Three takeaways from Bears-Eagles: Mitch Trubisky needs to start the rest of 2019

Three takeaways from Bears-Eagles: Mitch Trubisky needs to start the rest of 2019

PHILADELPHIA — The Bears lost, 22-14, to the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field, dropping their record to 3-5 halfway through the 2019 season. Three takeaways from a loss that feels like it sealed the Bears' fate: 

1. A quarterback change is not coming.

Matt Nagy will point to the good things Mitch Trubisky did in the second half of Sunday’s game as reason why he’s not considering moving on from him. He sparked the Bears’ ultimately-futile comeback with a 53-yard heave to Taylor Gabriel, and converted a third down with a good throw to Gabriel in the fourth quarter that set up David Montgomery’s second touchdown.

Trubisky’s first half was an unmitigated disaster, but the Bears will also point to him not getting much help — Tarik Cohen had two drops, the offensive line was shaky and the Bears committed eight penalties. Later, it was not Trubisky’s fault that Montgomery dropped a screen on second and nine, a play on which he certainly would’ve picked up a first down into Eagles territory.

Credit Nagy and Trubisky with finding something in the second half. Because a repeat of his first half would’ve forced the Bears to seriously consider benching the guy they, collectively, have so much riding on.

But at this point, with the Bears’ chances of making the playoffs all but gone, why bench Trubisky? If the Bears indeed move on from him after this season, or at least bring in a quarterback to compete with him, they need to be absolutely sure in their decision. That might mean you’re stuck watching some suboptimal football over the next eight weeks. But the Bears have no choice.

Chase Daniel is not saving the Bears’ season. Trubisky isn’t either. But for 2020 and beyond, the Bears need to have as much information as possible on Trubisky, and that means keeping him at quarterback for the remainder of 2019.

2. The Bears have not quit on 2019.

It’s probably not a coincidence the Bears’ defense started playing much better after the offense scored its first touchdown of the game, coming in the third quarter. The defense seemed to finally break when Jordan Howard dashed untouched for a touchdown to put the Eagles up 19-0, but dug deep to steel itself and keep the Bears within striking distance.

A team that’s given up on its season would’ve been blown out on Sunday. The Bears did not look like one of those teams, but does it really matter?

3. Their season is, effectively, over.

There are no moral victories in the NFL, and a 3-5 team with a difficult schedule ahead should not be expected to compete for a playoff spot. It would be a colossal surprise if the Bears ripped off seven or eight wins over their final eight games; even if they did, this team does not control its own destiny. The Eagles hold a wild card tiebreaker over them, though it feels foolish to even entertain the thought of playoff contention right now.

The Bears can stay positive based on their comeback effort, but there is no such thing as an encouraging loss halfway through a season. The Bears are who they are: A team with a bad offense that rarely shows busts of brilliance, and a defense that is good, but not elite (as evidenced by the four failed opportunities it had to get off the field on third down on the Eagles’ game-sealing drive in the fourth quarter).

Those teams don’t make the playoffs. And the Bears are one of those teams.

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Kirk Cousins on John DeFilippo: 'He’s going to add a lot to Bears' staff'

Kirk Cousins on John DeFilippo: 'He’s going to add a lot to Bears' staff'

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins spoke with Chicago Sun-Times reporter Patrick Finley at the 2020 Pro Bowl and offered a glowing review of Bears quarterback coach, John DeFilippo, whose addition to Chicago's coaching staff is expected to bring the best out of Mitch Trubisky, the Bears' incumbent starter who's entering a make-or-break offseason with the team.

“He’ll be outstanding,” Cousins said. “He’s a great coach. He’s been around this league for a long time. I think it says a lot when someone like Matt Nagy, who knows quarterbacks so well, hires him. I think that says a lot about ‘Flip.’

“When you look at what he did with Carson Wentz as a young player, I think there’s a lot to like there. And he’s going to add a lot to that staff. It’s going to be to my detriment, because we’re in his division. But he’s a great coach.”

DeFilippo was the Eagles quarterback coach for two seasons (2016-17) and played an integral part in Wentz's development between his rookie and second seasons. Under DeFilippo's tutelage, Wentz went from a solid rookie season to an MVP-worthy campaign in 2017. It's also noteworthy that DeFilippo managed to get the best out of veteran Nick Foles, who replaced Wentz after a season-ending injury. Foles went on to enjoy a miraculous Super Bowl run.

DeFilippo certainly has his work cut out for him with Trubisky. The former second-overall pick has looked like an average starter (at best) through 41 regular-season starts and regressed mightily in 2019. Blame for his regression has been shared among the offensive line and play-calling, but he deserves much of the criticism too. His mechanics were sloppy, his accuracy was lacking and he just didn't play with the kind of downfield killer instinct Nagy wants from his starter.

Nagy's end-of-year comments about Trubisky needing to learn how to identify coverages didn't create much confidence in his near-term trajectory, either.

But that's why DeFilippo is in town. And if Cousins' comments prove to be true, then we may be on the precipice of a breakout season from Trubisky.

Or maybe DeFilippo will be the tie-breaking voice that allows the Bears to move on if Trubisky's struggles continue.

Mel Kiper thinks these players could be available to Bears in 2nd round

Mel Kiper thinks these players could be available to Bears in 2nd round

Believe it or not, the Bears are in good shape for the 2020 NFL Draft, even without a first-round pick.

This year’s class of prospects runs deep with talent and several players chosen between picks 33-50 will have upside similar to first-rounders from years past.

The Bears have two picks in that range — Nos. 43 and 50 — and have a great opportunity to add two starting-quality players by the end of Day 2.

But which players are likely to be available when they’re on the clock? 

ESPN NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper, Jr. published his new mock draft Friday and it offers a good look not only at who the potential first-round picks will be but also the cluster of highly-ranked prospects who will fall into Round 2.

Here are five players who didn’t make Kiper’s first-round cut that the Bears will give strong consideration to. 

Jake Fromm, QB, Georgia

Fromm is likely to be the highest-rated passer still on the board when the Bears are on the clock in the second round. And while he doesn’t have elite traits, his experience as a starter in the SEC adds an element to the Bears' quarterback room that’s currently missing. Plus, his accuracy on short and intermediate routes is a good fit for Matt Nagy’s offense.

Brycen Hopkins, TE, Purdue

The best tight end at the 2020 Senior Bowl and arguably the top tight end in the draft class slips out of Kiper’s first round and potentially into the Bears’ lap at No. 43 overall. Hopkins is an athletic yet undersized pass-catcher at the position who would immediately challenge for the starting job in Chicago.

Terrell Lewis, Edge, Alabama

Lewis looks the part of an NFL edge rusher. and with questions surrounding the future of former first-round pick Leonard Floyd, the Bears are likely to target a player who can help add some juice on the outside rush track. Lewis’ production (only seven sacks the last two seasons) will likely create enough questions about his upside to push him into the second round.

Austin Jackson, OT, USC

The Bears offensive line was a big weakness in 2019 and there’s no doubt it will be a high priority in the 2020 NFL Draft. The pressing question is whether the Bears will attack offensive tackle or guard first, but with a player like Jackson making it to the second round in Kiper’s mock draft, they'd be hard-pressed to pass him up.

Lloyd Cushenberry, iOL, LSU

Cushenberry was one of the top offensive linemen at the 2020 Senior Bowl and will be a riser throughout the draft process. He may end up being the best interior lineman to slip to the second round, and like Hopkins, would be an immediate upgrade and potential starter on Day 1 of his rookie season.