4 Bears questions: Is Eagles’ Frank Reich a head-coach candidate?
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When someone asked Bears cornerback Prince Amukamara what he was thankful for Thursday, he had a blunt answer: That his teammates haven’t quit.
“You see around the league, it looks like some teams aren’t giving it their all,” he said. “And I just know these guys, just with the circumstance we’re in, we’re still fighting and not giving up. You can only ask that from these guys. I respect that a lot.”
While we wonder how much that will matter Sunday in Philadelphia, here are four more Bears questions:
First quarter: The next head coach?
With his Eagles leading the NFL in points and quarterback Carson Wentz developing into a star, offensive coordinator Frank Reich figures to be someone’s head coach next season.
It could be the Bears, who undoubtedly will look for someone to groom Mitch Trubisky.
Eagles coach Doug Pederson sees head-coaching qualities in Reich.
“He’s got the right demeanor,” Pederson said. “He’s a players’ coach. He relates well to the players. He does a great job with the offensive staff, and he’s got the right demeanor.
“He’s got the mindset, the mentality, the leadership qualities that you see. I think it is a matter of time. Obviously, the more success you have as a team, a lot of places are going to look. And I was fortunate a couple of years ago to be in that position. I see Frank maybe one day having another -opportunity.”
After a 13-year NFL career — he’s best-known for coming off the bench to rally the Bills from 32 points down in an overtime victory against the Oilers in the playoffs — Reich worked for the Colts and Cardinals before becoming the Chargers’ quarterbacks coach in 2013.
He was promoted to offensive coordinator the next year and joined the Eagles two seasons later.
Second quarter: Remember when?
The last time the Bears played in Philadelphia, on Dec. 22, 2013, they learned an hour before their nighttime kickoff that the Packers and Lions had lost. That meant the Bears merely needed to win one of their final two games to reach the playoffs.
They lost 54-11 to the Eagles and fell to the Packers the next week.
Starting with that Eagles game, the Bears have won only 17 of 60 games.
The Patriots, by contrast, have won 17 games — 14 regular-season, three playoff — since Nov. 27, 2016.
Halftime hot tip
The last two seasons, the Bears are 1-11 on the road. Their lone victory came in overtime against the Ravens last month. Underdogs in all but one of those games, the Bears are 3-9 against the spread.
Third quarter: Little guys unite?
Darren Sproles has been on the Eagles’ injured-reserve list for two months, but Tarik Cohen hopes he’ll be able to meet him before the game.
The Bears rookie has been compared to Sproles, who made his NFL debut when Cohen was 10, practically his whole life. Both are 5-6.
“The greatest short guy to ever play the game,” Cohen said.
Cohen has seen Sproles-like attention lately. Guard Josh Sitton has never seen teams roll their coverage to a running back the way they do with Cohen.
“I would feel frustrated if we weren’t doing so good on offense,” Cohen said. “I feel like as the season’s been going on, we’ve been starting to click. We’ve been finding out what we’re capable of, where I need to be. If I need to be that decoy so somebody can get that touchdown, as long as somebody gets a touchdown.”
Fourth quarter: How to stop Alshon?
Kyle Fuller spent three seasons with Alshon Jeffery, so he has a good scouting report of the first-year Eagles receiver.
“I know some little things he likes to do,” he said.
Amukamara, though, figures to guard Jeffery — interesting, considering the Jaguars gave that duty to rookie Jalen Ramsey, not the veteran, when they played at Soldier Field last season.
“Alshon used to be here, and I’m sure he’s licking his chops,” Amukamara said. “He has a huge catch radius. The guy’s big, the guy’s tough. Watching him on film, he’s had a pretty good year.”
Follow me on Twitter @patrickfinley.