After giving “The Last Dance” a binge rewatch yesterday, I can’t help but feeling like I could use a Dennis Rodman 48-hour Vegas trip to unplug. Then again, I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels that way.
• I didn’t expect to start Bears Bullets with a baseball nugget, but the elephant isn’t just in the room — it has crashed the party. As Brett wrote earlier, the Miami Marlins have a COVID-19 breakout. Fourteen cases on the team over its three-day period while on the road playing the Philadelphia Phillies. As a result, the Marlins’ home opener has been canceled. Meanwhile, the Phillies-Yankees game has also been banged. This has obvious implications on MLB’s 60-game sprint, but don’t think for one minute that folks in the NFL offices shouldn’t have their eyes on this. Heck, we already know one Bears player is monitoring the situation:
Very curious to see how this is handled https://t.co/iE323Qvh3K
— Allen Robinson II (@AllenRobinson) July 27, 2020
• I don’t think a perfect solution exists. And with that being said, I’m not going to act like I have all the answers for this situation. But I see what is happening in MLB, compare it to what’s going on with the NHL and NBA bubbles, and ultimately come to the conclusion that the NFL season needs to be played in a set of Bubbles. I say Bubbles (plural) because we’re talking about 32 teams, (at least) 53 players per squad, and any number of coaches, trainers, staff members, and officials. A singular Bubble likely isn’t feasible. So … what is?
• Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has expressed his reservations regarding football being played this season — unless a “bubble” format was put into place. Fauci was saying this in June, but it came with serious push-back from the NFL. Fast forward a month and I can’t help but think that this should be given serious consideration (also, note: MLB is effectively the lowest contact sport, so they’re risks are considerably lower and still there are issues a week into the season).
• Perhaps a “pod” system could make sense. Something like we would see in the Olympics or with World Cup soccer. Having a set of hub cities playing hosts to games is something that could work. Games and times could be spread out through each game week, and perhaps multiple weeks if necessary. I understand the optics won’t be what the NFL wants. But it is becoming more obvious that most logical way to have an NFL season is to have it in a Bubble. Isolate. Control variables. Prioritize safety. It can work.
• There is no smooth transition, so let’s take a moment to admire Allen Robinson’s greatness and celebrate his place on the NFL’s Top-100 list for 2020:
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) July 27, 2020
• Whether Mitchell Trubisky or Nick Foles will throw bombs to Robinson is to be determined. But we have all summer to figure it out. And while watching Trubisky work out with his teammates this summer appears to give him a slight edge over Foles, it appears as if the Super Bowl LII MVP has been working closer to his new football home:
— Ryan Mann (@ryanjmann11) July 25, 2020
— Erik Rimas (@RimasErik) July 25, 2020
• I’m sure there is a joke to be made about how working out with high school football standouts is an upgrade from some of the Bears’ receivers we’ve seen play at Soldier Field in recent years, but I’ll let you make it.
• The Bears had something of a weekend roster purge, cutting three players and trading tight end Adam Shaheen. Remember, teams must trim rosters to 80 for training camp. Which means the Bears still have to make some tough decisions and nudge five players off the current roster.
• Informed speculation as to how the conditional seventh-round pick could vest:
Further info on Adam Shaheen trade: the conditional seventh-round pick could become a sixth-round choice. Don't know what would trigger the higher pick. Likely based on making the team or playing in a specified number of games.
— Howard Balzer (@HBalzer721) July 27, 2020
• In June, Saints QB Drew Brees apologized after receiving backlash after saying he “will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country.” Brees’ apology (documented in this set of Bears Bullets) came after fellow NFLers (teammates included) explained how kneeling during the National Anthem was not a sign of disrespect to the flag or country. The apology came in a lengthy Instagram post, and was followed shortly thereafter by a tweet (noted in these Bullets) to President Donald Trump, explicitly saying that the kneeling is not (and never has been) about the flag. Perhaps now is a good time to forward this message to Mike Ditka, who in an interview with TMZ Sports said: “If you can’t respect our national anthem, get the hell out of the country. That’s the way I feel. Of course, I’m old fashioned, so I’m only going to say what I feel.” (Michael: Eye roll).
• As was the case when Brees made his comments in early June, it is evident Ditka doesn’t understand what is being protested. And what makes this situation worse is an apparent lack of care or willingness to understand the situation. Being “old fashioned” doesn’t give anyone the right to be ignorant of facts. Saying what you feel isn’t an excuse to be oblivious to a situation. This isn’t Ditka’s first trip down this path. But as we learned with Brees, reaching across the aisle and having difficult conversations with your contemporaries could help provide clarity. Maybe that will happen with Ditka. But based on what he said and how he said it, I won’t hold my breath.
• I enjoyed watching baseball highlights this weekend:
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) July 26, 2020
After Four Years as a Left-Handed Hitter in MLB, Ji-Man Choi Just Hit a Home Run as a Rightyhttps://t.co/osXMAEkp7I
— Baseball is Fun (@flippingbats) July 26, 2020