Writing a blog is more work than I originally thought it would be. It takes time, not just to write, but to self edit as you go along and also to do a little research statistically, so that what I write is not only reasonably intelligent, but accurate. Some days, I just don’t have the time. Getting home from work late, running some errands or just doing some yard work can take up a lot of my week. That’s why this Bears week in review is more than a little late or overdue. I would also like to thank my friend, who I’ll refer to either as “Stat Boy” or “Rainman” in the future for his input regarding my NFC Preview article which I have since edited and added to. He is a great friend! A Jed Hoyer to my Theo Epstien or Vice-versa.
Well, as I said in a previous article, the Bears game went much the way I thought. I thought they would be close and have a chance at the end. Mike Glennon and the Bears couldn’t close with a W, but upon review, that is not Glennon’s fault. The one thing that I thought would happen and didn’t, was that the Bears would follow the pre-season game 3 script against the Tennessee Titans and run the ball more. Instead, the Bears passed the ball two times for every rush. Now, it has struck me, the reason they didn’t win, may be due to the fact they they played a different offensive line than they played in that Titan’s game. They may have lost some continuity and momentum due to injuries and second thoughts about the center and guard positions.
Regarding the Titans game, Hroniss Grasu, the 3rd round pick from 2015, started at center with Cody Whitehair who was last year’s 2nd round pick and starting center, playing left guard. Now the injuries to Kyle Long the last two seasons have been tough to deal with, no doubt. Long was athletic and powerful and whenever he see’s the field again he may be neither. In the spring, the Bears also lost Eric Kush, their free-agent backup from a year ago, just after he had impressively earned himself a new contract with his play last season as Long’s fill-in. Now in the opener against Atlanta, the Bears moved Whitehair back to center and filled in at guard with 3rd string player Tom Compton, obviously feeling Compton was better than Grasu. The resulting line play was of course a mixed bag of success and blocking breakdowns. They were mostly successful and had the Bears caught the ball in the last minute and won, I would not be giving this a second thought. Hmm.
The fact is, as many football people will point out, offensive lines take time to jell and come together and play as a cohesive unit. Some people will tell you it could take a line without changes up to 6 or 8 games to jell. Due to the nature of Long’s ankle and shoulder injuries, the Bears have had to juggle for the better part of two seasons. This leads to inconsistencies and playing without confidence and speed.
Against Atlanta, Glennon got sacked 4 times, and some media idiots think this is on him. I cannot tell you how ridiculous that is. The three sacks that occurred earlier in the game were made by players who came at Glennon, UNBLOCKED, and were not even touched by anyone wearing a Bears jersey. That is how much dislike there is for Glennon by the media, and how much thirst there is to see Trubisky play.
On the final play it was the tackles who got beat, not the guards or center. And I’m sorry but nobody was going to deliver the ball in that instance, not Trubisky, not even Dan Marino. It took about one second for Charles Leno Jr., the left tackle, to be pushed back into Glennon, who if he threw the ball, would’ve had no follow through on his delivery and instead tried to sidestep the rush, only to be sacked by the guy that beat Bobby Massie, the right tackle. The play calling may have been equally to blame in the final seconds of the Atlanta loss, but we’ll talk about offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains in a later article.
Now, the bigger reasons they lost was obviously the long touchdown breakdown to Atlanta’s tight end. Second, the stupid, stupid, stupid roughing the quarterback penalty incurred by the newly minted contract extension signee, Akeem Hicks, who is probably now the richest Bear ever…really?! It was THE DUMBEST PENALTY I have ever seen from a Bears player, EVER!! It led to 3 points which would’ve meant that the Bears only needed a field goal to force overtime at the end, not a touchdown to win.
Lastly, my third reason for the Bears loss, was Nick Kwiatkoski, the Bears backup middle linebacker, who will now start the rest of the season, due to the torn pectoral muscle of starter Jerell Freeman. In the first half with Atlanta in a 3rd and 7 situation, Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan dropped back to find no one open. Kwiatkoski left his space right in front of Ryan, to maybe help someone to his left? The invisible man maybe, you got him Nick!! Ryan saw the opening and ran up up the gut of the Bears defense and converted one of many 3rd downs and long for Atlanta. At that moment, when I yelled at the television for the first time this year, I should’ve known. That conversion and drive that continued of course, led to points that should’ve never happened.
One more thought.
After reading Mark Potash and the Sun-Times say, “don’t count on the Patriots much longer”, I will gladly accept Rainman’s compliment on my call of the Chiefs over the Patriots in the AFC this year. I made the call before the season opened, everyone else is saying it now, little late everybody. More from my Crystal Ball to come. I will also take requests for predictions. Thanks everybody, for taking the time to read and give me your input.