I happen to like the 2020 team

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Hoog
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I happen to like the 2020 team

Tue May 19, 2020 4:33 pm

So, we have a lot of naysayers out there in the media and with some fans for this upcoming season. For me, not being a homer or anything, I see a pretty clear picture of the Bears either winning their division or ending up as a wild card. What? Yea, I truly believe this will happen.

Look, it’s not like we were a 3-13 team last year. We went 8-8 with a huge rash of injuries on defense to our top players, no TE at all to speak of, injuries and movement on our Oline, and an underutilized running game. Oh, did I forget to mention a QB that regressed last year? These issues are all easily reversable issues that in most cases we have already fixed. In a perfect world where we don’t have the rash of injuries, Daniels performs really well at OC, our HC realized how to utilize the running game, and our QB would have played during the preseason and got some rhythm before the season started we could have been a 11-5 team and been in the playoffs. Again, all items can be fixed and have been on paper.

Personally, I see a big flip in our division. I think it will be us and the Lions battling for the top of the division. Neither the Vikings or the Packers got “better” in the off season, IMO. I think the Lions did and I think just keeping healthy with the additions we made make us a very dangerous team. I also think our depth right now is better than I can remember in years, which will play in our favor if we have injuries again this year. Do we have some warts, yes, but again I think we are better prepared to fill in when or if those warts show up. Here’s my breakdown of this years Bears team:

DEFENSE
In 2018 we were one of the best defenses in the NFL. In 2019 we took a step back but even with the rash of injuries to key players (namely Hicks) it was still a stout defense that couldn’t be blamed for any losses. The addition of Robert Quinn was huge and unexpected quite frankly. Even if he doesn’t reach the stats he had last year, his presence will make a huge difference for this defense. IT’s another guy teams have to prepare for and scheme to block which in turn frees up Mack and Hicks more. I also like the addition of Tashaun Gipson. I think he is actually a better compliment than Dix was with Jackson last year. Both of these additions, along with Jaylon Johnson are going to be huge for this already formidable defense. Here is my position by position break down:

Safety- As mentioned above, I think Gipson and Jackson are a great combination who can be interchangeable parts. Both are playmakers with the ball in the air and both are very good against the run as well. I also like our back ups in Deon Bush, Jordan Lucas, Kentrell Brice, or Stephen Denmark.

Corner- Should be set for years here with Fuller and Jaylon Johnson. I think both settle in for one of the best CB combo’s in the league. Buster Skrine was a bit of a disappointment for me but still wasn’t horrible. I think he is actually in danger of losing his job. There are plenty of back ups here that could help if someone goes down. Kendle Vildor is a tough SOB and could fill in at the outside or slot. Kevin Tolliver was almost a starter and could fill in outside. Tre Roberson has some potential and can be a special teams standout, and personally I like the Artie Burns signing and his upside. I think he might fit the slot as well.

ILB- If there is a weak area on this defense it’s here on the inside. Smith scares me with his unpredictability and immaturity. I like his on field play but why did he miss a game last year and his off season antics seem to have ruffled some feathers. Can he be a leader? I know he’s young and needs time to grow up but how long do you give him? Danny T also scares me just due to his injury history. The worst part is what we have behind them. Can Iggy or Woods be the next man up? I really liked the potential of Iggy when we drafted him but he has been passed by Woods who isn’t that stellar. One UDFA I really like is Rashad Smith, who I think will win a back up spot. Otherwise, we better be scanning the waiver wires before the season for a vet to back the starters up.

OLB- Oh, we are set here. Better than we ever have been, IMO. Mack and Quinn should wreak havoc on Rodgers, Cousins, and Stafford. Behind them with Mingo, Irving, Vaughters, Gipson, and possibly lil’ Mack isn’t really bad at all. Hopefully, none will be needed long term but for backups here and there they are more than sufficient.

DL- Hicks is the cog man, there is no denying he is the player that puts this defense in another category. His attitude and style of play is just a vital piece to raising this defense from very good to great. Nichols injury pushed him back a step last year but if healthy, this guy and RRH transform this defense to great also. Goldman is about as solid as you get in the middle and I like that Jenkins is back for that just in case. Some back ups I like are Urban, Abdullah Anderson, and Trevor McSwain.

OFFENSE:

QB- I was a fan that really rooted for Mitch to be the one. As a team, we needed him to be the one. Unfortunately, he took a step back. Now, I have to give some of the blame to Nagy due to him not playing him in preseason and the play calling this year compared to last year was totally a killer for Mitch. It put way to much on him and threw him into the fire the first game. Now, Mitch did himself no favors either. He was more panicked, less confident, and his decision making was horrible. Now, with the addition of Foles I don’t think Mitch will be the answer. In fact, as much as I rooted for him I am rooting against him this year. I think this offense, the offensive coaches, and the playbook this year are all geared toward Foles so I’m putting all my eggs in his basket. For Foles side, he is excellent at play action, red zone, accuracy in this offense, and great in the playoffs. I think he fits what Nagy and the boys want to do this year. Now, he needs to improve on his deep ball accuracy and completions under pressure but he is a better option in this offense and what the Bears are trying to do than Mitch is at this point. Foles will win the job and he will perform above average.

RB- David Montgomery is the man and will need to prove it by stepping up from last year. I think he is perfectly capable of doing so. He needs to be utilized better by Nagy and also needs to be thrown to more. This kid can catch the football and they need to use him. The bad thing here is there is really no back up to Montgomery so if he doesn’t step up or God forbid he gets hurt, there is no one. As much as they try, Cohen will never be a between the tackles runner. He is a gadget guy and will always need to be utilized as one. I think the Bears expect to much from him and give him too much to handle for what he is actually capable of in the offense. On the other hand, and I have been screaming about this all last season and in the off season, Patterson has been extremely underused. I was excited to see him added to our roster last year and was looking forward to seeing him used in creative ways but for some reason, Nagy seemed to just push him to the return spot and ignore him. Big mistake. He could have really added some spice to our running game and special offensive plays designed for him. New England sure used him to his optimal capacity and I thought we would expand on it. We did not. As for the back ups, unless you trust UDFA’s we need to sign a vet RB before the season starts.

WR- I’m not sure we improved this off season at WR. ARob is the staple here and will put up another 1,000 yard season. After him though? Do we trust Miller? Injuries, stupid penalties, can you really rely on him to be your #2 guy? Or is the #2 Ginn? Either way, that’s a lot of trust and more pressure put on ARob to be the man. Can we trust a skinny rookie like Mooney to carry the #2 spot if the others fail? I haven’t seen anything out of Wims or Ridley that says they can step up. Trevor Davis kind of intrigues me but other than that? There were plenty of really good WR’s in FA and the draft but Pace ignored them. I hope his faith in the backup guys pays off otherwise we have to rely on the TE group to pick up the slack.

TE- Definite upgrade here but I would have chose some different players to do the upgrade. Regardless, we should see a big uptick in production from this position. Graham has declined in the last few years but he is much better than we have had at the position in years. Kmet should be a big addition also. I think he will do very well for us this year and beyond. Harris is a solid back up and special teams guy so he makes the roster. I still think Shaheen is on this team when the season starts. I think he still has some untapped potential. He has very good hands and his blocking was getting better every year. With his size, if he could contribute as a blocker, ST, and occasional pass catcher I think he has value. JP Holtz and Horstead will battle for the last spot.

OL- Adequate is the best way to describe our tackles when healthy. Nothing spectacular but do the job. Both will need to be replaced starting as early as next years first round pick but until then, if healthy they will perform. I think Daniels and Whitehair are above average contributors on the line so no need to look at them for anything but solid play. Unlike most, I am a fan of the Ifedi signing and think he is going to be a very solid RG. I think he’s a much better OG than OT and the stats back me up on it. He’s still young and if he performs the way I think we will have a very solid internal OL. Spriggs is an upgrade at swing tackle and Coward is not great but can fill in. I don’t want him as a full time starter but as a spot starter he will suffice. Barrs and the two 7th round guys will battle it out from there.

Overall, I think we are pretty solid and will win the division or get the wild card spot. The new offensive coaches need to keep Nagy focused on the run game and play calling in general. The defense just needs to stay healthy and they are a top 5 defense. Foles (or Trubs) need to grab this team offensively and take control. Think of how popular they would be if they could do that in Chicago. We have been waiting a long time for a QB to do this, haven’t we? I really think this is right up Foles’s alley. He could definitely be this years Tannehill or better. I seem to have more faith in this team than most but for me, on paper they look much better than I thought going in. Sign a vet RB, ILB, and WR before the season starts and we are all set to make a huge run.
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dplank
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Re: I happen to like the 2020 team

Tue May 19, 2020 5:55 pm

I love the optimism and agree with almost all of your post. Well said sir.
Chuck Pagano's defensive rankings in 6 years with Indy: 26th, 20th, 11th, 26th, 30th, and 30th.
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Richie
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Re: I happen to like the 2020 team

Wed May 20, 2020 4:58 am

Looking at the prediction thread... most agree. At the very least, out of those who follow the team closely? Nobody sees the top 5 overall draft pick finish that some of the national media has us pegged at. Good lord.
Year 3 Starting (updated yearly)

Brees (11-4): 65.5% (7th) 7.9 Y/A (7th) 27 TD (7th) 6.8 TD% (4th) 7 INT 1.8 INT% (3rd) 104 Rating (3rd)

Trubisky (8-7): 63.2% (18th) 6.1 Y/A (32nd) 17 TD (27th) 3.3 TD% (30th) 10 INT 1.9 INT% (15th) 83 Rating (28th)
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dplank
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Re: I happen to like the 2020 team

Wed May 20, 2020 9:06 am

Richie wrote:
Wed May 20, 2020 4:58 am
Looking at the prediction thread... most agree. At the very least, out of those who follow the team closely? Nobody sees the top 5 overall draft pick finish that some of the national media has us pegged at. Good lord.
I'd prefer that over another 8-8 though. At least then we'd get another crack at a franchise QB. Give me playoffs or give me Trevor Lawrence!
Chuck Pagano's defensive rankings in 6 years with Indy: 26th, 20th, 11th, 26th, 30th, and 30th.
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spudbear
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Re: I happen to like the 2020 team

Wed May 20, 2020 10:54 am

Most people think the 2018 D cannot be repeated this year. Watch out NFL!
I'm also concerned about backup RB. I'm guessing they either find someone from the preseason cuts or they finally let Nall be the change of pace back to complement Montgomery.
Miller will be #2 WR until he shows differently. If he can get past his shoulder issues he can be a savvy NFL WR, not very fast or very big but will fight for each pass. Foles could make a big difference for him as he seemed to get disgusted with Mitch.
Shaheen making the cut? Hmmm, Bears pay him one way or another, we'll have to see if Nagy thinks enough of him to suit him up and give him some snaps. And if he can keep healthy. Interesting possibility - rent Graham for two years, have Kmet and Shaheen as the 2 TE punch into the future.
San Francisco has always been my favorite booing city. I don't mean the people boo louder or longer, but there is a very special intimacy. Music, that's what it is to me. One time in Kezar Stadium they gave me a standing boo.

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AZ_Bearfan
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Re: I happen to like the 2020 team

Wed May 20, 2020 11:38 am

I don't hate the UDFA Artavis Pierce from OSU. He's not an inside mauler by any means, but he can be a nice change of pace back for Monty with the ability to be "the guy" for a game or two if Monty gets dinged up.
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Mikefive
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Re: I happen to like the 2020 team

Wed May 20, 2020 4:23 pm

I think there's ONE key player this year.

Trubisky? He could be if he suddenly blossoms, but I don't see him being more than marginally better than he was.
Foles? Maybe, but only if he takes the reins later in the year. Otherwise, history says he won't stay healthy or won't be all that.

Nope. Here's who it is...

Robert Quinn. While his numbers suggest he'll be exactly what our defense needs to return to greatness, there is that whole thing about his not being comfortable in a 2-point stance and being really right handed. Do you bring in a #2 pass rusher and tell your 1st ballot HOFer #1 that he has to change how you play him? If Pagano can get Quinn's and Mack's best out of them, we'll win 11+ games and be a contender no matter who our QB is. But if Quinn doesn't or can't do his thing for whatever reason and puts up Leonard Floyd numbers--which is possible--we might be marginally better. But we won't inspire fear in any playoff teams. The possible production swing with good Q or bad Q will be huge.
Mikefive's theory: The only time you KNOW that a sports team player, coach or management member is being 100% honest is when they're NOT reciting "the company line".

Go back to leather helmets, NFL.
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Yogi da Bear
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Re: I happen to like the 2020 team

Wed May 20, 2020 4:45 pm

Mikefive wrote:
Wed May 20, 2020 4:23 pm
Nope. Here's who it is...

Robert Quinn. While his numbers suggest he'll be exactly what our defense needs to return to greatness, there is that whole thing about his not being comfortable in a 2-point stance and being really right handed. Do you bring in a #2 pass rusher and tell your 1st ballot HOFer #1 that he has to change how you play him? If Pagano can get Quinn's and Mack's best out of them, we'll win 11+ games and be a contender no matter who our QB is. But if Quinn doesn't or can't do his thing for whatever reason and puts up Leonard Floyd numbers--which is possible--we might be marginally better. But we won't inspire fear in any playoff teams. The possible production swing with good Q or bad Q will be huge.
I keep saying this, but people aren't believing me. But I firmly believe that Quinn is going to a DE for us. If we're standing him, we're missing out. For one, if he's an OLB with Mack and we send them both, then we're blitzing. For two, Quinn is all about his first step and he needs that down stance to fully exploit it. You play Quinn as if he was a 4-3 DE and Mack as a 3-4 OLB, with Hicks inside, we're going to be damn tough and Quinn won't even sniff the stink of Floyd type numbers.
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Richie
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Re: I happen to like the 2020 team

Thu May 21, 2020 12:44 am

dplank wrote:
Wed May 20, 2020 9:06 am
Richie wrote:
Wed May 20, 2020 4:58 am
Looking at the prediction thread... most agree. At the very least, out of those who follow the team closely? Nobody sees the top 5 overall draft pick finish that some of the national media has us pegged at. Good lord.
I'd prefer that over another 8-8 though. At least then we'd get another crack at a franchise QB. Give me playoffs or give me Trevor Lawrence!
Yeah, I agree. If you're going to suck, don't half ass it.
Year 3 Starting (updated yearly)

Brees (11-4): 65.5% (7th) 7.9 Y/A (7th) 27 TD (7th) 6.8 TD% (4th) 7 INT 1.8 INT% (3rd) 104 Rating (3rd)

Trubisky (8-7): 63.2% (18th) 6.1 Y/A (32nd) 17 TD (27th) 3.3 TD% (30th) 10 INT 1.9 INT% (15th) 83 Rating (28th)
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IE
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Re: I happen to like the 2020 team

Thu May 21, 2020 6:56 am

I agree with about everything said here. Last year I think we were all a bit cocky coming off of that great defensive year in '18. Everyone outside of Bear World predicted a mean reversion and we rejected it out of hand. Well... it happened and with injuries even over-shot. Damn.

With Quinn, Gipson and Johnson upgrades... holy crap this might be one of the best defenses we've every seen again. No excuses for Pagano - that's for sure.

The TEs are deep now, the WRs are pretty good if Miller stays healthy. The Oline turning it around is really a key on offense as we all know. I think they will for the most part, with new coaching, a new RG and some changes from Nagy that help them build momentum on drives instead of being all over the place. I hope. If one of the OTs struggles, I think they have contingency options there, and will manage. I DO believe we're going to see a vet RB signing. IMO it's a conspicuous gap on offense, even if it isn't urgent (e.g. "we need THIS guy"). Almost any decent reliable vet would do, and there are a small handful available.

At QB, Mitch actually couldn't be worse - so the silver lining is we've already seen the floor and there will no doubt be at least some improvement there. I still don't know if he is able to perform against good teams - that's a mystery. I think the question is can Mitch show them enough to keep Foles on the bench, since Pace got the "Foles band back together" so to speak in terms of bringing in coaches tied to him.

I think Pace has built a fine team, and if they end up less than 10-6 ... Nagy and Pagano will need to be held accountable. If Nagy can't simply stumble to a decent winning season with this team, I wouldn't want him presiding over the development of the next young QB they draft next year.
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G08
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Re: I happen to like the 2020 team

Thu May 21, 2020 3:58 pm

Mikefive wrote:
Wed May 20, 2020 4:23 pm
I think there's ONE key player this year.

Trubisky? He could be if he suddenly blossoms, but I don't see him being more than marginally better than he was.
Foles? Maybe, but only if he takes the reins later in the year. Otherwise, history says he won't stay healthy or won't be all that.

Nope. Here's who it is...

Robert Quinn. While his numbers suggest he'll be exactly what our defense needs to return to greatness, there is that whole thing about his not being comfortable in a 2-point stance and being really right handed. Do you bring in a #2 pass rusher and tell your 1st ballot HOFer #1 that he has to change how you play him? If Pagano can get Quinn's and Mack's best out of them, we'll win 11+ games and be a contender no matter who our QB is. But if Quinn doesn't or can't do his thing for whatever reason and puts up Leonard Floyd numbers--which is possible--we might be marginally better. But we won't inspire fear in any playoff teams. The possible production swing with good Q or bad Q will be huge.
The beauty of this is that Mack loves rushing from the left side, so Quinn preferring the right side is aces.
2021 Draft Crush: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU

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cblaz11
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Re: I happen to like the 2020 team

Fri May 22, 2020 6:44 am

Great post...couple thoughts

I love our depth at safety, corner, and on the dline.

Having guys like Bush, Tolliver, Burns, Mingo, RRH, and others in backup roles is invaluable.

When I look at this roster, I’m concerned with our depth at WR, Oline, and ILB.

Pace has proven he can find cheap inside linebackers so I’m not as worried there

I really like our cheap singings on the oline but man, we need Leno and Massie to rebound after horrible years. I have always felt both are a little taken for granted by Bears fans, but last year didn’t help that argument. They need to get on track

My WR concerns are more around unproven vs lack of depth. I think Ridley, Wims, and Mooney have a ton of potential, I’m just a little nervous if we lose Miller or Arob to injury.

This season will come down to the QB play and to be honest, I’m comfortable with the Tru/Foles options. Vegas has the over/under at 7.5...I’ll be taking the over for sure.
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Yogi da Bear
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Re: I happen to like the 2020 team

Fri May 22, 2020 1:07 pm

On Miller: The one thing I've read about Miller is that he tends to freelance to get open. He HAS to stop that. From what I understand, Nagy's offense is much like Bill Walsh's in San Francisco in that it depends on timing. Apparently, Nagy has employed a mysterious QB to coach our QBs on the importance of their steps and timing in their virtual sessions. If a QB takes a three step or five step drop, the receivers should be in specific spots. If Miller isn't there because he's freelancing, the whole thing falls apart.
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HisRoyalSweetness
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Re: I happen to like the 2020 team

Fri May 22, 2020 5:47 pm

At the risk of being negative in an otherwise upbeat thread, I'd caution against projecting too much on some of these players, especially those who have yet to play a down in the NFL.

Liking Stephen Denmark as safety depth for example is an odd one. The guy converted from WR to CB the year before he was drafted in the 7th round and spent his rookie season on the practice squad. People have suggested he should play safety rather than CB but it's not something I'm aware the Bears have confirmed. The chances are actually pretty slim that he'll even make the team.

Suggesting that Jaylon Johnson pairing with Fuller is going to give the team one of the best CB combos and leave them set for years is something we can hope for, but we can't count on it until we see Johnson play and also prove that his shoulder injuries aren't going to be a recurring issue.

The same goes for any other rookie. Fans always talk about them as if they're going to be successes yet the statistics show that often won't be the case. Even high round picks fail. A lot of pundits rated Gabe Carimi and fans on this forum talked about him as if he was going to be a fixture at OT. It didn't work out that way. When John Bostic and Khaseem Greene were drafted fans on this forum talked about them as replacements for Urlacher and Briggs. Bostic couldn't hold down a starting role and was gone after three seasons. Greene only lasted two and never played another down in the NFL. The list of players touted to be much bigger contributors than they proved to be is huge.

Projecting anything from rookies for this season is particularly unwise given they are not even getting the benefit of a full off-season program. We can hope, but it would be better not to expect too much from any of them for 2020.

The positive is that there hasn't been a major turnover of projected starters this off-season, which could be beneficial without normal preparation. An OLB, CB and S on defense, 3 positions where there is an All Pro playing opposite. A RG, TE and possibly the QB (the big one) on offense. Defenses should hit the ground running quicker than offenses, which plays to the Bears strength too. If the offense can start well then it could be a good season for the Bears.
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Re: I happen to like the 2020 team

Tue Jun 16, 2020 4:32 pm

I like this team a lot. Still wish we would do more on the OL but I think Bars can step up and take the RG spot and I’ll go out on a limb and say Spriggs will be the guy I thought he would be coming out of college and will take one of the OT spots.

I also think Trubisky bounces back and becomes a QB that gets ranked in the 11-14 range. Not a world beater but a guy that can win with this team.

I think we have a ton of potential at the WR spot. Just need some guys to do some some. If Miller, Wims take another step Ridley makes the jump I think he can, we are in great shape. But the key to them doing that is committing to run to take the pressure off them and let it just come to them.
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Yogi da Bear
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Re: I happen to like the 2020 team

Tue Jun 16, 2020 9:09 pm

Rereading this, don't forget about Duke Shelly at CB. He had a real good training camp and preseason last year. But he was basically learning a new position at nickel. https://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/b ... story.html
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Re: I happen to like the 2020 team

Wed Jun 17, 2020 4:23 pm

I share much of the optimism generally

HisRoyalSweetness's points are very well taken though
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Z Bear
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Re: I happen to like the 2020 team

Wed Jun 17, 2020 5:20 pm

IF the D stays healthy I will be shocked if they are not top 5, only changes are Prince and Haha for JJ and Gipson. I will be surprised if the O is anything but bottom 5, don't see how Juan Castillo and Iredi and going to drastically change things.
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dplank
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Re: I happen to like the 2020 team

Wed Jun 17, 2020 5:39 pm

Z Bear wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 5:20 pm
IF the D stays healthy I will be shocked if they are not top 5, only changes are Prince and Haha for JJ and Gipson. I will be surprised if the O is anything but bottom 5, don't see how Juan Castillo and Iredi and going to drastically change things.
Taken directly from the Dplank, beating a dead horse files....I agree with this take and it's what bothers me so much. Look at it this way, if we hadn't signed Quinn, would anyone be saying that our defense is going to hold us up from being a playoff team? I don't think so. But by not signing a blue chip OL player AND a middle tier guy like Ifedi or applying R2 draft resources towards the OL, we can all plainly see that our OL could very well hold us up from being a playoff team. But when deciding where to spend that big chunk, Pace decided to go LB instead of OL. I'm just very frustrated by the continued aversion this franchise has to attacking the OL aggressively.

All said, i think our defense could be so good that we'll still make the playoffs. And I like the upside of Foles, either Mitch plays significantly better (good outcome) or Foles plays instead (still better than last year).
Chuck Pagano's defensive rankings in 6 years with Indy: 26th, 20th, 11th, 26th, 30th, and 30th.
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Re: I happen to like the 2020 team

Thu Jun 18, 2020 9:58 am

On the OL Dplank - there is a large degree -ironically for your position (I think) that previous Spending of Resources on the OL precluded spending more this year

Though a good chunk of this offseason was Pace paying to overcome his own mistakes (Floyd and TE and QB topping that list)

I also think - and this is very open to debate - we might wind up thinking German is a steal. I watched him play Tackle a few times - and he can't play Tackle - but I think he can probably handle Guard

He doesn't need to be a Top 10 guy to help that unit over last year

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