Preseason proving ground not necessary for battle-tested Bears

By Robert Zeglinski Contributor There are aspects of life people can never stop protesting. Events where no matter the circumstances or context, a talking point will be shredded, recycled, shredded, and recycled again. No matter the evolution of a mindset, someone, somehow will find a bone to pick. Anyone can passive aggressively grumble under their breath. They often do. They actually relish in the opportunity to vent, sometimes out in the open. It doesn't what matter what the issue at hand…

Small in size, big in heart: Bears’ Duke Shelley refuses to set limits on himself

By: Robert Zeglinski Contributor BOURBONNAIS—Upon initial glance, the first feature you notice about Duke Shelley is his beaming smile. It isn't a (listed) 5-foot-8, 181 pound stature that sooner looks like it belongs in any other professional setting except football. Nor is it a personal vibe somehow oozing confidence and anxiousness—the kind that inspires the highest of achievements, and lets you know you're alive. A healthy fear in the pit of your stomach, where there are tirring…

Stuck on you: Bears’ unique mix of personalities is what a contender craves

By: Robert Zeglinski Contributor BOURBONNAIS – When you're a good team in the NFL, it's as if you're literally sitting on top of the world. Nonstop adulation bordering on rabid insanity files in day after day on social media, in-person interactions, and amongst select more affable teammates. If it seems like you're untouchable and above burgeoning negativity, it's because you probably are. If it appears everything you touch in passing turns to gold, that's because it does, the limits of…

After early haymaker, Bears’ Eddy Pineiro comes back with body blows

By: Robert Zeglinski Contributor BOURBONNAIS—In the NFL, drama at kicker during training camp is more overstated than most positional battles. When it's early in camp and neither competitor has made a clear, stark cut toward the finish line, a quiet tension bubbles underneath. Kickers are that much more difficult to evaluate than other players, especially on a limited sample size. On but a few practices, there's so much of the track left, and so many obstacles to run through unimpeded,…

In midst of kicker frenzy, Bears’ Elliott Fry steals spotlight on second day of camp

By: Robert Zeglinski Contributor BOURBONNAIS-Never mind the return of the NFL's No. 1 reigning defense, with nine starters from 2018 set to reprise roles. Forget a revamped and more versatile running back room led by the star power of Tarik Cohen. The story of this Bears summer was always going to center on the kickers. The moment their 2018 campaign ended on the leg of Cody Parkey, the microscope was to intensify on potential replacements. And that intensity wouldn't wane until the powers…

Countdown to Bourbonnais: Training camp and the art of theater

By Robert Zeglinski Contributor Like an overgrown fungus that refuses to relent, the NFL season does not perish in February like it probably should. This spore multiplies and takes up arms in saturating itself on every airwave, tweet, nook, and cranny imaginable. Where a good portion of United States dwells in chilly weather during this time, the NFL unthinkably persists against all odds. The fungus of most of the NFL off-season is not conducive to health. It's barely edible – these aren't…

Countdown to Bourbonnais: Matt Nagy and the burden of expectations

By Robert Zeglinski Contributor To rebuild in sports is to accept hope. To rebuild successfully and quickly, and then dignify that hope with more meaning, is to keep promises. In the NFL, filling your operation with genuine, unbridled optimism, not just some performative annual summer circus routine, makes you a football wizard. There's a magic, not a method to the madness. Not many are up to the task of the unpredictability of a head coaching opportunity. They can't keep up with the…

Countdown to Bourbonnais: Bears need to embrace the special flow

By Robert Zeglinski Contributor Since football's inception in the late 19th century, it's core plays have always come on special teams. Since the western game became an evolution of what those across either pond called "rugby" and "soccer", it's the third phase that has always been quietly prominent. It's routinely taken a backseat to the stars on offense and defense – henceforth the invention of the moniker "both sides of the ball" – but has had just as much of an impact on NFL history as…

Countdown to Bourbonnais: Trubisky and offense must take next step

By Robert Zeglinski Contributor The weight of expectations on a No. 2 overall pick is different than for most NFL players. They're the savior. The best and sometimes only hope. The face of an era marked by a vibrant culture and self-assurance. This weight can be a motivating catalyst toward greatness, as the player lives up to his inflated hype. Or it can be burdening to the umpteenth degree, when the player grapples with intense scrutiny and his back breaks from carrying the ambitions of an…

Countdown to Bourbonnais: Mack and defense a constant Bears should count on

By Robert Zeglinski Contributor A half year ago, the Bears defense was one of the toasts of the NFL. They brought life to a football-starved city. Starting fast and never losing much steam over the course of four months, the Bears defense was a stark jump away from the new norm: where most of the rest of the league focused on tenets of offensive efficiency to maximize every last blade of grass, the Bears were the black sheep leaning on laurels of disciplined defense. The Bears led the league in…

Making mountains out of mole hills: Bears, Nagy need to relax on kicking craze

By Robert Zeglinski Contributor One of the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder is recurring memories of one's trauma. In addition to upsetting flashbacks, as well as mental and physical reactions to stimuli, someone with PTSD is constantly reliving their trauma with no choice. They feel they need to be always on guard, either broadly in defined strokes, or often more specifically in the one realm of their life where their trauma occurred. It's an overcompensation wrought by…

Not a raw deal: Stephen Denmark has the tools to defy expectations

By Robert Zeglinski Contributor The career outlook for an NFL draft pick has always depended on the subjectivity of perspective. Subjectivity, like most opinions, is fluid. And perspective, sometimes cruelly, is everything. If the rose-colored glasses you choose to wear are as thick as old school soda bottles, a prospective rookie is on his way to being a star purely because he possesses a modicum of talent, plays football, and now wears the uniform of a team you're familiar with. Most…

A need for speed: Kerrith Whyte Jr. continues a Bears’ fast track mission

By Robert Zeglinski Contributor While having some of the heaviest and most awkward builds in nature, bears of any species are justifiably seen as some of the most terrifying animals in existence. The average bear can run anywhere from 25-28 miles per hour, and sustain a sprint for over a few minutes. When factoring in weight ranging from 600 to 1,000 pounds, almost half a ton, an underestimation of a bear is often the last mistake most lesser prey make. They're routinely the fiercest…

Worth every nickel: Duke Shelley is exactly the Bears’ type

By Robert Zeglinski Contributor A nickel cornerback is not like his other defensive teammates. Where a boundary cornerback – of any length or size – can routinely be isolated with a receiver on an island, a nickel cornerback floats in the middle of the field, sometimes as he pleases but mostly as he needs. Where a linebacker operates largely on a see ball, get ball basis, a nickel cornerback has to be far more aware of his surroundings and can't be caught looking in the backfield. Where most…

Making a mark: Riley Ridley helps the Bears play for the present and the future

By Robert Zeglinski Contributor One could be forgiven for furrowing an eyebrow at the Bears' selection of Riley Ridley in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft. While the polished Ridley—talented enough and certainly built well enough for pro football—fits the Bears, it's difficult to argue his addition filled an immediate need. After all, it was only a little over a year ago when Chicago invested heavily in wide receiver with Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, and Anthony Miller. By the…