Which Running Backs Are in Trouble After the Bears Offseason Changes?

Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune answers your questions.

“Is Khalil Herbert at risk for a demotion? Roschon Johnson seems like great value in the fourth round, but that’s a crowded RB room now. — @mosconml

“My initial reaction when the Bears selected Johnson was that puts real pressure on Herbert. The Bears led the NFL in rushing last season with David Montgomery, Herbert and quarterback Justin Fields. Montgomery signed with the Detroit Lions in free agency, and the Bears added D’Onta Foreman and Travis Homer. Consider the current front office and coaching staff didn’t draft Herbert and you start to wonder how things will shake out.

“Generally teams keep three running backs on the 53-man roster, and that doesn’t include the fullback, where the Bears could have Khari Blasingame. I wouldn’t rule out a fourth running back making the roster. This is a good situation for the Bears in that it will raise the level of competition.”

My first thought when I read this question was that last year’s sixth round pick, Trestan Ebner was the player that’s in the most serious jeopardy.  He decidedly underperformed last year when given a chance to play, carrying 24 times for only 54 yards.  But perhaps Biggs already assumed that we would know that.

Most Bears fans considered Herbert to be a reasonably productive running back last year.  At 731 yards on 129 carries for 5.7 yards per carry he was an important compliment to Montgomery, who was more of a straight line, power type of runner with good contact balance.   Foreman seems to have a similar style.

There are four other running backs on the roster:  Foreman, Homer, Herbert, and Johnson.  Assuming the Bears keep three total running backs, a lot depends on how much the Bears like Homer.  He gained only 74 yards on 19 attempts last year and, like Johnson, would be mostly depended upon to add to special teams.  Given Johnson’s reputed strength in this area, you could argue that Homer’s job is in jeopardy, as well. But its worth bearing in mind that the Bears gave Homer a 2 year, $4 million contract with $1.75 million in dead money if he’s cut.

Bottom line, I see Ebner as being in more serious trouble that Herbert, who was a statistically productive running back on the field last year and whose skills could leave him in an important role in a potential running back rotation. Given the possible special teams contributions from Johnson and Homer and given Herbert’s production, I think that they most likely decide to keep four running backs after that unless Homer shows that he is decidedly better than Herbert.

How Much Better Should We Expect the Bears to Be in 2023?

Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune answers your questions:

“What are realistic expectations this year? Anything short of the playoffs would be a disappointment in my opinion … and not a No. 7 seed backing their way into the postseason. — @atown2956

“The Bears have a ton of moves to make before we can evaluate the roster and schedule and offer any informed guesses about the 2023 season. It sounds like you have grand expectations for free agency and the draft. The Bears have to be worlds better on defense and much better on offense to compete for a division title or playoff berth.

“There is plenty of history of worst-to-first turnarounds in the NFL. One complicating factor, a little more than a month before the start of the new league year and free agency, is this roster lacks difference makers. The Bears don’t look anything like the teams you’ll see Sunday in Super Bowl LVII. Right now I think getting closer to .500 would be a realistic goal, but we have to see what moves are in store.”

I’m with Biggs on this. When I envision what a playoff roster looks like and I look at the Bears roster, they are so far apart that I have a very difficult time imagining that the Bears will anywhere get close to that in one off-season.

Grand expectations like this worry me a bit. I think some fans are setting an unrealistic standard for the Bears to turn things around that quickly.

Yes, last to first turnarounds are certainly well-known to happen in the NFL. But it seems to be like it most often happens to teams that have finished last or nearly last fairly consistently for a fairly long period of time. Teams such as the Lions and Jaguars tend to have “fast” turn arounds that actually took years and years. These teams have had a chance to acquire significant talent that has developed for multiple seasons and then acquired top talent in one final draft to suddenly push them over the edge.

The Bears are not in such a situation. I have been surprised before. But I think it’s dangerous to expect it.

How Much Will the Bears Cash Budget Affect What They Do in Free Agency?

Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune answers your questions:

“I know that the Bears have a great deal of cap space to play with this offseason. But it was always my understanding that more cap space can always be made available in the NFL if you really want to do it and that it was the cash budget that is often what determines who you can sign and who you can’t. Do you think that could be a limiting factor for the Bears this offseason? — Tom S., Chicago

“Excellent observation. While cap figures for each team are readily available, what’s never known is the cash budget each team is operating with during a given league year. With nearly $100 million in available cap space for 2023, Ryan Poles has more room than he can realistically use, especially when you consider it’s not expected to be a banner year for free agents.

“I would expect Poles to have enough of a cash budget to accomplish pretty much anything he wants to do. The Bears have gone light the last two years and have not shied away from throwing around big money under George McCaskey. They went heavy in free agency in 2018 and then made the biggest move of that year by trading for and extending the contract of outside linebacker Khalil Mack. My guess is the Mack move might have taken them over their cash budget for that season, but presented with a special circumstance, ownership signed off on what was the largest contract for a defensive player in league history at the time.”

I tend to agree with Biggs on this. As far as I can tell the cash budget has never kept the Bears from spending money where they felt like they needed to and there’s no reason to believe that this offseason will be an exception.

Having said that it’s not my money.

Personally I would prefer that the Bears spend a lot of the money in free agency on contracts that are front-loaded with guaranteed money. This frees that cap space that you are spending back up more quickly for future free agents.

But that means lots of cash up front. I could hardly blame the Bears for wanting to spread the cash hit to the budget out over more years.

Should the Bears Draft a Quarterback?

Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune answers your questions:

“Why shouldn’t the Bears draft the best QB available? Someone that complements Justin Fields. Why not have two great QBs? Now that the season is longer, how many QBs make it through the whole season? It is obviously the most important position. — Spencer, Warrenville

“No argument from me that quarterback is the most important position. But I can’t agree with anything else. It would be a fantastic problem if the Bears were suddenly to have two great quarterbacks. Imagine the possibilities for the future. Currently, I don’t think you can say the Bears have one great quarterback. [Quarterback Justin] Fields needs to make some significant improvements, and the team has been pretty straightforward saying as much.

“In order for Fields to do that, the Bears need to be better around the quarterback — and better on defense. Using the first pick on a quarterback would not improve the offensive line, wide receivers or a porous defense. The Bears need to see if a better-supported Fields can become their quarterback of the future before they consider choosing another one in the first round.”

I agree with Biggs on this. I don’t think the Bears have any business taking a quarterback in the first round. Having said that, they should definitely be thinking about taking one somewhere.

Perhaps the biggest issue that I have had with the Bears over the last few years is that they have been sold on going all in on one quarterback and spending every single resource that they have in an effort to getting the team around him up to a winning standard immediately. This sounds like a good thing but it’s poor future planning.

The Bears should always have another quarterback in the hopper that they are trying to train up and get ready to start. At worst, such quarterbacks may become good backups. At best, you manage to coach such a player up to the point where they exceed expectations become potential starters. They could eventually replace your current starter if necessary and have significant trade value if not.

Like most Bears fans I think Fields shows promise. But I would love to see the Bears take another quarterback somewhere in the mid- to late rounds.

Quick Game Comments: Vikings at Bears 1/8/23


  • Perhaps it’s just my low expectations talking but kudos to Nathan Peterman, who looked competent out there today (11 for 19 with a QB rating of 92.9 before a garbage time interception). Admittedly, the offense wasn’t moving very well under Peterman. But I was still surprised when they replaced him with Tim Boyle. Perhaps they just wanted to see what they had in Boyle. Peterman came back in midway through the 3rd quarter.
  • Boyle’s first drive didn’t go well. There was an apparent miscommunication, and he threw a floater right to Patrick Peterson for an interception. He was OK after that, I thought (2 of 4 for 33 yards, 8.3 yards per pass).
  • Larry Borom was your right guard this game. I kept an eye on him and I thought he did well. But I didn’t think that he was a bad right tackle before they replaced him with Riley Reiff so…
  • It’s nice to see Vilus Jones have such a good game today (1 catch for 298 yards). I like seeing him score the 42 yard rushing touchdown, though I’d rather he did it after catching a pass. He had a nice return n the opening kickoff.
  • Cole Kmet had a nice game today (4 catches for 57 yards and 14.3 yards per catch). He had a wonderful second effort to secure the Bears second touchdown. Up until this year I was not convinced that convert Kennett was going to be in the Bears future. But lately he’s been coming on and I can see the athletic system that made former GM Ryan pace pick him.
  • On such a bad offensive day it isn’t surprising that the Bears were a miserable 2 of 9 on third down and 0 for 3 on 4th.


  • Cornerbacks today with all of the injuries? Harrison Hand, Breon Borders, Michael Ojemudia, and Greg Stroman. Only Hand had started an NFL game before today. Not too surprising that they looked completely lost with broken coverages all over the field early on. It’s hard to figure out whose fault these are but what I found to be mildly concerning was the frequency with which Jaquan Brisker seemed to be involved. Brisker is a rookie but should be playing well by now. In fairness he played better late in the game and nearly had a nice interception in end zone in the third quarter.
  • On a related note, the Bears mixed it up but it looked to me like they were playing a lot of soft zone coverage. I suppose I can’t blame them. They were severely outmanned. In the end, I think the best that they could hope for was to slow things down so that the score didn’t get out of hand.
  • And, hey, kudos to Stroman who made a fantastic athletic play to get an interception in the 4th quarter.
  • This may be a ridiculous thing to say. But I think the defensive line played just a little better today. They didn’t play well and they had to play stunts and games up front a lot. But every once in a while, I thought I saw some penetration against the run and they did put pressure on Kirk Cousins on occasion. And they were a big part of a nice goal line stand at the end of the first half.Don’t get me wrong. More often than not they still had a tough time getting off of blocks and I wouldn’t call it a good performance. The Vikings ran for 141 yards and passed for 341. The Bears had no sacks. But given what they’ve been, it was actually an improvement.


  • I was interested to see if the Bears were going to let Jones return punts again before the season ran out. But the Vikings never punted the ball.
  • Super poor job of clock management at the end of the first half by the Vikings. Inside the 10 on 3rd down, why in the world they didn’t call play where the wide receiver either caught the ball in the end zone or it was incomplete, I don’t know. But the wide receiver was tackled in bounds in the clock continue to run. Not all the Vikings got off the field and, honestly, I don’t think that some of them knew that the team was out of time outs. Initially some of them didn’t seem to be in much of a hurry. A penalty was called, taking away their chance at a field goal. To not come away with points on a drive like that in a game like this was such a Vikings thing to do.
  • I actually surprised myself this game. In my life I’ve never rooted against the Bears. And I didn’t really do it today. But the Bears secured the number 2 overall pick with a chance at #1 with a loss and I did have this very tiny feeling of relief every time the Vikings scored to keep the game securely within their grasp. I didn’t think I had it in me. And I’m not too sure that I’m proud of it.

    The Bears eventually secured the number #1 overall pick with a Texans loss making them officially the worst team in the league. Congratulations. I guess.

Quick Game Comments: Bears at Lions 1/1/2022


  • I’m not entirely sure what the issue was but Justin Fields had a rough day accuracy-wise on deep balls. Some passes, especially in the first half, were overthrown by a long way. The Bears had just 7 yards passing in the first half and finished with only 30.
  • Interesting that the Lions went with such a heavy does of man-to-man coverage. The Bills had a lot of success stopping Fields from running in part by playing zone defense (where the cover men face the quarterback). But, as color man Jonathan Vilma pointed out, man-to-man is what the Lions do. I guess they thought that it was better to stick with it.
  • Very, very bad day for Braxton Jones who literally got pushed into Field a couple times in just one series in the second quarter. If the team decides that Jones isn’t working out, the need for a left tackle becomes a priority. That’s a tough position to fill and will require the use of resources that the Bears would rather be used to solve other problems.
  • We got to see some Dieter Eiselen at right guard after both Tevin Jenkins and Michael Schofield went out with injuries. He was up and down and occasionally looked like he didn’t belong.
  • On a related note, Fields was sacked 5 times in the first half. The Lions finished the game with 7. In fairness to the offensive line, some of these were Fields holding the ball and not cutting loose. I don’t need to see the all-22 to tell you that Fields was missing open men underneath again as he searched for the big play. This game was a step back for him.
  • The Bears did a good job of running the ball today (200 yards rushing and 9.1 yards per rush), as they did the first time these teams met. This needs to carry over to next year against better teams.
  • The Lions did a good job of preparing Aidan Hutchinson for this game. The Bears left him unblocked much of the time hoping that he would bite on inside run fakes. Instead Hutchinson stayed at home, penetrated straight up field and was waiting for Fields on the edge. The naked boot wasn’t working and the Bears needed to find a different solution. They couldn’t do it.
  • The Bears, who haven’t been bad in this area over the course of the season, were terrible on third down making just 3 of 13 attempts. They were 0 for 1 on fourth down.
  • Yards per pass attempt were just 1.1. That’s very bad.


  • The Lions literally ran over the Bears (265 yards on 39 attempts and 6.8 per rush) in one of the most embarrassing defensive performances that I can remember. D’Andre Swift (78 yards on 11 carries) and Jamaal Williams (144 yards on 22 carries) took turns going off on long runs for the Lions. We’ll have to wait for the post game forensics but I got the distinct impression that this was a disciplinary issue with players simply not covering their gaps. Correcting this will be a focus for the coming week. To the extent that it can be corrected.
  • The Bears rather obviously thought they could get to Jared Goff by blitzing him. Not that they had must choice. The Bears are last in sacks. In any case, Goff looked like he was prepared and he handled it well.
  • On a very related note, I doubt that I have to mention how awful the Bears defensive line was. But, for the record, it was awful. No penetration against the run and very little pass rush in the absence of the blitz most of the time. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the Bears have the worst defensive line in the NFL. This is without doubt the number one need for the offseason.
  • The Lions were attacking the Bears safeties mercilessly, especially DeAndre Houston-Carson. He was involved in both of their initial touchdowns. He was in coverage on the pass for the first and the run for the second was right where he was lined up. This was a tough game for both him and Jaquan Brisker, who was also burned a number of times.
  • Kyler Gordon was under attack as well. He has looked more comfortable out there since the Bears moved him outside permanently and out of the nickel corner position. But his day was marred by a key pass interference call in the end zone that set up the first Lions touchdown.
  • If you are looking for a glimmer of hope, the Bears held the Lions to just 4 for 12 on third down, which isn’t too bad. They were 0 for 1 on fourth down.


  • Kenny Albert (play by play), Vilma (analyst) and Shannon Spake (sideline) were your announcers. I was impressed by Vilma. He had obviously done his homework on these teams and showed more in depth knowledge than usual about the current state of the Bears. He also seems to have a very good idea of what’s happening on the field, diagnosing plays and describing what happened rapidly and accurately.
  • Nice game for Velus Jones who had some good returns including a long one near the end of the first half. He’s done better the last couple games, giving Bears fans just a bit of hope for the future of the 2022 third rounder.
  • The Bears didn’t have an outrageous number of penalties but there was one really bad one, a 34 yard pass interference call in the end zone against Gordon that basically handed the Lions their first touchdown. This is why referees don’t like making such calls. The penalty is crippling and, depending on the nature of the offense, is worse than the offense deserves.
  • The Bears lost the turnover battle with a fumble and interception. They got none from the Lions.
  • Not too thrilled that the Lions went for it on fourth down and two with 8 minutes left up 38-10. On the other hand, the Bears refused to let common sense prevail and called time out with 2:45 left and down by 28. So I guess I can hardly blame the Lions for extending the pain if the Bears were so determined to do so as well.
  • Getting very sick and tired of seeing Gronk on my screen trying to sell me insurance. It wasn’t too funny the first time I saw one and its become very annoying now.
  • The Lions deserve to win this game. They played better and they wanted it more. That’s not a terribly big surprise given the state of both franchises and the seasons that they are having. The loss doesn’t worry me. The way that they lost does.The Bears lost the turnover battle again and are generally not showing signs that they are the better disciplined team that they need to be week after week to win.

    What is also mildly concerning is that there were some key players to the Bears future that had bad games today. Braxton Jones had a miserable time with the bull rush. Jaquan Brisker was frequently attacked in the passing game. Kyler Gordon was also successfully attacked and he had a key pass interference call in the end zone that set up the Lions first touchdown. Chase Claypool was active but didn’t make the stat sheet. The Bears traded what looks like it will be the 33rd pick in the 2023 draft for him. Even Justin Fields regressed today in terms of his passing and his field vision.

    These are young players that the Bears need to be able to build upon for their future. Some are rookies but its late in the year now and they should all be playing better than they are.

    On a different note of the same song, the failure of the Bears coaching staff to find a solution once it became apparent that the naked boot wasn’t working was also problematic and a bad sign for the future. The fact that the defense as a whole is continuing to have so many problems stopping the run, to the extent that this involves poor discipline and gap control by the defense, can also be partly laid at the feet of the coaching staff. In short, the Bears coaching staff was completely out classed today by the Lions staff.

    These are bad signs that we all have to hope are not indicators of the kind of future the Bears are in for.

Who Are the Bears Core Players?

Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune
answers your questions.

“In Sunday’s column, you gave the impression that there is almost no core of players Ryan Poles
can build upon for next season and that it could take two to three years to build the Bears into a contender. Yet a number of games were lost by relatively small margins, which would suggest the Bears should win significantly more games next year and perhaps make the playoffs. Are you perhaps being too negative about the current roster and the chances for next year? — Russ T., Palos Heights”

“Bad teams find ways to pull out games here and there, and the Bears are a bad team mired in an eight-game losing streak, tied for the longest in one season in club history.”

“When looking to the future — and with two games remaining in a 3-12 season, that’s where the focus has to be — a critical eye is needed unless you simply want to view everything as a glass that’s not just half-full but overflowing.

“NFL teams often color-code players in pro scouting to get an idea of a roster’s strengths and weaknesses. There are many variations and everyone has their own little twist (some use numbers), but the bottom line is they’re evaluating players relative to others at the same position leaguewide.

“A color-coded scheme goes blue, red, purple and orange, often with a plus or minus to differentiate even further. Blue is an elite player who can start for any team, a perennial Pro Bowl talent.”

“What makes it challenging to forecast success for the Bears in 2023 is this roster doesn’t have a lot of blue — and maybe doesn’t have a single blue.”

“When you step back and evaluate the current depth chart — and when you see the surplus of elite players that recent opponents such as the Bills and Eagles have — you get a better idea of how far off the Bears are from doing more than trying to wiggle into the playoffs with a record near .500 at this time next year.”

Biggs gave a very long answer to this question, most of which I cut out but all of which I agree with.

However, in order to simplify the response I’d like to take a look at the Bears current roster and simply evaluate players that you can consider to be the core of a future playoff starting unit. The list of core players is pretty short. I included everyone about whom I thought a reasonable case could be made in the table below with my own judgement. Your mileage may vary.

I make it at 15 core starters but 3 are special teamers. Out of the 12 who remain, as Biggs states, none could reasonably be considered as blue players. In addition, only 5 are on the defensive side of the ball (Brisker, Gordon, Jackson, Johnson and Sanborn). Jackson is 29 and none are defensive linemen.

Bottom line, no matter how you slice it, the Bears have a lot of work to do.

Bears Performance on Defense Against the Bills Was More Worrying than the Offensive Woes

Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune gives his 10 thoughts after the Bears loss to the Buffalo Bills on Christmas Eve. Biggs found the offensive struggles to be worrisome in their simplicity.

‘The Bills showed if a defense can prevent Fields from running the ball, the Bears can’t get anything done offensively. That’s sort if what we saw at the start of the season too.’

Biggs went on to quote a couple of Bills players who confirmed his suspicion. Stop Fields from running and its over. But personally, I don’t think that not entirely fair in that the conditions on Saturday accentuated the problem.

In those conditions at Soldier field in the wind and cold weather where gripping the ball was difficult, passing was a problem for both teams. Even the centers were having trouble snapping the ball. Kickers struggled to make short field goals and even extra points.

Passing in those kinds of conditions is a serious issue. Both teams were forced to run the ball. Both defenses knew it and therefore sold out to stop it.

Biggs is correct in that Fields got an incredible amount of attention from the Bills. I don’t need to watch the all-22 to see that they had at least one spy on him every play and that every single defensive player had their attention focused on him.

Unlike the Bills, the Bears, of course, don’t have much of a passing game under the best of conditions. With so many players like , Equaminious St. Brown and Chase Claypool injured the Bills were in a much better position to execute such a game plan. And, of course, the offensive line was patchwork with both guards injured.

Yes, the Bears running game was unable to beat a good team under such conditions. And that’s worrisome because there are no excuses. But I would argue that even the sliver of a passing game that they would have had in better weather would have led to much, much better results even with the make shift starting lineups. They needed more than they got. But I would argue that they didn’t need much more. The weather made the difference.

So my conclusion from the lack of a run game outside of Feilds is not quite as dire as Biggs’ suggest that it is.

On the other hand, the problems on the defensive side are much more of an issue in regard to the above because it made their job much more easy on a day when the Bills didn’t perform at their best. Not being able to stop the Bills from running over them despite knowing that this was what they had to do is very problematic. Biggs tells the story very accurately.

‘The Bears have averaged 19 points in Fields’ last four starts. The defense has been bad more consistently. The Bears were horrendous in this spot, allowing an offense that usually leans heavily on quarterback Josh Allen to run the ball to feature others. Devin Singletary carried 12 times for 106 yards — tied for the second-biggest game of his career — scoring on a 33-yard run. Rookie James Cook had a season-high 99 yards on 11 carries and scored on a 27-yard play.

‘These are smaller, change-of-pace backs who just gutted the Bears as the Bills rolled up a season-high 254 yards rushing with Allen getting 41 yards on six carries. It’s the fourth time this season an opponent has rushed for more than 200 yards against the defense. The Bears gave up four 200-yard games in 2013 and 1951, and the team record is five in 1955. This was just a trampling.

‘”There were some big holes,” Singletary said. “The big guys up front were moving people — I mean moving people. Guys on the outside were holding their blocks and most of the time all we had to do was beat one person.”

‘That is because the Bears were playing primarily with a single-high safety and we saw another display of consistently poor gap discipline. When it gets really bad — like this — different players take turns and it turns into a total mess.’

‘The Bears need to totally overhaul the front seven in the offseason.’

Couldn’t agree more. The Bears are overwhelmed in the run game and can’t generate a pass rush without blitzing. Any rebuild has to start along the defensive line.

Generally speaking, unlike the offensive woes with a playmaker like Fields on the team, this game showed that the defensive woes are as dire as anyone could possibly express.

Why Should the Bears Keep Playing Their Starters? There Are Some Good Reasons for It.

Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune
answers your questions.

“The Bears have had their share of injuries to key players with all of them basically happening during meaningless games. Is it time to shut down the starters? Would hate to see another injury or lose the No. 2 pick as they continue to build. Your thoughts? — @capncoverspicks

‘There’s no way this is a consideration for the coaches at Halas Hall, who continue to plan each week to put the team in the best position to win.’

‘[Bears head coach] Matt Eberflus was asked about Justin Fields‘ passing in the last two games and pointed to continued improvement on a weekly basis. Growth is happening and he has to be on the field for that to continue. No one in the building has a fatalistic view of the final three games, wondering, “What could happen to Fields?” They’re intrigued to see what’s next in his development.’

Biggs makes a lot of good points in his response (many of which I cut out). However, in my opinion it’s this last point that is the major factor here.

It isn’t just quarterback Justin Fields. The vast majority of the starters on the Bears team right now are young players who are all continuing to develop. Logging game time is critical in order to facilitate that development.

Even the players that aren’t young and developing or putting plays on tape which have a major impact on their future. But the key for the Bears right now is to get better on every single snap of every single game.

There is one more factor to be considered here. With so many players in the formative stage of their development, teaching them what professional football and being a member of that fraternity means is an issue. This rant by J.J. Watt, then of the Houston Texans, as he struggled through the end of the 2020 season typifies what that is.

‘We’re professional athletes getting paid a whole lot of money if you can’t come in and put work in in the building go out to the practice field and work hard, do your lifts and do what you’re supposed to do, you should not be here this is a job.

‘We are getting paid a whole lot of money there are a lot of people that watch us and invest their time and their money into buying our jerseys and buying a whole bunch of [ __ ] and they care about it they care every single week. We’re in week 16 and we’re 4 and 11 and there’s fans that watch this game that show up to the stadium that put in time and energy and effort and care about this so if you can’t go out there and you can’t work out, you can’t show up on time, you can’t practice, you can’t want to go out there and win you shouldn’t be here.’

I couldn’t agree more with Watt (you should really watch the entire video).

It’s important that the Bears play and play hard the rest of the season both for the fans and for the future development of the team.

Is Justin Fields Listening to the Coaches?

Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune writes about the woes of the Chicago Bears when they try to score points late in close games.

“If a lesson is to be learned from (QB Tom) Brady, it’s that sometimes you have to take what the defense offers. He put on a master class last Monday on the final two drives by rallying the Bucs almost exclusively with passes thrown underneath. If the defense is going to take away something — deep throws down the middle and vertical boundary routes — it’s going to open up something else.

“That’s where the Bears ran into trouble against the Packers with a deep dig route to Equanimeous St. Brown that Jaire Alexander intercepted at the Green Bay 28-yard line with 2:52 remaining and the Packers leading 20-19.”

“Instead, Fields could have hit running back David Montgomery as a check-down target, picked up 5 yards and moved to second down in a situation in which a field goal at the end of the game would have won it.”

I haven’t had must time to check the previous game recordings but I am not surprised that this is the problem that Biggs identified. I’ve long suspected it.

Fields is a big play hunter. Time after time with the game on the line he’s been holding the ball and holding the ball and holding the ball, apparently waiting for guys to get open downfield so that he can gain all the yardage he needs at once. Eventually he gets sacked by defensive linemen who know he has to pass and can just rush the passer or he throws the ball into the coverage. This is not the way to handle a two minute situation.

What worries me isn’t that the Fields is doing this. He’s a young quarterback and you would expect him to make mistakes.

What worries me is that I am 99% sure that the coaching staff has told him not to do this. It’s far too obvious that there’s plenty of time left on the clock and Fields should be hitting these underneath routes. This is not brain surgery and there’s no way that any coach, much less one that has worked with Aaron Rodgers like offensive coordinator Luke Getsy has, hasn’t noticed this and hasn’t tried to pointed it out to him on film.

So I’m left to wonder. Why has Fields not been listening to advice on this topic? Is it just impatience? Could it be that he doesn’t trust the players around him to execute a long drive correctly?

I don’t know. But I will tell you this. Assuming that common sense is prevailing and he’s getting the right messages from the coaching staff (and admittedly I am assuming that) if he wants to be a Brady or a Peyton Manning, he’s going to have to take coaching.