I haven’t been this upset watching my favorite team’s lack of depth pop up in a crucial point since the Bears had to start Manti Te’o at inside linebacker in a playoff game.
• More on the Bears’ depth in a minute. But first, an eye-opening tweet from out east:
"Mac sees the game the way (offensive coordinator) Josh (McDaniels) sees it." Cam Newton vs. Mac Jones: New England Patriots set for true quarterback competition in training camp https://t.co/72eq4O1v96
— Michael Giardi (@MikeGiardi) June 28, 2021
• Well, this is certainly a fun dynamic. A true quarterback competition. In one corner, we have Mac Jones. The Patriots first-round pick who is the franchise quarterback of the future, but one whose limited college tape still leaves some with question. And in the other corner is Cam Newton, whose résumé is as legit as you could want (even if his 2020 was a train wreck). From a storyline perspective, it’s as good as it gets. So while it’s not happening in Chicago, it’s worth keeping an eye on as we try to evaluate what’s happening up at Halas Hall.
• Ultimately, this will be worth watching as a Bears fan. Not necessarily for the Justin Fields-Mac Jones one-for-one comp. But instead, simply to see how the Patriots go about grooming Jones. And better yet, how they go about creating competition. We all know there is no one cookie-cutter way to develop a quarterback. Because if there was such a way, then everyone would be doing it. Nevertheless, I’ll be curious to follow how practice snaps are split, how preseason snaps are given, and how each party performs. Give me all the QB data.
• OK, well, not *ALL* the QB data:
A chart to show pure accuracy.
— Hayden Winks (@HaydenWinks) June 27, 2021
• Here’s the simplest breakdown of the graphic above: Mitchell Trubisky was the NFL’s least accurate QB last year. Oh, and it’s not as if Andy Dalton is much better. Marginally better? Sure. But when asked to make plays in the pocket – a.k.a. play the quarterback position – Trubisky’s struggles were apparent. That’s why Trubisky is in Buffalo working to re-invent himself behind Josh Allen. And also why the Bears made their deal in order to draft Justin Fields.
• Speaking of Justin Fields and accuracy:
Someone bet Justin Fields he couldn’t hit the crossbar.
Fields: “Come on now stop playing with me.” pic.twitter.com/kDTynL7V26
— Bears Clips (@BearsCIips) June 26, 2021
• Back to that QB chart again. Did we see where Nick Foles lands among the QBs? Foles was significantly better than Trubisky and a bit better than Dalton last year. Unfortunately, the line’s construction during Foles’ time at starter simply wasn’t good enough to give him enough clean pockets to make good things happen. I applaud the Bears for making things work at year’s end. Unearthing usable depth with Sam Mustipher and Alex Bars on the interior, then kicking Germain Ifedi out to tackle was more good than bad. But I can’t help but wonder what could’ve been if Foles and David Montgomery were given better lines in front of them earlier in the year.
• Looking ahead, I like the Bears’ line depth now more than I did at this time last year. In addition to three starting-caliber linemen (Cody Whitehair, James Daniels, Germain Ifedi), the Bears have two depth players with relevant starting experience (Bars, Mustipher), brought in two draft picks (Teven Jenkins, Larry Borom), and a free agent (Elijah Wilkinson) with notable starting experience. There was more certainty at left tackle at this time last year. But Jason Spriggs was the team’s lone veteran in the mix. It just didn’t make for quality depth to start the year. So, at minimum, I’d argue Chicago’s front office learned its lesson from last year.
• With the offensive line being on our mind, it’s a good time to read Chris Emma (670 The Score) who writes that Teven Jenkins is taking steps toward earning a starting job as a left tackle. I think the Bears are taking a serious risk in starting a rookie left tackle who — while skilled enough to make me believe he could be the future at the position — was a full-time right tackle at Oklahoma State. OL Coach Juan Castillo has his work cut out for him.
• Speaking of risky moves, Gary Davenport (Bleacher Report) assesses the riskiest move each of the NFL’s 32 teams made this offseason. Trading up for Fields is Davenport’s pick for the Bears for obvious reasons.
• Part of me still can’t believe the Bears gave Manti Te’o a start at inside linebacker in a playoff game. Seriously? This is a big summer for Joel Iyiegbuniwe and Josh Woods, a pair of linebackers who have been with this organization for a few years and should be making an impact somewhere.
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• I played the heck out of this game in college. And, frankly, it’s better now than anything Madden has put out since the year Mike Vick was on the cover:
Customizing your crib in NFL 2K5 > pic.twitter.com/0MmhnAFBEb
— AuxGod (@AuxGod_) June 29, 2021