Bears

15 on 6: Cutler successful, but not happy

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15 on 6: Cutler successful, but not happy

Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2010
1:50 PM

By Jim Miller
CSNChicago.com

Hungry

The best part of being in first place in the NFC North is that Jay Cutler is not happy. The first words uttered by Jay at the post game press conference..."I did not play well." That is what leaders do and what Bears fans expect from their trigger man. Man Up! But what Jay did do, was play well enough in critical moments when the game was on the line.

The Bears had their greatest success when they had to line up in a static formation and just go. (See prior blog)

Before the Half

Green Bay had to show their hand defensively right before the half and the Bears took advantage, as Greg Olsen found pay dirt with a nine-yard touchdown. To prove my point, before this point in the game, Jay even stated in his post game presser that, "they were moving around quite a bit."

It was a two-minute-drill situation. Offensively, knowing time is an issue and the Bear's just lined up and ran the play call. It forced Green Bay to get to their landmarks defensively prior to the snap. This cleaned up the read for Jay, enabling him to hit Johnny Knox on the post corner route down the left sideline. It was Jay's best throw of the night, in a big spot, when a play had to be made. He dropped back with authority, saw the coverage with confidence, and delivered a perfectly placed strike. This is the rhythm in the passing game that Jay and the offense have been aspiring to achieve.

3rd quarter - 4th and 1 at the 1

The Bears have been unpredictable offensively in their first three ball games.

1. Lions- Screen game to the backs was focus

2. Dallas - Adjustments to beat the blitz

3. Green Bay- Not enough offensive plays (only 48), but 7 different targets hit. Aaron Rodgers hit 8. For opponents of the Bears, who do you defend? Hester has made plays (Dallas one hand TD), Aromashodu (Lions game), Knox, Olsen, Forte, Bennett, and Jay being a threat to run. Green Bay ran a lot of cover 2 with man coverage underneath. Jay recognized and shredded it by taking off right down the middle of the field. You cannot defend the QB scrambling with that defensive play call. Opponents will take note.

Opposing defenses must now expect the unexpected. On fourth down and one at the goal line Desmond Clark failed to catch a poorly thrown flat route by Jay, but Green Bay was not prepared for Clark to be the primary target. Who says Martz does not use tight ends? That is good football, great game planning, and uncanny play calling. What the Bears have put on tape the first three weeks is going to prove difficult for teams to defend.

Jim Miller, an 11-year former NFL quarterback, is a Comcast SportsNet Bears analyst who can be seen each week on U.S. Cellular Bears Postgame Live. Miller, who spent five seasons with the Bears, analyzes current Chicago QB Jay Cutler in his "15 on 6" blog on CSNChicago.com and can be followed on Twitter @15miller.

Chargers' Anthony Lynn says Mitch Trubisky reminded him of Aaron Rodgers

Chargers' Anthony Lynn says Mitch Trubisky reminded him of Aaron Rodgers

Imagine, for a moment, what this Bears team would be like if it had Aaron Rodgers under center, leading the offense, with a defense captained by Khalil Mack. It seems nearly impossible to picture it, but according to Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn, it wouldn't have been as difficult back in 2017 when Trubisky was a highly-touted draft prospect.

Lynn, during his conference call with reporters Wednesday, said Trubisky reminded him of the future Hall of Famer back when he was coming out of North Carolina.

"He made throws. He had a quick release. He reminded me sometimes of Aaron Rodgers," Lynn said. "The way he moved around. If he ever got in a bind, he could create. I just thought he had the total package."

Trubisky's final season as a Tar Heel feels like ancient history, but Lynn's assessment isn't far off. Trubisky completed 68% of his passes for 3,748 yards with 30 touchdowns and only six interceptions. His 5-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio is an elite stat, and his ability to create with his legs made him that much more appealing to NFL general managers. He was so desired that GM Ryan Pace infamously traded up one spot (from No. 3 overall to No. 2) to draft him.

What may have been overlooked, however, was the offense Trubisky operated in at UNC. It was a very basic, quick-hitting system that didn't require much "quarterbacking" from the now-struggling pro. And while it's still too early to say Trubisky will never become a franchise passer, it's pretty clear he isn't destined to be in the elite tier.

Through five games (four if you factor in his early exit against the Vikings in Week 4), Trubisky's completed 64.4% of his passes for 839 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions. Sadly, more than 250 of his yards and two of his touchdowns came in what Matt Nagy admitted was garbage time in Week 7's loss to the Saints.

General managers, coaches and scouts will often hold onto scouting reports way too long. Maybe it's a pride or ego thing. Maybe it's a failure to accept reality. But with Trubisky, it's pretty clear his college scouting report was flawed, and it's on Pace and Nagy to make sure they know if his issues are correctable. If not, they can't hold onto hope that a Rodgers-like breakout will suddenly (and miraculously) occur.

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In a way, Roquan Smith's recent struggles mirror the Bears' larger defensive issues

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USA Today

In a way, Roquan Smith's recent struggles mirror the Bears' larger defensive issues

It’s wild to think about how, only two months ago, Bears’ linebacker Roquan Smith was wrapping up a month of training camp where – on more than one occasion – he looked like the best player on the team. Hyperbole reigns in Bourbonnais, but given his stellar rookie season, expectations for Smith’s second season were through the roof. 

Fast forward six games, and Smith’s season has looked far closer to a worst-case scenario than the All-Pro campaign that many (including yours truly) had him locked in for. Personal issues aside, Smith’s performance on the field hasn’t lived up to the standard he set last year, when he led the team in total tackles (122). 

“He can definitely play better,” Matt Nagy said on Tuesday. “And he knows that. That’s where we’re at right now. And he’s gonna. I think he will. We all know exactly what we’ve all done together in the last couple weeks.” 

Nagy wouldn’t speculate on whether Smith is still finding his form after missing some time with an off-field issue that was never disclosed. Last Sunday he was only on the field for 54 of 78 snaps, and seemed to be subbed out on 3rd down more frequently than in the past. When he has been on the field – especially in the last two games – the tape hasn’t been kind. 

Per Pro Football Focus, here’s how Smith graded out, and where it ranked among all linebackers, after his rookie season: 

Overall Def: 65.0 (71)
Run defense: 55.1 (137) 
Tackling: 73.9 (69)
Pass Rush: 72.8 (28) 
Coverage: 67.8 (41)

And now, this season: 

Overall Def: 48.0 (117) 
Run defense: 50.3 (113)
Tackling: 77.5 (31)
Pass Rush: 47.2 (131)
Coverage: 50.7 (95)

“He’s doing everything he can,” Nagy added. “None of it is because of lack of effort or want or any of that. And none of it is because of the lack of couldn’t. We all look at each other. We all want to help each other out. And we feel like we all can coach and play better.”

In some ways, Smith’s issues are a good microcosm of what’s plagued the Bears’ defense over the last month. Eddie Jackson said that side of the ball has lost some of their swagger, and even a casual eye test can see that the team isn’t playing with quite the same physicality that became their calling card under Vic Fangio. 

“Well, I would agree with that,” Nagy added. “There hasn’t been that physicality. They know that. Again, none of it is because of a lack of want. A lot of it just comes down to there are certain plays and certain parts of the game that it’s not getting done, and it was before.” 

Losing Akiem Hicks obviously doesn’t help. The Bears’ defense still has plenty of talent at all levels, however, and no one inside Halas Hall (and certainly no one outside it) is feeling sorry for themselves. 

“I think it’s preparation,” Nagy replied when asked how the defense could get back to an elite level. “Then there’s reactionary skills, of when it happens, you’re prepared, you saw what happened and you can react. That’s probably the biggest thing. That’s something you would have to ask each and every player because they’re all different on how much they prepare and how well they prepare.”

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