If you’re someone who freezes their turkey ahead of Thanksgiving, make sure you take it out of the freezer well ahead of time. At this time next week, I’ll be preparing to deep fry my bird. But that means I’m going to need to take it out of the freezer at some point today so the thawing process can begin.
- When Justin Fields returns to his home state of Georgia on Sunday to play the Atlanta Falcons, the Chicago Bears QB will be looking to make history:
- Fields, as a rusher, since the mini-bye has run it 50 times for 467 yards and 5 touchdowns. That would put him at a 17-game pace of 212 carries, 1,985 rushing yards, and 21 touchdowns. I’m not sure how sustainable that would be over the course of a full 17-game season, but it would sure be fun to watch him try.
- FWIW: The Falcons have given up the 10th most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season. But not much of it has come via the ground. Jacoby Brissett (Browns) and Joe Burrow (Bengals) have rushing touchdowns against the Falcons this year. But no quarterback has broken 20 ground yards against Atlanta to this point. Then again, you wouldn’t expect anyone to do so (well, maybe Geno Smith) when this is the list of opposing quarterbacks ATL has faced to this point: Jameis Winston, Matthew Stafford, Geno, Brissett, Tom Brady, Jimmy G, Joe Brrrr, P.J. Walker (twice!), and Justin Herbert. Now that I think of it, there is a real chance that Fields surpasses the 89 rushing yards the Falcons have allowed to opposing QBs through 10 games this season all by himself.
- Bet on Justin Fields? You don’t have to tell me twice, Arthur Arkush!
- The ground game gains are nice, but we really shouldn’t look past Fields’ progress as a passer in the same time. In the same four-game stretch in which he has set the world on fire with his rushing prowess, Fields is completing 64.1% of his passes, has 8 TD (8.7 TD%) and just 2 INT (2.2 INT%), owns a 103.5 passer rating, and is averaging 6.7 yards/attempt. Personally, I’d like to see that Y/A number get a boost.
- Then again, we should let the record show that a 6.7 Y/A is on par with Dak Prescott, Kirk Cousins, and Trevor Lawrence (in terms of year-long numbers) — and better than Tom Brady (6.6) and Justin Herbert (6.3). Fields’ year-long Y/A is 7.2, which puts him tied for 12th in the league. That’s a good place to be. And it shows us that there is still room for him to grow as a passer.
- I can’t believe Dan Wiederer limited himself to just 12 eye-catching numbers from Fields:
- You know what could get the air game going? More Darnell Mooney. Since Week 4, Mooney has 45 targets, 32 catches, 437 receiving yards, and a touchdowns. Mooney didn’t have the breakout performance I thought he would against the Lions. But the last seven games (overall) have been encouraging. That 13.7 yards per reception is an eye-opener for me. As is the 17-game pace of 109 targets, 78 receptions, and 1,061 receiving yards. No, Mooney isn’t having the type of breakthrough season that will land him the type of extension players like A.J. Brown and Terry McLaurin were getting this past offseason. But the Bears should probably find a way to reach a modest multi-year deal to keep a solid, home-grown player around for a few years.
- ICYMI: The Bears signed a guy named Taco. Taco Charlton, a 2017 first-round pick, is now a member of the Bears defense. Perhaps we’ll get some post-hype sleeper vibes from the University of Michigan product. Charlton, whose given name is Vidauntae, believes he has what it takes to lend this defense a helping hand:
“I’m very happy to be back in that defense where I just get off the ball and just go,” Charlton said Wednesday, via NBC Sports Chicago.
“I’m trying to make some plays, help this defense, help win some games,” Charlton added. “That’s really what I’m trying to do. Not really personal stuff, but really just help this team win, try to make some key plays to help this defense make some big turnovers and get us some Ws.”
- Look … I get it. Charlton has yet to live up to his first-round billing. And the word “bust” was thrown around often on the timeline after the Bears’ signing was announced. But just because a player didn’t work out with one team doesn’t mean he can’t do so for another. Moreover, these Bears don’t need Taco to be the first-round game-changer. What they really need from Charlton is to chip in as a contributor here and there. And if he plays himself into a bigger role, then so be it. The expectations aren’t high, but that is fine. Let’s see what a player who has been bouncing around looking for a football home can do with a team led by a head coach who he crossed paths with in Dallas (Matt Eberflus, 2017) and GM who had him in Kansas City (Ryan Poles, 2020).
- Spin zone: Want to draw out further significance of the Charlton signing? The Bears are clearly not happy with what Dominique Robinson and Trevis Gipson are providing to this point. And if you want to use this as a moment to peer into a crystal ball and guess what will happen in the future, I’d predict that the Bears will prioritize pass rush help from the defensive end spot throughout the offseason. With more than $100 million in available salary cap space, the Bears could conceivably break the bank on a pass rusher and still have money to throw around at their other positions of need.
- An early (and brief) look at how I’d prioritize positions of need this offseason: OL, WR, DE, CB, DT. There’s your top 5 biggest needs for the Bears starting when the new league year and free agency opens up in March. Am I missing something?
- It would be nice if some of these receivers currently on the roster would do more to make a case for their inclusion on next year’s team. As things stand, there is a bit of a logjam at the position. And as Jason Lieser (Sun-Times) writes, trying to figure out who will be here in the future is what should be driving decision-making as to who’s going to play.
- Speaking of the future! If the Bears can somehow sneak their way into a top 3 pick, they could hold any number of team general managers’ feet to the fire for a trade-up opportunity. Especially if Will Levis (and not Bryce Young or C.J. Stroud) is someone’s preferred QB of the future:
- The NFL appears to have had a wonderful experience in Germany. So much so, it wants more:
- I sure hope not:
- Or maybe I should hope so? Christian Watson is a terrifically talented receiver. But serious drops issues have plagued him throughout the season (and those problems date back to his college years). In other words, if Watson is the Packers’ new game-breaking wideout, his ceiling is as high as his floor is low. There is real boom-or-bust potential in this one.
- It’s been a rough few years for an old friend trying to hang around in the league:
- Dealing with Matt Nagy was tough. Doing so while an entire fan base would rather see the rookie behind you on the depth chart can’t be easy. A year later, you’re replacing a player fans in New Orleans think still has potential while playing for a head coach who appears to be in over his head as he tries to replace a franchise icon. Tough break, my dude.
- You’ve still got time to vote in a pair of very important BN polls: