Quick Game Comments: Lions at Bears 12/6/20

Offense

  • The Bears open no huddle to try to get some momentum going. It kind of worked. They got a field goal.
  • The Bears were mixing the run and pass pretty well. Lions were not apparently stacking the box against the run and the Bears took advantage and ran pretty well against him. I won’t say the line opened huge holes but there were enough cracks there for David Montgomery to sneak through. The Bears building upon their limited success against the Packers to execute an improved running game was the most encouraging thing to come out of this game. They occasionally did a nice job of executing play action off of it, too. This is their path to success.
  • The coaching change didn’t do anything to improve the Lions tackling. It was pretty bad in spots.
  • Trubisky still didn’t have great accuracy on some of his throws, especially the ones outside the numbers. But that’s no surprise.
  • The Bears offense once again failed to score in the third quarter. I don’t think there’s anything more for me to say here that hasn’t already been said.
  • The Lions started to blitz a lot in the second half. Matt Nagy or Bill Lazor or whoever responded with some good play calls to counter it (screens, short passes into the voids in coverage, etc…).

Defense

  • Roquan Smith struggled in coverage. In fairness, the Bears expect a lot out of their linebackers. Covering a wide out on a shallow cross from a dead stop is a tough ask.
  • Adrian Peterson still looked good at times but I’d say the Bears did a decent job against the run for the most part. Welcome back Akiem Hicks.
  • Bears are tackling much better than they were against the Packers. So they appear to have straightened that out in a hurry. The defense did looks very motivated, at least as first, to put that miserable Packers effort behind them.
  • The Bears were stunting an awful lot on the defensive front in an effort to get pressure on Matthew Stafford. I don’t think it had much effect. There were stretches where the Bears really struggled to get pressure.
  • The Lions started to run the ball better midway through the first quarter. Their line was getting good movement on the Bears up front.
  • Some of the Bears pass coverage was pretty bad. It was very loose at times and there was a lot of space for the Lions receivers on some of the plays. I almost wonder if there were some broken coverages out there. Combined with the occasionally poor pass rush, it was an ugly look sometimes.

Miscellaneous

  • Kevin Kugler, Chris Spielman and Laura Okmin were your announcers. Okmin always does a good job and Kugler seems to be adequate. But I was underwhelmed by Spielman. I don’t think I learned anything from him.
  • Special teams weren’t very special but there isn’t much critical to say. Which probably means good things for both sides.
    • Great Cordarrella Patterson return to start the game
    • Cairo Santos missed the extra point on the first touchdown. That’s a cheap way to end a consecutive kicks streak.
    • Matt Prater missed a rare extra point as well on the Lions first touchdown.
    • The Bears were kicking off short all game. I’m not entirely sure why. The coverage was decent and perhaps it made a marginal difference in starting position.
  • Drops really didn’t affect the game much.
  • There weren’t that many penalties for the Bears but one penalty is all it takes to kill a drive with this offense. The Bears had a drive going midway thorough the third quarter. Holding Charles Leno and the drive was dead. Instead of being up by 13 or 17, they give the Lions life and the ball with more than 7 minutes left. There’s no margin for error with this team.
  • One thing Mitch Trubisky had to do with less than 2 minutes left. One thing. Hang on to the damned ball. And he couldn’t do it.
  • This is what bad teams with bad quarterbacks do. There were a lot of encouraging things about this game. The run game was good (4.5 yards per carry). The defense limited the Lions to less than 3 yards per carry. Heck, they scored 30 points. But this is what bad teams do.

A Loss to the Lions Would Spell Doom for the Bears. But Not for the Reason That You Think.

Colleen Kane at the Chicago Tribune thinks the Bears will win Sunday in their match up against the Detroit Lions after the Lions fired GM Bob Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia:

The Lions might be fired up by the recent regime change. But I think the Bears defense is going to be even more motivated after the shoddy performance against the Green Bay Packers in Week 12. Mitch Trubisky was 4-0 with 12 touchdowns and an interception against Matt Patricia’s Lions teams. If Trubisky can cut out the mistakes, he should be able to have another decent one even with Patricia gone. The Bears will pull off a win for the first time since Oct. 18.

Most of the writers I’ve seen agree with this prediction but I pulled this one because, although it mentions the boost that the Lions might get from the leadership change, it focuses on the state of the Bears.

Too many of the writers in town are treating this like the game should be a slam dunk. I’ve heard it said repeatedly that, “If the Bears lose to the Lions on Sunday, then we’re having a whole different conversation about this team.” because they should be so much better that losing to the Lions is some sort of inexcusable and inconceivable thing. I even heard one writer repeated say on a podcast, “Thanks heavens the Lions are in the Bears division.”

A loss Sunday might change the conversation but lets be clear about one thing. The Bears have had some recent success against the Lions but those games have been close. There isn’t and really never has been all that much that separates the two teams. It’s just that the Lions do some of the little things that losing teams do just a tad bit more frequently than the Bears. But on any given Sunday, these teams aren’t separated by that much. Add the boost new interim head coach Darrell Bevell provides and this is a game the Bears could very easily lose.

Having said all of that, this game isn’t about the Lions. As far as I’m concerned it is entirely about the Bears.

The Bears are coming off of a miserable performance against the Packers last Sunday. The defense, in particular, played uncharacteristically poorly. The real question is, “How will the team bounce back?”

All we’ve heard from head coach Matt Nagy since this streak of losses began was about how the culture at Halas Hall will see them through. Members of the media, who very obviously like Nagy and like his style in handling them, have defended him to the extent that they can by saying, “Well, at least by all appearances, he hasn’t lost the locker room.” And the players have certainly said the right things.

But that all changes if the Bears don’t win this week.

Will the Bears defense respond to last week’s debacle by tightening up and coming out determined to leave that terrible game behind them? Can the Bears build offense upon what little encouraging signs there were for them on Sunday and run the ball effectively against a mediocre Lions run defense?

If the Bears lose this game, it won’t be because they blew it against a team that wasn’t nearly as talented as they are. And it won’t be because the Lions got a little boost from the regime change there. It will be because the Bears didn’t bounce back effectively from a terrible loss to the Packers on Sunday that should have provided all the motivation they needed to play well enough to win.

And that will, indeed, entirely change the conversation on Monday.

What Should the Bears Do? “Run, Run, Run the Ball.”

Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune answers your questions:

I keep hearing guys say “run, run, run the ball.” Didn’t they try that during the early Mitch Trubisky development stage and teams just packed the box and dared Mitch to beat them in the air? — @nfrankie5

The Bears have to have success running the ball. They have to be balanced on offense. They have to keep defenses off balance. They need to be able to set up play-action and bootleg opportunities for Trubisky. Absolutely, they have to run the ball more effectively. Maybe, just maybe, the success they had in Sunday’s loss in Green Bay can carry over to this week’s meeting with the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field.

Biggs is right on here. The only hope the Bears have, especially under the conditions at Solder Field in December, is to run the ball.

And I truly believe that this was the game plan on Sunday against a Packers defense that not only struggles to defend the run, but has a defensive coordinator who actually doesn’t believe it’s necessary.

That’s not an exaggeration. Mike Pettine is known to believe that explosive plays in the passing game are what lead to defeats. Despite the lesson taught him by the 49ers in the playoffs last year where they ran over the Packers in an ugly loss, he really doesn’t believe a team can win by simply running the ball and that they have to pass. If you can stop that, you’ll come out on top on the score board.

And the pathetic thing is that he’s often proven right, as he was at Lambeau Field over the weekend.

The Bears almost certainly came out of the bye week thinking that the way to get back on track was to play complimentary football. That meant getting Trubisky under center and to start by running the ball. And it looked to me like it might have worked. From veteran columnist Dan Pompei at The Athletic

  • The offensive line reshuffling — Cody Whitehair to left guard, Sam Mustipher to center, Alex Bars to right guard and Germain Ifedi to right tackle — wasn’t all bad. They might have stumbled onto some solutions there.
  • It was a rough night for Charles Leno Jr., who looked like he was playing hurt.
  • If every player on the Bears’ roster performed like David Montgomery , that’s a W. He’s never run better.

The problem is that when you try to execute such a plan, you are also leaning on your defense to hold the score down. When that didn’t happen, the game plan flew out the window. With the Bears behind, they were forced to pass and play right into Pettine’s hands. And that put the contest into Trubisky’s hands. Game over.

But that didn’t mean that the game plan was flawed. It just didn’t work on what turned out to be a miserable night for the defense. That shouldn’t happen in most games for the Bears. In most games with an ordinarily very good defense playing to its potential, a patient, down hill run game that opens up play action passing almost certainly seems to be the way to go.

Let’s put it this way. Would you rather see the Bears play like they’re the Chiefs and try to throw the ball all over the field in an effort to work a pass first offense that they don’t have a quarterback to execute? Head coach Matt Nagy would almost certainly love to do that. But I think he’s smart enough to know that the conditions aren’t right for it and to adjust to what he has.

Will the Lions pack the box if the Bears find success running the ball? Man, I hope so. Because that would be a huge improvement after what we’ve seen in the last 6 games with Nick Foles in the shot gun where teams did nothing special to stop an anemic Bears rushing attack.

I don’t know if the Bears would pass the ball better in such a situation. But it would almost certainly mean seeing inline tight end Cole Kmet and running back David Montgomery matched up on linebackers. And that can do nothing but help.

So sorry, Frankie. My message to the Bears is to “run, run, run the ball.”

Trubisky’s Path To Improved Play Lays Less with Personal Growth and More with Growth of the Offense Around Him.

Mark Potash at the Chicago Sun-Times quotes Matt Nagy
on why he thinks quarterback Mitch Trubisky may be improved as he takes back the starting job for at least one more week against the Packers:

Don’t be surprised if Trubisky does the same some day.
But probably not here. Trubisky returns with a worse supporting cast then when he was benched. And while you can’t blame Nagy for his positivity, his support of Trubisky just rings hollow at this stage:

“I was really impressed with his huddle mechanics.”

“I like the way that he’s practiced this week.”

“I’m very impressed with how he’s grown week to week … I’ve seen a change in him and for the good. It’s a good feeling. It comforts you. It’s exciting, because you know how good of a kid he is.”

That last sentiment didn’t pass the smell test.

None of it passes the smell test.

Trubisky says that he was “blind-sided” when Nick Foles took the job from him in week 3. He says that it has served as motivation and that he has focused more on improving.

But didn’t we hear the same thing all off-season when Trubisky was supposedly upset after they signed Foles and he was competing for his job? If Trubisky was truly capable of focusing more and improving his performance, wouldn’t it have become apparent in training camp? Or in the first three games of the year when he looked exactly like he did in 15 games last year?

It’s true that sometimes sitting on the bench clears your head as you watch the other guy play and you think about the things that you could have done better. But after so much time of being the same guy, I’m not holding my breath waiting such a thing is going to happen here.

Trubisky has the look of a guy who needs a fresh start in another town and with a better offensive coaching staff in a low pressure environment where he can sit and get better as a back up for a season or two. If you ask me, he looks like a great project for Sean Payton and the New Orleans Saints.

In any case, I’m not buying any of it.

If the Bears offense is going to improve, it will be because the running game improved. And that will help Trubisky far more than any professions of renewed motivation or more “good feelings” from his head coach.

Quinn Contract Is Not Proving to Be Money Well Spent. Again.

Mark Potash at the Chicago Sun-Times quotes Robert Quinn on the substandard year he’s having sacking the quarterback:

“My season? I’ll be honest, it’s been very average. Not up to my standards,” Quinn said. “We’ve got six more games left — anything can happen. I know how I prepare. I know how I train. Statistically it just hasn’t been my season. Effort, charisma, all that stuff’s been there. It’s just getting the numbers up that we’re all looking for.”

“If I knew [what was wrong], I’m sure [the problems] wouldn’t be there,” [Quinn] said. “I don’t know. It’s just been one of those years. Just hasn’t been one of my best years, but we’ve still got a chance [to make the playoffs]. And even though my performance [is below standard], we’re still holding together as a great defense. It’s not all just about me.”

I would guess that one big problem for Quinn is that the team hasn’t been playing with a lead very often. Most sack artists pile up statistics at the end of games when they know the other team has to pass. At such times, Quinn can just cut loose and rush the quarterback full bore with no need to worry about anything else. But there hasn’t been much blood in the water for Quinn or Khalil Mack or any of the other pass rushers this year. That’s not an excuse because there are no excuses. But it probably does explain a lot.

Like virtually everyone who addresses Quinn’s issues, Potash also inevitably brought up a comparison to Leonard Floyd, who has seven sacks with the Rams this season. The Rams defensive coordinator in Brandon Staley, who coached linebackers under Vic Fangio when he was the Bears defensive coordinator.

I can hardly blame the Bears for letting Floyd go. He under-performed and wasn’t worthy of keeping while playing here. Yes, he’s playing better with the Rams but Staley has undoubtedly done what Fangio did for Floyd his rookie year. He schemed pass rushes that were specifically designed to give Floyd a free rush at the passer. The disadvantage to doing such things is that it takes defensive players out of position to make a play if the offense doesn’t do exactly what you think they’re going to do. It also basically takes the other pass rushers out of position for a sack as they are usually sacrificing themselves for Floyd.

Fangio eventually stopped doing this, preferring to let multiple pass rushers have their shot and, especially with Mack on board, Chuck Pagano has followed the philosophy as well. Floyd was and is far less suited to that sort of situation as he struggled to beat offensive linemen one-on-one.

All that being said, Quinn has been a $70 million bust and a costly mis-evaluation for GM Ryan Pace. Pace went for broke this year and signed Quinn to a back loaded contract with only a $6.1 million cap number for 2020. But that number balloons to $14.7 million in 2021 with $24 million in dead cap if they cut him. Which, of course, they won’t. Instead, they’ll try to renegotiate and push the problem off into future years.

So, bottom line, Pace has tied himself to a player who can’t do the same thing Floyd couldn’t do – take advantage of Mack on the other side to rush the passer one-on-one. Right now, it looks like yet another personnel blunder for a GM who, along with his head coach, has made too many already.

As Our Nation Suffers, NBC Refuses to Remove the Bears from Before Its Eyes

Phil Rosenthal at the Chicago Tribune quotes NBC announcer Mike Tirico, who will be calling the game on Sunday night, on televising the Bears-Packers rivalry in prime time:

“It’s the Bears and the Packers. I know I’m going to get a good, tough game. It’s going to be cold. Fingers crossed, it snows at Lambeau. It’s a chance for 3½ hours to get yourself out of the malaise that has been this year … and just kind of escape. You almost feel like the world’s normal again.”

Let me tell you something, Mike. If you are looking to shake yourself out of a malaise, watching the Bears offense is only going to make things worse.

A lot worse.

I have this vision of television executives sitting around board room table and cackling while raking in cash generated by Bears fans. Meanwhile young, potential football fans all around the rest country blow rasberries as they turn their TV off.

Honestly, at what point does the league finally step in and say, “Look, you can’t do this. We’ve got the future of the game to think about and watching the Bears makes the baby Jesus cry”?

Like most of the rest of the country, Bears fans are wondering just how bad the team has to be to be flexed out of prime time. Why can’t they just be saved the additional embarrassment and have their team stink in anonymity at noon?

It’s bad enough that all over Chicago, our own eyes are being forced to bleed. Must we blind the rest of the country, as well?

So Who the Heck Is Malik Willis?

Mark Potash at the Chicago Sun-Times has ten things he’d like to say about the Bears:

8. Malik Willis Watch: The former Auburn backup quarterback (a nephew of former Bears linebacker James Anderson) completed 13 of 32 passes for 172 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions and rushed for 44 yards in Liberty’s 15-14 loss to North Carolina State. Willis previously had thrown four touchdowns passes without an interception in victories over Syracuse and Virginia Tech.

Potash has been highlighting Malik Willis every week in this 1st-and-10 column. Like the rest of us, he obviously is looking for potential gems in the draft that might fall low enough for the Bears to take. So my curiosity was piqued.

Potash is a veteran reporter who has been around the block. Though I listen to their pod-cast on my walk into work, I usually pick and choose the articles I read from the Sun-Times depending on how much time I have in the morning. But I nearly always read the things that Potash writes. And I usually pay attention to what he has to say. I don’t always agree. But I always pay attention.

Willis is listed at 6’1″ for Liberty. That’s a tad bit short for the SEC and, needless to say, for the pros. But pro scouts haven’t paid as much attention to height as they used to with the success of quarterbacks like Russell Wilson. That’s particularly true for guys like Willis, who, like Wilson, is a dual threat quarterback in the mold of a Kyler Murray.

In nine games, Willis has just under a 68 percent completion rate this year with 15 passing touchdowns, one interception, and nine rushing touchdowns. He has 700 rushing yards.

Willis is a winner, too. The loss to North Carolina State was the first of the year for the Flames, who are now 8-1.

So why would he be available for the Bears? Well, Liberty isn’t exactly a team that plays a lot of Power Five competition. Willis also wasn’t considered to have a particularly strong arm just coming out of high school, let alone college. And worst of all Willis is just a one year starter. That would be a tough pick for a team that just got burned taking Mitch Trubisky, who the Bears drafted under similar circumstances.

Every once is a while Liberty pops up on ESPN. I’ll probably stop changing the channel now every time I see them and start paying attention.

Who knows? GM Ryan Pace obviously is out of tune with the rest of the NFL in that he seems to believe that every quarterback he likes is being over drafted. He also obviously drafts more for immediate need than he does with an eye towards the future at the most important position in sports. That is, of course, in contrast to, say the Green Bay Packers who compete every year by making the position a priority regardless of need.

But precisely because of this past history, Pace has put himself into a position of desperation this year. He’ll have to take a quarterback and the rest of the league will know that he has to. Willis could be the one he’s forced to choose. We’ll see.

Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy Will Not Be Fired. But Should They Be?

Mark Potash at the Chicago Sun-Times takes a look at key questions as the Bearws enter the last 6 weeks of the season:

Under what circumstance would general manager Ryan Pace and [head coach Matt] Nagy keep their jobs in 2021?

With the relatively quick or unexpected trigger at Halas Hall in the last 10 years — the firings of Jerry Angelo, Phil Emery and Marc Trestman, in particular — change can happen with anything less than a playoff berth. There are still six games to go, but a second consecutive season of regression on offense tilts the ledger against Pace and Nagy.

This one took me by surprise a little bit. It’s one thing for fans to ask such questions at this stage. It’s another thing for a veteran Bears reporter who has been around as long as I have to do it.

Barring a total collapse, I don’t think the Bears are looking to replace Ryan Pace. I would guess that when they hired him, they knew he was going to have to grow into the job and though you’d think that he’s had enough time to do that, I think it likely that the Bears are going to try to be patient with a guy who has at least shown himself to be, unlike Emery, competent professional.

Whether Pace should remain is, of course, a different story. The decision to stick with virtually the same offensive line personnel in 2020 that performed so poorly in 2019 was strikingly similar to the one where Pace decided to stick with the same tight ends in 2019 that under-performed in 2018.

Make a mistake? It happens. Make the same mistake twice? Hmmm….

The other half of this equation is Nagy. At this point, Nagy is joined at the hip to Pace in more ways than one. Comparisons of Nagy to Trestman are as unfair was comparisons of Pace to Emery. Nagy hasn’t lost the locker room and the team continues to at least try to perform for him. It’s not a situation that requires a quick hook.

Also similar to Pace, the question of whether there should be a firing is a different story. Nagy’s obviously in over his head as he tries to get the offense to perform with all 11 men dong their jobs at the same time on the same play. Similar to what I said ages ago about John Shoop, Dick Jauron‘s offensive coordinator, the best way to describe Nagy’s offense is “uncoordinated”. That’s not good.

To top it all off, Nagy has saddled himself with some poor personnel choices like Nick Foles and some of the gadget players that he has undoubtedly had a hand in convincing Pace to go out and get.

But, having said that, if we are going to bottom line this, no. Assuming that they don’t actually lose out, right or wrong, Nagy and Pace aren’t going anywhere.

There’s Plenty Enough Blame to Go Around for the Bears Subpar Offensive Roster

Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune answers another question:

If the Bears finish below .500, will both Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy lose their jobs? While Nagy’s play calling has been consistently questionable this season and last, it was Pace who saddled him with inconsistent QB play, a porous offensive line, gadget players rather than full-timers. — @ld1306

Ownership evaluates everything at the end of the season, and frustration is running high for fans and everyone inside Halas Hall with the team on a four-game losing streak. We’ll have to see what direction the season takes over the final six games and how the Bears get to their final record. If the offense is flat-lining when the team reaches the finish line, that wouldn’t reflect well on the GM or the coach. But it’s premature to say the Bears are definitely headed in one direction or the other. An evaluation of the football operation takes into consideration the entire scope — the entire season — and the Bears are in a bad stretch right now. We’ll see if they can change their trajectory.

I have a little bit of an issue with the premise of the first part of this question. Pace’s desk is definitely the place where the buck stops when it comes to the roster problems. But putting everything on him may be a bit off base.

I’d bet money that signing those “gadget players” was at Nagy’s instigation. Pace didn’t sign those kinds of players when John Fox was the head coach. It was only Nagy’s obsessive search for mismatches that led to these players being on the roster. Which would be OK except that most of his choices have been proven to be ineffective when used on a regular basis for other teams. But coaches have huge egos and they always feel that they can get more out of players if they are just “used right”. And that’s the kind of thinking that has gotten the franchise to where its at with some of these guys.

You think Nagy said, “No. Bobby Massie can’t do the job and we need a left tackle because Charles Leno doesn’t have what it takes”? Really?

Inconsistent quarterback play? Nagy said, “No, its hopeless with Mitch Trubisky and there are no good free agent options. Draft someone and let me concentrate on developing him rather than wasting my time with Trubisky.” You think that that Pace ignored his objections and pushed Trubisky on him anyway?

You think Nagy told Pace not to sign Nick Foles? Any reasonable fan would know that it had to be exactly the opposite. Foles was the guy Nagy wanted. There can be no doubt about it.

Does Pace deserve his share of the blame here? You bet. He’s at the top of the food chain and he makes the final decisions. Nagy was his guy and if some of the personnel decisions his hand picked head coach suggested weren’t the best, well ultimately that’s Pace’s fault. The final decision on all of this was his.

But let’s not fool ourselves here. Matt Nagy saddled himself with the personnel on this roster every bit as much as Pace did. And if Pace goes down, Nagy should and will go with him. And it won’t be because he couldn’t call plays for men who couldn’t execute them. It will be because he helped pick them every step of the way.

Bears Problems with Ted Ginn Represent a Change in Team Direction that Isn’t Working.

Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune answers another question:

Regarding Ted Ginn’s release from the Bears, it seems like Matt Nagy was looking for someone (anyone) to blame for the loss to the Rams, and, yes, Ginn didn’t have a great game fielding punts against one of the best punters in the NFL, but the punts were going to land inside the 10-yard line anyway. I guess I’m confused as to why they let an experienced, super-fast, inexpensive receiver go from the team, when it’s apparent they need more options for Nick Foles? I also thought it was interesting that the coach said that Ted only caught four passes as a Bear, but you can only catch them if they throw you the ball. Seems like they were trying to make Ginn a scapegoat. To be fully transparent, I’m a neighbor of Mr. Ginn’s in Chicago, and it just bums me out to watch the family packing up to leave Chicago. Thoughts? Do you think he’ll get picked up by another NFL team? — Chip F., Wilmette

I understand what you’re saying, but I didn’t think Ginn was productive as a punt returner in the games before the one in Los Angeles after Tarik Cohen went out for the season with a torn ACL. He didn’t look to have that skill anymore, and you need to remember it has been at least three seasons since he did it on even a partial basis. On offense, Ginn wasn’t factoring into the game plan on a weekly basis. They signed him to add a speed element to the offense and then wound up drafting Darnell Mooney in the fifth round. Mooney is playing a significant amount, and his development is more valuable than anything Ginn could add to the offense. If Ginn isn’t going to return punts and isn’t going to be on the field as a wide receiver, it’s hard to make a case for him having a spot on the 53-man roster.

I thought Biggs’ answer to this question was kind. It’s obvious that this fan is biased because Ginn was a good neighbor and a friend.

The truth is that Ginn showed zero interest in fielding punts. From the very first game they asked him to do it, that was evident.

Let’s be honest here. Being a punt returner is a dangerous job. Generally speaking it’s either a hungry, young man’s game for players interested in proving themselves in the league, or it’s a niche for veterans who have shown a talent for it but who haven’t been able to get on the field regularly with the offense or defense.

Ginn almost certainly doesn’t consider himself to be in either of those categories. He certainly is no longer young and he probably feels like he’s proven enough in the league. And he’s probably not ready to accept being in the latter category and probably never will be. He’s made his money. At this point, he’d probably rather his career just ended rather than to be forced to risk his body fielding punts for a living.

With Mooney being much younger and, let’s face it, performing better than Ginn could at this point or, in my opinion, at any point in his career, there just wasn’t a place for Ginn on the roster unless he was willing to use his skills on special teams.

I think this is all interesting because the Bears haven’t seen this problem in recent years. Now they not only have had it with Ginn, but they are dealing with it from Foles, who is having trouble standing in the pocket against the pass rush, trouble that he almost certainly didn’t have when he was younger and dumber.

Up until this year, the free agents that the Bears have signed have generally been young men under the age of 30. But in the 2020 offseason, GM Ryan Pace switched to “win now” mode, signing Robert Quinn (30), Foles (31), Ginn (35), Jimmy Graham (33), and Barkevious Mingo (30). They also chose to resign Danny Trevathan (30) over 26-year old Nick Kwiatkoski.

Suddenly they have become an older team with older team problems. And that’s on top of the fact that the “winning now” isn’t working out the way that they’d hoped.

Getting back to Ginn, it’s entirely possible that this is the end of the road for him as a player. If its any comfort to Chip, above, if his attitude towards the risks of taking punts is an indication of his level of desire in general, that might just be OK with Ginn.