Kyle Schwarber taking a dive against Albert Pujols in last night’s Home Run Derby hasn’t been seen since Obi-Wan Kenobi took one against Darth Vader at the Death Star. And maybe that’s fitting because, like the former planet-demolishing, not moon, Dodgers Stadium is impossible to get out of after a game.
Nevertheless, HR Derby remains a treat. Now, if we can get the NBA dunk contest to get on that level again…
- Here is an interesting thread on Justin Fields. It is an eye-opener for a handful of reasons. You can browse through the entire 16-tweet behemoth here. But what grabs my attention is that there is some stuff on the exhilarating end of the spectrum:
- This is the kind of stuff that allows you to dream big on Fields. His ability to make plays with the likes of Jesse James because of arm talent and athleticism is special. It is moments like the one above that make you understand why he believes he can succeed with whatever receivers Ryan Poles puts on the roster.
- But with the good comes the bad. And this is a bit unnerving:
- And in this portion of the thread, you can understand why the Bears were driving home mechanical tweaks earlier in the offseason. And why it’s been essential to see Fields working on his game independently away from the team. You won’t get much pushback from me if you’re someone who believes the Bears needed to do more to surround Fields with better blocking and pass-catching talent this offseason. But Fields’ pocket abilities need to improve in order for all of this to work the way we want it moving forward. Full stop.
- Heads up! New installments of the Bears’ “Meet the Rookies” webisodes are coming:
- Kyler Gordon, Jaquan Brisker, and Velus Jones Jr. were the Bears’ first three picks in the 2022 NFL Draft. I have high hopes for each of these players, and I’m sure I’m not alone. Gordon and Brisker figure to be starting in the secondary for a team whose defensive backfield was ick last year. And Jones is the highest-profile new receiver with the most upside. Jones has a locker next to Justin Fields, which we can only hope marks the beginning of a beautiful relationship. The Bears tend to do well with these, so I’m looking forward to the rollout.
- Warren Sharp’s football analysis does a decent job in marrying numbers with what you see with your eyes. But I’m hoping Ryan McCrystal’s defensive backfield rankings at Sharp’s site aren’t predictive, as the Bears rank 30th on the list. Only the Giants and Texans (a pair of Bears opponents) check-in below Chicago’s football team. McCrystal isn’t alone in being low on the Bears at this point, as PFF’s Michael Renner ranks the Bears’ secondary 31st. Double ouch.
- If it is any consolation to Bears fans, it feels as if these low rankings are rooted in the uncertainty that comes with the Bears having so many unknowns in the secondary. Brisker and Gordon are rookies. Both have tremendous upside and could be impact starters upon arrival. Even McCrystal believes the rankings will prove to have underrated the Bears if Brisker and Gordon are immediate impact players. However, expecting that from the get-go would be a mistake. There will be some growing pains in the defensive backfield with youngsters in the secondary. But the growing pains will come from players whose talent and upside can (hopefully) eventually make us forget about the tough times when things get good.
- I can’t wait to watch these to get after balls in the air:
- A quality read over at Windy City Gridiron from Jack Silverstein, who writes that even though Steve McMichael won’t get into the Hall of Fame this year, his candidacy remains strong. Jack does a beautiful job explaining what’s next in this journey:
- The only alternative name I’ll call this stadium is The House Where Justin Fields Got Hosed Out of a Road Win (for obvious reasons):
- Oh, so the Deshaun Watson situation has a chance to drag on and get even uglier?
- Colleen Kane (Tribune) reports the North Carolina woman who was suing Bears defensive lineman Mario Edwards (which you might recall stems from an incident that happened during the 2020 season) is voluntarily dismissed her complaint earlier in July. However, he lawyer said she plans to re-file later. We’ll continue monitoring this situation.
- Sure, I’m a traditionalist when it comes to a great many football things. But part of me wishes the Bears had the audacity to modernize their uniforms. At minimum, a cool alternate would go so hard for this franchise:
- I’ve been preparing myself for a Willson Contreras trade for nearly a year. Not because I want him to go, but there has been a sense of inevitability surrounding the possibility of a deal. In any case, it will still be gutting to see him go — especially when he says stuff like this:
- Chicago sports fans are going through it right now. But no one more than Blackhawks fans, who in addition to watching a teardown take place right now, they know the rebuild will be televised without one of their favorite broadcasters: