Kicking Upside, Defensive Identity, Offensive Growth, and Other Bullets

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Kicking Upside, Defensive Identity, Offensive Growth, and Other Bullets

Chicago Bears

Back home after a few days away in Vegas. Nice to press the reset button, get a few good nights of sleep in a hotel bed, and prepare for the football season that is on the horizon.

  • Fun little wagering nugget I stumbled across this week: The Bears are the second-biggest moneyline underdog in Week 1. A $100 bet on the moneyline against the Packers (on the road) would pay $330. Only the Buccaneers (+350) going up against the Saints are a bigger underdog. If you believe there is value in the sneak attack, it’s out there for you.
  • Also, Caesar’s Palace had some interesting odds on fun prop bets. Mitch Trubisky was 60/1 to lead the league in passing, Jordan Howard was 12/1 to lead all rushers in ground yards, and Allen Robinson was 50/1 to pick up the most receiving yards. Howard leading the NFL is probably the most realistic of the bunch. He finished behind Ezekiel Elliott just two years ago, while his new offense produced the league’s leading rusher last season. Just some thoughts on some things that could further spice up a season that already has a fair share of worthwhile storylines to follow.
  • I did not seek out any Kevin White futures during my recent getaway, but Larry Mayer discusses how the 2015 first round pick has performed early in camp. White appears to be in good shape and good spirits, so it should probably come as no surprise that he is also looking good on the practice field. Sure, White still has a long way to go before he can prove it on the field in a game of consequence. But that he’s working his way toward that goal without any early setbacks is a good thing.
  • If Trubisky, Howard, and Robinson flirt with being among the league leaders among their respective positions, the Bears are going to be in position to score a ton of points – even if they don’t score touchdowns. That’s because Cody Parkey represents an upgrade from Connor Barth. Robert Zeglinski of The Rock River Times writes about the Bears’ new kicker who is getting to blaze his own path in Chicago. Parkey has been a solid kicker who has succeeded in some low-profile situations and arrives in Chicago after a successful season in Miami and just a few years removed from making a good impression on Special Teams Coordinator Chris Tabor, when the two were together in Cleveland.
  • John Mullin of NBC Sports Chicago offers up a predictable story with an unforeseen twist. Mullin writes about the Bears’ defense (predictably) being ahead of the offense right now, but simultaneously notes that the offense is already challenging their defensive counterparts. A top-10 defense that returns a vast majority of its starters should be a step ahead of an offense led by a new head coach, coordinator, and for all intents and purposes, a new quarterback. Trubisky will certainly struggle, but he is talented enough (as are some of the new pieces around him) to make some insane plays.
  • Over at 247Sports, Zack Pearson writes about Eddie Jackson discussing the Bears defense creating its own identity. It would definitely be neat to see the 2018 team channel some of the great defenses that anchored Bears teams in the past, but I’d be more curious to see this group forge its own way into greatness. It won’t be easy, especially not with that schedule of tough-as-nails quarterbacks. But the Bears should be putting positive thoughts into the wild and try to speak excellence into existence (you know, on top of the hard work and what not).
  • Deon Bush is angling to make a bigger impact as a defender, writes Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune. Bush is one of the Bears with a clean slate who probably takes a backseat to others in a similar situation because of where he is on the depth chart right now. The Bears are loaded at safety, so Bush isn’t top of mind as of right now. And it’s not as if he’s done much to earn premier placement in the minds of fans. Still, Bush is a talented former fourth-round pick who simply hasn’t had much of an opportunity to make a name for himself. He didn’t start at all in 2017 after starting six of the 11 games he appeared in as a rookie in 2016. On the surface, this looks like a situation where Bush needs to make some big plays on special teams to catch someone’s eye.

Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.