How quickly things change for a finicky fanbase, right?
After the Colts game it was all pitchfork and torches, but just four days later, after an admittedly still-not-perfect win, the vitriol has calmed a little (but still not gone away).
The 2020 version of Bears is far from a finished product, they’re far from a great team, but they’re winning. And despite the warts and comebacks and ugly wins, they’ve proven to be a difficult out and, believe it or not, a good team.
Who knows how far that gets them? They’ve already surpassed the expectations of some national analysts, but there is still much football to be played.
But let’s take another look back at last week’s game, as there was plenty of good and plenty of bad to talk about.
Khalil Mack - Two years ago I pretty much stopped putting Mack in the stock up category because it seemed his stock couldn’t go any higher and frankly we all came to just expect excellence week in and week out. Last season it was a bit of a different story as he nursed some still-undisclosed injury. He disappeared at times and just didn’t seem as dominant.
The first four games this year, though, have been a different story. Mack has been very dominant and making his presence known. Then, on Thursday, following his first week not being listed on the injury report, he was an absolute wrecking ball.
Two sacks, a pass deflection, three QB hits and two tackles for loss. That’s a very good one game stat line.
Danny Trevathan - Trevathan is still a liability in pass coverage and he is getting subbed a lot in passing situation, but he played well against the run and was all over the field. He ended up leading the Bears in tackles with eight total, seven solo.
Nick Foles - Too soon to put him here? I’ll let you all tell me if I’m right or wrong here, but to me this was closer to what the expectations were once the change to Foles was made. Yes, it started out rough and looked like it was going to be more of the same, but he ended strongly, demonstrating the veteran leadership, the ability to read defenses and make changes on the fly to set up big plays. He also made some big throws under pressure. More of that and less of the first quarter and the Indy game, please.
Roquan Smith - Yes, he finished second on the team in tackles and yes, he had two pass deflections, but overall there were too many misses here for me to have him on the other side. Smith was often in the right place Thursday, standing in the hole, one-on-one with Ronald Jones and too often Jones was shaking him off and continued on. The bar is high for our linebackers here in Chicago and in year three we need to start seeing that difference maker, making huge plays, consistent tackling and racking up double-digit tackle games on the regular.
Cole Kmet - It’s becoming the most popular question in Chicago: where is the Bears’ first draft pick? His snaps have been decreasing and he wasn’t targeted against Tampa. Expectations are always tempered for rookie tight ends but this is a little beyond even the lowest expectations.
Charles Leno Jr. - I got a lot of comments last week because I referred to Leno as “above average” but I think that was taken out of context. I meant on his best day, when he’s playing his best he’s average to above-average. Last Thursday was not one of those games though. Leno got pushed around again and with the less athletic and more statuesque Foles playing, Leno must play better or the offense is never going to get into a higher gear.
Who did I miss? Who do you have as up or down?