Happy Veterans Day to those who have served our country. Our sincerest “thank you” goes out to all of you.
• It’s not just that Justin Fields is looking more comfortable with every rep. And it’s not even all about Fields performing better. Although, that’s a pretty big stinking deal. Perhaps it’s just me, but seeing how the football community is gravitating to Fields’ recent growth speaks to me. It’s one thing for us to notice the incremental growth. But it feels bigger when others who have a large platform are taking notice:
• Sure, Fields has taken his share of lumps. And he has had his missteps and growing pains as a rookie. But the bounce back has been there for a while:
.@ChicagoBears @justnfields never flinches, always looks poised and composed. I feel like he knew from that preseason game against Buffalo that he was going to take some lumps, and there will be more to come. Part of the process. We too, should enjoy the process #BaldysBreakdowns pic.twitter.com/GX1hH1vbpV
— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) November 11, 2021
• Again, there isn’t much to take away from preseason. But Fields showing resiliency and fight from jump street is one of those things we couldn’t ignore. This was a nice video from Brian Baldinger displaying Fields’ evolution since the preseason.
• I spent some time listening to this during breakfast and found myself enjoying how this quartet of football talkers were vibing. So I encourage you to give it a listen, too:
Bears Bye Week Special with Robert Mays & Nate Tice – Biggest issues, big & small https://t.co/eZQtuGLaFo
— The Athletic Chicago (@TheAthleticCHI) November 10, 2021
• There was an interesting connection made with these Bears and the 2020 Chargers, which put me in this thinking space pondering the following: One of our challenges moving forward will be to figure out how much of Fields’ growth can be a testament to the work this coaching staff or if the QB is performing despite his surroundings. I’m not sure how we can quantify it, to be honest. But that there is precedent with Justin Herbert’s success wasn’t necessarily an indication that the current regime had to stick around is something that won’t leave my headspace any time soon.
• This isn’t to say continuity doesn’t have value. But we’re seeing with Herbert that growth is far more valuable than continuity for the sake of it. The Bears still have eight games to go to write their own finish. Just know that they’ll be writing from behind the 8-ball while doing so.
• A reminder that things still aren’t all that great offensively:
Bears rankings on offense:
4.71 yards per play (31st)
136.6 rush yards per game (t-6th)
4.62 yards per carry (7th)
144.1 pass yards per game (32nd)
5.47 yards per pass (32nd)
3.80% INT rate (31st)
13.92% sacks per pass (32nd)
34.6% on third down (28th)
16.7 points per game (30th)
— Kevin Fishbain (@kfishbain) November 10, 2021
• When you sit down and think hard about it, Bears Head Coach Matt Nagy has his work cut out for him in the second half, as he sets course to win a two-front war of sorts. Because while developing Fields is the obvious top priority, there is a sense that Nagy is coaching for his job. If not the one he has now, but for ones down the line. But let’s try not to think *TOO* hard about it. After all, we need the bye week, too.
• Then again, we can’t help ourselves but to think about the idea of the Bears being a plum gig for someone who can elevate Fields and this franchise to another level.
• On the other side of the ball, Roquan Smith continues to make stops:
Who leads the NFL in total tackles this season?
Roquan Smith with 93. 🐻⬇️ pic.twitter.com/X6er05Jj65
— PFF CHI Bears (@PFF_Bears) November 11, 2021
• Because you care, Smith is playing to the following 17-game pace: 175-tackles, 12 tackles-for-loss, 5 sacks, and 5 QB Hits. Depending on how the defense deploys him, there are moments when it feels like Smith is in the backfield on every play. Unless he is in coverage, in which case, it feels like he is making a play in open space on every snap. Smith is playing the kind of ball that reminds me of what he was doing at Georgia. And his play while at Georgia reminds me of what Brian Urlacher would do when he was at the peak of his powers. Be everywhere you’re asked to be, and be great. Inside linebacker isn’t the high-value position it once was, but Smith (more often than not) plays like the exception to the new rules.
• May the family and friends of legendary Bears strength coach Clyde Emrich find peace in the wake of news of Emerich’s passing:
Today we mourn the loss of our pioneering strength coach Clyde Emrich.
A staple at the Bears since 1971, "The Legend" left an impact that will remain for decades to come and we will miss him greatly. Our hearts go out to his family and friends.
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) November 10, 2021
• Brad Biggs (Tribune) has more in-depth insight into Emrich’s life, one that touched the careers of players from the 1963 NFL Championship winners all the way up to this modern era. Living 90 years and having a 50-year career with one organization is impressive stuff. May we all be fortunate enough to live that long and be happily employed by the same employer.
• Sometimes, a headline tells you all you need to know: Dalvin Cook has a serious legal problem that no amount of spinning by his camp can make go away. (Pro Football Talk)
• Second best arm in the city behind Justin Fields:
The dunk was great, but I still can’t stop thinking about that pass from Lonzo.
This dude is special.
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) November 11, 2021
• Corey Seager wouldn’t be my preferred offseason shortstop target. However, I wonder if the Cubs would be fun or creative enough to pitch some sort of package deal with Corey and his brother Kyle (who plays third base). I mean, if we can get the Brothers Romine battery, why not have a Seager-filled left side of the infield?
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) November 10, 2021
• Handling prospects with care isn’t always easy:
How Should The Blackhawks Handle Lukas Reichel?https://t.co/Oh9ZakwOyF
— Bleacher Nation Blackhawks (@BN_Blackhawks) November 10, 2021