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Ten Thoughts on the NFL: Chicago Bears and beyond

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NFL preseason week two is over and week three, as we all know, is the "dress rehearsal" game. All 32 fanbases will have a better idea how their teams will look after this week. There'll be some limited game planning and we should see the ones vs ones into the third quarter.

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

1) I'll just put this right here in case you missed it.

clowney

That's similar to Jadeveon Clowney's famous hit against the Michigan Wolverines, although this running back kept his head on.

2) In the game GIF'ed above, the Atlanta Falcons lost starting left tackle Sam Baker for the 2014 season. It's always tough to lose a guy in a meaningless practice game, but even if the NFL scales back a game or two from the preseason schedule, teams will still need to practice to prepare for the season. Injuries happen, don't blame the games.

3) The NFL outlawed dunking over the goalposts, yet on Friday night New Orleans Saints' tight end Jimmy Graham, the man the rule was put in place for, dunked after scoring both of his TDs. His coach was a bit perturbed. When asked if the two 15 yard penalty's upset him, head coach Sean Payton responded affirmatively.

"Well, would that make sense? Would you be upset?" Payton asked. "Yeah, I was. Particularly."

Yeah, it's just preseason, and yeah, the rule is kind of dumb, but a rule's a rule.

4) So Dallas owner Jerry Jones had Johnny Manziel's name on their 1st round draft card before his son and vice president of the Cowboys, Stephen Jones, snatched the card away.

Manziel staying in Texas would have been awesome, but even more awesome would be Jerry firing Stephen for insubordination.

5) And speaking of Johnny Football, or should we call him Birdman now, but I'm not sure he's ready to start in the NFL. I'm usually a proponent of starting the rookie high draft pick if his team has very slim playoff aspirations, but in this case, I can see the Browns alienating some players if they go with the emotional and immature Manziel.

Then again, Brian Hoyer isn't exactly making a good case be be #1 either.

Maybe third stringer Rex Grossman is the answer?

6) I don't want the comment thread to turn into a political debate, but I thought this was pretty cool.

The St. Louis Rams have invited 225 Ferguson-area high schoolers to a preseason game.

7) Through the first two preseason games the San Francisco 49ers have been outscored 57-3. A big part of their problem is the lack of a viable back up QB. With the way starting QB Colin Kaepernick runs around so aggressively, this could be a big problem.

Maybe a trade for Rex Grossman is the answer?

8) Last year Detroit Lions defensive tackle Nick Fairley made a big goal line stop on a two-point conversion try against the Chicago Bears, this year the former first rounder has been demoted to 2nd string DT. Earlier this off season the Lions decided to pass on picking up Fairley's 2015 option and he had an operation to help with his sleep apnea.

Not the best off season for Fairley so far.

9) I kind of thought we were done with the slew of off season lists, but ESPN is rolling out another. They are ranking the top 100 players on offense and the top 100 on defense with a 10 point scale. The Chicago Bears' Jay Cutler came in at #93 with a 6.58.

Cutler had a 66.4 Total QBR last season, his best with the Bears. His 92.5 Total QBR in the fourth quarter led the NFL.
-- ESPN Stats & Information

For what it's worth, ESPN is also ranking Cutler as their #15 fantasy QB this year.

So far through two practice games Cutler has looked very good in completing over 70% of his passes. This 3rd preseason game against Seattle's tough defense will be a great test for he and the Bears offense.

ESPN also had Bears' tight end Martellus Bennett at #82.

Martellus Bennett ranked tied for seventh in receptions (65), ninth in receiving yards (759) and tied for 11th in receiving touchdowns (5) among tight ends in 2013, his first season in Chicago.
-- ESPN Stats & Information

10) This is kind of interesting, in an "OMG look at where the Bears are ranked" kind of interesting. Bill Barnwell of Grantland has figured out a system to determine which teams in the NFL are the fastest. Number one is a team that hasn't made the playoffs since 2008, the Tennessee Titans. Dead last is a team that hasn't missed the playoffs since 2008, the New England Patriots.

The top five is full of teams that haven't had much recent playoff success, while the bottom five is made up of mostly of teams that are perennial playoff contenders. That is, all except for #31 on the list, the Chicago Bears. Is that an omen of things to come for Phil Emery's 2014 team?