Anyone who has been reading our Bits/Bullets for long enough is probably familiar with the highly competitive fantasy baseball team over which I obsess. Well, I think you might be glad to know that the season is almost over — and that I’m on the cusp of winning a championship. I currently have a 193.6-point lead with two days worth of games to play. And while that might look like an insurmountable total, I know better than to think it.
So in addition to sweating out the results of tomorrow’s Bears-Falcons game, I’m going to have an eye on Trader Lu and his gang of misfits as they go for the gold. May the Force be with us all!
• I realize the Bears are 2-0. Moreover, I understand that Mitchell Trubisky’s play is part of the reason Chicago’s football team is aiming for a third consecutive win. But as someone who crams football into his eye sockets at every turn, I can’t ignore what Cam Newton is doing in New England. The stat line: 45/63 (71.4%), 552 passing yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 96.8 passer rating; 26 rushing attempts, 122 yards, 4 TD. Newton has played so well to this point, PFF’s Brad Spielberger already approached the idea of Newton signing an extension with the Patriots. And while doing so, Spielberger highlights points as to why Newton would have made so much sense for the Bears had they been able to show a little bit of patience waiting out the market.
• Part of the allure of bringing Nick Foles into the mix was his knowledge of Matt Nagy’s offense. However, the offense Nagy is running isn’t an exact replica of what Foles ran in Philly. It’s not even anything near what Nagy has run for Trubisky in Chicago. The Bears have turned their offense on its ear by playing to the strengths of the running game, passing off play action, and limiting straight drop-backs. In other words, an offense that would’ve fit Newton to a tee. And I’m not saying for the sake of debate, I’m doing so because it’s virtually the same offense New England is running with Newton orchestrating it.
• This piece from The Ringer’s Kevin Clark takes it to another level:
NFL teams should be embarrassed they let the Patriots get Cam Newton so easily. Newton’s contract—the 885th largest in football—has already paid for itself. Only two teams called him this offseason. I wrote about what it means. Because it means a lot: https://t.co/28byKb26dK
— Kevin Clark (@bykevinclark) September 25, 2020
• This line is a punch to the gut: “The NFL spends so much time thinking about red flags for players that it never notifies red flags for franchises.” Some franchises will never get the franchise quarterback their fans desire because they can’t get out of their own way. I hope that one day the Bears can emerge from the malaise and land their stud, long-term QB option.
• There’s enough newfound optimism regarding Trubisky’s start that allows for the platform to ask if he’s the guy. Trubisky’s line to this point: 38/64 (59.4%), 432 yards, 5 TD, 2 INT, 92.7 rating; 7 rushes, 42 yards. In a vacuum, those numbers are respectable. Then again, football isn’t played in a vacuum. I’d like to see his yards/attempt jump up above 6.8. And over the course of a 16-game season, a 3.1 INT% isn’t all that enticing. Although a 7.8 TD% is something I could vibe with. In the end, all you have to do is look at the disparity in the numbers that make you go “ooh!” and the ones that make you go “eek!” to understand why there are still questions to be had about Trubisky’s long-term future moving forward. Maybe he can answer some of those on Sunday?
• Tarik Cohen knows the Bears can go far if the offense can carry its weight:
"It's up to the offense, what we can do, to see how far this team can go."
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) September 26, 2020
• We see you, Jaylon Johnson:
Highest-graded CBs through W2:
1. Jaire Alexander – 86.3
2. James Bradberry – 86.0
3. Jaylon Johnson – 80.3
4. Janoris Jenkins – 78.9
5. Fabian Moreau – 75.5 pic.twitter.com/MoeOZxxmpb
— PFF (@PFF) September 26, 2020
• A fun listen from Bill Zimmerman and long-time Bears scribe John “Moon” Mullin, who calls the late Gale Sayers the greatest pure runner in NFL history. A friend and I were having the conversation trying to figure out who is the best running back in Bears history. My angle was that Sayers was a better pure running back, but Walter Payton was a better all-around player. I realize it’s a fine line, but it’s one I’m willing to walk based on what I’ve seen and read over the years. But I’m willing to hear any arguments to the contrary because it’s a fun debate to have.
• Over at Da Bears Blog, Jeff Hughes rounds up the best tributes to Sayers.
• A sign of the times:
Bears announce @PointsBetUSA as the franchise's first sports betting sponsor. A seismic shift from 8 years ago, when the team refused to show casino ads because "values trump the revenue." PointsBet also has endorsement deal with @D_Hest23. pic.twitter.com/U6oZizbZ4d
— Danny Ecker (@DannyEcker) September 25, 2020
• Something to keep an eye on in Sunday’s Packers-Saints game:
#Saints WR Michael Thomas (high-ankle sprain) is once again declared out, as he’ll miss his second straight game. He hasn’t practiced since the injury. Meanwhile, #Packers WR Davante Adams (hamstring) is doubtful.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 25, 2020
• The NFL is not playing around when it comes to mask-wearing protocols:
The NFL sent a memo to clubs tonight with reminders on game day protocols — including another emphasis on face covering requirements, with discipline for violators.
So far, the tab is at $1.75 million in fines and counting … pic.twitter.com/0XEqzu7YYB
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) September 25, 2020
• Meanwhile, it seems like college football has some work to do:
— no context college football (@nocontextcfb) September 26, 2020
• SEC football is back in action:
THE SEC ON CBS IS BACK 🏈 pic.twitter.com/N0XREmfXdA
— Jamming Out 🕺 (@JordanJamming) September 26, 2020
• Over at BN Bulls, Eli dives into why Billy Donovan chose the Bulls. No, really … why? He had his pick of the litter. And it’s not as if the Bulls job was the brightest crayon in the box. What’s the deal? Well, Eli gets into it. Check it out.
• Live life the way Willson Contreras flips bats:
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) September 26, 2020