USFL Stud Lands in Chicago, Name Your Best 5 OL, Kmet’s Role, Ebner’s Fit, and Other Bears Bullets
Oh, the weather outside is weather.
OK, but seriously. Today projects to be a scorcher. Hydrate. Chill in the shade. And enjoy the sunshine while you can. But do so safely, please.
- Well, look who’s back in the fold:
- Today’s Bears practice is closed to the public, so I think our updates from folks at camp might be few and far between. But this is a most welcome development considering all we’ve been through following this mess.
- Jenkins sure picked a great time to come back:
- The Bears hosted another round of tryouts on Friday. One day later, a new member of the Bears emerged:
- Ahhh, there is nothing like a Saturday morning roster shuffle to get the juices flowing. Linebacker DeMarquis Gates jumps on board as the third defensive addition in two days. On Friday, the team signed defensive lineman Trevon Coley and cornerback Davontae Harris. And just like that, the Bears have shuttled out some young players for some veterans (who are still on the younger side of things). There is nothing wrong with adding a little youthful experience to a team that has ample opportunities for someone to snag a depth role. This is what that summertime roster churn looks like.
- As for Gates, he spent the NFL offseason playing for the USFL’s Birmingham Stallions. Yes, that is the same Birmingham Stallions club that won the USFL title. Nothing like adding a player with a championship pedigree in August! The 26-year-old linebacker did well in Birmingham, collecting 68 tackles and 6.5 sacks in nine games. Chicago has some questions at linebacker. Not only is the team implementing a new 4-3 scheme for its defense after rolling with the same 3-4 look since 2015, they’re doing so without having their best linebacker available. Roquan Smith is still without an extension. With that in mind, I suppose this might be a good time to shuffle the deck and see who sticks.
- Some fun tidbits from NFL reporter Dom Kleiman, who notes that (1) 24 NFL teams have signed USFL players this offseason, (2) each of the USFL’s 8 teams have had at least three players make the jump to the NFL, and (3) a total of 36 USFL players have joined NFL teams this offseason. Whether these players hang around for the summer, make the season-opening 53-player roster, or end up back on the tryout circuit, this is a good look for the league. At minimum, it can position itself as a springboard for players to get a shot elsewhere.
- Considering question-marks on the offensive line, I’m a bit bothered that the Bears haven’t brought in more linemen for workouts. Sure, I realize they just added Riley Reiff and Michael Schofield to the mix at the end of July. And I understand both players figure to be starters when Week 1 kicks off. But just as I believe that you can’t have too much pitching in baseball, I feel as if there is no such thing as having too many offensive linemen.
- Speaking of offensive line play, this quote from Bears OC Luke Getsy discussing rookie Braxton Jones was encouraging to read (via NBC Sports Chicago’s Josh Schrock):
“I think Braxton was a guy that is obviously a super athletic kid that we were excited about after spring ball. Then you get into the pads and there was no intimidation. Going against Robert Quinn your very first one-on-one pass rush, right? It’s an intimidating thing. He stepped up and did a great job. He’s answered the bell.”
- It’s hard not to love this on multiple fronts. Firstly, the Bears are putting a rookie out on the island at left tackle — and that takes some real gumption to do. Secondly, they’re not slow-playing his development as they put Robert Freaking Quinn (who just set the franchise’s single-season sack record) up against him in his first rep. These guys aren’t playing around. And I dig it.
- If anyone needs me, I’ll be browsing through these replies:
- I think we’re starting to see some clarity from the receivers room, where it is looking like Darnell Mooney, Velus Jones Jr., and Equanimeous St. Brown are the top dogs in the room. Maybe the Bears should consider kicking the tires on free agent tryouts at that position? It’s not as if a new addition to that group would be blocking a young rookie upstart.
- Maybe the breakout receiver will be a tight end?
- I am 100 percent open to the possibility of Cole Kmet breaking out in 2022. The Bears don’t need him to be Kelce or Gronk. But someone who could be a force in the red zone? A two-way tight end who can chip in with a block and move the chains by catching a pass in the middle of the field? That’s plausible. Right?
- That Bears backfield looks crowded with David Montgomery, Khalil Herbert, and Darrynton Evans at the top of the depth chart. So while I’m unsure what kind of role Trestan Ebner can play, I’d love for the Bears to figure it out by getting him some touches during preseason games:
- All in all, I won’t be too harsh on the Bears for not bringing in more offensive players for tryouts. Who knows, maybe we’ll be seeing players at other position groups get looks for tryouts at this time next week. After all, we know that roster churn never ends.
- Here’s hoping a new-look Bears secondary is ready to defend this guy:
- I’m not convinced the Cubs want to bring Willson Contreras back as a full-time catcher on a multi-year deal. HOWEVA, maybe there is a multi-purpose role where Contreras catches, plays first base, dabbles in the outfield, and steps in as a DH in the future? Something that can keep his legs fresh and bat in the lineup? Something to ponder as you watch this Dylan Floro pitch sail out of the ballpark:
- Playoffs? We’re talking about playoffs!? I think the Bulls – as currently constructed – are built to make the postseason. And given better health luck than last year, could win a series. Maybe two if a bunch of bounces go their way. But I suppose there are limitations. And perhaps that is what Scottie Pippen is getting at here:
- Hey, good for him:
Still Waiting to Address the Trenches, McGlinchey Throws a Curve, Round Out the Squad, and Other Bears Bullets