NFC Notes: Bears, Lions, Vikings

     

Bears

Bears GM Ryan Pace accumulated a fair amount of job capital by winning executive of the year from Sporting News in 2018, which is voted on by Pace’s 31 other colleagues around the league. However, a fair amount of that flew out the window last year when the Bears missed the playoffs and Pace’s big bet, QB Mitchell Trubisky, struggled. 2020 is a key year that could heat Pace’s seat up considerably, but he says he feels support from the Bears ownership. 

“We all have the same goals and the same vision for this season,” Pace said via 670 The Score. “Last year was disappointing for all of us. That starts with me. That’s hard to swallow. It’s disappointing. There’s a number of factors that went into that. Just being real with ourselves this offseason and making hard decisions, whether it’s the roster or it’s staff or it’s different things we’re doing here at Halas, all those hard decisions, I feel like they’ve been made or continue to be made. We all put our egos aside and what’s best for the team. I feel the full support from George and from Ted.”

  • Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky says that he has adjusted his mechanics in the offseason. He added that he is now more balanced and feels better about how the ball is coming out of his hand. He also says that his accuracy has improved. (Jeff Dickerson)
  • Bears QB Nick Foles said he feels “right at home” in HC Matt Nagy’s offense, adding that the terminology is very similar to the playbook during his time in Philadelphia: “I love this offense. I love the verbiage. I’ve been in this offense. I know what I can do in this offense. But all that stuff gives me is wisdom – wisdom to go out there and help my teammates, to help Mitch, to help Tyler Bray. When Mitch makes a great throw, I’m going to be right there to slap him a five and then they’ll probably have to like sanitize our hands, but I’m going to do it. That’s part of this thing. It is a competition but we’re all on the same team.” (Adam Jahns)
  • Foles, who has a 3-year-old daughter and a 7-week-old son at home, said he and his wife never discussed him opting out of the season: “We both felt strongly about pursuing playing this season. There was never a discussion about opting out…“Being here, and after being in the facility and seeing how much care they put into everything, it really is amazing how safe they make us feel here, how everything is separated.”  (Kevin Fishbain)

Lions

Lions HC Matt Patricia says that he can certainly respect the decision made by DT John Atkins to op-out of the 2020 season.

“Certainly our families are the most important thing and I know a lot of times in football that gets lost, but I think about it every single day,” Patricia said, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “My wife and my kids and a lot of our guys are in the same situations, or whether it’s their parents or grandparents or whatever it might be. So 100 percent just have to respect everybody’s feelings and opinions on trying to stay as safe as possible.”

Vikings

Chris Tomasson of TwinCities.com says that a reduced salary cap will cause a multitude of problems for the Vikings in the coming seasons, including the team being unable to afford players such as S Anthony Harris, TE Kyle Rudolph or LT Riley Reiff.

“I’m actually wondering that if somebody else came out of nowhere, you would look at even considering pulling the plug on Reiff this year because he doesn’t have any guaranteed money,” Jason Fitzgerald told Tomasson. “But he’s definitely in danger next year.”

While Rudolph is safe for this season, the Vikings also have TE Irv Smith Jr., meaning that Rudolph might need to take a pay cut next year to remain with the team.

Harris could present a dilemma for the Vikings, who placed the franchise tag on him in March and then could not agree to a long-term extension by the July 15 deadline. Harris is due to be a free agent again next March, and placing another franchise tag on him would cost $13.73 million.

“That’s a lot,” Fitzgerald said. “If they couldn’t come to an agreement this year, I don’t know if they can magically come to one next year. They may have to let him walk next season because the price is going to get too high.”

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