Say what you want about Chicago-style pizza, but if you plan accordingly, it will feed you for multiple days. That’s helpful when you have no interest in cooking.
- We have made it to the end of the regular-season road and it’s been nothing short of a treat. The Bears have surpassed the expectations of many by winning (at least) 11 games, clinching the NFC North, and changing the franchise’s culture in the process. Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune takes us down the road GM Ryan Pace traveled to get his team here. It’s been quite a ride for Pace since he was hired in 2015. He has learned some valuable lessons along the way, which has likely led to more of a salt-and-pepper look for a man who was the NFL’s youngest GM when he was brought on board to save the Bears sinking ship.
- Credit Chairman George McCaskey and President Ted Phillips, who did not waver at a time when it would have been easy to do so. Pace’s Bears were 14-34 entering this year and it was difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But rather than jettisoning Pace, McCaskey and Phillips stayed the course and allowed the GM to see through his creation. Remember how controversial it was to give Pace an extension after he fired John Fox? Fun times. NFL fans and ownership demand quick turnarounds and instant gratification … and I can’t blame them, because who doesn’t want those things? But the patience displayed by Pace, McCaskey, and Phillips to live through a tear-down of the Jerry Angelo-Phil Emery project and to take 34 losses in a three-year span under Fox during the rebuilding process is something we don’t see in sports any more. All things considered, I suppose Pace isn’t the only one who deserves kudos here.
- What a difference a year makes:
The Bears are potentially playing for the 2-seed today. What a difference a year makes. Just a breathtaking turnaround.
— Michele Steele (@ESPNMichele) December 30, 2018
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) December 30, 2017
- So while the narrative of the 2018 Bears might be one of a quick turnaround, some of you who hung through the tough times know better. And that’s what makes a season like this so special. It’s good to know patience still pays off.
- Yep. The Bears are good:
- Pace’s next challenge will be to maintain a winning roster while also building for future winners. This is where the fun begins. The Bears have some time before big decisions need to be made, but Maurice Moton of Bleacher Report already has one idea in mind. Moton explores each NFL team’s top offseason priority and highlights right tackle Bobby Massie as a weakness, adding the Bears should look to replace him. But here’s the thing, Massie has improved under new OL Coach Harry Hiestand and has expressed an interest in staying. If the price is right, the Bears would be wise to maintain status quo when it comes to those protecting prized quarterback Mitch Trubisky rather than run the risk of, say, running an untested rookie out there.
- But with that in mind, I think it would be wise for the Bears to invest some of their 2019 draft capital on the offensive line:
The deeper I dive into it, the more I like this offensive line class. Teams can find very good value during all three days of the draft.
— Jordan Reid (@JReidNFL) December 29, 2018
- Massie will be 30 next season and Kyle Long will be coming off another injury shortened season. It would be a mistake not to address those positions with young players who could grow into starters through the draft.
- Everyone has a plan until they get thrown five yards by Khalil Mack:
The Vikings have a "comprehensive plan" for slowing Khalil Mack?
— NFL (@NFL) December 30, 2018
- Perhaps their plan is to tell Mack the game starts at 7:20 p.m. CT instead of 3:25 p.m. CT. Or that the game is being played at Target Field instead of U.S. Bank Stadium. It’s going to take some outside-of-the-box thinking to slow down that guy.
- The Vikings could be eliminated with a loss today. And if Trubisky does what Madden predicts, then they’ll likely be on the outside looking in when the dust settles after Sunday’s action:
Well, Madden predicts a high-scoring battle between the Bears and Vikings this weekend! You see it playing out like this? pic.twitter.com/YqVKCl2dXY
— Bears Talk (@NBCSBears) December 29, 2018
- These four players did different things and all received the same fine:
Fines: #49ers CB Richard Sherman, #Bears WR Josh Bellamy and #Bears WR Anthony Miller, who all got ejected, were all fined $10,026 for unnecessary roughness. So was #49ers S Marcell Harris for his hit on a sliding Mitchell Trubisky.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 29, 2018
- To be clear, Miller and Bellamy earned their fine. And I still don’t condone the fighting. But Harris getting the same punishment while triggering the entire incident doesn’t sit right with me.
- Nobody messes with QB1:
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) December 23, 2018
- Fans of the Bears, Eagles, and Vikings will probably have their eyes on the Bears’ list of inactives. Linebacker Aaron Lynch did not travel with the team and has been downgraded to out. But safety Eddie Jackson and wide receiver Allen Robinson did travel with the team, but no official update has been given regarding their status. Based on prior history and what lies ahead next week (or two weeks if they back into a first-round bye) suggests the Bears will play it cautious and sit these two very important players out.
- This is a mood:
When the defending Super Bowl Champs desperately need you to play your starters and the defending NFC North champs desperately need you to rest your starters: pic.twitter.com/P8PqfFfVXh
— Greg Braggs Jr. (@GBraggsJr) December 29, 2018