Ditka the Game-Changer, Kmet Time, Are Receivers the New Backs? And Other Bears Bullets

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Ditka the Game-Changer, Kmet Time, Are Receivers the New Backs? And Other Bears Bullets

Chicago Bears

A collection of Chicago’s best burgers is exactly what I needed to properly start my day:

Anybody hungry?

•   Over at The Athletic, they’re counting down the NFL’s 100 best players to ever suit up. Not unexpectedly, Iron Mike Ditka shows up and makes the cut:

•   It’s wild to think about who Mike Ditka was as a player when you know him only as a coach and personality. But then you find yourself looking back and learning about how he was a game-changer at the tight end position. It almost makes me wish I was around to see Ditka’s entire career arc. Instead, I’m digging learning something new about him as a player with each look-back like the one above. All this to say that I wish it were possible for Cole Kmet to soak up everything he could learn about playing tight end from Ditka, the player (not so much Ditka, the larger-than-life personality).

•   I’ll never pass on an opportunity to share old school, black-and-white pics:

(Photo by Fred Roe/Getty Images)

•   Five Pro Bowl appearances. Two first-team All-Pro nominations. A 1,000-yard, double-digit touchdown season as a rookie tight end, en route to winning the AP Rookie of the Year award in 1961. Four years being in the top-10 in receptions. Three seasons in which he finished the year in the top-10 in receiving yards. Te résumé is as good as it gets, my friends.

•   Some love for the Bears’ top TE:

•   I’m curious to see how the Bears plan on using Kmet and Jimmy Graham. On the one hand, I wonder if keeping Graham for the 2021 season is something that will stunt Kmet’s growth. But on the other hand, Kmet out-snapped Graham handily down the stretch. That’s a good thing if you believe in things such as passing on the torch. But Graham still out-scored Kmet in the touchdown department. And Graham out-targeted Kmet inside-the-20 during a second-half stretch in which Kmet was taking at least 70 percent of offensive snaps while Graham was north of 50 percent just twice. That could be a sign Kmet simply isn’t at where he needs to be in order to settle into his role as a significant red-zone threat. Perhaps this is where Graham’s leadership can help shine a light to guide Kmet on where he needs to go.

•   Some interesting perspective from NFL insider Adam Caplan, who tweets this regarding the Allen Robinson II contract situation in Chicago: There’s been a difference of opinion on his value (has been that way for a few years). Terrific player, but the team doesn’t value him (by money) as other teams would.

•   Now I’m wondering if the influx of Day 2 and Day 3 talent that comes by way of the NFL Draft is so good at the receiver position, the Bears don’t think it’s worth paying someone like Robinson. I suppose that recent history suggests it is more valuable have depth, variety, and excellence at multiple receiver spots. And if enough teams believe in that, then we’ll see fewer big receiver contracts. Moreover, we could be seeing teams trend toward treating the receiver position like running backs. Much like there are so many talented rushers, there are waves of gifted pass-catchers out there developing. Even still … the Bears are a franchise that can’t afford to think that way. Not with how they have scouted, drafted, and developed receivers over the years.

•   Tickets for Bears Family Fest, which is just 22 days away, go on sale tomorrow:


•   This tweet spoke directly to me:

•   It’s never too early to take a peek at who could be available in next year’s draft class:

•   Months after feeling the good vibes on NFL Draft night, I’m feeling good about the Cubs’ first-round pick. This feels weird, but I’m willing to see where it goes:

•   Patrick Kane won an ESPY over the weekend, which reminds me that those are still a thing.

•   Timing is everything when it comes to an extension for Bulls star Zach LaVine, who wants negotiations to “play out the right way.”

Author: Luis Medina

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