Bears

The Bears might have a big problem with drops

The Bears might have a big problem with drops

The Bears have really struggled to move the ball this season, as evidenced by their current No. 29 overall ranking in yards per game. While there are plenty of things at fault for the Bears' woeful offensive production, from Matt Nagy's playcalling to trouble establishing the run, it turns out another ugly issue has reared its ugly head: drops.

According to unofficial statistics from Fox, the Bears lead the NFL in drop percentage at 7.36%. According to the leaderboard, not only does Chicago lead the NFL in drop rate, but they are the only team in the league with a drop rate above 7%.

There are a number of factors that have led to the Bears issues with drops and they appear to be a threefold issue.

1. The Bears receiving core has to improve in this capacity, especially considering that they have two players in the top 35 in the league in drops.

And those two players (Tarik Cohen with 6 dropped passes and Allen Robinson with 3 dropped passes) are crucial parts of the offense. 

2. Mitch Trubisky has to give his receivers a chance. 

Trubisky is coming off of his best game of the season against the Detroit Lions, in which he threw for 173 yards, 3 touchdowns, and no picks in a 20-13 Bears' win. In that matchup, he had a 69.6% completion rate, his second-best single-game completion percentage of the year. He will need to string together multiple games like this to continue to dispel the narrative surrounding him, help the Bears drop woes dissipate, and thusly help the squad make a serious playoff push. 

In recent weeks, Nagy and co. have had Trubisky take fewer pass attempts, 22.0 per game over his last two weeks, and this comes after having a whopping 54 pass attempts in a Week 7 loss to the New Orleans Saints. With some adjustments from both the coaching staff and Trubisky, the third-year quarterback appears to be better positioned to be an accurate passer for the rest of the season, it's simply on him to deliver, as he did in Week 10.

3. The offensive line has to be better to give Trubisky a chance to show any real improvement 

The Bears are 22nd in the league in sacks allowed, having given up 27 through 10 weeks.

Obviously injuries have played a factor, with Kyle Long on the IR. And to Nagy's credit, he has shuffled around the assignments on the offensive line, trying to provide a spark to the group. Nagy himself stated, "We just know that making that switch, for a lot of different reasons is more beneficial." 

We will see if the changes on the O-line actually help Trubisky get more comfortable in the pocket, helping him deliver more accurate strikes to his receivers. 

The Bears need to try any and all remedies for their drop issues. An offense that is having trouble running the ball, and is trying to build confidence in their QB cannot afford to deal with these types of inconsistencies from their playmakers. 

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Clippers coach and Chicago native Doc Rivers weighs in on Bears-Packers

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USA Today

Clippers coach and Chicago native Doc Rivers weighs in on Bears-Packers

With Doc Rivers, Patrick Beverly and the Los Angeles Clippers in town to face the Bulls, you knew the question was coming. Both Rivers and Beverly are from Chicago and not shy about their affection for the city. 

"Do you and Pat talk about coming to Chicago?" a reporter asked, during Rivers' pregame media scrum, Saturday night.

"We talk about Chicago, probably every single day," Rivers said with a hint of a smile. "We talk about the Bears the most."

That led to Rivers rapid-fire addressing a number of ruminations on the current state of the Bears, including his respect for head coach Matt Nagy.

"I’m a big Bears fan. A big Nagy fan. I think he’s a terrific coach," Rivers said. "I just do, every once in a while you get a feeling about someone, and I have that about him."

High praise coming from Rivers, the 13th-winningest coach in NBA history and an NBA Finals champion in 2008 with the Boston Celtics.

Now, he coaches the third-winningest team in the league in the Clippers, but he still finds time to keep up with current Chicago affairs.

"[Beverly and I] talk about everything with Chicago. We talk about the dominance of Proviso East [Rivers' high school alma mater] over Marshall [Beverly's alma mater], and every other team. He doesn’t like that conversation very much," Rivers said.

He added that he even contemplated driving down for the Bears' Week 14 matchup with the Cowboys on Thursday Night Football (the Clippers were in town for a game with Milwaukee that Friday).

And as for tomorrow's crucial division game against the Packers, Rivers made his position abundantly clear.

"Well, you know what I think," Rivers said, when asked for a prediction for the contest. "Are you kidding me?"

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Bear PAWS: Overcoming bad mojo in Green Bay

Bear PAWS: Overcoming bad mojo in Green Bay

When we think about or hear the number “13,” it makes us reflect on any number of negative things that could possibly happen in a given situation. We imagine black cats crossing our path and shattered mirrors creating bad luck environments. Even Jason Voorhees, a boogeyman character from the “Friday the 13th” franchise, enters our mindset, unnerving us with portents of doom and unfortunate circumstance.

Thirteen generates an apprehension similar to the feeling most Bears fans get when the team goes to Green Bay and “has” to win important, playoff-qualifying games. Sometimes numbers, the stars and our fates align with the weird and unexplainable, producing outcomes that are inexplicable. Fortunately, we can use P.A.W.S. (Predictive Analysis With Statistics) to explain how No. 13 and Green Bay may disrupt the Bears’ immediate future.

After 13 games this season, the Packers are ranked 13th both in scoring offense (300 points) and defensive points allowed (270). Coincidence? I think not! Mysteriously, this year’s first game — played to kick-start the NFL’s 100th season —  ended with a grand total of 13 points scored collectively between the rivals. Strangely, the Packers produced 13 first downs in a victory, while Chicago generated 16 first downs, yet still lost. During the same game, Packers running back Aaron Jones led all rushers with 39 yards on...13 carries! Conversely, the Bears’ passing attack led to 13 targets for wide receiver Allen Robinson (102 yards, no touchdowns), coupled with an interception in the endzone that cemented the outcome.

Looking further down the rabbit hole, we find Packers’ wide receiver Allen Lazard, who wears jersey No. 13. Sure, he’s only seventh on the team in receptions (24) and fifth in receiving yards (349), but he’s second on the team in yards per reception (14.5) among players with 15 or more passes caught. Eerily, Lazard had his best pro game during Week 13, amassing 103 yards on three receptions (34.3 YPC), and one receiving touchdown. Yes, it's almost time to cue the shrieking violin music followed by inaudible whispered voices.

All is not gloom and doom for the Monsters of the Midway, as the Bears can still positively impact their playoff fate by beating the Packers on Sunday. Although Green Bay is 13th in scoring average (23.8 PPG), Chicago averaged 24.7 PPG over their last three games to rank 12th in the league during that span. The Packers are completing passes at 64.5 percent, 13th in the NFL. The Bears completed exactly 70 percent of passes thrown in their last three contests, winning each game.

Green Bay, too, has its struggles with 13 and its negative effects. When it comes to third down conversions, the Packers are 13th-worst, converting only 35.7 percent of their chances. The Bears convert at a higher rate on the road (38.9%) and over the last three games, the Bears’ 43.2 percent conversion rate is top 10 in the NFL. The Packers have noticeably struggled stopping the opposition’s running attack. The Packers rank 25th in stopping the run, allowing 122.8 yards per game and are even worse at home, giving up 139.3 yards per contest at Lambeau Field.

Friday was Dec. 13, and while that may raise the hackles on one’s neck — or increase the number of goosebumps — each team must rise above superstition in order to win. The Bears can either look around for good omens to reveal themselves or they can beat the Packers by:

● Taking advantage of a Packers pass defense ranked 21st in passing yards allowed per game (245.1) - the Bears are ranked 13th, allowing 230.2 yards per game.

● Improve in red zone completion percentage. Last year, Mitch Trubisky was 13th in the league at 64.1 percent, while this season he has a lowly 53.2 percent rate (33rd in the NFL). 

●Stop or at least contain Jones. He’s averaging 13.5 rush attempts per game, and it’s the first time in his career he’s started all 13 games. The Packers are 14-11 when he starts.

Just like Jason Voorhees, Rodgers and the Packers are hard to finish off. The Bears must overcome this constant horror show by playing to their capabilities and not succumbing to indecision and thoughts of past failures. It’s far past time to put this Rasputin-like team to rest.

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