Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune answers your questions. While answering an endless stream of fans who support keeping Justin Fields at quarterback he managed to slip one in about something else that may turn out to be related to an interesting development for the upcoming season:
With Cole Kmet under contract for the foreseeable future and Robert Tonyan and Marcedes Lewis low-usage guys this year, is there any chance the Bears would draft Brock Bowers if he falls to them? — Mike F., Chicago
Bowers is an interesting prospect and a highly skilled tight end. The Bears would have to desire to use a ton of two-tight-end formations if they invested in Bowers. It’s more likely they would select a wide receiver as they don’t have a No. 2 opposite DJ Moore under contract right now and they probably want to create some competition for Tyler Scott for the No. 3 role.
New offensive coordinator Shane Waldron is a former tight end in the NFL. Last year the Seattle Seahawks ran more three tight end formations than any team in the NFL. They were in the top five in double tight end formations.
I think there’s very little doubt that we’re going to see more use of the tight end in Chicago next year. To me that means they are definitely going to want to upgrade the position with a better player opposite Kmet.
Biggs makes an excellent point and it’s one that I’m sure the vast majority of Chicago Bears fans share. That is, they need help at wide receiver opposite Moore. That will likely have through come to the draft. On the other hand, the upgrade at tight end doesn’t have to be a high draft pick. But they’re going to have to find upgrades at the position somewhere if they’re going to fulfill what is likely to be Waldron’s vision for the offense. It’s something to keep an eye on.
- The Bears came out with a reasonably conservative game plan to begin the game. Lots of short passes and running plays. Its possible that offensive coordinator Luke Getsy was trying to compensate for weakness on the interior of the offensive line. In any case, plans like that require really sharp and consistent execution that the Bears sometimes don’t exhibit. You wondered if they were trying to lull Green Bay to set up some shot plays. They never came.
- Fields was reasonably accurate today, especially when throwing to DJ Moore or when his first read otherwise was open. Like most quarterbacks, he’s at his best when he can hit his back foot and fire. He was, of course, also quite good throwing on the move.
- I was also impressed by the way the Bears ran the ball, though the more they depended on it, the less successful it was.
- The Packers got a lot of pressure on Fields up the middle where Dan Feeney was playing center and where Nate Davis left the game in the second quarter. The Bears need to acquire more depth in the middle of the line in the offseason. Tevin Jenkins had a rough day.
- Jordan Love obviously knows what he’s doing against the blitz. The Bears had a free rush in the first series and he got the ball out to his hot receiver very quickly. Nice work.
- Love does a good job of throwing with anticipation. He’s reasonably accurate. He also drops back deep and makes the defensive linemen really run to get to him.
- The Bears looked to me like they were playing mostly zone defense. This was, perhaps, an effort to cover for the absence of Jaylon Johnson. The Packers did a reasonably good job of finding holes in the backfield, though. The truth is that you can’t just sit in zone and expect to beat the Packers. You have to be able challenge them.
- I was impressed by the blocking that the Packers were doing up front. It looked like good fundamental football there. The Packers mostly won the battle up front on the offensive side.
- What a potentially huge play at the end of the first half when the Packers receiver let the clock run out while in easy field goal distance. A boner truly worthy of the Bears, not the Packers. I might point out that Love tried to throw an interception in the end zone the play before. Not a great way to handle that kind of situation. Add that to the fumble that Love gave up to Jaquan Brisker right along the boundary and maybe the Packers should avoid making plays along that sideline.
- The Packers did a good job of neutralizing Montez Sweat, who had very little impact on the game.
- Much will be made of Love’s performance, and rightfully so. But the Packers ran for over 5 yards per carry. That was a pretty big aspect of their win.
- Cairo Santos entered the game 32 of 35 for the season (91.4%). He needed to finish above 90% to get a $500,000 bonus. He went 3 for 3 to maintain the standard and get the money.
- Velus Jones was especially good in the kick return game today. the Bears got reasonably good starting position.
- Players on both sides were slipping all over the turf today. Lambeau has a hybrid turf that I’m guessing might be a little tricky, especially if its damp.
- This game must have been a great thing for CBS. The last playoff spot in the NFC went straight through Green Bay. Everyone had an eye on the game.
- I don’t think that I’ve ever watched a game with so few penalties on either side. The Bears had one holding call. That was it. An astoundingly clean game.
- This is from The Athletic yesterday morning.
“There are two advanced stats we can use to judge this. QBR takes into account a player’s rushing, and Fields’ QBR of 46.3 ranks 22nd in the NFL. That’s down from 56.3 last season, when he ran for 500 more yards. For anyone curious, Mitch Trubisky had the third-best QBR in 2018 (he was the 10th-best passer and No. 1 runner).
“We can also look at EPA — expected points added — per dropback, which includes Fields’ scrambles. Per TruMedia, that is -0.05, which ranks 25th in the league. If we want to just isolate Fields’ post-injury play, he’s 20th in EPA per dropback since Week 11. Packers quarterback Jordan Love ranks No. 1.
“When it comes to gross yards output, Fields is 20th in the league in total yards. Since Week 11, he ranks 14th.
Today Fields was 11 for 16 for 148 yards passing. He ran for 27 yards. So I don’t see the statistics above improving.
Do you really want to keep a guy with those stats over the best QB in this draft?