The Chicago Bears are 2-1! I am going to repeat that: The Chicago Bears are 2-1!!! For some of us that isn’t a huge surprise, but for many Bears fans, it certainly is and a pleasant one at that. When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers come to town on Sunday, it will be the most nervous about the outcome that myself, and many other Bears fans have been since the opener. This Bucs squad can put up points and do it in a hurry.
The good news is, the Bears have a really good defense and should be able to slow down Ryan Fitzpatrick and...yar...his Merry Mateys. The Steelers did a nice job of showing the Bears the blueprint to use, but their defense is poor and almost allowed Fitzpatrick to rope-swing his way to victory. Like any great shoulder parrot, the Bears are going to need to copy what the Steelers were able to do...sans the comeback attempt of course.
Here is my list of players to keep an eye on Sunday afternoon.
Who to Watch
Mitch Trubisky: I have so far avoided going with the obvious. But both Matt Nagy and Mitch Trubisky hinted at what this offense might look like come Sunday, and that has me very excited. Of course, we are always watching the quarterback on every play, but this is different for me. I am expecting the offense to run a more streamlined version of their system, like what we saw in preseason and training camp. If that’s the case, keep an eye on all the things that Trubisky has been roasted for so far this season like footwork, accuracy, decision making, reads, etc. I expect all of that to look better this week.
Tarik Cohen: Where oh where have you gone Tarik the freak? When I was down in Bourbonnais, it seemed like Cohen was going to be one of the focal points of this offense. So far, that hasn’t really been the case and I am not sure why. When given the opportunity to shine, he has certainly done so. Cohen has also been open on a lot of underneath passes where Trubisky made a different read. I would think that is something that has been discussed in the quarterback room. Look for Cohen to get a few more touches and finally break out with some explosive plays.
Roquan Smith: Rewind to the Trubisky draft, and there were many around here that thought O.J. Howard was someone that the Bears should have targeted. Obviously, it didn’t turn out that way, but he is developing into a nice weapon for the Bucs. Roquan Smith is by far the best coverage linebacker that the Bears have. What he’s shown so far has been bordering on elite for an inside linebacker. Smith should be on Howard for most of the game and will need to bring every ounce of his athleticism to stop him. This could end up being a pivotal match-up in this game.
Kevin Toliver II/Bryce Callahan/Prince Amukamara & Kyle Fuller: Why do I have so many names listed? Well, I am not sure who is going to be doing what. Amukamara is day-to-day, but there is no guarantee he will play. Toliver looks to get the start but could they leave Callahan as the boundary cornerback and have him slide to the nickel role at times? We just don’t know. If I was Vic Fangio, I would have Callahan on DeSean Jackson, Kyle Fuller on Mike Evans, and the aforementioned Smith on Howard all game long. The Bears can match-up with the Bucs receivers in man or zone coverage.
What are your thoughts? Which Bears players are you keeping an eye on this Sunday afternoon against the Buccaneers?
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.