The Chicago Bears have a tally in the win column. This team is now .500 with an excellent chance to be 2-1 entering week 4’s match-up with Tampa Bay. But before that, the Bears hop on their charter and head to sunny Glendale, AZ for a showdown with a team that used to be in Chicago: the Cardinals.
Make no mistake about it, this Cardinals team is bad. Like really bad. The Bears should have plenty of opportunities to be more aggressive against a team that will be fighting the Bills for the #1 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Staying aggressive for 60 minutes is the theme this week and that is going to shape this week’s Who to Watch For. Both the offense and defense seemed to take a small step forward last week, now’s the time for a larger one.
Here is my list of players to keep an eye on Sunday afternoon.
Who to Watch
Allen Robinson II: Despite 14 targets and 10 catches last week, Robinson did not see many throws downfield. That needs to change this week. Robinson is one of the best deep threats in the NFL since entering the league, it’s time to use him as one. It has been a spell since the Bears last had a true #1 wide receiver, and the time is right to unleash him. Look for Robinson to be a bigger part of the vertical passing attack, which I predict will finally show up this week. With his ability to catch 50/50 balls, Mitch Trubisky shouldn’t hesitate to let Robinson fight for the ball, even if he appears covered. Let him post-up a smaller defensive back and make a play. a spell
Trey Burton: So far, Trubisky and Burton have not been quite in sync just yet. This feels like the prime opportunity to see how Burton can work the seams. Get him matched-up on slower linebackers or smaller defensive backs and let him work. The Packers used zone to confuse Trubisky in week 1, and the tight end is the weapon of choice versus zone coverage. Matt Nagy’s system has done a great job of getting receivers open, but so far, he hasn’t had a lot of success with Burton. That should change on Sunday.
Roquan Smith: The Bears have brought Smith along slowly, which was probably the right move. But after seeing his speed against the Seahawks last week, I think it’s time to showcase that with aggression. That means using Smith to try and take away throws to the backs and tight ends when it’s called for but it also means letting him blitz. I don’t want to see blitzes in only passing situations though, let him wreak havoc in the backfield on a consistent basis. Do that and I have a feeling Smith grows by leaps and bounds as a rookie.
Eddie Jackson: Prince Amukamara gave credit to Vic Fangio and Ed Donatell for giving the secondary a tip sheet which led directly to his pick-6. I want to see Eddie Jackson get his head in the tip sheet this week. Whether the quarterback is Sam Bradford or Mike Glennon (I doubt that Steve Wilks starts Josh Rosen this week), the Bears should have opportunities for some turnovers. The next step for Jackson is to become the ballhawk that we saw on his college tape. See if he takes a few chances this week against a desperate offense.
What are your thoughts? Which Bears players are you keeping an eye on this Sunday afternoon against the Cardinals?
Stay tuned for my Three Keys to the Game tomorrow morning and in case you missed it, here is my What to Watch For from earlier today.