Bears

View from the Moon: Spygates and Super Bowls

View from the Moon: Spygates and Super Bowls

Monday, Dec. 13, 2010
1:20 p.m.
By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com
Interesting look-back by Sports Illustrateds Peter King in his Monday Morning Quarterback on the Spygate scandal involving the New England Patriots and their secret videotaping of practices.

Since the suspicion will linger that Bill Belichick and the Pats used this kind of cheating in upsetting Mike Martz and the St. Louis Rams to win a Super Bowl, Peter makes an excellent point to weigh whether the whole business really made any difference, other than to besmirch the integrity of Belichick, the Patriots and the game to some degree.

Peter takes a look at Belichicks record before the cheating and after, when it was presumably not going on. Short answer: It didnt matter. Belichick is winning a higher percentage of his games since the sanctions.

Peters rankings (Bears No. 10, below two teams theyve beaten, Green Bay and Philadelphia) arent particularly binding but his brief observation is spot on: I dont know how a team could look worse in four quarters in its own weather. But there are a few teams maybe about 29 others that would have been pathetic against the Patriots on Sunday, too.

And if you want a head-shaker of a factoid regarding Brett Favre, check out the one Peter passes along, courtesy of Lions beat guy Mike OHara. Its amazing.

Hard to argue

FOXSports.com senior NFL writer Alex Marvez was in town to write on the Bears defense, but he also had to sit through Sundays abomination. A.M. does note that this year is the 25th anniversary of the Bears-Patriots Super Bowl get-together, and while the Patriots very clearly appear to be a favorite to go there again, Judging by Sunday, theres no reason to believe history will repeat itself.

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.

What do the Bears have in their running backs? They’re about to find out

david_montgomery_terms.jpg
USA Today

What do the Bears have in their running backs? They’re about to find out

The Bears were pleased with what they saw from their overhauled running back room during non-padded OTA and minicamp practices during the spring, but consider that an incomplete evaluation. 

David Montgomery, in particular, impressed with his quickness, athleticism and route running. Nothing Mike Davis showed dissuaded the team from believing in the free agent signing’s untapped potential. Positive things were said about seventh-round pick Kerrith Whyte Jr. and second-year undrafted free agent Ryan Nall. 

The only running back returning from 2018’s unit is Tarik Cohen. But while Ryan Pace, Matt Nagy and the Bears’ talent evaluators did their homework on their new players, they won’t really get to see what they have until the pads come on in Bourbonnais (Nagy expects the first padded practice of training camp to be Sunday). 

“I know (Montgomery) kept asking coach, ‘when do we put the pads on?” Pace said. “And so we’re to that point. One of his greatest strengths is his contact balance and his ability to break tackles, and now we’re at a point where that can be showcased.”

It’s one thing for a rookie to stand out during OTAs and minicamp. Tight end Adam Shaheen did two years ago, bodying up NFL-caliber defenders to make some impressive plays in those non-padded practices. But he faded when pads came on in training camp and didn’t play a significant role in 2017’s dour offense. 

The Bears believe Montgomery’s ability to break tackles — he forced the most missed tackles among FBS running backs in 2018 with 99, per Pro Football Focus — will translate to the NFL, giving their ground game a dimension it didn’t have in 2018. Jordan Howard avoided 22 tackles on rushing attempts last year, 28th in the NFL and nearly half the total of Kareem Hunt. Hunt appeared in 11 games (five fewer than Howard) before the Kansas City Chiefs released him after video surfaced of him pushing and kicking a woman; Montgomery’s style of play has favorably been compared to Hunt’s.  

As for Davis, Pace said: “I think I feel like he’s a little bit under the radar right now. Mike’s had a great offseason and we’re fortunate to have him. That’s a strong room — we talk about the receivers, we feel the same way about the running back room. And Mike Davis is a real important part of that.”

The Bears feel like Montgomery, Davis and Cohen leading their running back room will allow them to be less predictable and more efficient on offense. Last year, Howard carried the ball two-thirds of the time he was on the field, while he was targeted with a pass on just six percent of his plays. Yet no skill position player (except Mitch Trubisky, of course) was more involved in the Bears’ offense last year — 33 percent of the Bears’ total plays involved Howard. 

All three of the Bears’ top running backs in 2019 will be expected to catch passes out of the backfield as well as running the ball with a blend of efficiency and explosiveness. We’ll begin to find out this week in Bourbonnais if Pace’s overhaul of that corner of his depth chart will produce the results the Bears’ offense needs. 

Confirmed: Vic Fangio is still grumpy as hell

usatsi_12833638.jpg
USA Today

Confirmed: Vic Fangio is still grumpy as hell

Former Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio is starting his first (overdue) season as an NFL head coach. 

It's his first time running the show, making the rules, etc. One particularly important rule that Fangio has emphasized to start the year? Music has no place on the football field! 

Fangio won't be playing music during practice because, as noted Grump Bill Belichick can attest to, if you're having fun, you're not getting better. Here's his rationalization: 

"There's no music in games. And when it comes to the point where we need to simulate crowd noise in practice, which we will do, it will be noise. It won't be music," said Fangio, via NFL Network's James Palmer. "Noise, by definition, sounds annoying. Music sounds nice."

He's not wrong - music DOES sound nice. That's about where he stops making much sense, though. 

Vic Fangio: still kinda grumpy!