Barth vs. Gould, Deceiving Bears Numbers, Lovie Reflects, Martz Returns To Coaching, and Other Bullets

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Barth vs. Gould, Deceiving Bears Numbers, Lovie Reflects, Martz Returns To Coaching, and Other Bullets

Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears made a pair of eyebrow-raising moves with regard to their kicking situation in 2016.

First, they cut Robbie Gould – a 2006 All-Pro who played 166 games in 11 seasons with the Bears and connected on 85.9% of his field goal attempts as. They replaced a fan-favorite who was the longest-tenured member of the team with Connor Barth, who owned an 84.8% success rate prior to suiting up for the Bears this season.

So, then what happened?

That was the question posed in a recent Bears mailbag.

Barth connected on 78.3% of his field goal attempts, which represents his lowest percentage of makes since the 2009 season when he made a career-low 73.7%. Gould didn’t open the season on a roster, but played 10 games for the New York Giants – connecting on all 10 of his tries, but he did miss three extra points. Nobody’s perfect. Still, Gould hit all seven kicks between 30-49 yards in 2016 which is a higher success rate than Barth who made 10 of 12 attempts in that range (83.3%).

While we consider the Bears’ many needs, at some point they might be wise to consider adding a more reliable field goal kicker. Because it would be rather unfortunate to improve the team across the board, only for the improvements to be undermined by an inaccurate and ill-time kick or three.

On that note, let’s move on to today’s Bullets …

  • On Saturday we took some time to honor the 10th anniversary of the Bears’ 2006 NFC Championship Game win, a title that Lovie Smith – now head coach at the University of Illinois – still deems as special. Chris Emma of CBS Chicago caught up with Smith via phone interview and reflected on the Bears’ special season.
  • Postseason number dives can be fun. But as Chris Boden of Comcast Sports Net Chicago writes, the numbers can be deceiving. Were the Bears a 3-13 team in 2016? Yes. Were they deserving of a better fate based on statistical rankings? Also yes. However, it’s very easy to argue that the Bears earned their 13-loss season with how they played – turnover woes, quarterback inconsistency, lack of impact players – en route to those numbers. It’s an interesting quick dive.
  • John Fox and his coaching staff will get their chance to coach some of college football’s best players at next week’s Senior Bowl, but it was Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator George Edwards helped lead the West to a 10-3 win in the East-West Shrine Game on Saturday.
  • Did former Bears linebacker Lance Briggs call out John Fox? If he did, it’s unlikely Fox saw it, because Briggs’ critiques were posted on his Twitter – which Fox doesn’t have. Phil Thompson of the Chicago Tribune has the rundown here. It’s not as if this would be the first time Briggs spoke his mind freely about the Bears. Remember when he aired out Marc Trestman in a radio interview?
  • Dan Durkin of The Athletic has a complete list of 103 players who were granted special eligibility or completed degree requirements to be draft eligible this April. Sounds like plenty of playmakers for the Bears’ front office to choose from in April.
  • Perhaps one of those playmakers is East-West Shrine Game standout Trey Hendrickson, who won the Defensive Most Outstanding Player Award while playing for the losing team. The Florida Atlantic Product had two tackles, a sack and a forced fumble. The Orlando Sentinel provides a little more depth to Hendrickson’s story here.
  • The NFLPA Bowl (another postseason exhibition showcase for college prospects) was a one-sided affair, but featured former Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz – whose team rushed 42 times for 213 yards. Where that kind of balance was when Martz was the Bears offensive coordinator is a question worth asking despite the answer being nothing more than “too little, too late.”
  • The AFC and NFC Championship Games are today, with the Falcons hosting the Packers at 2pm CT on FOX, and the Patriots hosting the Steelers at 5:40pm CT on CBS.


Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.