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Across The Middle: Will the Real Dowell Loggains Please Stand Up?

| November 21st, 2017

Outside of maybe John Fox, the hottest seat in the city of Chicago belongs to that of offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains. But in reality, do we even know if he’s bad?

Whether he intended to or not, Mitch Trubisky dropped a bombshell after Sunday’s game, saying he knows Loggains trusts him, but that Fox limits what they’re allowed to do. That’s Fox’s job and I can hardly blame him. The Bears had Tanner Gentry and Tre McBride lined out wide with a rookie quarterback two games ago. The results were completing less than 50% of their passes and an insanely high sack rate.

But that doesn’t change the fact that we still don’t really know what the offensive coordinator can do.

Some reflections:

  • Two of Loggains former quarterbacks — Matt Hasselbeck and Jay Cutler — insist he’s a bright coach.
  • Cutler went as far as to say that he thinks Loggains is going to be a head coach one day.
  • Hasselbeck has appeared on the Waddle & Silvy Show several times and has been adamant that what you see on Sunday isn’t a reflection of the coordinator.
  • Mike Munchak vouched for Loggains, having employed him as his offensive coordinator once and selling him as the guy who was going to run his show should he get another head job.

That said, he’s never had an offense finish better than 19th in scoring or 15th in yardage. Last year, the Bears were 28th in points scored and they sit 27th so far this year. But, how much can we blame him for that?

Mike McCoy was the guy many Bears fans wanted to replace Loggains last year. But McCoy without Peyton Manning or Phil Rivers isn’t so sexy. Without them he’s had one offense in the top twenty in scoring and none better than 13th. (Both of those actually came when Josh McDaniels was the brains behind the offense.) McCoy’s Broncos were top-five across the board in his final year there but, of course, they had Manning. After four years with Rivers, he went back to Denver with a poo-poo platter at quarterback and now he’s unemployed.

It’s hard to win with a rookie quarterback.

You can argue neither the coach nor the QB himself even matter, it’s more about the players around them. Of the last 18 rookie quarterbacks who have played seven or more games, 12 of their teams have finished in the bottom 10 in passing yards and almost every one of those teams has had losing records.

For every Dak Prescott, there are three Derek Carrs. These are the guys who needed time and — more importantly — surrounding talent before they could take off.

Everyone likes to point to Los Angeles Rams as a model for what the Bears should do. But, what about Philadelphia? The Eagles started strong last year, but they ended up 24th in passing yardage, despite throwing the ball more than all but five teams. In terms of percentages and averages, Carson Wentz’s rookie year is very similar to Mitch Trubisky’s but Wentz had guys like Jordan Matthews, Zach Ertz and Nelson Agholor.

Now, not only is Frank Reich a hot name for possible head coaching vacancies, but so is Philly’s quarterback’s coach John DeFilippo. Why? Because Wentz got better and they turned Matthews into Alshon Jeffery and added Torrey Smith.

Even with the Rams, you can look at the coach all you want, but don’t overlook the fact that they completely revamped their group of receivers.

A lot of the Bears struggles have come from not having adequate receivers. Since adding Dontrelle Inman — who certainly isn’t a No. 1 receiver — you’ve seen their passing offense improve with Trubisky throwing for 476 yards and completing 60 percent of his passes the last two weeks.

Fox is almost certainly going to be fired. There have been too many mistakes and too much sloppiness. But Ryan Pace really likes his offensive coordinator. Not enough to make him a head coach, but certainly enough to suggest he stays to whoever the next coach is.

There are dozens of examples of good coaches whose offenses didn’t have success because they didn’t have the players. Is it possible that Loggains is another one? We don’t know what goes on behind closed doors at Halas Hall, but Trubisky gave us a peak. Loggains is doing as he’s told. In the last six games, I’d like to see him rebel and call his game so we can see what he’s got.

Two Minute Drill

I get the outrage over Jordan Howard, Tarik Cohen and Adam Shaheen not being on the field in the two-minute drill, but I think it’s mostly understandable.

Howard has been on the field in the two-minute drill and the results have been underwhelming. How quickly we forget about the key drops he’s had in those situations. Howard does a lot of things well but catching passes isn’t one of them.

With Howard not being on the field, the logical backup would be Cohen, but he can’t block. It’s important to have a running back who can block because a sack kills the two-minute drill.

They could probably have Cohen as a receiver, moving Kendall Wright out wide, but Cohen doesn’t know the plays in that situation. The Bears have already put a lot on his plate, learning multiple positions in different formations and situations. This is one he hasn’t gotten to yet. Hearing Cohen speak after the game, it sounds like something he’s working on, but he isn’t there yet.

Shaheen plays the in-line tight end position, typically for blocking. Until the last two weeks, he really struggled in the passing game. I had a source close to the coaching staff tell me he still has a long way to go in the passing game, largely because they’ve had to do so much work on his blocking.  Shaheen is a good threat in the middle of the field, but he’s not the most fleet of foot. Daniel Brown is more athletic — essentially playing a different position as the move tight end and his speed can help them in those situations.

In the cases of Cohen and Shaheen, they’ll learn the two-minute drill and they’ll find the field there, probably sooner rather than later. They just aren’t there yet. Considering they’re rookies from small schools, I think they’re progressing rather nicely.

Finally…

The Conner Barth nightmare is over. Sweet Jesus, it’s finally over.

Replacing Robbie Gould with Barth is one of the three biggest mistakes Ryan Pace has made in his entire life.

Bring On The Iggles

Another week in which we get to see coaches who many fans want to be in charge of the Bears next season.

Reich and DeFilippo are hot names because their offense is among the best in the league, but we really don’t know how much they have to do with that. Doug Pederson is in charge of the offense, so it’s not possible for us on the outside to pinpoint how good Reich and DeFilippo are. Both have failed in previous stints as offensive coordinators, but that’s another discussion for another time.

The Eagles look like a powerhouse right now. They have the highest-scoring offense in the league and the eighth-best defense. That kind of combination usually leads to a long playoff run. With all of the injuries the Bears have had on defense and their struggles the last two weeks, there’s no real reason to think they’ll slow them down.

Another guy a lot of people seem to want as a head coach — Jim Schwartz — has their defense playing at a high level as they’re first against the run. Also not a good sign for the Bears.

I think the Bears will keep this game close because that’s what they do as long as they don’t turn the ball over. A win, however, would be a huge shock.

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