Injuries have forced the Bears into personnel scrambles through the first three weeks of the season – the defense opened in Dallas with three new starters from the week before. But coming off three largely dismal performances on offense, defense and special teams, more changes may be in the offing and having nothing to do with injuries.
Coach John Fox, whose success in Carolina and Denver was built with a solid foundation in running the football, acknowledged on Monday that the work of offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains was “not good enough. That’s no indictment on Dowell or anybody else. … All our signatures are on it. It’s 0-3.”
Loggains is in no short-term job jeopardy. But the Bears have failed to establish not only a run game, but also any sort of offensive identity or rhythm, not all of which can be laid at the foot of the Bears falling too far behind to keep running. Fox would not be the first Bears head coach to dictate an in-season course correction; Lovie Smith stepped in during the 2010 season and ordered a change in the offense of Mike Martz that was inept and getting quarterback Jay Cutler annihilated in the process.
Lineup changes are a distinct possibility. Examples: Right tackle Bobby Massie has struggled and former Steelers No. 2 pick and sometimes-starter Mike Adams was signed as a viable option. Jonathan Bullard has not shown any degree of dominance on the defensive line, but the rookie end, representing an upgrade to a virtually non-existent pass rush, could edge past Mitch Unrein on a defensive line that allowed nearly 200 rushing yards with zero sacks against the Cowboys.
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Injury adjustments are inevitable and will make some decisions for the Bears. With Ka’Deem Carey already inactive due to a hamstring injury, Jeremy Langford went out of the Dallas game with an ankle injury that Adam Schefter at ESPN reported on Monday would keep the second-year running back out 4-6 weeks. Rookie Jordan Howard may have bumped Langford out of the No. 1 slot anyway but Langford’s injury effectively makes the decision for coaches.
Lineup changes wouldn’t be official until next Sunday before the Bears take the field against the Detroit Lions. Fox said Monday that the evaluations were still focused on the Dallas game and health options.
“We’ve got to sort out,” Fox said. “The week’s kind of started, but we’re still talking about pretty much [Sunday]. But as we move forward, we dig in as coaches as far as game-planning for Detroit. And we’ll kind of figure out where we are at the end of tomorrow with our medical people. It’s based on who’s available. That can be tricky, but I think everybody in the league has to deal with it.”