Patti Curl: Let’s just jump in to the most pressing topic concerning the Bears free agent signings. Is it immature for me to be endlessly amused by the fact that our new safeties name is effectively Ha Ha...Dix? Or, perhaps, is it so immature that it’s actually very mature?
Jeff Berckes: Is this one of those “is he so overrated that he’s actually underrated” arguments? I’ve given out a few nicknames in my day that have stuck with the person, for better or worse, through childhood and into adult life. His full name is Ha’Sean Treshon Clinton-Dix and I’ll admit, when the Packers drafted him in 2014, I immediately sent my friend a text saying “well, that’s a laughable pick.” It’s kind of a funny name and it’s ripe for a meme of Nelson from the Simpsons to point and laugh every time he does something wrong. As for the second half of the name, well, that’s always funny.
I think I lean into the Bears - Packers rivalry harder than most because it can be good clean fun. The fighting on Twitter and in the comments sections between fans of the two franchises about what the other is getting has been entertaining. Adrian Amos signed a really nice deal with the Packers and will improve their secondary (because it was a tire fire before he signed...), but he probably won’t have a great time of it if they expect him to be a play maker back in center field. He’s a good football player - he just happened to be about the 10th most important starter on the Bears defense. The Bears signing HHCD on a reasonable one year deal to reunite with college teammate Eddie Jackson was easily Ryan Pace’s best move this free agency and I’m not the least bit worried about him being effective in that support structure. He’s got a first round pedigree and has played at a high level in the NFL. The real losers in that swap were Washington, who forked over a 4th round pick for a half season rental and failed to resign him. That, more than anything, deserves the Nelson Muntz treatment.
Other than HHCD, who are you most excited about donning navy and orange? Have you developed any draft crushes yet?
PC: To stay on the subject of great first names, I have to say I’m quite fond of “Buster.” My feeling is any time your name would make a great nickname for a dog, you’re doing something right. The similarities between Buster Skrine and Ha Ha “Clinton”-Dix don’t stop there, though. They’re both replacements that have more big play potential with a little less down-to-down consistency. Combine that with Pagano’s aggressive approach, and I’m already imagining the takeaways rolling in all season. With year 2 of Nagy’s system and Trubisky’s continued development, the defense will probably only need to get one stop a game to win anyway.
I’ll also say after watching Mike Davis highlights, the man will look good in a Bear uniform. He has a roundness to his frame that is very aesthetically appealing as he stomps down the field and I won’t mind at all if we end up with a heavy dose of Davis next season.
I’ve been woefully out of the loop when it comes to the draft, partially because the Bears really don’t need to add anyone, and aside from potentially a day two running back, the drafties will be developmental and depth pieces. Although I can’t stop fawning over the fact that a 260 pound person ran the 40 at Tarik Cohen speed, I haven’t really developed any draft crushes within the Bears reach. Hopefully, you’re following closer. Are there any talented running backs with great tape that might fall to the 3rd round due to injury or poor athletic testing? That seems like the profile for a potential Bear superstar.
JB: The good news for the Bears is that this draft aligns well with their needs - specifically mid-round backs. Bears Over Beers, the new podcast EJ Snyder and I host (listen, subscribe, tell your friends!), will be diving into running backs next. EJ said he’s been watching so much college running back tape that he thinks it might be two episodes! For my part, I just watch Tarik Cohen highlights so I can accurately describe his awesomeness. I’m still trying to find the right words. Stunning? Breathtaking? Incredibilisimo?
One guy that keeps getting bandied about is David Montgomery, the excellent runner out of Iowa State. He’s a fine player but I’m kind of rooting against the Bears taking him for the selfish reason that I’m an Iowa Hawkeyes fan surrounded by a majority of Iowa State grads. If the Bears take Montgomery, I will be forced to have a lot of conversations with Iowa State fans at work and I simply don’t want to do that. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll cheer for the guy - I just don’t want to give any credit to the ISU faithful.
One of my favorite things to watch every year from the combine is the Rich Eisen simulcam, as he always shows great humility, raises money for a good cause, and it’s fascinating to see what a typical human looks like up against these elite athletes. As someone who was electronically timed running the 40 many years ago and weighing in at a little less than that 260 pounds, I can tell you that my time was comfortably over 5 seconds. Yes, it’s fair to say that I’ve always been, what’s a nice way to say it, slower than molasses on a cold morning, but it should provide most of the armchair watchers with a little context. Montez Sweat’s run at 260 pounds in running back territory is just plain silly. This is one of the reasons why watching the NFL is so much fun - the athleticism has never been higher.
We just found out that the Bears will officially host the Packers to start the year off 1-0 in celebration of the 100th season of the Chicago Bears and the NFL. It will be the 199th meeting between these two teams and a series sweep this season by the Bears will even the mark at 97-97-6. What will you do to celebrate the 100th season?
PC: I’m going to need a second to process how many years of Bears football I missed out on.
Ok. I took that second watching Tarik Cohen highlights, and I had almost forgotten the time James Daniels carried Cohen the final 3 yards of a game-winning first down. What a terrific pair of Bears right there.
Now, to celebrate the 100th. First, I think I’ll have to do it at the beginning of the season, since I don’t want it to interfere with playoff and super bowl celebrations. Maybe I’ll finally learn to sew and fashion a dress out of a combination Akiem Hicks and Gayle Sayers jersey to make a #46 Sacks jersey, which of course would be more of a shout-out to Buddy Ryan’s 4-6 defense than a call for the Bears to only get 46 sacks next season. I could also finally make the kitty-sized “Big Cat” Williams jersey Genghis has been begging me for.
Now I’m realizing I need to make more NYC Bears fan friends. Or I can just invite all the Patriots and Packers fans that infest my life and make them put on bear ears at the door.
What do you think is the most appropriate Bear party food?
JB: I think serving food that would make an actual bear happy makes a lot of sense. A tray with smoked salmon, mixed berries, and honey roasted nuts is an excellent starter. For the main course, serve up some bison burgers (sorry Bills fans), cooked up medium rare. The most appropriate pastry for dessert is the bear claw, obviously, and in my experience they are tasty at all hours of the day... and night. For a beverage, look no further than a nice refreshing mead, made by fermenting honey. Just let me know what I can bring!
PC: I think you’re spot on with those suggestions. The only part of a Bear’s perfect diet your missing is insects. I had some fried dragonflies in Indonesia once and they were surprisingly tasty. I can see them working well as a chip replacement in some bearibly-delicious nachos. On second thought, let’s save those for the super bowl celebration meal. It should be easier to find dragonflies in Florida.