Bears

Three Bears necessities for win vs. Vikings: Halloween edition

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Three Bears necessities for win vs. Vikings: Halloween edition

NOT-SO-FUNNY TRICKS: Also known as Mike Zimmer's defensive diet of looks, disguises, showing eight or nine in the box, and creating confusion, especially between the opposing center and guard. I'd hope the Bears' offensive line is better than the unit Detroit pieced together last week, but if Hroniss Grasu can't play or his neck injury affects his effectiveness, the musical chairs begins, and communication in adjusting to those blitz-happy, purple-pants'd Minnesotans. It led to Matthew Stafford being sacked seven times (the Vikings had ten in their first five games), and hit on 13 other occasions.

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

TREAT MINNI'S O-LINE THE SAME WAY: The Bears have allowed a dozen sacks in six games. One of Teddy Bridgewater's strengths is supposed to be his elusiveness, but he's been set down 19 times in the same number of games. He was getting rag-dolled quite a bit in the first half in Detroit last week. Can Will Sutton, Mitch Unrein and Ziggy Hood hold the point somewhere close to how a healthy Jeremiah Ratliff could?

[MORE: Moon's prediction for Bears-Vikings]

DIGGS CAN BE THEIR GRAVE: To steal from the former "Saturday Night Live" nightlife correspondent: "Who's the hottest receiver in the Twin Cities right now? A bit overlooked when he arrived on the scene in May, he has EVERYTHING!  Sure hands, precise route-running, and more than anything....speeeeeed!  It's STEFON!!!"  Okay, I may have gone a bit overboard on the first two descriptions of fifth-round rookie Stefon Diggs, but hardly the last. Bears cornerbacks and the safety help up top must be on their best backpedal. After being inactive the first three weeks, he has 19 receptions for 324 yards the last three. Those numbers tie him with Anquan Boldin as the only players since 1960 with that many catches and receiving yards in their first three NFL games. A dangerous complement to the focus Adrian Peterson requires.

 

Join Lance Briggs, Dan Jiggetts, Jim Miller and Chris in the hour leading up to kickoff on "Bears Pregame Live," at 11 a.m. Sunday on Comcast SportsNet. As soon as the first half ends, log on here on CSNChicago.com for "Bears Halftime Live," as Jim and Chris break down the first two quarters and go over adjustments for the final 30 minutes. Then, as soon as the game goes final on Fox, switch back to CSN and join the four guys for 90 minutes of reaction, analysis, postgame press conferences and locker room interviews on "Bears Postgame Live."

Will Mitch Trubisky be this season's Jared Goff?

Will Mitch Trubisky be this season's Jared Goff?

The Chicago Bears have been compared to the Los Angeles Rams as a team capable of a significant one-year turnaround after the many moves by GM Ryan Pace to improve the offense and build around second-year quarterback Mitch Trubisky.

According to NFL.com's Adam Schein, the comparisons go one step further. He thinks Trubisky is the best candidate to be 2018's version of Jared Goff:

"I'm infatuated with the Bears' offseason," Schein wrote. "The Bears smartly followed the Rams' blueprint from last offseason: hand the keys to an offensive guru/quarterback whisperer (Matt Nagy) and dedicate the offseason to surrounding your young signal-caller with talent (Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel and Trey Burton in free agency, James Daniels and Anthony Miller in the draft). Trubisky will follow in Goff's footsteps and take a major jump in his sophomore campaign."

MULLIN: Teammates see greatness in Trubisky

The comparison of Trubisky to Goff makes a ton of sense. Both were drafted with franchise-quarterback expectations but had average rookie seasons. Both played their first year with an old-school, defensive-minded head coach who was later replaced by a young up-and-coming offensive specialist. And both Goff and Trubisky were given high-powered weapons to begin their sophomore seasons with (the Rams signed Robert Woods and traded for Sammy Watkins before last season). 

Trubisky has to turn these comparisons into production, however. The Rams' remarkable 2017 campaign was just that because rarely does a team have such a dramatic turnaround in only one offseason. The odds aren't in the Bears' favor.

Still, there's a surge of confidence and support in and around Trubisky from the coaching staff and his teammates. He's doing everything he can to prepare for a Goff-like season. We'll find out soon enough if his preparation pays off.

Bears counting on a healthy Leonard Floyd in 2018

Bears counting on a healthy Leonard Floyd in 2018

There's a lot of pressure on the Chicago Bears' pass rush this season.

The NFC North has suddenly become one of the league's most talented quarterback divisions with Kirk Cousins (Vikings) joining Aaron Rodgers (Packers) and Matthew Stafford (Lions). Chicago is the only team in the North without a proven veteran under center.

Leonard Floyd is the most gifted pass-rusher on the roster and the onus is on him to become the superstar sack artist Ryan Pace envisioned when he traded up in the first round in 2016 to select him. Floyd, combined with free-agent addition Aaron Lynch and veteran Sam Acho, have to deliver.

“Leonard Floyd has to stay healthy and have a good year,” Pace told The Athletic's Dan Pompei. “Aaron Lynch has to come on. Vic [Fangio] had background with Aaron Lynch, so that gave us a comfort level in signing him. There is upside there. He’s still a young player. He fits the defense and knows Vic. Sam Acho has been a consistent player for us."

Floyd has just 11 1/2 sacks through two seasons, both of which have been marred by injury. He's played in just 22 of a possible 32 games as a pro.

Pace didn't address the team's pass rush until the sixth round of April's draft when he nabbed Utah's Kylie Fitts. It seemed odd at the time that he waited so long to address one of the team's most glaring needs and there haven't been any veteran signings to sure up the group since the draft concluded. The Bears are one injury away from a serious problem at outside linebacker and are relying on a bunch of guys who haven't proven capable of playing a full season in their careers.

"We felt fortunate to get Kylie Fitts in the sixth round, and he has to stay healthy," Pace said. "You are never going to come out of the offseason and say we addressed everything, we’re perfect.”

The Bears invested most of their offseason resources into surrounding Trubisky with playmakers who can help him compete with his NFC North counterparts. The offense will be better.

But if Floyd doesn't have a breakthrough season, more pressure will be on Trubisky to score points -- and a lot of them -- to keep games close in the division. And that's not the kind of pressure the Bears are hoping Floyd creates in 2018.