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Three Lessons Learned From the Three Practice Games

| August 30th, 2021


Lesson #1

Bears don’t have an answer at second corner spot.

Kindle Vildor was the darling of the practice sessions but thoroughly underwhelmed in game action. Desmond Trufant has wanted to prove he still has it but hasn’t been able to prove he can stay healthy. Duke Shelley? Tre Roberson? Thomas Graham? Artie Burns? They’re just bodies.

What the Bears should do is play Graham and live with his learning on the job. But that would require the organization understand where they are in the championship timeline and their handling of Justin Fields has proven they do not. They will go with the lowest risk option opposite Jaylon Johnson and be vulnerable there all season long.


Lesson #2

Rodney Adams can play NFL football.

Adams’ preseason performances were better than anything former Bear Javon Wims and should-be-former Bear Riley Ridley have put on tape during their careers. And his rapport with Fields can not be overlooked. If Adams does not find a space on the final 53, it’s safe to say Matt Nagy put no import on anything that happened in preseason games.


Lesson #3

Justin Fields is the club’s most exciting player.

Khalil Mack is great. Allen Robinson is steady. But Fields is a needle mover at the sport’s most important position. Every snap he takes under center brings the entirety of Chicago to full attention. Every snap he doesn’t play in 2021 is a complete waste of time.

Fields is ready. Every single analyst objectively watching the Bears knows it. If only the head coach did.

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Training Camp Diary: Reflections on a Bad Weekend for the Bears

| August 23rd, 2021


These are (mostly) non-quarterback reflections on the weekend.

  • Rodney Adams welcomed a baby girl Friday night, slept on a hospital couch, and then delivered one of the only bright spots Saturday for the Bears. It is a crowded wide receiver room but Adams should stick on the roster over Javon Wims, who just doesn’t have it.
  • Adam Hoge argues for Justin Fields getting more first-team reps. But that’s not how the NFL works. Once the season starts, practice reps are severely limited and backups don’t get any. Fields most likely won’t see first-team reps until he’s named the starter. (Which should have happened a week ago.)
  • Far better performance from Trevis Gipson Saturday but he still looks and plays slight. I question whether he can be productive against starter-level offensive tackles.
  • This team has two viable kickers, with Brian Johnson looking like the real deal. Can they keep then both? Most have argued for sliding Johnson to the practice squad but I can’t imagine him being poached pretty quickly from there by a kicker-needy team, i.e. the Saints.
  • Khalil Herbert is doing what late-round picks need to do for playing time: he’s making an impact on specials. Telling that he was involved beyond kick returns Saturday.
  • Five players I thought acquitted themselves well:
    • Thomas Graham
    • Dazz Newsome
    • Sam Kamara (again)
    • Caleb Johnson
    • Charles Snowden
  • Three players that don’t need to be around much longer:
    • Riley Ridley
    • Elijah Wilkinson at left tackle
    • Jesper Horsted (Do you really need Horsted and JP Holtz on the same roster?)
  • What the hell has gotten into Pat O’Donnell’s leg? He is absolutely murdering the football in these preseason games. Could be a big season for him.
  • Sean Desai should understand that how the Bills approached this defense is how most opponents will approach them. The Bears are great up front, weak at corner. Offensive coordinators are not going to let Mack, Hicks, Nichols…etc. ruin games. They’re going to throw on early downs and get the ball out quickly. They don’t need elite-level CB play opposite Jaylon Johnson, but they might need elite-level tackling on that side to get opponents off the field.

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