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???

 

JANUARY RELEVANT!!!

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The Bears are in the playoffs and a lot of things are going through my mind. In no particular order——

How different the playoff games feel. The way the crowd can’t seem to contain itself with so much on the line.

Matt Nagy asked the fans to be particularly noisy.

A lot of writers like to play the game of who would you rather play, figuring that the weaker opponents, or opponents the team matches up well against will make it easier to get to and win the Super Bowl.

I disagree. A great team will beat other great teams no matter what the record. If they have to go on the road to do it, so be it. A great team rises to the occasion and plays their best game against another great team. A great team wants to play another great team. 

A great team will have a bunch of ultra competitive guys, too. Guys that scream and kick and scratch on each play. That play with an edge, even borderline nasty. They block well and tackle well. They believe so much in themselves no matter what. They want to help other guys on the team, too. They want to lead the team. They want a group of guys to lead the team. Everybody buys into it. Everybody believes it.

And then of course great players have to play great. Not only the great players, but also fair and good players. Some might even become famous with how they distinguish themselves in the big games.

When I hear athletes who win, they say things like nobody gave it to them, they had to take it. They earned it.

When picking whose going to win a tournament a lot of handicappers will pick a team that is on fire. That has a lot of momentum and winning a lot of games as they go into the playoffs.

This makes a lot of sense to me. Some recent Super Bowl winners that got hot as the season drove on—-The 2013 Seahawks were 9-2 in their last 11, the 2014 Patriots were 5-2 in their last 7, the 2016 Patriots were 7-1 in their last 8, the 2017 Eagles were 5-2 in their last 7.

This year’s Eagles are 5-1 in their last 6 and this year’s Bears are 9-1 in their last 10. Something’s gotta give.

If the Bears are fortunate enough to beat the Eagles they’ll go on to L.A. to play the Rams. I think they’re better than the Rams. I will also be rooting for whoever the winner of Cowboys/Seahawks is as they would then travel to New Orleans to play the Saints. It’s hard not to look ahead.

Three times the Bears have faced the Eagles in the postseason. In the 1979 playoffs they lost 27-17 on the road, in the 1988 fog bowl playoff they won 20-12 at home, and in 2001 they lost 33-19 at home. 

The three quarterbacks that started those respective games and their QB ratings? Mike Phipps, with a QB rating of 30.1, Mike Tomczak, with a rating of 56.7 and Jim McMahon who also played in that game had a rating of 75.7 and Jim Miller who started had a rating of 31.7 until he got hurt and then Shane Matthews had a rating of 17.9.

No matter how good the defense is, and those teams in the 80’s had some really great defenses, you need clean QB play. Is Trubisky poised for a clean game against the Eagles?

Everything also seems to get magnified. If a team is up by 3 points it feels like 7, 7 feels like 13, 13 feels like 20. One turnover in your own zone feels like the whole game has changed. Even the home team QB is asking for quiet because the fans are so insanely pumped up they can’t contain their own jubilation. 

The ’85 team I remember how the fans kind of took over. One long big loud scream to bring the snowflakes. 

Another part of all of this is confidence. A confident player isn’t so nervous that the jitters affect his game. He’s emotional, he’s got the right attitude, but he plays within himself. He’s totally respecting his opponent, but he’s so sure he’s going to prevail. Sometimes you don’t need facts or evidence or a compelling argument. All you need is a hunch. A feeling can be greater than anything.

Can Trubisky play like that? Will he not be asked to do too much? Can the Bears stay in the lead as they have in most of the games they’ve won? Can they not play coming from behind? 

How is Eddie Jackson’s foot feeling? How strong are the meds? Can he block out the pain? Is 60% of Eddie Jackson better than the next man up, Deon Bush?

I was listening to longtime Bear reporter Hub Arkush on the WSCR, the score earlier today and he said Khalil Mack is having a year as good as Lawrence Taylor ever had. Pretty rare air, he said. 

Can Khalil Mack simply take the game over?

I was listening to Dan Bernstein on The Score and he said that Bear fans don’t know how to feel about how good a QB is because they don’t know what one is. They can’t recognize it. Great point.

I thought Nick Foles deserved to start this year and I think he’s great. Anybody that beats Tom Brady in the Super Bowl deserves to be a QB 1. 

It’s all got me thinking about mountains and man. Man was meant to rise. He visualizes himself ascending. Women too, of course. We were born to test ourselves. The great ones are never satisfied with being just good. 

The mountain is the symbol for all that. It has different sizes for geological reasons, to be sure but also has different sizes for motivational ones. 

Somewhere on a desk, maybe there’s a list. Mount Fuji—-12.3 feet. Matterhorn—-16.9. Kilimanjaro—-19.3. Denali—-20.3. Mount Everest—-29. 

Somewhere in this Chicago organization, on a desk or in a locker or locker room the Eagles are a mountain to be challenged and will prove just how high these 2018 Bears will be allowed to climb.