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 2
J.J. Stankevitz: It’s absolutely amazing how close the Bears were to 0-2. Like, hundredths of a second close. This can be a win that propels the Bears back into being the NFC North contenders we thought they were before the season...or it can be a sign of a tough season ahead. I still think it’s more likely than not that the Bears are a good team, and good teams can struggle to recover from starting 0-2. But 1-1 still keeps everything on the table for the Bears in 2019, even if the first two weeks weren’t pretty. The first three weeks of 2018 were overall meh and last year’s team turned out more than fine. So long story short: Just winning in Denver is all that matters in the big picture.
Cam Ellis: It wasn't pretty, but it feels like people are understating how impressive the Bears' win was. Playing at that altitude, with temperatures around 90 degrees, is no joke. Danny Trevathan talked about how the thin air led to struggles with dry mouth, which made it tough to get calls out late in the game. Leonard Floyd dealt with it for most of the first half, and Roquan Smith slept a couple of extra hours on Monday morning. (Eddie Goldman didn't feel it at all, so shout out to him.) It's a real home-field advantage, at least in the eyes of those on the field. So many negative aspects of the Bears' season has dominated the discussion through the first two weeks, so it's worth giving the good its due.
First Thoughts on Week 3
Stankevitz: Washington might not be as bad as folks seem to assume - they’re 15th in DVOA, only two spots behind the Bears. It’s early in the season, of course, and the Bears have a better roster. But Case Keenum and Terry McLaurin aren’t to be taken lightly, even by a defense as good as the Bears (Washington’s offense is 5th in DVOA).
Worth noting, though: Washington’s defense is not good. They’re 28th in DVOA and were picked apart by two, admittedly, good offenses in Dallas and Philadelphia. So Monday night will be an important referendum on the Bears’ offense — if they can’t get at least 20 points on Washington’s defense, the alarm bells going off around Chicago will only grow louder.
Ellis: The 'Skins are 2-15 on Monday Night Football since 2008. 2-15! It's as good a chance as any for Trubisky and Co. to flash signs of life, especially if Jonathan Allen isn't playing. Teams get desperate at 0-2, but the whole point of 'Nagy 202' was that the Bears were going to become the type of team that could go on the road and put away inferior teams comfortably. Nuance will be hard to come by on Tuesday morning if the offense lays another egg, but September has become such a segmented part of the NFL season that a third straight dud still wouldn't be a crisis. Still – you can tell that continually having to answer questions about 10's shortcomings is wearing Nagy thin.