A Deep Wide Receiver Class Means that the Bears Can Wait to Take One. And Other Points of View.

  • Bears President and CEO Kevin Warren spoke to the media about the Bears stadium situation. The Bears are looking to build a new one and Warren gave the impression that he was concentrating upon something happening in the city of Chicago rather than in Arlington Heights where the Bears are in a dispute with the municipal government over taxes. Via Colleen Kane at the Chicago Tribune:

“I’m a very pragmatic and practical individual,” [Warren] said. “And if we have difficulty trying to negotiate what the tax amount is, knowing how difficult the entire project is, I had to take a step back and say, ‘If we can’t even figure out what the taxes are, we’re going to have a very difficult time coming together and working on (a memorandum of understanding) or PILOT legislation or any kind of legislation to make this work, and then the construction.’

“And so I thought it was important for us to still be respectful of each other, take a little break from each other. And for us to make it very clear that we’re focused on Chicago now. But again, I have great respect for the leaders in Arlington Heights. We still are, I believe, the largest land owner in Arlington Heights. And I’ll continually remain in communication with them. But our focus now is on Chicago.”

We’re going to hear all over the place that the Arlington site is dead. But it doesn’t sound that way to me.

When I see the words “take a break“ that indicates to me that they aren’t done talking.

The Bears were a little bit too anxious about focusing on the Arlington site to begin with. Bringing Warren on board was a good idea. It seems that his first priority once he hit town was to create a competing site. I’d say he has successfully done that.

Now it’s a question of negotiation. if I had to guess I would say the Arlington site still wins out. The potential for the development out there and the potential for the Bears to own their own stadium has to outweigh any advantages to being on the lakefront, at least as far as the organization is concerned.

Do you expect a Keenan Allen extension? — @jlil10_

I’d be surprised if this is high on the to-do list at Halas Hall right now. I don’t know why you would rush into an extension for a player entering his 12th season who is signed for $23 million this year, especially when it’s possible the Bears could draft a wide receiver in the first round. As I’ve written previously, the Bears probably need to redo DJ Moore’s contract before they approach Allen about an extension. They also might have to figure out what they want to do with left guard Teven Jenkins.

Is it possible they work on a contract with Allen during the season? Sure, that could happen. But I’d want to see how he plays first before kicking around that idea. One nice thing about this situation from the team’s perspective is that Allen should be supremely motivated to play at a high level this season while eyeing one more good-sized bite at the apple.

Allen was reportedly offered an extension by the Bears and he turned it down. He is, therefore, probably looking for a big haul in free agency in 2025.

I’ve got some doubts about whether this will happen even if Allen plays this year like he did last year in Los Angeles. Allen will be 33 years old at the beginning of the 2025 season. Is anyone going to negotiate a big contract for a receiver that age?

Many mock drafts have the Bears at No. 9 taking Rome Odunze, the most likely of the supposed top three wide receivers to be available at that point. Odunze is talented, but doesn’t he largely duplicate what they already have in DJ Moore and Keenan Allen, possession receivers lacking elite deep speed? Perhaps that argues for trading back, but since that’s highly contingent on finding the right partner, shouldn’t they focus on (along with edge) adding the deep speed they currently lack? Brian Thomas of LSU or Xavier Worthy of Texas? You might debate whether that’s too high for Worthy but I don’t believe it is for Thomas, whose talent has been somewhat overshadowed by Malik Nabers. — Dennis R.

In my most recent mock draft — take it for what it’s worth — I had the Bears selecting Odunze with the ninth pick. It’s a mistake to label Moore as a possession receiver. While he’s not a pure vertical guy with stunning speed, he does everything really well. He can work the middle of the field and use his strength to create separation. He also can take the top off a defense. He’s explosive with the ball in his hands. The Bears view him as much more than a possession receiver.

As far as Allen, that’s probably a fair label at this point, but he’s really crafty when it comes to getting open and that clearly drew the Bears’ attention when the Los Angeles Chargers shopped him. The Bears think he could be terrific for a rookie quarterback. The thing is, Allen is 32 and under contract only for this season. When you’re looking at what to do with the ninth pick, unless you’re under a win-now mandate — GM Ryan Poles clearly is not — it’s advisable to think two, three, four years down the road. Who will replace Allen in 2025 if he’s not on the Bears?

I think the questioner has the right idea here.

According to media “experts” (take that for what its worth, too) the wide receiver class this year is very good and very deep. Most have anywhere between 17 and 20 in their top 100 prospects.

I like the idea of future planning at the position, as Biggs suggests. Wide receivers sometimes take some time to develop and rookies may not perform optimally. Having one in development behind Allen might not be a bad idea.

But if you are going to do that, it might make sense to try to find a trade partner and move back. There are supposedly plenty of fish in the sea here.

Solid Draft Prediction. And Other Points of View.

“What’s the plan at center? Is Ryan Bates really the answer? Are they still going to target a Tier 2 free-agent center like Aaron Brewer or Coleman Shelton?— @jtr_1994

“As we sit here a week out from the opening of free agency, it sure looks like the plan is for the Bears to play Bates at center. It doesn’t make sense to me to sign a guy like Brewer or Shelton because they probably wouldn’t be far off from where the Bears see Bates. I wouldn’t discount the possibility of the Bears looking for a center in the draft whom they can develop, but they are a little short on picks right now with only five. Yes, that number could easily grow with a trade here or there, but the sweet spot for landing a center with starting traits is Round 2.

“The Bears have liked Bates for some time. They made an aggressive bid for him as a restricted free agent in 2022, when they signed him to a four-year, $17 million offer sheet (which the Bills matched). He’s a $4 million-a-year player for the next two seasons, and the Bears have to hope he’s a significant upgrade over what they got from Lucas Patrick, who earned $8 million over the previous two years.”

I’m going to be very curious to see how the acquisition works out.

Despite the fact that the Bills matched the Bears offer two years ago, last season they saw Bates as a back up. If he couldn’t earn a job with the Bills, why should the Bears be settling for him?

I’d like to think that Ryan Poles knows what he’s doing here. He’s done a reasonable job of selecting the offensive tackles on the roster. But he also signed Nate Davis, who had a pretty rough first season with the Bears. The acquisition that this most reminds me of is Patrick, who was also a depth piece with the Packers and who also didn’t work out.

I guess we’ll have to wait and see. But I think there’s good reason to doubt that Bates will be the answer at center this year until we see it.

“When did Ryan Poles decide to move on from Justin Fields? Was it when he got the No. 1 pick again? Did he always plan on it from the beginning? What was his plan at QB and did it change or did he always want to fix the defense first, then this draft to go offense and get a QB? — @thedude4442

“Interesting question. Nothing is finalized, but all signs point to the Bears moving on from Fields and using the No. 1 pick on USC quarterback Caleb Williams. In the event it isn’t Williams, I still expect the Bears to select a quarterback. As I have written in this space, it’s not a Fields decision anymore (in my opinion). It’s a matter of which quarterback they are choosing.

“I think some folks probably assumed Poles and the organization were putting way more faith in Fields after the 2022 season than they were. Poles elected to go with Fields as his starter in 2023 and trade the No. 1 pick, but it was far from a long-term vote of confidence. The passing offense was a total mess coming off that 2022 season and we could go on and on and on explaining the reasons. In short, Fields was one of the reasons and his play wasn’t dramatically different this past season. The Bears got off to a miserable start, and the passing offense remained a mess.

“The Bears got some good fortune as they recovered from a brutal start while the Carolina Panthers never gained their footing, putting them in a fortuitous situation with the first and ninth picks. This is a different conversation if the Bears held only the ninth pick. Maybe you’re looking at a future that includes Fields in that case. The reality is the Bears are in a unique position, and it has been clear for at least a couple of months now which direction this was headed.”

This is an academic question but I agree that it is pretty interesting. I’m sure that last year Poles’ decision to stick with Fields was with the long-term in mind but I agree with Biggs that it wasn’t a commitment by any means.

The decision to move on probably came on gradually as a couple of things developed during the season.

  1. The Bears were hoping that Fields would progress during the season. That leads me to believe that the Bears decided that Fields wasn’t the answer during the season when Poles felt the lack of progress when throwing from the pocket.

When the Bears played the Falcons in Week 17, they played about 95% man coverage and Fields looked like an all-pro. The problem is that he simply doesn’t read the field very well when defenses mix up their coverages and try to confuse him. And that, in turn, affects his accuracy.

Perhaps another coach at another team can bring out the best in Fields but I doubt very much that that’s going to get any better with the Bears. I’m sure Poles concluded the same thing, probably near the halfway point in the season when I did.

  1. If the Bears didn’t have the first overall pick and they weren’t within range in the draft to get one of the top quarterbacks, it’s hard to determine exactly what they would’ve done here. They might well have tried to stick with Fields and muddle through the best they could until a better opportunity came along.

But there’s no doubt that as Carolina continued to lose in a disastrous season and it became apparent that the Bears would be picking in the top 5, they probably knew what they were going to do. At that point, probably around week 14 or 15, they knew that they had a viable alternative which was going to fall into their laps.

I’m sure they had an idea during the season as they watched Fields that they might want to move on. But they probably knew they were going to move on once they realize that they were going to be high enough in the draft that they were going to have a choice of a pretty good rookie quarterback.

  • Mike Florio at profootballtalk.com reads my mind when it comes to evaluating Jaylon Johnson‘s new contract.

“Even with what we know, it’s a little alarming — and multiple league insiders are buzzing about it. The deal averages $19 million. Johnson could have made $19.8 million this year and, if tagged again in 2025, $23.76 million.

“That’s $43.56 million over two years. The convention when it comes to turning a franchise tag into a long-term deal is to ensure that the first two years of the tag are fully-guaranteed at signing.”

I totally agreed with Florio here. I was shocked that the deal didn’t average over $20 million per year. But, as Florio suggested in this article and later reported, there were extenuating circumstances:

“Per a source with knowledge of the terms, Johnson will receive $28 million in 2024 — more than the $19.8 million he was due to receive under the tag.

“He’s also due to make another $16 million in 2025; it’s fully-guaranteed. That ensures he’ll receive slightly more than the value of two franchise tags ($19.8 million plus $23.76 million, or $43.56 million).

“The tradeoff comes on the back end, where Johnson makes $16 million in 2026 and 2027. That’s what pushes the APY to $19 million.”

Yes, that makes a great deal more sense. The contract is heavily front-loaded with guarantees. That means that Johnson is getting his money early. If he handles it wisely, the money he will make over the next three years will bring the average of his deal well above what he would have gotten if he had simply taken a deal Which averaged evenly at $21 million per year spread over all four years. And at the end of the deal, he’ll still be on the right side of 30 years old with the possibility of earning another big contract.

All and all, this looks like a good deal for both sides. And kudos to Johnson and his agent for ignoring the superficial optics of the deal to get something creative done that keeps him with the Bears.

“The Denver Broncos’ decision to release star safety Justin Simmons could easily be written off as collateral damage and a regrettable but necessary step toward recalibrating their salary cap.

“But digging deeper, a trend seems to be forming at Simmons’ position, as a group of safeties have flooded the free-agent market with teams seemingly prioritizing other areas of the roster. Kevin Byard, Jordan Poyer, Jamal Adams, Eddie Jackson, Quandre Diggs, Rayshawn Jenkins and Marcus Maye were all cut (or designated a post-June 1 cut in Maye’s case) while Antoine Winfield Jr. was franchise tagged by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Kyle Dugger was transition tagged by the New England Patriots and Xavier McKinney wasn’t tagged in any capacity by the New York Giants.”

“The supply is in line to outweigh the demand, which could drive down the value of the position. It’s unlikely to be as dramatic as the running backs’ sinking market, but seven personnel executives and coaches around the NFL told The Athletic something has been developing, even if it only becomes a short-term trend.

“'(It’s part of a) larger financial trend,’ an executive said. ‘The market got too high for the position’s impact overall.'”

I don’t have any doubt that this is true. And I might add that, similar to the situation with running backs, there might be a feeling that good safeties can be had in the later rounds of the draft (though they might not be as capable of starting out of the gate as a running back might).

My first thought was that the Bears might have an opportunity to take advantage of the market to sign a safety rather than drafting one. But I’m not so sure. Howe points out that seven of the eight safeties that he mentioned above are on the wrong side of 30 years old.

Could the Bears target one of these safeties at the right price in free agency? Its not impossible. But they generally haven’t shown a willingness to sign older players at this point in their rebuilding program and safety, especially the free safety position that the Bears need to fill, requires a degree of athleticism that it might be hard to find as a player ages.

Why did Ryan Poles wait to trade Justin Fields? By doing so he backed himself into a corner and was forced to sell low, ridiculously low. Rookie error by a general manager entering his third season. I expect better.** — Antoine L., Chicago

I’m not sure why this misconception is circulating that the Bears sat on their hands and waited for quarterback slots to be filled around the league — first starting jobs and then QB2 slots — before acting. That couldn’t be further from the truth. The league knew since the end of last season the Bears likely would be moving on from Fields.

Personally, I don’t think that there’s much to interpret. I’m guessing that the media and the fans loved Fields a lot more than NFL personnel men did. A whole lot more.

  1. It’s fairly obvious that teams don’t want to pay a draft pick for a quarterback that they’re pretty sure is going to be released anyway.
  2. Fields is a project in the passing game that no one wants to entrust their QB1 job too. They might believe that they can coach him up but no one wants to bet too much on it.
  3. As Biggs rightfully pointed out, the contract was an issue. No one was going to pick up that fifth year option which meant whoever traded for him would only have him for a year. And the fact that no one was going to pick up that fifth yer option told you everything that you needed to know about Fields actual value.

I don’t think that the media members looking around the league and looking at the available quarterbacks thought that Fields would rate so low. National and local media members wildly overrated his value and that’s why fans ask questions like the one above. It also doesn’t help that instead of admitting that they were wrong, national writers like Judy Batista at NFL.com have suggest that this was the Bears fault because they waited. Which, as Biggs points out, is nonsense.

He has a lot of athletic talent and I think there has always been a tendency among media and fans to overrate athletic quarterbacks. Even many of the ones who have turned out to be legitimate NFL starters have been overrated by the national media.

Its a passing league. And based upon his passing statistics and what could be seen on the field, the value wasn’t there.

  • Biggs ]addresses the Bears acquisition of wide receiver Keenan Allen](https://www.chicagotribune.com/2024/03/20/chicago-bears-mailbag-justin-fields-keenan-allen/).

I agree the Bears are paying Allen a lot this season. He earned a $5 million roster bonus Sunday and has an $18.1 million base salary in 2024. Knowing how the Bears have operated in the last year or so, this strikes me as a very calculated decision. I don’t think this move was made on a whim. Given the investment — and the Bears still have ample cap space — it leads me to believe Allen will be more than just a statistical producer.

More likely, it’s a situation in which GM Ryan Poles, his staff and the coaches (wide receivers coach Chris Beatty was with Allen the last three seasons with the Chargers) view Allen as a multiplier. I use that term because it’s what Poles called Montez Sweat after acquiring the defensive end from the Washington Commanders. The Bears felt Sweat would help them by being very productive _and_by raising the profile of the players around him.

I agree with all of this and the trade does make sense in that they will want to give the new rookie quarterback as much support as possible.

The big risk, though, has to do with Allen’s long injury history. He hasn’t finished a season since 2021 and, at age 32, that’s a red flag.

But the Bears have the cap space and they’ll get it back next year if Allen doesn’t pan out. And indications are that if he stays healthy he’ll probably be worth every penny.

Keenan Allen mentioned the possibility of a contract extension. Don’t the Bears have to make that move after trading a fourth-round pick for him? — Kevin D., Schaumburg

Let’s slow the roll on that one. I imagine the Bears would be open to exploring something with Allen in the future, but a lot of things have to happen between now and then. This isn’t a scenario like the Montez Sweat trade in which the team forked over a second-round pick and you knew a new contract was coming in short order. Their situations are different.

Yes, I agree. Allen will be 33 years old next year. The Bears can afford to wait to see how he performs. Almost no matter how well he plays, a guy that old isn’t going to set the market.

One Final Thought

Kevin Fishbain at The Athletic participates in a beat writer mock draft. Here’s what happened at number nine overall:

9. Chicago Bears: Dallas Turner**, Edge, Alabama**

With the three top receivers off the board, the Bears hoped to move back — but the Falcons succeeded in doing so one spot earlier, and apparently no one wanted to trade up for Michael Penix Jr. The consolation prize is the best defensive player in the draft, which would have to delight head coach (and defensive play caller) Matt Eberflus. Despite the addition of Montez Sweat, the Bears finished 32nd in the league last season in sacks per pass attempt. Enter Turner, the SEC’s 2023 sacks leader. An outstanding athlete, Turner would be a nice complement to Sweat.

This makes perfect sense.

The guess here is that with a 32 year old Allen on the roster as the # 2 wide receiver, the Bears might want to do some future planning by drafting at the position if they can. But the odds are that they won’t be able to do it.

I don’t think that those three wide receivers, Marvin Harrison from Ohio St., Malik Nabers from LSU, and Rome Odunze from Washington, are going to stick around long enough for the Bears to take them. Once those three are gone, I’d look for the Bears to try to trade back a few spots.

If there are no takers on a trade, I wouldn’t look for them to take an offensive tackle. A lot depends upon how the Bears rate Braxton Jones but if it were up to me, I’d leave him where he is. I watched Jones pretty closely last year and I think he’s pretty competent right where he is. And I still think that there might be upside there. I also think that Larry Borom is an underrated back up.

I think they Bers will eventually end up taking the best player available. That could well be the first defensive player on the board. It wouldn’t surprise anyone if that was Turner.

If I had to guess, I’d say that this is exactly how things will play out. And, yes, its way too early to say that. But I’m just a blogger out in the middle of the wilderness. Sue me.

The Bears with a New Offensive Coordinator Will Seek Upgrades at Tight End

Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune answers your questions. While answering an endless stream of fans who support keeping Justin Fields at quarterback he managed to slip one in about something else that may turn out to be related to an interesting development for the upcoming season:

With Cole Kmet under contract for the foreseeable future and Robert Tonyan and Marcedes Lewis low-usage guys this year, is there any chance the Bears would draft Brock Bowers if he falls to them? — Mike F., Chicago

Bowers is an interesting prospect and a highly skilled tight end. The Bears would have to desire to use a ton of two-tight-end formations if they invested in Bowers. It’s more likely they would select a wide receiver as they don’t have a No. 2 opposite DJ Moore under contract right now and they probably want to create some competition for Tyler Scott for the No. 3 role.

New offensive coordinator Shane Waldron is a former tight end in the NFL. Last year the Seattle Seahawks ran more three tight end formations than any team in the NFL. They were in the top five in double tight end formations.

I think there’s very little doubt that we’re going to see more use of the tight end in Chicago next year. To me that means they are definitely going to want to upgrade the position with a better player opposite Kmet.

Biggs makes an excellent point and it’s one that I’m sure the vast majority of Chicago Bears fans share. That is, they need help at wide receiver opposite Moore. That will likely have through come to the draft. On the other hand, the upgrade at tight end doesn’t have to be a high draft pick. But they’re going to have to find upgrades at the position somewhere if they’re going to fulfill what is likely to be Waldron’s vision for the offense. It’s something to keep an eye on.

Quick Comments: Bears at Packers 1/7/24


  1. The Bears came out with a reasonably conservative game plan to begin the game. Lots of short passes and running plays. Its possible that offensive coordinator Luke Getsy was trying to compensate for weakness on the interior of the offensive line. In any case, plans like that require really sharp and consistent execution that the Bears sometimes don’t exhibit. You wondered if they were trying to lull Green Bay to set up some shot plays. They never came.
  2. Fields was reasonably accurate today, especially when throwing to DJ Moore or when his first read otherwise was open. Like most quarterbacks, he’s at his best when he can hit his back foot and fire. He was, of course, also quite good throwing on the move.
  3. I was also impressed by the way the Bears ran the ball, though the more they depended on it, the less successful it was.
  4. The Packers got a lot of pressure on Fields up the middle where Dan Feeney was playing center and where Nate Davis left the game in the second quarter. The Bears need to acquire more depth in the middle of the line in the offseason. Tevin Jenkins had a rough day.


  1. Jordan Love obviously knows what he’s doing against the blitz. The Bears had a free rush in the first series and he got the ball out to his hot receiver very quickly. Nice work.
  2. Love does a good job of throwing with anticipation. He’s reasonably accurate. He also drops back deep and makes the defensive linemen really run to get to him.
  3. The Bears looked to me like they were playing mostly zone defense. This was, perhaps, an effort to cover for the absence of Jaylon Johnson. The Packers did a reasonably good job of finding holes in the backfield, though. The truth is that you can’t just sit in zone and expect to beat the Packers. You have to be able challenge them.
  4. I was impressed by the blocking that the Packers were doing up front. It looked like good fundamental football there. The Packers mostly won the battle up front on the offensive side.
  5. What a potentially huge play at the end of the first half when the Packers receiver let the clock run out while in easy field goal distance. A boner truly worthy of the Bears, not the Packers. I might point out that Love tried to throw an interception in the end zone the play before. Not a great way to handle that kind of situation. Add that to the fumble that Love gave up to Jaquan Brisker right along the boundary and maybe the Packers should avoid making plays along that sideline.
  6. The Packers did a good job of neutralizing Montez Sweat, who had very little impact on the game.
  7. Much will be made of Love’s performance, and rightfully so. But the Packers ran for over 5 yards per carry. That was a pretty big aspect of their win.


  1. Cairo Santos entered the game 32 of 35 for the season (91.4%). He needed to finish above 90% to get a $500,000 bonus. He went 3 for 3 to maintain the standard and get the money.
  2. Velus Jones was especially good in the kick return game today. the Bears got reasonably good starting position.
  3. Players on both sides were slipping all over the turf today. Lambeau has a hybrid turf that I’m guessing might be a little tricky, especially if its damp.
  4. This game must have been a great thing for CBS. The last playoff spot in the NFC went straight through Green Bay. Everyone had an eye on the game.
  5. I don’t think that I’ve ever watched a game with so few penalties on either side. The Bears had one holding call. That was it. An astoundingly clean game.
  6. This is from The Athletic yesterday morning.

“There are two advanced stats we can use to judge this. QBR takes into account a player’s rushing, and Fields’ QBR of 46.3 ranks 22nd in the NFL. That’s down from 56.3 last season, when he ran for 500 more yards. For anyone curious, Mitch Trubisky had the third-best QBR in 2018 (he was the 10th-best passer and No. 1 runner).

“We can also look at EPA — expected points added — per dropback, which includes Fields’ scrambles. Per TruMedia, that is -0.05, which ranks 25th in the league. If we want to just isolate Fields’ post-injury play, he’s 20th in EPA per dropback since Week 11. Packers quarterback Jordan Love ranks No. 1.

“When it comes to gross yards output, Fields is 20th in the league in total yards. Since Week 11, he ranks 14th.

Today Fields was 11 for 16 for 148 yards passing. He ran for 27 yards. So I don’t see the statistics above improving.

Do you really want to keep a guy with those stats over the best QB in this draft?

Quick Game Comments: Falcons at Bears


  1. DeMarcus Walker lost contain on the second play of the game and B.J. Robinson went for 21 yards. That can’t happen with him on the field. Its certain death.
  2. After Taylor Heinicke made some good yardage running the ball in the first quarter, it was good to see the Bears defense get a bit more disciplined with their rush and shut him down a little. The screen play for a touchdown was also a warning shot that I think was heeded.
  3. I hated seeing Jaylon Johnson walk off the field injured in what has been a wonderful contract run. Terell Smith took his place and I didn’t see him come back out.
  4. The defense was generally good today but the opponent should be accounted for. The Bears were very lucky on multiple occasions where receivers were running wide open and Heinicke either was under pressure or didn’t see him.


  1. With two defenses that are pretty good against the run, this game was always going to be about who could throw the ball. The DJ Moore – Justin Fields connection was on full display in the first set of downs as Field threw 3 of his first 6 passes in his direction and the bet here is that Fields was staring right at Moore waiting for him to come open for about 4 seconds before dumping it off to Roschon Johnson on another one. The touchdown throw to Moore had to be perfect and it was. The trend continued from there.
  2. Related to #1, Moore was lining up in the slot and in single coverage all day. The Bears will take that every time. Hence Moore got the vast majority of the targets. Surprisingly, the Falcons were apparently happy with that because they never adjusted to do much of anything different.
  3. Velus Jones was actually lined up as a running back in the second series. It wasn’t gadget play. He’s now apparently one more step closer to running back.
  4. I’ve been unable to see the last 2 games live but, along with this game, it has been notable how much Nate Davis is struggling right now. He was signed as a major piece in free agency and, along with the weakness at center, he’s contributing to some serious problems with the blocking in the center of the line.
  5. Whether Fields had the ball or not someone on the Atlanta defense was always in charge of attacking him. Not just spying him but often actually attacking him just to make sure that if he had it, they’d have someone to bring him down. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before.
  6. Generally speaking wonderful protection for Fields by the offensive line today. He saw pressure every once in a while but there were times when he had all day to throw.


  1. Tyler Scott had a two or three drops in this game that cost the Bears including one touchdown. That’s disappointing.
  2. I wasn’t thrilled by the fact that Justin Jones’s biggest contribution today was to gift the Falcons a first down in the fourth quarter by committing a personal foul. The Falcons eventually scored a touchdown.
  3. I was a little surprised that the Bears didn’t decide to run the clock down with 6 minutes left in the game and a 10 point lead from field goal position. I like the aggression but I wonder if that could have been a bit too much.
  4. The game was decided, as is often the case, by turnovers. The Bears had 4 interceptions. The Bears had zero turnovers as Fields did a nice job of protecting the ball.
  5. I know that this is a Bears blog but my main take away from this game was that the Falcons are a poorly coached team. They missed a ton of opportunities and came out with a poor, poor defensive game plan. They did nothing to try to confuse Fields and made everything easy by not giving DJ Moore enough attention. Going into this game my gut feeling was that Arthur Smith would be back. But if this game was any example, I can’t imagine he survives.
  6. Congratulations to the Bears. They got the number one overall pick again but managed to do it without all of the losing this time.

Lions at Bears 9/10/23


  1. The Bears came out running the ball a lot. Part of that was Justin Fields dropping back and running from the pocket but most of them were designed running plays. Evidently they decided that’s the way to beat the Lions.
  2. The last time the Bears faced the Lions the Lions sold out to the run whenever D’Onta Foreman was on the field. Today they didn’t do that. Perhaps they’ve concluded that Foreman is more versatile than they (and I) thought. Foreman had one or two nice catches today. I wasn’t watching his pass blocking too closely but that’s probably getting better as well.
  3. Fields took the team on his back today with his ability to run the ball early. It was awesome to watch. Unfortunately, as often happens in the NFL, the Lions eventually stopped it. It was tougher sledding from there.
  4. I wasn’t thrilled to see Fields take a sack in the first quarter on 3rd down making a 36 yard field goal into the 46 yarder. Cairo Santos made it o no harm done. But ideally you have a quarterback who sees that blitz coming and gets the ball out.
  5. Having DJ Moore run the ball in for a touchdown in the first quarter was a good play. Lining him up on fourth and a long 1 in the second quarter…? Too cute, boys.
  6. A sub par effort from the offensive line, especially the interior, against a Lions defensive front that played much better than they did the first time these teams played in Detroit.
  7. I thought I detected a bit more of an effort today to get the ball to Darnell Mooney. AS I noted early in the season, he’s been largely ignored.
    Eventually I stopped talking about it because it just became the norm. But I think everyone would agree that it shouldn’t be.
  8. I also thought that it was interesting that the Bears eventually started feeding Cole Kmet, who they apparently thought they had in a mismatch in coverage. Kmet has become a reliable go to crutch for Fields almost as much as Moore is.
  9. Wonderful play by Fields near the end of the third quarter. Fields got the Lions to jump offsides and took the free play to throw a deep ball to DJ Moore for a touchdown. Usually I’m watching other teams do that. Nice work.
  10. I don’t criticize play calling much but the call on the two point conversion at the beginning of the fourth quarter today was pretty bad. One receiver on a route and it was DJ Moore, you you knew they would cover if no one else.
  11. Fields had more than the usual amount of trouble throwing outside the numbers on pass routes to Kmet and especially Mooney. Usually with his strong arm he manages those throws pretty well.


  1. Sam Laporta seems to be to be uncoverable. It doesn’t hurt that Jared Goff has the ability to place the ball impeccably in tight coverage.
  2. The Lions did some very interesting things with their game plan today. For instance, I thought that it was notable that the Lions eventually concluded that they could attack the NFL’s number 1 ranked run defense to the outside. And it worked. That’s good coaching staff.
  3. Having said that, I also thought that it was notable that the Bears made adjustments to stop some of the things that the Lions were doing. They started to mug the line and drop out to make Goff read the defense and decide when to run. That little bit of doubt affected him (wait until they play the Vikings). They also flat out defended the run better.
  4. The Lions were really picking on Tyreek Stevenson today. There were plays there to be made on both sides.
  5. I thought that the Bears defensive line continued to get decent pressure on the quarterback. They created a lot of opportunities by playing games up front with stunts.
  6. Big stop by the Bears defense in the fourth quarter on fourth and short on the Detroit side of the field. The penetration by the defensive line was marvelous. They’re play so well of late.
  7. The Bears were trying really hard to blow this game again. 4th and 17 with 5 minutes left at the Chicago 38 and the Bears needed Amon Ra St. Brown to drop a very catchable pass to hold the line. That just can’t happen.


  1. Of course the big reason the Bears came out on top here was that they won the turnover battle. There was a nice interception from Jaylon Johnson in the second quarter. That’s money in the bank right there. As the season has rolled on, my gut has been telling me more and more that the Bears are eventually going to pay that guy. There was a back breaking fumbled snap by the Lions at the end of the third quarter. And finally Tremaine Edmunds basically put the game away on an interception on fourth and forever with just over 2 minutes left.
  2. Sounded like there were a lot of Lions fans there today. Kudos to them for their support. Shame on the gutless Bears fans that sold them the tickets.
  3. Already very tired of the disco Santa commercial. Disco is dead. Let’s leave it that way.
  4. The one overwhelming thought that I have after this game is the one that I’ve been having for a while. The Bears team is noticeably improving. They’re completely different form the guys we watched get destroyed by the Packers in the first game of the year. I know that many are looking forward to seeing the coaching staff go after this year. More and more I’m thinking its not likely to happen. And more and more I’m thinking that’s the right call to make.

Low Expectations and Fan Apathy Could Figure into Bears 2024 Decisions

Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune has 10 thoughts after the Bears blew a big lead in the last 4 minutes at Detroit on Sunday:

“It’s becoming increasingly difficult to make a case for why [Matt Eberflus] should remain in his position in 2024. The Bears are again two games away from their first two-game winning streak under Eberflus. They have yet to defeat an opponent with a winning record. They are winless against NFC North teams since the beginning of the 2022 season.”

“‘This is an ugly loss right here,’ defensive end DeMarcus Walker said. ‘I feel like this is the worst one. I don’t know, man. I’ve seen a lot of football, but, damn, you know. I don’t know, man. Honestly, I couldn’t answer your questions. I’ve got to watch the film. Because I really want to see, like, what the (expletive) happened.’

“That’s what makes it disingenuous to sort through a game like this and pull out the positives — and there were plenty — while glossing over the ‘what the (expletive) happened.'”

Some of you who follow this blog may remember that I ended my post on Sunday with a relatively positive assessment of the Bears.

“Between a couple of games pre-injury and this game, [Justin] Fields has looked much better to me. The day that he complained about how his head was spinning with all of the things that he was supposed to be looking at was a turning point. I’m guessing that the Bears simplified the offense and tailored it more to his strengths at that point. The defense was notably more opportunistic than usual today and the defensive line looks better. The team over all has come a a long way since that first miserable game against the Packers.”

I wasn’t trying to be “disingenuous” when I wrote that. It was what I genuinely thought and, as Biggs, himself, admits, what I said is basically true. But reading Biggs’ comment, I decided to take a close look at my own feelings about this game and why those were my final thoughts of the night when the Bears failed to finish again instead of something more negative.

The first thing is that, like Biggs, I’m starting to think about Eberflus’s future. In doing so, I’m trying to be balanced. I definitely think that Eberflus’s team should be winning more games. No doubt about it. But, probably like most fans, I’m tired of just starting over and over again on the coaching merry-go-round.

Like the majority of the Bears hires over the last 30 years, Eberflus is a first time head coach. When you hire a guy like that you have to realize that he’s going to have to grow into the position. Basically, he’s getting on the job training. Under those circumstances, you have to ask yourself if you are pulling the plug too early on a guy who could potentially be a good head coach if you give him more time.

Why do I think that maybe he could potentially be a good head coach in the future? When I think about it, I think about the improvements that I see. And I’m trying to balance that against all of the negatives and failures. It’s not a slam dunk decision.

But that doesn’t completely explain why I wasn’t raging at the end after yet another tough loss. The complete answer is that, well, I think I’ve done the one thing that you don’t want your your young football team to do. I’ve gotten used to losing.

My expectations for this team are so low right now that I can’t really find it in myself to get angry any more. Its been five years of this stuff since 2018 and it wears you down.

I watch the Bears on Sunday and I’m completely numb. And I think that most fans are, too.

That’s really bad new for the Bears. Good or bad, angry or sad, the last thing that you want your fans to be is apathetic. The Bears have to do something to inject more excitement into the fan base. It probably hasn’t affected the profits much. Yet. But I’ll bet things like jersey sales are already way down. Eventually it will affect the bottom line and, you wonder if, in the end, that will figure into the Eberflus decision the most.

Quick Comments: Bears at Lions 11/19/23


  1. The Lions appear to be very wary of Justin Fields legs. They tried to be very disciplined in their pass rush. Fields took to leaving the pocket early but even then the Lions looked more to me like they were just trying to corral him.
  2. It was notable that the Bears had Fields running with the ball so often early. The read option was involved. These plays involve simple reads and simply allow Fields to take off. I’m wondering if the Bears simplified the offense for Fields.
  3. Fields passes did not look like they were affected by the thumb to me. He threw a wonderful touchdown pass to DJ Moore late in the third quarter.
  4. Fields did a good job of taking underneath throws when needed today.
  5. Its funny how often Fields finds DJ Moore late in a down. Moore seems to have a gift for finding ways to get open when the play breaks down.
  6. The Lions looked to me like they were relying heavily on man-to-man defense. It was an interesting choice from a team that doesn’t have what I would consider to be a great defensive backfield. I suppose they didn’t respect the Bears receivers outside of DJ Moore much.
  7. On a related note, it was interesting to see the Lions start to crash the line of scrimmage late in the first quarter, especially when D’Onta Foreman was in the game. That’s probably because they know that he’s likely to run if he’s in as he’s not great at anything else that running backs do They sold out to the run and challenged Fields to beat them with his arm. It put more pressure on the Lions defensive backfield.
  8. On a related note to that, Khalil Herbert never looks to me like he hits the holes as hard as Foreman. But I know he’s better in pretty much every other way. What the Lions are doing when Foreman is in the game is probably related to why the Bears didn’t have him on the active roster very often early in the year.
  9. First and goal from the Lions 1/2 yard line and I’m surprised the Bears didn’t go to the “tush push”. The Bears scored on a run by D’Onta Foreman. Notably they tried the sneak later in the fourth quarter. It failed.
  10. Lucas Patrick goes down and Dan Feeney is ahead of Cody Whitehair on the depth chart at center? They gave up on Whitehair fast. Fields looked like he was having a hard time getting on the same page as Feeney.
  11. The Lions were also bringing heavy pressure on third down. It certainly looked to me like an opportunity for a screen pass or something similar.
  12. I would swear that Tyler Scott slowed down just a little bit near the end of the deep pass on 3rd and long with 2:30 left in the game. He’d have had it otherwise and that might have been the game.
  13. With all of the nice things that there were to say about Fields today its still stands that when he had to pass at the end of the game, he lost any feel for the pocket that he might have and he failed.


  1. You can always count on Mark Schlereth to emphasize offensive line play. Loved his comment about the about 100 year old TE Marcedes Lewis.
  2. Nice catch by Tyrique Stevenson on his first NFL interception on the Lions first possession. It looked like Jared Goff expected his receiver to break in more but he got bumped off of his route. Goff also either expected him to be deeper or, as the announcers suggested, the pass rush affected him.
  3. Justin Jones looked good today. He seemed to be around the ball a lot.
  4. I thought the Bears were doing a decent job of pushing the pocket on Goff. Most of the time it looked to me like a straight four man rush. They varied it a little bit but nothing special for the most part. It was notable that when they blitzed at the end of the first half, they got burned.
  5. Having said that I thought it was pretty funny when the athletically limited Jack Sanborn blitzed at the beginning of the second half. Goff probably was apoplectic with surprise. He took the sack.
  6. Ad opportunistic as the Bears defense was today, its notable that Jaylon Johnson dropped two interceptions in the middle of a contract year. No making it rain today celebrations today.
  7. Good play by Detroit on the touchdown with about 3 minutes left in the game as they targeted the hole in the Bears zone. But Eddie Jackson was very late getting over to my eye.
  8. People around the country probably think that David Montgomery gave this game some extra effort because he was playing his ex-team. He didn’t. He always plays like that.


  1. Very irritating that the good people at FOX couldn’t keep the time straight as the clock wound down in the first half. Kind of a critical situation with the Lions driving to not know how much time was left.
  2. I’ve never seen a network push a college game like FOX is pushing Ohio St. – Michigan next weekend. I know its a big game but there have been plenty of others that went by without that kind of hype.
  3. Multiple delay of game penalties today along with a wasted timeout were inexcusable. That needs to be cleaned up.
  4. Credit the Detroit crowd. They were loud. They certainly have reason to be excited about this Lions team.
  5. The Lions did everything that they could to blow this game. Crippling penalties. They lost the turnover battle 4 to 1. The Bears doubled the Lions time of possession. But the still pulled it out in the end. Kudos to them.
  6. Between a couple of games pre-injury and this game, Fields has looked much better to me. The day that he complained about how his head was spinning with all of the things that he was supposed to be looking at was a turning point. I’m guessing that the Bears simplified the offense and tailored it more to his strengths at that point. The defense was notably more opportunistic than usual today and the defensive line looks better. The team over all has come a a long way since that first miserable game against the Packers.

Quick Comments: Bears at Saints 11/5/23


  1. The Bears came out executing well with a good mix of passing and timely run plays. The run looked to me like the key to the beating Saints defense coming in. They play a lot of games up front, threaten the blitz and have a lot of late coverage movement. Running the ball negates all of that. And it certainly helps a young quarterback.
  2. Interestingly I think that New Orleans came out giving the Bears plenty of room underneath in coverage. They may have been hoping that they could just let the Bears shoot themselves in the foot.
  3. I would suggest that Cole Kmet should have broken back towards the line of scrimmage for that intercepted pass in the first quarter. Had he done that it wouldn’t have been a turnover.
  4. If you ever want to see how play action is supposed to work in the NFL, take a look at Kmet’s touchdown early in the second quarter. The entire right half of the Saints defense broke in on the fake. That’s one thing I really like about Bagent. He carries those fakes out completely. Its more valuable than many realize.
  5. The Saints allowed Bagent to get outside the pocket on the naked boot way too often. It’s something that other teams have concentrated on shutting down and that has limited both he and Justin Fields when it happens.
  6. Nice to see Darnell Mooney so involved today. Both Bagent and Fields need to keep him more involved. The Bears have to have a wide receiver to go to other than DJ Moore. It was very evident that the Saints weren’t going to let Moore beat them. He was blanketed most of the day.
  7. I love D’Onta Foreman. But he did not always look sharp today. especially early on. There were times when I thought he looked heavy legged. I think he may have wormed up as the game went on.
  8. The Bears were 6 for 12 on some difficult third downs. On the good side, some of those were difficult third and longs.


  1. I think that the Saints might have thought that they could attack the middle of the field. They may have felt like they could take advantage of Jack Sanborn’s presence in place of the injured Tremaine Edmunds.
  2. Edmunds is obviously a good, athletic player but Sanborn’s instincts really show themselves when he plays in the middle. He’s underrated.
  3. To my eye Saints quarterback Derek Carr sure did have a lot of time back there. That’s nothing new but if you were looking for an immediate impact from Montez Sweat you were destined to be disappointed.
  4. On a similar note, the Bears have to get to the quarterback on the blitz. They aren’t good enough to cover good receivers man to man forever. The Saints touchdown in the first quarter was a prime example. Kyler Gordon had him in coverage but Carr had time and Chris Olave found a way to break away from him.
  5. Alvin Kamara is a wonder. There’s nothing he can’t do on the football field. He was a problem all day.


  1. Matt Ryan is a pretty good color man. Lots of insight there. Sometimes these recently retired quarterbacks start that way and then they have less to say as time goes by and the league moves on. It will be interesting to see if he hangs on to perform consistently at this level.
  2. The Bears had 8 damaging penalties for 71 yards. There’s never a good time for penalties but it felt like the Bears were particularly badly timed. The Saints had only 1 for 5 yards. Though it wasn’t the major differeence in the game it definitely hurt them.
  3. I felt that the Bears possession at the end of the third quarter was a turning point in this game. The Bears went three and out seep in their own territory, ending the possession on a little slip screen to Darrynton Evans. It was a conservative play call and I’m not sure it was justified. The Bears punted and the Saints returned to the Bears side of the 50. The Saints offense went through the Bears defense like a hot knife through butter for a touchdown and it was 24-17. Not insurmountable but it certainly felt like it.
  4. Obviously it was the turnovers that made the difference today. Bagent had a tough day with four including three interceptions, 2 in the fourth quarter, and a fumble on the last possession of the game. Significantly, these interceptions weren’t bad reads. They were throws that were a little off in terms of accuracy. A little behind the receiver against a defense where the margins for error were small. Perhaps he’ll be able to work his way out of it by improving his timing with his receivers. But I doubt he’ll get another chance this year with Fields seemingly being close to ready to come back and start on Thursday.
  5. I was really impressed by the Bears ability to make plays in tough situations today. It seemed like time after time they put themselves into a hole with a dumb penalty or a sack and they managed to dig themselves out of it. That’s what good teams do. Now they just need to have to do it less often.

Chances that Bagent Shows that He Can Compete for the Starting Job Are Not Great This Week

Brad Biggs at the Chicago tribune answers your questions.

“What will Tyson Bagent have to do to keep the starting job when Justin Fields is healthy? — Dan B., Roselle

“A handful of versions of this question appeared in the mailbag this week. My first reaction is we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves. Bagent has one solid start to his credit and wasn’t asked or forced to do a whole lot as the Bears relied on a quick passing game and a dominant running game.”

“A likely best-case scenario for Bagent is he plays well and Fields’ dislocated right thumb needs a little more time to heal and he gets another start the following week in New Orleans. If Bagent can string together three strong starts — and that’s an IF considering the history of this offense — then the Bears probably have a discussion, especially entering a short week with a Thursday game at Soldier Field on Nov. 9 against the Panthers.

“Never say never, but I still envision the Bears turning back to Fields when he’s healthy. But they have to play the games, and the results will give us a much better clue.”

A couple thoughts here.

  1. I tend to agree with Biggs but I look at this from the other side. This season is all about Fields and how well he plays.

The Bears have made a major investment in Fields. They have to know what they have in him by the end of the year. Unless he misses a lot of time, I think that they can reasonably conclude that whatever he is at the end of the year, that’s who he is and their decisions can flow from that.

But that’s if he plays. If he doesn’t, then that’s less data that they have to go on and it makes their decision making process murkier.

  1. I have a sneaking suspicion that the Bears may struggle this Sunday and Bagent will naturally struggle with them. Again from Biggs:

“Where have other teams found success going against the Chargers this year? I am surprised that they only have as many wins — two — as the Bears. — @ajlight315

“The Chargers’ 2-4 start is certainly a little surprising, and coach Brandon Staley said they needed to ‘reset’ after Sunday’s loss to the Chiefs. They have been particularly terrible defending the pass. They are 32nd in the league in both passing yards allowed per game (310) and yards allowed per pass attempt (8.09). Opponents have a 105.6 passer rating, which ranks 31st, ahead of only the Broncos (114.2).

“While the Chargers have a formidable pass rush led by former Bear Khalil Mack and Joey Bosa, they have allowed big plays galore. That makes it interesting to see what kind of game plan offensive coordinator Luke Getsy hatches this week with undrafted rookie Tyson Bagent making his second career start. How much will Getsy ask Bagent to do knowing the Chargers have ongoing issues on defense?

The Chargers are better than their 2-4 record indicates. Three of their four losses were to the Dolphins, Cowboys and Chiefs. Those are good teams and the Vikings, who are the other team to beat them, are also better than their record.

The Chargers are a bad match up for the Bears. They present blurry looks on defense that can confuse even veteran quarterbacks.

The spread the last I checked was Chargers -9. I think that gives you a clue as to how this is going to go.

The Bears will be better off playing Fields and keeping Bagent on the bench. The time spent there will be good for Bagent’s development and the Bears have plenty of time in the future to spend with him. There’s no hurry.