Edmunds as Swanson, Fields’ New Friends, Are You Gonna Miss Roquan? And Other Bears Bullets
Don’t get me wrong. NFL Week 1 is awesome. Nothing gets my sports juices flowing like getting waves of games starting with the Thursday primetime opener, flowing through Sunday’s chunk of action, and wrapping up with Monday Funday. But MLB’s Opening Day will always have a special place in my heart.
Good luck to all of our favorite teams.
Except the Cardinals.
- To reiterate, MLB Opening Day is HERE. And the Chicago Cubs have a shiny, new toy in Dansby Swanson. His signing was the team’s big splash whose joining the team sent a message:
- To be clear, I don’t want to project too much. But I see similarities between the Swanson signing with the Cubs and the Bears’ signing of Tremaine Edmunds. On the surface, both players check notable boxes. They’re young players who were drafted by successful organizations, hit their stride right before making it to free agency, and could have more to show in their new digs. Swanson might not have been most fans’ first choice in this pool of free-agent shortstops. And considering the Bears’ needs along the offensive and defensive lines, it wasn’t looking like off-the-ball linebackers would be a priority. But just as the Swanson signing signaled the Cubs want to accelerate their rebuild, the Bears probably have the same idea when bringing on Edmunds. It’s a fascinating parallel. One we’ll be following as the year goes on.
- Even with the addition of Edmunds (and T.J. Edwards) at linebacker, Hall of Famer Mike Singletary still worries about the loss of Roquan Smith. Here is what Samurai Mike told the NBC Sports Chicago “Under Center” podcast:
“Moving forward, I do think that they’re going to invest in the front four and then next tier linebackers and then going out to the corners, you got to have some physical corners,” Singletary said. “So I’m hoping that it all plays out. But, you know, leaders are really hard to come by and I’m hoping that (the Smith trade) doesn’t come back and bite them in the butt.”
- On the one hand, I understand Singletary’s concerns. Roquan was a force in the middle of that defense. And he was definitely seen as a leader. But on the other hand, I do not share those concerns about the trade biting them in the behind. Sometimes, you need to move on before you can move forward. And I believe that is what the Bears were thinking when they cut that deal with Baltimore.
- I wish the Bears would’ve addressed their offensive line issues the same way the Cubs cleaned up their starting pitching and defensive concerns with multiple notable free-agent signings. But unlike MLB (where draft picks take years of development before hitting the field), the NFL Draft is loaded with pro-ready talent Chicago’s football team can plug in and immediately play. Even without multiple splash signings, I like the makeup of the offensive line. It isn’t perfect. But the line is in a better place now than it was at this time last year.
- Teven Jenkins showed a willingness to switch positions and an ability to excel when healthy. Cody Whitehair could be a solid short-term answer in his return to center. Even after an injury-shortened season in which he didn’t look like his old self while at left guard, we still have recent-ish tape that suggests he can hold it down for the time being. Nate Davis has ample starting experience. And Braxton Jones successfully made the climb from Day 3 rookie to starting left tackle. He might have to move again, but his head coach has faith he can do it. There is also useful depth behind those guys with Lucas Patrick, Larry Borom, and Alex Leatherwood. Again, this isn’t perfect. But it is a step in the right direction.
- Also, let me be clear with this. Lines aren’t supposed to be set in stone on March 30. With that being said, I’d still like to feel better about this group when I wake up 31 days from now after the dust settles on NFL Draft Weekend.
- The NFL Draft is 28 days away. Or to put it differently: FOUR WEEKS FROM TONIGHT! I’m excited about the mysteries that will be solved when teams go on the clock and names get named.
- Another group that is better now than it was a year ago at this time is the Bears’ skill-position players:
- It isn’t just the addition of D.J. Moore as a legit WR1. Don’t get it twisted. That is a major reason I have faith in the Bears offense moving forward. However, it is the depth in the receivers room behind him with Darnell Mooney and Chase Claypool behind Moore. And the tight end tandem of Cole Kmet and Robert Tonyan — especially after the leaps Kmet made last season. That backfield tag team of D’Onta Foreman and Khalil Herbert shouldn’t be a drop-off from what last year’s Monty-Herbert duo put up. GM Ryan Poles should still look to add firepower to this bunch. But it feels good knowing this isn’t a barren wasteland anymore.
- More than anything, the Bears have a QB who can do this:
- And this:
- Ultimately, Justin Fields can bring it all together.
- This is a nice add for Halas Hall:
- I love that the Bears are moving into the 21st century with their facility upgrades. They’ve still got work to do, but the ball is rolling in the right direction.
- Go DJ!
- Patrick recaps the happenings in the NFC South (which is something we should be mindful of when considering that each of those teams is on the Bears’ schedule in 2023):
- A bump from yesterday:
- Alex Caruso gets the highlight, but LeBron gets and the Lakers get their revenge:
- Tab talks Kaner and hockey:
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