Bears

View from the Moon: Bears not slipping into disarray like handful of others around NFL

View from the Moon: Bears not slipping into disarray like handful of others around NFL

Still sorting through impressions, perspectives, whatevers of the 2016 Bears and John Fox.

The fact that the Bears have for the most part remained competitive, focused and playing with professional intensity through a dismal season doesn’t ultimately mean much in a business which has only one true measure of success – winning. But events elsewhere in the NFL suggest that maintaining an even strain amid losing is an exception rather than the rule.

The Minnesota Vikings will take on the Bears Sunday in Minneapolis having fragmented in a loss last Saturday to the Green Bay Packers, with indications that players ignored coaches’ (including head coach Mike Zimmer’s) instructions in what could only politely be called insubordination. Zimmer and players have since claimed “miscommunication” as a lock-step explanation, but Zimmer’s comments after the game – “somebody decided they wouldn’t do that,” referring to not following the game plan for defending Packers wideout Jordy Nelson – suggested more than just “miscommunication.” Zimmer later went so far as to fault himself for being “too honest” after the game.

Subsequent reports suggested that the mutiny lasted only a series or two, and Zimmer will talk Wednesday via conference call with the Chicago media. Whatever that situation, the Vikings started the season 5-0, still stood 7-6 and in NFC North contention, then delivered double-digit losses the past two weeks to miss a postseason that appeared to be theirs, even sans Teddy Bridgewater, Matt Kalil and others.

Rex Ryan was fired on Tuesday, maybe doing the popular but underachieving coach a favor given the quagmire the Buffalo Bills have become. Ryan got to AFC Championship games his first two years coaching the New York Jets, then hasn’t had a winning season in the six since. He left with players complaining in his wake that his systems were too complicated, and noting that the unit supposedly his specialty had gone from No. 4 the year before he was hired to the bottom half of the league.

New York Jets players said that some of them were looking past this season as this year, their second under coach Todd Bowles, was winding down and unraveling. Pro Bowl defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson said after last week’s 41-3 loss to New England that wide receiver Brandon Marshall “should be embarrassed.” And the New York Post mused afterwards that owner Woody Johnson uncharacteristically may have stayed away from the Patriots game because he was tired of watching his team be uncompetitive.

[MORE BEARS: Evaluating John Fox's bears based on the Redskins game]

No one is happy at Halas Hall. But “uncompetitive” wouldn’t be an overall Bears descriptor even with backups at times in as many as half the starting spots on both sides of the football.

For as well as the sometimes-makeshift Bears offensive line has played this season, tackle projects as one of the top three need areas along with quarterback and cornerback. This is not a simple swipe at Charles Leno Jr. or Bobby Massie, just a look around at what is working around the league.

Right now 10 teams have clinched playoff spots. Of those, seven have left tackles selected in the first rounds of drafts. And one of the others – Pittsburgh – used No. 1’s at center and guard in recent drafts.

The Bears have a No. 1 in Kyle Long at left guard, an elite veteran in Josh Sitton at left guard, and a budding star in Cody Whitehair, a No. 2 this year, at center. What they don’t have, following the NFL template, is “elite” at either edge position, and it is a spot that hasn’t been addressed by the Bears before the fifth round in a draft since 2011, and it didn’t work then (Gabe Carimi, No. 1) or the time before that (Chris Williams, No. 1, 2008).

Missing Cutler? Who’d’a thunk it?

If the Bears appeared to regress in 2016 from where they were at the end of their 6-10 first year under Fox, one obvious reality is that the Bears had Jay Cutler in the best full season of his career, relatively turnover-free, for 15 starts. This year’s edition had Cutler Interrupted (starting two games, miss five, play a few, then done for the year), then Brian Hoyer briefly, followed by Matt Barkley, with about the norm for results when a team loses its No. 1 quarterback for extended periods.

The 2013 injury riddled Green Bay Packers were slumped to 0-4-1 in games after Aaron Rodgers was injured on the Shea McClellin sack. They did recover to reach the playoffs with Rodgers returning to hit Randall Cobb over Chris Conte in Game 16 that season.

Cutler appeared to regress this season, returning to his high interception percentage and middling completion percentage. But amid all the IR’s, none stands as big as Cutler’s in what is likely his last season in Chicago.

Mitchell Trubisky breaks social media silence to support George Floyd protests

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USA Today

Mitchell Trubisky breaks social media silence to support George Floyd protests

Mitchell Trubisky is using his platform to support Blackout Tuesday and the protests against racial injustice in the United States.

In the post, Trubisky concedes he will never truly understand the struggles black people experience in America, but he stands by them during this time of unrest.

“Throughout my life I’ve been blessed to share the field and locker room with countless black men,” Trubisky said in the post. “These men and teammates have become family to me. Although I could never understand what they have to experience I empathize with them and love them like brothers. I stand with my brothers and sisters in the fight against racial injustices.

“We need to do more. We must do better. Posts, tweets, and statements aren’t enough. We need to take action. We must take the steps together to make systematic changes to prevent these evil acts from occurring.

“Love is stronger than hate. Peace and Unity will overcome violence. Black Lives Matter. #JusticeforGeorgeFloyd”

Trubisky broke his social media silence to make his statement. He hadn’t posted on Instagram since Dec. 19, and besides retweeting teammates, friends and brands, he still hasn’t posted on Twitter since May 2019.

RELATED: Brian Urlacher's curious response to Grant Hill on Instagram

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Bears release statement from George McCaskey on George Floyd's death

Bears release statement from George McCaskey on George Floyd's death

On Monday evening, the Bears released a statement from George McCaskey regarding the recent death of George Floyd: 

A week ago another unarmed African-American man died at the hands of a white police officer. We are witnessing the anger and frustration play out in protests across the nation, including Chicago. We must do more than wring our hands and hope it doesn’t happen again. As an organization, we have addressed it internally by offering unconditional support to our family of staff, coaches and players, and today Ryan Pace and Coach Nagy spent the allotted two hours of team meeting time listening to and healing together with our players and the coaching staff. Through our voice, our actions and our resources, it is our obligation to lead. We will continue to work with our player-led social justice committee to provide funding and exposure to local organizations dedicated to empowering communities that have been oppressed for far too long. We’re proud to support organizations like BUILD Chicago, I Grow Chicago, My Block, My Hood, My City, and Youth Guidance, among others, who are doing great work in these communities and we encourage fans to partner with us in supporting them. Our commitment is to continue to be an active participant in change.

Though they don't use his name specifically, it's clearly a reference to Floyd's death, as they Bears joined (most) teams across the country in issuing statements condemning the abuse of power among law enforcement officials.