COMING UP TO THE MIDPOINT IN THE SEASON

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Coming up to the midpoint in the season.

I imagine the tumbling tumbleweed rolling over the great expectations

that once filled many a Bear fan’s heart.

I imagine the halls, the hallowed halls of George Halas Way in the sky and 1920 Football Drive on football field earth, are very silent right now.

I find myself already staring into the chasm of an endless night looking for possible quarterbacks to draft in the 2020 draft. 

How many quarterbacks does a team have to bring in and try before they can find a stud?

The right answer of course is as many as it takes. I also do think Matt Nagy can help a young quarterback. He’s a born leader, he’s had personal success at the position, and he will defend you.

The only thing he doesn’t have a defense for how bad his own offense is right now.

Settling for the field goal at the end of last week’s game, rather than trying to make it easier on a young kicker and getting a few extra yards with time on the clock, is an elephant in the room. But I think Nagy knows it.

Matt Nagy once Coach of the Year, now brought back down to earth.

There’s nothing so obvious then a parent that is dissatisfied with their own underachieving child. Everyone and especially the child can read it on their face. It’s not an algorithm to solve. It’s just basic human emotion.

Nagy looks that way to me. He looks beyond frustrated, like he’s trying to solve for the moon. 

It’s not rocket science as all the dummies like me like to say. 

You just have a bad offense, last in the league in nearly everything. But is it fixable? 

Sunday’s game against an injured opponent was better. David Montgomery’s long run skews the stats but still, not bad. Even Mitchell T made some nice long throws to Anthony Miller downfield. 

The defense looks really pretty great to me and if the offense was just ordinary I think we’d have a contender on our hands. Three losses have been decided by seven points or less. 

Also, what team is last place in their division but fourth best in the league in points allowed?

But the defense can’t alone win the Super Bowl, the offense needs to do something, generally speaking.

Sunday’s game against the Eagles will probably be bad. Trubisky looks like he can’t hear in his home stadium and can at times look really lost on the road but we’ll see. 

You beat a kid long enough and two extremes emerge. He either folds into himself thinking he deserves it, or he’s born again tough. It’s probably going to be somewhere in the middle. 

The Bears have been in every game but one this season, the Saints game. Every other game they’ve competed, even with a substandard offense. 

I’d like to see them run more like everyone would, but run more in less than obvious running situations. This offense doesn’t seem like it has made anyone play on their heels too much except for the Chargers game and of course the game against the lowly Redskins. 

I’d like to see them throw the ball downfield to give Trubisky some confidence early on in the game, and to keep those defensive backs of the Eagles from playing too tight of coverage.

I’d like to see them surprise some people this week. Usually teams caught in a losing streak can snap out of it, and show great flashes of what they can be.

But can they do it on the road? Against a good team? As much as my heart says yes, my mind says no. Another close game but no dice Chicago.

EAGLES 24 BEARS 18

onlyifyoudreamtidbits…………………to show you what a difference 34 years makes take a look at the often misread and misunderstood quarterback rating. Jim McMahon in our beloved 1985 Chicago Bears, a team that keeps orbiting like the moon further and further away from the earth, had a 82.6 QB rating during that season. Trubisky’s quarterback rating so far this season is 81.4. Eerily close, except McMahon played in the pro bowl that year (as an alternate) and Trubisky is stuck in another kind of bowl.

 

UGH!!!

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I was all set to deliver this rampage against Matt Nagy. How he got outcoached by Doug Pederson. How the decision to keep Cody Parkey on the roster came back to bite him in the ass. How he decided not to get Tarik Cohen involved in the offense when the guy is his number one threat. How he seemed to get really conservative when the very thing that got him there in the first place was his willingness to take chances.

Then something occurred to me and I fell in a deep sleep thinking about how many days until pitchers and catchers report for spring training.

The Bears were never supposed to be this good, this first year under the Matt Nagy regime. I went to look up 2018 NFL season record predictions, randomly found Sports Illustrated, and a writer in SI who picked the Bears picked to go 4-12 and the Eagles to go 12-4. They also had the Vikings at 13-3 and the Packers at 12-4. Most places had them finishing in last place.

in SI in June they said

The Bears got better at crucial positions they had to get better at this offseason. Chicago brought in Taylor Gabriel, Allen Robinson and Trey Burton to help their second-year quarterback Mitch Trubisky. The offensive line took a big hit losing guard Josh Sitton and the defense, while improved with Roquan Smith at linebacker, still needs to find a pass rush. It may take one more year for this group to gel.

Granted it was before the team got Khalil Mack but the point is that they got considerably better than how they looked on paper with a first year head coach.

They other thing that is incredibly encouraging is that they’re a young team. Five years ago they were ranked 29th in the league with an average age of 26. 8 and this year they’re ranked 10th with an average age of 25.7, the same as the Eagles and the Packers.

Ryan Pace did what he said he was going to do, he made the team younger, which made the team better.

Just look at what’s coming—-Roquan Smith, 21, James Daniels 21, Bilal Nichols 22, Tarik Cohen 23, Mitchell Trubisky 24, Anthony Miller 24, Jordan Howard 24. All their Pro Bowl defenders——Eddie Jackson 26, Kyle Fuller 26, Khalil Mack 27, Akiem Hicks 29 are all under 30. 

Saw an interesting article   

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/why-coaches-and-qbs-should-divorce-after-five-years-of-not-winning/

on 538 last year about how the window for new coaches and their QB’s is about five years. Of the 31 head coaches to win at least one super bowl, 27 of them won it within the first years of that team.

Jim McMahon was drafted in ’82 the same year Mike Ditka started coaching the Bears. It took them four years and they finally did it. 

Some other pillars on that team—-Walter Payton drafted in ’75. Hampton in ’79, Mike Singletary in ’81, Richard Dent in ’83, The point is it took some time.

But not too much time. In the history of Chicago Bear coaches only Ditka and Lovie Smith made had multiple playoff appearances. Ditka made it to the playoffs 7 times and Lovie Smith 2. 

Jack Pardee made it to the playoffs once, Neil Armstrong once, Dave Wannstedt once, Dick Jauron once. They were all fired soon after.

Another big point is that a team often catches fire one year only to revert back to being a mediocre team the next. There are very few Sean McVay’s who was 11-5 last year and then was 13-3 this year. That will be the challenge for Matt Nagy. Can he improve on an already incredible year? Or will it prove to be an outlier, a fluke, something he won’t be able to reproduce?

Another thing about the Bears offense that showed promise is that they have a lot of guile and at times look really competent. In the Eagles game they came back when they had to (the last drive notwithstanding). 

You hope that as Trubiksy grows more comfortable in clutch situations when the game is on the line, and that Nagy starts to have more trust in him and as an offense they can really start to control the ball when they have to. Most Super Bowl winning teams have offenses who control the ball, make big plays, and score a lot of points.

One last thought. Like a lot of fans I thought this could’ve been the year, but I think something is missing on the offensive side of the ball. A LeVeon Bell or Kareem Hunt kind of back I think is needed. Somebody great. Somebody who is a difference maker. An All Pro. For Trubisky to be that great player he has to be, he’ll need great support. 

But the number of throws that should’ve been picked off yesterday and really the whole season, leave the judgment of how good he is still way up in the air. The clock is ticking. Unless he gets really bad, he’ll have about 2-3 years to prove it.

It all stings with that typical Chicago Bear disappointment. The truth of the matter is that to be a Chicago Bear fan is a difficult proposition. In fact it’s really fu*&ing hard being a Chicago Bears fan. They’re an enormously mediocre franchise trying to sell a championship team to a hungry fan base. 

There are franchises like the Steelers, and the Niners, and the Giants, and the Patriots, and the Packers, and then there are franchises like the Bears. The difference is so palpable. The expectations are from legitimately different sides of town and walks of life. How do you change a culture like that without taking a lot of risks?

36 days until pitchers and catchers report.

108 days until the NFL draft.

204 days until Bourbonnais training camp.

UGH! 

Good bye 2018 Bears it was fun.

It’s already taking too long.