We already know Virginia McCaskey is keeping tabs on Sister Jean’s favorite basketball team, and it sounds like she won’t be alone.
The Chicago Bears shared a video featuring Mitch Trubisky, Jordan Howard, Cody Whitehair, and Cameron Meredith showing their support for the Loyola Ramblers, who are playing the most important basketball game involving a team based in Chicago in quite some time:
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) March 31, 2018
The whole city is behind you, Loyola. Do the thing.
- A couple of nuggets from that brief 45-second video to store away in the back of our minds. First, Whitehair referring to himself as the Bears’ center. There was some talk earlier in the offseason regarding a possible position switch should Josh Sitton’s option not be picked up. The third-year option wasn’t picked up by the Bears, which could have resulted in Whitehair’s shift to guard had the team signed a center in free agency. They haven’t, and it looks like they won’t. If Whitehair is the Bears’ full-time center in 2018, it’s fine by us. It’s probably not a coincidence that Whitehair played his best when committed to one position.
- Also notable was the cameo appearance from Meredith, the restricted free agent receiver who has taken visits with the Colts, Ravens, and Saints. He hasn’t come back with a signed offer sheet, and probably won’t unless someone signs him to a deal that blows him away. Still, GM Ryan Pace is keeping a close eye on Meredith’s market as it develops. That would essentially make the low-round tender of $1.907 million a one-year prove-it deal of sorts. If Meredith returns to 2016 form, a bigger payday will be on the horizon.
- Offensive lineman Kyle Long received quite an honor:
Kyle Long was voted the Bears' 2017 Ed Block Courage award winner by his teammates. The award typically is designated for a player who overcomes adversity, and often that's in the form of injury. Kyle certainly qualifies.
— Rich Campbell (@Rich_Campbell) March 30, 2018
- The 2017 season was a particularly trying one for Long, whose season was cut short due to injuries. Even still, Long tried to gut it out as long as he could despite nursing waves of injuries for the second straight season. He has since underwent two offseason surgeries, but the recovery seems to be going well. Hopefully, his time under the knife is behind him and he can get back to being a force in the interior of the offensive line.
- I can’t help but wonder if Coach Nagy is one of those “you can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been” kind of guys. Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times writes Nagy is motivated by the Bears’ history, which probably means different things to different people. I remember as a kid when quarterback Erik Kramer said playing the Packers was just another game. Or when Lovie Smith embraced his complete and total inner meatball and put beating Green Bay at the top of his list of priorities. History is what it is, but there is something to be said about appreciating the moment while knowing what was built before you arrived. Never take it for granted.
- One piece of history that is due to change is the Bears’ success rate (or lack of it) in free agency. Perhaps this is the class that provides more ups than downs on the field and makes us forget about last year’s offseason flop. ESPN’s Jeff Dickerson offers up a “B” grade for the Bears’ efforts during the initial wave of free agency. GM Ryan Pace entered the open market with quite the shopping list and was able to heck off wide receiver (twice!), tight end, quarterback depth (twice!), cornerback, and pass-rusher. The only thing the Bears didn’t do was upgrade along the offensive line. Even then, they brought back a solid depth piece in Bradley Sowell to serve as the team’s swing tackle. A lot can go wrong in free agency, but things can go right when you spend wisely. By addressing their biggest needs, the Bears earned a passing grade. We’ll re-evaluate once games that count in the standings start getting played.
- Dickerson lists cornerback Malcolm Butler as the player the team should have signed, bringing up an intriguing scenario. Because of Chicago’s fortunate cap situation, Dickerson believes teaming Butler with a re-signed Kyle Fuller would have led to a secondary described as “ferocious.” The team ended up re-signing Prince Amukamara, bringing the band back together when Butler signed with the Titans. As re-assuring as it is to have Amukamara and Fuller back in the secondary of a top-10 defense, it’s easy to dream on the kind of upside Butler and Fuller could have brought to the table. It’s also pointless because it’s not happening. Water under the bridge at this point.
- Ex-Bears Kendall Wright doesn’t tweet much, but he couldn’t help himself in confirming his signing with the Minnesota Vikings:
— Kendall Wright (@1kendallwright) March 30, 2018
- Ben Goesseling of the Star-Tribune explains Wright’s value as someone whose presence will make it more difficult for defenses to focus on taking away Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen, while also providing a safety valve for new quarterback Kirk Cousins in John DeFilippo’s new offense.
- All that being said, I have a feeling some will continue to underestimate Wright’s value to his new team:
Kendall Wright with the Bears in 2017, per @PFF: 41 slot catches on 51 slot targets for 393 yards and a touchdown. Thielen was Minnesota's primary slot receiver last season. This pushes Thielen outside to match with Diggs as explosive targets. Yikes. https://t.co/6let7ax2KZ
— Doug Farrar (@BR_DougFarrar) March 30, 2018
- A minor transaction of note: Nelson Spruce can be added to the list of former Bears receivers. He’ll join the Kansas City Chiefs in 2018 after spending time on the Bears’ practice squad in 2017, according to ESPN’s Adam Teicher.