The Silence from Kyle Long Has Been Deafening

Kevin Fishbain at The Athletic says that Bears guard Kyle Long is ready for 2019:

“Last January, the seventh-year Bear was looking forward to a surgery-free offseason after everything he went through from 2016 to 2018. He’s been available throughout the offseason program and training camp after having to take ’veteran days’ last summer.

“Nagy has heard Long, a three-time Pro Bowler from 2013 to 2015, is in ’the best shape, condition, strength, mental’ as he’s been as a Bear.

“’Where he’s at right now is in a good place,’ Nagy said. ’And so he’s worked hard for that. He’s all-in. He’s committed. Even today, he’s out there running around when we gave some other guys similar in age a vet day. And so that’s a credit to him, and we want to just make sure that he gets stronger and stronger, and then when we get to Week 1, he’s at the best he’s ever been.”’

There’s been a lot of talk in the offseason about Long’s age and various fans, if not media members, on Twitter have suggested that at 30 years old his best days might be behind him. Long landed on injured reserve in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

Particularly given his large personality, Long’s silence since camp has started has been deafening. It could be because he doesn’t like the doubts being expressed about him. That might not be such a bad thing. A healthy Kyle Long with something to prove could prove formidable once the season starts.

Trubisky’s Story Will Play Out in Front of the Entire NFL This Season

Adam Jahns at The Athletic emphasizes that fans shouldn’t let the 100 year anniversary of the Bears overshadow the importance of the 2019 version of the team making progress. He particularly emphasizes the importance of quarterback Mitch Trubisky’s continued progress:

“The word that comes to mind for me is incremental improvement, steady incremental improvement, and I think we’ve seen (Trubisky) do that,” [general manager Ryan] Pace said Sunday. “And as long as he just keeps on that pace, steady incremental improvement, we’ll be happy. You can feel his confidence growing; we’ve talked about that. Chemistry, continuity, all those things going into Year 2, and that’s going to continue as we go forward.”

It is important to note that this continued, steady improvement will be the biggest key to the 2019 season. Trubisky is one of the most polarizing quarterbacks in the entire league right now. You either really like him or your really, really don’t.

Amongst my friends who root for other teams, most of whom are typical, I’d say 80% will tell you that Trubisky is terrible and they don’t understand the hype. And there’s good reason for their skepticism.

Even most objective Bears fans would have to admit that Trubisky was league average at best at the end of the year. And that was, as Pace points out, after making steady progress throughout the 2018 campaign. It’s important to note that expecting anything beyond that is all extrapolation based upon the assumption that he’s going to continue to do that.

You had to have had the opportunity to watch Trubisky make that steady progress last year, game after game, in a way most fans outside of Chicago didn’t, before you could actually get the feeling that he might be on his way to something special. And what’s going to be very interesting about this year is that it won’t be just Bears fans who are going to see it.

Trubisky’s progress is going to be a league-wide story as the Bears are on national television six times, the maximum allowed.

Until Trubisky actually shows that he’s a very good quarterback, he’s just another guy. If the Bears are going to remain competitive, he’s going to have to become more than that. It’s far from a certainty that will happen. But either way its going to be what everyone will all be watching for all over the league this year.