It's Never Too Early For a Statement Game and Other Bears Bullets | Bleacher Nation

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It’s Never Too Early For a Statement Game and Other Bears Bullets

Chicago Bears

We’re a week away from basketball season starting, so I’ll be getting in those fantasy mock draft simulations in as often as possible between now and when my team (U Know Coby White, People) goes on the clock.

  • Dan Santaromita (NBC Sports Chicago) snagged an interesting quote from a recent radio appearance by Bears safety Eddie Jackson: “Now we got to make a statement game here at home.” I suppose it is never too early for a statement game, but what does that even mean? Despite it being one of those go-to sports clichés, has anyone ever sat down to think about what a statement game is or looks like? For me, a Bears statement game against the Saints this week would feature the offense finally establishing their identity — something they’ve yet to do in 21 games under Head Coach Matt Nagy. On the other side of the ball, the defense needs to show a certain type of resolve while going to battle without a leader such as Akiem Hicks, which isn’t going to be easy.
  • “It’s a tough loss, man,” Jackson said of Hicks later in the same interview. “We’re hoping to have him back real soon for playoffs or the end of the season. It really hurts us, but we ride with him.” OOF. Jackson’s words go a long way toward confirming our fears regarding the lengthy absence that awaits Hicks. But perhaps the healthy Bears can rally around this loss and play for Hicks’ eventual return (which ideally comes as the team makes a final push toward the postseason).
  • ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that Hicks doesn’t need surgery to repair his elbow injury, which is a relief.
  • The Bears have an up-hill climb to make the playoffs and doubt has started to creep in among a fan base that is bracing itself for disappointment. A win against the Saints would go a long way toward calming those concerns (at least for one week).
  • You can listen to Jackson’s entire interview here:

  • Going back to trying to hash out what a statement game looks like, I would like to offer this as an example:

  • Establishing a strong defensive identity while piecing together a comeback on Monday Night Football would certainly count as a statement game. That happened 13 years ago today, and I remember it as vividly as I did back in 2006, when I watched the game with my college roommates in Carbondale.
  • Keep dialing up the blitzes, Coach Pagano:

  • There are no Bears on PFF’s Week 6 Team of the Week for obvious reasons, but there were nine playing for teams left on the Bears schedule. For future research purposes, you might want to check out that collection of players and store them in your memory banks.
  • Some words from a friend who has seen Fadol Brown (a.k.a. the new guy on the practice squad) more recently than I have: “Fadol Brown is frustrating as hell. Always looks so good in practice, but struggles to translate it (into games).” Sounds like the perfect guy for the guys on Chuck Pagano’s staff to coach up moving forward.
  • There has been some quality perspective on Kyle Long’s season-ending trip to injured reserve, and it has been much needed since it seems quite likely that we have seen him suit up with the Bears for the last time. One of my favorite pieces is this from WGN’s Larry Hawley:

  • In case you missed it, the NFL is starting to get trade-happy:

  • Upgrading from Marcus Peters to Jalen Ramsey is a no-brainer, because going from a good cornerback to a great one is a decision every player-personnel executive would make 10 times out of 10. But something still feels off about this trade. The Rams gave up a package featuring two first-round picks and a fourth-rounder to acquire Ramsey, which is similar to the deal the Bears sent to the Raiders for Khalil Mack. I get the win-now aspect of this deal, but this is quite the dice roll for a less dominant player at a less important position on the defensive spectrum — all while the quarterback is no longer on his rookie deal. And with Aaron Donald (6/$135M), Jared Goff (4/$134M), Brandin Cooks (5/$81M), Todd Gurley (4/$57.5M), and Aqib Talib (6/$57M), I’m curious to see how Los Angeles fits Ramsey into the mix for the long haul in an era where team building is more valuable than ever.
  • That’s wild:

  • That’s nice, but it changes nothing:

  • And as JJ Stankevitz of NBC Sports Chicago points out, no team feels the Lions pain as much as the Bears do. Because while losing a soul-crushing game at Green Bay in prime-time while trying to establish yourself as a force in the NFC North is something Chicago can relate to, no team has been flagged for illegal use of hands/hands to the face penalties this year than the Bears.

Author: Luis Medina

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