Is this what a Bears COVID-19 helmet will look like?

Is this what a Bears COVID-19 helmet will look like?

When the COVID-19 outbreak began in the United States, life, as we knew it, came to a screeching halt. This included all professional sports, and now several months into the nationwide shutdown, we're still waiting for baseball, basketball and hockey to resume.

So far, the NFL has been insulated from any real impact from the novel coronavirus. The league pivoted the NFL draft to a virtual experience, but record-setting television ratings and an otherwise enjoyable television product minimized any real harm.

But with the virus still dictating when life goes back to normal, and the 2020 NFL season suddenly less than 90 days away, there's some renewed concern about how (and if) the season can kick off on time

One measure being considered by the league is extra protection added to the helmet. With face coverings proving effective in slowing the transmission of COVID-19, it would make sense to provide NFL players who engage in close combat for 60 minutes with something similar to the facemasks worn in everyday life.

Here's an example of what a Bears COVID-19 helmet could look like this year if the league decides to implement some kind of face covering.

It looks like a cross between a motorcycle helmet and something you'd wear if you were playing paintball with your buddies. It's certainly a big change from what traditional football fans are used to, but it isn't all that bad. 

The most important thing is the players' health and safety. Aesthetics will take a back seat (at least for 2020) if a helmet design like this can keep the Bears (and the rest of the league) out of harm's way.

Bears WR coach says Anthony Miller is learning from Allen Robinson

Bears WR coach says Anthony Miller is learning from Allen Robinson

Chicago Bears wide receiver Anthony Miller was supposed to have his breakout season last year. Instead, had just 52 catches for 656 yards and two touchdowns.

It wasn't a completely lost season for Miller, who ended 2019 with two games of nine catches and more than 100 yards over the final five weeks. But he didn't take that next step in his development from the dominant playmaker at Memphis to a true pro receiver.

That development appears like it's finally starting to happen, according to wide receivers coach Mike Furrey.

‘‘He’s starting to understand defenses and coverages and leverages — that stuff, it’s not just playground,’’ Furrey said on Thursday. ‘‘Now everything’s slowing down for him from a route-running standpoint. He gets in meetings, he can respond, he can communicate. He’s not tucking his hat down and [giving] one-word answers."

It typically takes three seasons before passing judgment on a wide receiver, and Miller is setting up to be a classic example of why. The NFL game didn't come as easily as the college game for him, and in order for him to reach his potential, he has to swallow his pride and be willing to learn from established vets.

He's doing that.

‘‘He’s trying to learn. He’s dropped the ego of this whole Memphis thing. Now he’s coming here and learning from Allen Robinson, asking Allen Robinson, watching Allen Robinson. . . . If you’re starting to do that stuff, you’re definitely heading in the right direction and starting to grow individually.’’

Miller's development is critical for the Bears to achieve the kind of success in the passing game that Matt Nagy is hoping for. Robinson can only do so much; he needs a quality running mate who can threaten defenses when they roll coverage his way. Miller hasn't been able to that yet, but it isn't too late for him.

The Bears spent a second-round pick on Miller in 2018 for a reason. They expect him to be a long-term starter and an electrifying playmaker with the ball in his hands. We've seen flashes of it, but it's time for him to prove that big plays are the norm, not the exception.

NFL Power Rankings 2020: Post COVID-19 opt-out edition

NFL Power Rankings 2020: Post COVID-19 opt-out edition

It's been an unusal sports season because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Sports are playing in bubbles, others have altered their schedules to overcome the hurdles.

And across all sports, players have had to determine whether they wanted to compete or opt-out of the season.

The deadline for the 2020 NFL season was Thursday, and some noteworthy players opted out in what's already been an unpredictable first week for NFL training camps.

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Since it’s been a few months since our post-NFL Draft power rankings, we thought we'd see how the opt-outs impacted the NFL landscape.

Here's how the 32 NFL teams rank after the deadline.