This thread of Army’s game-winning kick against Missouri with different calls is an absolute treat*:
As called on Army radio: pic.twitter.com/x8Hvwm7Kw7
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) December 23, 2021
* — Probably does not apply to Missouri fans.
• I see that there was some good discourse when it comes to extending Akiem Hicks while I was gone yesterday. Good stuff, friends. I love the passion and chatter in a year like this and in times like these. Admittedly, a Hicks extension cuts in multiple ways. Hicks is a proven performer and a glue guy. Teams should strive to keep those types of players, especially ones like the Bears, who seem to be on course for a regime change. However, Hicks might be the type of player a new regime might not want back. He just turned 32, and the evolution of pro sports execs tends to shy away from large multi-year contracts for players older than 30. Hicks also has missed significant chunks of seasons two of the last three years. Although, Hicks being unavailable seems to be overstated. Hicks has played in at least 15 games in four of six years with the Bears. At the end of the day, there is much more to discuss than “should they or shouldn’t they” when it comes to a Hicks extension.
• In the end, I think there is a happy medium to be found between a player who enjoys playing here, someone who fans love, and a piece to a defense that figures to be in transition moving forward. It’s just difficult to find a contractual comp. However, it isn’t that hard to find cash for such a deal. Remember, the Bears had sizable 2021 cash payouts to Andy Dalton ($10M), Nick Foles ($8M), and Jimmy Graham ($7M) this season. I’m just saying that if the Bears can green-light a trilogy of vanity projects, there can be money for a player who presents a nice bridge to future Bears defense.
• A player who the Bears hope grows into a playmaker as the team enters building mode is Cole Kmet. TE1 put up a solid stat line with a season-best 71 yards on six catches on MNF vs. Minnesota. Andrew Dannehy (Da Bears Blog) believes Kmet is in a good place, despite a steady amount of criticism that flows in the tight end’s direction. Perspective is everything. And I think it is important to dig into the light when you can, especially when it comes to a player who figures to be in future plans.
• So much of what fans feel about Kmet depends on one’s feelings regarding his floor and ceiling. From a neutral starting point, the arrow is pointing up on Kmet. He is playing more than he did last year and looks better than he did as a rookie. Those are positive signs. But issues remain with his inability to create separation in routes. And I think it is evident Kmet still needs to grow into learning how to use his body to block out the defender. Development isn’t always linear. And Kmet is far from a finished product. However, some things need to be cleaned up for him to be the player folks want him to be. Hence, these final three games matter for Kmet (and others with similar development roles).
• Speaking of development, Mark Potash (Sun-Times) writes quarterback Justin Fields has a long way to go to be Russell Wilson. Remember when Jimmy Graham gave Fields a Wilson comp? Heck. Do we remember when there was an obsession over the Bears trying to trade for Wilson? Ahhh, good times. The Bears get to gear up to play Wilson’s Seahawks. That’s fun. And it makes for a good time to re-visit some things we mentioned in some of the sentences above. Maybe we’ll get a passing of the torch on Sunday?
• What do Pro Bowl voters have against Roquan Smith?
🔘 Roquan Smith, LB, CHI
🔘 Yannick Ngakoue, DE, LVR
🔘 Jonathan Greenard, DE, HOU
🔘 A.J. Terrell, CB, ATL
🔘 Austin Ekeler, RB, LAC
🔘 Cordarrelle Patterson, RB, ATL
Let’s hear yours ⏬ pic.twitter.com/jyINpJA8NB
— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) December 23, 2021
• Even though the Bears are no longer #InTheHunt, their opponent in Week 17 remains mathematically alive. Tom Rock (Newsday) notes the Giants holding a tiebreaker over the Bears means New York is still eligible to make the playoffs. And that leads me to wanting to know what scenarios need to play out for the Bears-Giants game to matter. If only for the sake of content.
• The Kirby Smart Bowl between the one the Georgia coach chose (Fromm) and the one who got away (Fields) would make for some interesting chatter in the leadup to a game between teams that will have a combined total of 20 losses (at least). This leaves us rooting for the Giants (vs. Eagles), Vikings (vs. Rams), hints (vs. Dolphins), Falcons (vs. Lions), and Washington (vs. Cowboys) this weekend. Everyone got that?
• If you let me watch Devin Hester highlights all day, I’d do it without flinching:
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) December 23, 2021
• What’s cooler than cool? Robert Quinn upon hearing news of his Pro Bowl announcement:
You do you, Rob. 😂
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) December 23, 2021
• A reminder that Robert Quinn has been on one for a minute:
One of the great forgotten seasons by a defensive player?
Robert Quinn was so dominant in 2013 when he registered 19 sacks! pic.twitter.com/JM43uU32VI
— NFL Throwback (@nflthrowback) December 22, 2021
• If you have to quarantine, you might as well make the most of it:
LOL: Nikola Vucevic Built a Bunch of Legos While He Was in Quarantinehttps://t.co/RstknPbeVT
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) December 22, 2021
• It’s been as challenging of a year for the Blackhawks as it has been for their fans, backers, and supporters:
Jonathan Toews Says This Season Has Been a “Grind”https://t.co/PW8oIFckdg
— Bleacher Nation Blackhawks (@BN_Blackhawks) December 22, 2021
• MLB has some work to do as we go on three weeks of being locked out:
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) December 22, 2021