That was maybe the strangest, most offputting, most disappointing, most frustrating football game I've watched in the last decade. No joke.
Part of my emotions from this game watch are very much tied to the fantasy aspect. Some of the emotion as a gambler (picked the Bears, but not for any real $$). Some of it as just a professional studier of football. Whatever angle you want to take – watching this was like an acid trip…a bad acid trip. Like battery acid. A big glass of it.
So many things to talk about, so many things to hate and rant about. Before I do that let me recap the game in an overview because there wasn't much to consider or takeaways from the two team's performance.
The Packers jumped out 7–0 on the first series to no one's surprise. As the Bears prepared to answer back, Mike Glennon dropped back to pass and got his arm hit on the Bears' very first play, the ball popped loose and the Packers recovered it around the Bears 5-yard line. A moment later it was 14–0. Then the Bears actually drove down field attempting to cut the lead in half, when the center snapped the ball that Mike Glennon wasn't ready for and it ricocheted off his knee like a mini-punt into the defensive side of the field and the Packers landed on it for another turnover. The whole night was filled with the Bears giving charity to the Packers, and that's important to know because anytime the Bears got anything going they would do something even stupider or more bizarre to ruin it. Much of it dumb (bad) luck. The mounting misfortunes eventually took the soul out of the team.
The Packers were up 14-0 in jarring, strange fashion -- then there was a lightning delay which might have helped the Bears by quelling the Packers' momentum. However, after the return to play, it was soon 21–0. The Bears scored before halftime, which seemed critical at the time, to cut the lead to 21–7…and the Bears would be getting the ball to start the second half. Honestly, if not for strange turnovers, the Bears were playing toe-to-toe with the Packers – it was too hard to tell because all you could focus on was how dumb and unfortunate the Bears were.
The Bears decided the best way to mount a comeback against the greatest raw quarterback talent of our generation at his home field, where he's unstoppable, was to slowly run the ball and drop incoming passes…and have the wrong cleats on…slipping all over the field. Surprisingly, this plan didn't work and the next thing you knew it was 35–7 and the mockery of the Bears grew louder. Mercifully ending 35–14 with Green Bay playing the backups in the 4th quarter – almost having to because I think every other player they had got hurt in this game. The Packers were seriously banged up and got more banged up in game – losing two running backs…and they still humiliated the Bears. Actually, they didn't humiliate the Bears as much as the Bears just humiliated themselves. The Packers just stepped back and let the Bears punch themselves in the face and waited for them to knock their own selves out. They did. John Fox and Mike Glennon delivering most of the key punches.
I would say this for future gambling purposes – this Packers team is not very good, in part because it is very injured. Beware betting on them next week because this game looks like such a big, convincing deal. This was just the Bears imploding and the Packers happened to be the team on the other side of the field.
Fantasy player notes...
-- We have to start out the player analysis by roasting John Fox because what he did and examining what he will do from here because it has big fantasy ramifications. I don't even know where to begin because if this wasn't the worst game plan for a football game by a professional coach that has ever been rolled out, I don't know what could be worse.
It's pretty well-known in Chicago and in some secret football circles that John Fox is a dead man walking as the Bears head coach. John Fox is from the old stubborn school. GM Ryan Pace didn't consult him about the Mitchell Trubisky trade so he got his feelings hurt…stirring an already boiling pot between them. And now Fox is going to show the GM how smart he is by winning with 'his guy' – Mike Glennon. Nice job of that last night. The GM literally delivered the head coach of a nuclear bomb to destroy opponents with (Trubisky), but because it wasn't John Fox's idea and because the media made fun of it – Fox cried like a baby. I'm sure John Fox craved Solomon Thomas to add to his defense. Another reason why you cannot hire defense of coaches his head coaches in the NFL anymore. The future is Sean McVay, not John Fox. Not Rex Ryan. Mitchell Trubisky is going to change the Bears upward for a decade… Solomon Thomas is a good guy to have, especially on third and long for the next few years. But that's John Fox for you. Making mistakes and burning bridges everywhere he goes. Good luck as the Cleveland Browns coach next year.
Fox leaves the Broncos…the following season – Super Bowl title.
Before you even get into the Bears' QB controversy, the biggest thing that John Fox did in this game was not use Tarik Cohen (6-24-0, 4-24-0/4) as much as he had been.
Cohen barely played until the game was out of hand and then Fox rotated him in for a couple series. Other than that it was just brief glimpses. The last time John Fox saw Tarik Cohen in a live game prior to this, he was going 78 yards for a touchdown in OT to single-handedly win the game (the run then got cut in half for a bogus out of bounds call). I guess that kind of production/ability is pretty terrible for John Fox. He doesn't want to see any more of that nonsense. When you're getting obliterated by the Packers in Green Bay – you definitely want to work the ball more to Markus Wheaton (0-0-0/3). I swear NFL old-school head coaches are absolutely sick in the head. They are so success adverse and so into their own playbook and machismo it's comical.
Do you want to know how any of us can tell that NFL head coaches are among the dumbest among us? Did you watch the game last night? If you did, you got to hear Tony Romo as an analyst. Tony Romo is the greatest analyst in professional football, in the history of the sport…just three weeks into his career. I'm not joking. Most times I watch all of these games year after year I tune out the analyst chatter or use it for article fodder. I have never been interested in anything any of them had to say because it's such nonsense. When Tony Romo speaks, I stop and listen. Sometimes I rewind and listen again. I feel like I'm learning stuff when he speaks – and I study this football stuff more than most humans on the planet do – 10-to-20/7/365.
You may feel the same way about hearing Tony Romo. The people I talk to you all share the same sentiment – they're pleasantly shocked. Do you want to know why we're all shocked? Because how can Tony Romo be so good, so natural, so insightful…so soon?
What if it's just Tony Romo is really good at what he does PLUS everyone else who does it is a colossal idiot? We've all heard a million different analysts and every one of them bugs us…and there are a few we tolerate. Why is Tony Romo a delight right off the bat? Have you heard Steve Mariucci talk – that guy coached major college football AND in the pros! I speak the English language and I have no idea what Michael Irving is saying every other word. Jon Gruden? Passion and excitement do not replace talent and vision. Ditto for overrated John Madden. Steve Young is a lawyer and has never said anything I found interesting…how is he still employed? Bill Parcells hurts his image speaking about football as an analyst…nothing interesting comes out of his mouth that I've heard; besides 'quips' and 'zingers'. How is it that everyone analyzing football, almost all ex-players and ex-coaches falls somewhere between uninteresting and flat-out empty?
Current ESPN is a great example of this. ESPN, God bless them, decided to go all in on Rex Ryan to feed us football info. Oh, he such a personality. The face painting fans will love him!! The people that respond to commercials for fantasy that always say 'DOMINATE your opponents' are gonna love the wild man Rex Ryan. I've listened to Rex Ryan on ESPN in pregame and on that Monday Night disaster he had -- and I cannot believe other human beings have hired him to coach football teams, and I can for sure cannot believe someone hired him to analyze the game itself. That guy is nothing… He's empty. He's got clichés and observations a highschooler could make. Tony Romo sounds like a savant by comparison. Part of it is Romo was great at what he does. Part of it is comparing Romo to everyone else in the biz makes him seem even more ridiculously good. All the NFL does is higher ex-coaches and ex-players to commentate on this game – and they all sound moronic and empty.
Just because you’re a physical talent and played the game or grinded your way though the coaching ladder sleeping on cots and fetching water for a famous coach – it doesn't mean you can analyze football and judge talent properly.
Could you imagine John Fox analyzing football or in a war room discussion? Most coaches that go on to be analysts are boring flops. The NFL is littered with John Fox's holding back on-field and coaching talent and definitely not working hard to improve the talent. Do you see what Sean McVay has done in the finger snap for Jared Goff, the offensive line, and Todd Gurley? I bet he'd be a kick-ass commentator too.
So after using Tarik Cohen heavily the first three weeks of the season, to rousing success – Fox decided to outfox everyone and barely use him in this game. Every time Cohen was inserted and touched the ball near magic happens. You could see it. I could see it. Apparently, John Fox can't.
I say that because you're going to have to buckle up and ride the storm a little bit on Tarik Cohen. But like with Tyreek Hill last year – we were all left wondering why the coach didn't use him more. We'll probably say the same after every other Bears game about Cohen
Before you get depressed about Cohen's lack of snaps or worry about the future – just know that if this was the worst case scenario for Cohen, he still put up a plausible fantasy game…having 30+ yards stripped away from him by penalties. And nearly scoring a TD at the end.
You were watching. You saw what I saw. Did you see that catch he made early for a first down – most NFL WRs can’t make that catch. Did you see him pop out of congestion and hit the outside and make you start to rise up out of your seat on almost every run he had? You see what I see. Don't panic on him. Don't let this one game throw you off of him. If John Fox was really going to bury Cohen he would've done it from the first game. The fact that he was so aggressive with him right off the bat leads me to believe something else was happening here – I don't know what Cohen did or if this was some tricky game plan where they were going to hold him back and then spring him on the Packers when they least expected it after the second or third series – but this whole game became unglued with the turnovers and the lightning storm. This was definitely not a normal game. Most of what we've seen in 2017 is the coach utilizing Cohen. This game was disappointing, but it doesn't mean the end of the road. Tyreek had these moments as his plane was lifting off the ground early last season as well. Get used to it – it's what happens when dynamic stars play for old-school coaches.
Snap counts don't really matter for Cohen because every time he gets in the game he seems to get the ball either by called handoff or Mike Glennon knowing the deal. Do not panic. If you haven't bought yet – the price down again for you. I would advocate taking advantage…and get ready for a bumpy, exciting ride to a destination you'll want to be at.
Remember when Cohen had that 78-yard TD called back halfway last week in OT? Had the right call been made/the TD allowed – Cohen would have entered Week 4 as the #4 fantasy RB in PPR PPG scoring. Don’t panic. Yet.
-- We know John Fox is out to lunch on many things, so how long is he going to hold out making a move to Trubisky? As long as he can get away with, I suspect.
This is John Fox's last year in coaching him unless he inserts Trubisky and reels off a bunch of wins. The question is -- how bad does John Fox want to stay coaching? Would he rather play out his personal vendetta against the general manager or would you like to try to win and build a future, and stay employed? Honestly, I don't know the answer to that question for a guy who is a 62-year old multimillionaire who would get a nice payout to leave. Logic would say he would make the move to Trubisky and try to have a nice future, having fun and winning games. But since old-school coaches do the opposite of logic, then our reasoning will be Fox will hold out to the bitter end a la Jeff Fisher last year -- and even when Trubisky comes in he's mostly screwed by the game plan and the lack of WRs.
This week will tell you everything. The Bears have 10 days to get ready for the next game – a perfect time to make a QB switch. If Fox doesn't make the switch now, then he never really intends to unless forced by management. John Fox is in a position where he can do whatever he wants, knowing he'll be fired at the end anyway. He may want that. He may just not want to give the GM the satisfaction of playing his 'golden boy' right now.
If I were the general manager of the Bears, and if Fox told me today that he planned to give Mike Glennon another week – I would fire him on the spot. There's no sense in beating your head against the wall with Fox. GM Ryan Pace is the guy who defied the experts, correctly, and made a brilliant, bold move to get Trubisky – he may just have the balls to pull the plug on John Fox right now.
If I were the owner of the Bears, the moment I saw my star running back Jordan Howard, and his sprained AC joint, taking handoffs up the middle and a 35–7 deficit – I would've walked down from my luxury box, walked onto the field and kicked John Fox in the nuts and then apply the Stone Cold Stunner and fired him mid-game, complete with alternating middle fingers to his face as he lay writhing on the ground. John Fox isn't looking out for the players. He's not looking out for the future. He's playing old-school games and letting fake tough guy machismo rule his decision-making. The only way the Bears can move forward is to get rid of that coaching cancer – the longer they wait the more problematic it becomes.
People might say, "You can't fire a coach this early into the season, and what kind of message does it send the other coaches you’d want to hire?" First, coaches get fired all the time. The current ones in Chicago all know it's coming at the end of the year anyway. You're only firing the top guy now. Second, I wouldn't be looking for the typical, has-been old-school coach as a replacement. There are plenty of young guys that would jump at the opportunity. There's plenty of old guys who would want to get their hands on Mitchell Trubisky too.
The Bears have a good team. Without the football folly turnovers, I think the Bears might've won this game straight up and changed the whole narrative of this season. The talent is there. They need a few tweaks and new management. The faster they do the quicker this thing turns around.
Don't panic on Tarik Cohen.
Don't go overboard for Trubisky in redraft because he enters a pretty sloppy situation. You definitely want to take a look if you can, but don't slit your own throat to do it in redraft. In dynasty, you should already possess him by now.
-- I considering quitting Fantasy Football last night.
That's the first time I've considered that in years. Maybe you felt the same way. There I was sitting watching Tarik Cohen trapped in a John Fox prison, but still impatiently waiting for his touches…thinking they might come, but getting nervous. It was OK, I thought because my beloved Davante Adams (2-13-1/5) had already scored a TD, and who knows how much more FF scoring he would rack up in this beat down.
And then there it was – touchdown #2 for Adams. YESSSSS!! Picking up the slack like a good fantasy teammate does. All is right with the world. Wait, what? A flag. Mother%$%@^@&$%@$^$&#. Can I have one good thing happen tonight? It's OK. Maybe, he'll come right back to Adams for that score.
Oh, he came right back to Adams…
I thought it was a chunk of Adams's jaw that came flying out when I saw what turned out to be his mouthpiece fly from him. The worst thing I can think of in my fantasy life – watching a beloved player take a big hit and then 27 people nearby, from opponents to referees, to the ghost of Vince Lombardi instantly motioning to the medical staff to come assist in a hurry.
As I watched the medical team bring out what looked like a green body bag, I decided fantasy 2017 wasn't in the cards for me. I can't remember my kid's birthdates or my anniversary off the top of my head, but I can tell you every injury I've sustained this year in dynasty-fantasy…and it's surreal: David Johnson, Spencer Ware, Cameron Meredith, Quincy Enunwa, etc.
A seven-point swing for my fantasy team on the penalty, and now even more point loss -- as he would miss the rest of the game and Lord knows how many other games to come. The good news is that Adams checked out all OK for major/serious injury. We'll see how long he is in the protocol.
We'll also see how long it takes for Adams to go back in and be Davante Adams. Does he brush this off in a week like nothing happened or does he get the yips? I say this because it wasn’t but two years ago that Adams was fighting some mental issues with his play and people were proclaiming him a bust and wanting him cut…so that Jeff Janis could take his rightful seat on the throne.
Let's see what happens with Adams, but start preparing for bad times. I'm a little nervous because that's fantasy life – always a little nervous of the downside of everything.
Geronimo Allison becomes a name again, but I'm not a big fan…but I get he's there and will get the least coverage attention.
…although most teams forget Jordy Nelson in coverage in the end zone still. Someday the NFL will figure out Jordy is likely to see the ball near the end zone.
Jordy Nelson has as many TDs (5) this season as Julio Jones has in his last 16 regular-season games.
Jordy Nelson has as many TDs (40) in his last 3.25 seasons as Julio Jones has in his entire 6.2+ year career.
-- Deonte Thompson (5-44-0/9) led all Bears WRs in targets but that's meaningless because the Bears don’t throw much to WRs, or throw to them effectively.
I mention this because – Mitchell Trubisky has a good working relationship with Deonte over the other guys because of their backup statuses all season back to the preseason.
He'd be a WR3.5 the second Trubisky was announced.
-- If Ty Montgomery (5-28-0) is out for an extended period, then I'd want Aaron Jones (13-49-1) over Jamaal Williams (4-11-0) from a fantasy perspective. Really, I’d rather have neither. Honestly, the guy I want most in all this chaos of injury in GB – Randall Cobb (4-44-1/3).
If you have DaVante Adams, you might want to consider some Cobb insurance. They can also work together depending on your needs.
-- I just have to share a quick IDP note on GB rookie DB Josh Jones (3 tackles). Before the game, I was chatting with IDP analyst JWolfe, and he told me my ratings on Jones were too low – that he's Deone Buccanon-like. I asked him to expand on that in an upcoming article offering of his.
Jones got hurt and left the field for a while, then returned later to play some…thus, the weaker numbers.
I saw the amazing Josh Jones performance last week too. I've seen him look great in college and have seen him look out to lunch. I'm hopeful for him but I'm not ready to fully commit to his future greatness because he has a bit of a checkered performance past. If he's 'on', he'll be a great DB/LB hybrid.