Bears Grades: Coaching clicked when it mattered most


Bears Grades: Coaching clicked when it mattered most

In one of those instances where a game plan is one thing but adapting to change is another, the Bears both schemed effectively to exploit even the strengths of the St. Louis Rams, but also adapted to situations adroitly and never lost the upper hand in a game that was shaking early, if only briefly.
For one of the first times this season, the Bears were completely flummoxed early by an opposing offense such that Rams players were running completely loose in wide-open areas of the defense. The game plan obviously was to at least impede the running of rookie tailback Todd Gurley but the damage initially came from the Rams exploiting the Bears’ massing to stop Gurley, resulting in gains of 29 and 31 yards on short flips to receivers underneath within the game’s first two plays.
“We did start slow, without a doubt.  The offense did a good job of some explosive plays early to answer.”
[MORE BEARS GRADES: Jay Cutler nails nearly perfect game]

The defense answered as well, and suddenly those free-running Rams disappeared for quarterback Nick Foles. After the Rams’ first drive, 80 yards for a touchdown, the Bears allowed just 209 yards and two field goals the rest of the game.
As Fox said, the offense replied with explosive plays, although the two biggest came on “short” calls by coordinator Adam Gase: an 87-yard swing pass to tight end Zach Miller and an 83-yard screen pass to Jeremy Langford.
Added into that was a fourth-down conversion of 11 yards, with Gase calling for rolling Cutler out right, with an option to run but with Langford breaking out to the right flat against a St. Louis front massed to stop a running play. That sustained a drive for the Bears’ go-ahead touchdown in the second quarter and they never trailed again.
Gase also stayed with the Bears’ preferred template of smash-mouth ball control, calling 34 running plays and nine passes to his running backs, meaning 43 of the Bears’ 63 offensive plays went to backs.
“I think Gase does as good a job as anybody in preparation and for attacking instead of playing in a defensive mindset,” said tackle Kyle Long. “He wants to go right at the teeth of the defenses and we love that.”
The Bears also went with a pitchout and sweep by Langford on a third-and-10 against a St. Louis defense with the speed to run things down.
“In big situations like the third-and-10, we ran a long toss around the left side,” Long said. “That was all Jay and Gase, so credit to those guys and their preparation.”
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Special teams effectively denied St. Louis return threat Tavon Austin openings to set up his offense.
“This game is about execution in whatever phase – offense, defense, kicking,” said coach John Fox. “What goes unnoticed is that the number 11 [Austin] that they have is a pretty dynamic, explosive guy. I thought that in both the kicking game and on defense we did a decent job of corralling that.
“Again, it is a team game and we clicked as a team as probably as good as we have clicked thus far.  We will evaluate it and look at it and get ready for the Broncos next week.”


Moon's Grade: A


Mike Trout says Browns will win more games than Bears in 2018

Mike Trout says Browns will win more games than Bears in 2018

Los Angeles Angels superstar Mike Trout is quickly becoming an icon in American sports. The two-time American League MVP is enjoying another dominant season batting .335 with 23 home runs and 48 RBI.

On Tuesday, he took a swing at what Bears fans may consider a shocking NFL prediction.

“I’ve got the Browns having a better record than the Bears,” Trout told a radio reporter, according to the Los Angeles Times. Trout's comments were made in response the reporter "talking up" Chicago.

Both the Browns and Bears have had productive offseasons that involved headline-grabbing acquisitions on offense. Cleveland drafted QB Baker Mayfield with the No. 1 overall pick, traded for WR Jarvis Landry, signed RB Carlos Hyde and drafted a backfield mate for him in Georgia's Nick Chubb. They added potential lockdown corner Denzel Ward with the fourth overall pick, too. Add all that to a motivated Josh Gordon ready to contribute for a full season, and there's good reason to be excited in Cleveland.

Still, it's hard imagining Trout can be that confident in a team that's won only one game over the last two seasons. And let's not forget what GM Ryan Pace has done this offseason, one that's been praised by analysts from all corners of the NFL universe. From new coach Matt Nagy to free-agent WR Allen Robinson and all the skill players in between, the Bears are ready to make a legitimate run in the NFC North.

Trout doesn't strike out much in the major leagues, but this prediction feels like it could be a back-straining whiff.

Is Matt Forte pushing for a coaching job with the Bears?

Is Matt Forte pushing for a coaching job with the Bears?

Is former Bears star Matt Forte going to be the team’s new running backs coach?

For now, that’s Charles London’s job, who was hired to head coach Matt Nagy’s staff earlier this year.

But on Tuesday night, Forte tweeted that he would like a coaching spot with Chicago sometime in the near future.

Serving as evidence, the now-retired running back responded to a tweet from ESPN’s Adam Schefter, which announced the Broncos’ hiring of former linebacker Demarcus Ware as a “pass-rush consultant on a part-time basis.” Forte tweeted at the Bears, saying that he is “available” to take on a similar role to Ware’s new Denver gig.

Forte’s tweet was relatively cryptic, and he never specified exactly what type of job he would want with the Bears. After finishing up a storied career this past season and solidifying his name as a Bears legend, Forte has proven that he could easily coach young running backs or even wide receivers at some point.

But isn’t this all just a joke?

Forte silenced the doubters by tweeting “I wasn’t joking” as a response to an article saying that his desire for a new occupation with the Bears was simply a gag. The former workhorse was also intrigued by a fan’s tweet asking “Coach Forte??”

The mere thought of having Forte back in Chicago with the Bears’ coaching staff sent fans on Twitter into a frenzy. In April, Forte came back to Halas Hall to ink his name on a one-day contract, successfully allowing him to retire as a Bear. Now, Forte wants a lengthier stay in the Windy City.

Ware’s role with Denver is not extensive by any means and, according to Schefter, he will work a pretty scattered schedule with Broncos players. What Forte’s role would look like with the Bears is completely unknown if his plan to coach becomes a reality.

Forte has the running back credentials to take on a coaching position. In eight seasons with the Bears, Forte racked up a combined 8,602 rushing yards, second to only the great Walter Payton. Forte’s 4,116 receiving yards as a running back, 12,718 yards from scrimmage, 24 games with 100 rushing yards and 25 games with at least 150 yards from scrimmage also ranks second behind Payton.

Maybe this will be a new development in Chicago’s offseason plans, but there is no real talk of bringing one of the team’s all-time leading rushers back to the team as of right now.

Last month, NBC Sports Chicago announced Forte will be joining the network as a Bears game day studio analyst for the upcoming 2018 NFL season. And we're not joking about that.