On this date 95 (!) years ago, the Chicago Staleys became the Chicago Bears … and Sports Illustrated picked the perfect .gif to celebrate the occasion:
On this day in 1922, the Chicago Staleys became the Chicago Bears pic.twitter.com/5Ezsc73Pf3
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) June 24, 2017
- As for the present-day Bears, we recently discussed the value of wide receiver Cameron Meredith through the lens of being a fantasy football sleeper. However, let’s focus our attention on Jordan Howard, who was a fantasy savior for some last season. Over at Yahoo! Sports, Andy Behrens has started to roll out his fantasy power rankings, where you’ll find the Bears as the 27th ranked team. Naturally, Howard is the reason they aren’t ranked lower. But at least they’re not the worst, right? To be fair, the Bears don’t offer much value as far as fantasy football goes. Their quarterback is starting for the first time since 2014, the receivers are a collection of risky bounce-back candidates and relatively unproven young players, and their draft picks on the offensive side of the ball don’t project to be starters early in their first seasons – or in some cases, at all.
- Alas, one thing that could ding the Bears from both a fantasy and non-fantasy perspective is the fact that the Bears ran 60.4 offensive plays per game, which ranked as the third fewest in the NFL last season. It’s hard to score points (in fantasy or reality) when you’re playing at the kind of tempo.
- Unfortunately, I wouldn’t expect the defense to come to the rescue, as Behrens notes there isn’t a top-50 individual defensive player on the roster – even though safety Quintin Demps and a healthy Leonard Floyd could be of use to the unit for non-fantasy purposes. But maybe the Bears defense could help itself and put some fantasy points on the board by creating more turnovers. JJ Stankevitz of CSN Chicago writes about how the team’s defense can turn it around after a historically down year for forcing turnovers. It’s possible that a new group of defensive backs and some healthy pass rushers could aid in this fight, especially Demps, who had almost as many interceptions (6) as the Bears did as a team (8) in 2016.
- Did you see Bears left guard (I’m typing it as often as possible so I can get used to it before the season starts) Kyle Long congratulate Raiders quarterback Derek Carr on his contract extension? Based on the importance of the quarterback position and the players who will be up for extensions soon, Carr won’t be the last quarterback receiving congratulatory messages. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk takes a look at the next wave of quarterbacks in line for big paydays, including Matthew Stafford of the Detroit Lions and former rumored trade target Jimmy Garoppolo, who is entering the final year of his rookie deal with the New England Patriots.
- Cre’von LeBlanc was one of the few Bears defenders to stand out for the right reasons in 2016, but maybe we should keep an eye on fellow nickelback Bryce Callahan:
These cornerbacks just don't give up much after the catch. pic.twitter.com/XYgKjkK1yI
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) June 24, 2017
- The third and fourth defensive backs usually don’t garner too much attention, but it’s an important position to fill when you’re facing Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford twice a year.
- Speaking of Rodgers, Los Angeles Lakers GM Rob Pelinka favorably compared his new point guard Lonzo Ball to Rodgers and Tom Brady because of his passing ability. Which is to say that might be the most intriguing cross-sport comparison you might see today.