaching” is the qualitative

The qualitative part is Fox. At age 60, he wasn’t going to just take a job to have a job, and he wasn’t going to take an irreparable situation and invest years on a rebuild at this point in life.

[MORE BEARS: Bears' 2015 regular season schedule released]

More to the point, when he has taken over train wrecks (Carolina 2002, Denver 2011) he had them back on the rails in two years or less. Similarly, successful veteran coaches taking over teams routinely effect immediate improvement – Bruce Arians in Arizona, Jim Caldwell in Detroit, Andy Reid in Kansas City. Fox fits with that group and has achieved major turnarounds not once, but twice.

Players are the quantitative

But the quantitative part is no less part of the “10-6” thinking. The Bears project to have not only a radically different defensive scheme with Fangio’s 3-4. They also project to have as many as eight new starters on defense, including every member of the front seven with the possible exception of Jeremiah Ratliff, and even he would be starting at nose tackle instead of three-technique if he finishes the preseason ahead of Ego Ferguson on the depth chart.

Pernell McPhee had more sacks (7.5) in 2014 than any Bear and McPhee played only about half the Baltimore Ravens snaps. Antrel Rolle even at 32 is immediately the best safety the Bears have had since Mike Brown was in his prime a decade ago.

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McPhee and Rolle also bring Super Bowl rings with them, and both are part of position groups that the essence of complimentary. McPhee is part of a pass rush that portends a large upgrade for the entire defense. And Rolle’s veteran presence and excellence anchor a secondary that does nothing but help buy time for McPhee and the rush to get home. And how much does Rolle project to help the development of Kyle Fuller at cornerback?

Here’s the overall:

For no team in the 25 years of my covering the Chicago Bears has the “whole” been so much less than the sum of its parts. And in no case have I concluded that so much of the fault lay with the head coach and staff. Players on the field are absolutely the core of the game. Trestman, Aaron Kromer and Mel Tucker didn’t throw an interception or give up a touchdown. But their “turnovers” bordered on epic.

A criticism of military generals is that they too often are preparing to fight the last war. Similarly, viewing the ’15 Bears through the prism of ’14 is like looking at anything through a prism – the view is warped.

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.

RELATED: Top 30 free agents of the 2020 NFL offseason

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.