Chris Conte; Not As Bad As Some Believe, Jennings May Be Worse..

Discussion in 'Chicago Bears' started by soulman, Jun 30, 2014.

  1. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    Chicago Bears' Most Under and Overrated Offseason Additions

    By Matt Eurich , Featured Columnist
    Jun 30, 2014



    Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery has been one of the busiest GMs in all of the NFL this offseason, and not all of his moves have been applauded by fans and the media.

    It is common for fanbases to irrationally love all of the moves that a team makes during the offseason simply because it is the team they are rooting for executing all these transactions. Each and every year, teams around the NFL make many additions but while some can appear to be underrated additions, many can also be viewed as overrated.

    Many of Emery's unheralded acquisitions this offseason were players who may not of been viewed as viable options when they were first signed, but after strong OTAs and minicamps, they have a real shot of pushing for significant playing time.

    Emery's overrated acquisitions are the players who were acquired this offseason and without warrant have been given the benefit of the doubt despite questions surrounding them heading into training camp.

    Here are the Chicago Bears' most underrated and overrated offseason additions.
    Overrated: M.D. Jennings
    [​IMG]

    USA TODAY Sports
    In an effort to add competition to the safety position this offseason, general manager Phil Emery added a pair of veterans early in free agency in Ryan Mundy and M.D. Jennings.

    If you were to pull up Jennings' statistics on NFL.com, he appears, at first glance, to be a solid addition to the team's defensive backfield. In three seasons with the Packers, Jennings started 26 games, including all 16 last season. In those three seasons he recorded one sack, one interception and 133 total tackles.

    On the surface he appears to be an upgrade over Chris Conte who struggled mightily in 2013, but the numbers at Pro Football Focus would tell a different story (subscription required).

    While Conte did grade out with a minus-15.8 overall grade, the majority of his struggles were against the run as PFF gave him a grade as a run defender of minus-14.2. Jennings on the other hand finished with a minus-6.5 overall, but his struggles all came in pass coverage, finishing with a minus-6.4 grade in pass coverage.

    Pro Football Focus is not the be-all, end-all in determining a player's performance but it is a good reference to take a deeper look at a player's abilities.

    While many criticized the play of Conte in 2013, the injuries that occurred in front of him forced him to become more a run-stopper than someone who could use his athleticism in pass coverage.

    Many may view Jennings as an upgrade solely because he is not Conte, but while Conte struggled coming up against the run, Jennings struggled just as equally against the pass.

    According to PFF, Jennings was thrown at 18 times last season, allowing 16 receptions for 184 yards, five touchdowns and giving up a 148.8 quarterback rating when the football was thrown his direction.

    The belief in Jennings has subdued a bit with the team's drafting of Brock Vereen and signing of veteran Adrian Wilson last week, via the Chicago Tribune, but for many believing he is an upgrade solely because he is not Chris Conte may end up being surprised if he doesn't make the roster heading into 2014.
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  2. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    Since we've been debating this pretty strenuously all year I thought I'd post this extract from an article on B/R about some of our offseason acquisitions. In this instance they're talking about M.D. Jennings in contrast to Chris Conte.

    Although it's the infamous "blown coverage" play that gets most of the comments as we can see from his PFF ratings it wasn't Conte's pass coverage that was the real problem. When you subtract his run defense score he was barely in the red at a -1.6 in pass coverage. Not good but hardly the kind of number that deserves the kind of criticism he's received. His run defense was terrible but as the article goes on to point out, so was the rest of the Bears runs defense which put him in some bad spots during many games.

    Jennings on the other hand scored far worse as a pass defender, -6.4, and was targeted unmercifully by opposing teams to the tune of giving up 5 TD passes and a 148.8 QB rating to those he faced. That's damn near a perfect QB rating. This guy couldn't seem to stop a pass if it hit him in the forehead. So if there's a guy on this roster you don't want to see playing deep Safety I'd say Jennings is it. I guess it's not too hard to see why Vereen has been playing in front of him in OTAs and mini-camp.

    So there you have it. Some further statistical proof that Chris Conte isn't really all that bad of a pass defender at FS and if our DL and LB play up to NFL standards this year I'm betting he won't be as challenged as a run defender either. The coaches graded his play last year as acceptable and they brought him back. Now you know why.
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  3. sluggobear

    sluggobear Veteran

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    Maybe Jennings gets cut. My GB friends hated Jennings, because he gave up to many pass plays
  4. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    Neither are good.
  5. shark86x

    shark86x Pro-Bowler SuperFan

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    MD Jennings was let go by the packers. He's no good. I'm sure he'll get cut. But we may be able to get some inside info on the peckers, just like they're getting from Peppers about us.
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  6. JustAnotherBearsFan99

    JustAnotherBearsFan99 Coordinator SuperFan DBS Writer

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    We have some great competition. I believe the final roster will be better - even at safety this year. If Conte surprises us and ends up being a solid player, hey, that's great. Jennings and the rest too. Our depth should be better this year too.
  7. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    Yep, about time we turned the tables on them that way. Maybe like this?

    [​IMG]
  8. weneedmorelinemen

    weneedmorelinemen Veteran

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    Conte is on the last year of his rookie deal, which makes him super cheap. I have been of the thought that he will make the cut at least as a backup on the 53 man roster.
  9. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    At least. If healthy Conte has a huge advantage over Vereen with his game experience but as the season progresses that situation becomes less of an advantage as Vereen gets to run some time with the ones in practice and gets mental reps during games.

    It's possible and maybe even likely that Conte will get the nod to start with but later on we'll see more of Vereen. I like what I think that kid can do once he gets his feet wet. I see the potential of another Mike Brown type.

    Anyway, my whole point in posting this was to show that as a pass defender Conte isn't all that bad and surely the lack of a pass rush and poor run play last year knocked down even his rating in that regard. He has a huge incentive to bounce back out of both pride and because he's in his contract year. I don't believe he'll blow that.
  10. short faced bear

    short faced bear Assistant Head Coach DBS Writer

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    Major Wright must have scored somewhere in the -national debt range.
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  11. BSBEARS

    BSBEARS Pro-Bowler

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    Actually M Wright I believe I read scored better than Conte, but they were both at or near the bottom of the league as far as starters go. I fully expect Conte to make the team this year as he is still on the last year of his rookie contract and is cheap to keep. Many here like Conte more than I do, and I am not just talking last year, I have never been impressed with his poor angles and being out of position but he does make the occassional great play and interception. Hopefully with better coaching he can improve his angles. I think this is more basic skill though and you either have it or you don't. Its kind of like a bankshot on the pool table, you either visualize the angle or you don't and I question how much that can be taught.

    Either way Conte would be a strong back up but may not be starting material. Hopefully coaching can fix his weaknesses and get him to the next level. If not he will probably be a perennial back up type, which you need them too. Will be interesting next yr what Phil does with him. I do not see him breaking the bank by any means, and suspect he will check out F/A to determine his worth. I suspect the Bears will walk away or give him a minimum type offer at this point.
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  12. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    In somewhat, but not complete, defense of Conte we should remember that he was a college CB most of his career, not a FS. He was put in a starting role as a rookie and expected to learn on the fly like most of the Safeties we drafted while Lovie and JA were here. It's not the easiest position to learn. There's a lot of keys and variations in coverage schemes those guys need to know and a lot of territory they're responsible for.

    He was showing improvement even last year but man that was a buzz saw he walked into. How much better his fundamentals will get I don't know but I figure we're about to find out. Vereen looks like he's gonna get more of walking start into playing than Conte ever got and I'm betting he'll push the hell out of Conte for that starting spot all year long so how it ends up and whether or not Conte returns next year is still up in the air.

    I still believe Conte has NFL skills and that he'll continue to play in the NFL if not here then somewhere else. But he still seems to be lacking in the leadership qualities you really want out of a Safety. The guy should be a candidate for a team captain and yet I don't think he ever will be. Vereen on the other hand does seem to have what you want in a leader and I think eventually that alone will make the difference. Vereen could be another Mike Brown whereas I don't see that in Conte but that still doesn't mean Conte can't be an effective FS.
  13. The Benjamin

    The Benjamin George Halas Staff Member

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    I have often said that Conte sucks, but he does get a little too much heat. More than deserved.
  14. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    Chances are that is best hope he has to make the team. The team has certainly made it clear that nothing is given though, he's got real compeition and if he cannot play in TC then even that might not help him.
  15. Bearstuff

    Bearstuff Yes, in the woods. Staff Member SuperFan

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    MD Jennings doesn't have anything locked up at all. Even in shorts, he hasn't looked good at all. If he did, we wouldn't have gone out and signed Adrian Wilson after mini camp.
  16. MPbears68

    MPbears68 Pro-Bowler

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    With a respectable front 7 in place to contain the run,
    Conte >> Jennings

    I'm not saying CC is a standout player but he is a serviceable one when not expected to rescue tackle halfbacks bursting into the secondary untouched every other play. He is not nearly as bad or "hopeless" as the haters so desperately want to believe.
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  17. The Benjamin

    The Benjamin George Halas Staff Member

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    All secondary players can look much better with a strong DL
  18. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    Compareing Conte to MD is really people trying to protect Conte though. MD is bad and not an upgrade even if better. But if Conte is better then MD that's hardly saying anything good about him.

    2 years ago Conte wasn't all that good, there's his ceiling, last year he was basement was exposed as being one of the worst in the league. S
  19. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    And therefore???????

    Conte will look better too and suck less right? LOL

    Gotta give the guy an even break and a chance to recover don't we?
  20. Ski-Whiz

    Ski-Whiz George Halas Staff Member

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    Foul on the post!!!


    :bearbang:

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