Spending a weekend in the Eastern time zone really threw my body clock for a loop and had me thinking about tonight’s Bears-Bengals game being a 7 pm kickoff all week. I guess it’s preseason for us, too.
- My gut tells me we’ll get a chance to focus on the tight ends in tonight’s preseason tilt against the Bengals. Robert Zeglinski of The Rock River Times explains how tight ends should be a main piece of the Bears’ new-look offense this season, and with Dion Sims not even making the trip, this should allow guys behind him on the depth chart to impress (I’m looking at you Adam Shaheen, Daniel Brown, and Colin Thompson). Thompson and Shaheen combined to receive just six of the 50 targets thrown by Bears quarterbacks last week, so there’s really nowhere to go but up.
- Not that much of anything from last year can be applied to a preseason game being played tonight, but Cincinnati is where Shaheen played his best game as a rookie. Shaheen caught four of five passes thrown his way, gained a season-high 44 receiving yards, and even scored a touchdown. It was the kind of game (and game plan) we had hoped to see more often, rather than watching the team use its tight ends as glorified decoys who were non-factors in the passing game. If you’d like, you can re-live the aftermath of that masterpiece here.
- It’s quite possible that we look back on that Bengals game as the moment when things started rolling in the right direction for Mitch Trubisky. In what was his best start of the season, Trubisky completed 25 of 32 passes (78.1% completion rate) for 271 yards, a passing touchdown, rushing score, and 112.4 passer rating. Trubisky’s teammates gave him major props for the performance and earned Pro Football Focus’ best grade for quarterbacks who played in Week 14. Not bad. And actually good, if you take into consideration that Bengals team was playing for one of the AFC’s last remaining playoff spots.
- JJ Stankevitz of NBC Sports Chicago sets some parameters and expectations for the Trubisky-led offense as they set forth on their first preseason action of the summer. You can figure Trubisky will get one or two series of work in his preseason debut, so you’ll want to tune in early if you want to ensure an opportunity to catch a glimpse of QB1 in action. Because after that, it’s another round of Chase Daniel and Tyler Bray reps.
- Daniel gave a behind-the-scenes look at his recent viral video. He might not have All-Pro quarterback skills, but you’re fooling yourself if you didn’t get a kick out of his recent stunt.
- Any one else curious about how Kyle Long will look tonight? The Bears’ starting right guard figures to be in the starting lineup and getting his first game action since his 2017 season ended due to a variety of injuries that had piled up over the year. Offensive Line Coach Harry Hiestand says he feels good about Long’s direction things are headed. “He’s working hard,” Hiestand said of Long, via the Bears’ official website. “When he’s out there, he’s rolling and there’s no backing off. We’re going to be smart in how we progress him through camp, but Kyle’s working extremely hard and he’s on a great path now.” The Bears certainly missed Long’s presence at right guard, a position that saw a ton of turnover last season in his absence. Some stability at that position on the line could truly stabilize things on the unit and within the offense.
- We know one player who won’t be getting any snaps tonight is linebacker Roquan Smith, whose holdout continues. While Smith’s absence might splinter some in the Bears’ fan base, Patrick Finley of the Sun-Times shares that Georgia teammate (and fellow rookie) Javon Wims is showing a sign of solidarity for a fellow Bulldog. I’m on pins-and-needles awaiting Smith’s arrival and the angst is certainly palpable among some, but I feel like I can appreciate teammates having each other’s backs. They’ll need that band of brothers mentality if they are going to survive this season.
- Ummm, what?
when your jump cut rating is 1000 😂 pic.twitter.com/vPptrWqgjv
— NBC Sports (@NBCSports) August 8, 2018
- Alec Brzezinski of the Sporting News provides a Bears-slanted fantasy perspective, diving into players worth drafting and circling those who should probably be avoided. Chicago’s football team hasn’t had too many fantasy-relevant players in recent years, but that might change moving forward after an aggressive offseason that came with sweeping change. Brzezinski suggests drafting running back Tarik Cohen on a hunch, suggesting that Cohen looks more like the kind of running back who can be successful in Matt Nagy’s offense than Jordan Howard. That doesn’t feel accurate, but I can’t blame you if you think there is some Darren Sproles-like value in a jack-of-several-trades kind of back.
- Avoiding Allen Robinson seems like a short-sighted mistake, though. We have previously discussed Robinson’s potential fantasy value, which is rooted in being a volume target as Mitch Trubisky’s top wide receiver.
- I’m not one who puts a ton of stock in TV ratings, but Phil Rosenthal of the Chicago Tribune points out that last week’s Pro Football Hall of Fame Game averaged 6.77 million viewers nationally – which is more than the decisive Game 5 of the NHL Stanley Cup Final in which the Washington Capitals clinched their first ever title. That’s wild.