Bears

Bears Grades: Fox, staff adjust during win over Chargers

john-fox-bears-insider-1109.png

Bears Grades: Fox, staff adjust during win over Chargers

The line between execution problems and coaching issues is never easy, and the number of mistakes on offense in Monday’s first half was alarming. Penalties, seemingly poor communication, and mistakes at crucial times all came together to waste a constant stream of possessions into the San Diego end.

Adam Gase stayed on message without running back Matt Forte, with 16 runs vs. 17 pass plays in the first half, then necessarily tilting toward the run in the second half when the Bears were behind by two scores. The play design on the Bears’ first TD was superb, with Martellus Bennett run-blocking hard at the snap, then curling into a vacant area of the San Diego end zone.

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

San Diego receivers were running uncharacteristically free early as Bears coverages appeared to be exploited by a passing offense that didn’t need any help. But in the fourth quarter the defense dialed up alignments with fresh personnel that enabled the Bears to sack Philip Rivers twice.

Special teams were efficient with the exception of two missed field goals. Both punt and kickoff returns improved field position while the Chargers were able to do no more than fair catch two punts.

Moon's Game Grade: B

 

Special teams has had their nightmares as players have failed to execute coverages in addition to committing too many penalties. But the overall has been a change of culture in all three phases and a team that has gone 3-2 since that opening stretch of Green Bay-Arizona-Seattle.

Adam Gase adhered to a run-based offensive philosophy without being a slave to it, coaching with an offensive line scrambled weekly and without wide-receiver continuity ever since Kevin White’s stress fracture.

[MORE: MNF win over Chargers a 'starting point' for Bears playoff run?]

Vic Fangio has had to make the change to the Bears’ 3-4 with myriad moving parts, losing linemen Jeremiah Ratliff and Ray McDonald to non-football issues and Ego Ferguson to injury. The pass rush is inadequate but the players have a very strong belief in the scheme and directives.

A team is what its record is and the Bears are 3-5. But they believe they should be 5-3, have bought into what the coaching staff is teaching, and that mark or better in the second half of the season is a very real possibility.

Moon's Mid-year Grade: A-

Bears logo ranked in bottom five of NFL in recent fan poll

bearsfans.png
USA Today

Bears logo ranked in bottom five of NFL in recent fan poll

The Chicago Bears logo has withstood the test of time. In a sports era full of uniform changes, the Bears have maintained the classic orange 'C' for most of their nearly 100 years in Chicago.

Unfortunately, tradition doesn't equate to popularity.

Chicago's logo ranked 28th in the NFL, according to a recent poll of nearly 1,500 football fans. Only the Redskins (29), Bengals (30), Jets (31) and Browns (32) were worse.

I’m not sure how I feel about the underbite on the “C.” I can see how this would be a polarizing feature of this logo. I wish to an extent that it met up more evenly. I think they could have had the bottom meet up in a more even fashion and still maintained the sharpness, of the “C,” which I like. I don’t mind the point [ON THE BACK SIDE OF THE “C”], without the point it would be super boring. The point actually does add something from a design standpoint that makes it stand out.

Bears fans will take exception with the results. Wins have been hard to come by in recent seasons, but there's still something special about seeing the familiar navy and orange on Sundays in the fall. The 'C' is arguably the biggest part of that. Sure, it's not a complex design overflowing with colors, but it represents a long and storied history. 

It's interesting that each of the bottom five teams have struggled to string together winning seasons. On the flipside, teams like the Saints, Falcons, Rams, Vikings and Eagles rank in the top six. Maybe it's recency bias.

In the NFC North, the Lions rank No. 2 (which is a shocker) and the Packers are No. 20. 

Matt Nagy calls Kevin White a 'great weapon' with a new future

Matt Nagy calls Kevin White a 'great weapon' with a new future

Former first-round pick Kevin White hasn't caught a break -- or a touchdown -- through the first three years of his career. He has more season-ending injuries than 100-yard games and after an offseason focused on upgrades at wide receiver, White's future in Chicago beyond 2018 is very much in doubt.

Ryan Pace declined the fifth-year option in White's rookie contract, making this a prove-it year for the pass-catcher who once resembled a blend of Larry Fitzgerald and Dez Bryant during his time at West Virginia.

He's getting a fresh start from new coach Matt Nagy.

"He is healthy and he's really doing well," Nagy told Danny Kanell and Steve Torre Friday on SiriusXM's Dog Days Sports. "We're trying to keep him at one position right now so he can focus in on that."

White can't take all the blame for his 21 catches, 193 yards and zero scores through 48 possible games. He's only suited up for five. Whether it's bad luck or bad bone density, White hasn't had a legitimate chance to prove, on the field, that he belongs.

Nagy's looking forward, not backward, when it comes to 2015's seventh pick overall.

"That's gone, that's in the past," Nagy said of White's first three years. "This kid has a new future with us."

White won't be handed a job, however.

"He's gotta work for it, he's gotta put in the time and effort to do it," Nagy said. "But he will do that, he's been doing it. He's a great weapon, he's worked really hard. He has great size, good speed. We just want him to play football and not worry about anything else."