6 Thoughts on Bears drubbing in Green Bay

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After laying a egg on Thursday night football at Lambeau Field, the Chicago Bears have 11 days to figure out how to keep their 2017 season from totally going off the rails.  Here are one observer’s thoughts:

1. It’s time for the Mitch Trubisky era to start. Patience is out the window following another turnover filled game in which the Bears dug themselves a early hole. Mike Glennon has shown himself to be what he is, a well-paid NFL backup with limited mobility, decent arm, and questionable decision-making under fire. He’ll be cut loose after the season and can resurrect his career as a bonafide backup with stop-gap starter ability elsewhere. It’s not all his fault…the Bears below-average receiving corps and uneven protection magnify his slow release. Trubisky will likely struggle, as most rookie QB’s do, but he at least offers promise and a higher ceiling of better days to come.

2. Ryan Pace deserves his fair share of blame for assembling this talent-deprived roster. The Bears had ample opportunity to shore up a perceived weakness in the wide receiving group following Alshon’s Jeffery’s departure, but elected to do nothing…bypassing the draft (above-average crop of WR’s), free agency, trades (Sammy Watkins anyone?).  Depth at linebacker and at safety is also lacking.  If John Fox is launched after this season, is Pace trusted with making the next hire?  He’s surrounded himself with former New Orleans cronies, but last time I looked, the Saints aren’t a model of success. Pace’s questionable free agency, draft, and talent evaluation skills keep the Bears mired in perpetual rebuilding.

3. Connor Barth is no Robbie Gould. Barth is 6-of-12 from 40+ yards over the last two years, making him a liability in today’s NFL.  His misses the last two weeks from 47-yards weren’t game-breakers, but he’s proven to be unreliable for a team that needs all the points it can muster. If the kicking game is going to struggle, I’d rather take a chance on a stronger, younger leg (Roberto Aguayo) that might have future potential.

4. Vic Fangio is well-regarded as a defensive coach, but his work in Chicago has failed to impress. Time after time, stories were written during the preseason how the Bears would be improved on defense and were gathering a collection of talented, young defenders (Leonard Floyd, Eddie Goldman, Akeem Hicks, etc.). While there might be some individual pieces,  collectively, the parts don’t mesh.  Once again, Chicago gave up a long drive to start the game and was forced to play from behind. Keep in mind the Packers played with a patchwork offensive line and were down to their third-string running back. No matter, they shredded Fangio’s scheme and kept the Bears off balance the entire night. Even worse than physical mistakes, the preponderance of mental miscues makes one wonder what’s being taught and how effective the message is to the players.

5. The offensive line doesn’t escape criticism. The Bears are built as a run-first team, but lack the toughness and physicality upfront to impose their will. Cody Whitehair’s second pro season has been uneven at best, combined with botched shotgun snaps and lack of solid fundamentals which often result in defenders gaining initial leverage.

6. John Fox is coaching for his NFL coaching career over the last 12 games.  His record in Chicago through two plus seasons is 10-26, and the prospects of a turnaround seem remote.  Moreover, no one can argue that the Bears are trending upward. Injuries have played a huge role, but Fox’s game decisions and clock management are questionable at best. Chicago needs a jolt of fresh ideas and perspective to shake it out of its losing doldrums.

 

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