We’ve all seen the “Hot Takes” from the first quarter’s games all over the net.
In this series, I’m letting some time pass, and after reviewing the game tape a couple of times, I’m going to share some “Cold Takes.” about the first 4 games the Bears have played, plus a few thoughts about the NFC North & NFL at large. These are just a series of my thoughts and observations, presented in no particular order.
- First Quarter League MVP: Khalil Mack. Period. BOOM!
- Kyle Fuller, man you GOTTA catch that ball. I’m still smarting from that one.
- Jon Gruden is still an idiot.
- I may have been wrong about John DeFilippo being the next Minnesota head coach. He may end up as the head coach of the Green Bay Packers at the end of this year.
- I’m considering making “not talking about Mitchell Trubisky” in my Cold Takes series “a thing” because he’s 90 percent of the conversation on every other feature. Thoughts on that?
- Time for a cold takes “Where Are They Now” moment. You ready? OK, 2017 Chicago Bears Wide Receivers, listed in order of attempts... where are they now?
- Bears #1 WR Kendall Wright:
Currently out of footballJust signed with Arizona Monday after being out of football in 2018.
- Bears #2 WR Josh Bellamy (doesn’t that just send a shiver down your spine, and not in a good way): now the Bears #4/5 WR.
- Bears #3 WR Dontrelle Inman: Currently out of football.
- Bears #4 WR (before Chicago released him) Deonte Thompson: #4 WR & kick returner for Dallas.
- Bears #5 WR Markus Wheaton: Currently out of football
- Bears #6 WR Tre McBride: Currently out of football
- Bears #7 WR Tanner Gentry: Currently on Bears practice squad
- Yes, that list is really, really ugly.
- Ryan Pace is no longer ranked Dead Last for GM’s. I guess fielding a team without Kendall Wright, Dontrelle Inman, Deonte Thompson & Markus Wheaton as the heart of your WR corps will do that. Oh, yeah, and acquiring Khalil Mack. There’s that too.
- Khalil Mack is a bear. Keep saying it, over and over, it will keep you warm at night.
- We’ve had some really crappy kickers since Robbie “left” but... man... Mason Crosby? Whoa, that’s a whole new level of sucking. That’s taking “bad day” to new hights. Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of fellas.
- Aaron Rodgers can still put on his “God Mode” ring and take over a game, but honestly, most of the time when he’s not in “God Mode” he’s playing like crap. Rodgers was horrible for most of the Lions game.
- Jon Gruden is still an idiot. Oh, have I mentioned this before? Sorry, not sorry.
- The Chicago Bears are my favorite NFL team. The Packers are my fourth favorite NFL team. The Lions are my third favorite. The other 29 teams are tied for my second favorite.
- Starting to look at Miami, and seeing a really strange team. Adam Gase, an offensive guru, is their head coach, so they should have a great offense and an “iffy” defense, right? Nope. They are TERRIBLE on offense, while their D is quite solid. I don’t think they score much on us, the question will be if we can put up points on them. Winning the turnover battle will be key.
- I like Deshaun Watson, I really do... but that young man is going to have a very, very short career in the NFL if he doesn’t learn how to protect himself when taking some of those hits he’s being pummeled by.
- The Seahawks, who we beat, nearly beat the Rams Any given Sunday.
- Cleveland’s defense is top 5. Seriously. I don’t care what the stats say.
- The Vikings and Eagles are both weird teams this year, neither one of which (talent wise) should be 2 win teams after 5 weeks. But... they are...
- I watched the Charger’s “home” game against San Francisco, where the tiny little 30,000 seat stadium was a sea of red as it was filled with Niners fans. The NFL should step in and move that team back to San Diego, else some other town that will actually support them like Oklahoma City, Portland, Salt Lake, etc. Call it a “move Mulligan” or something.
- The Rams are doing fine in LA. One team there is more than enough.
- Look for Jordan Howard to have a breakout game against Miami.
- The Bears are 3-0 since I bought my wife her new Chicago Bears ball cap & zip-up jacket. You are welcome.
- Jon Gruden is my All-Time Favorite Raider.
I asked my fellow WCG contributors if they had a first-quarter Cold Take they want to share, and here are their answers:
- Neither side of the ball has reached their potential. The offensive side of the ball is well-documented. As the season progresses, we should continue to see growth from Trubisky and the offense as a whole. The key for this offense is going to be keeping everyone involved and playing off of the individual match-ups that each game provides.
- On defense however, you still have Khalil Mack and Roquan Smith rounding into shape, and learning a new scheme. As the symbiotic relationship between the pass rush and secondary grows, we will likely see more chances being taken, for better or worse. Either way, this team is still mostly potential, but that potential can grow into something great...on both sides of the ball.
- There are still going to be lumps the rest of the season. One 6-TD game doesn’t mean that the Trubisky has figured it all out. He still needs to learn to better anticipate pressure and diagnose coverages better, especially against most exotic defenses than what the Bucs showed.
- The team might lose some games that we don’t expect them to, but that’s all right: This season was never meant to be all or nothing when it came to the playoffs. That said, they are ahead of where we thought they would be so come later in the season as everything gels, we could be playing with house money.
Lester Wiltfong, Jr.:
- Jordan Howard is going to be fine. His numbers are down partly because of the game-plans, but also partly because of the game-flow. Matt Nagy is still trying to find a comfort level with his play calling and how to best utilize all the talent -- and there is a lot of talent -- on his offense.
- The Bears are the best team in the NFC North. Will it end up like that in Week 17? I’m not sure but I truly believe they are the most complete team through 5 weeks.
- They have the best defense & to this point it hasn’t been that close & if they have a middle of the road offense, they aren’t going to lose many games.
- The Bears season will be defined within their division & I think the final 5 games within the North will surprise a lot of people.
- The secondary is deeper than we think. The injuries the secondary took had some people scared, but there is decent depth on this roster. The special teams players can step up, for example, when the Bears need then to.
Erik C. Duerrwaechter:
- There’s plenty to be optimistic about with this team. The Bears’ defense has already ascended to the top of the league as one of the most dominant units in 2018. Khalil Mack is a real contender for the league’s MVP award.
- With that said, there’s contributions being made from each level; from the D-Line to the secondary.
- Meanwhile, the offense is still coming together. And that was to be expected, with an entirely new offense being installed with plenty of new faces. Trubisky has improved slowly through the first 4 weeks. He needs to continue improving, if this Bears team is to compete for the long-term. And where I’d like to see Jordan Howard get more involved with the run game, the blocking up front hasn’t been great. That might change with James Daniels potentially taking over at LG. Once every component on offense gets rolling, it’s going to be a formidable unit to play against.
- Trey Burton is the best and most valuable skill position player (non-quarterback) the Bears possess. That’s better than each of Jordan Howard, Tarik Cohen, Allen Robinson, the whole lot. He’s the Earth of the Bears’ “Earth, Wind, & Fire” at tight end. Seeing how he versatile he is in lining up all over the field and excelling as a fullback, split-out receiver, and even in-line tight end makes me appreciate Chicago’s offensive Swiss Army Knife more. He’s a talented worker bee up to any task asked of him.
- Burton’s numbers through a month as a receiver (11 receptions, 176 yards, two touchdowns) aren’t impressive at a glance. I think that’s more of a product of Burton and the Bears offense getting into sync, since the entire passing offense didn’t break through until Week 4. Seeing how Burton’s produced that yardage from everywhere and how often he’s come through for Trubisky in small sample sizes, makes me think we’re heading for a major, consistent breakthrough for the tight end in the last 12 games of the 2018 season.
- Burton will in all likelihood never be a Pro Bowl tight end because he’s not that good, and there are so many capable weapons on this Bears offense that can take away from his production and eye-popping numbers. But that doesn’t mean he can’t settle in firmly to the tier of very good just below it, or that his value is in any way diminished.
- The Bears are not an elite team, and a deep playoff run is incredibly unlikely. However, this very well could be a team that is still atop of NFC North for quite some time. Given Detroit’s hot-and-cold style of play, Minnesota’s general disarray and Green Bay’s relying on an injured Aaron Rodgers, things are lining up for Chicago to take control of the division. Granted, some of their rivals’ issues could be fixed later in the year, but the Bears have the pure talent on both sides of the ball to at least stay competitive with most teams in the league.
- Khalil Mack has played a huge role in revamping their defense, while Mitchell Trubisky has displayed in flashes what their offense can eventually develop into. 2018 might not be the year that they become true Super Bowl contenders, but the Bears are more than just a flash in the pan.
- Trubisky is still far from a finished product. He looked great against the Bucs, and did a lot of the things you want him to do vs a poor secondary. At the same time, he did miss on some easy throws, and missed a couple of reads. Nothing glaring, but still mistakes that a better D would have capitalized on. That should get better with time. He’s going to have some rough games again this season, so don’t get too down when he does, but he showed us what he’s capable of when he puts it all together. And boy, was it a sight to behold!
- If the Bears had Wade Phillips instead of Vic Fangio I don’t think other teams would even score points.
So what do you think, Chicago Bears fans... let’s hear it, spill the beans!