Braxton Blocks, Fields Speaks Up, Don’t Overlook Brisker, and Other Bears Bullets

On the one hand, I appreciate that the Bears aren’t playing on Thanksgiving this year because it gives me an opportunity to enjoy the day like everyone else. But on the other hand, Thanksgiving Wednesday (in which my family celebrates the day early so I can work and watch the Bears in peace) has become such a smash hit in my circle that my friends are hoping that I do it even in years the Bears don’t play on Thanksgiving.

Maybe next year, if the Bears aren’t playing on Thanksgiving, I’ll consider doing SOMETHING. Too many people have asked for me not to consider it.

  • Drama keeps finding a way to find New York Jets quarterbacks. And I hope that trend keeps on keeping on as the Jets are benching Zach Wilson ahead of Sunday’s game against the Bears:
  • The timing of this couldn’t be better with the team that drafted Justin Fields playing the team that is benching the guy they passed on Fields to take in the 2021 NFL Draft. It sure is nice to be on the other side of this narrative after all we’ve been through as Bears fans.
  • If you’re a gambler, then you’ll probably have an interest in how the wagering markets are adjusting. NBC betting analyst Jay Croucher tweets the Jets spread is moving from -4.5 to -5 with news of Wilson’s benching coming down today. Bettors believe Mike White or Joe Flacco is an upgrade, to say the least.
  • FWIW: ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports it’ll be Mike White starting for the Jets on Sunday vs. the Bears. Upon hearing the news, White is about to be invited to every Jets fan’s Thanksgiving dinner.
  • Meanwhile, Fields’ teammates are rallying around him:
  • Mina Kimes, who remains one of my favorite football analysts/writers, is out here threatening me with a good time:
  • Look! If the Jets want to run wild with Mike White, Joe Flacco, Vinny Testaverde, Joe Namath, Boomer Esiason, Chad Pennington, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Josh McCown, or Mark Sanchez, then, by all means, go right ahead. I heard former Jets QB Frank Reich has some free time on his hands. And I’m sure Brett Favre could use the money and some positive PR.
  • Football Outsiders’ data has the Bears with a 52.7 percent chance at landing a top 5 pick and a 5.1 percent shot at the top overall selection. Chicago’s football team would have the third overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft if the season ended today. It doesn’t end today, but the Bears are in the driver’s seat for that spot. ESPN’s FPI projects the Bears to get the No. 2 overall pick based on future forecasts. And there is a clear path for this team to get that No. 2 pick.
  • There is a Bears player on here. And that’s good. But there’s another whose snub is absolutely ridiculous:
  • Do I realize that safeties can get overlooked if they’re not doing Eddie Jackson things in the turnover column? Yes. But what Jaquan Brisker is doing as a rookie who has been starting from Day 1 is impressive as heck. With every game Brisker plays, I find myself more convinced that he is the Bears’ best second-day pick from the 2022 NFL Draft.
  • Speaking of Jackson, Alex Shapiro (NBCS Chicago) writes about how now player has taken advantage of the clean slate that comes with a new regime like Brisker’s tag team partner at safety. That Week 1 missed tackle and blown coverage assignment feels like forever ago. That perspective serves as a nice reminder that it’s not how you fall, but rather, how you get back up.
  • A fun anecdote from PFF, noting how rookie left tackle Braxton Jones had an 86.3 pass-blocking grade against the Falcons last week. Impressive, considering that the Bears line was getting absolutely hornswoggled on the interior with twists and line stunts. Pro Football Focus’ evaluative data had jones giving up just one hurry on 34 pass-blocking snaps.
  • From the same story: EDGE defender Trevis Gipson had a 26.0 defensive grade, which featured one missed tackle as part of a team-worst 24.8 run-defense grade. You might’ve missed it when FOX was doing its starting lineup intros, but I didn’t: Gipson wasn’t starting last week against Atlanta. Instead, it was rookie Dominique Robinson and veteran Al-Quadin Muhammad in the starting lineup vs. the Falcons. Save for that performance against the Packers in Week 2, this has been a down year for Gipson. It’s been disappointing, to be sure. But I wonder how much of this is due to Gipson learning a new defense and transitioning from being a stand-up pass-rushing outside linebacker to a more traditional hand-in-the-dirt defensive end.
  • Devin Hester is a Hall of Fame semifinalist. Again. And if you’re curious about his résumé, check this out:
  • Sportsmanship is cool:
  • The Arlington Heights Stadium Project To Be Named Later in 2031 — who says no?
  • Would love to see more growth from a young Bulls player who has plenty of tools but has yet to utilize them all to their fullest potential:
  • This one is a tear-jerker:
  • 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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