Today is Mother’s Day, so I hope you did something nice for the mother/grandmother/aunt/wife/mother-like figure in your life today. And if you haven’t, it’s not too late.
- Good luck topping Tarik Cohen’s Mother’s Day surprise:
- At this time last year, Cohen was one of the Bears rookies getting to learn what life was like at the professional level. This year, two of the Bears’ first three picks were offensive players who find themselves getting their first learning experience in Matt Nagy’s offense. Kevin Fishbain of The Athletic writes about the crash course for offensive lineman James Daniels and wide receiver Anthony Miller, who have plenty of time to crash the (play)books now that they no longer have collegiate responsibilities to worry about.
- On the bright side, both Daniels and Miller talked about being comfortable early in their new offense. Daniels discussed some of the concepts and blocking schemes that are similar to those that were run at Iowa. Miller’s first impressions had him seeing similarities to Memphis’ offense where the ball was spread around the field and that a knowledge of every concept and route was vital. It’s probably not an accident the Bears drafted a lineman who worked in a pro-style offense at a college that has churned out some quality linemen over the years. And it’s not likely a coincidence that a receiver who operated in a spread offense with experience running a variety of routes was the team’s other second-round selection.
- Learning plays, assignments, calls, and language isn’t something that should be taken lightly. Sure, it’s still football – the game these guys have played in since they were children. But it’s always the small things that add up in this game, and getting to know something new (even if it’s old) can present somewhat of a challenge.
- The Bears feel good about Daniels’ chances at successfully moving from center to guard, writes Bob LeGere of Pro Football Weekly. And that’s great, because I’d be really concerned if they felt any other way after using their first second-round pick on the University of Iowa product. Daniels’ move to guard allows Cody Whitehair to stay at center and continue to build a rapport with quarterback Mitch Trubisky on the all-important quarterback-center exchange. Whitehair was a solid center as a rookie in 2016, but appeared to take a step back in 2017 when he found himself playing three different positions as the Bears tried to compensate for a variety of different injuries along the line.
- As far as I’m concerned, keeping Whitehair at center is a bright idea because there is value in continuity – especially at the offensive line. This also should give Whitehair ample opportunity to work on his shotgun snaps, especially considering that the Chiefs ran more than 70 percent of their offensive plays out of the shotgun last season.
- All things considered, Daniels’ skills, smarts, ability to adapt to new situations, and versatility made him stand out above the rest of the available offensive line prospects when the Bears were on the clock with the 39th pick. Over at The Loop Sports, Andrew Link explains why he believes Daniels is a perfect fit for the Bears.
- In his own way, there is a case for cornerback Kevin Toliver being an ideal fit for the Bears. Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times shares that Toliver is off to a promising start during the team’s rookie minicamp. The undrafted free agent was a five-star recruit as a high schooler and has the look of an NFL standout. It’s just that the Bears will probably have to keep a close eye on him and push him hard in order for him to reach his full potential.
- GM Ryan Pace passed on drafting a defensive back for the first time in 2018, but plucked some intriguing bodies during the UDFA signing season in Toliver and Indiana’s Rashard Fant. The Bears’ pass-rushing problems are duly noted and aren’t going to get much better unless a surprising name pops up on the list of free agents after June 1. To combat what might be an issue with a lack of pass rush, Bears defensive backs will need to bring their A-game on a weekly basis. This is where having quality in depth is so important. With that in mind, it wouldn’t surprise me if Toliver and/or Fant made the Week 1 roster. You can’t have enough secondary help when you’re facing Aaron Rodgers in Week 1.
- Mike Clark of the Chicago Tribune reports the Chicago High School Kickoff Classic won’t be held in Chicago after all. Instead, NIU will host the event as the Bears blocked it from being played at Soldier Field because of concerns regarding wear-and-tear on the much-maligned grass surface. It’s obviously disappointing for these prep stars to not get a chance to play where the pros do, but it’s understandable that the Bears didn’t want this because it would have been part of a six-day stretch in which five football games would have been played on the surface. Soldier Field’s natural grass simply can’t take that kind of grind. Still, I find myself disappointed for the student-athletes who won’t get what would’ve been the opportunity of a lifetime.
- Michael Renner of Pro Football Focus highlights the most improved team in each division, and I find it odd the Bears didn’t make the cut. That’s gotta be a typo or something. Also of note: Chicago plays six games against five teams who make this list including non-divisional foes like the Giants, Buccaneers, Rams, and Jets.
- An interesting nugget from the Associated Press, which notes that 242 high schools were represented by the 256 players who were chosen in the 2018 NFL Draft. I guess if you’d like to see which two schools each sent three players to the NFL Draft, you’d have to click this link.
- Who decided it was OK to start cutting onions at the end of today’s Bullets?
Chargers HC Anthony Lynn got his undergraduate degree today from UNLV, fulfilling a promise he made to his mother. Lynn completed his degree while coaching the Chargers. But he kept his word, made the walk, got his diploma – and hopefully influenced others to one day do the same.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) May 12, 2018