Soldier Field had a different look than I’m used to last night with Taylor Swift performing. Hopefully, the fireworks from her Friday show aren’t the only ones we see at the home of the Bears in 2018.
- Ideally, Mitch Trubisky is orchestrating an offense that lights up the scoreboard next year. Or at minimum, puts up a better fight than the ones that were previously coordinated by Dowell Loggains. While Head Coach Matt Nagy, Offensive Coordinator Mark Helfrich, and Quarterbacks Coach Dave Ragone are leading the way in getting Trubisky ready to run this new offense, JJ Stankevitz of NBC Sports Chicago writes that backup quarterbacks Chase Daniel and Tyler Bray will also be instrumental in the process.
- Much like Mark Sanchez played a role in getting Trubisky accustomed to the everyday rigors of life as a big city franchise quarterback, Daniel and Bray will have their on jobs as mentors for Trubisky in 2018. Both players have at least five years in Nagy’s style of offense, while Daniel has also dabbled in the offensive stylings of Sean Payton and Sean Payton. If Daniel is the sponge we think he can be, and is able to relay what he learned to Trubisky, then his addition will be a positive one. Overall, the knowledge Daniel and Bray bring when it comes to Nagy’s offense, terminology, and coaching style should provide a smooth transition for Trubisky and take a chunk out of that learning curve.
- You know what else will help this offense get into gear? Highly-skilled position players making plays on the outside. Take Taylor Gabriel for example, who was clocked at 24 mph during OTAs according to teammate Anthony Miller:
Turbo ran 24 mph in practice. 😂
— Anthony Miller (@AnthonyMiller_3) June 1, 2018
- Pretty sure that will get you a speeding ticket in a school zone around here.
- Gabriel was one of the major additions the Bears made in a well-regarded offseason. Add Sean Wagner-McGough of CBS Sports to the list of analysts who think highly of what GM Ryan Pace did in the offseason. The Bears received an A-minus grade for their work, which was highlighted by the additions of a new coach, some new pass-catchers, and a “home-run” draft starring Roquan Smith. Sure, the rest of the NFC North also graded out well. But it’s evident the Bears’ arrow is pointing in the right direction now.
- Trey Burton was one of the big-ticket times the Bears picked up in free agency, beating out some NFC North rivals in the process. There are some big expectations surrounding Burton upon his arrival, as Adam Jahns of the Sun-Times writes that all eyes will be on the “U” tight end this season.
- Frankly, I’m interested to watch a player at a position the Bears haven’t ever really utilized. At least, not in the way Nagy used someone like Travis Kelce in Kansas City. This isn’t to say Burton will be Kelce because that would be simply irresponsible to compare an established Pro Bowl tight end with a young player whose upside the Beears’ are betting on. But I expect the usage to be similar. And if the production matches, then Burton will go down as an offseason steal.
- Rookie receiver Anthony Miller was part of the Bears’ kick-butt draft, but he feels that ESPN Fantasy Football big-foot Matthew Berry low-balled him when it came to his fantasy projection. Miller has a lot to live up to if he’s going to match (or even pass) the most productive members of last year’s rookie receiver class:
The highest graded rookie WRs in 2017! pic.twitter.com/yq20GGwqqG
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) June 2, 2018
- Miller said he is scoring “at least eight” touchdowns in 2018, and that’s not a bad number to shoot for. Since 2010, there have been 10 rookie receivers who scored at least eight touchdowns in their first season. Among the most notable names are Odell Beckham Jr. (12, 2014), Mike Evans (12, 2014), and Julio Jones (8, 2011). A.J. Green and T.Y. Hilton each had seven scores in their rookie seasons of 2011 and 2012, respectively. JuJu Smith-Schuster led the rookie class of 2017 with seven scores, while Dez Bryant (2010) and Tyreek Hill (2016) each found the end zone six times as pass-catchers. If Miller was to get into that realm, he’d be joining some pretty productive players. Let’s hope he gets ample opportunity to score in the year to come.
- Last year at this time, we were trying to figure out when the Bears’ rookie quarterback might crack the starting lineup. We’ve advanced beyond that in 2018, but other teams will have that bridge to cross at some point. Over at Pro Football Weekly, Greg Gabriel takes a shot at predicting the starting timeline for the five quarterbacks who were chosen in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft. There is a feeling that Josh Rosen will be the most ready to play the soonest, which could happen if (when?) Sam Bradford gets bitten by the injury bug. And if it happens, Mike Glennon will once again watch a highly touted rookie quarterback prospect pass him on the depth. Awkward.
- The timeline for the Patrick Mahomes era is already underway in Kansas City. But rather than rack up the endorsements that come with being QB1, Mahomes’ agent Leigh Steinberg told ESPN that Mahomes wants to establish himself before going down that road. That’s a pretty modest and respectable approach. And if Mahomes (who was the second quarterback to come off the board in the 2017 NFL Draft) lives up to the first-round hype, bigger and better deals will come down the pipeline.