Eagles fans booed their team off the field as it faced a 6-3 halftime deficit against the Falcons only hours after the team raised a Super Bowl championship banner. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
- The NFL returned last night to a game that was way too reminiscent of the brand of football we saw last year around the league: sloppy play, befuddling decisions by coaches, and questionable penalties. It all marred a slog of a game for about 56 minutes before being salvaged by a dramatic finish as time expired.
- Even the high-stakes finish was sluggish. Nothing exemplifies that game like NBC analyst Cris Collinsworth setting up the final stanza with Atlanta in the red zone saying that these situations are what the Falcons have been working on all offseason to get right, only to have four non-competitive end zone tries as time expires. Woof!
- Atlanta lost its first three preseason games and limited their starters throughout the summer, so I couldn’t shake the feeling that preseason snaps might be more valuable than previously believed. It’s possible that we’ll be in for some of that sloppy play when the Bears take the field against the Packers on Sunday. Head Coach Matt Nagy’s decision to sit his players for the dress rehearsal preseason exhibition could come back to bite the team in prime time. Then again, if they execute better than the Falcons did then maybe it won’t.
- While the Bears are preparing Khalil Mack to overcome an offseason where he didn’t participate in any offseason training activities, training camp, or preseason games, the Raiders are left trying to justify the deal:
Raiders DC Paul Guenther said he ran into Khalil Mack at a restaurant in March. Hoped to see him again. “He’s a fantastic player, obviously. We all know that. … We’re trying to build this organization the right way.” Supports team’s decision to do what’s in its best interest.
— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) September 6, 2018
Guenther said it was a case if you keep Mack, “you lose seven other players” later
— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) September 6, 2018
- Salary cap concerns are real (the Bears might already have to decide between Adrian Amos and Eddie Goldman) and it’ll take a magician-like effort for the Bears to stay under it while maximizing their non-open (thanks, Mack) competitive window. But that’s a problem for future Ryan Pace … and I don’t envy that guy having to deal with that situation one bit.
- Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers knows what Mack’s addition means to the NFL’s most storied rivalry. “That’s a really good player in his prime,” Rodgers said, via the Green Bay Press-Gazette. “They obviously gave up some picks, but it just adds to the rivalry now that we get to see him twice a year.”
- Defensive Coordinator Vic Fangio believes Mack could have a “domino effect” on his teammates upon arrival, writes Colleen Kane of the Tribune. It’s easy to immediately think about what he does for his fellow defensive running mates, but I find myself going back to Mitch Trubisky’s thoughts about Mack joining the squad. Mack’s presence in the locker room has everyone on notice and at attention. And if he can spark the entire locker room, then that can only be a good thing.
- Clearly, Fangio is geeked about the move:
- The Bears haven’t had an impact pass-rusher since Julius Peppers had his hand on the ground on the front lines of Lovie Smith’s defense. So I find myself very curious to see how Mack’s impact looks in the secondary. Adam Jahns of the Sun-Times writes about the team’s starting safety tandem of Adrian Amos and Eddie Jackson being excited about starting a second season together. Amos and Jackson didn’t start working in tandem until after Quintin Demps went down with an injury in Week 3, but that dynamic duo really took off once they were paired with each other.
- How long the two will be together is left to be determined. After all, Amos is a free agent after this year and could be in line for a solid contract extension.
- Since four of the five players who were named captains on the 2017 Bears are no longer with the team, I suppose there is no better time than now to name new captains. And that’s exactly what Head Coach Matt Nagy has done … with a twist:
#Bears HC Matt Nagy says Mitchell Trubisky (offense), Akiem Hicks (defense) and Benny Cunningham (special teams) will serve as captains for Week 1. New captains will be selected every week.
— Larry Mayer (@LarryMayer) September 6, 2018
- Quarterback Mitch Trubisky, defensive end Akiem Hicks, and running back/return specialist Benny Cunningham have been named captains for Week 1 against the Packers. But they won’t be the only captains we’ll see on the turf representing the Bears this season. Sixteen games and three new captains every week means that the Bears will send out 48 players out for the coin toss. It’s an outside the box idea that Nagy believes will give players a chance to show accountability and leadership skills for a week (Sun-Times). Of course, this isn’t an unprecedented move. Though, I’ll pretend as if this didn’t happen during the Marc Trestman era if you agree to do the same. Deal? (Shake on it.)