The following is the beginning of a series breaking down what the Bears can learn from the two Super Bowl teams. Andrew will take on the Philadelphia Eagles. Emily will handle the Pats.
5. Make Sure You Have a Decent Backup QB
Nick Foles isn’t great. He probably isn’t even good; at least not good enough to be a starting quarterback in the league. But prior to Sunday’s game, he showed the ability to have some success in the NFL. That was key.
Foles was calm and able to make big throws under pressure against the Vikings. While there’s no arguing he had a lot of help (more on that later), his success shouldn’t be a complete shock because we’ve seen him play well in a similar situation. His career playoff passer rating is now 116.1 and he hasn’t thrown an interception in any of his 96 attempts.
Really, this is a lesson the Bears should already know. They have had potential Super Bowl seasons derailed by incompetent backups more than probably any other team over the last three decades. Had they had a competent backup quarterback in either 2010 or 2011, Lovie Smith might still be the coach. (I might never forgive them for allowing Todd Collins to enter the NFC Championship Game.)
What I’d look for is a player who has starting experience and has had success. You know who fits the bill land might be really interesting: Mark Sanchez.
I don’t buy that Sanchez can’t play anymore. I saw him in camp last year when he moved and threw the ball better than Mike Glennon. He’s only 31 and has a ton of experience. He played in an offense that was similar to what the 2018 Bears are likely going to run in 2014 and 2015 and he was fine.
Another guy I’d like to keep tabs on is Blake Bortles. Jacksonville could cut him and, while he’s may be a shitty starter, he’s also probably a top tier backup. In the right system with the right players around him, I think he could get the job done. The Bears are trying to build that system (again, more on that later).
4. Don’t Forget The Power
If you’re going to win in Chicago in January, you better be able to bring the boom.
My first wow moment in last week’s game came when LeGarrette Blount pounded through the Vikings defense for an 11-yard touchdown, giving the Eagles a 14-7 lead. The Eagles came at the Vikings with two power backs and it made them that much more difficult to defend.
Ideally, opponents would play the Eagles small, with their nickel or dime defense on the field, but that doesn’t work so well when the defensive backs have to square up with Blount or Jay Ajayi.
The Bears have the power back in Jordan Howard. I’d like to see them add a competent backup, someone who can get five or six carries and punish the defense on every single one of them.
Stay tuned for more…