Rejoice! The Bears' Final Preseason Game is Finally Here and Other Bullets

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Rejoice! The Bears’ Final Preseason Game is Finally Here and Other Bullets

Chicago Bears

The college football season kicks off tonight, with several locals (including my alma mater Southern Illinois) set to get things under way. Between the atmosphere, energy, innovation, and coaches showing a willingness to take risks from coast to coast in a variety of games, I find my interest in the game growing in recent years. And if that fails, I have futures wagers from my most recent trip to Vegas including Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray at 20-to-1 to win the Heisman Trophy. That should be fun to follow.

  • Speaking of sports gambling, the NFL and the NCAA are joining forces and working together with the idea of “protecting the integrity” of the game. Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio shares the joint statement issued on Wednesday evening, which simply states that two entities that have long fought against the legalization of sports wagering are going to fight for oversight and legislation on a federal level. Good luck with that.
  • Moving onto the Bears’ final preseason game, which will have a different vibe than what we’re used to. It starts in the broadcast booth, where Kyle Brandt will make his first appearance in an NFL broadcast booth calling a game for the team he grew up rooting for as a Chicagoland native. Over at the Bears’ official website, Simon Kaufman has the details of the Stevenson High School product who has quite the eclectic background having dabbled in soap operas (Days of Our Lives), reality television (Real World: Chicago), and sports-talk programming (Jim Rome, Good Morning Football). Brandt will be joined by ex-Bears quarterback Jim Miller and former Bears/Northwestern University defensive end Corey Wootton.
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
  • If the name Corey Wootton rings a bell, but you don’t remember why, here’s your friendly reminder:

  • As for the Bears season to come, PFF has me feeling good about the team’s top tight ends:

  • Yes, I understand that Adam Shaheen is hurt and that’s a bit of a blow to this group’s upside. But a tight end friendly offense with two capable athletes manning the position is something worth optimistic about once this collection of players is at full strength. But with Shaheen out, we’ll be keeping our eyes on the likes of Daniel Brown and Ben Braunecker as they try to close the preseason on a high note tonight against the Buffalo Bills.
  • Having practiced against a variety of quality tight ends during the summer should help the Bears’ secondary prepare for the challenges ahead. Hopefully, seeing what Shaheen, Trey Burton, and others can do will put the defense in a position to make plays against skilled opponents. I’m very much intrigued to see what Prince Amukamara has in store in 2018 (even though you probably won’t see him matched up against a tight end unless someone gets creative and lines up on the outside). Amukamara signed a three-year deal as a free agent to remain with the Bears and has a newfound appreciation of what it means to have some stability in the NFL. “I can play more free,” Amukamara said, via Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times. “I’m not worried about getting subbed out, I’m not worried about getting cut, all that stuff. I’m not worried about trying to impress everybody. Now I can hone in and play my game.”
  • We often focus on the physical side of the grueling game, but there is something to be said about the value of being at ease mentally. That Amukamara could have played so well last year knowing he was on a one-year “prove it deal” is impressive because there is a lot can go wrong quickly when you only have a small window to prove yourself. Now that he is at ease, perhaps we’ll continue to see him play well. Hopefully, well enough to live up to the lofty expectations he set for himself.
  • Don’t ask why, but this famous Peyton Manning-SNL bit popped up in conversation between Brett, Michael, and myself, so I’m glad that Manning recently looked back at the skit so I can share this:

  • Bleacher Report’s Mike Tanier puts a focus on the line of scrimmage as he wades through the contenders. Because we can talk about skill position players, chunk plays, explosive hits, and everything else under the sun … football is still won in the trenches. Further, the teams with the best offensive and defensive lines are often the ones we see making annual trips to the postseason. There’s a lot to like about the Bears’ offensive line, but there are clearly some kinks that need to be worked out. Once that group is settled, you’ll see the Bears’ arrow really pointing in t
  • With that in mind, we’re down to Mitch Trubisky days before the road to the Super Bowl begins in Green Bay:

Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.