Tonight’s Bears-Bengals showdown is one of 12 NFL games on the schedule for Thursday. Before things get under way, let’s check out what else is happening throughout the league.
- A little bit of history on a Thursday night? Don’t mind if I do. Tonight marks the first time in which the No. 1 and No. 2 overall picks square off and make their debuts against each other in the preseason opener. The Browns made quarterback Baker Mayfield the No. 1 overall pick and are expected to give him two quarters of playing time. Running back Saquon Barkley was taken with the second selection, and you can figure he’ll get one quarter’s worth of snaps in. I’ll have all eyes on the Bears tonight, but will keep tabs to see if either of the top selections make some game-breaking plays.
- Browns fourth-round receiver Antonio Callaway will play tonight, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Mary Kay Cabot. Callaway’s status was up in the air after a traffic stop revealed he had a gun part and ammunition during a marijuana citation. Callaway was already walking a tightrope before this happened.
- On the other side of the field, Odell Beckham Jr. isn’t expected to play for the Giants:
#Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. is not expected to play tonight in the team's first preseason game vs. the #Browns, barring a change of decision. S Landon Collins (forearm) is expected to play, per sources.
— ig: josinaanderson (@JosinaAnderson) August 9, 2018
- We’ll keep a close eye on Giants-related injuries as the year goes on, but the Bears won’t see New York’s NFC team until Week 13.
- HOWEVER, we will continue to keep our eyes peeled for any Khalil Mack related rumors. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk explores the possibility of Mack being traded, whether or not the team would wait it out and see what it can get in the offseason, or make a trade now depending on what the return could be:
- Elsewhere in the world of contract negotiations, Rams GM Les Snead tells the Los Angeles Times’ Gary Klein that the team is “in the same zip code, area code, ballpark” when it comes to the latest on an extension for defensive tackle Aaron Donald. Arguably the league’s most talented defensive player, Donald did not report to training camp when it opened and will probably follow the path set by Le’Veon Bell before him and report as late as possible while still being ready to play when called upon.
- Here’s a fun hypothetical for you Bears fans: Would you rather trade for Mack or Donald?
- Having an elite front-seven presence would make me feel better about the Bears going up against Russell Wilson. The Seahawks quarterback does more with less (especially along the offensive line) as the years go on, and teammate/wide receiver Doug Baldwin thinks he’s at his best right now. “This is the best I’ve seen Russ since he’s been here,” Wilson said, via The Athletic’s Michael Dugar. “I’m really excited and happy for his progress, because obviously that makes us a lot better.” GULP.
- Under no circumstances should Brian Urlacher’s homecoming (and the Bears’ hope opener in primetime) be ruined by the Seahawks. The Bears simply cannot let this happen. Do what you must, just don’t let Wilson wreck things.
- While the Bears and Roquan Smith struggle to come to a deal, I find myself in awe of what the Patriots do with Tom Brady’s deal on nearly an annual basis:
Patriots expected to make adjustments to Tom Brady’s contract, per source. Brady is scheduled to make $15 million – a bargain – and they will be adding a variety of performance-based incentives to bring him to closer to market – like what Pats did last year with TE Rob Gronkowski
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 9, 2018
Patriots and Tom Brady expected to officially add those performance-based incentives to his contract in the next 24 hours, per source. But Brady will have chance to bring his contract more in line with other QBs.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 9, 2018
- Aaron Rodgers made waves with some rather candid comments regarding the practice performance of his receivers, then sent a reminder of what the NFL protests are really about:
Aaron Rodgers eloquently reminds the world what NFL protests are about pic.twitter.com/xF6YOJrmpn
— For The Win (@ForTheWin) August 9, 2018
- The Bears, as an organization have never been one to ruffle feathers. So it comes as no surprise that the team is never in hot water when it comes to the matter of protests. HOWEVER, the Bears did take the field at the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game and linked arms. And while that is not viewed as a sign of protest, it could very well be seen as a sign of togetherness in an attempt to bring awareness to something bigger than football.