Bears

How the Bears' receivers helped beat Pittsburgh while only catching one pass

How the Bears' receivers helped beat Pittsburgh while only catching one pass

Mike Glennon didn’t complete a pass to a wide receiver until he found Deonte Thompson for a nine-yard gain with just under six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter on Sunday. That was the only of Glennon's 15 completions that went to a wide receiver in a 23-17 overtime win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

But the Bears’ receivers weren’t necessarily invisible on Sunday, frequently showing up on tape delivering solid blocks that helped spring second-level gains by running backs Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen. Most notably, Deonte Thompson was key in making a path for Howard to score his game-ending touchdown in overtime. 

“We got a rule in our room, make sure your guy doesn't make the tackle,” Thompson said. “… We take pride in it. Our coaches make sure we take pride in blocking. We just go what we gotta do to win. Whatever the job description is, we do.”

This isn’t to say that everything is fine with the Bears’ receivers because they can block. Their primary jobs are to get open and catch the football, and this unit hasn’t done enough of that through three games. In total, Bears receivers are averaging about 14 targets, nine receptions per game and 98 yards per game. Since the beginning of the 2016 season, 26 times has an individual wide receiver had at least 14 targets, nine receptions and 98 yards in a game (including Cameron Meredith last October). 

And being a productive receiver doesn’t have to mean that player isn’t a good blocker. SB Nation listed familiar names as its best blocking receivers: Tampa Bay’s Mike Evans, Los Angeles’ Robert Woods, Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald, Miami’s Jarvis Landry and New York’s Brandon Marshall. 

But for the Bears, if Sunday’s offensive plan — for a game in which the team was never losing — is what future wins could look like, this receiver unit will be asked to do quite a bit of blocking. 

“We haven’t won as much as we want to around here, and when you see that (blocking effort), you see these guys are fully invested and they care, and they care about the guy next to him,” offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains said, “and not about their own individual stats because it would’ve been real easy to sit on the sideline and pout and say hey, I’m not getting the ball — like, one receiver caught a ball in the whole game out of 22 passes, 15 completions, one guy catches a ball. But you know what, they’re a huge part of those wins.”

Howard had seven carries of five or more yards that went toward the sideline, while Cohen had two explosive gains into the second level and beyond. Runs like those are where blocking from guys like Thompson, Bellamy, Kendall Wright and Marcus Wheaton are important. 

“Those are the blocks that spring us to the next level,” Cohen said. “Without the receiver blocks, there would be a lot of 10-yard gains, 9-yard gains, but the bigger gains are the receivers blocking down field.”

The Bears still need more out of their receivers, but their blocking success on Sunday was a contributing factor to beating one of the better teams in the AFC. And it didn’t go unnoticed inside Halas Hall, especially the block Thompson threw to end the game. 

“They know who we have in the backfield, they know who we’ve got up front,” offensive lineman Kyle Long said. “And they know that if we want to have success at an elite level running the ball they need to do their part too and that’s just what he was doing. He was doing his job.”

Tarik Cohen says he only brought two things to Bears training camp

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USA Today

Tarik Cohen says he only brought two things to Bears training camp

Tarik Cohen is a budding superstar for the Chicago Bears not only because of his dazzling highlight-reel plays on Sundays but also because of his off-field personality and light-hearted approach to the game.

He reported to Bears camp with the rest of the team's veterans Thursday and showed reporters the two items he claimed were all he brought to Bourbonnais:

Nice try, Tarik.

Trubisky tired of comparisons to Wentz, Goff

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USA Today

Trubisky tired of comparisons to Wentz, Goff

Mitch Trubisky is a believer in the Chicago Bears new offense heading into 2018. He's been jacked up about coach Matt Nagy and his arsenal of new skill players all offseason, and on Thursday he gave reporters at Bears training camp an even greater description of what's to come.

"We're going to create our own identity and it's going to be something the Chicago Bears haven't seen for a while," he said.

That identity is expected to be something similar to what was seen in Kansas City last year when Nagy was calling plays. It was an offense that featured efficient quarterback play, the NFL's leading rusher, a high-flying playmaker at receiver and an All-Pro tight end. 

Not bad at all.

But don't ask Trubisky about comparisons to other teams, or, more specifically, comparisons centered around him and other young quarterbacks in the NFL.

"I'm tired of it all," Trubisky said of being compared to Carson Wentz and Jared Goff. "All the doubts, all the comparisons, tired of waiting, and excited that camp is here and ready for year two. All I can do is control my attitude & effort.

"I know who I am. I know what kind of player I can be. And I know my role on the team. I'm looking forward to proving that."

The weight of a city and a lot of jobs in the front office are on Trubisky's shoulders. He has the mental makeup to handle it, but he also hasn't been tested like he has this offseason when whispers questioning his long-term potential have begun in far corners of football media.

Trubisky has been set up for success in 2018. He's in a quarterback-friendly system with receivers who can make him a star. He should have little trouble proving his doubters wrong and finally showing Bears fans what it means to cheer for a fun and exciting offense.