The trailer for the Bears’ Meet The Rookies series is OUT…
And I’m excited to experience it all with you!
• While we’re gearing up for another NFL season, one that expects to be on the more “normal” side of things, I’m reminded that we’ll need to get accustomed to a new normal. Let’s be real with each other and acknowledge that COVID-19 will still have an impact (on some level) on the American pro sports scene. For instance, the Associated Press reports the Colts and Washington Football Team are the NFL’s only teams that have yet to reach 50 percent vaccination rate. The NFL is incentivizing the heck out of vaccinations, so it is encouraging news for most of the league’s teams being above 50 percent. Small steps toward progress still count as steps toward progress. However, until teams reach an 85 percent vaccination rate, they won’t fully feel what it’s like to get fewer restrictions in team facilities.
• We’ve seen how COVID can still throw wrenches into things, such as last Thursday’s Yankees-Red Sox postponement. Hopefully, lessons are learned from this and we don’t have to re-live stretches of 2020 when the NFL was turning into a pretzel in order to squeeze in games to avoid turning postponements into cancellations.
• Sometimes, I still can’t believe we got such a cool quarterback:
Justin Fields’ visor game 🔥🔥🔥
(📸: simeon.kelley IG) pic.twitter.com/jTDi9sGkp5
— PFF (@PFF) July 19, 2021
— BryanDeArdo (@BryanDeArdo) July 18, 2021
— Kelly V (@BearingDownGirl) July 18, 2021
• I’m totally here for Justin Fields nudging Ohio State fans into becoming Bears fans. The more, the merrier. Maybe there can be an exchange program? I’ve heard nothing but good things about the college football experience in Columbus, Ohio. Not that the Buckeyes need any more fans. But, hey, I’m totally down to support the squad if Fields turns into something special. Pretty sure Michael Jordan’s excellence with the Bulls during my childhood had me watching North Carolina basketball as a kid. Well, that plus dunks from Jerry Stackhouse and Vince Carter. In any case, fans will flock to entertaining football. Hopefully, this is the start of something special.
• According to The Athletic’s Bears fans survey, there is a general belief that the 2021 team can hang around and compete for a postseason spot this winter. That is a bit surprising, especially when considering how the last two seasons ended. Then again, hope springs eternal with Justin Fields waiting in the wings. In fact, a majority of Bears fans believe Fields will start sooner, rather than later. Faith in Fields is sparking a belief in the team around him. Heck, even GM Ryan Pace and Head Coach Matt Nagy graded out better than I expected. Just imagine how much better fan perception can be if Fields can navigate through a winning season.
• Another notable nugget is that there is plenty of confidence in Eddie Jackson and Khalil Mack having bounce-back seasons. Jackson, 27, is still in the prime of his career and has a track record that suggests a rebound year could be on the horizon. There is a real possibility that the 2020 season was something of a fluke for a player who came away with 10 interceptions and 5 defensive touchdowns in his first three seasons. As for Mack, I’m curious what a “bounce back” season looks like for someone who PFF considers its second-best defensive player right now.
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• Had the Cubs gone 6-5 during that awful 11-game losing streak, I’d feel better about the state of the team. Instead, reality being what it is, we’re here:
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) July 19, 2021
• This is the collection of Blackhawks players from which NHL’s expansion franchise in Seattle has to choose from:
— Bleacher Nation Blackhawks (@BN_Blackhawks) July 18, 2021