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Bear Download — A Chicago Bears podcast

Chicago Bears podcast featuring Chicago Tribune Bears writers Dan Wiederer and Rich Campbell.

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The Bears have a winning record! A closer look at the 31-24 win over the Cowboys.

The Bears beat the Cowboys 31-24 on Thursday night and now have a winning record for the first time in 8 weeks. Rich and Dan slept a few hours before rallying for their review Friday morning. They examine a team that didn't crumble after a 4-game losing streak, a team that seems to thrive playing from behind, or at least out from under the weight of expectations. They dissect quarterback Mitch Trubisky's latest exceptional game, specifically how his legs brought his play to life in a way previously unseen this season. They marvel at the Power of Now and what the Bears can accomplish with it. They tip their caps to a defense that continues to be playoff-caliber as top contributors fall out due to injuries. And they end with a peek at the uphill road ahead, give out their game balls and read their favorite 3-word reviews from the audience.


6 Dec 2019

Rank #1

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Bears draft recap: There's plenty for Matt Nagy to like about the new offensive weapons

Rich and Dan waste no time recapping the Bears' draft class from the Halas Hall coat closet (where else?). They dissect the trade up for Iowa State running back David Montgomery (2:28), spotlighting the traits that make him a pro-ready back and the upside the Bears see in him as a receiver (9:55). They salute Montgomery’s huge heart (12:30) and set realistic expectations for him as an NFL player. The duo (temporarily) skids off on a tangent to slam Chicago’s insane April weather (21:40). BTW, they are not fans of construction, either. Getting back on track, they break down the Bears’ four Day 3 picks with special attention paid to Georgia receiver Riley Ridley (24:38) and Kansas State cornerback Duke Shelley (35:06). Rich and Dan finish by taking the Crown ‘Em segment to hope the Bears call some audibles as they audition their growing cache of kickers (40:40).


29 Apr 2019

Rank #2

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Breaking down the Bears' gut-wrenching loss to the Chargers in Week 8

The Bears’ hope (hype?) doesn’t feel real anymore as they have gone 0-for-October. Rich and Dan break down the team’s third straight defeat, a gut-wrenching 17-16 loss to the Chargers, from Soldier Field. They start with the end, discussing coach Matt Nagy's anxiety as well as his decision to kneel down and run the clock down before Eddy Pineiro’s ill-fated, 41-yard field goal. Next they dive into Mitch Trubisky's latest struggles, including his two fourth-quarter turnovers, before shifting gears to analyze Nagy's commitment to the running game and David Montgomery's breakout performance. They examine where this season is headed now that the losses are piling up and the schedule is getting tougher. Finally, they wrap up by handing out game balls (not everyone played poorly, after all) and some of their favorite three-word reviews.


28 Oct 2019

Rank #3

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Bears-Packers preview: Matt Nagy and Mitch Trubisky vs. Aaron Rodgers and Matt LaFleur

The NFL regular season is here, and Rich Campbell and Dan Wiederer are basking in the glow of Bears-Packers. They dive into the power struggle between new Green Bay coach Matt LaFleur and Aaron Rodgers (4:58), including whether the quarterback really had back tightness in the preseason (11:20). Switching to the Bears’ challenges, the spotlight shines on tight end Trey Burton in That’s Just Stupid (20:35). Specifically, will he ever be healthy? Rich and Dan are skeptical. In Dan’s Three Keys to Thursday’s game, the discussion is on Matt Nagy and Mitch Trubisky trying to make magic (27:50), Eddy Pineiro trying to make kicks (32:50) and the Bears defense trying to account for Packers running back Aaron Jones (36:58). Finally, the guys dole out predictions (39:06) — which we won’t spoil here — before pondering Cody Whitehair’s newfound buying power in Crown ‘Em.     


3 Sep 2019

Rank #4

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Reading between the lines on how the Bears viewed their disappointing 2019 season

After the Bears' disappointing 2019 season — a “regression,” as GM Ryan Pace called it — Chairman George McCaskey, President Ted Phillips, coach Matt Nagy and Pace offered their evaluations. Some were more forthcoming with details than others. Rich Campbell and Dan Wiederer dive into where the Bears go from here. (Get ready for LOTS of talk about the offense’s struggles.) After Dan’s lightning-fast recap of the Week 17 win over the Vikings and some cracking 3-word reviews, they examine five questions at the heart of the Bears’ plight: How close are they to winning a Super Bowl? How does Pace’s assessment of quarterback Mitch Trubisky account for his 2020 job security? What’s next for Trubisky as he remains the starter? What should we make of Pace’s public evaluation of Nagy? And how meaningful might changes to Nagy’s staff be? Rich and Dan also mix in their New Year’s resolutions, dissect Dan’s gross metaphor about hair in risotto and make predictions for the first weekend of playoff games.

1hr 26mins

3 Jan 2020

Rank #5

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Why did the Bears draft Mitch Trubisky? A behind-the-scenes look at the 2017 NFL draft.

Rich and Dan discuss their 10-chapter examination of why the Bears drafted Mitch Trubisky over Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson (which can be found at chicagotribune.com/bears). In a supplement to the online project, the guys provide important context and analysis of what they reported about the draft decisions and developmental processes for all three quarterbacks. The objective is to understand how the Bears got to this point with Trubisky in order to establish where they're headed. They shine a light on general manager Ryan Pace's role in leading the Bears to Trubisky and potential shortcomings in how the Bears evaluated Watson. They look at the infrastructure the Chiefs had in place to develop Mahomes, as opposed to the Bears' situation for Trubisky. They answer audience questions at the end of the show, including some about Pace and Trubisky's future and what role race played in the evaluation of all three quarterbacks. 

1hr 12mins

14 Nov 2019

Rank #6

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Digging into the Bears' win over the Lions (their 2nd straight!) on the Bear Download podcast

The Bears beat the Lions 24-20 on Thursday, and Rich and Dan dig in from Ford Field. First up: Mitch Trubisky’s first late-fourth-quarter, winning touchdown drive and the seeds it plants for his future. Of course, that drive goes hand in hand with the continued evolution of Anthony “Mr. Clutch” Miller. Sure, the strong performances came against David Blough (er, Jeff Bluhhh?) and the lowly Lions, but it’s all an upgrade from the mopey wins against the Lions and Giants earlier in November. Turning to the defense, Rich and Dan spotlight the unit’s refusal to mail it in despite the offense underperforming earlier this season. Finally, they look ahead to a daunting December schedule before handing out game balls (two on offense!) and reading their favorite three-word reviews from the audience. Happy Thanksgiving, folks!


29 Nov 2019

Rank #7

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Bears training camp: An evaluation of the defense, offense and kickers so far

Rich and Dan are still in Bourbonnais to discuss what they've learned watching about the Bears so far from watching practice: The defense is pretty, pretty good (3:01 mark), the offense with Mitch Trubisky is still a work in progress (15:13) and the two kickers are somewhat better than expected (28:48). On the other side of things, an investigation into Matt Nagy's Pennsylvania Dutch accent and the case of “peanuts” (33:44). And then, a dive into the new pass-interference review that will make NFL history (38:29). Lastly, the two crown … themselves, the Tribune and love (48:30).


2 Aug 2019

Rank #8

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Eddy Pineiro is the Bears kicker — for now. What comes next?

Rich Campbell and Dan Wiederer are reunited in the Halas Hall coat closet, and it feels so good. With Rich back from paternity leave, he and Dan catch up on — what else? — the kicker search now that Eddy Pineiro is the only one on the roster and have conflicting reactions to a Sports Illustrated story that depicts the Bears as lost in their search (4:00). Matt Nagy's recent "no turds" comment compels the guys to relive the disastrous 2014 campaign, which was the last time the Bears entered a season with such high expectations (30:26). They shift gears to explain their comfort with a wait-and-see approach to Mitch Trubisky's season after an undeniably inconsistent showing in summer practices (40:21) and finish by detailing some of the Tribune's Bears100 coverage, which continues to roll out ahead of the season opener (53:34).

1hr 2mins

22 Aug 2019

Rank #9

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Week 2: Bears win in dramatic fashion in Denver

Rich and Dan, from the 25-yard line at Empower Field at Mile High in Denver, recap those 9 crazy seconds that was the ending of the Bears' Week 2 win over the Broncos. Plus: Eddy Pineiro's 53-yard field goal, your 3-word reviews and an overall critic of the offense and defense.


16 Sep 2019

Rank #10

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Breaking down the Bears' season-crushing loss to the Eagles

Each week, the Bears find a new way to underscore their ineptitude. This time it was a 22-14 loss to the Eagles, highlighted by an atrocious offensive performance in the first half. Rich and Dan break it all down from the Lincoln Financial Field press box. They discuss the historically bad first half that featured nine total yards — nine! — and doubt much can be done to fix the mess. Even the defense (ahem, seven penalties) deserves blame, as it hasn't sustained the magic that carried the Bears to the 2018 NFC North title. Next, Rich and Dan reflect on how every level of anger could be found in the locker room afterward, which is indicative of the team’s brand of last-place football. They finish the show by sharing the audience’s best three-word reviews. As usual, the readers do not disappoint in that regard.


4 Nov 2019

Rank #11

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Dissecting the Bears' dismal offense after a 36-25 loss to the Saints

That awful sound you hear is the Bears’ season going off the rails with a 36-25 home loss to the Saints that wasn’t as close as the score indicated. Rich and Dan break it all down, starting with Mitch Trubisky’s ineptitude, and they go so far as to issue their verdicts on the third-year quarterback after his latest dreadful performance. Coach Matt Nagy’s play selection and inability to elevate Trubisky go under the microscope next. Even the defense and special teams take some heat before the duo circle back to where the Bears and their underperforming quarterback go from here. Finally, Rich and Dan pass the mic to the listeners in the form of three-word reviews.


21 Oct 2019

Rank #12

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Previewing the Bears' matchup against Vic Fangio's Broncos

It won’t be long before the Bears take on Denver to try and put their Week 1 loss behind them. But before that happens, Rich and Dan dissect what went wrong against the Packers (3:05) and how the Bears — coach Matt Nagy and quarterback Mitch Trubisky in particular — can move forward. They zero in on Nagy’s game management (12:22) and put a few questions out there, including: How long before the coach trusts kicker Eddy Pineiro? And how does a team determine which field goals to attempt? Next, the upcoming chess match between Nagy and Broncos coach Vic Fangio takes center stage (22:40). Short version: Trubisky will have his hands full. In That’s Just Stupid (26:11), the guys tackle Trubisky’s odd press conference in which he refused to offer details from the Packers game. In breaking down Sunday’s matchup, Dan’s Three Keys (46:37) shine a spotlight on David Montgomery, taking a page out of Aaron Rodgers’ playbook (yes, really) and setting up Khalil Mack and Leonard Floyd to do some damage. Score predictions are up next (56:37) before the duo crown the Bears’ best offensive player (1:00:29).

1hr 4mins

13 Sep 2019

Rank #13

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A first-hand account of Andrew Luck's retirement — and projecting the Bears' 53-man roster

It's Week 0 for the Bears and final cuts are looming, which means Rich Campbell and Dan Wiederer are getting antsy for the regular season. Dan shares his first-hand account of Andrew Luck's retirement announcement in Indianapolis (5:01) and the guys break that down from multiple angles, including how the news broke. They discuss Cris Collinsworth's and Al Michaels' reflections on the "double doink" call and how a call can become synonymous with a game (30:58). They examine how the Bears are trying to ensure Mitch Trubisky gained confidence from his final drive against the Eagles (37:15) and predict the first 53-man roster, highlighting the questions surrounding the bottom of the roster as the Bears exit the preseason and head toward the season opener against the Packers (52:17).

1hr 16mins

28 Aug 2019

Rank #14

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Previewing the Bears' matchup against the improving Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field

The Bears have lost three straight for the first time in Matt Nagy's tenure, and his critics are out in full force. That includes Rich — who dressed as an NFL equipment manager for Halloween — and Dan as they preview the Bears' game at Philadelphia on Sunday. They discuss Nagy's overflowing self-confidence and defiance in the face of outside second-guessing, after which they break down the coach's ability to bring his offensive wits to the level of his heralded people skills. In That's Just Stupid, they take on the Curious Case of the Missed 41-yard Field Goal. What follows is a spirited back-and-forth on how the Bears handled the lead-up and aftermath of Eddy Pineiro’s ill-fated attempt against the Chargers. FYI, Rich and Dan aren't quite on the same page here. Moving on to Dan's 3 keys to a Bears victory, running backs, defense and Mitch Trubisky (of course) are in the spotlight. The duo definitely agree on how the game against the Eagles will turn out — they even have the same margin of victory for the winner. Finally, they give a young Bears running back his due in Crown 'Em.

1hr 5mins

1 Nov 2019

Rank #15

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A deep dive into the Bears' kicker situation and Eddie Jackson's huge contract

Rich Campbell and Dan Wiederer are going strong with the Bears’ season in the rear-view mirror, and they dive into the team’s kicker situation to sort out what the team accomplished with the search that led to Eddy Pineiro’s encouraging — if not convincing — 2019. Then they pivot, replacing "y" with “ie,” to examine the Bears’ decision to make Eddie Jackson the NFL’s highest paid safety. In That’s Just Stupid, they welcome Patriots coach Bill Belichick back to the podcast in honorary fly-swatter form — complete with sound bite! Next, Rich and Dan break down the NFL’s four divisional-round playoff games through navy and orange lenses. Finally, in Crown ‘Em, they pick this weekend’s postseason winners straight up and against the spread.

1hr 16mins

9 Jan 2020

Rank #16

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Which Bears are feeling comfortable at spring practices?

Rich and Dan host the world’s only podcast to mention Taquan Mizzell and Donald Trump within eight minutes of each other. In discussing Bears spring practices, they highlight elements they’re monitoring during the offseason. Specifically: QB Mitch Trubisky’s grasp of the offense (3:39), how chess pieces Tarik Cohen, Cordarrelle Patterson and David Montgomery fit into the offense (10:20), the defense’s comfort under new coordinator Chuck Pagano (13:50) and the kicker competition (23:07). Ahem, they also had fun laying odds on whether Robbie Gould will kick for the Bears in 2019. In That’s Just Stupid, Rich and Dan scratch their heads over the Jets’ moves — some of which involve Bears connections — that "scream incompetence" (29:26). They share their first impressions of new secondary coach Deshea Townsend (41:45) and outside linebackers coach Ted Monachino (46:47). Finally, the two kick off the Tribune’s crowning of the 100 best players in franchise history by going behind the scenes of the staff's spirited discussions (54:06).

1hr 3mins

3 Jun 2019

Rank #17

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Cheerio! Setting the stage for Bears-Raiders in London

Cheerio! The Bears are in London — and so are Rich and Dan for the first international episode of Bear Download. In this preview of Sunday's game against the Raiders, Rich and Dan share details of the first 24 hours of their London experience, hack British accents and all. They discuss Roquan Smith's status amid personal issues that kept him out of the Week 4 win over the Vikings. Dan overreacts to some turbulence on his trans-Atlantic flight before detailing his 3 keys to a Bears victory. The latter includes a discussion on the Bears' sensational first-half defense, the Raiders' return in the Khalil Mack trade and backup quarterback Chase Daniel’s temporary management of the offense. They finish with a deeper re-examination of the Mack trade 13 months later, including the direction it sent the Raiders and how the trade is still being processed from the Bay Area all the way to Lakeview.


4 Oct 2019

Rank #18

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A closer look at the Aaron Rodgers drama in Green Bay

Rich Campbell and Dan Wiederer dig into the recent Bleacher Report expose about Aaron Rodgers and the dynamics that precipitated the Packers' two-year fall from Super Bowl contention to firing coach Mike McCarthy (5:12 mark). They share their overall impressions of the article (6:36) before Dan provides context by recounting his personal experience with Greg Jennings criticizing Rodgers (12:23). They distinguish between facts and opinions in the article (17:26) and examine if Rodgers' persona has been detrimental to the Packers despite their run of success, especially against the Bears (18:46). They explain journalistic processes required for a story such as this (34:32) and discuss how McCarthy and former general manager Ted Thompson were portrayed in the article (46:46). They discuss what the future holds for Rodgers and new coach Matt LaFleur (52:22) and crown the Bears' 2018 Ed Block Courage Award winner (1:06:51).

1hr 10mins

11 Apr 2019

Rank #19

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Tarik Cohen lends his swag to the Bear Download podcast

Tarik Cohen, the Bears' All-Pro return specialist, joins the podcast, as Rich and Dan spotlight the offense during full-squad spring practices. They chat with Cohen (2:56 mark) about his Pro Bowl experience, the Bears’ retooled backfield and his work for New Era hats, which occasionally includes him trying to “copy coach (Matt) Nagy’s swag with the visor.” In That’s Just Stupid, Rich and Dan scratch their heads over Trey Burton’s offseason sports hernia surgery and wonder about his return (17:42). They dig into Mitch Trubisky’s progress (27:37) using insight from offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich and quarterbacks coach Dave Ragone. In Crown ‘Em, they assess they state of the elusive Khalil Mack and get an up-close look at his presence during practice (47:50). That discussion includes Dan playing proverbial ominous music about the avalanche of attention headed the Bears’ way in 2019 (49:16).


3 Jun 2019

Rank #20