Let’s Enjoy the Final Big-Time College Football Saturday of the Year and Other Bullets
All I heard this morning were raindrops on my window and icicles crashing down to concrete. Happy December!
- It’s the last big-time college football Saturday of the year and it’s going to be hard to move me from a comfortable place on the couch. Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray is trying to make a statement in his case for the Heisman Trophy. Ohio State and Northwestern are playing for a Rose Bowl spot. Alabama and Georgia square off for SEC supremacy. There’s just a ton of good stuff happening in the college football world today, so let’s enjoy it while we can.
- In previous years, we would use this weekend to get a feel for potential draft fits for the Bears. And while that’s still on our mind, we can’t get enough of n NFC North leading Bears team that could move to 9-3 with a win on Sunday.
- In case you missed it, the Bears’ injury report had some good news on it. Mitch Trubisky was a limited participant in practice and was listed as doubtful to play in Sunday’s game against the Giants, but has been medically cleared to throw and did some throwing on Friday. The ability to throw the football seems like an important part of a quarterback’s job, so it’s good to see progress there.
- We were momentarily worried about defensive lineman Akiem Hicks’ playing status, but he was upgraded from a non-participant to practicing in full on Friday. Hicks is questionable to play on Sunday, but the feeling is that he’ll give it a go.
- Bears highlight packages are a lot more fun this year. I can’t put my finger on why, though:
Man, it feels good to be a Bears fan right now.#DaBears pic.twitter.com/r2MJ9ZfGyL
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) November 30, 2018
- “It feels good to be a bears fan right now” seems like the understatement of the year.
- One of the most difficult things about writing up this week’s Game Preview (which you can read here) was deciding between designating Giants running back Saquon Barkley or receiver Odell Beckham Jr. as the player to watch. Barkley is an all-world talent, a game-changer in the running game, and someone who figures to be a force in the years to come. Beckham is an all-world talent, a game changer in the passing offense, who has been a force in the league for years. Now can you see my dilemma in picking just one?
- Here’s what worries me about Beckham: Chicago’s defense has allowed 100-yard receiving games to Randall Cobb, Albert Wilson, and Josh Gordon. All of those games were losses. They have also allowed 100-yard receiving efforts to DeSean Jackson and Stefon Diggs in games the Bears happened to win. If the Bears secondary can put the clamps down on Beckham and neutralize a passing offense that will be without its top tight end target, it could make for an easier job in keeping Barkley in check.
- Our best-case scenario is the Bears jumping out to a big lead, which would likely move the Giants off trying to establish Barkley in the running game, and from there, keep Beckham under wraps to the point where New York’s best offensive option is dump passes to Barkley. And while that’s an effective strategy when Barkley has space in the open field, a good-tackling Bears defense should be able to limit the damage with sure-handed open-field tackling. I admit it’s easier said than done, but it’s a plan.
- Matt Nagy’s transparency and insight makes writing about the Bears more fun than it was this time last year:
Bears head coach Matt Nagy is winning games on the field and at press conferences. https://t.co/v3jUp4hnYE
— Dan Pompei (@danpompei) November 30, 2018
- I haven’t gotten around to listening to this, but I know Rick Gregg does good work over at WBBM:
I spoke with Jim McMahon's agent about Super Bowl Week of '86 and a whole bunch more. Full interview here: https://t.co/O9zalo6vtE @wbbmnewsradio https://t.co/qZFpnJof9w
— Rick Gregg (@rickgregg) November 30, 2018
- More noble causes from Bears players participating in the #MyCauseMyCleats efforts:
Through #MyCauseMyCleats, @Witz76 is hoping to help bring awareness to the need for clean drinking water around the world by representing @livingwater.#DaBears pic.twitter.com/EDQJZAGOhQ
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) November 30, 2018
- This is moving:
Our friends from @mbmhmc came out to visit w/ #DaBears at practice yesterday. pic.twitter.com/DpAilGTnq3
— Chicago Bears (@BearsOutreach) December 1, 2018
- Back in February, Kareem Hunt faced allegations that he shoved a woman at a Cleveland hotel. TMZ obtained and published the video on Friday afternoon. On Friday evening, the Kansas City Chiefs released the running back. Here is the team’s statement:
Statement from the Kansas City Chiefs on Kareem Hunt
➡️ https://t.co/MrjIX1Y7Ke pic.twitter.com/efSMqUDio1
— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) December 1, 2018
- Hunt led the NFL in rushing yards last year and ranked fifth in that category before his release on Friday. Some Bears fans have asked if he would be on the team’s radar when he becomes a free agent. To be honest, I can’t see it happening. The Bears have stayed away from signing players with off-the-field issues since the Ray McDonald signing (and subsequent release shortly after when another domestic violence issue popped up) and it feels like GM Ryan Pace has learned something about handling those situations. So while Matt Nagy has a relationship with Hunt that dates back to their time in Kansas City and Mitch Trubisky has ties to Hunt that go back to their time as Ohio prep stars, it’s tough to imagine the Bears signing Hunt.