(Editor’s Note: I’ll never miss an opportunity to use that smilingly-smug picture of Jon Gruden, whenever we discuss Khalil Mack and/or the Raiders’ 2018 defense).
Right now is when I’m feeling the length of the bye week. The last two days have felt like one long hump-day Wednesday. Just get us to Thursday already, sheesh!
- This is what the other side of the Khalil Mack Effect looks like:
"Now five weeks into the season, Oakland ranks 32nd in total pressures (46) and is on pace to 94 fewer pressures than the team ever had in the Khalil Mack era (2014-17)."
— Austin Gayle (@PFF_AustinGayle) October 9, 2018
- Is that bad? This seems bad.
- ICYMI: Bears running back Jordan Howard is considered a “sleeper” trade target for the Eagles, according to long-time football scribe John Clayton. The rumor mill kicked this one up on Tuesday afternoon, which makes makes this Tuesday evening tweet a well-timed share via the Bears’ official Twitter page:
Nagy: “Jordan Howard is a big part of this offense and I think that for us to continue to keep trying to grow, everybody in this offense has a role.”
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) October 10, 2018
- Our general feeling is that of course the Eagles would like to have Howard. Their running back stable isn’t what it was last year due to injuries and free agent defections, and Howard would present a major upgrade at that position. But just because the Eagles might want him doesn’t mean they can have him. Especially during a season where the Bears are 3-1 and have a legitimate shot at making their first postseason run since 2010. Maybe trading Howard is something the Bears explore in the offseason, but it would be inexcusable to do so right now (unless the return was too good to pass up).
- I haven’t given it too much thought, but what would an offer that you couldn’t refuse look like? To be honest, it’s hard to think of one when our focus has been on finding a path for the Bears to make the playoffs. It’s probably not on Howard’s mind either, as he has said all the right things you would expect a good teammate to say.
- Once you get past the backs on the Bears roster, you’re left with practice squad options Taquan Mizzell and Ryan Nall. Both are skilled players, but it’s tough to imagine relying on a second-year back and an undrafted free agent rookie when your team was in the heat of a playoff chase. That’s just another reason why a Howard deal wouldn’t make sense right now, even if the idea of in-season trades (as rare as they are) can be fun to think about.
- While a sense of uncertainty hovers around the running backs room, no such feeling exists when you think about the Bears’ defense:
- Here is a different way to look at the Bears’ defensive dominance:
This is interesting … the Eagles are allowing the 7th-fewest TDs per drive faced:
10.9% Jaguars [6/55]
12.3% Ravens [8/65]
14.7% Browns [11/75]
15.1% Titans [8/53]
17.7% Jets [11/62]
17.8% Bears [8/45]
18.2% Eagles [10/55]
19.2% Cowboys [10/52]
20.0% Giants [10 / 50]
— Reuben Frank (@RoobNBCS) October 10, 2018
- This is a unique perspective on what the defense is doing:
Bears OLB Aaron Lynch on earning respect: “Even though we are the top dogs in our division, people are still looking at us like it’s a fluke, like guys are making plays they didn’t used to make. No, everybody’s in their right role now and everybody’s doing great.”
— Mark Grote (@markgrotesports) October 9, 2018
- Aaron Lynch’s Bears career got off to a slow start when various injuries kept him out of OTAs, training camp, and preseason games. But Lynch has played well since Week 2 when called upon, showing the kind of flashes you hoped to see from a player who was slated to start opposite of Leonard Floyd at one point. Even as Floyd struggles, it’s nice to have some depth with the ability to make plays in a pinch.
- Over at 670 The Score, Bears radio play-by-play voice Jeff Joniak is feeling a different vibe these days with the Bears. It’s an inescapable feeling that as good as things are now, the best could still be yet to come. In a story we’ve heard too many times before, Chicago’s defense is clicking while its offense is still playing catch-up. The difference with this team is that there are more pieces in place that could lead to offensive success to the point where the defense doesn’t feel the need to handle all the responsibility for making this a successful run.
- If the Bears are going to complete this year having made good on the positive early-season vibes, it’s going to take a team effort. Yes, even the Bears special teams (which has been key to the Bears’ early season success) must contribute for this thing to happen.
- George Taliaferro was a trail-blazer and the Bears were the team that opened the door and made him the first African-American draft pick in NFL history. May he rest in peace:
George Taliaferro passed away last night at the age of 91. When the Bears picked him in the 1949 NFL draft, he became the first African-American ever drafted by an NFL team. pic.twitter.com/aieMZ8CkhD
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 9, 2018