Bears

Olin Kreutz says blame O-line, not Trubisky, for Bears' 1st half woes vs. Eagles

Olin Kreutz says blame O-line, not Trubisky, for Bears' 1st half woes vs. Eagles

Mitch Trubisky has taken a lot of punishment this season. Whether it's a relentless pass rush or an army of football media, Trubisky has been circled as the primary target and lead defendant for everything that's gone wrong with the Bears offense in 2019.

Week 9's game against the Philadelphia Eagles didn't help his quest to regain respectability, either. Chicago produced just nine yards of offense in the first half and Trubisky completed only 10 passes in the game. His stat line (10-of-21, 125 yards) was more like an undrafted rookie making his first start than a former second overall pick in his third season. Naturally, it would be easy to (once again) blame him for the Bears' fourth loss in a row.

But that would be a mistake, according to former Bears center and one of the greatest offensive linemen in team history, Olin Kreutz.

After studying the All-22 of Sunday's disaster in Philly, Kreutz came to Trubisky's aid and said it was the offensive line that should be tarred and feathered. Not the quarterback.

He gave Trubisky some love on his 53-yard completion to Taylor Gabriel, too.

Kreutz hinted at Trubisky succeeding on the move, a theory that was reinforced by ESPN's Dan Orlovsky, who tweeted an interesting nugget about Mitch on Tuesday.

It's easy to get caught up in the negative. It's what people do, especially football writers and fans. And let's be honest: Trubisky's given those fans and writers arguably more ammunition than any player in the league this season.

But when someone like Kreutz suggests it's time to pump the brakes on the criticism launched toward the quarterback, even if just a little, it's advice worth heeding.

Until, of course, Trubisky launches another off-target throw over the head of a wide-open receiver. Then it's open season again.

Chargers reportedly set to move on from Phillip Rivers after 16 seasons

Chargers reportedly set to move on from Phillip Rivers after 16 seasons

The Bears are deep in "offseason mode," likely poring over research from the 2020 Senior Bowl and, of course, going over their options to improve the roster amid what should be a very intriguing free agency period in less than two months. Among Bears fans, the anti-Trubisky crowd definitely is in support of the Bears adding a quality quarterback (or two for that matter) to challenge for the starting job and even the staunchest of Mitchell Trubisky supporters would admit it that it would be wise to add another quality backup quarterback to the Chicago roster. And as of Monday, it appears that another high-profile name is hitting the market.

The Los Angeles Chargers are reportedly "moving on" from quarterback Phillip Rivers—though NFL.com Insider Ian Rapoport reported that the Chargers would consider franchise-tagging him.

Rivers is the Chargers franchise leader in passing yards (59,271), touchdowns (397), 4th quarter comebacks (27), and game-winning drives (32). Rivers' passing yards, passing touchdowns, and passer rating (95.1) all rank within the top-10 all-time. But while Rivers obviously has had a great career, last season was anything but "great" for the 38-year-old signal-caller. 

In the 2019 NFL regular season Rivers threw for 4,615 yards, 23 touchdowns, and 20 interceptions as the Chargers went 5-11, finishing dead-last in the AFC West. Rivers' numbers were disappointing last season, though his passing yards were an improvement over 2018. When you stack up 2019 Trubisky vs. Rivers, you notice that Rivers has Trubisky bested in every major passing category besides interceptions, where Rivers 20 picks double up Trubisky's total from last season. 

RELATED: Bears dubbed most logical fit for Marcus Mariota

The only (and we repeat, only) way the Bears would be interested in bringing in Rivers was if they are truly convinced he can help put the 20020 Bears over the top. The Bears do have a strong support system for a quarterback right now, with a stellar defense that was in the top-10 in DVOA and a big-play receiver in Allen Robinson. The main issue in a hypothetical Rivers-in-Chicago scenario is: would he even have enough time in the pocket to make big plays?

The Bears ranked 25th in Pro Football Focus' offensive line rankings. That figure is obviously not great but actually ranked four spots ahead of the Chargers at 29th. So ultimately, along with a starting job, it would likely take a guarantee to make improvements along the O-line to bring Rivers onto the Bears. But the "Rivers-to-Chicago" door could be closed soon as it appears he does have legit interest around the league, particularly from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

With the Senior Bowl in the rearview mirror and free agency fast-approaching, all of Bears faithful will be locked in on what the organization decides to do in terms of adding depth at quarterback. Is Phillip Rivers actually an option Ryan Pace and Co. would consider? And if they did go after and acquire Rivers, would he even be an upgrade over Trubisky?

Those questions will be answered soon but for now, Bears fans can simply enjoy the wait for the official start of NFL free agency (March 18) as more and more interesting quarterbacks hit the market.

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Under Center Podcast: Jarrett Payton "My dad's legacy is still alive!"

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USA Today

Under Center Podcast: Jarrett Payton "My dad's legacy is still alive!"

Host Laurence Holmes is live in Miami from Radio row for Super Bowl Week. Laurence is joined by WGN's and the late great Chicago Bear Walter Payton's son, Jarrett Payton as they discuss his father's impact on the league, losing his father in comparison to the Kobe Bryant's tragic death, and how the current Bears can improve.

(3:10) - The impact of the Walter Payton Man of the Year award

(6:33) - Compares losing his father to the Kobe Bryant tragedy

(11:53) - Being back in Miami

(13:55) - How can the Bears improve?

(19:20) - Relives the last Bears Super Bowl appearance in Miami

Listen here or in the embedded player below.

Under Center Podcast

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