Imagine losing a playoff game by 4 points after THIS wasn’t called a touchdown:
This was ruled not a touchdown 🤦🏼♂️ pic.twitter.com/JT4xqCBtcT
— Andy Rieckhoff (@AndyOnTheAM) May 3, 2021
I’m going to have a long, painful offseason in which this crosses my mind at least once per day. Nothing like ending your week knowing that this call changed a playoff quarterfinal matchup.
• It’s too early to make grand proclamations about what your favorite team’s draft picks will do, but I don’t think it’s too early to think about if your favorite team properly addressed its needs. Judging by some of the early grading, it seems as if Bears fans will be pleased with how their team crossed things off the needs list as their arch rivals up north didn’t do it as adequately as one might’ve expected. And, you know what, that’s fine by me. The Bears haven’t had the upper-hand against the Packers all too often in the last 34 years I’ve been alive. So I’ll gladly take the dub while I can, then hope that we look back at this draft class as the one that got the ball rolling in the right direction.
• One undeniable theme of NFL Draft Weekend was the Bears showing signs they were learning from past mistakes. Adam Hoge (NBC Sports) Chicago highlights how choosing Justin Fields encapsulates that idea. However, that’s not where it stops. Every player the Bears drafted on Day 3 has similarities to a prospect taken in a previous year from a smaller school or with lesser experience. None of this is to say all (or any) of these players will pan out the way we’d like. But I can appreciate learning from prior shortcomings.
• For instance, the Larry Borom choice shows the Bears are thinking differently than they did when they chose Jordan Morgan in Round 5 in 2017. Dazz Newsome has some Anthony Miller vibes. Khalil Herbert is on a similar wavelength when compared to Kerrith Whyte Jr. at running back. Thomas Graham Jr. is a more polished version like Kindle Vildor. Khyiris Tonga is a more well-rounded form of Rashaad Coward (and actually figures to stick at defensive tackle). It doesn’t take much of a stretch to see the similarities. Again, I think it’s important to learn from the past. You can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been.
• There’s been a little bit of this in some corners of the weekend, but it’s good to know smart people know better:
Honestly, if I were a rookie QB, I'd prefer to play at like Chicago.
If Jordan Love gets Packers a ring, it's "We've had first ring, what about second ring? We expect HOF play."
If Justin Fields gets Bears a ring, it's "Where around Soldier Field would you like the statue?"
— Lee Sharpe, Fully Vaccinated (@LeeSharpeNFL) May 2, 2021
• If you’ve never seen the movie Little Giants, it’s an underdog tale in which a rag-tag group of misfit children pull off an epic upset of a loaded pee-wee league football team in a winner-take-all intra-city matchup. At halftime, the coach and his young players find motivation in remembering the one instance in which they accomplished something no one thought they would. And admittedly, probably couldn’t pull off again. The rallying cry ends with everyone repeating “One time…” as if realizing it just needs to happen once for belief to truly creep in. That’s how I feel about the Bears’ quarterbacking situation. And I think it’s the greater sentiment in Lee Sharpe’s series of tweets.
• In a way, it reminds me of how I felt in 2015 and 2016 talking about the Cubs. There was a perception that the North Side was where high-priced free agents “go to die” and where hot-shot prospects flame out. A narrative was built based on *gestures at history* but I maintained all it takes is for one guy to change everything. And from 2015-20, a bunch of those guys grew up to change it all. Five playoff appearances, three division titles, three trips to the NLCS, and one World Series title would’ve been unfathomable before 2015 because of how deeply narratives sunk in. But that’s where Chicago’s football team is right now. All it takes is one quarterback to change the game. The Bears think it’s Justin Fields. So while it’s only May 3, I’m fired up about seeing how this all plays out.
• Don’t sleep on the Teven Jenkins pick. The Athletic’s snapshot of this prospect by Adam Jahns shows the expectations are high for a potential immediate contributor:
The Bears traded up to select their new mauling tackle from Oklahoma State in the second round at No. 39. They had a first-round grade on him. Jenkins should immediately push Germain Ifedi to the bench at right tackle. GM Ryan Pace also said that he can handle the left side, which puts Charles Leno Jr. on notice as well. The Bears surely will want Jenkins’ mean streak and toughness on the field as soon as possible.
• One reason as to why it’s important to learn your lessons from past drafts: I can’t imagine going into a season needing to protect a placeholder (Andy Dalton) and future face of the franchise (Justin Fields) without a premier line prospect blocking in the trenches. Not properly addressing the line is an easy way to fail your quarterbacks.
• They’re sooooo back:
The Bears are back 🐻👀 pic.twitter.com/sOMBOEKFsb
— PFF (@PFF) May 2, 2021
• And to think the Bears’ draft weekend haul isn’t over. We highlighted the team’s early round of UDFA signings. And over at NFL Network, Gil Brandt looks at the top remaining un-signed free agents. There is *STILL* plenty of talent on the board.
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