The youngest player on the Chicago Bears just turned 21:
Happy birthday, James Daniels. Celebrate responsibly!
- James Daniels’ time as a starting offensive lineman will come soon enough, he’ll just have to be patient and wait for his time to shine. Neither center Cody Whitehair or left guard Eric Kush earned high grades from Pro Football Focus after Sunday’s effort in Green Bay. Both players earned 55.2 grades. Whitehair ranked 27th among 32 centers, while Kush checked in 51st among the 65 guards who played enough snaps to qualify. Not the start either was shooting for, but a chance at redemption will arrive on Monday.
- The Bears had two standout performances elsewhere on the line. We discussed Kyle Long’s strong game at right guard, but let’s not overlook Charles Leno Jr. holding it down at left tackle. The arrow continues to point up for Leno, who was PFF’s third-highest-graded tackle in Week 1. Leno had a career year in 2017 and was looking great in the preseason. It’s not often that solid left tackles are overlooked, but Leno should probably start getting some more love as long as he continues to play at this level.
- Is it possible that practicing against Khalil Mack is making Leno better? I wouldn’t rule it out. Steel sharpens steel, after all. Mack was a surprising snub when the league handed out its Week 1 hardware, giving the NFC Defensive Player of the Week award to Vikings safety Harrison Smith. Maybe Smith was the best defensive player during the early slate of games, but Mack’s dominant performance in the first half should have been enough to snag the honors. For Mack to do what he did in his first game without any offseason training with the team, training camp reps, or preseason snaps and not win the award is highway robbery. Unacceptable.
- Clear some time out of your schedule to read Chris Emma’s breakdown of Mack’s wild first week with the Bears.
- Mack reminded Hall of Fame writer Dan Pompei of Lawrence Taylor, which is probably the best thing you could say about an impact pass-rusher. Browse through the rest of Pompei’s commentary on Week 1, some of which has me excited about moving past that debacle and getting ready to roll for Week 2.
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) September 13, 2018
- On the other side of the conference ledger, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was the AFC’s Offensive Player of the Week. Mahomes completed just 55.6 percent of his passes, but threw for 256 yards and four touchdowns against the Chargers. Mahomes was the second quarterback taken in the 2017 NFL Draft and was a Matt Nagy pupil as he worked behind starting quarterback Alex Smith as a rookie. Mahomes has elite arm talent and playmaking ability, which you’ll see in this highlight package below:
- So is that how Nagy’s offense is supposed to look over four quarters? Sign me up for that, please.
- Kind of a cool nugget that serves a reminder that sixth-round star quarterbacks are the exception, and not the rule:
#NFL Opening weekend had 19 former first round picks as the starter: Bradford, Ryan, Flacco, Newton, Trubisky, Stafford, Rodgers, Watson, Luck, Bortles, Mahomes, Rivers, Goff, Tannehill, Manning, Darnold, Roethlisberger, Mariota, Smith. @nfl pic.twitter.com/ZircHkru2O
— Mike Jurecki (@mikejurecki) September 13, 2018
- Ex-Bear center Hroniss Grasu worked out for the Titans, according to NFL insider Adam Caplan. Grasu was released the Sunday after cut-down day in order to make room for Mack on the 53-man roster.
- And finally:
Akiem Hicks is a national treasure. pic.twitter.com/MqIG7ctlE3
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) September 12, 2018