By Drew Stevens (@lookwhatdrewdid)
It’s as simple as this, Aaron Rodgers.
If you no longer want any part of an organization whose general manager has begun to dig your grave even as you continue to withstand the rigors of professional quarterbacking with flying colors, then you should most certainly look for a change of scenery. You see how well things are working out for Tom Brady after he ended his longterm relationship with New England, right?
He found greener — and far warmer — pastures in Tampa Bay. Now while it may be tempting to move across country where friendlier climates and your childhood favorite 49ers play, remember, that team blew its chance with you years ago. Besides, the coldest dish of revenge you could serve that bay green and cheese gold-colored front office would be aligning yourself with its sworn enemy, the Chicago Bears.
That’s how you retaliate against Brian Gutekunst, who had the audacity to trade up to select Jordan Love in last year’s NFL Draft, and head coach Matt LaFleur, who was a little too eager to co-sign that move and chose Mason Crosby’s leg, not your invaluable arm, when it mattered most. After all, when you have a chance to really stick it to your ex you don’t date a stranger. You round the bases with the best friend.
Think about it.
Not only would you move from the hallowed ground at Lambeau Field to that at Soldier Field, but you’d also go from being one of the city’s most hated visitors to one of its most beloved residents a la Dennis Rodman.
Plus, you love it here. Or at least that’s what I took from how you talked about the chills you feel before game time listening to both Jim Cornelison belt out the national anthem and Bears fans equally resounding reaction. “Those tingles over the years have made that place a really special environment,” you said in December. “And I do have a lot of respect for the organization, the fan base, their team.”
And we for you, albeit begrudgingly.
But you can’t really blame us for that though, can you? I mean, you did author a 35-16 beat down with your 240 yards and four touchdowns just a few days after speaking so highly of practically all things Chicago. Not to mention that was the 10th victory of your career in the Windy City in the 13 times you’ve played here. Hard feelings are even harder to shake when they’re mixed with the envy of watching your arch-rival swap one hall-of-fame signal caller for another while our carousel of mediocrity at that position continues to turn nonstop.
You can change that. You can rip that ride from its lousy rails. It’ll take some convincing, maybe even a little acting on your part. You’re pretty believable in those State Farm commercials. How good are you at faking or threatening retirement?
As far as compensation goes, tell Gutekunst we can offer the 20th overall pick in this year’s draft and future first-round picks in each of the next two as well. There figures to be a nice crop of blue chip offensive lineman this summer. Something for him to keep in mind given his franchise left tackle, David Bakhtiari, will be playing the rest of his career on a surgically-repaired knee. Also, considering how Kevin King had two touchdowns scored on him and drew a crippling defensive pass interference penalty that essentially robbed you of the chance to play in your second Super Bowl, it seems an upgrade at cornerback is in order. We’ve got a promising one in Jaylon Johnson he might be interested in, too.
If that package doesn’t move him, perhaps we can throw in the tag-and-trade of Allen Robinson. We’d much rather have the two of you here, but if we must sacrifice our most lethal offensive threat then so be it. You’re that special to us. Even today, just a handful of months from beginning your 17th year in the NFL.
Look. Breaking up is hard. There’s no two ways about it. But once you finish sopping up the best comfort food our city has to offer, you’ll adjust. You’ll see that while the sum of the Bears’ current weapons don’t yet compare to that of Davante Adams, Aaron Jones and Robert Tonyan, you’ve had far less to work with in your career than David Montgomery, Cole Kmet and Darnell Mooney.
None of this is to say you’d find the type of immediate success that Brady’s found with the Buccaneers. What it does mean is your arrival would, quite frankly, send an already rabid fanbase over the moon; push our mockery of a front office into credible standing; and our overworked defense into more favorable situations.
If nothing else, how satisfying would it be to flip the league’s oldest rivalry on its head, to force Gutekunst and LaFleur to forever rue the day they chose Love?
In Green Bay you had to escape the shadow of Brett Farve — who, against conventional wisdom, was cast out to the Jets of all teams after reaching near-deity status as a Cheeshead, his association with the Packers being the only one that can rival yours post-Bart Starr. Here, in Chicago, you’d cast a shadow as far as our franchise’s list of starting quarterbacks is long before you even threw your first pass in dark navy and orange.
The offseason is long. Our patience for a player your caliber has been woefully longer.
Just give it some thought.
Like the willpower to forgo those extra helpings of Thanksgiving goodness, the Chicago Bears’ odds of securing a playoff berth have dwindled to untraceable levels following their 41-25 loss to the Green Bay Packers Sunday night.
If not for the team’s mostly favorable early schedule, the Bears would likely be closer to competing for the No. 1 spot in the next NFL Draft than for an NFC Wild Card spot, which the team somehow is still on the periphery of even after showing themselves again to be nowhere in the league of the Packers, who should cruise to another NFC North title in light of this victory.
SELL (AT ALL COSTS) – Bears Extend Losing Streak To Five, Rodgers Sticks It To Them Once Again
A silver lining from Sunday night: there won’t be anymore opportunities for the Chicago Bears to prove unfit for national consumption this season.
After two lousy performances on ESPN and this most recent burial, the Bears are far from flex material, no matter what changes the NFL schedule may see in Weeks 16 and 17 (and maybe 18 should COVID-19 keep pushing games deeper into December and January).
That the 41-25 pummeling, one nowhere near as close in execution, is both the team’s fifth consecutive loss and third time being undressed in prime-time this season further validates any questioning of head coach Matt Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace’s job security.
With that being said, there’s plenty of culpability to go around on the field, too.
Mitch Trubisky, who started under center for the first time since being benched in the third quarter of Week 3, continued to dance his jig of one step forward and two steps back, throwing for 242 yards and three touchdowns (two of which lit up an already uneven scoreboard, garbage points being a specialty of the 2020 Bears), but also tossed two interceptions and lost a fumble which was returned for a score.
Meanwhile, Trubisky’s insufferably spectacular counterpart, Aaron Rodgers, exploited each path of least resistance offered from a Bears defense that sorely lacked liveliness and Akiem Hicks. The Packers looked every bit the part of a Super Bowl contender, gashing the Bears for more points in the first half (27) than they’d given up in any game all season (26).
Though not mathematically eliminated from post-season contention, the Bears would likely have to win each of their remaining five games — Lions (4-7), Texans (4-7), at Vikings (5-6), at Jaguars (1-10), and Packers (8-3) — to qualify.
At this point the Bears sweeping the remainder of their schedule seems as likely to happen as any chance of victory did after halftime Sunday night.
HOLD – Increasingly Cash-Strapped Cubs Providing First Challenges For New President Hoyer
It won’t be long now before recently crowned President of Baseball Operations Jed Hoyer begins to absorb the breadth of the spotlight once wholly reserved for his esteemed predecessor, Theo Epstein.
With the Cubs having hemorrhaged a reported tens of millions of dollars as a result of mitigation at the turnstiles last season (part of billions lost by the MLB as a whole), the pruning of payroll appears inevitable ahead of Tuesday’s non-tender deadline.
That crack at financial recoupment could mean the departure of Albert Almora (due a projected $1.575 million in arbitration), Kyle Schwarber (due a projected $7.9 million in arbitration) or Kris Bryant.
The former NL Rookie of the Year and MVP, Bryant, projects to make $18.6 million and is arbitration-eligible for the last time in 2021. Though he just struggled through the worst season of his career, Bryant has drawn interest from the New York Yankees, Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves.
Whomever Hoyer trades or releases into free agency will better indicate if the franchise is truly teeter tottering toward a digestible retool or an unpalatable rebuild — the latter of which Tom Ricketts recently refuted.
BUY – Bulls Prepare To Make Long-Awaited Return With Training Camp
Much judgement has already been passed in the direction of the Chicago Bulls ahead of the 2020-21 season and their first game action since March.
Tethered to all the conjecture about the floor-to-ceiling potential of Patrick Williams, the formidability of Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr., and any off-season roster changes that did or didn’t happen, is a solitary theme.
Can this team — a near spitting image of the one that had only claimed three victories in the final month’s time leading to the NBA’s shutdown in March — make the playoffs?
Whatever answer eventually emerges will begin its lengthy materialization Tuesday as training camp opens with individual workouts. Group sessions start Dec. 6.
Former Simeon product Zach Norvell Jr. will take the Advocate Center floor with fellow homegrown guard Devon Dotson after he and veteran journeyman Noah Vonleh signed one-year deals with the Bulls on Thanksgiving. That being said, Norvell Jr. and Vonleh will need to make quite the impression on the Bulls’ coaching staff to survive final roster cuts on Dec. 21.
In addition to the release of the training camp docket, preseason schedules were also revealed. The Bulls will host Houston Dec. 11 and 13 before traveling to Oklahoma City to face the Thunder Dec. 16 and 18.
BUY – Blackhawks Break Glass Ceilings, Empower Multiple Women
After some several weeks of quiet, the Chicago Blackhawks pegged a woman, Kendall Coyne Schofield, as their player development coach and youth hockey growth specialist a week ago, a bold move that earned the team applause throughout the sports landscape
News broke of the 28-year-old Oak Lawn native’s hiring on the same day Meghan Hunter was promoted from senior executive assistant to general manager Stan Bowman to the dual roles of director of hockey administration and amateur scout.
Coyne Schofield, who, in 2019, became the first woman ever to compete in the NHL’s All-Star Skills Competition, is still an active player and U.S. women’s national team captain. In addition to her responsibilities in player development, she will also scout for the Hawks’ AHL affiliate, the Rockford IceHogs.
Coyne Schofield and Hunter are two of three women employed in the Hawks’ hockey operations department. Chicago hired Mary DeBartolo as a hockey analytics coordinator last year.
“Knowing there are going to be people watching me on the ice, and seeing a woman in a coaching role, just shows what’s possible for the next generation,” Coyne Schofield said. “That’s what excites me.”