- For those people, myself included, who think this anthem protest stuff doesn’t matter…we’re wrong. I spent Memorial Day weekend down the Jersey Shore in a somewhat conservative area. I wore a Bears hat one day. It was enough to spark several conversations and the anthem protest decision by the NFL was all anyone wanted to discuss. This decision by Goodell and the ownership has managed to do the impossible: it’s infuriated folks on both sides. And NFL fans should be prepared for this issue to absolutely dominate the coverage come September because it will become a major political talking point in the lead-up to the midterms.
- The last time I thought the Bears had a chance to make the postseason was 2014 – the most embarrassing season in the history of the franchise. Coming off an entertaining 8-8 in Marc Trestman’s first year it just felt like the team had enough on offense to sneak their way into a wildcard spot. (Unlike many others, I never believed they could compete for a title with that defense.) They completely flamed out. But there’s a good chance I’m going to pick the Bears to make the postseason again this season. There’s only two things that I can see keeping this club from double-digit victories: injuries and Mitch Trubisky struggling. Can’t predict the former. Don’t expect the latter.
- Don’t sleep on Adam Shaheen. Folks I talk to around the Bears say the kid has looked dynamic in these early practice days and Nagy/Helfrich are using him in ways the Fox/Loggains regime never considered. Quote from a Bears source: “With Burton there, the Bears won’t ask Shaheen to do much more than get open and catch touchdowns. And he’s going to do both a bunch.”
Jahns on Fitts
From a defensively-focused piece in the Sun-Times:
The Bears see Kylie Fitts as a sixth-round selection with a high ceiling — a player who might earn an early role if he continues to impress.
“We had a lot higher grade on him than where he was drafted,” outside linebackers coach Brandon Staley said.
The Bears are searching for pass-rush help within the roster, but Staley said Fitts also can help in pass coverage and set the edge against the run.
“He does a little bit of everything well,” Staley said.
It helps that Fitts has the right physical makeup.
“He’s a shade under 6-4, but he’s 263 [pounds],” Staley said. “So he’s a big guy. He can run. And then he did 31 reps on the bench press. So this guy’s got a lot of the tools that you’re looking for.”
Fangio said Fitts showed “some ability along the way” during the offseason program, but padded practices in camp will carry more weight. The Bears are counting on either Isaiah Irving or Fitts to contribute.
He’s a late-round draft pick so nothing should be expected of Fitts. But if he contributes in a meaningful way, the Bears have an opportunity to be scary on defense.
Potsy on a Local Kid
Mark Potash is always looking for stories in OTAs and training camp. The underdogs. The overachievers. And in Matt Fleming he has a little bit of everything. More from the Sun-Times:
Matt Fleming was ready to get on with his life when he got The Text.
“I was actually walking to my car, about to leave [Halas Hall] after the last practice,” the former Simeon football and track star said. “They kind of said, ‘See you later, everybody.’ I was saying goodbye to all the coaches, thanking them for allowing me to come.
“And as I was walking to the car, I got a message, ‘Come upstairs.’ And I’m like, ‘Whoa.’ Because everybody else was leaving. So I’m thinking as I was going back [to Halas Hall] that something was going on.”
Indeed, something was. Fleming’s dream — at least Phase One of the dream — was about to become a reality. The 6-0, 180-pound wide receiver from Benedictine University of Lisle via the South Side turned a rookie minicamp tryout into a spot on the 90-man roster.
Funny Pic Tweet
Roger Goodell is George Willis Jr. from Scent of a Woman all grown up. pic.twitter.com/wAgw0PqzMn
— Tom Olp (@t_olp) May 24, 2018
Trey Burton Interview
- Continuing the Trey Burton theme, Jahns has a nice profile in the Sun-Times on what the team is expecting from their expensive tight end this season. Is it unfair to think he can be the team’s Travis Kelce? No. Not at that price tag.
- I can’t keep track of who is employing Moon Mullin and thankfully, due to Twitter, I don’t have to. Here’s his piece on the impact Mitch Trubisky is having on all decisions coming from Halas Hall. It’s good.
- PFF thinks Kevin White is ahead of Taylor Gabriel on the receiving depth chart. That’s because PFF is useless for most things. Good Tribune piece from Colleen Kane here on why the Bears don’t think Gabriel has hit his ceiling yet.