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A new era of Bears football
Visors are out, shoving the play sheet down your pants is in
August is too early to start playing football, and noon on a Saturday in August is somehow even way too earlier, but the Bears and Chiefs had a preseason game yesterday, and by law, we had to watch it.
The broadcast team again this preseason is Adam Amin and Jim Miller, and Jim appears to be dyeing his hair with shoe polish. Very natural. I half expected to see him stand up and leave a Soul Glo spot on the back of his chair.
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Lou Canellis is the sideline reporter and he says the Bears are going to call “more” bootlegs, play action and screen passes. One would qualify as “more.”
It’s Matt Eberflus’ first game—even if it’s pretend—and he smartly isn’t wearing a visor. He is however, going with the play sheet down the front of his pants look. Better make sure he rounds the corners because a laminated edge can get a little snippy. One circumcision a lifetime is enough.
Let’s hope his HITS philosophy doesn’t stand for Hey I’ve Torn (my) Scrotum.
Justin Fields is out to prove that his up and down rookie season was due mostly to being coached by offensive “genius” Matt Nagy. Nagy is on the Chiefs sidelines serving as a special assistant to Andy Reid. Special assistant for reminding the head coach not to run the ball with a lead or ever throw a screen pass. I think that’s his title. Seems a little wordy.
Rookie tight end Chase Allen catches the first pass of the preseason. And, he’s wearing 47. Just like all-time Bears receiver Johnny Morris. Johnny last played in 1967. Is that bad that he’s still the all-time receiver?
Yes. Yes it is.
The third Bears offensive play from scrimmage is a sack. Two plays behind schedule, probably.
Miller says the Bears have only one returner on the offensive line from last year. And he says it like that’s a bad thing. Did he see last year’s offensive line? I know he did, because he was there the day the Bears had to call 40 year old Jason Peters on a fishing boat and beg him to come to camp.
Adam Amin says Patrick Mahomes has deemed his 4,800 yard season last year a disappointment. I think Patrick is just trolling us. The Bears have never had as much as a 4,000 season, ever. “Hey, you know that season I just had that would be the single greatest season in Bears history by…a lot? Yeah, personally, I felt like I sucked.”
Did the Bears have a chance to draft Patrick in 2017? I try not to think about it.
Hey, there’s Roquan! He’s on the sidelines wearing Obvious Shirt that says, I’M ONLY HERE SO I DON’T GET FINED. Amin says if Roquan Smith gets a new contract he’ll be the weak side linebacker this year, moving over from middle. Umm…he’s got a contract that’s supposed to pay him $9 million. Something tells me he’s going to end up playing there regardless of whether he gets a new deal or not.
Roquan is a really good player, but for the second time in his very short career he’s really fucking up a contract negotiation. When he was a rookie in 2018 he decided not to hire an agent and just have mom do it. And he ended up in a long, pointless holdout because he refused to sign a contract with a boilerplate clause in it that would allow the team and/or the league to fine him for violating a (then) new rule about hitting with his helmet. He didn’t sign that contract until August 14.
This time he’s negotiating his first contract extension himself. I guess he fired mom. But that brings its own bunch of needless complications. It puts the Bears in the position of not only making offers but then explaining the offers to him, and would you believe anything a team that pays Ted Phillips to work for them says? No. Of course you wouldn’t.
Roquan requested a trade last week and then showed up for practice like it never happened. The Bears took him off the PUP (physically unable to participate) list, which now allows them to fine him for missing practices and games…and even preseason games. But they also had to take him off the list because you are supposed to have an actual injury to be on the list. I’m sure he could borrow one from Teven Jenkins.
I’m all for players squeezing teams for every penny, but agents take five percent. Roquan, buddy, it’s worth it. Just hire one.
On the Chiefs first possession they are driving and Isiah Pacheco gets a carry. Somewhere in Hawaii Chris Berman is screaming “Fight Doctor” to no one.
The Chiefs score on a tight end screen to Blake Bell. Matt Nagy’s standing on their sidelines going, “Is that legal?”
Amin tells us the Bears’ plan is for Justin Fields to play 20 plays. So seven possessions?
On the second of those possessions, the Bears face third and four, and we get this beautiful 26 yard Fields to Darnell Mooney pass.
On the next play, Fields is flushed, slides late and gets hit in the head by Juan Thornhill. No flag. If that was Aaron Rodgers, Thornhill would be banned from the game for life.
Are we really going to have to deal with this shit again? Remember last year when in the Pissburgh and Baltimore games Justin got hit in the head while sliding and the refs didn’t call anything? I mean, what the fuck?
After that, the drive goes nowhere and the Bears are going to need to put Trenton Gill on a punt count in this one.
Second Chiefs drive and Chad Henne has come in. Pretty rough for Andy Reid to bench Mahomes who went six for seven passing on the first drive. Pretty high standards, I guess.
Dazz Newsome drops a punt, it goes through his legs and he runs backwards after he scoops it up for a return of minus 13. Longest punt return of the season for the Bears so far. And, there’s a block in the back. The Bears will start their third drive of the game from parking lot O.
Second and eight from the ten, Fields gets hit, stepped on and his sock is ripped. Gonna be another year where our main concern is whether or not he gets up after every play.
On third down, Tajae Sharpe makes a ridiculous catch for 19 yards. Just a great catch. And then, much to our shock, the Bears run a quick play to keep the Chiefs from challenging (the play looked good anyway) and Fields runs for 10 yards and a second straight first down.
And then, they run an end around to Equanimeous St. Brown and he gains eight yards. Nagy grabs Andy Reid’s challenge flag and throws it on the field to protest the legality of a misdirection play.
I swear after that sequence: great catch, smartly run hurry up, quarterback scramble for a first down and then an end around I’m going to need to get my fainting couch out of storage.
Fields has made two nice reads to check the ball down to Herbert and two lousy throws so both were incomplete. So, work on that, Justin. OK? Thanks.
On third and six from the Chiefs 47 and the Bears run a draw for nothing. So, that was fun while it lasted.
Gill drops the punt inside the five. It’ll be a tight race all season between him and Cairo Santos as to who the Bears best player is.
Amin and Miller talk about new offensive coordinator Luke Getsy’s background, and the the new things he’ll bring to the offense. Miller says, “The RPO (run/pass option) game, it’s a buffet waiting there for the Bears.” And just like a buffet on a cruise ship, it’s a great place to pick up the norovirus.
Canellis gives us an update on Roquan’s contract negotations. Lou says Bears GM Ian Cunningham says “nothing has changed.” Adam says, “Good info there, Lou.” Yes. Terrific stuff. Lou is also reporting that Brian Piccolo is still dead.
The Bears stop the Chiefs on third and one and force a punt, and now it’s Trevor Siemian time! And all of the fans are leaving.
Adam and Jim talk up Siemian. We get all the good stuff. “He started four games for the Saints last year and lost them all.” “He took over for the Broncos when Peyton Manning retired and that’s no easy feat.” “He has 41 career touchdowns and only 26 interceptions, and that’s why the Saints tried to rely on him down the stretch.” And while they talk about it, the Bears go three and out.
Bears preseason games mean lots of Woody Buick-GMC commercials on the Rockford affiliate. Our next door neighbor is Woody’s brother’s widow, and so we see Woody occasionally. He always gives his sister-in-law a car to drive, which is nice, but for a while he made her drive one with a huge Woody decal on the passenger door. She was not cool with that. I offered to change it to Woody Sucks, and she almost took me up on it.
Shane Buchele is now in at QB for the Chiefs. The preseason is apparently no time to overwork Chad Henne, I guess. Shane’s dad is former Cubs’ superstar third baseman Steve Buchele. Somewhere, Taylor McGregor is screaming at a TV about how Canellis should be interviewing Steve for a good forty minutes live on the broadcast.
Buchele (Shane, not Steve) throws late across the middle and Jaquan Brisker nearly picks it off. Earlier in the game Jaquan launched himself like a missile over a sliding Mahomes. That kid’s gonna be pretty good.
Tajae Sharpe is wide open and Siemian makes him jump for it, but he hauls it in (it just eliminates any run after catch). Sharpe looks pretty good, at least for the preseason. I mean, he’s no Dane Sanzenbacher, but that’s an impossible standard.
Trestan Ebner breaks a run for 27 yards. Seems pretty obvious that the Bears have three good running backs. Time to go back to the T-formation, I guess.
We figure out that Teven Jenkins is in the game when he gets called for being illegally downfield on a regular drop back pass. That’s hard to do. Kudos, Tev!
The penalty puts the Bears in second and 13 which becomes third and 13 which becomes fourth and 13. Gill drops another inside the five, but the Bears can’t down it before it goes into the end zone.
I know Washington kicker Mark Moseley won MVP in the 1982 strike season. Has a punter ever won MVP? Something for Trenton to shoot for.
They have footage of Peanut Tillman addressing the team and saying that, “If you play hard, this city will love you. This city bleeds blue and orange.” Blue and orange blood has to be a sign of an iron deficiency or something.
Amin calls defensive back Michael Joseph a “preseason staple for the Bears.” Is that a good thing?
Jim Miller calls Kyler Gordon a “twitchy player.” I’m not making any Jim Eisenreich jokes. That would be mean.
Miller also tells us that rookie defensive end Dominique Robinson was “third team All-MAC last year.” Third team. Wonderful. One of the top 33 defensive players in the Mid-American Conference. Were Khalil Mack and Jack Lambert ever third team All-MAC? No they were not. Kid’s gonna be a star.
Chiefs score on a 22 yard touchdown pass from Buchele to Justin Walton and then safety Justin Reid comes out and kicks the extra point. And he drilled it. Chiefs lead 14-0.
Justin REID? Man, Andy will literally let his kids do anything.
Second half opens with Santos kicking off. He can probably just drive home after this. I don’t think the Bears are going to do any more placekicking today.
Josh Gordon—yes, that Josh Gordon—catches a pass and the Flus is going to challenge that Gordon didn’t get his feet down. Looks like the Flus going to win the challenge. I’ve literally never seen the Flus be wrong on one of these.
Then again, he’s never done this before.
The Flus wins the challenge and Buchele’s next pass is picked off in slow motion by Bears linebacker Jack Sanborn. Nope. I guess that was full speed. Not sure “speed” is the right word, though.
Bears cash in on the turnover and score on a nice pass from Semien to halfback Trestan Ebner. That’s the first Bears pass to any running back since Matt Forte left for the Jets in 2016.
A penalty on the Chiefs means the Bears are going to go for two. Well, I guess after the refs take ten minutes to re-spot the ball on the one yard line.
One yard is too much to ask. Ebner is stuffed and it’s still 14-6.
And now Gill is going to kick off. You know, Cairo may have actually gone home after that second half kick off. Can’t blame him.
I like how in the preseason every kick gets returned no matter how far into the end zone it is, and in the regular season none of them do.
Dominique Robinson blows through the line and sacks Buchele. Not bad for a third team All-MAC performer.
Miller’s summary of Robinson’s college career was an all-timer. “He went to Miami of Ohio as a quarterback, converted to wide receiver and then to defensive end. And then he got Lisfranc.”
Seems like that’s skipping some steps, and I like how he said it as though instead of suffering a season-ending foot injury named after French battlefield surgeon Jaques Lisfranc de Saint Martin who first diagnosed and treated midfoot injuries in the 1800s, Miller made it sound like Dominique married a girl named Liz Frank while he was in college. Maybe he did.
Bears have a third and four and try to run behind their right tackle Teven Jenkins, so it’s fourth and two and time to punt again.
Just kidding, they go for it and Siemian throws down the field to Dante Pettis for a 25 yard gain. Nagy’s over there screaming, “Andy, they’re trying to run the score up on us!”
Wait…Dante Pettis is Gary Pettis’ son? Did we know this already?
The Bears score again on a fade to Dazz Newsome. Tough day for Fields, looks like he’s lost his job to the great Trevor Siemian. Oh well, Justin had a nice run. Better than Mitch’s.
Cairo has turned his car around and returned to the game and he makes the extra point to pull the Bears within a point at 14-13.
Bears get the ball right back when Mike Pennel does a “Pennel Punch” on Derrick Gore and Sanborn is there for his second takeaway of the day.
An end around to Dazz and a sweep to Darrynton Evans put the Bears inside the five.
Back to back incomplete passes on second and third and goal and Cairo will come out to kick the Bears to a 16-14 lead.
Soldier Field is in terrible shape, even by its own sad standards. There’s literally sand coming up as guys run. Huh, I wonder why the Bears want to move?
Bears get fourth string Chiefs QB Dustin Crum into third and nine and Pennel looks like he’s going to sack him, but Crum spins away and then runs over Sanborn for a first down. If you think being third-team All-MAC is good, Crum was the MAC player of the year.
Travon Coley sacks Crum with help from Robinson. Amazing feat. So the Chiefs are punting again, and former Notre Dame star Chris Finke returns it four yards. Bears fans are going to love Finke this preseason. You know because he’s a wide receiver who checks all the Bears preseason star boxes, slow and white.
Nathan Peterman is in at QB for the Bears. Gotta rest Siemian now that he’s QB1, I guess. Peterman is wasting no time. He hooks up with N’Simba Webster for a first down.
The broadcast shows Peterman’s career stats. Four starts, ten total games, 12 touchdowns and three interceptions. Hey, that’s pretty good.
Wait, what? Twelve interceptions and three touchdowns? Oh. Well then.
To be fair, he threw five of those in one game.
Wait, what? He threw them in one half? I need to see this.
It’s bad enough to have a historically bad half, but it’s even worse when Chris Myers is on the call doing his timely Johnny Carson impression.
Miller is talking about Peterman’s early career challenges, but says, “Jon Gruden really liked him in Oakland.” And, as we know, Gruden is famous for his great judgment.
And on the next pass, Peterman clanks one off the hands of a Chiefs defensive back.
Amin says that dearly departed Pat O’Donnell1 is the all-time Bears record holder at 45 yards per punt. Well, it's easy to set the record when you have at least 80 yards of field in front of you every time you punt, for a decade.
Second and five, Peterman goes deep to Finke and it’s just off his hands. Crowd was ready to go nuts. Then again, if you’re still at a Bears preseason game that started at noon on a Saturday, you’re already nuts.
My favorite part of a sideline interview Amin and Miller did with Darnell Mooney was that before a second and ten play you could see Trenton Gill doing knee ups to get ready to punt. He’s new, but he already knows his offense.
Peterman delays the punt by stiff arming a Chiefs lineman to the turf on third and ten and running for a first down.
Peterman sets up a field goal attempt with a nice square in to Finke.
Not so fast Siemian, Nate Pete’s making a run for the starting job!
Cairo comes out and shakes his head at the awful condition of the playing surface and then drills a 47 yarder for a 19-14 lead.
After another failed Chiefs possession the Bears have a chance to run out the clock to end the game and…
With 2:23 left, Gill shows off again and drops a punt at the Chiefs three. He’s a machine.
The Bears nearly sack Crum for a safety but he scrambles for 15 yards at the two minute warning.
An update on how the field conditions are being received around the league:
It’ll be fine once Lori puts a roof on the place.
The Bears network named Sanborn player of the game. Five tackles, an interception, and a fumble recovery. I guess that’s less embarrassing than giving it to Gill, even though he probably deserves it.
With a minute 24 left in the game, the Bears broadcast finally mentions and show Nagy. They somehow avoided him for three hours. If only we’d been so lucky the last four years.
Bears get the ball with 1:15 left at the Chiefs 15 and they are taking a knee. Come on, it’s the preseason. Do you really need to practice the victory formation? Especially if you are the Bears.
So the Bears win the only home preseason game they have this year. The early start time means we get the rest of our day back, so that’s something. The new offense needs a lot of work (surprise), the defense could use a linebacker like Roquan Smith, Roquan could use a real agent and we should all plan a trip to Canton in about 18 years when Cairo Santos and Trenton Gill are both inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The Bears next play Thursday night in Seattke on ESPN in the cable TV debut of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman. I always enjoyed Troy’s inability to say nice things about Matt Nagy’s offense. I sure hope Luke Getsy doesn’t deserve the same treatment. At least not right away.
Pat didn’t die, he just moved to Green Bay. Same thing.