If the NFL follows the lead of some of its younger coaches and takes a bite out of the preseason, I wonder what that will do for fantasy draft season. Most leagues wait until after the third preseason game to draft. But if the third preseason game isn’t meaningful any more, does that mean we’ll draft earlier? Later? And who should I draft anyway? Ugh, so many questions ….
- Matt Nagy’s unconventional decision to rest his team’s starters on Saturday received criticism from a number of places, but NBC Sports writes that the players seem to have his back. Danny Trevathan said the decision had players feeling like the coach cared about them. Sam Acho added a strong point by saying: “Just because we’ve been doing it for a long time doesn’t mean it’s right, just because it’s what most NFL teams do doesn’t mean it’s the right way of thinking.” Those are two mature responses from veteran defenders that most fans can probably find room to get behind. I, of course, can vibe with what these leaders had to say too. Now let’s just hope the extra rest allows them to heal up before Week 1 in Green Bay.
- Oh, and for as easy as it is to criticize the decision to rest the starters, I find it easier to see Nagy’s decision as an opportunity to better evaluate the team’s depth. After all, quality depth is not something the Bears could brag about in recent years. In fact, there were times when the Bears were simply overwhelmed by their opponents, precisely because their depth was over-matched (and even non-competitive). So if it turns out that Nagy and the Bears were able to better evaluate what some players in the middle and bottom half of the roster can do, then the experiment will have been a wise one. You can’t win without depth in the NFL.
- It’s interesting to think about this statement by Nagy from before training camp:
Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace are promising a camp loaded with physicality to “build callous” for these Bears. pic.twitter.com/cyVJIvgGFW
— Dan Wiederer (@danwiederer) July 19, 2018
- A “callous” and physical training camp made for an interesting point of emphasis for a team coming off some injury riddled years. I suppose it’s possible that a physical training camp is more productive to player development than a vanilla-based game simulation that has an infinitely higher percentage of injury risk. Clearly, there’s a delicate balance that needs to be struck here. Maybe Nagy has found it within his methodology.
- I’d like to think there are positives to take away from a physical training camp, and one that stands out is that Kevin White made it out unscathed. The tough-luck receiver caught his first professional touchdown pass on Saturday and has grown into the underdog story of the summer. White tells Larry Mayer of the Bears’ official website that his score was “just the beginning.” Ideally, there are more where that came from in what is a contract year for the 2015 first-round pick.
- ESPN cooked up a list of the NFL’s top 100 players, which didn’t include any members of the 2018 Bears. Naturally. The panel of NFL experts rated players on a 0-100 scale with an emphasis on which ones will be great in the season to come. It’s really no surprise that the Bears were blanked here. Simply put, we shouldn’t expect any Chicago players to land on the list until the team starts performing at a higher level.
- If I had to bank on a player making next year’s list, it might be receiver Allen Robinson. The team’s top wideout figures to see an up-tick in production after an injury shortened 2017 that followed a relatively disappointing 2016 season:
2015 will probably always be Allen Robinson's career year, but the projections in our Fantasy Playbook draft guide have him getting strongly back to the positive after a down 2016 and a 2017 injury.
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) August 28, 2018
- Robinson didn’t come away with any stats of note during the preseason, but his absence has allowed others to try and make a name for themselves this summer. That includes players like White and Javon Wims, who were Saturday’s standouts against the Chiefs. The Bears had waves of wideouts vying for preseason playing time, including newcomers, Bennie Fowler and Marlon Brown, who were fighting for spots on the back end of the roster.
- Shut up and take my money:
I want a Bears T-shirt that says, "The Most Powerful Weapon on Earth is the Human Soul on Fire" pic.twitter.com/BPQbH5d0Ts
— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) August 28, 2018
- The Buccaneers have the potential to be sneaky good this year, especially if they can hold their own without Jameis Winston during the quarterback’s three-game suspension. There was a belief that this team could start 2018 with three straight losses, making them ripe for the pickin’ when they stroll into Soldier Field in Week 4. NFL Network analyst Peter Schrager says hold your horses if you think Tampa Bay will be a cakewalk: