Jackson's Swagger, Smith's Upswing, Burton's Bounce Back, and Other Bullets

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Jackson’s Swagger, Smith’s Upswing, Burton’s Bounce Back, and Other Bullets

Chicago Bears

Editors Note: Apologies for the late bullets today, but we had important good news (Eddie Jackson defensive player of the month!) and bad news (Chase Daniel likely to start on Sunday) to get to first. 

It’s the last week of the regular season for fantasy football players, which means this is a playoff week for teams on the bubble. In case you’re wondering, I find myself both in the thick of a playoff race and on the bubble in a friends and family league. It’s a 12-team league and my squad is 7-5 and holding onto the last playoff spot thanks to the points tie-breaker. Unfortunately, my team is one of FIVE 7-5 teams battling for a spot … and we’re all within one game of the two 8-4 teams tied for first.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wishes he had that kind of parity in the league he runs.

  • In Case You Missed It: Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky did enough at practice to be listed as limited on the injury report, but it sounds like it won’t be enough to get back in the starting lineup. It sounds like Chase Daniel is going to start again. Given that Daniel will be given a full plate of practice reps with the first team going into Sunday’s game against the Giants, I feel better about how he could play in Week 13 than I did entering Week 12.
  • There is a belief among some of our readership who think the Bears are simply holding Trubisky back because they don’t think they need him to beat a 3-8 Giants team. I can’t imagine that being the case, especially after hearing Nagy’s thoughts on the matter:

  • That’s the right mindset to have from a coaching standpoint. Remember, the whole point of resting players in the preseason was to have them physically healthy and available for the regular season. As long as the Bears are playing for something, you can expect their regulars to be in on the action. Once the Bears are able to lock up a playoff spot, then we can start discussing the idea of resting guys if necessary.
  • Because I needed a little bit of optimism in my morning, JJ Stankevitz of NBC Sports Chicago provides the reasons why the Bears should beat the Giants even with Daniel as their starting quarterback. Three reasons is more than enough, IMHO.
  • Here is a different way to look at the Chase Daniel situation: This presents Matt Nagy with another opportunity to prove how good he is/can be as a game-planner and play-caller. It didn’t look like the Bears had to dial it back to reel in the offense because a backup was under center. But that could prove to be more difficult this week now that the Giants have a full week of preparation and some relevant game tape on Daniel. New York is going to be ready for what they saw last Thursday. What Chicago needs to be able to do is show a counter-punch. As a first-year head coach, Nagy has been up to the challenge more often than not. I can’t remember a time in Bears history where guys were schemed open as often as this offense has created open receivers. They’ll need more of that so long as Daniel is starting.
  • Speaking of which, the NFL Coach of the Year race is packed to the gills:

  • Swagger on a hundred, thousand, trillion:

  • When it comes to having the right mindset, Eddie Jackson definitely has it.
  • Another former SEC football star is turning the corner in Chicago. Georgia product/Bears linebacker Roquan Smith has been bringing the heat lately and is really rounding into form. Smith is starting to draw rave reviews for his play via Pro Football Focus. Mark Chichester notes that Smith’s Thanksgiving game was his best of the season with seven solo tackles, four defensive stops, and game day grades of 77.8 (overall), 83.3 (tackling), and 84.4 (coverage) were his best single-game grades of the year. The arrow is so clearly pointing up for a player whose summertime holdout is nothing more than a distant memory at this point.
  • Bleacher Report’s Maurice Moton doesn’t mince words with this post featuring each NFL team’s “most boneheaded decision” of 2018. And while Bears GM Ryan Pace has had one heckuva year, keeping tight end Dion Sims is the slip-up that comes to Moton’s mind. The Bears could have saved some notable cap room had they parted ways with Sims early in the offseason, but chose to keep him on board. Unfortunately, concussions suffered in the preseason and regular season have largely been responsible for things not panning out for Sims this year. Bummer.
  • Elsewhere on the tight-end front:

  • One storyline worth following this week is how Trey Burton bounces back from his worst game as a Bear. He had a key drop, penalty, and fumble on three different drives in a game that could have looked different had the team’s top tight end executed in those three moments. Remember, it’s not about how hard you fall, it’s about how you get back up. Giddy up, Trey.
  • I like to see the Bears get some national love, especially when there is a case to be made for them being a top-5 team in the NFL:

  • This is what it’s all about when it comes to the #MyCauseMyCleats movement:

  • Vince McMahon’s XFL re-boot is getting a St. Louis team:

  • But I still have my doubts about that league getting off the floor. Especially since it will be a year behind the Alliance of American Football league that will start up this coming February.

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Author: Luis Medina

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