I was thumbing through the internet in search of Brian Urlacher highlights and couldn’t stop myself from sharing something fun with you today:
As we mentioned earlier, Urlacher is one of 27 semi-finalists who are eligible to be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s class of 2018. If he doesn’t make it on the first ballot, what’s the point of even having a Hall of Fame?
- Urlacher’s career ended unceremoniously when the team decided not to bring him back after his contract expired after the 2012 season. It’s safe to say the Marc Trestman era got off on the wrong foot, but at least it didn’t last too long. John Fox was brought in to right the ship and be the anti-Trestman. And while Fox hasn’t presided over the publicly ridiculed fiasco the Trestman era was on a weekly basis, Robert Zeglinski of The Rock River Times writes Fox’s team of almosts has stabilized the Bears among the worst teams in football. That’s probably not what the organization had in mind when it chose Fox to lead its rebuild in 2015.
- While criticism of Fox’s time in Chicago is fair, he isn’t working alone. GM Ryan Pace has received bouquets of compliments for his three-year stint in Chicago and David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune wonders if the team’s general manager is wholly worthy of such praise. After all, the head coach’s sub-.300 winning percentage is also shared by his general manager.
- Draft picks such as Jordan Howard, Adrian Amos, Eddie Goldman, Eddie Jackson, and Cody Whitehair have turned into solid starters, while the selections of Mitch Trubisky, Adam Shaheen, Tarik Cohen, and Leonard Floyd have upside. But six of his draft picks since 2015 weren’t active in Week 10, including two players who aren’t even on the team any more. The free agent additions of Akiem Hicks, Josh Sitton, Danny Trevathan, and Prince Amukamara have brought stability to their positions. However, Marcus Cooper, Jerrell Freeman, Quintin Demps, Connor Barth, and Ray McDonald represent missteps in one way or another.
- Given all the evidence, it’s fair to suggest the Bears are better off now with the team of Fox and Pace than they were with Trestman and GM Phil Emery. But that still leaves the team behind where it needs to be.
- Meanwhile, on the opposite sideline from the Bears will be a pretty good Eagles team:
The @Eagles are the NFL's only 9-1 team this season.
Of 67 teams to start 9-1 or better in the Super Bowl era, 33 made the Super Bowl. pic.twitter.com/vY0my9hhze
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 20, 2017
- It turns out one of the biggest of Pace’s missteps was allowing Alshon Jeffery to walk away in free agency without receiving anything in compensation. And as Chris Emma of CBS Chicago writes, Jeffery has been everything the Eagles needed in a big-play receiver to aid in the development of quarterback Carson Wentz. This serves as an unfortunate reminder he could have been that for Mitch Trubisky in his rookie season. Wentz has a 96.2 quarterback rating with six touchdown passes and no interceptions when throwing to Jeffery this season. Trubisky has a 75.3 rating when throwing to Bears receivers this year.
- It must be nice to have steady protection, as Wentz’s protection earned the honor of being the NFL’s Offensive Line of the Week. Philadelphia bulldozed through Dallas’ defense, gaining 215 rushing yards in a blowout win.
- And to think, their offense will only get more potent with the return of kicker Jake Elliott, who looks to be passing the NFL’s concussion protocol with flying colors after missing most of the game after attempting to make a tackle in Philadelphia’s win against Dallas on Sunday Night Football. Elliott, a Chicagoland native who attended Lyons Township High School, has made five attempts from 50 yards or deeper this season for the Eagles. The local guy was a fifth-round pick (153rd overall) by the Cincinnati Bengals – six picks after the Bears chose Division II tackle Jordan Morgan, who (for all intents-and-purposes) is taking a redshirt year while on injured reserve with a shoulder injury.
- We made reference to this when Mitch Trubisky didn’t have a signed contract (remember when that was our biggest concern?) but he and Carson Wentz share agents. Zach Zaidman tweets the two have spent some time together with the Bears quarterback studying his Philadelphia counterpart. Hopefully, he has learned something along the way.