Herbert’s B-Day Surprise, Late-Round Draft Steals, Patience Despite Pain, and Other Bears Bullets

Yesterday was a perfect day for ice cream and sitting outside.

Today’s forecast doesn’t look as promising.

Tomorrow? It’s going to be 80 degrees.

Happy April in Chicago, friends.

•   Khalil Herbert got a nice birthday surprise yesterday:

•   Did you know that Herbert, who turned 24 yesterday, had PFF’s 15th best grade among the 62 running backs who played enough snaps to qualify for the leaderboard? Well, now ya do. That 84.4 run-in grade, which was the sixth best in the league — and ahead of the likes of Aaron Jones, Joe Mixon, Nick Chubb, and others — makes me think Herbert should get some more opportunities moving forward. Then again, it might be difficult to find him rushing snaps with David Montgomery ahead of him on the depth chart. But maybe Luke Getsy can pull from his Packers past and find a role for Herbert behind Montgomery the way Green Bay did for A.J. Dillon behind Jones.

•   I like surprises. Some more than others, of course. But the yellow caution flags that came up when seeing a bunch of beat writers describe a sub-optimal day at practice wasn’t the kind of surprise I was looking for:

•   Let’s be over-the-top with our clarity here. It’s April. And while it stinks that the offense is looking like it is having rough moments, remember that it is April. We’re looking at a Bears team with just two offensive linemen locked into roles. Two receiver starting receiver spots that need to be filled. A second-year quarterback working with a first-time play-caller. All working under a first-year head coach. There are going to be moments where it looks rough. This is to be expected, so don’t go to the dark place based on one practice. Ride this out. And we’ll circle back later in the year.

•   When you get it, you get it:

•   Getting Bears fans to agree on anything a week before the NFL Draft feels like a fool’s errand. But I think we can all conclude that we’d like to see this new coaching staff try to get more out of the players who briefly flashed than their predecessors. There sure weren’t enough meaningful snaps for skill position players like Herbert and Cole Kmet on offense. Dazz Newsome was deserving of some burn late in the season when the Bears were eliminated from postseason contention. Teven Jenkins should’ve been given more snaps at either tackle spot.

•   It was true on the other side of the ball, too. Particularly in the secondary where Thomas Graham Jr. should’ve been getting  trial by fire treatment instead of outgoing free agent Artie Burns. These are things we said when it was happening, which is what makes this more frustrating. We should have a better idea of what some of these younger players can offer. Instead, we’re going into 2022 half blind because of the selfishness of the prior regime. Grrrr.

•   In the interest of fairness, the old regime wasn’t all bad. This deep dive at ESPN exploring which teams have gotten the best value on draft weekend since 2012 underscores how great the Bears were in unearthing late-round value. Chicago’s football team was tied for the fifth best drafts in Rounds 4-7. The Bears had a knack for making hay on Day 3, but their overall ranking was 21st because of what happened elsewhere in the draft. No need to re-hash any of that stuff. But I’ll point out that maybe, because the Bears have holdovers in the scouting department from the prior leadership group, that we could see one last gasp of Day 3 diamonds in the rough. Keep your fingers crossed.

•   Drafting a punter isn’t high on most fans to-do list, but I kinda want the Bears to take someone nicknamed Punt God:

•   Laugh at the idea now. But the Bears using a Day 3 pick on a core special teams member whose abilities can flip the field position game — essentially impacting two of the game’s three phases — would make someone like Matt Araiza a draft weekend steal. Do the Bears have other holes to plug? Absolutely. But we’re four months removed from watching the Super Bowl favorite Packers lose a home playoff game due to special teams. So … let’s not overlook the possible value here.

•   The CaruShow was hitting on all cylinders in Game 2. I’ll be in attendance at United Center for Game 3 looking forward to an encore performance:

•   After signing a ridiculous contract, Carlos Correa is riding the struggle bus early in 2022:

written by

Luis C. Medina, who you can find on Twitter at lcm1986, has been covering the Chicago Bears at Bleacher Nation since 2017. Since then, he has written about 3 head coaches, 5 play-callers, and 11 starting quarterbacks. Previously, Luis wrote about the Cubs and MLB at BN (2015-16) and worked in the Chicago Tribune sports department (2011-16). He also co-hosted a Cubs postgame show, Outside the Ivy, in 2019.

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