I’m learning the hard way about June Gloom in San Diego. It’s the time of year when overcast skies take over what is otherwise a tremendous weather city. Sure, I’ll still try to find time to go to the beach. But it just won’t be like it was the last time I was here.
• This is fun to think about:
My sources are confirming that the Chicago Bears do indeed intend on having Training Camp open to fans this year! With COVID trends & guidelines from the league, state & city going in the right direction. Training Camp schedule is expected to be released shortly.
— Greg Braggs Jr. (@GBraggsJr23) June 7, 2021
• When the Bears made the announcement they were leaving Bourbonnais, President/CEO Ted Phillips promised there would still be a “public component” to training camp. I’ll still miss camp on the campus of Olivet Nazarene University, mostly because I truly enjoy the drive because it allows me to clear my head for a bit. But so long as Bears fans aren’t shut out of the experience, I’ll (begrudgingly) accept this move. Here’s hoping there’s enough room for all of us this summer.
• One thing I’d like to see at training camp is how Eddie Jackson looks in a new defense which is supposed to resemble something he starred in from 2017-18. Jackson’s production took a hit last year. Not only did he come up with 0 interceptions in 2020, he has just 2 picks in his last 32 games. That’s alarming after coming up with 8 in his first 30 contests. But I can’t help but think if a couple of calls had gone his way last year, we’d be looking at 2020 differently.
• Here’s the good news: There is still ample evidence to suggest he can stake a claim to being football’s best safety. But he’ll need a bounce-back year with plays like this to get back in the conversation:
.@BoJack39 just loves the end zone. 🙌
— NFL (@NFL) June 7, 2021
• Bleacher Report’s Jake Rill highlights a handful of players worth keeping tabs on during Bears training camp. Two players are headliners from the team’s 2020 NFL Draft class, which makes sense. If Chicago can hit on its draft picks, it will take pressure off elsewhere. Tight end Cole Kmet and cornerback Jaylon Johnson worthy of our obsession when the offseason turns into training season. If the Bears’ 2020 second-rounders take a significant leap, then they’ll be a better team for it. Kmet growing into a useful two-way tight end who excels between the 20s would add a new element to the offense. Maybe attending TE University will help matters. And if Johnson builds on last year’s showing, the defense might not miss Kyle Fuller as much as one might otherwise expect.
• We’ve still got time before we cross that bridge, but I’m already ready to keep up with some young players on the rise:
• Desks, clothes, exercise bands, and bidets(!) are among the Deals of the Day at Amazon. #ad
• Very cool: Retired QB Alex Smith won the George Halas Award for overcoming adversity, as voted on by the Pro Football Writers of America. Smith’s comeback tour has been well documented. And that he led a 5-1 stretch that sparked Washington’s football team to win the NFC East is impressive enough. But that he got to this point in the first place is truly wonderful. Happy retirement, Alex. You deserve it.
• Also, I’m sure Matt Nagy wouldn’t mind if you have any encouraging words to share with Justin Fields.
• Speaking of Fields, he was given a spot among the NFLPA’s Rookie Premier Class of 2021:
Word’s out about the 2021 Rookie Premiere Class, so now it’s time to get the breakdown.
Meet the QBs: @Trevorlawrencee @treylance09 @zachkapono1 @justnfields @ktrask9 @MacJones_10 @TheKellenMond @Ian_Book12 @Millsions pic.twitter.com/vkWIFC5n7g
— NFLPA (@NFLPA) June 7, 2021
• We’ve seen the Bears represented in this arena in the past. But it’s always nice to see the young guys get an opportunity to dabble in some other things.
• Remember when we were unsure if Julio Jones knew he was on live TV when he said he wanted out of Atlanta? Well, further evidence from Awful Announcing’s Ben Koo suggests Jones had no clue he was on TV when it went down.
• At first, I read this too fast and thought Nick Saban was getting an extension through February 2077:
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) June 7, 2021
• Wholesome content from the Washington Football Team:
Happy first day 😁 pic.twitter.com/hAlOmy94IT
— Washington Football Team (@WashingtonNFL) June 8, 2021
• Our condolences to a football lifer:
— Sam Farmer (@LATimesfarmer) June 8, 2021