No player had a better preseason debut than rookie seventh-round pick, Javon Wims.
The big-bodied wide receiver (6'4, 215 pounds) had a breakout 2017 season with the Georgia Bulldogs when he totaled 45 catches for 720 yards and seven touchdowns. But despite his imposing frame and huge upside, his limited history of production caused him to slip into the last round of April's NFL draft.
Chicago made a concerted effort to upgrade wide receiver this offseason and Wims was part of that plan, even though he wasn't necessarily a headliner. In fact, he started training camp as a guy fighting for a roster spot.
If Thursday night's performance against the Ravens in the Hall of Fame Game is any indication of his potential impact on the field, he won't have to fight too hard to make the team.
Wims led all Bears receivers with seven receptions for 89 yards and looked more like a first-round pick than a late-round flier. He made his quarterback look good, too.
Third-string quarterback Tyler Bray enjoyed a 97.5 passer rating when targeting Wims, according to Pro Football Focus.
Interestingly, the Bears used Wims out of the slot more than on the outside, as PFF noted in their tweet. His usage against the Ravens could be a sign of how former first-round pick Kevin White will be deployed during the regular season.
Wims' strong start to the preseason has put players like Bennie Fowler and Josh Bellamy on notice.
Chicago's next live action will be in Cincinnati on August 9 in what is officially the first week of the preseason around the NFL.
NFL.com recently ranked all of the league's head coaches, because the football season may end but creating content never will.
The top tier consists of all the usual suspects ... except for the guy that literally won the league's award for best coach last season.
Matt Nagy came in at 14 on this list, and not even the highest-ranked NFC North coach. The reasoning is a tad suspect; here's what they had to say:
Matt Nagy more than delivered in his first year as the Bears' head coach, taking Chicago to the postseason for the first time since the 2010 season. What's interesting about Nagy is that his side of the ball is offense, and prior to getting hired by the Bears, he was known for his work with quarterbacks in Kansas City. Yet, it was Vic Fangio's defense that did most of the heavy lifting to get Chicago to the playoffs. A head coach does much more than run one side of the ball, though. In fact, some of them don't do that at all. They run the office, in some respects. Nagy clearly set a tone in the building, so to speak, which should not be taken lightly. Nor should Nagy's work with Mitch Trubisky, who showed improvement from Year 1 to Year 2. Why is Reich ahead of Rivera but not Nagy? Well, Nagy has yet to achieve postseason success and had stronger personnel than Reich did in 2018.
Is this fair? Probably not! But is this important? Definitely not! Still - give your incumbent COY some more love, NFL. Club Dub! Yelling boom! The visors!
Pro Football Focus doesn’t seem to expect much regression for the Bears defense, at least when it comes to run defense.
PFF analyst Mike Renner ranked every team’s ability to stop the ground game, heading into 2019, and Chicago remains on top.
The team retained its entire front seven, top-to-bottom, with the exception of Sam Acho, who spent most of last season on injured reserve anyway.
One of the biggest keys, in Renner’s analysis, is Akiem Hicks, who was among Pro Football Focus’ top performers in the running game.
“The former Saint is proving himself one of the best free agent additions in recent memory,” Renner wrote. “His 13.3 run-stop percentage was the second-highest figure of any interior defender in the NFL last season.”
The Bears allowed the fewest rushing yards and rushing touchdowns of any defense last season, and the 3.8 yards per attempt they gave up was fourth best.
With the whole gang back together for 2019, the team is in a great spot to run it back under Chuck Pagano.