Bears 2019 superlatives: Who’s the most disappointing? What must be fixed?
The Sun-Times’ Mark Potash breaks down the Bears’ superlatives with one game to play in the 2019 season:
The wall-to-wall discombobulation of Matt Nagy’s offense. From Mitch Trubisky to the offensive line to the running game to the game-planning and play-calling, the Bears’ offense showed virtually no sign of being in sync and in rhythm. Not only did the Bears not show progress from last season, they took a big step backward.
Most memorable moment:
The mad dash against the Broncos in Week 2 that led to Eddy Pineiro’s walk-off 53-yard field goal at Mile High Stadium. It was a great moment for Pineiro and avoided an 0-2 start that would have been devastating. But it also typified this season: Even in their most exciting moments, the Bears never looked like a real playoff team.
Most promising development:
Linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski’s play in place of Roquan Smith in Week 4 against the Vikings and in seven games in place of Danny Trevathan. Kwiatkoski proved he’s more than a downhill, run-stopping linebacker. It’ll cost more to keep him, but it also gives the Bears some options heading into 2020.
Thing Matt Nagy most needs to change:
His approach to the running game. Even the few times the run game was successful, Nagy seemed to struggle with incorporating it in his offense to keep defenses on their heels — when to run, who to run and where to run. Poor execution was a factor, but whatever he did in the run game, it didn’t look like his heart was in it.
Biggest mistake Bears made this year:
Believing their offensive line was better than it actually was in 2018. Bringing back right tackle Bobby Massie and right guard Kyle Long looked like a good idea, but as it turned out, the Bears needed to upgrade their line rather than maintain it. The Bears expected to take a step up in 2019 and instead took a step back. Upgrading on the fly will be difficult.
Key player least likely to return:
Besides Kyle Long, who has not been seen at Halas Hall since he was put on injured reserve with a “hip” injury after the Raiders game in Week 5? Probably Prince Amukamara, who will not be very cap-efficient at $10 million next season and has a $1 million “dead-cap” number. Amukamara generally played well in 2019, but not well enough to justify the big cap hit.
Clearest sign the season was unsalvageable:
When the Bears came off the bye week and opened up against the Saints with a three-and-out and punt that was blocked out of the end zone for a safety. The Bears had seven rushes for 17 yards and did not produce an offensive touchdown until they fell behind 36-10 late in the fourth quarter. So much for self-scouting.