You already knew what was going at the top of Bullets today as soon as you looked at the calendar:
Thanks for the hint of optimism, Mike Tirico. I really needed this:
“Bigger picture. I’m more excited about the Bears than I was Friday morning of last week. As I’ve gotten through all the study, talked to Eberflus, spent time around them, talked to Poles a little bit. … I feel really good about the foundation, and the salary cap, and all the stuff they’re doing. It might not manifest itself in a record that shows it, but I feel pretty good about what this season can be for the Bears after we went through this week.”
- A brief radio clip from ESPN’s Waddle and Silvy Show providing a sliver of optimism and a silver lining on what has been a dark cloud hovering over us since Sunday’s loss to the Packers is like chicken noodle soup on a cold day. Plus, that bit of hope makes it makes it easier to digest some of the not-so-cheerful stuff surrounding this team right now.
- Dan Wiederer (Tribune) writes: “Perhaps in need of some ayahuasca tea — either to envision what high-level offense in 2022 is supposed to look like or to provide attentiveness and morale through their current unease — the Bears now must work toward their own transformative awakening in the final full week of September.” And … yeah, it’s been that kind of week if you’re studying Bears offensive film after two weeks of football.
- It isn’t just Justin Fields, mind you. Although, the gift and curse of being QB1 is that problems and solutions start with you as the triggerman. But so many of the young pieces around Fields haven’t done much to lend a helping hand. Cole Kmet and Darnell Mooney have combined to provide a big nothingburger to this point. For whatever it’s worth, both got off to slow starts last year. Mooney went for fewer than 50 receiving yards in six of his first nine games in 2021. Kmet had two catches or fewer in four of his first five games of last season. This isn’t to say both can’t bounce back, but the lack of weapons around them picking up the weight amplifies the inauspicious start each is off to in 2022.
- The good news is that Head Coach Matt Eberflus understands his team’s offense won’t click if Kmet and Mooney can’t get it in gear…
- … the bad news is that a first-year offensive coordinator calling plays for a second-year quarterback is a variable that we can’t account for in trying to predict when breakouts for either (preferably both) are coming.
- Former Bears tight end Zach Miller lingers around the team enough to make me think Eberflus should set up a meeting between him and Kmet. Miller still believes in Kmet’s upside, and even has an idea on how to get the arrow pointing in the right direction. Via NBC Sports Chicago’s Josh Schrock:
“You got to force them to say, ‘Okay, he’s getting open, or he’s doing this.’ Even if the ball’s not coming his way right now, you have got to get to a point where you’re saying, ‘Hey, look, I need this here, I need this ball here.’ Start to force them to throw your way and make some plays.”
- Kmet needs to create separation from coverage. And if he isn’t creating separation (let’s face it, that’s not really his game), he needs to catch all the contested balls thrown his way. Do you ever wonder why basketball players who turn tight ends are so good at create space against defenders on contested catches? Because, oftentimes, they were channeling their basketball days and using basic block-out techniques. As a former collegiate baseball player, that might not necessarily be in Kmet’s muscle memory. But I wish it was, because at 6-6 and 262 pounds with 33-inch arms coming out of Notre Dame, Kmet has the size to leverage his limbs to his advantage.
- Disappointment isn’t limited to to the offensive side of the ball. Seeing Al-Quadin Muhammad’s stats is frustrating:
- A brief power ranking of Bears pass-rushers: Robert Quinn, Trevis Gipson, Dominique Robinson, Al-Quadin Muhammad. Quinn is the best and most established player. Gipson and Robinson have youth and upside going in their favor. So when it comes to divvying up the reps, Muhammad should be the odd-man out based on (1) production and (2) building for the future.
- It’s just to games. So it’s not like there isn’t time for Muhammad to turn it around. But he has been an under-the-radar disappointment to this point. Let’s keep in mind that Muhammad is a player who followed the new regime from Indianapolis, parlayed that history into a two-year deal, didn’t come to OTAs (where he could’ve set an example for Year 1 of a new defense), and is now underwhelming out of the gate. To be clear, the Bears have bigger fish to fry in terms of dealing with a rotational defensive end. But all in all, it’s disappointing to see. Here’s hoping there is a bounce back soon. Otherwise, I imagine we’ll see Muhammad’s reps dwindle (especially if Gipson and Robinson continue to collect hits, sacks, and hurries).
- Fun with defensive lineups and numbers:
- Jaylon Johnson is ballin’ in the early going:
- No wonder opposing QBs are avoiding him like the plague.
- Da Bears are gonna send Lovie to .500 at his old stomping grounds on Sunday:
- Heads up! If you were in Green Bay over the weekend, WMTV NBC-15 is reporting fans are seeing duplicate charges for things they bought at Lambeau Field. Be sure to check your credit card statements, my friends. I don’t want you paying double for something you paid for once. I feel like sitting through that game was penance enough.
- Football is for everyone:
- The Bulls have some ballers:
- What a night it was for long-suffering Yankees fans:
- The Chief Wiggum “this is going to get worse before it gets better…” .gif immediately came to mind when I saw this hit the timeline from our friends at BN Blackhawks: