There’s no doubt playing college and professional sports amidst a global pandemic is a challenging affair. That goes double for contact sports like football, where players are in close proximity to one another for the entirety of a game. When you consider MLB banned players from the celebratory high-five, or from spitting seeds on the ground, it’s downright scary that football players spend the better part of three hours each day — in practice and in games — face-to-face while constantly pounding the bejeezus out of each other. It’s easy to see how that conflicts with generally accepted pandemic protocols.
This week, the Bears were added to a growing list of eight NFL franchises that are dealing with valid COVID-19 concerns. When the organization shut down Halas Hall yesterday, Chicago joined the 49ers, Packers, Lions, Broncos, Ravens, Cowboys, Texans, and Colts as teams that have players who have tested positive or have been in “high-risk close contact” with individuals who test positive for COVID-19. The league mandates that those players must isolate for five days. That could make center Cody Whitehair and tackle Jason Spriggs — both of whom tested positive — ineligible for Sunday’s game against the Titans. Right guard Germain Ifedi still has a chance to play provided he continues to test negative.
The Bears did announce that their facilities will reopen today.
We have been cleared to resume football activities at Halas Hall.
Updated story ⤵️ https://t.co/vEYwMMYBx8
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) November 6, 2020
More players could be placed into league-required quarantine, too, depending on tests and/or contact tracing, and Nick Foles might not have anybody left to block for him if any of them are on the O-Line. Maybe Tennessee will be required to use the “one one thousand, two one thousand, three one thousand rule” before rushing the already-beleaguered Bears quarterback.
In truth, the Bears could be using practice squad players in Sunday’s game. Perhaps you may want to familiarize yourself with linemen Lachavious Simmons, Aaron Neary, Sam Mustipher, and Alex Bars. Their most experienced blocker this weekend could be Rashaad Coward.
None of that is going to make things any easier for Foles and head coach Matt Nagy against the Titans. The two have already shown a great deal of difficulty in getting plays from the sideline to the huddle with time enough left to snap the ball. Worse, the Bears have already allowed 20 sacks on the year, ranking in the bottom third of the league, and they’re 31st in rushing.
Bears News & Notes
- Foles had his best game of the season on Sunday against the Saints.
- Mitchell Trubisky reportedly has some structural damage to his throwing shoulder and will be unavailable on Sunday. The backup QB is still being evaluated and may seek multiple opinions. (Side note: Many Wisconsinites pronounce his name as TOO-Bitz-Key”)
- Trubisky was scheduled to visit Dr. Neal El-Attrache in Los Angeles yesterday to gather more information about the extent of the injury, and whether or not he may need surgery.
- The Bears may have to use a practice squad player as a backup to Foles this weekend.
- Foles and Nagy will need less reliance on the O-Line if they can spread the field and open up wider holes for David Montgomery.
- The 5-3 Bears have reached the halfway point of the season, but it’s still difficult to tell if they are trending upward or downward.
- With that in mind, and the fact that GM Ryan Pace did nothing at the deadline, Chicago could be heading for a rebuild as soon as next season.
- Retried Bears kick returner Devin Hester turned 38 the other day, and yes, he was ridiculous.
There’s a Flag…On the Play
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) November 6, 2020
Packers QB Aaron Rodgers was flat-out dealing last night against the 49ers. The 36-year-old signal-caller was 25-of-31 for 305 yards and four dimes in leading Green Bay to a 34-17 win over San Francisco. Rodgers finished the game with a 147.2 QBR.
Despite having Kirk Cousins and his $96 million contract at QB, Minnesota head coach Mike Zimmer would prefer to run his offense on the strengths of running back Dalvin Cook. Since 2017, the Vikings are 14-4 when Cook has at least 100 scrimmage yards in a game and 6-12-1 when he has fewer than 100.
While the signs paint a clear path for Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford to clear COVID-19 protocol ahead of Sunday’s matchup against the Vikings, Detroit head coach Matt Patricia refuses to offer any hints regarding Stafford’s game status in an effort to protect his player’s medical status.
Detroit DE Everson Griffen took offense to Zimmer calling him a “good player.” Griffen played 10 seasons with the Vikings from 2010-19. He was with Dallas this season before the Lions acquired him in a trade last week with the Cowboys.
League News & Notes
Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes received write-in votes for POTUS in Clay County, Missouri this week, Fox 4 KC’s Harold Kuntz reports. How many is not clear, and there’s no word if Donald Trump wants to investigate any potential voter fraud.
Though it continues to be a work in progress, the league updated its rules late last month for those in contact with a person who has tested positive for C-19.
Am I the only one who thinks that the Bengals uniforms look a lot like pajamas?
ICY ❄️ @JoeyB
— NFL (@NFL) November 1, 2020
At The Podium
- “You have somebody test positive and then you go through the process of the steps of actually confirming it. There’s a process to it, and that’s kind of where [the league] is at right now. We just wanted to let them do that, and while they’re doing that, we wanted to make sure that, hey, with that being done, let’s go ahead and let’s just right now get everybody home, make sure everybody’s good, get a deep cleanse of the building, and be able to just continue with where we’re at until we get more answers as to where we stand.” – Matt Nagy
Pressure by Billy Joel – It could be a very long afternoon for Foles on Sunday. I bet you will actually hear that ominous and frenzied polka-like riff by Joel playing in your head while watching the QB scramble for his life.