A look at the development of Alshon Jeffery is coming this afternoon. In the meantime, I wanted to tell a quick story about why I hate Christmas shopping: I used to do all of it on Christmas Eve, which was normally a quiet night for it since the average, reasonable person finishes their shopping long before then. Lately I’ve taken to shopping online, which normally works even better; except for that in my small Indiana town, we don’t have home delivery. Everything gets shipped to the post office, and you have to go in and pick it up. Also not normally a problem. Except for tonight, when I opened the package locker to pick up my two Amazon shipments and there was only one package inside. It was addressed to a woman named Marjorie. So, now I have to go back tomorrow and hope that MY packages are actually there. I should have just stuck to Christmas Eve.
- In an expansive, wide-ranging chat held on the Bears official website, general manager Phil Emery covered everything from the coaching decisions Sunday to Jay Cutler’s contract situation. He touched on so many different subjects that I’m loathe to try to pick and choose which ones to mention here, and if you’re curious at all as to the front office’s philosophy in terms of player acquisitions, the use of analytics, field turf at Soldier Field, or general (albeit fairly vague) opinions of certain players, I’d highly recommend reading through it. He’s obviously a thoughtful, contemplative guy, and I like that he seems like a new school football mind. Any glimpse into their process fascinates me.
- Regarding the potential use of the franchise tag Emery noted that for quarterbacks, if you can’t reach a long-term agreement after the tag is applied, it becomes a real hindrance to the salary cap for next season. I take that to mean that if Cutler is tagged, it won’t be for a one-year experiment, it will be with an eye on signing him to a long-term deal. In my opinion this season was that experiment, and I have to believe Cutler has passed that test. But we won’t know for sure until the season is over.
- Yet another thoughtful piece examining Marc Trestman’s unfortunate decision to kick on second down, this time from Grantland’s Bill Barnwell. In his (normally) weekly Thank You for Not Coaching column, which is always an informative look at the analytical merits of various coaching decisions, Barnwell names Trestman’s choice as the worst coaching decision of the week. Barnwell points out that based on Trestman’s comments, it seems like he may have been treating field goal range as a binary concept; that is, he’s in range or he isn’t. I think that’s partially true, but I don’t think Trestman believes a 47-yard kick is as equally easy as a 30-yard kick. I honestly believe that he was going to kick on third down, but the two Vikings plays (Peterson losing yards on a rushing play designed to get Minnesota closer, followed by a personal foul on a field goal attempt) spooked him into sending Robbie Gould out on second down.
- Bleacher Report’s Will Carroll understands sports injuries better than just about anyone without a medical degree, and his weekly injury review is a great resource for fantasy football players. His section on Jay Cutler’s recovery is enlightening, in that he feels as though if Cutler could return, he’d be an instant upgrade over McCown regardless of potentially limited mobility. (He also notes that there are not ten fantasy quarterbacks better than Cutler right now, and I agree; before the injury, I thought he was playing at an incredibly high level. That combined with regression from some typical stalwart quarterbacks meant he was solidly in the top ten.)
- A player who will return for Monday night’s game? Linebacker Sean Lee of the Cowboys, who has recovered from a recent hamstring injury. That’s a big boost for the Dallas defense, which has rivaled the Bears of late in terms of gross ineptitude. Also of note from that piece: Jerry Jones has a twice-weekly radio show in Dallas. Of course he does.
- A lighter note to end on: Devin Hester raced against a cheetah for Big Cat Week on Nat Geo Wild. Video and GIF included on that page. Chris Johnson of the Titans also raced a cheetah. Spoilers: Devin actually won, although it wasn’t exactly a strict scientific experiment. Still, pretty cool to watch. Of course, Big Cat Week would be even better if it was a week dedicated to this guy.