'Valentine's Views' podcast: Chicago Bears Super Bowl-worthy?
Giants fans and welcome to a new addition of the Valentine's views podcast, here on big blue radio part of the SP nation family of podcasts. I'm your host, Ed Valentine of big blue view on today's show. We will continue previewing New York Giants two thousand and nineteen opponents as we talked to Lester wilt Fong, who writes for SP, nations windy city, gridiron covering the Chicago Bears before we get to my interview with LeicesteR. However, I wanted to address something that's been on my mind lately. And that seems to be the, the dwindling public access to NFL training camps. We saw in the news recently that the Philadelphia Eagles are only hosting one public training camp practice. This come. Coming season, and that is a practice that fans will have to pay to attend. Even though you know, it's a nice thing that the money for that is going to charity, but I find it to be a real shame that public access to training camp is, is dwindling, you know, as, as time goes on heroes gratified to see that the giants will be hosting ten public practices for training camp, which actually is a higher number than, than in two thousand eighteen when I think they only hosted nine still. I look back at the days, I live in the upstate New York area, just outside of all Binnie. And I really remember the days when the giants hosted their training camp or had their training camp in Albany. Course this was back when there were two public practices day so fans had the opportunity to see potentially thirty New York. Giants practices during a training camp period. And the Albany experience was much different and much better for fans than the ones than the one, they get currently in New Jersey in New Jersey, you pull up to a parking lot outside of the giants facility in East Rutherford use it in bleachers, or stand behind the fences where the giants practice and you're a long way away from the players generally also players, enter the practice field. On the opposite side from where fans or in Albany you when when the giants were their fans had much better access to players players had to walk through. What was called autograph alley? They basically had to walk past rope lines of fans to get to the practice fields Albany hat. I believe five practice fields at the time you know and, and there was much better access you could get much closer to the practice fields there weren't fences between players. There were rope lines. You could get closer to practice than you can. Then you can now. I mean, there were fences on some of the fields, you could sit on the side of a hill. You know and watch practice. You could get a blanket out. You could have a picnic you could, you know, your kids could run around on the side of the hill. It was just a much friendlier much better atmosphere for fans to watch players and I get it now. I get why the giants do their training camp in New Jersey. They have a new facility with three and a half practice fields with a full practice bubble you know where they can go when you win. There's inclement weather. I understand the idea that at bottom line is that, you know this is the time when NFL teams are preparing for a season. It is their most important practice time of the year. I just feel like you know, the NFL and sports in general, becomes more and more corporate all the time and the training camp access for fans as one of the last one of the few times when people can actually go and see NFL players in some sort of an environment and get close to them and watch them without paying an arm and a leg. And I find that, that the, the farther, we get away from the two days here, the we find fewer and fewer teams actually reaching out to fans via their training camps and doing things to make it special for. Fans and I just find that to be somewhat sad because there's fans pay so much money to go and see their teams generally play games. And, and we know how much fans care about their teams. I just I wish that teams would do more instead of less to reach out to their fans in, in training camp type situations. Anyway, one of the things that I'm going to be doing it. Big blue view is what I would like to do is reach out to giants fans who have been to training camps, who may be have had good experiences attending events like that in the past, what I would like you to do. Send your story sent some pictures to big blue view at g mail dot com. Send the photographs send a quick explanation of, of when they were taken you know what the situation was what your experience was. If you. Wanna detail it. You know, make sure you include your names names of anyone. That's n your pictures. And, and we'll put together a post that big blue view with some fan memories, some fan experiences at past training camps. I think that might be fun. Be a good sort of way for fans to to look forward to training camp. Maybe to reminisce about some of their best experiences at training camp. So again, please send those pictures send those stories too. Big blue view at g mail dot com. And you know, once we get a few of those together, we'll, we'll put a post together at biglou view. And, and maybe that'll be entertaining as we wait for the giants to begin, you know, this year's training camp at the end of July. Okay. Giants fans let's take a short break. And when we come back, I will talk to LeicesteR wilt Fong of windy city gridiron about the Chicago Bears. Hi, I'm truffle men, and I'm hosting curbs new podcast. Nice, try it stories about how people have tried to design a better world. And what happens when those designs don't go according to plan season. One is called utopian. And it's about the perpetual search for the perfect place. It includes cannibalism, fascist architecture, poly-amorous, hermetically, sealed domes and Courtney Kardashians dining room chairs, but not necessarily in that order, new episodes of nice, try come out every Thursday. Subscribe for free on apple podcasts or in your favorite podcast app. Hey, I'm Spencer hall. I'm Holly Anderson. I'm Ryan nanny. I'm Jason Kirk, and we're the hosts of the shutdown full cast your avengers of college football podcast says in the script to riff on what that means and basically what I mean is a spoiled every Tuesday. We talk about everything from cooking disasters to pro wrestling, too unfashionable pants worn middle school. We also do talk about college football every now and then, like mascot fights announcers, fleeing the booth early and unfashionable pants that coaches where now if you want to take college football, exactly as seriously as it should be taken subscribe for free on apple podcasts or in your favorite podcast app. In to help us do that. We are joined by Lester will Fong of SB nations. Windy city gridiron Lester. Thank you very much for spending some time with me. No problem good. Good to talk to. Hey, so let's so let's talk Chicago Bears. And lets you know, the, the giants beat the bears in two thousand eighteen but let's you know, I'm certainly not going to gloat about about winning a game with chase Daniel playing quarterback. You know when you guys went twelve and four and the giants limped home with five wins. So. It was a really good game on giants giants things the bears the bears later EKG when they're playing in New York and, you know, the giants took advantage of opportunities and the giants were the better team on that day. Oh, I just wish the giants had been the better team on film, as in recent years. You know, it would make my life a lot happier. If that was the cast, but, but so be it, you know, we all go through stretches where our teams just aren't very good. I know that for a fact. Yes. We. Yes. We do. I mean I'll take comfort these days in, in, in being a Yankees fan. There you go. All right. So let's talk bears a little bit. And let's start with this through the, the basic part of the off season. Now all the OTA's the draft free agency all of all of that. Do you, you know generic question is, do you feel better or worse about the bears at this point you know entering training camp? You know, maybe then you did at the end of last season. You know last year at this time I was excited for the head coach. I thought that they were a really big turn on what they had with John FOX there. I'm not saying, you know, it was it was it was rock bottom with John FOX, 'cause bears did that with, with Marc Trestman? But, but coming off the John FOX air, the three years there. You know, I thought they made the right hire I was really high on Matt Nagy. I'm glad they hired him. And I was expecting a nice year for the bears. I'm trying to think back, I think I had them going nine seven. And then when it made the big trade for Cleal MAC, I thought ten and six but I actually still them that they were gonna miss the playoffs. I thought the Viking the Packers we're gonna both finish headman the division and then they'd be one of those those Ray or ten when teams that don't make it but so surprise twelve and four but, but everything kind of came together, you know, the defense has a lot of town on it. And if they really good the offense kinda came around and just enough in twelve wins, of course, it didn't finish the way that bears fans hoped. But it was a really good season for the bears. So going into this off season. I mean expectations. Pretty sky high all around the, the bears talking they're talking about the Super Bowl and it doesn't feel like it's just empty talk this year because, you know, they have a a very talented team. And a very good scheme on both sides of the also it's an exciting tiny bears fan. That's that's, that's good to hear because it's been a long time for us. You know, with all of that said, you know all of that excitement coming off twelve twelve win season. You know, we'll, we'll talk about how season ended a little bit later on. But. It feels to me when I look at the at the draft. And I look at free agency. It feels to me like the bears lost more talent than they gained during the you know during the off season. How do you feel about the, the roster turnover in, in the things that have happened, you know, through the off-season? Would you a loss if offense for because offense pretty much one loss, and that was something they chose chose the trade, Jordan Howard, and it's not because he's not a bad running back because he wasn't a good fit for the system coach Matt Nagy wants tailback that he can split out as receiver then he can put in the slot that he can motion out and do other things with him. And Jordan Howard, his hands aren't as bad as people think, but he doesn't have the ability to quickly start up as a receiver. So when he does catch the ball out there in space, takes a while to get going. And that's not what the offense wants the bears want tailbacks that can spin on wide going to slightly to recall. And that's why the draft David Montgomery. That's why they signed Mike Davison free agency. All three of these guys can lineup anywhere in the offense. And that makes it tougher a defense. So, I think even though he lost the guy who has been in a Pro Bowl recently. I think the, the offense upgraded at running back spot, but. But did you really have to trade him to the eagles? Honestly, like I said, I'm a fan of John Howard. But I think it's best football's behind you kind of see how much the eagles valued him because of what the trade was. I mean the league value Jordan Howard as conditional six round pick. That's the best bears. Could do you know there were no other better offers on the table? They took the conditional, six figure with with any luck. They'll get that high otherwise. It'll be a southbound draft pick meshes with the value. The league placed on on Jordan Howard parv. It is the league invite running backs very well anymore, parv. It is Jordan Howard has declined in production all three years. He's been pro. Yes, he was a Pro Bowl, the first year with a five yards per carry, but every year it's kinda went down. And and I don't see making big impact with the eagles. I mean they drafted mile Sanders tailback for reason, because Jordan, Howard is limited, I think Jordan Howard play the league blunt role when the eagles the eagles champs he kinda had same role about about six hundred yards. Rushing goal line carries. That's. Join Howard is going to be if even gets that many carries with Philly. All right. So you we were talking about, you know, off season changes and all of that. So I think you wanted to go ahead and talk about the defense. So, so, so go ahead and do that. I mean defensively I mean the biggest change obviously is at coordinator, Vic Fangio moved onto to coats Denver Broncos, but I'm not as concerned as some fans with the chance, Chuck Pagano check Ghana is a quality coach. He's kinda similar Vic Fangio as far as mentality of the both kind of that, that old school thing. I'm and they got going out there a little older. They kind of relate to the players in that way. There's already a lot of respect built up there with the players. So he's a guy that he's a little more play caller. Yes. You only has the one year in Baltimore when he was when he was there play caller. But that year, he took a really good ravens defense, and he made them the best defense in the league their sacks interceptions or forced fumbles. Everything went up. The board. Saugus went from a pro baller to the to the defensive player of the year under his guidance. So there may be a slight drop off because the bears were so good a year ago, but I think it's gonna be negated because the bears off to be a little better. Keep defense little fresher, and I'm not worried. I mean they've lost. Eight Amos, who is a good strong safety, but ended he's a strong safety. I mean, that's he may have been the bears eleventh, most important defensive player. So they lost him and I know he got a huge controversy Packers. But you bring in a guy who's in, in hot Clinton Dix. A little better balk. He may fit the scheme, a little better. He's may not be as sound of tacklers Amos, but he, he's average more tackles aimless has the last couple of years. So it's not like he's afraid of contact and the other guy lost Nickelback price Cowen, who, who. That's the one guy really hoped. They would keep his Kelly very underrated. He's very good slot corner, losing him for BUSTER screen, I think is going to be a little a little downgrade. But scream has played out some bad defenses throughout his career. So let's see how he plays now that he has pretty much a Pro Bowl every level defense. He may play better. It's interesting. I thought both of those guys Amos and Callahan were would be on the una giants radar this off season and it didn't work out either way as I thought both were were good players. You know, the giants, obviously drafted I think every cornerback available in the draft. And signed, you know, veteran Antoine but they, you know which is a stopgap for them, you know. But I thought if they went big if they invested big on a player in, in free agency that, that it might be one of those two guys. But it didn't work out that way, a lot of bear thought the same thing. They thought that when you guys lost Collins, you're gonna go after ammos, and it just kind of, you know, end up going and he stayed in the division. So. Like I said he's a good player. He's a solid player pro football focus really loves him because he's a solid steady guy. But honestly, he may have been the bears eleventh, most important player on defense and maybe even if you wanna put the Bryce count at him. So is he a big loss? I guess, time will tell. But, you know, I don't see it that way. All right. Let's a half to ask are, do you still have double nightmares? Yeah. I think every bears fan is going to just have that. I mean, just hearing the word doubled joint makes make bears fans cranes. That was just such a such such a horrible way to lose a game. You know, the bear started off slow with the quarterback Trubisky. You know he had a real rough first quarter. But, but every quarter he got better the offense. Click a little better. He put him in position to win. You know he had a really great fourth quarter there. He had a couple of really really big plays out Robinson put him in a position with a very makeable field goal. And of course, you know, the double cabin. Yes, it did. And in the internet enjoyed it very much. Yes. Yes, named in. I know. I know. On on our Facebook and Twitter feed. We had fans of eagles and, and fans of Packers and lions Viking, they all came out of the woodwork to let us know how how much the bears really blew that game. And so, you know, it is it is what it is it happened. What are you gonna do not much? You know, the giants are still, you know, giants fan still have nightmares about the I think it was I forget, what year it was now but two thousand to two thousand I think around there Trey Junkin game with the with a a messed up long snap with the with a game winning field goal on the line in in a conference title game. So so we, we've been there, we felt your pain in his row. We know how that goes and somehow or another, you know, people like me will always manage to, to dig the knife in and remind you a little bit. That's okay at least not a eagles fan. So that's okay. You know it's. You know, it's, it's, it's hilarious. Everybody I talked to says, well, you talked to other bloggers from other websites, and what is it about the eagles? Well, actually, I, I know what it is. But it's actually kind of enjoyable that everyone from everywhere seems to hate the eagles. You know, I gotta tell you when the bears during that week, and then, of course, after the loss, I had more people talking trash to us that are eagles fans on our Twitter and Facebook and just in general. You know there were come into our site to eagles fans. They are they are. They're, they're they're, they're something else. I, I don't want to get to here, but, you know, those guys are pretty pretty brutal. Yes. Yes, they are. So this, this, and this bear San who deals with Packer fans in lions fans on a daily basis. Eagles fans put those guys shame. Those guys are, are just brutal. Yeah. That's that's one way to put it. One way to put it. Let me ask you listen. You guys are entering. I think it's year three of the Mitchell Trubisky era, where do you stand on trubisky's development? What do you think of him as a quarterback at at this point in time? You know he's coming along. I mean, I wasn't the biggest Trubisky fan when the bears drafted him I actually had him as my as my number three guy that year. You know, I'm not looking at it from scowl perspective, this kind of as a fan I like a couple of the guys better. But I understood that trade up. You know, the bears got the guy that they believed in and you know, his rookie year wasn't the best. But you know he showed flashes. And then last year. No if you look at his body, a work from week one week seventeen into the wild card game. He got better every week. You know hit a bit of a hiccup there with the injury. But this is a guy who his command of the offense grew on a week to week basis. And it's something that fans could actually see. So the bears are coming along. You know, of course during OT. As they're saying all the right things at coach really excited. What's going on? But if it was just a coach players, talking, I, I'd be okay. It's just it's just lip service, but the beat guys are actually not as are praising, it's well they're saying it looks like a totally different quarterback. The offense looks different in different things news things, you know, the players are all on the same page, and that's what's to be expected going into year two of the same offense. All right, so less, but not least here, give me a quick synopsis of the division and, and your, your expectations for for where the bears Lind up this year. I'm bored with with the with the coach players. I think this is a team that is Super Bowl ready. You know, if anyone has filed the bears kinda on look for tuna mirrored off of looking five bears kind of had a real real good season. But a problem in the playoffs and the next they went into the into the Super Bowl, they of course, lost the colts go back to eighty four. Same thing they had a really nice. Eric. Probably in the playoffs next year Super Bowl champs. So this team is prying. Everything's set up for this to be a magical season for the bears. The God, of course, get done on the field. But, you know, they have the town place, the quarterback in place that coach place, you know, just there's a oral around this team that it's kinda hard to describe unless you're actually, you know, a fan of the team, the club dub stuff. This is just a really tight close knit team. You know, the all get along with each other. You don't hear the drama. That's happening with other teams. It doesn't exist with these guys generally like each other and anyone play in windfall. Reach other. And I think Super Bowl or Boston, as far as the division goes, you know, whenever you play a division with Aaron Rodgers Packers. That's obviously going to be a problem. And rod just a really good quarterback you one of the best ever. So they'll be right there in it. And the Vikings are tough and the lions, of course, they had a rough your last year, but I think they'll be they'll be a little better this year. So tough division, I to the bears winning less game. But being a better team and still going on and winning the whole thing Lester. It's interesting that you mention you know what, what the bears went through last year. History tells us a lot of times that that teams that go through things like that wind up benef- benefiting from those in the long run. And I can think I'm old enough to remember nineteen eighty five playoff game in Chicago that the giants should've one Sean land at a whiffed on uplift. Yeah. I'm older. How can the wind blow that hard? And then the next year what happens they would win the whole thing, right? It's happening all through history. So this is the bears hundred celebration a lot of weird things happening within the city within the franchise where you think God, it's just fitting this has to be the year and bears fans. You know, it's, you know, we would lose our minds if it happened this year because everything else and everything's in place. It could be a magical season but the guy to get it done. Well, we will look forward to giants and bears. I think that's well down the road. I think that's week twelve hope that we'll hope that it means something to the giants other than a chance for Daniel Jones to play. I gotta ask, what are your thoughts, don't cause a buddy of mine who who's a big quarterback scou- guru? That's what he loves to do. And he had Jones his top guy, and he was so excited. When Jiang Sukhum I just don't know if I see what are you? What are your thoughts on Jones? Well, it's, it's very interesting Mirko field, who is a quarterback guru rights for a lot of places does some work for us and Mark wasn't high on Jones. But look, you know, Mark realized that it looked like NFL guys were higher on Jones, a lot of the outside scouts who only watch who only had to tape available to them. You know what happens in the in the process is we all make our valuations off of whatever tape, we can get a hold of off a YouTube off of whatever tape off of whatever games. We happen to watch on television. You know, when we were probably distracted by whatever else was going on during, you know, in our homes during the day, you know, whatever else kids, whatever, you know, whatever you're into kids friends, whatever was going on. But, you know, these guys if to understand these guys, they have years worth of information, they have access to everybody back to these kids pop Warner coach, if they wanna go back that far they can talk to anybody in everybody. They can talk to these kids multiple times, and bring them in and talk to them for hours on end in certain situations. If they bring them to the facility. So, you know, the way I look at it as maybe the outside analysis. Was that Jones shouldn't have been the sixth overall pick. But. When you talk about quarterbacks if he was there guy, and I do think I still think there was a split in the NFL between whether Dwayne Haskins was QB to or Jones with QB to in the draft, if he's your guy if he's the guy, you want long-term, then you make that move. You don't mess around you. You don't say, well, maybe I can trade back up or maybe I can get him at seventeen. You take him at six and you don't let anybody else take him away from you. The question is going to be, you know, how good is he? I think he's he was very impressive in spring workouts. He looks like a professional quarterback. You know, but I had it's funny, I had a giants dot com guy on, on the show the other day and he said, I think his floors Andy Dalton. And that's not bad. But they found that floor. But if he's Andy dole though, if he's Andy Dalton, he's to justify the sixth overall pick and to get where the giants want to go. He's going to have to be better than that. I think he looks like a guy who can at the very least be a Representative NFL quarterback. You know, the question is, is the ceiling high enough to get the guy to get the giants to the places Eli manning took them? Yeah. So. Should be good battle the next few develops Triscuit develops the NFC needs young coming quarterbacks, but it is it is interesting to hear from another source. You know that, that, that guy was was high on Jones like that. I think this, this impression to me in maybe to you this impression to me that he was a third round pick that nobody in the universe thought he was thought he was worth that kind of pick. I think that's wrong. Yeah. So anyway, Lester, we will look forward to week twelve as I said, we, we, we can only hope from the giants in that, that, that the game actually means something it's actually been hasn't hasn't been very often in recent years, that games in the last few weeks of the season of things to the giants. So we'll cross our fingers. We'll hope it means something. And we'll hope the giants go to Soldier Field. And, and don't have any, any punts blow completely away from them. What will hope for a good game? But of course, we're looking for the for the Chicago in there. Well, we'll of course you are. We wouldn't we wouldn't expect anything less, and maybe maybe you're around that time. Maybe we'll have you back on. We'll talk a little more bears. Giants to preview that game. So thank you very, very much for spending some time with me, and we'll talk to you again. No problem that takes much going. All right. Bye. All right. Our thanks to Lester. We'll funk for dropping some information about the bears on us as we talked about, at the beginning of the show, giants fans send your photos, send your stories about training camp interactions with players. Whatever your favorite memories are from camps that you've attended in the past sent those two big blue view at g mail dot com and we'll put together a post at big blue view. You know, looking back at some of those memories, I think it'd be an interesting way for, for fans to share their experiences their interactions with some of their giants favorites as always we thank you for listening. We remind you to please subscribe to big blue v radio and all of your favorite podcast applications. Thank you, very much, and we'll talk to you again soon. Bye bye.