I’m really excited about heading to Canton, Ohio for Brian Urlacher’s enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
As of the start of this posting, tickets were still available via the Hall of Fame’s website. Good luck to those of you wanting to attend.
- A few days before Urlacher’s enshrinement, the Bears and Ravens will open up the NFL season by playing in the Hall of Fame Game. Tickers are available for that, too, if that’s something you’re interested in. Who will play and how many snaps will they be in on are among the questions we’ll be searching to answer at some point this summer. But we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.
- If Pete Prisco of CBS Sports is on point with his prediction, the Bears will have a first-round wide receiver making his debut on August 2. Prisco has the Bears taking Alabama wide receiver Calvin Ridley with the eighth overall pick. HOWEVER, he also believes the Bears could select a cornerback with this pick. Had Prisco traveled that route, the Bears could have chosen UCF’s Mike Hughes, who would have been the best corner available because Ohio State’s Denzel Ward went a pick earlier to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
- Ridley, of course, isn’t the only top receiver option the Bears can choose from in the upcoming draft. Adam Hoge digs in with an NFL Draft notebook via Pro Football Weekly and highlights a pair of receivers who could be on the Bears’ radar. Hoge envisions it will be difficult for Maryland wideout DJ Moore to make it past the second round, especially after this glowing review. And when asking a talent evaluator which receiver wasn’t getting enough credit, the name that popped up was Texas A&M’s Christian Kirk. We have seen Kirk go as high as the first round in some mock drafts, while others believe he could drop into the fourth. I expect the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis will be important for his draft stock.
- Because the Bears are playing in the Hall of Fame Game, Matt Nagy and Co. will get five preseason opportunities to get everyone up to speed before the games count in the standings. As it turns out, the Bears might need all the help they can get. ESPN’s Jeff Dickerson dives into the Bears’ 2018 schedule and sees a potentially daunting set of opponents ahead. You can check out the Bears’ list of opponents and where they’ll play here, but know that their opponents’ 2017 winning percentage is tied for the eighth toughest in the NFL … but things could be worse.
- The 2018 schedule is just one hurdle Nagy has to clear in his first season as a head coach at any level. Over at Bleacher Report, Doug Farrar offers up the biggest challenge for each new NFL coaching staff. For the Bears it’s obvious, because developing Mitch Trubisky is the top priority for the coaching staff, as well as the front office that is fully invested in his future. Farrar believes Nagy and Offensive Coordinator Mark Helfrich are qualified to turn Trubisky into a leader and shake up an offense he described as “far too one-dimensional” and “predictable.”
- It’s quite possible that the best thing to happen to the Colts was being turned down by Josh McDaniels. After hiring Frank Reich to lead the team as its new head coach, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune tweets that Indianapolis GM Chris Ballard has coaxed former Bears strength coach Rusty Jones out of retirement:
#Colts and GM Chris Ballard lured former #Bears strength coach Rusty Jones out of retirement. He will be Indy's director of sports performance. Jones was asset for #Bears under Lovie Smith and of course knows knew Indy coach Frank Reich from shared time in Buffalo.
— Brad Biggs (@BradBiggs) February 16, 2018
- In case you missed it, the Bears hired a new head trainer and new strength coach earlier in the week.
- Free agency hasn’t officially begun and Cleveland Browns star tackle Joe Thomas is making his pitch for Kirk Cousins:
— Kirk Cousins (@KirkCousins8) February 13, 2018
I hear Cleveland is nice this time of year, that is, if you’d like to have a statue someday… https://t.co/Geo5CzvI5J
— Joe Thomas (@joethomas73) February 15, 2018
You could make MORE money and MORE history in Cleveland than anywhere else, by FAR. Don’t just go and be another quarterback somewhere else! https://t.co/tVPqv8pdPB
— Joe Thomas (@joethomas73) February 15, 2018
- If money talks, the Browns will be heard from in free agency with more than $100 million in available cap space. Cousins’ decision on where he will play in 2018 could ultimately impact the Bears. If Cousins chooses Cleveland, it would remove the Browns from drafting a first-round quarterback and open them up to take the best player available. That means one fewer option off the board for the Bears. On the other hand, it could open up the possibility of a team behind the Bears trading into the top-10 to draft a quarterback of their liking.
- An arbiter ruled in favor of Bengals backup quarterback A.J. McCarron in his grievance against the team, which makes him a free agent starting on March 14. McCarron (once believed to be a possible Bears target) could command a surprisingly large salary and signing bonus in free agency. After all, it hasn’t even been a year since Mike Glennon received a three-year deal worth $45 million that included $18 million guaranteed.