Bears

View from the Moon: Vikings' stadium shuffle

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View from the Moon: Vikings' stadium shuffle

Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2010
11:15 AM
By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

Best guess now for a decision on the venue for the Bears game Monday night is set for today after repair crews have taken a more thorough look at the collapsed Metrodome roof and there is a clearer idea whether or not the University of Minnesotas TCF Bank Stadium could be readied in time to keep the game at least in the area, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune Access Vikings" blog by Chip Scoggins and Judd Zulgad.

The situation is shaping up like a small domino chain. The state of the Metrodome needs to be clarified in order to decide on the need for TCF Stadium. And officials at Minnesota need some time to get that stadium ready for an NFL game. Ford Field in Detroit is the third option but at this point is the only sure thing, if the Vikings in fact would even want to go back there after being routed 21-3 Monday night to the New York Giants.

If theyre asking me, I vote Detroit. The amount of snow removal and start-up staffing and provisioning needed for TCF Bank Stadium will require most of this week and still not have a first-rate facility for an NFL game. Questions are rightfully raised as to whether the Metrodome is truly safe after the repair, at least until there has been another snow test -- and what if snow shows up Saturday, Sunday or Monday, the dome isnt deemed OK, and now the scrambling starts.

Besides, I can drive to Detroit and sit out a dance with TSA screening. Come to think of it, Ill drive a team bus over to Motown, if thatll help.

Good win

Make no mistake: The Giants pasting of the Vikings on Monday night was a positive for the Bears. The Vikings had won two straight under interim coach Leslie Frazier and were building some late-season momentum much as the Dallas Cowboys were under Jason Garrett, and you do want teams that are down to stay down and not start playing like it matters for a new coach.

Interesting perspective

Longtime Patriots guy and colleague Kevin Curran at CSNNE.com puts a wrap on the New England game that Bears fans may find strangely encouraging. Kevin looks at how the Patriots have gone from rebuilding to remarkable, from a team that had few outside expectations going into this season and then even fewer after they let Randy Moss go.

The Bears have not gone anywhere near remarkable to this point but from where consensus expectations had to where they are now even after the New England embarrassment is something most fans wouldve gladly accepted three months ago when this season was starting. ...

If Brett Favres career has come to a close, he will leave with a spectrum of passing records. Hell also walk away as a true anomaly, particularly for a great quarterback:

Favre will have played for four different NFL teams. His last pass for each of them was intercepted. His final pass in each of his last four seasons was intercepted as well.

In his rookie, one year as an Atlanta Falcon in 1991, Favre threw four passes. The first one was intercepted and returned for a touchdown. His last one also was picked off in mop-up duty in a rout by the Washington Redskins.

His final pass as a Packer, an inane heave in overtime of the NFC Championship game, was intercepted.

His final pass as a New York Jet in 2008 was picked off.

And Minnesota gets a two-fer of final-Brett picks. His final throw of 2009 was intercepted by the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Championship game loss for the Vikings.

Favres current last pass as a Viking, thrown as he was taking the hit that injured his shoulder and ended the streak, was intercepted.

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.

Finding the 'It Factor' – Teams pondering draft mega-deals need to study Bears’ hits, misses trading No. 1’s

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USA TODAY

Finding the 'It Factor' – Teams pondering draft mega-deals need to study Bears’ hits, misses trading No. 1’s

At some point of Thursday’s first night of the draft, history says that some team will push a big pile of draft chips over in front of another team at the NFL table in return for the latter’s pick. Some of those will work out; others will be considerably less than successful.

Just ask the Bears. Ask them why some of those mega-deals work and others don’t.

Last year it was Arizona trading up from No. 15 to Oakland’s spot at No. 10, taking quarterback Josh Rosen. The deal netted little, unless you believe that the NFL’s worst record and this year’s No. 1-overall pick count for something.

In 2017 it was the Bears going all-in for a one-spot move and Mitchell Trubisky. The Bears at least cashed one playoff check. Kansas City traded two No. 1’s and a 3 to move from 27 to 10 for Patrick Mahomes. Two slots later Houston traded two No. 1’s to move from No. 25 to 12 for Deshaun Watson.

The Bears, Chiefs and Texans all cashed playoff checks last offseason.

In 2016 the Rams traded up from 15 to No. 1 overall for Jared Goff. Philadelphia jumped from No. 8 to No. 2 for Carson Wentz. Both teams were in the 2017 and 2018 postseason, the Rams in the last Super Bowl.

In the might’ve-been category, Bears general manager Ryan Pace pondered a move from No. 7 to No. 2 in 2015 in a quest for Marcus Mariota but judged the price too steep.

The Cardinals’ Rosen gamble and the Bears’ for Trubisky – plus three other Bears mega-deals – offer case studies on the do’s and don’t’s of blockbuster trades involving top draft picks.

Three times in the past decade, and once 10-plus years before that, the Bears rocked the NFL with franchise-altering trades for what they hoped would be franchise-defining talents. Twice they appear to have gotten what they bargained for; twice, not so much, for intriguingly similar reasons.

These deals form a collective object lesson for teams (Oakland? Arizona?) contemplating the kinds of trades this week that the Bears made that brought them Jay Cutler, Khalil Mack, Rick Mirer and Mitchell Trubisky. Only the Bears-49ers deal that secured Trubisky represented a specifically draft-weekend trade; Cutler happened 10 years ago, ahead of the 2009 draft, Mirer was moved in February 1997 for a Bears No. 1 and Mack was a late-preseason deal.

But the four together serve as a collective trail of breadcrumbs regarding what is typically the difference between those kinds of blockbusters working out vs. blowing up on the acquiring team, in those cases the Bears, this draft, someone else.

Finding “It”

The critical element is, pure and simple, football character. It’s not talent. It’s the “It Factor.”

“The competitiveness, a guy playing with, we call it ‘dog’ or energy or swagger, those kinds of things,” Pace said. “There's more specific things I don't want to get to, but I would just say you can feel a guy's football character on tape and we're really strong on that.”

Mack and Trubisky have that essential football character, the “It Factor;” Cutler and Mirer didn’t. And the results reflected it.

The Cleveland Browns snagged “undersized” quarterback but leadership-heavy Baker Mayfield and improved by seven wins last season and by four prime-time games going into this one. Irrespective of any trade situations here, the Browns, like the Bears, can vouch for what happens without “It” – Johnny Manziel, Brandon Weeden, Brady Quinn.

Cutler, Mirer: leadership-lite

If there is a jolting difference that sticks out, it is that Pace very clearly has made football character a priority (Mike Glennon notwithstanding). Others haven’t.

Those inside Halas Hall at the time recall the personnel staff asking for evaluations of Cutler by the coaching staff. Those were done and included prescient, serious reservations about Cutler’s leadership and personality.

Those were disregarded by the dealmakers as not significant. They were. Cutler's Chicago teammates said all the right things about him, even as he was shoving one offensive lineman coming off the field, told another to shut up and play his own position at another point and was telling one position coach, on the practice field, to back off his fundamentals.

Cutler took a Lovie Smith team that reached the 2005 postseason behind Kyle Orton and the 2006 Super Bowl with Rex Grossman, and missed the playoffs four of his five Smith years, then in both of his Marc Trestman years and both of his John Fox years. Grossman and Orton were a combined 40-24 in Chicago. Cutler was 51-51.

Cutler simply wasn’t worth what the Bears gave up for him. It seemed obvious at the time (certain commentators who will remain nameless here were roasted for saying so at the time) and it proved out. He was in Chicago exactly what he’d been in Denver. He was the same middling quarterback with suspect “weapons” as he was with Pro Bowl’ers Martellus Bennett, Matt Forte, Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall, behind an offensive line that included Jermon Bushrod and Kyle Long, both Pro Bowl players.

Mirer was a disaster after the Bears chose to ignore his dismal four years with the Seattle Seahawks and give away. Mirer seemed perceptibly overmatched by the game when he was given three starts in ’97, all losses. He had no confidence and, worse, inspired none.

On the other hand, Mack and Trubisky… 

A rookie Trubisky told veteran Pro Bowl guard Josh Sitton to shut up in a 2017 huddle (no one is supposed to talk in there except the quarterback), which Sitton respected and recounted. Not the same thing as embarrassing or disrespecting. Head coach Matt Nagy on more than one occasion last season made mention of Trubisky’s reactions to adversity and mistakes.

Football character. There is something to be said about a rookie quarterback who earns a complimentary nickname – “Pretty Boy Assassin" – from the defense for what he was doing to them running scout team. The defense’s nickname for Cutler doesn’t clear NBC censorship standards.

Mack brought with him from Oakland not only sacks, but also a mindset that took root in and resonated with an already-strong defensive unit.

“When you bring a guy like Khalil in,” Pace said, “I think the longer you’re around him, it’s not just the player, it’s his work ethic and it’s his professionalism and it’s everything he is as a person. And to have your best player be absolutely one of your harder workers is a great thing to have as a franchise.”

Football character.

The unfortunate reality is that character is harder to assess than talent. But as a handful of Bears transactions involving all-important high-round draft choices (and quarterbacks) have repeatedly demonstrated, arm strength, size, 40-times, all that stuff, don’t make up for a missing “It” factor if that targeted player doesn’t have “It.”

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SportsTalk Live Podcast: Robbie Gould continues to toy with Bears fans... is a potential deal in sight?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Robbie Gould continues to toy with Bears fans... is a potential deal in sight?

0:00 - The Cubs crush the Dodgers as El Mago puts on another show at Wrigley. Meanwhile, is the bullpen the biggest reason why they are above .500?

5:00 - One day away from the NFL Draft. Is Kyler Murray a lock to be the #1 pick. Will the Bears move up to the 2nd round?

8:00 - Robbie Gould continues to dominate the conversation with Bears fans. Hub gives his insight on a potential deal.

10:00 - Frank Thomas and Chuck Garfien join the panel to talk White Sox. They discuss when the top prospects should get called up and if now is the time for the Southsiders to add veterans like Craig Kimbrel or Dallas Keuchel.

Listen to the entire podcast here or in the embedded player below.

Sports Talk Live Podcast

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