I got a kick out of working on a sports desk with Ken Paxson during my five years at the Chicago Tribune. He is now enjoying retirement after last night’s shindig. I’ll always be thankful that he edited the two published pieces I wrote that made it into newsprint, which I believe had a helping hand into launching me to where I am now. Enjoy retirement, Pax.
- It’s a version of Khalil Mack you’ve never seen (or heard) before:
- I’m going to need a follow-up episode. Preferably, one where Mack shows off his guitar-playing skills. At first, I wouldn’t have pictured Mack as someone who would be into guitar, but we see the power he generates with his arms and hands and I bet he can get down better than any of us could’ve thought. And if you don’t like his skills, he’ll sack you into next week. So you better like what you hear.
- Yesterday, we discussed how the Bears might go about trying to handle the whole Aaron Donald situation. And while you think that’s a nightmare, imagine if they had Mack, too. Back in September, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the Rams made an effort to acquire Mack from the Raiders, then trade him in the offseason to recoup what they had lost. It would have been another all-in addition for the Rams, who would have paired Mack with Donald and Ndamukong Suh in what would’ve created possibly the most fearsome front-line in football. I sure am glad the Bears don’t have to deal with that this weekend.
- Somewhere, 49ers GM John Lynch is still whining about the trade he didn’t make.
- Considering what Mack has done for the Bears this year, I’m almost curious to know what a Mack return would receive in an alternate universe. Then again, I’m perfectly fine living this reality.
- You know who else is OK with this current timeline? The entire Bears defense:
- Let the record show Mack has one of those interceptions. Also, I’d love to see a metric that shows how many pressures have turned into picked-off passes. Someone get the calculators fired up for that one.
- It sounds like the rookie is ready to roll against a potent Rams offense:
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) December 6, 2018
- A pessimistic version of me would think “be careful what you wish for” … but since I’m in a solid mental space, I appreciate Roquan Smith’s energy because it has me ramped up about what the defense can do. After watching that group struggle in the second half last week, I can’t wait to see how they bounce back.
- Speaking of Smith, it looks like the Bears are making the most of their recent premier draft position:
8 teams have picked at least three times in the top 10 of the NFL draft in the last five years. Of those 8 only the Rams, Bears, and Titans are playoff contenders. 49ers, Jets, Giants, and Jaguars likely headed to another top 10 pick.
— Jason_OTC (@Jason_OTC) December 7, 2018
- Roquan Smith has been solid in the interior of the defense, Leonard Floyd is finally starting to come into his own the last six games or so, and we’ve all seen what Mitch Trubisky means to the offense. Those are the last three first-round picks for the Bears, who will need continued production from that trio in order to make the playoffs, win the division, and keep this thing going in the right direction. Because as we all know by now, the Bears won’t have a first-round pick in the next two years – let alone a top-10 pick.
- Speaking of Trubisky, Rams cornerback Aqib Talib showered him with some of the highest praise I’ve seen:
Rams CB Aqib Talib said Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky can present "the Russell Wilson effect" or "the Cam Newton effect." Or both. "He’s kind of like both of them put together."
— Gary Klein (@LATimesklein) December 7, 2018
- Now that Matt Nagy mentions it, I could use a Christmas tree in my home office:
Wake up! @lscreeden and Coach Nagy talk several important topics this morning, two being:
-The Christmas tree in Nagy's office
-His dog named 'Tuddy' which is short for… you guessed it: touchdown#CoffeeWithCoach | @dunkindonuts pic.twitter.com/30pKhvACdd
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) December 7, 2018
- The perspectives here are worth reading:
Doug Williams, Tarik Cohen and others talk about these colleges being havens for athletes for generations. https://t.co/0dyXNdL3VB
— The Undefeated (@TheUndefeated) December 7, 2018
- It’s not a coincidence that some of the best coaches in football have a lot to say, while the ones who are dismissive or don’t have much of anything to say don’t last long:
Saw the clip of Sean McVay breaking down Bears personnel making the rounds. Each week, Mike Tomlin spends 1,000 words or more on the opponent. Here’s his Raiders breakdown, which barely fits on three screenshots. pic.twitter.com/47KKipWEq4
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) December 7, 2018
- And before you say Bill Belichick doesn’t say much of anything and is still successful, you’re wrong. Belichick doesn’t talk about things he doesn’t think are important or interesting. But if you approach him with a topic that tickles his fancy, he goes in.