Bears

First and Final Thoughts: Does anyone really know what to expect this Sunday?

First and Final Thoughts: Does anyone really know what to expect this Sunday?

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 the Bye Week 

J.J. Stankevitz: The Bears had a lot of soul-searching to do in their off week, specifically among offensive players and coaches not named Allen Robinson. But more important than anything else will be improvements on the offensive line — better protection and run blocking will go a long way toward helping this offense operate more effectively in the Bears’ final 11 games. That means better play from left tackle Charles Leno and center James Daniels, as well as counting on Rashaad Coward/Ted Larsen/Alex Bars to be better at right guard than a less-than-100-percent Kyle Long was. 

Fix the O-line and a lot of problems will be solved. Don’t and it could diminish how much better Mitch Trubisky is — if he is at all — upon  coming back. 

Cam Ellis: I'll be curious to see where the Bears' bye week preparation show up first. Between the offensive line, an uninspiring run scheme, absent tight end production and no real answers at quarterback (but otherwise it's fine!), they've got to start somewhere.  Is it fixing the run game in hopes that it takes the burden off Trubisky's return? Or is it getting Trey Burton: The Adjuster involved earlier? Speaking of getting the ball earlier, Anthony Miller lightly lobbied for a higher workload, which may not be a bad idea either. This is why they pay Nagy the big bucks, but man, coaching in the NFL seems kind of hard. 

First Thoughts on Week 7 

Stankevitz: I’m going to expand on this more later in the week, but New Orleans’ defense looks like a tough challenge for Trubisky to face in his expected return Sunday. 2018 first-round edge rusher Marcus Davenport is third in the NFL in pass rushing efficiency, generating a pressure once every 13.7 snaps (behind only Nick Bosa and Khalil Mack). Cam Jordan is one of the better defensive linemen in the NFL and doesn’t always get his due for how good he is. 

So New Orleans has an excellent defensive front, one that will take sound technique and strong communication for the Bears’ O-line to block. And then there’s cornerback Marshon Lattimore, who’s shut down the likes of Amari Cooper, Mike Evans and DJ Chark over the last three weeks. His lock-down presence — he travels in zone coverage to take out a team’s best receiver — allows the Saints to not need to always play a safety over the top, leading to extra men in the box to stop the run. 

So Trubisky will have his hands full on Sunday. It’s not like the Saints have an elite defense, but it’s good, and looks like a bad matchup for the Bears’ offense. 

Ellis: To almost directly contradict J.J., I actually think there are yards to be had against a Saints defense that ranks 13th in pass defense DVOA, ninth in yards per play and has allowed five plays of 40+ yards (T6). Marshon Lattimore's had a great month, but his season-long coverage numbers are more good than great. An average pass defense will be more than enough if the Bears' offensive line plays as poorly as it did in London, but if for some reason the combination of Rashaad Coward, a bye week breakthrough, and Taylor Gabriel makes everything snap into place, I think the Bears could move the ball better than people expect.

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2020 NFL Draft: Where do the Bears pick entering Week 12?

2020 NFL Draft: Where do the Bears pick entering Week 12?

Now that the Bears' 2019 season is essentially over, it's time to start paying closer attention to the 2020 NFL draft order. Even without a first-round pick, the Bears hold two valuable selections in the second round.

Last year's Khalil Mack trade included the Raiders' second-round selection this April. After Chicago's loss to the Rams and Oakland's victory over the Bengals, those two second-rounders are currently the 46th and 51st picks overall. To put that in perspective, last year's 46th pick was cornerback Greedy Williams (Browns) and the 51st pick was wide receiver A.J. Brown (Titans). Both are promising players who will be starters in the NFL for a long time.

And let's not forget the Bears have some history with the 51st selection. They used it in 2018 to select wide receiver Anthony Miller, who despite not having the year many expected from him in 2019, still offers playmaking upside as a starter in Matt Nagy's offense moving forward.

Here is the current 2020 NFL draft order entering Week 12:

1. Bengals (0-10)
2. Redskins (1-9)
3. Giants (2-8)
4. Dolphins (2-8)
5. Jets (3-7)
6. Buccaneers (3-7)
7. Broncos (3-7)
8. Falcons (3-7)
9. Cardinals (3-7-1)
10. Lions (3-6-1)
11. Chargers (4-7)
12. Jaguars (4-6)
13. Browns (4-6)
14. Raiders (from Bears) (4-6)
15. Eagles (5-5)
16. Dolphins (from Steelers) (5-5)
17. Titans (5-5)
18. Panthers (5-5)
19. Raiders (6-4)
20. Jaguars (from Rams) (6-4)
21. Cowboys (6-4)
22. Colts (6-4)
23. Dolphins (from Texans) (6-4)
24. Vikings (8-3)
25. Chiefs (7-4)
26. Bills (7-3)
27. Packers (8-2)
28. Seahawks (8-2)
29. Ravens (8-2)
30. Saints (8-2)
31. Patriots (9-1)
32. 49ers (9-1) 

Power Rankings Roundup: Everyone's just as confused about the Mitch Trubisky injury as you are

Power Rankings Roundup: Everyone's just as confused about the Mitch Trubisky injury as you are

Even after scoring seven points in a loss that basically eliminated them from playoff contention, the Bears didn't see a lot of movement in the Power Rankings. People are just kind of confused. Was Mitch Trubisky injured? Was he benched? We he benched because he was injured? The Bears' losses have gotten weirder and weirder as the season's gone on. Here's what they're saying:

NFL.com – #23
Mitchell Trubisky exited Sunday night's loss to the Rams with a hip injury, but you can forgive the general public for wondering if Bears coach Matt Nagy was looking for a way out. 

ESPN – #20
All Kwiatkoski does is make plays when given the opportunity. The reserve linebacker has been pressed into action multiple times this season because of issues with Roquan Smith and Danny Trevathan, and Kwiatkoski has responded each time.

Bleacher Report – #19
The Chicago Bears are toast. They aren't going to repeat as NFC North champions. Or make a second consecutive trip to the postseason.

Yahoo! Sports – #21
I think I believe the Bears when they say Mitchell Trubisky’s hip was hurting. It’s also hard to believe he would have come out of the game under better circumstances.

USA Today – #23
Khalil Mack was completely shut out of box score Sunday night despite going against Rams offense line that's been much maligned this year.

CBS Sports – #21
What's going on with Mitch Trubisky? Was he really hurt, leading to his benching? This thing has gone bad in a big way.

Sporting News – #20 
The Bears' defense is doing its best to hold up with the offense remaining anemic, save for a few random big plays. A bad break-up seems more imminent for Matt Nagy and Mitchell Trubisky in one way or another.