AKA “The James Vaughters Game”
-If it wasn’t for James Vaughters and Kerrith Whyte Jr, tonight would’ve been a total waste of a Friday, even though it’s not like I was doing anything else. Two of my favorite bottom of the roster skill position players had a bad night, Marvin Hall trying his “bad Devin Hester” impression on for size, and Smoke Mizzell fumbled twice as a running back.
-Whyte makes Hall expendable, and he and Javon Wims looked awesome tonight. Fuck it, put Tarik, David Montgomery, Kerrith Whyte, Cordarrelle Patterson, and Allen Robinson out there for a play or two and see how weird Nagy can get.
-Clifton Duck had the best defensive play of the preseason so far, and I’m excited to see what else he can do this preseason. I also think Duke Shelley looked good, and once again safety play was solid. The backup spots in the secondary are up for grabs, so it’s nice to see a couple young guys come in and compete.
-Bradley Sowell got WORKED multiple times in this game. Tight end is not going to be a team strength going into this season. Can Akiem Hicks play tight end? Ian Bunting was nowhere to be found tonight.
Pace, your tight end room. WOOF.
-But really, let’s talk James Vaughters. He looked great again tonight, and he was blowing up on Twitter after his flawless strip/sack/recovery. I’m hopeful that he continues to push to make this roster, since I don’t have much faith in the rotation behind Mack/Floyd/Lynch. Seems like the Bears draft a lot of linebacker projects and they kind of just hang around until their rookie deals expire before they are cast off into the ether. Vaughters was screaming off the edge all night tonight. I could say something that makes me sound like a “football journalist”, like “Well, I need to see the all-22 tape of every one of his snaps”, but that’s not realistic. He passed the eye test tonight and last week as well.
However, it needs to be said that we fall into this trap every single year. “The preseason is boring and doesn’t matter” always turns into “________ needs to be on the 53 man roster and should see meaningful game time this season.” It was Tanner Gentry before him, because every season it seems like we do the same thing as sports fans. We want this to mean something, because we’re excited to be watching football again. We want this to be important, because we want these guys to have jobs this year. We want this to matter, because we love the underdog. James Vaughters is totally the underdog.
Is James Vaughters going to be remembered after tonight? Do we go back to think pieces about the kicker battle, or are we going to fall for the former UDFA who has bounced around both the NFL and their non-union Canadian equivalent for the last four years? I think you’ll see some big time Bears writers doing pieces on his history, because the narrative is so good and everyone loves a good story.
Inspiring story aside, the dude had 11 career sacks up in Canada, which is worth at least 8 sacks here in the US.