Bears

View from the Moon: Pick Vick? Should happen

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View from the Moon: Pick Vick? Should happen

Sunday, Nov. 28, 2010
10:48 a.m.

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

Michael Vick has yet to throw an interception this season, while tossing 11 touchdown passes. That in fact should be considered good news for the Bears. Why? Hes due.

Actually, New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin agrees. Coughlin said last week that Vick passes have been in defenders hands, just not caught. Of course, that would include some Giants hands because Coughlins guys didnt pick Vick either.

In his five previous seasons as the No. 1 quarterback, all with the Atlanta Falcons, Vick threw 69 touchdown passes vs. 49 interceptions. That equates to one pick-Vick every 33 attempts.

Even factoring in the new-and-improved gyroscope in Vicks inner passer, he has thrown 191 passes this season without being intercepted yet. Again, he is due.

And while he admittedly hasnt always made the right decisions for himself, he believes he is now, in more ways than one.

I think Ive gone through my progressions, keeping my eyes down field, staying balanced when I throw the football, Vick said. It doesnt necessarily have anything to do with the running game, but making good decisions with the football.

Not to make simple he-cant-be-this-good predictions, but he cant.

Vicks passer rating of 108.7 leads the NFL. The three highest ratings in NFL history are 121.1 by Peyton Manning in 2004; 117.2 by Tom Brady in 2007; and 112.8 by Steve Young back in 1994.

Vicks season right now, extrapolating it into a full season, would rank 11th all-time, just ahead of Sid Luckmans 107.5 from 1943 and below Dan Marinos 108.9 in 1984.

In Vicks favor is that hes 30 and three of the top four on the all-time list (Brady, Young, Joe Montana) were over 30 when they posted their career-best ratings.

But turnovers are the single biggest determinant of game outcomes and for all of Jay Cutlers peccadilloes, Vick against the Bears defense is the matchup that should decided this game.

And so.
Few Bears games since the Detroit opener and maybe Carolina, even with Todd Collins starting, have been pretty simple calls to make. This one, however, is arguably the hardest to date this season. The Eagles are No. 2 in scoring at 28.4, the Bears are tied for No. 1 in defense giving up 14.6 per game, and that equates to two units each eminently capable of taking over a game.

If Mike Martz continues to direct an offense that stays on the ground without putting the ball on the ground, the Bears will have their 4-0 November.
Bears 16 Eagles 14

John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider, and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.

5 players the Bears can target to replace Prince Amukamara

5 players the Bears can target to replace Prince Amukamara

The Chicago Bears released veteran cornerback Prince Amukamara on Friday in a move that was expected in order to free up salary-cap space in advance of free agency this March.

By moving on from Amukamara, the Bears will have an additional $9 million to spend on the open market, which could ultimately be used on his replacement. It could also be shifted to other positions of need along the offensive line or on that pesky veteran quarterback who's sure to rile up the fan base.

There's also the Allen Robinson contract extension that eventually needs to get hammered out.

The good news for Chicago is there are several viable options who will be available in free agency and the NFL draft that can replace Amukamara in the starting lineup. Here's a look at five of them:

5 players the Bears can target to replace Prince Amukamara

Were Bears right or wrong to cut Prince Amukamara ahead of NFL free agency?

Were Bears right or wrong to cut Prince Amukamara ahead of NFL free agency?

The Bears made the right decision to release Prince Amukamara, with the Bears announcing Friday the veteran cornerback and wide receiver Taylor Gabriel will be cut. Those two moves save $13.5 million in cap space; Amukamara alone frees up $9 million. 

But let’s take some time to appreciate what Amukamara brought to the Bears: Steady, clean press coverage, which isn’t exactly easy to find. Refs love to call ticky-tack penalties against cornerbacks, after all. 

And yet: Amukamara was penalized only five times in 2019 — 42nd among all cornerbacks — but three of those were hands to the face flags, part of a bizarre early trend of officiating crews calling that foul against Bears players in the first four weeks of the season. Amukamara was only penalized once after Week 3 (his counterpart, Kyle Fuller, was flagged eight times in 2019). 

Amukamara allowed a reception on one in every 14 1/2 coverage snaps in 2019, seventh among cornerbacks with 500 coverage snaps. He also wasn’t targeted much — only three cornerbacks with 500 or more coverage snaps were thrown at less than Amukamara (one target every nine coverage snaps), per PFF. 

“I think it’s huge and he’s played consistent and he’s played well,” defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano said last year. “And he continues to do that. It’s a big part. … I think any time those (cornerbacks) can get up and mess with the timing of the offense and throw that off and take away the guy that may be the first read, may not be the first read, it’s going to help your rush and your defense. So that’s important.”

Also: The Bears are losing their chief dance choreographer. He was the lead singer in the Bears’ awesome “Motown” celebration in Detroit on Thanksgiving in 2018, which spawned #BearsSingToAnything (definitely take some time to watch these again and remember the good times). A lot of the dance moves and celebrations you saw in 2018 came from Amukamara’s brain. 

So while Amukamara didn’t have an interception in three of his last four seasons, he wasn’t thrown at much, and his coverage skills had something to do with that. He’ll be missed, even if the cap-strapped Bears had no choice but to say goodbye to him. 

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