Bears

Mitch Trubisky pick means Bears staff might stick for 2018

Mitch Trubisky pick means Bears staff might stick for 2018

I brought this up during this past week's Bears Talk Podcast, a couple of weeks after mentioning the possibility on Laurence Holmes' show on "670 The Score."

Ryan Pace going all in on Mitch Trubisky could mean buying more time for John Fox and his staff (specifically Dowell Loggains) than the more common belief the head coach and his offensive coordinator are on their Chicago lifeline this fall.

I see the complete opposite.

If this team has any semblance of luck with injuries as opposed to Fox's first two seasons (though this week's injuries to Mark Sanchez and Cameron Meredith felt a bit ominous), it's hard to see a 3-13 repeat. No doubt, Fox will have to be at his best in keeping everyone together after what's expected to be a difficult first month.

While the final two games of last season hinted otherwise, that's been one of Fox's strengths through a rebuild that's taken longer than expected now in Year 3, in part due to all the injuries. And if he can somehow find a way to guide his squad to (yes, improbably), split those first four games, imagine the psychological boost and belief that would provide.

But back to Trubisky and the staff, specifically.

Unless the General Manager senses a complete failure by Loggains and quarterbacks coach Dave Ragone in bringing the No. 2 overall pick along at a satisfactory "pace" as a rookie, would they really want to hit the reset button on his development all over again?

His plate right now is full as it is, learning a pro style offense (which Carson Wentz did not have to do a year ago), identify defensive disguises at the line of scrimmage, drop back from center 40 to 45 percent of the time, master a playbook, and acclimate himself to his offensive weapons. Once he finally gets comfortable with that (whether he sees game action this season or not), would Pace really want to start all over again, unless he just, flat out, dislikes the job Loggains is doing?

You say what if Loggains stays, and Fox goes? Doesn't work that way. A new head coach won't want to be told who his offensive coordinator is, unless that change at the top of the staff comes from within (Vic Fangio?). 

So as we look forward, as much as Bears fans want answers, or instant playoff gratification, the season must play out. I can't wait to see how it does (but check back with me at the bye week).

Public patience, understandably, is thin. And another sub-.500 season would have fans and some media demanding change again. Pace would almost certainly get an opportunity to hire a second head coach, and it's also the last thing George McCaskey wants next January, yet again.

So when it comes to bringing their quarterback of the future along, a coaching change could make the future a bit longer to arrive.

Tarik Cohen was Bears' best offensive player vs. Rams

Tarik Cohen was Bears' best offensive player vs. Rams

The Chicago Bears offense was uninspiring once again Sunday night in the team's 17-7 loss to the Los Angeles Rams. While they could've had another six points had kicker Eddy Pineiro connected on two early-game field goals, it still wouldn't have been enough to win the most important game of the season.

After 11 weeks (10 games), the Bears rank 28th in points per game with 16.9. To put their brutal season in perspective, the New York Jets, who've been atrocious this year, are averaging 16.4 points per game.

Essentially, Matt Nagy has coached Chicago's offense as effectively as Adam Gase has coached the Jets'. 

Still, it's worth acknowledging strong individual performances in the midst of an overall letdown, and in Week 11's loss to the Rams, it was running back Tarik Cohen who stood tallest among his Bears' offensive teammates.

Cohen posted Chicago's highest Pro Football Focus grade on offense with a 74.3. He logged 45 snaps, 10 more than David Montgomery, and was effective when he touched the ball. He totaled 74 yards and a touchdown on 14 touches en route to being the Bears' most effective running back against a tough Rams defensive front. Montgomery managed just 31 yards on 14 carries.

Cohen hasn't had the kind of season that was expected from his role as a do-it-all offensive weapon; he's way behind his normal pace of production as both a runner and receiver. Cohen had 99 carries for 444 yards and three touchdowns to go along with 71 catches for 725 yards and five scores in 2018. He's on pace for just 186 rushing yards and 402 receiving yards this season.

Still, Sunday night's effort was a step in the right direction for him and a sign that he may continue to get more touches as the season comes to a close.

Nagy took hard look at his duties as Bears offensive play-caller, opts to retain that role

Nagy took hard look at his duties as Bears offensive play-caller, opts to retain that role

During the Bears’ 17-7 loss to the Los Angeles Rams, quarterback Mitch Trubisky suffered a hip pointer, an injury that involved monitoring by the coaching and medical staffs from halftime on. Kicker Eddy Pineiro was missing field goals to the point of appearing to affect his coach’s decision-making. The offense was sputtering – again – and the defense, after some early takeaway success, appeared to be sagging emotionally. There were issues at tight end. Aaron Donald had to be accounted for and blocked.

All of which and more was on the head of Matt Nagy, now all of 27 games into being an NFL head coach, and who late in the game needed to stop and have a heart-to-heart, heads-together talk with his quarterback about how he was feeling.

The “and more” on Nagy’s head continues to include calling the individual plays for his bad-and-getting-worse offense.

So Nagy spent a chunk of his morning taking a hard look at whether defenses are on to him, presumably personally as well as schematically. And some of that hard look was whether he indeed should continue being the play-caller in the wake of the offense running 74 plays, netting 7 points and failing to gain 300 total yards for the ninth time in 10 games.

For now, after that look in the mirror, Nagy will remain in control of the play sheet.

“What I would say is this,” he said, acknowledging that if he felt he was the problem, “I’ll be the first to tell you, then we need to be better or if there’s a rhythm to something.

“I have zero ego and I have zero care of giving play-call duties to somebody else. I really do not care about that, and if that’s what we feel like from going through it that that’s what we need to do, then I would do that, I really would.

“But when you go through the tape and you look at things and you know schematically where we’re at and what we’re calling and when we’re calling it…. There’s without a doubt a few plays in that game that I would go back and say, ‘You know what, that’s our fault. We didn’t scheme it right,’ and that starts with me. And I need to be able to accept that and know how do I fix that. But we’ll do everything we can … we’re turning over every stone to get this thing right.”

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