It’s good to see Chicago Bears tight end Zach Miller in a relaxed state:
1 Man Band pic.twitter.com/TQeMIuWh9o
— Zach Miller (@ZMiller86) December 5, 2017
- And because we’d like to keep the good vibes rolling, a whole bunch of Bears players visited Lurie Children’s Hospital during Tuesday’s off day. Among the 26 players who were in attendance were Mitch Trubisky, Mike Glennon, Jordan Howard, Kevin White, Danny Trevathan, Prince Amukamara. Tight end Daniel Brown seemed to enjoy the experience, telling the Bears’ official website: “It was a lot of fun. It’s hard to see kids struggling like that, but it’s nice when you get to go down there and put a smile on their faces. Some of them were kind of shy when they saw big people walk in, but when they opened up it was a lot of fun. I saw a lot of smiles today.”
- On the field, Tarik Cohen dazzles with his speed and quick twitch moves. Off it? Well, watch him make 12-year-old Leukemia patient Quinn Lisak’s day:
.@TarikCohen… Making things happen on and off the field.
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) December 5, 2017
- Head Coach John Fox is so set in his ways, the idea of conceding a score on defense to give his team’s offense a chance at winning the game is totally off his radar. Further, Fox would continue to go to extreme lengths to defend his decision to hope for a statistically improbable field goal block. Kudos to David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune for doing the math, noting a 49ers touchdown would have improved the Bears’ win probability. Go figure.
- Chris Emma (CBS Chicago) writes Kyle Fuller’s production has given the team something to consider when building the 2018 secondary. Fuller came up with his first interception since 2015 in Sunday’s loss to the San Francisco 49ers in an impressive play on the ball to snatch a reception away from Louis Murphy. This seemed like a far-fetched scenario this summer when Fuller was coming off missing the entire 2016 season recovering from knee surgery.
- Fuller says he isn’t thinking about his contract situation, but we can do that for him. He won’t get the kind of deals A.J. Bouye and Stephon Gilmore received on the market last offseason, but a multi-year deal isn’t out of the question. If Fuller finishes the year healthy, he could probably do better than the three-year contract worth $16 million Marcus Cooper received from the Bears last season. Fuller is Pro Football Focus’ 71st rated cornerback and only safety Eddie Jackson has played more defensive snaps than Fuller’s 768.
- As for Cooper, his disappointing first season in Chicago continued in Week 13. Cooper has seen his playing time slip so much, he has seen a higher percentage of special teams snaps (30.2%) than defensive (28.0%). Meanwhile, nickel cornerback Cre’von LeBlanc is slowly creeping up on passing Cooper in total defensive snaps. LeBlanc’s 202 defensive snaps (of which all but five have come in the last five weeks) is 24 fewer than Cooper, who has played double-digit defensive snaps just once in his last seven games.
- The Bears definitely missed another member of the secondary – safety Adrian Amos – in the middle of their defense against the 49ers:
Watching tape on Garoppolo & Goodwin…Lot of cushion on the outside vs. #Bears. Respect that speed. Curl, quick out. Accurate throws, too. And the play-action game. Attack the middle of the field in Shanahan’s offense. #49ers
— Matt Bowen (@MattBowen41) December 6, 2017
Garoppolo was 18-of-22 for 233 yards on passes between the painted numbers on Sunday. https://t.co/UzWx8MceOK
— Nick Wagoner (@nwagoner) December 6, 2017
- I’ll save you the time, do the math, and let you know that’s a 91.9 passer rating – which would have been 110.8 if Louis Murphy doesn’t get the ball snatched from him leading to Jimmy Garoppolo’s interception.
- On the offensive side of the ball, the Bears’ running game is on a slide of its own. Bob LeGere of the Daily Herald notes the attack is sputtering at an inopportune time. Chicago still ranks in the top half of the league in yards per game and yards per rush, but the team has rushed for 68 yards in its last two games after running for 222 against the Detroit Lions in Week 11. It’s all part of a pretty alarming trend for the Bears, who have gained fewer than 70 rushing yards in four of their last six games – including three of the last four.
- Howard has been a non-factor in three of the team’s four games since the bye week. While he has gained 223 yards (and produced at a 4.5 yards per carry average), 125 of those yards came on 15 carries against the Lions in Week 11. Prior to the bye, Howard was running at a 1,324-yard pace. Since? Howard would run for 892 yards over 16 games if he produced at the rate of his last four games. Then again, if he was given 250 rushes and averaged 4.5 yards per attempt, he’d tally 1,125 yards.
- That’s a lot of words to say Howard needs to get more chances to re-establish the slumping Bears running game.
- It won’t be easy with guard Kyle Long on injured reserve for the final four games of the season. Long owned Pro Football Focus’ 18th-highest run blocking grade before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury. Unfortunately, football can be brutal and take the best and toughest players off the field. Long missed eight games in 2016 and will have missed six games in 2017. His 73.0 grade from Pro Football Focus was the lowest Long has earned from the site since entering the NFL, but still ranked among the top half of guards. Long played in 47 of 48 possible games in his first three years, making the Pro Bowl as a guard (twice) and tackle, but has made just 17 starts in the last two years.
- Perhaps some deep passes could help lessen some of the pressure, keep defenses honest, and discourage coordinators from loading the box with eight or nine defenders. Earlier this week, we made note that Trubisky worked the short game – throwing just two passes that traveled more than 10 yards in the air and none that went more than 19 yards. Over at The Athletic, Kevin Fishbain goes to the All-22 film to explain why Trubisky didn’t unleash the deep ball. It would be nice for the passing and running games work together and play off each other in an attempt to aid Trubisky’s development.