— illwill (Light Skin but I’m still a Dark….) (@79illwill) April 4, 2022
I always like the Chicago Bears.
And this young 2021 campaign has been building to the Packers, and Justin Fields, at Soldier Field. If the Bears win, the fan march back into the city will look like this:
(I realize those who drive to Soldier Field have never experienced this walk but it is truly one of the most unique, remarkable things about the experience. Win or lose, it’s always amazing.)
So often, these Packers games can be approached with a sense of resignation. Everything feels like it has to go right for the Bears to beat Aaron Rodgers. Khalil Mack wrecks the game. Lose. Defense holds Rodgers to 10 points. Still lose. It is obvious the Bears will be out-gunned at quarterback when these teams play but too often they have felt outplayed at the 21 other positions, and out-maneuvered on the sideline. Honestly, it hasn’t been a fair fight.
This fight is fair. The Packers are not the Packers. They struggle to run the ball. They are a bit one-trick on the outside, with Davante Adams pulling away from the field when it comes to targets. And injuries to Za’Darius Smith and Jaire Alexander have rendered what was an ascending defense to the realm of gettable. (Kevin King may also be out this week.) They are still the best team in the NFC North, and overwhelming favorites to win this division, but they also could have easily lost to both the Niners and Bengals. What would we be saying about this team if they were 2-3 right now?
Why not now, Bears? Why not roll this two-game winning streak into Soldier Field and beat your oldest rival? Why not ride the crowd energy created by this young quarterback to a franchise-invigorating victory? Why not make the statement that, “Hey, we might not have the weapons or corners of the best teams in the league but we’re coming and coming soon”?
This is likely to be Rodgers’ last game in Soldier Field as the Packers quarterback. Why not make his swan song a dirge?
Years ago I wrote a longform piece about taking time off the drink, titled Diary of a Boozer (Off the Booze). You can visit the link for the post HERE or download the PDF right HERE. For someone who drinks a lot, taking an extended break from it can feel like an earth-shattering experience.
The Bears reported to training camp last week with a large number of guys you probably don’t need to know.
This is my fifth year ranking the entire roster and the bottom of the roster is as much of a guess as it’s ever been. There are a few names on this list that fans know, but none who can be relied upon in 2020. What you can tell by looking at the list is that GM Ryan Pace values physical talent at the bottom of the roster. It’s unlikely that any of these players will make an impact in the NFL, but they’re in Chicago for a reason.
A local product from Peoria and Western Illinois. Has great size (6’5”, 280), but wasn’t really exceptional, even as the small college level.
The former Georgia product clocked a 4.31 40-yard dash time ahead of the 2017 NFL draft, but has never produced on the field. He caught just three passes in preseason last year and never had more than 12 in college. He did have a punt return for a touchdown at Georgia, but had otherwise pedestrian numbers as a return man.
A 2019 first-team All-Ivy Leaguer from South Africa. Probably a long shot, but certainly sounds like a good story.
Yet another tight end. Clark is a 26-year-old former college basketball player from USC. He’s 6’7” and 220 pounds, but seems like a long shot to make the roster.
A UDFA in 2019, Boyd spent time on the Chiefs, Bengals and Bears practice squads last season. He’s short (6’3”), but had nearly 35-inch arms.
Great size (6’6”, 285), but little production at Duke. Finished his career with 7.5 sacks and 12 QB pressures. Did have five forced fumbles.
The Bears latest attempt to find a kicker from nowhere led them to the 25-year-old who played at Nevada. He has a shot to beat out Piniero, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s good.