Tampa Bay Buccaneers receiver Mike Evans might not be the biggest threat to the Bears evening their record at 1-1 this week:
Despite a lack of secondary talent, Bears have dominated WR1s since Vic Fangio took over. Their results vs wideouts priced over $7500 on DK: pic.twitter.com/HryVOqrvC5
— Adam Levitan (@adamlevitan) September 13, 2017
As Adam Levitan points out, the Bears have done a decent job in limiting the damage done by opposing No. 1 receivers. Further, the fact they’ve done it with the likes of Tracy Porter, Marcus Cooper, Cre’von LeBlanc, Bryce Callahan, and others is a testament to the game planning and scheming done by defensive coordinator Vic Fangio.
To be clear, it’s not as if the Bears won’t provide ample opportunity to pass. The Bucs will be without their lead running back Doug Martin because of a suspension, and the team has three other highly touted pass catching targets in receiver DeSean Jackson, as well as tight ends O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate. So it’s not as if the Bears’ defense is in the clear if they find a way to limit Evans’ action on Sunday.
However, not allowing Evans to beat you downfield seems like a good start to any defensive game plan against Tampa Bay.
- When the Bears are on offense, stopping their top offensive asset – running back Jordan Howard – is a top priority for opposing defenses. And even though he was limited in practice, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports Howard is expected to play on Sunday. This would be a big boost for an offense that is limited in its options. Howard ran for 100 yards on 15 carries against the Buccaneers last year, which averages out to 6.7 yards per carry. Get him the ball, please.
- The Soldier Field Turf Monster showed up and played a role in the Bears’ Week 1 opener against the Falcons. But as ESPN Chicago’s Jeff Dickerson points out, it should be interesting to see how the turf at Raymond James Stadium plays after hosting back-to-back days of college football.
- Perhaps that’s the one thing that could slow down fantasy darling Tarik Cohen, who is at the top of the list of players to watch on the Bears’ offense in Week 2. Dan Pompei of The Athletic wonders how much is too much for the rookie running back. Pompei picks the mind of Norv Turner, one of the NFL’s best offensive minds and one of the league’s most decorated offensive coordinators who has experience in getting unique backs into space to do damage. Cohen played 28 snaps and led the team in catches, targets, rushing and receiving yards in his debut. With two starting receivers (Cameron Meredith, Kevin White) out of the lineup and a third (Josh Bellamy) on the mend, Cohen can continue to be targeted early and often by quarterback Mike Glennon.
- And for Cohen’s next great move:
Just found Tarik Cohen's next move for Sunday. pic.twitter.com/HNUcagv3jc
— The Ten-Yard Line (@TheTenYardLine) September 16, 2017
- Overlooked in Week 1’s loss to the Falcons was the Bears’ ability to control the pace of play. The high-flying Falcons didn’t get much going offensively, in part, because the Bears controlled the tempo and allowed them to stay in the game despite not having the kind of firepower their opponents possessed. Over at Pro Football Focus, Patrick Thorman writes neither the Bears nor Bucs push the pace offensively – which could lead to the kind of grind-it-out game that comes down to the final possession … again. Be prepared to fasten those seat belts.
- After one week of play, the Bears are a bit dinged up. They sent two starters to injured reserve, will be without their starting left guard again, and have an injury report littered with players listed as questionable. But it’s possible the Bears have an edge in facing a Buccaneers team that has yet to play. Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times weighs both sides, wondering if the Bears gain or lose an advantage in their Week 2 matchup against Tampa Bay.