Here we are again.
Another week, another offensive let-down. This time, the Bears’ offense wasn’t alone though. The defense decided to join the party. Now I will say that I don’t think the defense is all to blame for their own poor performance. Granted there were some missed tackles and some Saints players left wide open throughout the game, but it’s hard to stay sharp when the offense can’t stay on the field and get you a break. The Bears’ defense was on the field for 37+ minutes, the bulk of which came in the first 3 quarters.
That’ll tire anyone out.
Nagy acknowledged this after the game in his press conference. I’m not going to spend a ton of time on the defense even though they haven’t looked great the past two games. This is about the offense…
After the loss to the Raiders, everyone thought there would be some changes over the bye week and it would give the Bears the chance to right the ship. For one, that’s what you’d expect, but Nagy also said this himself. This is great that he has acknowledged this because at a minimum, he isn’t oblivious to the fact that Bears continue to play like shit. If you recall after the game in London, Nagy gave one of his typical “we’ve gotta get better” speeches in the presser:
“Numbers don’t lie. Not good enough. You put in a lot of work to be better, and we know where we’re at. It’s my job to make sure it gets better…I believe whole-heartedly in all of our guys. But each person, every coach, every player, it’s time to start looking at themselves in the mirror and figuring out why we’re out there.”Via The Chicago Bears
Flash forward to Sunday night after the loss to the Saints in his press conference:
…”Something’s got to change, and something will change.” …
…“I really thought our run game would be better” …
… “We need to pull together, and I’ll be able to here in a little bit go back and watch the tape. But I don’t know, what was — rushing yards was so low, I don’t know. But you have 17 yards. You’ve got to be able to run the ball.” …Via The Chicago Bears
These are just the two most recent examples but he’s becoming a broken record and I can only assume he’s beginning to lose trust within the fan-base. He is with me. Every week it’s the same B.S. statement after each game, win or lose. Because even in the wins, the Bears do not look good.
I thought Matt Nagy was supposed to be this offensive mastermind, genius, whatever you wanna call it. I’m not seeing it. Maybe I’m biased and rank the Bears position players higher in my mind than they should be, but I feel like they have a lot of weapons and he can’t seem to get them going. Heading into the 4th quarter, the Bears had 4 first downs and their only touchdown came via special teams. How does that even happen with someone who people claim is an offensive genius?
That’s an insult to football geniuses everywhere. He keeps stressing the running game, but only gives Montgomery (who the Bears traded up in the draft to get) two carries, continues to run Tarik Cohen up the middle, doesn’t play Mike Davis at all, and puts the ball in WR’s hands in the run game? The rush attempt that Anthony Miller got? Ended up in a fumble.
Which leads me to Anthony Miller.
He was called out by the head coach after the Raiders loss when asked about the Daniel interception late in the game, “Anthony could have run his route a little bit higher. He flattened it off. But, at the same time, Chase will be the first person to tell you he wished he hadn’t made that throw.” Then just last night, Nagy and Mitch both said that Miller was supposed to go outside, not inside, on a 3rd down pass that Trubisky missed. Pile that on top of some untimely penalties against the Raiders and being virtually non-existing so far this season, and maybe Anthony Miller isn’t the number 2 WR we thought he was after his rookie season. He had an OK game aside from the fumble last night, but he keeps getting called out by the coaches and his quarterback. That can’t be good for team chemistry.
Since we’re talking about WR’s and the skill players, there is one thing I want to highlight about this Bears offense. The long bright spot, if you will. Allen Robinson is an absolute stud. Coming into that game, Marshon Lattimore (who largely covers the opposing teams’ WR1s) had given up the following stat lines to said WRs:
- Amari Cooper 5/48/0
- Mike Evans 0/0/0
- DJ Chark 3/43/0
There weren’t high hopes for Allen Robinson coming into the game with the assumption he’d be matched up with Lattimore, and he finished the game with 10/87/1. He’s been consistent all season coming up with big catches and providing some offense when given the opportunity. This shouldn’t be overlooked.
OK, let’s go back to Nagy’s “offensive mind”. Mitch threw the ball 54 times. Why, why, why, why? It’s no secret that throwing the ball is not his strong suit. Kind of a problem when you’re slated to be the franchise QB huh? The only chance Mitch has at becoming an OK quarterback is using his athletic ability and running the ball. He had zero runs. Injured shoulder or not, if there’s a worry that he’ll re-injure himself, and that’s changing the game plan, then he doesn’t need to be out there. You can’t even blame it on the shoulder though because Nagy wasn’t running him before this game anyway.
He was 5th in rushing yards for QB’s last year (was 2nd for much of the season, before he got hurt, behind Cam Newton, until Lamar Jackson became a starter and Mitch stopped running late in the season), and this coaching staff has just totally abandoned that strength of his. Also as we saw before the bye, the game plan seems to be “don’t throw the ball over 10 yards” (hell, 8 yards downfield). Just rely on screens and dump off’s all game. See Tarik Cohen’s 9 catches for 19 yards last night. There’s nothing creative or efficient about this play calling. Again, no idea what Nagy is doing and the team doesn’t seem to have a clue either. It could all come back to Mitch’s ability to throw the ball accurately, but that isn’t the vibe we get every time Nagy and Pace open their mouths. He missed some more wide open guys last night though, and even during the broadcast Troy Aikman was beginning to just be baffled by the missed throws. Rich Eisen summed it up perfectly:
Trubisky get’s a lot of the blame, and rightfully so. But… I do not think it’s all his fault. He is not THAT bad. The play calling is bad. Players running the wrong routes is bad. Dropping passes on 3rd down is bad (Don’t get me started on how bad and non-existent Trey Burton has been. $8.55 mil this year. Awesome). Having no threat of a run game is bad. It all makes Mitch’s job much harder. Add in the fact that he got drafted where he did (to no fault of his own) is also adding extra pressure from the fan base. Mix alllll that together and you’ve got recipe for disaster, which is where we’re at.
His draft status is also affecting the team from an organizational standpoint.You know Pace doesn’t want to admit it was a bad pick, so Mitch is going to have a much longer leash than anyone else normally would. Pace may need to bite the bullet sooner than later and look at drafting a QB in the next draft though. The Bears don’t have any first rounders next year, so the “savior” would have to come in the second round at the earliest. The Bears are kind of in win-now mode though, so a trade during the season might even be a better option. However, the trade deadline is October 29th, and I don’t even know where to begin as far as a trade goes. Andy Dalton? Marcus Mariota? Someone like Will Grier who isn’t playing in Carolina?
Just throwing out names here, but the point is that Chase Daniel isn’t the answer in place of Mitch. All around the league, all these other teams have significantly better backups than the Bears. The loyalty and Daniel-Nagy connection has run it’s course. I don’t care if he’s smart and knows “Nagy’s offense”. Guess what? Nagy’s offense sucks and he can’t play football. I’d rather roll with a QB the Bears trade for and Mitch, than sit idle with Mitch and Chase Daniel.
Going forward, there are two more immediate options to try. The one I just mentioned, or handing over offensive play calling to the OC, Mark Helfrich. Not saying this is the ultimate fix, but it’s worth a shot. He was at Oregon from 2009 to 2016 and that offense was known for putting up some points. This was brought up to Nagy last night and he had his typical close to the vest B.S. response:
“I’m not going to get into all of that, if I did, no one (in the public) would know.”
Well if no one in the public is going to know, keep expecting to get questions about why the offense can’t get a first down. Can’t gain 300+ yards. Can’t run the ball. Question play calling. The list goes on. I’m sure we’ll get another vanilla response from Nagy at some point on Monday along the lines of “we struggled at the beginning of the game, but really like what I saw out of this team the last two drives, ya know. We never gave up. I love the fight in this team…”. Ohh so you’re impressed by the team putting together the first solid drive in the last 2 games when the Saints were in pack-it-in mode and were up by so much there was no threat of a comeback? After the Bears lucked into an onside kick recovery? Gimme a break.
To put how bad this offense is into perspective, let’s look at where our “offensive genius” ranks in some of the major categories:
- 18.7 points per game (26th)
- 263.7 total yards per game (30th)
- 193.7 pass yards per game (29th)
- 70.0 rush yards per game (28th)
- 4.4 yards per play (30th)
- 1st downs (28th)
You know those other teams the Bears are hovering around at the bottom of the league? The Dolphins, Redskins, Jets, and Steelers. The Jets are about to get a whole lot better and up those numbers with the return of Sam Darnold, too.
I want to give Nagy more time and there’s a chance he can turn this thing around. But as Nagy says after every game, the Bears have gotta get better and something has to change because the Bears are built to win right now. Let’s just hope one of these days, something actually does change and it’s not just more Nagy B.S.