I needed a hard reset after Cubs Convention shenanigans, but I’m back and ready to roll for NFL Championship Sunday.
But first, Bullets …
- While four teams get ready for playoff games later today, fans of the other 28 teams in the league are shifting their focus toward an offseason that will come with change. The Bears are among them. And while they have needs at so many other spots, I will still keep tabs on what is happening at running back. And with that being said, I got a good kick out of this:
— Bears Barroom (@BearsBarroom) January 18, 2020
- David Montgomery is a fine runner, and the tackle-breaking skills he showed in college appeared to translate to the next level. But beyond him, the position room needs work. Tarik Cohen is more of a gadget player and less of a certified second back in a rotation. Ryan Nall did nothing to stand out during his brief period of playing time. All things considered, Chicago could use another back to round out the room. Ideally, it would be someone on a rookie-scale deal that would allow them to use their limited salary cap space elsewhere.
- Adding another true running back thread could allow Tarik Cohen more opportunities to cash in on the mismatches he can create out of the slot:
These RBs led their position in targets from the slot in 2019 ⬇️
1. Tarik Cohen 29
2. Christian McCaffrey 17
3. Austin Ekeler 14 pic.twitter.com/FbYxYX2zkz
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) January 18, 2020
- Shifting back to the Shrine Game, it took some real cojones to make this throw …
Tyler Huntley with the 4th down TD throw in today’s East-West Shrine Game: pic.twitter.com/eC1BABCjbh
— Porter Larsen (@Larsen_ESPN) January 18, 2020
- … and some real skill to haul in the catch.
- The way I see it, the Bears could conceivably bring in as many as three new quarterbacks into the fold this offseason. They have two open spots with the pending departures of Chase Daniel and Tyler Bray to free agency, so it isn’t a stretch to see a situation where the Bears bring in a backup who could push Mitch Trubisky, and possibly two guys to battle for what could be a QB3 spot for the practice squad gig (or even a spot on the 53-man roster). With that in mind, let’s keep an eye on guys like Utah’s Tyler Huntley, whose fourth-quarter touchdown throw in the East-West Shrine Game was equal parts ballsy and impressive.
- The NFL Network crew covering the game sounded impressed with Huntley’s efforts, per Brandon Judd of the Deseret News.”What I saw today was a very accurate passer and a guy who can move really well,” Carr said after the game. “Lamar Jackson has done a lot for some of these guys that can move and create. I think it might have helped his draft position, and then he went out and played well in an all-star game.” Meanwhile, NFL Network draft guru Daniel Jeremiah pegged Huntley as a possible late-round pick or priority free agent, adding the athleticism he brings to the position and ability to execute in zone-read plays gives him a puncher’s chance to make a roster. Huntley was a three-year starter who completed 73 percent of his passes, threw for 3,092 yards, and was intercepted just four times last season. He doesn’t project to be a game-changer, but that’s the type of profile the Bears should be looking to bring in to compete for one of the spots behind Trubisky on the depth chart.
- Some poor DB got Moss’d:
Ohio State WR Binjimen Victor just Moss’d some DBs in the East West Shrine Game on a flea flicker. pic.twitter.com/jkzrZ3m7C2
— Rob Paul (@RobPaulNFL) January 18, 2020
- The East-West Shrine Game annually produces professional talent, and the Bears should be quite familiar with what players in this game can bring to the table. Charles Leno Jr. was a Shrine Game standout before getting drafted in the seventh round in 2014, then playing his way into becoming a starting-caliber left tackle. Jesper Horsted played in the Shrine Game last year, played his way onto the practice squad, and even made his NFL debut last year.
- In addition to Huntley, here is a collection of names I was intrigued by who were at the East-West Shrine Game: Calvin Throckmorton (G, Oregon), Shyheim Carter (DB, Alabama), James Robinson (RB, Illinois State), Shaquille Quarterbman (LB, Miami), James Morgan (QB, Florida International).
- Few people keep tabs on which prospects the Bears are meeting with like Zack Pearson of Bear Report:
— Zack Pearson (@Zack_Pearson) January 17, 2020
- Chuck Pagano is a beloved dude:
Good ol’ Chuck Pagano and his wife Tina drove thru snow and ice from Chicago to be here. I just thanked him and said: “Great man, good coach, really weird fake punt against the Patriots.” Then I said: “You work in Chicago, but you’ll always be ours. And we’ll always be yours.” ♥️
— Gregg Doyel (@GreggDoyelStar) January 19, 2020
- Sigh. This is well done:
- Getting fined for something Stone Cold Steve Austin did every Monday night for years during my childhood feels wrong:
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) January 18, 2020
- Chiefs fans will be eating good during today’s AFC Championship Game:
Things are heating up at @ArrowheadEvents for the @NFL #AFCChampionship game! @Chiefs fans can pair this Hot Chicken Sandwich with Spicy Loaded Waffle Fries topped with chicken, bacon bits, cheese sauce, tomatoes, and sour cream+onions for the ultimate gameday grub #ChiefsKingdom pic.twitter.com/QKaoEEI2XJ
— Levy (@LevyRestaurants) January 19, 2020
- Yes, I understand it was just the Cavaliers. And they’re bad. But Zach LaVine scored 42 points on 61.3 percent shooting from the floor on a night in which he looked like the kind of player you can win with in this league. Dude gets buckets:
Zach LaVine Puts on his Cape and Goes to Work: Bulls 118, Cavaliers 116https://t.co/9d3dBpbRGk
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) January 19, 2020