Pick Your Favorite Play, Sack Lunch, Ticket Prices with a Catch, Vikes Talk to Desai (Again), and Other Bears Bullets

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Pick Your Favorite Play, Sack Lunch, Ticket Prices with a Catch, Vikes Talk to Desai (Again), and Other Bears Bullets

Chicago Bears

I have a love-hate relationship with winter. It’s been mostly hate-hate. But The Girlfriend loved winter. And snow. So I softened my stance. I found appreciation and peace in watching the snowfall. It’s calming in a way.

At least until I have to shovel it later today.

  • Yours truly hasn’t been part of a season-ticket holder group of any capacity since 2019, when my group of friends who I shared Cubs tickets with put a bow on our time as STH members. One thing I don’t miss about that is the annual letter cleverly informing you of price hikes:
  • Patrick Finley (Sun-Times) dives into how the ticket pricing for Bears season tickets comes with a catch. And it is a notable one, too. Because even though prices are staying the same, the package comes with one fewer regular-season game (while adding another preseason exhibition). After putting up the NFL’s worst record, I feel as if fans should be given a break. The league (and each of its teams) makes boatloads of money from TV and media rights deals. So while I understand ticket money fills other buckets, seeing that there is no change in STH pricing — not even as a wink and a nod for sticking around through tough times — bugs me.
  • Do you know what else bothers me? That the Bears did not get after the quarterback enough in 2022. Their 20 sacks were the fewest in football. To put it in perspective, they had 20 fewer than the teams in the middle of the pack in this category. And their sack total was 50 fewer than the league-leading Eagles. Then again, Philly’s 70 sacks were blowing everyone out of the water in 2022. The Chiefs, who had the NFL’s second-most sacks, came away with just 55.
  • With that being said, I fully understand why there is a loud segment of Bears fans who want to see GM Ryan Poles take Alabama pass-rusher Will Anderson Jr. with whatever first-round pick they have in the upcoming NFL Draft:
  • Looking back at Bears stats, it boggles my mind to think about the 20 sacks and 43 quarterback hits they came up with in 2022. They had 49 sacks and 83 quarterback hits the year before. That is a significant drop-off. Then again, maybe that should’ve been expected after trading Khalil Mack in the offseason, dealing Robert Quinn (even though he didn’t do much this year after his record-breaking 2022) during the season, letting Akiem Hicks and Bilal Nichols leave in free agency, and shipping Roquan Smith at the deadline. I don’t think it is an oversimplification to underscore that the decline in pass-rush production can be explained by the teardown of what was a productive front seven. But with that being said, it is up to this front office to rebuild what they broke down.
  • I was watching that game at a bar in California with NFL Network’s Adam Rank and some friends. The Girlfriend, still in Chicago, sent me a text after that play and said “that throw made me feel tingly.” And that is the power of football, my friends. Throws are so good that they can make you feel feelings.
  • We’ve been at this since 2017. And we know that the offseason can feel like a long, drawn-out sludge. But that is why I’m trying to have fun with the running back discourse in the early going:
  • Here is a thing I like about the Bears’ current position: They have the flexibility to do so much without the fear of one contract handcuffing them. Do the Bears need offensive linemen? Yes. Defensive linemen? Absolutely! Receivers? You betcha. But signing a high-profile running back won’t preclude them from signing any of those other players. And I feel that is something worth hammering home.
  • Sure, signing a running back from a lower tier has bargain potential. But keep in mind that you get what you pay for so often in these situations. Some years you get a James Conner putting up back-to-back seasons with 1,000-yards from scrimmage. And other years you get Chase Edmonds as a free agent accumulating 68 rushes for 245 yards and two scores on the ground. Drafting a running back has its perks, too. But for every Dameon Pierce (1,104 scrimmage yards, 5 total TDs) that goes in Round 4, there is a Jeremy Langford (1,158 scrimmage yards in 28 games over two years with the Bears from 2015-16).
  • One thing we, as fans, need to guard ourselves from is getting too attached to any one outcome. Whether it is free agency projections or NFL mock draft simulations. Sometimes we, as a fandom, get too deep down those rabbit holes. So much so that I don’t want the Bears to cut a good deal and have a vast number of fans disappointed in it because it fell short of the wild expectations created on an offseason simulator. To be clear, I’m not telling you not to dream big. In fact, I want you to dream the biggest dreams. Life is too short not to do so. But it is also important to find time to manage your expectations. Balance is key.
  • I’m rooting for Tony Pollard to come back to full strength:
  • Injuries are tough enough to deal with, but the ones that come right before you’re about to hit free agency are at another level. For his sake, I hope this doesn’t negatively impact his game (or free-agent market) too much:
  • Some old friends are busy on the interview circuit today. NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport tweets that Vic Fangio and Sean Desai are interviewing for the Dolphins defensive coordinator position today. And PFT notes that Desai has recently interviewed with the Vikings for their defensive coordinator opening. Remember when he interviewed last year and they gave the job to Ed Donatell? Well, they’ve since fired Donatell and are back on the hunt for someone to run the defense. All things considered, I thought Desai did well in his one year running the Bears defense. And while I hope he lands a DC gig, my preference is for it to not be with the rival Vikings.
  • The United Center’s other tenants, the Blackhawks, also took the “L” on Tuesday night. The tank is back on! (BN Blackhawks)
  • This is a tremendous bit of showmanship:
  • Looking ahead to the AFC Championship Game by looking back at a regular-season Bengals-Chiefs showdown:

Author: Luis Medina

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