Bears Can Afford Not to Resign Montgomery. But They Should.

Dan Pompei at The Athletic gives his comments on the Bears Texas games Sunday.

Running back David Montgomery’s performance one week ago was an argument that he belongs in the Bears’ long-term plans. Khalil Herbert’s performance Sunday was an argument that the Bears can afford to let Montgomery sign elsewhere.

They can afford it. But they shouldn’t do it.

Teams like the Bears need two running backs. In fact, the injury to Montgomery during the game shows you exactly why that is true. And right now Tristan Ebner has not shown that he can carry the load is a second bag.

Can you always draft a new running back? You can. Very easyily. However, who wants to use a draft pick to fill a hole that you created by not signing your own player? One that you already know is good?

It would be different if we expected Montgomery to draw an excessively high salary. But that should not be the case. Assuming that the market demands that he receive a salary commensurate with the average NFL running back, I see no reason at the moment why the Bears wouldn’t want to try to resign him.

The Bears Can Evaluate Justin Fields With the Talent on the Team

Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune talks about Justin Fields development. Here he quotes an anonymous personnel man about the situation that Fields finds himself in with the Bears this year.

“You look at Jalen Hurts in Philadelphia. He’s throwing to freaking A.J. Brown and he’s got a young guy on the come in DeVonta Smith, who was the Heisman Trophy winner. And he’s got a young tight end in Dallas Goedert, and the offensive line there is one of the best in the league. If you put Fields behind that line, how good would he look?

The answer to that question is “better“. But still not as good as Hurts.

I’m not at all convinced that what we’ve seen from Field so far this year is simply a result of the talent that he is surrounded with. Fields simply has been unable to throw from the pocket. He was only able to do it in college. And he’s unable to do it right now.

That doesn’t mean that he can’t do it. It doesn’t mean that he won’t learn to do it. But he’s not.

I dont doubt that surrounding him with more talent would make him better. But I don’t think it would make him good.

Fields needs to learn to at least occasionally drop back, hit his back foot, and get the ball out on time to the correct receiver. If he can do that, he’ll look a lot better no matter what talent he is surrounded with. I look forward to the day that that happens.

If it doesn’t by the end of the year, I think the Bears will once again find themselves in a situation where they are searching for another quarterback. As is part of Biggs’s point, it’s too early to make that judgement. But don’t fool yourself. By the end of the year the Bears will be able to do it. They must.

The Bears Can Evaluate Justin Fields With the Talent on the Team

Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune talks about Justin Fields development. Here he quotes an anonymous personnel man about the situation that Fields finds himself in with the Bears this year.

“You look at Jalen Hurts in Philadelphia. He’s throwing to freaking A.J. Brown and he’s got a young guy on the come in DeVonta Smith, who was the Heisman Trophy winner. And he’s got a young tight end in Dallas Goedert, and the offensive line there is one of the best in the league. If you put Fields behind that line, how good would he look?

The answer to that question is “better“. But still not as good as Hurts.

I’m not at all convinced that what we’ve seen from Field so far this year is simply a result of the talent that he is surrounded with. Fields simply has been unable to throw from the pocket. He was only able to do it in college. And he’s unable to do it right now.

That doesn’t mean that he can’t do it. It doesn’t mean that he won’t learn to do it. But he’s not.

I dont doubt that surrounding him with more talent would make him better. But I don’t think it would make him good.

Fields needs to learn to at least occasionally drop back, hit his back foot, and get the ball out on time to the correct receiver. If he can do that, he’ll look a lot better no matter what talent he is surrounded with. I look forward to the day that that happens.

If it doesn’t by the end of the year, I think the Bears will once again find themselves in a situation where they are searching for another quarterback. As is part of Biggs’s point, it’s too early to make that judgement. But don’t fool yourself. By the end of the year the Bears will be able to do it. They must.

Patience is a Virtue for All of the Bears, Not Just Justin Fields

Colleen Kane at the Chicago Tribune quotes coach Matt Eberflus on Kyler Gordon’s performance on Sunday.

In the third quarter, Gordon charged forward on a third-and-1 blitz and batted down quarterback Davis Mills’ pass. But Gordon also gave up a couple of big plays, including losing wide receiver Chris Moore on a 52-yard catch in the first quarter that led to the Texans’ first touchdown.

“The breakdown on that was … we were playing single-high coverage. We have to do a better job of just staying on that guy,” Eberflus said. “That was his guy. He has to stay on him.”

Eberflus was asked whether the Bears would consider keeping Gordon at one position to lighten his mental load.

“You always have got to look at that, especially when you’re working with a rookie, a guy that’s been in there and it’s the first time,” Eberflus said. “But he’s shown that he can do it. His techniques are good. In terms of knowing his assignments are good, inside and outside, so we’re pleased with where he is relative to that.”

If you watch replay where the Texans’ Moore caught the 52 yard pass, you will see that Gordon was with him until he heit about midfield and then he let him go, obviously thinking that another defensive back was going to pick Moore up. Realizing his mistakes too late he tore after more but Moore was wide open.

It was not the first time that Gordon has looked confused in coverage over the first three games.

The evidence does, indeed, support the suggestion that Gordon is overloaded and that he might be better off concentrating upon one position. But it doesn’t sound like they are ready to restrict him just yet.

We all knew going in that there would be growing pains for the Bears this year. I htink eveyone was prepared to be patient with quarterback Justin Filds But I think it behoooves us to remember that the other guys are only feeling their way through right now as well.

As it is it looks like we’re going to have to just wait and see how fast Gordon can pick things up and handle what the Bears have given him.

Quick Game Comments: Texans at Bears 9/25/22


  • Nice to see Byron Pringle start off the game by running a shallow route across the middle on the second play. It’s a route that I see teams run against the Bears all the time where the linebacker has to pick up the wide receiver in zone coverage and can’t do it. Nice play.
  • Justin Fields was under pressure but it was mostly because he was holding the ball too long. He has to get rid of the ball faster.
  • I like the way that Khalil Herbert runs. He’s one of those short, compact guys that are just hard to bring down. He’s like a bowling ball.
  • Related note it’s interesting to contrast Herbert and Trestan Ebner as running backs. Herbert had a much better game, seem to be shiftier and broke more tackles. Ebner seem to struggle in both departments despite being seen as being more gifted in this respect. Herbert also ran with better vision. Herbert had 157 yards on 20 carries (7.9 yards) while Ebner had 23 yards on 7 carries (3.3 yards).
  • It’s really interesting watching what the Bears do to make the running game effective. Khari Blasingame is often in the field for some of their biggest runs because he brings an extra blocker to the point of attack. On Herbert’s touchdown in the third quarter they actually brought over an extra offensive lineman and line them up right where the hole was going to be so they saw that they had an two extra blockers with Blassingame.
  • On a further related note, the Texans were missing tackles all over the field. That does not sound like a typical Lovie Smith defense.
  • Glad to see that offensive coordinator Luke Getsy didn’t abandon the run after all the pressure he was under to pass the ball last week. The Bears had 281 yards rushing on 40 carries. The run pass ration was 70:30. The Texans have not shown the ability to stop the run in their previous two games and the second drive of the game where the Bears scored a touchdown was a great example of what you can do if you can run over a team.
  • It was interesting that they chose to continue to rotate Teven Jenkins with Lucas Patrick. My guess is that Patrick isn’t ready to snap the ball yet with that right hand surgery.
  • Justin Fields flat out struggled with his accuracy early today and some relatively simple passes were not completed. Fields completed 47% of his passes with only 3.7 yards per attempt.
  • Fields just cannot take a sack in field goal range like he did toward the end of the half. Cairo Santos made the field goal anyway but it went from an easy short one to a very difficult long one. He has to read the blitz on that play and go to his heart read immediately. If it’s not there he has to get rid of the ball. There was a sack at with just a little more than 2 minutes left in the game where the defensive back was on the line of scrimmage and was obviously looking to blitz. Fields never saw him.
  • Fields burned the Texans so badly by breaking the pocket that they finally assigned a spy to track him around the field. If the runner with a ball went to the left and Fields went to the right there was always one linebacker following him.
  • I think that Luke Getsy is finally figuring out how to use Darnell Mooney. Defensive backs were playing him deep and giving him a lot of room because they are wary of his speed. Up until now gets Getsy wasn’t really taking advantage of that but he had Mooney stopping his routes short and it was leaving him pretty open. You don’t get the long deep shot this way but at least you get some completions with some helpful yardage.


  • Theirs came out in this game playing a fair bit of their bass defense with a strong side linebacker and I don’t know what the percentage was but it looked like a higher percentage than usual. This was probably a good plan since up until this game the Texans really hadn’t shown the ability to complete in the passing game.
  • The Texans came out attacking Kindle Vildor which I thought was an interesting decision since undrafted rookie Jaylon Jones was starting on the other side in place of the injured Jaylon Johnson. My guess is that the Texans planned to go after Vildor all week because they expected Johnson to play. When he didn’t, I guess they saw no reason to change. Vildor had a rough start to the game but it’s worth noting that he did tip the ball that Eddie Jackson ultimately intercepted toward the end of the first quarter. He made some nice plays after that.
  • 58 yard completion to Chris Moore in the Texans second Drive was a broken coverage. Kyler Gordon had him in coverage and then slow down obviously thinking that somebody else was going to pick them up. The Bears have to clean these things up.
  • Once again, the Bears defensive line struggled to get penetration against the run. Blockers were easily getting to the second level to take linebackers out in spring runners free. Admittedly the linebackers didn’t help and weren’t playing downhill until late i the game when things improved. a bit


  • Andrew Catalon, James Lofton and Michael Grady were your announcers. Lofton was interesting in that he concentrates more about game situations and really plays more head coach during the game than anything else. There wasn’t a lot of revelatory X’s & O’s or the anatomy of a play in this broadcast. Unfortunately, that’s the stuff that I like.
  • Dante Pettis is either needs to catch the ball or let it go on the first Texans punt. Instead he appeared to let it bounce right in front of him and then he was darned lucky that it bounced right to him. Dangerous play. Pettis seemed me to take a fair catch when he had room to run but then didn’t take a fair catch when he had a guy or two bearing right down on him. I question his decision making and perhaps he needs to be replaced.
  • But that the Bears were prepared for the fake pipe toward the end of the third-quarter. They were certainly lined up in a way that should have stopped it. The problem is that they simply got blown off the ball.
  • A little bit disappointed that the Bears didn’t win the turnover battle (2-2) and committed more penalties (6 Vs. 3) than the Texans did in this game. I think the path to winning for this team is going to be strong disciplined play and they’re going to have to win games by doing both of these things. In fairness, 6 penalties is by no means an outrageous amount. And, of course, it was the final interception by Roquan Smith that basically won the game. But I think that they can do better.
  • This was a good win for the Bears. I thought these two teams were pretty closely matched in that they’re both young and both rosters don’t have a lot of talent. And, as I mentioned above, I think the path to winning from both of these teams is going to be not beating themselves. So in that respect they really do match each other pretty well and it was good that they came out o top.

    Having said that both the offense and the defense need to keep getting better.

    The running game has been a revelation and I couldn’t be more pleased with the way that there making yardage that way. But passing is the way that you win against good teams and the Bears simply have not shown that they can do it on a consistent basis. Fields has to get his feet underneath him and throw with better accuracy on time to the proper receiver with the proper read. Until he learns to do that they’re not going to be able to compete with the big boys. We need to be patient but it still mildly concerns me that he hasn’t made more progress, now well into his second year.

    The defense also has its problems Against both run in the pass. Their inability to stop the run as well documented above. The depth is being tested in the defensive backfield as well. I was not at all surprised to see the Texans target Kindle Vildor just as Green Bay did last week. And to a certain extent it worked. But what did surprise me was they did not test Jaylon Jones on the other side who is an undrafted free agent and certainly is untested. The Bears future in terms of coverage may depend upon the performance of these two men. It’s not a great thought.

    So bottom line the Bears have a lot to work on after this win.

Justin Fields Is Great on the Move. Now If He Can Just Do Better From the Pocket.

Adam Jahns at The Athletic quotes Bears head coach Matt Eberflus on what he thought happened on Justin Fields‘ touchdown pass to Dante Pettis. Fields got outside the pocket and ran to his left and found Pettis open downfield on his right.

“As soon as the quarterback scrambles, you got to plaster your man in your area, and what happens is you got to plaster him with your eyes and your body,” Eberflus said. “Because what happens is, you start to look back and all of a sudden (the receiver) wiggles away and you lose him.”

It doesn’t matter if the secondary is playing zone — “(the 49ers) play a lot of zone; we play a lot of zone,” Eberflus said — or in single-high coverage, he explained.

“That’s probably what happened,” Eberflus said. “I’ve got to go back and look at the tape.”

“The vision by Justin to see that and throw it back there was a great play,” Eberflus said. “And that’s the kind of plays he can make. That’s what makes him dangerous because he can throw on-schedule throws but, man, he’s got the off-schedule throws, too.”

A couple things here.

First, Pettis didn’t just “wiggle” away from the 49ers coverage. The 49ers literally turned around and ran away from him in a mad effort to chase Fields down. It was a moment of terrible disciplne from the 49ers and one of numerous examples of the way that they handed the game to the Bears on a platter. You can bet that the Packers will not do that this week.

Second, the Packers are going to know very well, if not based upon the 49ers video then certainly based upon what happened last year, that they have to keep Fields in the pocket.

Fields did not perform well from the pocket in the first half of the game. He holds the ball too long just as he did last year. He will not truly develop as a good NFL quarterback until he learns to drop back and get rid of the ball quickly, especially given that the Bears offensive line is young and developing and not likely to protect provide him with long periods of protection. I understand that’s not easy to do when your wide receivers aren’t good enough to get open on their own. But Fields has to learn to throw them open.

The Packers pass rush will be far more disciplined than the 49ers.

Quick Game Comments: 49ers at Bears 9/11/22


  • Offensively this was really a game of 2 halves. Let’s start with a bad news with the first half. Bottom line, the Bears really lost the line of scrimmage in this half. The off lineensive line struggled against one of the best front sevens in the game. They had trouble protecting Justin Fields and they had trouble blocking the run.I was a bit surprised that they had the most trouble blocking on the inside of the line rather than on the outside with the office of tackles. I think we’re going to see a lot of that this year.
  • Perhaps related to that point. I I did notice that the Bears rotated Lucas Patrick in at right guard for Tevin Jenkins on occasion. I’ll be interested to hear what Matt Eberflus have to say about that after the game.
  • One thing I have to say is that Justin Fields is really going to have to learn to get rid of the ball quicker when he’s under pressure. Too often he dropped back and just simply couldn’t let go of the ball. He got better as the game went on. Going to have to be a lot better if it’s all offensive line is going to perform like that.
  • Fields was also having trouble with his accuracy early in the game. The balls seem to be flying rather high. I’m not sure what the trouble was but it did get better as the game we’re on.
  • As expected, the Bears wide receivers had a very hard time getting open when covered one on one by the 49ers defensive backs. They’re not a very good group and they’re going to have to get open with scheme. Which is exactly what happened in the second half. But that’s not going to be true and every game with teams that play better.
  • I think when you want to know what the Bears office looks like ideally, you look at the way the 49ers executed theirs in the first half. They establish the run, and then ran to play action pass off of it. And it was reasonably effective. There’s probably will add some Packers flavor like sceen passes and the rollouts. But that’s pretty much what they want the offense to look like.
  • On a related note, all the work that the Bears did on their screen passes in the off-season, they didn’t look very good running them this game. It’s obviously still a work in progress and probably will be all year.
  • It was hard to figure out exactly who Justin Fields was throwing the ball to on his first interception. Darnell Mooney was behind the safety who made the play. But I’m not sure it was intended for him. It did look to me on the replay like maybe the ball had been slightly tipped at the line and that may have deflected it just a little bit. But even so I really didn’t see anyone else in the area. Hard to figure that one out.
  • At one point in the second quarter, Trey Lance drew the Bears defensive lineman offside on a hard count, and I’m wondering when Justin Fields is going to start doing the same thing. 10 minutes later he did it.
  • I like the combination of David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert in the backfield. They have different running styles, Herbert being quicker and more elusive with Montgomery eing more straight ahead, running angles and breaking tackles. I think that they complement each other very well. Perhaps they could play Herbert just a little bit more. They could use his skill set. They could send both guys out on pass routes to little bit more.
  • In the second quarter Justin Fields started running, which was nice to see. Fields on the run should be a part of the Bears offense and hadn’t been up to that point. But it can’t be the entire Bears offense which is certainly what it was looking like.
  • The touchdown to Dante Pettis was a great example of what happens when a defense smells blood in the water. Fields was rolling out to the left and in trouble. Everybody left Pettis in order to pursue him thinking the play was on that side of the field. They were being aggressive and they couldn’t help themselves. Great job by Fields spotting it and getting him the ball.
  • Having said all of that, what happened in the second half of this game was really interesting. About midway through the third quarter all the Bears had done was throw short passes and try to run the ball. And the 49ers were stopping them cold. They were sitting on the short routes and they were crowding the box frequently putting eight men near the line in order to stop the run. Suddenly the Bears went to the play action pass and that’s where their big plays like the touchdown pass to Equiminius St Brown came from. When the 49ers backed off, the run game suddenly opened up and they started to move the ball that way. That was really good to see. That’s how the offense is supposed to work.


  • The 49ers came out running. Two reasons for that. First, it obviously the way that they prefer to play. Establish the run and go to the play action pass. And they did that reasonably effectively even if it didn’t result in many points. More on that later. The second reason was that they were trying to protect Trey Lance by not asking too much of him too soon.
  • Hard to tell watching television, but it looked at me like the Bears played mostly zone on early downs. But they went man-toman an awful lot on third down. My understanding is that that’s exactly what Matt Eberflus did it with the Colts so I think we can can anticipate seeing that the rest of the year.
  • I was a little bit disappointed that we didn’t see more of the speed on defense that we’ve been told to expect, especially in the first half. The Bears seem to be just a step slow on most plays. I certainly hope that gets better over the course of the year. There’s potential there but there were times when they didn’t look like they were playing with confidence and flying to the ball. Perhaps it was affected by the weather. But the 49ers didn’t seem to be affected. Play speed overall was lacking for the Bears on both sides of the ball.
  • Good job by Jaylon Johnson doing a peanut punch to get that ball to fall out on the Bears first fumble recovery. Looks like Tillman’s visit to the Bears training camp might have stuck with some of the players.
  • I think the good news is that the Bears seem to be getting decent pressure on Trey Lance with their front four. It wasn’t consistent. But it was definitely there. That’s absolutely necessary for success.
  • Having said that, the Bears seem to be having a very hard time stopping the run. They seem to be holding their position OK but they’re getting very little penetration on the defensive line. The result is that the 49ers were getting positive yards on every run. That has to get better.
  • It was great seeing Eddie Jackson come up with an interception in the first game. Let’s hope it’s the first of many this year and we’re seeing the 201 version of him.
  • Surprised that the 49ers didn’t go after Kindle Vildor more. It seemed they were concentrating more on Kyler Gordon.
  • Seeing Jaylon Johnson go down in the fourth quarter was not a good thing. The Bears do not have a lot of depth at cornerback. He returned on the next play but it was a reminder of what could happen.


  • Daryl Johnston and Joe Davis were in the booth with Pam Oliver the poor sole on the sideline in the rain this game. I’ll start by saying that I’m OK with Johnston. We could have done a lot worse for this game. Having said that, I thought Johnston and Davis spent a little bit too much time in the first half complaining about the referees. Yeah they were calling it close but it wasn’t that close. Those were legitimate penalties. In particular the push off by Brandon Aiyuk that they said “really didn’t affect the separation” was definitely a push off. Johnson’s head actually jerked back with the contact.
  • At the end of the first quarter the 49ers had 70 rushing yards and were averaging 5.8 yards per carry. The Bears had 15 rushing yards and we’re averaging 1.4. At the end of the game it was better at 4.8 Vs. 2.7 yards per carry. But still not good. When you can’t run the ball and you can’t stop the run that is an extremely bad sign. The Bears absolutely, positively have to be able to run the ball if they are going to have success this year. The entire first quarter was played in their half of the field.
  • Yes, the field was very wet. And I’m sure it wasn’t pleasant. But, in fairness, it sure looked to me like it was still a lot of green on the field at the end. It wasn’t exactly a mud bath. Kudos to them.
  • Kudos to the Bears crowd. They were pretty loud today on a really crappy day.
  • The great day for special teams. Two missed extra points might have really have hurt the Bears in this game.Penalty on Trenton Gill may very well have taken three points off of the board. Though, in fairness, I wasn’t aware of the rule that said that you couldn’t dry off the place where you were going to put the ball was illegal either.
  • This was a great game and that I think it showed us about a lot about how the season might go. First of all the Bears won the turnover battle 2 to 1. I think that’s something that they would like to see happen on a fairly consistent basis. Second they committed far fewer penalties with 3 than the 49ers at 12.That was an indication of the kind of discipline that they would like to play with. If you play with discipline and you manage to get turnovers, you can win a lot of games that you have no business winning. That’s what happened today.

    I said that, I think we also saw some of the problems that they may face. Both lines were dominated in the first half and to some extent in the second half.Doesn’t worry me so much on the office of side where the Bears have some young players who are still developing and who may get better over the course of the season. However on the defensive side, it’s a little bit of a different story. The defensive front seven has guys have to do better against the run.

    In additione, the wide receivers struggled to get open in man-to-man coverage. that, too, was as expected and I don’t think that there are going to be a lot of surprises. The 49ers did a very good job of keeping the ball from Darnell Mooney and, though the other guys made some plays, most of them were a result of play action rather than pure talent. A team that plays with more discipline than the 49ers did today will cause the Bears a lot of trouble because they don’t have the talent on the roster to win games with matchups.

    This was a good win, it was a win that the Bears had no business getting. And, If they are going to be a really good team this year, this was an indication that they could do better than many people expect.

Should Bears fans Really Be Worrying About Losing Luke Getsy Already?

Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune answers your questions.

If Luke Getsy does well and gets a head coaching gig in 2023, do the Bears have a Plan B? — @bbshooks

If Getsy is hired elsewhere as a head coach in 2023 — and the Denver Broncos interviewed him for the job that went to Nathaniel Hackett — it would be a great development for the Bears. That would mean Fields had a huge season and took a major step forward to prove he is the franchise quarterback. Face it: If Fields is so-so this season, that won’t do a ton for Getsy’s stock as a potential head coach. But if Fields puts together a really good season with the state of the offensive line and talent at wide receiver, that would make Getsy a commodity. It would be a blow for the Bears to lose Getsy to another team after one season, but he would be leaving with the offense turned around and the quarterback playing well. I know it sounds counterintuitive to say the best thing that could happen to the Bears is if Getsy is hired as a head coach elsewhere, but I truly believe that. As far as a replacement, quarterbacks coach Andrew Janocko will have a big hand in the development of Fields and has coached a variety of offensive positions.

Questions like this amuse me. Fans can’t wait to jump ahead and worry about losing a coach or a player literally before we know anything about them. Why don’t we wait and see what happens during the season before we start worrying about stuff like this? Isn’t there enough to worry about already?

Having said that, I have always said that one reason to hire an offensive head coaches that you can’t lose him if he turns out to be any good. But, in theory, good head coaches for the long haul, and John Harbaugh is the guy that always comes to mind when I think that, can identify good coordinators and good coaches for their staff. In fact, I would say finding those guys is probably at least half of their job. And is probably the most important part. So really, this comes down to how good of a head coach Matt Eberflus will turn out to be.

The Bears Have That Look About Them

Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune answers your questions.

One of the most impressive things from the preseason was the Bears’ few penalties. During the Matt Nagy years, the Bears seemed to have far too many penalties, often at very inopportune times. Is it wishful thinking, or do the Bears thus far seem much more disciplined under Matt Eberflus? — Norm G.

The Bears were really good in three preseason games at limiting penalties, and you certainly would look for that to carry over to the regular season. Penalties are going to happen and will pop up at inopportune times. Are the Bears more disciplined? Possibly. They appear to be more organized. You’re not seeing the pre-snap penalties on offense that came with confusion and struggles getting the play calls in and that sort of thing. I think that is what most people found irksome about the offense under Nagy. The Bears had way too many pre-snap penalties and burned too many timeouts because the sideline operation wasn’t smooth.

One of the most encouraging things about the preseason, and there weren’t many because it’s, you know, the preseason, was the small number of penalties that the Bears committed. As’s the questioner implies, I think that this may mean that the team might be more disciplined.

One of the biggest questions for me all preseason was why the Bears over under was 6 1/2 wins. It seems high. But the bookies usually know what they’re doing, and if fans are pounding me under there must be reasons for it. This could be one of them.

Disciplined teams that make very few mistakes can steal a lot of games. I always thought that the Indianapolis Colts, Matt Eberflus‘s last organization, was often one of the teams that do this fairly consistently. They seem to win a lot of games despite, to my eye, not having as much talent on paper as the other elite teams in the league.

I’ve been around long enough to know what a team that is getting ready to over-achieve looks like. The Bears definitely have that feel about them this year. Perhaps the Bears may be better than people think this year simply because they allow other teams to beat themselves.

The Average Age of the Rebuilding Bears Is Still in the Bottom Third of the NFL. And Other Points of View.

  • Jimmy Kempski at collects the average age data for each of the 32 teams based upon the final 53 man rosters. Surprisingly the Bears ranked 23rd on this list. You would think that a team that is in a rebuilding phase should be in the top 10.
  • I think in the Bears case the reason why there’s still a relatively old team is because they’re looking for a different type of player compared to the average rebuilding team.

    The Bears seem to have attacked the problem of adding “young” talent by looking for players who aren’t rookies, but are veteran players who have been around but who are still young and who may be ascending. Good examples are Matthew Adams (year 5), Khari Blasingame (year 4), Dane Cruikshank (year 5), Justin Jones (year 5), Dante Pettis (year 5), Byron Pringle (year 5), Equanimeous St. Brown (year 5), Armon Watts (year 4) and Trevon Wesco (year 4).

    They have their share of young guys, too. Lamar Jackson (year 2), Alex Leatherwood (year 2), and Ihmir Smith-Marsette (year 2), for example. But general manager Ryan Poles seems to be looking for a different type of player?

    When you think about it, this makes sense given Pole’s background as an offensive lineman in the league who was always trying to prove himself. Poles probably saw himself as the type of player that he’s looking for now. That is, a player who has now come a long for a few years and just needs a chance in order to show that he can succeed.

    I’ll give credit to Poles. Its a different approach in a year where adding talent via the traditional route of the draft and free agency just wasn’t viable. And it may work. But there’s usually a reason why guys like this aren’t starting with their original teams. It’s going to be interesting to see how it works out.

  • Four time all pro Mitchell Schwartz evaluates new Bears offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood‘s technical flaws. Schwartz says that Leatherwood has problems with both his foot work and his hand work. Via Ted Nguyen at The Athletic.
  • According to Schwartz, Leatherwood appears to be taught to “drag on the three-technique defensive tackle,” meaning holding his left arm out to keep space in the B gap and help the right guard.

    “His attention is a little too much on that in a few of those clips,” Schwartz said. “It also looks like he’s taught to stay more under control and not set so deep so he doesn’t get beat inside and stays inside/out. But too many times he’s underplaying the block, not understanding his position relative to where the QB is and where he should be, and then puts himself in a position to easily give up the edge.”

    The picture painted by this article and the examples of bad play that are embeded within it is not pretty. Leatherwood looks like a man who has been completely discombobulated and has lost his way. You don’t have to be an expert to see that he’s off balance, sometimes actually lunging, with footwork that is obviously way off.

    The Bears look to have a job on their hands getting this player up to speed. He looks like he needs to be compeletely broken down and built back up, starting from the basics. The good news is that they have the time to be patient and do that. The bad news is that he’s on the 53 man roster and he’s backing someone up. So let’s all pray more than usual for good health while Leatherwood gets it together.

  • Nate Tice at The Athletic visited Bears camp.
  • Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy was most recently the Packers’ quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator, which comes through in the cadence the Bears quarterbacks and offensive staff use in individual drills. While a quarterback’s cadence might not seem like a huge deal, Bears coaches’ heavy emphasis on varying up cadence makes sense given Getsy’s history with Aaron Rodgers, who has weaponized cadence better than any quarterback ever.

    It’s an interesting observation by Tice, one that will probably want to keep an eye on. There were signs that Fields might already be drawing defensive linemen offsides more than usual during the preseason. Hopefully it continues and becomes something significant in his game.

  • Jason Fitzgerald at lists the teams with the highest percentage of draft picks out of the league since 2018. Guess where the Bears rank.
  • Imagine how bad this would be if you coiunted the picks former GM Ryan Pace traded away for picks that are no longer on the team.

    One Final Thought

    Rick Morrissey at the Chicago Sun-Times comments upon the retirement of Bears President Ted Phillips.<

    “There are two disparate views of Phillips, who will be retiring in six months. There’s the view of him from ownership, which thinks he’s the consummate professional, if not a member of the family. And there’s the view of him from Bears fans, who think he’s an interfering paper pusher who, if asked to tell the difference between a football and a foot fetish, would request more time.

    “There is no in-between here, no nuance. It’s one or the other: great businessman or an embodiment of all that is wrong with the Bears.”

    “He’s what happens after prolonged exposure to the McCaskeys. He never should have been one of the faces of the franchises, and he should have begged to stay far away from microphones. Instead, he answered questions, and despite his insistence that he wasn’t involved in the football operation, it became obvious after a while that he certainly was. The Bears had gone through so many coaches and GMs that what you saw was what you got: McCaskey and Phillips by themselves with no one to rely on other than a consultant or two who had time traveled from the 1950s.

    “Phillips didn’t know football, but he was thrust into a position in which he was expected to help hire coaches and GMs. Then he started to think he did know football. That’s the Bears right there.

    It’s always puzzled me as to why Bears fans hate Ted Phillips so much. The Bears claimed that he wasn’t involved in day-to-day football operations and I tend to believe that. And there can be little doubt that George McCaskey had final say on everything else.

    However, having said that, the last paragraph does pretty much say at all. McCaskey needs help making football decisions for this franchise. He needs a team president who knows football and can help him run it. Instead he had Phillips, a guy who knows about as much about football as he does.

    The McCaskeys are wonderful people. You can tell. The kinds of people that you would like to have live next-door. But Phillips just wasn’t the kind of guy who could give him the advice he needs on a regular basis when it comes to making broad, long term football decisions. Not consultants who are in and out in a few months. Someone who knows the lay of the land, who has watched the Bears every week and knows what they need. Perhaps we can hope that he’ll get it from the next hire. But I’m not holding my breath.