NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport tweets that Roquan Smith (who has officially signed! (MUCH more on that as the day goes on!)) is expected to be available to the media after today’s practice, so we’ll try to bang through a quality set of Bullets here.
- What happened in the past isn’t necessarily indicative of how things will unfold in the future, but this is disconcerting at face value:
History lesson: The five #Bears rookie holdouts since the end of the Ditka era had two things in common — they never saw the benefits they were holding out for. And all five were busts with the Bears. A new era? A different player? We'll see about that.
Check out this chart: pic.twitter.com/gf231rvOso
— Mark Potash (@MarkPotash) August 13, 2018
- Better late than never, right? Smith’s arrival comes at a time that could be advantageous to a team that wants to get him up to speed as soon as possible. Practicing against another team has its benefits and should quickly get Smith into the right mindset. The Bears are probably going to have to throw extra reps at him to get him whipped into shape, but those are the perils of being a late signing.
- Over at NBC Sports Chicago, JJ Stankevitz sets expectations for the rookie linebacker as his holdout ends. The bar was already high because Smith was a top-10 pick, but now he enters a situation where he has to win over teammates, get into a place where he can push for an eventual starting job, and battle for playing time with Nick Kwiatkoski … all while attempting to possibly play as many as three preseason games. Good luck, young man. You’re going to need it.
- ESPN’s Matt Bowen explains why Smith can make an impact upon arrival. Let’s not lose sight of why the Bears drafted Smith in the first place. Impact linebackers in the middle of Vic Fangio’s defense can be game-changers against the run and pass. Smith’s combination of speed, instincts, and skill should allow the Bears to use the rookie in a variety of packages – even if he isn’t starting in Week 1. Smith will certainly need some time to get his legs under him, but once he does it’s soooo going to be on!
- Chris Emma of 670 The Score writes that while Smith has missed out on some valuable practice reps, there is no denying his talent and potential moving forward. Remember how excited you were when the Bears drafted Smith with the eighth overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Now, channel that energy and those emotions and apply them to the present moment because that guy is now in the fold. In a sense, you can view Smith’s signing as a late-summer injection of talent – one the Bears could definitely use.
- Let’s be completely honest with ourselves: If Smith lives up to being a top-10 pick who was an All-American and Butkus Award winner at an SEC powerhouse, then we’ll forget about the drama that surrounded the holdout situation.
- This isn’t the first time Smith has had an issue signing something that locked him into a commitment:
Roquan Smith has a history of thinking critically about his rights as an athlete—in high school, he refused to sign a national letter of intent, which allowed him to switch his commitment after a coach left https://t.co/YagT5mnHox
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) August 14, 2018
- I don’t follow the college football signing circuit as close as I once did, but Smith played his college recruitment perfectly. He held the most advantageous cards in his favor for as long as he could and played the right hand as he eventually committed to Georgia. It’s understandable if UCLA fans read this and get flashbacks to a disappointing time, but Smith simply did what was best for him. I’d like to imagine you’d do what’s best for you and your family if it ever came to it.
- A brief look at the bigger picture suggests it’s possible that Smith’s holdout could have provided a big win for the grand scheme of things for players who will be drafted next:
Roquan Smith set to sign with Bears, last of 256 Draft picks to sign. Examined his situation, teams imposing their will on rookies, here: https://t.co/sB1GLONvF8
— Andrew Brandt (@AndrewBrandt) August 14, 2018
- This is a bold prediction, but if you’re going to make one, make it a big one:
August 14, 2018 …
Bold prediction: Roquan Smith will never be suspended for a football hit. Roquan Smith will never be suspended for a non-football play on-field transgression.
— Dan Wiederer (@danwiederer) August 14, 2018
- Roquan Smith news wasn’t the only thing happening in the Bears’ world. Kevin Fishbain of The Athletic shares his training camp standouts with Bourbonnais in the rear-view mirror. Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune dishes out his own set of training camp awards.
- I like what I saw from Kevin White at training camp. Maybe a lot of that has to do with White being healthy enough to participate in drills and activities. But there’s a chunk of it that has to do with how he practiced with confidence and seemed to build a rapport with Mitch Trubisky. After an offseason of changes at the wide receiver position, White looks to slide in as the team’s No. 4 receiver. At this point, anything the Bears get from him moving forward is gravy. Jeff Hughes of Da Bears Blog wonders why folks are so hard on White, who is the most polarizing player on the preseason 90-man roster. Well, among those who weren’t going through a contract holdout.
- While expectations have been tampered for White, they’re only going to get bigger for 2017 second-round tight end Adam Shaheen. The Ashland University product looked good as a route runner in camp and during the Bears’ preseason game against the Bengals. Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times writes about Shaheen’s newfound freedom to explore in Matt Nagy’s offense. Shaheen will be a bigger part of the offense and that breakout we hoped he would have as a rookie could be on the horizon in 2018.
- Meanwhile, the team the Bears are going to practice with is brewing up a quarterback storm with 2017 Mr. Irrelevant Chad Kelly leap-frogging 2016 first-round pick Paxton Lynch on the depth chart.
- I know the Cubs are looking to add arms for the stretch run, but this one is going to be busy in September and October:
The heck? pic.twitter.com/9GSaNcwsMc
— Brian Sandalow (@BrianSandalow) August 14, 2018