Aaron Rodgers may have done the impossible and won over a few Bears fans with an Instagram post he shared on Wednesday.
The post could be interpreted as a thinly veiled shot at Drew Brees, who said in an interview with Yahoo Finance on Wednesday that “I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country.”
Those comments have drawn the attention of athletes across the country-- including some of his Saints teammates-- insinuating that Brees may be missing the point of kneeling protests.
So back to Rodgers’ post.
He argues that objections to those types of peaceful protests were disingenuous from the outset.
“A few years ago we were criticized for locking arms in solidarity before the game,” Rodgers wrote. “It has NEVER been about an anthem or a flag. Not then. Not now. Listen with an open heart, let’s educate ourselves, and then turn word and thought into action. #wakeupamerica #itstimeforchange #loveoverfear❤️ #solidarity #libertyandjusticeforall #all.”
In 2017, following comments from Donald Trump saying any player to take a knee during the national anthem is a “son of a bitch” who should be “fired,” the Bears also decided to lock arms during the national anthem in a sign of solidarity.
At the time, Akiem Hicks said this about the team’s decision to lock arms during the anthem:
“To tell us that we don’t have the freedom to speak and to stand on whatever platform that we feel like and voice our opinions, and we have great respect for our country, great respect for the flag, great respect for the anthem — we also want to show that we’re unified.
“And I think that was the best way to show that. We hold all those things dear and we are American citizens.”
RELATED: Matt Forte calls for police accountability at peaceful Chicago protest
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Pat Boyle, David Haugh and Mark Carman join Kap on a Wednesday edition of STL.
0:00 - MLB teams continue to get ready for Opening Day. Should players feel any more confident in the league’s testing practices?
4:00 - Patrick Mahomes got a 10-year contract extension from the Chiefs. Are any current Chicago athletes worthy of a 10-year extension?
9:30 - KC Johnson joins Kap to look back at “The Decision” on its 10th anniversary. Just how close were the Bulls to landing LeBron, Bosh and Wade?
19:00 - The panel remembers where they were when LeBron made “The Decision”. Plus, they give their Blackhawks playoff odds.
Listen here or below.
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It wasn't long ago that the Chicago Bears offensive line was considered a strength of the team. They were one of the best in the NFL in 2018. The Bears' starting five was a big reason why the team went 12-4 and won the NFC North that year, but that wasn't the case in 2019. Chicago's offensive line had a lot to do with the team's underwhelming 8-8 season.
As a result, the Bears' starting group isn't getting much respect entering the 2020 season. According to Pro Football Focus' recent ranking of all 32 offensive lines, Chicago checks in at No. 22.
The Bears regressed from a fringe top-10 offensive line in 2018 to the 25th-ranked unit last season despite most of the group remaining intact. Left tackle Charles Leno saw the biggest drop-off in play, as he had four straight seasons grading in the 70s from 2015 to 2018 but finished at just 58.6 overall last season, good for just 64th out of 82 qualifiers. Leno earned his worst pass-blocking grade since 2015 while posting the lowest run-blocking grade of his career, at 47.5.
While PFF's ranking isn't great, there was a bit of optimism baked in. The analytics powerhouse still believes in the o-line's potential.
The Bears have the pieces to rank among the top 10-15 offensive lines in the league, but they need the tackles to get back to their 2018 form to go with progression from at least two players on the interior.
One of the big reasons why the Bears' offensive line struggled last year was the aftermath of Kyle Long's injury. Rashaad Coward was elevated to the first team; Cody Whitehair and James Daniels swapped positions. The best offensive lines have continuity, and that was lost in 2019.
With Germain Ifedi stepping into the right guard spot in 2020, and both Whitehair and Daniels settled in at center and left guard, the Bears will begin this season in much better shape and with a much better chance to return to the level of play we saw in 2018.