Bears

Bears offensive grades: Serious coaching, personnel questions loom after loss to Raiders

Bears offensive grades: Serious coaching, personnel questions loom after loss to Raiders

QUARTERBACKS: C+

Chase Daniel made a number of outstanding throws in leading the Bears’ back from the 17-0 deficit they faced at halftime, but he threw two interceptions and had another nullified by a roughing the passer penalty. He wasn’t on the same page with wideout Anthony Miller when he threw his loss-sealing interception — this after getting the Bears into Raiders’ territory inside the two-minute warning. Coach Matt Nagy said Monday Miller shouldn’t have flattened off his route, but Daniel took accountability for the mistake after the game, saying he should’ve checked down on the play. 

Mitch Trubisky could very well be back after the off week, and the Bears need him to take some of the good things Daniel did — finding rhythm in the offense, hitting some downfield throws — and build upon them. Because it’s worth noting here the two interceptions Daniel threw Sunday represented as many as Trubisky has had in three-plus games in 2019. 

RUNNING BACKS: D+

David Montgomery can only do so much when the scheme and blocking aren’t doing him any favors, but we’re now five games into his rookie year and he’s averaging fewer yards per carry (3.3) than Jordan Howard did last year (3.7). He made an excellent catch for a first down on the Bears’ first drive, bodying up cornerback Gareon Conley at the sticks, and his contact balance and elusiveness are noticeable. The production, however, is not. 

Mike Davis was invisible and Tarik Cohen wasn’t able to generate anything explosive, either on the ground or through the air. Cohen, too, went out of bounds late in the second quarter, which forced the Bears into punting the ball back to the Raiders — a punt which was nearly blocked. 

WIDE RECEIVERS: B

Allen Robinson was outstanding, making two spectacular catches — one for a touchdown and one for a first down — on his way to snagging seven of eight targets for 97 yards with two scores. Miller made his first big play of 2019, reeling in a physical 32-yard heave from Daniel that set up one of Robinson’s touchdowns. 

But Miller also dropped a pass that meant the Bears went three and out on their first drive of the second half, and the two successive penalties he committed (unsportsmanlike conduct and offside on a kickoff) helped give the Raiders excellent field position to start their ensuing drive. 

This group could probably use Taylor Gabriel back from the concussion he suffered in Week 3, though. Javon Wims was targeted just once, and Cordarrelle Patterson was on the field for just two offensive snaps. 

TIGHT ENDS: D-

This unit has not done much, collectively, as run blockers or receivers this year, with Sunday being no different. Adam Shaheen played just 12 snaps — only three more than waiver wire pickup J.P. Holtz — signaling a lack of trust from the coaching staff in their 2017 second-round pick. Ideally, the Bears could have Shaheen on the field to run the ball more with an in-line tight end, either in 11 or 12 personnel. 

Holtz actually did a few decent things in his limited time, and turned his first career reception into a 16-yard gain. 

And Burton still doesn’t look quite right. He had a good catch on third-and-nine to convert a third down midway through the third quarter, but otherwise caught three of four targets for 16 yards. He has 11 catches for 57 yards this year — an average of 5.2 yards per reception, a little less than half his average in 2018. 

OFFENSIVE LINE: D-

While Daniel was sacked four times, only two of those were credited to offensive lineman by PFF (Charles Leno and James Daniels), which feels about fight. The larger concern here remains the ineffectiveness with which Harry Hiestand’s unit continues to play against the run. 

No player has been penalized more than Leno (eight) this year. While he argued some of the holding penalties assessed to him have been "bulls--t" there've been too many mistakes from the Bears' usually-reliable left tackle.

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First and Final Thoughts: The Giants are beatable ... right?

First and Final Thoughts: The Giants are beatable ... right?

Not unlike Matt Nagy and Mitch Trubisky, it's Year 2 of First and Final Thoughts. Insider JJ Stankevitz and producer Cam Ellis talk about what's on their minds between games.

Final Thoughts on Week 11

J.J. Stankevitz: Since we've talked and written so much about Mitch Trubisky and the circumstances of his removal from Sunday's game, let me take this in another direction: Matt Nagy no longer appears to trust Eddy Piñeiro. For the second time this year, Nagy had his offense try to convert a fourth-and-long instead of attempting a long -- but not incredibly long -- field goal. Opting against having Piñeiro attempt a 49-yard field goal in the first quarter to try to convert that fourth and nine was bizarre, and does not bode well for Piñeiro's future even if the Bears aren't bringing anyone for tryouts just yet. 

Piñeiro has made 12 of 17 field goals this year, but has missed his last three attempts dating back to his wide-left game-winning attempt against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 8. Perhaps more than anyone not named Trubisky, Piñeiro needs to turn things around in the final six games of 2019 to keep his job in 2020. And if he doesn't start making his kicks quickly, he might not even get six more games this year. 

Cam Ellis: It was great seeing Roquan Smith play well against the Rams. Everything else about the Rams game was such a mess but he was making more plays than anyone else on the field Sunday night. His issues don't even make it onto the podium of most-discussed narratives this season, but it'd be a nice silver lining to see him finish the season strong after how it started. Danny Trevathan is week-to-week apparently (!?), but the Smith-Nick Kwiatkoski duo did pretty well in their first game together. It'll be interesting to see how quickly the Bears work to rush Trevathan or Akiem Hicks back if they've already lost 8-9 games by December. 

First Thoughts on Week 12 

Stankevitz: The Giants don't do anything well, ranking 27th in both offensive and defensive DVOA and entering the weekend with the same record as the Miami Dolphins. There's a legitimate chance the Giants play themselves into the second overall pick (again) if they wind up losing to the Dolphins at home and Washington on the road on Dec. 15 and 22, respectively. 

Saquon Barkley, the No. 2 pick in 2018's draft, has gained 29 yards on his last 27 carries. 29 yards! Maybe the off week will have helped Barkley's balky ankle get better, but as long as the Bears can stop him from making an impact, they should cruise to a comfortable win against a truly awful football team on Sunday. 

Ellis: Yeah, what J.J. said. Taking any NFL game for granted is an easy way to look stupid, but the Bears are a much better team than the Giants. If there's a Tampa-2018 game in store for the Bears this season, it's this one. They're dying to hit on some big plays, too. 

Could Georiga's Jake Fromm be the Bears' Drew Brees?

Could Georiga's Jake Fromm be the Bears' Drew Brees?

If you've paid attention to the conversation surrounding Bears general manager Ryan Pace's decision to draft Mitch Trubisky over DeShaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes in the 2017 NFL Draft, you've learned that Pace's preferred quarterback prototype is future Hall-of-Famer, Drew Brees.

Pace felt like Trubisky exhibited some Brees-like qualities at North Carolina, both on and off the field. 

“Every time he got in the game,” Pace said after selecting Trubisky, “something happened in a positive way.”

Unfortunately, positive results have been hard to come by in 2019. Trubisky hasn't taken that next step in his development and despite back-to-back decent games against the Lions and Rams, questions remain about whether he'll be the Bears' quarterback in 2020.

If Pace and coach Matt Nagy decide it's time to move on, or at the very least add some competition, Georgia's Jake Fromm could be a logical second-round target in the 2020 NFL draft. In fact, an argument can be made that Fromm has a more Brees-like resume than Trubisky ever did.

"When you look at Fromm, if he's there at 45 (Bears' first of two second-rounders), and the Bears are stuck with this roster that they have Trubisky coming back this year, you have to have someone that is just more calm, more composed," Bleacher Report's Connor Rodgers said on the Stick To Football Podcast." Somebody that can control the offense, somebody that can give Allen Robinson a chance in this offense. I would take the swing on Jake Fromm if I was Chicago."

Fromm will have his critics if he declares for the NFL draft this year. He isn't the best athlete, he doesn't have the strongest arm and there's nothing about his game film that suggests he's a surefire NFL starter. In other words, he'll probably end up with a grade very similar to Brees when the former Purdue star entered the draft in 2001.

Brees was selected at the top of the second round, No. 32 overall, by the San Diego Chargers.

Fromm's box score won't blow you away. He's completing 65 percent of his passes for 1,948 yards with 16 touchdowns and three interceptions this season, but he's a gamer. He rises up when the Bulldogs need him most, much like Brees did during his college career. He's also an extremely accurate passer, which is a trait that quarterbacks either have or they don't. Most of Trubisky's struggles tend to be a result of his poor mechanics and off-target throws; Fromm is the anti-Trubisky when it comes to both areas of his game.

There's a lot of time between now and the 2020 NFL draft, but Fromm is a name to watch if the Bears decide to dip into the quarterback pool this April.

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