This is the second of a series of collaborations between

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Andrew Link of Windy City Gridiron and stats guy Johnathan Wood of Da Bears Blog. We’re excited to be working together to bring fans of both sites great content by combining our approaches."Being who you thought we were since 2005!Log In or Sign UpLog InSign UpFanpostsFanshotsSectionsBearsOddsAboutMastheadCommunity GuidelinesStubHubMoreAll 322 blogs on Horizontal - WhiteFanposts Fanshots Sections Latest NewsThe Bears DenNotesXs and OsSuperfansBreaking News:The Bears' 2019 Draft class is complete!脳Xs and OsFrom The Desk Of...VideoDr. Strangelove or: How Bears fans Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb!New David Montgomery Jersey Color Rush ,8commentsThis is the second of a series of collaborations between film guruAndrew LinkofWindy City Gridironand stats guyJohnathan WoodofDa Bears Blog. We’re excited to be working together to bring fans of both sites great content by combining our approaches. CSTJohnathan WoodShareTweetShareShareDr. Strangelove or: How Bears fans Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb!Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY SportsIn part 2 of this crossover series (that nobody asked for), Johnathan Wood and I will take you on a journey of expectations for the third-year Bears quarterback. As discussed in part 1, Mitchell Trubisky has struggled with the deep ball. There were a myriad of reasons why, but the gist of it is this: Trubisky was below league average, he threw almost as many deep passes as anyone in the NFL, but for this offense to take a leap in 2019, that particular portion of the game needs to improve. Esteemed data man Johnathan Wood has come up with some theories of his own and you can read about those here. And I urge everyone to go and read the full article at Da Bears Blog. But for the sake of simplicity, I will take a few excerpts from said article and share those with you all. I found this to be interesting. This makes sense to a point. Surely throwing the ball deep is going to have some level of pure luck, and as you will see in the videos, there is certainly an element of luck to it. It also makes sense that the deeper the throw, the farther off-target misthrown balls will be. Imagine being able to hit your driver 320 yards and being off by a few degrees. A much larger margin of error than say, someone who hits their 3 wood 230 yards. Worthy Adversaries But luck can’t be everything, can it? There has to be more to it than that. I decided to look at some of the other quarterbacks in the league to see what I can key on as areas of improvement for Trubisky as he heads into his 2nd year under head coach and playcaller Matt Nagy. I scoured the tape of some of the best deep ball artists in the NFL: Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, and Russell Wilson. Disclaimer: This second part took so long to produce because I became violently ill after watching so many plays of Aaron Rodgers wearing those horrible yellow uniforms. I am feeling better now, thanks for asking. There is a lot to digest here. One thing I will say that won’t show up in these videos Chicago Bears Jerseys 2019 , is that these quarterbacks did not throw the ball deep as much as Trubisky. Well, at least they didn’t run a designed deep shot from the pocket as much anyway. What you notice from other quarterbacks are things like back-shoulder throws, off-script deep shots, quick decisions, and perhaps above all else, chemistry with the receivers. Why does the chemistry matter? Those back-shoulder throws are just misses if they haven’t been practiced. A quarterback must know that a receiver is going to come back for the ball when the defender’s back is turned (there is also some luck involved here if you ask me). The other thing that we see is ball placement, release angle, and velocity. Trubisky’s comp for me coming out of college was Drew Brees. They actually throw the ball very similarly after studying both side-by-side. The problem with this is that Brees is insanely accurate and he can throw pinpoint passes anywhere on the field. As accurate as Trubisky was in college, and at times in the NFL, he isn’t on that level. What we see here from other quarterbacks is throwing the ball in such a way as to allow your receiver to make a play, or at least put them in the best position to. The first 3 passes from Rodgers illustrate this incredibly well. From the back shoulder throw on the sidelines, to knowing that there is no safety help and leading the receiver over the middle to scrambling to keep the play alive instead of running. I am not ashamed to admit that Rodgers is the best quarterback in the NFL and it’s plays like these that make it so. Reasons For OptimismWe saw Trubisky demonstrate all of these qualities throughout the season and that makes me excited for next season. It’s about watching film and correcting the mistakes that were made in 2017 and 2018. We saw tremendous growth from week 4 through the shoulder injury, and that is a huge reason to be optimistic. While there was plenty to clean up in that span, there were some incredible throws made as well. Let’s start with the intermediate throws that were over 15 yards, but under what I would consider a true deep ball. There is a little bit of everything here. Precision passes, touch throws, back-shoulder, throwing receivers open David Montgomery Chicago Bears Jerseys , and going way off-script. When Trubisky was comfortable and just playing football, he was very good. When Trubisky wasn’t comfortable or unsure of himself, he made mistakes...lot’s of mistakes. This is why I have pounded the table be patient until year 2 of Nagy’s offense. All 11 starters are returning (except maybe Howard) and will already know the system. That bodes well for the future and leads us into the next part of Johnathan’s article. Positive Regression/We’ve Seen it BeforeThis is where the rubber-meets-the-road as far as the numbers and film matching up together. History tells us that Trubisky will improve simply because he was relatively poor last year. But I look at like this: we have seen him execute deep passes before. Couple that with the fact that there were so many that missed by a matter of inches, there were a few that should have been caught by a certain $14M receiver, and everyone was feeling each other out last year. Those shouldn’t be issues heading into 2019. What you will notice is what I mentioned earlier about Brees. A lot of these throws are too flat, meaning they didn’t get high enough in the air. A flat throw requires near-perfect placement, which is incredibly difficult. It doesn’t allow the receiver to make a play on the ball, especially if the coverage is good. More air under the ball with a little less velocity, and I think the numbers would improve significantly. The other thing is the ball placement itself. Trubisky helped the defense out too often by throwing the ball to the outside (sideline side) of the receiver. While it’s true that your chances of an interception lessen with that approach, so does your chances of completing the pass. If you go back and watch Russell Wilson’s touchdown throw in the first video, you see how much room is between the ball and the sideline. It allows your receiver to make a play on the ball instead of giving the defense a 12th defender (the sideline). All of this is to say that I fully expect, not only the deep ball, but the offense as a whole to improve significantly in 2019. This Bears offense showed enough in short bursts that we know that they are capable of being highly explosive. The next step is showing that consistently. A few tweaks here and there and I think we will see exactly that. Keep checking back on Da Bears Blog and Windy City Gridiron for more of this fun series! The draft is just over a week away, so we’ll tackle your draft questions along with feelings on the upcoming season. All in this week’s mailbag."Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty ImagesWe are exactly eight days away from opening night in the 2019 NFL draft. Despite the Chicago Bears not picking until No. 87, there’s plenty to be intrigued about as the draft process plays out. Not only are the Bears slated to have five picks next weekend, but they should be very active in the undrafted free agent market with a roster currently set with 66 players. That means between the draft, undrafted players, plus more tryouts expected in rookie mini-camp at the start of May Danny Trevathan Jerseys Stitched , they’ll need to add at least 24 players over the next few weeks.The roster currently sits at 66 after tight end Zach Miller announced his retirement, due to his serious knee injury that he suffered in the middle of the 2017 season that required a total of 10 surgeries. It’s also worth mentioning that the 2019 schedule release is scheduled for 7pm central time tonight and will be televised on both ESPN and the NFL Network.With all of that in mind, there’s always plenty to talk about when it relates to the Bears, so let’s get to it.The Bears have met with 17 different running backs in some way, shape or form. Of those meetings, there’s only been a handful that I would count as players that won’t be around if they stay at 87.There’s also quiet a few that are projected to go in rounds four through six, so it’s quite possible that general manager Ryan Pace could wait an extra round to grab arguably his “biggest” need.Of the three you mentioned, I think it’s very likely that both David Montgomery and Miles Sanders are gone if the Bears stay at 87. Devin Singletary is going to be interesting because people either love him as a top 80-90 talent or they have him grouped in with about 10 players with fourth and fifth round grades. For me, Singletary has a late third or early fourth, so I expect him to be around. They’ve also met with him on four different occasions including a private visit and workout.My gut still tells me they go running back in the third, but if they hold off until the fourth or fifth round here’s a few guys I like:Trayveon Williams (Texas A&M)Justice Hill (Oklahoma State)Bruce Anderson (North Dakota State)Rodney Anderson (Oklahoma)James Williams (Washington State)I feel like too many people make a big deal about the Bears schedule this year. I’ve seen an argument made that the Bears are playing a “first place schedule” this season, but fail to realize that only means 2 different teams from the rest of the NFC North.I’m not going to get too deep into this because predicting strength of schedules based on the previous year’s record, rarely equates to much of anything. If you’re looking for a better reason why none of this actually matter, Jonathan Wood’s piece on this exact topic is a must read.As far as the Bears roster turnover, I think when you compare it to other teams across the league, you’ll see that there has been a ton of change. Yes, they lost Bryce Callahan and Adrian Amos among others, but that’s only two starters on a defense loaded with Pro Bowlers and very good talent.An argument can be made that they may have gotten worse in those positions Youth Danny Trevathan Jerseys , but I think when you look at their overall additions plus the age of their team, there’s plenty of reason to believe this is still an ascending team. Keep in mind good teams lose talent all of the time, but are able to get by with lesser players or develop draft picks into better replacements. Keep in mind, the Bears defense gave up an average of 10.5 points-per-game over their final four games. That included missing Callahan, Eddie Jackson and even Aaron Lynch for portions of that.Good teams develop talent and most importantly, good teams have quality depth. That was something the Bears had last year and I expect that to continue in 2019, so I would not expect regression from a team that is built to not only win, but continue to get better in their current window.Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky is going into Year 3 in his NFL career, but this will only be his second year in head coach Matt Nagy’s offense. It will also only be his third year of starting since high school. I think that’s important to keep in mind when comparing his progress to that of Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson.Trubisky was well on his way to a 3,600 yard season before his shoulder injury that forced him to miss two games in the second half of the season. When you combine those numbers with the context of him being in first year of a very complex offense, I don’t think it’s overly difficult to see him not only breaking the single-season passing yards mark, but possibly breaking the 4,000 yard marker as well.As long as he stays healthy and builds off his progress from the second half of the season, I see no reason why he can’t land right around that marker. I’ve gone back and re-watched Trubisky in the first three weeks of last year, versus where he ended up and the progression he made was actually pretty remarkable. I’m not sure I’d label it a make or break year for Trubisky, but in order for this team to take the next step, he’s going to play a large part.When looking at the team’s current “needs”, I think that term should be used lightly Cheap David Montgomery Jersey , at least in the short-term. I’d rank them like this:Running BackKickerDefensive BackOffensive GuardTight EndEdge RusherReceiverObviously running back is a position they will attack and I expect it to be addressed early. I’d also assume they’ll add another kicker, whether that’s a late-round pick or a priority undrafted free agent, we’ll have to wait and see. Defensive back is somewhat broad because cornerback depth is question and the Bears currently have just one safety under contract past this season. When looking at guard, that’s a position that I could see them pushing back another year. They have Rashaad Coward that will be taking work at both tackle and guard, so he could be a future replacement for Kyle Long. But this is a position where I see them maybe kicking the can down the road another year, as well as edge rusher. You can never have enough pass rushers, but the frequency of hitting on edge talent after the third round becomes very scarce. With the amount of future needs they have, it may make more sense to wait on edge and roll with what they have.It seemed like an eternity between years in which the Bears had a Pro Bowler before this past year. Then it seemed like the flood gates opened and Oprah was handing out Pro Bowl invitations in the team’s locker room like candy.This year, I’d like to a few key players to take the next step:Roquan SmithJames DanielsAllen RobinsonThis is a team with a lot of talent and a lot of young talent. Smith was last year’s eighth overall pick and seemed to get better every week. You don’t normally take inside linebackers in the top 10 unless you believe they are game changers. That’s exactly what I expect Smith to form into.With Daniels, I think he finished the year strong, after starting the season on the bench. Harry Hiestand is one of the top offensive line coaches in the league and it appears that Daniels is moving back to his more natural position at center. The combination of the move and him going into his second year, makes him another player that could take a sizable step and become a top center in 2019.Finally, Robinson is someone that signed for big money last offseason, but didn’t really impress in the box score. With that in mind, it was Year 1 of his rehabilitation coming off an ACL tear and usually players are back to normal, if not better in Year 2. He’s also just 25-years-old and flashed a lot of dominant potential down the stretch. It would not shock me at all to see him become the team’s best receiver since Alshon Jeffery left for Philadelphia a few years ago.
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