I’m on board with the idea of the Chicago Bears following in the footsteps of the Los Angeles Rams if Mitch Trubisky can do in his second year what Jared Goff is doing … and if he copycats these audibles:
The Rams’ audibles for Jared Goff are 🔥🔥🔥
I love Sean McVay more by the day. pic.twitter.com/eK2qffOLZS
— Cameron DaSilva (@camdasilva) November 16, 2017
- Armed with a quarterback who owns tremendous upside, a mix of receivers with talent and experience, and a young, innovative coach, the Los Angeles Rams are one of the best stories of the 2017 NFL season. The Rams will be a popular blueprint for some teams to follow moving forward, and Hub Arkush suggests the Bears could be one of those teams. Arkush draws the similarities between coaches (Jeff Fisher and John Fox running conservative, run-based offensive schemes), talent (Todd Gurley, Aaron Donald, Alec Ogletree for the Rams and Jordan Howard, Akiem Hicks, Leonard Floyd for the Bears), and a weakness at receiver that shouldn’t be re-visited for either side. If you look at the Rams now, you’ll see how far the Bears have to go to get to their level. It’s not impossible, but much heavy lifting must be done this winter and spring to get in a position to be competitive next summer and fall.
- For the Bears to truly make that leap, they’ll need to fix a punchless offense. Bob LeGere of the Daily Herald believes rookie running back Tarik Cohen can provide a quick fix and a necessary jolt of energy for a lifeless unit. You don’t remember Cohen? The 5-foot-6-inch running back who broke out in a big way in the first four weeks of the season, only to see his snaps cut since Mitch Trubisky’s Week 5 debut? He did fun stuff like run out of the Wildcat, catch touchdowns out of the backfield and deep passes in the middle of the field, throw touchdowns, and jump over linemen to score rushing touchdowns. Cohen has been slumping, but going against a group of linebackers who have struggled to cover running backs out in coverage could be the kind of mismatch a competent offensive coordinator should be able to exploit.
- It’s up to Offensive Coordinator Dowell Loggains to sort out the mess on offense. He could start by using his offense to dictate the pace and personnel on the field. Let’s circle back to a Loggains quote that raised some eyebrows earlier in the week. “This game is about matchups for us as well as them and that is the first thing we look at when we decide who is going to be in the game,” Loggains said via Larry Mayer of the team’s official website. “Sometimes the defense dictates who is going to be out there.”
- If a defense was to dictate what it wants the offensive personnel to be, wouldn’t the ideal counter to this move be substituting a player to create a matchup edge on the offensive side of the ball and put the defensive personnel at a disadvantage? Matchups are the name of the game and generating mismatches should be the goal of every offensive coach. But allowing the defense to dictate the offense feels a bit backward.
- Perhaps the Bears’ run-heavy offense is starting to take its toll on Trubisky. Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times offers up the Bears’ failing runs on early downs have put the rookie quarterback in positions where it will be tough to be successful. Jahns may have a point because of how many 3rd-and-long throws Trubisky has been forced to make because of early down failures. Trubisky faced 3rd-and-10 (or longer) nine times against the Packers. That is asking for trouble.
- Of course, Trubisky needs to do a better job in several areas. Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune points out one place Trubisky can improve is on the timing of his check-downs. Trubisky missed an open check-down that could’ve netted a big gain and it led directly to him taking a sack deep in Bears territory. Improving here would be a small step for Trubisky, but could open up windows elsewhere if he executed as efficiently as Mike Glennon did in this area.
- Glennon’s check-downs were well documented here, but at least he had a full stable of tight ends. The Bears don’t have that right now with Zach Miller on injured reserve and Dion Sims fighting a mystery illness that led to a combative head coach in a recent press conference. Eric Edholm of Pro Football Weekly spoke with Sims’ agent Jason Chayut and received a bit of clarity on the situation. “It’s nothing serious, it’s just a little thing,” Chayut told Edholm. “I think he’ll be back and be fine.” Sims hasn’t stepped on the practice field since the team returned from the bye, which has led to an increase in playing time for Adam Shaheen and Daniel Brown.
- Sims was listed on Friday’s injury report as questionable, but three players who were listed as questionable despite not practicing last week were left off the active 46-man game day roster. So I wouldn’t pencil in Sims or Danny Trevathan into the lineup just yet.
- At least right guard Kyle Long was off the injury report entirely, which means he’s likely to start against the Lions on Sunday. In turn, Cody Whitehair can move back to center. This would be welcome news, especially when considering how poorly Hroniss Grasu has played at center:
— Lorin Cox (@CoxSports1) November 12, 2017