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Grades for the NFC North’s Best Team at the Halfway Point

| November 7th, 2018

The Bears are 5-3. They lead the NFC North at the halfway point. Let’s take stock of how the units have performed through eight games.


Offense

Blurb: The Bears have a real, professional, exciting offense and a play-caller getting more comfortable each and every week. That they’re scoring the way they are while bringing along *essentially* a rookie quarterback is the most impressive thing about this unit.

Key Stat: Jordan Howard is averaging only 3.5 yards per carry, a significant drop from the previous two seasons. But the Bears are 7th in rushing yards per game, primarily due to Mitch Trubisky.

Grade: The Bears are still leaving big plays out there because of a young, developing quarterback. But the overall numbers are good and the arrow is now pointing decidedly up. B


Defense

Blurb: The Bears defense has played two poor games and it’s not coincidence that both of those games featured Khalil Mack on the field, on one leg. When the team has either (a) had Mack at full strength or (b) prepared to play without him, they’ve been the league’s best defense. Mack was the MVP of September. Bryce Callahan has been the breakout star. Kyle Fuller has been the unit’s best player for the duration.

Key Stat: Bears rush defense is allowing 3.7 yards per carry (5th), 84.9 yards per game (3rd), have allowed just 1 rushing touchdown (1st) and recovered 5 fumbles in the run game (1st).

Grade: I’ll give them a mulligan for Edith Wharton’s The Osweiler Affair. They’re dominant against the run. They turn opponents over. They score. They’re a great unit. A


Special Teams

Blurb: They had a nightmare against the New England Patriots, allowing two touchdowns, and Cody Parkey missed his biggest kick of the season against Miami. Pat O’Donnell is inconsistent in the punt game but Tarik Cohen is absolutely electric in the punt return game.

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Grades (and Haikus!) For the NFC North’s Top Team at the Quarter Mark

| October 3rd, 2018

Joe Camporeale – USA TODAY Sports

Data is going to be writing a series of pieces breaking down what the Bears have been numerically/statistically through the first quarter of the season, as only he can. So this will just be CliffsNotes stock taking for now. With haikus!


Offense

Blurb: Through three games, the offense was incoherently constructed and impotently executed. Then they delivered the finest offensive performance in this organization’s history against the Tampa Bay Bucs. They have a solid offensive line and a terrific collection of play-making weapons. It just took a month for it all to come together.

Key Stat: Mitch Trubisky’s QB line: 70% completion, 945 yards, 8 TD, 3 INT, 101.6 rating.

Grade: I would have given this unit an F before Sunday’s performance so I can’t ignore those games. But the arrow is decidedly pointing up. C+

Haiku:

Six touchdown passes.

The ghost of Johnny Lujack

Recedes into dark


Defense

Blurb: Patrick Mahomes has the gaudiest stat line in the league but Khalil Mack has been every bit the NFL’s MVP. No player has made a larger impact on the performance of their team. Mack has made every single player on this unit better and they are the league’s top defense. Lead in sacks. Second in picks. Right at the top of every valuable statistical category.

Key Stat: The Bears had 8 interceptions in 2017. They have 8 through four games of 2018.

Grade: There is no drama. There is no debate. A+

Haiku:

There goes Khalil Mack,

Flying ’round the right tackle

Ball! Ball! Ball! Ball! Ball!


Special Teams

Blurb: Cody Parkey is a solid upgrade but he’s not really been tested in a big moment. Pat O’Donnell is having a solid year punting the football. The return game has provided little but the units have avoided the kinds of penalties that can bury the offense. They’ve covered kicks well, with Sherrick McManis mounting a Pro Bowl-caliber campaign.

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Camp Has Started. Let’s Grade Chicago’s Roster.

| July 24th, 2018

Let’s take an objective look at this Bears roster, grading each unit on a 1-10 scale, with 1 being the worst in the NFL, 10 being the best in the NFL, and 5 being an average NFL grouping. I am going to try to avoid projecting too much for young players who have not yet proven it in the NFL, so some of these rankings might be a bit lower than expected.

Let’s get right down to it!


Quarterback: 3.5

Key players: Mitchell Trubisky, Chase Daniel

Roster depth: Tyler Bray

I have a feeling this rating will be higher by the end of the 2018 season, but right now I can’t go any higher than a 3.5 out of 10. Mitchell Trubisky got steadily better as his rookie season progressed, but he still didn’t play that great, and while people seem to love Chase Daniel as a backup, he’s only thrown 78 passes over 8 seasons in the NFL.


Running Back: 8

Key players: Jordan Howard, Tarik Cohen

Roster depth: Benny Cunningham, Michael Burton, Taquan Mizzell, Ryan Nall

Welcome to the best position group on the Bears’ roster. Jordan Howard has run for over 2400 yards the last 2 years, and Tarik Cohen is a perfect complement who can make explosive plays on limited touches. Howard’s struggles through the air are the only thing keeping this grade from being higher, but the duo should be very productive in 2018 if used correctly. The depth here is solid as well; Benny Cunningham is a good ST contributor and solid 3rd down back, and people seem to like UDFA Ryan Nall as a sleeper.

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