Bears

What Emery is asking prospective Bears' head coaches

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What Emery is asking prospective Bears' head coaches

So I've been asked a lot about why Phil Emery is interviewing so many different coaches for the Bears' vacant head coaching position.

The purpose of talking with so many guys is simply to learn as much as possible. Whether it be about offensive systems, philosophies or even other assistant coaches, there is a method to the madness.

Head coaching interviews are as detailed as, or more than, any job in sports or otherwise. Some key topics that are always discussed in these interviews include systems style on both offense and defense.

Since most of the coaches being interviewed by the Bears are offensive guys, they may lay out a good chunk of what they do in terms of utilizing personnel and their overall system. Some coaches will have an entire power point presentation.

One thing every prospective head coach brings to an interview is a long list of potential assistants he would pursue to join his staff. He may include dozens of guys since many may be under contract and unable to leave their current jobs. The list is dissected by the GM and there may even be coaches the GM says he won't accept for various reasons. By seeing the same names pop up on different candidate's lists, GMs can learn who the most highly respected assistant coaches are.

Other topics that are sure to be open for discussion include: how do they practice, meet and discipline players? Oftentimes a coach will have an entire mock practice schedule for the season prepared, from the responsibilities of the assistants to whether the head coach will play the role of the CEO and allow his coordinators to run their sides of the ball or if the coach is going to be a play-caller and oversee his expertise.

The size of the staff is also a big topic. Can the head coach have assistants to assistants, such as an assistant defensive backs coach or offensive assistant, which are not quality control jobs? How many video people are on staff? What is the size of the training staff and other support people? Salaries of assistants have become important. Many teams pay their coordinators at or near the one million mark and the top assistants receive around a half million.

In the Bears' case, the subject of Jay Cutler will definitely be debated. If the head coach isn't sold on Jay after a year, he may want to know if he's tied to him for the long haul. The new coach may want to draft a young QB or look to the market for a possible replacement. Despite being considered a franchise QB, any good coach will look at the number of coordinators he's had and his production.

The new head coach will certainly want to have some say on personnel, even though Emery will have the final say. No coach wants to feel helpless when it comes to the players he's given.

I could go on and on, but that's just a small amount of what takes place during a Head Coaching interview. The more people Phil Emery talks to, the more information he gains, which helps lead to a very informed decision. It's a much better formula than picking one guy and saying "that's my guy"....

Matt Nagy says Mitch Trubisky's Week 7 struggles due to poor footwork

Matt Nagy says Mitch Trubisky's Week 7 struggles due to poor footwork

Fundamentals can often make or break a quarterback's career. For the Bears third-year signal-caller, Mitch Trubisky, he's struggling with one of the most important aspects of quarterback play: footwork.

Coach Matt Nagy met with the media at Halas Hall on Monday and confirmed most of Trubisky's struggles in the Bears' 36-25 loss to the Saints in Week 7 were the result of sloppy footwork.

"The No. 1 thing I came away from was footwork. I thought footwork was just OK. And then the footwork leads to a little bit of better decisions/accuracy with throws. There was some times where there were some backpedals or movement in the pocket could've been a little better or different.

"You look at the one throw on 3rd-and-five, the second possession of the game, he's hit that all week and missed that, that was the start, and then there was a few others one. The other one that I thought was a bigger error by (Trubisky) at that position was we had a 1st-and-10 at the 24-yard line going in and we took a sack for eight yards and that was an RPO. That's a learning tool for him. Hey, we call a run-pass option and we're just a little bit off in our progression on that play and we ended up losing eight yards. Now it's 2nd-and-18, now you're back to 3rd-and-14 and we have and incomplete pass and we gotta grind to make three points.

"For me, playing the position, when you have sloppy footwork, it can lead to other issues. And I think that's what we saw."

Trubisky ended the game completing 34-of-54 passes for 251 yards and two touchdowns, but most of those stats were accumulated during garbage time, which Nagy dismissed as irrelevant. It's obvious Nagy is being careful with his words and, somehow, is still putting a positive spin on some pretty harsh criticism of Trubisky. 

If a quarterback is feeling the pass rush and dropping his eyes too early, which Nagy suggested is happening with Trubisky, and their footwork and accuracy are sloppy and inconsistent, the likely end result is a switch at the position. That isn't going to happen in Chicago, but it's Nagy's honest assessment of Trubisky's play on Sunday is at least a sign (even if it wasn't as harsh as it could've been) that the protective gloves will soon come off.

We just aren't 100% there yet.

"The growth of this offense needs to be better," Nagy said. "That territory, that position (quarterback), it always starts there. It always does. What I have to remind everybody else is there's other parts to this system. It's not just the quarterback play. I think we know what those other parts are that we need to play better at. Collectively, not just at the quarterback position, we need to be a little better." 

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How worried should the Bears be about Mitch Trubisky?

How worried should the Bears be about Mitch Trubisky?

Few positions in sports have the kind of expectations that come along with being a quarterback who's selected in the first round. Those expectations are elevated the higher a quarterback is selected in the first round, so in the case of Mitchell Trubsisky, who the Bears traded up to the second overall pick to select in 2017, it's safe to say failure is not an option for No. 10.

Unfortunately, Trubisky hasn't had much success in more than two seasons and 31 starts as a Bear. He bottomed out against the Saints in Sunday's 36-25 loss when he looked more like an undrafted free agent than a blue-chip first-rounder. His completions were a collection of meaningless dinks and dunks, and whenever he did take a shot downfield, his passes sailed off target and, in some instances, dangerously close to being intercepted.

It was bad. And what's worse? There's no indication that it will get better any time soon. Trubisky hasn't had that 'wow' moment in 2019, sans the 36-yard touchdown pass to Taylor Gabriel in Week 3, to suggest he's even capable of being an average starter in the NFL. It's true quarterbacks take time to develop, and it would be foolish for the Bears to move on from Trubisky with 10 games of evaluation remaining on their schedule, but it certainly feels like GM Ryan Pace is staring down an offseason that will require adding a quarterback in free agency or the NFL draft.

It would be negligent for Pace to ignore the position after what we've seen in 2019. Even if Trubisky has a strong finish to the season, the Bears need a better backup plan than Chase Daniel, who coach Matt Nagy said he never considered playing Sunday despite Trubisky's struggles. Maybe, if Chicago had a quarterback with more upside behind Trubisky, Nagy would've made the switch. This offense needs that flexibility moving forward, even if that means Trubisky moves to QB2 to begin 2020.

The quarterback situation is bad; maybe as bad as it was before Jay Cutler arrived in Chicago in 2009. According to the Athletic's NFL Panic index, it's downright awful.

Trubisky’s deficiencies, and the Bears’ fundamental offensive issues, were even more glaring against the Saints, a team that still has creative offensive play design (hello, fullback option with No. 3 quarterback Taysom Hill) and explosive plays without Drew Brees and other key offensive players, like running back Alvin Kamara and tight end Jared Cook. No, this is the quarterback the Bears picked and the head coach and play caller, Matt Nagy, they picked to develop him. And yet, the Bears, Trubisky and the offense are worse now than they were a year ago.

The swell of doubt around Trubisky and the Bears offense will only continue growing as this disappointing season marches on. Chicago faces the struggling Chargers in Week 8 and should (emphasis on should) be able to get back on a winning track. But they have to do it with some big plays on offense that are the result of a young quarterback who's ready to put this team on his back. Otherwise, it'll soon be time to scout next year's crop of NFL draft hopefuls.

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