Bears

Bears 27, Colts 17: Immediate reactions from the Bears win over Indianapolis

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USA Today

Bears 27, Colts 17: Immediate reactions from the Bears win over Indianapolis

Despite the bombshell Andrew Luck news, the Bears and Colts did in fact finish their game on Saturday night.  Preseason scores obviously aren’t all that important, something Matt Nagy made abundantly clear when he decided to not play any of the starters in what’s traditionally the season’s dress rehearsal. For the time being, Bears fans will have to get their fix through Eddy Pineiro field goal attempts and inside linebacker rotations. You can always find questions if you look hard enough, and that’s exactly what preseason content is for. Who was good? And who wasn’t? A review: 

THE BAD 

Chase Daniel

It was rough. 3-9 with 21 yards type rough. His offensive line didn’t do him any favors, but Daniel also missed on some clean throws. Barring any injury, he’s going to be QB2 when they take the field against the Packers on Sep. 5 - but it’s been a rocky preseason for the 10-year vet. He’s close with Matt Nagy and proved his worth in two games last season, but as the NFL’s highest-paid backup, not having a touchdown pass through three games isn’t great optics. 

The Offensive Line 

Tackle depth has quietly become a pretty big concern for the Bears, who came into Saturday without Rashaad Coward as he deals with an elbow injury. T.J. Clemmings left the game in the 1st quarter on a cart after hurting his leg. Cornelius Lucas didn’t look particularly good. As a unit, the 2’s and 3’s have allowed 10 sacks through three games. A silver lining? Alex Bars – who threw a key block in Ryan Nall’s 69-yard run – got some snaps at left tackle, and has looked strong in both games and practice so far. 

Penalties 

Blame it on the preseason if you want, but the Bears had 9 penalties for 85 yards, including one that wiped out a Ryan Nall touchdown run. They've had  at least eight penalties in all of their preseason games so far.

THE GOOD

Eddy Pineiro

In his first game as the roster’s lone kicker, Pineiro had his best moment in a Bears uniform. The kicker crushed a 58 yard field goal, with room to spare: 

He went 2-2 on the night, and was 3/3 on extra point attempst. Pineiro will presumably get the final two games to definitively win the job, and splitting the uprights from the midfield logo certainly doesn’t hurt. 


The Linebackers 

Matt Nagy mentioned that he was keeping an eye on the ILB’s on Saturday night, and it’d be hard not to like what he saw. Nick Kwiatkoski made some nice plays in the first half, and Joel Iyiegbuniwe had a (relatively easy) scoop-and-score. Josh Woods also put together another strong game. Even James Vaughters – who’s listed on the team’s roster as an OLB – had another strong night after forcing his second fumble in two weeks. Three of the Bears’ five sacks came from linebackers (Kwiatkoski, Vaughters, and Iyiegbuniwe) too. 

More Turnovers! 

Three more tonight makes it eight so far. History says that high turnover rates are almost impossible to replicate, and much of that concern fuels a lot of the regression talk that’s surrounded the defense this offseason. Deon Bush’s 2nd quarter forced fumble scoop-and-score was as impressive a play as anyone had all night. Preseason caveats aside, the Bears’ knack for the ball still looks like a big strength, and it feels like there’s more optimism in that regard than there was three weeks ago. 
 

Matt Nagy listed among coaches on the hot seat in 2020

Matt Nagy listed among coaches on the hot seat in 2020

It's been quite a first two years in Chicago for Bears coach Matt Nagy.

After winning an NFC North title in a 12-win, first season on the job in 2018, Nagy's Bears regressed to a .500 club last season that couldn't get out of its own way on offense, his supposed specialty. With 32 games on his resume and a 20-12 overall record as head coach, the Bears could do a lot worse.

Remember John Fox? Remember Marc Trestman? Never forget.

RELATED: Chicago Bears 7-round Mock Draft

But the NFL is a win-now, win-always, just-win league. Nagy didn't do that in 2019, and when combined with the Super Bowl expectations the Bears began the year with, his shortcomings were magnified.

Quarterback Mitch Trubisky got worse, the offensive line was a turnstile and the running game didn't exist for most of the year.

All this from Nagy's offense that was hyped as Level 202 during training camp.

The hype is over, and the pressure is on. With pressure comes the proverbial hot seat, and Nagy was recently pegged as one of five coaches who will begin next season with a warm buttock by Bleacher Report. 

Nagy's offense and the play of a costly investment by the name of Mitchell Trubisky dramatically regressed in 2019. The Bears managed just 17.5 points per game while Trubisky produced a mere 17 touchdowns against 10 picks. Little in the way of offensive identity existed while the running game averaged 3.7 yards per carry and one ball-carrier (David Montgomery) surpassed the 300-yard mark.

It doesn't help that the defense went from allowing a league-best 17.7 points per game with 50 sacks in 2018 to 18.6 and 32, respectively, fueling the idea of a regression without defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and putting a further damper on things. 

The Bears, given the investment in Trubisky and pieces like All-Pro linebacker Khalil Mack, have higher expectations than most teams. Going into 2020, another 8-8 season probably isn't going to cut it. 

Nagy's job security will come down to his handling of Trubisky. If the former No. 2 overall pick delivers more of the same in 2020, Nagy has to prove he has the courage to make the change under center. Otherwise, he'll come across as nothing more than GM Ryan Pace's pawn in the quarterback game.

It's true the fates of Pace and Nagy fate are likely tied together. As the 2020 season goes, so goes their future with the team. They have to be in lockstep about Trubisky, and self-preservation is a very powerful thing. Don't expect Trubisky's leash to be all that long.   

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Bears meet with FIU quarterback at East-West Shrine Bowl

Bears meet with FIU quarterback at East-West Shrine Bowl

The Bears' quest to flip their quarterback room from a group of underwhelming veterans with little upside behind Mitch Trubisky is already off and running.

According to the Houston Chronicle's Aaron Wilson, the Bears met with FIU quarterback James Morgan at the 2020 East-West Shrine Bowl, the second-largest All-Star game of the NFL draft circuit.

Morgan (6-foot-4, 223) completed 58 percent of his passes last season for 2,560 yards, 14 touchdowns and five interceptions. He isn't considered a draftable player at this point in the process, but a strong showing in front of scouts at the Shrine Bowl could change that. 

Morgan had a more productive 2018 campaign when he threw 26 touchdowns to just seven interceptions while completing more than 65 percent of his passes. 

RELATED: Chicago Bears 7-round Mock Draft

Bears fans are expecting a bigger move at quarterback than Morgan, but if Chicago adds a veteran in free agency, they're more likely to wait until Day 3 to draft a developmental prospect, if any at all. It's possible Trubisky will be backed up (at least initially) by a player like Andy Dalton to begin the year, while a youngster like Morgan sharpens his skill set on the practice squad.

Next week's Senior Bowl will help put some of the pieces of this puzzle together. Quarterbacks Jalen Hurts (Oklahoma) and Jordan Love (Utah State) are both considered late first-round prospects who could easily slide into Round 2. If the Bears spend time with them in Mobile, it could be a strong clue about their second-round plans.

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