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Posts Tagged ‘New England Patriots’

Chicago Bears Trade Thomas Jones…Is Lance Briggs Next?

Posted by sportsmaven on March 5, 2007

The Chicago Bears continue their offseason overhaul by trading top RB Thomas Jones and their second round pick (#63 in the draft) to the New York Jets for the Jets 2nd round pick (#37). My buddy Stu in New York is estatic, actually called me on the phone tonight to let me know how happy he was. The Jets got a great deal, they picked up a starting quality RB and only gave up a few spots of draft order in the 2nd round of this year’s draft. Not sure if the Bears received good value on this trade, as I believe we could have also gotten a mid to late round pick as well if you just asked. In my opinion, this is a trade mainly for two reasons: first, to get a potential problem out of the locker room, and second, to serve as an example of making the hard decision not to overpay for talent that is available in other outlets.

Thomas Jones Traded to the Jets
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

John Clayton from ESPN provides another tke on evaluating the Bears trade of  Jones:

Bears moving up: If you are trying to figure out the Thomas Jones trade, it’s pretty simple. The Bears moved up 26 spots in the second round, getting a Jets pick at No. 37. That’s a prime position to get a borderline rookie starter or a quality prospect. Why would the Bears have to give up a second-round pick and Jones to get a second-round pick? The answer is simple. The market for veteran running backs is at best a third-round pick. The Bears wanted to get a second-round pick alone but they couldn’t. If you look at the draft value charts, the Bears gave up 280 points. That’s the equivalent of one of the final choices of the second round or a top choice in the third round. In other words, they got the best value possible for a 28-year-old running back.

My feeling on this trade or any other proposed trade is at this point, it really only benefits the Bears, especially in the situation with Jones. Thomas Jones is a good back. Is he great? Not at all, but very good, solid. The days of the single dominant RB’s are dwindling as more teams are starting to share the load with 2 solid RB’s. Worked very well for the Bears last season. Also worked well for the Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, and Dallas Cowboys. By the way, all these teams were also playoff teams. So renegotiating Thomas Jones contract and meeting his needs were clearly out of the picture. Jones’ agent Drew Rosenhaus (who also happens to be Lance Briggs’ agent) is notorious for trying to get teams to renegotiate and it has worked well for him in the past. Sometimes not for his players, in terms of moving to teams that are far away from Super Bowl contention, but he does get his players paid.

Speaking of Lance Briggs, I know he is unhappy with the franchise tag, but that is the NFL. He blames the Bears and he states that he doesn’t want to play for this team anymore since they will not give him a long term deal (which hasn’t been fully played out yet). He is a victim of the Collective Bargaining Agreement signed by both the owners and Players Association. If you want to be mad, direct your anger to Gene Upshaw. The Bears are playing within the rules of the CBA. Lance Briggs was on ESPN Radio 1000 and WSCR 60 Chicago today making his case that it’s not about the money, but rather the respect. I think Lance Briggs just negotiated himself out of anything good happening in his favor out of this situation with his public radio comments.

Lance Briggs Gets Franchised by Bears
(AP Photo)

The Bears have a unique chance as one of the favorites to go to the Super Bowl again next season. Lance is headed towards Todd Bell and Al Harris territory with this stance. If you are not about the money, but winning the Super Bowl, take the guaranteed $7.2M and play to win. This Chicago Bears team becomes a bit more uncertain after next season. Lance, we are not naive….we know it’s about nothing about the money. If you don’t want to be here in Chicago to win, fine. I think the Bears should trade you. You take your risks on that one. Maybe the Bears trade you to the Oakland Raiders, what do you think about that? You gonna sign that deal with that team? Maybe the Bears don’t trade you and you decide to sit out a season, then what? Do you do it all again next season with another potential franchise tag? Do you think the Bears are gonna trade you to the Colts, Patriots, Cowboys, or any other team that may contend for the Super Bowl? Unless they are bowled over with an offer, probably not.

This one might get even more ugly than it is now, and Lance, I’m afraid you are not negotiating from a position of strength. If I were the Bears, I would do exactly nothing in this situation. No trade, no release. Play for the $7.2M this season. Hold out of all OTA’s, hold out of all training camp if you like. Hold out the season. Who is the big loser in this scenario? Lance Briggs, that’s who. No play, no pay. Hold out a season, kiss a $12-14M signing bonus goodbye. Kiss $50M contract goodbye. And guess what, Lance? The Bears can franchise you again next season and we can do it all over again…..and for Drew Rosenhaus? He will be working on a new contract for Bears DT Tommie Harris, so he is not likely to get into any kind of long term pissing match with the Bears and risk losing a payday for another client who may be potentially even better than Lance Briggs. It appears it looks like a long two years for Mr. Briggs……

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What Is Going On At Halas Hall?

Posted by sportsmaven on February 21, 2007

I’m not sure what is going on at Halas Hall, but leave it to the Chicago Bears to mess up a good thing. Word came today from Frank Bauer, agent for Lovie Smith, that the Bears are at an impasse with their head coach on an extension of his current contract. This team, fresh off a Super Bowl, knows how to take momentum and run it completely into the ground. Ironically, this has the stink of Michael McCaskey all over it. What this family has to realize is that they have a Super Bowl contending team next season and that continutity is paramount to nurturing an environment of success necessary to win. It’s one thing to lose staff and players because your team won the Super Bowl. That’s the trappings of success. It’s another thing when your team actually LOSES the Super Bowl and you are losing players/coaches because of your ineptness in recognizing and locking up your talent. I do give the Bears credit for signing Dave Toub, arguably the best special teams coach currently in the business.

Halas Hall

It’s another when you lose coaches Harold Goodwin, Don Johnson, let your popular defensive coordinator, Ron Rivera walk after 99% of the open NFL jobs are already filled, and allowing Wade Wilson to interview for a lateral position with the Dallas Cowboys. In addition, key staff members Bobby DePaul and Greg Gabriel’s contracts are up shortly after the NFL draft. So what do we call this? An unequivocal mess. The Bears need to understand that they are in the NFL and that they need to capitalize on their opportunities of not just making it to the Super Bowl but actually winning the Super Bowl. The way they have approached the off season is certainly not the way winning organizations operate. The Bears have more Arizona Cardinals in them than New England Patriots, and this does not bode well for next season….stay tuned for more of this ongoing soap opera in Lake Forest.

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Super Bowl? Miami Here We Come!

Posted by sportsmaven on January 22, 2007

Don’t let anyone tell you that the Chicago Bears didn’t earn this victory today against the New Orleans Saints. I have never experienced the energy, passion, the intensity contained in Soldier Field today. I have never heard it so loud. The snow fell all game…it was perfect. I refer to my January 18th post as the keys to today’s game with outcomes:

For the Bears:

  1. Third down conversions as a key stat this week. The Bears are at 31% in stopping 3rd down coversions, which is #2 in the NFL in that category. The Bears held the Saints to 38% in 3rd down conversions.
  2. Secondly, do not let Drew Brees get comfortable in the pocket. Change the looks he’s getting, use the blitz early, take him out of his rhythm. If Brees is allowed to get comfortable early, his accurate passing will pick the Bears secondary apart, especially with little to no push to the quarterback from the Bears front four. Brees was sacked 3 times today including once on the 3rd play of the game. He was knocked down about 100 times, and committed a key intentional grounding penalty in the end zone to swing the momentum back to the Bears.
  3. Finally, win the turnover battle and get very physical. The Washington Redskins did this in the regular season and held Brees to his lowest QB rating of the season (59.9). Saints committed 4 turnovers (3 by Brees) Bears had no turnovers. Bears were clearly the more physical team today.

For the Saints:

  1. The Bears actually match up with the Saints fairly well, so the keys for the Saints are to establish the run early to loosen up the passing game. Deuce Mc Allister and Reggie Bush combined for 10 carries for 37 yards as the Saints abandoned the run early and threw 49 passes.
  2. Secondly, the Saints need their rush ends, Will Smith and Charles Grant to get a push on Rex Grossman to protect their weak secondary. The Saints are prone to the big play and when they give it up, they give it up BIG. (ask Fred Thomas about that) Put the heat on Rex and the Bears offense slams to a grinding halt. Rex Grossman hardly felt any heat and wasn’t sacked today. Fred Thomas was burned for a 33 yd. touchdown reception by Bernard Berrian.
  3. Finally, win the time of possession battle. Keep the #1 rated offense in the NFC on the field as much as possible. The Saints lost the time of possession battle, 35:15 to 24:45.

In the AFC, the Indianapolis Colts and Peyton Manning finally got over the hump called the New England Patriots 38-34 to meet the Bears in Super Bowl XLI on Feb. 4th in Miami, FL. Tom Brady had a last gasp opportunity and threw and interception that essentially ended the game. The early line for Super Bowl XLI is Colts giving 7. The NFL Today crew on ESPN and the ESPN analysts are already picking the Colts to win. I suppose the Bears will be playing that underdog card again. No need for me to tell you who I like. Here we go again….

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The Chicago Bulls DO Play Basketball In January, Well Kind Of…

Posted by sportsmaven on January 21, 2007

With the focus of the Chicago sports scene on the Chicago Bears in the NFC Championship game and this weekend’s Cubs Convention, it is easy to forget that there are other Chicago teams in the midst of their season. The Bulls played the Utah Jazz tonight at the United Center before embarking on their NFC-AFC Conference Championship tour/roadtrip to Indianapolis to play the Indiana Pacers on Monday night. I’ve been trying to hold off on a Bulls post until after the NFC Championship game, but thought tonight would provide a great opportunity to ease into a long, somewhat ho-hum NBA season. I just wanted to see if I could work both the Bulls and the Bears into the same post successfully (I use the word successfully very loosely)

The Bulls, winners of three in a row coming into tonight, couldn’t hit the side of a barn. They shot 38.2% from the field, including 8.3% from three point range, and they did it ugly. They did out rebound the Jazz 46 to 43, mostly out of self defense. Utah got physical with the Bulls, turning this game into a half court scrum, as noted by the 54 fouls and 72 free throws combined.

This game essentially displayed some fundamental flaws of the current Bulls team. The Bulls lack an inside scoring presence, and it doesn’t look like that presence is going to appear anytime soon. When the Bulls perimeter game is off, like it was tonight, it makes it difficult to stay in games such as tonight’s. The Bulls also didn’t defend well down the stretch tonight. When it mattered, they couldn’t stop Mehmet Okur, Carlos Boozer, or even Derek Fisher from scoring key baskets and grabbing key rebounds. Now the Bulls go on the road to play a Pacers team that underwent an extreme makeover. (wouldn’t Al Harrington have looked good in a Bulls jersey right about now) The Bulls are a work in progress at the moment, and it shows in their night to night performance on the court.

As for that roadtrip, the Bulls plan to leave Chicago, by bus, just after 2pm CT today to avoid the traffic from the Chicago Bears/New Orleans Saints NFC Championship game, drive the 3.5 hours on a frozen interstate to pull into Indianapolis just in time to hit the traffic for the start of the Indianapolis Colts/New England Patriots AFC Championship game. If the Bulls play more games the way they did tonight, these might be the only championships they experience this season. At least they can say they were involved in two in one day.

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Chicago Bears Have No Chance, So Say The Experts

Posted by sportsmaven on January 19, 2007

So the experts say that the Chicago Bears have little to no chance to beat the New Orleans Saints this Sunday in the NFC Championship Game.  I was watching Inside the NFL on HBO this evening and the panel was making their picks for the Bears/Saints game this Sunday.  Bob Costas was the only one to pick the Bears and he only picked them because he is 2 picks behind Cris Carter for the season and Carter chose the Saints.  Dan Marino chose the Saints. Cris Collinsworth chose the Saints.  Costas wanted the Saints but very reluctantly chose the Bears.

ESPN was worse…..every single analyst, with the exception of Merrill Hoge chose the Saints.  Hoge didn’t even make his picks.  Five of seven analysts at CNN-SI pick the Saints.  The list goes on.  You name it, they are picking the Saints.  This is why I like the Bears.  The Bears feel as though they have been disrespected this entire season.  From Roy Williams “guaranteed victory” prediction to Dennis Green’s “Crown their asses” speech, the disrespect has flowed freely and openly.  When they were the only undefeated team left in the NFL, there was still talk about the Bears still not being the #1 team ranked in the NFL.  All this perceived disrespect has done is grow a pretty wide mean streak in the players and bringing this team even closer together.  How does that translate for Sunday?

The Bears will show up mean.  The Bears will play angry and physical.  If you’ve watched any interviews this week with Bears players, especially Rex Grossman’s Comcast Sports Net interview, you will note a testy, irratible tone in their responses.  This is nothing but good for the Bears.  NFL playoff football is all about emotion.  Emotion is what allows teams to step up to that next level and emotion is what makes playoff football so tremendous.  Emotion and heart, as much as talent and skill is what drives teams to victory in the playoffs, just ask Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.

So keep picking the Saints, keep disrespecting the Bears, for the team which brings it on with the most emotion, heart, and passion will be holding the George Halas Trophy on Sunday evening.

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