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Week Four: Bucs at Bears Game Preview

| September 27th, 2018

The shirt above was actually sold by our friends 26Shirts


Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears this Week?

I always like the Chicago Bears.

And I think Matt Nagy and the offense are going to come out a bit spiky this week. Celebrating in the locker room Sunday, Nagy owned the offense’s failings while praising the defense’s dominance. He won’t want to be in many more locker rooms like that one.

[Editorial Note: This column is being written under the assumption Dirk Koetter won’t be benching a QB with 1200+ yards through three games.]


Game Haiku

Matt Nagy. Head Coach.

But offense is his baby.

Baby is crying.


Why the Bears Will Win

  • Bears Defense. This unit has been praised ad infinitum and deservedly so. They are the best defense in the league after three games. And the Bucs haven’t seen anything like this, especially on the road, in 2018. Two of the three defenses Tampa has played – Pittsburgh and New Orleans – are currently ranked in the league’s bottom four. One of the reasons Fitzpatrick has thrived statistically early is the lack of pressure on him. That changes at Soldier Field this week.
  • Bucs Defense. They’ve allowed 91 points in three games and there’s a reason: they are not particularly talented. They’ve rarely gotten to the quarterback with four guys and those quarterbacks are executing to the tune of a 117.1 passer rating. (That’s nearly 30 points worse than the Bears.) Trubisky is going to have plenty of opportunities to make plays down the field against a secondary featuring old guys and inexperienced rookies.
  • Trey Burton. There’s a breakout game coming for Burton and this match-up suits him perfectly. Vance McDonald and Zach Ertz both flourished against Tampa and the big Chicago tight end has increased his productivity each week. Don’t be surprised if Nagy moves Trubisky out of the pocket and gives him some easier, three-level reads to one side of the field. That could give Burton the opportunity for a big afternoon.

Tweet of the Week


Why They Won’t

  • Nagy/Trubisky. A second viewing of the Bears/Cardinals tape confirmed what I believed on first viewing: the Bears offense doesn’t make a lot of sense. It lacks coherence. It lacks identity. And right now it lacks a comfortable, confident quarterback. When Arizona brought extra pressure (or just an exotic blitz look) the coach and quarterback had zero answers for it. Can they get that fixed? Of course. But it’s very hard to make big ticket scheme changes in the six-day period between games. The Bears need the bye. But they have a game to play before they reach it.
  • Fitzpatrick’s Big Plays. The Bears have the best pass rush in the NFL but there are going to be moments this week – several – where Mack & Co. don’t get home. When that happens expect Fitz to take shots over the top because nobody has taken more early in this NFL season. Adrian Amos and Eddie Jackson really haven’t been tested yet because of the success up front. That will almost certainly change Sunday.
  • Tampa’s Rush Defense is stingy, holding opponents to 3.6 yards per rush and 70.7 yards per game. Their approach will be simple Sunday: limit the success of Howard/Cohen on the ground and throw pressure at Trubisky on 2nd/3rd-and-long situations. Nobody has run it on this defense with any success yet. The Bears should leave the tunnel Sunday knowing they’ll need to toss it to win.

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Three Thoughts as Free Agency Slows Down…

| March 21st, 2014

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If you follow DaBearsBlog on Twitter, you know that I’m going to win a billion dollars soon. So…I got that going for me. Which is nice. In the meantime I’ll continue living my life among the not-so-rich.

Three thoughts…

  1. Everyone spent a month telling me that Lovie Smith was going to purge the Bears roster of all their talented players. Everyone spent a month telling me the allure of Lovie Smith would be too great for them. Corey Wootton. Minnesota. Henry Melton. Dallas. Julius Peppers. Green Bay. Charles Tillman. Home. Devin Hester. Atlanta. Major Wright. Mutual of Omaha. The only player Lovie pulled off the Bears roster was a man who owes his career renaissance to the man replacing Lovie. Is that ironic? It might be. I’m actually not sure.
  2. I don’t understand fan reaction to players leaving their favorite team. There is no reason to root against Josh McCown or Devin Hester or Henry Melton now that they’re no longer a Chicago Bear. If there was no salary cap, all of these men would remain in the navy blue and orange for years to come but running a modern organization is about making difficult decisions without the luxury of sentiment. I hope Devin Hester breaks the record Week One for Atlanta, as long as the Bears don’t open the season there. Because nobody will remember him returning kicks for the Falcons. They’ll remember him returning kicks on the Drive.
  3. A majority of the Tweets and emails I receive ask one question, “Who do you see the Bears drafting with the fourteenth pick?” Here is my answer: I don’t know. But one thing I truly believe is that no position on the defensive side of the ball is off the table. Yes there are pressing needs at DT and safety but if Emery identifies a potentially game-changing pass rusher, he’s taking him. If he identifies a potential shutdown corner, he’s taking him. I don’t think any of the moves made in free agency actually influence the draft approach, despite what Emery said in his press conference. As a matter of fact, I think Emery’s press conference statement that free agency will clue the media in to his draft approach is an old fashioned, transparent smokescreen.

Enjoy the weekend, poor people.

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Audibles From the Long Snapper: Sam Comes Out, Peppers Decision, Peanut Acceptance Speech

| February 10th, 2014

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CONGRATS TO MICHAEL SAM

Michael Sam coming out as gay prior to the NFL Combine and NFL Draft is a rare moment of human courage that deserves to be celebrated. If you don’t believe Sam’s decision will impact his draft status, you’re living on Mars. A large contingent of individuals inside NFL locker rooms – many of whom are greatly influenced by religious beliefs – deplore homosexuality. Teams will avoid drafting Sam to avoid the “drama” associated with his presence in the locker room. The young man does not have an easy road but heroism is rarely easy.

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A Few Questions to Ponder as Bears Prepare for a Pivotal Offseason

| January 15th, 2014

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I don’t really have a coherent column in my mind right so I decided to just lay out some Bears-related questions on my mind. Feel free to provide your own answers in the comments sections or by email: jeff@dabearsblog.com.

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Maligned Defensive Line, Coordinator Save Bears Season

| November 19th, 2013

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It would have been easy.

After being steamrolled by the Baltimore Ravens for the better part of an hour, it would have been easy for the Chicago Bears to walk back into the locker room with their heads hanging lower than 40 time. Facing a lengthy weather delay it would have been easy for players and coaches alike to say, “We’re done. Too many injuries. Backup quarterback. This is as far as we can go.”

It may not have been right. But it would have been easy.

What followed the delay was something even the most fresh-eyed of Bears optimists could not have predicted. David Bass made the kind of play that has defined the career of Julius Peppers and knotted the ballgame up at 10. Peppers used the two-hour delay to fly to St. Augustine, dip his face in Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth and return with a triumphant double-digit tackle, multi-sack performance when the Bears needed him most. Mel Tucker and Marc Trestman realized their error in sliding Corey Wootton back outside and returned him to the three-technique where he has begun to flourish in recent weeks. (Put some more bulk on this kid and he can delivery Melton-like numbers.) This defensive line, marred by injury and ineffectiveness, delivered the type of performance most of us thought them incapable of delivering.

The Pizza Hut delivery man showed up with three sausage pies from Lou Malnati’s. The Schlitz keg was pouring Guinness. Dublin Guinness. Mulligan’s Guinness. It flowed sweetest with the game on the line.

Because the game was over. I challenge any Bears fans, any self-respecting Bears fan, to show me evidence they believed the Bears could hold Flacco and the Ravens on first-and-goal as the clock on the Bears postseason hopes was slowly trickling down to a bunch of zeroes. Three opportunities to find the end zone? Against this defense? With the game on the line and Human Penalty Machine Zack Bowman on the field? How could they not score?

The game was over. Then it wasn’t. Three snaps. Three excellent pushes from the defensive front. The unit that had put the Bears back in the football game was giving them one more chance to save their season; now in overtime. McCown, Bennett and Gould took it from there.

The challenges coming should not be understated. St. Louis, Minnesota, Philadelphia – one back better than the next – will give this defense and its inability to stop the run nightmares. But for one week Bears fans should salute their maligned defensive front and their overly-maligned coordinator. For one Sunday is was not the big weapons on offense that won the Bears a football game. For one Sunday it was Peppers, Cheta, Cohen, Woot, Bass and company.

For one today the Bears reminded us of yesterday.

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