10 ideas after the Chicago Bears received throughout “Thursday Night Football” for the second time this season.
No fashion factors had been earned Thursday at Soldier Field when the Bears obtained in a kind of ugly video games in a brief week that both appears like a defensive battle or dangerous offensive soccer, relying in your perspective. Far extra precious is the enhance they may get from the first-round draft decide they’ve coming from the Carolina Panthers in April, a variety that improves after the 16-13 victory.
1. When the Bears started actively procuring the No. 1 general decide greater than eight months in the past, the primary query I had was fairly easy.
What quarterback is the workforce that trades with GM Ryan Poles coming as much as get? There wasn’t a consensus No. 1 decide and, if there was, I believe the Bears in all probability would have held onto the choice and brought the quarterback.
“Good question,” one participant personnel director instructed me. “Can’t be Bryce Young though.”
As it turned out, the Panthers turned Poles’ buying and selling companion Poles and Carolina did certainly draft the Alabama quarterback. The personnel director reasoned it wouldn’t be Young as a result of he wasn’t simply undersized, he was off the chart when it comes to measurement when evaluating the place. Young measured 5-foot-10 1/8 and 204 kilos on the mix, and the Panthers listing him on the identical. He’s quick for the place and there have been sturdiness questions for him popping out of college.
Everything else about Young was aces within the estimation of evaluators as he was a terrific performer at Alabama, taking part in large in large video games with top-notch make-up. If he was 6-2, the Bears in all probability would have drafted him.
In retrospect, it’s value questioning if the Panthers want they’d used the decide to decide on C.J. Stroud, who has been dynamic for the Houston Texans and solely appears to be getting higher. In truth, it’s honest to ask the Panthers and the Bears if they need they’d used the decide on the Ohio State quarterback, who has handed for two,270 yards to this point this season with 14 touchdowns and one interception. The Houston Texans (4-4) have received 4 of their final six video games and early returns are optimistic because it’s not like there’s a ton round Stroud on that roster.
Why Stroud wound up going No. 2 to the Texans is a narrative for one more day. The story right here is how the Panthers/Bears commerce will probably be intertwined in Poles’ possible seek for a quarterback after this season as he works to deliver the franchise again to aggressive methods. This was a must-win recreation for the Bears and you may’t learn an excessive amount of into one recreation however, yikes, the Panthers are hurting. They had been lacking some key gamers — defensive finish Brian Burns (concussion) was out — and the secondary has been riddled with accidents, however that’s a nasty roster proper now. The Panthers lack velocity, playmakers, satisfactory safety for Young and any trace of a operating recreation. Consequently, he appeared shaky whilst he prevented a turnover. He accomplished one go — a 45-yard shot to huge receiver Mike Strachan — for greater than 14 yards in your complete recreation.
I believe everyone seems to be curious to see how Young, who accomplished 21 of 38 passes for 185 yards and was sacked 3 times, can carry out with higher safety and a few official huge receivers however the Panthers are going to have to seek out assist with out that first-round decide. Carolina despatched huge receiver DJ Moore to the Bears within the commerce — the Bears even have a second-round decide coming from Carolina in 2025 — and he’s been an actual asset, getting into this week sixth within the league in receiving yards. The Bears obtained some assistance on the offensive line in drafting proper deal with Darnell Wright after buying and selling with the Panthers, so Poles obtained a begin on fixing a few of his points within the trenches.
Who received the commerce is at all times an attention-grabbing speaking level. You can’t declare a winner on this deal proper now. Young isn’t off to a fantastic begin. He threw two interceptions that had been returned for touchdowns final week in a loss to the Indianapolis Colts. He’s discovering all the potholes that usually wreck the rookie season of quarterbacks drafted No. 1 general.
But the Bears can’t win this commerce until they’ll hit with the draft capital they’ve coming. The Bears can’t actually declare victory until they’ll discover their quarterback of the long run in April after which watch that participant truly grow to be that man. Otherwise, years from now the commerce will probably be a shuffling of belongings that didn’t pan out in the long term. It additionally might be remembered as the possibility the Bears needed to choose Stroud and, once more, that is perhaps one thing the Panthers are already wishing they’d executed otherwise.
Carolina hosts the Dallas Cowboys in Week 11 earlier than taking part in three consecutive video games on the street. The Panthers may sneak up on one other opponent the remainder of the way in which however judging from this effort — they’ll’t rush the quarterback with out Burns they usually don’t flip the ball over actual properly — they’re going to be firmly within the combine for the worst document within the league and that will probably be a prize for Poles and the Bears.
2. Montez Sweat doesn’t have a sack but via two video games, however his impression is being felt.
It’s honest to say he’s off to a very good begin together with his new workforce. Sweat goes to must be very, superb for the commerce — the Bears despatched a second-round draft decide to the Washington Commanders — and the contract so as to add up.
The Bears knew they must pay a premium to get a deal executed, and that’s what occurred with a $98 million, four-year extension that may maintain him right here via 2027. That’s elite pay for an edge rusher. The listing of go rushers with a mean annual wage above Sweat’s $24.5 million is Nick Bosa, T.J. Watt, Joey Bosa and Myles Garrett. That’s it. Throw Khalil Mack and Von Miller in there too for the listing of the six gamers with a full assure better than Sweat’s $41.965 million.
Again, Ryan Poles knew the territory he was getting into when he made the commerce and knew the sort of contract he must write to maintain Sweat. Was threat concerned? No query. But Poles, when assessing what assist might be obtainable for his defensive entrance within the offseason through free company and the draft, felt this was a chance value making.
Sweat obtained after Bryce Young on the second snap of the sport, pressuring the Panthers quarterback to his proper and getting a success whereas forcing the rookie to throw the ball away. Six performs later, Sweat hit Young once more on one other incompletion and the tone was set.
“We wanted to rattle Bryce a little bit,” Sweat mentioned. “I think we did a great job of that. My counterparts had a great game.”
He was desirous to share credit score, however Sweat had three of the Bears’ 9 QB hits per week after he was strong chasing after Derek Carr in New Orleans. Justin Jones had three hits with Yannick Ngakoue, Gervon Dexter and Rasheem Green getting one every. Jones, Ngakoue and Green all tallied a sack. The sacks for Jones and Ngakoue got here on third down.
“We were running a little game and the game just fell apart,” Jones mentioned of his sack when the Bears had the Panthers backed up in third-and-10 on their very own 10-yard line. “I simply went energy and (the lineman) fell over. I made the play. Sometimes it doesn’t work out the way in which you deliberate it. If you’re there, you’re there.
“Making sure we got Tez situated … it allows for a lot more production on my side.”
The Bears entered with a recreation plan to stress Young and disguise coverages on the again finish. Of course, the protection is aiming to get after the opposing quarterback each week, however we’ve seen so many video games the previous two seasons the place that hasn’t materialized.
“We knew going in they had some tendencies on the O-line that we would be able to take advantage of,” Jones mentioned. “That’s what we did. We focused with communicating with one another throughout the game and made a lot of plays.”
Tendencies? What did the Panthers present?
“If I inform you that … ” Jones mentioned together with his voice trailing off as if it was a guarded secret that wanted to be guarded.
But wait a minute. The Bears aren’t going to play them once more this season and certain as heck not going to fulfill within the playoffs. Plus, the extra video games the Panthers lose, the higher it’s for the Bears.
“Shoot, man,” Jones mentioned. “We knew that center (Bradley Bozeman) was sliding to the field. That kind of helped us out a lot.”
With higher stress comes tighter protection, and the secondary had 4 go breakups.
“I could definitely feel it,” sturdy security Jaquan Brisker mentioned of the go rush. “A couple great hits. You could definitely feel it as a DB. Give a hand to the D-line, they did a good job. Next thing we need is strip-sacks and then next thing you know it’s tips and overthrows and we’ve got to have those interceptions. That’s going to be good for us in the future.”
The Bears consider Sweat is already commanding additional consideration from opponents — and meaning extra constant one-on-one matchups for others on the road. His worth goes to be measured in his manufacturing and the way his presence improves these round him. There is sufficient proof to counsel the Bears must be happy with how issues are beginning.
3. Kyler Gordon was terrific and movie evaluate ought to go rather well for him.
The nickel cornerback, now midway although his second season, completed with a season-high eight tackles (seven solos), had two tackles for loss and a key go breakup within the third quarter. The Panthers had third-and-5 on the Bears’ 20-yard line and Bryce Young was attempting to attach with Terrace Marshall Jr. on a crossing route. Gordon deflected the go, forcing the Panthers to accept a subject objective.
He was sticky in protection, particularly on artful veteran Adam Thielen, and explosive in run help. The first play he made was dropping Thielen for a 1-yard loss on a display. He tackled tight finish Tommy Tremble for no acquire on one go and Thielen for less than plus-3 on one other. With the Panthers on their very own 9-yard line, Gordon knifed via to deal with operating again Miles Sanders for a 6-yard loss on first down. Carolina punted from their very own finish zone and the following possession was the Bears’ solely landing drive.
Another play that stood out got here close to the top of the sport. On second-and-10 from the Bears’ 41, Young tried a deep shot down the correct sideline to Jonathan Mingo. Gordon was with the huge receiver each step of the way in which in sticky protection.
“Inside leverage,” Gordon mentioned. “He ran a go route. I tracked him down. He was locked up.”
It was the fifth recreation again for Gordon after lacking 4 on injured reserve with a damaged hand.
“I am back on a roll,” he mentioned. “When I played my first game with not really practicing a whole lot, I was just jumping back out there. You come back and you have to shake the rust off as soon as you can and keep balling. That’s what I tried to do.”
4. It was a tough begin for the Bears on particular groups.
Ihmir Smith-Marsette returned a punt 79 yards for a landing to open the scoring and issues appeared like they had been headed south when Cody Whitehair was referred to as for a false begin on Cairo Santos’ 49-yard subject objective, a penalty that was tough to see from the press field.
Santos’ 49-yarder sailed via the uprights however was negated by the penalty, pushing him again 5 yards.
“There was a little right-to-left wind kicking in that direction (north),” Santos mentioned. “But when I tried the first one, I saw it basically fly straight. That cleared my head. Just like, ‘OK, I don’t have to play any wind. Just hit a clean ball and it’ll get there.’ I knew I could get it there. And that first kick kind of gave me the confidence with how to play it.”
It was the primary of three subject objectives on the night time for Santos, who’s now 15 of 16 on the season and 4-for-4 from 50 yards and longer.
“Kicking here, I always take the approach that I need to bring my A game every day,” he mentioned of Soldier Field. “I never feel like I have it figured out here in Chicago or that I’m kicking well. I humble myself every day. And I challenge myself to make all my opportunities at practice and that has allowed me to always be focused in a way that I didn’t feel with my previous teams. That’s something I cherish playing in Chicago. It brings the best out of me. It’s cool to enjoy that success.”
There is figure to do for the particular groups unit, nonetheless. The Bears entered the sport twenty ninth within the league in punt protection permitting opposing returners a mean of 12.6 yards. They’re headed the flawed means within the rankings after the Smith-Marsette’s rating.
Gunner Josh Blackwell was the primary man downfield and dove, lacking the ex-Bears huge receiver. The subsequent greatest shot to deliver -Marsette down in all probability belonged to lengthy snapper Patrick Scales, and he missed, leaving an enormous opening on the correct facet.
“Shoot, if (Blackwell) tackles me, I’m not doing my job,” mentioned Smith-Marsette, who has three touchdowns within the NFL, all in opposition to the Bears. “You always get taught to make the first guy miss. I made the first guy miss and I saw the flow of the punt unit pushing (to my) left. As soon as I saw a couple crossovers, I just shot it. Then it was on, the long snapper, I just gave him a one-two and I had to go. It was open.”
Blackwell was downfield shortly and made a deal with on the subsequent punt, however this one was a studying lesson.
“I wanted to hit him as hard as I could,” Blackwell mentioned, noting he was energized to be taking part in after lacking a lot of the season with a hamstring damage. “I wasn’t going to slow down. I missed him. I was like damn. that’s just on me. I’ve got to play smarter than that instead of trying to make a big hit and get the crowd going. I gotta just make the play first.”
Said Scales: “The open field is not my friend. I did a poor job of breaking down. I should have taken a shot instead of waiting for him to dice me up. When something crappy happens, you gotta put it behind you and keep going.”
Fortunately, Santos and the remainder of particular groups had been strong and it appeared just like the Bears may need sniffed out a possible faux by the Panthers. That is the most effective rationalization I can give you for why Carolina took a delay of recreation earlier than a Johnny Hekker punt.
“Those are trade secrets,” Hekker mentioned when requested. “I can’t tell you.”
5. In an ideal world for Matt Hoover, the groups he roots for would go on good, lengthy, sustained stretches of extremely aggressive play.
They could be drafting, on common, about twenty fourth over a decade or so. Hoover could be thrilled if the Bears, after this season, should not within the combine for a excessive draft decide within the foreseeable future.
But after their greatest recreation of the season so far when it comes to draft order, the place they are going to be choosing with the Panthers’ choice and their very own will probably be one of many greatest tales till the top of the season.
With the Bears’ win, they presently would maintain the No. 1 and No. 5 picks in Round 1 of the NFL draft if the order was based mostly on standings getting into the rest of the Week 10 schedule. There will probably be loads of motion as the ultimate eight weeks unfold.
Chances are you’ll lean on Hoover for info — or depend on info that was sourced from Hoover — as you retain tabs on how issues are shaping up for what some will name probably the most pivotal offseason in Bears historical past. Remember when that was thrown round in the beginning of this previous offseason?
Hoover is the founder and proprietor of Tankathon.com, a web site he started in November 2013 when it appeared just like the Chicago Bulls is perhaps happening the tank after Derrick Rose suffered a second severe knee damage and was sidelined for the rest of the season.
“I learned how to do website stuff and coding in 2013, and I started working on the website after D-Rose got hurt again,” Hoover mentioned. “He tore his meniscus in Portland. I used to be depressed concerning the Bulls and needed to tank and began monitoring the draft order on ESPN’s standings, reverse order, and counting the place the Bulls had been.
“I just decided to make my own tool and track the draft order and put it out there. I posted it on a couple of basketball forums and it’s just spread since.”
Coding was new to Hoover, now 38 and a North Side resident, and it took him a few weeks to get the naked minimal for the NBA’s projected draft order up and operating easily on the web site, which he launched in December 2013.
“It was the standings and I had the lottery simulator,” he mentioned. “I’ve worked on it pretty often ever since, adding more features, more sports.”
Now you will discover the NFL, MLB, NHL and most not too long ago he added the WNBA. There are large boards, mock drafts (for each league however MLB), lottery simulators — actually all the pieces you want as you dream concerning the prospects that tanking (or simply shedding a LOT) opens up.
Hoover, who was raised in Evanston and has a 9-to-5 job as a software program engineer, even has Tankathon merch obtainable when you’re on the lookout for a T-shirt or hat representing your favourite workforce’s pursuit of enhanced draft capital.
“I don’t sell very many T-shirts, but I do have ads on the website, so it’s secondary income,” he mentioned. “And the reason I keep working on it is because I enjoy it. I am still passionate about the Bulls and the Bears and the prospects coming into the drafts.”
I used to be curious if Hoover’s ardour for the web site would stay if the Bulls or Bears all of a sudden obtained superb and draft chatter was diminished to about 4 to 6 weeks within the offseason.
“I do want that despite my interest in building the site,” he mentioned. “That is the goal. I would still work on the site just as much because there are always going to be bad teams. Every year there is a bad team. Got to keep it going for the fans.”
The website is automated to replace each day with outcomes from the assorted leagues, so it’s not like he has to manually regulate the standings.
“What I spend more time on is getting the prospects for the draft entered, their information, and the ranking of the big board and the needs for each team in the mock draft,” he mentioned. “The mock drafts are also automated. I set up the NFL teams’ needs and there is a big board of players and it sort of figures out who each team will take as the order changes.”
So how does Hoover really feel concerning the Bears looming as a serious energy dealer within the 2024 draft with two picks that might simply be within the high 5?
“It’s very exciting,” he mentioned. “I actually, really need Caleb Williams on the Bears. The stage of hype he’s getting as a prospect, you don’t get that yearly. It’s a very good yr to have two photographs on the No. 1 decide, and hopefully we lastly get a quarterback that’s good.
“I used to be born in 1985. I’ve by no means seen a very good Bears quarterback until you wish to argue for Jay Cutler or Erik Kramer for a yr or two. I’d like Tyson Bagent to be good. I’ve sort of given up on Justin Fields at this level, though the couple video games (versus the Denver Broncos and Washington Commanders) had been thrilling.
“Having the Panthers as an option, to root against them, that’s a clear-cut decision. That’s good. I won’t be too upset if the Bears win a couple games, but I am mostly rooting for losses at this point.”
NBA visitors dominated Tankathon for the longest time, however Hoover mentioned within the final yr or two the NFL has caught up and possibly eclipsed basketball. Excitement about Connor Bedard prior to now yr gave his NHL visitors a spike, and he mentioned WNBA visitors has been strong.
“I checked in the last month, and traffic, at least in terms of U.S. metropolitan areas, Chicago was No. 1,” Hoover mentioned. “Historically, Philadelphia was humongous for me as a result of the positioning (was born) throughout ‘The Process’ Sam Hinkie period, so Sixers followers beloved it.
“It goes through phases. If the Knicks or Lakers are bad, traffic goes up a lot. Then the Bulls have had a lot of suffering teams. Chicago’s misery helps me out, yeah.”
6. The resolution Johnny Newton made final winter wasn’t a simple one.
And the method was harder as a result of he was stunned by an analysis from the NFL’s school advisory committee. The Illinois defensive deal with was a second-team All-American final yr, led the nation’s No. 1 scoring protection in sacks (5 1/2), tackles for a loss (14) and quarterback hurries (11) and tied for the nationwide lead with 19 QB hits, per Pro Football Focus.
It made full sense for the redshirt sophomore, who was eligible for the draft, to see what the NFL mentioned. So Newton and Illinois put in his title for an analysis from the committee, which consists of evaluators from all 32 groups via National Football Scouting and BLESTO.
The committee provides three rankings: potential first-round choice, potential second-round decide or neither, which is a powerful trace to remain at school.
The analysis that got here again for Newton: neither.
“I was really surprised,” he mentioned. “I used to be upset. I really feel like I had a fantastic yr final yr. I needed to re-evaluate all the pieces, the place I used to be going to go, what I used to be going to do. It was not the place I needed it to be or the place I anticipated it to be. It mentioned come again to high school.
“I knew I had to come back for another year so I could prove to them again that I am worthy of being a first-round pick.”
Who is aware of the place Newton would have been drafted had he turned professional. One Midwest-based nationwide scout instructed me he in all probability would have been a fourth-round decide however admitted that was a complete guess. Spending one other season with the Illini — who’re 4-5 and must win two of their remaining video games in opposition to Indiana, Iowa and Northwestern to turn into bowl-eligible — was in all probability the most effective transfer for Newton.
The 6-foot-2, 295-pound Newton now tasks as a possible first-round decide. He has 4 1/2 sacks, with one in every of the final two video games in opposition to Minnesota and Wisconsin, and 7 QB hurries.
“He’s a good player. I don’t know if he’s great,” mentioned the scout, who has been via Champaign this fall. “He’s been actually productive. He’s extra of a technician than an athlete, however he’s definitely athletic sufficient. It’s going to be attention-grabbing to see how he exams, and I believe that’s going to play rather a lot into the place he will get drafted. He’ll be a Day 2 man, simply what a part of Day 2. That’s my projection.
“He must check off the charts with the intention to break into Round 1. Three-cone, 40, quick shuttle, doing rather well within the jumps. He’d must put up large numbers. There’s a variety of what (a twitchy participant) appears like. He has some and he’s a coordinated participant. Just not twitchy on the high quality, the elite stage.
“Don’t get me wrong. He is a good player. Makeup is all really good. He’s a great kid and everything is really clean in that regard.”
Where Newton will fall within the draft will probably be slightly scheme-dependent as properly. He profiles as a three-technique deal with, and being undersized, because the scout famous, typically comes with that place. He’d be an prompt match for the Bears. Not each protection has that profile for a deal with, however disruptive inside linemen are tough to seek out, and when the scout calls him a “technician,” that’s not a knock.
“There are a lot of things that I could have touched up and been more dominant at after last season,” Newton mentioned. “I feel like I was really young (he doesn’t turn 22 until August) as well. So I’m getting another year of maturity and getting stronger, faster, more physical. I knew that would help me. I wasn’t upset about my decision.”
Illini coach Bret Bielema mentioned he realized over time to not lean on what he thinks about his gamers after they search enter from the NFL.
“I’ve been surprisingly shocked on the high end and the low end,” Bielema mentioned of the advisory committee’s evaluations. “I distinctly keep in mind working with gamers prior to now and saying, ‘Oh, that’s slightly decrease than I believed,’ or possibly it’s slightly greater than I believed. The truth of the matter is it’s fairly actual. Since I’ve been in it, 15-year head teaching profession, the quantity that they’ve given us, I can solely consider one time the place (the participant entered the draft and) it didn’t turn into actuality.
“I give the NFL teams a lot of credit. I know they dedicate a lot of man hours to it and it’s very helpful. The thing I’ve always tried to argue is that the pool that can receive the information needs to be increased (schools are limited to submitting five names annually). I think that could lead to some guys making some really good decisions.”
When Bielema realized Newton could be returning for 2023, he crafted a plan to assist him obtain his objective of changing into a first-round decide.
“Johnny wanted to take his play a year ago — which was really good — to a different level,” Bielema mentioned. “I gave him three large issues to work on and he has surpassed even what I believed. His first step, his get-off was good. It’s even higher this yr. He’s actually realized easy methods to anticipate, and his burst, that’s been good.
“Second thing is his conversion from a year ago. Early-down pass rush. A lot of times, just how fast you read run/pass and his conversion has been exceptional. It’s the best I have been around. The third thing is his finish. What we call top of the rush, when he’s really trying to get to the quarterback, those three things have been a big improvement.”
Newton believes his run suits are improved and he cited the conversions Bielema talked about as one other space the place his recreation has elevated.
“You can watch all the film you want,” Newton mentioned, “but come game time, you have to feel it out to get that real experience and know what’s happening.”
I requested Newton if he has given thought to withdrawing from the workforce to start making ready for the draft. It’s common nowadays, late within the season, for gamers on groups that aren’t within the nationwide championship hunt to forgo their ultimate school video games.
“I am big on finish what you started,” he instructed me. “My dad at all times taught me to complete no matter you begin. That’s simply how I’m programmed. Of course I’m going to complete these final three video games.
“Hopefully my play can do all of the talk for my draft stock and where I’m going to be picked. Coach B and I talked about it (in January): ‘This is not where you want to be (with the evaluation). Come back another year and I promise you it will change.’ That’s what I have done so far. Trust the process.”
If Newton exams properly, he may simply obtain his objective.
7. Three weeks after rookie Tyler Scott made a giant third-down play over the center for quarterback Tyson Bagent, he delivered on fourth down.
The Bears went for it on fourth-and-4 on the Panthers’ 36-yard line within the second quarter.
It appeared comparable in some respects to the play Scott had in opposition to Las Vegas. He was crossing the center of the sphere, though from the alternative facet. Once once more, he was the third learn for Bagent. The conversion helped result in a subject objective.
“We were in a bunch set to the field, I think DJ (Moore) was by himself to the boundary,” Scott mentioned. “(Darnell) Mooney had the through route. And he’s reading the safeties and depending on what they do, he’s adjusting. I had the in route coming in behind him. He’s kind of clearing out the safeties and I’m pretty much the last read because I am pretty sure Tyson is reading DJ, to the over that Mooney has and then he’s turning back side to me.”
The ball arrived with Panthers safeties Xavier Woods and Jammie Robinson proper there and Scott was good for a 15-yard acquire. It’s solely the second catch Scott has had for the reason that Raiders recreation and he’s totaled solely 9 on the season, however his taking part in time continues to be fairly constant.
“You’ve got to make a play,” Scott mentioned. “That’s what they drafted me right here for. You must make the most of your alternatives. I’m determining how can I proceed to develop. I’ve obtained extra reps, which is simply displaying from the teaching workers, ‘We trust this kid.’
“That’s the very first thing as a rookie, I’m simply attempting to study the belief first. Once I earn their belief, after which they’ve the belief to place me in on fourth down. I’m capable of get in that scenario now that I wasn’t capable of possibly a lot earlier within the season.
“Then it’s just doing the dirty work, whether it’s blocking, whatever you can do to try to win the football game. I feel like if you work hard and do those things, opportunities will come your way.”
8. I’ve rookie defensive deal with Gervon Dexter for 29 snaps within the recreation.
My rely may need been slightly off — it’s tough to learn the white numbers on the orange jerseys from the press field — however that’s an uptick from Sunday when he solely had 14 within the loss at New Orleans. Fellow rookie deal with Zacch Pickens obtained 12 snaps in opposition to the Panthers and was on the sphere for 11 in opposition to the Saints.
It’s a sense out course of for the road proper now. The addition of Montez Sweat appears like it’s resulting in extra snaps inside for DeMarcus Walker. I do know the taking part in time for the rookies has been a subject too; Dexter had one deal with and one hit on Bryce Young, Pickens had one deal with. They don’t play a place that’s going to refill the field rating and the Panthers ran solely 57 performs.
Dexter mentioned he was instructed this week he’d in all probability get slightly extra motion in opposition to Carolina.
“But it wasn’t like a big thing,” he mentioned. “It was a new week. Kind of how the rotation went this week. Every week is a little different. Sometimes it depends on the circumstance of the game. Are we winning? Losing? Are we backed up? It just depends on how the game is flowing.”
I requested how he could make enhancements he and the Bears wish to see when he’s not on the sphere rather a lot.
“I think that’s Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday too, that is when I do that,” Dexter mentioned. “I got more snaps this week and I am still going to do the same thing that I did last week when I didn’t. The goal never changes depending on snaps.”
We’ll see how Dexter and Pickens look within the second half. Their progress is necessary — however additionally they must earn the taking part in time.
9. The Bears are headed again to Spain.
Nine months after finishing a tour of the nation selling soccer and the NFL through youth clinics, former Bears offensive lineman Roberto Garza is touring to Madrid on Thursday to attend a viewing get together for the Bears-Lions recreation on Nov. 19.
It’s the most recent initiative for the Bears, who together with the Miami Dolphins have established Spain as a part of the International Home Market Area program. As we reported in February, there’s an opportunity the Bears will play a house recreation overseas in 2024 and Spain could be a pure match.
NBC’s Peter King, reporting from Germany after the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Dolphins on Sunday in Frankfurt, wrote that Spain might be on deck subsequent season for the Bears, whereas Brazil additionally might be within the combine for NFL regular-season motion.
Garza is worked up for subsequent week’s journey and mentioned he felt the fervour for soccer in Spain when he performed clinics in Madrid and Barcelona in February.
“They have semipro leagues,” Garza mentioned. “There is soccer on the market. There is a fan base for that. There are additionally lots of people who simply don’t find out about soccer. They had been excited to do the camps however didn’t know a lot about soccer. They all needed to study and had a blast.
“There are a lot of people who truly love the NFL. People want to be part of it and they are aching for a game in Spain.”
Garza, who lives in Texas and began 145 video games for the Bears over 10 seasons, is a pure match as an envoy for the workforce and the league as a bilingual speaker. He performed in 2011 when the Bears defeated the Buccaneers at Wembley Stadium in London.
“That was fun and the fan base there was great,” Garza mentioned. “Every time you go to Europe, you’re getting new followers and folks wish to come out and be a part of the thrill of watching an NFL recreation but in addition the game-day expertise, which for my part, there’s nothing prefer it. The tailgating, the festivals and stuff they’ve.
“You walk in the stadium, they’re cheering for both teams. You’re kind of like, ‘Who are the fans for?’ It’s different. But it’s a fun, energetic environment and there’s no reason not to go over there and promote the NFL when the fans are asking for it.”
It’s inevitable the Bears will wind up transferring a house recreation overseas. They had been the visiting workforce in opposition to the Bucs in 2011 and once more in 2019 after they confronted the Raiders at Tottenham Stadium in London. When the NFL expanded the common season to 17 video games in 2021, it outlined a plan for every workforce to play one dwelling recreation internationally each eight years.
With the Bears set to have 9 dwelling video games in 2024, it might be their flip. As far as whom they might face in the event that they’re chosen for a global recreation, the league typically avoids having groups play division video games overseas.
Taking their NFC North rivals out of the equation, the Bears are scheduled to host the next groups in 2024:
- Los Angeles Rams
- Seattle Seahawks
- Jacksonville Jaguars
- Tennessee Titans
- NFC South corresponding finisher
- AFC East corresponding finisher
10. The Bears opened the apply window for 3 gamers to start the 21-day course of again from injured reserve.
Rrunning again Khalil Herbert (excessive ankle sprain), cornerback Josh Blackwell (hamstring) and huge receiver Equanimeous St. Brown (hamstring) start the 21-day apply window on Monday. Blackwell and St. Brown wound up being activated on Thursday with Herbert a very good wager to be promoted subsequent week.
The workforce has reached the utmost variety of eight gamers to be designated to return from IR, beforehand utilizing slots for left deal with Braxton Jones, middle Doug Kramer, proper guard Teven Jenkins, cornerback Kyler Gordon and defensive finish Khalid Kareem.
The Bears have a bunch of points however this isn’t problematic as they’ve exhausted their most activations heading into Week 11. It wasn’t way back the league allowed solely two gamers to return from IR and in these situations, groups needed to be way more considered. The actuality is most groups have a small handful of injured gamers who’re inactive on recreation days and if the Bears incur extra short-term accidents between now and the top of the season, they need to simply have the ability to deal with roster spots with inactives on recreation days. Teams are allowed to decorate 48 gamers, offered they’ve at the very least eight offensive linemen, and meaning there are at the very least 5 gamers who must be inactive every week. It’s no hurt to have injured gamers listed as inactive because the Bears have executed with Justin Fields and Nate Davis for the final 4 video games.
Some have requested why not place Fields and/or Davis on injured reserve? If the workforce thought there was an opportunity one in every of them might have returned after three weeks, that may have sidelined them an additional week. It additionally would have prevented Fields from practising as he did on Wednesday and final week earlier than the sport in New Orleans. Teams actually don’t must make IR strikes until they want a wholesome physique. They have been lined with depth at quarterback and on the O-line. It’s not like there’s a scarcity of our bodies for apply both with the workforce carrying 17 gamers on the apply squad for almost all of the season.
Better to make use of all eight IR designations than attain the top of the season and lament not profiting from a number of.
10a. The NFL knowledgeable groups on Wednesday that juniors who declare for the draft will now be eligible for postseason all-star video games — the Senior Bowl, Shrine Bowl and HBCU Legacy Bowl. The announcement got here as a shock to 1 GM and the timing is attention-grabbing because the Senior Bowl started sending out invitations this week. One outstanding agent mentioned he doesn’t count on it can dramatically change the make-up of the all-star video games.
“I doubt many of the juniors who know they are locks as first-round picks are going to want to play,” the agent mentioned. “Doesn’t make sense for them.”
But underclassmen who’re popping out and doubtlessly profile as mid-round picks will possible be all for alternatives. The timing for the 2024 Games, although, is slightly late and it’s attainable an even bigger impression received’t be realized till the next yr. Last yr, 69 juniors entered the draft so it can positively broaden the pool for these video games transferring ahead.
10b. Something I’m certain Tyson Bagent will keep in mind endlessly is thrashing No. 1 general decide Bryce Young as an undrafted rookie. It’s a workforce sport, possibly the last word workforce sport, however Bagent will at all times have that in a recreation by which he accomplished 20 of 32 passes for 162 yards.
“Not that I would take that any pride in something like that,” Bagent mentioned. “It is what it is. The draft happened. I just try to show up every day and continue to try and get better every year. I don’t think I’m at the peak of anything. I’m just looking forward to continuing to get better and then let the ball fall where it may.”
Justin Fields is anticipated to return quickly, possibly subsequent week. Bagent’s 2-2 run because the Bears starter offers him a base to develop from. He protected the soccer on this recreation and that was big. The recreation doesn’t look too large for him. He doesn’t look flustered. He can get via his progressions, generally possibly too shortly. I don’t know what the ceiling is, however he certain appears like he might be a gradual man you’d be thrilled to have as a No. 2 for a very long time. That’s not a nasty start line both.
10c. It stays undetermined if the Bears’ Week 15 recreation at Cleveland will probably be performed on Saturday, Dec. 16 or Sunday, Dec. 17. The league has 5 video games that stay undetermined that weekend. Three will probably be performed in a tripleheader on Saturday and two will probably be moved to midday kickoffs on Sunday.
It’s an NFC North and AFC North heavy slate with three of the 4 groups from every division concerned:
- Bears (3-7) at Browns (5-3)
- Falcons (4-4) at Panthers (1-8)
- Steelers (5-3) at Colts (3-5)
- Broncos (3-5) at Lions (6-2)
- Vikings (5-4) at Bengals (5-3)
The NFL will in all probability take probably the most engaging matchup — none of those appear like a gem proper now — and put it within the Saturday prime-time slot. How quickly can we count on an announcement on what day and time the video games will probably be performed? The league had the same schedule association final yr and introduced dates and occasions 12 days prematurely. I might search for information concerning these video games on Monday, Dec. 4. This means there’s a risk the Bears have two extra video games in prime time. They are scheduled to play at Minnesota on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” on Nov. 27.
10d. Jamie Kohl, the Iowa-based kicking guide who helped the Bears navigate the post-Cody Parkey period, which led them to Eddy Piñeiro in 2019 after which to Cairo Santos the subsequent season after Piñeiro was injured, was on the sideline in Panthers gear. He’s persevering with to do occasional work for Chris Tabor, who left the Bears to turn into Carolina’s particular groups coordinator a yr in the past. The Bears have executed very properly with Santos since he was signed in 2020 and Piñeiro’s profession has flourished in Carolina. He was 33 of 35 on subject objectives final season and is 16 for 19 this season, with one of many misses the quick strive from 59 yards on the finish of Thursday’s recreation.
10e. The look-ahead line at Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas for the Bears’ Nov. 19 recreation at Ford Field has the Detroit Lions as an 8 1/2-point favourite.