Sunday, October 25th
Wow! What do you write after that debacle to keep Bears fans excited about the rest of the season? Every now and then you get throttled in the NFL. A little piece of humble pie can actually serve your team well. Unfortunately, the Bears went for second helpings in the 45-10 loss to the Bengals.
Be a Leader
The top 15 plays are normally scripted in the NFL. Hopefully, you run them all the first series and it leads to a score. The reason I bring this subject up is the Bears should not be starting slowly when you are working off a "cheat sheet". You know the plays that are to be called and can anticipate the defensive looks. If there is a false start as there was today, someone has to step up and stop the bleeding before it gets deadly. No one did. Everyone compounded the problem by letting the mistakes snowball out of control.
As the starting QB, like it or not, you are the leader of the offensive group by default. Today was an opportunity for Jay to get the offense under control. He has to learn not to compound the offensive issues by forcing the football.
When the score starts to get out of control and you find your offense switching gears because you are off your game plan, you must rally the troops with basic positive plays. Small completions can mean a lot. You must work small positive plays into first downs, field goals, and eventually touchdowns. The QB can be the catalyst for your team by jump starting a new rhythm. It allows your defense to regroup and the team as a whole can draw from positive plays to eventually swing momentum in your teams favor.
Head Coach Lovie smith addressed it after the game. He said he had never been in a game like what his team encountered today. Make sure you as a fan watch how the New Orleans Saints worked themselves back into beating the Dolphins when they were down 24 to 3. Small positive plays went a long way for Drew Brees and the Saints to stop the bleeding. It is just another area the Bears have to work on, but are talented enough to do it.
It's early (extremely early) in the 2020 NFL Draft process, and the Bears' team needs between now and when their first pick (No. 43 overall) is on the clock are certain to change. The general consensus right now is that offensive line, tight end and quarterback will be early draft targets, but edge rusher can't be overlooked.
Leonard Floyd's failure to emerge as the pass rusher the Bears need to complement Khalil Mack is a bigger problem than GM Ryan Pace or coach Matt Nagy want to admit. In fact, Floyd's ineffective style of play could cost Chicago a chance at becoming a truly elite defense and potentially limit the astronomical upside Mack has as a generational talent.
If the Bears decide to pull the fifth-year option from Floyd, they'll have no choice but to attack the position early in the 2020 draft. It appears like they're doing their homework for that scenario, too.
Bears scouts met with Tulsa edge rusher Trevis Gipson at length following Wednesday's Senior Bowl practice, an indication that the position is at least high enough on their wish list that extensive homework on pass rushers is being done.
Gipson helped his draft stock at the Senior Bowl and was an early winner among edge rushers at the game. His practice reps confirmed his tape; the dude knows how to get to the quarterback. He had eight sacks in 2019 and plays with a high-energy style that's certain to entice Chicago's coaching staff. He isn't an elite athlete, but he has an appealing frame (34-inch arms) and powerful hands.
Gipson began the week as a late-Day-3 prospect. He helped his stock and may have jumped a round or two along the way.
The Bears didn't have much of a rookie class in 2019. Last April's draft produced just five picks, two of which didn't appear in a regular-season game for the Bears.
But the production of running back David Montgomery was enough to carry the rookie class to a top-10 ranking, according to Pro Football Focus.
The Bears checked-in at eighth.
The Bears have a strange class. They had only five picks, none before Round 3, with three of those five selections coming after Round 6. As a result, their expected return was low. Running back David Montgomery was really the only Bears' rookie to play significant snaps, and he managed to provide enough return from his third-round selection to land them at No. 8.
It's pretty remarkable that Chicago's 2019 rookie class — essentially, Montgomery — garnered this much respect from PFF. Wide receiver Riley Ridley showed signs of life late in the season and cornerback Duke Shelley will be given an opportunity to carve out a role on defense next season, but with running back Kerrith Whyte, Jr. and cornerback Stephen Denmark making no impact whatsoever (Whyte is no longer with the team), the 2019 class won't be remembered as one that laid a championship foundation in Chicago.
Sure, Montgomery has a chance to become one of the NFL's more talented starting running backs (he ended his rookie season with 889 yards and six touchdowns), but if Ridley and Shelley don't turn into legitimate contributors in 2020 or 2021, the class will go down as an epic failure for GM Ryan Pace.
Remember: The Bears didn't have a first-round pick because of the trade for outside linebacker Khalil Mack. That's a win for Pace, but it doesn't change the fact that he had five selections at his disposal and ended up with what appears to be just one impact player after their rookie seasons.