My alma mater put up 38 points in the first half on the road against an SEC team. Seriously, check out the highlights:
— Saluki Football (@SIU_Football) September 9, 2018
As for what happened in the second half, allow me to direct you to the first-half highlights above…
- Bears. Packers. Time to expect the unexpected:
Quote of the day goes to Kevin King on Mitch Trubisky:
— Chris Barriere (@chrisbarriereTV) September 5, 2018
- The Bears-Packers rivalry is back and I won’t hear anything to the contrary. And while the Bears have been on the short end of the rivalry a bunch on the field lately, picking up some wins off of it could go a long way toward balancing the scales.
- Green Bay fired Defensive Coordinator Dom Capers and had eyes on Vic Fangio as his replacement. Fangio was viewed as a logical candidate and at one point was the rumored top choice to take the gig. To that end, the Packers looked willing to be patient through the process in order to get their man. Somewhere along the line the Packers zigged when everyone expected them to zag and they hired Mike Pettine. After that, the Bears re-signed Fangio to what is believed to be one of the biggest contracts given to a DC and the rest is history.
- Fangio wasn’t the only free agent the Bears and Packers both had heart eyes for this offseason. With an eye on improving its own passing game, Green Bay was also in on the Allen Robinson sweepstakes. The Bears made Robinson a top priority after the Jaguars decided not to hand out the franchise or transition tag to retain him, but the Packers were definitely lurking. Ultimately, Robinson choose Chicago over Green Bay after offers were made.
- Robinson making a good impression on his offensive coordinator:
— Mark Grote (@markgrotesports) September 6, 2018
- After whiffing on two big splashes, the Packers sought to improve their secondary by signing cornerback Kyle Fuller to an offer sheet. Green Bay’s corners weren’t all that great in 2017 and the group certainly needed an upgrade. But with the Packers doing all the leg work in writing a contract, the Bears immediately matched the offer sheet to retain their top-performing cornerback from the 2017 season. Both sides said they were pleased with how things looked after the dust cleared, but it’s not hard to imagine the Packers feeling disappointed after watching a good one get away.
- And then there was the Khalil Mack sweepstakes, where Green Bay was the odds-on favorite to get a deal done at one point. But then the Bears popped up as a team that potentially was hanging around the fringes hoping to strike a deal done until, eventually, doing so last week.
- Now, Mack is a “semiannual menace” for the Packers.
- There was also a point where the Bears and Packers were interested in pursuing free agents Sammy Watkins and Jimmy Graham. Green Bay scored with the Graham deal, but the Bears would move on and sign Trey Burton – who was also garnering interest from the Vikings and Lions.
- No wonder the NFC North is expected to be a highly competitive battle ground. All the teams had their eyes on similar players, all of whom were getting interest from teams around the league. This probably isn’t a coincidence at all.
- Speaking of Burton, here’s hoping this is a thing that happens early and often in 2018:
- Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune writes the Bears’ escape from free agency hell should bode well for the team’s future. After rolling the dice on spending big money on middle-tier talents who produced less-than-desirable results in prior years, Bears GM Ryan Pace swung for the fences and connected with some big names and players who were popular in the free agent market. And while there is a high-risk, high-reward aspect in some of their moves, there aren’t too many arguments against betting on upside.
- The Bears haven’t ever been known for winning bidding wars. They’re also not known for getting the better of the Packers … in any arena. So all of this is a pleasant surprise. But still … they’ve still got one more hurdle to clear, which they can get after starting at 7:20 p.m. CT.