I’ve assembled a handful of Blackhawks thoughts later in this set of Bullets. But at the top, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how being back in full stadiums with fans puts things in perspective. Not just as a writer, but as a person.
As someone who values the human element of the shared sports experience, being in good company at the old ball game (or puck game, as was the case last night) is an invaluable part of life we shouldn’t take for granted.
• Not that I would’ve expected anything different, but the Chicago Bears’ possible move to Arlington Heights won’t be without loopholes or hurdles:
— Michele Steele (@MicheleSteele) October 19, 2021
• Give this piece in the Daily Herald your full attention, as it takes the first steps in outlining some of the residuals that are part of this potential move. Sure, the focus will be on Bears-Arlington Heights. But neighboring cities, towns, suburbs, townships, citizens, and others will feel the impact of a Bears move, too. So … let’s not lose sight of that as we enter this process.
• On the one hand, no one likes making excuses. But on the other hand, looks at Bears offensive scheme, play-calling, and execution from the first six weeks:
There are no excuses for Allen Robinson to be 54th in routes, 39th in targets, 47th in catches and 58th in yards at wide receiver this season.
— Mike Clay (@MikeClayNFL) October 20, 2021
• Allen Robinson II is playing at a 59-catch, 663-yard, 3-touchdown pace through six games. I suppose things are trending in a better direction lately, but you have to really push yourself to believe that Robinson’s targets going from 3, to 5, and finally landing at 7 the last three weeks is a sign of good things to come. Even then, we’re looking at a 17-game season with projected stats of 63 catches and 838 receiving yards. But Robinson’s one TD in six games this year stands out in the worst of ways.
• Darnell Mooney, the team’s leading receiver, is on pace for a 71-catch, 867-yard, 3 touchdown season. The catch and yardage numbers would be better than last year’s showing for Mooney. But that’s simply not enough. It’s so evident how little Bears are getting from a passing offense that should be better. Don’t get me wrong. I understand the reasoning behind dialing it down with a rookie QB under center and questions along the offensive line. But at what point does that become detrimental to team success? And when does it start to eat in to quarterback development? I feel as if these are fair questions worth asking.
• Another indictment of Matt Nagy’s broken offense:
Through Week 6…
Explosive plays in the pass game (receptions of 20+ yards).
1. LV — 32
2. TB — 31
3. BAL/LAR — 26
5. AZ/DAL/MIN — 25
— Matt Bowen (@MattBowen41) October 20, 2021
• You can’t win if your team doesn’t score. And it is a struggle to score when your offense isn’t creating splash plays via the vertical passing game. That Justin Fields threw into a defensive pass interference call was a highlight of the Bears’ offensive performance last week puts into perspective the sad state of things. But at least Fields has a willingness to throw deep, which could get the Bears out of the flaming wreckage that is the bottom-feeders of this group.
• It’s wild to share this tweet after the last one, but here goes nothing:
By letting Mac Jones and Justin Fields succeed, fail and learn on Sundays, the Patriots and Bears are accelerating the development of their young QBs.
— 49ers on NBCS (@NBCS49ers) October 18, 2021
• Another team envious of what the Bears are doing? At quarterback? I can’t believe it either.
• In case you’re curious, only 11 days until a possible Justin Fields-Trey Lance matchup at Soldier Field.
• But before we get there:
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) October 20, 2021
• For what it’s worth, the offense isn’t a total nightmare. At least, not when Khalil Herbert gets his hands on the rock:
• Remember — your vote counts:
• I guess we’re doing this again:
I was going to mention it on Sunday, but I too saw Nagy holding the playsheet again.
At this point he could call a perfect game and it wouldnt matter because the offense isn't on his side. https://t.co/QzF2PsuwC0
— Max Markham (@MaxMarkhamNFL) October 19, 2021
• I’m at a point where I don’t know what to tell people who are seeing things that aren’t there because they want to see them. Nagy isn’t calling plays any more. We’ve heard it from the coach and quarterback. This isn’t to say Nagy won’t chime in with input, as we’ve heard Nagy, Lazor, and other discuss the Bears’ collaborative efforts. But that he is holding a placard doesn’t mean anything. He is the head coach of Chicago’s football team. If he wasn’t holding a play card, it would be more concerning because it would easily be taken as a sign that the coach has checked out. And I think the only thing worse than a coach who isn’t good at calling plays doing so is one who checks out six games into his rookie quarterback’s maiden voyage.
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• The Bulls are back TONIGHT:
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) October 20, 2021
• During last night’s Blackhawks-Islanders game at the United Center, a friend and I had a conversation around the idea of ranking Chicago’s coaches by popularity. And even though Matt Nagy is trying to make a run to the bottom, Jeremy Colliton is running away with it:
— Bleacher Nation Blackhawks (@BN_Blackhawks) October 20, 2021
• Sidebar: The last two hockey games of consequence I’ve been in attendance for have both featured Marc-André Fleury in net. And that’s where the similarities end. In watching last June’s Golden Knights-Avalanche game during a nine-hour Vegas layover, I saw something from that game I hadn’t seen from the Hawks in years. Speed. Pure speed. The raw ability to juice your way into open ice, create space, and make something happen. Chicago’s hockey team doesn’t look like it has the necessary speed to do the things it thinks it can do on ice. And not having that ingredient might be costly.