Bears

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

Could Georgia'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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The Packers beat a bad Bears team in Week 1. In Week 15, they'll get a totally new one.

The Packers beat a bad Bears team in Week 1. In Week 15, they'll get a totally new one.

All week, reporters at Halas Hall tried to get Matt Nagy and the Bears to compare who they were during Week 1’s game against Green Bay to where they are now. And all week at Halas Hall, Matt Nagy and the Bears wouldn't bite. 

“We're both different. They're a little bit different, we're different,” Matt Nagy said. “They did a great job both as players and their coaches, so like I said yesterday, it feels like a while ago and that's why you play. You have a 16-game season and in division you get two chances. We'll just do everything we can to put it behind us and try to be better.” 

Different might be an understatement. Gone are Kyle Long and Bobby Massie. The Starting-Center-James-Daniel experiment is over, and Mike Davis is playing in the NFC South now. Adam Shaheen and Trey Burton – though the latter didn’t play in Week 1 – are on IR, too. Normally, losing two starting tight ends, a ‘starting’ running back, and the entire right side of the offensive line means you’re spending the last month of the season scouting for 2020. Instead, the Bears head to Lambeau Field on Sunday with a path to the playoffs still in front of them. 

“I just feel like we’re kind of in a rhythm now. We’re a different team,” Mitch Trubisky said. “There were some things that we had to go through in the first game and the beginning of the season that just didn’t go our way, and there’s things we definitely learned from as an offense. 

“I just feel like we have a new-found identity of what we want to do and everybody is really locked into what they have to do within their job description on the offense.” 

Perhaps the biggest difference between Week 1 and Week 15 has been the play of Trubisky, who looked like he was headed for a clipboard in 2020 before regaining his form over the last month or so. His comfortability in the offense is night and day compared to some of the struggles he went through during the first half of the season. If you ask him – which, duh, we did – he’ll tell you he’s felt the most growth off the field. 

“I just would say mental toughness, the ability to block out things on the outside,” he said. “Adversity, obviously, early in the season with people talking on the outside and then having to play through injuries and stuff, and just coming together closer as a team. My teammates having my back, that really gives me the most confidence.” 

The 14-week turnaround isn’t all about confidence, as Nagy 202 has morphed into something not expected but effective nonetheless. The running game has stabilized and they’ve found successful plays out of 4 WR sets – even if one of those receivers is Montgomery/Tarik Cohen. In Week 1? Montgomery had six rushes and the Bears ran two plays out of 10 personnel. Nagy said that he thought something clicked on Trubisky’s touchdown pass to Ben Braunecker against the Lions. 

“There's something there,” he said. “We felt it a little bit in the Chargers game, we just weren't effective in the red zone. But because we won the [Lions] game it magnifies it a little bit more … And then we just kind of started putting things together and I think over time we've just felt like it's just started to click. I don't know if it's specifically one play or not but that's probably my best guess.” 

It couldn’t have come at a better time, as the team prepares for what Nagy calls a “cat-and-mouse” game against Packers’ defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, who perhaps knows Trubisky better than any other opposing coordinator in the game. 

“Coach Pettine has done a great job throughout his career of being almost tendency-free,” he said. “And they’re even better now with how they deploy those guys, and it’s kind of a perfect, perfect storm of scheme and talent, and the guys on the back end help them out too.” 

The Bears are playing with a looseness that might come from essentially being mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, but oddly, it continues to work for them. And when you have to go play Aaron Rodgers in Lambeau with your season on the line, you don’t question what works. 

“I love it. You want to go against the best all the time,” said Akiem Hicks, who was taken off IR and will start on Sunday. “If you’re a true competitor, you want the best competition.”

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

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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