Unlocked: ‘Ask Hub’

December 19, 2018

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Pro Football Weekly GM Hub Arkush answers subscribers’ Bears/NFL questions in every newsletter:

Is Kyle Long expected back before season end (if we win 1st playoff game)? Submitted by MG@Mas_G3

Since Kyle Long is eligible to return in Week 17, do you think the Bears will look rotate him back into the O-line against the Vikings, like they did with Daniels & Witzmann earlier this season? Submitted by Brett Bobysud

Since your questions are in the same vein, I thought I’d try and get back to you both at the same time.

For starters guys, “expected back” and “eligible to return” are both very different from healthy enough to return and in football shape.

The facts are we have never gotten any clarity on exactly what Kyle’s injury was other than it was to the same ankle he fractured so badly in Tampa two years ago. A couple of weeks ago, Ryan Pace commented on the radio that the team is hopeful Kyle may be ready and they haven’t given up on the possibility yet, but that’s all we know.

What I can say is if there is one player on the team who will move heaven and earth to be on the field, not for the Vikings but for Week 18 or Week 19 — whichever week the Bears play their first playoff game — it is Kyle.

If he is ready, he will be back at right guard and try to play 60 minutes, and there will be no rotating him in.

Daniels was rotated in because he is a rookie who hadn’t played guard since he was a sophomore in college and was learning the position, and Witzmann was rotated in because he wasn’t signed by the Bears until a few weeks into the season and was still learning the playbook while he was playing.

Kyle Long is the best offensive lineman on the Bears, and one of the best guards in football. If he’s healthy enough to play, he’ll play every down.

Do you think the last couple of games are indicative of an upcoming Rams collapse or do you think they just caught the wrong opponents at the wrong time? (Obviously hoping for the former, BEAR DOWN and such) thx! Love your shows Submitted by Bunchafunch@dsilv1205

No, I wouldn’t expect a Rams collapse; there is far too much talent on that team for that.

I think they’ve fallen into a bit of a rut that all great teams hit when they’ve won as much as the Rams have recently. They’ve had a little adversity they’re figuring out how to overcome, and they’ve made a couple of additions who are trying to fit in.

Not to take anything away from the Bears win because they were the better team that night and are just as talented, but at 11-1 and having gotten a little sloppy in recent wins, the Rams were ready to get beat, and the Bears beat ’em up pretty good.

Philadelphia was desperate, got a jolt from the return of Nick Foles and the Rams still almost came back and got them if it weren’t for the late fumble.

Cooper Kupp was a big loss for Jared Goff. Aqib Talib is trying to make his way back from a stint on I.R. Dante Fowler is trying to fit in after arriving at midseason. And Andrew Whitworth is 37, while Todd Gurley looks a little tired after 3,924 yards from scrimmage and 40 TDs in 29 games in the past 15 months.

But the Rams have two more soft opponents to work the bugs out against. They’ll make sure Gurley, Whitworth and the rest get plenty of rest the next couple weeks and most likely with a bye before they have to play a playoff game.

And hey, they have a guy with 3,924 yards and 40 TDs in just his last 29 games, and Gurley is definitely getting my vote over Mahomes and Brees for MVP this year.

They’re definitely not a club any of the other playoff teams expect to collapse, nor do any of them want to see L.A. in the playoffs.

If the last game vs. Vikings is meaningless for Bears seeding, should they sit starters or play hard? Having flashbacks to 2010 vs. Packers week 17, we let them in and then it bit us in NFC champ game Submitted by LeCurve

It is a lot more than cliché when players point out that no one is completely healthy or unscarred after 16 regular-season games, but some are worse than others.

Fortunately, the Bears are young, and that helps, but there’s still no question they have a number of guys who’d benefit from some rest before playing the biggest game(s) of their lives

If the Bears somehow get a bye, I think you play it out hard because you want to be on that fine edge when you get to the playoffs. But I’d worry about rust if guys had taken it easy for two or three weeks, and I don’t think you want to get to far away from the grind at such a critical time.

But it’s unlikely they’ll get that bye, and I do think guys like Allen Robinson, Tarik Cohen, Eddie Goldman, Akiem Hicks, Khalil Mack, Leonard Floyd, Danny Trevathan and Prince Amukamara in particular could benefit from getting a break, and if Matt Nagy wanted to rest a few more, I wouldn’t argue.

Do u c this offense in the next season or 2 really taking off to where they put up 25-30 per game? Submitted by Dan Hawker

I do, Dan. Unlike the defense — which is ready to win right now because players like Hicks, Goldman, Mack, Trevathan, Lynch, Fuller and Amukamara are already in their primes and playing at their peaks — the offense is full of guys who are just getting there now and will be much better next year and maybe even the year after.

Matt Nagy has told us since he got here that it will take at least two years and maybe a third for his offense to be completely installed and running smoothly. We already can see that’s true, and I think Nagy is an excellent coach with an outstanding staff.

My one reservation is Nagy still appears to be grasping at how to use his ground game to best benefit the offense, but he’s a rookie, too, who won’t hit his prime for at least another season.

What’s your favorite single malt scotch under $100 Submitted by Andruuu@bear34love

I’ve been a scotch drinker all my life but didn’t get into single malts until about 20 years ago thanks to a Canadian Irishman I worked with at the Daily Racing Form named Bill Dow. Bill was a brilliant editor who collected single malts and got me into collecting — and sipping them — too.

The real test of a single malt is it should never be mixed with anything, and if you can’t enjoy it neat, or minimally with no more than one or two ice cubes, it’s probably not the one you’re looking for.

My favorite right now is Glenfarclas aged 25 years but that’s about $180 a bottle and a special treat for special moments.

The Glenfarclas 17 is right around 100 bucks and one you can sip all night.

Oban is one you can find in the $75-$80 range, and you won’t go wrong with Glenrothes either.

Bill loved Lagavulin 16 and it’s another great one, but I lost a battle with a bottle of Lagavulin one night, if you know what I mean, and it’s been a little heavy for me ever since.

Who’s your favorite super hero? Submitted by J-Bone@dacoach60

It’s a tie – Superman, Dick Butkus and Walter Payton.

Have you ever played any of the Madden games? Submitted by Dan Hawker

My kids are 40, 36 and 33, so even they missed the video game explosion by just a couple years, and we never really had them in the house.

I know I’m a dinosaur, but I cannot tell a lie, I’ve never touched a video game controller or played a second of Madden.

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