Seeing a few small patches of grass popping up on my lawn as the snow melts is a wonderful way to start my day.
- He’s #52 in your game program and #1 in your heart. It’s Khalil Mack’s birthday, so what better time to enjoy his 10 best plays from 2019:
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) February 22, 2019
- Whenever I think of playmakers such as Mack, I think of the definition of “splash” plays as defined by The Athletic’s Kevin Fishbain. From a defensive standpoint, “splash” plays are sacks, tackles-for-loss, quarterback hits, interceptions, passes defended, forced fumbles, and fumble recoveries. Now that we have settled that definition, it’s worth celebrating that Mack came up with 54 “splash” plays. Wow.
- So this begs the question: How can the NFL limit Mack’s best plays from 2018 to just 10 when there were more than 50 to choose from? I hope the editor of that highlight package gets an extra pat on the back for a job well done.
- It’s also Pat O’Donnell’s birthday. And even though he didn’t make the splash plays Mack made, I found it interesting that he punted only 62 times last year. That marks the fewest number of punts for him since joining the Bears in 2014. I believe that says something about how much the offense improved last season. A minimal number of punts is a good thing, as far as I’m concerned.
- Bleacher Report’s Chris Roling provides an offseason to-do list for each of the NFL’s 32 teams, and it should come as no surprise that finding a kicker sits atop the Bears’ list. But let’s not ignore the potential need for a punter. Chicago re-signed O’Donnell last offseason to a one-year deal after briefly exploring the market, then signed an undrafted free agent who provided stiff competition in training camp and throughout the preseason. The Bears’ brass doesn’t seem to be sold on O’Donnell, so it wouldn’t surprise me to see the team continue to comb through the market before circling back to the punter they know if they don’t come across an option they like more than the one they have.
- Elsewhere in free agency, ESPN’s Field Yates believes the Bears will take a particular approach when it comes to safety Adrian Amos and the open market. It’s an ESPN Insider piece in which Yates explores what could be happening around each team’s most important free-agent decision, so I don’t want to offer up too much. Most notable here (at least, from a Bears perspective) is that Yates expect the team to allow Amos to shop around and seek out his value on the open market. If Amos returns with a “reasonable” price, then it would likely lead to him re-signing in Chicago. HOWEVER, Yates cautions that if Amos is asking for top dollar, it might be prudent to move on because the team has other needs.
- It’s a risky endeavor to allow for this, but it’s understandable. The Bears have limited funds because of their salary cap situation, which keeps them from giving everyone the type of deal they would want to keep them from leaving. Modern NFL is designed for parity to reign in part because of player movement throughout the league. There is hope the Bears and Amos can get a deal done, but it won’t be easy.
- Interesting: Cornerback Bryce Callahan (and not Amos) makes Gil Brandt’s list of 10 defensive backs worthy of pursuing in free agency and the draft this offseason.
- I … I did not realize this was a thing:
Landon Collins still taking heat from some fans on here for his struggles in coverage against Tarik Cohen while playing through a labrum tear, essentially forcing him to play with one arm, is really, really cute.
— Art Stapleton (@art_stapleton) February 21, 2019
- Here is a headline I didn’t expect to read today:
Former Lions star Calvin Johnson gets preliminary OK to open a medical marijuana dispensary in suburban Detroit.
— AP NFL (@AP_NFL) February 21, 2019
- Out with the old, in with the new:
— Pro Football Hall of Fame (@ProFootballHOF) February 21, 2019
- This isn’t football-related, but I couldn’t stop myself from sharing this New York Times sports front from Thursday because I am a sucker for well-designed pages:
— Benjamin Hoffman (@BenHoffmanNYT) February 21, 2019