Bears

Three Bears necessities for a win vs. Jaguars

Three Bears necessities for a win vs. Jaguars

It seems it will only be a matter of time before all the talent Jacksonville has amassed through the draft in recent years, and free agency this past offseason, comes together into a winning formula. After an 0-3 start of their own, has that tide begun to turn, beginning with their win over the Colts in Week 4 in London? The Jaguars are an NFL-worst 1-16 since the start of 2014 in enemy stadiums. If the Bears become that second victim Sunday, a 1-7 record heading into their bye week appears likely.

1. Keep laundry in the locker room

Averaging six penalties over the first four games is a fairly acceptable average, pending timing. Ten for 80 yards last week in Indy was not, especially considering seven of those came on offense, inside the Colts' 40-yard line. That meant Brian Hoyer missing an open Alshon Jeffery in the end zone simply prevented what would have been a lucky win, based on all the yellow flags preceding that final gasp. The last one was a Bobby Massie hold on 3rd-and-5 from the Colts' 25. Speaking of which...

2. Massie missing

The early returns on one of Ryan Pace's priorities in his second turn through free agency have not been encouraging. Yes, the offensive line as a whole should have completed its "Getting to Know You" process with five straight games together, and they've allowed just three sacks the last three games. The right tackle has struggled against speed rushers, as various scouting reports and game film showed back in March. Held out of practice Friday with a sore ankle, he's now questionable to play against two rookies who've combined for five sacks, lining up primarily of the Jags' left edge, Dante Fowler Jr. and Yannick Ngakoue. Even if backup Mike Adams has to step in, the situation may scream for extra blocking help regardless.

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

3. Third party

When the Bears have the ball, this game "features" their No. 29-ranked third down offense (30.9) against Jacksonville's No. 29-ranked third-down defense (opponents averaging 45.6 percent success). And when that Jaguars offense that has some weapons (including a pair of 1,000-yard receivers last season) has the ball, they're converting just 28.6 percent on third down, worst in the league. So as the Bears defense must keep that trend going, how about giving Jordan Howard and Ka`Deem Carey more than 17 combined rushes, as they were held to last week in a one-possession game throughout, despite averaging 6.6 yards per rush? At least until you're consistently stopped by a middle-of-the-pack run defense, paired with a seventh-rated pass defense.

Count down toward Sunday's noon kickoff on CBS by joining Lance Briggs, Alex Brown, Jim Miller and Chris Boden for Bears Pregame Live at 11 a.m. on CSN.  As soon as the second quarter ends, log on here at CSNChicago.com as Miller and Boden break down the first 30 minutes and go over adjustments on Bears Halftime Live. Then, when the game ends, immediately flip back to CSN for 90 minutes of reaction, analysis, live press conferences and locker room interviews on Bears Postgame Live.

Kyle Long looking forward to 'seeing what another set of eyes from a coaching perspective can give Mitch'

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USA TODAY

Kyle Long looking forward to 'seeing what another set of eyes from a coaching perspective can give Mitch'

Former Bears offensive linemen Kyle Long appeared on The Rap Sheet and Friends podcast hosted by NFL insider Ian Rapoport and he didn't shy away from questions about Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. Long, while stating that he understood the questioning and criticism that Trubisky faces, still believes in him.

"The Bears have won with Mitchell Trubisky."

Indeed Mitch was the starter for 14 games of the Bears 12-4 season before this year's 8-8 disappointment. The issue was Trubisky's play was of course, as he didn't show any noticeable improvement in 2019 after tossing 24 touchdowns in 2018. "We all regressed this year, but unfortunately heavy lies the head that wears the crown, and Mitch is the captain," Long said. 

"Mitch is the quarterback. He’s also suited to take the stuff that he’s gotta deal with, and that’s what I love about Mitch. He can deal with the noise, and he’s young. He’s so young."

Long seems excited by the idea of Chicago's hires, saying that new faces could have quite the positive effect on Trubisky’s game "I’m looking forward to seeing what another set of eyes from a coaching perspective can give Mitch. It’ll be cool to see.”

This offseason the Bears have brought in a new offensive coordinator (Bill Lazor), quarterbacks coach (John DeFilippo), and promoted former quarterbacks coach Dave Ragone to passing game coordinator. Bears head coach Matt Nagy, similar to Long, has faith in Trubisky developing, especially in regard to Ragone. In December Nagy said, “I think I know Mitch better than anybody in this building, except maybe Dave Ragone.”

Long certainly seems to miss his teammates though he clearly has no regrets about his decision. He and Trubisky definitely share a bond that will last long beyond their playing days. “I love the kid, he’s a great friend obviously, a teammate, but I’m looking forward to seeing him develop.”

Similar to the message delivered by the Bears’ front office, Long was in full support of Trubisky throughout the entire interview.

"Mitch is the quarterback. He’s also suited to take the stuff that he’s gotta deal with, and that’s what I love about Mitch. He can deal with the noise...”

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Kyle Long says retirement was easiest decision he's ever made

Kyle Long says retirement was easiest decision he's ever made

Kyle Long saw the same thing Bears fans did during the 2019 season. His level of play was no longer among the top guards in the NFL. In fact, he became a liability for an offensive line that ultimately became one of the biggest weaknesses on the team.

"Fans who are frustrated with my performance, you don’t think I’m sitting in that film room just clenching my fist because I just can’t make a block, or I’m just not healthy enough to get there?" Long said on the Rapsheet and Friends podcast this week. "It’s frustrating. I feel that. I’ve seen the writing on the wall, the Bears did it right, they gave me every opportunity to get healthy. Any other team in the league would have cut me years ago, I’m talking years ago.

"The Bears did me right, and I wanted to do right by them. I’ll never wear another set of colors but navy and orange. I take pride in that, a lot of guys have gone and played somewhere else when this time came for them and it tarnished their legacy, in my mind at least."

Long started 76 of 77 career games with the Bears and during the course of his seven-year career in Chicago became one of the team's most recognizable personalities on and off the field. It began during his rookie season when he was selected to the NFL's All-Rookie team and was an NFC Pro Bowler.

"The miles that I do have in the NFL are rough ones," Long said. "I played the game hard when I could, I played it as I thought it should be played, I gave everything I could to my teammates, emotionally and all that. I always knew there would come a time where I would not recognize the player that I’m seeing on film, and no player wants to have that. 

"It was the easiest decision I’ve ever made because I didn’t recognize the guy on film. I’ll be honest, I was an ass-kicker for a long time. You line ‘em up, I’ll put ‘em down, but there came a point where I couldn’t do that anymore, and it was frustrating. So I knew it was time."

Long, who said he could play another three or four years, didn't use the word retirement when discussing his status. Instead, he chose 'hiatus' as a better description of his current state.

"Could I play more? Absolutely," said Long. "If I took a year off, can I go play 3-4 more years? No doubt in my mind. Do I want to do that? It remains to be seen, which is why I use the term hiatus."

Maybe we haven't seen the last of Long with the Bears. But one thing's for sure, he won't be suiting up in 2020.