I took way too much joy in tweeting this:
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) January 8, 2021
For the record, I hope Javon Wims busts Chauncey Gardner-Johnson with his routes and his run-blocking. As far as I’m concerned, your hands are better served catching the ball and keeping a defender off a ball carrier than any other football alternative.
• I’m sure you’re tired of me calling each Bears game the biggest one of the year. But when you put yourself in a win-or-home situation and control your own playoff destiny with no wiggle room, each game comes with increased importance. Tomorrow’s game against the Saints is just the latest in a series of “most important” games. And while I’m ready for it, I’m looking forward to using today to get myself geared up for the main event.
• Roquan Smith earned enough votes to get second-team All-Pro recognition, but the first-team snub still sticks in my craw. But at least the folks at Football Outsiders recognize Smith’s superb season, naming him to the site’s All-Pro team. Fun fact: Smith ranked first in Football Outsiders’ SIS points saved stat. I’m not an analytics expert, but that seems like high praise.
• Again, this isn’t to take anything away from three excellent linebackers who earned All-Pro honors. HOWEVER … Roquan Smith was damn good in 2020:
I'll leave this here:
Roquan Smith — 139 total tackles, 18 TFL, 4 sacks, 2 INT.
Your 2020 All-Pro's:
Fred Warner — 125 tackles, 5 TFL, 1 sack, 2 INT.
Darious Leonard — 132 tackles, 7 TFL, 3 sacks, 0 INT.
Bobby Wagner — 138 tackles, 7 TFL, 3 sacks, 0 INT.
— Zack Pearson (@Zack_Pearson) January 8, 2021
• Smith wasn’t one of three Bears who earned All-Pro recognition from Pro Football Focus. But at least three key contributors got some shine. Khalil Mack (edge) and Cordarrelle Patterson (return specialist) were first-team performers in the eyes of PFF. Meanwhile, Allen Robinson II was a second-team PFF All-Pro. It’s also noteworthy to see a pair of ex-Bears make the cut. Safety Adrian Amos (Packers) and flex defender Bryce Callahan (Broncos) also earned first-team All-Pro props from PFF. Seeing Amos and Callahan reminds me how awesome that secondary was in 2018. It’s a shame Callahan’s season-ending injury kept him out of that cursed playoff game.
• Talkin’ beignets, Nickelodeon classics, and playoff football over coffee:
• Well, that’s a nice gesture:
A total of 250 vaccinated healthcare workers from Ochsner Health and LCMC Health have been selected to attend this weekend’s game against the Chicago Bears.
— Nick Underhill (@nick_underhill) January 8, 2021
• Because someone had to take the heat for the Cowboys missing the playoffs yet again, the team fired DC Mike Nolan (per Jay Glazer). Dallas allowed 29.6 points per game, which wasn’t the worst in the league. However, when no one in your lousy division finishes at or above .500, you better not be giving up nearly 30 points per game.
• Alright, so you can count out Jim Harbaugh to the Bears rumors. Well, at least for the rest of this offseason:
Jim Harbaugh’s new extension now runs through the 2025 football season. Harbaugh signed a four-year extension with revised financial terms effective Jan. 11, 2021. https://t.co/zqOUT18dTk
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 8, 2021
• One of college football’s more intriguing quarterback prospects is going back to campus to refine his skills:
.@YahooSports Exclusive: Cincinnati's Desmond Ridder says he will return to the Bearcats next season. With 15 starters back and a possible Top 10 preseason ranking, @GoBearcatsFB will again be in the CFP conversation. Big day for Cincinnati. https://t.co/fdQ99phxxT
— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) January 8, 2021
• Tattoo Patrick Williams stuffing LeBron James inside my eyelids:
• 🎵 Here come the Hawks, the mighty … Blackhawks 🎵
We Don’t Need Analytics to Tell Us the Blackhawks Are in for a Tough Season, But Well …https://t.co/i7MGANXEIY
— Bleacher Nation Blackhawks (@BN_Blackhawks) January 8, 2021