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Hi Hub. If Jason Garrett and Mitch Trubisky are involved ever again do you think they’ll need to change the name of the Pro Bowl. Maybe the “better players and coaches didn’t want this but here’s some guys you’ve heard of Bowl” or the “relatively embarrassing bowl”? Thanks. Submitted by Packer Buckaroo
Pack, the problems with the Pro Bowl had absolutely nothing to do with Jason Garrett or Mitch Trubisky, although Garrett is a totally average football coach at best and Mitch was one of the league’s most improved players this year but not a legitimate Pro Bowler yet.
The game is a complete waste of time and shouldn’t be played at all, and it was close to being phased out a few years ago. It's only surviving because people actually watch it on TV— for reasons that totally escape me — and the league and the networks can still make money at it.
The game makes no sense because, played properly, there is a real risk of injury in an exhibition game and so to avoid that it has become half-tackle, half-touch football and the way players were avoiding contact last Sunday there wasn’t a tremendous risk of injury but there is still some and it’s just not football.
But injury fears are not why many of the game's true all stars stopped going. It was when the league turned a really nice, all-expenses-paid trip for the players, their families and some friends to Hawaii into a silly week in Orlando or Phoenix that many of the game’s best players said, who needs this? When the league’s minimum salary is now at $480,000, 495,000 in 2019 and players with two or more years experience are making at least $720,00, who needs a trip to Orlando for a “kinda game of football?”
It is long past time that the NFL just pick the Pro Bowl teams but not play the games. The honor, if you’re actually voted in and not an alternate still has meaning — but the game doesn’t.
Being an alternate is also an honor, hard earned and something Trubisky, Whitehair and Leno should be proud of and something still less than 10 percent of the players in the league earn, but it shouldn’t be confused with being an actual Pro Bowler.
If the league insists on playing the game, at least put it back in Hawaii where it belongs and see how many Pro Bowlers skip it then.
Who are the Free Agents at safety the Bears might target if they can’t resign Amos? Would they attempt to go after Earl Thomas? Is he a possibility given contract requirements and cap space? Thanks! Submitted By Chris Incapitola
What position do bears target in free agency? Submitted by Wayne Bartosiak
Chris and Wayne, I put you guys together because while your questions are different, my answers will be similar.
Edge rusher and safety are the only positions in free agency this year with a quantity of talent, and while most of the top edge rushers will be tagged, most of the safeties won’t.
Adrian Amos improved significantly over the last year and a half and has become a better player than I thought he would, but he is not in the same class as Thomas, Landon Collins, Tyrann Mathieu, Lamarcus Joyner and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, who are all legitimate Pro Bowlers and Collins is the only one likely to be tagged.
I hate to lose Bryce Callahan, but with his injury history, how hard it’s been for him to stay on the field and what top nickels are getting paid these days, I just don’t see how you can give him that money. And with Bobby Massie now signed, the Bears have a real good handle on where they’re at cap wise, and can afford to go after an upgrade at safety. Putting either Mathieu or Clinton-Dix with Eddie Jackson is the one way they can significantly improve what is already the NFL’s most talented defense.
At 30, and with his injury history, I wouldn’t give Thomas the money he wants, but Mathieu, Clinton-Dix or Joyner would all be nice upgrades that shouldn’t break the bank.
Did the Bears miss their best chance to win the Super Bowl this season? 1) Fangio leaving. Defense was unreal for today's era. Watch Buddy Ryan's departure and saw what happen. 2) Now we have a 1st place schedule and we are no longer a surprise. 3) Mitch looked terrible at PB. Submitted by Rodney Williams
Rodney, they missed a good chance, but the window should stay open for at least two, probably three and maybe even more years than that.
Not a single key player is near going over the hill, and Goldman, Nichols, Floyd, Smith and Jackson should all still get better, as will Robertson-Harris if they can keep him, Aaron Lynch if they bring him back and Deon Bush and Kevin Toliver if they play.
Fangio is the best defensive coordinator in football, but Pagano has the pedigree and chops to compete with him and they are very similar having worked together in Baltimore. The differences between Buddy and Vince Tobin were night and day.
Never judge a schedule in the spring or summer — we’ll see how tough it is by Week Five or Six of the ’19 season, and though it is almost certain to be harder than 2018, it may not be as tough as we think and the Bears will be a more talented team next season.
Trubisky’s Pro Bowl performance is totally meaningless; it’s an exhibition game of fake football. His ceiling is actually higher than I thought it was after his performance this season.
The only reason we can’t say definitively they’ll have a better chance in the next year, two or three is I can’t remember the last time they were as healthy as they were in ’18, and while I’m not trying to deny the new training ans strength and conditioning people who came aboard in ’18 the credit they deserve for a job well done, I’m sure even they will tell you avoiding injuries is as much about luck as it is preparation.
Also, they may very well have gotten there if Parkey hits the kick. They were good enough to give it a go. But beating the Rams in L.A., the Saints in New Orleans and then the Pats in a Super Bowl is something I really don’t think they were ready for yet.
They can be this year — and for a couple years after.
Do Trey Burton's potential lack of reliability and Adam Shaheen's unimpressive development make tight end a priority position to address? Submitted by J. Andrew Moss
Is Trey Burton done as a Bear? Submitted by Andy Lazor
Andrew and Andy, you’re a duo today for the same reason Chris and Wayne are. Two questions – that I’m not sure I understand actually – but for the most part one answer.
Where on Earth did you guys get the idea that Trey Burton has a lack of reliability or that he might be done as a Bear? That’s ridiculous.
Burton didn’t miss a game all season until the playoffs, and with 54 catches on 76 targets, he was actually the Bears' most reliable receiver other than Tarik Cohen (71-91) and Jordan Howard (20-27).
The idea that he “chose” to miss the Eagles game is silly. I actually talked to him the Thursday before and he was sky high for the game. That he has anxiety issues makes him much like a growing number of folks these days, but that that’s what caused a groin injury or caused him to use it as an excuse is just crazy.
I know you read about it, but I have no idea why so many insisted on writing it or pursuing it.
Burton was a leader in the locker room, and if anything the Bears are likely to significantly expand his role in the passing game going forward after two games where he was targeted just once and six more when he was targeted four or fewer times — which really didn’t make sense.
All of that said, I do believe they need to add talent at tight end, but that’s because Dion Sims is going to be a cap casualty and Dan Brown and Ben Braunecker are unlikely to ever be more than a three or four.
My concern is the lack of development of Adam Shaheen in his second year. I’m nowhere near ready to write him off because he obviously suffered a serious injury and the move from basically Division III Ashland College to the NFL is akin to going from intern to Chairman of the Board.
But if he was completely healthy when they activated him the second half of the season, he didn’t make near the strides we should have hoped for as a receiver in his second season.
Hopefully Shaheen gets there this year, but even if he does, you’d really like three quality players at the position, and while Burton is actually a better blocker than I expected, he’s still a “move" tight end on the team to catch the ball and the Bears need another guy who can play 60 minutes and block and catch when asked to.
Do u miss doing color commentating for Bears games with Wayne Larrivee? Bcuz we sure miss u. Submitted By Dan Hawker
First of all, Dan, Tom Thayer and Jeff Joniak are two dear friends, and though I rarely get to hear them because of my current responsibilities for Westwood One and the SCORE, I’m sure they’re doing a great job.
Secondly, Wayne Larrivee is to this day my best friend in the broadcast business and while I miss doing games together every week, you can hate the Packers without disliking the men and women who work and play for them. They are a class and quality organization that just has the bad luck and misfortune they didn’t get to be the Bears.
But I’d never lie to you and the fact is the 20 years I spent as part of the Bears radio broadcasts and 18 years in the color commentator chair were the greatest joy of my professional life, and not getting to call Super Bowl XLI, just two years after I was fired my greatest disappointment.
BUT . . . when one door closes another one opens and the fact that I was hired nine months later by Westwood to do much bigger games every week to a dramatically bigger audience, and quite frankly for more money, and to find the home I have at the SCORE, and that it’s all still going strong 15 years later is also something I would never trade.
Sure you'lI miss it more after a season like this one, but remember: they’ve been few and far between and during all those down years I’ve been out traveling around the league doing the games of the week and I’ve gone to the playoffs for at least two or three games every year since.
I’ve also managed to maintain an excellent relationship with the McCaskey family, Virginia, George and Brian, whom I know the best of the clan, are among my very favorite people in the world and they’ve made it a lot easier for me to never look back.
Would I ever do color for them again if asked? In a heartbeat.
But the world moves on. It’s highly unlikely it would ever happen, and my family and I have been blessed to have never had to look back with any regrets.
Regardless of what happened back in the day, we will always bleed navy and orange.