I see that Mike Glennon is already putting his newfound riches to good use.
Mike Glennon stepped up and took new Bears teammates out for a night at the Bulls game.
— Chris Emma (@CEmma670) March 31, 2017
Glennon and some teammates were on hand for the Chicago Bulls’ upset victory against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday. The win extended the Bulls’ quirky streak of home wins broadcast on TNT to 20 in-a-row. Power move by the new quarterback.
Now, if only there was a Bears version of #TNTBulls …
- … Because over at The Athletic, Dan Durkin sees the Bears’ improvements as a mirage. It’s a fair conclusion to draw, especially with the uncertainty in the team’s direction. GM Ryan Pace is still in talent acquisition mode, head coach John Fox has a win-now mindset, and chairman George McCaskey is dreaming of the Bears’ golden years – which we are decades removed from. Maybe Durkin is onto something when he notes that it’s fitting that McCaskey’s latest statements came from the desert. The team says it wants to build through the draft, but leads the NFL in free agent signings. Free agency was supposed to be a building block and cap space was supposed to be an asset, but all the Bears could come up with was short-term contracts for players with marginal upside. What was expected to be a make-or-break year for the Bears’ brass is off to a slow start.
- Perhaps Pro Bowl running back Jordan Howard can lead the charge to a brighter future. And as long as Howard can keep the 1,000-yard seasons coming, the inevitable comparisons to fellow 2016 draft classmate Ezekiel Elliott will follow. Not that Howard has a problem with that. “I feel like I’m going to be getting compared to him the rest of my career,” Howard said recently on NFL Total Access. “But I don’t have a problem with that.” If Elliott is the gold standard at the running back position, Howard can make a case for being a worthy runner-up after a 1,313-yard season and a per carry average that just edged Elliott. Not to mention Howard did it while playing for an inferior offensive line compared to the road graters pushing back defenses in Dallas.
- Howard also shared some optimism with regard to quarterback Mike Glennon. In speaking with the Total Access crew, Howard noted that Glennon was relatively successful in Tampa Bay, despite not having much around him. He also drew a comparison to his own situation, saying all Glennon needs is a chance – something he will get when he suits up for the Bears and lines up under center. Having Howard to hand off to should make things a bit easier on the new quarterback. We’ll have a dedicated post on Howard later in the day.
- Dion Sims living up to his free agent contract could make things easier on Glennon, too. Chris Emma of CBS Chicago writes that the new tight end brings versatility to a position that lacked it after trading Martellus Bennett to the Patriots. The Bears had a rotating door of tight ends come through Halas Hall in 2016, and Sims is tasked with bringing stability and productivity from week one. These are high expectations for a player who has made just 22 starts in four seasons – 11 of which came in 2016 – but that’s where we are.
- An improved defense could also be beneficial to the Bears’ goal of improvement in 2017. Could Chicago make safety a priority in the draft? Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times writes that the evolution of football could entice the Bears to break the mold and take a safety with the third overall pick. Playmaking safeties with ball skills are hard to find, but there are some candidates worth taking at the top of the draft. And with as much talent as there is with LSU’s Jamal Adams, Ohio State’s Malik Hooker, and Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers at the top, it’s hard to make an argument picking a top safety third is a reach if he can be immediately plugged into a starring (and starting) role. And let’s face it, the Bears are long overdue to draft a top-notch safety.