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Bears at Saints Wildcard Weekend Preview: When Bears Have the Ball

| January 7th, 2021

Sunday at 3:40 CT, the Bears will play a playoff game in New Orleans. This is the second in a three-part preview of that contest.


Last year, it was Mitch Trubisky’s performance against the New Orleans Saints that soured many – including me – on his prospects as the future quarterback of the Chicago Bears. Now he meets them again, this time in the postseason, this time with his career potentially on the line. Will the results look any different?

Thoughts.

  • Objective one for Dennis Allen’s defense is going to be limiting David Montgomery. If the Saints can keep the Bears in second/third-and-long, they’ll force Trubisky to throw the ball down the field. But their rush defense – while ranked near the top of the sport – has been a bit scattershot this season.
    • Against Philly and Jalen Hurts, they got thrashed. Miles Sanders went for 115 (8.2 per carry) and Hurts added 106 (5.9 per). The threat of a running quarterback kept them off-balance.*
    • When they had no fear of the opposing QB, against San Francisco in mid-November, they limited Kyle Shanahan’s rushing attack to 49 yards and tailback Jerick McKinnon to 1.8 yards per carry. This approach will more accurately mirror how they approach Sunday.
  • *While understanding the fear of sounding like a broken record, Trubisky’s legs can be an offensive game-changer Sunday. The Bears don’t need to call designed runs for him but they need him to recognize when the yards/first downs are available. Every five-yard chunk matters. Every first down matters. And getting that first down is a better option than a risky throw into traffic every single time. Trubisky’s legs are an x-factor.
  • Saints don’t have “stars” on their defensive line but they’ve got one of the more solid rotations in the league. Trey Hendrickson has been great all season but lately Carl Granderson has looked like a budding pass-rush star. They move these guys around. They change their pressures constantly. They are a lot for an offensive line to handle.

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Across The Middle: 2018 Chicago Bears Coach Power Rankings

| December 6th, 2017

Trust is going to be the most important factor in where the Bears go from here.

Ryan Pace is in his third year as GM for a franchise that has won 12 games since he took over. That’s 11 fewer than the guy he replaced and he only got three years to do the job. George McCaskey may still have faith in Pace but he’s admittedly not a patient person. Whoever the next coach of the Bears is, they must trust that Pace picked the right quarterback and knows how to build the rest of the roster.

On Pace’s part, he has to trust the person he hires to create a successful environment around the franchise quarterback, while not losing sight of what else is going on around him. For those reasons, I believe the next coach of the Bears is likely going to be somebody Pace knows and already trusts. We’ve seen these kinds of relationships come together recently in Jacksonville, Buffalo, San Francisco and Philadelphia. Pace not only needs somebody he trusts, he needs a quick turnaround and three of the four aforementioned teams are enjoying the most success they’ve had in a number of years.

Here is my guess on which current pro coaches have the best odds of being the Bears coach next season:

1. Dennis Allen, DC, New Orleans Saints

Everyone wants an offensive guy, I get it. But Allen has connections to John DeFilippo, Mike McCoy, Al Saunders and Bill Lazor. It’s also possible he can lure another veteran coordinator — Norv Turner, Gary Kubiak or Dirk Koetter — to run his offense with a young stud quarterback. This goes back to the trust factor because Pace worked with Allen for five years in New Orleans. Allen is said to be uniquely organized and detailed — the opposite of the Bears current coach. He failed in Oakland but he had just one year as a coordinator at that point and didn’t have any talent. Since he took over for Rob Ryan late in the 2015 season, the Saints have had a drastic improvement defensively.

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