Mitch Trubisky’s pass attempts (and completions) have been slashed each week he’s taken the field as the Bears’ starting QB. And it’s not as if they can get any lower, even if John Fox and Dowell Loggains further conspire to limit risk by relying on a conservative, run-heavy offensive game plan.
Eventually, and quite possibly soon, Trubisky will need to try and air it out to get the offense moving in the right direction. And if that happens to be the case, the Bears look to be in good hands:
Relevant QBs this year and the percentage of attempts that have gone 15+ air yards, along with the completion percentage on those throws. pic.twitter.com/1tZDTc3Ktk
— JJ Zachariason (@LateRoundQB) October 24, 2017
According to research from JJ Zachariason, 25 percent of Trubisky’s throws have gone at least 15 yards in the air. While it’s just a three-game sample, a 25 percent throw rate for deep balls ranks among the upper echelon of quarterbacks and could play into the hands of an offense that could lure defenders into biting on play action leaving the defense vulnerable against deep passes. And to see Trubisky’s success rate on those sit at 58 percent is a sign that he’s making the most of the rare opportunities he has been given to throw.
Meanwhile, Mike Glennon sits so far on the other end of the spectrum one could use these stats to make a case for why the Bears turned to Trubisky despite his inexperience. His willingness to throw (and ability to execute) a deep pass is better suited for a run-first offense.
- Brett Whitefield of Pro Football Focus explains where Trubisky’s newest target, Dontrelle Inman, can be helpful to the Bears offense despite having played just 39 snaps in 2017. When Inman was thriving in his breakout 2016 season, Philip Rivers had a moderate level of success targeting him with the deep ball. Inman caught six of 13 deep targets for a 46.2 percent deep ball catch rate, which ranked 17th in the NFL. Couple that with Trubisky’s deep ball tendencies, I think this could be the start of a beautiful relationship.
- Over at NBC Sports Chicago, JJ Stankevitz sets expectations for the Bears’ newest receiver. While we’re still unsure whether or not Inman will play this Sunday, the Bears’ brass thinks he’s bright enough to pick up the offense’s basics so his debut coming in Week 8 hasn’t been ruled out. If he plays, it’s worth noting Inman played in the slot more than 60 percent of the time in 2016, which could move Kendall Wright (who has lined up in the slot 72 percent of the time in 2017) to the outside. In any case, it’ll be worth watching a player who showed he can take a top off the defense – something this team has lacked all year.
- To his credit, Inman told Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times he wants to play in Sunday’s game against the Saints. “That’s up to Coach, that’s up to [general manager Ryan Pace],” Inman said. “I’m ready. But it’s totally up to them. If I’m ready and they think I’m ready, then I’ll be out there.”
- Inman, like any functioning human, loves to be loved:
WR Dontrelle Inman on being traded to the Bears: "It’s always good at any point in time, any career you have, being wanted."
— Colleen Kane (@ChiTribKane) October 26, 2017
- On the other side of the ball, the Bears are facing yet another top-notch quarterback, writes Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times. Opposing quarterbacks have had varying levels of success against the Bears defense this year. While six quarterbacks faced the Bears without throwing interceptions, Matt Ryan is the only one to throw for more than 300 yards and Aaron Rodgers is only one to throw multiple touchdown passes. While they aren’t at full strength as long as Jerrell Freeman is sidelined, the secondary is playing to its full potential and will have to continue to do so in order to limit Drew Brees – who has thrown four interceptions in the last two games.
- In Larry Mayer’s latest Chalk Talk mailbag segment, he explains why the Bears defense has played better in recent games. Much of the credit (deservedly) goes to members of the front seven, including (but not limited to) Akiem Hicks, Danny Trevathan, Leonard Floyd, and Eddie Goldman. Applying pressure up front has aided a newly healthy secondary with Eddie Jackson, Adrian Amos, Kyle Fuller, and Prince Amukamara to make plays on balls in the air and create turnovers. That’s a long way of saying it’s a team effort, but it’s worth spelling it all out because there is no magic bullet that made the Bears defense suddenly good. Teamwork makes the dream work, my friends.
- Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune writes about Hicks’ return to New Orleans, where he’ll be looking to prove he was the type of player the Saints front office dreamed he could be. Hicks is Pro Football Focus’ 15th highest-graded interior defender and has been a force at the line of scrimmage since Week 1.
- The Good Morning Football crew on NFL Network talked with Hicks on Friday, which is an absolute treat you’ll want to check out:
— GMFB (@gmfb) October 27, 2017