Linebackers Brian Urlacher and Ray Lewis, as well as wide receiver Randy Moss feel like sure-fire Hall of Fame locks, but I can’t help but wonder how long-time Chicago Bears center Olin Kreutz was snubbed altogether.
Kreutz played 13 of his 14 years in Chicago, where he went to six Pro Bowls and was a first-team All-Pro center in 2006 and a second-team member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s All-2000s Team. On top of that, Kreutz, who was selected by the Bears in the third round (64th overall) in the 1998 NFL Draft, took over as the team’s starting center in 1999 and missed a total of just 10 games in 12 years.
In other words, he was a model of consistency, excellence, and reliability from 2001 to 2010, when he played in 159 of 160 games. He’s probably worthy of an extended look by Pro Football Hall of Fame voters, who released their list of nominees (which included Urlacher) on Tuesday.
- As for what’s going on with the 2017 Chicago Bears, Chicago Tribune columnist Steve Rosenbloom writes wide receiver Kevin White wasn’t good enough to be as missed as he’s going to be. Fair enough. White has played in just five NFL games since being drafted with the seventh overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, and he didn’t often flash the blazing speed, body control, or hands that made him a top receiver prospect in his class. Still, the Bears were already short on receivers and losing a starter – even one of White’s quality – is a blow to an offense operating with a thin margin for error. With White and Cameron Meredith on injured reserve and Alshon Jeffery in Philadelphia, the Bears are left to replace 1,977 snaps from receivers who started games last year for the Bears.
- Tarik Cohen isn’t a receiver, but he played 22 receiving snaps, led the team in targets, and figures to play a key role in the Bears’ passing offense. Were you rewarded with a waiver claim on Cohen when you checked your fantasy football team’s roster this morning? If you did, you can consider yourself lucky. According to Yahoo!’s Fantasy Football transaction trends, Cohen was added to 559,633 rosters – the most of any player this week.
- Defensive end Akiem Hicks knows a playmaker when he sees one, so the Bears’ stud defender explained to CSN Chicago’s JJ Stankevitz what makes the rookie running back so explosive. While offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains ran a vanilla offense throughout the preseason, Bears defenders were given a healthy dosage of Cohen during training camp – so they knew what other teams were in for when they unleashed him on the Falcons in the season opener. Hopefully, there is more where that came from because the Bears can use as much playmaking ability as they can get against the Buccaneers in Week 2.
- One last nugget on Cohen, Pro Football Focus has him on an early list of Rookie of the Year candidates. William Moy notes Cohen’s 81.1 grade was the third highest among all running backs and had five carries with a 92.4 breakaway percentage – which accounts for a percentage of yards gained on runs of 15+ yards. He also missed six tackles and was the site’s highest-graded punt returner. Seriously, what can’t this guy do?
- Bleacher Report’s Brad Gagnon stumbled on one of the most disheartening stats you will see as a Bears fan. The Bears have entered the fourth quarter trailing 14 times in the last two seasons, and have no come-from-behind wins to show for it. The only other winless team in this category in that span is the Cleveland Browns, who are 0-16. Give credit where it’s due and tip your hats (begrudgingly) to the Detroit Lions, who are 9-7 after entering the fourth quarter trailing.
- Nothing is given to a team that comes away with a moral victory, but it’s understandable if you felt better after Sunday’s loss than you expected to. After all, the Bears beat the 7-point spread and played a competitive contest against the defending NFC champs who entered the season motivated to shake off the feeling of blowing a 28-3 lead in the Super Bowl. But as Rick Telander of the Chicago Sun-Times points out, a close loss might not have any significant meaning for the Bears. The Bears have lost 23 games since John Fox took over as head coach, and 14 have been decided by eight points or less. It’s easy to lose close games in the NFL and claim to be competitive. The real challenge is getting over the top and taking home a victory. It’s something the Bears haven’t done much of in Fox’s tenure in Chicago despite being in so many close games.
- But seriously, let’s take one last look at how close the Bears came to changing the feeling going into Week 2:
On 2nd-and-goal, Mike Glennon's first read appeared to be Zach Miller. Had he gone sooner to Jordan Howard, the Bears win the game. pic.twitter.com/jeOXTUnn2C
— Chris Emma (@CEmma670) September 12, 2017