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Chicago Bears Sackwatch 2018: Week 3 vs. the Arizona Cardinals

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Chicago Bears v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Through 3 games, Chicago Bears’ quarterback Mitchell Trubisky has been sacked 8% of the time. Last year that number ended up at 8.6%, so we’re not seeing the type of improvement we often see in a QBs second season. But it’s still early in the new offense, and head coach Matt Nagy has talked about patience since he took over.

Trubisky has taken some baby-steps from week to week, but with other young quarterbacks playing so well, many of us fans want him to be good right now. The growth of a young quarterback is different from case to case, and there is no sure fire way to unlock their potential.

It’s fair to say that Trubisky hasn’t settled into a comfort zone this year quite yet, because he is missing open receivers, taking some sacks he shouldn’t, and misreading some looks, but that’s all a part of the growing pains. Pocket awareness will come with understanding of the offense.

Sackwatch after 3 games

2010 - 8 (Martz)
2011 - 14 (Martz)
2012 - 11 (Tice)
2013 - 3 (Trestman)
2014 - 7 (Trestman)
2015 - 6 (Gase)
2016 - 9 (Loggains)
2017 - 7 (Loggains)
2018 - 9 (Nagy)

Sack 7 - First Quarter 5:44 - Bene’ Benwikere and Budda Baker
This was a 3rd and 6, and the Bears pass protection was overwhelmed by the Arizona blitz. They simply brought more than the Bears could block — while occupying both offensive tackles — then sending an extra blitzer off each edge. Watching it live, I just chalked it up to the Cardinals having a good play on (Sacks Happen), but on the replay it looked like Trubisky had Tarik Cohen in the left flat.

I’m also not a fan of the routes run by both Trey Burton (TE to the left) and Taylor Gabriel (slot to the right). With the two defensive backs blitzing, an adjustment by them could have given Trubisky another outlet. This is something that requires QB and receivers to be on the same page, and it comes with time in the offense, so hopefully we see it some day.

But for this specific play, this is a blitz that Trubisky should have recognized and he should have hit Cohen immediately. Cohen recognized the blitz, as evidenced by him quickly getting his head around, but the pass never came. This one in on the QB.

Sack 8 - First Quarter 1:53 - Robert Nkemdiche
The Cardinals ran a tackle-end stunt (TEX) against the Bears’ on both sides in an attempt to get the blitzing defensive backs a free rush off the edge. The Bears played it good on the left side with left tackle Charles Leno Jr. taking the defensive tackle that was in the B-Gap after right guard Eric Kush passed him off. Kush accepted the looping defensive end, and running back Jordan Howard stayed home to get the blitzing DB. Kush turned his shoulders a little too much, opening a path for the DE to slip to his inside, but a good strong push nudged him out of the play.

On the right side, right tackle Bobby Massie fanned out to the DB, right guard Kyle Long stayed with DT Robert Nkemdiche (#90), and center Cody Whitehair was ready for the stunting DE. Massie did great, but Whitehair lost his balance and fell, and Long allowed too much penetration which let Nkemdiche slap the ball out of Trubisky’s hands. Long should have tapped into his tackle skills and kick-stepped his way to cut off the rush, but instead he was out in front of his feet too much and he got caught lunging. This one is on Long.

Sack 9 - Third Quarter 13:45 - Chandler Jones
Jones is one of the better pass rushers in the league today, and he made an impact in this game with a deflected pass that led to a pick, and this sack.

Leno plays it pretty good initially, but Jones just keeps working around until he gets home for the sack. Leno’s punch didn’t slow or redirect the rush at all, and Jones just beat him around the edge. Leno did keep him at bay for more than 3 seconds, which should be enough time to get a pass off, but with Arizona dropping seven in coverage, Trubisky didn’t feel comfortable letting it rip. I’ll give this one to Leno, but I’m not happy about it.

EDIT: After weighing it back and forth a bit, and putting a stopwatch on the play, I’m letting Leno off the hook (I told you I wasn’t happy about it). When you watch the two clips back to back you get a better picture of what Trubisky was looking at. In the second clip you see him shoot a glance to the left, where Trey Burton was running in the flat. That may have been short of the sticks, but it was the right read, and you have to let your playmaker make a play. A catch and a well timed stiff-arm may have gotten the job done.

Individual Sackwatch after week 3:

Mitchell Trubisky - 4.5
Sacks Happen - 2
Kyle Long - 1
Dion Sims - .5
Charles Leno - .5
Erik Kush - .5