Much like coffee, afternoon Bullets are for closers.
- Earlier, we offered up some thoughts on a pair of rules changes that will impact what you’ll see once the NFL season kicks off. (See what we did there?) I’ll be curious to see how it looks once the games begin, especially kickoff-related rules changes that will impact Tarik Cohen, who is one of the Bears’ most valuable players. Cohen says the rule changes will make kickoffs more like punt returns, writes Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times.
- Even though he got off to a slow start as a return specialist, Cohen grew into the position and came into his own late in the season. And that Cohen is already envisioning what it will look like and how he’ll respond has me a little geeked up about seeing him return kicks this season. His dazzling return touchdown against the 49ers was a bright spot of the 2017 season, and replicating that on kick returns could lead to the Bears getting some excellent field position. So if the rule change is here to help the Bears, then it’s going to be hard for me to be against it.
- Better field position for the offense should lead to more scoring on offense. That’s good news for Mitch Trubisky, who went from draft pick, to third-stringer, to back-up, to rookie starter pretty quickly. So I’m encouraged to read that he is embracing his growth into a leadership role in Year 2 of his NFL career:
— Zack Pearson (@Zack_Pearson) May 24, 2018
- Trubisky’s teammates see it too. “He is in more control now,” Cohen said, via the Associated Press. “He knows the players. He can really call us out. When you’re a rookie, you’re hesitant to really jump on guys. He’s taken over more of the reins. He’s in the driver’s seat now.”
- There is a much different vibe than what Mike Glennon was putting out last year at this time. Remember his “this is my year” edict? OK, so I’m sure you worked your hardest to forget it. Frankly, I don’t blame you. But to be fair to Glennon, I can imagine how difficult it is to take control of a situation when you know a long-term solution in the form of a first-round rookie quarterback is breathing down your neck. Couple that with the short-term nature of his contract, Glennon had a tough road to become The Man, one that proved too tough to conquer.
- Glennon seemed to look forward to throwing to Kevin White, but didn’t get much of an opportunity to do so because White’s season ended abruptly in Week 1. Now, it’s up to Trubisky to forge a bond with the first draft pick made during the Ryan Pace era. Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune writes about White in what seemed to be an odd meeting with the media that we briefly touched upon yesterday. I hope to look back fondly at what appeared to be a media session with a hyper-focused player who wants to get on the field and put the past completely behind him. If White can channel that kind of energy onto the playing field for a full 16-game season, then watch out!
- Over at NBC Sports Chicago, more on White from JJ Stankevitz who details White’s focus on the present and not on his past or future. It’s easy to be down on White, but in my eyes, it’s even easier to sit back and watch things play out for the 2015 first-round pick. I can’t imagine any of this has been easy on a guy who seems to expect more out of himself than anyone else. White has an uphill climb, but it sounds like he’s ready to take it on with authority. That’s the kind of spirit a player like White needs to have.
- Sam Acho, who happens to be the Bears’ player association rep, shared his thoughts on the league’s new national anthem policy in a well-thought-out manner:
A lot of good thoughts on new #NFL Anthem rules from #Bears outside linebacker Sam Acho today after OTA practice. Here are some. Acho is a member of the #NFLPA Executive Committee: pic.twitter.com/oenIYqLRYK
— Mike Berman (@MikeBermanNBC) May 23, 2018
- Speaking of the new policy, ESPN’s Seth Wickersham reports there was technically never a formal vote from the owners. Instead, sources informed Wickersham that league executives were informally polled and a decision was made from there. In the wake of yesterday’s news, we learned that the NFLPA was not informed of a new policy or decision. Sigh. Every time the NFL has a chance to do something right, they find a way to go about it in a way that makes the league look less in touch with players and fans than before. And that’s a tough look.