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Across The Middle – Week Four

| September 28th, 2016

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I’ve tried to calm myself down and think about the loss to the Cowboys logically. But I can’t help but come to the same conclusion I came to while watching the game: this team is suffering from coaching malpractice.

Any team missing their three best defensive players and starting quarterback is going to struggle. Add to the fact that those three defensive players were all playing in the front seven and they were going against the team with the best offensive line in the league and a blowout makes sense.

But I don’t give a shit about any of that.

The Bears should’ve been blown out several times last year, but they weren’t.

They weren’t because they fought.

They weren’t because they either had a sound game plan or adjusted well.

They weren’t because their coaching was a legitimate advantage.

That isn’t the case right now and I’m not sure what the answer is.

John Fox and company had a unique way of getting the most out of their players in 2015. Now they’re doing the opposite. Dowell Loggains can’t draw up a play to save his life and Vic Fangio has no idea who to put on the field. The guy supervising them doesn’t know what they’re doing and doesn’t know how to fix it.

I don’t care that Fox never provided the media with answers before now but the shit is hitting the fan. He needs to have a response better than “that’s a good question” when asked why the team he coaches didn’t run the ball more.

During the game, I called for Fox to be fired. Maybe that was hasty. But maybe they’re wasting our time with this charade that feels a hell of a lot like 2014 all over again.

Fox is a veteran coach and I’m fine with him getting the opportunity to fix this. But they can’t have another half like they did against Dallas.

Vic Might Be In Trouble

I don’t understand why Fangio was playing the players he was playing.

The Bears didn’t have a shot at stopping the Cowboys with Will Sutton lined up against Travis Frederick. Sure enough, on the first play, Sutton was destroyed and the Cowboys had an easy 20-yard gain. Sutton has value, but he can’t win that matchup. Hicks should’ve been the nose tackle with either Bullard or Washington at end.

Didn’t we learn Christian Jones couldn’t play inside last year? He struggled all of last season and was relegated to the bench behind John Timu and Jonathan Anderson by the end of the year. Anderson has been the first backup all offseason, but when it came to replacing Danny Trevathan, Fangio chose Jones. Why?

Jones showed why he shouldn’t be playing on the first play of the second quarter when he not only missed Dak Prescott, but took Cornelius Washington out in the process, allowing Prescott to run for 17 yards on third-and-three. What should’ve been a stop for the defense ended up being a touchdown drive solely because Jones failed to make a routine play on third down.

Later in the game, Harold Jones Quartey went down, which should’ve been a prime opportunity to throw fourth round pick Deon Bush — who they took over Prescott — in the game. Instead Fangio put Chris Prosinski in. As usual, Prosinski was bad and the Cowboys took advantage of him.

The Bears had another player they drafted over Prescott sitting on the bench the entire game in favor of a player who has proven to be terrible. Instead of running with Deiondré Hall, Fangio kept Jacoby Glenn on the field and the Cowboys abused him, repeatedly (I had Glenn being responsible for 105 yards).

After halftime Michele Tafoya quoted Fox as saying something about the injuries not being the Bears problem. To me, that was a direct look in Fangio’s direction. If Fox is mad at Fangio, imagine how Ryan Pace feels about the defensive coordinator continually throwing scrubs in front of players he spent relatively high picks on?

The Bears will have a hard time firing Loggains simply because they don’t have anyone to replace him with (but remember the name Frank Smith). They have options when it comes to replacing Fangio.

The Slow Starts Keep Coming

There are a lot of things that are driving me crazy this week, but the fact that the defense can’t seem to stop teams on their first drive is absolutely insane.

Since Fox took over, the Bears have given up touchdowns on their opponent’s first possession eight times and forced punts seven times. They gave up a field goal another time and in two games in which they didn’t give up touchdowns on the first drive, they gave up touchdowns on the second drive. The worst part is the touchdowns usually come like a hot knife through butter.

I get that the sign of a good coach is the ability to make adjustments but the sign of a bad coach is that his team is never prepared. What the hell do the Bears do during the week? Do they watch any tape at all, or just wait until they can feel the other team out?

The Bears aren’t built to play from behind and they are always behind.

Young Guys Are Tough to Bring Down

The biggest bright spot I came away with on Monday was the fact that neither Jordan Howard nor Kevin White are easy to bring down.

They’re both strong and physical and the Bears need to give them the ball. While I wasn’t sure how many guys were fighting hard out there, I had no doubt about both of them.

I credited White with two broken tackles and another in which he made a defender miss. Last week, I correctly predicted White would get a lot of balls thrown his way, but he still ended up with people questioning his efficiency. I marked down six passes thrown to him as being uncatchable, two more weren’t accurate but he still made the catch. He had a couple plays that would’ve required great catches. The Bears will want him to make those catches in the future, but this was a start.

I also had Howard down with two broken tackles, but his performance was about more than that. Naysayers point to the fact that a lot of his yardage came on one run, but he also lost six yards on two runs. I really liked how decisive he was when he got the ball and I think it’s time to get it to him 20 times a game to see what he can do.

Of course, the Bears signed Joique Bell, a player who I’m not particularly fond of. Bell is an adequate backup, but that’s it. If the Bears are going to move the ball on the ground, it’s going to be with Howard.

From the Chart

• Brian Hoyer was a lot of fun to chart this week. I didn’t think he was that bad watching the game live but I counted 10 inaccurate passes along with seven that he either threw away or spiked. The Bears have talented receivers, so they hauled in a few of his inaccurate passes, but it was pretty bad. I also held him responsible for 1.5 bad runs, which is very difficult for a quarterback to do.

• The offensive line was much better this week, with most of the pressures given up after the Bears were forced to pass. I still expect Kyle Long to be better than he was. I credited him with one bad run, one hurry and two false start penalties (the false start on the field goal attempt wasn’t called on him, but he was responsible for it). In all, I had the offensive line down for 5.5 bad runs and five quarterback disruptions.

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