Chicago Bears founder George S. Halas was born on this date in 1895. And I think building a championship-winning team would make for a wonderful birthday gift.
• One of the things I found myself admiring about Justin Fields’ rookie season was his willingness to be honest and forthcoming, more so than I would otherwise expect from a first-year quarterback. Remember when he was openly discussing how he would rather have Bill Lazor relaying plays to him than Matt Nagy? With that refresher, I found these words refreshing (via NBC Chicago):
“It’s important for coaches to run plays that their players are good at running,” Fields said. “They already have a base idea what my strengths are, but me being able to communicate with them and tell them what my strengths are, we can get on the same page. But there’s going to be some new stuff that we didn’t run last year that works and I’ve never run before. … And by the time training camp comes around, I’ll know it.”
• Fields gets it. Whether or not he’ll be able to apply it when he gets back on the Soldier Field turf in 2022 remains to be seen. But the base-level understanding feels like a good place to start.
• It’s a beautiful thing…
The start of something special. pic.twitter.com/hVO3Su6g8I
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) February 1, 2022
• … even though I chuckled because it reminded me of a Key and Peele sketch.
• Here are some coaches who remain employed by the Bears as of this posting, via the team’s official site: Mike Adams (Assistant DBs), Henry Burris (Offensive Quality Control), Brian Ginn (Assistant Special Teams), Anthony Hibbert (Assistant Strength and Conditioning), Chris Jackson (Assistant WRs), Casey Kramer (Assistant Strength and Conditioning), Jason Loscalzo (Head Strength and Conditioning Coach), Chris Rumph (Defensive Line), Mike Snyder (Offensive Quality Control/Assistant QBs), Shane Toub (Defensive Quality Control), Deshea Townsend (Secondary), and Ronell Williams (Defensive Quality Control). You’ll note that some prominent names (John DeFilippo, Bill Lazor) are already out the door. But also keep in mind that changes are likely on the horizon.
• What will happen with this collection of coaches still with the Bears is uncertain. Some could conceivably stick around. Keeping some coaches could help with continuity. Others might be able to assist in building a bridge. A house-cleaning was necessary at Halas Hall. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to bulldoze the whole thing.
• Again, let it be known those aren’t the only positions Chicago’s football team needs to fill. The Ryan Poles-Matt Eberflus regime needs to staff a front office and coaching staff moving forward. Ideally, one that fits the identity they want to build for this franchise moving forward. In short, there will be turnover. In addition to seeing Special Teams Coach Chris Tabor leave for Carolina and Defensive Coordinator Sean Desai make it to free agency, the Bears will also need a new running backs coach with Michael Pitre leaving for the Atlanta Falcons. Pitre was one-and-done in Chicago, but that body of work gave us a glimpse of what Khalil Herbert could do when given touches. Hopefully, Pitre’s replacement can keep the good times rolling in the backfield.
• We’re not on obsessive Joe Brady watch just yet. But this is a situation worth monitoring:
Bears didn’t seal it with Brady.
— DaBearsBlog (@dabearsblog) February 2, 2022
• Coaching special teams isn’t the most glorious gig. However, as Bears fans can attest, it isn’t a phase that should go ignored in the team-building process. With that in mind, I think we can cross off one high-profile name from the wish list. Long-time Giants reporter Art Stapleton tweets he expects the team to keep Thomas McGaughey as its special teams coordinator. There was some reported interest from the Bears side of things, but it sure sounds like he’ll be working for new head coach Brian Daboll. Kudos to McGaughey, who must be doing something right to work for a third head coach after previously being under Pat Shurmur (2018-19) and Joe Judge (2020-21).
• An interesting read from Jeff Hughes (Da Bears Blog) on the possible evolution of Chairman George McCaskey, who seems to finally be taking ownership of this team. That trip to O’Hare to pick up then-GM candidate Ryan Poles might turn out to be a turning point. This whole process might be just that, too. Especially with Hughes writing “the hiring of Ryan Poles was a George McCaskey joint, top to bottom. He owns it.” If McCaskey is truly coming to grips with his power and is willing to use it well, he’ll move on from being the guy who called himself “just a fan” at the outset of the search for new leadership. I’ll be curious to see where this turning point takes this team moving forward.
• Nick Foles has some quiet savagery in his soul:
Much respect Tom. Unbelievable career. Best of luck with your next chapter. pic.twitter.com/uKDv5Eax9S
— Nick Foles (@NickFoles) February 2, 2022
• Keep the votes coming:
• 😏 Wow. I wonder what happened here 😏:
Maurice Drayton will not return as #Packers special teams coordinator, a source said. Story to come shortly.
— Tom Silverstein (@TomSilverstein) February 1, 2022
• These were tweets that came across the timeline about an hour apart from each other:
— Chris Balas (@Balas_Wolverine) February 1, 2022
• When put against the backdrop of the serious allegations Brian Flores put out on Tuesday afternoon, these optics don’t look great. In addition to the obvious Vikings being a division rival connection, this certainly seems relevant to the conversation Flores’ allegations is bringing to the table. Let’s keep an eye on this moving forward.
• Not to be lost amidst the seriousness of Flores’ allegations is that tanking could also put Dolphins owner Stephen Ross in a bind, as PFT’s Mike Florio points out.
• Heads up! The accolades keep coming for Bulls rookie Ayo Dosunmu:
Ayo Dosunmu Selected for Rising Stars Event at All-Star Weekend!https://t.co/Qdkc6SXtHi
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) February 2, 2022
• The Blackhawks are scheduled to have a “Town Hall” event, and it figures to be a big deal:
Blackhawks Town Hall Event Much Bigger Than Just The GM Searchhttps://t.co/spLRGkdcDO
— Bleacher Nation Blackhawks (@BN_Blackhawks) February 1, 2022
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) February 1, 2022
• Amazon’s got a deal where you can get an Echo Dot for just five bucks if you get the music, too, which means even if you don’t care about the music, it’s still waaaay cheaper than regular price. #ad