My neighbors (whom I love dearly) were razzing me a bit the other day for not using my Instant Pot. It’s nice to have in the kitchen, but I just don’t get around to using it as much as I’d like — much like my smoothie-maker, ice cream machine, or any other number of kitchen appliances I’ve purchased over the years. But perhaps my friend Jim’s BBQ pork recipe might change things for me. Because sometimes, I don’t want to be on the grill if I don’t have to be. You can follow more of Jim’s culinary excellence on Twitter.
- It’s going to be a long five weeks until the Bears participate in meaningful football activities again. Patrick Finley (Sun-Times) and Rich Campbell (Tribune) start setting the scene for what could go down at Bourbonnais, while Cam Ellis (NBC Sports Chicago) catches us up with what the guys will be doing between now and when football activities ramp up.
- Look, I don’t want to wait it out either. So maybe some highlights will help hold us over:
Throwback to this absurd throw by Mitch before his first NFL season in 2017.
— Austin F (@unclemike21) June 16, 2019
- I’m not fond of Chris Simms ranking Kirk Cousins ahead of Mitch Trubisky on a list of the league’s best quarterbacks right now, but this snippet gives me a glimmer of hope:
2️⃣0️⃣ is Mitchell Trubisky. Good scrambler, one of best running QBs right now, and the throwing will get there. Remember it’s only Year 2. He played awesome vs the Eagles in the playoffs. #simmsqbranks #mitchtrubisky pic.twitter.com/BEgxGscZPt
— Chris Simms (@CSimmsQB) June 12, 2019
- Trubisky’s second half against the Eagles was pretty good. He showed flashes of why he was the highest-rated quarterback on many boards heading into the 2017 NFL Draft and why the Bears were willing to push their chips to the middle of the table and hitch their wagons to the North Carolina product. Trubisky enters Year 3 having gone from unseasoned rookie to being obsessed about being better. Good things are on the horizon for QB1.
- We are 80 days from kickoff of the Bears’ centennial season, but uncertainty at kicker still remains a bug-a-boo. So much so, Kristopher Knox (Bleacher Report) underline’s the kicking crisis as the team’s biggest red flag heading into 2019. It’s long been known that Chicago needed to upgrade from Cody Parkey, though no one knows if they have done so yet. The team has gone to great lengths to use different evaluation methods in order to find Parkey’s replacement, but no one has stood out from the crowd to this point. Unfortunately, we’re going to continue to see these pieces pop up until the Bears announce a winner. Sit tight, friends. We’ll make it through together.
- At least the Bears have trimmed the competition to two. Otherwise, I think the team would’ve needed to add more long snappers to accommodate the kickers and punters in camp.
- I’m trying this thing where I speak positivity into the universe in hopes that I can talk good things into existence. So with that in mind, I’ll try and apply it here by sharing some highlights of the two kickers left in the race to replace Parkey:
- Adam Jahns (The Athletic) points out how the Bears’ kicking search has come full circle in at least one way. Jahns spoke with Greg Zauner, a former NFL special teams coach who has ties to Chris Tabor and Bears of the past. Mike Ditka hired Zauner as a consultant in 1992, worked with stud Bears kicker Kevin Butler, and notably went to bat for Robbie Gould when working with the Ravens back in 2005.
- And this quote is one that hits home for me when Zaunder explained why he vouched for Gould over long-time veteran Matt Stover. “We weren’t expecting to win a lot of games, so I said, ‘Why don’t you just get the young kicker?’ And Ozzie (Newsome) says, ‘You’re right. You are crazy. We’re not going with that. We’re staying with Matt Stover.'”
- Stover would go on to kick in Baltimore for the next four years. Eventually, the team would land on Justin Tucker in 2012, and the rest his history. Meanwhile, the Bears are looking for a Tucker of their own.
- There is something that feels good when reading about active NFL players giving back to their community, with the latest example being Kyle Long’s support for childhood literacy programs as part of his brother Chris Long’s Foundation “First Quarter For Literacy.” Keep up the good work, folks.
- This is neat: The Associated Press reports Brian Urlacher’s high school is proposing to change the name of its football stadium to honor the Bears’ Hall of Fame linebacker. Urlacher played his high school ball at Wildcat Stadium in Lovington High School in New Mexico. But if a group of school board members get their wish, the stadium will be re-named Brian Urlacher Stadium. That would be a heck of an honor for Urlacher, and I would be willing to bet the student-athletes of Lovington High School would get a kick out of it, too.
- Reading up on Bill Wade, the Chicago Tribune’s No. 84 all-time best Bears player, was a treat. The Bears’ quarterbacking history isn’t great and hasn’t provided much to write about, but Wade quarterbacked the team to its 1963 championship season, going 11-1-2 in the process. Credit Wade for trimming his interceptions from 24 in 1962 to 12 one year later. Nothing like trimming your INT% from 5.8% to 3.4% in one year!