Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune also addresses the situation of practice squad tight end Fendi Onobun:
“There probably was a spot on the 53-man roster for Fendi Onobun if he had performed better in the preseason but that’s in the past. He is on the practice squad now and working to improve and earn the trust of coaches and teammates. What’s interesting is this is the longest Onobun, the former college basketball player, has been with one club – he was added late last season – and had the benefit of an entire offseason program.
“The practice squad is an opportunity to go against our first defense and work on the little parts of the game that I need to improve,” Onobun said. “It is a great opportunity and I am working hard every day to improve and get better. I hoped to be called up but it is evident I am in a situation where the organization sees I need to improve. I am right on the cusp but not quite there yet. I am doing everything in my power to continue to bust my tail and get better every day against the first-team defense.”
I don’t want to over react because we only got to see Onobun in the preseason games. But having said that, if he thinks he’s “right on the cusp” he’s going to have to learn a bit about what it takes to get on the field. Onobun regularly dropped the ball and showed pretty definitely that he couldn’t make plays in games when it counted. Most of the fans were surprised he was resigned, even if it was just to the practice squad.
I hope head coach Marc Trestman and general manager Phil Emery haven’t fallen in love with Onobun’s potential. Maybe he’ll work out. But if he was a quarterback he’d be the kind of guy who would get you fired.
Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune addresses the linebacker play in his excellent “10 Thoughts” article:
“Lance Briggs made a big play when he stuffed BenJarvus Green-Ellis for a four-yard loss on first-and-goal from the 1-yard line in the third quarter. But it was a relatively quiet game for the linebackers. According to press box statistics, Briggs had seven tackles, James Anderson made five and D.J. Williams was credited for three.
“The biggest play by a linebacker might have been Anderson deflecting [Bengals quarterback Andrew] Dalton’s pass for Marvin Jones in the fourth quarter. The Bengals were facing third-and-10 on their own 20 and Anderson showed a blitz in the A gap along with Briggs. On the snap, Anderson dropped into zone coverage with defensive end Julius Peppers also dropping off as Briggs and strong safety Major Wright blitzed. Dalton threw early and Anderson was there to deflect the pass with his left hand.”
The statistics don’t show Anderson’s true value Sunday. He was everywhere in coverage from beginning to end. Former strong-side linebacker Nick Roach was solid but Anderson showed some athleticism that I thought Roach to some extent lacked. This was a definite upgrade and general manager Phil Emery deserves some credit for pulling the trigger on it.
Steve Rosenbloom at the Chicago Tribune doesn’t believe head coach Marc Trestman‘s biggest call was going for it on fourth and one in the fourth quarter:
“Instead, the big call came about 15 minutes earlier after the Bengals shredded the Bears defense to open the second half. Despite trailing 21-10 halfway through third quarter of the Bears’ season opener at home and his career-opener as a head coach, Trestman stuck with the run.
“He and [quarterback Jay] Cutler balanced the pass-run play-calls because that’s what professional teams do. The balance also prevented the sack terrors along the Bengals defensive line from teeing off on Cutler. It seems simple and smart, and there was still a lot of time remaining, but that never meant squat to the likes of the Ironheaded Mikes, Tice and Martz.
“This is big-boy stuff. Matt Forte darted around and through a Bengals team that was sucking wind, then Michael Bush thumped a Bengals team that didn’t feel like playing much tackle football at the end.”
“Trestman decided the Bears could run the ball when it mattered. He decided they would run the ball when it mattered. Big call. The biggest, actually. Testicular fortitude.”
Rosenbloom makes a good point. It is entirely possible that past coordinators would have started throwing the ball around at that point. And doing that does put a great deal of pressure on the offensive line, as they are then blocking defensive linemen who are doing nothing but rushing the passer all out with no fear of being burned on a run.
But I will say this. They were only about one possession away from throwing the ball around as Rosenbloom describes. Which means you could argue that, literally, they were one possession away from losing the game. That’s how close a thing it was.