Bears

Moon: Angelo wants Forte; Bears will win division

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Moon: Angelo wants Forte; Bears will win division

Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2011Posted: 11:04 a.m.

By JohnMullin
CSNChicago.com BearsInsider Follow@CSNMoonMullin
The Bears schedule is a little nastier this year because of their winning the NFC North. The obvious rough opening three games Atlanta, New Orleans, Green Bay has been well chronicled.

Actually, its worse than you thought.

All three (Falcons, Saints, Packers) ranked in the top 11 for points per game. The Saints (No. 3) and Falcons (No. 4) were among the elite at keeping their quarterbacks un-sacked; the Packers didnt protect Aaron Rodgers as well as that, but the Packers seemed to manage just fine anyway. Green Bay and New Orleans ranked in the top 10 for yardage.

The Bears ranked no better than 21st in any of those departments.

But then it gets even more surly.

The Falcons (fifth), Saints (seventh) and Packers (second) all stand among the NFLs defensive elite as well. The Bears were fourth in scoring defense but ninth in yards allowed vs. Green Bays No. 5 and New Orleans No. 4.

Just to be clear...

The Bears offer to running back Matt Forte wasnt enough to get Forte to nod OK. But the Bears are not closing any doors even though GM Jerry Angelo told ChicagoBears.com that there are no current plans for negotiations before the end of the season.

And Angelo was explicit long-term: We want to have Matt play his entire career as a Bear. That was our intent when we started negotiations.

Reasonable assumption, but...

Mike Florio at ProFootballTalk.com has the Bears finishing out of the playoffs. Thats a very reasonable conclusion and Mike is among the best at assessing league-wide situations.

But as Mike said Wednesday on his 10 a.m. check-in with Dan McNeil and Matt Spiegel on WSCR-AMs The NcNeil and Spiegel Show one of his and others fundamental underlying assumptions is that the Green Bay Packers have to be the pick to win the NFC North. They won the Super Bowl and theyre getting a lot of injured guys back.

But Ive gone the other direction and picked the Bears to win the division again, in part because of the last 10 Super Bowl winners, only four have even won their division the following year. Life and the NFL dont always go in the straight line they look to be following.

As for specific Bears issues, Mike said he was concerned about the offensive line as a work in progress. Thats significant if the defense has trouble winning games for them early. And Mike admitted to the feeling shared by a lot of Bears fans last year.

I just feel they got lucky in early 2010 and the defense carried them through a lot of those games.

Well see. Mikes not alone in his take here. I do have a hard time seeing lucky getting you to 11 wins, though. Guess thats why they play the games.
Rostering

If you wondered whether fourth preseason games matter and teams pay attention to who does what, the Bears replenished their fullback larder Wednesday with the signing of jumbo blocking back Tyler Clutts from the practice squad of the Cleveland Browns the Bears opponent in that fourth warmup game.

John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.

First and Final Thoughts: Bears in good position to go 2-1

First and Final Thoughts: Bears in good position to go 2-1

Welcome into First and Final Thoughts, one of our weekly columns with a title that's a little too on the nose. Here we'll have Insider J.J Stankevitz, Producer Cam Ellis, and a rotating cast of NBC Sports Chicago's Bears team give some insight into what's on their minds between games.

Final Thought on Week 2

J.J. StankevitzWhat we saw Monday night is probably a blueprint for how the Bears can be successful in 2018: A developing quarterback makes some mistakes but leads a couple of scoring drives, which provides enough points to support an elite defense. The Bears' defense proved that, really, all it needed was to put forth four quarters of effort to solve the issues it seemed to create in that Week 1 loss to Green Bay. The offense is larger question, and it was at least a little concerning that Seattle's defense felt like it was best to sell out to stop the run -- the preferred strategy of defenses against the Bears' 2017 offense. The Bears needed more help from their offensive line and Jordan Howard, yes, but more than anything they needed -- and will need -- Mitch Trubisky to be better going forward to make sure teams can't drop safeties down and stack the box to stop the run. 

Cam Ellis: Of the three big offensive additions (Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, and Trey Burton) that the Bears made this year, Robinson's looked the best so far. He's clearly Trubisky's go-to guy; he only has one less target (21) than Gabriel and Burton combined (22). He hasn't found the end zone yet, but his current 66.7 Catch% would be the highest of his career by a significant margain. He was even Pro Football Focus' highest-rated Bears offensive player in Week 2. Frustratingly enough, he's only averaging 10.3 yards per reception, which wasn't exactly the idea when they brought him in. It's hard to blame him for tha, however, when the Bears rank 30th in the NFL in yards per pass attempt (4.9). 

First Thought on Week 3

J.J. Stankevitz: Goodness, Arizona is bad. In two games, they've managed only 19 first downs, 350 total yards of offense and four third down conversions in 20 attempts. Sam Bradford is averaging four yards per attempt. Meanwhile, the Cardinals' defense is allowing 6.1 yards per play, including an average of 8.8 yards per passing attempt. But here's maybe the most wild stat about the Cardinals: They haven't attempted a field goal -- not even a PAT -- in two games. Just about every team in the NFL matches up well against Arizona (well, maybe besides the Bills), so the Bears will head to the desert with an excellent opportunity to move to 2-1. But then again, last year, the Bears were 0-2 and coming off a horrible Week 2 loss...and then beat a playoff team in the Pittsburgh Steelers behind Mike Glennon (who's now Arizona's backup). Anything can happen in the NFL.

Cam Ellis: If the Bears want to compete for an NFC North title, they should be able to go out and win games like these, presumably comfortably. (Though Arizona getting 6 points at home seems a bit dramatic) The Cardinals are very not good, and like J.J. said, NFL games can be coin flips. The Bears went 2-6 away from Soldier Field last year, and that obviously won't cut it with this year's roster. The Bears' last quarter of the season features the Rams and Packers at home before road games at San Fransisco and Minnesota, so taking care of favorable matchups like this week (and Nov. 4's in Buffalo) are critical. 

Bears are nearly touchdown favorites over Cardinals for Week 3

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USA TODAY

Bears are nearly touchdown favorites over Cardinals for Week 3

After facing a pair of elite quarterbacks to start the season, the Bears get a little bit of an easier matchup with the Arizona Cardinals in Week 3.

Sam Bradford has struggled under center so far this season, and fans have been clamoring for rookie quarterback Josh Rosen to get the start. The team could possible turn to Mike Glennon too.

The 0-2 Cardinals are among the worst teams in the NFL thus far, and so Las Vegas sportsbooks see the Bears earning win No. 2 on Sunday.

Chicago favored by six points against Arizona, according to Vegas Insider, and that might even be selling them short.

The Cardinals have scored six points total in two games this season, with their one touchdown coming in Week 1 against Washington. They were shutout last week against the Los Angeles Rams.

Las Vegas is expecting a low-scoring game regardless, with the lowest over/under (38 points) set for any game this week.

If Bradford can right the ship, the Arizona can give the Bears a run for their money this week, but if not, a QB change could be in store for the Cardinals.