Fuller's Rise, Pace Gets Snubbed, the Callahan Conundrum, and Other Bullets

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Fuller’s Rise, Pace Gets Snubbed, the Callahan Conundrum, and Other Bullets

Chicago Bears

It’s Cubs Convention weekend in Chicago, which means the band is going to be together for the first time in a hot minute. After opening ceremonies at last year’s Convention, I spent a good chunk of time at Lizzie McNeil’s across the street from the hotel doing my best to convince people Mitch Trubisky was going to be better than what his rookie year numbers indicated and that the Bears were a few moves away from being that team on the rise everyone is buzzing about.

Not sure what I’ll do for an encore tonight, but I have a few hours to figure it out. See you there!

  • Kyle Fuller rocks my socks:

  • Fuller’s rise to Pro Bowl and All-Pro status has been one of my favorite stories to follow since we started things here at BNB. To go from a preseason position battle in 2017, to making the most of an opportunity (Prince Amukamara’s injury), to having a breakout season in a contract year, only to follow it with an even better season after signing a big-money, multi-year deal is the type of story arc script writers dream about sending to Hollywood (Michael: That was longest sentence ever, but I loved it too much to stop it short). And while he dropped what would have been a game-ending pick against the Packers in Week 1, we knew Fuller (and the Bears) wouldn’t be defined by that play. Isn’t it great to see a fun comeback story?
  • Pro Football Focus’ Mike Johnson writes a pretty glowing piece on Fuller, who was a key cog in a defensive backfield that earned the highest regular-season coverage grade by a defense since PFF has been tracking these things beginning in 2006. Since the start of the 2017 season, no cornerback has forced more incompletions than Fuller (42) while also being targeted the most of all defenders in the NFL. And yet, opposing pass-catchers have caught just 55.4 percent of passes against Fuller. So keep trying him, but do so at your own risk.
  • Elsewhere in the secondary, Bryce Callahan kept it on lock-down:

  • Soon, the Bears will have to figure out how to lock him into a multi-year deal. Nickel corners are important and there are few as good as Callahan. But he has never played a full season without dealing with injuries that cost him games. We’ll need to dive deeper in due time.
  • It’s neat to see Matt Nagy and Vic Fangio awarded for their excellence in getting the ball rolling on what was a great season, but no love for the guy who put it all together? Colts GM Chris Ballard was the PFWA’s Executive of the Year, beating out Ryan Pace – who had a darn compelling case to be the guy. To hire Nagy, retain Fangio, revamp the wide receivers room, knock the 2018 NFL Draft out of the park, and trade for Khalil Mack is as awesome as an offseason gets. And yet, it’s only good enough for second place. How? And don’t tell me it’s because of the kicker thing …
  • If you couldn’t already tell, I’m still annoyed about how the Bears season was unraveled by a kicker. But at least kickers (even ones with $9 million coming via guarantees) are replaceable, which is something you can’t really say about a good head coach. Save for the Mack trade, Pace’s biggest offseason win was landing Matt Nagy. Getting someone who can change the locker-room culture and turn talk into action isn’t easy. If it was, there would be, like, 27 other Nagys running around the league. And maybe there will be one day, especially with how Andy Reid’s staff keeps churning out head-coach candidates.
  • Speaking of Reid, his team is being favorably compared to the two-time reigning NBA champs and his quarterback is being mentioned in the same breath as one of the most electrifying players in all of sports. Fun times in Kansas City:

  • Come on, make it happen:

  • Abigail Johnson, an 8-year-old Eagles fan, wrote a letter full of positive vibes to Alshon Jeffery after his drive-ending drop in the Divisional Round against the Saints that went viral. So it’s neat to see Jeffery return the favor by visiting Johnson and her classmates. Keep doing good things off the field, NFLers:


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Author: Luis Medina

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