Mama Bear Inspiration, Hester’s Hall Chances, Fields Tops the Charts, Peterman Comes Full Circle, and Other Bears Bullets

I’ve been debating what to put in the space above Bullets in my return for a few days now and — even as I write now — am still unsure how this section will finish. Imagine taking a snap from the center and failing to find the laces as you drop back. You spin it, spin it, spin it, and yet can’t get that grasp of the laces. It’s kinda where I am this morning.

If you follow my personal Twitter account, you know by now that I have suffered a great loss in the death of my loving girlfriend on Christmas Eve morning. And just hours before we were supposed to go to that Bears-Bills game in the United Club, too. Dosta Mae was my favorite person and she deserved so much more in life. Not just from her beloved Bears, either. But that’s a discussion for another day.

I’ve been going through a grieving process, but in doing so I’ve been met with so much love and support. From my friends and family, her family and friends, colleagues, strangers, followers, and from this online community. There has been so much love thrown in my general direction. And with that in mind, I want to take a moment to thank all of you who reached out with words of encouragement and support via text, phone call, DM, email, tweet, and through other forms of communication. I’m also thankful for Brett and Michael for their support during these tough times. And for Patrick, who was leading the charge here while I was gone.

So please pardon my rust as I make my way back into the saddle. It’s truly what she would’ve wanted (well, to an extent because she would’ve definitely spent the day nudging me to push through and wrap things up so we can hang).

  • There was never going to be a smooth transition into Bullets, but we’ll pivot as best we can.
  • Chicago Bears matriarch Virginia McCaskey making it to a milestone birthday today puts a lot in perspective for me after the last two weeks I’ve had. And I keep thinking about how if she can keep on keeping on, than I can too. And that sentiment can apply to Bears fans, too.
  • Dan Wiederer (Tribune), Patrick Finley (Sun-Times), Larry Mayer (Chicago Bears), Coral Smith (NFL Media) are among those with write-ups commemorating Mrs. McCaskey’s 100th birthday. I’d encourage you to allow yourself to read them at your leisure.
  • I’d be curious to know how she feels watching Justin Fields do what he did this year, if only to have the historical perspective who has been around for almost the entirety of the NFL.
  • ICYMI: Justin Fields is cutting the Vikings a break on Sunday. He won’t play.
  • Putting Fields in bubble wrap for the season finale shows that the Bears see the bigger picture in their rebuild, writes NBC Sports Chicago’s Josh Schrock. I just wish they would’ve seen the bigger picture at some point during the blowout against the Lions and sat Fields sooner. The Bears should consider themselves lucky that Fields wasn’t injured more severely in a game that was non-competitive after the first quarter.
  • Closing the book on Fields for 2022 leaves us with this stat line as a passer: 192/318 (60.4%), 2,242 passing yards, 17 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, and an 85.2 passer rating. And while he won’t break Lamar Jackson’s single-season QB rushing record, Fields still finishes with an impressive 1,143 yards and 8 touchdowns on 160 carries. Unless something unexpected happens, he’ll finish the year as a top-10 rusher. And unless Lamar or Josh Allen do something bonkers this weekend, Fields will finish as the league’s leader in yards per rushing attempt (7.1). Impressive stuff. We’ll explore more Fields facts later today.
  • A fun fact from the yards per carry leaderboard: Bears running back Khalil Herbert has the fifth highest average of yards per rushing attempt this season. Only Fields (7.1), Lamar Jackson (6.8), Josh Allen (6.5), and Daniel Jones (5.9) run the rock at a more prolific pace. Or, to present it differently, Herbert has the best yards per carry average among all qualifying NFL running backs. Should the Bears part ways with David Montgomery this offseason, handing the keys to Herbert still leaves the Bears ground game in good shape. We’ll be watching the makeup of that position group with great interest this offseason.
  • While I’m on the leaderboard page, I’d like to mote that Tony Pollard (5.3 Y/C), Miles Sanders (5.0), Josh Jacobs (5.0), and Saquon Barkley (4.4) are free-agents-to-be who rank in the top 25 in yards per carry. And while I’m not trying to push Herbert completely out of the picture, we’ve seen the benefits of two solid running backs sharing a workload. Particularly with how Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon work together for That Team in Wisconsin. Perhaps there is room for another ace running back to join Herbert in the backfield to take Chicago’s rushing attack to another level. Again, this feels like a conversation I’d love to expand on this offseason.
  • Circling back to Fields, a brief look at who is replacing him behind center:
  • It is wild to think about how things have come full circle for the Bears and Peterman (in a weird way). The Bears did their homework on Peterman ahead of the 2017 NFL Draft. John Fox and his staff were coaching the North Team at the 2017 Senior Bowl which had Peterman as one of its quarterbacks. And he made it his goal to try and impress the Bears in that showcase. There was even a time when he was considered a Bears fit. As we know by now, the Bears went in a different direction at quarterback. But who would’ve guessed it would’ve circled all the way back to Peterman? Life has a funny way of making things happen.
  • I think Bears fans might throw a parade in Peterman’s honor if he can somehow lead this team to securing the No. 1 overall pick. It’ll take a Texans win to make it happen. And in that case, we could make it a joint parade honoring Peterman and Lovie Smith:
  • Lovie doing the Bears one last solid for old-time’s sake would absolutely make my weekend.
  • Speaking of blasts from the past and the Lovie era, Devin Hester is a finalist (again!) for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Dude was a game changer in all sense of the term:
  • Hester was my girlfriend’s favorite player. And while I was writing up the news that he was once again a finalist, my mind drifted to the time I went over to her place for hangs — which began with an hour-long trip down a rabbit hole of Hester YouTube highlights. I was a really lucky guy to experience that kind of love.
  • As the Hall of Fame president once told Hester, he will make it in due time. It should’ve been last year. And getting No. 23 in the Hall of Fame class of ’23 would be a fun parallel. But let the record show that this class is loaded:
  • And check out who didn’t make the cut:
  • These upcoming HOF classes are going to be all-timers.
  • It’s nice of the Bears to do this:
  • Recently, I’ve been coming back to Marshawn Lynch’s advice to take care of your mental health:
  • “So, while y’all at it right now, take care y’all bodies, take care y’all chicken, ya feel me, take care y’all mentals, cuz little we ain’t lasting that long. I heard a couple players that I played with that they no longer here no more, they no longer. So start taking care y’all mentals, y’all bodies and y’all chicken. And when y’all ready to walk away, you walk away and be able to do what you want to do.”

  • We’re all pulling for Damar Hamlin. And I found this morning’s updates rather encouraging:
  • Keep on fighting, Damar!
  • Rafael Devers signing an 11-year extension with the Red Sox should serve as a reminder to Bears fans that waiting for Player X to hit free agency can be a wasteful experience because there is a real chance that they won’t make it to that point. Examples like the Devers extension make me want to double down on my ever-so-controversial “sign good players when they are available and figure out the rest later” stance. The idea of acquiring good talent during a “window” is a nice concept, but windows can open unexpectedly and shut quickly — which complicates matters. I feel like I’ll want to dig into this more when we officially turn the page and jump into the offseason.
  • There is something about how the Bulls play up to their competition that is equal parts encouraging and maddening:
  • 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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