Preseason Buzz, Who to Watch? Black Friday Football, Watson Update, and Other Bears Bullets

From the “Just Because You Can Doesn’t Mean You Have To” Department: The NFL is looking to add a game on Black Friday in 2023, per Sports Business Journal’s reporting. That’s … interesting, but I’m not sure I’m into it. Don’t get me wrong. I get why the league would target Black Friday as another date on the calendar to commandeer. But owning Thanksgiving with a triple-header and then tacking on a Friday game for funsies feels extra. And for no good reason. Are there really going to be six games worthy of being on primetime islands often enough to make the juice worth the squeeze? Amazon (which is set to stream the Black Friday game when it pops up) and the NFL must think so.

But we have 468 days to cross that bridge. So I won’t let it bug me too much.

  • Da Bears play football today. No, I don’t care that it’s just the preseason. I’m just happy that we’ve made it through a treacherous offseason. We did it y’all!
  • But before we dive into Bearsiness, let’s take a brief look at what went down last night. For starters, I see Jordan Love is in midseason form:
  • And it is worth noting that Trey Lance had some eye-opening flashes:
  • On the one hand, a Trey Lance breakout game at Soldier Field in Week 1 is very much in play (based solely on that highlight and snapshot). But on the other hand, I’d like Justin Fields and Darnell Mooney to target whoever that Packers corner was who got torched in Week 2 against the Packers. Wouldn’t it be something to see Chicago’s QB1 and WR1 link up and do damage at Lambeau Field on Sunday Night Football?
  • But first things first: Saturday’s preseason Bears-Chiefs opener. Larry Mayer (Bears) and Brendan Sugrue (Bears Wire) have players to watch for in the contest. And while I’m unsure how long the regulars will play, I know all eyes will be on Fields for however long he is out on the field. Meanwhile, Greg Gabriel (Windy City Gridiron) offers up what team talent evaluators are looking for in preseason games. As a long-time football executive, this is some worthwhile perspective. Perhaps it will nudge you toward looking at something differently than you otherwise would. I can speak for only myself, but I’m open to watching football differently as a great many players position themselves to win jobs with a team in rebuild mode.
  • If I had to pick ONE player to focus in on, it might be receiver Tajae Sharpe. One of the many new pass-catchers in camp, Sharpe had his best practice on Thursday with a handful of nice snags and runs. Nothing like going into game day fresh off your best practice. Again, I’m not sure how much time Sharpe will get to work with Fields. But if he has to put up numbers while catching passes from Trevor Siemian and Nathan Peterman before making the leap into the first-team conversation, then so be it. I suppose it all depends on how many healthy bodies the Bears can throw out on Sunday.
  • My bad: I was wrong about CJ Avery’s cut clearing a roster spot. The math wasn’t mathing for me, and for that I apologize. But hey, it’s preseason for me too. Plenty of time to work out the kinks before Week 1 kicks off in 29 days.
  • Someone better put a helmet on this Hutchinson kid when the Bears and Lions square off this season (and in the years to come):
  • One NFC North standout who won’t be playing in their preseason opener is Kirk Cousins. That’s because the Vikings quarterback tested positive for COVID-19, forcing him out of action in their game against the Raiders. If you’ll recall, this is the second time a positive COVID test for Cousins results in him missing a game. Minnesota’s top QB was out for Week 17’s Sunday Night Football game against the Packers, where the loss officially took the Vikes out of the playoff hunt. Not that the NFL needed a reminder that COVID isn’t simply going away just because the NFL and NFLPA suspended COVID-19 protocols earlier in the offseason.
  • Keeping my fingers crossed for some good news regarding Zach Wilson’s knee injury. The Jets’ starting quarterback left his team’s preseason game early with an apparent knee injury.
  • Deshaun Watson’s line in his preseason debut with the Browns: 1 completion, 7 yards. And he was absolutely hearing it from the crowd (NSFW language).
  • I’m floored by the evolution of Watson’s comments:
  • Watson’s latest comments represent a change of heart compared to what he said back in March. This might be too little, too late for Watson — especially after Judge Sue L. Robinson made note in her ruling that he didn’t seem remorseful for his actions. I wonder if any of this changes the decision-making in the appeals progress.
  • DJ Moore to the rescue:
  • If you’re looking to bet Bears preseason football, there’s your roundup of the various promos.
  • Wait … does this mean the White Sox won the trade?
  • We got the answer to the long-standing question what are you doing Dragić?
  • So … you’re saying this is a good year to roster Blackhawks opponents in fantasy hockey?
  • 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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