What is it about the Bears offense that people don’t want to come be part of it?
Within the early hours of free agency, the Bears landed a cluster of defensive players (linebackers Jerrell Freeman and Danny Trevathan, as well as D-lineman Akiem Hicks). But beyond former Arizona tackle Bobby Massie, the Bears have been spurned by a couple of targeted free agents where they appeared to be a preferred destination for playing-time opportunities.
Tight end has been a scratchy point for the Bears for more than a few years, with only the occasional Emery Moorehead or Greg Olsen or Martellus Bennett season or two to break the run of mediocrity since Mike Ditka. This offseason unfortunately hasn’t broken much from that pattern, with a couple of head-shakers thrown in.
Re-signing Zach Miller put a respectable 32-year-old band-aid in place before Bennett was traded to the New England Patriots. The Bears targeted New Orleans tight end Josh Hill with an offer sheet, only to have the Saints match their offer despite earlier signing Coby Fleener away from Indianapolis.
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Now the Green Bay Packers have signed Jared Cook, who was on the Bears’ wish list not once but twice. He chose the then-St. Louis Rams in 2013 with a five-year deal. Now Cook has opted for a one-year deal with a Green Bay team that already has Richard Rodgers in place as the starter, rather than the Bears and a clear vacancy as either the No. 1 or 1A tight end.
This comes after running back C.J. Anderson opted to sign an offer sheet with the Miami Dolphins for less money than the Bears were offering the Denver Broncos tailback.
The Broncos matched the Miami offer, so likely Anderson wouldn’t have escaped Denver for Chicago even for a slightly higher offer anyway. But Anderson voiced a wish to get with the offense of Adam Gase, the Denver offensive coordinator before taking that post in Chicago last year and now the head coach in Miami — this in spite of knowing the offensive philosophy of John Fox, his initial coach in Denver, and Fox stating that the philosophy would remain in place as Dowell Loggains replaced Gase in Chicago.
The Bears were not at their best against the New England Patriots on Sunday. They made plenty of mistakes on all three phases and gave Tom Brady too many opportunities to control the game.
It wasn’t all bad from Chicago, though. Trey Burton emerged as a new favorite weapon of Mitchell Trubisky, and the tight end was the Bears’ highest-graded player in the game by Pro Football Focus.
Burton had a career high 11 targets, nine catches and 126 yards with a touchdown, giving Trubisky a 144.7 passer rating when targeting his top tight end.
Seven of Burton’s targets and six of his catches traveled 10 or more yards in the air, according to PFF.
Defensively, safety Adrian Amos led the pack with a 74.6 overall grade. He did not miss a tackle after missing a career-high five last week, and he allowed only one catch for eight yards against the Patriots.
On the bottom of the scale, outside linebacker Leonard Floyd received the second-lowest grade of his career (38.9 overall) for his performance. He did not record any pressure on the quarterback in 13 pass rushing snaps, and he allowed two catches for 13 yards and a touchdown in coverage against running back James White.
Wide receiver Allen Robinson had a career-low grade as well at 44.9 overall. He was clearly limited by his groin injury, targeted five times with one catch for four yards and a dropped pass.
Overall, the Bears were able to stick with one of the top teams in the AFC while also leaving a lot of room for improvement. It’s a step in the right direction from where Chicago was in recent seasons.
Take a look over the NFC landscape and try to find me a team that can compete with the Rams.
Packers? Held back by Rodgers' knee and Rodgers' coach. Saints? Might not even win their own division. Washington? Does Alex Smith really scare anyone in the playoffs?
The Rams have one of the easier paths to the Championship Round/Super Bowl that we've seen in some time. Will it likely stay that way? Probably not. But there's a difference between parity and mediocrity and right now the NFC is toeing the line HARD.
Outside the NFC's "elite", how did your team do this week?
You can take a look here and see where they landed.