Bears

Thomas Jones tweets plan to fix Bears' struggling offense

Thomas Jones tweets plan to fix Bears' struggling offense

It didn't take Thomas Jones long to become a fan-favorite during his tenure with the Bears, which spanned three seasons from 2004-2006.  Jones, who was the seventh overall pick in the 2000 NFL draft, resurrected his career in Chicago with back-to-back seasons over 1,200 rushing yards in 2005 and 2006.

So, when he speaks about how to improve the offense through the running game, coach Matt Nagy and the rest of Chicago's offensive staff should at least give it a listen.

Technically, Jones tweeted his plan to repair the Bears' struggling offense. But, the point remains.

"Nagy should learn the history of the Bears," Jones tweeted. "When they've won in the past it's because they ran the ball 1st! The fans & the makeup of the Bears is blue-collar. Hard-nosed, physical fundamental football. Limit turnovers, chew up the clock & let the defense get you the ball back.

"And where is their fullback? How can you run the ball in Chicago without a fullback in the game? When u have a fullback in the game the linebackers know they have to strap up their helmets. It's going to be a physical game & some of them don't want that. Can't make it easy for them."

To be fair, fullback is a nearly extinct position in the NFL. But Jones' suggestion runs deeper than that; the Bears need to at least appear like they want to run the ball in order to make the defense respect the threat of a running game.

"They NEVER try to establish the run which puts all of the pressure on a young QB who is still learning & trying to figure out who he's going to be in this league," Jones said. "The O line won't get into any rhythm if they don't run block enough & the defense can only hold up for so long."

According to Jones, Mitch Trubisky isn't ready to be the centerpiece of Chicago's offense just yet.

"Mitch is too young to have all of that pressure on him at once. He's talented but he's not ready yet. You have talented backs & an incredible defense. The O Line just needs to gain confidence run blocking in real-time. They have to establish a running game or things won't change."

Jones drew on some experience from the 2005 season when the Bears kept things pretty basic for then-rookie quarterback Kyle Orton, who enjoyed some moderate success that year. He also chimed in on the Trubisky vs. Patrick Mahomes and DeShaun Watson debate.

"Everyone matures at different times in the NFL. He's not those other guys so comparing him to them isn't going to help them win games right now. Establish a run game & take pressure off of him. Simplify the offense by giving him basic pass plays like we did with Orton in 05."

So how do the Bears get their offense back on a winning track? You guessed it: run the ball!

"It's not a old times sake thing. It's football. Every winning team establishes some sort of running game. Even if it's running back by committee or a running QB. The more tired a defense is from having to chase & tackle the more mental mistakes they're going to make.

"Which gives you a higher chance to win the game. When you run the ball you can take more chances throwing the ball downfield, running specialty plays such as screens and reverses. The defense can't just lay their ears back because they know they can get gashed at any time."

Head over to Jones' Twitter page to follow along with his complete Bears breakdown. It's pretty epic and is a great reminder of just how passionate he is about this team, this city, and winning.

Penn State's Micah Parsons joins growing list of top college players opting out

Penn State's Micah Parsons joins growing list of top college players opting out

First, it was Virginia Tech cornerback Caleb Farley who announced he was sitting out of the 2020 college football season due to COVID-19 and will instead prepare for the 2021 NFL draft. Then it was Minnesota wide receiver Rashod Bateman who followed suit. Now, it's Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons, a sure-fire top-five pick next Apri,l who won't suit up for the Nittany Lions this fall. 

According to Yahoo Sports' Eric Edholm, Parsons will forgo the 2020 season and focus on his already highly-valued draft stock. He should be the first defensive prospect picked from the 2021 class and didn't have much to prove this season in order to elevate his standing in the scouting community. One could argue that the only direction his stock could go was down, especially if he got injured.

2021 NFL Draft: Top WR prospect Rashod Bateman opts out of 2020 season

That won't be the case now, and it's unlikely Parsons will be the last high-profile prospect to set his sights on the NFL. 

In a strange and twisted way, this is actually good news for the Bears, who will have a first-round pick in 2021 after two seasons without one following the Khalil Mack trade in 2018. Players like Farley, Batemen, and Parsons are all first-round worthy. By sitting out, they'll be healthy and ready to go next April. The more first-rounders who opt-out in 2020, the more healthy first-rounders there will be in April. 

And let's be honest: the 2020 college football season is setting up to be an absolute trainwreck because of the novel coronavirus. It makes sense, as a business decision, for the top-tier players to preserve their bodies instead of taking a risk for a reward that will carry an asterisk next to it anyway.

More on the Bears:

Fantasy Football: Mitch Trubisky dubbed Bears' worst ADP value

Fantasy Football: Mitch Trubisky dubbed Bears' worst ADP value

Fantasy football drafts are in peak season right now as we inch closer to the NFL's scheduled 2020 kickoff on September 10. Fantasy players around the country are doing their research on who to draft (and when to draft them), studying ADP (average draft position) to best formulate their strategy.

The smartest fantasy players draft for value; they grab good players who last longer in drafts than they should. The flipside is also true. Fantasy champs don't reach on players and instead let the draft board come to them.

In the case of Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky and his 2020 fantasy draft value, well, there really isn't any. According to Pro Football Focus' recent breakdown of the worst ADP value for every team, it's Trubisky who gets the nod in Chicago.

Trubisky's ADP is currently hovering around Pick 240.

"The Bears don’t really have any players who are egregiously bad values, so we’ll slot Trubisky in at this spot as the de facto option to avoid," wrote PFF's Sosa Kremenjas. "General manager Ryan Pace acquired Nick Foles in a trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars, presumably to take over the starting quarterback job. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Trubisky’s 64.3 overall PFF grade didn’t suffice (ranked 27th among all qualifying quarterbacks), though the competition between the two legitimately seems to be open.

"Trubisky’s 2019 didn’t go as planned, as the former top-five overall draft pick landed 26th among quarterbacks in total scoring and 32nd in points per dropback. At this point, Trubisky should be treated as a backup quarterback option. He has the potential to rise to a starting quarterback position and is maybe worth streaming occasionally."

Let's put Trubisky's ADP into perspective. Most fantasy leagues are comprised of 12 teams. Essentially, Trubisky should come off the board sometime in or around the 20th round. He's a late-round pick, at best, and yet he's still considered bad fantasy value by PFF.

Maybe it's because he isn't assured of a starting gig in 2020. Maybe it's because he just didn't look like a very good NFL quarterback last season. But it certainly feels like fantasy players can do a lot worse than a roll of the dice on Trubisky that late in the draft.