Jordan Howard’s Passion
It’s sometimes easy to take Jordan Howard for granted. He’s been a consistently strong, passionate runner finding lanes with terrific vision and powering through tacklers, knocking over the midling tacklers with poor technique and falling forward through the terrific runs. If anyone ever doubted Howard’s passion before his week three win against the Steeler’s, nobody doubts it now. This Bear kept coming back playing through a shoulder injury that caused visible pain with each tackle. He was slow to get up after every play, but never slow to run when he had the ball in his hand. He didn’t walk off the field until his literal walk-off touch down to end the game in overtime.
To show my thanks for Jo Ho’s passion, I will be stuffing my maw with...stuffing.
Stuffing is the sometimes underrated, always consistent heart of a Thanksgiving meal. Even when the Turkey is dry, the stuffing delivers.
Tarik Cohen’s Playful Braggadocio
Cohen has been delightful to watch on the field, proving immediately that his talent, speed, and balance translate seamlessly to the NFL level. But he’s been equally fun to listen to in off the field interviews. Cohen wavers between likable humility and playful confidence. Probably my favorite moment to date was after his rushing touchdown in the Saints game—remember when he leaped over scrimmage pile to shove the ball into the high point of the end-zone plane? When asked about the ref’s original call, Cohen responded “when he said I was short, I thought he was talking about my height. I knew I scored.” Love that Bear.
To show my thanks for Coh Coh’s playful braggadocio, I will be stuffing my maw with...cranberry sauce with whole cranberries and orange zest.
My sister likes to get fancy with recipes, which usually seems unnecessary when the stuff in the can is plenty good. In the case of her fancy cranberry sauce, she won me over.
Mitchell Trubisky’s humility and work ethic
Even before Mitchell Trubisky started his career with the Bears, there were good signs about attitude and work ethic. Some were concerned that he spent much of his college career behind a less talented starter, but others pointed out how it demonstrated humility, maturity, and a truly team-centered mentality to play his role as a backup, continuing to improve his game and show up every week as a backup prepared to start as thoroughly as any starter. It doesn't hurt that he scored basically every time he went in the game during his time as a backup.
Since joining the Bears, Trubisky has shown the ability to learn on the job with patience, humility, insightful self-reflection, and mental toughness. These are the qualities that lead me to believe he will continue to improve until reaching the ceiling his incredible talent affords. To succeed as a quarterback in the NFL takes more than talent. You need to be able to identify and acknowledge the areas of your game that need improvement, you need to have the work ethic to actually put in the time to improve those areas, and you need to have the mental toughness to not lose confidence and get discouraged when you make mistakes.
Listening to what Trubisky says in press conferences, and watching him week to week on the field. I honestly believe he has all of these qualities, and this is what excites me most about the Bears' future as a franchise.
To show my thanks for Mister Biscuit's humility and work ethic, I will be stuffing my maw with...gravy.
Trubisky's talent may be the turkey itself, but his personality is the gravy that will bring this whole meal together. It doesn't hurt that gravy pairs very nicely with his nickname: the pretty boy assassin.
Akiem Hicks' Inexhaustible Excellence
Akiem Hicks signed a big contract at the beginning of the year. Rumor has it that some players will decrease their effort once they sign a big contract, presumably because their motivation was to get paid and they paycheck decreases their motivation. This may be true for some players. Akiem Hicks has shown an unending supply of effort and motivation as he has played at an all-pro level while staying on the field for 87% of the Bears' defensive snaps. Numerous times throughout the year Hicks would look tired or gassed between plays, then as soon as the ball was snapped, rally for an incredible sack or pressure. This Bear is the perfect recipe for a reliably top-of-the-line defensive end.
To show my thanks for Akiem Hicks' inexhaustible excellence, I will be stuffing my maw with...Libby's back-of-the-can Pumpkin Pie
Some things shouldn't be changed. Sometimes the perfect way to do something was figured out long ago and put on the back label of the top brand of canned pumpkin. Libby's pumpkin pie recipe is a perfect example of this. Nothing should be changed in this recipe, and there's no point in making any other type of pumpkin pie. The Bears don't need a different flavor of defensive end, they just need Akiem Hicks to show up the same way every week being consistently excellent.
Of note, I am not sponsored by Libby's. But if Libby is reading this, I am very open to being a spokesperson. I realize you already have an impressive handle on the Thanksgiving market share, but I think together we could work towards people making pumpkin pies at all times of the year. Think about it.
Danny Trevathan's Tenacity and Leadership
There was a moment after the first Packer's game when people though Trevathan was a dirty player because of his frightening hit on Davante Adams. I was critical of him at the time because it looked like he didn't show remorse for what looked like a bad injury. Upon reflection of his career, and listening to him and watching him since, I see that Trevathan is a relentless and passionate player and owe him an apology (I know he's been anxiously waiting for it) for making assumptions about his motivation in what was ultimate an unfortunate outcome from an understandable mistake.
Trevathan plays with aggressive tenacity through the whistle on every play, and when he's on the field, the whole defense plays more effectively. The difference we see when he's out is likely in part due to the lack of defensive play-calling experience behind him at middle linebacker, but it's clear that his passion is infectious for this Bears defense, and it makes another losing season exponentially more watchable. I can't wait to have him back on the field.
To show my thanks for Dirty-man Dan's tenacity and leadership, I will be stuffing my maw with...broccoli and cheese sauce.
Thanksgiving isn't the same without a token vegetable having all of its health-benefits suffocated out of it by an egregious helping of cheesy sauce, and the Bears' defense isn't the same without Danny Trevathan. Besides, the way he smothers ball-carriers reminds me of how I smother my broccoli with cheese sauce. The only difference is, when my broccoli is taken to the hospital, it won't be leaving with a clean bill of health.
It's been a frustrating season for Bears fans, but the Bears' players are showing a lot of heart and giving fans plenty to be thankful for. This is of course not an exhaustive list of all the Bears I'm thankful for, nor is it an exhaustive list of all the things I'm going to stuff my maw with.
Happy Thanksgiving Bears fans. Stuff up and Bear down.