If you haven’t noticed there is a new vibe to the Chicago Bears. It started the moment head coach Matt Nagy entered Halas Hall with an attitude to #BeObsessed.
His goal was to ingrain into the hearts and minds of each player to stop playing mediocre football, which was something they became used to during the Marc Trestman and John Fox eras. But it had to start with the players believing that they could.
So Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace chose to bring in key players to prime their pump and motivate change. The additions of offensive and defensive weapons such as wide receivers Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, tight end Trey Burton, and linebacker Khalil Mack have already paid in dividends. But it is more than just on the field. The desire to win and play as one unit has shown in every play.
Nothing is a gimme in the NFL, even if a backup quarterback has been slated to start under center. And the Buffalo Bills should be no exception.
That seems to be the case with Sunday’s matchup between the Buffalo Bills (1-7) and the Chicago Bears (4-3). The Bills have just come off a loss on Monday Night against the New England Patriots. The Bills defense was able to hold the run and passing game to just kicking points in the first three quarters.
It was only in the 4th quarter that the Patriots offense was able to anything. Running back James White sealed the deal with a touchdown while the Bills shut quarterback Tom Brady down through the air.
Since March, when the Bills traded left tackle Cordy Glenn and the 21st pick to Cincinnati to move up to the Bengals’ spot at #12, it was clear that the goal of the 2018 NFL draft for Bills’ General Manager Brandon Beane was to get the franchise quarterback the fans have been dreaming about.
The first four all went in the top 10 but it took a while for Jackson to find a home. In what may have been the most joyful moment of the evening for a lot of his fans, the Ravens traded back into the first round to get him at 32. Two went to the AFC North and two went to the AFC East. Both those divisions are going to see the quality of competition rise significantly in the next couple years.
Earlier we had listed the first 15 draft picks with a trade. Let’s see what happens with the rest of the teams and who will get drafted from 16-32. So here is the final attempt in Round 1 of the NFL Draft.
Free agency is pretty much on the quiet front with some players still trickling on to teams, such as quarterback Blaine Gabbert to the Tennessee Titans, and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh to the Los Angeles Rams. But now it’s all about the draft and filling the holes that will make or break a team. So here is my attempt at Round 1 of the NFL Draft.
For the Bills, finding a franchise quarterback has been as epic a quest as the one for the Holy Grail. Since QB Jim Kellyretired in 1996, eleven different players have been at the position for Buffalo. That means, except for Drew Bledsoe (three seasons) and Ryan Fitzpatrick (four seasons), Bills’ starting QBs have lasted no more than one or two seasons each.
And the quest continues. Despite leading the team to the playoffs for the first time in seventeen years, current QB Tyrod Taylor is no lock to be the starter next season.Many NFL analysts believe the Bills will be looking to replace Taylor either through free agency or the draft.
In a strange set of occurrences, this writer was at the Jacksonville Jaguars vs Buffalo Bills playoff game. One hour before kickoff, a friend walked into my house waving tickets that her customer just gave her because she decided not to go.
The mad dash we embarked on was one that would’ve won the Great Race. Sometimes everything goes your way, from green lights to little traffic to finding the perfect parking spot because one person inexplicably left. We watched the first three drives on my phone as we walked from the car, and up the ramps. In one hour and ten minutes, we got dogs out, two females change (including make-up), stopped for cash and drove 23 miles. It was worth it!
These two teams haven’t been to a playoff game in so long, kids have been born and are in high school. For a Jags home playoff game? They graduated. Two teams new to the playoff with quarterbacks who also haven’t been in one. It’s going to be either a mess or a sign of good times ahead for the under 30 guys.
Head coach Doug Marrone is coaching his old team. That should make a difference, but teams change a lot in a couple years. What will definitely have an effect, is the fact that running back LeSean McCoy is far from 100%. That hurts not only their run game but their passing ability. He’s their second-leading pass catcher. They’re losing a day of practice and the Jags don’t have to change a thing.