Bears

Joe Flacco a Bear? Very, very long shot, but...

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Joe Flacco a Bear? Very, very long shot, but...

Thoughts that occur watching conference championship games

If the Ravens put their franchise tag (not the exclusive-rights one) on Joe Flacco, would you consider giving up the No. 1s for him and cutting your losses with Jay Cutler?

The Bears gave up two No. 1s for Cutler, whod never been to the playoffs, so what do you trade for a quarterback who beat Andrew Luck, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in this postseason alone and has never not been in the playoffs?

MORE: Ravens, Niners headed to the Super Bowl

GM Phil Emery wont make that deal; hes already without a third-round pick because of the Brandon Marshall trade. And the Ravens know what theyve got with Flacco.

But neither Emery nor Marc Trestman have skin the Jay Cutler game. So

Overrating weapons

Matt Ryan did not get any further with Tony Gonzalez, Julio Jones and Roddy White than Jay Cutler did with Earl Bennett, Devin Hester and Johnny Knox. When you are guilty of an interception and unforced fumble within 20 minutes of a Super Bowl, its not about weapons; its about the plays you make or dont make when it matters

Dont forget Matt Forte in 2013

Three of the final four teams ranked in the top 11 for rushing (San Francisco 2nd, New England 7th, Baltimore 11th). Atlanta had some success but could not hold a 17-0 lead and were out-rushed 148-81

Accuracy wins

Colin Kaepernik completed 76.2 percent of his passes (none to the Falcons). Matt Ryan completed 71.4 percent of his (one to the 49ers). The difference may not seem significant except that in virtually every game of the postseason, the team with the most accurate quarterback won. Add in a running game and you have the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl instead of the Atlanta Falcons.

And up in Foxboro, Joe Flacco flat out-played Tom Brady and is going to the Super Bowl he would have been to last season if Lee Evans catches a pass

Will Trestman change Cutler?

Staying with the accuracy theme and applying it to the Bears and Jay Cutler:

A major positive for Marc Trestman was the names of quarterbacks on his resume: Rich Gannon, Bernie Kosar, Steve Young in particular. But a valid question to consider is just how much Trestman improved the play of his quarterbacks, since Trestman and QB coach Matt Cavanaugh getting more from Jay Cutler is a franchise directive.

RELATED: Cavanaugh hired as quarterback coach

Teams with Trestman on staff and handling quarterbacks frequently reached playoffs. But Gannons first two Oakland seasons with Trestman were the two most accurate of his career. His two with Trestman in Minnesota were decidedly pedestrian despite having Anthony Carter and Cris Carter as his receivers.

Youngs two seasons with Trestman were very good but neither were as good as the 1994 season before Trestman or 1997 after Trestman. Bernie Kosar had a Pro Bowl 1987 with Cleveland but 1988 was right about Kosars career averages for passer rating, completion percentage, etc. as he lost some time to injuries.

A quick look at the quarterbacks at Trestmans various NFL stops:

Quarterback (Team)
YearComp.
Steve DeBerg (Tampa Bay)
198757.8Bernie Kosar (Cleveland)
198860.2198959.1
Rich Gannon (Minnesota)
199052.1199159.6Steve Young (San Francisco)
199566.9199667.7Scott Mitchell (Detroit)
199757.6Jake Plummer (Arizona)
199859.2199952.8200056.8Rich Gannon
200165.6200267.6200355.6

Conclusion:

Check back in October or November. Trestman and Cavanaugh have a seven-year NFL quarterback on their hands. How much they can alter his course likely comes down to how much Cutler buys into the ways of coaches who may not necessarily create great quarterbacks but certainly know what those look like.

MORE: Trestman's GPS has the Bears en route

Tightening up

The Bears need dramatically more at tight end over what Kellen Davis, Evan Rodriguez (as a fullback) and Matt Spaeth gave them. Baltimores Dennis Pitta is expected to be an unrestricted free agent, but the draft is an option for savvy talent evaluators.

Pitta and New Englands Aaron Gonzalez, like Rodriguez, were fourth-round draft choices.

Thomas Jones tweets plan to fix Bears' struggling offense

Thomas Jones tweets plan to fix Bears' struggling offense

It didn't take Thomas Jones long to become a fan-favorite during his tenure with the Bears, which spanned three seasons from 2004-2006.  Jones, who was the seventh overall pick in the 2000 NFL draft, resurrected his career in Chicago with back-to-back seasons over 1,200 rushing yards in 2005 and 2006.

So, when he speaks about how to improve the offense through the running game, coach Matt Nagy and the rest of Chicago's offensive staff should at least give it a listen.

Technically, Jones tweeted his plan to repair the Bears' struggling offense. But, the point remains.

"Nagy should learn the history of the Bears," Jones tweeted. "When they've won in the past it's because they ran the ball 1st! The fans & the makeup of the Bears is blue-collar. Hard-nosed, physical fundamental football. Limit turnovers, chew up the clock & let the defense get you the ball back.

"And where is their fullback? How can you run the ball in Chicago without a fullback in the game? When u have a fullback in the game the linebackers know they have to strap up their helmets. It's going to be a physical game & some of them don't want that. Can't make it easy for them."

To be fair, fullback is a nearly extinct position in the NFL. But Jones' suggestion runs deeper than that; the Bears need to at least appear like they want to run the ball in order to make the defense respect the threat of a running game.

"They NEVER try to establish the run which puts all of the pressure on a young QB who is still learning & trying to figure out who he's going to be in this league," Jones said. "The O line won't get into any rhythm if they don't run block enough & the defense can only hold up for so long."

According to Jones, Mitch Trubisky isn't ready to be the centerpiece of Chicago's offense just yet.

"Mitch is too young to have all of that pressure on him at once. He's talented but he's not ready yet. You have talented backs & an incredible defense. The O Line just needs to gain confidence run blocking in real-time. They have to establish a running game or things won't change."

Jones drew on some experience from the 2005 season when the Bears kept things pretty basic for then-rookie quarterback Kyle Orton, who enjoyed some moderate success that year. He also chimed in on the Trubisky vs. Patrick Mahomes and DeShaun Watson debate.

"Everyone matures at different times in the NFL. He's not those other guys so comparing him to them isn't going to help them win games right now. Establish a run game & take pressure off of him. Simplify the offense by giving him basic pass plays like we did with Orton in 05."

So how do the Bears get their offense back on a winning track? You guessed it: run the ball!

"It's not a old times sake thing. It's football. Every winning team establishes some sort of running game. Even if it's running back by committee or a running QB. The more tired a defense is from having to chase & tackle the more mental mistakes they're going to make.

"Which gives you a higher chance to win the game. When you run the ball you can take more chances throwing the ball downfield, running specialty plays such as screens and reverses. The defense can't just lay their ears back because they know they can get gashed at any time."

Head over to Jones' Twitter page to follow along with his complete Bears breakdown. It's pretty epic and is a great reminder of just how passionate he is about this team, this city, and winning.

Power Rankings Roundup: The free fall continues, and the NFC North is really good

Power Rankings Roundup: The free fall continues, and the NFC North is really good

The Bears' two-game losing streak is doing them no favors in The Web's power rankings, but even pessimistic reviews haven't totally sold them off yet (thanks defense!). What's a bit more daunting, however, is how quickly the other teams in the NFC North are rising. Some fun road games ahead huh?? Here's what they're saying: 

NFL.com –– #15
Trubisky is clearly pressing as the pressure mounts on his shoulders. He's taken a big step back in his third season ... how long can Matt Nagy stand by the former No. 2 overall pick?

ESPN.com –– #16
The Bears no longer resemble a playoff team -- not with Mitchell Trubisky at quarterback. Chicago's offense ranks 30th in total yards per game, 30th in yards per play, 28th in passing yards per game and 28th in rushing yards per game.

CBS Sports –– #16
Their offense is woeful at times and just won't allow them to win many games. The defense hasn't been as good the past two games either, which makes Sunday's game against the Chargers a must-win for both teams.

Sports Illustrated –– #17
Maybe Matt Nagy isn’t a cure-all. Maybe the defense is feeling the weight of carrying the offense and starting to crack (36 points to a backup QB with two weeks to prepare at home). Or maybe, just maybe, this team was never that good in the first place.

Bleacher Report –– #13
To say that the Bears are having issues offensively is an understatement. In Mitchell Trubisky's first game back from injury, he had fewer than 100 passing yards into the final quarter. Chicago had seven carries for 17 yards on the ground—for the game.

Chicago Tribune –– #18
Classes in Offense 202 need to be canceled. Nearly all the students are failing miserably. That’s reality when the Bears have yet to total 300 yards of offense in a single game. High-powered offenses will come close to that total in a good half.

Sporting News –– #19
When the Bears don't play good defense and can't run the ball, they're in trouble, because it puts games on the right arm of Mitchell Trubisky. They have a few schedule breaks coming up, but they need their third-year QB to play a lot better for that to matter.

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