Is the Bears Coaching Staff Really Up to the Task of Coaching Caleb Williams? And Other Points of View.

  • Mike Sando at The Athletic quotes unnamed league execs on the draft for all 16 NFC teams. Here’s what one exec said about Minnesota’s draft:

“I can buy trading some future picks if you are going to be contending and you are going to get a potential starter,” one exec said. “But the Vikings are not even close to contending. What they did, or even what the Bears did in giving up a (2025) fourth (for a fifth this year), I would not be doing that if I were those teams.”

As I have said before, I 100% agree with this as far as the Bears draft was concerned.

As far as the Vikings go, I was initially impressed by their draft. I thought waiting for J.J. McCarthy to fall to them was great work. And they certainly needed pass rush and got their guy by trading up for Dallas Turner.

But then I saw what they gave up for Turner and my stomach turned cold. The Vikings traded a 2025 second round pick to Houston before the draft to get up to the #23 pick, then traded 2025 third- and fourth-round picks to Jacksonville to jump from 23 to 17.

Its one thing for the Bears to trade a 2025 fourth rounder away to take a flier on Austin Booker. That’s at least a debatable move. But to kill your 2025 draft, leaving your self just 3 picks, for Turner, who is far from a sure thing, seemed extreme.

Some of us stil remember a time when the Bears used to be the first to get all of their picks signed. But Ryan Poles doens’t seem to buy into this philosophy.

That’s too bad. For fans, its nice to see your draft picks get under contract so you can stop worrying about the admittedly small chance that a hold out will ensue.

Who wins the right guard spot out of camp? Will it be Nate Davis or will another player emerge? — @ebrown1481

This doesn’t look to me like a job that’s legitimately open for competition. Yes, every player has to compete for his job, beginning in the voluntary offseason program and carrying through training camp and preseason. But the Bears made a significant investment in Davis when they signed him a year ago to a three-year, $30 million contract in free agency. His $8.75 million base salary for this season is fully guaranteed, so I can’t imagine there are plans to potentially push him aside.

Davis wasn’t great last season and I think the Bears would say as much. His training camp was interrupted some because his mother was ill, and when she passed away early in the season, he missed time. The hope has to be with more consistent preparation this summer that Davis will be in a better spot when the season begins.

I have to agree here.

Although Biggs doesn’t mention it here, it’s been my assumption that Davis didn’t show up for voluntary work last year because his mother was ill. It will be interesting to see if he shows up for voluntary workouts this year.

I’d certainly like to see it given his under performance last year and it might not be a great sign if he doesn’t.

One Final Thought

Myles Simmons at Pro Football Talk on comments made by Bears offensive coordinator Shane Waldron about how they are bringing new Bears quarterback Caleb Williams along.

“I think for me, the things we’re pouring into him right now is just the understanding of the big picture of the game and all the intricacies and the nuances of, first of all, between college and the NFL and being able to start with that ground floor approach and build that repertoire of his up as we’re going,” Waldron said, via Josh Schrock of “For me, also being able to lean on [QBs coach] Kerry Joseph and the rest of the offensive staff, to me, this is always a collaborative effort, and it’s going to take all of us to help him along the way, and everyone has great individual strengths that they can bring to the table.

I have little doubt about Waldron’s ability to scheme up the Xs and Os and explain them to Williams. But as to the staff’s ability to do the other things that need to be done to bring a young QB along, I have my doubts.

In this respect, I’ve been thinking about the Bears offensive coaching staff.

  • Shane Waldron, the offensive coordinator, is a former tight end who coached under Sean McVay, who undoubtedly did much of the quarterback coaching.  He worked with veteran Geno Smith in Seattle as offensive coordinator but has never developed a rookie.  He was a quarterback coach in name only one year in Los Angeles (2019).

  • Thomas Brown, the passing game coordinator, is a former running back who has never been a quarterback coach.

  • Kerry Joseph, the quarterbacks coach, was the assistant quarterbacks coach in Seattle.  Waldron states that he will be doing the majority of the coaching in terms of the actual detailed performance and technique required on the field. He has never been an actual NFL quarterbacks coach.

  • Ryan Griffin is an offensive assistant who retired as a player only in 2022 and has little to no NFL coaching experience.


p>Much has been made of supporting a rookie quarterback by surrounding him with talent on the field.  But my question is, who can they depend upon to coach him?

The Fleeting Nature of Success. And Other Points of View.

What makes Austin Booker a different prospect than Dominique Robinson? Both were seen as raw talents with great athleticism and length. Why will the Booker pick end up being successful when Robinson is likely not to make the roster in 2024? — @coachsmyth

We don’t know if Booker will be a hit, while Robinson, barring something unexpected at this point, has been a miss. Robinson was more of a raw defensive player when the Bears drafted him in the fifth round two years ago from Miami (Ohio). He started out at quarterback and then wide receiver in college. So Booker is a more natural defensive player.

The Bears view Booker as an ascending player. He has a long and narrow frame and more defined pass-rush moves than Robinson had coming out of college. He has good short-area athleticism and plays with a high motor. Yes, there is projection involved with Booker, and some believed he would have greatly helped himself by remaining in school for another year. He’ll have to do some quick on-the-job learning to earn playing time.

I guess the short answer is the Bears must feel like he’s less of a project and more NFL-ready than Robinson was because Booker isn’t a converted pass rusher. That’s what you’re usually doing in the fifth round: identifying a player with traits that fit your scheme and taking a chance.

I think the bottom line answer from my perspective is that they are not fundamentally different. At least not in the way that the questioner is asking. But that doesn’t make either choice wrong.

Fifth round draft choices are not like second round picks. You take your chances. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. But you still have to take swings and that doesn’t mean that taking a chance on Robinson was a bad thing. Nor does it mean picking Booker was a bad thing.

Sentiment for the Rome Odunze pick is overwhelmingly positive and I get it, but do you find it a tad odd the Bears have a defensive head coach and in three seasons, not one first-round pick has been used to select a defensive player? I know they’ve only had three picks (0 in 2022, 1 in 2023, 2 in 2024) and they have mostly been used to fill holes, but was wide receiver really a hole this draft with DJ Moore and Keenan Allen ready to go? Feels like a defensive end counter to Montez Sweat or another cornerstone offensive tackle may have seemed more imperative? — Gerry M., Chicago

I like the selection of Odunze and believe he has a chance to be a terrific player for the Bears. One personnel man described him back in the fall as a bigger version of Moore. Can he be that physical and difficult to bring down after the catch? Time will tell. Moore is like a running back with the ball in his hands after making a catch downfield.

It’s a mistake to look at the roster in the vacuum of only the 2024 season and talk about filling holes and remaining needs. You have to take a long view when evaluating draft picks, especially first-round selections, and project them over the course of three or four years and the impact they can make on the roster. Allen is signed for only this season, and absent an extension for him, the Bears would have a gaping hole opposite Moore if they didn’t add a legitimate option this year.

To me this pick was all about who the players were at a position of need who were going to turn out to be “blue” players. That is, the ones that were most likely to end up ranked among the best in the league.

Opinions about the top two pass rushers in this draft varied, as things like that do. But, generally speaking, none of the edge rushers in this draft ranked among the best prospects according to media experts. The league apparently agreed because, despite the fact that it is a high impact position, the first one didn’t come off the board until pick 14.

Marvin Harrison Jr, Malek Neighbors and Odunze were almost universally ranked among the top 5 non-quarterbacks in the draft. Odunze was the most likely high impact player left and the Bears took him.

Bears roster looks good, lots of optimism. But where do you rank them in the NFC North? — @djs815

The Bears are in a better position in the NFC North than they’ve been in quite a while, and I don’t believe it’s a stretch to suggest they can compete for the division title this season. But they have to beat the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers to do that, and as Ryan Poles has said, the Bears’ improvements to this point are on paper. They’re running third right now until they prove they can overcome their rivals.

“I’m pumped,” Poles said after Round 1 of the draft. “We’ve done good work. It’s one thing to bring talent in, but it’s another to bring talent that they’re good people and they’re great teammates. And the stuff that these (veteran) guys have been doing over the last few weeks has been incredible. We’re seeing how close everybody is.

“But, yeah, we were looking today at what the roster looks like and it’s been a journey. I know it hasn’t been that many years, but it feels like it’s been a lot of years. So we’ve done good work. But obviously, like I said the other night, we’ve got to win.”

That’s the key: going out and winning with an improved roster.

I was genuinely surprised at how positive Biggs, who usually knows what he’s talking about, was about the Bears coming out of the draft. He not only suggested here that the Bears can compete for a division title but that it was reasonable to expect them to make the playoffs.

That’s a tall order for a team with a rookie quarterback. By my reconning, the Bears will sacrifice half the season to breaking Caleb Williams into the NFL. I don’t think you adjust to the speed and complexity of the NFL game overnight and he’s probably going to be a serious drag on the offense until he gets up to speed mentally.

Unless Williams is much better immediately than I think he’s going to be, I can’t see the Bears finishing higher than 3rd in the NFC North. A winning record and anything above that third place finish should leave Bears fans pretty happy.


Starter: Caleb Williams

Tyson Bagent, Brett Rypien

Jahns: The Bears aren’t wasting time with Williams’ development. I like that. There is value in sitting behind a veteran quarterback. But (GM Ryan) Poles knows he doesn’t have an Alex Smith on his roster and that the odds say that first-round quarterbacks typically take the field at some point in their rookie seasons regardless of their respective circumstances. There is no Mike Glennon or Andy Dalton standing in Williams’ way. He will learn on the field as the Bears’ No. 1 quarterback — and do so in a situation that only Mitch Trubisky and Justin Fields could dream of.

Fishbain: Well, this looks a lot better than it did after the Fields trade, but we all knew it was happening. In an effort to best support Williams, I’d expect the Bears to keep three quarterbacks. They have a very valuable backup in Bagent, who already has game experience. Assistant coach Ryan Griffin will also have a major role in this room after being Tom Brady’s backup during his decade-long NFL career.

Although they did not generally include the Bears undrafted free agents in this analysis, I’d like to take an opportunity to put a word in for former Western Kentucky quarterback Austin Reed.

To make a long story short, Reed’s strength is reading the field, something that I think should be emphasized when evaluating quarterbacks. He’s limited athletically by NFL standards. Don’t get me wrong. He’s not a stiff. He can run and he’s got average arm strength. But against superior athletes in the NFL, he’ll have to show that he can overcome a lack of excellence in these areas with what’s in his head. If he can do that, he may be a guy worth keeping around either as the number 3 on the roster or on the practice squad.

Defensive line

DE: Montez Sweat, Dominique Robinson, Khalid Kareem

DT: Gervon Dexter, Michael Dwumfour

NT: Andrew Billings, Zacch Pickens, Byron Cowart

DE: DeMarcus Walker, Austin Booker, Jacob Martin, Daniel Hardy

Fishbain: The Bears showed a lot of belief in their 2023 draft picks on the interior by not adding any defensive tackles in the draft or in free agency, aside from Cowart. That puts some pressure on Dexter and Pickens to make the Year 2 jump, but Dexter especially did show plenty of promise late last season. Billings played nearly 50 percent of the snaps last season, too, and figures to be out there often. There is still room to add depth and we may see a veteran defensive tackle and defensive end signed before camp.

Jahns: There is no way Poles is done with this group. (Head coach Matt) Eberflus and defensive coordinator Eric Washington need more to work with up front beyond the development of their young players. It wouldn’t be surprising if Yannick Ngakoue returned on a short-term, team-friendly deal after his injury last season. Other available veterans could interest the Bears as well.

I tend to agree with Biggs that Ngakoue didn’t work out last year and I see little reason why the Bears would sing him again.

The only other thing I’ll say is that if the Bears under-achieve in 2024, it will likely be because this group struggled and or because Caleb Williams struggled or both. I never say Walker as a competent starter and the Bears are relying heavily on Dexter and Pickens to develop.

No matter who else they try to sign here, they are taking big risks.

Offensive line

LT: Braxton Jones, Kiran Amegadjie, Matt Pryor

LG: Teven Jenkins, Bill Murray, Jerome Carvin

C: Ryan Bates, Coleman Shelton, Doug Kramer

RG: Nate Davis, Ja’Tyre Carter

RT: Darnell Wright, Larry Borom, Jake Curhan, Aviante Collins

Jahns: There are still questions about the line. Is Bates really ready for everything at center after being a backup last season for Buffalo? Can Jenkins stay on the field? Will Davis play like the free-agent signing the Bears hoped he’d be? Will Amegadjie be able to push Jones in his rookie season? All that said, the depth looks better across the board. It might not be an elite unit, but Wright still has the potential to be an elite right tackle.

Fishbain: Had Odunze not gotten to the Bears at No. 9, maybe we’re talking about a new starting left tackle, but it’ll likely remain Jones’ job for 2024. The key will be seeing if Amegadjie has the “starter potential” that the Bears believe after using a third-round pick on him. His ability to play right tackle, too, likely makes Borom a trade candidate. The 2021 fifth-round pick is due to make more than $3 million this season

A couple thoughts here.

First though Braxton Jones has been the target of many people who criticize the offensive line, I believe it’s the improvement that Nate Davis at right guard that will be the biggest key to improved performance there.

For those who thought replacing Jones was a high priority for the Bears, Fishbain’s reporting for The *Athletic seems to contradict that:

As the Bears awaited their pick, they had a need on the defensive line. When Bralen Trice, the Washington edge rusher, was selected one pick before them, they went with the highest guy on their board, Poles said.

The implication is, of course, that offensive tackle wasn’t a need and that Kiran Amegadjie was taken simply based upon their draft rating and his talent.

On the other hand, Davis woefully underperformed last year after being signed as a free agent. Bears fans have to hope that the player they signed will show up after a dip last year.

Second I’m not sure Borom is somebody that the Bears are going to discard. To my eye he’s done a pretty good job as the back up tackle positions. By all accounts, Amegadjie is a developmental project and is going to need time to develop. In the meantime you wonder if they might need to keep a reliable and versatile veteran player like Borom in reserve.


WLB: T.J. Edwards, Noah Sewell

MLB: Tremaine Edmunds, Micah Baskerville

SLB: Jack Sanborn, Amen Ogbongbemiga

Jahns: This group won’t get as much attention as the Bears’ other position groups this offseason, especially after what happened in the draft on offense. But it remains a good one. Edmunds and Edwards should improve in their second season together in Eberflus’ defense, too. Sanborn remains one of Poles’ best moves in undrafted free agency.

Fishbain: The Bears have to feel pretty good about their linebacker situation, which, like receiver, has seen quite the upgrade after 2022. Sewell’s progression will be worth watching in camp, and Ogbongbemiga should be a key special-teamer this season.

I think the Bears three starting linebackers stack up pretty well against the rest of the league. But the depth behind them worries me.

None of the three back ups look to me like they’d be anything less than a serious weakness if called upon to play by injury. The Bears were uncommonly healthy at linebacker last year. I don’t know if depending upon that to happen again is a good idea.

Beyond that, the Bears special teams were 22nd in Rick Gosselin‘s rankings last year. And, no, that’s not just because the punter had a down year. These backup linebackers are a major part of those units and, therefore, were also a major part of the problem.

If you don’t excel as either a back up or a special teams player, you are a candidate to be replaced at this position. It didn’t get much attention but this spot looks to me like it is in need of an upgrade.

One Final Thought

“All the success in the world is leased and rented. It’s never owned.”

The New York Jets Jermaine Johnson on not resting on his laurels from his 2023 Pro Bowl season.

The Bears Still Have a Lot of Work to Do. And Other Points of View.

  1. The most puzzling move of the draft was the Falcons taking Michael Penix Jr. at No. 8. I wasn’t surprised a team thought the Washington quarterback was worth a top-10 pick. Coaches I’ve spoken to have always been way more effusive about him and his film than many on social media. Coaches really like his arm talent, how he reads coverages, his sharpness and the resiliency he’s displayed in his college career. But I was convinced the Falcons needed to go defense at the top of their draft. Instead, a franchise that just invested a fortune in Kirk Cousins took Penix.

I am a big believer in Penix, but this fit seems curious to me. He’s about as ready to go now as any quarterback in this class. He’ll be 24 soon. Sitting and potentially waiting for two or more seasons doesn’t make a lot of sense.

I, personally, upon reflection did not have a big problem with this pick. I see this as a Packers type move where Atlanta took their guy and plans to develop him behind Cousins in the same way that the Packers developed Jordan Love behind Aaron Rodgers.

Yes, he’ll be 26 before he’s ready to play if they keep Cousins around as the starter for a couple yers. But that still gives them 10 years of franchise quarterback play if he works out the way that they think he will.

What struck me about Atlanta draft is that it very much reminded me of the way that Falcons Director of Player Personnel Ryan Pace handled the process when he was GM with the Bears. He would fall in love with a player and then overpay to get him. I thought they may have done that with Penix here.

But the pick that had Pace’s name written all over it was in the second round when they traded up to get someone called Ruke Orhorhoro. If the media experts were anything close to right, this player was nowhere near the kind of second rounder that Atlanta made him into. I have a vision of Pace pounding the player for this player and insisting that they “act with conviction” and trade up, convinced that the rest of the league saw in him the mirage that Pace saw.

There is an off chance that Pace and the Falcons will turn out to be right about this player. But that won’t make it any less of a reach in terms of the draft value.

Fortunately for the Bears, Pace is Atlanta’s problem now.

  • I was disappointed that the Bears decided not to provide videos of the various area scouts who were responsible for the reports on the various prospects this year. In the past, these videos have been informative as the scouts typically had time to provide more detail on the prospects than Bears GM Ryan Poles could give.

Fans may remember that a scout who gave one of these interviews last year garnered national attention from media members with an agenda who interpreted his comments as being racially offensive. Its a shame that this had to ruin this part of the draft coverage for those of us who appreciated it.

  • I didn’t have a problem with the Bears selecting Kansas defensive end Austin Booker with a fifth round pick, though he’s definitely a developmental prospect who, at 245 lb, is going to have to gain weight if he wants to be anything better than useless against the run.

What I did have a problem with is trading a 2025 fourth round pick to get him. Admittedly it wasn’t like they traded away a second rounder but when you identify a prospect here that you have to have so badly that you are willing to pay a premium to trade into the future to get him, I think it shows a lack of discipline. Though the Bears have drafted some productive players in this round in the past, fifth round picks are getting into long shot range. There shouldn’t be one there that you have to have that badly.

5/6. Quinyon Mitchell & Cooper DeJean, DBs, Philadelphia Eagles

Mitchell’s playstyle: Off-man corner with elite recognition and click-and-close ability.

DeJean’s playstyle: Versatile defensive back who can line up anywhere.

Scheme: Two-high, soft zone system.

Mitchell played a lot of off-coverage at Toledo. Some of his best highlights are him reading a play and firing off like a missile to make a play on the ball or a big hit. Eagles defensive coordinator Vic Fangio uses a lot of soft zone or off-man coverage to disguise his coverages. Mitchell fits like a glove in Fangio’s system. The Eagles’ pass defense trotted out one the oldest pair of starting corners last season — Darius Slay is 33 and James Bradberry is 30. Adding a young, athletic corner in Mitchell will bolster their secondary and give them some options.

A staple of Fangio’s defense is starting in two deep and rotating into different coverages to repeatedly give quarterbacks the same pre-snap look and then changing the picture post-snap. DeJean’s versatility and ability to cover man-to-man would add a dynamic to Fangio’s defense that he hasn’t had.


p>The Eagles might’ve had my favorite draft. These two defensive backs fit the scheme like a glove. How are you GM Howie Roseman gave Vic Fangio a lot to work with here.

However, it should be pointed out that safety is a very also important position in Fangio scheme, as well as linebacker. These are the two positions that are most involved in creating the blurry looks that Fangio specializes in. It’s the players in the middle of the field who do most of the hiding in defenses that move post snap. How they play determines how the defense is arranged. So the Eagles may still have some work to do.

One Final Thought

Some local pundits, particularly those at the Chicago Sun-Times, are stating that they expect the Bears to be a playoff team in 2024. I find this assertion to be off the mark.

Yes, the Bears will be better on offense with the addition of wide receiver Keenan Allen and D’Andre Swift and what we hope will be an improved center position. But:

  1. they will still be short on pass rush with only Montez Sweat able to do so to a competent level.
  2. they are counting on Gervon Dexter or Zach Pickens to become the three-technique defensive tackle that is the engine that makes the defense go.
  3. they will have a rookie quarterback and their third receiver will be a rookie with literally no one behind him.
  4. the depth throughout the roster is lacking and the odds that the Bears will be as healthy in 2024 as they were in 2023 are low.
  5. the Bears went 7-10 against one of the easiest schedule strengths in the league in 2023. Once again, the odds that the 2024 season schedule will end up being on a similar level are low.

The Bears are not done building this team. I think if you are a Bears fan you should be looking for improvement in the performance of the team. But expecting the playoffs is setting the team up to fail.

Is the Difference Between Caleb Williams and the Rest of the Pack Really That Great? And Other Points of View.

Everyone seems to think WR Keenan Allen is only a one-year deal barring an extension. The Bears spent more than a franchise tag would cost for a WR in 2024. So couldn’t they tag him next year if they don’t draft (or have success with) a WR? It would equate to about 2 years and $45 million total.** — @duhbearscar

Anything is possible, but if you look at the history of the franchise tag, it’s hard to find many examples of players entering Year 13 getting that treatment, especially wide receivers. The tag for wide receivers could get a decent bump in 2025 if players such as Justin Jefferson, CeeDee Lamb and Brandon Aiyuk, among others, sign new contracts.

If Allen has another super-productive season, and certainly that’s the hope, the Bears could entertain the idea of a one-year deal. They’d be paying for future production — not past performance — and would have to feel strongly that he would be worth north of $20 million in 2025. There would have to be some kind of gap in negotiations for it to lead to a tag situation.

Keep in mind the Bears could desire at least the availability of the tag for left guard Teven Jenkins. Of course, that would be hugely dependent on his performance in Year 4 and the state of negotiations (assuming there is an attempt at them). I’d say chances of Allen being tagged in 2025 are low.

One other thing to consider here is the matter of the compensatory pick if the Bears simply let Allen hit the market.

The Bears traded a fourth round pick for Allen. The compensatory pick after a good year by Allen would allow them to get that back and they would have gotten him for one year only at the price of his $23 million salary.

It’s not my money but I think that would still be a pretty good deal.

If one of the top three receivers, Marvin Harrison Jr., Malik Nabers or Rome Odunze, is available after Tennessee picks at No. 7, do you think it’s likely that the Jets or some other team with a lower pick will try to trade up and beat the Bears to such WR?** — Jerry L., Chicago

That’s an interesting question and my hunch is one of those receivers will be on the board at No. 8. I would be pretty surprised if three came off in the top seven picks. Bear in mind, three wide receivers never have been selected in the top eight picks in the history of the draft.

Figure three quarterbacks, two receivers and one offensive tackle will go in the top seven picks. That means one more quarterback, one more O-lineman, one defensive player or a wild card such as Georgia tight end Brock Bowers has to come off the board to leave a receiver sitting there at No. 8.

Could someone be motivated to move ahead of the Bears? Sure. Would the Atlanta Falcons be willing to trade out of No. 8 with a team seeking to move up for a receiver? You have to think the Falcons would listen. Could the Bears jump up one spot in that scenario? It depends on who the receiver is and the price of the move. You present a compelling scenario, and it’s possible we’ll see a good bit of wheeling and dealing in the top 10

The problem is that Atlanta needs an edge rusher. If they want Dallas Turner they’re not going to be able to trade back too far. That’s going to limit their options. In terms of getting a partner.

If that happens, then a wide receiver, probably Odunze, will be available for the Bears to take at #9. The consensus seems to be that they will stick there in that case and take him and that’s probably what they would do. But it really depends upon what separation, if any, you see between Odunze and the next group of wide receivers.

Its reportedly a deep wide receiver group. Furthermore, you could argue that such a pick would be an example of future planning. You’d be taking a guys to develop while Keenan Allen serves his year with the Bears. So he wouldn’t necessarily need to perform at a super high level right away.

Is the reason most people don’t keep Brock Bowers’ name in the talk about the No. 9 pick because of the rookie pay scale for top-10 picks? As a follow-up, could you explain the scale for us heathens? I know it’s complex, just a spitball kind of explanation is good enough. — Tim G.

The issue is positional value. If Bowers is the 10th pick, he would command a fully guaranteed salary of roughly $21.3 million over four years. Compared with what the elite tight ends earn (the top five average about $15 million per year), there isn’t as much surplus value as you’d get if you drafted a wide receiver, an offensive tackle or certainly a quarterback when you look at what the top players at those positions are paid.

It’s an interesting discussion and it comes down to how teams value Bowers. Do they believe he can be as productive as the league’s top players at the position?

Yes, it’s an interesting question but, personally, I very much doubt that this kind of thing is factoring too much into the decisions teams are making.

If you need a tight end and you’re going to be using one on the field for a good percentage of the plays, then there isn’t a lot of reason not to take one in the top 10. If you believe in him, of course. How good player is should certainly trump everything else.

The question as to be whether Bowers is good enough to be a different maker rather than the question of the amount of money that you’ll save on a rookie contract. If you think he’s a difference maker you take him regardless.

I might add that Bowers probably isn’t mentioned much in connection with the #9 overall pick because the Bears are pretty much set at tight end with Gerald Everett and Cole Kmet. The chances that they would spring for another tight end that high seem very low to me.

  • One more final question for Biggs:

With this being the year of the QB, why are the Bears so enamored with Caleb Williams? I am not sure if he will be Tom Brady or Peter Tom Willis, but I do know that history is rife with “can’t miss” busts in the draft. I cannot understand not trading down at least to No. 2 and garnering some other draft capital. If Williams turns out to be Hall of Fame worthy and the QB the Bears take at No. 2 is only good, but they also are able to get more picks for the draft this year or next, what’s the foul? — Scott B.

In basketball terms, you’re looking at a technical foul. In hockey terms, you’re looking at a match penalty. In baseball, it would be an ejection, the ol’ heave-ho.

I don’t care what kind of draft capital the Bears could acquire from the Washington Commanders for moving down from No. 1 to No. 2 if it’s a difference between “Hall of Fame worthy” and “only good.” A Hall of Fame-caliber quarterback could have the Bears positioned to be a Super Bowl contender for a decade. A good quarterback could help put them in the playoff mix when the rest of the roster is pretty good and healthy.

Elite quarterbacks raise the level of play of everyone around them. I don’t know how Williams will perform as a rookie. I don’t know how developed his game will be in 2026. I do know the Bears have royally screwed up the position time and time again, and this opportunity comes at the intersection of a calculated move by Ryan Poles last year and some serial mismanagement by the Carolina Panthers. That’s good fortune that needs to be put to use.

I, along with most people, agree with Biggs here. If the difference is between Hall of Fame or the and good, it’s malpractice not to take the Hall of Fame worthy.

The problem is that, like the questioner, I’m not so sure that is the difference. My impression is that Caleb Williams isn’t the kind of sure thing that some of the other quarterbacks that have come out were. Think Andrew Luck. But Williams is certainly being treated like he is.

It isn’t a question of whether it’s the difference between Hall of Fame worthy and good. It’s a question of whether it’s the difference between good and good.

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 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 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](

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.