Coming off the heels of its Kenobi series, I’ve been all sorts of antsy for new Star Wars content.
And I think this trailer scratches that itch:
- The Bears return to practice after taking Sunday off. But Halas Hall is closed to the public for Community Day. Hopefully, Chicago’s football team puts on a show for whomever is in attendance in Lake Forest.
- Brad Biggs makes note of someone who *WON’T* be at practice today:
- A 30+ year career working in the NFL is nothing to sneeze at, friends. Much respect to assistant equipment manager Carl Piekarski. Enjoy retirement, Carl!
- As for players who will be practicing, I’m hoping to read some positive updates regarding receivers. Drops have been an issue at times during camp. And while pobody’s nerfect, cleaning up that area would be a nice way to start the week. But on the other hand, it has been refreshing to see defensive backs make plays on balls. Kindle Vildor had a really nice pass breakup while defending Darnell Mooney on Saturday. Elsewhere, we’ve seen a handful of tipped balls land in the hands of Bears defenders. Some of that comes down to luck. However, sometimes luck can be a product of being in the right place at the right time. Maybe the secondary getting fortunate bounces now will give them confidence heading into games of consequence later.
- As long-time football big foot Peter King makes his rounds to camps around the league, today’s FMIA column notes that his schedule has him in Chicago this week. I’m looking forward to the anecdotes that will come from his visit with Matt Eberflus’ squad at Halas Hall. So keep your eyes peeled for that.
- Speaking of national reporters coming to town, The MMQB’s Albert Breer has a worthwhile thread from his trip to Bears camp. We’ll break it into multiple parts for dissection:
- Part of me will always be curious about what it would’ve looked like had GM Ryan Poles gone with a wide receiver and/or offensive lineman with either (or both) of his second-round picks. I don’t plan on dwelling on it too much, but it is something that will rattle around in my mind for a bit.
- In any case, the reality is that (1) the Bears chose defensive backs Kyler Gordon and Jaquan Brisker with their first two picks and (2) the early returns have been strong in the positive direction. Brisker looks every bit of every prospect profile you might’ve come across before the draft. Gordon is blending in nicely, which is impressive when you consider he has been handling responsibilities in the slot and outside. After watching that secondary get torched at seemingly every turn last year, bolstering that group with young players who have upside might turn out to be the under-the-radar move of the year for the new regime.
- Free training camp viewing advice: If you can land a spot at field level along the ropes, do so. When you’re there, keep your eyes on Darnell Mooney (and Velus Jones Jr., for that matter) to see how he operates. The speed and explosion is amplified when you’re there at that level. It’s different. And it’s something I hope fans who can make it out to camp can experience for themselves.
- Any positive update regarding Justin Fields improving his mechanics and grasping a new system is welcome with open arms. Keep ’em coming, QB1.
- Saying the offensive line is “an area that needs some sorting out” is the nicest way anyone has put it when talking about the Bears in the trenches. That Breer name-checks Braxton Jones and Zachary Thomas as players in the mix certainly has my attention. Riley Reiff might as well be locked in as the starting left tackle, but I wonder if Jones could be in the mix on the right side. It isn’t uncommon for young tackles to start their careers at RT before moving to the other side. The Bears clearly like Jones’ upside enough to have given him left tackle reps throughout OTAs. Let’s keep an eye on his development as the summer rolls on.
- Linebacker depth hasn’t been something I’ve been obsessing over, mostly because I value pass-rush presence and secondary skill over LB play. But maybe I should turn my attention to that area, because Breer isn’t wrong to point out that group is lacking. And it is even more evident with Roquan Smith on the sidelines. I wonder if suboptimal linebacker options will nudge the Bears toward playing “big nickel” situations with someone like Dane Cruikshank or DeAndre Houston-Carson in that role. Remember, DHC played 179 snaps in the box last year. So you wouldn’t expect him to back down from the type of challenges that come with being a small LB/big S.
- With all that being said, I’m still prioritizing development of pass-rushers as the most important part of the defense’s front seven. One player who piques my interest is Dominique Robinson, a rookie Day 3 pick who Defensive Coordinator Alan Williams sees as developing early in camp. This quote from Williams via Josh Schrock (NBC Sports Chicago) is an eye-opener for me:
“Every day is a new day for him. There’s something that comes up that he goes, ‘OK, we need to teach you that or read your keys a little better,’ but the next day it’s corrected. So, it’s nice when you have a player that maybe makes a mistake Day 1, you correct it in the meeting, and then Day 2 he fixes it when it comes up again. That’s the sign of a guy that’s going to be OK, a guy that’s a professional.”
- Robinson is a work in progress, but that is high praise from his DC. Keep in mind his football progression has gone from high school quarterback, to college receiver, to pass-rusher at the end of his collegiate career. The Bears are banking on a twitchy athlete getting coached up and reaching his potential. This is someone to keep an eye on.
- ICYMI: Deshaun Watson was given a six-game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy. And while I expect the NFL will appeal, Watson’s camp – which should be relieved after avoiding an indefinite suspension that would’ve knocked him out of at least one season’s worth of games – isn’t quite there:
- I appreciate Kyle Brandt’s candor here:
- Brett’s massive, 41-hour MLB Trade Deadline blogathon is underway. And the Cubs are in the thick of it once again:
- The world lost an all-time great on Sunday when Celtics legend Bill Russell died at age 88: