Getting caught in a rain storm is one way to find out the windshield wipers on your new car work infinitely better than the ones on your old one. Let’s keep the good times rolling, shall we?
• I thought Kevin Fishbain (The Athletic), Cam Ellis (NBC Sports Chicago), and Colleen Kane (Chicago Tribune) did a superb job capturing everything we needed to know about the Bears’ COVID-19 protocols as they attempt to prepare to play football during a pandemic. This isn’t going to be a normal year. And it sure as heck isn’t going to be easy. But so long as the Bears (and the other 31 teams) do right by their players and staffers by prioritizing health and safety, then football has a chance in 2020.
• Say what you want about GM Ryan Pace’s football decisions, but I think he really hits it on the nose here:
Ryan Pace said after the Bears welcomed the team back to Halas Hall during the pandemic: "We understand nobody can eliminate all risk. It's about mitigating risk. And we feel like we're doing that. … I am proud of how we've adapted to this point and will continue to adapt."
— Chris Emma (@CEmma670) July 29, 2020
• In my experience dealing with athletic team trainers, they are honest and forthright (when they can be), but also never seeking of the limelight. So I found myself impressed with Andre Tucker’s press conference yesterday. Some highlights via the Bears:
Keeping our family safe is priority 1️⃣. pic.twitter.com/nX9zmPtPYW
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) July 30, 2020
• Sure, chances would be better in a bubble. But Dr. Allen Sills — the league’s chief medical official — insists that a “virtual football bubble” is good enough. No, seriously. “When you talk about a ‘bubble,’ people define that term differently,” Sills said, via ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert. “Some people define it one way and others define it another way. We would say that we already have a virtual football bubble, because as we said before, everyone in our team environment shares the same risk, but they share the same responsibility to each other. At the facility, they share a responsibility for what they’re doing, but they also share a responsibility when they’re away from the facility.”
• ICYMI: Baseball has a “virtual bubble” of its own and it resulted in the Miami Marlins pausing their season. Don’t get it twisted. I’m not trying to reveal some boogeyman and scare football away. But my preference would be for Dr. Sills to make more of an effort to differentiate between a real bubble and a virtual one. Because the differences are stark. Lumping virtual and reality together isn’t right. Because this is what an actual bubble can do:
The bubble impact on sports:
NBA: 0 positive tests since July 13th
NHL: 0 positive tests in 4,256 administered in 7-day span July 18th-25th
MLS: 0 positive tests in last nine major rounds of testing
NWSL: 0 positive tests during its entire tournament
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) July 29, 2020
• It’s all about controlling variables and mitigating risks for the NFL moving forward. So I hope all parties are up to the task.
• The Falcons setup – as described by Matt Ryan via PFT – sounds sweet.
• Eddie Jackson didn’t make the NFL’s list of top-100 players for 2020 and I’m not taking it well:
When you're football's best safety, but get snubbed from the NFL's top-100 list pic.twitter.com/P3TJl8MzGK
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) July 30, 2020
• I’m not sure what else Jackson needs to do to get back on the list, but I’m confident a player with his skills, hunger, and motivation will get him to that point. Because even after a “down” year, Jackson should’ve made the list. If for nothing else, proving that he wasn’t just a cherry-picking safety who just snags opportunistic interceptions. Jackson played 262 snaps in the box and 232 plays as a slot cornerback. And excelled as a defender in all facets of the game. Put some respect on Eddie Jackson’s name, for crying out loud!
• This is a list voted on by the players. So it’s the players who have no love for the Bears. There’s only one way to prove doubters wrong. I’m just saying.
• A reminder that the Bears are already pissed off …
Pace says he senses #Bears are hungry and motivated and upset with how last season transpired. Says he's excited to see players on field because of depth and competition.
— Larry Mayer (@LarryMayer) July 29, 2020
• … And have been pissed off for some time. GM Ryan Pace mentioned it. Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky had ample reasons to feel it, too. Even Head Coach Matt Nagy opened up about the anger he felt. Center Cody Whitehair did likewise. Get after it, Bears. Use your aggressive feelings toward becoming better at football.
• Remember when Bears offensive lineman James Daniels shed light on racism within Iowa’s football program? Well, it led to an external review of the program and the report’s findings were consistent with complaints raised by Daniels and others:
— Zack Creglow (@ZackCreglow) July 30, 2020
• Kirk Ferentz is a respected, long-tenured head coach. My hope is that he can root out the evident problems within his program and move it in the right direction.
• For your listening pleasure:
NEW Hoge & Jahns!
— The Athletic Chicago (@TheAthleticCHI) July 29, 2020
• The starting left tackle of an early season Bears opponent has opted out:
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) July 29, 2020
• Even after selecting Georgia tackle Andrew Thomas in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, protecting Daniel Jones from Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn in Week 2 became a bit more difficult.
• I think we’ll see more of this among college football’s top prospects than we might have previously expected:
Here is former Virginia Tech CB Caleb Farley’a announcement that he is opting out of the college football season to train and turn pro, sent to ESPN: pic.twitter.com/5j4FmQvGKy
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 29, 2020
• Meant to throw this in Bullets the other day because it’s one of the most entertaining things I’ve read in a long time:
I spent a few hours in Magic City yesterday and totally understand why @TeamLou23 wanted wings from a strip club.
“It’s the magic, baby” is what I learned makes their wings so special.
— Chris Kirschner (@ChrisKirschner) July 28, 2020