Thoughts on Tyson Bagent As One Reporter Has Me Sitting Up and Paying a Little More Attention

Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune has 10 thoughts after Sunday’s loss to the Buccaneers:

“In talking with a handful of national and college scouts the last two weeks about quarterback Tyson Bagent, they all gave the Bears props for landing the undrafted rookie from Division II Shepherd University. Last week in 10 thoughts, offensive coordinator Luke Getsy outlined the plan for developing Bagent in practice and as the current No. 3 quarterback on the depth chart.

“I was curious what they saw in Bagent and how their reports read back in the spring when he wasn’t selected in a draft that saw 14 quarterbacks selected, including one in Round 6 (Tanner McKee by the Philadelphia Eagles) and one in Round 7 (Max Duggan by the Los Angeles Chargers).”

There’s a lot of good stuff here including quotes from a few scouts about Bagent’s evaluation and his potential in the NFL. But it wasn’t the content of this section that stuck me. It was the fact that it was there at all.

Bagent was already on my radar (along with that of every other fan in the city of Chicago). I liked what I saw of Bagent in the preseason. I like the way he moves in the pocket, I like his accuracy, I like the way he carries himself. But I like a lot of quarterbacks and I don’t see the practices. So needless to say that the fact that I like the look of a guy doesn’t mean that they’re going to be any good in the NFL.

But it’s notable that Biggs has brought Bagent up in this column two weeks in a row. Rooting for the Bears over a number of years, you develop a sense for which journalists in Chicago who know what they’re talking about and, to be honest, I don’t think there are many that do. Don’t get me wrong. As far as I can tell, they’re almost all good reporters. But when it comes to editorializing about football… well, lets just say that you could often get the same opinions from a typical fan and leave it at that.

In my opinion, Biggs and one of two others are different.

There’s a reason why so many of my blog posts start with a quote from one of one of Biggs’ articles. Based upon what he writes, Biggs seems to be more insightful and intelligent that most and he has been around a long time. He has seen some things. I trust him and when he starts paying attention in season to a third string undrafted rookie quarterback who hasn’t been on the field, it might be time for the rest of us to start paying attention, as well.

Usually when fans and media get over their skis about an undrafted rookie quarterback, my automatic reaction is to think, “Yeah, typical media. Typical fans. The back up is always the most popular quarterback in town. And if this guy is so good, why didn’t someone draft him?” But my antennae are up now. Bagent could be different.

Bears Running Game Is a Work in Progress with Apparent Change in Scheme

Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune shares 10 thoughts after the Bears loss on Sunday

“I’m surprised the Bears don’t have better rushing totals through two games. That looked like an emphasis of the off-season to me: Add DJ Moore and other wide receivers, but maintain an identity as a powerful rushing offense. They struggled running the ball against the Packers and we covered that ground — seven of their 14 runs on first-and-10 against Green Bay went for 1 yard, no gain or a loss. There were only 16 carries in this game for 67 yards. Tampa Bay’s a tough front to run against and rookie Roschon Johnson’s 29-yard run was the only time a back got through to the third level.”

One of the things that Adam Hoge mentioned on the Hoge and Jahns podcast was that the Bears aren’t running as much outside zone as they were last year. It was a good point. This was supposed to be the foundation of the running game last year and they ran it a lot. And this year we haven’t seen it.

I’m pretty sure that the Bears decided in the off-season that they wanted to transition away from outside zone to the power running game. They signed Nate Davis whose strength isn’t outside zone blocking, though I’m sure he can do it. But Davis strikes me as more of a downhill, power running game kind of blocker. Tevin Jenkins also fits this profile and Cody Whitehair, though not very big as a guard, is a reasonably large powerful guy at center. This would’ve been the interior of their offensive line on week one according to the Bears plan.

But that that plan has been completely disrupted. Jenkins is injured and Davis didn’t play Sunday. Without Jenkins they’ve shifted Whitehair to guard with Lucas Patrick at center. This is not an ideal combination and I think it completely threw the plan for the power running game off kilter.

It will be interesting to see where they go from here. Obviously whey think they can live with the combination that they have but the lack of success on the ground might call for a change.

I will add one thing. Eleven runs isn’t much of a sample size and ordinarily you’d like to keep pounding on the run throughout the game. After a while, eventually success often starts to come. I’m not saying that the Bears gave up on the run because they only had 27 plays. But they’re going to have to string together more attempts to build on if they want to see more success.

Tyreek Stevenson Needs Work But It Wasn’t as Bad as It Looked

Brad Biggs has 10 thoughts after the Bears Loss to the Buccaneers on Sunday:

“[Cornerback Tyreek] Stevenson was worked over pretty good by wide receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. Mayfield completed 5 of 7 passes going against Stevenson for 140 yards and a touchdown. That’s an awful day for the rookie, but I think a strong case can be made the yardage total should be cut in half. Sure looked like officials could have called Evans for offensive pass interference on the 70-yard gainer he had when he pushed Stevenson down to catch Mayfield’s pass. Maybe it’s a lesson in how strong some NFL receivers are for the second-round pick.”

“Evans also cooked Stevenson for a 32-yard touchdown in the third quarter on a third-and-14 play.”

“’Just bad technique,’ Stevenson said when asked what happened. ‘Bad eyes on my end. I’ve got to do a better job of my coverage. They were just able to find, I guess, the open receiver at the moment.’

“Stevenson said he’s going to remain positive, but rest assured upcoming opponents are going to find him — and test him. Evans and Godwin are seasoned veterans and there has to be a long list of young cornerbacks they’ve baptized over the years. We’ll see how Stevenson responds because I like him as a player. He’s strong and physical and can move. He’s got to see if he can avoid making the same mistakes twice.”

I’ve read a lot of criticism of Stevenson and some of it appears to me to be well-deserved. However, I do think that there are some circumstances to note in his defense.

Its hard to tell on television but it looked to me like the Bears were playing heavy cover two zone. And it would be logical to expect that with head coach Matt Eberflus calling plays.

Time after time receivers would take the ball behind the cornerback along the side line. This is a classic cover two beater. It looks bad but fans, especially those who were around for the Lovie Smith days, should remember that the cornerback’s job in that defense is to bump the wide receiver off the line and redirect him to the inside. After that the cornerback sinks into coverage, passing the receiver off to the safety. It can be a bad look if the safety is late coming over and with both Eddie Jackson and Jaquan Brisker off the field, Stevenson didn’t get much help.

That’s not to say that Stevenson doesn’t have things to work on. He does. It just isn’t as bad as it probably looked to some people on Sunday.

Quick Comments: Bears at Buccaneers 9/17/23


  • DJ Moore had a great start to the game. Two catches for 64 yards on the first drive. The Bucs game plan was apparently to treat him like any other receiver. That’s a terrible idea especially when playing the Bears who have so few difference makers outside of Moore. I’m not sure if they got that message but Moore got very few balls after that until the fourth quarter when Fields once again found him for some big plays. He finished with 6 receptions for 104 yards.
  • The Bears rolled out Khari Blasingame in the second quarter in the I formation. I’ve always wondered why the Bears don’t use him more. Good things tend to happen when he’s in there.
  • In a similar vein, the Bears came out of halftime running the ball. IN the end they rushed for 62 yards and a respectable 4.2 yards per carry. Khalil Herbert had a good day and so did Roschon Johnson. D’Onta Foreman was inactive but I still like the look of that guy. He’s probably not the pass catcher that Herbert and Johnson are. Johnson probably also plays on special teams.
  • Chase Claypool had 3 catches for 36 yards and a touchdown in a high effort game which may temporarily silence his critics. Notably Darnell Mooney didn’t make the stat sheet. The Bears need Moore, Claypool and Mooney to all produce if they are to run a competent NFL passing offense. Equinimious St. Brown was inactive.
  • The Bears were a substandard 6 for 13 on third down but it was better than last week when they only converted one. This still needs work. It all needs work.


  • Second play of the game and Jaquan Brisker drops an interception. The Bears read it, had them dead to rights and couldn’t finish. Brisker has got to catch that ball.
  • Ordinarily getting pressure is more essential than usual when playing Baker Mayfield. Usually the only way he can be successful is if he’s given time and gets comfortable. The Bears got to him occasionally but he made some plays today. There were a couple throws that Mayfield made right before he got hit. I can’t even count the number of times that the Bears had Mayfield dead to rights and he got away. You start to wonder if Mayfield isn’t on his way to a good season. We will see.
  • The Bears were in a dire state with both Brisker (illness) and Eddie Jackson (foot) out in the second quarter. Elijah Hicks and someone names Quindell Johnson replaced them. The Bucs had the Bears pegged with cover two beaters where Mayfield was hitting receivers along the sideline behind the cornerback before the safety could get over to cover. That was probably much easier with inexperienced safeties who might be late off the mark. Brisker eventually came back on in the third quarter.


  • Daryl Johnston did a good job on color today. He’s got a bad habit of saying things right as I’m writing them down. It’s irritating because it makes me sound like a parrot.
  • Nice play by Rasheem Green on his blocked field goal attempt near the beginning of the second quarter to keep the score 7-3 Bears. First blocked field goal since week 5 last season. It didn’t look like anything fancy. He just beat his guy and got his hand up.
  • Braxton Jones had another false start and looked extremely bad on at least one block right after that. I wonder if we’re getting close to the point where we can stop excusing this with the old “he’s still learning” mantra.
  • The Bears defense was left on the field for more than 35 minutes on a day where the temperature was in the 90s and the humidity was will above 90%. That’s a long time for the defense to be on the field. I was impressed with the way that they held up.
  • On a related note, the Bears were wearing orange uniforms today. Dark blue at 90 degrees and humid isn’t ideal that so sounded like a good decision. I’m sure that’s why the Bucs chose to wear white at home.
  • Justin Fields was sacked 5 times today but not all of those sacks were the fault of a subpar offensive line.

I won’t say that Fields didn’t have his moments. The touchdown pass to Claypool was a great example of what a well run NFL play should look like. He failed again one score down with about 2 minutes left but I thought that was hardly his fault. He was swamped by a pass rush that was on him immediately and Shaquil Barrett apparently read it well to make the interception.

Nevertheless, when Fields got protection today he still sat back and held the ball and held the ball and held the ball… Too often he looks completely discombobulated. He has no feel for the pocket and he has no idea where to go with the ball. His uncertainty began to affect his accuracy, just as Mitch Trubisky’s uncertainty affected his in the last turn of this cycle.

Some will say that the Bears need to fall back on the plan from last year when they simply turned Fields loose to run. But he did little damage with his feet today against a Bucs defense that was well prepared to keep him in the pocket. This will be the first of many of those days against better teams.

The day that the Bears tell Fields to just make one read and start running again will be the day that they can start looking for a new quarterback. That day may not be far off anyway.

What Should We Make of Roshon Johnson’s Performance Against the Packers

Kevin Fishbain at The Athletic answers your questions:

“Did Roschon Johnson put himself in the picture for a larger role? — Guy K.

“The only thing to brighten [head coach Matt] Eberflus’ Monday was an opportunity to discuss Johnson, the rookie running back who led his position in snaps.

“I think he did a good job,” Eberflus said. “He was in there at the very end and he was catching checkdowns and had a couple nice runs, but I certainly like his style. His style was really good, and that’s what he is. He’s a downhill, north guy, and he showed that (Sunday). And he showed his physicality. He did that several times.”

“I was surprised to see that Johnson had already asserted himself as the team’s two-minute back, which he earned in large part because of his abilities in pass protection. That’s often one of the more challenging elements of the college-to-pro transition for backs, but not Johnson.

“On Sunday, the Bears face a Buccaneers team that wants to blitz, and that could lead to Johnson being the lead back. If he excels in those reps, he could certainly continue having a larger role.

“It’s not too big for him,” Getsy said. “He’s a physical guy. You’ve seen the way he runs the ball, too. So he does a nice job.'”

There’s definitely potential there. Johnson was a respectable 5 carries for 20 yards on the ground and 6 receptions for 35 yards in the air. Not great but he did what was expected.

Having said that, all of his touches came in the second half with the Bears 11 or more points down. At that point, the Packers were perfectly happy to see Johnson running the ball and taking short passes. I’m tempted to say that Khalil Herbert could have performed similarly under those circumstances. And I still like what I’ve seen of D’Onta Foreman and his ability is not to be underestimated.

Is there reason to be optimistic about Johnson? You bet. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least to see him as the Bears primary back well before the season ends. Yes, maybe even this weekend.

But the bottom line message for me coming out of Week 1 was that the Bears have three pretty good running backs. ON a team with so many issue, that doesn’t look to me like its one of them.

Are Bears Fans Over-Reacting to the Loss to the Packers?

Kevin Fishbain at The Athletic answers your questions:

“Is this season, after just one game, the most reactionary by fans that you can remember? I’m finding it hard to believe the number of people calling for coaches and the GM to be replaced after just one and a half years on the job when they’ve been very transparent about a long-term rebuild. [-Bob A.]

“Sunday’s loss looked like so much of the same. The quarterback wasn’t good. The play calling wasn’t good. The pass rush wasn’t good. I get why some think there’s no coming back from this, that this won’t be one of those Week 1 fluke games. Instead, it’ll be a harbinger for another long season, and the latest addition in the Bears’ ugly cycle.

“The 2019 opener had significantly higher expectations, and the offense was a disaster in the 10-3 loss. But the defense was outstanding. In 2021, the defense was a mess in a rout against the Los Angeles Rams, but fans at that point were simply counting down the days until [QB Justin] Fields took over.

“This game had two bright spots: running back Roschon Johnson and kicker Cairo Santos.

“But to answer your question, Bob, this is the most reactionary I’ve seen fans after a season opener — and while the calls for in-season firings are over the top, this franchise hasn’t done enough to earn the benefit of the doubt that it was “just one game” after a performance like that.

“The Bears have an opportunity to bounce back against a Tampa Bay Buccaneers team that has low expectations but is 1-0 after upsetting the Minnesota Vikings. Maybe Fields and offensive coordinator Luke Getsy figure things out, the defense creates turnovers and the mailbag tenor is different next week.”

Fishbain is spot on with his response but he didn’t really answer the underlying question. “Are Bears fans over-reacting to the loss?” The answer is “No, they’re not.”

There’s a rumor going round that Bears Chairman George McCaskey and CEO Kevin Warren met with head coach Matt Eberflus and GM Ryan Poles after the disastrous performance against the Packers. I hope its rue because it means that:

  1. The message sent probably wasn’t a pleasant one for Poles or Eberflus
  2. Given that McCaskey isn’t the kind of confrontational personality that would have initated such a meeting, Warren almost certainly did.

As Bob points out, the Bears have been very transparent about the fact that they are in the middle of a rebuild. But that doesn’t mean that the coaching staff gets a free pass. Fans have a right to expect to see improvement. And last week looked a great deal like most weeks last year. Yes, there were some improvements – they did stop the run and indications are that they finally have a screen game. But the eseentials – especially the performance of Fields from the pocket – were the same. The Bears came out and, despite an influx of at least some talent, whoed little improvement over what we saw in 2022. They also flat out didn’t look ready to play and that’s an indictment of the couching staff.

Whether this possible effort to hold Eberflus accountable will bear any fruit is an open queston. Even last year when the Bears had so little talent, you could argue – and I would argue – that the coaching staff should have been able to do more with what they had. I saw very little last year to indicate that nay players on the roster punched above their weight to exceed even the low expectations that observers had.

Assuming that the rumors are ture, Bears fans can all hope that the new leadership in the front office is going to make a difference and that a new dawn may be about to break for this frachise. But I wouldn’t hold mey breath thinking that its going to be apparent this season.

The Bears Defense Will Be Better Than They Were on Sunday. But Not Good Enough.

In a week where many people, incuding me, were spending our time moaning about how this year’s version on Justin Fields looked exactly like last year’s version of Justin Fields on Sunday, I thought that it was notable that my two favorite writers in town, Brad Biggs and Kevin Fishbain, both chose to address the deficiencies of the Bears defense instead here and here.

This is logical. The offense probably is what it is going to be with Fields at the helm. It’s going to go as he is going to go and if he doesn’t find a way to be better from the pocket, it is probably only going to get so much better.

A couple points.

  • The defensive backfield, which was supposed to be the strength of this team, was a huge disappointment on Sunday. I think we can all agree on that. But it was encouraging to me that many of the issues that I saw were correctable. The Bears looked to me like they had a lot of communication breakdowns and broken coverages in key spots during the game and that led to some wide open receivers and some big plays. But these issues can be dealt with and, even with a reasonably big hole at nickel cornerback, where Kyler Gordon has gone on
    injured reserve, I can’t imagine that the pass coverage will be that bad again. It will be a very bad sign if it is.
  • Both Biggs and Fishbain rightfully concentrated upon the lack of pass rush. But I think that it’s notable that the Packers have possibly the best offensive line in the league. That was what was being said going into the game and I saw little to indicate that it wasn’t the case.

This is not to give the Bears an excuse here. Their thier defense, especially their pass rush, isn’t good enough and its been the major reason why I’ve been far more pessimistic about the Bears going into this season than most fans ane media members.

I still don’t see the Bears winning more than 6 games this year. But they won’t be as bad as they were on Sunday.

Tevin Jenkins Injury Hurt the Bears Badly on Sunday

Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune answers your questions:

“I understand that the Bears were probably not feeling great about their offensive line against Green Bay’s front seven but how could that have been [Luke] Getsy’s game plan? You’re at home against your biggest rival on opening day with Aaron Rodgers not in the building. How could the Bears have played it so safe? They barely targeted DJ Moore. No shots downfield. No RPO. Cole Kmet quiet as usual. A maddening number of horizontal throws with no impact. — Jeff G., Palmetto Bay, Fla.

“The biggest surprise to me, and I alluded to it earlier, was that the Bears didn’t try to lean into what they’ve talked about being one of their real strengths — being physical on offense. They weren’t able to create an advantage running the ball against the Packers. They didn’t appear to have designed runs set up for Justin Fields. Maybe they were hoping that physical edge would play out on some of the lateral throws you’re talking about. Matt Eberflus admitted those needed to be blocked much better.

“They’re not going to effectively attack defenses with play-action passing, where they create defined reads for Fields, without getting the ground game rolling. The Packers have a lot of high draft picks in their front seven, and that’s a talented group that has underperformed in recent seasons. The Bears were not effective — across the board — and we’ll see how they react at Tampa Bay. Game plans will be tailored differently each week and the Bears need something that works this week.”

I’d say that the Bears failure on 3rd and 4th and short early in the game was a very bad sign for the offense in terms of getting the running game going.

The Bears signed Nate Davis specifically to help in the running game. His poor performance was disappointing. What made things worse was the necessity of starting Lucas Patrick at center.

The original plan was to have the injured Tevin Jenkins start at guard with Cody Whitehair at center. That’s a pretty good run blocking combination on the inside. With Patrick at center and with Whitehair at guard, the entire interior of the offensive line was considerably weaker. Add in a good, well prepared Packers front and the running game never got going. And that meant that a good part of what should be the core of the Bears offensive plan in most games never got going.

I might add it this doesn’t say great things about the Bears depth on the interior when living with Patrick at center is your best option in this scenario.

In an earlier question, the Biggs mentioned the possibility that the Bears could be looking for help at defensive end, left tackle and quarterback in the draft next year. It wouldn’t necessarily require a very high pick but if the Bears can’t count on Jenkins to be healthy you might have to add guard to that list.

Youth Is No Excuse As Bears Collapse in Another Big Game

Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune answers your questions:

“I wasn’t expecting more than eight or nine wins, but I was blown away by how bad the Bears looked. Are there any reasons for optimism they can turn things around? I didn’t see any. — @tn5280

“It was a really bad second half for the Bears. No question about that, and there’s nowhere to go but up, right? Yes, it seems like we’ve been saying that for a while. The one thing I would point to is this is a really young roster. Nearly half of the players are in their first or second season, so I would expect natural growth. Will they all take that step forward and emerge as real contributors to successful football? Of course not. But some of these players will develop.

“The coaches will get a better feel for strengths and weaknesses, and you should see improvement. The sting of the loss was made worse because it came against the Packers without Aaron Rodgers. It’s a long season and there appear to be some bad teams on the schedule. You’d classify the Bears as a bad team now, too, but there will be opportunities for success.”

I’ll say that Biggs has a point. But I think on an organizational level, this just doesn’t fly with me.

The Bears have roughly the 10th oldest roster in the NFL. The youngest? The Green Bay Packers.

The Packers have a young team, too. The difference is that they were well prepared to rise to the occasion and to perform in a hostile environment knowing that their quarterback was entering his second NFL start and that they were without their best wide receiver.

The Bears? They laid an egg in a big spot. As has been their habit for a few years now. Think the opener in 2018. Think virtually every Packers game for that matter.

Its the coaches job to get players ready to play on game day. The Bears players didn’t look like they were. This is a bad, bad sign for a coaching staff that oversaw a lot of losing in 2022. Yes, the Bears had a poor roster. But they did little to rise up and overcome that deficiency and arguably they should have won more games.

These performances where the lights are on have become a bad habit for both the team and the organization. They’re indicative of incompetence on a higher level where coaches and the men who hire them aren’t making good decisions. Meanwhile one of the NFL’s best fan bases is told to wait for tomorrow. Over and over and over again.

Quick Comments: Packers at Bears 9/10/23


  • The Bears started the game nicely with some easy throws from Fields and some decent runs. They gradually worked Fields up to longer passes from there.
  • The Bears had two shots to make 3rd and 4th and short on the first set of downs. They ran two sneaks from under center and failed. That told me everything I needed to know about the sate of the interior of the offensive line despite efforts to improve it.
  • I thought Fields looked good today throwing the ball. He’s got a strong arm and his accuracy is under-rated. It was harder for me to judge his ability to play from the pocket on TV but from my point of view, he ran the ball too much again. What replays we got that showed anything seemed to indicate that he was still missing open receivers. He certainly didn’t appear to be throwing with any anticipation that I could detect.
  • Some will claim that Fields spent too much time under pressure and they’d have a point. The blocking up front wasn’t always up to snuff. But Fields still drops back and holds the ball instead of hitting his back foot and throwing it. He could make things a lot easier on that offensive line.
  • Fields made a lot of yards on the naked boot last year. The Packers were well coached and looked ready for it.
  • It was nice to see Fields take a check down pass early in the game. Fields needs to get comfortable working his way down the field gradually rather than going for a home run every play. Of course, that means that you have to trust the players round you to make plays.
  • I like the way that D’Onta Foreman runs. Straight ahead slasher with vision. He’s good. Roschon Johnson took advantage of his chances.
  • The Bears were 1 of 11 on third down. I don’t think I need comment further.


  • Green Bay came out and did what you might expect. They decided to run over the Bears defense. From there it transitioned to play action passes. And they did it all pretty well.
  • Jordan Love certainly looks to me like he belongs. His passer rating was virtually perfect. There were some throws that weren’t where they needed to be but he could hardly have been better under the circumstances.
  • As Greg Olson said during the broadcast, quarterbacks make their money on third down. The Packers had a number of plays where they converted third and long against the Bears defense. The Bears were a very good 9 of 14 on third down.
  • Nice job by the Bears defense in the first half when Love tried to draw them off-sides on fourth and three inside the Bears half of the field. The temptation to jump off-sides in those situations must be overwhelming. They held their discipline and didn’t do it.
  • Most fans know that the Bears pass rush was poor last year. It appeared to me that they picked up where they left off. The four man rush struggled to make it to Love and he frequently had too much time to throw.
  • I thought that it was curious that the Packers passing game was largely designed to put Eddie Jackson in a bind. He was evidently Love’s primary read a great deal of the time and his throws were determined by the direction that Jackson took. That obviously made it easier on him in his first season as a starter.
  • Tyreek Stevenson looked like he belonged today.
  • There were too many broken coverages today. The defensive backfield was supposed to be the strength of the team. Those things can’t happen.


  • Greg Olson did a good job today. He brought an extra level of insight that most color men don’t.
  • The Bears had too many penalties in the first half but to their credit they cleaned it up after that. They need to sustain that.
  • The Bears lost to a team today with a quarterback who was starting his first full season and without their best wide receiver. And it was the same old story.

    I laugh when I think of all of those Bears fans and media pundits who thought that that this was going to be a different era because Aaron Rogers left. You know what has been happening for the last 30 years? The Packers have consistently risen to the occasion year after year. And the Bears haven’t.