What’s Behind Fields’ Magic? Line Growth, Lovie’s Cowardly Punt, and Other Bears Bullets

Happy Hump Day! I’m going to fight the urge to eat out today and instead make something at home for lunch. Maybe I’ll be open to do some outdoor dining for dinner. I just know there won’t be too many of these nice days in store in our future for too much longer.

  • I am still marveling at the Justin Fields Houdini act the preceded his 51-yard touchdown throw to Dante Pettis. And Dave Wannstedt’s look behind the magic that went into finding an open Pettis is a real treat:
  • Look … Wannstedt wasn’t a successful Bears coach. Save for making the playoffs in 1994 with a 9-7 mark, the years from 1993-98 were pretty lean. But hey, that breakdown tracks with what Darnell Mooney was telling us during training camp about this coaching staff’s emphasis on practicing scramble drills (something the previous staff apparently didn’t work on). And it also represents another example of something that makes Fields special. Plays like this allow us to dream on the tremendous upside and potential.
  • For so many other quarterbacks in the league, this play is a throw-away out of bounds and a trip onto the field by the punt team. For some, it is a check down to that open player underneath. But for someone with Fields’ athletic gifts and football instincts, this play is a literal game-changer. Last year, Fields probably checks down, throws it away — or worse, gets sacked, risks a fumble, and all hell breaks loose. But this might’ve been our first datapoint showing Year 1 to Year 2 growth from QB1. Don’t you just love to see it?
  • The Bears were surprisingly good in the trenches on Sunday. And they’ll need to continue on that path to have more success in Week 2. Both on the offensive side of the ball, where the right side of the line exceeded expectations with its play:
  • The most important aspect when it comes to growth is self-assessment. Which is why I find this quote from left tackle Braxton Jones breaking down what it was like to give up an early sack to Nick Bosa, then explaining what he did to bounce back is so encouraging. Via the Tribune’s Brad Biggs:
  • “It was a very normal rush for Nick Bosa, I would say,” Jones said. “It was a very bad rep on my part. I felt like I was a little bit late, whereas he was right on time. It was a bad set. I let him get in my west and it was kind of over from there. The biggest thing on that, the thing I took to heart, was don’t let one turn into two or three. Just come back and keep on grinding. … It was just bad technique. That’s not on me. Coach told me to just go out there and trust your training. That’s what I started to do. Still a lot to clean up, but I was getting a good feel on it.”

  • My favorite anecdote in that Biggs piece is that Jones actually looked at the video board after the play to confirm his feelings on what went wrong on the play. Another win for technology an instant replay!
  • The offensive line is still a work in progress. But the youth along the line provides ample room for growth. They won’t all look great, but potential remains.
  • On the defensive side of things. I’m loving SO MUCH about rookie pass-rusher Dominique Robinson:
  • The Sun-Times (Jason Lieser) and NBC SPorts Bay Area (Angelina Martin) share the unhinged rants of former Bears and Niners coach Mike Martz, who’s got some hot takes about both Justin Fields and Trey Lance. I don’t want to regurgitate them here, although, I did want to bring them up for conversation — if only to acknowledge that, yes, I have seen Martz’s whacked out commentary. But in the end, I’m at a point where we should probably stop giving Martz the attention he desperately craves. Martz was a great play-caller for his time, but he was out of touch with where football was going when he was the Bears’ OC. And he’s not much better now. I’ll always find a cursory interest in what old heads have to say. But when they pop off like Martz did, it does nothing to help advance football conversation.
  • Winning in Week 1 is better than the alternative. Additionally, it means history is on our side:
  • Maybe it’s just our appreciation of nature, but I’m glad I’m not alone in enjoying the visuals of a rain-drenched Bears win. From Cam Ellis’ column at 670 The Score: “It was fun. And roughly 95% of the immaculate postgame vibes were solely because the Bears, you know, won – but still, Sunday’s soaker was fun. There’s going to be a time in the not-too-distant future in which every Bears game is played in wonderful, climate-controlled environments, and that’s fine. (I mean personally I don’t think it’s fine, but whatever. I fought. I lost. Now I rest.) Soon all those people who wear shorts way too late into the year to prove a point will finally have a home. C’est la vie. It’s a meathead take, but it’s my meathead take: I’ll miss bad-weather games.”
  • Because you care: Sunday’s forecast in Green Bay calls for a 40% chance of rain. Someone remind me to buy a poncho before I leave city limits on Sunday morning!
  • An important grass update:
  • I’ll let you decide what’s worse — the punt…
  • … or the explanation (via PFT):
  • “There’s a lot of football left to go in the season. It’s kind of as simple as that,” Smith said of his decision, via the Houston Chronicle. I felt a tie was better than a potential loss. Defensively, we weren’t really stopping them an awful lot at the end.”

  • In either case, Lovie Smith came through with one of the most cowardly punts of all time. At home. In Week 1. During overtime. Imagine quaking at the thought of losing a game that you decide tying is better than possibly winning. Wouldn’t be me. Don’t get it twisted. I’ve got nothing but love for what Lovie Smith did while he was head coach of the Bears. To this point, he has been the franchise’s best head-coach hire since Mike Ditka. However, I’m glad he is no longer a Bears coach.
  • I’m looking forward to giving this a listen:
  • https://twitter.com/AdamSchefter/status/1569764386994270208?s=20&t=Hs6OMVpHHcPbJQBOMCDFJA

  • The Browns dropping a midfield logo is pretty neat:
  • And it’s got some Bears fans thinking:
  • The old school bear on a football logo is one of my favorites. And while I’m not totally sure it’ll vibe at midfield, the Bears should find more ways to incorporate it into hats, gear, and anywhere else.
  • Oof! This isn’t going to go over well for Brett Favre:
  • Ayo Dosunmu is built different:
  • Aaron Judge dinger watch is getting FUN:
  • Hello … what do we have here?
  • The Blackhawks are represented in the Tom Kurvers Prospect Showcase. But did you realize their season is coming up soon? Because I didn’t until just right now:
  • 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.

    more bears news

    Here’s How Much Justin Fields’ Fifth-Year Option Will Cost

    Players who are eligible to get the fifth-year option picked up on their rookie contracts were in for a treat on Friday. And, yes, we're lookin' at you, Justin Fields. NFL Network insider Tom Pelissero has the deets behind the...

    The Quarterback Tapes: Drake Maye vs. N.C. State (2023)

    If you've been following along lately, you've seen that I've been in full draft season mode. It's watching tape season, and while I think the Bears will draft Caleb Williams, I'm not limiting the film study to just Williams. So,...

    Cap Shenanigans, Pros and Cons, Who’s Behind Coach Flus’ New Look? And Other Bears Bullets

    I'm looking forward to using the new oven that was installed yesterday. But first, this installment of BN Bears Bullets. One day later, I'm still trying to get a full grasp on the 2024 NFL salary cap ballooning to more...

    Tee Higgins Gets the First Franchise Tag of the Offseason

    It only took a few hours after the $255.4 million salary cap was announced by the NFL for the Cincinnati Bengals to become the first team to utilize the Franchise Tag in 2024. Come on down, Tee Higgins. You're about...

    Things We Learned From the Matt Eberflus, Shane Waldron, and Eric Washington Press Conference

    Even though Matt Eberflus and his newfound beard stole the show, there were some things that stood out when he and new Chicago Bears coordinators Shane Waldron and Eric Washington spoke with the media on Thursday. Here are four noteworthy...

    Around the NFL: Mock Draft Medley, Chiefs Sign Matt Araiza, More

    We're a few days from the NFL Scouting Combine getting started in Indianapolis and draft season is in full effect. Let's take a look at some of the recent NFL Mock Drafts that have been making the rounds this week...

    WHOA! The 2024 NFL Salary Cap Will Be $255.4 Million

    This is not your father's Friday news dump. The NFL salary cap is ballooning to $255.4 million, reports NFL Network insider Tom Pelissero. My mind is blown. I've spent minutes on end with my jaw dropped while thinking about this...

    Justin Fields Trade Watch: When is it Coming? Who’s In? Who’s Out?

    There is a growing expectation that the first steps toward a Justin Fields trade will be taken at the upcoming NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. When to expect a Justin Fields trade? The first date trades can be officially official...

    A New Look For Eberflus, Under the Radar WRs, More Mongo, and Other Bears Bullets

    It's early, but I feel as if I'm doing a good job in planning out my Sundays now that there isn't football to occupy the time. For instance, I've got lunch plans with extended family on Sunday that I'm excited...

    The Quarterback Tapes: Caleb Williams vs. Utah (2023)

    A quick note about the series: Initially, the plan was to focus on Caleb Williams. And then it became Caleb Williams and Drake Maye. After that, it then became Williams, Maye, and Jayden Daniels. With how this has evolved, I'm retitling it...

    Latest News

    Predators vs. Ducks Prediction: Live Odds, Stats, History and Picks – Sunday, February 25, 2024

    The Nashville Predators are moderate favorites (-162) on the road against the Anaheim Ducks (+136) at Honda Center on Sunday.Predators vs. Ducks Favorite, Moneyline, TotalFavorite: Predators (-162)Underdog: Ducks (+136)Total: 6.5Best Predators vs. Ducks Promo Codes[lasso type="table" id="1" link_id="1416330"]How to Watch...

    Best NBA Prop Bets Today – Sunday, February 25, 2024

    In one of the 11 compelling matchups on the NBA slate today, the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Houston Rockets square off at Toyota Center.One of the best ways to wager on the NBA is via NBA player prop bets....

    Hurricanes vs. Sabres Prediction: Live Odds, Stats, History and Picks – Sunday, February 25, 2024

    The Carolina Hurricanes are at the Buffalo Sabres on February 25 at 6:00 PM ET, and are -155 favorites, with the home team at +130.Hurricanes vs. Sabres Favorite, Moneyline, TotalFavorite: Hurricanes (-155)Underdog: Sabres (+130)Total: 6Best Hurricanes vs. Sabres Promo Codes[lasso...

    Wagner vs. LIU Prediction: Spread, Total Points, Moneyline Picks – Sunday, February 25, 2024

    The Long Island Sharks (7-19, 6-8 NEC) are underdogs (by 9 points) to break a five-game road losing streak when they visit the Wagner Seahawks (12-13, 6-7 NEC) on Sunday, February 25, 2024 at 12:00 PM ET. The matchup has...

    Creighton vs. St. John’s Prediction: Expert Picks, Odds, Stats and Best Bets – Sunday, February 25, 2024

    The No. 15 Creighton Bluejays (20-7, 11-5 Big East) will look to extend a four-game winning streak when they visit the St. John's Red Storm (15-12, 7-9 Big East) on Sunday, February 25, 2024 at Madison Square Garden as only...

    Colgate vs. American Prediction: Expert Picks, Odds, Stats and Best Bets – Sunday, February 25, 2024

    The Colgate Raiders (20-8, 14-1 Patriot League) host the American Eagles (14-14, 8-7 Patriot League) after winning six straight home games. The Raiders are double-digit favorites by 11 points in the contest, which tips at 2:00 PM ET on Sunday,...

    Navy vs. Holy Cross Prediction: Picks and Betting Odds – Sunday, February 25, 2024

    The Navy Midshipmen (9-17, 5-10 Patriot League) are 7-point favorites as they try to end a three-game home losing streak when they take on the Holy Cross Crusaders (9-19, 6-9 Patriot League) on Sunday, February 25, 2024 at Navy Alumni...

    SMU vs. South Florida Prediction: Expert Picks, Odds, Stats and Best Bets – Sunday, February 25, 2024

    The South Florida Bulls (20-5, 13-1 AAC) host the SMU Mustangs (19-8, 10-4 AAC) after winning 12 home games in a row. The Mustangs are favored by just 1.5 points in the contest, which tips at 12:00 PM ET on...

    La Salle vs. Rhode Island Prediction: Picks and Betting Odds – Sunday, February 25, 2024

    The Rhode Island Rams (11-15, 5-8 A-10) are 3.5-point underdogs as they try to break a three-game losing streak when they visit the La Salle Explorers (13-14, 4-10 A-10) on Sunday, February 25, 2024 at Tom Gola Arena. The contest...

    Purdue vs. Michigan Prediction: Expert Picks, Odds, Stats and Best Bets – Sunday, February 25, 2024

    The Michigan Wolverines (8-19, 3-13 Big Ten) are big, 13-point underdogs as they look to break a four-game losing streak when they host the No. 3 Purdue Boilermakers (24-3, 13-3 Big Ten) on Sunday, February 25, 2024 at Crisler Center....

    more bears news

    Latest News