A casual reminder that Labor Day comes once a year to honor the work force and their contributions to society. So, take it easy today if you can. You’ve certainly earned it for all the hard work you’ve put in over the last year.
• An astute observation from Jeff Hughes of Da Bears Blog as we kick-off our return to regular-season football:
Right now the Bears are +290 on the money line Sunday night, according to @DKSportsbook. That makes them the week’s biggest underdog.
— DaBearsBlog (@dabearsblog) September 6, 2021
• I hope you’re ready to hear from the Bears about being disrespected throughout the season to come, because the oddsmakers aren’t feeling this squad one bit. Allow me to contextualize this for everyone, and not just those of us who wet our beaks into the wagering world. At +290, the Bears are the biggest underdogs on the board in Week 1. In other words, a bettor can win $290 on a $100 bet if Chicago pulls off the upset. A $390 payout at the end of the day is’t bad. But the implied odds of the Bears winning (based on the odds provided) is 25.6 percent. That’s not going to make me feel good on a Monday.
• But Week 1 is just the beginning. Here are the Bears’ odds (with implied odds in parenthesis) heading into this season:
⇒ Super Bowl: 65/1 (1.5%)
⇒ NFC: 35/1 (2.8%)
⇒ Division: 11/2 (15.4%)
⇒ Make the playoffs: 9/4 (30.8%)
• In other words, it’s a long shot. And at so many different levels. But because all of the records across the league are 0-0, I’ll allow myself to hold out some optimism. There is a reason they play games on paper. And, if you’ll recall, the Bears were long-shots to make any type of noise in 2018. So, while I won’t go as far as to predict a shock-the-world type of season, I’m ever-so-curious to see how this plays out. So many Bears players, coaches, and front office staffers have a ton riding on this season. It’s a turning point for so many. And with that in mind, I don’t expect this team to go down without a fight. But if they do go quietly into the night, I figure we’ll have much to discuss. However, we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.
• Just thinking about this Khalil Mack quote about being an underdog from before last year’s playoff game against the Saints:
“Me personally, I always feel like an underdog. It’s just in me. A lot of these guys do as well, man. It’s a lot of disrespect that we have been hearing. So you have to use all of that to your advantage.”
• I know, I know. The Bears lost that game. And it wasn’t nearly as close as the final score indicates. But Mack’s mindset is a good one to have. Being the hunted is cool, as it means your team has accomplished something. But being the hunter has its perks, too. There is something about having that different hunger that brings the best out of some guys. Now, if only Mack’s energy, excellence, and pursuit of something more can rub off on the rest of his teammates.
• NFL insider Aaron Wilson reports the Bears cut cornerback Tre Roberson from injured reserve with an injury settlement. Thus, closing the book on a career that never took off in Chicago. The Bears brought in Roberson in January 2020, signing him to the biggest free-agent deal out of the CFL since Cameron Wake. Roberson’s arrival was supposed to offset the impact of losing corners elsewhere on the roster, providing depth and ball skills to the secondary. There was even a belief in some circles that Roberson could play his way into a starting gig. But injuries kept him off the field and out of the lineup. And now, Roberson is off the team altogether. Not one of Ryan Pace’s best moves.
• Training camp at Halas Hall was pretty neat. Sure, I miss the open spaces Bourbonnais was providing. And I definitely miss the clarity that comes with the hour-and-a-half early morning drive. But the Bears made the most of their situation and put on a show at the Halas Hall campus. I’d like to see a more exclusive experience. And perhaps a different backdrop, but altogether, it was pretty dope. Over at The Athletic, Adam Jahns hooks it up with an inside look at the team’s first camp at its Lake Forest facility.
• Some real “here we go again” vibes as Dolphins TE Adam Shaheen finds himself on the Reserve/COVID-19 list for the second time this summer. And because protocols for unvaccinated players are what they are, Shaheen is out at least 10 days. That puts him OUT for Sunday’s Week 1 game against the Patriots.
• The folks at the Wall Street Journal serve up a reminder that teams hitting high vaccination rates are at a competitive advantage:
The NFL’s second pandemic season begins this week, and the teams with a higher percentage of vaccinated players aren’t just better protected against the virus. They have a competitive advantage on the field. https://t.co/0gfy978gzL
— The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) September 6, 2021
• Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio is already discussing the idea of Giants GM Dave Getttleman being on the hot seat. The G-Men — try reading that not in peak 1990’s Chris Berman voice — own the Bears’ first-round pick this year. That could make this job enticing, should it become available. HOWEVER, that we’re already thinking about Gettleman being on the hot seat while his head coach is just in Year 2 of his regime is a bit ridiculous. It also has me thinking about Ryan Pace’s status. But that’s a different post for another time.
• Looks like Amazon’s Fire Tablets are on a huge sale right now. You can get the 7 for under forty bucks at the moment. #ad
• Over at BN Blackhawks, Mario introduces the Blackhawks prospect pyramid. This is a heckuva concept for getting prospect feel, so you should check it out:
— Bleacher Nation Blackhawks (@BN_Blackhawks) September 6, 2021
• Daniel Vogelbach continues to be one of my favorite Cubs ever despite never wearing the uniform at the big-league level after walking off the Cardinals in GRAND fashion.