The Chicago Bears lost their fourth straight game yesterday to Atlanta and now sit at a dismal 3 – 8 on the season. In my opinion, this team is much better than that 3 – 8 record says but the fact remains they have won only three games. We all know that with a little luck and with officials making the right calls, this team could very well have six or seven wins.
Regardless, this team lacks enough talent on the defensive side of the ball, and that prevents them from “finishing” games the way many of us would like. Still, they play hard and compete down after down. You can be assured that a player who gives anything less than 100% won’t be here in 2023.
Several times a day I scroll through Twitter, and it never ceases to give me ideas/topics to write about. Between the last week, last night, and this morning I have read several Tweets that have given me ideas to share my opinion.
Because of Injury, Justin Fields Should Sit the Rest of the Season
As I write this, there has been no word as to the extent of what Fields injury is. We all know he hurt his left shoulder on the Bears' last series right before he threw an interception that essentially ended the game.
When Coach ‘Flus has his weekly Monday press conference we may find out more, but usually he is very vague about injuries the day after a game and doesn’t give a real update until Wednesday.
If Fields has a serious injury that requires a lot of missed time, he will probably be placed on Injured Reserve, which means he would have to miss a minimum of the next four games. If it’s minor, he may be able to play next week or miss perhaps just one game. The fact is this; if Fields is able to play, he will play. A young quarterback in a new scheme needs all the actual game reps he can get. Missing time is not an option if he is healthy enough to play.
If in fact he is hurt and has to go on IR, Trevor Siemian will become the starter for at least four weeks, and practice squad quarterback Nathan Peterman will be brought up to the varsity.
With Siemian at quarterback, I feel we will see changes in how the Bears game plan. Fields is a weapon with his running ability and has to be accounted for by defenses. If he is out, opponents can concentrate more on stopping the Bears' run game, which means the Bears will be throwing the ball more. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the team attempt as many as 15 more passes per game.
Why Isn’t Chase Claypool Playing More?
It’s been three weeks since the Bears gave a second-round draft choice to the Pittsburgh Steelers for third-year wide receiver Chase Claypool. He has yet to play a high number of snaps, and I’m starting to see tweets saying that General Manager Ryan Poles made a mistake making this trade and gave up to much.
Those negative tweets and thoughts are nonsense and far from accurate. The Bears' offensive system is very difficult to learn and much different than the system Claypool played in while with the Steelers. The Bears’ passing scheme is all about adjustments, meaning that the receivers have to adjust their routes depending on what the defense is doing. There could be several “options” a receiver has on just one play call. This takes time for a receiver to learn, especially if he never played in that type of scheme.
Not only does the receiver make adjustments based on the coverage, but so does the quarterback. Both the QB and the receiver have to be “in sync” on each pass play, with both “reading” and adjusting to the same thing. If not, there is a busted play.
Early in the season, Darnell Mooney and Justin Fields were discussing a play where Mooney was wide open to our eye. The fact is, Mooney ran the wrong route and admitted to it. The Bears had a similar play last year, and Mooney said he ran the route he would have run last year, not this year when he saw the coverage.
Claypool may be 6’4 – 240 and run a 4.40, but none of that means anything if he can’t make the adjustments at full speed. If he can’t, that 4.40 speed becomes 4.65 or 4.70. I have felt since the day the trade was made that Claypool would not be an integral part of the offense until next year. He can have an ever-growing package each week, but I doubt he will be fully comfortable with the whole scheme until he goes through an off-season working in it.
Will David Montgomery be Offered a New Contract?
It seems like just about every week, we see this topic discussed. My personal opinion is the Bears should bring back Monty at the right price and the right price only.
Very few running backs hit a home run with their second contract. Because of their short “shelf life,” clubs don’t want to invest a lot of money on the position. Many feel that it’s easier and cheaper just to draft another back.
David Montgomery is a very good player who can do everything a running back needs to do. He is a powerful instinctive runner, a very good receiver out of the backfield, and an excellent pass blocker. Monty is not and never will be a big play runner and take it to the house with long runs. That is not his skill set, but he can help a team win when used the way the Bears are using him this year.
Yesterday, with Kahlil Herbert out with an injury, the Bear’s running game was not as effective. Yes, Herbert is the big play runner the Bears need, but with him out, rookie Treston Ebner was unable to pick up the slack.
Monty and Herbert make a good duo who complement each other very well because of their different styles. Montgomery can get the tough yards and pass protect, while Herbert is capable of breaking the long run.
At the right price, it would be nice to keep these two together. The key is that Montgomery and his agent have to be realistic in their contractual demands. If he wants more than the Bears are comfortable paying, he’ll be elsewhere in 2023.
I feel the Bears want to bring Monty back and will be fair in offering him a new deal, but we won’t know the answer until next March.