It was a tough Week 9 for the Chicago Bears after a very controversial flag saw them lose to the Pittsburgh Steelers by two points. They’ve had some time to stew over the decision and will hope to come up with the W against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.
The Ravens are the favorites, of course, with the bookies attaching them to odds of 10/29 across their sites and sports betting apps while Chicago’s at 47/20.
Looking ahead to Sunday’s contest, here’s what the position coaches have had to say about certain players.
Outside linebackers coach Bill Shuey told reporters he had nothing to say to Cassius Marsh after the flag was thrown. The NFL has since claimed the penalty was prompted by a “posture” towards the Steelers’ bench and, whether or not the Bears agree with the league’s taunting rule, Marsh will know not to do it again
“At the end of the day, he’s a veteran guy,” Shuey explained. “He knew he was new here. And so I didn’t really have to say a whole lot to him on that. I said, ‘If you get back out there.’ … He said, ‘I will play it very conservatively.’”
Marsh was signed just five days prior to the game against the Steelers but Shuey said he was well prepared. He participated in 31 percent of the team’s defensive snaps and could be a rotation player this coming Sunday if Khalil Mack stays out.
The Bears have been eyeing Marsh for several years and tried to get him in 2017. Shuey spent a lot of time with the player in his first week, helping him learn the system.
“In my opinion, he played a good game,” the coach said. “It’s unfortunate that one … he’s going to be remembered for that one play. If you look at the number of snaps he played, especially coming in in a short time, to basically be able to come in and function through the whole call sheet was impressive.”
The Hicks Conundrum
Akiem Hicks sprained his ankle against Pittsburgh and could only participate in 49 percent of the Bears’ defensive snaps, having played through a groin injury. Whether he plays the Ravens is left to be seen but the Bears would do well to get him fit enough to show up as they need all the help they can get on defense with the Ravens tied for the most rushing yards in the NFL at 154.1.
“He’s showing those guys that this is a physical, tough league,” defensive line coach Chris Rumph remarked. “You’re going to have some bumps and bruises but you need to fight through it and keep pushing. It’s been really good for the guys to see a guy who’s been around the game for a couple of years out there do it at his age.
“It’s heart-breaking … seeing a guy battling through the season,” Rumph said. “He’s out there battling and just came up a little short with the injury.”
The 32-year-old has been playing through pain since Week 4. He hurt his groin on the Lions’ first play and would sit out Week 5 and Week 7, playing the Packers in Week 6 before making a return in Week 8.
Eddie Goldman Wasn’t Fully Back
Eddie Goldman didn’t play until Week 4 this season after skipping mandatory minicamp. He showed up for training camp but had to see himself out again, having featured on the reserve/COVID-19 list. He would miss more practice through knee and ankle injuries and, when he did get back, Rumph wasn’t sure he was at 100 percent.
“He wasn’t back,” the defensive line coach offered. “Sometimes you just hear the name and think the name is enough. As you find out, he wasn’t totally back. And then had other guys injured, so those guys were never really able to groove together. Now he’s clicking and starting to feel it and get his legs back under him. It will be exciting going forward.”
Darnell Mooney Looking To 1,000
Darnell Mooney is averaging 50 yards per game and isn’t quite on course to rack up 1,000 this season. He should accrue around 850 at the rate. Chicago’s improvement on offense has made the milestone an important one, though.
Allen Robinson made more than that in each of the last two seasons with the Bears but Mooney is building great chemistry with rookie quarterback Justin Fields and could go on to reach the mark.
“When you’re in this league, that’s always the number on an individual basis that any wideout would like to have,” receivers coach Mike Furrey said of the receiver. “Even the last couple of years with A-Rob, even though his stature, how many balls he was catching, that’s still a huge number in this league. But that’s not talked about. It never really is talked about. But obviously [Mooney] has the capability to do that.”
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