Any time we get a chance to share some video of future Hall of Famer Devin Hester returning kicks, we’re going to take it:
- Could you imagine a world in which Devin Hester wasn’t a stud for the Chicago Bears? I’d rather not. But it was a possibility when the Tennessee Titans were on the board. Greg Gabriel, who was working for the Bears’ scouting department at the time, recalled he was the one who had to call Hester to inform him he was being drafted by Chicago. Hester was happy to hear from the Bears, but also felt the need to get reassurance because the Titans had called him earlier to tell him they were going to choose him but the pick never came. As Gabriel recalls, the Titans chose “the fat running back” LenDale White about 10 picks before the Bears could choose Hester. Thus, changing football history.
- One week after his big punt return touchdown opened eyes to the kind of potential he had as a return specialist, rookie Tarik Cohen almost had a breakout performance on the offensive side of the ball. Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times notes Cohen had a bit of bad luck in the Bears’ win on Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals. Cohen had a 15-yard touchdown catch erased because of an (unnecessary) illegal block from right guard Tom Compton and a touchdown run on the offense’s first possession called back because he barely stepped out of bounds. It continued a string of tough luck for the rookie, who had a 67-yard punt return and 22-yard catch wiped away because of penalties against the 49ers.
- While Sunday could have been a better day (statistically) for Cohen, fellow rookie Adam Shaheen had a better day than you might already believe. JJ Stankevitz of NBC Sports Chicago dives into the film review and sets his sights on the rookie tight end’s contributions – which extend far beyond four catches, 44 yards, and a touchdown. Credit the Bears for driving home the value of developing his run blocking, which helped spring a 14-yard gain from Cohen, and a 10-yard rush from Jordan Howard on a play that got the Bears from inside their own 12-yard-line. Shaheen isn’t a finished product, but each game in which he is allowed additional snaps has provided a glimpse of what could be coming when he is fully developed.
- I’m still not over Eddie Jackson’s strip of A.J. Green and fumble recovery. In a game that featured so much fire power, it was easy to overlook Jackson’s big-time defensive play, but we shouldn’t. Further, eh matched his third-highest tackle total of the year. Remember, tackling ability (and willingness) was one of those things that pushed him down draft boards last spring. With Adrian Amos still on the mend and recovering from a hamstring injury, Jackson’s continued development is a major key.
- Danny Trevathan has #goals and I’m sooooo here for it:
Danny Trevathan on how the Bears can play the spoiler role this weekend: "We want to be the Grinch this year. I told them, we'll be the bad guy. Seriously, though, it's all about winning the next game and still building our culture, and messing up their Christmas."
— Kevin Fishbain (@kfishbain) December 13, 2017
- Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford suffered an injury to his right hand late in the team’s Week 13 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, but still started in the team’s Week 14 victory against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He did so with his pinky and ring finger taped for support, throwing for 381 yards, a touchdown, and a pair of interceptions. Stafford will undoubtedly be back out there again, but the Detroit Free Press reports the quarterback is unsure if he’ll go through a similar routine. “I don’t know yet. I wouldn’t think so, but I don’t know. Possibly.” Thanks for the clarity, Matthew.
- Ameer Abdullah, a running back who often finds himself sharing a backfield with Stafford, hopes to finish the season on a high note. NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport reported Abdullah’s recent benching (he was inactive for Sunday’s game against the Bucs) was more related to his play than his health. Abdullah did suffer a neck injury against the Minnesota Vikings, but said he felt healthy and has recovered.
- The Cleveland Browns dumped wide receiver Kenny Britt in the first transaction after the firing of their former player personnel director and hiring of a new general manager. It didn’t take long for Britt to find a new home, signing a two-year deal with the New England Patriots. Britt’s move to a contender was expected, and Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reports the Pats were interested in Britt last offseason before his price was out of their spending range. But all is well that ends well for that duo.
- Carson Wentz’s season-ending injury delivered a major blow to the Philadelphia Eagles’ Super Bowl odds. According to Bovada, the Eagles’ odds to win it all went from +600 to +1,200 – which suggests a prime opportunity for low-risk buyers who believe in Nick Foles.
- And with Wentz out for the year, the Philadelphia Daily News went there with Wednesday’s cover:
— Bob Vetrone Jr. (@BoopStats) December 13, 2017