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Bears mailbag: What the future holds and why the defense has fallen off.

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In Week 8’s mailbag, we tackle all your burning questions as the Bears try to shake off a two-game losing streak

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NFL: New England Patriots at Chicago Bears Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time in the 2018 season, the Chicago Bears find themselves on a two-game losing skid. Naturally, questions of what has gone wrong and how to fix those issues have come into focus.

Luckily for the Bears, they face a pair of teams that are very beatable, and they’ll see their first back-to-back home stand of the year this weekend against the New York Jets (followed by the Bills). We’ll dive into the problems plaguing the team since coming out of the bye week and take a look ahead at what is next for the Bears over the next few games.

Disclaimer: I received multiple questions about Khalil Mack, Vic Fangio and Kevin White. So I decided to take the most broad questions on each to help cover all questions.

That’s a great question, Tim. I’ve been trying to figure the same thing out myself.

It needs to be noted that the Bears defense did give up just 24 points to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, but they also only have one sack over their last two games. I understand that Mack is not healthy but even so, why does Fangio continue to drop both he and Leonard Floyd into coverage?

According to Dan Durkin of The Athletic, there was just eight total snaps where both Floyd and Mack rushed the passer together. On top of that, their eighth overall pick in Roquan Smith played just 55% of snaps. That means that they opted to run three linemen in nickle packages, instead of two linemen, two outside linebackers and five defensive backs. To me, that makes very little sense and it’s something that needs to change if this defense wants to get back to it’s form of the first four games.

I’d say the Bears chances of winning all of their next six games are slim.

With that being said, I don’t think 4-2 is out of the question and is almost a must.

Here’s their next six games:

Vs New York Jets

At Buffalo Bills

Vs Detroit Lions

Vs Minnesota Vikings

At Detroit Lions

At New York Giants

If the Bears are going to get to 10 wins, they win their next two games and split within the division. Currently, they are 0-1 with that road loss to the Green Bay Packers. I don’t think it’s a stretch to believe they can win their next two, split with the Lions and win one of the two remaining games between the Vikings and Giants.

Over the next few weeks, we’re going to see what type of team this really is. If they can go 4-2 over the next six games, that will leave them at 7-5 heading into their final four games which includes the Rams, Packers, 49ers and Vikings again. 5-1 is more ideal during these next six games but we’ll have to see how it all plays out. More importantly, they must go at least 3-3 if they want to make the playoffs.

The Bears use of Josh Bellamy continues to amaze me. I know he’s beloved in the locker room and is a very good special teams player, but judging by the snaps counts from Week 7, he appears to be getting open more often than White, as they were separated by a single snap this past Sunday.

Bellamy is a solid route runner with good speed. His biggest issue has always been his hands and overall catch radius. I’m not saying Mitchell Trubisky made a good decision on that interception but an NFL receiver should not be letting a defensive back rip the ball out of his arms in that type of situation.

For the sake of all things Bears related, we have to hope that Robinson’s groin will be good to go and that guys like Anthony Miller and Taylor Gabriel are more involved this coming Sunday.

It also may be time to think about trying to get rookie Javon Wims on the field. He’s somewhat raw, but I’m willing to bet he’d do more as a receiver than what we’ve seen out of both Bellamy and White. Just a matter of him getting that chance.

Best way to block the Bears front right now is contain Mack at about 50% of what he usually is. That’s just the real reality of the situation right now. Especially with Fangio dropping his outside linebackers into coverage as much as he’s rushing them, he’s placing a larger value on their three-down linemen to get the job done. It’s a risky move from Fangio, but I’d expect at some point soon he’s going to have to adjust.

I’m not sure anyone has taken a step back by any means, but I do think these last two games have shown just how valuable Mack is to this entire defense. The good news? Barring something significant, this won’t last long and they should be back to sacking opposing quarterbacks soon.

I highlighted this particular question to address all trade deadline questions.

I’d be SHOCKED if the Bears made any sort of move before the deadline. They’ve spent more money than they ever have in franchise history. They are also down first, second and sixth round picks for 2019 and a first and third in 2020.

On top of that, they have around $4.5 million left in cap space, and while some can always be created, they aren’t likely to do that before this coming off-season. Also worth keeping in mind that Mack’s current state is temporary and they’ve used just three outside linebackers the past handful of weeks.

Unless it’s some type of player for player trade where money lines up close to equal, I can’t see any movement happening. Even on the player for player subject, it’s unlikely at best.

For me, the priority (whether it be now or after the season) absolutely has to be Bryce Callahan. Five years ago, the answer may have been different but the value of nickel corners continues to go up with nickel looks becoming the new base.

Adrian Amos has been a solid player but I’ll continue to say that if he was as good or valuable as pundits like Pro Football Focus said he was, the Bears would have made him a priority along with Eddie Goldman back in August and September.

The Bears will have limited cap space but there’s no reason why they couldn’t slightly back-load a Callahan deal worth four years and $6-7 million per year.

Only time will tell if that happens but my guess is that at least one of them are back and Callahan would be much harder to replace.

If I had to guess, I don’t think Mack is going to sit unless his leg is falling off. Whether or not that’s the right choice has yet to be seen but this is a player in his fifth year that has never missed a game and takes pride in being the highest paid defensive player in league history.

As far as Robinson goes, I’m a little more iffy with him. Groin issues can linger for weeks and the fact that he pulled himself out of the game that late, isn’t exactly a good sign.

The Bears have an “easier” schedule on paper these next two weeks but for as desperate as they will be to win these games, so will the Jets and Bills. My guess is, if they are healthy enough, they will play.