Welcome to First and Final Thoughts, one of our weekly columns with a title that's a little too on the…
Welcome to First and Final Thoughts, one of our weekly columns with a title that’s a little too on the nose. Here we will have Insider JJ Stankevitz and Producers Cam Ellis and Paul Aspan give some insight into what’s on their minds between games.
Paul Aspan: “Who do you block?” That was Akiem Hicks’ response when asked about the Bears defensive dominance against the Vikings. Khalil Mack and Eddie Jackson continued to add to the Bears NFL-leading 27 takeaways, but it was Hicks who (continued to) set the tone from the very first drive by blowing up a 3rd and inches and forcing the Vikings into a 3 and out
The Bears put everyone on notice on the national stage that yes, they are for real and in control of the NFC North, in a 25-20 win that was not even that close.
Monday & Tuesday did bring an unwelcome surprise with the news that Mitchell Trubisky’s status is in doubt for Thursday’s short turnaround against the Lions. Anytime the franchise QB countries on the injury report is unnerving but the good news is that Matt Nagy is at least saying it’s not a long term concern.
Cam Ellis: Based on tiny part to his incredible play but mostly due to this hilarious mic ‘ d up video, this seems like the time and the place to give Akeim Hicks his due. If the Patriots had not spent the last 20 years getting rid of their best defensive talent far too early, it would almost be surprising that they let Hicks walk after the 201
6 season. In the first year as a Bear, Hicks put up a career-best 8.5 sacks, and he has been one of the highest-rated defensive linemen in football this season:
He’s probably headed to the Pro Bowl this season, and if not for Bryce Callahan, Hicks would probably be considered the best defensive player not named Khalil Mack.
JJ Stankevitz : Three guys, basically, made the Pro Bowl on Sunday night between Akiem Hicks, Khalil Mack and Eddie Jackson. Mack was probably going to the Pro Bowl already, but what Hicks did with five (!) Tackles for a loss and a sack should earn him his first career Pro Bowl bid. And Jackson’s pick-six made a statement to a national audience about the safety’s ball skills, both before and after he creates a turnover. Making the Pro Bowl matters to these guys, and there’s no better way to state your case than with a big game in front of a primetime national audience. That’s exactly what these guys did against the Vikings.
Aspan: So Chase Daniel huh? Den 85 timers turnaround var alltid på tide å være en utfordring, men det sikkert tilfører en annen rynke om Trubisky er tvunget til å se fra sidelinjen. Men dette er fortsatt det samme Lions team som tillät Bears six sacks for bare to uker siden. That doesnt just fix itself. This is also the same leaky secondary – that despite beating the Panthers – allowed D.J. Moore to catch 7 passes for 157 yards and a TD, one week after allowing Anthony Miller and Allen Robinson 100 yard days.
The Bears are clearly the better team, regardless of who’s playing quarterback. This game will probably be closer than it should be, but here’s to count on the Bears to back up Sunday night’s showing with another W.
Ellis: While having a QB show up on the injury is never a good thing, the Bears’ situation is about as good as you can expect, given the circumstances. The Lions have the 29th ranked overall defense by DVOA, so theoretically a Chase Daniel offense could hand the ball off enough to not lose. The 30th ranked secondary in the NFL is not going to be * that * much better against Chase Daniel than they would Mitch Trubisky. Next week? The Giants has the 27th ranked pass defense and are the 20th ranked rush group. All things considered, it could be a lot worse. There’s a reason Daniel is one of the highest-paid backups in football.
Stankevitz: The Bears exercised caution with Allen Robinson and Khalil Mack earlier this year, opting to hold both players out of games against bottom-feeding opponents when they were not 100 percent. Mens de Lions er 4-6 og ikke nødvendigvis den samme slags bad de New York Jets og Buffalo Bills er, de er ikke så talentfulde et team som de Bears, så måske er der en bestemt beregning for Matt Nagy her. If Trubisky is not 100 percent – and, more importantly, if his play will be affected by his shoulder injury and / or there’s a risk of getting worse with playing – then maybe resting him against the last-place Lions, and potentially the last-place New York Giants on Dec. 2, fits with the cautious pattern this team has used this year. And that’s not to criticize it: The Bears have been remarkably healthy this year, and plenty of credit goes to the plan put in place by Nagy, Andre Tucker, Jen Gibson and the Bears training staff. Perhaps resting Trubisky on Thursday would fit with that.
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