Training Camp Thoughts, Volume VI: Lynx Edition

| August 9th, 2022

No practice for the Bears on Monday. So here are some things I wasted time reading on Monday.

  • The Jahns and Fishbain practice report at The Athletic seems to suggest an order is forming along the offensive line and that order has Braxton Jones at left tackle and Riley Reiff at right tackle. If Braxton ultimately wins the job, and is on the blindside come opening day, he immediately becomes one of the two or three most interesting players on this roster in 2022.
  • It feels like the drama surrounding Teven Jenkins has come to an end and the focus will now be back on the field. (Courtney Cronin details the whole ordeal here.) If Braxton is one of the most interesting players heading into this regular season, Teven is THE most interesting of the preseason. When will get into these games? Where will Getsy and Morgan play him? How will he respond?
  • Unsung Tweet from Brad Biggs: “#Bears DC Alan Williams praises LB Joe Thomas – saying he is leading that group in takeaways. He has a shot to compete for strong side job and has been a previous core special teams player in the league.”
  • With N’Keal Harry’s comeback derailed by what looks like a serious injury, I wanted to read more about the kid. Sometimes we fixate on the football player without paying any respect to the human being. Harry seems a very, very good young man. From a blog post by Bernd Buchmasser in 2019: “[I want to] give back in any way that I can,” Harry said during the photo op and Q&A session inside Gillette Stadium yesterday. “Definitely help my family, help some people on the island. I feel like with this platform I’ve been given, it’s my duty to do something good with it. God has blessed me to be in this position. So it would be a disservice if I didn’t give back and if I didn’t show appreciation, so that’s my biggest goal.”
  • Somehow, I missed the report that Nicholas Morrow, and not Roquan Smith, would be the signal caller in the new defense, as that duty is exclusively handled by the middle linebacker. (Somehow = I didn’t look.) Patrick Finley in the Sun-Times wrote about this about a week ago. From the piece: “That’s a pretty standard thing, I think,’’ Morrow said. ‘‘I think the biggest thing is making sure we’re all on the same page and we’re over-communicating. Sometimes you get those young guys in there, and there are certain calls where it’s gotta be communicated consistently. Just getting that together is probably bigger than the calls, I think.’’
  • ACTUAL BEAR NEWS: “Danvers residents are being asked to take precautions after a bear was spotted in the Massachusetts town on Sunday. A Danvers resident shared video from her Ring video camera that showed a black bear roaming across her driveway Sunday morning. The bear ended up scaling a short stone wall before moseying along.”
  • Per Alex Shapiro at NBC Sports, the Bears coaching staff thought they’d get pushback for their H.I.T.S. program. But that hasn’t happened. “…the team’s response to Eberflus’ demanding philosophy got its challenge over the weekend, when the team was put through two long padded practices, with plenty of running around, in the hot sun. Cole Kmet said it was the toughest practice of his life. Khalil Herbert said players were “laid out” in the locker room afterwards. Yet, by all accounts, the players gritted through it.”

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Training Camp Thoughts, Volume V: OL Shuffle, WR Injuries & a Diatribe on “Man Caves”

| August 8th, 2022

I wish people would go back and look at what the “camp stories” were in years past and notice how none of them correlate to anything that subsequently happens in the regular season.

  • Teven Jenkins said, “I want to be here in Chicago, so I’m playing wherever they want me to play.” This is absolutely the best-case scenario for the team. Jenkins is talented and the Bears don’t have a ton of talent along their offensive line.
  • Liked this Tweet from Kevin Fishbain: “Bears OC Luke Getsy on rookie LT Braxton Jones: “You get into the pads and there was zero intimidation. Going against Robert Quinn your very first one-on-one pass rush, right? It’s an intimidating thing. He stepped up and did a great job. He’s answered the bell.” If the Bears are going with their best five up front, Braxton will be in that group.
  • Injuries to N’Keal Harry and Byron Pringle. Not good. The Harry injury sounds somewhat serious. (I think it was unlikely Harry was going to play a significant role in 2022 anyway but he at least provided something to watch in the practice games upcoming.)

Thoughts on “Man Caves”

I don’t get ’em. Never have.

The way I understand the man cave is you take a room of your house, usually in the basement, put a bunch of televisions in there, cover the walls with your memorabilia, and that’s where you go watch sports.

My first question is, why is this necessary? Why can’t you just watch sports on the same television you watch Turner Classic Movies? And what happens to the room when sports are not on? Is it the room empty? Isn’t that a massive waste of space?

But my other problem might be that I don’t have any memorabilia. I find memorabilia, quite honestly, stupid. Other than the original Super Bowl Shuffle album and my childhood Jim McMahon shirt, every other thing I have with Chicago Bears on it was given to me. I couldn’t fill the shelf in a linen closet with memorabilia, let alone a cave.

If you have to create a space in your house to get away from other people and just watch sports, why not just go to a sports bar? At least then you have someone else serving you the beer and food and there’s no clean up. Hell, you might even meet another likeminded human being and strike up one of those friendships people keep talking about.

Even the word “cave” denotes the neanderthal, man at his most primitive, reducing the (male) sports fan to his most base self. I must have own room to yell about football. Woman, you stay upstairs! One of the things I have cherished about my years at Josie Woods with Maciej, Reverend Dave, Steph, etc. is the conversations in the commercial breaks about soccer, politics, food, movies, whatever. If I ever had a “cave” in my apartment, I’d use the massive television to screen The Umbrellas of Cherbourg for my friends.

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| August 5th, 2022



Had Nothing for Today, So…

| August 5th, 2022

Start at Billy Goat.

8 Old Style bottles ($3.50 each = $28. But with buy backs on fourths it’s $19. Yet we are still tipping buck a beer so let’s call it $30.)

2 double cheese. ($6 each = $12)

Total at Goat = $42.

Then Uber to Old Town Alehouse.


Old Town.

5 tall PBR cans. ($4 each = $20)

Great night out. $82.

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Jahns. Justin. Twitter.

| August 4th, 2022

The Drills.

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Training Camp Thoughts, Volume IV: Graham Banged Up, Fields Update, Blasingame.

| August 2nd, 2022

  • Injuries, injuries, injuries. Coach Flus today confirmed that Thomas Graham will miss time. If it’s a hamstring issue, that’s usually 3-4 weeks conservatively. Again, this is an injury that is manageable on August 1 and less so on August 21. Hamstrings can nag all season if the player is rushed back too quickly. If Graham doesn’t play the opener, it isn’t the biggest deal in the world.
  • Early Justin Fields Update:
    • Leadership qualities off the charts. Even ownership feels he’s taken control of the team.
    • Mechanics/fundamentals are coming along. Delivery looks far more compact. Decision to deliver still needs to quicken. (Offensive coaches thought a few of the practice “sacks” on Monday could have been avoided.)
  • Al-Quadin Muhammad is having a very strong early camp. Does that mean anything? Not really. But the Bears need multiple guys to complement Robert Quinn in the pass rush department.
  • From Courtney Cronin’s Twitter: “…Khari Blasingame came away with a highlight play for the offense, roughly a 35-yard leaping catch down the sideline during the team period. Impressive play.” Don’t be surprised to see Blasingame utilized a ton in the passing game.
  • An excellent piece detailing the coaching foundation of Eberflus, by Colleen Kane in the Tribune.

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Training Camp Thoughts, Volume III: Patrick’s Thumb, Secondary Surging & (Slightly) More

| August 1st, 2022

  • Injuries, injuries, injuries. Lucas Patrick’s injured right thumb might seem minor but it’s hard to imagine a more significant malady for a team’s center. There are still 42 days until they start keeping score, so it’s a good thing the injury happened early, but Justin Fields will need time with his center before the 49ers arrive at Soldier Field on 9/11.
    • My guess at the starting OL for the opener: Reiff-Whitehair-Patrick-Schofield-Borom.
  • Training camp practices are always a double edge sword. If one position group is thriving, it must mean the position group facing them on the other side of the ball is struggling. There is very strong reason to believe Ryan Poles has rebuilt the secondary in a single draft. Kyler Gordon and Jaquan Brisker are not only making plays, but also carrying themselves like they belong. So much of secondary play is about swagger and these kids have it. But this wide receiver group is not very good. Darnell Mooney is a top player on the ascent. Velus Jones Jr. has the potential to be a versatile, exciting tool. But Byron Pringle, N’Keal Harry, Equanimeous St. Brown are all basically fourth options. It would be worrisome if this group were consistently winning on the practice field.
  • Teven Jenkins is severely trending in the wrong direction. No player on this roster needed to prove more during these practice sessions. His unavailability is disconcerting.

Camp Tweet of the Week

Courtney Cronin is killing it on the Bears beat and she’s 100% right about this. Teams are getting comically paranoid.

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Training Camp Thoughts, Volume II: Quinn’s Value, Harry’s Potential & More.

| July 29th, 2022

  • Quick note on Robert Quinn. Do the Bears want to trade him? Not necessarily. Are they open to trading him? Of course. But the team is walking a tight rope. Trading off Khalil Mack was easy. His body and production have been in decline for years and the team couldn’t risk NOT being able to deal him after the 2022 season. It would be very hard for Flus to convince his team their goal is to win games if they unload Quinn for anything else than his current value. And coming off what is arguably his best season, that value is high.
    • And for those buying the whole, “I want to be a Bear, I don’t want to be traded” thing…really? When he was actually asked if he was always planning to report to training camp, he said, “I mean, I’m here. So, I mean, whatever I planned, I’m here. That’s what it is.” He’s at camp because he’s been given assurances from Ryan Poles that he’ll be dealt if the value is there. Otherwise, he’s a Bear. (The quote above was pulled from the Twitter feed of Courtney Cronin.)
  • N’Keal Harry: “I got a real chip on my shoulder. I’m looking to come in and prove that I can help this team win.” Two things can be true at the same time. (1) Harry’s career in New England, as a first rounder, was abject failure. He was terrible. (2) A motivated Harry is an intriguing proposition. Remember, the kid is only 24 years old. Justin Fields is 23. The Bears aren’t asking Harry to be a dominant player. They’d be thrilled if he’s a competent role player. Would you take a repeat of his sophomore season and 30-300-2? The Bears would.
  • Also from Cronin, re: Harry: “Bears OC Luke Getsy said that he has been impressed with WR N’Keal Harry’s mentality. “He came in here with a purpose.”
  • Eddie Jackson getting called out by Flus for effort is going to be a trend this summer. Integrity. It’s coming to the Bears.
  • More Cronin: “Cole Kmet said the pass he caught down the seam today in between 2 defenders is one he and Justin Fields ended every private workout with.”

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