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Stock up, stock down: What happened to Eddie Jackson and the defense?

Not a good start to the season as the Bears defense looks like a bigger problem

Chicago Bears v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

The idea that the Bears had a championship window after 2018 was a fallacy then and it was an all-out lie to think that was the case coming in to the 2021 season.

Defenses drop off, often quickly, and the Chicago Bears are seeing that unfold in front of them.

In retrospect it appears that 2018 was the peak for Eddie Jackson and Khalil Mack. It’s shocking to type that, but Mack hasn’t been really 100 percent healthy for a season since, despite still playing in every game. Jackson just hasn’t been the same either. His ascension just halted.

Combine that with the usual aging, and injuries, and losses through free agency, and it’s no surprise that it is incredibly difficult to sustain a top 10 defense for years on end.

The idea that the Bears were going to recapture the magic of 2018, with a third different defensive coordinator and players three years older, was always a pipe dream. Now, personnel decisions and bad contracts have led to them losing key playmakers.

The unit doesn’t even have all the players left and the ones that are left aren’t playing up to their level for whatever reason.

Stock up

David Montgomery, RB - If there was any question about whether or not Montgomery could follow up his strong finish to last season, I think it’s been answered. Montgomery was said to have worked on his speed during the offseason and he looked faster and the stats back it up. He had 108 rushing yards and 118 yards from scrimmage plus the touchdown. Montgomery is currently the second best offensive player after Allen Robinson.

Cole Kmet, TE - The second year tight end looks like he’s going to be all right. He had five catches for 42 yards, which isn’t a ton, he wasn’t dynamically changing the game or anything, but it was a solid showing. He was breaking tackles and trying to get extra yards. He looked more fluid and comfortable. Hopefully he keeps building good games.

Justin Fields, QB - This is a layup, I mean considering he had five plays, how could he not though because it was such a small sample size to end up on the other side of it. Fields looked like he belonged, even if the plays he was asked to run weren’t the most effective. But he earned his spot here for scoring one of the team’s two touchdowns alone.

Stock down

Eddie Jackson, S - Where is he? And I know, teams are throwing away from him, but his lack of tackling is laughable. The Van Jefferson touchdown immediately made me flashback to 2013 and that was one of the worst defenses in team history. It’s embarrassing watching him try to tackle. Teams know not to throw at him, but if the offense’s guy is running at or by him, he’s liability.

Khalil Mack, OLB - Whether it’s injuries or something else, Mack has been a shell of what we saw in 2018. He still has flashes of brilliance, but they have been fewer and farther between. Mack barely showed in the box score, just one assist tackle. The hope is that this is just the groin injury that put him on the injury report last week, but he’s now been dealing with some kind of nick or minor injury for what seems like three years.

Marqui Christian, DB - Despite being listed on the depth chart as a safety, Christian played a lot at nickel on Sunday, in for the surprising scratch of Duke Shelley. Christian wasn’t good and I don’t want to harp on him too harshly since he is a little down the depth chart, but he exasperated a lot of the issues we saw in the secondary.