NFL mailbag: Bears’ projections, founding fathers and more


This week, we answer whether the Chicago Bears are due for regression, if cupcakes beat muffins and how the NFL looks founding fathers style.

The Chicago Bears are the popular pick for regression, and it makes sense.

The last two teams to be truly dominant on defense — the 2015 Denver Broncos and the 2017 Jacksonville Jaguars — both regressed significantly the next season. Now, those teams also had Trevor Siemian and Blake Bortles at quarterback, respectively. While I’m not high on Mitchell Trubisky, he’s Joe Montana compared to those guys.

It’s certainly possible for Chicago to slip back to mediocrity. The NFC North is better, with the Green Bay Packers overhauling both the coaching staff and defense. Hell, the Minnesota Vikings figure to be better as well.

Before the draft, I picked the Bears to lose to the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Championship Game come January. Why? I believe in head coach Matt Nagy, and I also believe in the defense being close to what it was a year ago. I also have major concerns about Carson Wentz’s health, and the knee of Todd Gurley. If those teams falter, the Bears might be the second-best team in the conference.

Still, it’s a pick I made with shaky confidence. Like you, I’m worried about Trubisky.

Love this question. Made me think for a while. Also made me brush up on my American history, so we all win.

After giving this more thought than was probably expected, here are my answers:

Ben Franklin = Paul Brown

Brown is the true artist in NFL history. He created the playbook. He created the in-radio helmet. He created film study. He created the modern scouting methods. For all intents and purposes, Brown created the modern game.

It’s hard to watch any NFL game and not immediately see the imprints of a man who last coached on Dec. 31, 1975. That’s truly amazing. It’s also hard to look at America and not see the creations and ideals of Franklin.

James Madison = George Halas

Halas was the architect of the early NFL, coming aboard when the league took shape as the APFA in 1920. Halas played for and then coached and owned the Decatur Staleys before eventually moving them to Chicago and renaming his team the Bears.

Much like Madison helped shape the country with a three-branch system of government, Halas put in motion ample tenets the league still goes by today. He’s one of the main reasons NFL football didn’t die out in its infancy.

John Adams = Lamar Hunt

Adams wasn’t often the man out front. Yes, he was president for a term but he is overshadowed by George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Yet it was Adams who also fiercely fought to make America a reality rather than an ideal, something Lamar Hunt can say for his own grand dreams.

Hunt was shut out by the NFL when trying to purchase the Chicago Cardinals in 1959. Instead of wallowing, he created the American Football League in 1960, and the rest is history. Beyond any doubt, the NFL doesn’t resemble its current form without Hunt.

Thomas Jefferson = Pete Rozelle

When you think of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson comes to mind. He was the brains behind the operation. In the NFL, former commissioner Pete Rozelle certainly fits the bill.

Rozelle was a public relations man for the Los Angeles Rams under owner Dan Reeves before taking over for deceased commissioner Bert Bell in 1960. Rozelle stayed in the seat for almost three decades, and ushered in an era of unfathomable prosperity. NFL Films and NFL Properties were both his ideas, changing the historical and financial landscape. Nobody was more influential in his time than Rozelle.

Including Tyreek Hill, the Kansas City Chiefs will be rolling out the following depth chart:

  • Tyreek Hill
  • Sammy Watkins
  • Mecole Hardman
  • Demarcus Robinson
  • Gehrig Dieter
  • Marcus Kemp

If Hardman turns out to be a solid player, this is a tremendous group. Robinson would be a good third receiver on plenty of teams, so checking in as a fourth is a bonus. Also, the Chiefs have Travis Kelce, who is an All-Pro tight end playing like a receiver. It’s a loaded group.

As for the New England Patriots, it’s impossible to say. Pats fans will tell you the divisions nothing to do with their success, which is nonsense. By playing in a weak AFC East for 20 years — the incompetence of the other three teams throughout the span is truly stunning — New England has racked up easy wins and earned home-field advantage time and again. Conversely, though, the Patriots have been dominant in the playoffs against the best competition the world has to offer. Fair is fair.

My guess? I think New England still wins four or five titles. The Patriots have the greatest head coach-quarterback combination in NFL history, and that travels.

A minimum of three, and maybe once per quarter depending on the score. The Chiefs should be calling all-go specials every 15-20 snaps, because the weapons’ talent level and the quarterback are absurd.

If you’re the opponent, the last thing you want to see is Kansas City running four verticals with Hill, Watkins, Hardman and Robinson. There’s not another quartet in the league with that speed. Factor in Patrick Mahomes being able to throw 70 yards with accuracy, and you’ve got a ridiculous combination.

Anybody who says muffins here is a monster. Cupcakes are fluffy and have icing. Ultimately, a cupcake is just cake in a smaller form. Muffins are fine, and my God, the coffee cake muffin at Dunkin’ Donuts is worth fighting a small army over, but the cupcake has more to offer.

Deep question. Easy answer. I’m a cereal guy all day, everyday. Ain’t no way I’m eating Cinnamon Toast Crunch with a fork. Spoon for the win.

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