Updated Mack Odds, Soldier Field Beer Cycles, Fuller Gets Embarrassed, and Other Bullets
Things weren’t looking great for the Chicago Bears earlier in the week when some oddsmakers (who didn’t even have the Bears among the possibilities) listed the Green Bay Packers as the favorites to land Khalil Mack. But since then, the Bears have popped up as a real possibility on the rumor mill and the oddsmakers were left to update their board:
The Bears having better odds than the Raiders at this point is wild. But as Mack’s holdout from Raiders camp continues into the preseason, the chances of the two sides splitting up increases. The Raiders had a holdout issue with left tackle Donald Penn which ended in late August, then led to a pay raise for Penn in September. Clearly, the Raiders know how to put an end to this. But will they?
The Chicago Bears’ brief Colorado getaway ends tonight with a game against the Denver Broncos that kicks off at 8 p.m. central time. Just a tip: You might want to get in an afternoon nap if you want to take in the full four quarters of preseason action.
Kyle Fuller flashed with a pick-six in last week’s preseason shindig against the Bengals and it would be nice if he could do it again. Especially after being taken to school by Broncos receiver Emmanuel Sanders during Thursday’s practice:
One thing is for certain: Playing cornerback in the NFL means you better have a short memory.
It sounds like Broncos Head Coach Vance Joseph wants to play his starters into the second quarter with his first-team players. “I’m looking at about a quarter, quarter and a half with our ones,” Joseph said, via the Broncos’ official website. “Our twos will play until we see progress. We’ll play our threes late.”
From a Bears perspective, we’re looking forward to seeing an extended look at the first-team offense. The Bears’ first-unit ran eight plays and literally didn’t gain any net yardage. In fact, the Bengals held the Bears to negative yardage (-1). So not only does this group need reps, it also needs to show literal progress … as in moving the ball down the field.
And while we’d love to see some sort of offensive explosion tonight, let’s make one thing clear: The Bears shouldn’t put anything on tape that will catch the Packers’ eye for Week 1. I thought the Bengals made a mistake in showing a fake punt look in last week’s preseason game because it put something on film for every special teams coach in the league. Working on improving timing, chemistry, rounding things into form, and staying healthy are the top priorities when it comes to preseason football. But we shouldn’t overlook the idea that teams should be looking to keep as much of their schematic advantage as possible during the preseason.
But still … we’d like to see, more than anything, Allen Robinson and Anthony Miller continue to develop a rapport with Mitch Trubisky. We don’t need to see it all at once, but a taste here and there would do wonders for all parties. Especially since we know Trubisky’s hope is to stretch the field vertically once he gets to use the full offense.
It would also be a sign of progress to see Trubisky in sync with his center. Bad snaps have been a mild annoyance this summer and things really need to be cleaned up in that area if the Bears’ offense is going to take off. A bad snap can derail a drive as easily as a penalty or a drop. And after seeing all three on one drive last week against the Bengals, not having a repeat performance in that regard would be huge for the Bears’ offense – even if it’s something that isn’t going to show up in a box score.
At least there is stability at left tackle. Bears Radio play-by-play voice Jeff Joniak chimes in with some thoughts on Charles Leno Jr., the Bears’ starting left tackle who has worked his way into a quality starter. Finding stability at that position hasn’t been easy, but Leno has been reliable (and quite good) since being installed as the team’s left tackle in 2015. So while he isn’t flashy, Leno is still productive. And considering the issues elsewhere on the line, it’s encouraging that left tackle isn’t one of them.
SportsCenter’s Twitter tried to dunk on Bears backup QB Chase Daniel, but Anthony Miller wasn’t having any of it:
At minimum, that should buy Miller a few extra targets if he’s working with Daniel and the second unit tonight.
Over at NBC Sports Chicago, JJ Stankevitz writes about one of the team’s more intriguing long-shots. John Franklin III is best known as a standout on “Last Chance U” which is fitting because this feels a lot like a last chance for the former quarterback and wide receiver who is trying to make the conversion to defensive back. The Bears’ secondary is loaded with young talent in a similar position to that of Franklin, so it’s very much an up-hill climb. Frankly, I’d like to see Franklin with the ball in his hands as a return specialist. His speed stands out and it could be an asset if used properly. We’ll see how his playing time unfolds tonight and the rest of the preseason.
I’m looking forward to seeing how this looks at Soldier Field at some point this season: