316 Comments

Data Responds: Lions at Bears

| November 19th, 2017

Chicago’s offense had their best game of the year, but their defense played possibly their worst game of the year. All in all, that evened out, but the Bears ended up falling to 3-7 because their kicker is terrible.

Offense

  • Now that’s more like it. The offense was finally run like an NFL offense, mixing things up and keeping the defense off its feet, and unsurprisingly it led to good things happening. Chicago stayed run-heavy in the game, but mixed up how they were running instead of making it so predictable, and thus the run game really took off. As a result, the offense scored more than 17 points in regulation for the 1st time all year.
  • This also helped the passing game open up a bit as well, since the Bears didn’t routinely end up in 3rd and long. This was a nice change from how their offense has functioned most of the year.
  • Another nice wrinkle we saw on offense was a number of read-option looks for quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. He kept it several times (though there was at least one more where he should have) and made Detroit’s defense pay for crashing down on the running backs.
  • After ignoring Tarik Cohen on offense for several weeks, the Bears made a point of getting him involved early and often. He had 8 carries and 3 pass targets in the 1st half alone after getting 8 total touches in the previous 3 games.
  • Another nice wrinkle was lining Jordan Howard up as a fullback, with Tarik Cohen at tailback. This set Howard up with a few nice runs as he could spring through the line quickly and the linebackers had to worry about Cohen.

Read More …

Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

197 Comments

Data Responds: Bears vs. Vikings

| October 10th, 2017

In rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky’s debut, the Bears got the ball to start, and marched right down the field. Trubisky looked sharp on several impressive throws, including one huge third down completion to Tre McBride that set Chicago up on Minnesota’s 9 yard line.

Except a holding penalty by center Cody Whitehair brought the Bears back to 3rd and 20 out of field goal range. One screen pass later, they punted, costing themselves at least three points.

That would lay the foundation for a frustrating first half of missed opportunities, when a long list of penalties (some more dubious than others) led to Chicago getting no offensive points despite passing midfield on four drives.

Unsurprisingly, those missed opportunities came back to haunt them in the second half, as a late Minnesota field goal led to a 20-17 win.

Coaching

  • They get their own section again, which usually means bad things. And we’re starting here, because it was terrible.
  • John Fox took too long to decide whether to go for it on 4th and 2 in the first quarter, which forced the Bears to call a time out. Out of the time out, they took too long to get the play in, resulting in a delay of game and punt. That was an ugly sequence that was 100% the fault of the coaches. Then in the 2nd half, they had to burn a time out when the Vikings had 1st and 19 due to confusion with defensive play calls.
  • The Bears were also incredibly sloppy early on, with several early penalties negating big plays and/or putting them behind the chains. Some of the calls didn’t seem particularly great by the officials, but overall they need to get out of their own way and stop beating themselves. That’s the mark of a poorly coached team.
  • Dowell Loggains also had a terrible game. He fell into predictable patterns we’ve seen through four games, with obvious runs on 1st down and too many horizontal passes. They ran out of heavy sets and threw out of shotgun, with not enough variability mixed into those sets. This routinely set the Bears up in 3rd and long situations, which is not where you want a rookie quarterback (or any offense, really) to be. To his credit, Loggains did have a beautiful play call on a game-tying 2 point conversion in the 4th quarter, but overall he had a rough night.

Read More …

Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

218 Comments

Postseason Positional Analysis Part VII: Linebackers

| January 19th, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-01-07 at 11.49.19 AM

We start on the inside.

The Bears had five inside linebackers this season but only three are worthy of discussion. LaRoy Reynolds & Jonathan Anderson are the type of bottom-roster boys an organization needs but there’s also about 125 players like them circulating across the league. Whether they return or not in 2016 won’t make the teapot whistle.

Three questions about the others.

How Much Do the Coaches Really Like Shea McClellin?

Shea is a smart player and the coaches went out of their way throughout 2015 to applaud his impact on the defense. He also, once again, struggled to remain healthy for any substantial period of time and his level of play dropped precipitously once returning to the field.

Here’s how I’d summarize McClellin. He is constantly in position to make plays but rarely makes them. Is that a lack of physical ability? Maybe. Is that a lack of instincts? Definitely. Were his struggles this season more the result of a change to ANOTHER new position? Possibly.

Unlike many who’d like to see the Bears cut the Shea line, I’d like to see him return and continue to develop at middle linebacker. He won’t be expensive or require a lengthy deal so why not? At worst he’s a third linebacker off the bench who can also call signals.

How Much Stake Do the Coaches Put Into John Timu’s Finish?

Adrian Peterson had 18 rushes for 63 yards. Doug Martin had 17 carries for 49 yards. Ameer Abdullah had a more respectable 10 carries for 44 yards. This was a poor rush defense all season long that turned into a solid unit once Timu ascended into the starting lineup. Does this mean the Bears should move forward with Timu cemented in the middle? Of course not. But barring a big splurge in free agency, Timu should come to Bourbonnais with confidence.

Read More …

Tagged: , , , , , ,

87 Comments

Preseason Bears Roster Falls To Lions (Rapid Fire)

| January 4th, 2016

image

Another coin flip game, another coin flip loss. No reason to dissect every element so here are a few thoughts from inside the ballpark you might find interesting.

  • John Timu ran the defense. And I mean ran it. Called the signals, made adjustments, pursued on every play. You’d have thought he was a six-year veteran. Impressive stuff.
  • Kyle Long could barely walk at times after his early injury. He’s a tough SOB. But I kept wondering what reasons Bears could have to keep marching him out there.
  • Pernell McPhee’s criticism of Bears fans at Soldier Field is warranted. The noise produced downstairs – from goal line to goal line – is slight. Most of those people seem to have no understanding of when a home crowd is needed. They were louder for the Dunkin Donuts race on the big screen than any third down on defense.

Read More …

Tagged: , , , , ,

209 Comments

FrontRowTickets.com Game Preview: Bears Finish Season at Home Against Detroit

| January 1st, 2016

dabearsblog banner

Sell Chicago Bears Tickets

WHY DO I LIKE THE CHICAGO BEARS THIS WEEK?

I always like the Chicago Bears.

GAME POEM

And so the Bears lie their head
Upon the season’s unmade bed

With drool of last night’s revelry
saturating sheets
Fans across Chicago serve up optimistic Tweets

We dare to dream of better days!
(Though dreaming bares the soul)
For glory’s the result of dreams!
(And glory is the goal)

Sleep, dear Bears.
Sleep well.
And rest each coming day.
Remember, Bears
Another year
Is just nine months away.

Read More …

Tagged: , , ,

229 Comments

Across The Middle With Andrew Dannehy

| December 30th, 2015

bucs.1_16495205_8col

• My biggest disappointment from this season has been the fact the Bears hadn’t been able to establish an identity, but that might have changed on Sunday. The Bears dominated the line of scrimmage against a team that ranks in the top 10 in both rushing offense and defense. If they can run and stop the run with the best, they’re going to win quite a few games.

Read More …

Tagged: , , , , , ,

314 Comments

Four Things At Stake in the Finale

| December 29th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-12-28 at 6.07.25 PM

(1) 7-9. Is that just a number? To many, sure. But it would also be a fair representation of the progress this organization has made in just one season under their new regime. This has been a coin clip season and 7-9 would accurately reflect the fact that the 2015 Chicago Bears have been narrowly on the wrong side of the coin.

(2) The Completion of a Great Cutler Season. He’s completed more than 63% of his passes for 3,414 yards and thrown 19 touchdowns to only 8 interceptions. But his numbers tell little of the story. He’s been the Bears best player, snatching several improbable victories from the jaws of defeat and doing all of it with a decimated receiving corps and young offensive line. The most remarkable part of Cutler’s season has been his leadership. For the first time during his Bears tenure, this truly felt like the quarterback’s team.

Side note: Cutler needs a monster game to break Erik Kramer’s single season yardage record of 3,838.

Read More …

Tagged: , , ,

251 Comments

FrontRowTickets.com Game Preview: Bears & Bucs Play Out the String (Christmas Edition!)

| December 24th, 2015

dabearsblog banner

Sell Chicago Bears Tickets

THE GAME POEM

THOUGHTS ON THE TAMPA BAY BUCS

  • Bucs offense is simple. They want to hand the ball off a zillion times to Doug Martin and then make plays down the field to Mike Evans off play-action. If their running game is shut down it greatly limits their effectiveness to move the ball/score points.
  • Earlier in the week I paired the Bucs and Bears as two teams that weren’t ready to put themselves in the thick of a playoff chase. Four weeks ago the Bucs were 5-5 and positioned well to make a run at the 6th seed. Since then they’ve lost to a Luck-less Colts, a Saints team playing out the string and were roughed up last Thursday night by the Rams until mounting a late comeback. This is a team with a lot of weapons and a bright future. But they’re not there yet. The question will be whether Lovie can get them over the top in 2016.
  • Tampa’s rush defense is very good, allowing 30 less yards per game on the ground than Chicago. If the Bears think they’re going to control this game on the ground it’s unlikely. The way to attack Tampa is to isolate a couple familiar fellows at the backend of their secondary (Conte, Wright…etc.) and throw the ball down the field. The question will be whether any of the Bears receivers can get any separation.

NEW CHRISTMAS CLASSICS

Each year, from Thanksgiving until Christmas, I (like many) indulge in the joy that is the Christmas movie. And it surprises me that movies and television shows still find their way into the rotation. This last year produced two new additions.

A VERY MURRAY CHRISTMAS

It’s television the way television used to be made in the days of soundstages and cigarette holders and Dean Martin. Everything about it is a throwback and it’s still completely original. The highlight? George Clooney popping out repeatedly from behind Christmas trees to deliver the chorus of Santa Claus Wants Some Lovin’.

DIFFICULT PEOPLE, “DIFFICULT CHRISTMAS”

The best new comedy on television in 2015 was Julie Klausner’s Difficult People and the final episode of the season, the Christmas episode, might have been the best. The highlight? Klausner getting fired from her job as a gift wrapper for reciting the story of Capturing the Friedmans to a customer.

Read More …

Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

201 Comments

Across The Middle With Andrew Dannehy

| December 23rd, 2015

BridgewaterTeddy_1280_122015_BradRempel

• I hate to be “that guy”, but this is now three straight games that the Bears have barely bothered to show up for. We can talk all we want about a culture change and can claim it has already happened, but, to me, it’s pretty clear that John Fox still has a lot of work to do. At this point, it would be a surprise if they didn’t finish with the same record they finished with last year.

Read More …

Tagged: , , , ,

© Da' Bears Blog