Forcing the Bears onto Hard Knocks, NFC North Rivals Love Monty, Are Draft Hints Coming? And Other Bears Bullets
If anyone needs me, I’m still floating on a high from Friday night’s John Mayer show at United Center. Between that and Thursday’s Opening Day shenanigans, I haven’t felt vibes this good in months. We’ll try to keep ’em flowing as the weekend winds down.
- I saw this tweet bouncing around this morning and wanted to do some clarifying on a Sunday morning:
- The Jets, Commanders, Saints, and (yes) Bears aren’t the only teams eligible to appear on HBO’s Hard Knocks series. However, these four teams can be “forced” into participating because they fit particular criteria. Teams that are exempt from Hard Knocks are those that have (1) a first-year head coach, (2) made the postseason in each of the last two years, and (3) have appeared on the show within the last 10 years. The Bears, Jets, Commanders, and Saints don’t check any of those boxes. Hence, they can be pushed into the spotlight.
- Of course, the Bears want no part of it. That much they’ve made clear.
- I agree with Bears Chairman George McCaskey in that we both acknowledge there are other teams with very compelling stories to tell via the HBO medium. And, sure, the Bears can spin one, too. Plus, it would be nice to see Chicago’s football team in a way that we’ve never seen them before. But as a fan of chaos (so long as it doesn’t negatively impact my favorite team), I’m all for watching anyone who isn’t the Bears on Hard Knocks this summer. Let’s watch the Jets-Aaron Rodgers circus play out. Maybe putting the Saints on will reveal their secret of how they elude salary cap hell every March. And what about a Commanders team that could be on the brink of getting a new team owner? That could be fun to follow.
- A fun nugget from Brad Biggs’ mailbag at the Tribune: Three of the four NFC North teams had an interest in signing running back David Montgomery. While the Bears thought they were “really, really close” to re-signing Montgomery, it was the Lions who landed the free-agent running back. But Biggs adds the Minnesota Vikings were also showing interest. I’m not sure how that snap share would’ve looked with Montgomery sharing carries with Dalvin Cook, but that could’ve been something to watch. In any case, it’ll be worth watching how Montgomery runs twice a year against his former team in Chicago (and against the rest of the division).
- Monty’s numbers vs. the NFC North: 4.15 yards/carry and 12 total touchdowns in 22 games. At a per-17 game clip, his numbers vs. division foes look like this: 265 carries, 1,099 rushing yards, and 7 touchdowns. Don’t get me wrong. I like Montgomery and will always have a soft spot for him as a fan (so long as he isn’t playing the Bears). But I feel as if the Bears can creatively re-create a running backs room that can ultimately surpass those types of numbers. We’ll see what they have in store for Khalil Herbert, D’Onta Foreman, Travis Homer, Trestan Ebner, and perhaps others.
- The 2023 NFL Draft is in 26 days. This means mock drafts are about to get a bit more on the nose. In the months leading up to April, mock drafts tend to be more for educational purposes. Get to know some prospects, understand team needs, find a feel for schematic fits, and cast a wide net as part of an informative process. But when the calendar flips to April, then it is time to reel it in. Let us keep this in mind as we navigate through the rest of this month.
- Remember, there was a growing consensus in mid-April around the Bears drafting a cornerback in Round 2 of last year’s draft. It felt a bit weird when you consider there was a hyper-focus on Chicago drafting a wide receiver and/or offensive linemen with their two second-round picks. However, you’ll recall they took a cornerback (Kyler Gordon) and safety (Jaquan Brisker) with those two selections. In other words, be ready to expect what you don’t see coming.
- With that in mind, I wonder if we’ll see cornerbacks start getting mocked to the Bears in the coming weeks. Clearly, this front office sees value in drafting defensive backs in prime spots. Perhaps Oregon’s Christian Gonzalez fits the bill:
- Gonzalez seems to check the boxes for what Matt Eberflus and Alan Williams want from their defensive backs. At 6-2 and 201 pounds, Gonzalez has size. He was also first-team All-Pac-12 in 2022. And he won’t turn 21 until June, so he has that youth and upside thing going for him. At a minimum, we should dig deeper into Gonzalez (and the rest of the top corners) in the coming weeks. Or at least until the Bears sign a starting-caliber cornerback between now and draft day.
- Olu Fashanu is a name to watch if you’re already looking ahead to the 2024 NFL Draft:
- The Penn State offensive lineman would’ve been a first-round pick this year. Unless something drastic happens between now and the 2024 NFL Draft, he’ll be a first-rounder next year, too.
- A life-long Chicago Bears fan lives a dream at Wrestlemania:
- Over at BN Cubs, Brett has an explanation as to why Miles Mastrobuoni didn’t dive on a ball that a catch could’ve ended the inning (instead, turned into a game-changing Brewers two-RBI single).
- Buzzer beaters are awesome:
- Look who was back for the Blackhawks:
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