Herbert's Road to More Carries, Remembering DT, and Other Bears Notes

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Herbert’s Road to More Carries, Remembering DT, and Other Bears Notes

Chicago Bears

Today, plenty of folks in the Chicagoland area are operating with a heavy heart. Another act of senseless violence (this time, in suburban Highland Park) by way of a mass shooting with yet another suspect who shouldn’t have had access to this sort of firearm. Thoughts and prayers can do only so much. And I do appreciate the Bears (as well as other Chicago area pro sports franchises) sharing a message yesterday. But these messages are becoming too common. It shouldn’t feel inevitable that something like this will hit your community next. And yet, here we are.

Legislation is a step, but the hurdles in front of pushing through that step become more challenging each week. There are no easy solutions to problems that have been festering for years, especially since many of these issues have continually been pushed to the back burner for reasons I cannot understand.

For now, I feel as if the best we can do is be there for each other. And be good to each other. Be understanding of one another. It isn’t much. But it’s the kind of start we need before we can conquer bigger challenges ahead.

Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, let’s talk football.

  • Countdowns continue in the Bears’ world: 23 days until the first open training camp practice, 39 days until the team’s preseason opener against Matt Nagy’s Chiefs, 68 days until the regular-season lid-lifter versus the Niners, and 75 days until the 203rd regular-season installment of Bears-Packers. Oh, and just 2 days until Bears FREE training camp tickets become available through the team and Ticketmaster. Football is coming. Which means the answers to our never-ending questions are on the horizon. And because of the uncertainty throughout the Bears’ roster, those answers will come from head-to-head combat between players at a variety of positions.
  • I can’t say it enough about how geeked up I am about the clean slate these Bears are getting. Granted, I’m more excited to see how they fill the slate. But that’s all part of the process. This is the ground floor of what a new regime hopes is something special. Here’s hoping we can look back on this and remember it as the time a new foundation was set. There is simply something so rewarding about being on the ground floor of a new project. And that’s where these Bears are as we start July.
  • The combination of new coach and waves of new names wearing Bears helmets and jerseys provides us for the potential to have a more meaningful training camp than we’ve grown accustomed to in recent years. After the summer of 2018, players were mostly locked into roles. Camp was still interesting, but it lacked must-see positional competition. And the one time we could’ve had it at quarterback, camps were closed to the public due to COVID-related restraints. But with the NFL lifting those earlier in the offseason, we’re just about set for a different kind of camp. I’m ready. Are you?
  • One returning player with a lot to compete for is running back Khalil Herbert, who definitely has some sleeper potential:
  • Herbert has to deal with Darrynton Evans and Trestan Ebner in a crowded backfield led by David Montgomery at the top of the depth chart. Sure, Herbert is an ideal RB2. And he showed he can handle lead back carries in Montgomery’s absence. But because the new regime isn’t necessarily tied to him, the door is open for Evans (who arrives on a waiver claim from Tennessee) and Ebner (a Day 3 draft pick with versatility potential) to eat away at Herbert’s work load. Consider it something to keep tabs on this summer.
  • Then again, Herbert repeating last year’s production would go a long way toward making sure he doesn’t lose those reps. Remember, there were some who saw Herbert as a Montgomery heir apparent. And I don’t think anything Herbert did last year would move people off those opinions.
  • One last countdown? Sure, why not? There are 296 days until the NFL Draft. And, unless something unforeseen happens, the Bears will have their first-round pick. Chicago’s football team has had one such selection over the last three years after dealing first-rounders in 2019 and 2020 to Oakland/Vegas in the Khalil Mack trade, while a third went to the Giants to complete the Justin Fields trade. It isn’t impossible to build a contender without a first-round pick, which is something we’re learning while watching the Los Angeles Rams build up their squad. But in order to do what the Rams have been doing, your team better have an established base with stars at skill positions and depth throughout the roster.
  • With that in mind, I’m digging Jacob Infante (Windy City Gridiron) dropping a seven-round mock draft. Because while it is way too early to peg specific players to a given team, it’s never too early to forecast positional and schematic fits — as well as alternative avenues in which the franchise can set itself up for future success. After all, the Bears’ needs now won’t all be filled in the next 296 days. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and we know the next great Chicago football team will take more time to build than that…
  • Josh Schrock (NBC Sports Chicago) framing the Larry Ogunjobi situation as a “miss” by the Bears front office cuts two ways for me. On the one hand, it’s a bad look to commit to a big-money deal for a 3-technique defensive tackle only to watch him fail his physical to void the deal. But on the other hand, the failed physical saved the Bears from investing in a player whose health might not be where it needs to be for him to prove to be worthy of such a contract. I’m not sure what stings more, a team in desperate need of offensive firepower using its precious cap space on an interior defensive lineman (which felt reminiscent of the old regime) or that the deal fell through in such a spectacular manner. Josh Jones, who signed a more modest multi-year pact in filling Ogunjobi’s, has quite the road ahead of him.
  • ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports Washington’s Terry McLaurin signed his hefty contract extension to stay with the Commanders. So, I apologize if you were hoping the deal would fall through on a technicality.
  • Hey, we’ve gone a couple of days without major college football realignment news. What gives!? Ah, well, here’s some much-needed perspective on the matter because I feel like more is to come in the future:
  • The New York Times reports Demaryius Thomas had CTE when he died at age 33. Arrangements have been made to donate his brain, which will hopefully give us more information as we – as a society – continue to learn about head trauma with football players.
  • Denver lining up with just 10 players on their first play in memory of Thomas, then scoring an opening-drive touchdown was one of my favorite moments of last year’s NFL season. Some things are bigger than football.
  • A public service share:
  • He’s back:
  • The highlight of the baseball-watching portion of my July 4 afternoon:
  • *Brian Windhorst thinking meme dot jpg*

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Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.