Bears defense gets a boost from even partial return of Pernell McPhee

Bears defense gets a boost from even partial return of Pernell McPhee

For a defense struggling to rush passers and stop opponents short of 20 points, Friday was an official day for at least a small beam of light off in the distance.

The glow was emanating from outside linebacker Pernell McPhee, the marquee signing of GM Ryan Pace early the 2015 offseason but whose first year in Chicago spiraled downward with a left-knee injury that reduced him to more games inactive (two) than sacks (one) over the final nine games, and eventually required surgery this offseason.

Friday was the first day McPhee was eligible to practice after being placed on the physically-unable-to-perform list to open the season. He spent his first practice serving on the scout team, simulating Jacksonville Jaguars plays and formations for his teammates.

“Feel awesome,” McPhee said afterwards. “I feel great, man. I'm out there practicing, running around with my teammates, so that's the best feeling in the world.”

McPhee would be eligible to play next Thursday against the Packers in Green Bay. As for whether he will: “You'll see, you'll see,” McPhee said, smiling.

The Bears now have 21 days within which to move him onto the 53-man roster, or be forced to relegate him to injured reserve for the remainder of the season. The final date for the roster decision would be Nov. 4, the Friday before the Bears’ bye week, which would set his return for the Nov. 13 game at Tampa Bay, the scene of McPhee’s final sack last season.

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Getting him back would be one of the best feelings in the world for the Bears defense. McPhee was voted by teammates as one of the defensive co-captains and put up five sacks over the span of five games last season before his knee issues really set in.

Now he looms as a potential in-season booster shot for a defense that has gotten virtually no impact pass rushing from a corps of linebackers that projected to be a strength this season. But Lamarr Houston, the 2015 sack leader with eight, was lost for the season with a knee injury, and No. 1 draft pick Leonard Floyd has delivered just a half-sack being in and out of the lineup with injuries.

A fresh McPhee and his emotional edge can be a lift for the entire defense.

“Any time that guys can look next to him and see kind of an integral part or a guy that can be a integral part to help you win, obviously that gives you confidence," Bears head coach John Fox said. "It gives you a boost of energy.

“I think jokingly guys refer to it as ‘fresh legs.’ You know they haven't been out there through the grind of practicing all week and over the course of time, a month's worth of time. You know guys do have a little bit of a freshness to them. It's a little hard to tell on the first day and it wasn't a padded practice, it wasn't a real extensive practice, Fridays typically a little more of a light workout but I'd say I think there was some enthusiasm there and some freshness there for sure.”

Vegas sets Mitchell Trubisky’s pass TD total at 26.5


Vegas sets Mitchell Trubisky’s pass TD total at 26.5

If Mitchell Trubisky has the kind of break out year in his second season under Matt Nagy that Bears fans are hoping for, he should have no problem cashing an OVER 26.5 passing TDs ticket for bettors who want to back him.

Per Bet Chicago, Caesars is rolling out division props and they set Trubisky’s touchdown pass total for 2019 at 26.5 and his pass yard total at 3,744.5.

While both those marks would be career highs for Trubisky, this number will surely be seen as a slight by the hometown fans and continue to add to the polarizing nature of the quarterback formerly known as the Pretty Boy Assassin.

In Chicago, and if you’re team Mitch, this number is ridiculously low and you’re probably already pounding the over.

Outside of Chicago, and with some analytical support, there’s a lot of doubt about Trubisky’s future as a viable option as an NFL starter, so I’d guess the Pro Football Focus crowd is probably gonna take the under.

We rolled out some props of our own on the Under Center podcast last week including:

Will Mitch Trubisky pass for 10 or more touchdowns than Craig Kimbrel has saves? (Including playoffs for both)

26.5 regular season passing touchdowns probably gives Kimbrel the edge, but it’s right in range. 

And that Trubisky – Kimbrel prop prompted this bold response from our own Bears insider JJ Stankevitz:

I don’t think I’m in the 40 club with my guy JJ, but the OVER certainly feels like the move here. At least it better be if the Bears are gonna make any sort of NFC North title defense. 


Former Bear Greg Olsen randomly walks into marriage proposal, catches whole thing on video


Former Bear Greg Olsen randomly walks into marriage proposal, catches whole thing on video

Scenario: you're walking down the street and randomly walk into a marriage proposal. What do you do?

For former Bear and current Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen, the answer was to capture the magical moment on video. 

Olsen was in Nashville this week to give a keynote speech at a healthcare conference. While walking back to his hotel on Thursday, he randomly stumbled into a marriage proposal. His first response: hit record on his phone and capture the whole thing on video.

"Did she say yes? I got it on video, dude," Olsen said emphatically. "I'm going to send it to you!

"She said yes and I got it all on video, and you don't even know me, but I'm going to send it to you."

The couple, according to the Panthers, is Max Harvat and Brooke Hartranft. The two were visiting Nashville for the week, but Harvat didn't necessarily plan the proposal. It was as much of a sporadic moment for him as it was random for Olsen.

"Oh my god, you're my hero," Harvat said to Olsen after the proposal.

As it turns out, Harvat grew up a Panthers fan. However, he had no idea that Olsen was the person recording the proposal in the moment, only happy that someone caught it on video. When he stood up, he realized who the mystery man was.

“When I stood up, I looked over and I started having a mini heart attack," Harvat said to "I was like, ‘I’m 90 percent sure that’s Greg Olsen from the Panthers!’

“I'm a huge Carolina fan. I was like, ‘Oh my God, you're telling me that Greg Olsen just recorded the whole thing?’ I was so excited. It was amazing."

The moment wasn't just special for Havrat and Hartranft, though.

"It's the best thing I've ever witnessed," Olsen said in the video.

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