My favorite thing about Fall (non-football division) is heating up my kitchen with my cooking skills. Sure, I dig the fashion this time of year. And I get feelings (that I ultimately cast aside for reasons) when I see the autumnal colors. But there’s something about whipping up something hearty while rocking sweatpants and a hoodie that gets me going.
With that being said, there isn’t a meal that better fits a weekend of football and chill like chili. My friend Jim’s recipe is the best I’ve had (just don’t tell my pops) and it’ll feed you for a few days. Eat well, my friends.
• The Texans aren’t the pushover I thought they would be. And I’m sure this man deserves credit:
Lovie Smith needs to be in the conversation for NFL Beard of the Year pic.twitter.com/IreXzazVsU
— Pick Six Podcast (@picksixpod) September 24, 2021
• You better believe I’m using this moment to put some respect on Lovie Smith’s name. For fans of a certain age, he is the best and most successful head coach in their lifetime as a Bears fan. Save for George Halas and Mike Ditka, who did more than Lovie during his tenure running the Bears? Smith was 81-63, had five winning seasons, had a losing record just three times in nine years, led the team to three postseason berths, and an appearance in Super Bowl XLI. The offenses were disappointing, sure. And his hiring of offensive coordinators wasn’t great. But I’ll be darned if those teams weren’t the most fun I had watching Bears football.
• I’m still holding out hope that Matt Nagy and these Bears can supplant the best of the Lovie Bears. If that happens, Justin Fields will likely be the reason. Fields gets his first start on Sunday, which leads me to echo Patrick’s sentiments here — please be patient. Let’s be real. Fields will make mistakes. But that’s cool because mistakes are nothing more than teachable moments to learn and grow from. What’s important now (and moving forward) is that Fields is getting real-life game reps in the regular season. Scout team snaps are valuable. And it was neat that there was a Fields package. But there is nothing quite like game experience.
• And it’s not all on Fields. As analyst Brian Baldinger points out, the big dogs up front have to get work done:
.@ChicagoBears @justnfields lots to like from #daBears victory over the @Bengals . They have to get better up front to maximize Fields ability. Should be exciting in Cleveland for all #NFL fans. #BaldysBreakdowns pic.twitter.com/VbtfwC2gOi
— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) September 23, 2021
• Worth noting that the Bears have THREE offensive linemen who are absolutely thriving through two weeks.
• On the other side of the line, I have my concerns. Eddie Goldman has two consecutive practices under his belt for the first time this year. But now Akiem Hicks has “illness/knee” designations next to his “DNP” from yesterday. I can relate. Sometimes, I get aches when I catch a small cold and it’s just such an annoyance. Hopefully, Hicks and Goldman are available to stuff the heck out of Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb.
• A couple of key Panthers went down with significant injuries on TNF:
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 24, 2021
• Yeah, that serves as a reminder as to why players don’t love short-week turnarounds.
• Hey Alexa, play “good 4 u” by Olivia Rodrigo:
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) September 24, 2021
• All “ha ha” aside, I’m happy Anthony Miller is finding a home with the Texans. And I hope he thrives in his new surroundings. Some players need that jolt of new energy and new surroundings to kick start their career, and Miller might be that type of player. Development isn’t always linear. So here’s hoping (for Miller’s sake) he starts figuring it out so he can maximize on his talents.
• There was a point when Davis Mills to Anthony Miller was a thing that would happen for the Bears this year. Remember when they sent QBs Coach John DeFilippo to scout Mills at Stanford’s Pro Day?
• Ope! Remember when Sam Darnold was one of the hottest names connected to the Bears on the trade market?
• Yeah, I know Damien Woody was talking about the Jets specifically with these tweets. But if the shoe fits…
Thoughts on #Jets/Sam Darnold….first off, I’m happy that Sam is in an organization that’s further along & surrounded by ppl who has allowed him to show why he was the third pick in the ‘18 draft. That being said, trading him was still the right move for the Jets organization
— Damien Woody (@damienwoody) September 24, 2021
• Change Jets to Bears. Then flip Sam Darnold for Mitchell Trubisky. At its core, Woody’s perspective should ring true for Bears fans.
• Gonna give this a spin at some point this weekend:
.@DannyParkins was a guest on @ZimmermanSXM’s latest #Bears Banter Podcast, and he wasn’t holding back on his thoughts about how Matt Nagy handled the Justin Fields situation. Check the show out here! https://t.co/EH2Cz1Vlyb
— Windy City Gridiron (@WCGridiron) September 23, 2021
• Look who’s back:
Sights and Sounds: Blackhawks Open Training Camphttps://t.co/lbtsqfl9vK
— Bleacher Nation Blackhawks (@BN_Blackhawks) September 23, 2021
• Ben Simmons brings more drama than shooting your shot goes into the wrong inbox, which I guess Simmons would know a thing or two about misfired shots:
Around the Association: Ben Simmons Drama, So Much Front Office Chaos, Vaccination Efforts, Morehttps://t.co/0Tjbt9GPRR
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) September 23, 2021
• Well, that’s fun:
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) September 23, 2021
• Anyone who wants to send positive vibes in the general direction of the Trader Lu franchise a.k.a. my fantasy baseball team, it would be greatly appreciated:
— Funky Cold Luda (@lcm1986) September 24, 2021