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The Chicago Bears need to make changes at the bye

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Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bears held two practices this week, Tuesday and Wednesday, and now have four consecutive days off before getting back to work on Monday as they prep for their November 1st game against the Minnesota Vikings.

While the players have a chance to get away and recharge their batteries, the coaching staff will remain hard at work this week at Halas Hall. The bye week in the NFL is all about self-scouting and when you're struggling, some lineup changes will be discussed.

The two obvious moves that should be made in my opinion are right guard and nickleback. Vladimir Ducasse just isn't getting it done on the offensive line and Sherrick McManis has been struggling at nickle.

On Chicago's o-line, they have a guy that if healthy, should be able to step in at RG and not be any worse in Patrick Omameh. He started all 16 games last year for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at right guard. He wasn't necessarily good, and the Bucs did try to make a tackle out of him this offseason before ultimately cutting him. The Bears, in desperate need of competition at guard when they decided to move Pro Bowler Kyle Long to right tackle, quickly moved to add the 25 year old former Buccaneer.

Again, keep in mind that Omameh may not be very good, but I also think it's clearly evident that Ducasse isn't good and a change makes sense.

The other spot on the o-line that could be in play is left tackle.

Starter Jermon Bushrod should be fully recovered from his concussion and shoulder ailment that kept him out of the last three games, and if 100% healthy, he should get his job back. I think Charles Leno Jr. has been a pleasant surprise filling in, but he's not better than Bushrod right now. Bushrod is both a better run blocker and a better pass blocker at this time. I'm not saying Leno couldn't improve with more playing time, but right now he's giving up too many hurries in the passing game.

Since we know this regime isn't afraid of switching positions on the fly, maybe they feel Bushrod and Leno are both a part of their best 5, and they work Bushrod in at right guard.


I thought McManis deserved his shot at nickle based on his preseason play, but he's clearly struggling. Then again, all of Chicago's corners are struggling with the new scheme, but they need to get their 3 most talented cornerbacks on the field in sub-packages. Right now I think that maybe Kyle Fuller, Tracy Porter and Alan Ball. Last Sunday Alan Ball, who is healthy, was only used in the dime package, so maybe he's in the dog house.

I know a lot of Bears' fans are down on Fuller, and rightfully so, but as a 1st rounder he has to be able to play through his growing pains. Young corners struggle in the NFL, that's just the norm for the position, so he has to be out there competing.

But that's not to say he should remain on the outside. Maybe a move to the slot corner would do him good.

A second ago I mentioned how bad Chicago's corners were struggling, so check out this passer rating against stat from Pro Football Focus.

Alan Ball 104 142.6
Sherrick McManis 150 142.4
Kyle Fuller 202 137.8
Tracy Porter 121 103.0

At this point the Bears are desperate to find a competent group of corners and I think they should work some youngsters into the mix. If Terrance Mitchell is healthy he should steal a few reps each game, as should newly promoted Bryce Callahan.

A more consistent pass rush will help out the secondary, but at some point these guys have to make a play.

And speaking of the pass rush, I think the Bears need to get outside linebacker Willie Young more edge rushing opportunities. He already saw his most playing time on the season last week with 40 snaps, so this could already be part of the plan moving forward.

Staying with the linebackers, there's just something about Jonathan Anderson that I like. He's not ready to supplant Christian Jones or Shea McClellin at inside linebacker, but I would be OK with him receiving some nickle reps. Anderson showed a knack for being around the ball in his limited preseason reps, and on Sunday he did the same.

What are some changes you guys would like to see when the Bears get back at practice next week?