There’s no explaining when a weird craving hits, but I’ve been desiring puppy chow (you know, that blend of Chex Mix cereal, chocolate, peanut butter, and powdered sugar) for a few days now. Last night, I took it upon myself to make some. But because I didn’t have any Chex Mix cereal – and wasn’t going out for healthy/safety protocol reasons after a friend I was staying with during Christmas tested positive – I had to improvise. And while using Aldi brand corn flake wasn’t perfect (it ended up kinda clumpy) as a match, it hit the spot. Isn’t that what matters most?
• Kudos to ESPN’s Adam Schefter for using his Twitter platform to really push the GoFundMe for Parker Dickerson after his father Jeff Dickerson, a long-time Bears beat reporter, passed away at age 44. I’m not sure what led him to be a public face of this movement, but it was nice to see and a reminder that the bird app that can be so problematic can be used for good. The list of folks donating that Schefter was sharing was a top tier grouping. Trying to name-check all of them would take me a hot minute. But just know that there is so much we can do for others. Maybe we should continue to do so.
• Last week, Brad Biggs (Tribune) was speculating we could see some changes at the pass-rushing linebacker spot. Naturally, it would all depend on how the Bears approach this offseason. A re-tooling of things probably means the Bears start 2022 with the same pass-rushing tandem they did in 2022. But a full-blown rebuild could put the team in a spot to deal from a position of strength. Robert Quinn’s value won’t be higher than it is right now. But his contract ($17.137M cap number in ’22) will likely limit what kind of return the team could get in a trade. And even if the team was able to clear $4.425 million in cap space by trading Quinn, they’d still have to replace him. What’s the point of having a QB on a rookie deal if you’re dealing impact players from the roster?
• This isn’t something we should dive into deeply at this point. However, it’s something to keep in mind for future conversations. Especially once a regime change becomes officially official.
• Speaking of power structures, Andrew Dannehy (Da Bears Blog) opines that changes in the Bears organization should be aimed to give the coach more power. This line of thinking brings me back to the Bill Parcells conundrum of being the chef who also wants to buy the groceries. Unfortunately, we’ve seen it fail too often in sports to make me think it can work in Chicago. It takes the right coach, front office structure, and ownership to make something like this work. Otherwise, it’s an awful risk to take at what is a fragile time for the organization. This isn’t to say it can’t work. But hiring the right candidate who can essentially be a direct line from the top of the flow chart to the players isn’t all that easy.
• Seattle’s Al Woods shows off some grown-man strength and dominates this rep vs. James Daniels:
It's no highlight, but watch #99 (Al Woods) pick off James Daniels using JP Holtz' motion — drives him back, stands him up INTO the TE, then calmly makes the play once he "sheds" his blocker.
Straight up scary every time I watch it. pic.twitter.com/JZR02I3mwe
— Robert Schmitz (@robertkschmitz) December 30, 2021
• I hope this doesn’t push people away from wanting to bring back Daniels in 2022 (and beyond). Daniels finally looks like he has found his groove sticking at one position. And the Bears can use as much offensive line help as it can get. So while I wouldn’t suggest breaking the bank for an interior lineman, the worst thing the Bears could do is look at a useful piece of the puzzle and discard it because it doesn’t look like a perfect fit.
• You know, kinda like how a vocal segment of Bears fans were ready to discard Cordarrelle Patterson after last season:
He is on his 5th team. He is working with his eighth offensive coordinator. He is 30 years old. He never was a significant offensive factor until now. Something was missing in his NFL career. It’s not missing anymore. My story on Cordarrelle Patterson. https://t.co/q6qdBUBoQh
— Dan Pompei (@danpompei) December 30, 2021
• The Bears lack of depth in the backfield, at receiver, and on special teams showed itself throughout the year in 2022. And I can’t help but wonder how much of it popped up because Patterson wasn’t there to fill in the gaps. Never underestimate the value of high quality depth.
• No wonder those Kliff Kingsbury/Oklahoma rumors were floated when they were:
— Kevin Patra (@kpatra) December 30, 2021
• Kingsbury’s Cardinals are 1-3 since it was pushed publicly that the Arizona head coach had eyes for OU’s opening. The buzz came just as fans were realizing the 9-2 Cards were being led by a coach who was desiring an extension. And even though there is nothing wrong with using a little public push to get something you want, there’s always a risk of it backfiring. Kinda like how Arizona is winless since posting a tweet that turned the Millennium Park bean into a phallic joke. Let that be a lesson: Never mess with architecture in America’s greatest city.
• The tweet below teams up two of my favorite things — James “Big Cat” Williams (who was one of my favorite players growing up) and the Bears giving back to the community during the holiday season:
"It's a tremendous honor just knowing that I'm making an impact on a lot of individuals."
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) December 29, 2021
• Is there any team in Chicago getting more bang for your entertainment buck than the Bulls? These cats are fun as heck:
The Chicago Bulls beat the Atlanta Hawks again, and if you want to enjoy the full game highlights, here you go. https://t.co/kCL1QFhIdL
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) December 30, 2021
• Tracking the World Junior Championships of hockey is always a treat. Cancellation news is a bummer, even if it is understandable:
Report: IIHF Cancels Rest of 2022 World Junior Championship Tournamenthttps://t.co/YW4BPALf8H
— Bleacher Nation Blackhawks (@BN_Blackhawks) December 29, 2021
• The Yu Darvish trade still bums me out. Because, from a pure entertainment standpoint, his starts in 2020 were must-see-TV. Losing that was a blow for fans. Brett re-visits the trade a year later, curiously wondering how folks feel about it given time and perspective.