Quick Comments: Raiders at Bears

Defense

  1. The Raiders came out with two tight ends and smashed the Bears right in the mouth. It was a old fashioned game plan where they spent their time running over the Bears defense and they did a fine job of it.
  2. The Raiders offensive line blew the Bears defense off the line of scrimmage. They physically dominated the Bears in a way that makes you wonder just how bad the Viking offensive line that couldn’t block the Bears last week is.
  3. Richie Incognito cost the Raiders with some penalties but the bet here is that his being in the line up brought a physical presence to the offense that may have been lacking in previous games.
  4. The loss of Akiem Hicks was a big deal for the Bears defense. I’m not sure how much difference it would have made but generally speaking, Khalil Mack ordinarily makes the defense dominant but Eddie Goldman and Hicks make it run but occupying blockers and keeping the linebackers clean.
  5. Ordinarily this would be where I would bring up the fact that the run set up the play action passing game for the Raiders. They did some of it and it was damaging when they did but the truth is that they didn’t really even need it. Just running the ball was sufficient.
  6. Some really bad Bears tackling did not help their cause today. It may have gotten a bit better in the second half.
  7. The Bears also started to blitz more in the second half and that was reasonably effective.
  8. The defense was gassed again at the end of the game. The Raiders dominated the time of possession and they spent the whole game blowing the bears off the line of scrimmage with the run game. That will certainly do it.

Offense

  1. As was the case with the defense, the Bear offense got physically dominated at the line of scrimmage in the first half.
  2. The Bears didn’t run the ball enough in the first half and they couldn’t run it when the plays were called (again). We’re used to that. But today they were giving up sacks and that is not characteristic. The Raiders were blitzing and playing games at the line of scrimmage and everything seemed to work today. When the Bears came out of half time they tried to correct this problem by forcing the run a little more. This had the effect of slowing the Raiders pass rush some.
  3. Typical of the first half was Charles Leno on the very first series of downs. A holding penatly backed the Bears up and that was followed by a sack by his guy, thus killing the Only decent drive of the half.
  4. Something is wrong with Tarik Cohen. The blocking wasn’t good enough and that was certainly the biggest part of the problem. But he seems to lack vision this year and some of the quickness that he had last year wasn’t showing up.
  5. It seems evident that the Bears tried to make adjustments at half time that did help their cause a bit. Besides running the ball more, it looked like Daniel was making a conscious effort to get other receivers involved, especially Anthony Miller and the tight ends.
  6. Chase Daniel looked to me like he was leaving the pocket a lot earlier in the second half as well. He probably avoided a lot of sacks that way and got a better look at the field while on the move.
  7. Some really nice, big catches by Miller and Allen Robinson today as the Raiders had them well covered.

Miscellaneous

  1. Dick Stockton and Mark Schlereth were on the call. This was Schlereth’s kind of game. An ex-offensive lineman, he knows dominance at the line of scrimmage when he sees it. As it turned out, he was the right guy for this game. Stockton was not at his best. He was frequently confused by the action on the field.
  2. A huge kick return by Tarik Cohen set the Bears up in good field position in the third quarter. A big fake punt in the fourth quarter deep in their own territory gave the Raiders a big first down with 5:40 left in the game.
  3. There were an irritating drops on both sides but I can’t say they were a huge factor.
  4. Richie Incognito return came with some damaging penalties for the Raiders. A frustrated Miller’s taunting penalty after Robinson’s touchdown in the third quarter was particularly damaging as it, along with a good punt return, gave the Raiders the ball in excellent field position near the end of the third quarter. Charles Leno had a rough day with some damaging holding calls. The Raiders had a very damaging roughing the passer by Maurice Hurst that eliminated a Raiders interception.
  5. As usual, turnovers determined how this game went more than any other dingle factor. Besides the game clinching interception with less than 2 minutes left in the game, Chase Daniel threw a big interception in the first half that resulted in a Raiders score. Both passes you had to wonder where he was throwing the ball. The one to practically end the game, in particular, looked like a miscommunication. A bad exchange gave the Bears the ball deep in Raiders territory in the third quarter. They scored a touchdown. A huge fumble by the Raiders Trevor Davis at the goal line basically took a touchdown away from the Raiders. Sherrick McManis made a good play to knock the ball out.
  6. Stockton mentioned that it was a Bears crowd in London and it certainly sounded like it in the second half. I pity the poor European who innocently adopted the Bears not knowing the misery they have let themselves in for.
  7. It’s very evident that the Bears weren’t ready to play today. Oakland came in last Sunday after their game while the Bears chose to come in Thursday in an effort to not disrupt their routine. It looks like Oakland did it right. Jon Gruden emphasized the opportunity to bond with this team on this trip and they certainly did look better for it.

    Meanwhile the Bears are left to gather themselves during the break and see if they can come out better after the bye than they did last year when an inferior Dolphin team took it to them.

Quick Comments: Vikings at Bears 2019-09-29

Offense

  1. The Bears came out mixing it up throwing and passing. Matt Nagy still occasionally forgets about the run, though. He went a pretty longs stretch of the second quarter without calling one. The balance at half was 24 passing attempts and 13 rushes. The final for the game was 32 rushes and 33 pass attempts, aided by the offense trying to run out the clock for much of the second half.
  2. The Bears stuck mostly to the short passing game, which was evidently what Minnesota decided to give them. As a result, they had to sustain some pretty long drives in order to score. Which was, of course, the idea.
  3. The Vikings came out switching their defense at the lat minute in order to negate the Bears no huddle offense where Trubisky has Nagy in is ear to advise him on how to handle the defensive formation. It was hard to evaluate the effectiveness of this since Trubisky hurt his shoulder in the first quarter and was ruled out for the game.
  4. The Vikings were really going for the ball every chance they got. For the most part the Bears did a decent job of holding on to it anyway.
  5. Chase Daniel looked fine coming in in relief of Trubisky. I’d say there was no drop off in the quarterback play with him in there. He had some trouble with some of the shallow out routes to the running backs.
  6. The Bears have to find a wide receiver other than Allen Robinson at some point. Some balls went to Jevon Wims (including a nice 37 yard catch in the third quarter) but with Taylor Gabriel out, Anthony Miller was basically invisible again. He looked frustrated.
  7. Tough situation at left guard with both Kyle Long and Ted Larsen being injured. The Vikings tried to take advantage of Rashaad Coward a bit in the second half.

Defense

  1. The Bears very evidently were concentrating on stopping the run this game. They played a lot of base 3-4 defense instead of nickle.
  2. They also seemed determined to limit the deep play action passes. This left the short passing game open and the Vikings tried to take advantage of the poor coverage skills of Nick Kwiatkoski (who actually didn’t play too bad). The Vikings, like the Bears, were forced to execute and sustain long drives. There were Only 5 total possessions by both teams combined in the first half.
  3. You wondered if the absence of many starters on defense, including Roquan Smith, Akiem Hicks, and Bilal Nichols would result in the defense wearing down. To my eye it didn’t happen.
  4. Pretty used to seeing Roy Robertson-Harris come through and play well in games like this dating back to last year. But Nick Williams kind of came out of nowhere.
  5. You want to credit the Bears defense but with the constant pressure that Vikings quarterback Kurt Cousins saw you have to wonder if the Vikings still don’t have major issues along the offensive line.

Miscellaneous

  1. Jim Nantz and Tony Romo were your announcers. Romo did provide some insight into the Bear offensive scheme but I did think he may have been a little off after trying to make the cut in a PGA tournament last week. Still, you can’t help but like both him and Nantz and I’d rather have them than most even on an off day.
  2. Special teams
    1. Both teams seemed like they were starting deep in their own territory an awful lot this game. I guess that’s a credit to the special teams on both sides. Tarik Cohen took a lot of fair catches.
  3. Penalties
    1. What was Eddie Jackson doing anywhere near that pile near the end zone in the second quarter? The shoving match he apparently became involved in gave the Vikings a first down after the defense had them off the field on third down.
    2. Both teams had a load of penalties that hurt them in important spots, especially the Vikings.
  4. Drops weren’t a major factor in this game.
  5. Turnovers
    1. A huge catch and fumble by Sefon Diggs in the second quarter with the Vikings driving after Eddie Jackson’s brain fart penalty near the Viking goal line.
    2. Khalil Mack forced a big fumble at the beginning of the second half, giving the ball to the Bears on the Viking 16 yard line. The Bears got a field goal.
  6. The Bears were slipping around an awful lot out there. When you are at home you should know your own field. It looked like some guys needed some different shoes.
  7. Big win for the Bears today. Losing would have meant two divisional losses, both at home and an uphill fight in the division with the resurgent Lions also to be dealt with. It was also nice to see a team challenged by numerous injuries step up and come through. Those are the kinds of efforts that allow you to find out what you are made of.

Quick Comments: Bears at Broncos 2019-09-15

Defense

  1. The Bears defense was excellent, as usual. They stopped the run and got pressure on Joe Flacco.
  2. The Broncos were trying to get the ball out fast to prevent the Bears pass rush from getting to them. They had limited success, especially early. They did a good job of mixing the run and pass.
  3. The Broncos occasionally had success running right at Khalil Mack. We’ll probably see more of that as the season wears on. Phillip Lindsay had a good game running the ball.
  4. The Broncos also had some success throwing underneath and running after the catch, especially Emmanuel Sanders. On a related note, the Bears could have tackled better. Roquon Smith especially seemed to hesitate against receivers in the open field.
  5. It looked like the Bears rotated in quite a few players this game in an effort to rest their players at the high altitude, as well. Aaron Lynch and Isaiah Irving got playing time.
  6. Despite doing what they could to limit it, the Bears defense really looked worn down in the fourth quarter.
  7. Perhaps on a related note, the Bears missed some big tackles down the stretch.

Offense

  1. The Bears came out running and promptly got stuffed. They stuck with it however and did find some success with both that and the short passing game. They were able to sustain some long drives in the first half which allowed the Bears defense to rest in the thin Denver air. The Broncos did not choose to load the box to stop the run.
  2. They were also trying to wear the Broncos defense down. The didn’t, though, as far as I could tell.
  3. Tarik Cohen and David Montgomery did a good job of making yards on their own. Cohen’s quickness makes him tough to bring down. Montgomery had both patience and vision and he found some cracks and slipped through.
  4. Trubisky really still didn’t have a good game. Like last week, his accuracy was off. The Broncos coverage was generally pretty good and Bears receivers had a hard time fighting them off for the ball. Chris Harris in particular did a nice job of covering Allen Robinson this game.
  5. Ted Larsen reported as eligible for the pass late in the third quarter? Really?

Miscellaneous

  1. Dick Stockton and Mark Schlereth were you announcers. I usually like Schlereth because he provide some insight into offensive line play that you often don’t get from other analysts. But today I thought his enthusiasm might have been a little overdone at times.
  2. Special Teams
    1. Eddie Pineiro made two field goals in the first half, one from 52 yards. He was the Bears offensive output in the first half.
    2. The Broncos did a good job of playing field position and the Bears started from inside their own 20 yard line quite a bit.
  3. Drops didn’t have much to do with the outcome.
  4. Penalties
    1. Broncos left tackle Garett Bolles had a tough time in the first half. He had two holding penalties and was called for a third that was declined in the first half. He was called for four for the game. It didn’t help that he was blocking Khalil Mack for most of the game.
    2. Charles Leno didn’t want Bolles to feel lonely apparently because he come out after half time and got two quick holding penalties, himself.
    3. Chris Harris had a big holding call near the goal line late in the third quarter. The Bears got the touchdown on a David Montgomery run.
    4. Eddie Goldman had a big penalty in the fourth quarter. The call looked questionable. The Bears forced a field goal anyway.
    5. Buster Skriene was off side on the conversion for the Broncos when they missed the kick. That allowed the Broncos to go for two points and the win. To top it off, they had 12 men in the huddle while driving for a field goal.
  5. Kyle Fuller had a huge interception in the fourth quarter with the Bears defense worn down and with their backs to the goal line.
  6. This was obviously could have been a tough loss. The Bears defense wore down in the fourth quarter and it allowed the Broncos to drive the field not once but twice, the second time for the touchdown. I don’t think it would have made a difference but there will be plenty of people questioning whether playing in the preseason would have made gotten the defense in better shape. I really , really doubt that 40 snaps or so would have made the difference.The Bears now avoid an 0-2 start and they won’t face the uphill battle in the division against the now 2-0 Packers they could have. But if they are going to compete, the offense has to come a live and score some points. To do that, Mitch Trubusky has to complete every open pass. This has to get better.

Quick Comments: Ravens at Dolphins 2019-09-08

Defense

  1. I was looking forward to seeing Lamar Jackson have to pass the ball this game. Unfortunately there was little reason for him to have to do it early. The Dolphins run defense was extrememly poor to start the game. The defenisve linemen couldn’t keep the blockers off of the linebackers and they were not free to move to the ball. This is essential to the success of the Dolhons defense.
  2. I was, perhaps, most disppaointed with the defense up the middle which, coming out of the preseason, I had as a Dolphins stength. Needless to say, they have some roster building to do here.
  3. Once the Dolphins started to concentrate on stoppoing the run, it opened up the passing game for Jackson. And he did not disappoint his defenders. He ahd a great game passing the football. He dropped ;some beatiful deep passesfor touchdowns this game. A mobile quarterback who fcan really throw an accurate bal could change the game. Looking forward to watching him against a better defense.
  4. Dolphins pass coverage was really poor. They gave up a deep ball in the first half rushing 3 men with the other 8 incoverage. And yet, the Baltimore receiver still go behind the defense. Everyone not named “Howard” was culpable. Jamal Wiltz, Eric Rowe, Walt Aikens, Bobby McCain. All had poor fundamentals in coverage at some point. This has to be claened up.
  5. I’ll give this much to the Dolphins defense. They didn’t give up. They were will fighting for pride in the 3rd and 4th quarters despite the blowout. That’s encouraging.

Offense

  1. Baltimore came out putting pressure on a suspect Dolphins offensive line. It was obvious that the plan was to hit Ryan Fitzpatrick as often as possble. No quarterback likes to be hit but the older quarterbacks really, really don’t like it and they tend to get gun shy. To a certain extent this strategy worked. Fitzpatrick’s interception in the first quarter came with no one reallyin the vicinity.
  2. Having said that, Fitzpatrick didn’t really fall apart under pressure. once the Ravens built a big lead and backed off just a bit late in the second quarter, he was given more room to work and he took advantage. He was reasonably accurate under those conditions and theDolphins started to move the ball just a bit.
  3. I thought it was interesting that the Dolphins thought they could beat the Ravens defense by attacking the edges. They came out with some passees to the outside to Kallen Ballage and to Albert WIlson on the wide reciever screen. Baltimore quickly adjusted and shut it down. But I think its an indication that the DOlphins, at least, think they might have a bit more speed to the outside than people think.
  4. If you are going to have Albert WIlson in teh wold cat, could you at leat be more creative than a run right up the middle?
  5. Kudos to Devante Parker with a nice catch in the second quarter. The DOlphins need him to make more of those – indeed, have needed him to make more of those for years now.

Miscellaneous

  1. Special Teams were poor, Jakeem Grant had a flash back to the stone hands he had his rookie year as he fumbled away a punt return deep in Dolphin territory. A Ravens fake punt gave them the ball on the Ravens 10 yard line. They converted that into a touchdown.
  2. Preston Williams had an awful drop in the endzone that cost the Dolphins 4 pionts as they settled for a field goal. Allen Hurns had a big drop in the second quarter. That needs to be cleaned up.
  3. Other than Grants bobbled punt, we also had the Fitzpatrick interception. Baltimore had no turnovers. Porr start with Josh Rosen as he threw an interceptionon his first set of downs as a Dolphin. Marlon Humphrey made a good play on the ball.
  4. What is the deal with the defensive holding calls on the Dolphins? Time after time these penalties killed them this game. Again, that needs to be cleaned up.
  5. I understand that the Dolphins are out manned on the field and I’m willing to cut them some slack because of that. But there is not excuse, no matter waht the talent level, for poor fundamentals. Poor tackling, penalties, turnovers, poor technique in coverage. These things goe beyond talent.

    The one thing that Dolphins fans have to look forward to is seeing the improvement in the play of their young players. And there’s a lot here to improve on.

Quick Game Comments: Packers at Bears 9/5/19

Offense

  1. The Packers tried to make Trubisky uncomfortable by crowding the line and disguising the blitz. And it worked. Trubisky never looked comfortable with what the Packers were doing all night.
  2. Trubisky didn’t have a good game. His mechanics were frequently off as he would sometimes throw the ball off balance even when there was no pressure. When he was solid in the pocket and throwing from a good base, he was pretty accurate. When he wasn’t, things got rough.That’s understandable when there’s pressure. Not acceptable but understandable. But when the pocket is clean and you are still doing it, that’s bad.

    This needs to be cleaned up. There’s no excuse for it this year.

  3. The Bears basically lost the line of scrimmage tonight. The ground game was rough going for long stretches. David Montgomery was tough to bring down and he did make some yards on his own. But generally speaking the Packers were fundamentally sound with their tackling. The interior of the offensive line struggled, especially James Daniels at center. Unlike playing at guard, it’s evident that he’ll need a few games to adjust to the speed of the NFL while having to worry about snapping the ball at the same time.
  4. The Packers played mostly man-to-man coverage and really did a superior job tonight. Open receivers were tough to find. This, along with Aaron Rodger’s mobility, was the difference in the game.
  5. Allen Robinson had a really good game and it wouldn’t be much of an exaggeration to say that he was the Bears offense. The Packers covered him well but Robinson has a gift for going up to get 50-50 balls. Its evident that Trubisky knows that. It looked like Robinson was the only receiver on the field he trusted in tight coverage. Indeed, he may have been too reliant on Robinson. Hence, the interception at the end of the game when he went to Robinson one too many times on what could have been a better thrown ball.
  6. The Bears could have helped Trubisky a bit more by having him roll out. He’d be more comfortable n the move and it would have forced the Packers defensive backs to come up to play the run. Probably Trubisky could have found some running room against the man-to-man coverage with their backs turned to him.

Defense

  1. I’d have to see the stats but it looked to me like the Bears played far more 3-4 base defense under Chuck Pagano than Vic Fangio did last year. Fangio, like many teams around the league, essentially played a nickel defense as his base.
  2. Because they played so much 3-4, Eddie Goldman was on the field more. And that’s a good thing. He had a deceptively good game clogging the middle and getting push into Arron Rodgers face up the middle on the pass rush.
  3. Despite some fundamentally sound Packers blocking (while getting away with some holding), the Bears got a good pass rush on Rodgers and that was a key to the game. Not coincidentally, the one series of downs they didn’t get pressure was the one where the Packers drove the field for their only touchdown.
  4. A expected, the Bears did blitz a bit more under Pagano than when Fangio was calling plays. But not that much more to my eye. Pagano doesn’t really need to do it and I think he knows that. Why take the chance when you can get good pressure with a four man rush?
  5. Rodgers did a good job of putting pressure on the Bears defense with his ability to move outside the pocket. Defensive backs had to hold their position close to the line a beat or two longer and that opened up some passes behind them that might have been tighter otherwise.
  6. Rodgers did a very nice, credible job of trying to run the Packers offense. He got the ball out quickly the way Matt LaFleur designed it most of the time. This is good news for Packers fans. There were many points on the field but they won’t all be like this one. This will work better against less than superior defenses. Rodgers was excellent when he had time to throw (which wasn’t often).
  7. Speaking of LaFleur, I though ht he did a credible job play calling. He caught the Bears blitzing several times with good calls for decent yardage.
  8. Like the Packers, the Bears got some good pass coverage of their own. Kyle Fuller and Buster Skrine both had notable pass break ups. If you appreciate good defense, this was the game for you.
  9. Having said that, Prince Amukamara did give up a big play to Marquez Valdes-Scantling in man coverage. Deon Bush was probably supposed to give him some help but he was held closer to the line of scrimmage on that side by the play action and respect for Rodgers mobility outside the pocket.

Miscellaneous

  1. Not much needs to be said here. Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth did their usual wonderful job. Collinsworth is the best in football and he provided a lot of insight into the relevant events. Everyone knows I hate night football. Collinsworth is the only good thing about it.
  2. Special teams weren’t really anything special tonight. I thought the Packers punter, JK Scott, did a nice job. Eddie Pineiro made his only field goal but had a kickoff go out of bounds.
  3. Drops have been a Packer trait for years. It didn’t seem to be an issue tonight. On the Bears side Tarik Cohen and Adam Shaheen both had notable drops.
  4. Penalties were horrendous on both sides. Green Bay had 10 for 71 yards. The Bears had 10 for 107 yards. Both teams had holding calls that were badly damaging as each tried desperately to keep back a good pass rush. Charles Leno had a really bad drive in the 4th quarter where he had a holding call and a illegal hands to the face call back-to-back. David Bakhtiari had a rough game with a couple Packers holding calls.

    The Bears had two delay of game penalties in the 3rd quarter along with some other rough spots. They basically didn’t play in the preseason.

  5. There was only one notable turnover and it was a big one. Trubisky’s interception as he tried to force one more to a well covered Allen Robinson. Trubisky didn’t get it far enough towards the sideline and he threw it just a little too deep, making it an easy interception for Adrian Amos drifting over from the middle of the field. The Packers Kevin King dropped a gift interception from Trubisky in the first quarter.
  6. Wonderful defensive effort on both sides of the ball tonight. I think the Packers just did an exceptional job in coverage and that really made the difference, what little there was.

    It was interesting to compare Trubisky and Rodgers tonight and it was an indication of how far Trubisky still has to go. As stated above, Trubisky never really got comfortable with what he was seeing. While Rodgers took his opportunities and got the ball out on time, Trubisky frequently held it just a beat or two too long waiting for receivers to come open. There probably weren’t a lot of open windows but had he simply let it go, thrown with anticipation and trusted his receivers more, he probably could have had a better night.

    They won’t all be like this one. These divisional games are going to be close. The Bears aren’t fooling anyone anymore with their offense which has always been a lot of window dressing disguising something that really wasn’t terribly complicated. Don’t get me wrong. Its a good offense. But nothing good defensive coordinators can’t figure out with time to study it. And within the division, they’ve got plenty of time to do that. The Bears will look closely at what the Packers did tonight and they’ll be well prepared later in the season when the teams meet again.

    So, really, its going to just be mono a mono. Tonight the Packers won the battle.

Programming Note

As some of you have noted, this blog has gone noticeably quiet over the last few weeks. Things have gotten busy for me and I have a lot of irons in the fire right now. Frankly, they will only get worse through mid-to late-October.

The NFL is not helping as they allow the networks to make a greedy cash grab by forcing people who work for a living to stay up at all hours of the night to watch their team.

I’m going to be honest. I may not be able to watch every Bears game this year. But I assure you, I’m going to watch this one and I’ll get up game comments for it. It just might not be immediately after the game.

Please bear with me for a while and things will get better. As always, thanks for reading.

An Assessment of the Competition for the Third and Fourth Tight End Spots

Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune answers your questions:

“How many tight ends do you see the Bears carrying to the 53-man roster? Is Bradley Sowell a roster lock since the Bears have pretty much asked him to alter his entire career to match their need for a Y tight end? — @gumm006

My best guess is four tight ends will make the 53-man roster with Sowell having an edge over undrafted rookie Ian Bunting for the final spot behind Trey Burton, Adam Shaheen and Ben Braunecker. I would not describe Sowell as a “lock,” and his contract certainly doesn’t give him any kind of protection because of guaranteed money. The Bears would not promise him anything in asking him to change positions either.

I think Bradley Sowell is a virtual lock to make the roster on this team. Head coach Matt Nagy used a third offensive tackle to block last year in a variety of short yardage situations, especially near the goal line. I think he wants to do that again this year with Sowell but in situations where he’s more versatile as a receiving threat rather than the target on a one time gadget play.

The guy I’m wondering about is Braunecker. He’s a four phase special teamer but based upon his performance in last week’s preseason game against the Carolina Panthers, Bunting looks like he has a lot more to offer the offense.

Bunting had big highs and big lows over the course of the game and he needs to show more consistency. That might make him a practice squad candidate. But I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that Braunecker will be a surprise cut if the Bears think Bunting has improved enough and/or they don’t think they can get him through waivers to the practice squad.

Aaron Rogers Undermines His Head Coach Every Time He Opens His Mouth

Mike Florio at profootballtalk.com on Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rogers characterizing critical comments that he’s creating “outside noise” as “click bait”:

“If Rodgers doesn’t want to be ’put in that news cycle,’ he should quit saying things that naturally flow into that news cycle. When he complains to Mike Silver of the NFL that Rodgers wants more freedom at the line of scrimmage than the [head coach Matt] LaFleur offense gives him, Rodgers puts himself in that news cycle. When Rodgers complains to reporters about joint practices and, more surprisingly, specifically says it’s not ’smart’ to have close-to-live kickoff drills that are sure to catch the attention of the NFL Players Association, Rodgers puts himself in that news cycle.

It more than that. Rogers is using the media as a weapon to undermine the head coach.

He wants more freedom at the line of scrimmage? He doesn’t work it out with LaFleur internally. Instead, he runs to the media and complains. The next thing you know, Green Bay fans are saying, “Yeah. He’s a veteran, he should be able to change the play.”

That adds pressure on LaFleur to change his policy, even though he knows the way he runs his offense will work if given a chance. In the mean time, the whole issue undermines his authority with both the fans and the media.

Rogers is playing LaFleur and their fans like a fiddle. And he’s using the media to do it.

Fortunately, the media knows when its being used though they didn’t bother to try to point it out while former head coach Mike McCarthy was the victim, at least some are apparently trying to give LaFleur a little bit more of a chance. For now.

The Montgomery Dilemma: To Play or Not To Play. That is the Question.

Adan Jahns at The Athletic comments upon risers and fallers on the Bears roster after the first preseason game. In particular, he highlighted the situation of running back David Montgomery:

The Bears’ exhibition loss against the Panthers Thursday night produced a healthy dilemma for coach Matt Nagy.

Do the Bears really need to see more of running back David Montgomery in the preseason?

It wouldn’t be surprising if Nagy is now leaning toward “no” after his prized rookie totaled 46 yards on six touches and scored on an impressive 7-yard touchdown run in his NFL debut.

Montgomery. like most rookie running backs, has to learn to pass protect if he wants to play. Not that he did a bad job. But all of these guys need work on it because they did it so rarely i college. This is why Jordan Howard didn’t start out of the gate. They can’t just roll these guys out there and get Trubisky killed, no matter how well they run.

Montgomery will start out of the gate or at least get a lot of playing time. That is clear.

I think that makes it all the more important that he get as much practice protecting the quarterback before then as possible. Yes, its a risk. But its better to risk injury to Montgomery in the preseason than to risk losing your quarterback to a rookie mistake once the season begins.

Bears David Montgomery Strength? He’s All Football Player.

Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune on the performance of Bears rookie running back David Montgomery last night:

“Six touches for rookie running back David Montgomery was all that was needed to feel really good about him — and the role he’s going to play in this offense.

“Montgomery already looked the part in training camp, running hard through tackles in some rare live action in Bourbonnais. But a chance to see him go against the Panthers, albeit a brief chance, was enough to confirm what was expected. Montgomery looked really good in the open field. He looked good in the low red zone, running to daylight after a jump-cut at the line of scrimmage on a 7-yard touchdown. He looked natural catching the ball. If you were seeking validation that general manager Ryan Pace made the right move in paying a pretty hefty price to trade up and select Montgomery, this was a heck of a start.”

My first impression of Montgomery is similar to what my first impression of former Bears running back Jordan Howard was – he isn’t going to be running away from guys very often. And unlike Howard, Montgomery isn’t particularly big though his center of gravity is lower to the ground than I thought it was. But, similar to what I eventually concluded about Howard, I can see why the Bears like him. Montgomery is a football player. And that’s probably more important than superior physical talent.

Don’t get my wrong. Talent is important and you have to have at least some of it to succeed. But you don’t have to be the fastest guy on the field. In Howard’s case, his ability to find small cracks in the line and to slip through to make gains was a huge strength for a big back. It looks to me like Montgomery has some of that vision when he bounces the ball outside. Defenses are going to have to play the run with discipline whenever Montgomery is on the field or he’s going to burn them for big gains.

You can also see where Montgomery could succeed in the passing game. Get him into space and his quickness and ability to break tackles starts to show itself. He’s got instincts and he runs with effort.

Yeah, the guy probably is going to get caught from behind a few times this year. But overall, I like what I see and I think Montgomery’s strengths could far out weight his weaknesses. I see a guy who could quite possibly match the production of a Matt Forte as a very good running back that could provide yet another aspect to what is looking like its going to be a versatile offense.