Poor Offensive Preseason Performance a Concern for Bears and Other Points of View

  • I found this article from Tom Peilissaro at NFL.com about Bears rookie quarterback Mitch Trubishy to be interesting:

“If I get unprompted texts from people with other NFL teams about something, I usually take that as a sign it’s resonating within the league. It happened with Dak Prescott last year. It happened again Thursday. One NFL scout who watched Trubisky’s debut live said he’d like to see him get some snaps with the starters next time out: ‘He looks like he’s in control.’”

It’s not just fans who saw something Thursday, though. People around the NFL took notice. And that was one early, encouraging sign for a Bears regime that, regardless of its present plans, has clearly invested in Trubisky as the future.

I’m really glad I’m not the only one who thought he might have seen something special from Trubisky Thursday night. Though I really do try to guard against it, sometimes you wonder if your hopes aren’t confusing your eyes and your brains. It’s starting to look like they weren’t.

As a precaution, this is still worth remembering:

  • Dan Durkin at The Athletic makes very good points about some of the things that offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains did to help Trubisky out.

“Loggains had Trubisky operating both from the pocket and on the move during that drive. Getting him moving on “swap” bootlegs not only gave him a run-pass option, it also cut the field in half to simplify his reads.”

“’I had the playsheet, I was able to study a little bit,‘ Trubisky said. ‘So I knew all my calls, I knew my plays, I knew what I was comfortable with. I talked it over with Dowell, so we were kind of on the same page, so I could go out there and just play free. That’s what I wanted to do. Go out there and play, do what comes natural and get into a rhythm.’”

These are all good thoughts and I pointed out some of them myself after the game.

It is, perhaps, no coincidence that the much maligned quarterback class of 2017, including Patrick Mahomes (Kansas City), Deshaun Watson (Houston) and Deshone Kizer (Cleveland) did so well last weekend. It seems obvious that the desperate need for quarterbacks has driven better coaching throughout the league and quarterback coaches seem to have a much better handle on how to bring these rookies, including the ones from spread systems in college, along.

“The consensus in talking to people around the league is the Bears will likely attempt to trade cornerback Kyle Fuller before roster cuts are due at 3 p.m. on Sept. 2. That’s what I gathered after speaking with a variety of folks from other cities over the last week. They seem to think it’s a matter of when and not if the Bears try to deal the 2014 first-round draft pick. Whether this is legitimate or not remains to be seen but there’s an awful lot of smoke and usually where there’s smoke you’re eventually going to find a fire.”

Assuming that he’s not going to make the roster, if the Bears can get anything at all for Fuller, it would be a win. But I’m not so sure that’s the case. Fuller was playing on the second team and I’m thinking he probably earned the spot.

Fuller was draft by another regime to be a zone cornerback and he’s found himself in a scheme that values man-to-man coverage skills. That means that there may be a market for him among teams with defensive schemes closer to what he was drafted for.

But if Fuller shows something on special teams – a big if, he may still be their best option as a back up. If that’s the case, they aren’t going to give him away by outright releasing him.

“Trubisky wasn’t the only draft pick to show up and play well. It was a nice debut for rookie guard Jordan Morgan and that’s a positive and a sign he could fit in as a backup. Of course, running back Tarik Cohen, who had been extra slippery in training camp, proved elusive in the open field. He’s got a nice burst and in my opinion what separates him from the last very undersized back the Bears had is Cohen had more lateral quickness than Garrett Wolfe. Just my take.”

Like almost everyone else who was paying attention, I also liked what I saw from Cohen. His small size allows him to hide behind the offensive linemen, particularly as he closes to press the hole and waits for an opening. That could sever him well. His performance was an indication that, maybe, he won’t also disappear once the season starts.

Morgan was a different story. He may have done well but he’s buried on the depth chart and no one is exactly pushing to make him the starter with backup Eric Kush out for the year and Kyle Long still recovering from surgery.

If Morgan has potential, the Bears need to push him up the depth chart and get him more snaps.

  • Kevin Fishbain from The Athletic points out that The competition at Safety is heating up. Ricky Eddie Jackson is splitting reps with a veteran Adrian Amos next to free-agent signing Quintin Demps.

“‘He missed a lot of the offseason, being a rookie, but he’s got a really good football IQ,’ [head coach John] Fox said. ‘I think you saw his return skills are capable. We averaged 10-plus yards in our punt return, which we were a non-factor a year ago. All-in-all I think he’s just going to continue to improve.’”

Amos isn’t around the ball much when it’s in the air and the Bears are a bit desperate to improve the production at the position. Mark Potash at the Chicago Sun-Times thinks it’s only a matter of time before Jackson replaces Amos. I’m not so sure.

DeAndre Houston-Carson is making the transition to safety and had two picks in Saturday’s practice. In the end, his range may make him the guy to watch once coaches are satisfied that he knows his way around the new spot.
* No one is making a big deal out of it but Potash points out that promising linebacker Nick Kwiatkowski is in the concussion protocol. Kwiatkowski is one of the players I’d like see emerge to play faster this year.

“While that may not be what the suddenly exploding Trubisky Fan Club wants to hear, is anyone screaming for Charles Leno to be benched after nearly getting Glennon killed on the pick-six he threw to Chris Harris, Jr.?

Cody Whitehair was awful Thursday night, yet we don’t hear anyone screaming for Hroniss Grasu.

Kevin White was invisible, Cam Meredith wished he was after dropping Glennon’s first pass and the first defense notched four penalties for 35 yards on its opening foray, yet only Glennon and Trubisky are in the spotlight.”

Hub is, of course, correct.

Don’t get me wrong. Glennon really wasn’t sharp and I think he knew it. He had no pocket sense or movement. He was too slow in his decision making. He was noticeably high and behind his receivers with his throws. He looked stiff and didn’t look comfortable or confident.

At least part of the problem seems to be that he’s having a hard time getting the timing down with the receivers and he looked like he was what you might kindly refer to as “rusty”.

However, I have some hope that Glennon will show better in the future if for no other reason than he was better on tape with the Bucs than he was Thursday. I am far more concerned about the rest of the offense, particularly at the wide receiver position where a scatter shot approach to the offseason has not led to a great deal of confidence that the group has any real playmakers. Fox elaborates:

“Asked how soon he will throw Glennon to the wolves, Fox answered, ‘I think like everything, the quarterback gets a lot of the credit, a lot of the blame regardless of what happens.

“’But our whole first unit was not very good. I don’t think we blocked very well. I thought we had some drops. We didn’t get off man coverage, which wasn’t something we were surprised about.

“So all in all, I think there was a lot of things that we saw on the tape, the players saw.‘”

Personnel problems at wide receiver aside, the Bears have new coaches both there and at offensive line. It has to be a major concern that both groups got beaten like a drum at the line of scrimmage Thursday night. I think that should worry Bears fans far more than Glennon at this point.

  • On the other hand, there’s this basic truth from Kevin Patra at NFL.com on Glennon’s performance:

    “[E]xcuses are like avocados; every millennial has one – or 60 – and they rot quickly.”

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