Brisker Shines, Herbert and Ebner Run into Spotlight, Gill is Good, and Other Bears Bullets

This has been one of those weeks where I’ve spent a bunch of time eating out. That isn’t a bad thing, mind you. Convenient meals that I otherwise wouldn’t get my hands on makes me feel like I’m living on vacation without leaving the state. But at some point I’ll want to get back in the kitchen. And perhaps that happens tonight. So while I don’t have everything I need for my friend Jim’s Buffalo Chicken Meatballs, this might be the inspiration I need to make some wings on the grill later.

  • A live look at me this morning as I piece it together after a Bears preseason win:
  • I’ll try to hold it together, but you know I can’t make any promises.
  • Nathan Jahnke (Pro Football Focus) puts a fantasy slant on his recap of Saturday’s preseason games. And if fantasy football your thing, I’d recommend sorting through the nuggets and tidbits sprinkled throughout. But when it came to the Bears’ 19-14 win against the Chiefs, Jahnke’s assessment of Khalil Herbert is what caught my eye. Despite David Montgomery seemingly entrenched as RB1, Herbert still stands out as a potential future fantasy value. So much so, Jahnke suggests drafting Herbert with a late-round pick. The reasoning is sound enough:
  • “Herbert played every snap with the starters, including third downs. This meant sixth-round rookie Trestan Ebner didn’t play until the backups came in. Herbert is Montgomery’s handcuff at the very least but could have some stand-alone value if he can cut into Montgomery’s playing time.”

  • One thing I we should keep in perspective is that there is some value to be found at the intersection of fantasy football and the reality of the game. For instance, it *IS* notable that Herbert was The Guy getting a full workload with Montgomery unavailable. The Bears could’ve split the workload evenly between Herbert and Ebner. Or they could’ve given Ebner some third-down reps with the first-team just to give a rookie draft pick a taste and put some tape out there to see how he looks with the top dawgs. But they didn’t. I take that as more of a sign of faith in Herbert than anything negative it could mean for Ebner. Let’s continue monitoring the running back situation, as this group remains as fascinating as it is talented.
  • But also? I liked what I saw from Trestan Ebner. He ran with a burst and the cuts he made were kin to the ones we saw in highlight reels from his college days at Baylor. With two preseason games left on their schedule, it would be neat to see Ebner get some more action:
  • Even still … the ground game has some work to do. Herbert ran for just 2.9 yards per carry. Ebner was better (5.2 Y/A), but we have to acknowledge the competition he was against and that 27 of his 31 yards game on one rush. Otherwise, we’re looking at 5 carries going for 4 yards. But it’s still hard not to love that burst.
  • The offense remains a work in progress. It is still too clunky and inefficient, which shows up in the box score as soon as you realize the first-team offense didn’t score any points. You’d like to see something (I’d have taken a field goal as a net win) go up on the scoreboard with the first-teamers. But this is why we have preseason games. To work through the clunkiness, see what works and what doesn’t, and continue the building process that began in training camp.
  • This slayed me:
  • OK, so Luke Getsy’s first-team offense scored no touchdowns. That’s the bad news. But the good news is that there is nowhere to go but up!
  • Preseason snap-count watch from The Athletic’s Kevin Fishbain:
  • Playing on a short week in the preseason should be illegal. But that’s the challenge ahead of the Bears this week as they turn around to travel out west to face the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday night. Some game-within-the-game-stuff to watch for: How will Head Coach Matt Eberflus respond to the short turnaround? Will snap counts look any different? Does the 1-2 punch of a quick turnaround and a trip to the West Coast change things? The Nagy era Bears were surprisingly competent when given the quickie turnaround games. So even though I know better than to put too much stock in whatever happens, I still find myself curious. I feel like that will be the norm for the first year with Eberflus calling the shots. Sometimes, enough of those subtle differences can add up.
  • One player I’d like to keep seeing with a decent snap count is rookie safety Jaquan Brisker:
  • Sure, I wish we could’ve seen both of the Bears rookie second-round picks in action on Saturday. But what we saw from Brisker had me taking notice. As has often been the case throughout training camp, Brisker often finds himself around the ball and making plays. Doing that at Halas Hall in front of fans and coaches in a practice setting is cool. But doing so in game action will have people taking notice.
  • Field Yates chimes in with a Brisker thought in a tweet reply to Adam Hoge: “Won’t be long before the narrative shifts from “why did the Bears take a safety at pick 48?” to “how did that guy last until the middle of the second round?”
  • #BearsSpecialTeams did work yesterday. Particularly rookie punter Trenton Gill:
  • I tip my cap to Andy Reid, who displayed the basic understanding of how to attack a team on its heels by working the middle of the Bears defense. Whether it was with Patrick Mahomes and that first unit or sprinkles here and there throughout the game, it was noticeable how much the Bears were missing Roquan Smith (and how much the middle of the defense could use some shoring up).
  • *Nodding in agreement*
  • It sounds like an old friend had a tough time:
  • Because I know you’re gonna ask for it: Mitchell Trubisky was 4/7 for 63 yards (9.0 Y/A) with 1 TD, 0 INT, and a 126.8 passer rating. We’ve seen Trubisky do work in the preseason before, so I don’t want to go overboard with a grand assessment based on one game. But part of me is happy to see him enjoy some success, even if it is in a preseason game in Pittsburgh. Just because he wasn’t going to live up to expectations in Chicago doesn’t mean he can’t try to get at it for another team. May the Force be with you and all that jazz.
  • Elsewhere in Pittsburgh, George Pickens – who was often linked to the Bears as a Round 2 target during the pre-draft process – continued his hot summer. Standing out in camp is one thing. But showing out in your preseason debut with a splash play will put you on the radar:
  • Even with that being said, this thread makes some good points:
  • Good to see a key Blackhawks prospect shining on a bigger stage:
  • 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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