Helping Mongo and Other Bears Bullets

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Helping Mongo and Other Bears Bullets

Chicago Bears

Southern Illinois’ football team plays a postseason game TODAY! Here’s hoping it has a better ending than the last time I watched a playoff game in which I was emotionally invested.

•   We touched on it in Friday’s Bullets, but former Bears standout defensive lineman Steve “Mongo” McMichael was diagnosed with ALS and the news is still as much of a gut punch today as it was when I first read about it. Kudos to the Chicago Tribune’s staff for its full coverage of a sensitive issue:

•   Really good multimedia story telling is hard. But the Dan Wiederer and Brian Cassella knock it out of the park with how this is done. I strongly encourage you to check out the Tribune’s work yesterday.

•   Naturally, the immediate reaction from many has been (and still is) with folks asking how they can help. There is a GoFundMe page that has been created to help with daily care and medical needs. As of this posting, it has raised $97,071 of the $176,000 goal. There are also #TeamMongo shirts from Obvious Shirts with 100 percent of proceeds being donated to aid in Mongo’s fight. Here’s hoping the kind gestures continue. And that Mongo gets the kind of help he needs.

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

•   There is no easy transition from that topic to the rest of Bullets, but here goes nothing…

•   Bears Head Coach Matt Nagy is celebrating his 43rd birthday today. The 2018 AP NFL Coach of the Year has led the team to two playoff seasons in three years and hasn’t finished a season below .500. Considering the limitations of the quarterbacks on the roster, minimal attempts to address offensive line needs, and the shortcomings of failed investments at skill positions, it’s somewhat impressive that the Bears haven’t totally fallen apart in each of the last two seasons.

•   Then again, I feel as if there is some untapped potential that could take Chicago’s offense to another level if Nagy would be less stubborn with play-calling decisions. Nagy is set to retain play-calling duties in 2021. Ideally, he’ll have learned some lessons from what Bill Lazor did last last year and apply them to what he does in 2021. Otherwise, there might not be a 2022 for Nagy or his staff.

•   Tom Thayer’s breakdowns of how David Montgomery became an asset down the stretch and Cole Kmet’s increased usage as a receiver as the season went on give me a small bit of hope for an offensive up-tick next year:

•   Quality running game + play action + a tight end who is a pass-catching thread should = Success!

•   I’m mildly annoyed the Bears weren’t able to land stud left tackle Orlando Brown from the Ravens. Instead, Brown goes to the Chiefs in a trade that sends draft picks to both side. Even still … Brown is the most important piece in the deal. Pro Bowl left tackles don’t grow on trees. And with Brown set to play out the final year of his rookie deal, a large extension (or deal in free agency) awaits. But after parting ways with serious draft capital, I don’t imagine Kansas City allows Brown to walk any time soon.

•   Reading between the lines, K.C. seems to believe there will be a run of tackles that will precede where it was supposed to be picking. This is widely believed to be a strong offensive line class. So if the Chiefs don’t believe a stud will be waiting for them at No. 31, I find myself thinking the Bears shouldn’t wait until Round 2 to draft a lineman. I also find myself wondering if the Chiefs have an inkling as to what Chicago (and teams ahead of them on the draft board) will do with their picks. Isn’t thinking along with the NFL Draft fun?

•   Also annoying: It took one game for the Chiefs to tell themselves: We should really re-work our offensive line to ensure a game like this doesn’t happen again. Since watching Patrick Mahomes take 10 quarterback hits and three sacks, the Chiefs have brought in Brown, Kyle Long, and Austin Blythe. After watching two years of offensive line struggles, the Bears have added Elijah Wilkinson. This is to take nothing away from Wilkinson, who I believe is a fantastic depth piece for this group. HOWEVER, the Chiefs are an example of what it looks like when a team values offensive line excellence at a high level.

•   Roquan Smith sounds hungry:

•   Matt Forte was criminally underrated (and at times, under-utilized) during his time in Chicago:

•   I must admit that this is a beautiful design:

Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.