Hope you were able to enjoy some delicious packzis yesterday. On a whim, I took advantage of a the surprising snow-free morning and made the drive to Weber’s Bakery on Archer Avenue after dropping off the girls at school. They were down to only cheese and strawberry jelly by the time I got there, but at least the line was short and man, did they hit the spot.
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“We believe in Mitch”
Raise your hand if you thought I’d go 13 editions of Midway Minute before writing a lead item about Mitchell Trubisky.
This is the first time I’m writing about No. 10, but it’s safe to say it’ll be far from the last. For better or worse — actually, who am I kidding? It’s always worse — the Bears quarterback is the fulcrum on which all Chicago sports talk precariously rests.
Bears GM Ryan Pace currently sits on the bottom end of that teeter-totter and he made it clear while speaking at the NFL combine on Tuesday that he’s not yet looking for a way to make a graceful dismount. Pace seemingly remains pot committed to the second pick of the 2017 draft and reaffirmed that Trubisky will be the team’s starter when the season kicks off in September.
"We believe in Mitch," Pace told reporters in Indianapolis. "Mitch knows he needs to be better. We need to be better around him. And that's our goal."
Pace’s comments soon went viral, though probably only because it’s been almost eight weeks since we last heard from the GM. That he voiced his support in favor of Trubisky shouldn’t come as a surprise when he’s yet to orchestrate a trade and the opening of free agency (March 18) remains almost a month away.
There’s also the not-so-small matter that Trubisky is the only quarterback currently with the Bears. As Kevin Fishbain of The Athletic points out, you can’t announce a competition or a benching if you’re not exactly sure who the other guy might be.
But because this is a 24/7/366 league in 2020, we had to pore over Pace’s comments for any hints or clues of what lies ahead. JJ Stankevitz of NBC Sports Chicago didn’t think Pace’s words held any hidden meaning while Pro Football Weekly’s Arthur Arkush believes competition from whoever the Bears bring in will play a larger role in the offseason’s storylines.
Will Trubisky be starting that first game? It’s still early to tell. To me, the fact that Pace hasn’t picked up Trubisky’s fifth-year option for 2021 despite vehemently voicing his support speaks volumes. NFL GMs are only as faithful as their options — or at least they should be — and there’s still so much of this offseason to be played. This is going to be the craziest offseason in the history of free agent quarterbacks and there’s no way of telling how this game of duck, duck goose will turn out.
All of that said, being so optimistic about Trubisky the past two interviews probably won’t help Pace in attracting any free agent signings you’d actually want playing in front of him.
So that leaves him three options if that holds true:
- Trading for someone like Derek Carr, who Raiders GM Mike Mayock sounded considerably less committed to during his news conference on Tuesday. (Imagine if they did it on draft night and caught Trubisky off guard at Soldier Field like when they did Mike Glennon dirty with the Trubisky pick?)
- Adding to the QB competition through the draft. Georgia’s Jake Fromm confirmed on Tuesday that he’s interviewed with the Bears and it probably stands to reason he won’t be the only one.
- Signing one of the countless career backups who are great at holding a clipboard but actually can’t play once it’s time to do so.
Number one is up for debate, I’d be really open to number two if it were anyone but Pace making the pick and number three is going to send me (and many others) through the roof if it happens.
And if the first two don’t happen in the next few months? We basically have a summer to talk ourselves into Trubisky coming around with an improved offensive line and receiving options. (Whether or not he embarks on that journey with that fifth-year option picked up is another newsletter for another time.)
Another summer of forced optimism isn’t ideal, but it’s about all we’ve got with Pace and Nagy sitting on the bottom of the teeter-totter with Trubisky and the rest of us being held hostage up in the air, hoping we’re not ultimately forced to jump.
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Thunder 124, Bulls 122
Hey! A fun Bulls game to watch for once. Zach LaVine scores 41, Coby White goes for 35 as the Bulls erase a 24-point deficit to lead for a bit in the fourth. They even had the good sense to lose, which could come in handy for the lottery.
Blues 6, Hawks 5
Hawks snap an 0-for-17 PP drought by converting its first three chances of the game, but fail to score on the fourth opportunity late in the third. Duncan Keith scores the 100th goal of his career. Hawks have lost nine of their last 11.
Xavier 78, DePaul 67
The Blue Demons started the year 12-1. They’re now 14-14 with a 2-13 record in the Big East.
Rockies 12, Cubs 6
Rough first outing for Jon Lester: Three hits, two walks and three earned runs in one inning of work. David Ross returns after missing three days with the flu.
Good golly, look at that lineup. (eyes emoji)
Royals (SS) at Cubs (2:05 pm, Marquee)
Sox at Royals (SS) (2:05)
• Props to David Bote for making solid contact on this fan’s gender reveal and not ending up in the viral Internet’s “gender reveal fail” grist mill.
• The Bears have had conversation about an extension for Allen Robinson. Get it done. (NBC Sports Chicago)
• The Sox have had early talks with Yoan Moncada’s reps about an extension. Get that one done, too. (MLBTR)
• The Sky signed point guard Courtney Vandersloot to a multi-year extension, Madeline Kenney reports. Glad it got done. (Sun-Times)
• The Northwestern women’s basketball team is 24-3 and features a section of football player superfans. (Tribune)
• Not all heroes get thrown out of the United Center for #FireGarPax shirts.
That’s it for today. Thank you for being a #frentofthenewsletter. It means a lot to me that you open this email every day.
I’m always looking to make Midway Minute the best newsletter it can be. Don’t be afraid to hit me up with suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org