You know I haven't written one of my long, stat-filled monologues lately, and it's because I've had a number of thoughts that seemed too incomplete for a full post but too irrelevant to mention or expound upon in the podcast, so I've kind of just held onto them. As an egotistical windbag, however, I think, in the tradition of talking heads like Peter King, I'll start a new semi-regular feature with my ten thoughts of the moment on the Bears and the rest of the NFL. Some of these have logic and reason to them, others do not. So here we go.
1. Jon Bostic would be my starter at MLB in week one whether DJ Williams was healthy or not. I'm not one to overrate a couple of big plays. A simple pick six and a massive hit aren't enough to blind me to Bostic's weaknesses in coverage and the fact that he overruns plays. That said, people who remember DJ Williams as some kind of good middle linebacker are remembering a myth. I realize he has name recognition and once led the league in the ridiculously overrated statistic of tackles, but he has generally played better in his career at OLB and has never been a consistent coverage guy in the middle. If we're picking between two guys who will rack up a bunch of tackles and occasionally get embarrassed in coverage, I'll take the kid who might develop into something.
2. It's early and it's guaranteed they will all struggle to some extent at some point, but if Long, Bostic, Mills, Jeffery, McClellin, and Frey all start or contribute heavily in their first and second years, Emery's first two draft classes would already put much of Angelo's last half-decade to shame. They don't even necessarily have to be that good, the mere fact that they're going to set foot on the field trumps Angelo's classes of non-entities like Jarron Gilbert, Michael Okwo, Dan Bazuin, and Juaquin Iglesias.
3. With Emery's willingness to change 4/5 starters on a bad offensive line in offseason, despite limited cap space, you start to question all of Angelo's "we like our guys" and "good offensive linemen are hard to find" excuses for his failure to do the same.
4. I think people who expect Jay to have that "breakout season" are somewhat mistaken. I think Jay will probably just look a lot more like that guy in Denver we thought we were getting. That's good with me. If Jay can just move the ball, he has two things in Matt Forte and an actual defense that he didn't have in Denver that I think can make all the difference.
5. I am starting to have serious doubts about the future of Earl Bennett's career. This saddens me greatly, but there are enough young guys in camp who have done something this offseason to make you wonder how long Earl's spot is guaranteed. Part of me wonders if they might put him on the PUP if his concussion lingers, and give Anderson or Wilson six weeks to impress them.
6. I still don't think EJ Manuel will be good in the NFL. I don't see why the Bills would bother with starting Kevin Kolb in front of him, anyway. There's enough talent on the Bills offense that I don't think they'd be throwing Manuel to the wolves. Might as well see what he can do.
7. I still think the Ravens win the AFC North. Much like people are overreacting to the Bears losing Urlacher, many of the players the Ravens lost weren't actually that good, and they've made some solid upgrades with less-notable names. Also, considering the alternative is expecting the Bengals to improve for a third straight year, I'm hesitant to pull the trigger there.
8. I can't predict the NFC South to save my ass. I could see any team in that damn division going 6-10 or 11-5. Except maybe Tampa. My faith in Josh Freeman isn't terribly high, largely because I think Greg Schiano hates him.For what it's worth, I hate Greg Schiano.
9. I'd be legitimately afraid of the young talent the Vikings are accumulating, were it not for the fact that Christian Ponder is their QB. You get the feeling they'll finally move on from that mistake right as Peterson's legs disintigrate and the change won't make any difference anymore.
10. He's a total ass, but I feel kind of bad for Philip Rivers. He's going to die this year. That team is garbage.