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Ten Thoughts on the NFL and the Bears

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Check out our Thoughts on the NFL this week and be sure to drop some of your own in the comment section.

College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl - LSU v Oklahoma Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

1) With the regular season over in the NFL that means twenty fanbases are turning their attention to the NFL Draft, and for fans of the Cincinnati Bengals they have to be fired up for the chance to draft LSU’s Joe Burrow, the 2019 Heisman Trophy winner and consensus top pick according to all the mock drafts out there.

He went from a guy many thought would be a day three draft pick to the top dog in the nation after lighting everyone up and leading the Tigers to an undefeated record and a spot in the NCAA Championship game.

He may not be the most highly rated prospect to ever come into the NFL, but he has all the intangibles and the “it factor” to be a franchise QB.

2) The second overall pick is just as much a no-brainer as the first, with Ohio State’s edge rusher Chase Young lined up to go to Washington. As I was watching Sunday’s NFL games I found myself scoreboard watching to make sure the Detroit Lions, who ended up with the third worst record, would not fall to number two and a shot at Young.

3) Sticking with the Redskins, reports have them about to hire Ron Rivera as their next head coach, and he should be able to get that team to respectability in short order now that they also fired team president Bruce Allen yesterday.

EDIT: It’s happening...

4) With the Miami Dolphins beating the New England Patriots on Sunday, that catapulted the Kansas City Chiefs into the number two seed in the AFC and some Chiefs fans (over 23,000 last I checked) are trying to get Miami QB Ryan Fitzpatrick to K.C to bang the drum at Arrowhead Stadium before their playoff game. The 37-year old Fitzpatrick has had such a strange career that I could see him actually doing this if he’s invited.

5) Drew Lock, Rap Legend.

And on the field he helped the Denver Broncos knock off the Oakland Raiders 16 to 15 by going 17 of 28 for 177 yards and 1 TD, while running 6 times for 29 yards.

But even more impressive is that the Broncos went 4-1 in Locks 5 starts to close out the season giving Denver fans some hope as they head into the offseason. It’s still far too early to know if Lock can be their long term QB, but if they ever need a halftime act I’m sure he could fill the bill.

6) Did you know that Jameis Winston’s first pass as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB was a pick-6?

He not only joined the exclusive 30 TD/30 INT club as the inaugural member, but he became the 8th player to pass for over 5,000 yard sin a single season.

He’s also seeking $30 million a year as a free agent this offseason.

7) Chicago Bears offensive lineman Kyle Long seemed to indicate he knows his days are numbered in Chicago with the following Tweet.

He then doubled down with an assessment of his 2019 play when a fan tried to come at him.

After reworking his contract before the season, I think we all realized that he was setting himself up for one last ride with the Bears. If (when) the Bears release him he’ll free up $8.1 million in cap space and only cost the Bears a $1.5 million in dead cap space.

  • With the holiday this week I asked my colleagues if anyone wanted to help me out with my Thoughts and I had a couple friends chime in.

From Robert Zeglinski:

8) There couldn’t be a better outcome for the NFL to sustain than an AFC Championship Game featuring the Ravens and Chiefs, and more importantly, Lamar Jackson and Pat Mahomes. While the Patriots have given the NFL and its fans a worthy villain to cheer against for most of the past decade, a return to the early aughts with a quarterback rivalry like Manning-Brady dominating the landscape should be more desirable. I truly hope that Mahomes-Jackson not only has a classic first playoff iteration at the end of this January, but that it becomes something special people gravitate for years on end.

Two young MVP’s in a duel of destiny, on the game’s greatest stage. This is the kind of star power, at a position at the forefront of professional sports, to keep a league heartbeat alive. Hardcore fans like the grit and dirt. They prefer the power running game and lament a rulebook that de-emphasizes physicality. Hardcore fans are not what will keep the NFL’s engine going. It’ll be the casual observers that gravitate to the quarterback name recognition of “Mahomes-Jackson” as they should.

9) I know the easy stance to take with the Patriots losing a first-round bye is to never count them out. To let them stand the test of time as an underdog ... of sorts. But for once, I’d like the collective conversation to not feed into their boring, grey, assembly line of a narrative. If the Patriots are an underdog, then underdog, like many words in our simulation of a reality, no longer means what it’s supposed to mean. It’s up to interpretation, subjective, and in the eye of the monotonous beholder. The Patriots, try as they might, can never be an underdog. There is too much of a ledger of sustained success behind them to ever consider them a lesser opponent. There’s always going to be some mindless shock jock or talking head or degenerate gambler on edge that says “YOU CAN’T COUNT OUT TOUCHDOWN TAW-HM” pre-postseason, and that’s the main reason in itself why they’re not an underdog. Because someone, somewhere, whether they have any remaining intact brain cells or not, will refuse to stop lionizing them.

All of that posturing and praying to a random deity aside, I’ll believe the evil cantankerous witch is dead when I see it.

And from Erik Christopher Duerrwaechter:

10) Pending on any decision(s) made with the assistants on the Bears’ staff, will we see Matt Nagy hire seasoned guys more aligned with his philosophies on offense? Or, will he seek out new ideas and dive back into the collegiate ranks for his new offensive staff? It’s worth noting that at least three assistants were hired directly from college teams in 2018.

In my opinion, Nagy tried way too hard to mesh his concepts with Mark Helfrich’s. And it backfired big time. Hiring someone like Pat Shurmer to oversee the playbook installation and route installations, along with the ground game and blocking assignments, would make sense, and Shurmer is from the Andy Reid tree. Or, he could go for the shocker and poach from LSU’s staff, with Joe Brady and Steve Ensminger being guys who would make a TON of sense.

Have a safe and Happy New Year’s Eve everyone!