SO YOU WANT TO PLAY QUARTERBACK?

 

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The NFL has a flawed concept of how to find a Super Bowl quality quarterback for their franchise.

Essentially they choose one, and mostly they choose only one and that’s the flaw. 

Then they adorn him with all sorts of gifts, like a great coach, a great defense, solid playmakers on offense and giant lineman to protect, all on the premise that he can stand under pressure, with the weight of a city on his shoulders and hit the open man.

And, on top of it all they pay him giant amounts of money before he ever really proves he can be “that guy.”

What most teams do is they spend tens of millions of dollars on a guess. 

They engage in calculated risk.

On the surface it sounds entirely American, invest in a business, put in resources and time and materials and watch it compete and grow. 

The problem is when they don’t compete and they don’t grow. 

Take our beloved Bears as exhibit A. The first thing Ryan Pace said when taking over as GM is that he would draft a quarterback EVERY YEAR.

How many has he actually taken? ONE!

Forget about whether or not it’s in the first round. The point is you never know when you’re going to catch lightning in a bottle. Who knows who the next Tom Brady or Joe Montana is.

If you had to guess how many Super Bowl winning quarterback WEREN’T drafted in the first round how many would you guess?

5? 10?

Try 16. Here they are:

Tom Brady——————6th round

Nick Foles——————-3rd round

Russell Wilson————-4th round

Drew Brees——————2nd round

Brad Johnson—————-9th round

Kurt Warner——————undrafted

Brett Favre——————-2nd round

Steve Young——————supplemental draft

Mark Rypien——————6th round

Jeff Hostetler——————3rd round

Joe Montana——————-3rd round

Joe Theismann—————-4th round

Roger Staubach—————10th round

Ken Stabler———————2nd round

Johnny Unitas——————9th round

Bart Starr————————17th round

(Apologies if I missed anyone)

You still have to adorn him with gifts. You’ll still have to pay him the money if he wins. Unless you’re the Eagles and you decide beating Bill Belichick and the Patriots and winning the Super Bowl isn’t good enough to earn you a spot as the team’s number one quarterback. No, that belongs to Carson Wentz “because he’s our guy.” 

It flabbergasts me why the Eagles didn’t trade Wentz and keep Foles. I guess they’d rather follow through with their plan, rather than follow through with what’s best for their team. 

What more does a guy have to do than beat the Patriots, one of the greatest dynasties in the history of the NFL?

I really don’t think being a GM is terribly complex. But I do think you have to be ruthless. You have to sit a guy down you just told how much you love and tell him HE ISN’T YOUR GUY after all.

One last thing I’ll say in defense of the GM, to be ruthless is to be unpopular, and to be unpopular is to be without friends, and to be without friends is to be without a job and to be without a job is well you see where it takes you. 

It’s a fine line between ruthless and a guy you actually want to play and work for, actually want to sacrifice your body and mind for a fistful of dollars for, well a little more than that.

Also, another thing in defense of the GM is how stressful the job is. I mean to be responsible for a team in that way and have millions of little micro GM’s like me screaming and telling you what to do.

It’s no wonder they come in all fresh faced like a president and look like haggard janitors after four years on the job. 

I get that playing quarterback is hard. I certainly wouldn’t want it no matter how much money you threw at me for the chance. But there are hundreds if not thousands who do. Why not give some of them a shot?

ONE FINAL NOTE…………………IN THE LAST 33 YEARS THE BEARS HAVE DRAFTED ONLY 14 QUARTERBACKS! If that isn’t a S.O.S. to the McCaskey family about a mediocre football team what else can we do???

 

2019 NFL PREDICTIONS

Lots of fun to predict a season at the beginning of one and then go back and see how you did later.

Will the Pats continue to dominate? Can anyone stop them? Do the Bears have a shot?

Apologies to the Chicago Tribune for stealing the 2019 PREDICTIONS idea part for part but it seemed a great way to force myself to look into my crystal ball, and plus it was a damn clever way of doing the predictions. So without further adieu here is “my” 2019 PREDICTIONS——-

NFC NORTH

Bears

Vikings

Packers

Lions

NFC EAST

Eagles

Cowboys

Giants

Redskins

NFC WEST

Rams

Seahawks

49ers

Cardinals

NFC SOUTH

Saints

Falcons

Bucs

Panthers

AFC NORTH

Steelers

Ravens

Browns

Bengals

AFC EAST

Pats

Jets

Bills

Dolphins

AFC WEST

Chiefs

Chargers

Broncos

Raiders

AFC SOUTH

Texans

Colts

Jags

Titans

NFC WILD CARDS: Seahawks and Falcons

AFC WILD CARDS: Chargers and Colts

NFC CHAMPION: Bears over Eagles

AFC CHAMPION: Chiefs over Pats

SUPER BOWL WINNER: Bears

MVP: Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs

COACH OF THE YEAR: Frank Reich, Colts

 

THEY’RE ALL OUT ON AN ISLAND

 

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“it’s more important to me and my family to walk away healthy than to willfully embrace the warrior mentality and limp away too late.”……….Vontae Davis, Former Cornerback Buffalo Bills

If you’re a fan that follows the game closely I think its important to put perspective back into the game. We kind lose sight of doing that partly because we’re watching so intensely and partly because we have so many deep feelings wrapped up in it all.

Vontae Davis was a former first round pick. He was a two time Pro Bowler and played for 10 seasons and just signed a contract for 5 million dollars. Last Sunday he walked away from football at halftime. Not after the game. Not in mid-season. Not after the season. But at halftime.

Now I know there’s some misguided people out there who think they could endure getting hit like a football player for 5 million dollars. Just like there are people out there who think they could go into the same ring with Mike Tyson for 20 million. 

There’s also a certain warrior mentality that everybody likes to think they have. But there is nothing so warrior than a person who every day is putting their life on the line. I know the need for money makes people think they would do almost anything for it. But there’s also a more overwhelming desire to be alive.

Players are starting to recognize this and leaving the game earlier than they used to. When you factor how hard it must be for someone who’s grown up in difficult surroundings with little money to be tempted by NFL dollars and endorsement money—-it’s crazy. How can it not make you lose some perspective? 

I think it helps the game too if fans can understand these guys are putting so much on the line. 

I know part of what makes a player great is the sacrifice he makes for himself and for his team and teammates. It’s a great honor to do that, to give it everything you have, be it in football or any walk of life.

I don’t think Vontae Davis let his teammates down and I think he’s the only one, more than all the doctors and all of the teammates in all the leagues in all the worlds who knows his body and mind and soul better than everybody combined. 

Plus a team doesn’t want a guy who doesn’t try his hardest. It doesn’t matter if he’s at 50%, 80%, 90% if he’s not able to try his hardest he’s going to be a liability. An army doesn’t want this kind of soldier and neither does a football team. 

I think its disrespectful if he doesn’t leave. Even though I’m only a fan I’ve seen players who stayed long after they lost that killer instinct.

The only critical thing I have to say about it is that maybe he could’ve told a coach privately that he was done and take his uniform and pads off and watch the rest of the game on the sideline in civilian clothes, cheering on his teammates. 

But even that doesn’t tell us how badly he felt it was time to get out.

It’s a paradox I know. I’m still working on it. It’s a violent sport and I love the violence but I also hate to see people lose their minds. 

Two weeks I criticized Kyle Fuller for not being able to catch a ball thrown right to him with 2 minutes left to go in the game and didn’t really take into account his mental state at the time and how hyper-vigilant he has to be with 2 minutes left to go in the game.

Not to mention how tough Fuller is and how hard he hits like a safety.

They’re all out on island.

In more ways than one.

Players Need Poets

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I know it hurts. I know it feels awful so you tell yourself it doesn’t matter as much as you think. I know you have to get up and get on with it, but what a bittersweet way to start the season.

I know Matt Nagy really wanted to score a touchdown 3rd and 1 deep in Packer territory at the end of the game to make it a 2 possession game, but why didn’t he run twice with the running game that was showing up late all over that drive. Can you answer me that?

I know Kyle Fuller knows how to catch a ball thrown to him. Well, maybe not that. I know Clay Matthews obvious roughing the passer at the end of the game could’ve have been the olive branch sent from above.

Something about that Bear Packer game on Sunday Night has been falling like an empire for many years now and like the soothsayers of old Bear fans have had to watch everything crumble and be destroyed right before their eyes and still unable to do a damn thing about it.

That queasy feeling from first half to second half was a lot like eating certain kinds of food despite the warning. Is there a spirit of Anthony Bourdain in the great Bear reporting out there to help us understand?

Fate is a lot like this. You see it coming. You’ve been warned it’s coming. You’re told to leave your house because it’s coming.

There’s a feeling that’s a lot like terror that also is a defining characteristic, a knowing that even though it’s coming and you’re trying to do everything you can to stop it——YOU WON’T STOP IT!  Ask Homer. Ask Dante. Ask Shakespeare.

The only huge problem in all of this logic that I grant you has some holes in it like the second half defense is that…

I DON’T BELIEVE IN FATE!

“I believe in effort. Self sacrifice. Belief. I believe you’re supposed to give a hundred and ten percent on every play and relentlessly pursue perfection, and knowing that nothing is perfect I believe in catching excellence. I am not remotely interested in being just good.”

The immortal paraphrased words of Vince Lombardi have been enshrined like great poets into the parts of me that matter.

Even though the pain is real like every football player will tell you, I have to believe that Nagy and CO. will learn from this and get better. 

I would rather root for that to happen than hide in the albeit persuadable excuse that the Bears will never be anything more than mediocre. Just my choice.

I’m a poet and so there’s a lot of other things I believe in too. That I go back to and continue working on just like I believe that the players on that team can continue to work on.

I also believe people can change. Institutions can change. Workers can change. The world can change. I absolutely believe that these players can use this experience to get better.

Also remember the team the Bears played on Sunday was supposed to be really really good. Contending and picked to win the Super Bowl good. While the Bears were picked by nobody. 

I think for a first game they beat expectations hands down. 

Let’s start there.