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Across The Middle – Week 2

| September 14th, 2016

 will-fuller

The word of the day is perspective.

I like to think I’m as passionate a Bears fan as there is. I typically get nervous about the Sunday games on Friday and, when the Bears have a performance like they did against Houston, it ticks me off until the next Wednesday. But none of my common symptoms were there this week.

The reason is simple. The day after the Bears played their opener, my wife was scheduled to be induced and we welcomed the world’s newest Bears fan on Tuesday.

The Bears didn’t mean much to me last week and they don’t this week and I suppose that’s how it should be. But what happened last week shouldn’t mean much to you either. Just like the preseason, there’s a ton of instant reaction. But historically it hasn’t proven to be an indication of things to come.

Surely everyone remembers last season when the Rams beat the Seahawks and the 49ers thumped the Vikings? There were three playoff teams that lost to non-playoff teams last year and it seems to happen every year. Most of the teams in the league are still figuring out who they are the first three weeks of the season.

The Texans seem better than I thought (mostly because of Will Fuller) and the Bears have work to do. We knew the Bears wouldn’t be a finished product coming in. But what happened in Week 1 shouldn’t change your opinion of what kind of team the Bears have this year.

Coaches Have to Be Better

While I’m a big believer in the importance of winning in the trenches, the biggest area in which the Bears were out-classed Sunday was on the sidelines. John Fox single-handily cost the Bears a minimum of 11 points by not challenging two easy plays.

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Analysis Adds Up: Rapid Fire Reaction to an Opening Loss in Houston

| September 12th, 2016

Thursday I wrote a column and said the game would come down to protection for Jay Cutler and Houston’s wide receivers vs. the Bears secondary. The game came down to those two things. The Bears lost both battles. They lost the second half. They lost the game.

Rapid fire…

  • Willie Young has to play better in the six-game span McPhee is sidelined. Leonard Floyd’s ability/explosiveness is obvious but the Bears need Young to be their best pass rusher.
  • If the Bears had ANY consistent pass rush they would have forced Osweiler into mistakes. He was fragile. But they made him comfortable.
  • DeAndre Hopkins is an unbelievable player. How can you get mad about the plays he was making? That was all world stuff.
  • The Will Fuller touchdown was inexcusable. But that call – in that situation – was made because Bill O’Brien saw something.
  • John Fox has to challenge that spot. It doesn’t matter if most spot challenges are unsuccessful. That was a 4 and potentially 7 point swing. The risk is a timeout. The reward is you’re still in the game.
  • Dowell Loggains. Not a sterling debut. Did the Bears not expect Romeo to start bringing pressure in the second half?

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Match-ups That Matter: Bears at Texans

| September 8th, 2016

Aug 20, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans wide receiver Will Fuller (15) reacts after catching a touchdown pass against the New Orleans Saints in the first quarter at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Houston is a difficult opponent for the 2016 Chicago Bears, at least as we understand this Bears team to be constructed. If the Bears are going to open with a road victory, one would think the following are areas where they’d need to be successful.

Administrative Note: There will be no more long-winded game previews this season. Instead Thursdays will be used to isolate a noteworthy match-up or two for the coming weekend and Friday will be completely devoted to the return of DaBearsBlog’s Weekend Show. The game prediction will be part of that show.


HOUSTON RECEIVERS

VS.

BEARS SECONDARY

  • DeAndre Hopkins is one of the best receivers in the sport and there is nobody in the Bears secondary who can match up with him one-on-one. If the Bears don’t get to Brock Osweiler, Hopkins will find holes down the field and end up with a double-digit catch, triple-digit yardage afternoon.
  • Brock Osweiler received mixed reviews this summer in Houston but one can’t overstate the pressure he’ll be facing in his debut in front of the home crowd. The guy is being paid a zillion dollars off eight okay performances for a stacked roster. The Texans believe they were a quarterback away from title contention a year ago and paid Osweiler to take them to the promised land. Is he any good? Nobody really knows. But there’s two ways the Bears can shake him early: (a) pick off a pass in the first quarter or (b) don’t allow him easy completions early to allow him to settle into a rhythm.
  • Will Fuller is good. Bears better hope he doesn’t announce his presence in the NFL Sunday.

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