My sincerest thank yous to those who sent birthday wishes my way yesterday. I’m a year older, and (hopefully) a year wiser. So, here’s to this year being the first of many in which I can celebrate while rooting on a honest-to-goodness franchise quarterback.
• Nicholas Moreano (Chicago Audible) highlights five position battles that will be front-and-center this summer. We’ll spill plenty of virtual ink over the quarterback competition between now and when Justin Fields takes over. And in a fun twist of irony, I can’t help but think about how the QB competition will impact what happens at a pair of different receiver battles Moreano spotlights. Marquise Goodwin and Damiere Byrd seem to be going after one spot, while Javon Wims and Riley Ridley appear to be battling for another. From where I sit, whoever links up best with Fields might have an edge. Then again, I imagine any and all of these pass-catchers want to build connections with both Fields and Dalton. It will be fascinating to watch.
• What’s happening at running back isn’t necessarily a position battle. Instead, it’s more like a group of players jockeying for position in the great playing time race. David Montgomery will receive a lion’s share of the touches, in terms of both carries and targets out of the backfield. But the Bears would be wise to not overuse him. Damien Williams, Khalil Herbert, and Tarik Cohen will have a say in how the running backs room rolls in 2021. The depth and variety of skills should put the Bears in a spot where they can keep opposing defenses on their heels, while also keeping their own players fresh. The only thing left to decide is how to divide the reps. Thankfully, that’s what training camp will help tell us later this month.
• Dalvin Cook is great. And the tandem of Aaron Jones with AJ Dillon is strong. But it’s impossible not to like this collection of Bears backs:
• I realize Matt Nagy has had issues getting the running game going over the years. HOWEVA … there are no excuses this season. The starter is good, the backups behind them are better in 2021 than they were in 2020, and the offensive line appears to be in better shape, too. Nagy shouldn’t have any problems using the running game to keep things balanced in the season to come.
• Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want (or need) the Bears to run it like it’s 1992. But using the ground game to ease pressure off the quarterbacks should a priority. Using that aspect of the game in order to not put the QBs in peril should be something Chicago’s football team does early and often in 2021.
• For your listening pleasure:
The last Hoge & Jahns of the offseason.@JeffJoniak joins the show.
— Adam Jahns (@adamjahns) July 2, 2021
• Cam Meredith was an extra crispy route-runner for a Bears team that didn’t really have anyone worthwhile throwing him the ball. And when he joined the Saints as a free agent, I was hoping that catching passes from Drew Brees would elevate his game. Unfortunately, Meredith never fully recovered from an ACL injury he suffered in 2017. But he is getting another chance, this time in the CFL with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
• A snapshot of excellence:
Cam Meredith working through traffic and getting some RAC against Washington. pic.twitter.com/YwIrv1XO04
— dan durkin (@djdurkin) July 7, 2017
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) July 27, 2017
Cam Meredith "climbing the ladder" to make this catch against the Vikings. pic.twitter.com/M6EIqVcC2O
— dan durkin (@djdurkin) July 7, 2017
• This feels like a sizable fine (and statement from WFT owner Dan Snyder):
A $10 million fine for Washington. “Dan Snyder has acknowledged that, as the club's owner, he is responsible for the culture.” https://t.co/huFlzW5H79
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 1, 2021
Dan Snyder statement following the NFL announcing a $10 million fine following the workplace review of the Washington Football Team. pic.twitter.com/kG8pSnMn3U
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) July 1, 2021
• Shame, shame, shame:
NFL is fining San Francisco, Jacksonville and Dallas for OTA violations, per source. https://t.co/vzFpJTNEQh
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 1, 2021
• I was curious about how the NFL would view the landmark change in college football when it comes to NIL. marketing agreements:
The NFL Players Association advised agents they are permitted to enter into NIL marketing agreements with college players — a potential game-changer in recruiting, though the union says such agreements should not include clauses about future NFL representation. pic.twitter.com/W25P1PkGo0
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) July 1, 2021
Looks Like EuroLeague MVP Vasilije Micic Will Not be Coming to the NBA (Or the Bulls) After Allhttps://t.co/YtD45CVsxg
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) July 1, 2021
• They probably didn’t deserve any starters after how they’ve played this month:
— Bleacher Nation Cubs (@BleacherNation) July 2, 2021
• Mario puts in a ton of work in unpacking a delicate situation:
Jonathan Toews Speaks: Aiming for Opening Night, Medical Info, and Allegations of Sexual Abuse https://t.co/s4cx8pjr2K
— Bleacher Nation Blackhawks (@BN_Blackhawks) July 1, 2021