Breaking down the Bears halfway through a disappointing season
Halfway through the Bears’ season — which hasn’t gone according to plan — the Sun-Times’ Patrick Finley analyzes what’s gone wrong and what to expect the rest of the way:
Halfway through the Bears’ season — which hasn’t gone according to plan —the Sun-Times’ Patrick Finley analyzes what’s gone wrong and what to expect the rest of the way:
Matt Nagy’s grade halfway through the season is:
C-. His quarterback looks worse today than he ever did last year. He flew to London late — and lost. He didn’t ask Eddy Pineiro for his hash-mark preference — and the kicker missed the game-winner. Nagy lost to the Bears’ rival and Khalil Mack’s old team. He lost three home games before Halloween. And yet: at 3-5, he hasn’t lost the locker room. Nagy The Leader saves Nagy The Decision-Maker from getting a D.
What should they do at quarterback, now and in the future?
Play Mitch Trubisky this season and pray like hell the light goes on—their shortest route to success remains having a functional quarterback on a rookie salary. Next year, the Bears must replace backup Chase Daniel with a quarterback — Marcus Mariota? Cam Newton? —to truly compete with Trubisky for the starting job. Free agency seems the likely path for a team with so few draft picks.
The Bears’ best position group:
Outside linebacker. Any group with Khalil Mack in it gets my vote— and Leonard Floyd has been good against the run. The defensive line had a strong case until Akiem Hicks hurt his elbow.
The Bears’ worst position group:
The Bears’ four tight ends have 27 catches for 205 yards. There are 24 NFL tight ends with more receiving yards all by themselves, including such luminaries as Irv Smith Jr., Jordan Akins and Jonnu Smith. Honorable mention, though, goes to the Bears’ most disappointing unit, the well-paid offensive line. Football Outsiders considers the Bears the No. 18 pass-blocking group in the league and the fourth-worst run blocking unit.
Khalil Mack has been:
Much like the Bears’ defense, very good — but not as electric as last year. With Hicks out, he’s getting double-teamed, chipped and cut more than last season. He has only 5 ½ sacks, but is usually the best player on the field.
How the Bears can pull out of their spiral:
Go old school. Hand off to rookie David Montgomery. Let Trubisky run play-action and keep the ball sometimes. Hope for some 2018 turnover magic from your defense. Wait, did I just channel John Fox?
The Bears’ final record:
7-9, because they’ll benefit from the Vikings not needing to win in Week 17.