Sometimes in the most annoying of ways, I see a stigma attached to a player or the team that makes me scrunch my face and scratch my head.
These are immediately dismissed internally until I see it continually on my twitter feed. Other times, there are opinions posed (by myself or others) that make me pause, contemplate, and go back to watch film to see if the claim holds water – or at least the cup to put it in.
The Chicago Bears have a lot of narratives surrounding the team, both positive and negative. Fans should know what to do with them all either way. As the kids say these days “don’t @ me.”
Actually, please do … I’d love to chat about the team: @TidwellTalks.
Let’s play a game of “Fact or Fiction” with five popular takes I’ve seen come across my newsfeed this offseason.
1. Mitch Trubisky will pass for 4,000 yards.
A few of the national media members are starting to take notice and make inferences that Trubisky has the potential to put the rest of the NFL on notice. He’s been picked to mirror a Jared Goff-like Year Two improvement due to general manager Ryan Pace’s offseason hirings, firings and player acquisitions.
Some of us, (who have actually watched every game multiple times) have predicted this type of thing for months. I’ve gone on record through my tweets saying that Trubisky would get close to, or eclipse, 4,000 passing yards in his second year.
Here’s another bold prediction: Trubisky finishes top five in QBR next season.
2. Jordan Howard doesn’t fit this offense.
This has been a large debate for the majority of the offseason. The problem is, it’s hard to say yay or nay due to the fact that none of us know the complete details and components on head coach Matt Nagy’s offensive scheme.
The running back position is crucial and Howard is a monster between the tackles. Nagy recently stated in an interview with Dan Pompei that it will only look like 70 percent of what he did as Andy Reid’s offensive coordinator in Kansas City. That leaves 30 percent to be filled in with schemes and concepts from Nagy’s offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich and the rest of his staff or completely brand-new ideas.
Looking at the past to get a glimpse of the future shows that Howard doesn’t completely fit. He has not been very good in the passing game, at all. Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt had 53 catches for 455 yards last year as a rookie.
Howard, on the other hand, has less than both of those numbers in his last two seasons combined.
This one is tough to debunk. I believe that Howard will still have great rushing numbers due to running from shotgun and the spread offense concepts that are going to stop him from seeing loaded boxes every down. I think the answer to this one is a little bit of both.
Fact AND Fiction
3. Bears should upgrade at Tackle over Charles Leno.
This one makes me upset. There is absolutely, no reason right now that the Bears should even look at another left tackle.
This is the NFL. Tackles get beat every now and then because pass rushers are the second most important position on the team. It’s why they get paid the second most amount of money.
The Broncos aren’t paying $20-plus million annually to Von Miller for him to get neutralized by a tackle every down. JJ Watt wasn’t the highest paid defender at one point because the bookend offensive lineman was stopping all of his moves. Tackles lose that battle occasionally and rightfully so.
Even one of the best at the position, Tyron Smith has stats that look eerily similar to Leno’s. In the last three seasons, Leno has given up 15 sacks, 10 holding penalties, and 10 false starts. Smith? 13 sacks, 12 holding penalties and nine false starts.
This isn’t to say Leno is a top-five left tackle in the league, but I believe the Bears rightfully have committed to his development process. With new offensive line coach Harry Hiestand, I’d bet on an improvement next season.
4. Allen Robinson IF HEALTHY … blah blah blah.
I’m not sure why people pick and choose which ACL tears they want to attach the brightest caution flags to. National media, angry 49er fans and even Bears faithful who hoped for someone else have consistently given backhanded compliments to the Bears for signing Robinson; praising them for adding a top-10 receiver and shunning the organization for signing him while hurt.
Yet, Deshaun Watson and Carson Wentz tear their ACL and life goes on. Dalvin Cook tears his and Vikings fans are still filled with hopeful optimism about the upcoming season. ACL’s are not a death sentence and even the healthy guys have to perform and replicate the previous season.
Robinson will be a monster Week 1. Receivers who run great routes do well in the NFL because even if their speed declines, technique can get them open. Robinson does this exceptionally well. He wins 50-50 balls, is dangerous in the red zone, and in this offense, he’s going to destroy man coverage.
Fiction … He will be a threat. Period.
5. Kevin White won’t make the team.
Wide receiver Kevin Romone White will be a Chicago Bear in 2018 and will probably start against Green Bay, barring injury. The Bears have spent a ton of money on White up to this point, and due to him being a top-10 draft pick, they’re still spending a pretty penny for him this season too.
There is no way the Bears are going to let him go for more reasons than money though. Chicago has been snake bitten with injuries and one injury (*knocks on wood*) to any receiver puts the team on alert.
The Bears need as much quality depth at the position as possible.
White provides that, even if it’s been hard to see due to his injury-plagued history. Additionally, I’ve been hearing from a source that White has been looking phenomenal in practice and the public releases you hear or read about him are not just hype.
He’s making plays, running by people, playing quickly, and looking like a first round pick again.
As fans, we should all be excited and hope that White is playing well enough to start. I’d always rather have too much than not enough. And after the last couple of seasons, I’m sure the Bears feel the same.