Bears

The Bears' offense is preaching patience, even if that's easier said than done

The Bears' offense is preaching patience, even if that's easier said than done

The Bears aren't trying to hide it.

In fact, they know better than anyone how underwhleming the offense has been through the first two weeks of the season. After failing to get into the end zone against the Packers in Week 1, last Sunday's one-touchdown affair – though a much better result – still left the team, as guard Kyle Long put it, 'back to basics.' 

"I know that it starts up front," Kyle Long said on Wednesday. "There are a lot of things I can do better, a lot of blocks I’m not making, a lot of guys not accounted for. I’ll be on guys at the beginning of the play and then at the end of the play, they’re around the pile. I need to make it my personal goal to not allow my matchup to make the play."

"If we all do that, and I know that everybody strives to do that, I think we’ll have success."

The stats are already well-worn: 28th in passing yards and passing yards per game (164); 29th in total yards (527) and yards per game (263.5); and 30th in points (19) and points per game (9.5). The only two teams with consistently worse results are the Jets (0-2), who have been outscored 40-19, and the Dolphins (0-2), who have been outscored 102-10. You'd hardly blame the offense for feeling a bit frustrated. 

"I wouldn’t say it’s frustration, so to speak," Allen Robinson said. "I would say it’s more so guys wanting to make plays. That’s what it comes down to. There’s many ways you can look at it. In this game, it comes down to a lot of situational stuff. When you look across the league, that’s what it comes down to. It comes down to playing good in crunch time." 

If there's one part of the offense that the Bears have been pleased with through two weeks, it's been the situational play. The Monday after the Broncos win, Matt Nagy talked at length about how the team was pleased with the absence of pre-snap penalties and how the line neutralized star pass-rusher Von Miller:

"We did a good job at that," he said. "That was impressive. We protected the football in a game like that, where field position and low-scoring, we didn’t give them a short field with any interceptions or fumbles. And I think overall in two games, with their being a lot more negatives than positives offensively, we’ve done a good job at protecting the football." 

As is usually the case with negatives, the word patience was thrown around Halas Hall a bunch on Wednesday. Long compared the season to a boxing match, noting that people very rarely land knock-out blows in the early rounds. But when so much more was expected of the fight, is it hard to stay patient in the moment? 

"Absolutely," he said. "You go out there and you’ve got stuff schemed up, dialed in and you run it and it doesn’t work out like you want it to. But that’s what football is all about: sticking to your guns and sticking with what you know." 

The Bears will get a good opportunity to land a clean punch on Monday night, when they head into Landover, MD., to play a defense that's been one of the NFL's worst so far. It's maybe the best opportunity yet to showcase what Nagy 202 can really be. 

"Definitely. We all want the big plays," Robinson added. "We all want all of that. I think that's pretty evident from an offensive standpoint. Each and every week we're going out there trying to put in the work.

It'll come out."

 

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Former Bears DC Vic Fangio off to rough start as Broncos coach

Former Bears DC Vic Fangio off to rough start as Broncos coach

Former Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio was one of the few head-coaching candidates last offseason whose reputation in the league was based on defense. With most teams looking for the next young offensive guru, Fangio's stature as a veteran defensive coach made the Denver Broncos' decision to name him their head coach a pretty bold move.

After a 3-6 start and a change from Joe Flacco to Brandon Allen at quarterback, Denver's lacking offense has sparked internal frustration, according to CBS Sports' Jason LaCanfora.

The real source of the difficulty, however, appears to be Fangio.

Fangio has had issues with offensive assistants, the sources said, and at one point top receiver Emmanuel Sanders in essence walked out on the team, leading to his eventual trade. Lines of communication have been strained, and Fangio has been quick to dispute play calls and come across as overbearing on the headsets, sources said, which has created issues in-game and otherwise.

Fangio's time in Chicago was highlighted by the dominant performance of the Bears' defense in 2018, one that led the team to an NFC North championship and its first playoff berth since 2010.

But he was never able to establish himself as the kind of coach who could handle the media or other responsibilities that come along with being atop the coaching food chain. His to-the-point and sometimes brutally honest style worked well for a grizzled defensive coordinator, but head coaches are held to a different standard.

It would be unfair to expect Fangio to change who he is at this point in his coaching career, which began with the New Orleans Saints 33 seasons ago. 

Maybe we're just starting to see why it took so long for him to actually land a head coaching position.

(Too) Bold Predictions: The Blake Bortles-Mitch Trubisky debate gets answered once and for all

(Too) Bold Predictions: The Blake Bortles-Mitch Trubisky debate gets answered once and for all

(Too) Bold Predictions aims to take nuanced, well-researched information and use it to make wildly improbable predictions. Analysis! 

J.J. Stankevitz
1. Eddie Jackson -- finally! -- has his first two interceptions of the season.
Does this count as a bold prediction if I've predicted it, incorrectly, multiple times this year? Whatever. Either way: It finally happens! Jared Goff has nine interceptions this year and the Rams' offense has looked broken at times. Sunday should be a nice opportunity for Jackson to finally get that takeaway he's so hungry for, and we'll say he stacks another one on it. These things do come in bunches, after all.

2. Blake Bortles vs. Mitch Trubisky gets settled once and for all.
Sean McVay intentionally put Blake Bortles in the Rams' loss to the Steelers last week, as if one of the NFL's foremost offensive minds was taken over by Jason from "The Good Place." The prediction here: Things go catastrophically wrong for Goff in the first half Sunday night, but the Bears aren't able to capitalize, holding a 6-0 lead at halftime. With the Rams' season on the line, McVay breaks the glass and gives Bortles a shot in the second half, which goes...actually, kind of well? I have the Rams beating the Bears in my official prediction, and I wouldn't imagine a Bortles-led offense would be good enough to beat the Bears. But is a Trubisky-led offense good enough for the Bears to beat the Rams? This could be an ugly, yet fascinating, night if Bortles and Trubisky wind up quarterbacking against each other.

Cam Ellis
1. David Montgomery has his most impressive game of the season. 
The Bears probably aren't going to have a lot of success running it through some of the interior gaps, because, you know, Aaron Donald and all. The Rams' run defense is great (3rd in DVOA) so getting over the (kind of arbitrary) 100-yard mark may not happen, but without Adam Shaheen, Trey Burton, and Jalen Ramsey smothering Allen Robinson, the Bears aren't going to have that many options available to them on Sunday night. It sounds like Montgomery may be a gametime decision, but it's hard to imagine how the Bears move the ball at all without him. Whether it's total yardage, the number of touchdowns, or some jaw-dropping display of his space alien abilities to avoid being tackled, Montgomery's the story on Monday morning. 

2. The Bears' offense looks as good as it has all year. 
Like I said in prediction 1, the Bears' offense goes into Sunday night with a serious lack of NFL experience at the skill position. Shaheen and Burton are out, so they'll have to rely on JP Holtz, Ben Braunecker, and Bradley Sowell, who I promise are all real people. Allen Robinson has to go up against Ramsey, and David Montgomery's ankle has made him a maybe. But who cares?! All the common sense says a Trubisky/Cohen/Braunecker core probably isn't getting the best of Wade Phillips, but (Too) Bolds is not the place for common sense. For no rhyme or reason, something about the Bears' offense clicks tonight. Will it be fun? Yes! Will it continue going forward? No!