Mooney’s Arrow Points Up, Rodgers’ Dark Room, Woods is Free, Alternate WR Plans, and Other Bears Bullets
We’re under triple digits, folks. There are just 99 days until I get to see Taylor Swift at Soldier Field this summer.
Hey now! Justin Fields isn’t the only primetime performer I enjoy seeing show out on the lakefront.
- Sighs. Somehow …
PalpatineAaron Rodgers returned from the darkness:
- As someone who had friends and mentors in the industry, the life of an investigative reporter is unlike anything I could imagine. But even with my imagination, I can’t wrap my mind around being an investigative reporter around this Rodgers story. It’s unlike anything my brain can comprehend. Then again, that’s fitting for the dark energy that surrounds Rodgers.
- There is no immediate word if
the groundhogRodgers saw his shadow or if we’re stuck with six more weeks of winterbeing inundated with will he or won’t he rumors.
- Rodgers returning to Green Bay is the belief of just one Packers source who relayed that feeling to ESPN’s Jeff Darlington. On the one hand, it is tough for me to type out the words “this could be the best outcome for Bears fans” without feeling like I’m spitting into the wind. But on the other hand, Rodgers turning Green Bay into a circus as his production declines while his salary handcuffs the Packers would be fun to follow. Not to mention all of those things conspiring to sink That Team in Wisconsin would be a best-case scenario. Just saying … sometimes the bad things can be good.
- OK, I’ve had enough Rodgers chatter for one morning. How about a palate cleanser?
- This early-season wow moment was at the beginning of a strong stretch of games for Mooney after a slow start. Mooney went from catching four passes for 27 yards in his first three games to grabbing 36 passes for 466 yards and scoring two touchdowns in his next eight games. Mooney could’ve rounded out a solid year had it not been for a season-ending injury. But that he was turning it around is reason enough to believe in a bounce-back year being on the horizon in 2023.
- In Brad Biggs’ latest mailbag at the Tribune, he serves up a reminder that the Bears don’t necessarily need a WR1 or five all-world offensive linemen to have a better passing game in 2023 than they did in 2022. All you have to do is look at what the New York Giants did with Daniel Jones and a collection of pass-catchers who aren’t known game-breakers or linemen who aren’t necessarily Canton-bound:
(T)he Giants certainly squeezed a good deal of production out of a poor group of wide receivers. That is a credit to position coach Mike Groh, a former Bears assistant. He did a really nice job with Isaiah Hodgins, Richie James and a cast of others. You could make a case you would rather have players such as Chase Claypool and Darnell Mooney. The Giants did a solid job offensively for quarterback Daniel Jones and no doubt have issues to fix on the line. O-line rankings are really difficult to follow too closely. Yes, the Bears’ rankings are generally much higher than anyone who watched them regularly would agree with. I would say their passing offense was a mess all the way around, quarterback included, and that’s an area in which they need to improve in 2023.
- When you see it put in this way, it is also a reminder of how the Bears underperformed in 2022. Some of it was due to quarterback play. Fields wasn’t always the most accurate. And he wasn’t always making the best decisions with his throws. But there were plenty of reasons why the passing game wasn’t deserving of a passing grade. It truly was an all-around mess. And it was different things at different times. Ideally, a full offseason in the offense, a well-rounded out roster, and internal improvements from returning players gets this thing going in the right direction.
- Maybe what the Bears really need is a receivers room that has a high floor. A group of pass catchers that has depth, ability, and room for growth. Would I like a receivers room with six All-Pros? Absolutely. But there is more than just one way to build a receivers room. And if the Bears can’t snag a legit WR1, they better be ready to embrace alternative paths to creating a cromulent group. Otherwise, we’re in for another offseason of trying to get a grip on who JF1 is because of a failure in team building.
- With that being said, I’m still curious if the Bears will show interest (again) in Robert Woods. If you’ll recall, the Bears were among the teams who had an interest in trading for Woods before the Titans and Rams linked up on a deal. One year later — and a disappointing one from a production standpoint for the two-time 1,000-yard wideout — Woods returns to the market. But this time, it is as a free agent. And it looks like he is ready to enjoy this part of his journey:
- *Pulls back the curtain* I don’t plan on doing this for every receiver who makes it to free agency. But when the Bears (1) have a need and (2) were recently connected to the player, then I think it’s worth bringing up for discussion. And sometimes, it is good to just have a discourse about possibilities. Isn’t that what it is all about when you gather around the football hot stove?
- Some notable countdowns you should want to keep tabs on right now:
- The NFL really doesn’t stop, does it?
- This is where the fun begins (with Patrick’s NFL offseason previews):
- Patrick Kane did some double-dipping on Wednesday night in another Blackhawks win:
- The kids are on the rise:
- I can’t believe this is still an option for the Bulls: