Bears

One last, deeper look back at worst of Bears times for Matt Nagy, Mitch Trubisky

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USA Today

One last, deeper look back at worst of Bears times for Matt Nagy, Mitch Trubisky

If the first two games of the Bears 2019 season feel vaguely like the worst of times in the coaching tenure of Matt Nagy and quarterbacking career of Mitch Trubisky, it’s because this in fact has been the worst of times for Nagy and Trubisky both individually and together.

Not blaming anyone in particular, but as Nagy himself said this week; “I don't want to put it on one guy, I really don't, but [Trubisky] knows…and I know, that it always comes down to me and him.”

Trubisky hasn't thrown a touchdown pass in any of his last three regular-season games, including game 16 last year at Minnesota. No other NFL starter has gone TD-less over that stretch, with the exception of Cam Newton, who was put on IR after game 14 last season on his way to offseason shoulder surgery. Trubisky has gone two straight games without a TD pass twice previously, but both were in his rookie year under John Fox and Dowell Loggains.

For Trubisky the Green Bay and Denver games marked only the second time in his career that he has had consecutive games failing to top 70.0 for passer rating (he was at precisely 70.0 at Denver). Trubisky did stumble at home last season vs. Minnesota and then the Rams, but those games were separated by two weeks missed with a shoulder injury.

Using a variation of the time-honored James Bond axiom that “once is chance, twice is coincidence, three times is enemy action,” the concerning point here is that Trubisky has failed to reach even a 90 rating in any of his last four games. More alarming is that fact that he was not sacked at all in either game 16 against Minnesota or last Sunday in Denver.

Nagy has been through one losing season (2012) and one .500 year (2011) as a member of Andy Reid’s staff in Philadelphia.

Collective struggles

The Nagy offense may run through Trubisky, but the issues for the group extend beyond the quarterback.

The first nearly seven full quarters of 2019 the offense went through before scoring a touchdown was concerning, if only because of Trubisky, his unit, the coaches and the fan base were so convinced a major positive leap was coming.

It was also by far the longest stretch without a touchdown of any kind under Nagy, approaching double the previous longest no-TD drought. That came last season when the offense scored a touchdown with 10 minutes to play in the third quarter against Tampa Bay, then not another one until 2 minutes into the third quarter at Miami – some 57 minutes without a TD.

When David Montgomery reached the football over the Denver goal line with 1:14 to play in Sunday’s third quarter, it ended a run of just shy of 104 minutes without a touchdown – offense, defense or special teams.

“I know to everybody else [offensive struggles] comes down to that one spot [quarterback],” Nagy said, “but to me it comes down to everything. there are so many parts included in this. He gets a lot of that, no doubt, but it's getting the run game going, making sure we have our execution in the pass game and different elements of the pass game, me calling things at the right time.

“It's all of us together.”

 

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Thomas Jones tweets plan to fix Bears' struggling offense

Thomas Jones tweets plan to fix Bears' struggling offense

It didn't take Thomas Jones long to become a fan-favorite during his tenure with the Bears, which spanned three seasons from 2004-2006.  Jones, who was the seventh overall pick in the 2000 NFL draft, resurrected his career in Chicago with back-to-back seasons over 1,200 rushing yards in 2005 and 2006.

So, when he speaks about how to improve the offense through the running game, coach Matt Nagy and the rest of Chicago's offensive staff should at least give it a listen.

Technically, Jones tweeted his plan to repair the Bears' struggling offense. But, the point remains.

"Nagy should learn the history of the Bears," Jones tweeted. "When they've won in the past it's because they ran the ball 1st! The fans & the makeup of the Bears is blue-collar. Hard-nosed, physical fundamental football. Limit turnovers, chew up the clock & let the defense get you the ball back.

"And where is their fullback? How can you run the ball in Chicago without a fullback in the game? When u have a fullback in the game the linebackers know they have to strap up their helmets. It's going to be a physical game & some of them don't want that. Can't make it easy for them."

To be fair, fullback is a nearly extinct position in the NFL. But Jones' suggestion runs deeper than that; the Bears need to at least appear like they want to run the ball in order to make the defense respect the threat of a running game.

"They NEVER try to establish the run which puts all of the pressure on a young QB who is still learning & trying to figure out who he's going to be in this league," Jones said. "The O line won't get into any rhythm if they don't run block enough & the defense can only hold up for so long."

According to Jones, Mitch Trubisky isn't ready to be the centerpiece of Chicago's offense just yet.

"Mitch is too young to have all of that pressure on him at once. He's talented but he's not ready yet. You have talented backs & an incredible defense. The O Line just needs to gain confidence run blocking in real-time. They have to establish a running game or things won't change."

Jones drew on some experience from the 2005 season when the Bears kept things pretty basic for then-rookie quarterback Kyle Orton, who enjoyed some moderate success that year. He also chimed in on the Trubisky vs. Patrick Mahomes and DeShaun Watson debate.

"Everyone matures at different times in the NFL. He's not those other guys so comparing him to them isn't going to help them win games right now. Establish a run game & take pressure off of him. Simplify the offense by giving him basic pass plays like we did with Orton in 05."

So how do the Bears get their offense back on a winning track? You guessed it: run the ball!

"It's not a old times sake thing. It's football. Every winning team establishes some sort of running game. Even if it's running back by committee or a running QB. The more tired a defense is from having to chase & tackle the more mental mistakes they're going to make.

"Which gives you a higher chance to win the game. When you run the ball you can take more chances throwing the ball downfield, running specialty plays such as screens and reverses. The defense can't just lay their ears back because they know they can get gashed at any time."

Head over to Jones' Twitter page to follow along with his complete Bears breakdown. It's pretty epic and is a great reminder of just how passionate he is about this team, this city, and winning.

Power Rankings Roundup: The free fall continues, and the NFC North is really good

Power Rankings Roundup: The free fall continues, and the NFC North is really good

The Bears' two-game losing streak is doing them no favors in The Web's power rankings, but even pessimistic reviews haven't totally sold them off yet (thanks defense!). What's a bit more daunting, however, is how quickly the other teams in the NFC North are rising. Some fun road games ahead huh?? Here's what they're saying: 

NFL.com –– #15
Trubisky is clearly pressing as the pressure mounts on his shoulders. He's taken a big step back in his third season ... how long can Matt Nagy stand by the former No. 2 overall pick?

ESPN.com –– #16
The Bears no longer resemble a playoff team -- not with Mitchell Trubisky at quarterback. Chicago's offense ranks 30th in total yards per game, 30th in yards per play, 28th in passing yards per game and 28th in rushing yards per game.

CBS Sports –– #16
Their offense is woeful at times and just won't allow them to win many games. The defense hasn't been as good the past two games either, which makes Sunday's game against the Chargers a must-win for both teams.

Sports Illustrated –– #17
Maybe Matt Nagy isn’t a cure-all. Maybe the defense is feeling the weight of carrying the offense and starting to crack (36 points to a backup QB with two weeks to prepare at home). Or maybe, just maybe, this team was never that good in the first place.

Bleacher Report –– #13
To say that the Bears are having issues offensively is an understatement. In Mitchell Trubisky's first game back from injury, he had fewer than 100 passing yards into the final quarter. Chicago had seven carries for 17 yards on the ground—for the game.

Chicago Tribune –– #18
Classes in Offense 202 need to be canceled. Nearly all the students are failing miserably. That’s reality when the Bears have yet to total 300 yards of offense in a single game. High-powered offenses will come close to that total in a good half.

Sporting News –– #19
When the Bears don't play good defense and can't run the ball, they're in trouble, because it puts games on the right arm of Mitchell Trubisky. They have a few schedule breaks coming up, but they need their third-year QB to play a lot better for that to matter.

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