Marion Barber left his teammates in the lurch on the field Sunday with his gaffes of stopping the clock for the Denver Broncos and then giving them the football via fumble in OT.
Then Barber maintained his media boycott and left his teammates to answer questions about his missteps. And the NFL isnt any happier than some players were.
League sources told CSNChicago.com that the NFL has been in touch with the Bears with regard to Barbers refusal to make himself available during the week or after games. His only media session was a brief handful of questions after his first practice in Bourbonnais.
No one expects a player to enjoy answering media questions after a difficult day. But theres a league policy besides being a stand-up individual (take the heat off your teammates).
Coach Lovie Smith didnt excuse Barbers game-altering plays but spread some blame around for a team loss. The question is whether or not Barber remains the starter. After the two plays Sunday plus the incorrect alignment that cost a TD in the Kansas City loss, how much confidence will coaches and teammates have in Barber with a game on the line.
We're going to evaluate this video like we do after every game, Smith said. But then we're going to move on. Stepping out of bounds was a mistake. That shouldn't happen. But it did. You can't let it happen again.
On Thursday, Brian Baldinger released another video clip on Twitter for his #BaldysBreakdowns series, this one praising the recent play from Bears QB Mitch Trubisky.
Baldinger states that Trubisky is "making some kind of jump", referring to how impressed he was with Trubisky's play when compared to his rookie season.
In the video Baldinger explains in the video how you expect franchise QBs to make a big leap from year one to year two, and a big part of that leap for Trubisky is being unafraid to make aggressive throws downfield.
Baldinger highlighted a play where Trubisky hit Taylor Gabriel 47-yards down the field, choosing to trust his wideout after he hit him with perfect ball placement despite tight coverage. He continued this theme later on in the video, showing Trubisky's TD strike to Allen Robinson, which was whipped right past a Dolphins defender.
But Baldinger's video wasn't exclusively compliments for Trubisky. He discussed Tarik Cohen's effectiveness as a pass-catcher, saying that you "can't cover him" and comparing him to a Ferrari with his ability to go from first to fifth gear "about as fast as anybody."
He ended his video by showing Trubisky punishing the Dolphins for a blown coverage, hitting rookie Anthony Miller in stride for a 29-yard TD. Baldinger's point in including this clip was to show Trubisky's improved recognition, as he may not have spotted the blown coverage last year. Noticing when and how to take advantage of defensive sloppiness is one of the many things that seperate a "franchise QB" from a stopgap, and Trubisky is trending in the right direction.
If Baldinger's breakdown is any indication, we should expect Trubisky to keep his incredible momentum rolling when the Bears take on the New England Patriots on Sunday. New England is 3rd worst in the league in passing TDs allowed, giving up 15 scores through the air in six games.
A tie is all that separates the Bears from the rest of the NFC North division. Chicago’s Week 6 loss to the Miami Dolphins dropped the team to 3-2, which just barely leaves them in first place.
Because the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings tied in Week 2, they sit just behind the Bears at 3-2-1 in the division. The Week 5 bye week also kept Chicago a little bit ahead, but they’re only a game away from dropping down to third.
They still control their own destiny, but Matt Nagy will need an upset win over the New England Patriots on Sunday to maintain their leading position. The Packers are on a bye week, so they would assume first place if the Bears lose.
The Vikings take on the New York Jets for a chance to take sole possession of the NFC North crown, but Chicago is guaranteed to stay ahead of the Detroit Lions, who also have a bye week.
These early season losses are tough on a Bears team trying to grow a division lead before they take on their NFC North foes midseason. The bigger cushion they can build now, the more wiggle room they’ll have when they face the Lions, Vikings and Lions back-to-back-to-back in November.