With the bye week, we’re using the Five Questions column for self-examination as we try to figure this team out. Wednesday we discussed Jay Cutler, Thursday was John Fox, Friday we examined the direction of the offensive, and Saturday was for defensive. Today, in the conclusion of this piece, we’re going to have a little fun.
Jeff Berckes: Who is your favorite current player on each side of the ball and why? Who are you most excited about watching on a weekly basis?
Josh Sunderbruch: Without a doubt, I like Cutler on offense. This last game was an illustration of why. However, I’ve been in Howard’s corner more or less since he was drafted, and I predicted that he would be starting instead of Langford by the end of the season. Howard wants every available inch, and if he keeps playing with that sort of fire, he could be special. On defense, it’s hard not to like the effort put in by Amos, but I’m going to stick with the rookies and go all in on Floyd. The kid just does not give up, even when being pushed around by dudes who outweigh him by close to a hundred pounds. On special teams, I like the hustle from McManis.
Ken Mitchell (aka Sab, aka Den Master): Offense, my favorite (non-Kyle Long) player is Cody Whitehair. Dude is a BEAST. Remember when people were questioning if he was strong enough to play in the NFL? Yeah, I don't either. Defensively? Eddie Goldman. Goldman is the key to the defense, and we have really missed him despite some solid play by Will Sutton. Goldman is a game changer and can push double teams around.
Jack M Silverstein: Jay is still my favorite player on offense, because he makes it go. The guys all have an extra sense of purpose when he's there because they know he can spin gold from garbage. Defensively, I just love watching the linebackers. Basically all of them. Pernell McPhee, Freeman/Travathan, Floyd/Young, Acho, and hell, even Christian Jones. Just rev 'em up and set 'em loose.
Robert Zeglinski: On offense, it's Jordan Howard. He doesn't have top end speed or amazing athleticism like other tailbacks, but his vision, instinct, and ability to almost literally break any arm tackle is beyond impressive. This is the quintessential NFL tailback and he's even capable of working his way out of the backfield catching passes. I thought the Bears would really miss Matt Forte, but they've clearly found his replacement and more. Whatever this organization bungles up, how they continually find star running backs is astounding. On defense, it's Leonard Floyd. I can't remember the last time the Bears had a pass rusher with length and a first step like Floyd. His speed and bend working around the edge is exactly what I love in watching football. And, he clearly has fun in making plays as he gains confidence and shows off his personality. I think he can be a special superstar with more growth and refinement and I've just been fascinated by the continual steps he's made. He's become more than a prodigy.
EJ Snyder: On offense, it's a tie. Cody Whitehair has been better than even I expected and I really, really liked him. Having him change positions essentially twice between then end of college and his first pro start should have been a major detriment, but he's handled it with the casual class of a seasoned pro. I also predicted that Jordan Howard would be taking the majority of snaps at RB by the end of the season but he has outperformed that prediction by every measure. He's a fun runner to watch and definitely worthy of the title of starting running back of the Chicago Bears. On defense, McPhee is the Alshon Jeffery of that unit: he's not always healthy, but when he is it makes an immediate and obvious difference. He plays like a man possessed and has the skill and fire a defender needs to wreak havoc every week. Honorable mention: Jerrell Freeman - just a dynamo of a player. Worth every penny of free agent deal.
Steven Schweickert: I'm rapidly becoming a Cody Whitehair fan, as he's putting in a very good rookie season, and it's hard to ignore Meredith's play as a down-the-chart guy. Defensively, Leonard Floyd is coming along but I'm enjoying watching Hicks work.
Sam Householder: I love Alshon Jeffery on offense. I hope that the team works out a deal with him to keep him long term. He is by far the most exciting and physical receiver the Bears have drafted in my lifetime. I love the way he uses his strength and physicality to go up and make plays. On defense, it's Pernell McPhee, I had forgotten how much I loved watching him just physically dominate opposing offensive lineman and how violent he rushes passers. McPhee is dominant when healthy and by far the most fun defender to watch.
Lester A. Wiltfong Jr.: Defensively, Pernell McPhee because he plays with a violent aggression, but I'm also excited to watch the game to game improvement from Leonard Floyd. On offense, besides the offensive line, I really like how hard Jordan Howard runs the ball.
Favorite Player Count Offense: Whitehair 3, Howard 2.5, Alshon Jeffery 2, Cutler 1.5, (My vote goes to Alshon Jeffery with a healthy Kyle Long a close 2nd)
Favorite Player Count Defense: Pernell McPhee 3, Leonard Floyd 2, Eddie Goldman 1, Akeim Hicks 1, All the Linebackers 2 (I’m going to agree with Jack – I like all the linebackers!)
Jeff Berckes: Bonus: Describe your ideal game day including food and beverage choices.
Ken Mitchell (aka Sab, aka Den Master): OK, I am probably the only person on the planet who does game days like I do, but here it is. My ideal game day is an early DAY GAME (doing Dens after night games is a pain in the tail, I'm scrambling to hit that midnight deadline)...
My ideal day goes like this. Fall day, weather in the low 70's. I get up, check to see that all my fantasy team players are actually playing, then I load our bicycle into the car and we drive south to Columbia, MO to the Katy Trail. We hop out of the car, and I put my phone on my handlebars and head out. Phone has NFL Gamepass so I can get the Chicago radio feed, and I listen to the Bears game as I ride alongside the Missouri river under the bluffs near Rocheport & towards Boonville. As the Bears put a beat down on Green Bay, I listen and watch the animals and the sky and the birds and I ride through the tranquil countryside.
Later, following lunch at one of our favorite eateries, we drive home (it's a bit of a drive) listening to the late game, Mitch Holthus & Len Dawson calling a Chief's/Raiders game at Oakland. I get home, hit my links page and gather the early links. Then, I make some popcorn and sit down to watch the GamePass Condensed version of our game, followed by the condensed version of three or four other games as I start working on my Power Ratings feature.
Jeff Berckes: That…is…intense. I’m pretty sure I would crash my bike or run it into oncoming traffic.
Robert Zeglinski: At this point, all I really need is some water. I have an odd superstition of not drinking or eating during a game, as somehow that's to blame for when teams I root for lose. If I'm actually at a game, I might make an exception, but never at home. Besides, I like to stay focused on the matters at hand as I take notes and otherwise.
Jeff Berckes: Hydration…important stuff.
Sam Householder: Well I like to sleep in, get up, make some coffee and do the livestream with Steven, watch some pregame (usually on mute because we're streaming) and then go right in to the Bears game. As for food: Nothing beats some good chicken wings and a good Scotch Ale.
Josh Sunderbruch: At home, with my family, with the Beloved in the afternoon slot. The early games have already seen the Packers lose with Aaron Rodgers throwing a typical tantrum. That leaves me free to watch the Bears content that the universe is already on the right track. My wife would be able to watch and enjoy the game more if something bad happened to Matthews of his own doing (maybe an ejection for unsportsmanlike conduct or a PED suspension), so I’ll throw that in. After that, so long as the Bears win and nobody gets hurt, I’m not picky about details. I’d have some sort of salty snack on hand—popcorn, potato chips, peanuts, or whatever. I’d have either a Coke or a bourbon (but not together, please).
Jeff Berckes: Editorial note – While they can absolutely be enjoyed separately, Coke and bourbon go quite well together and it comes down to a matter of ratio. The sugar takes off the edge but too much makes the drink too sweet. There’s an upper limit to the price tag for a mixable bourbon but generally speaking, anything above $40 a bottle should be enjoyed on its own. Josh is either only into expensive bourbon or needs to learn how to mix better drinks.
Steven Schweickert: Pretty much the normal gameday. Sam and I do the livestream, I order wings and crack open a beer, watch the game, sit on it for a bit so I don't write emotionally (unless I'm going to do specifically that; I refer back to a specific post after back to back defeats at the hands of the Texans and Niners when the Bears were a "playoff team"), and enjoy some football and write Notes.
EJ Snyder: Homemade hot guacamole with Tostitos lime chips and a really good black IPA, like Stone Brewing's Sublimely Self-Righteous
Lester A. Wiltfong Jr.: I like pretty much any and all game-day type foods, but I like finger food stuff. So if I'm at a party that has chips, dip, meats, cheese and crackers, some BBQ meatballs, pulled pork sandwiches, chicken wings, pizza, etc. I'm all good! As for a beverage, I'm not into alcohol that much, so give me a nice big iced tea and I'm happy.
Jack M Silverstein: Dante's Pizza and two Mexican Cokes.
Jeff Berckes: I like to get a long run in mid-morning, somewhere in the 8-9 mile range. This helps quell the pregame butterflies and allows me some meditative time to think about how I want the game to go. It also helps eat up that frustrating dead time before a game and justifies a day of lounging and making poor nutritional decision. For food and drink, I enjoy salty snacks like chips and salsa or nachos and an ice cold Coke (or two…). I like to watch games in isolation but would happily crash some of these parties, particularly Josh as he needs some help mixing drinks.
Who are your current favorite Bears players? What can we expect for food and drink when we crash your party?