10 ideas after the Chicago Bears’ peculiar 24-17 loss to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday on the Caesars Superdome, with causes for concern — and a bit optimism as effectively.
It’s actually tough to show the ball over 5 occasions, not get a single takeaway and wind up with not one, not two, not three, not 4 however 5 fourth-quarter possessions with a chance to go forward or tie.
1. Usually once you wind up minus-5 in turnovers, the sport is a complete blowout.
Turn off the tv within the third quarter, head outdoors and rake leaves this time of yr. That’s usually been the case for the Bears, who final dedicated 5 giveaways within the 38-3 loss at Tampa Bay again in Week 7 of the 2021 season. As you may recall, they trailed 35-3 at halftime in an entire blowout at Raymond James Stadium. The Bears did handle a takeaway in order that they had been solely minus-4 that day towards the Bucs. The final time they had been minus-5, as they had been Sunday, was a 41-21 loss to Washington on Dec. 24, 2016, when Matt Barkley was picked off 5 occasions.
There was a 31-7 loss at Baltimore proper after a blizzard on Dec. 20, 2009. The Bears had been crushed 26-7 by the Green Bay Packers on Dec. 31, 2006, however that season-ender had no bearing on the postseason. In Week 3 of the 2005 season, they misplaced 24-7 to the Cincinnati Bengals after they had been minus-5 in turnovers. That’s it for such situations since 2000.
The crazier factor is the Bears managed to win after they had been minus-5 towards the Detroit Lions on Oct. 4, 1998, at Soldier Field. Talk about weird. Quarterback Erik Kramer misplaced two fumbles, one botched snap was assigned to middle Casey Wiegmann, and operating again Edgar Bennett and tight finish Alonzo Mayes every misplaced a fumble. But the Bears scored three touchdowns within the fourth quarter to rally for a most inconceivable 31-27 victory.
Improbable didn’t occur towards the Saints and the Bears are 1-13 within the Super Bowl period after they wind up minus-5 in turnovers. Rookie quarterback Tyson Bagent, who was fairly sharp by way of the primary three quarters, and the offense had probability after probability within the fourth quarter to no avail. The Saints ran 22 offensive performs within the closing quarter-hour — all on the Bears’ aspect of the sector — however scored solely seven factors, permitting the guests to hold round.
The protection stuffed New Orleans’ Derek Carr on a fourth-and-1 quarterback sneak with nostril sort out Andrew Billings and linebacker T.J. Edwards making the cease. The unit pressured a three-and-punt. Kicker Blake Grupe bounced a 47-yard discipline purpose off the left upright after the protection had one other stand with out permitting a primary down.
The Bears began at their very own 9, 25, 17 and 2-yard strains on their first 4 possessions within the fourth quarter. After Grupe missed a kick that will have successfully iced the sport, they took over on their very own 37 with 2:26 remaining and trailing by seven. They had been out of timeouts. They had a shot and the offense had give you some large performs.
Darnell Wright was referred to as for holding on first down. Bagent was pressured by Cam Jordan into an incompletion after which linebacker Demario Davis, operating a twist with defensive finish Carl Granderson on the left aspect of the road, got here free and hit the quarterback from behind, jarring the ball free for the fifth New Orleans takeaway and successfully ending the sport.
An offense that piled up 250 yards within the first half with drives of 9, seven, six and 13 performs managed solely 118 yards within the second half. The Bears ran for 106 yards within the first half. They bought 50 within the second. D’Onta Foreman carried 20 occasions for 83 yards and Bagent confirmed he’s a lot cell with 70 yards on eight carries. It felt just like the Saints tightened up on the sting a bit bit to cease the run within the third quarter nevertheless it wasn’t like New Orleans made large adjustments.
“Halftime adjustments are over-freaking rated,” Saints coach Dennis Allen stated. “All right? Stop. OK? Play better. Coach better. Execute. Do your job. That is what it is about. OK? So that’s what the communication was at halftime. We did not come in there and just change the whole frickin’ game plan.”
The Saints intercepted Bagent thrice, sufficient to torpedo his day. Bagent completed 18 of 30 for 220 yards and had two landing passes to tight finish Cole Kmet. I believed cornerback Paulson Adebo made two very nice performs for his interceptions. He was instinctive and the ball most likely got here out a contact late every time. Bagent was going by way of his progressions and was just a bit behind. It can’t occur. On security Marcus Maye’s interception, Bagent threw the ball simply behind Tyler Scott. There wasn’t a whole lot of margin for error towards the Saints.
“I thought that our team played extremely well, which is why it’s so embarrassing,” Bagent stated. “Just because it’s (a) one-score game (and) to lose the turnover battle by that amount, it’s embarrassing. It’s part of the game. I am just looking forward to building and learning from this experience.”
It wasn’t simply ball safety. The Bears had been penalized eight occasions for 71 yards whereas the Saints had just one penalty for five yards. More on the penalty difficulty a bit in a while. Add this all up and it’s laborious to come back away with affirmation that the NFC South is fairly awful. The Saints had all of those edges and had been simply in a position to hold on towards a Bears crew that’s now 2-7. New Orleans leads its division with a 5-4 document. The Bears host the Carolina Panthers (1-7) on Thursday and get a shot on the Atlanta Falcons subsequent month.
“This is evidence that we are very close,” coach Matt Eberflus stated. “Being minus-5 in the turnover margin, to keep it that close, the ability for us to show our style. Our style is to run the football, stop the run, be physical. We just gotta get the ball right.”
I’m skeptical the Bears are near something you’d aspire to be close to proper now. This is the fifth time since 1982 that they’ve began 2-7 (or worse). It was a aggressive recreation and Eberflus’ crew doesn’t have room for this many errors, particularly the self-inflicted ones. Yes, the Bears are enjoying laborious for Eberflus nevertheless it’s not only a try-hard league.
“We execute a little better and be a little more disciplined, I think that game looks almost damn near a blowout on our part,” left sort out Braxton Jones stated. “It is what it is. Fix those problems. I need to talk about myself first but I think we can say that as a team.”
The offense mustered just one first down on the ultimate 5 possessions. The Bears had 19 first downs on their first six sequence.
“We came kind of to a screaming halt there,” tight finish Cole Kmet stated. “Defense did a good job but we have to be able to get out of that situation and be able to go get some points there.”
2. It’s a brief week for the Bears — the second consecutive month they are going to play on a Thursday.
Lots of focus can be on whether or not quarterback Justin Fields can return from his dislocated proper thumb to begin towards the Carolina Panthers.
Fields returned to apply for the primary time Friday and was restricted. The Bears may have walk-throughs Monday and Tuesday earlier than a brief apply on Wednesday. Enough time for Fields to spin the ball and show to himself and the teaching employees he’s bought the grip energy required to play?
“He’s day to day,” Matt Eberflus stated. “We’ll find out more (Monday). We’ll see where it is. He started throwing, which is a positive, and we’ll see where it is in terms of his functionality.”
Eberflus has successfully dominated Fields out on Mondays because the harm however maybe there’s a better-than-decent probability the Bears will let the scenario play out this week. I believed Tyson Bagent was fairly good within the first half towards the Saints. Yes, he was late coming again to the proper aspect for tight finish Cole Kmet on his first interception nevertheless it was a pleasant play by Paulson Adebo.
Bagent is ready to get by way of his progressions successfully. There had been some performs within the final couple of weeks the place he most likely wanted to be a bit extra affected person. But the ball is popping out shortly and he took solely two sacks. Reducing unfavorable performs has helped the offense. Bagent has 5 sacks and 110 move makes an attempt. Fields has been sacked 24 occasions with 162 passes. But the turnovers had been a killer for Bagent.
“We did a good job of controlling the game, managing the play clock, especially with the atmosphere that they always tell you about when you come here to play the Saints,” Bagent stated. “I thought that we managed that well. I thought that we took advantage of a lot of things. Really, it just all comes down to myself in that last quarter, being able to do a better job of taking care of the ball better. Coach talks about it every single day, how important it is to take care of the ball. I didn’t do a good job of that. So, that’s basically just me there in that last quarter.”
Eberflus stated the best way Bagent has dealt with the operation — from the huddle to the road of scrimmage — has been spectacular. The crew seems like there’s one thing to construct on right here whether or not Bagent begins for a fourth week towards Carolina or is again to a reserve position.
“For a guy to come in there as a rookie like that was pretty impressive when you think about it,” Eberflus stated. “He’s had actually good moments within the begins he’s had. He’s going to construct off that. The most necessary factor Tyson can do now could be to be taught from his efficiency and get higher.
“Look at those plays where he needs to improve and also look at the good plays. There are a lot of good plays out there he had in the first half, third quarter. He’s got to build off those things.”
It’s a cool story how Bagent has developed, and I’ve a bit extra on a method he discovered to place in some further work because the season began, however the Bears have been clear all alongside it’s Fields’ job when he’s wholesome. Maybe that will have shifted had they gone 2-1 with Bagent. But they beat the Las Vegas Raiders and have dropped the final two street video games and Fields can be again quickly, perhaps even on Thursday.
“The experience factor,” Eberflus stated when citing what Fields brings. “Him playing all those games. He’s operated in this offense. He’s had some good weeks prior to this in the Washington game. He’s had some good weeks this year. We’re excited to get him back when he comes back. The QB runs are viable there too, the perimeter’s getting under attack more. That’s what he brings.”
3. At first look, the protection is healthier with Montez Sweat.
There aren’t any numbers which might be going to leap out and the Bears went with no sack, getting solely two quarterback hits — one by linebacker T.J. Edwards on a blitz and one other by sort out Justin Jones. Sweat had two solo tackles and was credited with a move deflection when it regarded like he bought the arm of Derek Carr. Was it nice? No, however Sweat goes to assist the Bears and so they threw him proper into the combo.
By my depend from the press field — and it’s virtually such as you’re seated on the roof of the Superdome so the view isn’t nice — Sweat was on the sector for 40 snaps, together with performs with penalties. The Saints ran a complete of 62 performs. He lined up at left finish 37 occasions and was at proper finish thrice, which follows principally what he was doing in Washington. I had Yannick Ngakoue for 40 snaps as effectively — 38 at proper finish and two on the left aspect. DeMarcus Walker bought 41 snaps — 16 at left finish, 16 inside at sort out and 9 at proper finish. Finally, Rasheem Green had 13 snaps at proper finish and 5 at left finish. Again, that is unofficial and contains performs with penalties.
Matt Eberflus stated the plan was to play Sweat on third downs and within the crimson zone and blend him in in any other case.
“He looked good,” Eberflus stated. “I thought he had a couple good pressures. He’s getting his feet wet. Different style of defense a little bit. Different terminology. For him to come in here and play that many plays, it was cool.”
Sweat stated attempting to select up a brand new protection on the fly has been difficult. He’s bought to get the calls down so he can play off teammates. He’s been immersed within the playbook whereas additionally finalizing the $98 million, four-year extension his brokers accomplished when Sweat was on the apply discipline Saturday morning at Halas Hall earlier than the crew departed for the airport. Talk about some form of week.
“It’s security,” Sweat stated of the contract. “But, I imply, it additionally creates extra (expectations) … for me to get it executed.
“If I get an injury, I know I am protected. That’s not really what I am worried about. I’m worried about getting dubs and getting pressure. I don’t take any moral victories or anything like that. The point is I didn’t get (Carr) down.”
I positioned calls to a few former Commanders workers to get a deal with on Sweat and what they thought he’d present for the Bears. Donnie Warren retired as a professional scout in June 2022, so he was there for the early phases of Sweat’s profession.
“He’s as good of a run player as he is rushing the passer,” Warren stated. “Chicago got the best of the football players (Washington traded, alluding to the other defensive end Chase Young). Montez is an all-out guy. His get off, his length, he’s got long arms, he’s got long legs. He has been taught well to use his hands in the run game and keep people off him. I like him.”
Former Bears offensive line coach Pete Hoener completed his teaching profession beneath Ron Rivera in Washington, retiring following the 2021 season. Hoener was additionally there to look at Sweat develop and he is aware of edge defenders when he sees them.
“Unreal athletic ability,” Hoener stated. “He practiced hard. Played hard. Had a good motor. Seemed to be a tough guy. His biggest attribute is his athletic ability. He’s got all the tools now.”
Sweat was enjoying alongside three different first-round picks in Washington. The Bears don’t have that form of expertise assembled upfront but however they’re hopeful issues will enhance within the weeks forward.
“Once I get more comfortable and once I start knowing the plays, I can play faster,” Sweat stated.
He may assist Ngakoue out too, if it means extra one-on-one alternatives for the veteran. The Bears merely haven’t received sufficient solo matchups on the road this season.
“I feel like it will help the defense tremendously, a guy that has a big presence,” Ngakoue stated. “A guy that can really come off the edge. We’ve got a quick turnaround. Today was a great day to get his feet wet … I saw some good things out there that we can take away from the loss. A loss is a loss but as a group we had some good rushes.”
We’ll see if the Bears primarily maintain Sweat on the left aspect. In 387 snaps in Washington this season, he was on the left edge for all however 24. There had been 22 snaps on the proper edge and two inside at sort out.
4. Jaylon Johnson didn’t have fairly the eventful week Montez Sweat did however, effectively, there was quite a bit happening.
The cornerback requested permission to hunt a commerce after the prime-time loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. He admitted he didn’t suppose he’d stay with the crew.
The Bears wound up not getting a proposal common supervisor Ryan Poles felt would assist him adequately change his finest cornerback within the close to future so no deal was made. Johnson was clear about his feelings throughout a media session — he’s all the time been fairly revealing — and stated he didn’t wish to see newcomer Montez Sweat receives a commission earlier than him.
Of course, that occurred Saturday with the Bears guaranteeing Sweat wasn’t a half-season rental for a second-round draft choose.
“From a business side, it is what it is,” Johnson informed the Tribune after the Saints recreation. “From a personal side, I’m happy for him. It was going to come at some point. Him being my teammate, I am definitely happy for that. That’s the goal. That’s a life-changing deal for him, so happy for that indeed.”
Johnson isn’t going to chase $24.5 million per season like Sweat bought, however he’s performed very effectively and needs to be in line for a profitable extension.
“We’re gonna see where it goes, man,” Johnson stated. “We’re gonna see what happens.”
The fascinating factor right here, and it’s actual and can’t be missed, is Johnson has harm danger each time he steps on the sector the remainder of this season. He intimated this previous week he desires to shelve contract discussions till after the season. Could that change? I don’t have any thought. The late Eugene Parker, a longtime profitable agent, used to inform me that stalled negotiations might be resolved in lower than 5 minutes. That’s all it took for a breakthrough in Parker’s thoughts. Will there be a breakthrough right here? Again, no clue. But with every recreation and apply, there is a component of danger for Johnson.
“There ain’t no risk,” Johnson stated. “I am just playing ball. Doing what I’ve always done since I was 8 years old. Of course, you always have a risk. That’s what comes with the game. Just continue to do my job at a high level. That’s the only thing I can handle right now.”
I requested Johnson if he frolicked over the summer season weighing all the components required to make the choice to wager on himself. It’s the form of factor that may flip some gamers into nervous wrecks. There’s a ton at stake for gamers and human nature can take management generally.
“It ain’t even a bet,” Johnson stated. “It’s just faith that God is going to take care of it. He ain’t failed me in 24 years. I am going to continue to bet on him. He’s 100% in putting me in a position I need to be put in. Nothing is going to change for me.”
5. Braxton Jones’ efficiency can be a part of the Bears’ draft equation.
There won’t be a participant on the roster who can affect the path the Bears take with their two first-round draft picks by how he performs over the remaining eight video games like left sort out Braxton Jones. Some might counter with quarterback Justin Fields, however I’m of the opinion Jones’ efficiency over the second half of the season may have essentially the most vital influence on draft plans. Does that imply it’s as much as Jones whether or not or not the Bears select a left sort out? No, however his play can be part of the dialogue and equation.
I don’t wish to overstate the scenario for Jones, who was activated from injured reserve on Saturday and began Sunday for the primary time since Week 2, however he’s bought a ton at stake with the Bears set to have choices in Round 1.
Jones missed the earlier six video games with a neck harm. Fortunately, he didn’t require surgical procedure and relaxation and a few rehabilitation bought him in place to face the Saints. He began and by my depend, he was on the sector for 48 of the offense’s 64 performs with Larry Borom spelling him on 4 sequence — three within the fourth quarter.
“I would probably say pretty close,” Jones stated when requested if his neck was 100%. “It’s more about getting my feet back under me, to be honest. It’s been a long time since I’ve been out there and I felt good in terms of my injury and stuff like that. When I got tired, I started making mistakes. Other than that, felt good. It’s nice to be back out there. Just have to clean up those mistakes.”
The Bears had causes for optimism and questions on Jones, a fifth-round draft choose final yr from Southern Utah, coming into the season. It’s not uncommon to see a late-round choose begin on the offensive line in his first season. It is sort of uncommon for it to occur for a left sort out. Some key questions that also have to be answered: Where is his flooring after a second season? Where is his ceiling? How a lot did he acquire in his second season, which regularly gives the most important leap a participant will get in his profession?
Jones labored laborious within the offseason to strengthen his base and put together to deal with energy with extra tenacity. Technically, he’s made advances from a yr in the past when issues had been transferring shortly. Remember, Jones had a tough go within the first two video games, perhaps partly due to the harm. He was referred to as for 3 holding penalties (one was declined) and three false begins. He bought referred to as for a holding penalty Sunday — it was declined because the Saints accepted a maintain towards middle Lucas Patrick on the identical snap. There was a false begin by Jones on the following play too.
The Bears must really feel actually good about Jones by the tip of the season or be ready to think about choices. There are a few intriguing targets projected to be obtainable close to the highest of Round 1 in Penn State’s Olu Fashanu and Notre Dame’s Joe Alt. It wasn’t an important draft for left tackles this yr however 2024 appears to be like like it can provide just a few extra choices.
“He’s maturing as a player,” offensive coordinator Luke Getsy stated of Jones. “He’s maturing physically. I think those two things stand out. His stoutness and then his conceptual ability. He was kind of raw last year and now he gets it. He’s a smart guy. He’s a thinker so those things stand out the most.”
Keep a watch on Jones with eight video games remaining. He has quite a bit to show.
6. Three weeks in the past when Tyson Bagent was stepping in for Justin Fields, he was requested what his life plan was if a shot within the NFL had not materialized.
“I was going to basically just CrossFit my life away,” the undrafted rookie stated. “Just get as ripped and jacked as I possibly could, and be a teacher at Martinsburg High School.”
His father Travis, a famend arm wrestling champion, owns a CrossFit fitness center that Tyson grew up in when he wasn’t enjoying sports activities or in class. It’s that employee mentality that drove Bagent to hunt a apply outlet on Tuesdays earlier than he stepped in for Fields.
In a standard week for a Sunday recreation,Tuesday is a time without work for the gamers and a planning day for the teaching employees. But when the season began Bagent felt like there was work he may put in to be higher ready.
So Bagent developed a plan that left some people at Halas Hall marveling. He recruited 4 or 5 assistants from the tools room every Tuesday and outfitted them in apply jerseys so he may use footballs with sensors in them to trace the rate of his throws. For the trackers within the footballs to work, Bagent and the targets needed to have jerseys with the expertise in them.
Armed with the sport plan from the earlier week, which accommodates a whole lot of ideas which might be rolled over from one week to the following, and after organising some barrels on the sector, Bagent would rip by way of your entire plan, snap after snap, learn after learn, throw after throw.
“That was a big routine of mine when I wasn’t starting because I wasn’t getting in a lot of throws (in practice),” Bagent stated. “I’d get the calls for the lengthiest plays from that previous week. I would call that out, tell them to spot up in a certain position and then just go through my progression and the ball speed would be tracked on every throw.”
Bagent makes use of footballs with sensors to make sure he’s making throws with the precision that will be required in a recreation. He doesn’t wish to throw change-ups simply because he’s working with non-NFL receivers — no slight supposed to the staffers.
“A lot of times, whatever the concept was, I would have them stand at wherever the third or fourth progression was. So, I’m like, ‘Bang, bang, bang,’” he stated.
The ball was out and it was on to the following play or idea.
“My whole life has been like that,” Bagent stated. “Whenever I don’t get to work out, I start getting stressed out if I’m not sweating or something. That was a good way for me to stay up to speed with everything.”
The exercises lasted about 90 minutes. It was principally a hybrid model of what offensive coordinator Luke Getsy and quarterbacks coach Andrew Janocko have the No. 2 quarterback do after practices Wednesday by way of Friday in a standard recreation week. They have the decision sheet from all the throws the starter has made that day and with some backup receivers, they run by way of your entire script after apply has ended.
“It’s the mental gymnastics of helping those throws and concepts become muscle memory,” Getsy stated. “It’s visualization and understanding where everyone is supposed to be. Now, you’re working on your footwork. ‘Hey, line up just outside the hash about 7 yards, you line up there.’ Just that process and going through it gives you a better understanding.”
Bagent didn’t want the additional Tuesday classes the final three weeks when he was getting No. 1 reps in apply. With Fields returning to apply Friday for the primary time since struggling a dislocated proper thumb on Oct. 15, Bagent might be again within the reserve position quickly, maybe even this week.
“And as soon as Justin comes back,” he stated. “I’ll be back out there on Tuesdays.”
7. Why don’t the Bears have Jaylon Johnson shadow the opponent’s finest extensive receiver extra often?
I obtain this query once in a while from readers who surprise why the crew’s high cornerback doesn’t do that. It’s one thing that has occurred hardly ever over the past a number of seasons, extending again to when Sean Desai and beforehand Vic Fangio had been directing the protection.
There isn’t an apparent matchup each week however just a few stand out this season the place it will have been an excellent query, like Las Vegas (Davante Adams) in Week 7. Cornerbacks coach/passing recreation coordinator Jon Hoke gave a fairly good reply when requested this week and I feel it’s fairly instructive.
“That happened a lot more back when nobody motioned,” Hoke stated. “Because all they should do is put him over right here and movement him over there. If you’re an offensive man and swiftly (the cornerback) is operating with that man, does that inform you what the protection is? It tells me, (they’re) in man (protection), proper?
“Back in the day, you always had the big X and the Z. Well, now they’ll take that big X — Mike Evans (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) for an example. They’ll put him in the slot. Not all corners play inside. OK, I’m gonna shadow him? So what coverage does that put me in? They’re in zone. So it used to be (more of) a thing. If you’re a man-based team and you know that and that doesn’t bother you, then you would do that more. But when you’re trying to be multiple and play both, it becomes a little bit more challenging. And I would say it’s worked out for us so far. We have our growing pains, obviously. But I don’t see it as a big factor. Valid point, though.”
Hoke is stating the Bears attempt to use a number of coverages. They combine in additional man protection than folks suppose and so they’ve been leaning on man extra on third down. They prefer to rotate their safeties and disguise coverages that method and if a cornerback is touring with a large receiver, it’s a lifeless giveaway to the opposing quarterback what the protection goes to be and that may be advantageous for offenses.
The Bears have executed a good bit of flipping sides with Johnson and Tyrique Stevenson, so they’re mixing it up once in a while. Through the primary eight video games, Johnson was lined up because the left cornerback on 192 snaps and on the proper aspect for 147 snaps. It’s an fascinating break up and as finest I can inform what the coaches are doing is aligning Johnson to the sector in most conditions with Stevenson enjoying to the boundary aspect. In different phrases, Johnson has more room to cowl when the opponent is on the left hashmark and he performs on the other aspect. So, he’s transferring round and it’s not static on a regular basis. Figured this might be of curiosity to some.
8. One of nowadays, soccer people may wipe the phrase ‘culture’ from their vocabulary.
It solely serves to create headlines for groups mired in shedding methods as they try — with a mix of phrase salad and company jargon — to clarify their method by way of issues.
Bears coach Matt Eberflus was caught in that predicament Wednesday when requested in regards to the dismissal of operating backs coach David Walker for office conduct points, two months after defensive coordinator Alan Williams resigned following private conduct issues. Eberflus has invoked the phrase ”tradition” over the past two years so he’s bought himself accountable right here.
“The culture in our building is outstanding,” Eberflus declared.
He additionally referred to the tradition as “awesome,” pointing to robust relationships which were fostered with the gamers and citing the accountability in place — when folks don’t meet the requirements (like Walker), they’re now not members of the crew. I’m positive Eberflus believes this in his coronary heart of hearts.
The drawback with trumpeting a crew’s tradition when the crew’s document — 2-6 on the time — doesn’t mirror anticipated progress and dangerous losses have piled up (the Bears have misplaced eight video games by 17 factors or extra because the begin of final season), it comes throughout as disingenuous and even preposterous. The NFL doesn’t hand out tradition trophies. There are not any standings for tradition. Former GM Jerry Angelo used to say you didn’t should fill a roster with choir boys however soccer character was paramount.
It’s laborious to consider the tradition is as incredible as Eberflus described when two of his assistants have exited for non-football-related points in six weeks’ time.
It additionally sounded an terrible lot like former Washington Commanders president Bruce Allen, the man who often stood up and took darts from the media and followers for proprietor Daniel Snyder, who cited the C-word again in 2019 after Washington fell to 0-5 and fired coach Jay Gruden. Allen pushed again on the concept Washington had a shedding tradition after having misplaced 11 of 12 video games courting again to the earlier season when quarterback Alex Smith suffered a damaged leg.
“You know,” Allen stated, “the culture is actually damn good.”
There had been burgundy and gold T-shirts with the slogan in a matter of days. The crew’s “culture” turned a punchline.
A yr later, Bears president Ted Phillips invoked the C-word when defending the state and path of the franchise.
“Have we gotten the quarterback situation completely right? No,” he stated. “Have we received sufficient video games? No. But every part else is there.
“We have a solid football foundation. We have a solid football culture.”
In an effort to be solution-oriented right here, I’d suggest making an attempt to keep away from the C-word when losses are piling up. It’s a lose/lose proposition once you pump up the tradition however the document goes within the incorrect path. Instead, use the A-word, ”accountability.” Discuss how each member of the group — from gamers to coaches, entrance workplace members, assistant tools people and everybody in between — has a normal they need to meet of their place. When everybody does their half, it raises the extent of the group. Ultimately, I feel accountability and efficiency are what we’re speaking about right here. It’s simply when the C-word begins getting thrown round and the document appears to be like awful (and coaches have departed), it appears to be like dangerous and it sounds worse.
9. The significance of Thursday’s assembly with the Carolina Panthers for monitoring the No. 1 draft choose can’t be overstated for the Bears.
The Panthers rallied to beat the Houston Texans 15-13 final week to get their first victory of the season however couldn’t maintain any momentum, shedding to the Indianapolis Colts 27-13 on Sunday.
Carolina and the Arizona Cardinals are the one groups within the league with just one win. The Cardinals may doubtlessly play their method out of the highest choose with just a few wins within the second half of the season as Kyler Murray is predicted to return from a torn ACL quickly, maybe this coming week towards the Atlanta Falcons. Arizona can’t roll rookie Clayton Tune out because the starter once more. He bought his probability Sunday at Cleveland and was a catastrophe in a 27-0 loss to the Browns. The Cardinals mustered solely 58 yards on offense. Tune had three turnovers and Arizona had seven first downs.
The Panthers have a comparatively straightforward schedule for the rest of the season. They have solely three video games towards groups that presently have a profitable document — one in every of them being the Saints, an actual common bunch as we noticed. If the Bears can pin a loss on Carolina, it can go away them 1-8 with eight video games to play. Carolina hosts Dallas in Week 10 after which performs three consecutive street video games at Tennessee, Tampa Bay and New Orleans.
Let’s have a look at the groups within the combine for the highest draft choose:
The one-win groups
Next: Atlanta, Sunday
The path to No. 1: The Cardinals have misplaced six consecutive video games, scoring 10 factors or much less in three of the final 4 video games. I feel Murray can spark this crew a bit bit, which may make a distinction if coach Jonathan Gannon can get the Cardinals to play as feisty as they had been at the beginning of the season. The Dec. 24 recreation towards the Bears at Soldier Field may have large draft implications.
Next: at Bears, Thursday
The path to No. 1: Let’s have a look at this week. Carolina misplaced a few key defensive gamers to concussions in Sunday’s loss to the Colts. Edge rusher Brian Burns and cornerback C.J. Henderson each went out and on a brief week with a street journey, it is likely to be laborious for both one to be cleared from protocol in time to play. Quarterback Bryce Young continues to pile up too many unfavorable performs. Indianapolis intercepted him thrice and he misplaced 36 yards on 4 sacks.
The two-win golf equipment
(so as of energy of schedule for all 17 opponents from Tankathon)
Of the eight remaining video games, the Bears have solely two towards groups which might be presently above .500. Those are the 2 NFC North conferences with the Detroit Lions. It’s about as tender a schedule as you possibly can think about within the second half.
New York Giants (2-7)
Big Blue goes to be an element down the stretch. Daniel Jones is reported to have suffered a doubtlessly severe knee harm. The backup quarterback is Tommy DeVito with Tyrod Taylor on injured reserve. A yr after paying Danny Dimes, the Giants might be drafting a quarterback and transferring on.
New England Patriots (2-7)
Let’s see what shakes out the following three weeks. The Patriots host the Colts, have a bye after which play on the Giants. The schedule is difficult in December. Could New England have three or perhaps even 4 wins quickly?
If draft order was based mostly on the present standings, the Bears could be choosing No. 2 and No. 3.
10. Cornerback Jaylon Johnson is the apparent candidate for a participant on an expiring contract the Bears must work on re-signing.
Let me current another possibility that is likely to be a good suggestion for a brand new deal: kicker Cairo Santos.
The veteran is within the closing season of a $9 million, three-year contract and the Bears will danger shedding him in free company if he’s not prolonged. That is except they contemplate the franchise or transition tag for him, which appears unlikely. The franchise tag for kickers was almost $5.4 million this season. Again, I don’t see them tagging Santos.
Santos was 1 for two on Sunday, hitting the proper upright from 40 yards, his first miss of the season, and connecting from 31 yards. Entering Week 9, he was one in every of 4 kickers to be 100% on discipline objectives.
Santos, who turns 32 on Sunday, is 89-98 on discipline objectives (90.8%) because the begin of the 2020 season. He’s an ideal 52-52 inside 40 yards in that span. While it is likely to be tempting to think about an possibility with a stronger leg, Santos has mastered the artwork of kicking within the circumstances at Soldier Field and has proven the power to regulate when wanted as he did final season when he encountered a tough spot on further factors. Bring in a brand new kicker and maintain your breath the primary time he has to carry out in swirling winds alongside the lakefront.
The Bears bought a modest contract extension executed with nostril sort out Andrew Billings ($8.5 million, two seasons) and this might be one other low-dollar funding that would knock off what would in any other case be an offseason want. Thirteen kickers have an annual common that exceeds Santos’ $3 million and he has actually carried out effectively sufficient to deserve a elevate. A two-year deal for Santos would appear to make good sense the best way he’s kicking.
10a. One of the areas the Bears had been actually good in final season was with penalties. It hasn’t been as clear this season and on the midpoint it’s bought to annoy the coaches a bit. Entering Week 9, the Bears had been referred to as for 52 penalties, tied for eighth-most within the league with the Green Bay Packers and New York Giants. The Bears had been seventh in yardage marked off towards them with 439.
They had been referred to as for eight penalties for 71 yards towards the Saints. New Orleans had only one infraction for five yards.
More obvious? Entering Week 9, the Bears had been the beneficiaries of solely 36 penalties, tied for Thirtieth-fewest within the league. Only the Cincinnati Bengals (who solely performed seven video games by way of the primary eight weeks) had fewer with 31.
Add it up and the Bears are minus-209 yards in penalties. That’s been an excessive amount of to beat at occasions. No query.
10b. It’s solely truthful to ask the Bears about not selecting Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud. The Houston Texans rookie has been sizzling and he was sensational on Sunday rallying his crew to a 39-37 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bears confronted the Bucs again in Week 2. Solid protection. Nothing spectacular however stable. Stroud accomplished 30 of 42 passes for 470 yards and 5 touchdowns. No picks. He’s the only greatest cause an terrible roster from a yr in the past is now 4-4 and with hope for the longer term.
10c. I might be remiss if I ended this with out stating a few very nice routes by tight finish Cole Kmet for his touchdowns. It was a leak idea within the first one. He launched away from the bootleg motion by Tyson Bagent after which turned upfield. Great catch with security Tyrann Mathieu in glorious protection place. Kmet bought run motion towards linebacker Zack Baun — he actually did — and bought extensive open for his second landing. He’s bought 5 touchdowns for the season and 12 over his final 19 video games. Not dangerous.
10d. A 15-yard face masks penalty towards Velus Jones Jr. on particular groups after which an incomplete move — Jones had the ball ripped out of his grasp earlier than he may make a soccer transfer — that was almost a fumble. It was one other tough recreation for the second-year participant. I don’t know what the crew goes to do with a purpose to enhance his confidence. If he retains making errors, he’s going to expire of alternatives. We’ll see if rookie Tyler Scott is returning kickoffs this week. Something must occur with Jones.
10e. At the Westgate SuperE-book in Las Vegas, the Bears opened as a 3-point favourite over the Carolina Panthers for Thursday night time’s recreation at Soldier Field.