It still looks like Hoth outside, but I’m looking for other ways to stay warm since I don’t have a tauntaun to slice open and slide into (Michael: Sometimes, I really love our job).
- The “Mic’d Up” Bears were like a mob rolling deep at the Pro Bowl:
- So much good stuff. There’s Cody Whitehair and a guy named Mack (no, not that one), Harrison Smith and Mitch Trubisky talking about Ohio prep sports, highlights of Trubisky throwing to Packers star Davante Adams, and more. ESPN’s Bill Hofheimer shared that there were 8 million people who tuned into the Pro Bowl, with Chicago pulling a 7.8 market rating. Only Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Norfolk, Va. (seriously?), West Palm Beach, Fla., and Cleveland getting higher rankings. Go figure.
- I jotted down a bunch of stuff on a notepad from the Pro Bowl that didn’t make it into Bullets the other day, but I wanted to bring up some things that were brought up by ESPN’s broadcast crew when they were talking about Mitch Trubisky. Booger McFarland praised Head Coach Matt Nagy for his work in molding Trubisky into a Pro Bowl quarterback, saying “We give Andy Reid a lot (of credit) for what Patrick Mahomes did, and he’s MVP likely this year. What about what Matt Nagy did with Mitch Trubisky? The progress he made this season was fun to watch.” No argument here, Booger.
- Jason Witten also made an astute observation, taking note that Trubisky started to take off when he started playing with more confidence around midseason. As we think back to how we tracked the ebbs-and-flows, highs-and-lows, and Trubisky’s week-by-week development, that sentiment makes sense. Fitting enough, it was leading into the eighth game (the literal midway point of the Bears’ season) when Nagy talked about successfully re-programming Trubisky and breaking old habits he picked up as a rookie.
- And to think, the Bears’ best player didn’t even suit up for the Pro Bowl. Pass-rusher Khalil Mack was sidelined due to a knee injury he sustained during Chicago’s playoff loss against the Eagles. So while the injury wasn’t believed to be serious, I’m glad Mack took a pass on the glorified game of two-hand touch to get a head start on resting up for the offseason. It’s a well-earned rest for the defense’s biggest star.
- ESPN’s Bill Barnwell explored the 30 most impactful trades of the last calendar year and it’s no surprise that the Bears-Raiders swap that sent Mack to Chicago and draft picks in return to the Fightin’ Grudens ranks at the very top. Considering how this deal will shape the long-term futures for two franchises, there wasn’t any other choice to be No. 1.
- It didn’t make Barnwell’s cut, but I would offer up the Bears-Patriots trade that allowed Chicago to draft Anthony Miller in the second round deserves an honorable mention. The Bears traded their 2018 fourth-round pick (105th overall) and their 2019 second-rounder to pick Miller with the 51st choice. All Miller did in his first year as a pro was lead all rookie receivers with seven touchdown receptions while playing most of the year with a separated left shoulder. Miller was Pro Football Focus’ No. 6 rated receiver in last year’s draft and coming off an All-American season at Memphis. Even though the Miller deal didn’t make the cut in 2018, that deal could still pay off in a big way for both teams moving forward.
- High praise for the Bears’ first-round pick from a Super Bowl champion:
London Fletcher on Roquan Smith: “He’s a young me. Not the big guy, but he wants to make every single tackle, sideline-to-sideline. Plays with great instincts. You can tell he’s a student of the game. I’m just going to marvel and watch his play, what he turns into.” pic.twitter.com/EsvZEjPMq8
— Adam Hoge (@AdamHoge) January 30, 2019
- Fletcher was a four-time Pro Bowler who was a key cog on the underrated defense of the Rams’ Greatest Show on Turf Super Bowl winner. But Fletcher was more than one stand-out year. Fletcher had four seasons with 100+ solo tackles and six other seasons with 90+ solo tackles. From 1999 until 2003, Fletcher averaged 134 total tackles, 7 tackles for loss, and 3 sacks per season. He won the NFC’s Player of the Month award in December 2012 and was a three-time NFC Defensive Player of the Week. If Smith can match that kind of production, then I’ll be OK with this comparison.
- I can’t get enough Pop-Up Video:
— Chicago Polar Bears (@ChicagoBears) January 30, 2019
- Listening to Laurence Holmes’ podcast episode with Bears sideline reporter Mark Grote is a fun way to pass the time on a cold winter day.
- And until further notice, The Grote Factor™ is real until proven otherwise:
Another team, another successful season of coverage for @markgrotesports! He looked back on the Bears' 2018 season on Sports Feed with @paytonsun & @Josh_Frydman. Watch the segments here: https://t.co/e0hTliO9q6 pic.twitter.com/6GA1ayXVJ4
— @CLTVSportsFeed (@CLTVSportsFeed) January 31, 2019
- For those of you who might not be in the loop, Grote worked in the Cubs’ radio booth in 2015 when they made a surprising run into the playoffs before an untimely and surprising exit in the NLCS against the Mets. A year later, the Cubs won the World Series (people forget that). Fast forward to 2018 and Grote joins the sidelines, just as the Bears make a surprising run to the postseason (only to be ousted early by the Eagles). So … Super Bowl LIV or bust, right?
- It’s always a good day to give to a good cause:
There is still time! Through tomorrow, Jan. 31, you can help match @JHowardx24 generous fundraising campaign in conjunction with the Chicago Bears winning season. Donate at https://t.co/dnKVwOP1Hg. pic.twitter.com/0ne0jt4mP9
— PF Foundation (@PFFORG) January 31, 2019