One of the big downsides of a late Monday night game is the quick turnaround. There’s simply no time for the Broncos to lick their wounds and recover from the 24-16 loss to Oakland with Chicago coming to town.
For us fans, that’s probably a good thing as we don’t have to dwell too long with another game quickly approaching. To get some insight into the Bears, I spoke with Aaron Leming, who writes for Windy City Gridiron.
1st and 10
I know week 1 tends to lead to some overreactions, so I have to ask: What are your thoughts on Mitch Trubisky’s performance and how does he rebound over the rest of the 2019 season?
Leming: Week 1 is always a mixed bag, as we’ve seen with some of the results of this weekend so far.
With that in mind, concerns with Trubisky can’t be limited to his performance on Thursday night. A lot of what he displayed (dropping eyes with pressure, poor footwork and locking onto a single read or side of the field) have been issues ranging back to his rookie year. I went on record multiple times this offseason and really the only thing I called for this season from the third year-quarterback was more consistency.
The Bears talked about consistent and incremental progress but what we saw in Week 1 was a sizable step back from that. That’s really the concern right now. Now, obviously that doesn’t mean he’s exactly the quarterback we saw in Week 1 but the lack of consistency and overall progression in those key areas I highlighted above is what makes this a sizable concern.
I’m not one to rush to judgment, especially when determining who a player is or will be. With that in mind, if he’s still struggling with these same things mid-season, I think we’ll have our answer about who he is as a quarterback.
2nd and 7
What other position groups have you most concerned heading into a game against Vic Fangio?
Leming: The offense as a whole is a big concern for me moving into Sunday’s game against the Broncos. Again, I’m not going to overreact to a single game but if the Bears offense struggled against a Mike Pettine-led defense, how can I expect that to get any better against a defensive minded head coach who knows this team’s offense like the back of his hand?
The main positional group I’m worried about is the offensive line. They struggled mightily against Green Bay. Now, they are going against a unit that knows what they’ll be doing and has Von Miller and Bradley Chubb? Good luck, Trubisky.
I think the big key for the Bears being able to counteract that will be establishing a consistent and productive run game. In Thursday night’s game, they had 12 true run calls and attempted to throw the ball 53 times. Needless to say, a balanced attack is a big question for me and probably the key to the Bears offense getting anything going against a top-end defense like the Broncos.
3rd and 3
Broncos Country spent a large part of the summer studying up on Vic Fangio’s defense to see how things would change for Denver’s defense this season. I’ve been wondering how big the adjustment from him to Pagano has been for the Bears?
Leming: That’s actually been one of the most talked about topics within Bears circles, here.
What we’ve seen so far is about what I’ve expected from Chuck Pagano. Fangio was very consistent. He didn’t blitz a ton and you usually knew who would be rushing the passer and what the coverage was going to be for the most part. Under Pagano, they blitzed a lot more in Week 1 on top of simply sending a multitude of different pass rushers to the quarterback.
The other big thing I noticed that has been different so far has been Pagano’s willingness to rotate players. In the early going, we saw a lot of rotations coming on the defensive line, edge rushers and he even mixed things up with the defensive backs. Luckily for the Bears, they have a good amount of depth on the defensive line and one of those depth pieces Roy Robertson-Harris had a monster game because of it.
All in all, I’ve been told that a lot of the overall terminology is similar, as well as the overall philosophy. I think we are going to see subtle differences like I listed above but when all is said and done, I’m just expecting more man coverage from the defensive backs and more exotic fronts to get to the quarterback.
4th and 8
What matchups look most favorable to the Bears heading into week 2?
Leming: On paper, I believe the Bears have a good advantage when talking about their defensive line against the Broncos’ offensive line. That’s not really a knock against the Broncos either. The Bears just have a lot of depth and top-end talent at the position and can usually take advantage of less mobile quarterbacks like Joe Flacco.
Offensively, the matchup I like for the Bears will be in the run game and the short/intermediate pass game. I expect to see a high level of commitment to the run game. I also expect to see tight end Trey Burton back. With the combination of those two things, I expect the Bears to attack short and quick, at least in attempt to get Trubisky into some sort of rhythm. The one thing I will say is that the offense is much different when Burton is on the field, even if he’s simply garnering attention.
All in all, I think that this is actually a pretty evenly matched game and despite me believing the Bears have the advantages in those areas, I wouldn’t call them massive.