Mets: Carlos Carrasco takes another step back in his recovery

The New York Mets are holding steady in the first place of the National League East division despite an unprecedented rash of injuries that have heavily affected the roster. They already got back several key performers, such as Jacob deGrom, Taijuan Walker, and Pete Alonso, and they are all dominating, but one specific pitcher remains absent and just got more bad news regarding his recovery.

Carlos Carrasco, who came to the Mets alongside Francisco Lindor in a January trade with Cleveland, hasn’t pitched this season after tearing his hamstring in March. And just when we all thought he was ramping up with an eye on returning by late June or early July, he took another step back.

The Mets insist it’s not a setback, he has now stopped throwing off the slope of a mound despite doing so for some time. He will now work on strengthening his leg muscles so that his hamstring can endure the rigors of pitching big league games.

The Mets don’t have a timetable

Naturally, the Mets don’t know exactly when Carrasco will be back, and he is already significantly behind his initial 6-8 week estimate when he got hurt in mid March.

Of course, late June is now out of the question given that, once he strengthens his legs, he will have to go through a full Spring Training-style ramp-up plan in which he starts throwing from flat ground and graduates to a mound, throwing bullpens, facing live hitters and going to a rehab assignment.

In the meantime, Mets’ starters other than David Peterson have been pitching extremely well, led by longtime ace Jacob deGrom but also joined by Marcus Stroman and Taijuan Walker, who happens to be among the league leaders in ERA.

Carrasco returning eventually, and being the same pitcher he has been over the course of his career, would be a significant addition to the rotation.

Can the Bills overcome their weaknesses and take a step forward toward a Championship in 2021?

josh allen, bills

Last season was a really big step for the Buffalo Bills. Finishing the year with an excellent 13-3 record followed by their first AFC Championship appearance since 1993, the Bills, for the first time in a long time, truly looked like Super Bowl contenders. With a high-octane offensive and a versatile defense, the Bills evolved into a force to be reckoned with and illustrated how dominant they can be.

Entering the playoffs with a big wild card victory over the Indianapolis Colts to then completely shutting down the Baltimore Ravens the following week in the divisional round, the Bills really lived up to the hype and proved just how dangerous and elite they are. Coming off a season in 2019 where they went 10-6 and suffered a swift playoff exit in the Wild Card round, last season’s accomplishments really highlighted the tremendous amount of growth this team mustered together in just a year’s time, despite adding a handful of new cornerstone players to their roster.

However, when this strong team was confronted with the living epitome of greatness in Patrick Mahomes, the Bills did not have an answer for the former MVP and struggled to keep up with the Chiefs’ offensive tenacity. Not only did they have a very difficult time trying to slow them down defensively, but on top of that, not even their offense could keep up with the scoring output from the Chiefs, resulting in yet another tough playoff exit.

What the Bills confronted, though, wasn’t an unusual setback; the Chiefs are the greatest team in the AFC and have solidified that over the last two years. And just like it is for the Ravens, Titans, Steelers, Browns and other championship-driven AFC teams, overcoming the Chiefs this year for the Bills is the greatest challenge they face in the AFC period. Making it to the playoffs is no simple task as is. But beating the Chiefs in the playoffs is the biggest test for this Bills team to surmount and remains to be a feat that seems awfully daunting for them to prevail against this season.

That being said, the Chiefs did come up short in the Super Bowl against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who beat them fair and square by 22 points. Although Tom Brady pulled off yet another flawless Super Bowl performance and took home the Super Bowl MVP honors, the key ingredient for their success that night was nothing but their staunch and ruthless defense led by Todd Bowles. Holding the Chiefs to only nine points, Mahomes and his offense had no solution against the Buccaneers’ defensive schemes, and the former MVP quarterback found himself scrambling helplessly all too often from start to finish.

On the contrary, this is precisely what the Bills lacked with their very own defense and was ultimately why they couldn’t slow down the Chiefs in the first place. Though they have a handful of great defensive playmakers and specialists on their unit, the Bills defense had a couple of gaps in talent and strength, particularly along their defensive line who struggled against the run and could hardly garner any pressure against opposing quarterbacks. Just to give you an idea, the Bills defense allowed over 350 total yards per game with 119.6 of them coming on the ground, finished the year in 12th in total sacks and conceded 23.4 points per game in the process (ESPN). Considering the talent and potential this defense has, those numbers were far from ideal and have to improve if they want a shot at redemption come January 2022.

But since the Super Bowl ended back in February, a series of small yet significant changes have been made with the Bills, and there’s no doubt that this team has what it takes to make it to the Super Bowl within the next two years if not sooner. It sounds kind of crazy, but the Bills made all the right adjustments over the offseason that they needed to make, putting themselves in the best position to go the distance for the first time in decades.

For starters, the Bills made defense their biggest priority this offseason, and they really capitalized on that in this year’s NFL Draft. With their first two picks, the Bills not only selected debatably the best defensive lineman coming out of the draft in Gregory Rousseau out of the University of Miami, but they also selected the gifted, defensive menace in Carlos Basham Jr. out of Wake Forest, big-time playmakers that wreaked havoc during their college years. With Rousseau bringing elite athleticism, quickness, and versatility and Bashem Jr. providing an unrelenting level of strength, grit, and power, the Bills have assembled one dangerous defensive line considering they have Ed Oliver, Mario Addison, and Jerry Hughes to begin with. Along with these additions, the Bills also reinforced their already stacked secondary in the draft by selecting safety Damar Hamlin and cornerback Rachad Wildgoose, physical and competitive defensive backs that possess good upside and skill (ESPN). Though these rookies are all very new to the league, they all have the talent and athleticism to provide what the Bills have been seeking for defensively, it’s just a matter of when. Last year, the Bills defense ranked 14th overall in the league; this year, they have the potential to be top-five, and that’s due in large part to a very well-executed draft that addressed the most vulnerable areas of their defensive unit (ESPN).

Offensively, the Bills didn’t need to do much outside of pad their overall depth and replace the deep threat hole John Brown left behind. Well, lo and behold, they did just that. Signing Emmanuel Sanders over the offseason, a savvy veteran presence that brings tremendous downfield speed, the Bills also drafted Marquez Stevenson out of Houston, a lighting quick receiver that is downright lethal after the catch and brings big-play potential every time the ball is thrown his way. Additionally, the Bills also went ahead and drafted two bright offensive tackles in Spencer Brown and Tommy Doyle, providing a strong and young insurance policy in case Daryl Williams or Dion Dawkins deal with any injury setbacks. Though there’s a good chance both of these rookies won’t see a whole lot of starting reps this season, a deep offensive line is vital for the Bills’ long-term success, and both of these tackles possess encouraging potential.

Outside of these minor changes, the Bills offense is just about as dangerous as any other in the league and has everything it needs to replicate their success from last year. With Josh Allen getting better every season, to Zach Moss and Devon Singletary forming a complimenting, one-two punch out of the backfield, to Stefon Diggs and Cole Beasley leading the charge of a strong group of receivers, this Bills offense is so complete with not only star talent and excellent role players but also has the close-knit chemistry that an offense needs in order to succeed at the highest level.

When all is said and done, the Bills did just about everything they could to address their greatest concerns on both sides of the ball and met all of those expectations wholeheartedly. With their defense looking much stronger than last year, the Bills have a serious chance at ending their Super Bowl drought this season by not only overwhelming their opponents with their offensive resiliency but by also stifling and shutting them defensively as well. Beating out Mahomes and the Chiefs still remains to be the greatest test the Bills face down the line. But if there’s any team in the AFC that could do so this season, it’s no one else but the Buffalo Bills.

Report: Yankees could start listening to trade offers for star players

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge

The New York Yankees are coming off two consecutive victories over the Minnesota Twins, a team that currently sits seven games below .500. However, the Bombers have scored 17 total runs over the past two days, finally showing life on offense.

Recording 15 hits and striking out just four times, the entire batting order played well, aside from DJ LeMahieu, who failed to record a hit. Giancarlo Stanton was the featured player of the day, recording three hits and five RBIs, elevating his average to .267 after experiencing a streak of lackluster performances.

The Yankees plastered eight runs on 11 hits on Randy Dobnak over 4.2 innings, completely silencing a fan base that has been clamoring about a lack of production, and rightfully so. Some reporters believe that the Yankees could fall to a point where they consider trading some of their best players, but I believe that is a bit premature.

According to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, the Yankees could make the ultimate decision to start listening to trade offers:

Do they still go for it, hoping a switch-hitting outfielder like Ketel Marte of the Diamondbacks or left-handed slugger Joey Gallo can give them a significant boost, with the 0.1 WAR from their outfielders the lowest in baseball? Do they sell for the first time since 2016, finally giving up on catcher Gary Sanchez and outfielder Clint Frazier, trading Gleyber Torres and Gio Urshela, and even listening on right fielder Aaron Judge? Or do they simply stay pat?

With the season not even half over, trading some of their best players would be malpractice, instigating a rebuild that is entirely unnecessary. Once they regain some of their lost players due to injury, the Yankees will be in good shape, it’s just a matter of waiting out their recent woes. They currently sit 5.5 games back from first place Tampa, and all it would take is a solid winning streak to erase any doubts regarding the future of this team.

Knicks: What would it take to trade for Damian Lillard in the first place?

knicks, damian lillard

The rumor circulating that the New York Knicks could pursue Portland Trailblazers star point guard Damian Lillard is undoubtedly intriguing. With a significant need at PG, the Knicks will be looking to upgrade the position this off-season with over $60 million available in funds and draft capital to trade away if need be.

However, there’s no guarantee that Lillard will desire a trade, considering he’s been with Portland since 2012, eight years. Nonetheless, the veteran has gotten better over time, averaging 28.8 points, 7.5 assists, and shot .451 from the field this past season. He’s averaging upwards of 35 minutes per game, a number he hasn’t fallen below since his inception into the NBA.

What would it take for New York to acquire Lillard in a potential trade? He recently signed a four-year extension worth 176.2 million. He will make upward of $40 million per season but has no options built into his contract, so the Knicks would have him for four years guaranteed.

Let’s take a look at a past blockbuster trade and the value the Knicks had to part with to acquire Carmelo Anthony.

Taking a look at the trade that brought Carmelo Anthony to New York:

Nuggets traded: Carmelo Anthony, Anthony Carter, Renaldo Blackman, Chauncey Billups and Shelden Williams

Knicks traded: Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari, Raymond Felton, Timofey Mozgov, a future first-round draft pick, two future second-round draft picks, the right to exchange 2016 first-round draft selections and cash

What would it take to acquire Damian Lillard from the Blazers?

1.) Obi Toppin, Frank Ntilikina (sign and trade or alternative player), Kevin Knox

2.) Two 2021 first-round picks

3.) Two second-round picks

4.) The right to exchange a first-rounder in 2026

Ultimately, the Knicks will have to give away the farm to land Lillard, and they might see that as a bit overzealous considering there are other options on the market they can sign in free agency. It’s entirely possible they pursue Chris Paul, Kendrick Nunn, Dennis Schroder, or Lonzo Ball alternatively. However, Lillard is a bonafide star with years left of elite play. He would immediately make the Knicks a playoff-contending team, or at least allow them to push further with Julius Randle already on the roster.

Giving up the 8th overall pick from last year in Obi Toppin would not be ideal, but his future is undetermined, and you can’t put a price tag on elite point guards in trade negotiations.

The idea of exchanging a future first-rounder in 2026 matches up with what the Knicks did in the Anthony trade, just to sweeten the deal.

How would you feel about this trade scenario? Let me know in the comments and what you’d be willing to give up!

New York Yankees: Gerrit Cole, did he or didn’t he use sticky stuff?

yankees, gerrit cole

The New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole has now been named again regarding using sticky substances to improve his pitching.

New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole is one of several star pitchers named in a lawsuit for using illegal ball-doctoring substances provided by a former visiting Angels clubhouse manager, per an article in Sports Illustrated.

Brain “Bubba” Harkins was fired in March of 2020 by the Los Angeles Angels after an investigation stated that he had been helping pitchers with the use of illegal ball-gripping substances. In January of this year, he filed a lawsuit against MLB and the Angels. The filing follows an attempt by the Angels and MLB to dismiss Harkins’ previous motion claiming defamation.

Harkins named multiple pitchers in his lawsuit that apparently used his “concoctions” to increase the ability to improve grip on the baseball when pitching. Among those mentioned were Justin Verlander, Felix Hernandez, Max Scherzer, and the Yankee’s Corey Kluber and Gerrit Cole. In addition, several Angels pitchers were also named.

Now before the first game of the present Minnesota series at Target Field, the normally outspoken Josh Donaldson was having a public conversation on the use of illegal substances and went out of his way to single out Gerrit Cole. This amid an MLB crackdown on the use of foreign substances by pitchers.

When the New York Yankees arrived at Target Field, there was a video conference about the 3 game set with the Yankees. Gerrit Cole responding to reporter questions as to if he ever used Spider Tack (a particularly sticky paste to improve grip), Cole stumbled in answering. This is how he responded:

“I don’t know….. I don’t know….. I don’t quite know how to answer that, to be honest.” That was followed by a long pause and he continued: “There are customs and practices that have been passed down from older players to younger players, from the last generation of players to this generation of players, and I think there are some things that are certainly out of bounds in that regard.

“This is important to a lot of people who love the game, including the players in this room, including fans, including teams, so if MLB wants to legislate some more stuff, that’s a conversation that we can have. Because ultimately we should all be pulling in the same direction on this.”

After those comments, New York Yankees fans don’t know any more than they did before the comments. It is reasonable to assume that Cole, like many other pitchers, uses some substances at times to improve their pitching. Whether those substances are legal or not is a discussion to have with MLB.

Over the weekend, Buster Olney of ESPN reported that pitchers would be checked repeatedly and randomly by umpires for illegal substances under a new program being advanced by MLB.

In third baseman Donaldson’s wandering comments in which he mentioned Cole, he stated that Cole’s spin rate reduced dramatically after four minor league pitchers were suspended for using foreign substances. Donaldson suggested that Cole’s pitches weren’t rotating as much and that Cole was suddenly trying to hide his use of sticky substances to avoid being caught in the crackdown.

Sidestepping the accusation on Tuesday, and said: “My spin rate dropoff was due to mechanical flaws. I attribute it to just not being as good or as sharp as I wanted to be. It’s as simple as that,” Cole said. The Baseball Savant website stated the MLB Statcast data showed that Cole had a 125 rotations per minute decrease last week when he allowed five runs to the Tampa Bay Rays.

“I’m just not quite bringing out my best delivery. Of course it’s something that we monitor. Of course there are other variables that we monitor as well when we’re evaluating our performance from every game. You try to take as much information as you can as a player, and certainly that’s one of them,” Cole said. “We’re trying to get better this week and put in the work, and I’ll be as prepared as I possibly can for my next start.”

Last night before the game, Cole had nothing to say about Donaldson, but he let his pitching speak for itself. One would have to believe Cole, with the accusations, certainly would not have been using anything illegal. In three plate appearances against Cole, Donaldson flew out and struck out twice, with Cole glaring in at him with each strikeout.

If this story develops further, you will read about it on EmpireSportsMedia.com. Their Columnist William Parlee is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research. He can be followed on Twitter @parleewilliam.

Chicago Bears: Darnell Mooney ready for a major jump in year two

darnell mooney, bears

After finishing his rookie season with the Chicago Bears with nine starts, 61 receptions, and four touchdowns, wide receiver Darnell Mooney will enter year two as a breakout candidate for the Bears. Some would argue that Mooney broke out last season, but the former fifth-round pick is just scratching the surface of how good he really can be.

The plan for Mooney is simple: Develop into WR2, becoming a perfect complement to eight-year veteran Allen Robinson. Mooney showcased flashes of how complete of a player he could develop into last season, quickly becoming a starter and never looking back.

Chicago’s coaching staff was impressed with Mooney’s rookie campaign, and entering two, Mooney’s expectations are sky-high.

“They told me I exceeded expectations and that I played very well,” Mooney said via the Bears official Youtube page. “To me, I didn’t exceed everything I wanted to accomplish but going into year two, I just want to be more of a threat to the defenders and more of an asset to the team.”

Mooney brings so much to the Chicago Bears:

One attribute of Mooney is being a team player, knowing that helping the offense succeed should always be the first priority. Operating from the slot but also playing time on the outside last offseason, Mooney is open to being used in any role, especially as head coach Matt Nagy sees fit.

“Just sitting down, thinking of creative ways, whatever coach Nagy comes up with,” Mooney said. “He has a creative mind with plays and wherever I can be in a good position to be more of an asset to the team, I’m willing to take that on.”

Smart coaching can be the difference between good and great players. In Mooney’s case, he’s willing to do anything to take a significant jump in year two, especially since the starting wide receiver job is his to lose at this point. The game has also slowed down significantly for Mooney, which is of immense benefit.

“Extremely benefit, sometimes and before the play even happens, I can see how it plays out in my head and then seeing defenders body language and understanding the defensive look,” Mooney said. “It is extremely benefit to have that experience under my belt.”

As Mooney enters year two with the Chicaog Bears, look for him to truly burst onto the scene and gain some league-wide recognition that wasn’t present last offseason. Mooney has done everything and more to warrant taking a major jump in year two, something that will happen with stabilized quarterback play.

Yankees: No ‘sticky stuff’ talk could stop Gerrit Cole’s domination of the Twins

Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees

Last night marked the first time that New York Yankees’ ace Gerrit Cole faced Josh Donaldson since the Minnesota Twins’ third baseman wondered whether or not the Bombers’ starter was using substances to aid his grip and increase the spin rate of his pitches.

It did not go well for Donaldson, who produced outs in the three at-bats he had against Cole in yesterday’s game, which the Yankees took 9-6 in Target Field.

Cole said the change was because of a mechanical flaw, and accused Donaldson of making ‘low-hanging fruit’ comments.

Cole was asked on Tuesday, according to MLB.com, if he had ever used Spider Tack, a specific product.

“I hesitated on the specificity of the question because I just don’t think it’s the forum to discuss those kinds of things,” Cole said after Wednesday’s game. “There’s an appropriate time for players to discuss those things, and we’ll keep it to that forum.”

Yankees’ teammates are going to bat for Cole

Aaron Judge, the Yankees’ best player, defended Cole and said he doesn’t like the spotlight being on Cole and only on him specifically.

“I really don’t like it. I feel like 95% of the guys I’ve faced in the league have something going on,” Judge said. “It’s kind of one of those rules that I feel like hasn’t really been enforced or defined. We’ve all got a job to do; Cole’s got a job to do. Me as a hitter, I’ve got to step in the box no matter what’s going on or what people are using.”

Cole put all comments aside and threw another masterpiece, striking out nine Twins in six innings of only two runs to lead the Yankees’ victory.

His fastball spin rate was down in his last start vs. Tampa, to an average of 2,436 rpm. It was 2,493 yesterday against the Twins, closer to his 2,534 average of 2019-20.

Will the Chicago Bears be successful with the Patrick Mahomes model?

If there’s one phrase to describe the NFL, it’s copycat. One successful method ends up being used by other NFL franchises in hopes of emulating any sort of success. Such is the case for the Chicago Bears this offseason after overhauling the quarterback room with the additions of Andy Dalton and Justin Fields.

Head coach Matt Nagy, who was with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2017, will be responsible for overseeing the development of Fields. Nagy did the exact same five years ago with Alex Smith and Patrick Mahomes, leading to speculation that Chicago could implement the same method for Fields development in 2021.

Before we get into actually examining if the Bears will be successful with the Mahomes model, there are few points to note. First, Mahomes started the final game of his rookie season, sitting on the bench for 15 games. Smith had 26 touchdowns to just five interceptions that year. Second, the Chiefs 2017 roster was more stable compared to the Bears. There may have been holes but the Chiefs boasted the sixth-best scoring offense and the 15th best defense that year.

The hope for Chicago is that Dalton plays well enough as a rookie quarterback to hold off Fields long enough. With a 17 game schedule coming up, Dalton has a tough task ahead, especially since any sort of slip up could entice Nagy to immediately play Fields.

“At that point in time, in 17, Alex was, there was a lot of reps he was getting,” Nagy said via the Bears official Youtube channel. “So a lot of times right now for these players, in particular Justin, there’s a lot of mental reps. Really what happens is this: You get the mental side down in the offseason, you’re able to come out here on the grass and see what the timings like.”

Fans may call for Fields to be the week one starter but Nagy and the Bears have continued to persist that it’ll be Dalton. The goal for Fields in year one isn’t just to get physical reps but also mental reps. Nagy knows the benefit of mental reps for a young quarterback, especially considering Mahomes spent 15 games on the bench as a rookie, continuing to watch, getting mental reps each week.

Chicago may not be able to emulate the Mahomes model entirely to its specificity but similarities will exist. The last time Chicago had a rookie quarterback, the franchise rushed Mitchell Trubisky into action out of desperation but with Fields, the plan is to bring him along slowly, emulating the Mahomes model.

New York Yankees: 3 Major takeaways from home run powered win

Last night in Minnesota, the New York Yankees entered a second game against the twins after taking game one 8-4. They hoped with Yankee ace Gerrit Cole on the mound; they could take the series from the Twins. At the end of the night, they got the 9-6 win, but it wasn’t always pretty. The Yankees hit four home runs in the game.

Cole made a statement while under allegations

New York Yankee ace Gerrit Cole took the mound in Minneapolis last night after being accused of using stick stuff to aid his spin rate and get out more batters. The allegations came from the Twins’ own Josh Donaldson, who talked about pitchers using pitching aids and particularly named Cole in that conversation.

Cole let his pitching do the speaking for him. When Donaldson came up second in the lineup, Cole swiftly struck him out. Donaldson struck out for the second time against Cole. In the sixth inning, still facing Cole, Donaldson flew out to right field. Although Cole said nothing but the obvious stare in at Donaldson each time he stuck out spoke volumes. Donaldson ended up the night going 0 for 5.

Cole seemed more comfortable on the mound last night. He went six innings using 94 pitches, 66 of them strikes. He gave up five hits, two earned runs, striking out 9 Twins hitters, and walking no one.

The win wasn’t the prettiest this season, even though they scored 9 runs. The usually solid Yankee bullpen again faltered in the game. However, Luis Cessa did his job pitching two scoreless innings in relief of Gerrit Cole. With the Yankees ahead 9 to 2 in the ninth, Brooks Kriske took over for Cessa and allowed four earned runs to finish off the game.

Yankee hitting comes alive big time

The Yankee hitting that has often been lacking in most games came alive for the second night in a row. The Yankees got 15 hits in the game, four of them home runs. It was the first time this season that the Yankees got double-digit hits three games in a row.

Giancarlo Stanton was last night’s MVP hitting two long balls in the game. Aaron Judge and Miguel Andujar also homered in the game. It was the tenth time that both Stanton and Judge homered in the same game. Stanton and Judge also doubled in the game. Brett Gardner and Rougie Odor also had extra-base hits. Meanwhile, DJ LeMahieu had another unproductive night going 0 for 4.

Giancarlo Stanton heating up again

At the beginning of the season, the hottest hitter was Giancarlo Stanton; then, he injured his quad. He was out for 13 games. Upon his return, it appeared that Stanton had lost his timing. Manager Aaron Boone was easing him back into the lineup, causing him to miss every other game.

But, now in his last two games in a row, it seems his magic is back. He had two hits on Tuesday and exploded last night with two home runs and a single driving in five runs. It speaks well of the Yankee hitting when Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton are together. Even with his time in the IL, Stanton has a .267 batting average with 11 home runs and 29 driving in.

 

Cohesion is a key for Chicago Bears OL Sam Mustipher

One of the most exciting players to watch for the Chicago Bears during the 2021 regular season, center Sam Mustipher quietly started seven games for the Bears in 2020, quickly showcasing why he’s ready to become a key part of the Bears offensive line for years to come. Chicago has lacked a consistent presence at the center position since the franchise cut ties with Olin Kreutz in 2010.

Entering year three, the starting job at center is Mustipher’s to lose. Centers can be considered the quarterbacks of the offensive line and for someone who’s developing into a leader for the Bears, the former undrafted free agent knows what the Bears offensive line must do to become a top unit in 2021.

“Offensive line is a unique position in that five guys have to be on the same page on every single snap,” said Mustipher via the Bears official Youtube channel. “Anytime you get the opportunity to work together as a unit and build that cohesion overtime, it takes reps, it takes plays, it takes a lot of work, a lot of time.”

Over the last three seasons, one key issue for the Bears under head coach Matt Nagy, the Bears have struggled to find any sort of chemistry on the offensive line, which has impacted offensive production. Heading into 2021, with one new starter at left tackle in OT Teven Jenkins, the hope is that the Bears’ offensive line gels quickly enough to where a top unit emerges.

“There’s a lot of time and effort that we put into building a relationship and building trust within the unit so we’re seeing things through one set of eyes,” said Mustipher.

For Mustipher, a simple formula exists: The quicker the Bears offensive line gels, the better the entire offense can perform. As Chicago continues to prepare for the 2021 regular season, cohesion and chemistry will be key for a unit that was overhauled during the offseason under the guidance of offensive line coach Juan Castillo.