Between your readership and three football games on deck, I’m thankful for a lot on this Thanksgiving morning.
Here’s hoping everyone enjoys their Thanksgiving meals and the presence of loved ones during the holiday season. Turkey comes and goes, but friends and family are here forever.
- Here’s hoping this is the last time we’ll have to offer up the reminder that the Chicago Bears sent Mitch Trubisky on a drive that could have ended with a game-winning touchdown or game-tying field goal without two of the team’s top playmakers. Offensive Coordinator Dowell Loggains was the latest to attempt an explanation for why this happened, writes ESPN Chicago’s Jeff Dickerson. If you’ll recall, the Bears’ head coach tried his hand at it not once, but twice. Loggains cited the responsibilities and difficulties of being a tight end in a two-minute offense and said he wanted to give Adam Shaheen enough of a role to build his confidence without putting too much on his plate. Fair enough.
- The way the offense opened up against the Lions proved to be a sign that Bears coaches were open to change. And it definitely sounds like Loggains might be willing to throw a few more plays in Shaheen’s direction. “And as he keeps growing that way, we’ll keep expanding that package for him,” Loggains said. “Each week is always a little bit different in how you’re going to match up. But Adam has done a really good job. You guys have asked me in the past about his production. He’s going to be a really good player. He is.”
- It would be nice if the Bears had a big-bodied wide receiver on the outside who could command a double team and open up the middle for a tight end like Shaheen or underneath for a running back like Tarik Cohen. The Bears allowed that player to walk away in free agency without any compensation when they refused to place the franchise tag on Alshon Jeffery last winter. Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune has the details of Jeffery’s departure from Chicago and arrival in Philadelphia. Jeffery has six touchdowns in 10 games with the Eagles after hauling in just six scores in his last 22 games with the Bears. Carson Wentz has definitely embraced Jeffery’s arrival in the City of Brotherly love, posting a 96.2 passer rating (with no interceptions!) when targeting the ex-Bears standout.
- Tease alert: We’ll spend some time on Friday dissecting the similarities between Wentz and Mitch Trubisky through the lens of Philadelphia’s rebuild from the Chip Kelly saga. Philly.com’s Zach Berman writes those in search of perspective regarding Wentz’s development from Year 1 to Year 2 need to look no further than the Bears’ rookie quarterback for details.
- Among the similarities between Wentz and Trubisky’s rookie seasons is the need for help on the outside. Ideally, the Bears match the blueprint set forth by the Eagles so we can see Trubisky take another step forward. Wide receiver DeMarcus Ayers isn’t likely to be the one who breaks out and becomes That Guy for a young, developing quarterback. But the Bears signed the former Pittsburgh Steelers receiver to the practice squad, according to NFL reporter Aaron Wilson. If you’ll recall, Bears receiver Dontrelle Inman was on the injury report with a groin injury. It’s possible Ayers is nothing more than depth help in case of an emergency.
- New Bears kicker Cairo Santos spoke to the Chicago media for the first time since signing with his new team on Monday. Pressing all the right buttons upon arrival, Santos shared a story about the time former Bears kicker Robbie Gould reached out to him when he was struggling:
New Bears kicker Cairo Santos considers Robbie Gould a mentor pic.twitter.com/0IIbcEEncE
— Kevin Fishbain (@kfishbain) November 22, 2017
- Elsewhere in the league, Cleveland Browns receiver Josh Gordon returned to practice and looked good for a player who hadn’t laced ’em up since December 26, 2014. Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com has the details surrounding Gordon’s return. Quarterback DeShone Kizer is already looking forward to working with Gordon, who led the league with 1,646 receiving yards and scored nine touchdowns in 2013. However, Gordon can’t return to game action until December 3 – which could put him on the field when the Bears and Browns square off later in the month.
- There is a good chance Adam Thielen makes history for the Minnesota Vikings today. Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports Thielen needs just 84 yards to become the first Vikings receiver since Sidney Rice to gain 1,000 receiving yards. He fell 33 yards short in 2016, but it looks like that eight-year drought won’t see a ninth year. Thielen is a testament to hard work, precise route running, and having sure hands. He was an undrafted free agent who wasn’t even invited to the NFL’s Scouting Combine back in 2013. Still, Thielen clawed his way onto the roster of his childhood rooting interest and is so close to joining his idol Cris Carter in the 1,000-yard receiving club.
- Revis Island is moving to the heartland of America. Ian Rapoport reports the Kansas City Chiefs have signed Darrelle Revis to a two-year contract which pays him the league minimum up front with the possibility of $10 million in 2018. If Revis makes the 2018 roster, the $10 million becomes guaranteed.
- A Milwaukee brewery which offers free beer until the Green Bay Packers score is probably having second thoughts. The Bavarian Bierhaus handed out somewhere between 275-300 cups of free beer last Sunday when the Packers were shut out by the Baltimore Ravens, according to WTMJ-TV in Milwaukee. Yes, that’s the same Ravens team the Bears beat in Baltimore for Trubisky’s first win. And yes, that’s the same Packers team (led by Brett Hundley) that defeated the Bears at Soldier Field in the first game coming out of the bye. Great, now *I* need a free beer.
- Looking for that game-winning play for your backyard football game before or after (and if you’re adventurous, during) your Thanksgiving meal? ESPN’s Matt Bowen has you covered with four plays he drew up with you in mind.