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New Appreciation For Fields, Building the Practice Squad, Brady Sees COVID Challenges, and Other Bears Bullets

Chicago Bears

Woke up to a text message reminder that I’m drafting a fantasy team at 11 a.m. CT. I was preparing for that message, but wasn’t ready for the sidebar that “it’s going to be awful” and that no one knows how long it will take. Best ball. Auction style. Twelve teams and 26 rounds. Super-flex, but with the tight end optional. I just … I’m not prepared at all.

•   Not a great first impression put out from the 2022 NFL Draft’s class of QB prospects:

•   As if you needed another reason to be thankful for Justin Fields.

•   To be clear, we’ve got a long way to go before we can draw firm conclusions. Sam Howell’s Tar Heels losing to Virginia Tech and Spencer Rattler struggling to find his footing against Tulane wasn’t a good look. It’s why you act with conviction when you think you’ve found #TheOne, rather than kick the can down the road and hope something better falls into your lap.

•   There are times when the Matt Nagy-Ryan Pace tag team frustrates me. But I’ll give them this: The insistence on testing guys at new positions intrigues me to no end. It takes a village to build a roster. So when I see news about Tyrone Wheatley Jr. re-signing to practice squad, there is a small level of intrigue that grows within me. Wheatley, once a tight end by trade, is on his way toward building to become an offensive tackle. And because there is no such thing as having too much offensive line help, I’m all for finding new ways of unearthing talent at the position. If it doesn’t work, at least the Bears tried. But if it does, then the team has a fun story (and possibly help at a trouble spot on the roster).

•   Practice squad adds might seem inconsequential right now, but they shouldn’t be seen in that light. Remember, 5 players who were on the team’s initial practice squad were promoted to the game-day roster *AND* suited up for a Bears game at some point last season. And 5 were given promotions the year before. Long story, short: Chicago will eventually call up a handful of players to fill in roles throughout the year. In the words, how GM Ryan Pace builds out his practice squad is important.

•   One thing I’m finding interesting about how teams around the league are building up their reserves is the number of experienced veterans making their way onto practice squads. Last year, the Bears were able to stash veteran RB Lamar Miller onto the practice squad. I wonder if they could find someone else to do that with in 2021. And with one free spot remaining on the practice squad, I can’t help but wonder if that’s where it might go.

•   Here are some available free agents who casual football fans will know: Mitchell Schwartz (OL), Todd Gurley II (RB), Cam Newton (QB), Richard Sherman (CB), Russell Okung (OL), Le’Veon Bell (RB), Golden Tate (WR).

•   An old friend finds a new home, where he’ll see some faces Bears fans know well:

 

•   This running back was steam-rolling through LSU last night, but I’m far more interested in which of these blockers are draft eligible in 2022:

•   Bruce Feldman’s list of 43 college football coaches to keep eyes on this season came across my radar because Nick Hill, who coaches my alma mater’s football team, makes the cut. But I feel as if I’ll want to keep some of these names on a short-list of candidates just in case the Nagy era goes sideways sooner, rather than later.

•   I’m here for hiring the coach who refuses to punt:

•   How can you not love going for the win, on the road, against a Power Conference team? Big ups to NIU for this one:

•   OPE!

•   Here is a new way to avoid getting in the cross-hairs of the No Fun League’s policies:

•   Yikes:

•   As if you needed another reason to continue taking living in a pandemic seriously, the best QB to ever do it believes dealing with coronavirus will be more challenging this year (despite the Bucs reportedly getting to 100 percent vaccination):

“I actually think it’s going to play more of a factor this year than last year, just because of the way what we’re doing now and what the stadium is going to look like and what the travel is going to look like and the people in the building and the fans,” Brady said. “It’s not like last year, although we’re getting tested like last year. It’s going to be, I definitely think guys are going to be out at different points and we’ve just got to deal with it.”

•   Jordan Wicks, the Cubs’ first-round pick, will make his full-season debut TODAY at South Bend. This is equal parts awesome and aggressive, especially seeing Wicks was chosen in last July’s MLB Draft.



Author: Luis Medina

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