Fields a Beast vs. the NFC East, Pace's Poor Process, Kittle, Gould, Follow the Bengals? And Other Bears Bullets

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Fields a Beast vs. the NFC East, Pace’s Poor Process, Kittle, Gould, Follow the Bengals? And Other Bears Bullets

Chicago Bears

The Bachelor returns TONIGHT and I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, this show does a wonderful job bridging the gap from football season to the start of the baseball year. But on the other hand, my “Bachelor Monday” crew isn’t able to get together this week. What am I supposed to do with this cheesecake — eat it by myself!?

  • Sometimes, I stop and think about the Bears beating the 49ers in Week 1. That was a thing that happened. Seriously. By way of the transitive property, the Bears are in the NFC Championship Game. And we’ll leave it on that note.
  • Niners tight end George Kittle (5 catches, 95 yards) had himself a game. This catch was a game-changer:
  • Admittedly, part of what I’m about to say is rooted in hindsight. But I’m kinda miffed about GM Ryan Pace passing on drafting Kittle back in 2017. This isn’t to say it is all rooted in hindsight. After all, Kittle was a Day 3 pick for a reason. However, I’m curious about the evaluation process that led Pace and his staff to prioritize Adam Shaheen (a Div. II standout) as a second-round pick and not Kittle (a Big Ten athlete at a school that churns out TEs like nobody’s business) as a potential late-round value pick. Good process yields good results. And every so often I find myself realizing the questionable processes the old regime in evaluating talent. Not to mention how it valued cap space an draft capital.
  • In that vein, yes, I do realize why Pace cut kicker Robbie Gould ahead of the 2016 season. Gould was coming off a rough stretch and had a big salary number (relatively speaking because it’s a kicker) next to his name. In fact, I’ve known this and it is something we’ve been banging the drum about around here for years. Gould himself has made note that the Bears cutting him allowed him to go back in the lab, fix whatever mechanical flaws were causing him to get out of sync, and return to being That Dude. The cut was a blessing in disguise for Gould. But for the Bears, it turned out to be the first of many evaluation missteps Pace had when it came to the kicking position.
  • FUN FACTS ABOUT KICKERS! Cairo Santos since joining the Bears in 2020: 77/85 (90.6%) on field goals, 90/97 (92.8%) on extra points. Robbie Gould since 2020 (not including playoffs): 66/78 (84.6%), 125/129 (96.9%) on extra points.
  • I hear your chatter regarding the possibility of moving on from Santos after a season in which making extra points was a bugaboo for him. But I feel as if going down that path would be similar to moving on from Gould the way the Bears did in 2016. This isn’t even a “you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone” situation. It’s more of a “your talent-evaluation staff better be on their P’s & Q’s” type of situation. Because one of the worst things these Bears can do is boot a reliable kicker just as the team starts building an offense that can get into scoring position at a higher frequency. Please do the good process thing, Bears.
  • OK, I can’t front. I overreacted the same way many of you did after seeing 49ers right tackle (and free-agent-to-be) Mike McGlinchey get tossed like a child’s rag doll by Michael Parsons:
  • But then again, it is more about how you get up than it is that you were knocked down in the first place. And with that being said, I love that this was the way McGlinchey bounced back:
  • I’m just saying: The Bears could do worse than giving McGlinchey a whole bunch of that cash they have to spend and setting him at right tackle for the foreseeable future.
  • FWIW: I’m still down to see Cowboys tight end Dalton Schultz get a bag from the Bears. Sure, Schultz’s inability to get out of bounds to stop the clock or get two feet down on what should’ve been a crucial catch knocks some of the shine off that apple. But that doesn’t diminish Schultz’s potential fit on a Bears offense that could use a two-way tight end who can team with Cole Kmet. We can discuss that in more detail later.
  • Greg Olsen absolutely nailed this:
  • Olsen has been good. Hopefully, FOX doesn’t have a Mike Martzian type of executive who pushes him out the door for no particular reason.
  • UGH. ESPN’s Todd Archer tweets that Cowboys running back Tony Pollard suffered a fractured left fibula injury on this play in yesterday’s game:
  • Pollard is a free-agent-to-be. And he was on my short-list of running backs that I had an interest in the Bears pursuing. Paying running backs isn’t popular, but adding an explosive back to pair with Khalil Herbert could fortify the offense. However, Pollard’s injury changes how my wishlist looks.
  • Let the record show that three of the NFL’s last four teams standing have a dynamic pair of backs. Christian McCaffrey and Eli Mitchell are a nice tandem for the Niners. Jerick McKinnon and Isiah Pacheco make for a nice 1-2 punch for the Chiefs. Teaming Miles Sanders and Kenneth Gainwell with QB Jalen Hurts’ running ability is something that should inspire the Bears as they cook up their offseason plans. And even though the Joe Mixon-Samaje Perine duo doesn’t have that oomph that others do, it is still a productive backfield.
  • Dallas’ evil empire feels like it’s teetering:
  • I can’t stop thinking about this:
  • Maybe Justin Fields is good. Let it be known that the Cowboys had the NFL’s second best defense, per Football Outsiders’ DVOA rankings. Meanwhile, the Eagles’ defense was ranked 6th. And now I’m wondering how Fields’ most pedestrian performance came against a Giants defense that ranked 29th.
  • In case you’re curious, the Bears’ defensive DVOA ranked dead last in the NFL.
  • Speak on it, sir:
  • The Jaguars and Bengals being model franchises for the Bears to follow is something I didn’t see coming. But that’s one of the reasons we watch sports — you can’t script this stuff.
  • Cincy beating Buffalo allows us to dodge the bullet of the NFL getting a test run at having a neutral site conference championship. Whew. That’s a relief. Neutral site conference title games in the NFL would be on par with Greedo shooting first in terms of ranking bad ideas.
  • It’s not really the NFL playoffs until we have a game that sparks the debate of what is or isn’t a catch:
  • Patrick’s picks are ON FIRE:
  • If you aren’t following BN’s NFL coverage on Facebook, Twitter, and online, then you should change that ASAP.
  • Bears 🤝 Blackhawks 🤝 looking forward to the 2023 Draft:
  • Winning is fun. But there’s a “but” when it comes to these Bulls winning. And it’s a big one:
  • Let’s make a deal, Southsiders:

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Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.