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Bears' Matt Nagy 'reveals' secret plan to get Eddie Jackson the ball on offense

Bears' Matt Nagy 'reveals' secret plan to get Eddie Jackson the ball on offense

Earlier this week, Eddie Jackson went on Good Morning Football and lobbied to get some offensive snaps in 2020: 

It happened a couple times in 2018, though nothing significant came from it. Still, Jackson's terrific with the ball in his hands, and on Wednesday afternoon, Matt Nagy 'revealed' that the Bears have big things planned for him this year. 

"I’m surprised he didn’t tell you we’re just playing in him on offense this year," he joked. "You know, so, he’s going to play the zebra receiver and we’re going to let teams prepare for him there. Take that and deal with that." 

If you can believe it, Twitter decided that it was actually not a joke and instead a huge peek into what will single-handedly deliver the Bears their first Super Bowl since 1985. Behold: 

So there you have it. Matt Nagy, on August 12th, directly explained how the Bears plan to secretly use their All-Pro safety as a starting receiver. This will surely happen, exactly as he's describing it, and you all can now begin debating what number Jackson will have to change to. 

2020 Bears Training Camp: Here's who empty stadiums will impact the most

2020 Bears Training Camp: Here's who empty stadiums will impact the most

Generally speaking, I think the fan's impact on NFL games is overstated. Take it from Melvin Gordon. There are certainly places – Seattle, New Orleans, Kansas City, Buffalo – where the crowd factor shows up on the occasional third-and-short, but more often than not, the '12th Man' dynamic feels a lot more like projection than reality; it's simply good business to make someone willing to spend $400 feel like they made a difference. 

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And besides, the 12th man is going to be sitting on their couch this season. Teams have either already made that explicitly clear, or are leaning on some sort of vaguely-misguided sense of optimism that things will change in the next four weeks. Even if the recently-reported 'pod system' happens, stadiums like Soldier Field aren't going to be rocking for Cuppy Coffee's weekly victory lap (brought to you by Dunkin Donuts: Get Yours at Gates A, D, and F) like they used to. It'll be weird! That's not to say it'll be an advantage – or disadvantage – for anyone, but these guys have spent their football-playing lives in front of fans; it's hard to imagine the gameday atmosphere without your uncle slamming too many Michelob Ultras or your sister screaming profanities you weren't even aware she knew at opposing quarterbacks. 

So who does that affect the most? Let's mull it over: 

Eddy Piñeiro

Augusta Silence is vindicated! Here's what the Bears' kicker recently had to say about the idea of making pressure kicks in front of absolutely no one: 

"I was just thinking about that. I think it probably will be [weird], yeah," he said. "That's how it was in practice. Nobody talking, nobody screaming it was a little awkward, a little weird. But if that does happen, I think I'll be ready for it because we did a lot of that last year, we probably will do a lot of that this year too. So I'll be ready for it."

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Verdict: Helps a bit. At the end of the day, Piñeiro still has to make pressure kicks, in the elements, from distances beyond 40 yards. Assuming coaches have timeouts to burn, he'll still get iced. If he thinks that last summer's circus makes him feel more comfortable in awkward silence, then who am I to say otherwise. 

Nick Foles/Mitch Trubisky

Not having to worry about any silent counts all year must be nice. Things like calling audibles, hot routes, or picking up the Mike should all, in theory, be easier without 60,000+ fans getting in their way. In fact, Tarik Cohen isn't at all worried about it:

"I wouldn't have a problem with it," he said. "Because in college when we had in-team scrimmages and you have to play your team and there's no crowd out there, they're still trying to hit you. You still have to play the game. We'll get over that pretty soon. Beginning of the game probably will look weird, sound weird. But then as soon as the whistle blows, the refs are out there, everybody's out there trying to tackle you, it's going to feel like a regular game."

Verdict: A push. On one hand, not having to go silent during the most critical parts of a football game is surely a huge advantage. On the other, not feeling the buzz of a stadium in anticipation of a game-changing catch, or game-winning drive, is probably a buzzkill too. If I'm a Bears fans, I'm probably cautiously-optimistic that the offense won't have to deal with the former. 

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The Defense

Admittedly, this is where not having fans sucks the most. Fans draw players offsides, which is obviously good news for defenses trying to get off the field. Like new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor recently said, this is where not having the traditional atmosphere might come into play: 

"When fans are there, it raises the atmosphere a little bit," he said. "When you go to your own stadium it just changes the atmosphere and tends to add something. Even if you go to a high school stadium, right? It's just a different atmosphere. It just tends to raise the level of intensity sometimes at practice or the field."

Verdict: Hurts, slightly. Like Cohen said, once the whistle blows, everybody still has to go out and hit someone else. There's no question that the fans help on defense more than offense. Still, with a defense that includes the likes of Khalil Mack, Akiem Hicks, Eddie Jackson, Kyle Fuller, and Roquan Smith, that's not really an excuse.

Bears' Eddie Jackson wants Matt Nagy to know he's ready to play on offense

Bears' Eddie Jackson wants Matt Nagy to know he's ready to play on offense

On Monday morning, Bears' safety Eddie Jackson went on Good Morning Football and single-handedly blew up every single identical roster projection that are appearing on the internet these days: 

There's even a tiny bit of precedent here! Jackson played receiver in high school, and has actually already appeared on that side of the ball for the Bears a few times back in 2018. He's also very clearly one of the team's best playmakers. Defensive players getting offensive snaps has all the exhilaration of position players pitching, without any of the unspoken condescension. He also scores like, 75% of the time he touches the ball (honestly, it's more fun for you if you don't bother fact checking this) and after 2019's offensive performance, beggars can't be choosers. Let Eddie Jackson play offense. Let Akiem Hicks play offense. Let Khalil Mack punt the ball if Khalil Mack wants to punt the ball. It's fun and it makes things exciting and positions are stupid. 

For what it's worth, it already sounds like Jackson and Nagy are on the same page about all of this: 

Who's against this idea? Seriously. Remember 2018? Santa's Sleigh! Oompa Loompa! Chumbawamba! We could have that again. We could have it all.