I Had to Look Up How to Spell “Schadenfreude” and Other Bullets

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It snowed. I’m not sure how much, but were I to guess, I’d say something like 82 feet of it. So I was inside watching football yesterday (which is exactly what I’d have been doing if it had been 81 degrees and sunny, if I’m honest) and once again I wasn’t disappointed.

One of my previous giant snowstorm memories also featured a Green Bay/San Francisco playoff game; 16 years ago, the 49ers beat the Packers in a Wild Card game that I watched on a tiny, over-the-air television after the cable went out. That was an excellent game, (it was the Terrell Owens “catch while being sandwiched” game) as was yesterday’s, and they both ended with the Packers losing by three points. I’m not going to gloat about the Packers loss, because that would be a petty, bitter, and jealous thing to do. But I enjoyed it nevertheless. Also, that snowstorm 16 years ago? School was closed for two weeks (another storm came through a week later), turning Christmas Break into a four week vacation. That was all well and good until we had to make up school on Saturdays in March, along with added days in June. That was one of my first brushes with the dangers of instant gratification, and it remains the most effective.

  • As mentioned, San Francisco prevailed 23-20. Phil Dawson nailed a game-winning field goal as time expired. The 49ers have now knocked Green Bay out of the playoffs in consecutive seasons, both times on the strength of Colin Kaepernick’s running abilities. After taking the league by storm last year, the use of the read option seemed to decline this season. Perhaps a fallout from the Robert Griffin injury? Just a general desire to keep quarterbacks healthy? The league’s defenses making the necessary adjustments? Probably a combination of all three of those factors, along with a few others. Last year Kaepernick rushed for 181 yards in a 49er rout; this year he rushed for 98 in a closer game. I wonder if teams with mobile quarterbacks will be more willing to take some chances in the running game during the postseason. (Of course, only two teams with traditionally mobile quarterbacks remain, in Seattle and San Francisco. Andrew Luck is also quite capable of scrambling, but I’ve not seen the Colts use him as part of a designed running scheme. I haven’t exactly broken down Colts tape, though, so maybe I’m missing that one.)
  • I’m obviously not the world’s biggest Green Bay fan, but my rooting interest was swayed even further when Green Bay fans began booing their own offense harshly. In the first quarter. Down six points. Allow me to say this: I’m not someone who makes a habit of telling people how to be a fan. If you want to go to the game and boo terrible players, boo the refs, boo opponents, do whatever you like. Tickets, parking, and concessions are expensive. But as with anything, you have to have a level of understanding. And considering the narrative of Green Bay fans being the most passionate in the sport, you’d think that when your team is down only six points in the first quarter after having made a miracle run to the playoffs maybe you don’t bust out the full-stadium booing. It wasn’t just a few drunkards in hunter’s orange; this was the majority of Lambeau field booing Aaron Rodgers off the field, after they dared fail to score on three drives against one of the league’s more talented defenses. (The boos may have started during the second drive, to be honest.) Packers roundly turning on their own offense that quickly is quite a display of entitlement. How spoiled can you be? You really don’t have faith in the McCarthy/Rodgers tandem to score points? That eventually happened, of course, and the fans were cheering full blast. But if I have to read one more puff piece about how the Packers have the most dedicated and knowledgeable fans in the sport, I might throw something.
  • In the early game, the Bengals lost at home to the Chargers, meaning I went 3-1 picking winners. Andy Dalton played poorly, throwing two picks and losing a fumble. He’s been an up and down quarterback for his entire career, and I think we’re finally seeing his limitations come to light. But instead of that being the driving narrative during the game, I saw much more “he’s not a playoff quarterback” than I saw “he’s an inconsistent player who has had bad games in the playoffs.” Why people are so fascinated by how a quarterback plays in playoff games, I’ll never know. Andy Dalton just finished his third season, and he’s played in three postseason games. Because he has played poorly in those three games, people now think he won’t ever play well in the playoffs? Listen, he very well might not play well in a playoff game, but that’s not because he lacks some sort of mystical secret playoff knowledge that other quarterbacks have. It’s because his skill level is such that he often plays poorly. When the McCown debate was raging, I wrote this piece on the dangers of using small sample sizes, and how football as a sport really struggles with that due to the inherently small sample of a 16 game season. We know that Dalton played poorly in his playoff games. But that’s not enough to predict future performance.
  • This slipped through (no idea what else could have been announced that buried it) but as part of Phil Emery’s press conference, he noted that rookie guard Kyle Long was named as a Pro Bowl alternate. I’ve really liked watching Long play, and though this might be a bit odd, I especially love that he’s the first guy to run in if a defender takes a cheap shot at one of his teammates. (Normally Cutler.) That was my favorite thing about Olin Kreutz as well (it certainly wasn’t his ability to snap the ball without fumbling) and it’s nice to see some fire on the field. Given Long’s size, I wonder if a move to tackle is in his future. Jordan Mills started strong but faded, and traditionally guards are easier to find/replace than tackles, although if you’ve just followed the Bears for the five years before this season, you’d think competent offensive linemen at any position were as rare as diamonds.
  • Larry Mayer is the beat writer for the team’s official website, and he explored the idea of Shea McClellin moving to linebacker. If the Bears switched to a 3-4 that would be an obvious move, but I’m not sure I see a place for him in a 4-3 scheme, especially if Bostic is also moved outside. Shea’s always been a tweener, and though that term is sometimes thrown around lazily, as shorthand for “non-traditional size”, I really think it fits for McClellin. He’s quick for a defensive end, but I don’t think that speed would be exceptional as a 4-3 linebacker. He’s a bit big for that position, while being small for a defensive end. He’s just right in the middle, but not in the Dwight Freeney/Robert Mathis way, where they have elite speed and pass rushing instincts despite being undersized for their position. I also don’t think the Bears should switch to a 3-4 just to suit one player, no matter the round in which he was drafted. As it is now, they have one player who doesn’t fit. Making the switch would greatly increase that number. The Bears might still do it, if they think the players available that give them the best chance of overhauling the defense would be best suited to play in a 3-4 scheme. I think that remains to be seen, and there are still so many variables at play, not least of which being whether Mel Tucker will return.

Today’s the day I learn what a -40 windchill feels like. I’m morbidly curious.

Jay Rigdon is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation Bears, and can also be found @BearsBN on Twitter.

16 responses to “I Had to Look Up How to Spell “Schadenfreude” and Other Bullets”

  1. Ryan Theriot Reportedly Hangs ‘Em Up and Other Bullets | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary

    […] Jay looks at some of the playoff action from the NFL this weekend, among other Bears Bullets. […]

  2. guy44

    I don’t follow football nearly as closely as baseball, so I don’t understand why Shea McClellan isn’t a prime trade candidate. In baseball, if you have a quality player who just doesn’t fit your needs everyone expects you to trade him to a team that could make better use of him. I know trades aren’t nearly as common in football, but why don’t the Bears trade McClellan to a 3-4 team if they stay with the 4-3?

    1. mdavis

      trades are really very rare in football. draft picks are gold, and usually its just draft picks for draft picks type of trade (moving up, or back). its hard to get any kind of value for a player, except in really rare situations. i dont see them being able to trade McClellan for anything at this point.

  3. Patrick W.

    Just read an article this weekend about the read option. Read option rushes were on pace to nearly triple 2012 @ close to 1200. Efficiency has dropped but the read option is nowhere near decline.

  4. On The Farm

    So I just saw Dan Patrick heard from the NFL that they will be adding two Wild card teams (one in each league) for next season. Not sure if I am a fan of this move.

  5. Fastball

    I am so happy to see Rodgers never got the ball back and that the refs couldn’t call a pass interference call on a hail mary pass and the Packers steal that game. I can’t stand the Packers and how damned lucky the get all the time.

    McClellin is a hybrid and they will just do some tinkering with some formations which will allow him to be a rusher from the outside in a 2 point position. I envision him rushing like our Nemisis from the Packers does. It will be more of a Nickel package that he rushes out of I think.

    I would move Briggs to the Middle Linebacker position. He can play there no problem and lead the defense much better at the Mike. Then you can look at Bostic outside and bring in another good veteran to play outside as well as have McClellin out there.

  6. Fastball

    I think for a Super Bowl commercial they should have Mayhem from Allstate doing all kinds of nasty hits on Aaron Rodgers and his Discount Double Check. Throw him off the back of that damned pickup truck.

  7. TheRiot2

    ME? I’m responding to living thru not 1 storm of the CENTURY but 2. Chicago 1/26/67 28″s of snow and Minneapolis 10/31/91 yup 28″s of snow again. Thank goodness for snowblowers today,unfortunately there’s no high tech equipment to cut down the sub zero temps and wind chills. if you act stupid and venture outside that is. Nothing like playoff football and Chili and Sausages with Beer (inside) and footballs filling the air,ah thank you DirecTV for remarkable clarity today as versus rabbit ears and black & white TV in those Neanderthal years.Air temp currently at 26 below zero this morning and who cares what the wind chill is? This is weather even Minnesotans stay inside.

    1. greenroom

      What about 79? There was 4 ft of snow in our front yard…we dug tunnels ha

  8. Adam

    Let’s say the Bears decide to switch to a 3-4 defense. I believe Briggs is capable of manning of the Interior Linebacker spots, but given his age and $6 million cap hit, I think the Bears could find another cheaper option. I wonder if Tampa Bay would give up a 2nd or 3rd round pick for Briggs? The Bears could then resign James Anderson or DJ Williams for much cheaper to play there with Bostic. That would free up money along with cutting Peppers to go after someone like Brian Orakpo to play the other OLB spot opposite McClellin. Then draft Louis Nix in the 1st round to play NT. Use Paea and Wooton as 5 gap DE’s. Throw some money at Donte Whitner or TJ Ward to play safety. Draft a corner (Purifoy or Roby) in the 2nd to play opposite Jennings and use the additional 2nd or 3rd rounder from the Briggs deal on another safety (Ahmad Dixon). Use 3rd round pick on Center (Travis Swanson) as future replacement for Garza.

    1. mdavis

      at this point in his carrer, Briggs is no where near worth a 2nd or 3rd rounder. and TB has one of the better up and coming Will’s in LaVonte David. I’m a big OSU fan, and I want no part of Roby in the 2nd round. He repeatedly was torched when he played better competition this year, to the point i was surprised he came out after such a terrible year.

      In terms of the Def, I think they should (and may well likely) go into a hybrid. See what NE does. they do a lot of 4-3, but certain situations deploy a 3-4. I also think they should try and bring back James Anderson. Bostic is still raw, and i wonder if another year of learning in a back up role might be better for him. But it will be itneresting to see. If they wanted to go for an impact outside backer (assuming a base 4-3 still) Ryan Shazier could be there in the 2nd.

  9. Adam

    New England has a player like Vince Wilfork which allows them to play the hybrid. Also Green Bay has Raji and Jolly which helps them play a similar style. That’s why a player like Louis Nix would be a perfect fit because he has experience in a 4-3 at ND but has the size to play NT in a 3-4. Regardless, the Bears need to get more pressure from their line.

    1. mdavis

      right. i dont disagree with drafting a guy like Nix. If they get a guy who’s versatile enough to bump in to a true nose, i think that’s someone they should look at, as well as Mack if he’s still there. another tweener type, but could be a good fit in that hybrid style. Free Agency could also take some pressure off the draft too and give us some clues into the route they go scheme wise.

  10. Ryne

    I was named after Ryne Sandberg and am a huge Cubs fan that grew up in Wisconsin (which is why I am also oddly a Packers fan). I tell you that because I am not trying to come off as “trolling” or anything like that. With the weird cross over i obviously follow/read a lot of Bears info and read my fair share of Packers bashing. Generally the ripping dumb Packer fan comments or actions doesn’t bug me as I know of there are plenty of Packers reporters/blogs that do the same thing to Bears/Vikings. That is why it’s a great rival. I also have no problem with Bears fans laughing at the fact Packer fans claim to be the “best fans in football,” enjoying a Packers loss, or hating all the entitlement. I hear it from friends that grew up MN fans as often as Chi fans. I get it and often compare it to being a Cardinals fan (national praise for being great fans but at the end of the day…just like any other fan base). I don’t disagree with the argument and get why other fan bases hate it and get sick of it. With all that said the booing argument is a little overboard. I am not a boo’er but I don’t get the “well they booed so they are bad fans argument.” 1) ALL fan bases have booed for a dumb reason at some point. I remember opening day Cubs game a few years ago when Kerry Wood was booed off the mound for giving up three runs as a closer (not sure if it was his first appearance as closer or coming off injury or something? Fukudome later tied it with a three run homer). Colts fans booed Andrew Luck this weekend before he had a great comeback win. Does that make these fan bases dumb? I don’t think so…it makes them fans..and fans can be emotional. 2) Even if you think they were booing MM/AR (which I disagree with) it was the fact they couldn’t do anything…nothing at all….and had negative yards in back to back possessions… vs not scoring. But I am guessing the fans booed more because on back to back possessions they just mailed it in on third down (a short screen to the WR and delayed hand off to the FB on 3rd and long in both cases). As a fan that is what bugged me more not scoring let alone even moving the ball, why just waste third down? just my opinion

  11. J. F. Edwards

    “although if you’ve just followed the Bears for the five years before this season, you’d think competent offensive linemen at any position were as rare as diamonds.”

    Exactly.

  12. Serious Bears Fan

    No chance Jordan Mills moves over to Guard if Long moves to Right Tackle. Mills is weak and would get pushed around at Guard

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