Bears

What you need to know from Bears-Browns: So, about Trubisky's first half and fourth quarter

What you need to know from Bears-Browns: So, about Trubisky's first half and fourth quarter

Playing devil’s advocate

The biggest thing Mitch Trubisky still has to work on is his pre-snap operation of the Bears’ offense. So what better way to get him reps doing that — and protect him in the process — in the fourth preseason game than by handing the ball off nine consecutive times?

That’s what the Bears did on Thursday night to a scattering of boos as the offense went three-and-out on three consecutive possessions. Trubisky wound up getting a fourth series and completed two of four passes for 10 yards, and Josh Rounds and Adam Shaheen dropped catchable balls on those two incompletions.

"(I was) calling the plays coach was calling," Trubisky said. "It’s above my head. I’m just doing what I’m told." 

The operational stuff is an area in which Trubisky needed improvement, especially after struggling with that against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. He showed all he could throwing the ball during his first three preseason games and didn’t have much left to prove working with backups/third-stringers against a backup/third-string defense. So properly running the offense may have been the thing the Bears wanted to see the most from Trubisky tonight. 

Coach John Fox said in a short week for the final preseason game, there wasn't necessarily a set strategy that dictated those consecutive handoffs, though. 

"When you’re getting ready for the season opener, it’s not like you gameplan every game," Fox said. 

And it’s worth noting that when the Bears did open the game up for Trubisky to pass, he was shoved out of bounds (for a penalty) that resulted in him nearly getting accidentally clotheslined by a Cleveland Browns assistant coach. That’s not something you want to see happen to your quarterback of the future.

But what about the fourth quarter?

Here's where the protection argument breaks down: Why were the Bears having Trubisky attempt passes when he entered the game for a banged-up Connor Shaw in late in the fourth quarter?

Trubisky was shoved to the ground after attempting a screen pass, and he was sacked on the final play of the 25-0 loss while trying to get the Bears into the end zone. The Bears are lucky to have put Trubisky in that spot and have their quarterback of the future come out of it unscathed. 

"Any time you go out there it’s a risk, truth be told," Fox said "… Football’s a rough game, no doubt. You never want to see people get hurt. But it is part of the game. So I don’t know that we exposed Mitch a whole lot, but I can also say any time you trot between those lines you’re exposed. 

... I think it’s going to be fair to say it won’t be the first time he’s been hit and it won’t be the last."

Trubisky didn't back away from the challenge of tagging in and out for Shaw, which makes sense given how competitive he is. But the Bears could've done more to protect him, like having him hand the ball off or attempt a field goal (with new long snapper Jeff Overbaugh) on fourth down. 

"If I was in there, I wanted to score," Trubisky said. "Just kind of feel bad for the fans because we want to put on a show but we really didn’t get to do that. I’m never worried about injury — you go out there, you’re playing football. When you start to worry about those things, that’s more when they happen — playing timid or keeping it in the back of your mind. But I’ll do whatever this team asks of me. It was kind of fun being in there at the end, a little exciting, got the adrenaline back going. Too bad we didn’t get score." 

Tough injuries for a few on the roster bubble?

Wide receiver Victor Cruz and linebacker Lamarr Houston both were taken to the locker room after suffering knee injuries in the third quarter, and safety Deiondre’ Hall also suffered an injury in the second quarter. 

Of that group, Houston and Hall had the best shots of making the Bears’ initial 53-man roster given the Bears’ need for depth at outside linebacker and the versatility Hall, a former cornerback, provides.

Houston has suffered two serious, season-ending knee injuries in the last three years and was ruled out for the rest of the game after going to the locker room, so there’s some concern there. We’ll know more later tonight. 

Cruz was on the bubble coming into this game, and left with two catches (on four targets) for nine yards. He finished the preseason with six catches for 28 yards with a touchdown and didn’t make much more of an impact in practice. An injury, depending on the severity — he was deemed questionable to return late in the third quarter — could damage his already-shaky chances of surviving cut-down day on Saturday.

Did Patriots owner Robert Kraft crush Bears' hope for Tom Brady?

Did Patriots owner Robert Kraft crush Bears' hope for Tom Brady?

The Bears are one of the first teams mentioned when speculation about where New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady could play in 2020. The Bears are the most quarterback-needy club that also has a chance to make a Super Bowl run with a player like Brady under center, so it's logical to assume the soon-to-be free agent will at least entertain the idea of playing home games at Soldier Field next year.

Much of what happens with Brady will come down to how the Patriots view the 42-year-old (he'll be 43 at the start of next season). If all things are equal, and New England makes him a fair offer to come back, it's likely Brady would return to the only franchise he's ever played for. And if owner Robert Kraft's recent comments are sincere, it's more than likely that he will.

RELATED: Top 30 free agents of the 2020 NFL offseason

Kraft, who was in New York City on Tuesday, was asked by TMZ reporters whether the Patriots will re-sign Brady this offseason. His response? 

"We plan to," Kraft said.

Well, there you have it, right? If the Patriots plan to re-sign Brady, then the Patriots are going to re-sign Brady; assuming, of course, you believe what Kraft is saying in January before New England's decision-makers have had enough time to assess their quarterback situation with, and maybe without, No. 12 under center.

Brady is coming off of one of his worst seasons as a pro, which is saying something considering he's been playing for two decades. His completion percentage was the lowest it's been in six years, his yardage total was the second-lowest in the last 10 years, and his 24 touchdown passes were the fewest he's thrown in a season since 2006. 

It's natural to wonder whether Father Time has finally caught up to him. Maybe, however, his down year was a result of lacking talent at wide receiver and tight end. Regardless of the reason, his 2019 campaign has called into question where he'll be in 2020.

But there are those three words Kraft said — 'we plan to' — that can't be ignored. At the very least, Bears fans can't get their hopes up. The Patriots tend to get what they want, and if they want Brady back in 2020, they'll have him.

Bears showing strong interest in Dayton TE Adam Trautman

Bears showing strong interest in Dayton TE Adam Trautman

Add Dayton tight end Adam Trautman  to the growing list of tight ends the Bears have met with at the 2020 Senior Bowl.

After confirming Purdue's Brycen Hopkins and Vanderbilt's Jared Pinkney spent time with Bears scouts (in the case of Pinkney, nearly 35 minutes), Trautman told NFL.com's Chase Goodbread that Chicago's scouts have expressed a strong interest in his skill set.

"They're interested in me," Trautman said of the Bears. "They tell me they like what they see."

RELATED: Top 30 free agents of 2020 NFL offseason

Trautman had one of the best lines of the week when he said he prefers driving opposing defenders into the ground against their will over scoring touchdowns, and at a well-built 6-foot-5, 251 pounds, he has the perfect physical makeup to project as a guy who will do that on the next level. He needs development in that area of his game (run blocker), but his 'want-to' is half the battle.

Trautman wasn't the best tight end this week, but he was far from the worst. He's been consistent, and for a team like the Bears who are searching for a tight end who can be relied on as a second-level target for whoever is playing quarterback in Matt Nagy's offense, Trautman's consistency will be viewed as a plus.

Trautman had 916 yards and 14 touchdowns for Dayton in 2019. Scouts wanted to see whether he could handle the jump in competition at the Senior Bowl, and he's answered that question with a resounding yes.

He projects as a Day 3 pick with upside to develop into a starting quality tight end.