Bears Forced to Pay with Ultra-Short Turn Around Time. Where was the Player’s Union?

Prince Amukamara shares his thoughts on the Bears game against the Vikings this week being flexed from noon to Sunday night. Via Dan Weiderer at the Chicago Tribune:

“’Honestly, I was so excited, Amukamara said. ’Just like: ‘Oh, man! They’re starting to respect us a little bit. We get to play on Sunday night. This is going to be a big game.’

“But then the eighth-year cornerback started doing the math.

“OK, a 7:30 p.m. kickoff on Nov. 18? Then a Thanksgiving Day game in Detroit on Nov. 22 that will begin before noon Chicago time? Just like that, Amukamara’s initial enthusiasm twisted itself into a three-word wake-up call.

“’They screwed us,’ he said.”

They sure did.

Note that this is not just the normal turns around that yo used from Sunday to Thursday.  The Bears were already losing 7.5 hours of recovery time by playing at noon on Thursday instead of the normal 7:30 pm.  Now they’re losing 7.5 hours on the other end.  15 hours of recovery time lost for these these guys is more than half a day.  It’s not trivial.

We hear constantly about how player safety is the first priority for the league. But it all falls by the way side when some cigar smoking TV executive sits in a back room and says, “Let’s put on the Bears. It’ll play good in the sticks.”

Message to the TV execs. The only people watching at the end of that game will be you and whatever bimbo you’re with. The rest of the world works for a living.

But that’s not my major point. I expect greed from people like this. It’s the player’s union’s job to protect the workers from it.

They rumble about strikes and negotiations and they loudly defend criminals when the league tries to suspend them. But where are they when it comes to protesting moves like this where player’s are actually being put at more than the acceptable level of risk? Even if it didn’t change anything, you would think they’d at least say something. Instead all we hear are crickets.

And that’s where Amukamara and his team mates are really being screwed.

Posted in Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings | Leave a comment

Cody Parkey Hasn’t Been Practicing Kicks at Soldier Field. Why?

Colleen Kane at the Chicago Tribune reports on Bears head coach Matt Nagy’s reaction to kicker Cody Parkey missing two field goals and two extra points during the Bears win over the Lions yesterday:

“Nagy understood the fans’ disgruntlement but said after the game there’s ’zero chance’ the Bears will try out new kickers this week. He insisted Parkey has his trust.

“’It doesn’t affect me going forward, but it affected me today,’ Nagy said. ’And he knew that. In my head, there’s a balance of showing trust to him by putting him back out there, but then there’s also a level of understanding what’s best for the team. Sometimes you just have those days.

“’So my trust is not shot at all with him. I know everybody else is going to feel that way, and I get it and that’s OK. But … he’s going to hit some big kicks for us just like he did last week.”’

Special teams was miserable yesterday and there were a couple of poor kickoff returns. But this adventure in kicking was by far the worst problem and it could cost the Bears in close games if it doesn’t get solved.

As Bears fans know, this isn’t the first time this season Parkey has struggled in a game and it has previously occurred to me to wonder if he’s been practicing kicking at Soldier Field but my assumption was that he was, of course, doing it. Kane finally asked him and to my shock, the answer was “No”.

“[Parkey] said he hasn’t practiced kicking at Soldier Field midweek to get a better feel for conditions there and indicated it wasn’t his place to say whether he should consider such sessions.”

For heaven’s sake, has he asked?

Former Bears kicker Robbie Gould made such a trip along with whatever punter they had on the team every week to practice at Soldier Field in the different wind conditions. No wonder Parkey isn’t comfortable. How is it a “home field advantage” if you haven’t been practicing your kicks there?

I’m starting to have serious questions about the quality of coaching the special teams unit is getting from coordinator Chris Tabor. This is an easy fix and it has to be done now.

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Quick Game Comments: Lions at Bears 11/11/18

Offense

  1. It wasn’t hard to figure what the Bears were going to try to do here. They kept only 4 wide receivers on the game day roster with both Kevin White and Jevon Wimms inactive. They kept fullback Michael Burton active against the Lions 30th ranked run defense. Before the game even started everyone knew this was going to be a slugfest at the line of scrimmage with the Bears trying their best to simply run the Lions over. It was fair to wonder what effect the loss of Kyle Long would have in the execution of that plan.As it turns out, the Bears went to the air a lot this game so the choices they made for the game day roster may have back fired on them. The Bears ran 23 times for 64 yards.
  2. One thing all of the Bears recent opponents have in common – they’re ready for the wide receiver screen. The Lions swarmed to the ball when the Bears showed this look.
  3. The Bears did a good job of varying the tempo as they went no huddle in their first drive.
  4. You have to like the Bears use of their running backs. With Jordan Howard being the pounder and Tarik Cohen being more elusive, the defense gets a lot of different looks and stays just a little off balance.
  5. Bears speed at wide receiver really showed up this game. With the Lions playing a lot of man coverage, Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel were both getting behind coverage. Gabriel could have easily scored a touchdown midway through the first quarter when he got behind Quadre Diggs, who never turned his head and looked like he interfered with Gabriel in the end zone. Two plays later Robinson got behind DeShawn Shead, who turned is head too late and never had a chance as Robinson adjusted to Mitch Trubisky’s throw.
  6. Wow. Just a mass of confusion in the Detroit back field on the Anthony Miller touchdown in the second quarter. Nobody near him on the coverage. Lions DBs shown arguing earlier in the game. This doesn’t look like a well coached defensive team, especially given that they have a defensive head coach.

Defense

  1. The Lions came out in an empty set and went to the quick slant. You knew the quick passing game was going to be a big part of the game plan after they gave up 10 sacks to the Vikings last week.
  2. Karryon Johnson is pretty quick and seems to have pretty good vision. You can see why he’s been such a success.
  3. The Bears were effective early some some well timed blitzes. One sack came from Bryce Callahan and one from Roquon Smith on the first drive. The one from Smith knocked the Lions back to the very edge of field goal range at the 37 yard line. The Lions punted.
  4. I used to like LeGarrette Blount but, man, he looks slow.
  5. There were long stretches of this game where the Bears struggled to get pressure on Matthew Stafford. They had some success with the blitz, as I said above. But they really had trouble when rushing four.
  6. Kenny Galladay was all over this game. He made a play whenever the Lions needed one and was a huge part of the Lions staying in it far longer than they should have been able to.

Miscellaneous

  1. Chris Myers, Daryl Johnston and Laura Okmin were your announcers. AS I said last week, I think this is a good announcing team but its hard to get around the fact that Johnston really doesn’t seem to like the Bears that much. Trubisky made what looked to me like a nice back shoulder throw to Allen Robinson for a touchdown in the first quarter, something he’s been working on, and Johnston seemed to imply that he thought it was just a bad throw and a good catch by Robinson (it was a good catch).This sort of thing really doesn’t bother me much, though. I think Johnston is pretty observant and I think fans are sometimes more sensitive than they should be to critical comments. Johnston was certainly complementary enough at other times during the broadcast.
  2. Special Teams
    1. The Lions fired their special teams coordinator last week with head coach Matt Patricia taking over the coaching of that group. It was hard to anticipate before the game what effect, if any, that would have on the Lions performance.
    2. Cody Parkey hit the right upright on an extra point in the first quarter. You could hear a lot of angry shouts at Soldier Field in response. Parkey clanked another one off of the left upright in the second quarter. And he hit the upright twice more in the third quarter on 41 and 34 yard attempts. As much as I disliked former Bears kicker Robby Gould, I dislike seeing easy points taken off the board more.
    3. Meanwhile Matt Prater continues to be one of the most solid kickers in the NFL as he hit a season long 52 yarder in the third quarter.
    4. The Lions had a lot of success kicking to Taquan Mizzell just short of the goal line. The Bears got some pretty bad field position short of the 20 yard line out of it. Mizzell looks like an experiment at kick returner that might now be working out.
    5. Anthony Miller stupidly batted an onside kick that he could have easily simply recovered out of bounds. It gave the Lions another shot at the kick, which they took advantage of and recovered. It resulted in another Lions touchdown.
    6. Bears special teams generally did not look good this game. Its really the only area of the team that doesn’t look well coached.
  3. Anthony Miller had a bad drop in the third quarter that would have given the Bears what looked at the time like a badly needed first down. With Cody Parkey blowing kick after kick, the Bears weren’t scoring and they needed to keep possession to give the Bears defense a little more rest.
  4. Penalties.
    1. Nice job drawing the Lions into a neutral zone infraction by Mitch Trubisky with the hard count in the first quarter. It gave the Bears a first down.
    2. Really awful penalty on A’Shawn Robinson as he shoved Trubisky out of bound. Trubisky was about as far out of bounds as I’ve ever seen anyone be on a penalty like that. It gave the Bears first and goal from the 6 yard line. A pass interference in the end zone made that first and goal from the 1 yard line. That was followed by an illegal formation penalty on the Bears pushing them back to the 6 yard line. Trubisky eventually scored on a run but it was preceded by a comedy of errors.
    3. Kyle Fuller had a damaging pass interference in the end zone near the end of the second quarter. The Lions scored a touchdown.
    4. In addition to his penalty for batting the ball on the onside kick (which resulted in a Lions touchdown), Miller also had a stupid unsportsman like conduct penalty after a nice catch for a first down. It stopped the clock as the Bears were trying to let it wind down with 3:30 left.
    5. Overall the Bears committed 6 penalties for 46 yards Vs. the Lions 6 penalties for 41 yards. Both teams would have probably liked to have seen less.
  5. Turnovers
    1. Bryce Callahan had a really good interception in the second quarter that set the Bears up on the Lions 18 yard line.
    2. I understand Matt Nagy wanting to wait to see if they can get a good replay before throwing the challenge flag on what was a Lions fumble in the second quarter. But you have to throw that flag before the Lions snap that ball.Lots of indecision on Nagy’s part when it comes to making head coaching decisions from the sideline. This was a prime example.
    3. Johnson had a very damaging fumble in the third quarter as the momentum was shifting in the third quarter after yet another Parkey miss. It set the Bears up at the Lions 21 yard line. Of course, it led to another Parkey miss. [head shake]
    4. Prince Amukamara had an interception in the fourth quarter near the bear goal line that on the surface looked like a good play. But as it was fourth down and 15 from the Bears 40 yard line, you’d think he would have had the presence of mind to bat the ball down. The Bears ended up punting form about the one foot line.
    5. Overall turnovers were a huge part of this game as the Lions had 3, one fumble and two interceptions, to the Bears 0.
  6. This was one that the Bears almost couldn’t lose if they are going to compete within the division for a playoff spot. Things get tougher from here but so far so good.
Posted in Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Game Comments | Leave a comment

What Is Decreasing Jordan Howard’s Effectiveness?

Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune answers your questions:

Jordan Howard has five touchdowns, on target for 10. Can we stop talking about how many yards the guy has and talk about bottom line: TDs and effectiveness? His influence on the offense from a scoring standpoint is about what it was last year. The coaches openly admit the run game isn’t optimized, so his production can be even better as the offense improves. — Jeff C., Parts Unknown

“I look at a lot of things before touchdowns when evaluating a running back. Howard could have six this season if he didn’t fumble at the goal line in Miami. It was uncharacteristic for him as he generally has excellent ball security. Howard has not been as explosive to the hole this season, and as I wrote last week, he’s also struggled creating yards after contact — although Bills safety Jordan Poyer might have a different opinion on that after Howard ran him over like a truck to score on an 18-yard run. I don’t think Howard has been as effective this season, and includes factors other than his touchdown total. Hopefully the Bears will be better on the ground in the next eight games.”

Biggs might have a point about Howard’s explosiveness but it looks to me like he’s also lost something in terms of his vision. Last year Howard seemed to be slipping through cracks that I never saw until he was through them. This year I’m spotting cut back lanes that Howard is missing.

The run game really hasn’t changed that much as far as I can tell with the hiring of Matt Nagy. It’s a lot of zone blocking with a lot of inside zone runs for Howard. But something appears to be throwing him off of his game and I don’t think its just physical. Here’s hoping that whatever it is, he gets over it and and becomes more effective the second half of the season.

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Quick Game Comments: Bears at Bills 11/4/18

Offense

  1. The Bulls evidently didn’t have much respect for the Bears running game going in. They were playing 6 in the box including a second and one in the first series. That was probably fine with the Bears as their game plan evidently was to run and they did that reasonably effectively with 4.6 yards per carry in the first half.
  2. Trubisky got careless with the ball and fumbled on 3rd and 5 from the 32 yard line. The Bears got it back but it turned a potential 50 yard field goal into a punt. That’s pretty frustrating to watch.
  3. I thought Trubisky started pretty well this game. His first wild throw came with only roughly 6 minutes left in the second quarter. That was really the only one in the half.
  4. Probably related to this, this was probably the least we’ve seen Trubisky have to take off and run. Which is definitely what you want to see.
  5. New offensive guard Bryan Witzmann, evidently rotating with Eric Kush at left guard, got pushed back into the backfield on third and less than 1 stalling a drive in the first quarter. It wasn’t a good first impression.

Defense

  1. The Bills went no huddle to start the game. That’s the first time that’s happened to the Bears.
  2. The Bears came out evidently intending to confuse Peterman with an immediate blitz. It didn’t make much difference as the Bills were going with the quick passing game to keep QB Nathan Peterman comfortable. The Bills eventually started to stretch the field in the second quarter with some longer routes. Peterman wasn’t terribly accurate on those throws.
  3. Whatever else you think of LeSean McCoy, he’s elusive and tough to tackle.
  4. The Bears came out in the second half playing soft coverage, evidently in the hope of playing bend but don’t break defense. The plan was, I guess, to prevent big plays and to give up field goals.
  5. Roquan Smith showed up a lot today pretty much all over the field. He’s finally doing what he was drafted to do.

Miscellaneous

  1. Chris Myers, Daryl Johnston and Laura Okmin were your announcers. We were lucky to get this team. This game couldn’t be that far up the list of games in terms of quality. They aren’t among the best but they aren’t bad. Not much gets by Johnston.At one point Myers broke out yet another “Trevanthian” pronunciation that I’m sure will thrill the linebacker. I also noticed that “Kirk” Fuller had a clean pick during a replay at one point.

    Yes. I’m being petty. 🙂

    To his credit Myers acknowledged the Kirk Fuller brain cramp a few minutes later.

  2. Special Teams
    1. Tarik Cohen is really feeling it, running backwards and reversing the field. He had a 30 yard punt return with less than two minutes left in the first half to the Bills 21 yard line. The Bears eventually punched it in with an 18 yard run by Jordan Howard.
    2. Cody Parkey punched a 45 yard field goal right down the middle from the left hash. Let’s hope his troubles are behind him.
    3. The Bears had 12 men on the field for a extra point conversion attempt. One of their many penalties this game.
  3. Drops weren’t much of an issue for the Bears but Buffalo had too many passes where, though it would have been a good catch, it should have been one. Those are the kinds of catches a borderline QB needs to help him out.
  4. The Bears did exactly what they couldn’t afford to do when playing an inferior opponent. They came out and shot themselves in the foot too many times with penalties. They already had 4, in some cases crucial, infractions for 30 yards in the first quarter. They were lucky it wasn’t five as Akiem Hicks looked like he hit Nathan Peterman on the helmet with this hand early in the game.  they had 14 for 129 yards for the game. That’s pretty unacceptable and against a better team it could have cost them dearly.
    1. Charles Leno was a prime culprit with three false start penalties.
    2. Aaron Lynch was another serious problem here. He had a particularly stupid face mask penalty to extend the first half and give the Bills one more chance to score (they didn’t). Lynch also had a dumb unsportsman like conduct penalty in the fourth quarter while the Bears were trying to get the Bills off the field to maintain the lead and put them away.Lynch had his best game of the year otherwise but these stupid penalties really marred what should have been a good day.
  5. Turnovers
    1. Speaking of doing what you couldn’t do in this game, turning the ball over was definitely not something the Bills could afford. Eddie Jackson stripped Jason Croom, scooped up the ball and ran it in for a touchdown with a huge play in the second quarter of what was a 7-0 game at the time. That was followed by a fluke interception on a pass which was popped up out of Terrelle Pryor’s hands and into Adrian Amos’s arms (the Bears punted). That was followed by another fluke pick six by Leonard Floyd.
    2. Trubisky had an interception midway through the third quarter. The ball was over thrown by a long way. It was hard to tell if it was a miscommunication or another one of those wild Trubisky throws.
  6. The Bills just could not catch a break this game. It was fluke turnover followed by fluke turnover there in the second quarter. When it rains, it pours. Sometimes it just ain’t your day and it looks like the Bills had one of those.From the Bears point of view, the good news was Trubisky’s performance. He had one, maybe two, really wild throws but for the most part, this was a solid game against a good defense that actually put pressure on the offense rather than just sitting back in a zone. Trubisky was consistent and accurate not just for a half but for an entire game.

    The Bears will only go as far as Trubisky takes them. I wouldn’t call it a great offensive performance and Trubisky’s statistics weren’t great. But I would still contend that it was exactly what they needed to see from their quarterback going into the divisional play in the second half of the season.

Posted in Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, Game Comments | Leave a comment

Quick Game Comments: Jets at Bears 10/28/18

Defense

  1. The Bears came out in the 3-4 against 3 wide. They were obviously thinking to stop the run first. The Jets ran into the teeth of it obviously thinking that they could run anyway. You figured play action passing would be a big part of the game plan later on.
  2. Sam Darnold wasn’t particularly accurate early on. Still, he was unflappable and he looks like he belongs out there. Good size. Good arm. Decent release. I like him.
  3. Akiem Hicks appeared to be pretty up for this game. He looked like he was doing a lot of jawing. I’d like to think that the absence of Khalil Mack made him want to pick up the slack even more.
  4. The Bears did a good job of dominating the line of scrimmage in the first half. They held the Jets to less than 3 yards per carry.
  5. They did a good job in the defensive backfield as well against a Jets receiving core that was hurting.
  6. The Bears blitzed way more than usual this game in an effort to get more pressure without Mack and to confuse Darnold. I’d say it was effective.

Offense

  1. The Bears came out trying to break some tendencies. They ran Tairk Cohen up the middle rather than to the edges and they rolled Mitch Trubisky out to the left rather than to the right. Trubisky had a good run on an option play where he kept the ball. They obviously wanted the Jets guessing.
  2. The Bears stuck with the short passing game, obviously worried about countering the Jets tendency to blitz.
  3. The screen pass that went 70 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter was probably designed to do that as well. It caught the Jets bringing the house. Nice block by Taylor Gabriel on that play.
  4. Nice job at the line of scrimmage by the Bears offensive line. For the most part the Bears did what they wanted up front. James Daniels did fine at left guard.
  5. As I implied above, I was impressed by the things that the Bears did counter the Jets blitz. Nagy showed a nack for knowing when Jets head coach Todd Bowles was going to dial one up and what they did really helped keep Trubisky comfortable against just the kind of defense that has caused him the most trouble over the course of the year.
  6. It’s not a revelation for anyone now but Trubisky is struggling badly with his accuracy. So many open men missed… [head shake] Very frustrating.
  7. I’ve noticed a hesitation on the part of the Bears ball carriers to cut back inside. There are often reasonably big gaps there but they seemingly refuse to take advantage. Jordan Howard’s vision has not been as evident this year.
  8. I thought Trey Burton was strangely absent given the game plan. The Bears may have concluded that, too, because it seemed like they started to look in his direction more late in the third quarter and into the fourth. They tried a couple shuffle passes that didn’t go anywhere.
  9. Really hope Kyle Long is OK. It ws kind of funny that about 6 guys were needed to give him a hand up.
  10. Was glad to see Trubisky finally connect with Anthony Miller for a touchdown. Miller seems to be a particularly common victim of Trubisky’s wild throws.

Miscellaneous

  1. Jim Nance, Tony Romo and Tracy Wolfson were your announcers. Romo is among the best there is right now though he didn’t get much of a chance to show it in this low scoring snoozer. Frankly, if he had a fault it was that he was too complimentary of the Bears.  Romo played quarterback at Eastern Illinois.I wouldn’t be too surprised if the Bears turned out to be the team he was talking about by the end of the year. But they aren’t there, yet, and I don’t see a playoff team.
  2. Special Teams
    1. Cody Parkey isn’t making anyone forget Robbie Gould as he missed a 40 yard field goal after a good opening drive by the Bears offense.
    2. Parkey didn’t look comfortable hitting the ball all game. Every extra point felt like an adventure.
  3. Drops weren’t a factor.
  4. Penalties
    1. The Jets had a lot of pre-snap penalties throughout this game that made their work quite a bit harder. That sort of lack of discipline, particularly the false starts against a defense that didn’t have Khalil Mack, doesn’t speak well for anyone.
    2. Kyle Long had a particularly stupid unnecessary roughness penalty that brought back a long completion for a first down.
    3. The Bears had the Jets off the field on a 3rd and 13 and Eddie Jackson leveled a helpless receiver in the 4th quarter. The lead was only 14 points and they needed to get the ball back in the offense’s hands. The Jets turned it into a touchdown. It was inexcusable.
  5. No turnovers for either side was surprising given the lack of discipline both teams showed when it came to penalties.
  6. Loved the shot of Anthony “Spice” Adams on the side line dancing away during the game.
  7. You knew the Bears were in trouble when they dominated the Jets in every category in the first half including both rushing (59-33 yards) and passing (115-54 yards) but were only up 7-3. They dominated a team at the line of scrimmage that wasn’t playing well and had 5 penalties for 30 yards) but couldn’t take advantage. It was a recipe for disaster for a team that has so often given up leads in the second half. Against a better team it might have hurt them.
  8. The Bears really seemed to want this game. They needed to get what playoff hopes they have alive against a team that they knew was beatable at home. Anthony Miller on offense and Akiem Hicks on defense seemed particularly vocal. They played a pretty good game all around outside of some of the usual poor throws from Trubisky. They need to string a few together like this.
Posted in Chicago Bears, Game Comments, New York Jets | Leave a comment

Khalil Mack Has to Sit for Himself as Well as For the Good of the Team

Dan Wiederer at the Chicago Tribune on the Bears injury situation:

“[Bears head coach Matt] Nagy continued to characterize outside linebacker Khalil Mack and receiver Allen Robinson as “day-to-day” with their injuries. Mack has played through a right ankle issue the last two games and has been hindered. Robinson couldn’t finish Sunday’s loss due to a groin injury.”

“With Mack, in particular, Nagy was asked how the Bears will decide whether the outside linebacker should continue to play through his injury or sit out to aid his recovery.

“’It’s not easy,’ Nagy said. ’That’s where the trust level from both ends has to be there. The player has to understand where we’re coming from as a team as to (asking) where you’re at percentage-wise. We all now that he’s not 100 percent, but where are you at? That’s where we trust him, he trusts us and then we go ahead with the action plan.”’

Nagy has to take charge of this situation. It’s easy to see that Mack can’t play. He has nothing like the power that he showed early in the season and, at times, seemed to actually back up off of blocks against the Patriots.

Mack almost certainly doesn’t want to come off the field. But he’ll recover faster if he does and with Leonard Floyd struggling they need to get someone else like Kylie Fitts or Isaiah Irving onto the field.

Posted in Chicago Bears | Leave a comment

Quick Game Comments: Patriots at Bears 10/21/18

Defense

  1. The Patriots came out attacking the edges of the Chicago defense with a lot of success.
  2. They also came out with a lot of short passing, challenging the Bears to converge and make the tackle. There was still some bad tackling on the first touchdown drive but kudos to the Patriots for some good fundamental football. They did a nice job of blocking up the plays.
  3. The Pats were picking on Leonard Floyd in coverage, especially when they thought they had him matched up on Julian Edelman.
  4. Bilal Nichols had a real good game and it was nice to see someone step with with Khalil Mack apparently suffering while playing on the bad ankle. Nichols stood out in the preseason and was one of reason why there was some hope that the Bears had some more depth on defense than they had in the past.
  5. More missed tackles on a long pass to Josh Gordon 55 yards to the Bears 1 yard line that resulted in a touchdown. There was no pass rush to speak of. The Bears defense looked tired again without the excuse of being in the Miami sun. These long plays with bad tackling in the fourth quarter have to stop.
  6. Its now evident that Mack is really hampered by the bad ankle. He’s not rushing with any power at all. The other Bears have to pick it up without him because he’s not going to be the dominant pass rusher that he was until he recovers.

Offense

  1. The Bears came out running against the Patriots nickel look. Eventually they went to the air and struggled but it may have been enough to keep the Patriots honest as the Bears did a decent job of running it in the first half.
  2. Eventually the Patriots started bring a lot of blitzes and they were getting a lot of free guys. They obviously watched the Arizona film.
  3. The Bears tried a long pass to Allen Robinson and it occurs to me that they might be better off trying to throw to the back shoulder on those. Its very difficult to defend, especially when the defensive back is with him step for step.
  4. Similar to what the Dolphins did, whenever Tarik Cohen was in the game, the Patriots perked up and keyed on him. Whatever happened , they weren’t going to let him beat them.
  5. Mitch Trubisky got good protection early when the Patriots weren’t blitzing but he really looked uncomfortable and confused by the zone defense the Patriots were playing under those circumstances. Most of the Bears offense in the first quarter was Trubisky running the ball rather than throwing it. It seems one thing the Bears have to do better is getting Trubisky comfortable at the start of the game.
  6. Trubisky was especially effective avoiding the rush in the pocket. Its a good thing because the Patriots had them totally confused with the blitzes they were bringing. Trubisky made some really dangerous throws under pressure and once again he was erratic with his accuracy. Handling the blitz is something he has to get better at.
  7. The knock on Jordan Howard coming into the year was that he couldn’t catch the ball. But every time I see him go out for a pass it seems like he catches it and makes a good play. Seems like they could use him more this way.
  8. Good game by Trey Burton who turned in some big plays inclusding a touchdown catch lat in the game to get the Bears to 7 points down.

Miscellaneous

  1. Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts, Evan Washburn were your announcers.  I liked Fouts a lot.  He’s not a big Xs and Os guy but he peppered in good, sharp comments throughout the game that I really thought enhanced the viewing experience.  Eagle is a pro.
  2. Special Teams
    1. I was really surprised that they Bears went for it on 4th and 4 in the second quarter. The alternative was a 48 yard field goal and given that head coach Matt Nagy went with Cody Parkey for a 53 yard penalty last week at the end of the game, I thought going with him for the 48 yarder would be a no brainer. The Bears made the first down.
    2. Cordarrelle Patterson had a really nice 95 yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Looked like some bad tacking by the Bears on the play.
    3. Dont’a Hightower scored a touchdown on a blocked punt in the third quarter.
    4. Patterson had a big kick return after the Bears touchdown late in the fourth quarter to get the Pats to their own 40 yard line. They eventually punted to pin the Bears back at their own 20 yard line with 24 seconds left to play.  The game was basically over.
    5. As was the case last week, special teams made a huge difference in this game with the Bears coming out on the short end. I think that the third phase needs to come out of this game and take a good look at itself in the mirror.
  3. The Patriots had a number of bad drops, some of which took away some big gains. The Bears seemed to do better in this respect.
  4. Penalties
    1. A series of bad penalties by Patriots defensive backs kept the Bears second scoring drive alive after they recovered a fumble on the Patriots 35 yard line. Eventually they jammed the ball into the end zone. These sorts of penalties on their defensive backs plagued the Patriots all game.
    2. The Pats also had a dumb unsportsman like penalty on Keion Crossen when he failed to immediately come back in bounds as the gunner on a punt.
    3. Yet another illegal formation penalty took a touchdown off the board at the beginning of the second half. That’s becoming a bad habit.
    4. This wasn’t a great game for either teams in terms of penalties but it was particularly bad for the Patriots with 7 for 64 yards.
  5. Turnovers
    1. A bad fumble by Patterson on a kickoff return cause by his own man was recovered by DeAndre Houston-Carson gave the Bears the ball at about the Patriot 25 yard line. That eventually turned into a Mitch Trubisky run for a touchdown with some real good blocking by the Bears down field on the off schedule scramble.
    2. Sony Michelle had another bad fumble giving them the ball at the Patriot 35 yard line. The Bears turned it into a touchdown.
    3. Trubisky threw an interception to J.C. Jackson late in the third quarter at the New England 31 yard line. He then threw another one early in the fourth quarter to Jonathan Jones at the NE 4 yard line. Neither of these throws was really horrible. I thought they were both good plays by the defensive backs.
    4. Kyle Fuller had a nice interception late in the fourth quarter that the Bears needed if they were going to have any chance at coming back from 14 points down to win this game. The Bears got the ball at their own 37 yard line. They converted it into a touchdown on a pass to Trey Burton.
  6. What struck me about this game was how good the Patriots are at doing the little things. They didn’t play well coming off a tough game against Kansas City without Rob Gronkowski with a lot of penalties, turnovers and some dropped passes. But good blocking, good special teams and good fundamentals will go a long way.The Bears have a long, long way to go to compete with the elite of the NFL. Trubisky has to get better at handling the blitz and he has to get more accurate. The defense has to pick it up without an injured Khalil Mack.
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Quick Game Comments: Bears at Dolphins 10/14/18

Defense

  1. The Dolphins came out running at the Bears right up the middle. They had moderate success early and probably planned to wear the Bears defense out over time. It may have worked as the Bears looked a little tired in the heat in the second half. The Dolphins upped the tempo in the third quarter to take advantage. Under the circumstances, you had to like the Dolphins chances at home in over time.
  2. The Bears were flat on defense and there was some pretty bad tacking out there from start to finish. It resulted in some very big plays including a Dolphins game tying touchdown by Albert Wilson late in the fourth quarter. In particular, Kyle Fuller really needs to start wrapping guys up.
  3. The touchdown to Wilson came on another of those shallow crossing routes that the Bears seem to be so susceptible to.
  4. The Dolphins gave Ja’Wuan James plenty of tight end help and they did a pretty good job of containing Khalil Mack.
  5. The Bears struggled to generate a pass rush. Eventually they started playing more games up front and blitzing. They got a bit more on Oswieler in the second half after that.
  6. Roquan Smith had a good job tracking Kenyan Drake around the field. Drake is a pretty good pass catcher out of the backfield.
  7. The Dolphins evidently liked their tight ends matched up against safety Adrian Amos. They went to them a number of times and had some success doing it.
  8. One of the things the Patriots did a good job of against the Dolphins was chip their smaller receivers off of the line of scrimmage, especially Danny Amendola in the slot. Surprisingly the Bears decided not to do that and the Dolphins receivers frequently ran free through the defensive backfield.
  9. Two Dolphins possessions in the read zone in the third quarter resulted in field goals both times with the Dolphins struggling in the red zone. If you are a Dolphins fan those have to be touchdowns.

Offense

  1. The Dolphins came out with 8 in the box, basically daring the Bears to pass.
  2. Mitch Trubisky was erratic despite having time to throw. He threw two uncatchable balls in the first possession.
  3. Rahad Jones had a very good game. He was pretty much everywhere.
  4. The Dolphins evidently had some pretty good coverage on the back end. Trubisky had all day to throw but he struggled finding open receivers.
  5. As I feared, this was the Trubisky that we saw against Arizona. The Dolphins played a heavy dose of man coverage and Trubisky had a very difficult time finding his receivers and looked confused. If he doesn’t have a very well defined read, he’s got a problem. The Dolphins didn’t blitz much but when they did, he reacted poorly. In fairness, he looked better in the second half but he’s got a long way to go.
  6. The Bears offensive line did a pretty good job but there were breakdowns in protection on obvious passing downs that need to not happen.
  7. The Bears continue to target Taylor Gabriel on the deep passing game rather than Allen Robinson. Robinson is taller and is better going up to get the 50:50 balls but the Bears believe that Gabriel is fast enough to out run the cornerbacks in the league. I haven’t seen that much in the games, though. In fairness Gabriel caught two long passes but he was well covered. I’m not a believer, yet.
  8. The Bears finally caught the Dolphins in a stunt on the third touchdown by Tarik Cohen. This was a testament to continuing to run the ball despite limited success. The Patriots pulled off some similar big runs against the Dolphins two weeks ago but it takes discipline to pull it off.
  9. Another monster game for Tarik Cohen. He’s a terrible mismatch with any linebacker. By the end of the game the entire Dolphins linebacking corp and a safety were all following him around the field.

Miscellaneous

  1. Brian Custer, Greg Jennings and Doug Gotlieb were your announcers and didn’t impress me much. There wasn’t much in the way of unique insight and they did teach the audience much of anything.
  2. Jason Sanders hit a solid 60 yard field goal in mid-third quarter that looked like it would have been good from 60. The Bears missed 53 yard field goal in overtime Jason Sanders made his and that was the difference.
  3. The Bears had a delay of game late in the first quarter. That killed a drive in which the Bears went for it on fourth own and didn’t get it.The Dolphins had a pass interference and a defensive holding call in the same series, giving he Bears a first down both times.Minkah Fitzpatrick had a damaging pass interference early in the second half. I’m not really that surprised. He tends to be pretty physical in coverage. The Bears converted it into a touchdown.

    Frank Gore got shaken up on what should have been a helmet to helmet call. That was a bad miss in terms of player safety.

    The Bears had a couple illegal formation calls that were irritating. Apparently they had a receiver that wasn’t lining up on the end of the line. They need to clean that up.

    Bad pass interference call on Trey Burton on what would have been the fourth Bears touchdown. Burton barely touched Kiko Alonzo on what looked like a legitimate NFL play. It was followed by an interception in the end zone and eventually it turned into a Dolphins touchdown with a two point conversion. That’s a 15 point swing.

  4. Albert Wilson dropped one early. Amendola had a drop early in the second half. Other than that, I don’t think they factored into the game much.
  5. Jordan Howard lost a devastating fumble late in the second half on the goal line that likely cost the Bears 7 points. Brock Osweiler returned the favor by throwing an interception near the Bears goal line shortly afterwards with less than a minute left in the half. Kyle Fuller had a bad Osweiler interception early in the second half. The Bears converted it into a touchdown on a pass to Allen Robinson on the next play.Of course the crowning turnover was the Tarik Cohen fumble with less than two minute left at mid field.  Until Kenyan Drake fumbled on the goal line in over time.Too many turnovers on both sides today.
  6. If I see one more “9-1-1” commercial I’m going to puke. Cops, firemen, doctors! Everything you need to be a hit! If you’re about 70 years old.
  7. If you are a Dolphins fan, the continuing lack of discipline has to be worrying. They shot themselves in the foot a lot today and they were working a small, dink and dunk game plan where they really couldn’t afford set backs. Both teams had too many penalties. Third and nine late in the fourth quarter and you have a broken coverage. If you are the Dolphins, that really hurts.
  8. I didn’t love the decision by the Bears to run the ball three straight times into the center of the line in over time to settle for a fifty-three field goal.  I know that both teams were giving the ball away in key moments at the drop of a hat but if its me, I trust my guys and stay aggressive to make that a better shot if possible.  I wasn’t surprised that Cody Parkey missed it.
  9. The Bears looked flat coming off of the bye, especially on defense. On the other side, the Dolphins looked like they were pretty high for this one, evidently seeing it as a winable game. Sometimes teams pull together in the face of adversity and with Ryan Tannehill out, the may have been the case here.The Bears were a step slow all over the field. The Dolphins have some speed which, of course, didn’t help. The heat probably didn’t help either. Eventually the Bears defense wore down and it was over.
Posted in Chicago Bears, Game Comments, Miami Dolphins | Leave a comment

Quick Game Comments: Buccaneers at Bears 9/30/18

Offense

  1. Good job by Mitch Trubisky finding a wide open Trey Burton on the opening drive. Once again, we see the Bears trying to keep Trubisky comfortable by putting him in shot gun and letting him run, which he did effectively.
  2. Having said that, Trubisky was erratic again, throwing even easy passes that were just way off. He missed a pass to an open Taylor Gabriel in the second quarter that Gabriel couldn’t have caught if he was 9 feet tall.
  3. And he was leaving the pocket early under pressure, again. He ran right into a sack by Jason Pierre-Paul early in the first quarter.
  4. The play calling was very run heavy early against what looked like some light fronts. Evidently the Bucs didn’t’ think the Bears could run on them but it looked like they were doing just fine.
  5. Having said that, Trubisky got good protection today. Nice work at the line of scrimmage. I was really surprised that the Bucs didn’t blitz more given what Arizona did last week but I guess that’s just not what they do.
  6. Trubisky’s fade route to Allen Robinson was just fine in the first quarter. Contrast with last week…
  7. Kudos to Tarik Cohen, who had pretty good game. I’m always skeptical about how effective these little quick guys are going to be. The numbers often don’t seem to match the hype. But the Bears put him to good use today and he looked like a mismatch all over the field.
  8. It was curious how the Bears kept putting James Daniels in and out at left guard. I’m not entirely sure if it was systematic or if Eric Kush was hurt and just trying to get back in.
  9. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen receivers this open around here. The Bucs didn’t help with some broken coverages but that wasn’t all of it. This is a real, big boy offense.
  10. Credit Kevin White. He was all over the field with some good blocks today. It doesn’t sound like much but that’s what good teams do.

Defense

  1. The Bears looked like they were playing a lot of two deep safety looks in order to limit big plays.
  2. Nice play by the Bucs dragging a receiver across the field in front of the linebackers and holding them in coverage while DeSean Jackson suck across behind them.
  3. Ryan Fitzpatrick wasn’t particularly accurate early in the game as he was consistently high on his passes.
  4. I really don’t think anyone should leave an offensive tackle alone on Khalil Mack. It’s just not fair.

Miscellaneous

  1. Thom Brennaman, Chris Spielman and Shannon Spake were your announcers. I thought these guys did a pretty good job. Spielman was pretty quick with insightful comments on replay immediately after big plays, giving you a good idea of what happened. He seems to be pretty knowledgeable and he can communicate it. I like him.
  2. Nice work by Tarik Cohen alertly jumping on a ball that hit DeAndre Houston-Carson in the back on a punt in the first quarter.
  3. Mike Evans had a bad drop early in the game.
  4. The Buccaneers were hit with a few bad penalties early including a number of offsides penalties. Maybe Trubisky is getting better at the hard count.
  5. Akiem Hicks getting tossed from the game, even in a blow out, that’s not good. I’m surprised. A suspension would be extremely bad. As their best defensive lineman, they need him.
  6. Eddie Jackson with a nice interception near the end of the first half saved at least three points. In fairness to Fitzgerald, it was 3rd and 19 and at 35-3, you don’t settle for a field goal. Danny Trevathan had an interception on a ball tipped by Mack with the Bucs driving at the beginning of the second half.
  7. So prepare for a week of national commentators telling you about how great the Bears are. Don’t fall for it. They had a good day and the Bucs had a very bad day. They aren’t there, yet.
Posted in Chicago Bears, Game Comments, Tampa Bay Buccaneers | Leave a comment